Infantry Drills

A-125: Step 5 – Conduct Reconnaissance

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A-125. To exploit the principles of speed and surprise, leaders should weigh the advantages of reconnoitering personally against the combat multiplier in the form of supplied information from battalion information systems. They realistically consider the dangers of reconnoitering personally, and time required to conduct them. Leaders might be able to plan their operations using the unprecedented amount of combat information provided by the higher echelon information collection assets. However, if time permits, leaders should verify higher headquarters’ intelligence by reconnoitering visually. They should seek to confirm the PIR supporting their tentative plans. These PIR usually consists of assumptions or critical facts about the enemy. This can include strength and location, especially at templated positions. It also can include information about the terrain. For example, verification of a tentative support-by-fire position can suppress the enemy, or an avenue of approach is useable.

A-126. If possible, leaders should include their subordinate leaders in their reconnaissance efforts. This allows the subordinates to see as much of the terrain and enemy as possible. The reconnaissance also helps subordinate leaders gain insight into the leaders’ visions of the operation.

A-127. The leaders’ recons might include moving to or beyond the LD, reconnaissance of an area of operation, or walking from the forward edge of the battle area back to and through the platoon area of operation or battle position along likely enemy avenues of approach. If possible, leaders should select vantage points with the best possible view of the decisive point. In addition to the leaders’ reconnaissance efforts, units can conduct additional reconnaissance operations. Examples include surveillance of an area by subordinate elements, patrols to determine enemy locations, and establishment of observation posts to gain additional information. Leaders also can incorporate Javelin CLUs as surveillance tools (day or night), based on an analysis of METT-TC.

A-128. The nature of the reconnaissance, including what it covers and how long it lasts, depends on the tactical situation and time available. The leader should use the results of the COA development process to identify information and security requirements of the unit’s reconnaissance operations.

A-129. The leader must include disseminating results and conclusions arrived from reconnaissance into his time analysis. He also must consider how to communicate changes in the COA to his subordinates and how these changes affect his plans, actions of the subordinates, and other supporting elements.

Next: A-130: Step 6 – Complete the Plan

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad