Infantry Drills

2-58: Tunnels and Caves

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2-58. Tunnels, caves, and dry wells have historically been used for hiding places, food and weapons caches, headquarters complexes, protection against air strikes and artillery fire. Enemy personnel use these areas for both offensive and defensive actions. An extensive tunnel system containing rooms for storage and hiding as well as passages to interconnected fighting points may be encountered. Tunnels and caves are not only dangerous obstacles but can be an outstanding source of enemy information. Presence of a tunnel complex within or near an area of operations poses a continuing threat to all personnel in the area and no area containing tunnel complexes should ever be considered
completely cleared.

2-59. Since tunnel complexes are carefully concealed and camouflaged, search and destroy operations should provide adequate time for thorough searches of an area to locate all tunnels and caves. Using of local nationals and host-nation scouts can be of great assistance in locating caves, tunnels, defensive positions, and likely ambush sites. Caves, trenches, spider holes, and tunnels are well incorporated into mountainous terrain and enemy operations and may be used as a deception to draw friendly forces into a cave or tunnel system rigged with booby traps or set with an ambush. (Refer to ATTP 3-21.50 for more information.)

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