Infantry Drills

H-33: Detailed Reverse Planning

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H-33. The platoon leader along with the platoon sergeant and squad leaders must develop the breaching plan using the following sequence when planning for a protective obstacle breach. The platoon leader can plan to breach wire, mine fields, trenches, and craters. (See figure H-4.) The following considerations must be made:

  • Reverse planning begins with actions on the objective.
  • Actions on the objective drive the size and composition of the assault force.
  • The size of the assault force determines the number and location of lanes to be created.
  • The ability of the enemy to interfere with the reduction of the obstacle determines the size and composition of the security element in the breach force.
  • The ability of the enemy to mass fires on the point of breach determines the amount of suppression and size and composition of the support force.
Figure H-4. Reverse planning

H-34. The approved technique for conducting obstacle breaching operations is SOSRA. The section focuses specifically on platoon and squad reduction techniques of land mines, construction obstacles, urban obstacles, IEDs and expedient devices.

H-35. As part of reducing obstacles, units also must detect, report, proof, and mark.

H-36. Detection is the actual confirmation of the location of obstacles. It may be accomplished through reconnaissance. It also can be unintentional (such as a vehicle running into a mine or wire). Detection is used in conjunction with information collection, bypass reconnaissance, and breaching/clearing operations. Specific detection methods for mines and IEDs are discussed more in this section.

H-37. Intelligence concerning enemy minefields is reported by the fastest means available. A SPOTREP should be sent to higher headquarters when Infantry platoons or squads have detected a minefield or other obstacle. This should be done whether they are sent on a specific minefield or obstacle reconnaissance mission, or if they encounter one in the course of normal operations. The SPOTREP should contain as much information possible including the type, location, size of the obstacle, and results of reduction efforts.

H-38. Proofing normally is done by engineers by passing a mine roller or another mine-resistant vehicle through the minefield to verify a lane is free of mines. If the risk of live mines remaining in the lane does not exceed the risk of loss to enemy fires while waiting, proofing may not be practical. Some mines are resistant to specific breaching techniques. For example, magnetically fused mines may be resistant to some explosive blasts. So proofing should be done when the time available, the threat, and mission allows. Proofing also involves verifying other obstacles (such as wire) are free of explosive or injurious devices.

H-39. Marking breach lanes and bypasses is critical to obstacle reduction.

Next: H-40: Reduce a Minefield

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