Infantry Drills

D-23: Selection and Securing the Observation Post

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D-23. Based on guidance from the controlling headquarters, the leader selects the general location of the unit’s observation posts after conducting METT-TC. From his analysis, he determines how many observation posts he must establish. He also decides where they must be positioned to allow long-range observation along the avenues exact position when they get on the actual ground. Figure D-4 (page D-10) shows an example of observation post selection in urban terrain. Observation posts should have the following characteristics:

  • Covered and concealed routes to and from the observation post. Soldiers must be able to enter and leave their observation post without being seen by the enemy.
  • Unobstructed observation of the assigned area or sector. Ideally, the fields of observation of adjacent observation post overlap to ensure full coverage of the sector.
  • Cover and concealment. Leaders select positions with cover and concealment to reduce their vulnerability on the battlefield. Leaders may need to pass up a position with favorable observation capability but with no cover and concealment to select a position affording better survivability. This position should not attract attention or skyline the observer.
  • Observation posts should be placed no further than half maximum effective range of the weapon system overwatching them assuming a clear line of fire. If the line of fire is less than the maximum effective range then it should be no further than half the distance than the farthest visible point.
Figure D-4. Selection of observation post location

D-24. Small teams are extremely vulnerable in an observation post. Their best self-defense is not to be seen, heard, or otherwise detected by the enemy. They employ active and passive local security measures.

Next: D-25: Occupying the Observation Post

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