Infantry Drills

2-19: Common Offensive Control Measures

Previous: 2-18: Flank Attack

2-19. The higher commander defines the commander’s intent and establishes control measures allowing for decentralized execution and platoon leader initiative to the greatest extent. Common control measures for the offense are the—

  • Assault position.
  • Assault time.
  • Attack by fire position.
  • Attack position.
  • Axis of advance.
  • Battle handover line.
  • Direction of attack.
  • Final coordination line.
  • Limit of advance.
  • Line of departure.
  • Objective.
  • Point of departure.
  • Probable line of deployment.
  • Rally point.
  • Support of fire position.
  • Time of attack.

2-20. An area of operation defines the location where the subordinate units conduct their offensive. One technique breaks the battalion and company area of operation into many named smaller area of operation. Units remain in designated area of operation as they conduct their missions. Battalion and higher reconnaissance assets might be used to observe area of operation with no platoons in them, while platoons or companies provide their own reconnaissance in the area of operation. This technique, along with target
reference points (TRPs), help avoid fratricide in noncontiguous environments. A TRP facilitates the responsiveness of fixing and finishing elements once the reconnaissance element detects the enemy. Objectives and checkpoints guide the movement of subordinates and help leaders control their organizations. Contact points help coordination among the units operating in adjacent areas.

2-21. When looking for terrain features to use as control measures, leaders consider three types: contiguous; point; and area. Contiguous features follow major natural and manmade features such as ridgelines, valleys, trails, streams, power lines, and streets. Point features can be identified by a specific feature or a grid coordinate including, hilltops and prominent buildings. Area features are significantly larger than point features and require a combination of grid coordinates and terrain orientation.

Next: 2-22: Sequence of the Offense

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