Infantry Drills

Section III: Combat Formations

Previous: 2-58: Tunnels and Caves

2-60. This section discusses combat formations of Infantry fire team, squad, platoon and mounted platoon. The platoon leader uses formations for several purposes: to relate one squad to another on the ground; to position firepower to support the direct-fire plan; to establish responsibilities for area of operation security among squads; or to aid in the execution of battle drills. Just as he does with movement techniques, the platoon leader plans formations based on where he expects enemy contact, and on the company commander’s plans to react to contact. The platoon leader evaluates the situation and decides which formation best suits the mission and situation.

2-61. Every squad and Soldier has a standard position. Soldiers can see their team leaders. Fire team leaders can see their squad leaders. Leaders control their units using arm-and-hand signals and intra-squad/team communications.

2-62. Formations also provide 360-degree security and allow units to give the majority of their firepower to the flanks or front in anticipation of enemy contact.

2-63. Formations do not demand parade-ground precision. Platoons and squads must retain the flexibility needed to vary their formations to the situation. Using formations allows Soldiers to execute battle drills quickly and gives them the assurance their leaders and buddy team members are in the expected positions and performing the right tasks.

2-64. Sometimes platoon and company formations differ due to METT-TC. For example, the platoons could move in wedge formations within a company vee. It is not necessary for platoon formations to be the same as the company formation unless directed by the company commander. However, the platoon leader coordinates his formation with other elements moving in the main body team’s formation.

Note. Formation illustrations shown in this chapter are examples only. They might not depict actual situation or circumstances. Leaders must be prepared to adapt their choice of formation to the specific situation. Leaders always should position themselves where they can best control their formations.

Next: 2-65: Primary Formations

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