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This chapter provides techniques and procedures used by mechanized infantry platoons, sections, and squads. These techniques are used throughout the planning and execution phases of platoon and squad tactical operations.

Section I


This section discusses mission tactics, troop-leading procedure, combat orders, and techniques for preparing a platoon to fight. These topics pertain to all combat operations. Their application requires time. With more time, leaders can plan and prepare in depth. With less time, they must rely on previously rehearsed actions, battle drills, and standing operating procedures.


Mission tactics is the term used to describe the exercise of command authority by a leader. Mission tactics places the relationship of command, control, and communications in proper perspective by emphasizing the predominance of command. This emphasis on command, rather than control, provides for initiative, the acceptance of risk, and the rapid seizure of opportunities on the battlefield. Mission tactics can be viewed as freedom of action for the leader to execute his mission in the way he sees fit, rather than being told how to do it. Mission tactics reinforced by the knowledge of the higher commander's intent and focused on a main effort establishes the necessary basis for small-unit leadership.

a. The philosophy of mission tactics extends throughout all levels of command. Leaders must be provided the maximum freedom to command and have imposed on them only the control necessary to synchronize mission accomplishment. Sometimes leaders must issue specific instructions. Normally, this is necessary when the platoon's actions must be synchronized with other actions. Mission tactics, as a command philosophy, recognizes the many tools available to the leader but emphasizes that there is no substitute for the personal element of command.

b. Mission tactics causes every leader to understand and accomplish his mission in consonance with the commander's mission. Execution of mission tactics requires initiative, resourcefulness, imagination, and selfless subordination of one's personal interest to accomplish the higher commander's intent. Initiative must be driven by the commander's intent, not merely by a desire for independent action. Leaders must be resourceful enough to adapt to situations as they are, not as they were expected to be.

c. Platoon, section, and squad leaders must also effectively control their subordinates. Control restricts command. Generally, increased control leads to less application of command. Not all control is bad or counterproductive. For example, doctrine is a form of control in that all leaders expect their subordinates to understand and apply the principles of doctrine. Another common source of control is the use of graphics for operation overlays. While optional and situationally dependent, these are restrictive and must be reviewed by the leader before implementation. Each control measure must have a specific purpose that contributes to mission accomplishment. If it does not pass this purpose test, it unnecessarily restricts freedom of action and should not be used.

d. Control is necessary to synchronize the actions of elements participating in an operation. The more complex the operation, the greater the need for control. The challenge to leaders is to provide the minimal amount of control required and still allow for decentralized decision making in each situation.

(1) Mission tactics requires that leaders learn how to think rather than what to think. It recognizes that the subordinate is often the only person at the point of decision who can make an informed decision. Guided by the commander's intent, the mission, and the concept of the operation, the leader can make the right decision.

(2) At platoon and squad level, useful forms of control include common doctrine, mission, concept of the operation, time, and control measures.

(a) Doctrine, especially in the form of battle drills and platoon SOPs that prescribe a way of performing a task, provides an element of control. By limiting the ways in which a task is performed to standard, battle drills and platoon SOPs provide a common basis for action; allow for quick, practiced responses; decrease the probability for confusion and loss of cohesion; and reduce the number of decisions to the essential minimum.

(b) The mission statement of the platoon is also a form of control. Its purpose provides the basis for decision and allows freedom of action. Its focuses on establishing the main effort and focuses all other actions toward mission accomplishment.

(c) The concept of the operation identifies the main and supporting efforts for the higher unit and describes how a commander sees the execution of the operation. This allows the maximum possible freedom of action for the subordinate leader tasked with executing the main effort. Leaders executing the supporting effort will have less freedom of action, because they must key their actions on the main effort. The concept of the operation also details the control of fires and other combat multipliers that must be synchronized and focused on the main effort.

(d) Leaders use time to control their platoons, squads, or individuals by establishing specifically when a task should begin or be complete. Control using time is especially critical when the platoon's and squad's actions must be synchronized with other platoons, squads, or supporting elements.

(e) Another source of control is the use of control measures. These include instructions to subordinate squads and sections, fire commands, and the use of operational graphics in overlays. While normally optional and situationally dependent, control measures are potentially restrictive and must be reviewed by leaders before incorporating them into their plans. To ensure the proper amount of control, each control measure must have a specific purpose that contributes to mission accomplishment. If it does not pass this test, it unnecessarily restricts freedom of action and should not be used.

e. Platoon, section, and squad leaders use mission tactics to accomplish the mission. They give orders and instructions that communicate the higher commander's intent, the mission (task and purpose) of the platoon, and the concept of the operation to include control measures. Leaders also use mission tactics to ensure that subordinates understand that they are to use initiative in making decisions when the situation changes.


Troop leading is the procedure leaders use to prepare their platoons, squads, sections, or teams to accomplish a tactical mission. It begins when the leader is alerted for a mission. It starts again when he receives a change or a new mission. The troop-leading procedure comprises the steps listed below. Steps 3 through 8 may not follow a rigid sequence. Many of them may be accomplished concurrently. In combat, rarely will leaders have enough time to go through each step in detail. Leaders must use the procedure as outlined, if only in abbreviated form, to ensure that nothing is left out of planning and preparation, and that their soldiers understand the platoon and squad mission and prepare adequately. They continuously update their estimates throughout the preparation phase and adjust their plans as appropriate.

STEP 1. Receive the mission.

STEP 2. Issue a warning order.

STEP 3. Make a tentative plan.

STEP 4. Start necessary movement.

STEP 5. Reconnoiter.

STEP 6. Complete the plan.

STEP 7. Issue the complete order.

STEP 8. Supervise.

a. STEP 1. Receive the Mission. The leader may receive the mission in a written or oral warning order, an operation order (OPORD), or a fragmentary order (FRAGO). He immediately begins to analyze it using the factors of METT-T:

  • What is the MISSION?
  • What is known about the ENEMY?
  • How will TERRAIN and WEATHER affect the operation?
  • What TROOPS are available?
  • How much TIME is available?

(1) The leader should use no more than one third of the available time for his own planning and for issuing his operation order. The remaining two thirds is for subordinates to plan and prepare for the operation. Leaders should also consider other factors such as available daylight and travel time to and from orders and rehearsals.

(2) In scheduling preparation activities, the leader should work backwards from the LD or defend time. This is reverse planning. He must allow enough time for the completion of each task.

b. STEP 2. Issue a Warning Order. The leader provides initial instructions in a warning order. The warning order contains enough information to begin preparation as soon as possible. Platoon SOPs should prescribe who will attend all warning orders and the actions they must take upon receipt; for example, drawing ammunition, rations and water, and checking communications equipment. The warning order has no specific format. One technique is to use the five-paragraph OPORD format. The leader issues the warning order with all the information he has available at the time. He provides updates as often as necessary. If available, the following information may be included in a warning order. The leader never waits for information to fill a format. A sample warning order is in Figure 2-1.

  • The mission or nature of the operation.
  • Who is participating in the operation.
  • Time of the operation.
  • Time and place and who will attend the issuance of the operation order.

c. STEP 3. Make a Tentative Plan. The leader develops an estimate of the situation to use as the basis for his tentative plan. The estimate is the military decision making process. It consists of five steps: detailed mission analysis, situation analysis and course of action development, analysis of each course of action, comparison of each course of action, and decision. The decision represents the tentative plan. The leader updates the estimate continuously and refines his plan accordingly. He uses this plan as the start point for coordination, reconnaissance, task organization (if required), and movement instructions. He works through this problem solving sequence in as much detail as time available allows. As the basis of his estimate, the leader considers the factors of METT-T.

(1) Mission. The leader considers his mission as given to him by his commander. He analyzes it in light of the commander's intent two command levels higher, and he derives the essential tasks his platoon must perform in order to accomplish the mission.

(2) Enemy. The leader considers the type, size, organization, tactics, and equipment of the enemy he expects to encounter. He identifies the enemy's, strengths and weaknesses.

(3) Terrain. The leader considers the effect of terrain and weather on enemy and friendly forces using the guidelines below (OAKOC):

(a) Obstacles. In the attack, the leader considers the effect of restrictive terrain and enemy obstacles on his ability to maneuver. In the defense he considers how he will tie in his obstacles to the terrain to disrupt, turn, fix, or block an enemy force and protect his own forces from enemy assault. He also considers how he will cover the obstacles by direct or indirect fire.

(b) Avenues of approach. An avenue of approach is an air or ground route of an attacking force of a given size leading to its objective or key terrain in its path. In the offense, the leader identifies the avenue of approach that affords him the greatest protection and places him at the enemy's most vulnerable spot. In the defense, the leader positions his key weapons along the avenue of approach most likely to be used by the enemy.

(c) Key terrain. Key terrain is any locality or area whose seizure or retention affords a marked advantage to either combatant. The leader considers key terrain in his selection of objectives, support positions, and routes in the offense, and on the positioning of his platoon in the defense.

(d) Observation and fields of fire. The leader considers ground that allows him observation of the enemy throughout his area of operation. He considers fields of fire in terms of the characteristics of the weapons available to him; for example, maximum effective range, the requirement for grazing fire, and the arming range and time of flight for antiarmor weapons.

(e) Cover and concealment. The leader looks for terrain that will protect him from direct and indirect fires (cover) and from aerial and ground observation (concealment).

(f) Weather. In considering the effects of weather, the leader is most interested in visibility and trafficability.

(4) Troops available. The leader considers the strength of squads, the characteristics of his weapon systems, and the capabilities of attached elements as he assigns tasks to squads and sections.

(5) Time available. The leader refines his allocation of time based on his mission and reverse planning sequence and all other known deadlines.

d. STEP 4. Start Necessary Movement. The platoon may need to begin movement while the leader is still planning or reconnoitering forward. The platoon sergeant or a squad leader may bring the platoon forward, usually under the control of the company executive officer or first sergeant. This step could occur at any time during the troop-leading procedure.

e. STEP 5. Reconnoiter. The platoon leader makes a map reconnaissance and if time allows, he makes a personal reconnaissance to verify his terrain analysis, adjust his plan, confirm the usability of routes, and time any critical movements. The leader must consider the risk inherent in conducting reconnaissance forward of friendly lines. Sometimes the leader must rely on others (for example, reconnaissance platoon) to conduct the reconnaissance if the risk of contact with the enemy is high.

f. STEP 6. Complete the Plan. The leader completes his plan based on the reconnaissance and any changes in the situation. He should review his mission, as he received it from his commander, to ensure that his plan meets the requirements of the mission and stays within the framework of the commander's intent.

g. STEP 7. Issue the Complete Order. Platoon and squad leaders normally issue oral operation orders.

(1) To aid subordinates in understanding the concept for the mission, leaders should issue the order within sight of the objective or on the terrain to be defended. A terrain model or sketch is always helpful.

(2) Leaders must ensure that subordinates understand the mission, the commander's intent two levels up, the concept of the operation, and their assigned tasks. Leaders may require subordinates to repeat all or part of the order or demonstrate on the model or sketch their understanding of the operation. Leaders should also quiz their soldiers to ensure that all soldiers understand the mission. Chapter 4 provides a list of questions that leaders can ask their soldiers to determine their understanding.

h. STEP 8. Supervise. The leader supervises the platoon's preparation for combat by conducting rehearsals and inspections.

(1) Rehearsals. If possible, leaders should conduct rehearsals on terrain that resembles the actual ground and in similar light conditions. The platoon may begin rehearsals of battle drills and other SOP items before the receipt of the operation order. Once the order has been issued, the platoon can rehearse mission-specific tasks. The leader uses rehearsals to--

  • Practice essential tasks (improve performance).
  • Reveal weaknesses or problems in the plan.
  • Coordinate the actions of subordinate elements.
  • Improve soldier understanding of the concept of the operation (foster confidence in soldiers).

The types of rehearsals are briefback, reduced force, and full force. There are many different techniques available to accomplish these rehearsals. Some important tasks to rehearse include actions in the assembly area, actions before LD, actions en route to the assault position or objective, actions in the assault position, actions on the objective, and actions during consolidation and reorganization on the objective.

(a) Briefback. Briefbacks identify problems and disconnects in execution but to a lesser degree than hands-on rehearsals. The platoon leader should conduct at least two briefbacks with subordinate leaders. When possible, he should conduct briefbacks collectively at a meeting of the orders group. This makes the exchange of information easier, improves coordination among platoons and squads, and speeds the distribution of changes.

  • The first briefback is done immediately after the platoon OPORD has been issued. This briefback is to ensure subordinate leaders understand the platoon's mission.
  • The second briefback is done after subordinates have formulated their own concept, but before they have issued their OPORD. This briefback is to ensure the platoon and subordinate concepts agree before subordinate leaders issue their OPORD.

(b) Reduced-force rehearsal (key leaders). A reduced-force rehearsal is done when time is limited or the tactical situation does not permit everyone to attend. The platoon replicates its actions on mock-ups, sand tables, or smaller pieces of terrain than the actual operation.

(c) Full-force rehearsal. This type of rehearsal is the most effective, but uses the most time and resources. It involves every soldier who will participate in the operation. If possible it should be conducted under the same conditions (weather, time of day, terrain, and so on) that is expected to be encountered during the actual operations.

(2) Techniques of rehearsal. The techniques are as follows.

(a) Force on force. This technique is used during full-force rehearsals. Platoons rehearse in good visibility on open terrain before gradually increasing to realistic conditions. The platoon rehearses with squads/sections going force on force against each other or the entire platoon going force on force against another platoon in the company.

(b) Map. A map rehearsal may be conducted with a single map overlay. A map rehearsal limits the number of participants. Time and space constraints are very limited.

(c) Radiotelephone. This is used when time and enemy situation do not allow for the gathering of personnel; to test radios and determine backup systems in the event of communication equipment failure; and to rehearse key elements of the platoon plan such as the fire support matrix and execution of reserve obstacles.

(d) Sand table or terrain model. This technique is used when time is limited. Participants are the key leaders. This technique is normally conducted without vehicles. Training aids must be built large enough so all personnel can observe. Graphic features are included (such as phase lines, trigger points, objectives, and TRPs) and may include other items as necessary in painting a word picture.

(e) Rock/stick drill. This is similar to a sand table or terrain model. The difference is that participants either move themselves, rocks, sticks, or anything else to replicate their actions or their platoon's actions.

(f) TEW'T (tactical exercise without troops). The platoon normally conducts a TEWT as part of a larger force. Very few assets are required, normally just key leaders participate. This technique is most effective when used with wheeled vehicles upon key terrain.

(3) Inspections. Section and squad leaders should conduct initial inspections shortly after receipt of the warning order. The platoon sergeant spot-checks throughout the platoon's preparation for combat. The platoon leader and platoon sergeant make a final inspection. They should inspect--

  • Weapons and ammunition.
  • Uniforms and equipment.
  • Mission-essential equipment.
  • Soldier's understanding of the mission and their specific responsibilities.
  • Communications.
  • Rations and water.
  • Camouflage.
  • Deficiencies noted during earlier inspections.


An operation order (OPORD) is a directive issued by the leader to his subordinate leaders in order to effect the coordinated execution of a specific operation.

a. The leader briefs his OPORD orally from notes that follow the five-paragraph format below (Figure 2-2).

b. The leader uses a fragmentary order (FRAGO) to change an existing order. He normally uses the OPORD format but addresses only those elements that have changed. The leader should make his instructions brief, simple, clear, and specific.

c. Annexes provide the instructions for conducting specific operations such as air assault, boat, and truck movement, stream crossings, establishing patrol bases, and airborne insertions, if they are so detailed that a platoon SOP is insufficient for a particular situation. The format is the same as the five-paragraph OPORD.

d. An operation overlay is a tracing of graphic control measures on a map. It shows boundaries, unit positions, routes, objectives, and other control measures. It helps to clarify the operation order. Platoons normally trace their overlays from the company operations map. Squad leaders transfer control measures on to their maps as needed. The subordinate's need for higher unit graphics must be balanced against the risk of the enemy obtaining this information. An example company operation overlay for an attack is in Figure 2-3. An example company operation overlay for a defense is in Figure 2-4. An example platoon overlay for a defense is in Figure 2-5.

e. When possible, the leader uses the actual terrain or a terrain model to brief his OPORD. He may also use concept sketches--large, rough drawings of the objective areas--to show the flow of events and actions clearly.

(1) Concept sketch. A concept sketch should include the task and purpose. The sketch shows the locations and positions of objectives, control measures, and key terrain in relation to each other. It is not necessarily drawn to scale. Example battalion, company, and platoon concept sketches are in Figures 2-6, 2-7, 2-8, and 2-9.

(2) Terrain model. A terrain model is a three-dimensional scale model of the terrain (Figure 2-10). It is effective for briefing and discussing the actions on the objective. It may depict the entire mission area. However, for offense missions, priority should be given to building a model of the objective area.

(a) It should be built oriented to the ground (north on the model is north on the ground) and should show the main terrain features in the area.

(b) The next step after orienting the model to the ground is the construction of grid squares. The leader should identify the grid squares that the model will show. These ensure a more accurate model.

(c) The terrain model should depict key terrain, friendly control measures, and enemy dispositions.

(d) Materiel for constructing the model includes string, yarn (various colors), chalk (colored), 3x5 cards, target markers, or unit markers.


As a member of the combined arms team, the BFV platoon must provide sufficient dismounted infantry during combat operations and during all battlefield conditions. BFV crews provide direct-fire support to the maneuvering dismounted infantry. Effective fire control and distribution measures must be established to avoid fratricide and allow the infantry to gain and maintain the initiative. Platoons must establish clear fire control and distribution SOPs and practice them during all aspects of training. Crews must be well disciplined in these techniques and should be aware that the infantry can dismount and join the battle at anytime. Squad and team leaders must remain alert and aware of the tactical situation while riding in the troop compartment. They must be prepared to execute the command to dismount quickly. Once on the ground, the infantry must remain aware of the vehicle element's location and establish measures to keep BCs aware of the squad's location. Leaders must know principles of fire control, methods of fire control and distribution, and methods of engaging targets with antiarmor weapons.

a. The principles of fire control are as follows.

(1) Destroy the most dangerous targets first. The danger an enemy vehicle or weapon system presents to the squad or platoon changes with range, terrain, and the weapons mounted on the vehicle. Generally, tanks present the greatest threat to BFVs at ranges out to 2,000 meters. However, Soviet tanks equipped with missiles can engage BFVs up to 4 kilometers away. At ranges greater than 2,000 meters, a BRDM or a BMP firing an ATGM presents a greater threat. A BMP that is moving does not present a meaningful threat until it moves within 1,000 meters. An RPG team is a threat within 300 meters. Targets are engaged in direct relation to the danger they present. If two or more targets are equal threats, the closest one should be engaged first.

(2) Avoid target overkill. A force fighting outnumbered cannot afford to engage a single target with more than one weapon. Bradley commanders strive for single engagements and one-shot kills with the TOW, and single-round ranging shots and short-burst kills with the 25-mm gun. Bradley commanders must avoid engaging disabled vehicles. Such targets should be left for tanks or other weapon systems with a larger basic load of ammunition and more destructive power or engaged after other, more dangerous targets have been destroyed.

(3) Concentrate on long-range targets. The fire team weapons also complement the BFV's weapons. The machine guns, rifles, grenade launcher, AT4, and Dragon are best used along more restrictive approaches where fields of fire are limited. This allows the BFV to concentrate on long-range targets.

(4) Control fires to achieve the best shots and expose only those BFVs needed for an engagement. The leader uses the BFV that has the best chance of engaging and destroying the enemy. All other vehicles should remain hidden until additional targets are within the engagement area, the firing BFV needs help in destroying the target, or they are needed to provide cover for withdrawal action.

(a) Flank shots offer the best opportunity to destroy enemy targets. Threat armor is more penetrable on the flanks and in the rear than in the front.

(b) The platoon engages only targets that offer a high-probability of a hit. Engagements beyond the effective range of the weapon system are avoided. Trigger lines and or the laser range finder are used to determine the maximum engagement lines. Exposing BFV firing positions and wasting ammunition are avoided.

(5) Use each weapon in its best role. Each BFV weapon has its own capabilities and limitations. Each is used in roles for which it is best suited and how it best complements the other weapons.

(a) The 25-mm gun is best used to destroy lightly armored or unarmored vehicles and to suppress antitank guided missiles at medium to long range. Each BFV carries 900 rounds of 25-mm ammunition consisting of AP and HE rounds. Three hundred rounds are uploaded and 600 rounds are stored in the rear of the vehicle.

(b) For stand-off protection, the TOW is best used against armored targets 2,000 meters and beyond. The TOW is mainly used to engage tanks that cannot be destroyed with the 25-mm gun. Each BFV can carry up to seven TOW missiles; two missiles in the launcher and five stowed inside the BFV (The five missiles inside can be any combination of TOWs or Dragons.)

(c) The 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun is best used to destroy unarmored vehicles, kill dismounted infantry, and suppress enemy gunners out to 1,000 meters. It is used against suitable targets to complement the 25-mm gun at shorter ranges. This helps conserve the 25-mm ammunition.

(d) The dismounted squads use the machine gun, antiarmor weapons, and automatic rifles to close with and destroy the enemy.

(6) Maintain combat loads as long as possible. Ammunition resupply is a major problem on the battlefield. Without proper fire discipline, a BFV can use its entire combat load in one or two engagements and then be ineffective in later encounters. Crews must constantly check the on-board supply of ammunition. Ammunition reporting procedures should be established as SOP. The platoon leader should prescribe how low on ammunition the platoon, sections, or squads can get before requesting resupply. Elements should not be allowed to drop below this level except in a combat emergency. To reduce reloading time, ammunition in the ready racks is replaced at every chance.

(7) Avoid fratricide. When possible, crews avoid engagements that are close to friendly infantry or vehicles. BFV crews must remain aware of the movement of the dismounted element to avoid casualties from friendly fires. Additionally, infantry squads must establish measures to keep the BFV crews aware of their location.

b. When moving, a section or platoon uses offensive engagement techniques when stationary, they use defensive techniques regardless of the mission.

(1) Individual BFVs. Threat armored vehicles have more armor in the front 60-degree arc of the vehicle than on the flanks and rear portions. Thus, the leaders must understand fighting positions' effectiveness against the Threat (for example, flank shots and close combat techniques).

(2) Section/wingman concept. A Bradley section consists of the platoon leader and a wingman or platoon sergeant and a wingman. The wingman concept helps in the command and control of the platoon. Platoon/section SOPs dictate the engagement and firing techniques to be used by sections. Whether the sections fire together or alternate fires, mutual support is provided. Sections always operate as part of a platoon.

(3) Squads. The dismount element consists of two 9-man squads with two squad leaders and four fire team leaders. The platoon leader normally operates on the ground with the dismounted squads.

(4) Platoons. In mechanized infantry forces, the Bradley platoon is the lowest level employed to conduct operations.

c. Fire control and distribution procedures provide leaders with a method to achieve their objective. Proper use of fire control and distribution ensures a unity of effort and the ability to mass the effects of combat power at the decisive place and time. Leaders must decide which fire control method or combination of methods will work in each tactical situation. They must ensure the fires of their platoons are effective.

(1) Methods of fire control. The methods of fire control are sound signals, graphic control measures, visual signals, and time.

(a) Sound signals. This includes both voice and devices such as whistles and horns. Sound signals are good only for short distances. Their range and reliability are reduced by battle noise, weather, terrain, and vegetation.

(b) Graphic control measures. These measures must be simple and clear. Above all they must support the concept of the operation. Routine use of standard control measures will ensure understanding and compliance at the lowest level. Listed below are some of the key control measures used by mechanized infantry platoons.

  • Sector of fire. FM 101-5-1 defines a sector of fire as "an area that is required to be covered by the fire of an individual weapon, or a unit." The primary purpose of sectors of fire is to ensure distribution of fires across a platoon's area of responsibility. The leader may use sectors of fire to divide the engagement area among his principle weapons (Figure 2-11).
  • Engagement areas. FM 101-5-1 describes an engagement area as "an area in which the commander intends to trap and destroy an enemy force with the massed fires of all available weapons." As a control measure, the engagement area attempts to concentrate the fires of a unit against enemy forces. Engagement areas can be divided into sectors of fire for subordinate units or weapons systems or both.
  • Target reference point. A TRP is an easily recognizable point on the ground (either natural or man-made) used for identifying enemy targets or controlling fires (Figure 2-12).
  • Phase lines. A phase line is a linear control measure normally used to control movement. It can also be used to control and distribute the fire of sections and squads. Any prominent natural or man-made linear terrain feature--for example, a ridge line, river or stream, road, or railroad track--can be used as a phase line. (Figure 2-13.)

(c) Other graphic control measures. The following graphic control measures also aid in the control but to a lesser degree than the previous listed graphic control measures. These control measures are used for both day and limited visibility. However, some adjustments may have to be made.

  • Attack position. It is the last position occupied or passed through by the assault echelon before crossing the LD. It provides cover and concealment, and permits easy entry and exit. It is used to ensure coordinated effort by the entire force. It may or may not be used. During limited visibility, it may be closer to the LD and smaller than during good visibility.
  • Line of departure. An LD is designated to coordinate the commitment of attacking units at a specified time.
  • Point of departure. Because it is critical all movements be closely coordinated; squads, section, or platoon may be assigned a specific point to cross the LD.
  • Release point. Each company commander releases control of his platoons to the platoon leaders at the company RP. RPs are far enough from the objective to allow units to deploy before they reach the probable line of deployment.
  • Route. The company commander normally picks the routes from the company RP to platoon RPs. Platoon leaders pick routes from platoon RPs to the squad RPs.
  • Probable line of deployment. The company commander may designate a PLD. This is the place he deploys his unit before beginning the assault. A PLD is normally used during limited visibility.
  • Objectives. The company commander assigns each platoon an objective, which is part of the company objective. These are easy-to-identify terrain features.
  • Limit of advance. To keep friendly supporting fires from falling on friendly dismounted troops, leaders may designate a limit of advance. It should be a terrain feature easy to recognize during limited visibility. Assaulting elements do not advance beyond this feature. This allows supporting fires beyond the objective without endangering friendly troops.
  • Battle positions. The company commander assigns each platoon a defensive location oriented on the most likely enemy avenue of approach from which a unit may defend or attack.

(d) Visual signals. The leader can give a visual signal when he wants the soldiers to begin, cease, or shift fire as soon as they see the signal. Platoons can also use visual signals triggered by the enemy.

(e) Time. Units may be directed to begin, shift, and cease firing at a set time.

(2) Fire commands. Leaders use fire commands to direct the fires of the unit. A fire command has the following six elements.

(a) Alert. The first element alerts the crew of an immediate engagement and who will conduct the engagement.

(b) Weapon/ammunition. The second element informs the crew of the weapon and/or ammunition that is to be used.

(c) Description. The third element identifies the target for the crew. If there are multiple targets, the BC tells the crew which target to engage first.

(d) Direction. The fourth element is given to guide the gunner when the BC cannot lay the weapon for direction or elevation.

(e) Range. The fifth element of a fire command is used when the BC chooses the precision gunner method. (See FM 23-1, Chapter 3, Section II.)

(f) Execution. Once the crew responds to the first five elements, the BC gives the execution element. Before the execution element, the BC reconfirms the target as hostile.

(3) Methods of fire distribution. Leaders must distribute the fires of their organic weapons to destroy or suppress enemy positions. There are two ways to distribute fire on a target--point fire and area fire.

(a) Point fire. Point fire is directed against a specific identified target, such as a machine gun or ATGM position. All weapons are fired at the target. Spreading out the platoon on the ground aids in point fire, because the target is hit from multiple directions. Point fire is not often used, because the platoon seldom encounters a single, clearly identified enemy weapon. (Figure 2-14.)

(b) Area Fire. Area fire is distributed over a larger area when enemy positions are numerous or less obvious. Each weapon or BFV in the defense or overwatch element is given a specific sector of the target area to fire into. This is done to ensure that the entire target area is covered by fire and observation. (Figure 2-15.)

(4) Fire patterns. The three basic fire patterns are frontal fire, cross fire, and depth fire. They are used to distribute the platoon's fire when multiple targets appear and no other measures have been assigned or in conjunction with other measures.

(a) Frontal fire. Frontal fire is used when targets are dispersed laterally to the platoon's direction of fire. Each weapon shoots targets to its front, with flank weapons engaging flank targets first. As targets are destroyed, fire is shifted toward the center of the target area (Figure 2-16).

(b) Cross fire. Cross fire is used when targets are dispersed laterally but obstructions prevent all weapons from firing to the front (Figure 2-17). Cross fire is also used to get flank shots. Flank shots increase the chance of a kill and avoid detection when the enemy is moving straight at the BFV. Each weapon engages a target diagonal to its position, with flank weapons engaging targets on the opposite flank. As targets are destroyed, fire is shifted to the center of the enemy formation.

(c) Depth Fire. Depth fire is used when targets are exposed in depth (Figure 2-18). Weapons on one side engage the nearest targets, while weapons on the other side engage the farthest targets. Fire is then shifted toward the center of the formation. This is done by platoon SOP or as specified in the leader's order.

(d) Change in fire pattern. Fire patterns are changed or used concurrently with other fire patterns when necessary to ensure maximum coverage of an enemy formation. This may be necessary when the enemy, after being engaged, adjusts his formation (Figure 2-19).

d. Methods of employment for antiarmor weapons are as follows.

(1) Dragon. There are two options for the employment of Dragons in the mechanized infantry platoon--centralized or decentralized.

(a) Centralized control. The platoon leader controls the fires of his Dragon gunners, either by locating the weapons near him and personally directing their fires, or by grouping them together under the control of the platoon sergeant or another individual the platoon leader designates.

(b) Decentralized control. Dragon gunners operate with, and are controlled by their squad leaders. It may be necessary for the squad leader to employ one fire team as a Dragon team. The platoon leader normally gives the command for opening fire.

(c) Target engagement. Target priorities and rules of engagement may change from situation to situation. Leaders must specify to Dragon gunners, either in their plans and orders, or by platoon SOP, target priorities and rules for engaging multiple targets. Dragon gunners should be assigned sectors of fire to preclude more than one weapon engaging the same target simultaneously. When engaging targets, gunners ensure they can track the target until impact.

(d) Oblique fire. Whenever possible, gunners engage targets with oblique fire. Platoon and squad leaders, when selecting positions, make every effort to emplace the gunner in a position that permits him to cover his sector with oblique fire. It is difficult for the enemy to retrace the flight path of a missile to its launch site when the missile moves obliquely across their front, as opposed to being launched from a head-on position. Forces generally orient to their front, and are therefore more vulnerable to fires from their flanks.

(2) LAW and AT4. The four methods of engaging targets with both the LAW and the AT4 are single, sequence, pair, and volley firing.

(a) Single firing. In single firing, one soldier engages a target with one LAW or AT4--there are no follow-on shots. This method is mostly for use at short ranges (50 meters or less with the LAW; 200 meters or less with the AT4). The single-firing method can be effective at greater ranges (out to 200 meters with the LAW, out to 300 meters with the AT4) when the exact range to the target is known.

(b) Sequence firing. In sequence firing, one firer armed with two or more LAWs or AT4s engages a single target. The firer--

  • Inspects and prepares the weapons for firing and lays them side by side.
  • Fires and observes the impact of the round.
  • If he hits the target, continues to fire follow-on rounds until the target is destroyed or until ordered to cease fire.
  • If he misses, applies burst-on-target corrections with follow-on rounds until the target is hit. He then fires until he destroys the target or until ordered to cease fire.

(c) Pair firing. In pair firing, two or more firers each armed with two or more LAWs or AT4s engage the same target. They exchange information throughout the target engagement.

  • The first firer who sees the target identifies it, announces the estimated range and the lead he will use, and fires.
  • The second firer observes the firing, announces a revised estimate of range and lead (if appropriate), and fires.
  • The firers continue exchanging range and lead information until the target is hit.
  • Once the range and lead have been determined, both firers, on command, engage the target until it is destroyed or until ordered to cease fire.

(d) Volley firing. In volley firing, more than one firer engages the same target using one or more LAWs and AT4s. Volley firing should be used when the range to the target has been determined. This method is desirable because more rounds are fired at a given time, thus increasing the probability of hitting/killing the target (FM 23-33 and FM 23-25).

Section II


This section discusses techniques used by mechanized infantry platoons and squads to provide security for themselves and for larger formations during movements and offensive and defensive operations. Security is part of force protection which enhances the combat power of the force. Positioning of thermal sights during movement, offense, and defense is critical to security. Platoon leaders must ensure the use of thermal sights is included in their security plan.


Security during movement includes the actions that platoons and squads take to secure themselves and the tasks given to them to provide security for a larger force.

a. Platoons and squads enhance their own security during movement through the use of covered and concealed terrain; the use of the appropriate movement formation and technique; the actions taken to secure danger areas during crossing the enforcement of noise, light, and radiotelephone discipline; and the use of proper equipment and individual camouflage techniques. Platoons also enhance their security by using the correct graphic control measures, formations, and movement techniques to prevent fratricide.

(1) Terrain. In planning a movement, leaders consider the terrain from the aspect OAKOC as discussed in Section I. Leaders look for terrain that avoids obstacles, provides protection from direct and indirect fires and from ground and aerial observation, avoids key terrain that may be occupied by the enemy, allows freedom to maneuver, and avoids natural lines of drift or obvious terrain features. If key terrain cannot be avoided, leaders plan to reconnoiter it before moving through. When operating as an advance or flank guard for a larger force, platoons and squads may be tasked to occupy key terrain for a short time while the main body bypasses it.

(2) Formations and movement techniques. Formations and movement techniques provide security by--

  • Positioning each vehicle and soldier so that they can observe and fire into a specific sector that overlaps with other sectors.
  • Placing a team or section forward to allow the platoon to make contact with only the lead team and give the remainder of the platoon freedom to maneuver.
  • Providing overwatch for a portion of the platoon.

In selecting formations and movement techniques, leaders must consider other requirements such as speed and control as well as security. See Section III for information on determining the best formation and technique based on METT-T

(3) Security at danger areas. Paragraph 2-10 describes actions taken by platoons and squads to secure danger areas before crossing them.

(4) Camouflage, noise, light, litter and radiotelephone discipline. Leaders must ensure that camouflage used by their platoon is appropriate to the terrain and season. Platoon SOPs specify elements of noise, light, litter, and radiotelephone discipline. (See Chapter 4.)

b. Platoons, sections, and squads may operate as the advance, flank, or rear guard for larger units. They employ the same techniques described above to move as securely as possible.

c. During short halts, vehicles deploy into a herringbone or coil formation for all-round security and soldiers dismount and assume prone positions behind cover. They watch the same sectors that were assigned to them for the movement. Leaders establish OPs, and orient machine guns and vehicle weapon systems along likely enemy approaches. Soldiers remain alert and keep movement to a minimum. During limited visibility, leaders incorporate the use of night vision devices.

d. During long halts, the platoon establishes a perimeter defense (See Section V). The platoon leader ensures that the platoon halts on defensible terrain. He establishes the defense using the same considerations discussed in Section V.

e. For additional security during halts, the platoon leader may establish a section- or squad-sized ambush. He must provide a specific location and instructions concerning the initiation and conduct of the ambush and the linkup of the section or squad with the platoon.


Security in the offense includes actions taken by platoons, sections, and squads to find the enemy, to avoid detection or prevent the detection of the larger body, and to protect the platoons, sections, or squads during the assault on the objective. Fratricide prevention is also an integral part of security in the offense and must be integrated into offensive planning.

a. Movement to Contact. Platoons and squads execute guard or screening missions as part of a larger force in a movement to contact.

b. Reconnaissance Patrols. Platoons and squads conduct reconnaissance patrols before executing offensive operations to find the enemy and determine his strength and dispositions.

c. Hasty and Deliberate Attacks. Platoons and squads use the same security techniques for movement discussed above while moving from assembly areas to the objective. The base-of-fire and maneuver elements of the platoon must provide their own security while executing their specific tasks.

(1) Base-of-fire element. The platoon sergeant or leader controlling the base-of-fire element should designate vehicles and soldiers on the flanks of the position to provide observation and, if necessary, fires to the flanks while the element engages the enemy on the objective. The base-of-fire element also provides security to its rear.

(2) Maneuver element. The maneuver element must secure its own flanks and rear as it assaults the objective. Platoon leaders should consider designating assaulting sections and buddy teams to observe the flanks and rear. When clearing trenches, the platoon should be alert against local counterattacks along cleared portions of the trench behind the lead fire team. The base-of-fire element provides security for the maneuver element by engaging any counterattacking or reinforcing forces if it can do so without endangering the maneuver element with its own fires.

d. Consolidation. Platoons and squads move quickly to establish security during the consolidation of an objective. They do this by establishing OPs along likely approaches and by establishing overlapping sectors of fire to create all-round security. (See Section V.)


Security in the defense includes active and passive measures taken to avoid detection or deceive the enemy and to deny enemy reconnaissance elements accurate information on friendly positions. Fratricide prevention is also an integral part of security in the defense and must be integrated into defensive planning.

a. Terrain. Leaders consider the terrain in terms of OAKOC as they plan for security in the defense. They look for terrain that will protect them from enemy observation and fires and, at the same time, provide observation and fires into the area where they intend to destroy the enemy or defeat his attack. When necessary, leaders use defensive techniques, such as reverse slope or perimeter defense, to improve the security of the defensive position. Leaders plan protective obstacles to the flanks and rear of their positions and tie them in with supplementary fires. Leaders consider adjacent key terrain that threatens the security of their positions. They secure this terrain by posting OPs and by covering it with direct and indirect fires. Finally, leaders establish OPs along the most likely enemy approaches into the position or sector to provide early warning.

b. Observation Posts. Each platoon should post at least one OP. The platoon leader designates the general location for the OP and the routes to and from the OP. The squad leader establishing the OP selects the specific site. Section XII provides a detailed discussion of the techniques used by platoons and squads in establishing and manning OPs. When a platoon performs a screen mission for a larger force in a defense, it may establish squad-sized OPs that are well dispersed. The squads conduct patrolling missions between these OPs to establish the screen.

c. Patrols. Platoons should actively patrol the area to their front and flanks while in a defensive operation. These patrols should include observation of dead space, gaps between platoons and companies, open flanks, and gaps or lanes in tactical and protective wire. Patrols may also be used to establish and relieve OPs. On completion of a patrol mission, the patrol members are debriefed and the information disseminated throughout the platoon. The platoon leader must ensure that all patrols not initiated by his higher headquarters are coordinated with them. (See FM 7-8 for additional information.)

d. Passive Measures. Platoons may be directed to cover specific areas of its sector with night vision devices, thermal sights, or early warning devices. These systems should be incorporated into the platoon sector sketch. Passive measures also include camouflage; movement control; and noise, light, litter, and radiotelephone discipline.

e. Deceptive Measures. Deceptive measures include actions that platoons and squads may take to mislead the enemy and induce him to do something counter to his interests. Platoons may employ deceptive measures for local security such as dummy positions or supplemental wire.

f. Deception Operations. Platoons may conduct deception operations as part of a larger force. These operations may include demonstrations, feints, displays, or ruses. In most instances platoons execute missions as normal but on a limited scale (feint), or to present a false picture to the enemy.

Section III


This section discusses formations, movement techniques, and actions during mounted and dismounted movement for mechanized infantry platoons and squads.


Formations are arrangements of elements, vehicles, and soldiers in relation to each other. Platoons use formations for control, flexibility, and security. Leaders choose formations based on METT-T. Platoon leaders are normally up front in formations during mounted movement, and team leaders are up front in formations during dismounted movement. This allows them to lead from the front and lead by example. All Bradley commanders (mounted) and soldiers (dismounted) in the formations must be able to see their leader. The speed of movement and distance between vehicles or soldiers in formations will vary according to the METT-T situation at the time. Each vehicle or person will be guarding and searching a different sector to provide all-round security while on the move. Platoons use column, line, echelon, and wedge formations for mounted movement. The dismounted platoon uses column and line formations.

a. Mounted. Column, line, echelon, and wedge formations, modified as necessary, determine the position of vehicles in relation to each other and the orientation of turrets in sectors of responsibility for scanning and fire. This allows the platoon to act appropriately in most situations and during most conditions. Action on enemy contact, as well as the requirement to change formations on the move, must be a matter of implementing one of a series of standard, thoroughly trained drills. Herringbone and coil are the security formations used when the vehicles are not moving.

(1) Column. The column formation is used for road marches, for movement during limited visibility, and when passing through defiles or other restrictive terrain. (Figure 2-20.) The column simplifies control, provides good security, and permits maximum firepower to the flanks.

(2) Line. The line formation is used when assaulting a weakly defended objective, crossing open areas, or in a support-by-fire position. (Figure-21.) This formation provides maximum fire to the front. The distance between elements depends on terrain.

(3) Echelon. The echelon formation permits excellent firepower to the front and to either the right or left flank. (Figure 2-22.) It is normally used when a platoon is to cover an exposed flank of a larger force.

(4) Wedge. The wedge formation permits excellent firepower to the front and good fire to each flank. (Figure 2-23.) The wedge formation is often used when the enemy situation is vague.

(5) Herringbone. The herringbone is used to disperse the platoon when traveling in column formation. (Figure 2-24.) It may be used during air attacks or when the platoon must stop during movement. It lets the platoon move to covered and concealed positions off a road or from an open area and establish all-round security without detailed instructions being issued. The vehicles are repositioned as necessary to take advantage of the best cover, concealment, and fields of fire. Fire team members dismount and establish security.

(6) Coil. The coil is used to provide all-round security and observation when the platoon is stationary. (Figure 2-25.) It also is useful for tactical refueling, resupply, and issuing platoon orders. Security is posted to include airguards and dismounted fire teams. The vehicle turrets are manned.

b. Dismounted. Squads normally move mounted until the situation requires them to dismount. The squad moves alone or as part of the platoon's dismount element. The platoon's mounted element or other fire teams of the dismount element normally overwatch the movement of the dismounted squad. The dismount element uses a variety of formations.

(1) Fire team formations. Fire team formations describe the positioning of soldiers in relation to each other. Each formation has advantages and disadvantages. The leader must weigh these in light of his METT-T analysis. (Table 2-1.)

(a) Wedge. The wedge is the basic formation for the fire team. The interval between soldiers in the wedge formation is normally 10 meters. The wedge expands and contracts depending on the terrain. When rough terrain, poor visibility, or other factors make control of the wedge difficult, fire teams modify the wedge. The normal interval is reduced so that all team members can still see their team leader and the team leaders can still see their squad leader. The sides of the wedge can contract to the point where the wedge resembles a single file. When moving in less rugged terrain, where control is easier, soldiers expand or resume their original positions. (Figure 2-26.)

(b) File. When the terrain precludes use of the wedge, fire teams use the file formation. (Figure 2-27.)

(2) Squad formations. Squad formations describe the relationships between fire teams in the squad. They include the squad column, squad line, and squad file. A comparison of the formations is in Table 2-2.

(a) Squad column. The squad column is the squad's main formation. It provides good dispersion laterally and in depth without sacrificing control, and facilitates maneuver. The lead fire team is the base fire team. Squads can move in either a column wedge or a modified column wedge. (Figure 2-28.) Rough terrain, poor visibility, or other factors can require the squad to modify the wedge into a file for control purposes. As the terrain becomes less rugged and control becomes easier, the soldiers assume their original positions.

(b) Squad line. The squad line provides maximum firepower to the front. (Figure 2-29.) When a squad is acting as the base squad, the fire team on the right is the base fire team.

(c) Squad file. When not traveling in a column or line, squads travel in file. The squad file has the same characteristics as the fire team file. If the squad leader wishes to increase his control over the formation, exert greater morale presence by leading from the front, and be immediately available to make key decisions, he will move forward to the first or second position. Additional control over the rear of the formation can be provided by moving a team leader to the last position. (Figure 2-30.)

(3) Platoon formations. The platoon uses the column or line formations. (Figures 2-31 and 2-32.)

(a) Column. The column is the platoon primary movenent formation. It provides good dispersion both laterally and in depth, and simplifies control. This formation can deliver a limited volume of fire to the front and high volume to the flanks. The lead squad is the base squad.

(b) Line. It provides good lateral dispersion. In this formation, the platoon can deliver the greatest amount of fire to the front. The platoon leader designates the base squad. The transition from movement techniques to maneuver must be done quickly to attain the initiative.


A movement technique is the manner a platoon uses to traverse terrain. There are three movement techniques: traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch. The selection of a movement technique is based on the likelihood of enemy contact and the need for speed. Factors to consider for each technique are control, dispersion, speed, and security (Table 2-3.) Movement techniques are not fixed formations. They refer to the distances between vehicles (mounted movement), soldiers, teams, and squads that vary based on mission, enemy, terrain, visibility, and any other factor that affects control.

a. Mounted.

(1) Traveling. Traveling is used when contact with the enemy is not likely and speed is needed (Figure 2-33.)

(2) Traveling overwatch. Traveling overwatch is used when contact is possible. A platoon in traveling overwatch may move in a column, wedge, or echelon formation with turrets oriented into assigned sectors of responsibility. (Figure 2-34.) (As noted earlier, the platoon should move mounted in sections--one under the platoon leader's control, the other controlled by the platoon sergeant.)

(3) Bounding overwatch. Bounding overwatch is used when contact is expected. Platoons execute bounding overwatch in alternate or successive bounds. (Figure 2-35.) Platoons use alternate bounds when speed is important and when terrain is open. They use successive bounds to move deliberately or when terrain is restrictive.

(a) When the platoon uses mounted bounding overwatch, one or two vehicles bound while the others overwatch from a stationary position. (Figure 2-36.) When the new position is reached, the bounding fire teams dismount for local security. If the new position is relatively open, the bounding section may not need dismounted personnel to secure the position. As soon as the position is secured, the bounding section covers the rest of the platoon as they move forward. The process is repeated for subsequent moves.

(b) The vehicles in the overwatch should follow the platoon or company SOP for weapons-ready posture. For example, all BFVs might have their TOW launchers erected and self-tested with one of the BFVs designated to fire, and another ready to fire its 25-mm gun or 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun. Each gunner should be prepared for immediate engagement in accordance with the platoon leader's fire control and distribution plan. Designated gunners should have their thermal sights on. Those BFVs chosen to have the 25-mm gun ready should select the proper ammunition and rate of fire, and turn the range index knob to the estimated range of the most likely target. Those BFVs selected to have the 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun ready also turn their range control knob to the range of the most likely target. This arrangement ensures that the overwatch force can provide immediate and accurate fire support with the proper weapon and ammunition. This can be adjusted to fit the enemy situation, terrain, and availability of ammunition and missiles.

b. Dismounted. The platoon normally remains mounted until forced to dismount. When it dismounts, it uses the following techniques.

(1) Traveling. This technique is not used often when contact is not likely, because the platoon normally remains mounted. (Figure 2-37.) Sometimes the platoon has missions that require the dismount element to operate independent of the BFVs. The traveling technique is normal for trailing platoon dismounted elements in a company dismounted formation. The element's formation is adjusted to fit the situation.

(2) Traveling overwatch. The dismount element normally uses a column or wedge formation. The lead team tries to move at least 50 meters, but preferably 100 meters or more, in front of the rest of the element. The BFVs may be even farther to the rear or to a flank. (Figure 2-38.)

(3) Bounding overwatch. When contact is expected and the terrain does not permit mounted movement or when the dismount element is separated from the vehicles, the platoon (-) bounds with the dismount element deployed. (Figure 2-39.)

(4) Movement during limited visibility conditions. At night or when visibility is poor, a platoon must be able to function the same as during day. It must be able to control, navigate, maintain security, and move at night or during limited visibility.

(a) Control. When visibility is poor, the following methods aid in control:

  • The platoon uses vehicle night vision devices when mounted and selected personnel use night vision devices when dismounted.
  • Leaders move closer to the front.
  • The platoon reduces speed.
  • The platoon uses small strips of luminous tape or chemical light on the rear of vehicles or helmets to ensure the vehicle or soldier behind them can maintain visual contact.
  • Leaders reduce the interval between vehicles, soldiers, and squads to make sure they can see each other.
  • During dismounted movement, leaders conduct headcounts at regular intervals and after each halt to ensure personnel accountability.

(b) Navigation. To assist in navigation during limited visibility, leaders use--

  • Terrain association (general direction of travel coupled with recognition of prominent map and ground features).
  • Dead reckoning (compass direction and specific distances or legs). At the end of each leg, leaders should verify their location.
  • Resection.
  • Movement routes that parallel identifiable terrain features.
  • Guides to marked routes.
  • GSRs to vector platoons to the proper location.
  • Position-location devices.
  • Thermal sights.

(c) Security. For stealth and security in night moves, squads and platoons--

  • Use radio-listening silence.
  • Use terrain to avoid detection by enemy surveillance or night vision devices.
  • Make frequent listening halts during dismounted movement.
  • Mask the sounds of movement with artillery fires.

c. Individual Movement Techniques. Individual movement techniques include the high and low crawl and short rushes (three to five seconds) from one covered position to another. (See FM 21-75.)

d. Other Movement Situations. The platoon can use other formations for movement.

(1) Movement with armored vehicles. For a detailed discussion of BFV and tank operations, see Section IX.

(2) Movement by water. Platoons avoid crossing water obstacles when possible. Leaders should identify weak or nonswimmers when crossing water in BFV and pair them with a good swimmer in their crew/squad.


The infantry platoon normally moves mounted to take full advantage of the firepower, speed, and protection of the BFV. When moving through forested areas, towns, or where there is a possibility of an ambush, the platoon leads with the dismounted infantry to protect against enemy short-range ATGM. Defiles, bends in roads, or river crossing sites are likely enemy locations.

a. Rifle squads or engineers when available are deployed to breach obstacles, to find a route around impassable terrain, and to provide security. Because the BFV is vulnerable to short-range ATGM, suspected vehicle ambush areas must be treated with caution. If available, fire from tank main guns can be used to force through hastily constructed obstacles, after the obstacle area has been secured by infantry. This technique keeps the momentum up and does not require that the force wait for engineers to be brought forward.

b. One of the major tasks of the lead element is protection of the company or company team from surprise attack. The lead platoon must clear each possible ambush site unless instructed otherwise.

c. When a danger area is encountered that makes an enemy ambush possible, the company team commander makes the determination as to how much risk he will take. If speed is critical, he may choose to take a greater risk and not dismount, or he may choose to stay mounted but move forward only a small element. If he has reason to believe that an ambush is likely, then he will probably dismount the infantry. He may also reconnoiter by fire into the likely enemy position.



d. In each situation where dismounted infantry lead BFVs and tanks, the company team commander decides whether tanks or BFVs move directly behind the dismount element. Tanks are normally preferred, because their large main guns and machine guns can deliver immediate, devastating fire, and they have much better armor protection than the BFVs. Regardless of whether tanks or BFVs are the overwatch force, they must be ready, once contact is made, to suppress enemy weapons that endanger the dismounted infantry.

e. A defile is a narrow passage that constricts the movement of soldiers. It is an ideal ambush site. If a defile is encountered that forces the company team to move in single vehicle file for a significant distance, the commander might choose to lead with dismount infantry. (Figure 2-40.) Common defiles for mechanized platoons are roads or trails across streams or through swamps and heavy forests. When clearing a defile, the dismount element clears each side far enough from the choke point to make sure that there are no ambushes. It also checks the surface for evidence of mines. Because contact should be expected at defiles, the leading squad should use bounding overwatch.

f. If a platoon is given the task of clearing a road as part of a movement to contact, it must use caution. The enemy often employs antiarmor weapons on a bend in the road so that he can ambush lead vehicles without trailing vehicles overwatching. A bend in the road and its shoulder may also be mined; therefore, squads must carefully check bends in roads.

g. A bridge must be considered an obstacle or possible ambush site and approached as such. It must be cleared before it is crossed.

h. Infantrymen normally dismount to lead through urban areas. (Figure 2-41.) Vehicle movement through a village or town is generally limited to streets and infantrymen must clear buildings along the way. The infantrymen move down a street with squads staggered along the street sides. The infantrymen move alongside the buildings, clearing each building as they advance. As it moves, each platoon makes sure there are no enemy positions left in the buildings on its side of the street. Each team looks for enemy in the upper floors of the buildings on the other side of the street. Tanks or BFVs provide overwatch. A single platoon should be responsible for clearing a single street to enhance command and control.

Section IV


This section provides techniques and procedures for offensive missions. It includes movement to contact, deliberate attack, and consolidation and reorganization on the objective.


Unless the platoon is in direct contact with the enemy, most offensive operations begin with a movement to contact. Its purpose is to gain or maintain contact with the enemy and to develop the situation to conduct either a hasty or deliberate attack. Movement to contact is usually characterized by a lack of detailed information about the enemy. Once contact is made, the leader determines the enemy strength; the location of flanks, gaps, weaknesses; and possible enemy intentions.

a. Conduct a Movement to Contact. Platoons and squads participate in a movement to contact as part of a company/team using movement formations and techniques explained in Chapter 3.

(1) Because the enemy situation is vague, the platoon must be prepared to act in any situation. This is accomplished by proper planning, war-gaming, using appropriate movement formations and techniques, using fire control measures, using platoon SOPs, using engagement criteria, and studying the terrain before and during movement to anticipate likely enemy locations. While moving, all leaders study the terrain and anticipate enemy contact and what actions to take. (Figure 2-42.)

(2) Because the platoon leader does not know when or where he will make contact with the enemy, he should avoid mounted movement on terrain that restricts maneuver such as draws, ravines, narrow trails, or steep slopes. The platoon leader must also consider the speed at which the commander expects him to move when selecting his route. If restrictive terrain is unavoidable, the platoon leader will consider alternative techniques to enhance security, for example, dismount a squad or fire team to conduct a movement through the restrictive area in advance of the vehicles.

(3) A line of departure, phase lines, and checkpoints are normally assigned to control the forward movement of the company or company team. The platoon leader may be required to report these graphic control measures to the commander. The platoon does not stop at a phase line unless told to do so. If necessary, the platoon leader may designate additional phase lines or checkpoints for internal platoon use to reduce the number and length of radio transmissions used to control movement.

(4) Fire control and distribution are accomplished through the use of boundaries, fire plans, pyrotechnics, and weapons-ready posture. It takes on added importance in the movement to contact because of the scarcity of information about the enemy. The weapons-ready posture must be flexible enough to respond to an unclear enemy situation, and it will vary between the bounding and overwatching elements. It is critical in BFV-equipped platoons because of the variety of weapons that can be controlled from the turret and the dangers of expending all of the on-board ammunition of a weapon within the platoon.

(a) The overwatching element should erect their TOWs and perform the self-test, and the designated vehicles prepare 25-mm HEI-T, APDS-T, and 7.62-mm coax.

(b) When restrictive terrain dominates the route, the bounding element may not have the same fields of fire as the overwatching element and may be less capable of employing TOWs. Once again, the leader designates which vehicles will prepare to fire the various weapons and types of ammunition. A mounted overwatching element is not the only technique in restrictive or slow-go terrain. The platoon leader may also decide to use a combination of a long-range overwatch (BFVs) and a dismounted squad or fire team as a short-range overwatch. In this case, soldier and vehicle locations, limits of fire, and signal control measures are all important to minimize the chances of fratricide.

(5) Without instructions the forward observer must, based on spot reports or observation, inform the platoon leader that he is ready to adjust indirect fires. This must be an automatic response. The mounted (during mounted movement, the platoon leader adjusts indirect fires) and dismounted elements must both have this capability.

(6) If there is no platoon FO, the platoon leader must still have a good indirect fire plan for his route to cover anticipated places of contact. These targets are reasoned from the platoon leader's wargaming process and incorporated into the company plan. With no FO, the platoon leader should initiate the call for fires on the command net, with the FIST leader eavesdropping. The FIST leader generates the immediate or preplanned mission. The adjustment process can be done via alternate methods.

(7) Air guards are critical in a movement to contact. If the cargo hatch is open, an air-guard can be designated to watch the sides and rear; the front view is blocked by the turret. The Bradley commander in one or more of the BFVs must act as an air guard oriented to the front.

(8) Once the platoon makes contact with the enemy, it is maintained until the commander orders otherwise. The platoon leader develops the situation based on effectiveness of enemy fire, friendly casualties, size of enemy force, and freedom to maneuver. He gathers and reports critical information about the enemy and recommends a course of action. There are several options the commander and the platoon leader can execute once contact is made. The platoon could bypass the enemy with permission from the commander, conduct a hasty attack, fix the enemy so another platoon can conduct the assault, or conduct a hasty defense or establish a hasty ambush. (Figure 2-43.) The following are guidelines which can be used for planning and when contact is made to develop the situation.

(a) Light resistance is resistance from an enemy squad-sized element or smaller that is not causing friendly casualties, and the enemy force is equipped with or without an armored vehicle, in hasty fighting position with no obstacles, and primarily hand-held antiarmor weapons.

(b) Medium resistance is resistance from an enemy squad- to platoon-sized element that is causing light friendly casualties. The enemy defense is organized around the best defensible terrain with combined arms assets integrated.

(c) Heavy resistance is resistance from an enemy platoon-sized element or larger that is causing heavy friendly casualties. The enemy is defending a strongpoint with combined arms assets.

(9) Light resistance may be bypassed IAW the OPORD or when directed by the commander. Once the platoon reacts to contact and the decision has been made to bypass, the following actions occur. (Figure 2-44.)

  • BFVs suppress on the move.
  • Infantry remains mounted.
  • Platoon leader calls for and adjusts indirect fire and smoke to screen his movement past the enemy position.
  • Platoon leader reports the size and the location of the enemy to the company/team commander, and the platoon continues the mission.

(10) Once the platoon reacts to contact and the decision is made to conduct a hasty attack, the actions of the platoon are as follows:

(a) Light resistance (Figure 2-45)--

  • One section of BFVs provides long-range overwatch from a covered position or supporting fires on the move, especially against enemy ATGM.
  • The other section maneuvers to conduct the assault.
  • The platoon leader calls for and adjusts indirect fire to suppress the enemy.
  • Infantry remains mounted unless the enemy must be cleared from restrictive terrain, or unless forced to dismount by enemy resistance.
  • The platoon conducts consolidation and reorganization.
  • The platoon leader reports the status, and the platoon continues the mission.

(b) Medium resistance (Figure 2-46)--

  • BFVs suppress the enemy from support-by-fire positions and maneuver against the enemy if a trafficable, covered and concealed approach is available.
  • The platoon leader calls for and adjusts indirect fires to suppress the enemy and smoke to screen the movement.
  • BFVs immediately suppress the enemy from a hull-down position, while the infantry dismounts. BFVs continue to suppress while the infantry moves to the objective. The BFVs keep fires in front of the infantry as they conduct the assault.
  • If the BFVs can maneuver closer to the objective, the BCs search for hull-down positions to serve as dismount points and support-by-fire positions. The BFVs then continue to suppress the enemy, while the infantry moves to the objective. Supporting fires are kept in front of the infantry as they conduct the assault.
  • The infantry conducts the assault using fire and movement. One squad supports by fire while one squad moves. The platoon leader and FO moves with the squad conducting the assault to control the movement and adjust or control all supporting fires.
  • Once the dismount element assaults across the objective, the platoon leader calls the BFV forward to assist in securing the objective.
  • The platoon conducts consolidation and reorganization.
  • The leader reports to higher headquarters.
  • The dismount element remounts the BFVs, and the platoon continues the mission.

(11) If a bypass or hasty attack is not possible, the platoon may be instructed to fix the enemy. Fixing the enemy involves establishing a base of fire to suppress the enemy and keep him from repositioning any part of his force for use elsewhere. (Figure 2-47.) When enemy resistance is too heavy for the platoon to assault, or a hasty attack has failed, the actions of the platoon are as follows.

(a) BFVs suppress from long-range support-by-fire positions.

(b) Infantry dismounts to protect BFVs from ground attack or to secure a dismounted avenue of approach.

(c) The platoon leader calls for and adjusts indirect fires to suppress the enemy.

(d) The platoon prepares to lift or shift fires as other platoons conduct the assault.

(e) Depending on the company formation and order of movement, platoons must be prepared to support by fire for another platoon while it conducts the assault or conducts the assault while other platoons support by fire.

(f) If more than one platoon is involved, the commander issues instructions for fire control and distribution to the platoon leader. The platoon leader will then control the platoon fires as discussed earlier.

b. Conduct a Hasty Ambush. Ambush is effective against a moving force that is not aware of the presence of the platoon. Instead of immediately opening fire, the platoon moves into hasty firing positions oriented on an engagement area. When most of the enemy formation is in the engagement area, the enemy is attacked by massed fires.

c. Conduct a Hasty Defense. (Figure 2-48.) In some situations, a platoon conducting a movement to contact will make contact with an enemy force much larger and more powerful. If the platoon encounters a larger enemy force where the terrain gives the platoon an advantage, it should attempt to fix the enemy force. This will allow the rest of the company team to maneuver against the force. If the platoon cannot fix the enemy, the platoon may be forced to assume a hasty defense. The hasty defense option should be used only if the platoon is in danger of being overwhelmed, because the hasty defense may surrender the initiative to the enemy and means that he has fixed the platoon. Exposed infantry is vulnerable to enemy indirect fires. If the platoon receives indirect fire, it should use the protection of the BFVs but observe and fight from the BFVs. BFVs use covered and concealed positions for protection from long-range ATGM. Once the indirect fires lift, the infantry immediately dismounts, and the platoon prepares for an enemy assault. In the hasty defense, the platoon leader does the following:

  • Keeps the commander informed and continues to report on the enemy strength, dispositions, and actions.
  • Dismounts infantry to secure BFVs or cover dismounted avenues of approach in preparation for the enemy's attack.
  • Places BFVs in hull-down positions.
  • Establishes fire control and distribution measures initially using fire patterns and engagement priorities.
  • Calls for and adjusts indirect fires.
  • Reports immediately to the company/team commander.


Planning considerations for a deliberate and a hasty attack are the same. However, deliberate attack planning is characterized by more detailed information on the terrain and enemy. Also there is more time to coordinate organic and supporting assets, and to conduct reconnaissance. Because of the amount of time and information available for planning, a deliberate attack is normally executed at a rapid pace; whereas, in a hasty attack, information must be acted on as it is received and the attack is conducted at a more controlled pace.

a. Deliberate Attack. A deliberate attack is an attack planned and carefully coordinated using all available assets and information. Mission and course of action analysis are conducted thoroughly. The principle is to mass the greatest possible combat power against the enemy's most vulnerable point while using combat multipliers and deception. BFV platoons conduct deliberate attacks as part of a larger force.

b. Hasty Attack. A hasty attack is an offensive operation for which a platoon has not made extensive preparations. It is conducted with the resources immediately available to maintain momentum or to take advantage of the enemy situation. The attack drill is used during the hasty attack.

c. Planning Considerations. On receipt of a company attack order, the platoon leader starts the troop-leading procedure and begins an estimate of the situation. When he has completed his mission analysis, the platoon leader develops his plan (scheme of maneuver and fire support plan).

(1) Scheme of maneuver. Depending on the situation and the support provided by the rest of the company, the platoon leader decides the required elements (assault, support, breach, security, reserve) and the organization of each.

(a) Formation. The platoon moves as part of the company formation. The company commander directs not only the platoon's formation but may also direct the movement technique. The formation assists in the command and control and ensures swift, committed movement to the objective.

(b) Command and control. Based on the scheme of maneuver, the platoon leader selects a position within the platoon formation from which he can control the entire platoon. He selects the control measures needed for the operation and the best means to communicate with the squad and section leaders (voice commands, arm-and-hand signals, flags, whistles, radios, flares, and smoke). The platoon leader's responsibility is to control his platoon so that all available combat power is focused on the enemy and there are no errant fires that create fratricide incidents.

(2) Fire support plan. This plan is developed along with the scheme of maneuver, which it supports and complements. It discusses the use of all available direct and indirect fire. The goal is to kill as many enemy as possible and to suppress the rest to keep them from firing on the assaulting force. The company commander and FSO plan the indirect fires. However, the platoon leader and his FO can plan and request more targets if needed. The platoon leader plans the direct fires of his platoon.

(a) BFVs. The platoon leader can employ the BFVs to provide supporting fires for the dismounted element as they assault the objective.

(b) Rifle squads. The platoon leader has several options as to how to employ the rifle squads. He can use both squads to assault the objective while the BFVs provide supporting fires. He can also use one squad as part of the support element to provide close support while the other squad assaults the objective. Another option is to use the squads to fire the firing port weapons and clear or secure the objective during a mounted assault (resistance is unexpectedly light).

(c) Indirect fire. After receiving the company fire plan, the platoon leader checks it to ensure that targets are planned on all known or suspected enemy positions in front of, on, behind, and to the flanks of the objective. If more targets are required, the FO coordinates them with the FSO.

(d) Other fire support. Other fire support can come from Army and Air Force aircraft and air defense weapons. The company or battalion commander plans and controls this support. A platoon leader can request the support if he needs it.


The primary concern for infantry leaders in every attack is to accomplish the mission and reduce the time that their soldiers are exposed to the effects of enemy fire. They also seek to reduce the effectiveness of any fires they are exposed to. Success will be determined by how well this is accomplished in support of a plan that properly identifies the enemy weakness and concentrates combat power against it. The attack can be considered in phases--the assembly area to the LD, the LD to the assault position, the assault position to the objective, the actions on the objective, and finally the consolidation plan.

a. Movement to the Objective Area. The platoon moves toward the objective using the formations and techniques and employing the fundamentals discussed in Section III. Platoons must avoid detection during this phase of the attack. If detected at this range, the enemy has the time and the room to employ his most lethal weapons and munitions: mortars, field artillery, CAS, and possibly chemical weapons. Once detected by the enemy, the platoon must have sufficient suppressive fires and smoke to allow it to maneuver. If detected early, the platoon may require large amounts of sustained direct and indirect fires to support its maneuver.

b. Assembly Area to the Line of Departure. When the platoon leader is already forward with the leader's reconnaissance, the platoon sergeant moves the platoon forward. The move from the assembly area is timed beforehand so the lead section crosses the LD at the time of attack without halting in the attack position. If the platoon must halt in the attack position, it uses a coil or herringbone formation, dismounts infantry for security, and takes care of last-minute coordination.

c. Line of Departure to the Assault Position. The platoon's assault element moves from the LD to the assault position. It uses cover and concealment, and if it is detected, it uses smoke and supporting fire. The support element overwatches from positions that support the advance of the assault element. The support element leader (platoon sergeant) controls the method and rate of fire. He gives the command to open fire at the direction of the platoon leader. He must coordinate fires within the support element so that the platoon has continuous fire support.

(1) If the platoon is hit by indirect fire en route, it moves quickly out of the area. If the platoon meets enemy resistance short of the objective, platoons, squads, or sections initiate the attack. The platoon leader can have the FO call for and adjust indirect fire on the enemy. Depending on the place, the type of resistance, and the company plan, the platoon might be ordered to bypass enemy soldiers who cannot affect the mission. The platoon reports locations of all bypassed enemy to the company commander.

(2) The platoon bypasses or breaches obstacles along the route. The platoon leader decides how to best overcome the obstacle without losing the momentum of the attack. He informs the company of obstacles that can affect follow-on platoons.

d. Assault Position to the Objective. The assault position is the last covered and concealed position before the objective. this position should be as close to the objective as possible without being detected.

(1) Ideally, the platoon's assault element occupies the assault position without the enemy detecting any of the platoon's elements. If so, the platoon can still achieve surprise. Preparations in the assault position may include preparing bangalores, other breaching equipment, or demolitions; fixing bayonets; lifting or shifting fires; or preparing smoke pots.

(2) If the platoon is detected, as the platoon nears the assault position, the FO increases the indirect fires on the objective. The support element also increases its volume of fire. The platoon occupies the assault position if there are any last-minute preparations required. If the platoon does not need to stop, it passes through the assault position and assaults the objective. A platoon sometimes must halt to complete preparation and to ensure synchronization of all friendly forces. Once the assault element moves forward of the assault position, the assault must continue. If stopped or turned back, the assault element could sustain excessive casualties.

(3) Supporting fire must continue to suppress the enemy and must be closely controlled to prevent fratricide. At times, the assault element may mark each soldier or just the team on the flank nearest the support element. The assaulting soldiers and the support element sustain a high rate of fire to suppress the enemy. The company commander shifts or lifts indirect fire when it endangers the advancing soldiers. He coordinates this with the platoons' assaults. As the fire of the platoon's support element is masked, the platoon leader shifts or lifts it or displaces the vehicles/weapons to a position where continuous fire can be maintained.

e. Actions on the Objective. If destruction of the enemy is required, it may be done either by fire or close assault. Destruction by fire is preferred, because it takes advantage of the BFV's weapons systems and their long ranges. Destruction by fire limits the exposure of dismounted personnel to the enemy's fires and allows the platoon leader to better protect and conserve his dismounted infantry. If destruction cannot be accomplished by fire, an assault of the enemy position may be required, and an immediate attempt is made to locate a part of the defenses that are either incomplete or weak.

(1) Assaulting mounted. Assaulting mounted is only conducted against light resistance or when there are no heavy antiarmor weapons on the objective.

(a) If tanks are available, the team commander directs them to lead the assault, and BFVs support while moving. BFVs orient their turret weapons on ATGM and dismounted targets that could slow the tanks. If assaulting mounted, firing port weapons should be manned to ensure a high volume of suppressive firing during the assault. As the BFVs assault over the objective, care must be taken to ensure the bypassed enemy infantry cannot attack the tanks and BFVs with close range AT weapons.

(b) The assault should be coordinated with suppressive indirect fire, especially VT, that would not pose a threat to the tanks and BFVs. The BFV platoon should select a tentative dismount point in the event the enemy begins to place effective antitank fires on the platoon.

(2) Assaulting dismounted. During a dismounted assault, the mounted element, under the control of the platoon sergeant, provides a base of fire to support the dismounted element's assault onto the objective. If terrain does not support the BFV providing a base of fire for the dismounted assault, the platoon leader can use the M249s in the machine gun role as a dismounted base of fire. (See Appendix D for more details.) If an assault position has been designated, the dismount element uses it to deploy. As little time as possible is spent in the assault position and the deployment into the assault formation should be made as rapidly as possible.

(a) When the rifle squads are on line, the platoon continues forward using fire and movement. The final assault is not a stand-up, on-line rush. In the assault, fire team leaders lead by example because it is hard for oral orders to be understood. "Follow me and do as I do" is the way to lead.

(b) Team leaders lead through the enemy positions. They move using individual movement techniques. Soldiers follow their leaders' examples. The assault may be by crawling or by short rushes from covered position to covered position. It must be aggressively done, because the dismount element cannot stop once it is near the enemy. As it fights its way through the objective (still using fire and movement), the dismount element must avoid exposing itself to fire from enemy forces behind or to the flanks of the objective. Soldiers must not bunch up because this makes them easier targets.

(c) Normally, the entire dismount element supported by BFVs, tanks, and ITVs moves forward to assault the enemy. When their fires are not adequate to support the assault, the platoon leader may set up his own base of fire from within the dismount element.

(d) When the dismount element begins to fire and move through the objective, actions by squad leaders are key to fire distribution. Squad leaders move near the center of their squads where their own men can see them. Most of the time, they control fire by firing their own weapon into the areas where they want their men to fire. They also can use arm-and-hand signals. At times, short, easily understood oral orders can be used, but in most cases oral orders will not be heard over battle noises.

(e) Since the squad leader is near the center of his squad, he may fire his weapon to mark the center of the squad objective. Men on his right and left fire to the sides of the point where his rounds are hitting. The team leader also can use his M203 grenade launcher to mark the center of the team objective with a smoke round. (The platoon leader can assign squads a different color.) The squad leader can use tracer ammunition or have the squad automatic weapons stay with him to mark the objective.

(f) As stated earlier, squad objectives are usually specific terrain features or specific enemy positions. The type of objective influences the kind of fire distribution the leader will want to use, either point or area fire.

  • When the leader's marking fire hits a bunker, firing point, or fighting position, then the team uses point fire.
  • When the marking fire hits a point that cannot be identified as an enemy position, the team uses area fire.

(g) The mounted and dismounted elements strive to get a heavy volume of accurate fire on the objective, and dismounted leaders ensure their soldiers move forward aggressively. As the noise and confusion of battle makes voice control difficult, leaders move to critical points to make sure their commands are understood and carried out. They also must see that soldiers do not fire randomly and waste ammunition.

(h) Assaulting soldiers clear the enemy positions and move over the objective far enough to fire at any withdrawing enemy. When the BFVs join the dismount element on the objective, the dismount element should be prepared to support them by--

  • Suppressing remaining enemy positions as the BFVs move across the objective.
  • Designating firing positions for them on the far side of the objective.
  • Providing flank and rear security for them once they are in position.

(i) The squads and the BFVs quickly occupy their assigned positions for consolidation to be ready for an enemy counterattack, or to remount the fighting vehicles and resume the attack after the objective is seized.

(j) To help coordinate and control the assault of two or more platoon dismount elements, the company commander designates a base platoon. The platoon leader in turn designates a base squad. Each dismount element guides on the company's base element. Squads guide on their element's base squad.


Once enemy resistance on the objective has ceased, the platoon must quickly take steps to consolidate and prepare to defend against a counterattack. Consolidation is planned and rehearsed before the attack. A consolidation method is determined before crossing the LD/LC.

a. Consolidation. Platoons use either the clock technique or the terrain feature technique in consolidating on the objective.

NOTE: All-round security is critical. The enemy might counterattack from any direction. The platoon leader must evaluate the terrain thoroughly.

(1) Clock technique. In using this method, the platoon leader designates either a compass direction or the direction of attack as 12 o'clock. He then uses clock positions to identify the left and right boundaries for squads. The platoon leader positions key weapons along the most likely avenue of approach based on his assessment of the terrain. BFVs receive the emphasis of emplacement. The majority of the platoon's firepower is with the BFVs. They should be oriented toward likely enemy armor counterattack routes and incorporated into the clock technique.

(2) Terrain feature technique. In a similar manner, the platoon leader identifies obvious terrain features as the left and right limits for squads. In both techniques, he ensures that squad sectors of fire overlap each other and provide mutual support for adjacent platoons. Again, BFVs receive emphasis for positioning. Adjacent platoons must be particularly aware of the BFV sectors.

b. Reorganization. Once platoons have consolidated on the objective, they begin to reorganize to continue the attack. Reorganization involves--

  • Reestablishing command and control.
  • Remanning key weapons, redistributing ammunition and equipment.
  • Clearing the objective of casualties and EPWs.
  • Assessing and reporting the platoon status of personnel, ammunition, supplies, and essential equipment. In general, the platoon goes through reconstitution.
  • Performing after-operation PMCS on BFVs.
  • Preparing for follow-on missions.

Section V


Defensive operations are conducted to retain ground, gain time, deny the enemy access to an area, and destroy attacking forces. Successful defensive operations incorporate the defensive characteristics of preparation, disruption, concentration, and flexibility.


This paragraph provides a standard sequence of events that a platoon takes in planning, preparing for, and executing defensive operations. The conduct of the defense normally follows the sequence listed below (Figure 2-49):

  • Prepare for combat.
  • Move to defensive positions.
  • Establish defensive positions.
  • Determine enemy intentions and locations.
  • Initiate contact or actions against the enemy.
  • Fight the defense.
  • Reorganize.

a. Prepare for Combat. (For a detailed discussion of troop-leading procedure, see Section I.)

(1) The platoon leader receives the company warning or operation order.

(2) The platoon leader quickly issues a warning order.

(3) The platoon leader begins making a tentative plan.

(4) When possible, the platoon leader (and squad leaders and Bradley commanders) reconnoiter the defensive position and the route(s) to it. At a minimum, a map reconnaissance should be made.

(5) Based on his reconnaissance and any additional information, the platoon leader completes and issues his plan.

(6) The platoon sergeant ensures that all squad and section leaders check weapons, communications equipment, accessories for missing items and serviceability, preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) (the platoon leader spot-checks).

(7) The platoon sergeant makes sure that the platoon has POL, ammunition, food, water, and medical supplies on hand, in quantities prescribed by the platoon leader. (Squads and platoons should plan to prestock an additional basic load of ammunition on the defensive position.)

(8) All soldiers camouflage themselves, their equipment, and vehicles to blend with the terrain.

(9) The platoon rehearses applicable drills and tasks.

(10) The platoon leader makes final inspection of weapons (bore sight, zero, and test fires weapons, if possible), equipment (include communications checks), and personnel (include camouflage).

(11) If an advance party is used, the platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and advance party leader (normally a squad leader) review advance party activities and redistribute equipment to the advance party (for example, tripods, stakes).

(12) If not already moving, the platoon leader initiates the movement of his platoon.

b. Move to Defensive Positions. The platoon applies fundamentals of movement:

(1) Do not move vehicles directly forward from covered and concealed positions.

(2) Move on covered and concealed routes.

(3) Avoid likely ambush sites.

(4) Enforce camouflage, noise, light, radiotelephone, and litter discipline.

(5) Maintain all-round security, to include air guards.

(6) Use formations and movement techniques based on METT-T.

c. Establish Defensive Positions. When an advanced party is not used, the platoon halts short of the defensive position in a covered and concealed position, and establishes local security.

(1) The platoon leader, squad leaders (Bradley commanders, if possible), and a security element conduct a leader's reconnaissance. The reconnaissance party enters the position from the rear.

(a) The leader's reconnaissance--

  • Maintains security. This includes the period during the occupation of the position as well as the leader's reconnaissance.)
  • Checks for enemy activity, or signs of past enemy activities, obstacles, booby traps, and NBC contamination.
  • Confirms and adjusts BFV and squad positions and sectors of fire from those in the tentative plan. Normally the platoon leader assigns and adjusts machine guns and antiarmor positions. (This includes a reconnaissance forward of the positions to verify what routes the enemy will use and how he may approach over different routes [mounted and dismounted].)

(b) The platoon occupies the designated position. Guides control the movement of the platoon into position.

(2) The platoon occupies its position. The platoon leader--

(a) Establishes security (to include OPs, hasty perimeter, or security patrols).

(b) Positions BFVs and squads, machine guns, and any attachments.

(c) Assigns sectors of fire, engagement priorities, and other fire control measures. Sites crew-served weapons.

(d) Chooses the platoon CP location.

(e) Assigns alternate and supplementary positions and routes to them.

(f) Develops an obstacle and direct-fire plan. Sites obstacles to support placement of crew-served weapons.

(g) Develops a fire support plan with the platoon FO (includes final protective fires, and fires used to support repositioning the platoon to alternate or supplementary positions).

(h) Ensures that communications have been established from the company CP and to the BFVs and squad positions. (Responsibility for establishment of communications is from higher to lower.)

(i) Confirms all positions and squad sector sketches before soldiers begin digging (includes range cards for all BFVs and antiarmor and crew-served weapons).

(j) Collects BFV and squad sector sketches and consolidates them into a platoon sector sketch. He forwards a copy to the company CP.

(k) Ensures that his platoon is tied-in with platoons on its left and right. (Responsibility for adjacent unit coordination is left to right and higher to lower.)

(l) Develops a reconnaissance and surveillance plan IAW the company plan (includes the location of PEWS).

(m) Walks positions to confirm that they meet standards.

(n) Walks forward of positions, if possible, to check camouflage and confirm dead space.

(o) Checks on wire and mine teams. The platoon leader ensures that protective wire is outside of hand-grenade range from the fighting positions. He checks to ensure that tactical wire lies along the principal direction of fire (PDF), the final protective lines (FPL), or the left and right limit of weapons.

(p) Briefs the platoon sergeant on the logistics plan (includes resupply and casualty evacuation routes).

(q) Issues platoon order and checks soldier knowledge and understanding. (All soldiers must be aware of friendly forces forward of the position; for example, patrols, reconnaissance platoons, major units, and their return routes. They must also know the signals or conditions to initiate fires, shift fires, fire FPF, and cease fires; and to reposition to alternate and supplementary positions.)

(r) Reconnoiters alternate and supplementary positions, routes into and out of the platoon position, and counterattack route, if required. (This includes good and limited visibility reconnaissance.)

(s) Plans and conducts rehearsals. The platoon rehearses the fire plan (that is, when and where to shift fires); movement to alternate and supplementary positions; counterattack; and linkup of BFVs and squads, if on separate positions.

(t) Checks the platoon reconnaissance, surveillance, and security plan, the patrol plan, and the radio watch.

(3) As time permits, the platoon continues improving the position.

d. Determine Enemy Intentions and Locations. The platoon establishes and maintains OPs. It also conducts security patrols as directed by the company commander. Patrols, OPs, and individual soldiers use eyes, ears, BFV optics and thermal sights, night surveillance devices, binoculars, PEWS, and so forth to detect the enemy approach.

e. Initiate Contact or Actions Against the Enemy. Once the enemy is detected, the platoon leader--

  • Alerts the Bradley commanders, squad leaders, platoon sergeant, and his forward observer.
  • Reports the situation to the company commander.
  • Calls in OPs. (The squad leader or platoon leader may decide to leave the OP in place if the soldiers manning it can provide effective flanking fires, their position affords them adequate protection, or their return will compromise the platoon position.)
  • Calls for and adjusts indirect fire when the enemy is at maximum range.
  • Initiates the fires of his platoon on command from the company commander (long-range-fires) and IAW the company or platoon fire plan.

Leaders and individual soldiers return to their positions at the same time and prepare to fire on command from the platoon leader. (Soldiers returning to their positions may compromise the platoon location. They may need to stay in place rather than return or to exercise caution while returning.)

f. Fight the Defense. The platoon leader determines if the platoon can destroy the enemy from its assigned positions.

(1) If the answer is YES, the platoon continues to fight the defense.

(a) The platoon leader or FO continues to call for indirect fires as the enemy approaches. The platoon normally begins engaging the enemy at maximum effective range. It attempts to mass fires and initiate them at the same time to achieve surprise. Long-range fires should disrupt enemy formations; channelize him toward engagement areas; prevent or severely limit his ability to observe the location of friendly positions; and destroy him as he attempts to breach tactical obstacles.

(b) Leaders control fires using standard commands, pyrotechnics, and other prearranged signals. The platoon increases the intensity of fires as the enemy closes within range of additional weapons. Squad leaders work to achieve a sustained rate of fire from their positions by having buddy teams fire their weapons so that both are not reloading them at the same time.

(c) In controlling and distributing fires, the platoon and squad leaders consider--

  • The enemy's range.
  • Priority targets (what to fire at, when to fire, and why).
  • Nearest or most dangerous targets.
  • Shifting to concentrate fires on their own or as directed by higher headquarters.
  • Ability of the platoon to engage dismounted enemy with enfilading, grazing fires, and flank shots against enemy vehicles.

(d) As the enemy closes on the platoon's protective wire, the platoon leader initiates FPF. The following actions occur at the same time.

  • Automatic weapons fire along interlocking principal directions of fire (PDF) or FPLs. Other weapons fire at designated PDF. The M203 grenade launchers engage enemy in dead space or against enemy attempts to breach protective wire.
  • The platoon continues the fight with Claymore mines and hand grenades.
  • If applicable, the platoon leader requests indirect FPF in support of his positions.

(e) The platoon continues to defend until the enemy is repelled, or the platoon is ordered to disengage.

(2) If the answer is NO, the platoon leader--

(a) Reports the situation to the company commander.

(b) Continues to engage the enemy as the designated company support element, or repositions the platoon (BFVs and or squads of the platoon) as directed by the company commander to--

  • Continue fires into the platoon sector (engagement area).
  • Shift to alternate or supplementary positions.
  • Reinforce other parts of the company.
  • Counterattack locally to retake lost fighting positions.
  • Withdraw from an untenable position using fire and movement to break contact. (The platoon leader should not move his platoon out of position if it will destroy the integrity of the company defense.)

NOTE: In any movement out of a defensive position, the platoon must employ all direct and indirect fire means available to suppress the enemy long enough for the platoon to move.

g. Reorganize. The platoon remans key weapons, reestablishes security, provides first aid and prepares wounded soldiers for evacuation, and redistributes ammunition and supplies. The platoon relocates selected weapons to alternate positions if leaders believe that the enemy may have pinpointed them during the attack and adjusts other positions to maintain mutual support. The platoon also reestablishes communications. It reoccupies and repairs positions, and prepares for renewed enemy attack. The platoon repairs damaged obstacles and replaces mines and booby traps.

(1) Squad and section leaders provide ammunition, casualty, and equipment (ACE) reports to the platoon sergeant. Bradley commanders also provide fuel status. The platoon sergeant consolidates the ACE reports, reviews his ACE report with the platoon leader, and forwards it to the company commander (or XO).

(2) The platoon leader reestablishes the platoon chain of command.

(3) The platoon sergeant coordinates for resupply and supervises the execution of the casualty and EPW evacuation plan.

(4) The platoon continues to improve positions. The platoon quickly reestablishes OPs and resumes patrolling as directed.


The techniques used by platoons to perform assigned missions and functions are as follows.

a. Defend a Battle Position. A platoon defends from a battle position to concentrate its fires, limit its maneuver, or place it in an advantageous position to counterattack. The basic methods of employing the platoon are same battle position, same avenue of approach; same battle position, different avenues of approach; different battle position, same avenue of approach; different battle positions, different avenues of approach.

(1) BFVs and dismounted infantry on the same battle position covering the same avenue of approach. (Figure 2-50.)

(a) Using this method, the platoon can defend against mounted and dismounted attacks and move rapidly to another position. However, because of the differences in capability of the dismounted and mounted element, use of this technique usually prevents the most effective use of either element.

(b) Within the battle position, the BFV may be positioned with the squads forward or around the vehicles for security.

(c) The BFVs remain on the same battle position as the squads when the terrain provides good observation, fields of fire, and cover and concealment to both dismounted infantry and BFVs.

(d) Employing both elements of the Bradley platoon on the same battle position covering the same avenue of approach is the most conservative use of the Bradley platoon. Its primary advantages are--

  • Facilitates command and control functions within the platoon because of the proximity of both the vehicle and dismount elements as well as their orientation on the same approaching enemy.
  • Facilitates remounting of vehicles.
  • Provides increased security for BFVs because of the proximity of friendly dismounted troops.

(2) BFVs and dismounted infantry on the same battle position covering different avenues of approach. (Figure 2-51.)

(a) When the battle position has two equally dangerous avenues of approach, one with long-range and one with short-range fields of fire, the fighting vehicle element is positioned to take advantage of its long-range fires, and the dismount element is placed for short-range fires. This allows good positioning of the fighting vehicle element and the dismount element because each is positioned on terrain best suited to its capabilities. During reduced visibility, the platoon leader often directs repositioning of some of the dismounted element to provide adequate local security for the BFVs.

(b) Plans must be made to shift BFVs if a dismounted avenue of approach becomes the most dangerous and the mounted is ignored by the enemy.

(3) BFVs and dismounted infantry on different battle positions covering the same avenue of approach. (Figure 2-52.)

(a) If positioned on separate battle positions, BFVs and dismounted infantry must fight in relation to each other when covering the same avenues of approach. This means BFVs can provide the dismounted infantry with supporting fires from their primary, alternate, or supplementary positions. Both elements are positioned to engage enemy forces on the same avenue of approach, but at different ranges. There are basically three techniques to accomplish this.

  • The first technique is to place the dismounted infantry close enough to the engagement area to employ all dismounted weapons. The BFVs are placed in depth to enhance the antiarmor fires and engage the enemy formation in depth. This technique enables the platoon to mass all its fires.
  • The second technique is to place the BFVs to engage the enemy in a specific EA and place the dismounted infantry in the most probable route for enemy infantry to use once the BFVs force them to dismount. This technique allows the platoon to take advantage of the BFVs' long-range firepower. The disadvantage is that dismounted infantry may not get into the fight, and all the platoon's firepower is not massed.
  • The third technique is especially useful in restrictive terrain. Dismounted infantry is placed in choke points and BFVs are placed to support the infantry by destroying enemy armor as they seek to bypass, by engaging in a supplemental EA, or by firing into the same EA as the dismounted infantry.

A planning figure for separation of the mounted and dismounted elements is a maximum of three fourths of the effective range (about 1,500 meters) of the BFV's primary armament--the 25-mm gun.

(b) The fighting vehicle element can be employed forward of the dismounted element on the same avenue of approach. This allows for better observation and fields of fire, and better use of the BFV's weapons (Figure 2-53).

(c) The dismount element should use available time to prepare fighting positions and obstacles. When the enemy attacks, BFVs normally engage enemy formations and, at a prearranged signal or event, move to alternate positions to the flank or to the rear of the dismount element. The timing of this move is critical. While maximum advantage can often be gained by employing the fighting vehicle element forward, the vehicles become more vulnerable to enemy fire as the enemy closes.

(d) The leader of the dismount element must be able to conduct operations without the support of the BFVs. The quantity and type of weapons, ammunition, mines, equipment, and supplies for the dismount element must be considered.

(e) BFVs may be employed well forward to perform a specific task; that is, a screen or guard. A section with a squad can also conduct security operations. Normally, this is done under the direction and control of the company/team commander.

(4) BFVs and dismounted infantry on different battle positions and different avenues of approach. When a Bradley platoon's mounted and dismounted elements are not going to be fighting in relation to each other, the control of both elements should be consolidated at company team level using the company team executive officer. The commander may consolidate dismount elements in one location and deploy the platoon's BFVs separately in the following situations:

(a) A large number of dismounted soldiers are required to hold a position, for example, key terrain.

(b) Primary positions for the dismount element do not allow adequate fields of fire for the BFV's weapon.

(c) The dismount element must occupy heavily wooded or rugged terrain that the BFV cannot traverse.

(d) When both a mounted and dismounted avenue of approach must be defended and the terrain cannot be defended from the same battle position.

b. Defend in Sector. A platoon defends in sector to prevent enemy forces from passing the rear boundary of the sector, retain flank contact and security, and ensure unity of effort with the company scheme of maneuver. The defense in sector maximizes the combat abilities of the platoon. It allows the platoon to fight throughout the depth of the sector using dispersed small-unit tactics.

(1) The platoon is usually assigned a sector within the company sector (Figure 2-54). The platoon leader may in turn assign sectors to elements, sections, and squads to permit maximum freedom of action for them to defend. They call for fire support through the platoon net. FOs may be attached or, as a minimum, leaders must be prepared to assist in calls for supporting fires.

(2) All elements (mounted/dismounted) coordinate with each other and conduct detailed reconnaissance of each sector and identifies all likely enemy avenues of approach, choke points, kill zones, obstacles, patrol bases, and cache sites. They also identify all tentative positions.

(3) The platoon leader confirms the selected tentative sites and incorporates them into his concept (Figure 2-55). He designates initial positions and the sequence in which successive positions are to be occupied. He gives each element specific guidance concerning contingency plans; rally, mount, and dismount points; and other coordinating instructions.

(4) All elements then prepare the defense in the sequence designated by the platoon leader. They initially prepare the primary position and then a hasty supplementary position, and then they select the alternate position. Elements improve the positions as time permits.

(5) When security warns of approaching enemy, the squad and section occupy their primary positions and prepare to engage the enemy. As the enemy moves into the choke point or kill zone, the squad and section initiates an ambush. They engage the enemy targets only as long as squads and sections do not become decisively engaged. Squads and sections then move to their next position and repeat the same process. The leader must plan the disengagement. Supporting positions, the use of smoke, and rehearsals are key to effective disengagements. Depending on METT-T factors, the entire battle may be fought this way. Some variations of this technique include the following:

(a) Allowing the enemy to exhaust himself reacting to numerous ambushes, then conducting a violent counterattack along previously rehearsed routes to complete the destruction of the enemy. The platoon leader can do this by retaining direct control over a large portion of the platoon and committing it at the decisive moment. An alternative is to use prearranged signals to consolidate the platoon at a rally point; then to conduct the counterattack.

(b) Having the forward ambush teams hold their fire until the lead elements of the enemy formation hit another ambush deeper in the sector. Then the team ambushes the next enemy element as it passes through the kill zone. This technique destroys the cohesion of the enemy and is especially effective if the ambush eliminates the command group of the enemy unit.

(c) Planning indirect fires to cause more enemy casualties at ambush sites along a well-defined route.

(6) Casualty evacuation and resupply of ammunition and water are particularly difficult when defending this way.

c. Defend a Strongpoint. Defense of a strongpoint is seldom used by mechanized forces. When a platoon defends a strongpoint, it must retain the position at all costs until ordered to withdraw. (Figure 2-56.) A platoon uses a strongpoint to accomplish one of the following:

  • Hold key or decisive terrain critical to the company or battalion scheme of maneuver.
  • Provide a pivot point for the maneuver of friendly forces.
  • Block an avenue of approach.
  • Canalize the enemy into friendly engagement areas.

d. Defend a Perimeter. The major advantage of the perimeter defense (Figure 2-57) is the preparedness of the platoon to defend against an enemy avenue of approach. A perimeter defense differs from other defenses in that--

  • The trace of the platoon is circular or triangular rather than linear.
  • Unoccupied areas between squads and vehicles are smaller.
  • The flanks of the squads and sections are bent back to conform to the plan.
  • The bulk of combat power is on the perimeter.
  • The reserve is centrally located.

e. Defend on a Reverse Slope. The estimate of the situation often leads the commander to employ his elements, especially his dismounted infantry, on the reverse slope. If the dismounted infantry are on a mounted avenue of approach, the dismounted infantry must be concealed from enemy direct-fire systems, which they cannot effectively engage. This means dismounted infantry should be protected from enemy tanks and observed artillery fire. This applies even when friendly forces are fighting with their tanks and long-range ATGMs. (Figure 2-58.)

(1) The majority of dismounted infantry weapons are not effective beyond 600 meters. In order to reduce or preclude destruction from enemy direct and indirect fires beyond that range, a reverse-slope defense should be considered.

(2) This conflicts, to some extent, with the need for the maximum observation forward to adjust fire on the enemy as well as the need for long-range fields of fire for friendly tanks, BFVs, and ATGMs. In some cases, it may be necessary for tanks, BFVs, and ATGMs to be deployed forward while the dismounted infantry remain on the reverse slope. These vehicles withdraw from their forward positions as the battle closes. The vehicles' new positions should be selected to take advantage of the BFV's long-range fires to get enfilade shots from the depth and the flanks of the reverse slope.

(3) At night, the nature of the threat may change and dismounted infantry may occupy the forward slope or crest to deny it to the enemy In those circumstances, it is feasible for a dismounted element to have an alternate night position forward.

(4) The area forward of the topographical crest must be controlled by friendly forces through aggressive patrolling and active as well as passive reconnaissance means. The platoon should use all of its night vision devices to deny the enemy undetected entry into the platoon's defensive area. The BFVs are a key part of the platoon's surveillance plan and should be positioned to take advantage of its thermal sights. The enemy must not be allowed to take advantage of reduced visibility to advance to a position of advantage without being taken under fire.

(5) Advantages of a reverse-slope defense are--

  • Enemy ground observation of the position, including the use of surveillance devices and radar, is masked.
  • Enemy cannot engage the position with direct fire without coming within range of the defender's weapons.
  • Enemy indirect fire will be less effective due to lack of observation.
  • Enemy may be deceived about the strength and location of positions.
  • Defenders have more freedom of movement out of sight of the enemy.

(6) Disadvantages of a reverse-slope defense are--

  • Observation to the front is limited.
  • Fields of fire to the front are reduced.
  • Enemy can begin his attack from a closer range.

(7) The decision to position forces on a reverse slope is normally made by the commander. He positions forces on a reverse slope when--

  • He wishes to surprise or deceive the enemy about the location of his defensive position.
  • A forward slope might be made untenable by direct enemy fire.
  • Occupation of the forward slope is not essential to achieve depth and mutual support.
  • The fields of fire on the reverse slope are better or at least sufficient to accomplish the mission.
  • The forward slope position is likely to be the target of concentrated enemy artillery fires.

(8) BFVs offer the platoon additional opportunities regarding positioning. They can initially be positioned forward to take advantage of their protection from artillery and their ability to engage the enemy at long ranges. After an initial engagement, BFVs may move over or around the crest line and through the dismounted infantry on the reverse slope to a position that is either on the flanks or farther in depth to the rear.

(9) Obstacles are also necessary in a reverse-slope defense. Since the enemy will be engaged at close range, obstacles should--

  • Prevent the enemy from closing too quickly and overrunning the positions.
  • Facilitate disengagement.


The turret weapons of the BFV allow it to fight against the enemy, while the dismounted infantry are used in restrictive terrain to their best advantage.

a. Bradley-equipped platoons can fix or substantially limit the movement of the attacking enemy, thus allowing tanks to deliver a powerful counterattack.

b. The fixing of the enemy--denying him the ability to withdraw part of his force for employment elsewhere--is done by BFVs using their firepower and maneuverability. At the same time, the dismounted infantry digs in on restrictive terrain or on a reverse slope and fully exploits the advantage of the defender to prepare the battlefield. On dismounted avenues of approach, the platoon leader can use the M249 in the machine gun role to fix the enemy and make use of its heavy firepower in the final protective fire. (See Appendix D for more detail.)

c. The BFV's antiarmor and antipersonnel firing systems combined with its survivability are optimized through the use of movement, cover and concealment, dispersion, mutual support, flank shots, and employment in depth.


The priority of work is the leader's method of controlling the preparation of the defense. Each duty position should have its own priority of work. The leader adjusts the priority of work based on METT-T factors and on his intent for the operation. (See Chapter 4, SOP, Annex C for more information.)

a. Platoon Leader.

  • Establish local security. He may setup OPs, a hasty perimeter, or conduct security patrols.
  • Conduct leader's reconnaissance with his squad leaders (BC if possible).
  • Position BFVs, squads, Dragons, machine guns, and any attachments.
  • Choose the CP location.
  • Assign alternate and supplementary positions.
  • Assign sectors of fire, engagement priorities, and other fire control measures.
  • Develop an obstacle and fire plan.
  • Develop a fire support plan (with the FO).
  • Check the CP.
  • Brief the platoon sergeant on logistics.
  • Verify communications to higher and lower units.
  • Make a sector sketch and send one copy to the commander IAW the platoon SOP.
  • Confirm all positions (before digging starts) to include interlocking fires.
  • Coordinate with left and right units.
  • Direct the location for the PEWS.
  • Check positions and preparations constantly. Look at them from the enemy's point of view; immediately correct deficiencies.
  • Check soldiers' knowledge.
  • Check dead space.
  • Check security.
  • Reconnoiter routes to and from alternate and supplementary positions, and routes used on a counterattack. Brief squad leaders and Bradley commanders.
  • Plan and conduct rehearsals of movement to and between primary, alternate, and supplementary positions.
  • Check the security and alert plan, the patrol plan, the radio watch, and the logistics.
  • Rehearse the counterattack plan.
  • Supervise.

b. Platoon Sergeant.

  • Set up the M8 chemical alarm.
  • Establish the platoon CP (and alternate CP); lay wire to squads, BFVs, OPs, attached elements, MAWs, and machine guns.
  • Send runner to guide wire from company to platoon.
  • Supervise the emplacement of BFVs, squads, MAWs, and machine guns.
  • Supervise preparation of range cards.
  • Request and allocate pioneer tools, barrier material, rations, water, batteries, and ammunition.
  • Help the platoon leader prepare the sector sketch.
  • Set up ammunition resupply point.
  • Set up EPW collection point. Set up casualty collection point.
  • Coordinate medical support to include supplies for platoon aidman and combat lifesaver.
  • Designate latrine area and supervise the digging of the platoon slit trench.
  • Establish the security and alert plan, the radio watch, the sleep plan, and the PMCS schedule; brief the platoon leader.
  • Rest and conduct personal hygiene.
  • Supervise.

c. Bradley Commander.

  • Position BFV.
  • Establish security (driver, gunner, or BC mans turret weapons system at all times unless told otherwise).
  • Coordinate with left and right BFV and squad.
  • Prepare range card.
  • Boresight turret weapons system.
  • Ensure wire is laid to the BFV.
  • Issue rations, water, ammunition, pioneer tools, and barrier materials.
  • Pass additional information and changes to plans.
  • Reconnoiter alternate and supplementary positions.
  • Conduct maintenance on BFV.
  • Supervise.

d. Squad Leader.

  • Establish local security.
  • Ensure wire is laid to squad and BFV.
  • Position squad, weapons, and soldiers; and assign sectors of fire.
  • Ensure soldiers manning the OP have a position to return to.
  • Draw a squad sector sketch and submit copy to platoon leader.
  • Walk the position.
  • Check sectors of fire, range cards, aiming stakes, and dead space by getting into each position and sighting weapons.
  • Coordinate with left and right squad and BFV.
  • Have soldiers begin digging after platoon leader checks position.
  • Issue rations, water, ammunition, pioneer tools, and barrier material.
  • Pass additional information and changes to plans.
  • Supervise wire or mine teams.
  • Give a warning order for planned patrol missions.
  • Set up squad alert and security plan.
  • Reconnoiter alternate and supplementary positions, routes, and counterattack plan with the platoon leader, then brief team leaders.
  • Designate squad urine areas.
  • Post and brief OPs.
  • Rest and conduct personal hygiene.
  • Supervise.

e. Team Leader.

  • Assist the squad leader as directed.
  • Supervise.


The success of the defense depends on the positioning of soldiers and weapons. To position their weapons effectively, all leaders must know the characteristics, capabilities, and limitations of their weapons, the effects of terrain, and the tactics used by the enemy. Platoon leaders should position weapons where they have protection; avoid detection; and surprise the enemy with accurate, lethal fires. In order to position the weapon, the platoon leader must know where he wants to destroy the enemy and what effect he wants the weapon to achieve. Additionally, the platoon leader must consider whether his primary threat will be armored vehicles or dismounted infantry. His plan should address both mounted and dismounted.

a. Individual BFVs. Leaders must position BFVs where flank engagements will occur. This means placing fighting positions on the flank of enemy avenues of approach.

