Infantry Drills

B-57: Engagement Priorities

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B-57. Engagement priorities, which entail the sequential ordering of targets to be engaged, can serve one or more of the following critical fire control functions:

  • Prioritize high-payoff targets. In concert with his concept of the operation, the platoon leader determines which target types provide the greatest payoff; he then can set these as a unit engagement priority. For example, he may decide destroying enemy engineer assets is the best way to prevent the enemy from reducing an obstacle.
  • Employ the best weapons to the target. Establishing engagement priorities for specific friendly systems increases the effectiveness with which the unit employs its weapons. For example, the engagement priority of the Javelin could be enemy tanks first, then enemy personnel carriers; this would decrease the chance the platoon’s lighter systems will have to engage enemy armored vehicles.
  • Distribute the unit’s fires. Establishing different priorities for similar friendly systems helps to prevent overkill and achieve distribution of fires. For example, the platoon leader may designate the enemy’s tanks as the initial priority for the weapons squad, while making the enemy’s personnel carriers the priority for one of his rifle squads. This would decrease the chances of units launching multiple tube launched, optically tracked, wire guided missiles (TOW) against two enemy tanks, while ignoring the dangers posed by the personnel carriers.

Next: B-58: Trigger

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