1-46: Platoon Leader

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1-46. The platoon leader leads his Soldiers by personal example and is responsible for all the platoon does or fails to do, having complete authority over his subordinates. This centralized authority enables him to maintain unit discipline, unity, and to act decisively. He must be prepared to exercise initiative within his company commander’s intent and without specific guidance for every situation. The platoon leader knows his Soldiers, how to employ the platoon, its weapons, and its systems. Relying on the expertise of the platoon sergeant, the platoon leader regularly consults with him on all platoon matters. During operations, the platoon leader—

  • Leads the platoon in supporting the higher headquarters missions. He bases his actions on his assigned mission and intent and concept of his higher commanders.
  • Conducts troop leading procedures.
  • Maneuvers squads and fighting elements.
  • Synchronizes the efforts of squads.
  • Looks ahead to the next “move” of the platoon.
  • Requests, controls, and synchronizes supporting assets.
  • Employs mission command systems available to the squads and platoon.
  • Checks with squad leaders ensuring 360-degree, three-dimensional security is maintained.
  • Checks with weapons squad leader controlling the emplacement of key weapon systems.
  • Issues accurate and timely reports.
  • Places himself where he is most needed to accomplish the mission.
  • Assigns clear tasks and purposes to the squads.
  • Understands the mission and commander’s intent two levels up (company and battalion).
  • Receives on-hand status reports from the platoon sergeant and squad leaders during planning.
  • Coordinates and assists in the development of the obstacle plan.
  • Oversees and is responsible for property management.

1-47. The platoon leader works to develop and maintain situational understanding. This is a product of four elements. First, the platoon leader attempts to know what is happening in present terms of friendly, enemy, neutral, and terrain situations. Second, he knows the end state representing mission accomplishment. Third, he determines the critical actions and events occurring to move his unit from the present to the end state. Finally, he assesses the risk throughout.

Next: 1-48: Platoon Sergeant

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