(1) BFVs use defilade positions when in the defense. Defilade positions are classified as either turret-down or hull-down. A turret-down position uses terrain to mask most of the BFV, with only the ISU exposed to the Threat. Because the TOW, when erected, is above the ISU, it may be fired from this position without exposing more of the BFV than necessary as long as the missile has 18 inches of clearance. Targets cannot be engaged with the 25-mm from this position. A hull-down position exposes only as much of the BFV as needed to engage targets with the three primary weapon systems.

(2) Flank positions in restrictive terrain provide windows of opportunity to engage the enemy and afford the BFV additional protection from enemy overwatching fire. (Figure 2-59.) The basis for this technique is to limit exposure by deliberately restricting a BFV's sector of fire. The BFV is exposed only to the targets at which it is firing. It then shifts to other firing positions as targets are destroyed. These positions restrict observation and vulnerability to only one segment of the platoon's engagement area; therefore, only those targets that can be seen (and engaged) by the BFV can return fire.

(a) Use a hide position when possible and stay in it until the enemy is in the area where the platoon plans to kill him. A prone or dug-in observer forward gives a much smaller signature than a BFV.

(b) Have a backdrop and avoid anything that catches the eye.

(c) Position to the flank of an enemy approach and behind frontal cover. It is far easier for an attacker to acquire and kill targets to his front than those to his flank or rear.

(d) Use covered routes into and out of firing positions.

(e) Use a guideline of 75 meters or more between primary and alternate BFV positions.

(f) Do not construct berms. More than 20 feet of dirt is needed to be effective. They also make it easier for the attacker to spot the position.

(g) Avoid positions that expose weapons to large numbers of enemy systems. It is best to hide weapons from the major portion of the enemy formation. The weapon should be able to engage one or two of the enemy vehicles at a time. It must be able to shift its sector of fire to engage other portions of the enemy's formation. (Figure 2-60.)

(3) Battlefield dust, smoke, fog, and darkness normally limit observation and fields of fire. When engagement ranges are reduced, flanking fires, use of obstacles, mutual support with infantry, and covered and conealed positions increase in importance. Because of battlefield obscuration, weapons must be positioned to fight during limited visibility or be able to quickly move to limited visibility positions.

b. Dragon Methods of Employment. The platoon leader's assessment of the tactical situation govern Dragon employment. Based on the situation, the platoon leader may employ all four Dragons, or none at all. He has two options open to him for their employment--centralized or decentralized control.

  • Centralized Control. The platoon leader controls the fires of his Dragon gunners, either by physically locating the weapons in his vicinity, and personally directing their fires, or by grouping them together under the control of the platoon sergeant or another individual the platoon leader designates.
  • Decentralized Control. Dragon gunners operate with, and are controlled by their squad leaders. The squad leader may need to employ one fire team as a Dragon team. The platoon leader normally gives the command for opening fire.

(1) Firing position. Firing positions must cover the armor avenue(s) of approach in the platoon's sector. The desirable characteristics of a Dragon firing position are--

  • Gunner observation of assigned sector to maximum range of weapon (if possible).
  • Good fields of fire.
  • Cover and concealment.
  • Mask clearance.
  • Security.
  • Concealed routes.
  • Capability for flanking fires.
  • Backblast area.

(2) Fields of fire. The gunner must be able to keep the target in the sight of the weapon until the missile impacts. Hilly and wooded terrain could permit the target to become masked during tracking, causing the gunner to lose sight of and miss the target.

(3) Cover and concealment. The major vulnerability of the Dragon is the gunner's exposure to enemy direct and indirect fires while tracking the missile. A position detected by the enemy is easily destroyed. Cover is protection from enemy fire. Items used for cover include walls, trees, logs, and sandbags. Concealment is denial of observation by the enemy, both ground and air. Of primary importance is the backblast or launch signature effect of the missile when launched. Every effort must be made to prevent the enemy from detecting the launch signature. This is done by clearing away all loose sticks and rocks behind the launcher, wetting down the backblast area, and engaging from the flanks and rear. Excess movement in the position must be avoided to prevent detection. Overhead cover is difficult to provide because of the clearance required for the Dragon's backblast. Overhead cover should still be constructed based on this requirement and improved as time permits. Overhead cover is vitally important to prevent detection by air.

(4) Routes. The Dragon gunner must have routes to displace from primary to alternate and supplementary positions in the defense. Routes into, out of, and between positions must provide good cover and concealment, and facilitate speed of movement.

(5) Mutual support. Firing positions should provide for mutual support with other Dragons and TOW. Fields of fire should overlap and be carefully integrated.

(6) Security. Provisions should be made to provide security for Dragon gunners to the front, flanks, and rear. Such security could include protective mines, OPs, RSTA devices, and individual fighting positions.

(7) Target engagement. Leaders must specify to Dragon gunners, either in their plans and orders, or by platoon SOP, target priorities and rules for engaging multiple targets. Dragon gunners should be assigned sectors of fire to preclude more than one weapon engaging the same target at the same time. When engaging targets, gunners ensure they can track the target until impact.

(8) Oblique fire. Whenever possible, gunners engage targets with oblique fire. Platoon and squad leaders, when selecting positions, try to emplace the gunner in a position that permits him to cover his sector with oblique fire. It is difficult for the enemy to retrace the flight path of a missile to its launch site when the missile moves obliquely across their front, as opposed to being launched from a head-on position. Forces generally orient to their front and are therefore more vulnerable to fires from their flanks.

c. Machine Gun Emplacement. These are the platoon's main weapons and are positioned first if the enemy is a dismounted force. Once the machine guns are sited, the leader positions riflemen to protect them. The guns are positioned to place fire on the locations where the platoon leader wants to concentrate combat power to kill the enemy. (See Appendix D.)

(1) The M249 is the main weapon for the squad's defense. The squad leader positions the M249 to accomplish the squad's mission. It provides a high volume of lethal, accurate fires to break up and stop enemy assaults. The M249 is effective at forcing enemy armor to fight buttoned up. It also provides limited effects against lightly armored vehicles.

(2) Each gun is given a primary and secondary sector of fire. Their sectors of fire should overlap each other and those of adjacent platoons. A gunner fires in his secondary sector only if there are no targets in his primary sector, or when ordered to do so. Each gun's primacy sector includes an FPL or a PDF. The gun is laid on the FPL or PDF unless engaging other targets. When FPFs are called for, the gunner shifts to and engages on the FPL or PDF.

(a) Final protective line. Where terrain allows, the platoon leader assigns a machine gun an FPL. The FPL is a line along which grazing fire is placed to stop an enemy assault. Grazing fire is no more than 1 meter above the ground (about hip high). The FPL is fixed in elevation and direction. FPLs are used best in conjunction with an obstacle to slow, delay, or stop the enemy. If possible, FPLs should overlap. Dead space in an FPL is covered by Claymore mines or M203 fire. Assistant gunners or squad leaders walk the FPL if time permits.

(b) Principal direction of fire. When the terrain does not lend itself to an FPL, the platoon leader assigns the machine gun a PDF (Figure 2-61). The gun is positioned to fire directly down this approach rather than across the platoon's front.

(c) Dead space. A soldier walks the FPL to find dead space. The gunner watches the soldier walking down the line and marks spaces that cannot be grazed. The dead space is covered by obstacles, grenade launcher fire, or mines.

d. Grenade Launchers. The M203 is the squad leader's indirect fire weapon. He positions it to cover dead space in the squad's sector, especially the dead space for the machine guns. The M203 gunner is also assigned a sector to cover with rifle fire. The high-explosive, dual-purpose (HEDP) round is very effective against lightly armored vehicles such as the BMP-1 and the BTR.

e. Automatic Rifles. The leader assigns positions and sectors of fire to each rifleman in the platoon. Normally, he positions the riflemen to support and protect the machine guns and antiarmor weapons. They are also positioned to cover obstacles, provide security, cover gaps between platoons and companies, or provide observation.


A range card is a sketch of a sector that a direct fire weapon system is assigned to cover. (A reproducible Standard Range Card [DA Form 5517-R] is in FM 7-8.) A range card aids in planning and controlling fires, aids the crew in acquiring targets during limited visibility. It is also an aid for replacement personnel or platoons or squads to move into the position and to orient on their sector. During good visibility, the gunner should have no problems maintaining orientation within his sector. During poor visibility, he may not be able to detect lateral limits. If the gunner becomes disoriented and cannot find or locate reference points or sector limit markers, he can use the range card to locate the limits. The gunner should make the range card so that he becomes more familiar with the terrain in his sector. He should continually assess the sector and if necessary update his range card.

a. Description. To prepare a range card, the gunner must know the following.

(1) Sectors of fire. A sector of fire is a piece of the battlefield for which a gunner is responsible. He may be assigned a primary and a secondary sector. Leaders use sectors of fire to ensure that fires are distributed across the platoon's area of responsibility.

(a) A sector of fire is assigned to cover possible enemy avenues of approach. Leaders should overlap sectors to provide the best use of overlapping fire and to cover areas that cannot be engaged by a single weapon system.

(b) The leader assigns left and right limits of a sector using prominent terrain features or easily recognizable objects, for example, rocks, telephone poles, fences, or emplaced stakes. The gunner should index the TOW into the ISU. This reticle position does not induce superelevation into the fire control system to find the left and right limits. Superelevation causes changes in the field of view between APDS-T, HEI-T, and coax when ammunition and range changes are selected. Using the TOW reticle also allows the gunner to scan his sector without making ammunition and range changes during scanning procedures. The turret indicator light and the azimuth indicator are also used to assist in determining sectors of fire. Ammunition is designated for each TRP and reference point as prescribed by the platoon SOP or METT-T.

(2) Target reference points/reference points. Leaders designate natural or man-made terrain features as reference points. The gunner uses these reference points in target acquisition and range determination process during limited visibility. There will also be predesignated TRPs, which must be seen to be useful as TRPs or indirect fire targets. At least one TRP should always be in view using low magnification.

(a) The commander or platoon leader designates indirect fire targets used as TRPs so that target numbers can be assigned. If TRPs are within the sector of fire, the BC points them out and tells the gunner their designated reference numbers. TRPs should be heated so that the crew can acquire them with thermal sights.

(b) Normally, a gunner has at least one TRP but should not have more than four. The range card should show only pertinent data for reference points and TRPs.

(3) Dead space. Dead space is any area that cannot be observed or covered by direct fire systems within the sector of fire. All dead space within the sector of fire must be identified to allow the BC and platoon leader to plan the use of fires (for example, mortars, artillery) to cover that area. The crew, working with their wingman vehicle crew, must walk the engagement area so that the gunners can detect dead spaces through the ISUs.

(4) Maximum engagement line. The depth of the sector is normally limited to the maximum effective engagement range of the vehicle's weapon systems; however, it can be less if there are objects that prevent the gunner from engaging targets at maximum effective engagement range. To assist in determining the distance to each MEL, the gunner or BC should use a map to make sure the MELs are shown correctly on the range card. MEL identification assists in decreasing the ammunition used on an engagement.

(5) Weapon reference point. The WRP is an easily recognizable terrain feature on the map. The WRP is used to assist leaders in plotting the vehicle's position, and to assist replacement personnel in finding the vehicle's position.

b. Preparation Procedures. The gunner prepares two copies of the range card. If alternate and supplementary firing positions are assigned, two copies are required for these as well. A copy is kept with the vehicle, and the other is given to the section leader for his sketch.

(1) Draw the weapon symbol in the center of the small circle. Draw two lines from the position of the BFV extending left and right to show the limits of the sector (Figure 2-62).

(2) Determine the value of each circle by finding a terrain feature farthest from the position that is within the weapon system's capability. Determine the distance to the terrain feature. Round off the distance to the next even hundredth, if necessary. Determine the maximum number of circles that will divide evenly into the distance. The result is the value of each circle. Draw the terrain feature on the appropriate circle on the range card. Clearly mark the increment for each circle across the area where DATA SECTION is written. For example, in Figure 2-63 a hilltop at 3,145 meters is used. The distance is rounded to 3,200 meters, divided by 8, and equals 400. Thus, each circle has a value of 400 meters.

(a) Figure 2-64 shows a farmhouse at 2,000 meters on the left limit. The right limit is noted by the wood line at 2,600 meters. Determine the distance to these features by the using a map or a hand-held laser range finder. The platoon forward observer will have a hand-held laser range finder. Note how the circle markings can assist in positioning the features on the range card.

(b) Draw all TRPs and reference points in the sector. Mark each of these with a circled number beginning with 1. Figure 2-65 shows the hilltop as RP 1 and a road junction as RP 2 and road junction RP 3. There are times when a TRP and a reference point are the same point (for example, RP 2 and RP 3 above). The TRP is marked with the first designated number in the upper right quadrant, and the reference point marked in the lower left quadrant of the cross. This occurs when a TRP is used for target acquisition and range determination. Road junctions are drawn by first determining the range to the junction, by drawing the junction, then finished by drawing the connecting roads from the road junction.

(c) Dead space is shown as an irregular circle with diagonal lines drawn inside (Figure 2-66). Any object that prohibits observation or coverage with direct fire will have the circle and diagonal lines extend out to the farthest maximum engagement line. If the area beyond the dead space is engageable, then the circle is closed. For example, an area of lower elevation will have a closed circle, because the area beyond it is engageable.

(d) Maximum engagement lines are shown as in Figure 2-67. MELs are drawn at the maximum effective engagement range per weapon if there is no dead space to limit their range capabilities. Note how the MEL for HE extends beyond the dead space in Figure 2-66. This indicates a higher elevation where HE area suppression is possible. MELs are not drawn through dead space. The maximum effective ranges for Bradley weapon systems are--

COAX...........900 meters (tracer burnout)
APDS-T.... 1,700 meters (tracer burnout)

HEI-T/TOW (Basic)....3,000 meters (impact)
TOW 2........................3,750 meters (impact)

(e) The WRP shown in Figure 2-67 is represented as a line with a series of arrows extending from a known terrain feature and pointing in the direction of the Bradley symbol. This feature is numbered last. The WRP location is given a six-digit grid. When there is no terrain feature to be designated as the WRP, the vehicle's location is shown as an eight-digit grid coordinate in the remarks block of the range card. (In Figure 2-68 the WRP is number 4.)

NOTE: When the WRP cannot be drawn precisely on the sketch, due to the vehicle location, it is drawn to the left or right nearest the actual direction.

(3) Complete the data section. (Figure 2-69.)

(a) Position identification. List either primary, alternate, or supplementary. Alternate and supplemental positions must be clearly identified.

(b) Date. Show date and time the range card was completed. Range cards are like fighting positions, constantly being updated. The date and time are vital in determining the current data.

(c) Weapon. The weapon block indicates M2 and the vehicle bumper number.

(d) Each circle equals ____ meters. Write in the distance, in meters, between circles.

(e) NO (number). Starting with L and R limits, then list TRPs and RPs in numerical order.

NOTE: The platoon leader may designate a vehicle to be dedicated for AP, HEI-T, or TOW targets. This is dictated by platoon SOP or as needed by METT-T.

(f) Direction/deflection. The direction is in degrees and taken from a lensatic compass. The most accurate technique is to have the gunner aim at the terrain feature, and to have the driver dismount and align himself with the gun barrel and the terrain feature to measure the azimuth. To achieve correct deflection and elevation readings of the terrain feature, select TOW. Show the deflection reading taken from the BFV's azimuth indicator in the deflection block next to the magnetic azimuth.

(g) Elevation. Show the gun elevation reading in tens or hundreds of mils. The smallest increment of measure on the elevation scale is tens of mils. Any number other than "0" is preceded by a "plus" or "minus" symbol to show whether the gun needs to be elevated or depressed. Ammunition and range must be indexed to have an accurate elevation reading.

(h) Range. Distance, in meters, from vehicle position to L and R limits and TRPs and RPs.

(i) Ammo. List types of ammunition used.

(j) Description. List the name of the object; for example, farmhouse, wood line, hilltop.

(k) Remarks. Enter the WRP data. As a minimum, WRP data include a description of what the WRP is, a six-digit or eight-digit grid coordinate of the WRP, the magnetic azimuth and the distance from the WRP to the vehicle position.

(4) Complete the marginal information at the top of the card (Figure 2-69).

(a) Unit description - bumper number, plt, co. Never indicate a unit higher than company.

(b) Magnetic north. Orient the range card with the terrain and draw the direction of the magnetic north arrow.

c. Firing Position. After a range card has been completed, the position should be marked with ground stakes. This enables the Bradley or a replacement Bradley to reoccupy the position and be able to use the range card data.

(1) Stake the position. Before the Bradley is moved, the position should be staked. Three stakes are required to effectively mark the position as shown in Figure 2-70.

(a) One stake is placed in front of the Bradley. It is centered on the driver's station and just touching the hull. The stake should be long enough for the driver to see it when in position. The other two stakes are placed parallel to the left track and lined up with the hub on the front and rear wheels. The stakes should be placed close to the Bradley with only enough clearance to move the Bradley into position.

(b) The stakes should be driven firmly into the ground. Engineer tape or luminous tape can be placed on the friendly side of the stakes so that the driver can see them. A rock is placed at each of the front two corners of the vehicle to assist in reoccupation if the stakes are lost.

(2) Move into the position. If the situation permits, a ground guide can be used to assist the driver.

(a) If a ground guide cannot be used because of enemy fire, the driver moves the Bradley in, parallel to the side stakes, with the front stake centered on the driver's station.

(b) Once the Bradley is in position, the gunner should index the range and azimuth for one of the TRPs on the range card. If the sight is aligned on the TRP, the Bradley is correctly positioned. If the sight is not aligned on the TRP, the gunner should tell the driver which way to move the vehicle to align the sight on the target. Only minor adjustments should be necessary.

(c) If the stakes are lost and the position is not otherwise marked, the vehicle is moved to the approximate location. The BC or gunner can use a compass to find the left and right limits. The vehicle should be moved until it is within 6 to 8 inches of exact position, if time allows.


Defensive positions may be classified as primary, alternate, or supplementary. All positions should provide observation and fields of fire for the weapon systems within the platoon's assigned sector. Defensive positions should take advantage of natural cover and concealment even before soldiers begin to camouflage them. The platoon improves its ability to reposition by using covered and concealed routes, by using communications trenches, and by rehearsing the repositioning by fire and movement.

a. Primary. A primary position provides a soldier, weapon system, or platoon/squad the best position from which it can accomplish the assigned mission.

b. Alternate. Alternate positions allow soldiers, weapon systems, squads, or platoons to cover the same sector of fire covered from the primary position. Alternate positions are occupied when the primary position becomes untenable and when engaging enemy forces in order to prevent detection.

c. Supplementary. Supplementary positions provide the best means to accomplish a task that cannot be accomplished from the primary or alternate positions. Platoon leaders normally locate supplementary positions to cover additional enemy avenues of approach and to protect the flanks and rear of the platoon position.


For a detailed description of BFV positioning, see paragraph 2-19 and paragraph 2-28.


As a guideline, a squad can physically occupy a front of about 100 meters. From this position, it can defend 200 to 250 meters of frontage. The frontage distance between two-man fighting positions should be about 20 meters (allowing for a lazy W configuration on the ground; this would put fighting positions about 25 meters apart physically). Every position should be observed and supported by the fires of at least two other positions. One-man fighting positions may be located closer together to occupy the same platoon frontage. The distance between fighting positions depends on the leader's analysis of the factors of METT-T. In determining the best distance between fighting positions, the squad leader must consider--

  • The requirement to cover the squad's assigned sector by fire.
  • The need for security; that is, prevent infiltrations of the squad and platoon positions.
  • The requirement to prevent the enemy from using hand grenades effectively to assault adjacent positions, should he gain a fighting position.


The platoon leader assigns each section and squad a primary position and sector of fire. He should also assign supplementary positions. BCs and squad leaders normally select alternate positions for their BFVs and squads. The platoon leader designates responsibility for manning OPs and gives a general location for each OP. Each squad and vehicle section must cover its own sector of fire and overlap into those of the other squad or section. Flank sectors should overlap those of adjacent platoons.


Gunners prepare the range cards. Squad leaders prepare squad sector sketches. Section leaders prepare section sketches, and the platoon leader prepares the platoon sketch.

a. The platoon leader or platoon sergeant can use acetate on a map or a hand drawn sketch to draw the platoon sketch. Accurate and detailed sketches aid in fire planning, distribution of fire, and control of the platoon fires.

b. The squad leaders and section leaders make two copies of their sector sketches; one copy goes to the platoon leader, the other remains at the position. The squad leaders and section leaders draw sector sketches as close to scale as possible, showing (Figure 2-71)--

  • Main terrain features in the sector and the range to each.
  • Each primary position.
  • Engagement areas or primary and secondary sectors of fire covering each position.
  • M249 machine gun FPLs or PDFs.
  • Type of weapon in each position.
  • TRPs/reference points in the sector.
  • OP locations.
  • Dead space.
  • Obstacles.
  • MELs for all BFV weapon systems.
  • MELs for Dragons and AT4s.
  • Indirect fire targets.

c. Squad leaders and section leaders prepare their sketches and submit them to the platoon leader. Gunners submit their range cards to the mounted section leader. The platoon leader combines all the sketches and range cards to prepare a platoon sector sketch.

d. A platoon sector sketch is drawn as close to scale as possible and includes a target list for direct and indirect fires. One copy is give to the company commander, one to the mounted leader, and the third copy to the dismount leader. As a minimum, the sketch shows (Figure 2-72)--

  • Primary and secondary sectors or engagement areas.
  • Primary, alternate, and supplementary Bradley vehicles and squad positions.
  • Remount points.
  • Dragon and M249 machine gun positions with primary sectors of fire.
  • M249 FPLs or PDFs.
  • MELs for TOW, 25-mm, coax weapons.
  • OPs.
  • TRPs and reference points.
  • Mines and other obstacles.
  • Indirect target locations and FPF location (if applicable.)
  • Position and sector of flanking unit vehicles.
  • Priority of engagement by bumper number.

e. Platoon leaders coordinate with adjacent platoons. Squad leaders coordinate with adjacent squads so that all positions and all platoon and squads are mutually supporting. The platoon leader checks to ensure this coordination has taken place. Coordination normally is initiated from left to right. Gaps between positions are covered by fire as a minimum and contact points are established to ensure friendly forces meet at some specific point on the ground to tie in their flanks. The information exchanged includes--

  • Locations of primary, alternate, and supplementary positions; and sectors of fire for BFVs, machine guns, and Dragons.
  • Location of dead space between platoons and how it is to be covered.
  • Location of OPs.
  • Location and types of obstacles and how to cover them.
  • Patrols to include size, type, time of departure and return, and routes.

In many cases, a sector sketch can be exchanged that accomplishes most of this. In some cases, BFVs may be positioned to support the dismount element and flank platoons. This may be a compromise position that must be occupied to tie in a vulnerable flank. Since platoons defend as part of a company team, platoon leaders must be especially careful of tying in their flanks.

f. Because platoons dismount their infantry in the defense, the remount must be planned in detail. This is especially true where subsequent movement is an integral part of the defensive plan or when the dismount and vehicle elements are separated. The inability to plan and execute a speedy remount causes the advantage of the BFVs' speed to be negated as the vehicles are forced to wait for the dismounted infantry to link up and remount. Planning for the remount at platoon level should include--

  • Remount rehearsal.
  • Remount location.
  • Reconnaissance of route to the remount point by both the vehicle and dismount elements during good and limited visibility.
  • Marking the route to the remount point.
  • Signals to initiate the remount and contingencies for limited visibility, loss of communications, and loss of leaders.


Bradley commanders and squad leaders should use the fire control principles and basic fire control and distribution measures discussed in Section I to assist with the proper concentration and distribution of fires in the defense. To prevent fratricide and conserve the platoon's combat power when possible, forces must avoid engagements close to friendly infantry or vehicles.


Coordination between adjacent platoons, squads, or sections is normally from left to right and from front to rear. Information exchanged includes the following:

  • Location(s) of leaders.
  • Location of primary, alternate, and supplementary positions and sectors of fire of machine guns, antiarmor weapons, squads, and sections.
  • Route to alternate and supplementary positions.
  • Location of dead space between squads and platoons and how to cover it.
  • Location of OPs and withdrawal routes back to the platoon's, squad's, or sections's position.
  • Location and types of obstacles and how to cover them.
  • Patrols to be conducted to include their size, type, times of departure and return, and routes.
  • Location, activities, and passage plan for reconnaissance platoon and other friendly forces forward of the platoon's position.
  • Signals for fire and cease fire and any other signals that may be observed.
  • Engagement and disengagement criteria.


This paragraph discusses techniques for the construction of infantry and vehicle fighting positions. Infantrymen use hasty; one-, two-, and three-soldier; machine gun; medium and light antitank positions. BFVs use hull- and turret-defilade positions. Soldiers must construct fighting and vehicle positions that protect them and allow them to fire into their assigned sectors. Tables 2-4 and 2-5 provide characteristics of individual and crew-served fighting positions, respectively. Table 2-6 provides dimensions of vehicle positions. (For more information, see FM 5-103.)

a. Protection. Fighting positions protect soldiers by providing cover through sturdy construction, and by providing concealment through positioning and proper camouflage. The enemy must not be able to identify the position until it is too late and he has been effectively engaged. When possible, soldiers should site positions in nonobvious places, behind natural cover, and in an easy to camouflage location. The most important step in preparing a fighting position is to make sure that it cannot be seen. In constructing fighting positions, soldiers should always--

  • Dig the positions armpit deep.
  • Fill sandbags about 75 percent full.
  • Revet excavations in sandy soil.
  • Check stabilization of wall bases.
  • Inspect and test the position daily, after heavy rain, and after receiving direct or indirect fires.
  • Maintain, repair, and improve positions as required.
  • Use proper materiel. Use it correctly.

NOTE: In sandy soil, vehicles should not be driven within 6 feet of the positions.

b. Siting to Engage the Enemy. Soldiers must be able to engage the enemy within their assigned sectors of fire. They should be able to fire out to the maximum effective range of their weapons with maximum grazing fire and minimal dead space. M203 fires are planned where dead space is found. Soldiers and leaders must be able to identify the best location for their positions that meet this criteria. Leaders must also ensure that fighting positions provide interlocking fires. This allows them to cover the platoon's sector from multiple positions and to provide a basis for final protective fires.

c. Preparation by Stages. Leaders must ensure that their soldiers understand when and how to prepare fighting positions based on the situation. Soldiers normally prepare hasty fighting positions every time the platoon halts (except for short security halts), and only half of the platoon digs in while the other half maintains security. Soldiers prepare positions in stages and require a leader to inspect the position before moving on to the next stage. See the following example.


STAGE 1. The platoon leader checks the fields of fire from the prone position and has the soldier emplace sector stakes (Figure 2-73).

  • Sector stakes emplaced (primary sector).
  • Grazing fire log or sandbag positioned between the sector stakes.
  • The aiming stake(s), if required, is emplaced to allow limited visibility engagement of a specific target.
  • Elbow holes are scooped out.
  • The outline of the position is traced on the ground.
  • Fields of fire are cleared for both primary and secondary sectors.
  • The leader inspects the position.

STAGE 2. The retaining walls for the parapets are prepared at this stage. These ensure that there is at least a one-helmet distance from the edge of the hole to the beginning of the front, flank, and rear cover (Figure 2-74).

  • The front wall is two to three sandbags (or logs) high. For a two-soldier position, it is about two M16 rifles long.
  • The flank walls are the same height, but only one M16 rifle long.
  • The rear wall is one sandbag high and one M16 long.
  • If logs are used, they must be held firmly in place with strong stakes.
  • The leader inspects the position.

STAGE 3. During stage 3, the position is dug and the dirt is thrown forward of the parapet retaining walls and then packed down hard (Figure 2-75).

  • The position is dug armpit deep.
  • The parapets are filled in order of front, flanks, and rear.
  • The parapets and the entire position are camouflaged.
  • Grenade sumps are dug and the floor sloped toward them.
  • Storage areas for the two rucksacks may also be dug into the rear wall.
  • The leader inspects the position.

STAGE 4. The overhead cover is prepared (Figure 2-76).

  • Five to six logs 4 to 6 inches in diameter and two M16s long are placed over the center of the position.
  • Waterproofing (plastic bags, ponchos) are placed on top of these logs.
  • Then 6 to 8 inches of dirt or sandbags are put on top of the logs.
  • The overhead cover and the bottom of the position are camouflaged.

d. Types of Fighting Positions. Because there are many different types of fighting positions, the number of personnel, types of weapons, the time available, and the terrain dictate the type of position.

(1) Hasty fighting position. Soldiers prepare this type of position when there is little or no time to prepare fighting positions (Figure 2-77). They locate it behind whatever cover is available. The position should give frontal protection from direct fire while allowing fire to the front and oblique. A hasty position may consist simply of a rucksack placed beside a tree or large rock. For protection from indirect fire, a hasty fighting position should be in a small depression or hole at least 18 inches deep. The term hasty position does not mean there is no digging. Even if there are only a few minutes, a prone shelter can be scraped out or dug to provide some protection. This type of position is well-suited for ambushes or for protection of overwatching element during raids and attacks. Hasty positions can also be the first step in construction of more elaborate positions.

(2) One-soldier fighting position. This type of position allows choices in the use of cover; the hole only needs to be large enough for one soldier and his gear. It does not have the security of a two-soldier position. The one-soldier fighting position must allow a soldier to fire to the front or to the oblique from behind frontal cover. (Figure 2-78.)

(3) Two-soldier fighting position. A two-soldier fighting position can be prepared in close terrain. It can be used where grazing fire and mutual support extend no farther than to an adjacent position. It can be used to cover dead space just in front of the position. One or both ends of the hole are extended around the sides of the frontal cover. Changing a hole this way lets both soldiers see better and have greater sectors of fire to the front. Also, during rest or eating periods, one soldier can watch the entire sector while the other sleeps or eats. If they receive fire from their front, they can move back to gain the protection of the frontal cover. By moving about 1 meter, the soldiers can continue to find and hit targets to the front during lulls in enemy fire. This type of position requires more digging and is harder to camouflage. It is also a better target for enemy hand grenades (Figure 2-79.)

(4) Three-soldier fighting position. A three-soldier position has several advantages over the other types of positions. There is a leader in each position, which makes command and control easier. It supports continuous, secure operations better than other positions. One soldier can provide security; one can do priority work; and one can rest, eat, or perform maintenance. This allows the priority of work to be completed more quickly than in a one-soldier or two-soldier position. This position allows the platoon to maintain combat power and security without either shifting personnel or leaving positions unmanned. It provides 360-degree observation and fire, and it is more difficult for the enemy to destroy, because he must kill or suppress three soldiers.

(a) When using three-soldier positions, the leader must consider the several things. Either the distance between positions must be increased or the size of the squad's sector reduced. The choice depends mainly on visibility and fields of fire. Because the squad leader is in a fighting position that will most likely be engaged during the battle, he cannot exert personal control over the other two positions. The squad leader keeps control over the battle by--

  • Clearly communicating plans and intent to his squad to include control measures and fire plans.
  • Using prearranged signals like flares, whistles, or tracers.
  • Positioning key weapons in his fighting position.
  • Placing his fighting position so that it covers key or decisive terrain.
  • Placing his fighting position where his team might be able to act as a reserve.

(b) The three-soldier emplacement is the T-position. This basic design can be changed by adding or deleting berms, changing the orientation of the T, or shifting the position of the third soldier to form an L instead of a T. (Figure 2-80.) The first layout of the position is oriented to fire on expected enemy avenues of approach from any direction(s). Berms are added based on METT-T factors. They cannot block observation or fire into assigned primary or alternate sectors. Berms should be designed to support overhead constructions. Logs of sufficient diameter (4 to 6 inches) or long pickets are used to support overhead cover for the position. They are placed a minimum of 1 foot back from the edge of the hole, or one fourth the depth of the hole, whichever is greater. The position is completed when natural camouflage materials are added to hide the position and strengthen it.

(5) Machine gun position. The primary sector of fire is usually to the oblique so that the gun can fire across the platoon's front. The tripod is used on the side that covers the primary sector of fire. The bipod legs are used on the side that covers the secondary sector of fire. When changing from primary to secondary sectors, the gunner moves only the machine gun. Occasionally, a sector of fire that allows firing directly to the front is assigned, but this can reduce the frontal cover for the crew when firing to the oblique. (Figure 2-81.)

(a) After the platoon leader positions the machine gun, he marks the position of the tripod legs and the limits of the sectors of fire. The crew then traces the outline of the hole and the frontal cover (if it must be improved).

(b) The crew digs the firing platforms first to lessen their exposure in case they have to fire before they complete the position. The platforms must not be so low that the gun cannot be traversed across its entire sector of fire. This reduces the profile of the gunner when he is firing and reduces the height of the frontal cover.

(c) After digging the firing platforms, the crew digs the hole. They first place the dirt where frontal cover is needed. They dig the hole deep enough to protect them and still let the gunner fire the gun with comfort, usually about armpit deep. When the frontal cover is high and thick enough, the crew uses the rest of the dirt to build flank and rear cover. Trench-shaped grenade sumps are dug at various points so that either soldier can kick a grenade into one if needed. Overhead cover for a machine gun position is built the same as for a two-soldier position.

NOTE: In some positions, a machine gun might not have a secondary sector of fire; so, only half of the position is dug.

(d) When there is a three-soldier crew for a machine gun, the ammunition bearer digs a one-soldier fighting position to the flank. The ammunition bearer's position is connected to the gun position by a crawl trench. From his position, the ammunition bearer can see and fire to the front and to the oblique. Usually, the ammunition bearer is on the same side as the FPL or PDF. This allows him to see and fire his rifle into the machine gun's secondary sector, and to see the gunner and assistant gunner.

(6) Dragon position. The Dragon can be employed from hasty or completed positions. However, some changes are required. (Figure 2-82.)



