Infantry Drills

D-96: Actions at an Obstacle

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D-96. Obstacles are a major impediment to convoys. The purpose of reconnaissance ahead of a convoy is to identify obstacles and either breach or bypasses. In some cases the enemy or its obstacles may avoid detection by the reconnaissance element.

D-97. Obstacles can be used to harass the convoy by delaying it. If the terrain is favorable, the obstacle may stop the convoy altogether. Obstacles also may be used to canalize the convoy to set up an enemy ambush. When an obstacle is identified, the convoy escort faces two problems: reducing or bypassing the obstacle, and maintaining protection of the convoy. Security becomes critical, and actions at the obstacle must be accomplished quickly. The convoy commander must assume the enemy is covering the obstacle with direct- and indirect-fire weapons systems.

D-98. To reduce time the convoy is halted and to reduce its vulnerability, the following actions should occur when the convoy escort encounters a point-type obstacle:

  • The lead element identifies the obstacle and directs the convoy to make a short halt to establish security. The convoy escort overwatches the obstacle and requests the breach element force to move forward. (See figure D-16.)
  • The convoy escort maintains 360-degree security of the convoy and provides overwatch as the breach force reconnoiters the obstacle in search of a bypass.

D-99. Once all reconnaissance are complete, the convoy commander determines which of the following COA is suitable for mission accomplishment:

  • Bypass the obstacle.
  • Breach the obstacle with assets on hand.
  • Breach the obstacle with reinforcing assets.

D-100. The convoy security commander relays a SPOTREP and requests support by combat reaction forces, engineer assets (if they are not part of the convoy), and aerial reconnaissance elements. Artillery units are alerted to prepare to provide indirect fire support.

Figure D-16. Convoy escort overwatches an obstacle

D-101. Obstacles may be in the form of unexploded ordnance, or uncharted minefields. If the convoy encounters unexploded ordnance or mines, the convoy security commander should identify, mark, report, and bypass.

Next: D-102: Actions During Halts

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