Infantry Drills

D-5: Screen

Previous: D-4: Security Fundamentals

D-5. A screen primarily provides early warning to the main body. A unit performing a screen observes, identifies, and reports enemy actions. Screen is defensive in nature but not passive in execution. It is employed to cover gaps between forces, exposed flanks, or the rear of stationary or moving forces. Generally, a screening force fights in a limited engagement where it can quickly destroy an enemy element without revealing its own position or engages high payoff targets the severely degrades the enemies capabilities. However, it may engage enemy reconnaissance elements within its capability (counterreconnaissance). A screen provides the least amount of protection of all security missions. It does not have the combat power to develop the situation. It is used when the likelihood of enemy contact is remote, the expected enemy force is small, or the friendly main body needs only a minimum amount of time once it is warned to react.

D-6. Screen tasks are to—

  • Allow no enemy ground element to pass through the screen undetected and unreported.
  • Maintain continuous surveillance of all avenues of approach larger than a designated size into the area under all visibility conditions.
  • Destroy or repel all enemy reconnaissance patrols within its capabilities.
  • Locate the lead elements of each enemy advance guard and determine its direction of movement in a defensive screen.
  • Maintain contact with enemy forces and report all activities in the area of operations.
  • Maintain contact with the main body and security forces operating on its flanks.
  • Impede and harass the enemy within its capabilities while displacing.

Next: D-7: Stationary Screen

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