(a) As the missile leaves the launcher, the stabilizing fins unfold. During firing, the gunner must keep the weapon at least 6 inches above the ground to allow room for the fins to unfold. The hole is only waist deep to allow the gunner to move while tracking a target. Because of the height of the Dragon gunner above ground level, the frontal cover should be high enough to hide his head and, if possible, the backblast of the Dragon. A hole is dug in front of the position for the bipod legs.

(b) When the Dragon can be fired only in one direction, the position is adjusted to have cover and concealment from all other directions and should be fired to the oblique. This protects the position from frontal fire and allows engagement of the target from the flank. Both ends of the launcher must extend out over the edges of the hole.

(c) Overhead cover must be built on the flanks. Cover must be large enough for the gunner, the tracker, and the missiles. Overhead cover that allows fire from underneath it can be built if the backblast area is clear. However, overhead cover must be well camouflaged.

(d) Selection and preparation of alternate positions for a Dragon have a high priority since the Dragon is an important weapon and is easy to detect. When preparing an alternate position, the gunner should select and improve a covered route to it so he can move to the position under fire.

(7) Light antitank weapon, AT4, and Flash positions. The LAW, the AT4, and the Flash can be fired from infantry fighting positions. If the LAW, AT4, or Flash is to be fired from a two-soldier position, the gunner must ensure that the other soldier is not in the backblast area. The front edge of a fighting position is a good elbow rest to help the gunner steady the weapon and to gain accuracy. The LAW or Flash gunner leans against the front or side wall of the hole for greater stability when firing (Figure 2-83). When firing the AT4, the gunner leans against the rear wall--his elbows are not supported.

e. Trenches. When there is time and help, trenches should be dug to connect fighting positions so soldiers can move by covered routes. The depth of a trench depends on the type of help and equipment available. Without engineer help, platoons dig crawl trenches (about 3 feet deep by 2 feet wide); with engineer help standard trenches are dug. The trench should zigzag so the enemy cannot fire down a long section of it. Platoons normally dig crawl trenches because engineer assets are usually limited. Platoons use crawl trenches to conceal their movement into and within positions to provide minimum protection. Trenches use a zigzagging or winding pattern. Spoil is placed on parapets, normally on each side of the trench. If the trench runs across a forward slope, all the spoil is placed on the enemy side to make the forward parapet higher. All spoil needs careful concealment from enemy direct observation. (Figure 2-84.)

f. Vehicle Positions. Initially, vehicles use natural cover and concealment in hide positions to increase survivability. As time, assets, and situation permit, positions are prepared using organic excavation equipment or engineer support. Priority is given to those vehicles containing essential equipment or supplies. Crews should use these fighting positions for individual protection as well.

(1) Parapets positioned at the front of or around major weapons systems provide improved protection from direct fire and from blast and fragments of indirect fire artillery, mortar, and rocket shells. At its base, the parapet should be at least 8 feet thick. The parapet functions as a standoff barrier for impact-detonating direct fire HEAT and ATGM projectiles. The parapet should cause the fuzes to activate, thereby increasing survivability for the protected vehicles. If the enemy uses kinetic energy, direct fire armor-piercing, or hypervelocity projectiles, it is impractical to construct parapets thick enough for protection. To protect against these projectiles, deep-cut, hull defilade, or turret defilade positions are prepared. The dimensions for fighting and protective positions for essential vehicles are constructed no larger than needed.

(2) Success on the battlefield requires maneuver among fighting positions between main gun firings. Maximum use of terrain is required to conceal fighting vehicles maneuvering among fighting positions. After a major weapon system fires its main gun, the vehicle should move concealed to another position before firing again. If the major weapon system immediately reappears in the old position, the enemy knows where to fire his next round. Table 2-6 summarizes the dimensions of the hasty and deliberate vehicle positions discussed in the following paragraphs.

(a) Hasty positions. Hasty fighting positions for combat vehicles including APCs, CEVs, and mortar carriers take advantage of natural terrain features. These positions are prepared with a minimum of construction effort. A frontal parapet, as high as practical without interfering with the vehicles' weapon systems, shields from frontal attack and provides limited concealment if properly camouflaged. Protection is improved if the position is made deeper and the parapet is extended around the vehicle's sides. Because of the false sense of security provided by parapets against kinetic energy and hypervelocity projectiles, hasty vehicle fighting positions with parapets are not recommended for tanks, BFVs, and ITVs. Hasty fighting positions do offer protection from HEAT projectiles and provide limited concealment if properly camouflaged. As the tactical situation permits, hasty positions are improved to deliberate positions.

(b) Deliberate positions. Deliberate fighting positions are required to protect a vehicle from kinetic energy and hypervelocity projectiles. The position is constructed in four parts: hull defilade, concealed access ramp or route, hide location, and turret defilade. (Figures 2-85, 2-86, and 2-87.)

(3) Positions formed by natural terrain are best because of easy modification. If preparation is necessary, extensive engineer support is required. Each position is camouflaged with either natural vegetation or a camouflage net, and the spoil is flattened out or hauled away. All fighting positions for fighting vehicles (tanks, BFVs, ITVs) are planned as deliberate positions. Since the lack of time usally does not allow the full construction of a deliberate position, only some parts of the position are prepared. For example, the complete fighting position for a BFV requires the construction of a hull defilade, turret defilade, concealed access ramp or route, and hide location all within the same fighting position. The maneuver team commander uses organic and engineer earthmoving assets and usually only constructs parts of the fighting position.

(4) Digging hide locations and concealed routes between fighting positions is normally not practical due to the lack of engineer assets and time. Engineer assets are used to dig the hull and turret defilade positions only. The ramps and concealed routes should require only partial clearing and leveling with blade tanks or engineer equipment because natural concealed routes and hide locations are used. If time permits, the commander expands the fighting position to all four parts, including a hide and turret defilade location. The access ramp from the hide location to the hull defilade position usually provides turret defilade for a vehicle at some point on the ramp. This location can be marked with engineer tape and a chemical light so the driver knows when to stop. This fighting position affords maximum protection and maneuver for the BFV.

Section VI


Other tactical operations include retrograde (withdrawal, delay, and retirement) and special operations (linkup, stay-behind, relief in place, and passage of lines). Squads, along with BFV sections, and platoons conduct these operations as part of a larger force. A retrograde operation is an organized movement to the rear or away from the enemy.


In a withdrawal, a platoon disengages from the enemy and repositions for another mission. Platoons withdraw either not under pressure or under pressure.

a. Withdrawal Not Under Pressure. In this type of withdrawal, platoons normally serve as the detachment left in contact (DLIC) or as part of the DLIC (Figure 2-88). A DLIC is used to deceive the enemy into thinking that the entire force is still in position. As the DLIC, the platoon--

  • Repositions BFV sections, squads, and weapons to cover the company's withdrawal (Figure 2-89).
  • Repositions a squad and a BFV in each of the other platoon positions to cover the most dangerous avenue of approach into the position.
  • Continues the normal operating patterns of the company and simulates company radio traffic.
  • Covers the company withdrawal with planned direct BFV fire, dismounted infantry fire, and indirect fire if the company is attacked during withdrawal.
  • Withdraws by echelon once the company is at its next position. The BFV is specially suited for this purpose because of its protection, mobility, and organic weapons systems.

b. Withdrawal Under Pressure. If the platoon cannot prepare and position the security force, it conducts a fighting withdrawal. The platoon disengages from the enemy by maneuvering to the rear (Figure 2-90). Soldiers, squads, or BFV sections not in contact are withdrawn first so they can provide suppressive fires to allow the soldier, squad, or BFV sections in contact to withdraw.

c. Disengagement. Based on orders from the task force commander, the commander decides how long to retain defensive positions. The company or company team may be required to remain and fight as long as possible, or it may be required to disengage and displace to subsequent positions. A platoon, as part of a company or company team, may disengage to defend from another battle position, to prepare for a counterattack, to delay, to withdraw, or to prepare for another mission.

(1) Fire and movement. Fire and movement to the rear is the basic tactic for disengaging. All available fires are used to slow the enemy and allow platoons to move away. The commander may move his platoons and mass fires to stop or slow the enemy advance before beginning the movement away from the enemy.

(a) A base of fire is formed to cover platoons or squads moving away from the enemy. One platoon or squad acts as the base of fire, delaying the enemy with fire or retaining terrain that blocks his advance, while other platoons or squads disengage. (Figure 2-91.)

(b) When moving platoons or squads get to their next position, they provide a base of fire to cover the rearward movement of forward platoons and squads. (Figure 2-92.)

(c) Fire and movement is repeated until contact with the enemy is broken, the platoons pass through a higher level base-of-fire force, or the platoons are in the next position to resume their defense.

(d) Tactics used by the platoon to disengage from the enemy differs according to how the platoon is deployed, the commander's plan for disengagement, and other factors. The following actions apply in all cases.

  • Maximum use is made of the BFV's firepower to cover rearward movement.
  • BFVs should back out of position and move, keeping a terrain feature between the vehicle and the enemy.
  • Turret weapons remain pointed in the direction of the enemy. Firing port weapons should be manned and ready to fire, especially from the rear firing ports. This is critical when the squad is operating at reduced strength.
  • Rapid movement and effective base of fire enhance the mobility advantage and are key to a successful disengagement.

(2) Plans for a disengagement. Plans for a disengagement may be part of any defensive plan. When squads are deployed, a plan for rapid remounting must be made.

(a) When the platoon employs the BFV and dismount elements on separate positions, platoon remount points and routes to the remount points must be chosen. In addition, routes must be rehearsed. The platoon remount point can be near the dismount element position, near the BFV position, or between the two. (Figure 2-93.)

(b) Within the remount point, covered positions for vehicles and dismounted infantry should be chosen that allow for easy remounting even during limited visibility. Squad leaders must ensure their men know where the remount point is, where the vehicle is at that point, and routes to the point. Routes to the remount point should be covered and allow speedy movement for both elements. Considerations for planning are--

  • BFVs move faster and have more protection from small-arms fire and artillery fragments than dismounted soldiers.
  • BFVs often shift from one firing position to another, so routes must be planned from each position to the remount point.

(3) Dismount element disengagement. When the dismount and fighting vehicle elements are separated, there are three ways the dismount element can disengage. Simultaneous disengagement (moving all teams at the same time) can be used when the element is covered by another force. When the dismount element must cover its own movement, it disengages by teams or by thinning the lines.

(a) Simultaneous disengagements. When the squads simultaneously disengage, they assemble and move as one element as fast as possible to the remount point, using proper movement techniques.

  • Simultaneous disengagement is favored when rapid movement is critical, the disengaging element is adequately covered by overwatching fires, and the enemy has not closed on the dismount element or cannot fire effectively at it or there are obstacles to delay the enemy.
  • Simultaneous disengagement can be used when the dismount element can move before the enemy can close on the position because of an obstacle or distance between the dismount element and the enemy; or when other platoons of the company, company team, or battalion task force are adequately covering the disengagement.

(b) Disengagement by fire teams. When the dismount element must cover its own movement, one squad stays in position as a base of fire. The rest of the dismount element moves to the rear. The squad left in position must fire into the entire element's sector to cover the movement of the other squad. Sectors of fire are adjusted to get better coverage of the element's sector. The squad that is moving may move by fire teams. (Figure 2-94.) The squad left in position disengages when the rest of the element is in position to cover them. Movement to the rear by alternating squad is continued until contact is broken. Once contact with the enemy is broken, the disengagement is complete and the dismount element moves to the remount point using proper movement techniques.

(c) Disengagement by thinning the lines. When disengaging by thinning the lines, selected soldiers from each fire team (often one soldier from each fighting position) disengage and move to the rear. The soldiers still in position become the base of fire to cover the movement. (Figure 2-95.)

(d) Disengagement of squads when employed with the BFVs. When BFVs and squads are employed on the same position, the squads normally move to the remount point while the BFVs provide a base of fire. The BFVs then quickly move to the remount point, link up with the infantry, load them, and move out. Squads use the disengagement techniques discussed earlier. The method selected is dictated by the enemy situation, terrain, fighting vehicle crews' ability to serve as a base of fire, and type and amount of overwatching fires.

(4) Fighting vehicle element disengagement. Because of the BFV's speed, firepower, and protection against small-arms fire and artillery shell fragments, it is usually best for the dismount element (when deployed) to disengage first while covered by the BFVs. If the BFVs are not in a position to support the dismount element by fire or if the dismount element is heavily engaged, the fighting vehicle element may disengage first and move to a position to assist the dismount element in disengagement. Whichever method is used, there are two basic ways the vehicle element can disengage. If BFVs are covered by another force, simultaneous disengagement may be used. If BFVs must cover their own movement, it disengages by section. These methods are similar to those used by the dismount element.

(a) Simultaneous disengegement. When BFVs disengage simultaneously, they move as a platoon as quickly as possible. This method is normally used when BFVs are covered by another force and speed is the most critical factor. If fire teams are already mounted, the entire platoon moves, using movement techniques, to a position designated by the commander. If fire teams are deployed, BFVs move to the remount point to pick them up, or they may attack the enemy by fire from a new position to allow the fire teams to disengage. (Figure 2-96.)

(b) Disengagement by vehicle or section. When BFVs must cover their own disengagement, one, two, or three vehicles can be left in position as a base of fire while the remainder move to the rear. BFVs left in position must cover the entire sector until moving vehicles reach positions they can use to provide a base of fire. (Figure 2-97.)

2-30. DELAY

In a delay, the platoon forces the enemy to slow its movement by forcing him to repeatedly deploy for the attack. Before the enemy assault, the delaying force withdraws to new positions. The squads or sections and platoons disengage from the enemy as described in a withdrawal under pressure. Once disengaged, a platoon moves directly to its next position and defends again. The squads and platoons slow the advance of the enemy by shaking his morale, causing casualties and equipment losses. It can employ--

  • Ambushes.
  • Snipers.
  • Obstacles.
  • Minefields (to include phony minefields).
  • Artillery and mortar fire.


A retirement is a retrograde operation in which a force not in contact moves away from the enemy. Platoons and squads or sections retire as members of larger units using standard movement techniques. A force that is not engaged with the enemy moves to the rear in an organized manner. Retirements usually involve tactical road marches along secured routes.

2-32. LINKUP

A linkup is a meeting of friendly ground forces. Linkups depend on control, detailed planning, and stealth. The linkup procedure begins as the platoon or squad moves to the linkup point. The steps of this procedure are as follows:

STEP 1. If using radio communications, the platoon reports its location using phase lines, checkpoints, or other control measures.

STEP 2. The first platoon at the site stops and sets up a linkup rally point about 300 meters from the linkup point or as terrain dictates.

STEP 3. The first platoon sends a security team to find the exact location of the linkup point. Depending on the size of the organization, the security team can be a strictly dismounted element or both a dismounted and mounted squad or section.

STEP 4. The security team clears the immediate area around the linkup point. It then marks the linkup point with the coordinated recognition signal. The platoon moves to a covered and concealed position to observe the linkup point.

STEP 5. The next platoon approaching the site repeats Steps 1 through 3. When its security team arrives at the site and spots the coordinated linkup point recognition signal, it gives the far recognition signal.

STEP 6. The first security team responds, and the second team advances to the first team's location. The teams exchange near recognition signals.

STEP 7. If entire units must link up, the second team returns to its unit's rally point and brings the unit forward to the linkup point. The first security team guides the entire second unit to the linkup rally point. Both teams are integrated into the security perimeter.

STEP 8. When more than two units use the same linkup point, the first unit leaves a security team at the linkup point. They repeat the linkup procedure as other units arrive.


Stay-behind operations can be used as a part of defensive or delay missions. In the defense once the enemy's combat units have passed, his weakest point (CS and CSS units) can be attacked.

a. Types. The two types of stay-behind operations are unplanned and deliberate.

(1) Unplanned. An unplanned stay-behind operation is one in which a unit finds itself cut off from other friendly elements for an indefinite time without specific planning or targets and must rely on its own organic assets.

(2) Deliberate. A deliberate stay-behind operation is one in which a unit plans to operate in an enemy-controlled area as a separate and cohesive element for a certain amount of time, or until a specified event occurs. This requires extensive planning. Squads and sections and platoons conduct this type of stay-behind operation only as part of larger units.

b. Planning. The troop-leading procedure applies to stay-behind operations. Planners must pay strict attention to the following.

(1) Task organization. The stay-behind unit includes only the soldiers and equipment needed for the mission. It needs only minimal logistics support and can provide its own security. It must be able to hide easily and move through restrictive terrain. Therefore, BFVs may or may not be a part of the stay-behind forces.

(2) Reconnaissance. This is most important in a stay-behind operation. Reporting tasks and information requirements can include suitable sites for patrol bases, hide positions, OPs, caches, water sources, dismounted and mounted avenues of approach, kill zones, engagement areas, and covered and concealed approach routes.

(3) Combat service support. Because the stay-behind unit will not be in physical contact with its supporting unit, supplies of rations ammunition, radio batteries, water, and medical supplies are cached. Provisions for casualty and EPW evacuation depend on the company and battalion plans. BFVs in the stay-behind forces have some advantages however, BFVs do cause some CSS planning problems.

(4) Deception plan. Most stay-behind operations are set up covertly. The enemy must be mislead during this effort to cause him to act in a manner favorable to the unit's plan of action. COMSEC is a special concern; radio transmissions must be brief and encoded.

(5) Concept of the operation. Units usually operate in small groups in their own areas. The actual concept, however, depends on the commander's intent.


A relief in place is an operation in which a unit is replaced in combat by another unit. The incoming unit assumes responsibility for the combat mission and the assigned sector or zone of action of the outgoing unit. Normally platoons conduct reliefs in place as part of a larger unit.

a. Coordination. Platoon responsibility is usually limited to the detailed coordination between key personnel and their counterparts. Leaders must coordinate the following items as a minimum.

(1) Reconnaissance. Leaders must reconnoiter different routes into and out of the position; assembly areas; logistics points; primary, alternate, and supplementary positions; obstacles; immediate terrain; and when possible, patrol routes and OP locations.

(2) Plans and tasks. The outgoing leader must provide copies of the unit sector sketch, fire plan, range cards for all vehicles, weapons, barrier plan, minefield records, counterattack plans, and plans for any other tasks that must be performed as part of the defense.

(3) Relief plan. Both leaders must know which method and sequence of relief has been prescribed in the company order, and how they will execute the plan. They must--

  • Know if their platoons will execute the relief by squads, by BFV (section), or as a complete platoon (method). Platoons may also execute the relief by occupying adjacent terrain or terrain in depth rather than by relieving soldiers and units in position.
  • Know the order of relief for platoons within the company (sequence); include the relief of OPs by patrol.
  • Coordinate the use of vehicle guides, signals, challenge and password, and passage of responsibility for the mission and control of the unit (normally when most of the incoming unit is in place).

(4) Exchange of equipment. Leaders coordinate the exchange of phones or switchboards, and emplaced munitions (if included in the relief order). Units do not exchange radios or radar equipment (if attached).

(5) Exchange of supplies. Leaders identify numbers and classes of supplies to be left behind and their location to include sensors, construction materiel, wire, and any supplies that might slow the movement of the outgoing platoon.

b. Execution. During the execution both platoon leaders should collocate at the outgoing unit's CP. The leader of the outgoing unit remains responsible for the defense of the area until most of the incoming unit is in position. If the enemy attacks during the relief, the leader who has responsibility for the position at the time is in control. The other leader assists with assets under his control as directed. Squad leaders physically walk soldiers to positions and trade them out on a one-for-one basis. They allow time for outgoing soldiers to brief their reliefs on their positions, range cards, and other pertinent information. Key weapon systems replacement is a higher priority than personnel replacement. All leaders report completion of their portion of the relief as soon as possible.


Through the conduct of combat operations, Bradley platoons may be required to conduct air assault operations as part of the higher headquarters commander's tactical plan. Successful air assault execution is based on a careful analysis of METT-T and detailed, precise reverse planning. The basic plans that comprise the reverse planning sequence and developed for each air assault operation are ground tactical plan, landing plan, air movement plan, loading plan, and staging plan. These plans are normally coordinated and developed by the air assault task force (AATF) staff to make the best use of available time. If time is limited, planning steps may be compressed or conducted concurrently; detailed within plans and orders may be SOPs or lessons learned in training (previous training and the development of SOPs cannot be overemphasized). The battalion is the lowest level that has sufficient personnel to plan, coordinate, and control an air assault operation. When company-size or lower operations are conducted, the bulk of the planning takes place at battalion or higher headquarters. Bradley platoon leaders must use FM 90-4 for more detailed information when planning air assault operations. Although it is not the highest priority training in the mechanized infantry battalion, air assault operations and mission task should be included in the platoon METL. To ensure that an air assault is executed in an effective and efficient manner, the platoon leader and platoon sergeant have specific responsibilities they must perform, which are outlined in the platoon SOP (IAW FM 90-4).

a. Ground Tactical Plan. The foundation of a successful air assault operation is the commander's ground tactical plan, around which subsequent planning is based. The ground tactical plan specifies actions in the objective area to ultimately accomplish the mission and address subsequent operations. The ground tactical plan contains essentially the same elements as any other infantry attack but differs in that it is prepared to capitalize on speed and mobility to achieve surprise.

b. Landing Plan. The landing plan must support the ground tactical plan. This plan sequences elements into the area of operations ensuring that platoons arrive at designated locations and times prepared to execute the ground tactical plan.

c. Air Movement Plan. The air movement plan is based on the ground tactical and landing plans. It specifies the schedule and provides instructions for air movement of soldiers, equipment, and supplies from PZs and LZs.

d. Loading Plan. The loading plan is based on the movement plan. It ensures soldiers, equipment, and supplies are loaded on the correct aircraft. Platoon integrity is maintained when aircraft loads are planned. Cross-loading may be necessary to ensure survivability of command and control assets and the mix of weapons arriving at the LZ are ready to fight. The platoon leader or squad leader should always ensure that the aircraft is loaded so that dismounting soldiers react promptly and contribute to the mission accomplishment. The platoon leader must have a bump plan. A bump plan ensures that essential soldiers and equipment are loaded ahead of less critical loads in case of aircraft breakdown or other problems.

e. Staging Plan. The staging plan is based on the loading plan and prescribes the arrival time of ground units (soldiers, equipment, and supplies) at the PZ in the proper order of movement. The staging plan also includes the disposition of the vehicles left in the staging area and the platoon's linkup plan on return from their air assault mission.

(1) Disposition of vehicles. The platoon leader must develop a security plan in the staging area for the vehicles until the air assault mission is completed and the platoon returns to the LZ. The security plan can be as simple as a coil or herringbone formation for the platoon, or the platoon may be part of a company modified perimeter defense. Instructions for link up of the platoon with its vehicles will also be included.

(2) Linkup of vehicles. The platoon leader's linkup plan must be just as detailed as the staging and loading plan. To simplify the linkup, the platoon leader must ensure that platoon integrity is maintained as much as possible. The platoon leader or company commander should designate a linkup point for each unit to link up with their vehicles on landing. As the aircrafts land, the unit's immediately move to their linkup point, mount their vehicles if required, and prepare to continue the mission.

Section VII


Infantry platoons plan indirect fires to suppress, isolate, obscure, neutralize, destroy, deceive, or disrupt enemy forces. The fire planning process is used to plan direct and indirect fires in support of offensive and defensive operations. Normally, battalions and companies conduct fire support planning and send a target list to the platoons. Platoon leaders and their FOs review the indirect fire plan to determine the need for additional targets in their area of responsibility. If a need exists for additional targets, the platoon leader requests through fire support channels that those targets be included in the company fire plan. The platoon leader, however, does not wait to receive the company fire plan. He begins fire planning as soon as possible and integrates his fire plan into the company fire plan through fire support channels.


The offensive fire support plan is developed at the same time as the company's scheme of maneuver. The FO integrates the indirect fires, based on the platoon leader's guidance, to support the platoon's maneuver throughout the operation.

a. Fires are planned to support all phases of the attack in front of, on, and behind the objective. Those planned in front and on the objective support the approach, deployment, and assault of the attacking force. Fires planned beyond the objective support the consolidation and disrupt reinforcing and counterattacking forces. Fires are planned on all known or suspected enemy locations. Indirect fires are also planned on likely avenues of approach or on prominent terrain features.

b. The platoon uses smoke or white phosphorus to screen itself when moving mounted or dismounted across danger areas, when breaching obstacles, or when obscuring known or suspected enemy positions.


The platoon leader and the FO plan indirect fire to support the defensive scheme of maneuver. Fire support considerations at platoon and squad level include final protective fires (FPF) and effect of smoke and illumination on defending forces.

a. Fires are planned on all likely enemy positions and on areas the enemy may use in the attack such as OPs, support positions, avenues of approach, assault positions, dead space, flanks, defiles, and obstacles. They are also planned in front of, on top of, and behind friendly positions to stop likely penetrations or to support a counterattack.

b. Final protective fires are barriers of fire planned on the most dangerous enemy avenue of approach to provide immediate close protection for defending soldiers and usually tied to the defensive barrier or engagement area plans. The purpose of FPF is to support the defeat of the enemy's close assault against a defensive position. Therefore, it must be integrated with the platoon and BFV direct fire plan and obstacle plan. Once called for, FPF are fired continuously. For this reason, the company commander often retains the control of FPF. FPF must not be tailed for until the enemy is in close assault of the defensive position. All platoon weapons fire along their final protective line or principle direction of fire while the FPF are being fired.

c. Defending platoons use smoke sparingly. Most often defending platoons use smoke to screen their movement out of a position or to obscure the enemy's view of friendly force efforts in preparing to defend.

d. Illumination provides artificial lighting to the defending force. It should be employed on top of or behind the attacking force instead of on top of the defending force. Platoons use flares, illumination grenades, and mortar and artillery illumination rounds. Flares provide early warning of the enemy approach and help to pinpoint his location. Grenade launcher illumination rounds provide flexible and immediate illumination, while mortars and artillery provide sustained illumination. The company commander normally retains the control of illumination in the defense.


The positioning of the FO and the proper procedures used to call for fire are critical in order to receive immediate indirect fire.

a. Forward Observer Positioning. The platoon leader and FO should always be together during execution. This ensures close synchronization of the scheme of maneuver and plan of fire support. The platoon leader is responsible for both, but he concentrates on maneuver and direct fires. The FO is the platoon leader's principle assistant in managing indirect fires. They eat, sleep, and fight together. Each has separate requirements to communicate with higher headquarters but will do so usually from the same location. The FO should ride in the platoon leader's BFV. The platoon leader and FO identify primary and alternate positions to ensure continuous observation during limited visibility conditions. The FO verifies and rehearses FM radio communications as the tactical situation permits. Squad and BFV section leaders may be designated to observe targets and call for fire.

(1) The platoon leader must ensure that the FO knows the overall concept of the operation to include the following:

  • The location and description of the targets to engage.
  • The terminal effects required (destroy, delay, disrupt, suppress) and the purpose.
  • The communication means, radio net, call signs, and fire direction center to use.
  • When or under what circumstances to engage targets.
  • The relative priority of targets.
  • The method of engagement and method of control to be used in the call for fire.

(2) If the platoon leader and the FO cannot see the targets and trigger lines or TRPs under the visibility conditions expected at the time the target is to be fired, they immediately notify the company. The company commander and fire support team (FIST) evaluate the situation and notify higher headquarters. The planning headquarters then plans a new target at a location that meets the commander's purpose for fire support or higher headquarters devises alternate means to assist the company and platoon in executing indirect fire action at engagement and trigger lines.

b. Call for Fire. A call for fire is a message prepared by an observer. It has all the information needed to deliver indirect fires on the target. Any soldier in the platoon can request indirect fire support by use of the call for fire.

(1) Calls for fire must include--

  • Observer identification and warning order--adjust fire, fire for effect, suppress, and immediate suppression (target identification).
  • Target location methods--grid, polar, and shift from a known point.
  • Target description--give a brief description of the target using the acronym "SNAP" (Size/shape, Nature/nomenclature, Activity, Protection/posture).

(2) A call for fire may also include the following information (optional elements):

(a) Method of engagement. The method of engagement consists of the type of adjustments, danger close, trajectory, ammunition, and distribution.

(b) Method of fire and control.

  • At my command.
  • Cannot observe.
  • Time on target.
  • Continuous illumination.
  • Coordinated illumination.
  • Cease loading.
  • Check firing.
  • Continuous fire.
  • Repeat.

(c) Refinement and end of mission.

  • Correct any adjustments.
  • Record as target.
  • Report battle damage assessment.

(3) Examples of call for fire follow:

(a) Grid.

"_______________ this is _______________ adjust fire/fire for effect, over."

"Grid ________________, over."

"Target description) _________________, over."


1. Determine a six-digit grid for the target.

2. Determine a grid direction to the target and send after the call for fire but before any subsequent corrections.

3. Determine the grid direction to the target.

4. Determine a distance from the observer to the target.

5. Determine if any significant vertical internal exists.

6. Fire direction center must have OP location.

(b) Shift from a known point.

"______________ this is _____________ adjust fire/fire for effect, shift (target number/registration point number), over."

"Direction ______________, Right/Left ________________, Add/Drop ___________, Up/Down ______________, over."

"(Target description) ______________, over."


1. Determine the grid direction to the target.

2. Determine a lateral shift to the target from the known point.

3. Determine the range shift from the known point to the target.

4. Fire direction center must have known point location and target number.


The platoon leader must have the flexibility and capability to place direct fire from BFVs on key targets throughout combat operations. The technique used to do this is a modification of the six elements of the BFV fire command (FM 23-1).

1. Alert. Alert the mounted element leader of an immediate engagement. "A34 (PSG). This is A31 (platoon leader), engagement; over."

2. Weapon/Ammunition. Inform the mounted element leader of the weapon or ammunition to be used. "Engage with coax."

3. Description. Identify the target for the mounted element leader. "Dismounted squad in the tree line to my immediate front."

4. Support Position/Direction. Guide the mounted element into the support position and on the target. "Move 100 meters to your left and shift fires 200 meters left of TRP 2."

5. Range. Give the range to the target. "The squad is 600 meters to your front from that position."

6. Execution. Call for fire. "Fire when in positions, over."

Section VIII


CSS operations at platoon level are a vital part of infantry operations. They consist of logistical and personnel functions. CSS is integrated into the tactical planning process from the starting phases of operations. Well-planned and executed CSS is a large part of mission accomplishment and success of combat operations. Like CS, CSS is a combat multiplier. Soldiers well supplied with food, water, ammunition, shelter, and medical care are more successful in accomplishing their missions than those who are not.


The company headquarters plans, coordinates, and executes CSS functions for the company. The mechanized platoon leader coordinates the platoon's CSS effort, which consists of maintenance, supply, personnel, and medical services. The platoon leader stays abreast of the platoon's CSS status and, along with the platoon sergeant, plans and executes CSS functions. The platoon sergeant and squad leaders supervise the performance of most of the CSS tasks in the platoon. Platoon SOPs stipulate CSS tasks and procedures for their accomplishment. They should standardize as many of the routine and recurring CSS operations as possible. Since most CSS for the platoon comes from the company and battalion, platoon SOPs should include procedures for coordination with the various CSS cells at those levels.


Mechanized infantry platoon and company supplies are delivered by battalion CSS elements. The platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and squad leaders must know the supply status of the platoon and the squads at all times, and they must have a plan to replenish supplies. Platoon and squad SOPs should establish levels of depletion for specified items of supply (for example, ammunition and fuel). This is to preclude running out of critical supplies at the decisive point in an operation. All soldiers and leaders must report supply status once that level is reached. The platoon sergeant combines requests from the squads and forwards them to the 1SG who operates on the battalion administrative/logistic net. Logistics reports, when required, are sent to the commander. Most resupply requests take a lot of time to transmit so line numbers or SOP codes should be used to save time and maintain operational security, especially when operating on a nonsecure net. Requests for supply are filled upon receipt or during the next resupply operation, depending on urgency. Resupply and refueling should be accomplished at every opportunity. One of the most critical resupply functions is water. Even in cold areas, all personnel must drink at least 2 quarts of water a day to maintain efficiency. Water can be resupplied by collecting and filling all the water cans from the vehicles or by moving a water trailer with planned resupply operations.

a. When water is not scarce, leaders must urge soldiers to drink water even when not thirsty. This is due to the body's thirst mechanism, which does not keep pace with the loss of water through normal daily activity. The rate at which dehydration occurs depends on the weather conditions and the level of physical exertion.

b. If water is in short supply, soldiers must use it sparingly for hygienic purposes. To conserve water, a centralized heating point can be established to provide warm MREs. Water used for coffee or tea may be counterproductive because both increase the flow of urine. Soups are an efficient means of providing both water and nutrition when water is scarce, particularly in cold weather when heated food is desirable.

c. In most environments, water is available from natural sources. Soldiers should be trained to find, treat (chemically or using field expedients), and use natural water sources. The use of iodine tablets is the most common and easiest method to treat water. (Iodine tablets that are various shades of gray or have softened should not be used.) (See FM 21-10 and FM 21-76 for more information.)


Platoon resupply is mainly a "push" system. The platoon receives a standard package of supplies based on past usage factors and planning estimates. Resupply of all classes of supply is usually conducted in one of two ways or a combination of both if certain vehicles cannot be moved.

a. Whatever resupply technique they select, leaders must ensure security at all times.

(1) The first technique is the quickest, safest, most efficient and thorough technique for resupply. It is the service-station technique (Figure 2-98); the company sets up a resupply point behind the company and platoons' positions. Each platoon as a whole or by sections quickly rotates through refueling and rearming, picks up other supplies and rations, and receives medical and maintenance support.

(2) The seeond technique is the tailgate technique of resupply (Figure 2-99). This is used when a vehicle cannot be moved from its position. Ammunition, fuel, POLs, and other supplies are moved to the rear of each vehicle's position providing resupply in place. This technique should be used when enemy contact is not likely. It also takes the most time.

b. Emergency resupply may be conducted when the platoon cannot wait for scheduled resupply operations (normally a result of combat). Emergency resupply may involve Classes III, V, VIII, and NBC equipment, and is often conducted while in contact with the enemy.

c. Pre-positioning supplies may be required in some defensive operations but normally only Class V items are pre-positioned. All leaders should verify the locations and prioritize the prestockage of these sites during their reconnaissance and rehearsals. Pre-positioned ammunition must be located in covered and protected positions away from vehicles and individual fighting positions to prevent its destruction and friendly casualties as a result of explosions.


