Previous: 2-17: Infiltration
2-18. A flanking attack is a form of offensive maneuver directed at the flank of an enemy force as illustrated in figure 2-6, page 2-10. A flank is the right or left side of a military formation and is not oriented toward the enemy. It is usually not as strong in terms of forces or fires as is the front of a military formation. A flank may be created by the attacker with fires or by a successful penetration. A flanking attack is similar to envelopment but generally conducted on a shallower axis. It is designed to defeat the enemy force while minimizing the effect of the enemy’s frontally-oriented combat power. Flanking attacks normally are conducted with the main effort directed at the flank of the enemy. Usually, a
supporting effort engages the enemy’s front by fire and maneuver while the main effort maneuvers to attack the enemy‘s flank. This supporting effort diverts the enemy’s attention from the threatened flank. Corps and divisions are the most likely echelons to conduct turning movements. It often is used for a hasty operation or meeting engagement where speed and simplicity are paramount to maintaining battle tempo and, ultimately, the initiative.
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Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad