Infantry Drills

2-5: Surprise

Previous: 2-4: Concentration

2-5. In the offense, surprise is achieved by attacking the enemy at a time or place they do not expect or in a manner for which they are unprepared. Estimating the enemy commander’s intent and denying the ability to gain thorough and timely situational understanding are necessary to achieve surprise. Unpredictability and boldness help gain surprise. The direction, timing, and force of attack also help achieve surprise. Surprise delays enemy reactions, overloads and confuse his command and control systems, induces psychological shock in enemy soldiers and leaders, and reduces the coherence of defensive missions. By diminishing enemy combat power, surprise enables the attackers to exploit
enemy paralysis and hesitancy. The Infantry platoon and squad achieve surprise by—

  • Gaining and maintaining information dominance by conducting thorough information collection and counterreconnaissance efforts.
  • Striking the enemy from an unexpected direction, at an unexpected time, and by unique combinations of movement with units that cross all types of terrain.
  • Quickly changing the tempo of operations.
  • Being unpredictable.

Next: 2-6: Tempo

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