Other BFV resupply considerations include ammunition and missiles, POL, rations and water, and repair parts.

a. Ammunition and Missiles. BFVs require many types and quantities of ammunition and missiles. These can be rapidly expended. BCs and squad leaders must control ammunition and inform the platoon leader or platoon sergeant on the amount of ammunition and missiles remaining, so accurate and timely requests for resupply can be submitted. Redistribution of ammunition after contact is critical to maintaining the fighting capability of the platoon.

(1) Resupply of ammunition and missiles is based on a report of expenditures submitted to the company XO or first sergeant. Ammunition is sent forward from the battalion trains to logistic release points (LRPs). At the LRPs, company personnel assume control and lead the supply vehicles to platoon areas.

(2) Wheeled vehicles, armored vehicles, and helicopters can be used for ammunition resupply. The platoon leader should know what type of transportation is being used. This affects his selection of location, security requirements, and time required to complete resupply.

(a) If wheeled vehicles are used, the platoon leader must select a location that has suitable routes for the wheeled vehicles.

(b) If armored vehicles are used, it may be possible to resupply the platoon in position.

(c) If helicopters are used, an adequate LZ must be selected to the rear of the position. It must be secured before the helicopter arrives. Resupply may require more time because the ammunition might have to be hand-carried off the LZ.

(3) A BFV crew should perform certain steps before being resupplied with ammunition. These include--

(a) Completely filling the ammunition cans (ready boxes) for the 25-mm gun and the 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun.

(b) Repositioning the remaining stowed ammunition to leave the easy-to-stow areas open. For example, if the 25-mm ammunition stowage space under the floor plates is empty, it should be filled with ammunition stowed on the sponsons.

(c) Loading remaining TOWs, if the launchers are empty.

(d) Filling all empty magazines for M16 rifles and the firing port weapons.

(e) Ensuring that adequate tools, such as wire cutters and crowbars, are readily available to open the ammunition boxes.

(f) Determining who provides security, how the ammunition is to be divided and how the ammunition is to be unloaded and stowed. These actions may be prescribed in the SOP.

b. Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants. BFV fuel tanks should be topped off any time the tactical situation allows. Normally, the platoon sergeant requests POL through the XO or first sergeant. The request should tell them how much fuel is needed and where and when to refuel (six-digit grid coordinates).

(1) The BFV has a 175-gallon fuel capacity. This gives it about a 300-mile cruising range. The platoon leader should keep this in mind when planning to refuel, because the amount of fuel required directly affects refueling time. He also must be aware that the cruising range is an approximation, and that terrain and weather influence fuel consumption.

(2) When refueling time is limited, the platoon leader must choose between topping off the BFVs that need the most fuel and putting a limited amount in each BFV. If the fuel tanker can move to the BFV it is best to put a limited amount in each BFV. When the BFVs have to move to a central refueling point, the BFVs requiring the most fuel are moved first and topped off. The others are then topped off at the first opportunity.

(3) At times, the BFVs may have to be topped off using 5-gallon cans. This is slow, so extra time should be allowed. The fastest way to refuel from cans is for each squad to form a line to pass the cans from the fuel-carrying vehicle to the BFV.

c. Rations and Water. Each crew and fire team carries combat rations and water on its BFV. The BFV has designated storage space for rations. If more rations are required, they can be stowed in the bustle rack or secured inside the BFV. When the situation allows, hot meals prepared by battalion mess teams may be served to the platoon. Rations and water supplied to the platoon are based on personnel strength. The platoon leader or platoon sergeant may submit special requests IAW platoon SOP.

d. Repair Parts. Repair parts are issued in response to specific requests or by direct exchange. The battalion maintenance platoon keeps each company's PLL. The company maintenance team carries the supported unit's PLL to expedite repairs. The company is authorized to keep on hand high-demand repair parts for weapons, radios, and vehicles based on the PLL.

(1) A limited number of armament spare parts are stowed on the BFV. This includes a barrel assembly with case and ruptured cartridge extractor for the 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun. Also included are two bolt assemblies, two bolt cam pins, two retaining pins, and a maintenance equipment ease for the FPWs.

(2) Two track blocks and a drift pin are attached to the outside deck of the BFV. A water barrier repair kit is provided. Two vehicle tool bags are in the engine compartment, and one gun tool bag is stowed in the driver's area. These tools are required to perform operator maintenance. (See the TM for a list of tools.)

e. Other Supplies. Although each mechanized infantry platoon has a large amount of equipment, it requires frequent resupply to accomplish its mission. Periodic checks by leaders ensure that equipment is accounted for and ready to use. Low-use items (such as drain plugs, NBC equipment, and certain tools) can easily be lost or damaged; therefore, they should rechecked often to ensure they are on hand and usable.

(1) The battalion medical platoon provides medical supplies. The aidman supporting the platoon assists the platoon sergeant and squad leaders in preparing a consolidated list of required medical supplies. These include not only medical supplies needed by the aidman, but also those used by each soldier such as first-aid dressings, water purification tablets, and foot powder. The platoon sergeant or the aidman passes the list to the company evacuation team. They take the list to the battalion medical platoon where the medical supplies are provided.

(2) Tools, CTA 50-900 equipment, batteries, and other expendables are obtained through the company supply sergeant. Normally, maps are supplied through the company XO or first sergeant.


Maintenance includes unit and direct support maintenance and recovery. It is a continuous process that starts with preventive measures taken by the operator and crew and continues through repairs by maintenance personnel. Proper maintenance is the key to keeping equipment and material in serviceable condition. It includes inspecting, testing, servicing, repairing, requisitioning, recovering, and evacuating. Repair and recovery are done as far forward as the situation allows. When equipment cannot be repaired on site, it is evacuated to the rear only as far as necessary for repair.

a. Maintenance Responsibility. A platoon leader is responsible for the maintenance of his equipment. He must be able to perform preventive maintenance, know what to do when a maintenance problem arises, know how to inspect, and know how to train his operators. Cross-training is critical; the loss of one individual must not adversely affect the combat readiness of the squad or platoon. The platoon leader's responsibilities include training operators, inspecting, assigning tasks within the platoon, and providing adequate time to perform required maintenance. He also supervises all maintenance periods, coordinates support required from higher echelons, informs the chain of command of major problems, and follows up on maintenance being performed outside the platoon.

b. Unit Maintenance. Unit maintenance is the responsibility of the unit that is assigned the equipment. It is performed by operators, crews, and mechanics from the battalion's maintenance platoon.

(1) Operator and crew maintenance includes proper care, use, and operation of equipment. The BFV driver and other crew members perform daily services on the vehicle and all other assigned equipment such as weapons, night vision devices, and NBC gear. These services include inspecting, servicing; tightening; minor lubricating, cleaning, and preserving; and adjusting tools and equipment as prescribed by technical manuals. Crew members must record on DA Form 2404 (Equipment Inspection and Maintenance Worksheet) all equipment faults they cannot correct or those they can correct by replacing a part. The driver's and gunner's reports are the main way to convey information about equipment faults to the platoon leader and to unit maintenance personnel.

(2) PMCS for the turret, automotive, and weapon systems should be conducted before, during, and after operation. This includes detailed daily service as prescribed in the TM and lubrication order.

(3) The gunner should be responsible for maintaining the turret to include weapon systems, maintaining DA Form 2408-4 (round count) on the 25-mm gun and TOW, and knowing when replacement on weapon parts are required such as the 25-mm gun firing pin assembly (8,000 rounds) and breech (25,000 rounds). The driver is responsible for completing DA Form 2404, for performing automotive checks, and for operating the BFV.

(4) When the operator identifies a problem that is beyond his level of maintenance, the battalion maintenance platoon must be notified to isolate and correct it. The battalion maintenance platoon has five company maintenance teams that establish support relationships with the companies. Company maintenance teams have trained mechanics who are authorized to do unit maintenance. Battalion maintenance personnel have test equipment that allows them to rapidly diagnose faults in the system. With the BFV's provision for rapid modular replacement, many faults can also be rapidly corrected. If battalion maintenance cannot repair the item, they arrange to have it checked by DS maintenance.

c. Direct Support Maintenance. DS maintenance is performed by the forward support battalion that normally supports a brigade. It has repair and replacement parts, assemblies, and components. System support teams from DS units may be sent forward to make on-site repairs when possible.

d. Recovery. Recovery is necessary to the repair of vehicles or other items essential to mission accomplishment, that cannot be repaired on site, or to prevent capture or destruction by the enemy. Except for the BFV, most damaged equipment can be carried by the platoon until the platoon sergeant coordinates its evacuation. When a BFV has to be recovered, the platoon leader reports its location and the type and extent of damage or, if known, the repair needed. As a minimum, the driver and gunner should remain with the BFV to secure it and to aid the recovery. The recovery vehicle with the MST supporting the company evacuates the damaged BFV to a logistics release point. There another recovery vehicle from the battalion maintenance platoon or the forward support battalion evacuates it to the unit maintenance collection point (UMCP). The maintenance support team's recovery vehicle could also evacuate to the UMCP.


Primary platoon combat personnel service support functions include strength amounting, casualty reporting, replacement activities. The platoon leader and his noncommissioned officers are responsible for other PSS areas such as enemy prisoner of war (EPW) and the conduct of programs to counter the adverse impacts of stress and continuous operations. Working through company headquarters, platoon leaders also coordinate personnel service support provided by the battalion S1, personnel and administration center (PAC), and the unit ministry team. These agencies assist in such areas as awards and decorations; promotions; mail; and religious, legal, and pay support.

a. Proper accountability of platoon personnel and accurate strength reporting are essential to support decision-making by platoon leaders and company commanders and often the battalion commander. Using battle rosters, leaders in the platoon maintain accurate up-to-date records of their personnel. At periodic intervals they provide strength figures to the company CP. During combat they provide hasty strength reports on request or when significant changes in strength occur.

b. By-name casualty information is reported to company headquarters during lulls in the tactical situation. Soldiers having direct knowledge of an incident complete a DA Form 1155 (Witness Statement) to report missing or captured soldiers (casualties no longer under US control). To report soldiers who are killed or wounded, they use DA Form 1156 (Casualty Feeder Report). After being collected and reviewed for accuracy by the platoon sergeant or platoon leader, these forms provide important casualty information. They are also used to determine the platoon's replacement requirements.

c. The manner in which a new soldier is welcomed into his platoon and integrated into its activities is key to his combat effectiveness, his survival, and his success on the battlefield. After being processed into the battalion by the PAC, the soldier is moved to the company. Upon arrival in the platoon, he should be met and welcomed by the platoon leader or platoon sergeant, or both. Once his name is logged onto the battle roster and he has been inspected and given a brief orientation to the platoon, he is quickly moved to the squad. In addition to similar squad-level in-processing, squad leaders pair the new soldier with an experienced soldier, who serves as his buddy.

d. EPWs and enemy documents and equipment are good sources of combat information. Soldiers must handle EPWs without violating international law. EPWs must be treated humanely; they must not be physically or mentally abused. The senior officer or NCO present is responsible for the care of EPWs. If a platoon cannot evacuate an EPW in a reasonable time, he must be given food, water, and first aid. He should not be given comfort items such as cigarettes and candy.

(1) Those EPWs who receive favors and those who become mistreated are poor interrogation subjects. In handling EPWs, soldiers use the five "S's":

(a) Search EPWs as soon as they are captured. Take their weapons and papers, except identification papers. Give a written receipt for any personal property and documents taken. Tag documents and personal property as to which EPW had them. Have one man guard while another searches. When searching, do not get between the EPW and the guard. To search a EPW, have him spread-eagle against a tree or wall, or on the ground in a push-up position with the knees on the ground. Search the EPW and all his gear and clothing.

(b) Segregate EPWs into the following categories: combatant (military) and noncombatant (civilians) male and female; officers and enlisted, civilians and deserters, nationality and ideology; and those who have surrendered (as opposed to those who resisted capture). Identifying prisoners may be difficult because of the language barrier. Prisoners who cannot be readily identified will be segregated from other prisoners and treated as EPWs.

(c) Silence EPWs. Do not let them talk to each other. This keeps them from planning escape and from cautioning each other on security. Report anything an EPW says or tries to say to another EPW.

(d) Speed EPWs to the rear. Platoons turn EPWs over to the company where they are assembled and moved to the rear for questioning by qualified intelligence soldiers.

(e) Safeguard EPWs when taking them to the rear. Make sure they arrive safely. Watch out for escape attempts. Do not let them bunch up, spread too far out, or start diversions such as fist fights that create a chance for escape. At the same time, do not let anyone abuse them.

(2) If an EPW is wounded and cannot be evacuated through normal channels, he is treated by an aidman and evacuated through medical channels. The EPW must be guarded by other than medical soldiers.

(3) Before evacuating an EPW, he should be tagged with a captive and equipment/document tag (Figure 2-100) or a minimal tag (Figures 2-101 and 2-102). The tag should be perforated into three parts and made of durable material. It should measure about 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters for each part. It should be pierced at the top and bottom and reinforced for security for ease of attachment.

e. Enemy documents are a valuable source of information; they must be processed as quickly as possible. Documents can be official or personal. When a platoon captures documents in the custody of an EPW, the platoon leader or the senior leader at the capture site is responsible for preliminary screening and for reporting the capture of enemy documents to his next higher leader. That leader ensures that the documents are properly tagged and that the documents accompany the EPW to the point of turnover to the company.

f. Equipment and documents (operator's manuals, TMs, and so on) are a valuable source of information. They must be kept together and guarded throughout the capture and evacuation process to prevent looting, misuse, or destruction. Equipment and documents must be tagged. Captured enemy medical equipment and supplies are never used on US casualties but should be turned in for use on wounded EPWs.


The platoon normally has an aidman from the battalion medical platoon. The aidman rides in the platoon sergeant's BFV when the platoon is mounted and with the infantry when dismounted. His job is to furnish emergency medical treatment, determine which casualties need to be evacuated, and prepare them for evacuation. He also advises the platoon leader on measures to help prevent sickness and injuries. These include measures to prevent exposure to heat and cold, food poisoning, and bad water. Because of limited medical resources, platoon and squad members must rely on self-aid and buddy-aid to ensure prompt and effective treatment to battlefield casualties. Additionally, command emphasis on combat lifesaver programs acts as a medical multiplier. At least one soldier in each squad and section must be trained as a combat lifesaver to help the aidman treat and evacuate casualties. The combat lifesavers are part of the platoon aid and litter team. Combat lifesavers provide initial treatment until medical personnel can treat the casualties, but only after their primary infantry duties are complete. They can also help in triage or treatment, or both, after medical personnel arrive, if the tactical and medical situation allow. The aidman informs the platoon leader when there are casualties to be evacuated. Based on the tactical situation, the platoon leader decides when to evacuate casualties.

a. When the platoon is in contact, casualties awaiting evacuation should be protected from enemy fire until the fight is over.

b. The decision to evacuate casualties with serious wounds must be based on the effect of such action on mission accomplishment, and the possibility additional casualties might result. Casualties should never be deserted.

c. Weapons and NBC equipment of casualties to be evacuated are handled according to company SOP. PERSONAL EFFECTS ON THE BODY OF A DEAD SOLDIER ARE NEVER REMOVED. Any equipment or personal effects found after a soldier has been evacuated should be inventoried and sent to the company supply sergeant.

d. Casualties are either evacuated by the platoon or by the medical team supporting the company. This team is normally equipped with an armored ambulance.

(1) Platoon evacuation. The BFV is the quickest and safest way to evacuate casualties. The casualties are transported to the company casualty collection point. If a company casualty collection point has not been set up, or the situation does not permit use of a BFV, the platoon leader requests help from the company commander. The platoon aidman goes with the casualties if they require immediate care. The aidman completes a DD Form 1380 (Field Medical Card) and attaches it to the casualty. This card stays with the casualty until evacuation is complete. The information on the card includes initial diagnosis and medication given.

(2) Company evacuation. When the company is to evacuate casualties, the casualties should be moved to a covered and concealed location to the rear of the platoon's position. This location must be reported to the company when the evacuation request is submitted. If enemy indirect fire presents a threat, the casualties are kept in a BFV and transferred to the ambulance when it arrives. When this is done, the platoon leader may send two men or a fire team to secure the location and guide the ambulance.

Section IX


Armored and mechanized forces normally work together in combat operations. This section discusses tactics and techniques used by mechanized infantry platoons working with armor. A company team consists of mechanized infantry platoons and tank platoons. Each platoon has unique characteristics and should be employed to complement the others and be prepared to provide mutual support. A BFV platoon can take advantage of the tanks' firepower, armor protection, and mobility in the offense; and the tanks' laser ranger finder to move into positions in the defense. Tanks can take advantage of the BFV platoon's ability to provide close-in protection from dismounted attacks in the defense.


When terrain, visibility, and the enemy situation permit mounted movement, tanks normally lead followed or overwatched by BFVs.

a. Tanks in the Lead. Tanks normally lead a movement formation because of their survivability, firepower, and shock effect. The BFV platoon normally moves 200 to 400 meters behind the tanks in order to support them and at the same time avoid fires directed at the tanks (Figure 2-103).

(1) When the company team uses traveling or traveling overwatch movement techniques, the commander stipulates the sequence and locations for movement and the distance between the tanks and BFVs. BFVs must be close enough to protect the flanks and rear of the tanks.

(2) When the company team uses bounding overwatch, a tank platoon usually serves as the bounding element successively overwatched by BFVs and, in some cases, by other tanks. Because tank crews have difficulty seeing behind them, one of the BFV platoon's primary jobs is to protect the tanks' rear and flanks from enemy infantry attack. The platoon must be alert for enemy antiarmor positions. Since ATGM fires are usually characterized by a trail of smoke from the launch site, the BFV commanders should suppress the enemy antiarmor weapon and send a warning over the radio.

b. Dismounted Element Leading Tanks. The mounted platoon seldom leads tanks. Usually, the dismounted element of the platoon leads to breach obstacles, to move through restrictive terrain, to clear defiles, or to act as a guide when visibility is limited (Figure 2-104).

(1) When an obstacle hinders mounted movement, the dismount element clears or breaches it, or finds a bypass. It approaches the obstacle using bounding overwatch, while BFVs are positioned to support. Also, when visibility interferes with mounted movement, the dismount element leads, overwatched by the BFVs and tanks.

(2) Fire control is difficult while moving during limited visibility, but it is facilitated by using the wingman concept. It can be done only if the platoon has practiced the SOP. Indirect-fire illumination should not be relied on, because it is slow and not as effective in smoke, fog, snow, dust, or heavy rain. Additionally, heavy rain or cold fog reduces thermal sight range capability. Although the thermal sight allows the BFV and tanks to acquire a target at great distances during reduced visibility, it does not provide a clear enough sight picture for vehicle identification. Platoons using thermal sights for long distances must establish positive identification and check-fire procedures to preclude destroying friendly vehicles or personnel.


Before an operation, mechanized infantry and tank leaders must coordinate communications means and signals. This includes the use of radios, phones, and visual signals (such as arm-and-hand, panel, lights, flags, and pyrotechnics). The BFV's communication system provides for control of mounted and dismounted operations. Tanks have the same system.

a. BFVs Communicating With Tanks. As communication systems are updated, platoons will have the single-channel ground/airborne radio system (SINCGARS). This allows secure communication between tanks, BFVs and the dismounted element. During defensive operations, tanks and BFVs can communicate by running communication wire between vehicles.

b. Dismounted Infantry Communicating With Tanks. Most tanks, with the exception of the M1, have an external phone on the rear fender for dismounted infantrymen to use. On the M1, the infantryman can run communication wire to the tank crew through the turret. This wire is hooked into the tank's communication system. Leaders must be confident that tanks and dismounted infantry can move and shoot without the risk of fratricide and confusion.

Section X


An obstacle is any natural or man-made obstruction that turns, fixes, disrupts, or blocks the movement of a force. The platoon must know how to employ obstacles and how to breach and clear obstacles. (See FM 5-34 and FM 5-102 for additional information concerning obstacles.)


Obstacles are used in all operations, but are most useful in the defense. Engineers normally construct obstacles with help from the platoon. There will be times when the platoon must build obstacles without engineer help. In such cases, the leader should seek engineer advice on the technical aspects. Platoon leaders must always consider what materials are needed and how long the obstacle will take to construct.

In the offense, the platoon uses obstacles to--

  • Aid in flank security.
  • Limit enemy counterattack.
  • Isolate objectives.
  • Cut off enemy reinforcement or routes of withdrawal.

In the defense, the platoon uses obstacles to--

  • Slow the enemy's advance to give the platoon more time to mass fires on him.
  • Protect defending squads and sections.
  • Canalize the enemy into places where he can more easily be engaged.
  • Separate the enemy's tanks from his infantry.
  • Strengthen areas that are lightly defended.

a. Functions. Obstacles perform one of four tactical functions--disrupt, turn, fix, or block.

(1) Disrupt. These obstacles are used to disrupt assault formations, attacking the low-level command and control while the attacker is under direct fire.

(2) Turn. Turning obstacles move and manipulate the enemy to the force's advantage by enticing or forcing him to move in a desired direction, by splitting his formation, by canalizing him, or by exposing his flank.

(3) Fix. Fixing obstacles slow and hold the enemy in a specific area so that he can be killed with fires, or the obstacles generate the time necessary for the force to break contact and disengage.

(4) Block. Blocking obstacles are complex, employed in depth, and integrated with fires to prevent the enemy from proeeeding along a certain avenue of approach. Blocking obstacles serve as a limit, beyond which the enemy will not be allowed to go.

b. Principles of Employment. When employing obstacles, the leader considers the following principles.

(1) Support the tactical plan. Obstacles supplement combat power, decrease the mobility of the enemy, and provide security for the platoon. While considering enemy avenues of approach, the leader also considers his own movement requirements such as routes for resupply, withdrawal, counterattacks, patrols, and observation posts.

(2) Tie in. He ties in his reinforcing obstacles with existing and natural obstacles. He must also coordinate the obstacle plan with his plans for fire support.

(3) Covered by observation and fire. He ensures that all obstacles are covered by observation and fire. This reduces the enemy's ability to remove or breach the obstacles and increases the possibilities of placing fire on the enemy when he encounters the obstacles.

(4) Constructed in depth. He emplaces obstacles so that each new obstacle encountered by the enemy attrites the enemy force and causes a desired and controlled reaction. Proper use of obstacles in depth weakens the enemy and significantly increases the overall desired effect.

(5) Employed for surprise. An obvious pattern of obstacles would disclose locations of platoons and weapons. Friendly forces must avoid readily visible patterns.


The two types of obstacles are existing and reinforcing.

a. Existing Obstacles. Existing obstacles are those natural or cultural restrictions to movement that are part of the terrain when battle planning begins. The location and characteristics of natural or cultural obstacles have a direct relationship to the plan of operations and the positioning of forces. Existing obstacles should be easily converted into more effective obstacles, they should be in defilade from enemy observation, they should be where friendly observation and fires can prevent enemy breaching, and they should be difficult to bypass. Existing obstacles include the following.

(1) Steep slopes. Varying degrees of incline are required to stop different types of vehicles. Tanks can negotiate slopes as steep as 60 percent. Craters, mines, abatis, and induced landslides increase the obstacle value of slopes.

(2) Escarpments. Vertical (or near-vertical) cuts and walls over 1 1/2 meters high cannot be crossed by vehicles without some type of breach. Thick rock walls, railroad embankments, and steep fills along highways are examples of esarpments.

(3) Ravines, gullies, and ditches. Ravines, gullies, and ditches are obstacles to wheeled vehicles. If over 5 meters wide, these obstacles are usually effective against tracked vehicles.

(4) Rivers, streams, and canals. The major obstacle value of rivers, streams, and canals is that they must be crossed by special means: deepwater fording or surface or aerial means. The ease of crossing by deepwater fording and surface means is determined by the width and depth of the water obstacle, the water velocity, and the condition of the banks and bottom.

(5) Swamps and marshes. Swamps and marshes, where firm ground is lacking or is a meter or so below water level, are effective obstacles against all types of vehicles. They also severely restrict the mobility of infantry.

(6) Snow. Even on otherwise trafficable terrain, snow 1 meter deep becomes a major obstacle to personnel and vehicles.

(7) Trees. Heavy stands of trees that are 8 inches or more in diameter, spaced less than 20 feet apart, will eventually build up into an obstacle if tracked vehicles attempt to push them over and force their way through.

(8) Built-up area. The obstacle value of a built-up area depends on its size, location, and construction. The natural obstacle value of built-up areas can be increased by cratering streets; demolishing walls; overturning or derailing street or railroad cars; and constructing roadblocks from steel rails, beams, and rubble. When reinforced with mines and barbed wire, such obstacles protect against armored, mechanized, and infantry forces.

b. Reinforcing Obstacles. Reinforcing obstacles are those specifically constructed, emplaced, or detonated to tie together, strengthen, and extend existing obstacles. Careful evaluation of the terrain, to determine its existing obstructing or canalizing effect, is required to achieve maximum use of reinforcing obstacles. Installation time and manpower are usually the two most important factors. Infantry platoons provide the most readily available source of manpower. Reinforcing obstacles include the following.

(1) Road craters. Road craters are effective obstacles on roads or trails if the areas on the flanks of the crater are tied into steep slopes or mined areas.

(2) Abatis. An abatis is an obstacle created by cutting down trees so that their tops are crisscrossed and pointing toward the expected enemy direction. It is most effective for stopping vehicles in a forest. This obstacle may be reinforced with mines and booby traps.

(3) Ditches. Ditches across roads and trails are effective obstacles. Large ditches in open areas require engineer equipment.

(4) Log hurdles. Log hurdles act as "speed bumps" on roads. They are easily installed and are most effective when used in conjunction with other obstacles.

(5) Log cribs. A log crib is constructed of logs, dirt, and rocks. The logs are used to make rectangular or triangular cribs that are filled with dirt and rock. These are used to block narrow roads and defiles. Log cribs must be solidly built to stop tanks.

(6) Log posts. Log posts embedded in the road and employed in depth can effectively stop tracked vehicles. If they are not high enough to be pushed out of the way, posts can cause a tracked vehicle to throw a track if it tries to climb over. If employed with wire and mines, they can also slow infantry.

(7) Rubble. Rubble from selected masonry structures and buildings in a built-up area will limit movement through an area and provide fortified fighting positions.

(8) Wire entanglements. Wire entanglements impede the movement of infantry and, in some cases, tracked and wheeled vehicles. The materials used in constructing wire entanglements are relatively lightweight (compared to other obstacles) and inexpensive, considering the protection they afford.

(a) Triple standard concertina fence. The most common wire entanglement a platoon or squad may build is the triple standard concertina fence. (Figure 2-105.) It is built of either barbed wire concertina or barbed tape concertina. There is no difference in building methods. The material and labor requirements for a 300-meter triple standard concertina fence are--

  • Long pickets--160
  • Short pickets--4
  • Barbed wire, 400-meter reels--3
  • Rolls of concertina--59
  • Staples--317
  • Man-hours to erect--30

(b) Concertina roadblock. The concertina roadblock is placed across roadways and designed to block wheeled or tracked vehicles. The roadblock is constructed of 11 concertina rolls or coils placed together, about 10 meters in depth, reinforced with long pickets five paces apart. The rolls or coils should not be tautly bound, thus allowing them to be dragged and tangled around axles, or tank road wheels and sprockets. Additionally, wire is placed horizontally on top of the concertina rolls or coils. (See Figure 2-106.)

(c) Tanglefoot. Tanglefoot is used to provide concealment where needed and to prevent the enemy from crawling between fences and in front of emplacements. The obstacle should be employed in a minimum width of 32 feet. The pickets should be placed at irregular intervals of 2 1/2 feet to 10 feet, and the height of the barbed wire should vary between 9 to 30 inches. Tanglefoot should be sited in scrub, if possible, using bushes as supports for part of the wire. On open ground, short pickets should be used.

(9) Mines. Mines are one of the most effective tank and personnel killers on the battlefield. Minefields that an infantry platoon or squad most commonly emplace are the hasty protective, point, and phony.

(a) Hasty protective minefield. In the defense, platoons and BFV squads lay hasty protective minefields to supplement weapons, prevent surprise, and give early warning of enemy advance. A platoon can install hasty protective minefields, but only with permission from the company commander and only if he has authority from higher headquarters.

  • Three reports are also required--intention, initiation, and completion. Hasty protective minefields are reported to the company commander and recorded on DA Form 1355-1-R. The leader puts the minefield across likely avenues of approach, within range of and covered by his organic weapons and some indirect fire weapons. If time permits, the mines should be buried to increase effectiveness, but they may be laid on top of the ground in a random pattern. The BFV platoon's basic load of mines consists of two per vehicle. Additional mines can be requested through the supply system and delivered by LOGPAC.
  • The minefield should be recorded before the mines are armed. The leader installing the minefield should warn adjacent platoons and tell the company commander of the minefield's location. When the platoon leaves the area (except when forced to withdraw by the enemy), it must remove the minefield or transfer the responsibility for the minefield to the relieving platoon leader. Only metallic mines are used in hasty protective minefields. Booby traps are not used in hasty protective minefields; they delay removal of the mines. The employing platoon must make sure that the minefield can be kept under observation and covered by fire at all times. The following example describes how to lay a hasty protective minefield.


After requesting and receiving permission to lay the minefield, the platoon leader and BFV squad leaders reconnoiter to determine exactly where to place the mines. The leaders find a need to use antitank mines to block ememy vehicles at the bridge and the ford. The leaders decide that antipersonnel mines are needed to protect the antitank mines and to cover the likely avenues of approach of enemy infantry (Figure 2-107).

While the soldiers are placing the mines, the platoon leader finds an easily identifiable reference point in front of the platoon's position, but well behind the minefield. The platoon leader records the minefield using a reference point (in this example, the concrete post) (Figure 2-108). The row of mines closest to the enemy is designated A and the succeeding rows are B, C, and so on.

The ends of a row are shown by two markers. They are labeled with the letter of the row and number 1 for the right end of the row and number 2 for the left end of the row. The rows are numbered from right to left, facing the enemy. The marker can be a steel picket or wooden stake with a nail or a can attached so that it can be found with a metallic mine detector.

After determining the rows, the platoon leader places a row marker 15 to 25 paces to the right (outside) of the first mine. In this case, the row marker is B. From the concrete post, the platoon leader measures the magnetic azimuth in degrees and paces the distance to row marker B-1. (Figure 2-109.) The platoon leader places a marker at B-1 and records the azimuth and distance from the concrete post to B-1 on DA Form 1355-1-R.

Row A marker is placed in the same manner as row B. Next, from B-1 the platoon leader measures the azimuth and distance to A-1. The platoon leader then measures the distance and azimuth from A-1 to the first mine in row A and records the location of the mine. He then measures the distance and azimuth from the mine to the secondhand so on until all mine locations have been recorded as shown. The platoon leader gives each mine a number to identify it in the tabular block of DA Form 1355-1-R. When the last mine location in row A is recorded, the platoon leader measures an azimuth and distance from the last mine to another arbitrary point between 15 and 25 paces beyond the last mine. He places a marker here and calls it A-2. The platoon leader follows the same procedure with row B.

When the platoon leader finishes recording and marking the rows, he measures the distance and azimuth from the reference point to B-2, and from B-2 to A-2, and records them.

The platoon leader now ties in the reference point with a permanent landmark that he found on the map. He measures the distance and the azimuth from this landmark to the reference point. He may use the landmark to help others locate the minefield should it be abandoned. Finally, he completes the tabular and identification blocks.

While the platoon leader is tying in the landmark, the soldiers arm the mines nearest the enemy first (row A). The platoon leader reports that the minefield is completed and keeps DA Form 1355-1-R. If the minefield is transferred to another platoon, the gaining platoon leader signs and dates the mines transferred block and accepts the form from the previous leader. When the minefield is removed, the form is destroyed. If the minefield is left unattended or abandoned unexpectedly, the form must be forwarded to the company commander. The company commander forwards it to battalion to be transferred to more permanent records.

When retrieving the mines, the soldiers start at the reference point and move to B-1, using the azimuth and distances as recorded. They then move from B-1 to the first mine in row B. However, if B-1 is destroyed, they move from the reference point to B-2 using that azimuth and distance. They will now have to shoot the back azimuth from B-2 to the last mine. The stakes at A-1, B-1, A-2, and B-2 are necessary, because it is safer to find a stake when traversing long distances than to find a live mine.

(b) Point minefields. Point minefields disorganize enemy forces and hinder their use of key areas. Point minefields are of irregular size and shape, and include all types of antitank and antipersonnel mines, and antihandling devices. They should be used to add to the effect of existing and reinforcing obstacles, or to rapidly block an enemy counterattack along a flank avenue of approach.

(c) Phony minefields. Phony minefields, used to degrade enemy mobility and preserve friendly mobility, simulate live minefields and deceive the enemy. They are used when lack of time, personnel, or material prevents use of actual mines. Phony minefields may be used as gaps in live minefields. To be effective, a phony minefield must look like a live minefield by either burying metallic objects or making the ground look as though objects are buried.


Platoons bypass and breach enemy obstacles. The decision to bypass or breach is based on the mission, the situation, and the assets available.

a. Bypassing. Obstacles are bypassed if at all possible. When bypassing an obstacle, the leader reports its type and location to higher headquarters. The leader must be alert for enemy contact when bypassing, because the enemy normally covers the bypass routes by fire.

b. Breaching. A breach is the employment of any means available to break through or secure a passage through an enemy obstacle. In accordance with FM 90-13-1, the four types of breaches are in-stride, deliberate, assault, and covert.

(1) In-stride breach. The in-stride breach involves the breach of an obstacle or obstacles to maintain the momentum of an attack by attempting to breach them as they are encountered.

(2) Deliberate breach. A deliberate breach is conducted when it is not possible or necessary to cross an obstacle in stride, or after a hasty breach has failed. It is characterized by detailed planning and preparation, and executed with engineer assistance.

(3) Assault breach. The assault breach is conducted by company teams and platoons assigned the mission of assaulting an objective as part of a larger force's attack. The assault breach allows a force to penetrate an enemy's protective obstacles and destroy the defender in detail.

(4) Covert breach. The covert breach is a special breaching operation used by dismounted forces during limited visibility. It is silently executed to achieve surprise and to minimize casualties. The covert breach relies on stealth, quiet manual lane-reduction techniques, and dismounted maneuver. A covert breach is used during an assault when the need for surprise outweighs the need for overwhelming suppression.


Leaders must know the techniques used to overcome reinforced obstacles. Obstacles can restrict vehicular movement. The platoon may have to clear obstacles to help vehicles go forward. The platoon may not be able to keep the enemy from knowing that it is going to breach, but it may keep the enemy from knowing where and when it will breach. The platoon breaches different obstacles using different techniques, types of equipment, and explosives or MICLIC if available. Equipment and explosives may include rocket-propelled line charges, mine detectors, bangalore torpedoes, grappling hooks, direct fire weapons, and hand-emplaced explosives. Platoons breach all obstacles using the same fundamentals (SOSR):

  • Suppress the enemy to allow the breach element to create a breach.
  • Obscure the breach site from enemy observation.
  • Secure the breach site, execute the breach, and secure the far side.
  • Reduce the obstacle to facilitate movement of follow-on forces.

a. Minefields. The objective of a minefield breach is to clear a path or lane through a mined area for friendly forces to continue their mission. The selection of lane locations should take advantage of cover and concealment, overwatching fires, and the commander's scheme of maneuver. Breaching a minefield where it is first encountered before considering other possible sites is not recommended.



(1) Step 1. Suppress the Enemy. The enemy covering the obstacle must be suppressed.

(2) Step 2. Obscure with Smoke. Smoke is used to obscure the obstacle area and conceal friendly soldiers.

(3) Step 3. Probe and Mark Mines. A footpath or lane is probed and the mines are marked. The preferred way to clear a lane through a minefield is to use a rocket-propelled line charge or bangalore torpedo. (Figure 2-110.) The only way to clear a minefield without special equipment is to probe with a pointed nonmetallic object. One squad probes while the platoon (-) overwatches. (Figure 2-111.)

(a) The squad probing the footpath or lane through the minefield uses two probers--one in front, clearing a lane wide enough to crawl through, and one prober clearing 10 meters behind and slightly to one side so that their lanes overlap.

(b) Two other soldiers crawl behind to secure the probers, to carry additional supplies, or to take a prober's job if one becomes a casualty. The probers should be rotated often to keep them from getting tired or careless, or both. (Figure 2-112.)

(c) The probers wear their protective vests and helmets, and carry their NBC masks. They roll up their sleeves and remove rings and watches. LBE, rucksacks, weapons, and other metallic equipment are carried by other members of the breach force.



NOTE: If in a contaminated environment, probers must maintain protective posture.

(d) If the probe meets resistance and does not go into the ground freely, the prober picks the soil away with the tip of the probe and removes the loose dirt by hand. If it is a mine, they remove enough soil to see what type of mine it is. They mark its location without attempting to remove or disarm the mine.

NOTE: If a soldier is injured in a minefield, all other soldiers freeze. The nearest soldier probes his way to the injured soldier, applies first aid, and carries him out--carefully moving back through the probed lane.

(4) Step 4. Secure the Far Side. As soon as the breaching element has probed a lane, it or another element secures the far side. Dismounted forces should secure the far side of an obstacle as quickly as possible. This helps keep the enemy from attacking or placing fires on the breach site. When breaching an obstacle for vehicles, if the dismounted element can bypass on foot, leaders should designate an element to bypass the obstacle and secure the far side while the breaching effort is on-going. That element should have machine guns; light and or medium antiarmor weapons; and a map, compass, and binoculars or thermal sight to call for and adjust fires.

(5) Step 5. Reduce the obstacles. Marked mines are destroyed with explosives or grappling hooks. Metallic mines must be destroyed before moving soldiers through the lane.

(6) Step 6. Mark Cleared Lane. The breach element marks the cleared lane.

(7) Step 7. Move Unit Through the Obstacle. The leader moves the platoon through the obstacle.

b. Tank Ditches. SOSR is applied in breaching tank ditches (Figure 2-113). Mechanized infantry can reduce tank ditches by bringing down the sides of the ditch with D-handled shovels, helmets, or explosives. An armored combat earthmover, tank with blades, or combat engineer vehicle should be used to reduce the obstacle quickly.

c. Craters. SOSR is applied. A crater is reduced using the same steps as a tank ditch.

d. Wire. SOSR is applied. If vehicles are available, they should be used to pull wire entanglements off assault paths, detonating antipersonnel mines in the process. Another method is for soldiers to prepare and emplace material over the wire to make an assault footpath. The assaulting force must first clear the wire of antipersonnel mines before laying material onto the wire. Another method is to cut through the wire obstacle as described below, after suppressing the enemy and obscuring their visibility. The clearing squad uses wire cutters, bangalore torpedoes, or explosives to remove the wire. The clearing squad checks for and marks mines and booby traps. One squad breaches while the platoon (-) overwatches. Tank fire, combat engineer vehicle fire, and massed indirect and direct fire can help breach the wire, if available. As soon as the breach element has cleared a lane, it secures the far side. Marked mines are destroyed with explosives or grappling hooks. Then, the cleared lane is marked.

Section XI


The mechanized infantry platoon must be able to fight on the nuclear, biological, and chemically contaminated battlefield. The three fundamentals of NBC operations are contamination avoidance, protection, and decontamination. An understanding of these fundamentals enhances operational readiness and survival on the integrated battlefield.


The platoon's ability to fight in a nuclear environment, as in any combat situation, depends largely on how well individual and collective tasks have been learned in training. During training and operations, the proper positioning and movement of soldiers and vehicles and the proper construction of fighting positions with overhead protection must be stressed. When the platoon can do all the individual and collective tasks while employing nuclear protective measures, its chances of continuing to be combat effective on the integrated battlefield are improved.

a. Nuclear Weapons Effects. Nuclear weapons produce four primary effects: blast, thermal radiation (heat and light), nuclear radiation, and electromagnetic pulse. The degree of nuclear effect depends on how close a platoon is to the detonation and how well soldiers and equipment are protected.

(1) Blast. When a nuclear weapon detonates, it sends out a shock wave at the speed of sound in all directions. It can collapse buildings and hurl men and equipment. The blast effect has two phases: the positive phase or shockwave, and the negative phase or suction effect.

(2) Thermal radiation. Thermal radiation produced by a nuclear explosion consists of intense heat and extremely bright light. Unprotected soldiers exposed to this heat and intense light can be severely burned and blinded. Materials (such as wood, plastics, and rubber) may melt or burn. The extent of these effects depends on the kind of weapon, weather, and terrain. Fog or heavy battlefield smoke can reduce the effects of thermal radiation. On clear nights, the blinding effect is greater, and night vision devices can be damaged.

(3) Nuclear radiation. A nuclear weapon produces two forms of nuclear radiation--initial and residual. Both forms of radiation can injure or kill. The human body can survive limited exposure to radiation, but the effects add up; each dose a person receives adds to earlier doses. Troop exposure to radiation must be measured and recorded so the amount of radiation absorbed can be monitored. Soldiers should be taken out of contaminated areas before they are exposed to an overdose of radiation.

(a) Initial radiation occurs during the first instant of the explosion. Since this radiation travels at the speed of light, the only way to lessen the danger is to be protected before the detonation.

(b) Residual radiation remains after the first minute. It is caused by materials being exposed to the initial radiation and retaining the radiation effects. It is found around the site of the nuclear detonation. If radioactive particles are carried aloft, they become fallout, which may spread over a larger area. Fallout is created by dust sucked into the explosion and later scattered by the wind. Such things as dirt, equipment, and buildings become contaminated from exposure to either initial radiation or fallout.

(4) Electromagnetic pulse. EMP is a massive surge of electrical power similar to a strong radio signal. It comes from the nuclear explosion and is transmitted through the air in all directions. It occurs immediately after a nuclear device explodes. It can damage electrical components of equipment (radios, radars, and vehicles) and weapon systems (TOW and Dragon) if proper precautions are not taken. EMP does not harm soldiers. Equipment can be protected against EMP by using protective devices where signals can enter (antenna and cable terminals) to divert energy to the ground, and by properly shielding circuits from outside electromagnetic fields. Much protection can also be provided by using techniques to minimize exposure to EMP and by reducing the amount of EMP energy going into the circuits from outside sources. The first step is to teach everyone about EMP and its effects on equipment. Secondly, soldiers should take steps to reduce EMP exposure by grounding all connecting cables as much as practical and by placing them in metal conduits.

b. Warning of a Nuclear Explosion or Hazard. Information about possible enemy use of nuclear weapons is forwarded to companies and platoons through the chain of command by the quickest and most secure means. The communication to the platoons need contain only--

  • A proword indicating that the message is a nuclear strike warning.
  • A brief message, IAW SOP, that directs the platoon either to take specific protective actions or to evacuate the area.

c. Alarm for Nuclear Hazard. As soon as a soldier using a monitoring device detects a nuclear hazard, he should warn others. The alarm must be passed swiftly throughout the platoon. The standard alarm is to yell "FALLOUT." The same warning is used when the platoon moves into an area contaminated by residual radiation. The "ALL CLEAR" is used to indicate that the danger no longer exists. Normally, the all clear signal is first given by the company commander or a platoon leader and then repeated by each soldier when he hears it.

d. Nuclear Protective Measures. A soldier can get protection against many nuclear effects by taking cover in a fighting position, culvert, or ditch behind a hill; or inside a BFV in defilade. In most cases, a fighting position with overhead cover or a BFV in defilade offers the best protection. When a platoon, without warning, is subjected to an enemy nuclear attack, personnel exposed in BFV hatches should immediately get down in the vehicle and close the hatches, door, or ramp. They should also lower blackout curtains over vision blocks. Dismounted exposed soldiers should immediately close their eyes, and fall to prone and head-on positions. They keep their heads and faces down until the blast wave passes and debris stops falling. As soon as possible, leaders should reestablish command, communication, and security; and send the initial NBC 1 report. Action should be taken to start continuous monitoring. The platoon uses the NBC 4 report format to send its findings to the company commander.

e. Radiological Monitoring. Radiological monitoring is the detection (presence and intensity) of residual radiation by the use of radiacmeters. Monitoring is essential down to squad level to prevent overexposure to radiation. The IM-174 or AN/VDR-2-series radiacmeters are the instruments used for area monitoring and survey. The IM-93 or DT 236 dosimeters are the instruments used to measure total dose radiation received by soldiers. Accurate dose records must be kept to avoid overexposing soldiers and to keep the total dose relatively equal within a platoon. If a squad is deployed under its leader's control, it should carry and monitor the dosimeters. If the platoon is deployed with a dismount element and a fighting vehicle element, each element leader should monitor a dosimeter. The two types of monitoring techniques are periodic and continuous. Platoons return to periodic monitoring when ordered by a higher echelon or when the radiacmeter reading falls below 1 cGy per hour.

(1) Periodic monitoring requires frequent checks and readings of the platoon area for radiation at least once each hour with the IM-174. Platoon SOPs may require more frequent readings and detailed information when monitoring.

(2) Continuous monitoring requires the continuous surveillance for radiation in the platoon area or position. The platoon begins monitoring when--

  • A nuclear detonation is observed or reported.
  • An NBC 3 nuclear report is received from higher headquarters.
  • A dose rate of 1 cGy per hour is recorded during periodic monitoring. (Centigray is a unit of absorbed dose of radiation formerly called a rad.)
  • Ordered by higher.


Threat forces have both chemical and biological weapons that may be used separately, together, or with nuclear and conventional weapons. No matter how these weapons might be used, the BFV platoon and squad must be able to survive and carry on the fight. To ensure this, soldiers must be trained to meet the NBC standards of proficiency prescribed in STPs 21-1-SMCT and 21-24-SMCT, and FM 3-100.

a. Characteristics of Chemical and Biological Agents. Chemical agents are used to cause casualties, disrupt movement, and restrict the use of terrain. They may be delivered as a gas, liquid, or spray by artillery, mortars, rockets, missile, aircraft, bombs, and land mines. Besides causing casualties, chemical agents can be used to cause confusion. Biological agents produce disease. These agents may be dispersed by generators, artillery, bomblets, rockets, and aircraft. They also may be spread by the release of insects such as flies, mosquitos, fleas, and ticks.

(1) Effects of chemical agents. Chemical agents enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, or skin. Liquid agents may contaminate equipment, the ground, and foliage. The agent may stay for hours or days and be a serious hazard to unprotected soldiers. Chemical agents cannot destroy the BFV or its equipment. They can restrict equipment use until the equipment is sufficiently decontaminated to reduce the hazard. At platoon level, soldiers can decontaminate only the mission-essential areas (driver's controls, gunner's controls, and individual weapons). So all personnel must continue to wear protective masks, overgarments, overboots, and gloves once chemical contamination has occurred. All leaders and soldiers must know what their responsibilities are and the techniques for decontamination operations in accordance with FM 3-5.

(2) Alarms for chemical hazard or attack. Standard alarms include the vocal signal "GAS," prescribed arm-and-hand signals, automatic chemical-agent alarms, rapid and continuous beating on any metal object that produces a loud noise, a succession of short blasts on a vehicle horn or any other similar device, or a broken warbling siren sound (example, 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off). The vocal signal "ALL CLEAR" indicates that the danger no longer exists. Normally, it is initiated by leaders (company commander or platoon leader) after prescribed unmasking procedures have been completed. (Figure 2-114.)

b. Protective Measures in Chemical and Biological Warfare. In a chemical or biological attack, the MOPP gear is the best protection. Strict enforcement of all preventive medical and field sanitation measures can further enhance NBC defense.

(1) Chemical attack. A soldier's primary protection against chemical attack is his protective mask, which protects against inhalation of chemical agents. To be fully protected against liquid chemical agents, soldiers must wear the chemical protective overgarments, the mask with hood, overboots, and rubber gloves. (Figure 2-115.)

(a) If enemy use of chemical weapons is likely, each soldier in the vehicle should wear his protective mask on his chest to hasten masking. If the commander directs, or the MOPP level dictates, the protective overgarments and masks are worn rather than carried in the stowed positions.

(b) Once a chemical hazard is detected, all individuals should immediately mask and put on their protective overgarments if not already wearing them. It is difficult for everyone to put on protective overgarments at the same time in the BFV. To avoid confusion while dressing in the vehicle, platoon SOPs should dictate the sequential dressing of individuals in certain seats. This would also provide for maintaining security.

(c) If an attack is reported to be imminent or if chemical agents have already been employed by enemy forces, individuals should automatically mask when--

  • Chemical alarms or detection kits indicate presence of chemical agents.
  • Any artillery, mortar, rocket, or aircraft attack with other than HE munitions occurs on or near their position.
  • Smoke or mist of an unknown source arrives in the area.
  • A chemical attack is suspected for any other reason, such as enemy soldiers seen wearing protective masks and clothing, or presence of dead animals or people with no outward sign of injury.
  • The platoon must enter an area known to be or suspected of being contaminated by a chemical or biological agent.
  • Soldiers have any of the following symptoms: A runny nose; a feeling of choking or tightness in the chest or throat; blurred vision or difficulty in focusing irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat; or difficulty in, or increased rate of, breathing.

(2) Biological attack. Definite information on enemy use of biological agents may come down from higher headquarters. Still, each platoon must be alert to the danger and report at once any unusual occurrence of disease. The best local defense against biological warfare is strict enforcement of all preventive medical measures (prescribed immunizations) and field sanitation measures as well as high standards of personal hygiene. Soldiers should eat and drink only from approved sources.

c. Chemical Detection Equipment. Chemical detection equipment includes the M8A1 automatic chemical-agent alarm, M256 chemical-agent detector kit, ABC-M8 chemical-agent detector paper, the M9 chemical-agent detector paper, and the CAM (chemical-agent monitor). (Figure 2-116.)

(1) The M8A1 automatic chemical-agent alarm produces an audible or visual signal when it detects the presence of nerve agents in the air. It is stowed inside the BFV on the right rear wall. To detect chemical agents, personnel must remove the M8A1 alarm from the vehicle, assemble according to TM 3-6665-225-12, backpack, or mount externally, and place into operation.

(2) The M256 chemical-agent detector kit is used to detect sublethal vapor concentration of nerve, blister, and blood agents. The kit should be used when a chemical attack has occurred or when the presence of a chemical agent is suspected. (Figure 2-117.)

(3) ABC-M8 chemical-agent detector paper comes in a 25-sheet booklet, The booklet is a component of the M256 chemical-agent detector kit and the individual protective mask. The paper sheets are treated with chemicals that turn dark green, yellow, or red when in contact with liquid V-type nerve agents, G-type nerve agents, or blister (mustard) agents, respectively. This paper must touch the liquid agent to be sure of a positive test; it does not detect vapor. It is best suited for use on nonporous material such as metal. The test is not always reliable on porous material (such as wood or rubber) that can absorb the liquid agent. Many substances (including some solvents and decontaminates) can also cause a color change in this paper; hence, it is only reliable as an indicator of the possible presence of a chemical agent. Positive detector-paper tests should be verified using the chemical-agent detector kit.

(4) The M9 chemical-agent detector paper is gray-green and has an adhesive back. The adhesive back is protected by a white paper backing until dispensed from the roll. The paper is 2 inches wide and 30 feet long. Each roll is contained in a cardboard dispenser equipped with a cutter edge. The dispenser is packaged in a foil-type shipping bag. A resealable plastic storage bag is included for storing the dispenser after removal from the shipping bag. The detector paper detects a chemical agent during all types of weather conditions. It is worn by individuals or attached to vehicles or a piece of equipment. The detector paper indicates the presence of a liquid chemical agent. When a liquid chemical touches the paper, a pink, red, red-brown, or red-purple spot appears. The spot may be as small as a pinhead or as large as a dime.

(5) The chemical-agent monitor (CAM) is a portable, hand-held instrument used to determine and indicate a vapor hazard of G-series nerve agents and H-series blister agents in the air. The CAM is used to search for clean areas, to detect and locate contamination on personnel and equipment, and to monitor for the effectiveness of decontamination operations. The CAM is sensitive enough to monitor levels of contamination at the lowest concentration levels that could affect personnel over short periods. The CAM displays concentration levels on a liquid crystal display.

d. Individual Actions Before a Chemical Attack. If a platoon determines that it is subject to an imminent chemical attack or downwind vapor hazard, each individual should take the following precautionary measures:

  • Assume MOPP2, 3, or 4 (depending on the situation).
  • Attach M8/M9 paper to personnel and vehicles.
  • Cover as much equipment as possible.
  • Ensure chemical-agent alarm is operating.
  • Ensure decontamination equipment is accessible.
  • Be prepared to move from location.

e. Individual Actions During a Chemical Attack. Soldiers may be affected by a chemical attack either directly on or upwind from their positions. In either case, the soldiers should immediately stop breathing, put on their protective masks, clear masks, check for seal, give the alarm, don protective clothing if not on already, and continue the mission.

(1) If the attack is recognized as a chemical spray attack, soldiers should use a protective cover, such as a poncho or shelter half, to further protect themselves from liquid droplets. After the spray has stopped falling, individuals can throw off the cover, avoiding contaminating clothing and equipment.

(2) When friendly forces use chemical agents, the headquarters directing the fire mission provides the necessary safety information to friendly platoons that may be affected by the mission. Individuals take the same protective measures they would take against a similar type of enemy chemical attack.

f. Individual Actions After a Chemical Attack. Each soldier should remain masked and continue his mission. He should give any needed first aid to casualties in the near area and report the local casualty status to his next higher leader. Contaminated skin, clothing, and equipment should be decontaminated as soon as possible.



g. Conditions of Unmasking. In the absence of command guidance, the procedures described below are followed by the senior person present.

(1) Procedures when a detector kit is available. The chemical-agent detector kit M256 is used to test for the presence of chemical agents. If there is not any evidence of agents, two to three individuals unmask for 5 minutes, then remask. They are observed for chemical-agent symptoms for 10 minutes in a shady area. (A shady area is used because light causes contraction of the pupils, which could be mistaken for a nerve-agent symptom.) If no symptoms appear, the rest of the soldiers may unmask. Soldiers are warned to remask immediately if anyone suspects that a chemical agent may be present.

(2) Procedures when a detector kit is not available. The following is an emergency field expedient when friendly elements have been masked for prolonged periods, when there are no remaining signs of chemical agent use, and when the platoon has no detector kit available. Two to three soldiers are selected to hold deep breaths, break the seals of their masks, and keep their eyes wide open and hold their breath for 15 seconds. They then clear their masks, reseal them, and wait for 10 minutes. If symptoms do not appear after 10 minutes, the same soldiers again break their seals, take two or three breaths, and clear and reseal their masks. After another 10-minute wait, if symptoms have not developed, the same soldiers unmask for 5 minutes and then remask. After 10 more minutes, if symptoms have not appeared, they report to the company/team commander and wait for instructions before unmasking. The area can be assumed to be all clear and the commander may order unmasking. Soldiers are warned to remask if for any reason they may suspect a chemical agent is present.

h. Mission-Oriented Protection Posture. Once chemical agents have been employed or while the threat of enemy chemical attack exists, the battalion commander decides whether to keep all soldiers masked and in chemical protective clothing, or only a certain number. This decision is based on the estimated threat of enemy use of chemical weapons, mission of the battalion, type of activity required, and temperature. The steps taken are expressed as a MOPP level. Whenever possible, the commander specifies the MOPP level before the mission. He may later direct that the protection be modified, based on his on-the-spot estimate of the situation and operational limitations. The MOPP level directed by the battalion commander specifies what equipment to wear and what precautionary measures are to be employed. (See Table 2-7 for the protective clothing and equipment required under the various MOPP conditions.) Additionally, there is a special category of MOPP known as "mask only." The "mask only" command may be given if there is no transfer hazard and if the agent is determined to be nonpersistent. These levels apply to the individuals inside or outside the vehicle in all cases. The following factors should be considered by the platoon and squad leader when working under any of the MOPP conditions.

(1) Heat exhaustion. Soldiers operating at moderate to heavy work rates while in chemical protective gear may experience heat exhaustion (dizziness and fainting) at any time, especially in hot weather. Because of increased sweating, they need more drinking water than normal.

(2) Fatigue. Soldiers in full chemical protective clothing and equipment tend to experience fatigue because of such factors as mask breathing resistance, rise in body temperature from work energy, solar heat, and psychological and physiological stress. This condition of fatigue increases the need for more rest breaks and sleep to maintain individual alertness and efficiency.

(3) Senses. Soldiers who are required to perform duties involving the senses or related functions, such as manning an observation post, tend to operate at lower levels of efficiency while wearing protective equipment. Individual performance levels depend on training and proficiency. Even simple functions, such as talking on the radio and looking through weapon sights, become difficult while wearing the protective mask.

(4) Personal needs. Soldiers cannot be in full chemical protection for indefinite periods and still attend to certain personal needs such as eating, caring for wounds, shaving, and eliminating body wastes. The platoon leader should plan for these needs by coordinating with the company commander for movement to an uncontaminated area.

i. Chemical Decontamination Techniques. When a force is chemically contaminated, its combat potential drops. In order to minimize the erosion of combat potential, decontamination must be performed. (Table 2-8.) The seven standard techniques used to remove contamination and restore combat potential are--

  • Skin decontamination.
  • Personal wipedown.
  • Operator's spraydown.
  • MOPP gear exchange.
  • Vehicle washdown.
  • Detailed troop decontamination.
  • Detailed equipment decontamination.

The platoon would be involved in and should have knowledge of at least the first five techniques. The first three techniques are categorized as basic skills decontamination techniques. The next two, MOPP gear exchange and vehicle washdown, are hasty decontamination techniques. The purpose of hasty decontamination is to sustain the combat potential of a contaminated force by limiting spread of the contamination. The benefits gained may allow temporary relief or MOPP reduction. Hasty decontamination should be done as soon as possible. A squad can do both of the techniques in about 45 to 60 minutes as it moves among the fighting position. These techniques should begin within 6 hours. The vehicle washdown is most effective if it is started within an hour of contamination.

(1) Skin decontamination. If chemical agents get on bare skin, it is an emergency. The best technique for removing or neutralizing this contamination is by using skin decontamination. This is a basic soldier survival skill and is performed using the M258A1 skin decontamination kit. Decontamination should begin within one minute to be most effective.

(2) Personal wipedown. The personal wipedown technique removes or neutralizes contamination on the hood, mask, gloves, and personal weapon. Soldiers also use the M258A1 skin decontamination kit to perform personal wipedown. (Figure 2-118.) Personal wipedown should begin within 15 minutes of being contaminated.

(3) Operator's spraydown. The operator's spraydown technique should begin right after finishing personal wipedown. The spraydown removes or neutralizes contamination on surfaces that operators must frequently touch to do their missions. This can be done using the ABC-M11 or M13 portable decontamination apparatus, which dispenses DS-2. (Figure 2-119.) Each vehicle has one M11 decontamination apparatus that contains 1 1/3 quarts of DS-2 decontaminating agent and one can of DS-2 replacement fluid or one M13 decontamination apparatus, which has a capacity of 14 liters of DS-2. These are on the interior left front of the BFV, behind the driver. The M11 decontamination apparatus is used to decontaminate vehicle parts that must be touched to operate the vehicle. These areas include the driver's compartment and the turret controls.

DS-2 must be removed by washing after 30 minutes contact time to prevent corrosive damage to the equipment. MOPP4 gear must be worn when using DS-2.

(4) MOPP gear exchange. The MOPP gear exchange is conducted by the contaminated squad (occasionally platoon) and supported by company NBC NCO and the company supply section that provides decomtaminants and new overgarments. When performing MOPP gear exchange, soldiers are paired into buddy teams. The teams are spaced around a circle, with 1 to 3 meters between each team. (Figure 2-120.) (See FM 3-5 for a detailed explanation.)

(5) Vehicle washdown. The vehicle washdown is supported by the battalion's power-driven decontamination equipment crew or a chemical company decontamination squad. The vehicle washdown greatly reduces the transfer hazard on equipment. Every vehicle is washed with hot soapy water for two to three minutes. Because speed is important and detection is difficult, vehicles are not checked for contamination after vehicle washdown is completed. Only gross contamination is removed. See FM 3-5 for a detailed explanation.

(6) Detailed troop and detailed equipment decontamination. Detailed troop and detailed equipment decontamination are classified as deliberate decontamination operations. Deliberate decontamination operations remove sufficient amounts of contamination to allow soldiers to safely operate the equipment at reduced MOPP levels for extended periods. It requires that the platoon be taken out of battle; however, when it is finished decontaminating, the platoon has its combat power restored. It will no longer need to operate in full MOPP4. Deliberate decontamination is done as part of an extensive reconstitution effort in brigade, division, and corps support areas. Ordinarily, the chemical unit selects a site, sets it up, and conducts the equipment decontamination with assistance from the contaminated platoon. The troop decontamination is set up and operated by the contaminated platoon with some technical assistance from the chemical unit.

(a) Key weapon systems (TOW, 25-mm gun, and coaxial machine gun) are decontaminated by using DS-2, soapy water, or solvents. Ammunition is decontaminated by washing with soapy water, wiping with organic solvent, drying, and aerating.

(b) Optical instruments, such as the integrated sight unit and starlight scopes, are decontaminated by using the M258A1 kit or blotting with rags, wiping with lens-cleaning solvent provided with the sight, and then allowing them to dry.

(c) Communication equipment is decontaminated by airing, weathering, or hot air (if available). The metal parts of field telephones and radios are decontaminated with DS-2 and then wiped with rags.

(d) For biological decontamination, the BFV can be decontaminated by applying STB slurry. It is left on for 30 minutes, then removed by washing. (STB is provided to platoons by the company headquarters, which gets it from the battalion supply section.) The BFV is washed with a detergent solution and rinsed with a high-pressure water stream, or it is steamed clean, using a detergent.

(e) Weapons are decontaminated using household bleach solution or soap and water. Working parts and surfaces should be dried and lubricated after decontamination. Contaminated clothing is disposed of by burning or burying, or decontaminated by laundering.

NOTE: The techniques become increasingly less effective the longer they are delayed. Vehicle washdown is most effective if started within one hour but will often have to be delayed for tactical and logistical reasons.

Section XII


Observation posts are positions from which soldiers watch and listen for enemy activity in a designated area. OPs provide security and intelligence for the platoon. OPs are normally designated to observe critical areas for the platoon or as the company commander directs.


When planning an OP, the platoon leader must consider the following.

a. Location. Normally the platoon leader identifies the general location, and the squad leader selects the site for the OP. OPs must be sited to allow for maximum observation of the designated area. They should also be sited to take advantage of natural cover and concealment to provide protection for the soldiers manning it. OPs should be within the range of the platoon's direct-fire weapons when manned by a dismounted element (except in reverse-slope defense).

b. Observation. When he identifies the general location for the OP, the platoon leader must also indicate the area to be observed and any specific instructions covering what soldiers are to look for or be alert to. Mounted or dismounted OPs should require minimal repositioning for limited visibility conditions.

c. Cover and Concealment. Sometimes the requirement for fields of observation may make it difficult to achieve cover and concealment. Some techniques include--

  • Avoiding obvious terrain such as hilltops.
  • Avoiding easily identifiable terrain features such as water towers, church steeples, tallest buildings, lone buildings or trees, or isolated groves.
  • Avoiding routes or positions that skyline soldiers and vehicles.
  • Selecting a covered and concealed route to and from the OP.

d. Communications. Soldiers must be able to report what they see and hear. Wire is the primary means of communications between the OP and the platoon. If possible, the OP should have radio communications as a backup. A soldier may be added as a messenger if no other means of communication is available. The platoon SOP should specify how often OPs routinely check communications, When the platoon loses wire communications with the OP, the leader always details at least two soldiers to check and repair the line--one for security, one for repair. Soldiers checking for breaks in wire should always approach the OP with caution in case the enemy has captured and occupied it.

e. Manning. At least two soldiers must man each OP. A fire team may man the OP if it will remain in place or not be relieved for long periods. All soldiers prepare fighting positions at the OP for protection and concealment.

f. Additional Instructions. In addition to the intelligence and security reporting requirements, the squad leader also briefs the soldiers manning the OP on the challenge and password, the running password, when to engage and when not to engage the enemy, conditions when the OP can withdraw, when to expect relief, and contingency plans for loss of communications.

g. Equipment. Special equipment for the OP includes flags, binoculars, maps, a compass, night vision devices (goggles or an antiarmor thermal sight), trip flares and other alert devices, a field phone, paper and pencil, and a watch.

h. Thermal Sight Surveillance. Thermal sight surveillance can be used during unlimited and limited visibility conditions. Image intensifiers, thermal sights, and binoculars should be used together to maximize the OP's ability to observe the area of responsibility. BFVs can be positioned forward with OPs to take advantage of the BFVs' thermal sights. If positioned forward, the BFVs should be employed in pairs. To preserve batteries and fuel, the BFVs alternate operation as designated by the platoon leader or IAW SOP. If the BFVs are positioned forward with the OPs, the surveillance plan must include specific instructions on when and how they should be moved back to the main defensive position to avoid the friendly unit's position from being compromised.


Once the squad leader has positioned and briefed the soldiers at the OP site, one soldier always observes and records while the remainder performs the actions listed below:

  • Establish security. Install trip flares and noise-making devices.
  • Prepare positions to include range cards. Record data for use in requesting and adjusting fire; for example, azimuths and ranges to TRPs.
  • Check or report communications as required.
  • Rotate duty as the observer every 20 to 30 minutes. An observer's efficiency quickly decreases after that time.
  • Brief relieving soldiers on any information or special instructions before departing the OP. The frequency of reliefs for OPs depends on the physical condition of the soldiers, weather conditions, morale, the number of soldiers available for relief, and the requirements of the next operation. As a guide, OPs should be relieved every two to four hours.
  • Withdraw as directed or to avoid capture. Soldiers manning the OP advise the platoon leader that they are returning and request support (direct or indirect) if needed. Leaders must alert all soldiers in the platoon when reliefs move to or from the OP, and when it withdraws.


A squad including its mounted element may be given an OP mission. This affords the OP more firepower, armor protection, and mobility. If manning the OP with the mounted element is not feasible, it can occupy hide positions and prepare to support the OP with fires. The vehicles can also be used to move soldiers between OPs and patrol between them.


A visual terrain search involves the two steps discussed below. OP personnel report all information quickly, accurately, and completely. They make sure that the report answers the questions WHO, WHAT WHERE, and WHEN. It is best to use the SALUTE format when reporting information.

a. Step 1. The observer makes an overall search of the entire area for obvious targets, unnatural colors, outlines, or movement. To do this quickly, he raises his eyes from just in front of his position to the greatest range he wants to observe. If the sector is wide, he observes it in sections. (Figure 2-121.)

b. Step 2. He observes overlapping 50-meter wide strips, alternating from left to right to left until he has observed the entire area. (Figure 2-122.) When he sees a suspicious spot, he searches it well.

Section XIII


Platoons that have mastered tactical and technical requirements fight effectively even when visibility is limited. Darkness limits visibility on the battlefield, but there are other conditions that limit visibility. They are almost as common as darkness but less predictable and more difficult to deal with. Smoke and suppressive fire, which can severely limit local visibility, are used in all armies. Dust and smoke caused by fire and movement of soldiers often obscure parts of the battlefield. Optic systems provide a distinct advantage. One technique is to use all the platoon's Dragon trackers (daysights and nightsights) 24 hours a day. Thermal sights can be used in the day, in smoke and dust; and the daysight can be used at night along with illumination. Using both sights doubles the number of Dragons that can be employed. Smoke and dust are especially critical to the effective employment of long-range direct-fire weapons. This causes the platoon to decrease the range to engagement areas. Rain, falling snow, fog, and dust also limit visibility. Most night vision devices and battlefield illumination are less effective during these conditions. Therefore, the platoon employs traditional dismounted infantry skills. Observation posts and patrols are used for early warning. Ground surveillance radars and directed-energy weapons also provide early warning, but basic skills, competence, discipline, and leadership are essential.


The BFV has the following equipment capabilities to be considered when planning.

a. The driver's night vision viewer allows him to see during darkness to move the BFV and to observe rounds fired from the turret weapons. Night vision goggles allow the Bradley commander to observe from his opened hatch to control movement and provide close-in security. The integrated sight unit's thermal sight gives the gunner and Bradley commander the capability to see and engage targets during almost any visibility condition.

b. Even though the BFV can operate during limited visibility, certain factors must be considered when planning. The driver can see to drive, but the range and fixed field of view limits his ability to provide close-in observation. The gunner has excellent range with the integrated sight unit, but his field of view is narrow. Soldiers using binoculars in the troop compartment have difficulty observing through periscopes, and they may be blinded temporarily by bright flashes of light caused by weapons fire and explosions. This results in security being degraded, especially to the rear and flanks.


To operate the turret when the hatch is open, personnel must ensure it is on combat override. The gunner and Bradley commander must remember that the turret weapons pose a danger to personnel observing from the cargo hatch, especially if the weapons are in the stabilized mode. The 7.62-mm coax could be accidentally fired into the troop hatch and the 25-mm gun could be damaged by striking it.

c. Weather, smoke, and dust lower the effectiveness of the platoon's observation equipment. The integrated sight unit's thermal capability is limited by heavy rain, dense fog, or falling snow. The TOW is also affected. In some cases, the thermal sight's capability of penetrating fog or smoke exceeds the capability of the missile's guidance system to track and control the missile. This means the gunners may not be able to hit a target with the TOW, even though the target is in range and seen through the sight. The 25-mm gun and 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun are not affected by this problem.

d. The effectiveness of image intensification devices (driver's viewer, Bradley commander's goggles, starlight scopes) is reduced by rain, falling snow, fog, and smoke. Because these devices intensify light from the moon and stars, the effectiveness of the devices is reduced on dark nights. These visibility limitations require slower rates of movement and tighter formations, and they limit the platoon's flank security. The Bradley commander's ability to detect targets and control fires is reduced, and coordination between the vehicle element and the dismount element becomes even more difficult.

e. Before an operation, leaders check the effectiveness of their night vision equipment to determine the effects of light, weather, and smoke. Visibility conditions may also change abruptly during an operation. This requires constant reevaluation of employment considerations.


Infantry platoons and squads often conduct offensive operations during limited visibility. These are normal operations. Platoon and squads must train to operate during all conditions. Limited visibility attacks are conducted to retain momentum of an operation started in good visibility. They achieve surprise, exploit success, or rupture strong enemy defenses. Leaders may take advantage of the BFV's capability to operate during limited visibility because enemy antiarmor fires will be less effective. Leaders may also want to gain a more favorable position from which they can continue the attack when visibility improves. They should also consider using smoke to create favorable limited visibility conditions on demand.


Movement is difficult during limited visibility. When selecting movement techniques and formations, leaders consider the likelihood of enemy contact and the difficulty of control. Distances between soldiers or vehicles are usually shortened to ease control. Finally, leaders must guard against a false sense of security by thinking darkness will conceal them. They must assume the enemy has night vision devices; and must use cover, concealment, and smoke as in daylight.

a. If possible, routes are reconnoitered during good visibility. If ground reconnaissance is not possible, a detailed map reconnaissance is vital, keying on terrain features to be crossed and distances involved. Ridgelines, railroads, creeks, and other identifiable features are used as guides. Movement should parallel such terrain features, because the enemy will have them covered by observation and fire. Friendly mortar and artillery fires are also used to assist navigation. By planning targets along the route on prominent, easily recognizable terrain features, leaders can call for these fires as needed. These targets are on dominant features that the leader will avoid. This allows him to call for a specific target and verify where he is without endangering his squad or platoon.

b. When moving dismounted, the attacker has the greatest advantage of surprise. Light and noise discipline must be enforced. When the platoon is moving mounted, vehicle sounds may alert the enemy. The enemy may have difficulty locating the platoon, because it is difficult to pinpoint a moving vehicle by sound only. Lights are a greater danger. Blackout lights and filtered lights are visible through vision blocks and can be detected from great distances with passive night vision devices or the naked eye.


The platoon uses the following movement formations during limited visibility.

a. Mounted. The column and wedge formations are the easiest to control. The platoon leader's BFV serves as the base vehicle in either formation. The platoon sergeant guides on the platoon leader and wingmen guide on their section leaders (platoon leader and platoon sergeant). The line formation is the most difficult to control. When the driver is looking through his night vision viewer to the front, he cannot maintain visual contact with flank BFVs. Therefore, the leader uses the line formation only to move short distances.

b. Dismounted. Many of the considerations for mounted formations apply to dismounted formations. Squads move close together for better control, and soldiers should be close enough to see each other. Leaders should be near the front of the formation for movement control.


When visibility is limited by darkness only, the platoon should move using any of the movement techniques, making only minor adjustments as previously discussed. When smoke, fog, or falling snow limits visibility, the platoon's ability to provide overwatch may be reduced. In all conditions of limited visibility, the loss of security to the flanks and rear is a major consideration in movement planning.

a. A platoon moving by traveling overwatch keys its movement on the lead element. The distance between elements is based on the ability of the overwatch element to keep the lead element in sight. The integrated sight unit on the BFV should not be used as the primary means for maintaining visual contact. This requires the gunner and Bradley commander to watch the bounding element rather than to watch for the enemy.

b. When the traveling technique is used, the lack of flank security becomes an even more important consideration. The wedge formation allows a greater number of thermal sights to be used, and they should be used if the terrain permits.


Navigation during limited visibility becomes difficult. Vehicle thermal sights and night vision goggles aid leaders, but it is still easy to confuse terrain features and to become disoriented or overshoot objectives. BCs find it difficult to switch from reading a map to viewing terrain through goggles. Constant practice improves the leader's ability to navigate at night. Soldiers must be thoroughly briefed on the type of terrain and the general environment they will encounter, including water sources (if any) landmarks or significant permanent terrain features, friendly and enemy areas of operation, and prevailing winds. This information will assist in navigation if reconnaissance units or individuals become separated from their units.

a. Compass and Odometer. One method of navigating during limited visibility is to use a compass (dismounted) and the odometer. This can be done as follows (see Figure 2-123 for an example):

  • Divide the route or operation into legs or parts, each with a unique direction and distance and a checkpoint to find.
  • Measure the map distance of each leg or part.
  • Determine the azimuth of each leg or part.
  • Develop a chart to include the legs or parts, azimuths, and distances. Also write a description of each leg or part.
  • Use the odometer to measure the distance traveled.
  • Review the written description of the route to help prevent navigational errors.
  • Set the turret in the direction of movement and keep the stabilization on.

b. Gyro Compass. An efficient gun azimuth stabilizer used on nearly flat ground is useful for maintaining direction.

c. Fires. Planned tracer fire assists in maintaining bearing, and field artillery and mortar concentrations preferably smoke (or illumination at night) are useful checks on estimated locations.

d. Radars. If the position of a radar is known, it can measure range and bearing and therefore locate the position of a vehicle.

e. Global Positioning Systems. These systems are receivers that receive signals from satellites or land-based emitters and calculate and display the position of the user in military grid coordinates and latitude and longitude degrees. Leaders must continue to use map and compass navigation as the primary means, because satellite signals can be interrupted by vegetation, weather, or other masking features; or the inoperative emitters.

(1) Waypoints. The navigational functions of GPSs are based on waypoints. A waypoint is a known position entered into GPS's memory. Waypoints can be entered as either degrees latitude or longitude or as military grid coordinates. Waypoints or the platoon's position can be entered at various times.

(2) Navigation. To navigate, points along the route or the destination point is identified. Next, these points are entered as waypoints. Then, the platoon moves from waypoint to waypoint. To find the distance and direction between two known points, they must first be entered as waypoints.

(3) Range and bearing. To find the range and bearing to a known point, that point must first be entered as a waypoint. GPS stores the present position and then computes the distance and direction to the known point. As the platoon approaches the waypoint, the range decreases until the platoon is within a given distance of the waypoint. At that time, an alarm will sound indicating that the platoon has reached the waypoint. Then, the range and bearing to the next waypoint can be displayed.

(4) Cross-country navigation. When navigating cross country, the bearing shown by the GPS can be followed from point to point. Obstacles en route will force detours from the route from time to time. When an obstacle forces a detour of more than a few meters, the GPS can assist the platoon in getting back on course. Some GPSs display the distance that the platoon is off course, a new course to the waypoint, and an estimated time to arrive based on the speed for the last two minutes. The left or right arrow shows the direction to the original course. The arrow shows the direction the platoon needs to turn and a new bearing to the waypoint. If the platoon needs to reach the desired point and the route to it is not important, then the platoon follows the indicated course. The course shown is the new direction the waypoint and will not return to the original course. If the original course must be used, then the platoon uses the direction of the arrow and travels the distance indicated until the GPS shows no error.

(5) Road march. GPS can be useful on road marches in identifying checkpoints or coordination points on long roads without distinctive features. The waypoint for the checkpoint is entered and the range and bearing display is selected. Then, the platoon moves until the alarm sounds. In this case, the bearing to the waypoint is of little use, because the platoon is following a road and there will be numerous deviations from the straight-line bearing. If the platoon enters a road at an unknown point, the bearing could be a quick way to determine the direction to the waypoint.

(6) Offensive operations. The GPS can locate a platoon's position within an assembly area. A waypoint with the grid location of the center unit's area ensures proper placement within the assembly area. Waypoints at the start point, the release point, and along the route help to guide the unit to the line of departure.

(a) After crossing the line of departure, key points along the axis of advance can be entered as waypoints to help guide the platoon. Additional waypoints on checkpoints or coordination points help to identify their locations.

(b) Phase lines are necessary to coordination of the attack, but the terrain does not always lend itself to easily identifiable phase lines. With the GPS, phase lines can be placed without reliance on terrain features. The border alert feature sounds an alarm when the platoon reaches a designated line on the ground. The same method can be used for locating a limit of advance line.

(c) Once on the objective, the platoon consolidates and reorganizes. In directing the platoon's defensive fire orientation, a distant point (such as a TRP) can be selected and entered as a waypoint. The platoon then takes a range and bearing to the point and uses that bearing as its orientation. If fuel and ammunition resupply is not performed at the platoon location, that site can be entered as a waypoint to aid in its location; likewise, for collection points for maintenance, EPWs, and wounded.

(7) Defensive operations. In establishing a battle position, the platoon can use the anchor watch feature of most GPSs to ensure that all elements are within the proper area. The anchor watch sounds an alarm whenever the platoon gets too far from a designated point. The desired range is entered. The range is the distance from the center point that the platoon will go before sounding an alarm. Once a vehicle has established its location on primary and subsequent battle positions, that location can be saved as a waypoint to aid in finding it again later.

(a) GPS can also assist movement from one battle position to another, particularly during limited visibility. During the reconnaissance and rehearsal of the route, the platoon enters the waypoints at all critical locations (such as trail crossings, fords, obstacles, or turns). To do this, whenever the platoon comes to a critical point, it stops and saves the present position as a waypoint. Each point is saved in sequence. Then the platoon can follow the sequence of waypoints between the battle positions.

(b) Waypoints can also be used to ensure orientation of fires using the range bearing feature.

(c) Movements, in a passage of lines, the unit that establishes the passage can give grid coordinates of entry points, release points, and critical turns to the passing unit. These coordinates are entered as waypoints. The passing unit can then follow the waypoints and ensure a safe passage without danger of getting lost or wandering into obstacles.


One of the platoon leader's problems is recognizing his own vehicles at night. Platoons employ several techniques for vehicle identification to avoid fratricide and to enhance command and control. Using color-coded lights on the rear of the turret is a common technique (for example, red lights for A section, blue for B section, and green for dismount elements). Lights must be dim so they are not visible from the front, but can still be seen from the rear. Chemical light stick combinations can also be used. Another technique is to use white or luminous tape to outline the geometric design and numbers of the platoon's tactical marking system. Another technique is to use hot packs, which can be ordered through the Class VIII supply channels.


Attacks during limited visibility require more control measures than attacks during good visibility. In limited visibility, objectives are normally smaller and the distance to them shorter. Plans must be kept simple but complete and understood by all to prevent fratricide and to enhance mission accomplishment. If time and the enemy situation permit, leaders should reconnoiter routes and observe the objective area during good visibility, at dusk, and during darkness. Indirect fire should be planned for suppression and illumination during darkness. Whether the attack is mounted or dismounted, every soldier should rehearse his portion of the plan to ensure complete understanding throughout the platoon.

a. There are several ways the commander may attack during limited visibility. If the attack is to be done during darkness, he may illuminate the battlefield using indirect fire. The driver's VVS-2 fades out while illumination is being used. This blinds the driver. The leader should consider having only half of the platoon use VVS-2. If the leader wishes to take advantage of limited visibility conditions or cannot adequately illuminate the battlefield, he may consider dismounting short of the objective. He may also attack dismounted and use stealth to gain surprise. If the LD or assault position is close enough to the objective, BFV thermal sights can be used to vector dismounted infantry to the objective, and then support the dismounted assault with direct fire.

b. An illuminated night attack is conducted similar to a daylight attack. Even with illumination, soldiers cannot see well enough to fight effectively mounted. Illumination, however, aids control and allows rapid movement. It also improves the enemy's ability to detect targets. Illumination fires are planned and called as needed--normally for the assault. Smoke can reduce the effectiveness of enemy battlefield illumination as well as his night vision devices. Indirect HE fire may hide the sound of the BFVs as well as to suppress enemy gunners. Thermal sights work with or without light equally well and should be used by the vehicle element as it fires into the objective. Illumination rounds can be fired to burn on the ground to help orient movement.

c. The commander may decide to attack mounted if enemy fire is ineffective, to maintain momentum against an enemy occupying hastily prepared positions. This allows platoons to close rapidly on the objective, and it conserves the strength of the dismount teams.

d. In a dismounted attack, the platoon moves mounted as close as practical to the objective. Dismount points are determined during the planning process. Actions at the dismount point, equipment needed, and use of BFVs must be planned and rehearsed. The dismount element dismounts and assaults the objective while the fighting vehicle element provides supporting fire. During the assault, the fighting vehicle element leader must closely control the element's fires to ensure enemy is suppressed and to avoid endangering dismounted soldiers. A prearranged signal, such as a pyrotechnic device or code word, to lift or shift fires is crucial in limited visibility operations due to the inability of the crew to clearly distinguish between friendly infantry and enemy. As soon as the objective is seized, the vehicle element moves to the objective area. The platoon should have a prearranged signal, such as a blinking, filtered flashlight, to help the fighting vehicle element locate and join the dismounted element. The platoon leader selects positions on or near the objective for the BFVs and squads, and requires each fire team to provide a vehicle guide to simplify movement into positions.

e. Even though a nonilluminated attack is planned, leaders must plan illumination from the LD to the objective so, if needed, it is available. Once the assault starts, illumination on the objective may help detect targets and enhance command and control.

f. The platoon leader also plans for the use of smoke during the attack. If the enemy fires illumination, the platoon leader can find smoke on known enemy positions or use smoke to screen movement. Smoke also reduces the effectiveness of most of the enemy's night vision devices.

g. The main advantage gained by attacking dismounted and using stealth is surprise. Attacks by stealth can be conducted during any condition of reduced visibility. The concept of a dismounted attack using stealth is to get as close as possible to the enemy's position without a fight; then, before he can react, surprise and overwhelm him. This also allows the dismounted infantry to advance to a position of advantage where it can support a subsequent attack by tanks from a position of close overwatch during daylight.

h. The mission of the fighting vehicle element is to support the dismount element by fire. In the commander's OPORD, the fighting vehicle element is normally assigned a support-by-fire position, a sector of fire, and a route to the objective. The platoon leader designates a support-by-fire position and a sector of fire for each section. He also specifies how he plans to control their fire. The vehicle element leader positions the BFVs and provides command and control to the mounted element. The platoon leader selects the route for the dismount element and their objective.

i. If vehicle noise will alert the enemy, the BFV moves as close as it can to the overwatch position and halts. From there, an observer or Bradley commander can be sent forward to observe the sector of fire and assist the fighting vehicles when they move into the their exact positions.

j. Once the objective is seized, the fighting vehicle element moves quickly to the objective and occupies hull-down positions just as in a daylight attack. The dismount element provides guides to lead the vehicles to their positions.

k. Control measures used for a limited visibility attack are the same as those for an attack during good visibility. However, some adjustments may have to be made.

(1) Attack position. An attack position is short of the LD, provides cover and concealment, and permits easy entry and exit. It is used to ensure coordinated effort by the entire force. It may or may not be used. During limited visibility, it may be closer to the LD and smaller than during good visibility.

(2) Line of departure. An LD is designated to coordinate the commitment of attacking units at a specified time, the same as during good visibility.

(3) Point of departure. A point of departure is designated, because it is critical all movements be closely coordinated. Squads, section, or platoon may be assigned such a specific point to cross the LD.

(4) Release point. Each company commander releases control of his platoons to the platoon leaders at the company RP. RPs are far enough from the objective to allow units to deploy before they reach the probable line of deployment.

(5) Route. The company commander normally picks the routes from the company RP to platoon RPs. Platoon leaders pick routes from platoon RPs to the squad RPs.

(6) Probable line of deployment. The company commander may designate a PLD. This is the approximate place he plans to have the dismounted element complete deployment for the assault, if not yet detected. From the PLD, the dismount element begins its assault using fire and movement.

(7) Objectives. The company commander assigns each platoon an objective, which is part of the company objective. These are easy-to-identify terrain features.

(8) Limit of advance. To keep friendly supporting fires from falling on friendly dismounted troops, leaders may designate a limit of advance. It should be a terrain feature easy to recognize during limited visibility. Assaulting elements do not advance beyond this feature. This allows supporting fires beyond the objective without endangering friendly troops.

l. Wire communications are integrated into the plan. Wire is used from the company release point to the squad release point near the PLD in dismounted attacks. A field phone at each release point allows leaders from company to squad to maintain secure communications before the attack. Wire is dispersed during movement via an MX306, so communication using wire can be maintained throughout the attack.

m. The commander may organize a patrol to guide dismount elements from the attack position to the point of departure on the LD and onto the PLD. Patrols may establish security at the PLD and conduct surveillance of the objective while the dismount elements are moving forward. Patrols should be composed of a fire team from each squad, with the company or company team commander designating the patrol leader.

n. Except for small objectives, a platoon attacks dismounted as a part of a company dismounted operation. Each platoon has a separate, smaller objective or a portion of the company objective. The platoon moves from the assembly area using the formation and movement technique normally specified by the commander. Final coordination is made in the attack position if needed and then platoons move toward the LD. The commander may move the attack force to the LD along a single route under his control or, for short-distance attacks, he may designate separate routes for each platoon. Once across the LD, movement is continuous with the rate of advance slow enough to permit silent movement. The traveling technique with fire teams in column normally is used to ease control and maintain stealth. If the attack is discovered during movement, and elements are close enough to the objective to begin the assault, the dismount element leader (usually the platoon leader) immediately deploys his elements and begins fire and movement.

o. The platoon uses all of its night observation equipment to help control movement and detect enemy positions. This includes two starlight scopes, the Dragon night trackers, and night vision goggles not needed by the BCs. The BFV may be placed where its thermals can help guide the dismount element to the objective and support by fire once the assault begins.

p. If the attack is not discovered before reaching the PLD, the leader deploys his elements and informs the commander when the squads are fully deployed. On order, they move silently forward. They guide on the base element, using overwatch as much as possible.

q. The platoon assaults the objective on order or when the attack is discovered. As in good visibility, the assault must be aggressive, using cover-to-cover rushes. The assaulting force quickly gains fire superiority by using heavy volume of fire so they can safely move. Tracers can be used to improve accuracy and to help control fires. Soldiers do not assault past the limit of advance.

r. As soon as the objective has been seized, the mounted element platoon leader is informed. Guides are posted to meet the vehicles and lead them into position. The rest of the platoon destroys remaining resistance and prepares for a counterattack.

s. Additional control techniques include--

  • Stabilized gun set on specific azimuth.
  • Mortar or artillery rounds to orient attacking units.
  • Thermal TRPs (either man-made and pre-placed or natural features that stand out using thermals).
  • Squad leaders and team leaders use tracers to direct fires.
  • Friendly tracer fire to help troops maintain direction.
  • Guides.
  • Reduced interval.
  • Base vehicle on which all others base their speed and direction.
  • Luminous tape or markings.
  • Rehearsals.


The following considerations and techniques apply to infiltration.

a. Infiltration is done best when visibility is poor, in close terrain, or in areas the enemy does not occupy or cover by direct fire. These conditions allow undetected movement and place friendly forces in a position of advantage over the enemy.

b. A platoon normally infiltrates as part of its company when the company consolidates its dismounted infantry and BFVs for a specific operation. A platoon or squad may infiltrate alone, but this is not a normal occurrence. Movement techniques are based on the likelihood of enemy contact. BFVs may follow along the infiltration lane at a predetermined time or distance to support the infantry in their assault. A separate axis for BFVs may be used but the risks of detection are greater to do so.

c. An infiltrating element is assigned an infiltration lane. The leader decides whether to move the entire element on a single route. The platoon leader must decide the best use of his BFVs. This decision may be made for him if the commander consolidates his dismounted elements under his control for an infiltration. In this case, all the company's BFVs are normally under the control of the company executive officer or first sergeant.

d. During infiltration, BFVs can be employed in the following ways.

(1) BFVs can overwatch from the LD, or from an appropriate terrain feature, where they can use their thermal sights to help orient or vector the dismounted movement, or they can provide supporting fires if needed. Once the rally point or assault position is reached, or upon initiation of an assault, BFVs can be brought forward to either support by fire from a close overwatch or to remount and continue the mission.

NOTE: BFVs may follow the same axis or use a separate axis based on METT-T. Using the same axis is more secure. The infiltration lane should be well marked, or guides should be used to lead BFVs forward.

(2) If the terrain provides covered and concealed routes for BFVs or if BFV suppressive fire is needed quickly, the BFVs may follow the dismounted platoon at an appropriate interval. That interval may be 50 or 100 meters in close terrain. The platoon leader may use indirect fires to help cover the noise of vehicle movement. However, with careful lane selection, armored vehicles can effectively infiltrate.

c. A platoon can use single or multiple routes to infiltrate.

(1) If a single lane is used, the platoon leader must select a route through the enemy positions and select a rally point. (Figure 2-124.) If multiple routes are used, the platoon leader must choose a lane for each squad, and a rally point where the platoon will link up. The route must avoid enemy positions, have cover and concealment, and ease control and navigation. When deciding to use single or multiple routes, the platoon leader must consider several things. Moving on a single route will--

  • Get the element to its rally point faster.
  • Ease control.
  • Ease navigation.
  • Increase the chances of the entire element being detected.

(2) Moving on multiple routes (Figure 2-125) will--

  • Get the element to its rally point slower.
  • Hinder control.
  • Hinder navigation.
  • Decrease the chances of the entire element being detected.
  • Increase possibility of detection of part of the element.

(a) Rally points are designated along each route where the platoon can--

  • Rendezvous with BFVs.
  • Reassemble and reorganize if dispersed.
  • Halt to reorganize and prepare to continue the mission.

(b) Each rally point should--

  • Be easy to find.
  • Provide cover and concealment.
  • Be defensible in all directions.
  • Be located away from likely enemy routes of movement; for example, roads, trails, ridgelines.

(c) Routes should be reconnoitered as much as possible without giving away the plan. This may be possible by map reconnaissance only. Some tentative rally points are chosen based on a map reconnaissance; others are chosen as the element moves along the route. If the element is dispersed by enemy action, its plan should provide for continuing the mission after a set number of men arrive at the rally point or after a specified time. The senior man at the rally point decides how to best continue the mission.

(d) The assault position should be as close as possible to the objective without losing security. It should be large enough so the element can deploy in it. If possible, it should be secured before it is occupied. Leaders may leave from the assault position to reconnoiter the objective. BFVs may--

  • Support the dismount element from the LD.
  • Move to support by fire position to provide close support once the dismount element has reached the assault position.
  • Move along a separate axis to either assault or support the dismounted element in their assault.
  • Draw the enemy's attention away from the dismounted assault.

(e) Squads should take only needed equipment. Excess or bulky equipment slows movement and increases the chance of detection.


Infantry platoons and squads are often required to conduct defensive operations during limited visibility; therefore, these operations should be emphasized during training exercises.

a. Limited visibility conditions refer to darkness, fog, rain, smoke, dust, or any battlefield obscurants that may be employed. These conditions may require the use of image intensifiers, thermal sights, binoculars, and artificial illumination. Devices (such as image intensifiers and thermal sights) should be used together so the capabilities of one system can offset the disadvantages of the other. During heavy rain, snow, fog, smoke, and dust, the effectiveness of night vision devices is degraded, and increased security measures must be implemented. This includes setting up more OPs, patrols, and remote sensors.

b. Limited visibility conditions afford platoons and squads some concealment from enemy observation and reconnaissance. To maximize the advantages of limited visibility, individual soldiers and leaders consider several factors.

(1) At night, objects may appear distorted. Ranges are difficult to estimate and dark objects appear more distant than light objects. To compensate for scan, off-center viewing techniques are used as outlined in FM 21-75, Chapter 4. On a clear night, the naked eye can distinguish land relief up to 400 meters. With a full moon, the naked eye can spot a moving man about 240 meters away and with binoculars, at 700 meters. Haze, smoke, dust, and fog limit observation farther. Also, at night, sound can be heard farther, but the direction is difficult to determine.

(2) Haze, smoke, and fog may prevent the use of image intensification devices during daylight. The effectiveness of thermal sights is also degraded. Provisions for day limited visibility operations must be made. Range cards are prepared so personnel can cover avenues of approach and obstacles, and shift and mass fires.

(3) Physical and psychological factors must also be considered in limited visibility operations. Darkness may stimulate the imagination, creating a feeling of insecurity that could lead to panic. The sensitivity of the eyes and ears during night differs from day. Soldiers using RSTA devices should rest at least every 30 minutes. To avoid eye fatigue, operators are rotated every hour. Sleep plans should be established and enforced; otherwise, the individual soldier's fighting ability is degraded.


When occupying a defensive position during good visibility, the platoon leader must prepare for limited visibility by designating positions for vehicles and crew-served weapons. When possible, vehicles and crew-served weapons should be placed in positions that will preclude repositioning for limited visibility conditions. If repositioning of vehicles and crew-served weapons is necessary, the distance these weapon systems must move are kept to a minimum and moves are made just before dusk. Routes and positions during limited visibility must be designated, and the movement must be rehearsed during good visibility. Dragon thermal sights have limited capability to fire through smoke and haze.

a. During limited visibility, leaders may have to reposition fire teams and BFVs closer to designated engagement areas. Another reason for repositioning forces is to cover gaps between platoons and companies or alternate avenues of approach created by reduced visibility.

b. Repositioning of forces, if necessary, takes place soon after the beginning of limited visibility conditions. Moves are along previously reconnoitered routes into designated positions.


A leader's primary task is to coordinate and control the fire and movement of his platoon so he can mass combat power. This is a demanding task when visibility is good and becomes even more demanding when visibility is limited. Poor visibility adds to command and control problems. Leaders must anticipate and overcome every factor that makes it difficult to detect targets, distinguish between friendly and enemy units to prevent fratricide, fire weapons effectively, and navigate. Leaders must also be familiar with the enemy's ability to operate during limited visibility conditions. Against an enemy not equipped with thermal viewers, a well-trained platoon can turn limited visibility conditions to its tactical advantage. Leaders must recognize and exploit this capability when possible. Command and control considerations are the same during limited visibility as during good visibility.

a. In the defense, command and control is vital and more difficult to achieve and maintain during limited visibility conditions. Good command and control begins in the fighting positions. Each fighting position must have the following aids for controlling fires. (Figure 2-126.)

(1) Aiming stakes--used to assist the soldier in firing his weapon on dangerous avenues of approach.

(2) Sector stakes--used on the right and left to define the sector of fire. They also prevent accidental firing into adjacent positions.

b. Range cards, and squad, section, and platoon sector sketches are essential for control. It is through the integration of such control measures that a coordinated defense is possible. Target reference points (TRPs) are especially necessary for the 25-mm and TOW systems due to the difficulty of estimating distances at long range. TRPs are selected out to the maximum ranges of the systems either through a careful map study or by pacing or driving the distance. If tanks are available, their laser range finders or the forward observer's range finder may be used to mark or verify TRPs. TRPs should be identifiable during limited visibility to the extent of the engagement area or maximum engagement range. A heat source, or thermal marker, should be used. Leaders may use additional control measures, such as tracers, to identify point or area targets and pyrotechnics to control lifting, shifting, or concentrating of fires.


Leaders must coordinate with adjacent vehicle position and platoons. Coordination includes sectors of fire for crew-served and vehicular weapons systems, repositioning of forces during limited visibility, and security measures necessary for the front and flanks. Lateral communication, mounted and dismounted may facilitate command and control. Fratricide avoidance is a central part of coordination. BFV crews must remain aware of the movement of the infantry to avoid casualties from friendly fires. Also, infantry squads must establish measures to inform BFV crews of their current location.

a. Leaders position RSTA equipment and night vision devices so overlapping fields of observation are established within their sector. Patrols and PEWS cover gaps in observation. Obstacles must also be guarded to prevent enemy reduction.

b. The capabilities of the integrated sight unit must be exploited. This system must be manned and a surveillance plan be implemented to ensure that sectors of observation overlap. Operation of the ISU requires starting the engine of the Bradley about every two hours to keep the batteries charged. All Bradleys should be started at the same time to prevent the enemy from knowing how may vehicles are on the position. Thermal sights should not be turned off on any vehicle because of the amount of time required to cool down once they are reactivated.


The techniques used to occupy a defensive position during good visibility apply during limited visibility. Placing the dismounted element and BFVs on the same battle position may facilitate command and control but has certain disadvantages:

  • Because of differences in weapon ranges, either the BFVs or dismount element is not used to their best advantage.
  • The enemy's information gathering is made easier. Once he finds the BFVs, he knows where the infantry is located, which eliminates surprise.

a. A defensive position should be reconnoitered during good visibility. Both the reconnaissance and occupation must be done with stealth under enforced light and noise discipline. Techniques used by a quartering party are appropriate. The security element that accompanies the platoon leader remains to maintain observation on the position and acts as guides when the platoon main body arrives.

b. During the reconnaissance, the platoon leader--

(1) Ensures that no enemy forces occupy the proposed battle position.

(2) Identifies enemy avenues of approach (mounted and dismounted) and potential enemy overwatch positions.

(a) Dismounted infantry orients on dismounted avenues of approach.

(b) BFVs are placed to best cover mounted avenues of approach; supplemental positions are determined so BFVs can cover the dismounted avenue.

(c) Positions for BFVs and infantry should be marked for easier occupation.

(3) Chooses engagement areas if not assigned by the commander.

(4) Chooses primary, alternate, and supplementary positions for squads and fighting vehicles.

(5) Identifies dead space and formulates a plan to cover it.

(6) Chooses locations for observation posts and the command post.

(7) Confirms location of adjacent platoons and companies.

(8) Selects target reference points, sectors of fire, and other control measures.

(9) Chooses routes into and out of positions.

(10) Conducts NBC reconnaissance.

c. A reconnaissance conducted during limited visibility must accomplish the same objectives. Because of the limited range of observation, the leader's task must be accomplished with great care. He must ensure his reconnaissance is done with a RSTA device of similar capabilities of the weapon systems.

NOTE: If BFVs and dismounted infantry are on separate battle positions both elements use all available RSTA assets. For example: The dismount element uses Dragon nightsights, thermal sights, hand-held thermal sights, light intensification devices, and binoculars. The BFVs have a plan, based on the enemy situation, to maintain a specific number of thermal sights operating at all times as well as light intensifiers and binoculars. At least one of the BFVs must either have its thermal off or local security posted to listen for enemy activity. (The BFVs thermal and turret noise sometimes prevent hearing a stealthy enemy.)

d. Based on available time, the platoon leader goes forward, conducts his reconnaissance, returns to the platoon position, and brings forward either--

(1) The mounted section leaders and squad leaders.

(2) Mounted section leaders, platoon sergeant, and squad leaders. He should assign squad and fighting vehicle positions, sectors of fire, TRPs, and engagement areas. Leaders then return to the platoon position and issue orders for the occupation and preparation of forward positions. The platoon then moves forward.

e. If there is not enough time, the platoon leader may take his leaders forward during the initial reconnaissance, or bring the entire platoon forward to an assembly area near the defensive position, and then conduct his reconnaissance with key leaders.

f. As platoon members occupy defensive positions, they accomplish the work priorities as described in Chapter 5. The platoon leader or platoon sergeant must verify that interlocking fields of fire and mutual support are achieved. The platoon leader then goes forward to examine his positions from the enemy's perspective.

g. The platoon leader must carefully consider the method of employing the dismount element and the BFVs. Whether to fight both elements from different battle positions or the same battle position must be closely examined. During limited visibility, the occupation of battle positions and controlling fires is simplified if both elements are on the same battle position.

h. All activities normally associated with the occupation of defensive positions during good visibility are done during limited visibility. Techniques may change to compensate for limited visibility conditions such as using night vision devices to establish sectors of fire. Noise and light discipline must be strictly enforced. Face-to-face coordination with adjacent platoons must be conducted and sectors of fire coordinated. Coordination should effectively tie in overlapping sectors of fire and observation with weapon systems and night vision devices. When good visibility returns, defensive positions are adjusted as necessary. Detailed schedules are developed to ensure the priorities are accomplished while maintaining thermal surveillance on a 24-hour basis.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias