Infantry Drills

2-137: Base-of-Fire Element

Previous: 2-136: Maneuver

2-137. Combining fire and movement requires a base of fire. Some platoon elements (usually a section, the weapons squad, and the BFVs or Stryker) remain stationary to provide protection for bounding elements by suppressing or destroying enemy elements. The dismounted mechanized platoon can maneuver while protected by the BFVs in a baseof- fire position and then establish another base of fire with the weapons or a rifle squad.

2-138. Because maneuver is decentralized in nature, the platoon leader determines from his terrain analysis where and when he wants to establish a base of fire. During actions on contact, he adjusts maneuver plans as needed. Making maneuver decisions normally falls to the leader on the ground, who knows what enemy elements can engage the maneuvering element and what friendly forces can provide the base of fire.

2-139. The base-of-fire element occupies positions that afford the best possible cover and concealment, a clear view, and clear fields of fire. The platoon leader normally designates a general location for the base of fire, and the element leader selects the exact location. Once in position, the base-of-fire element suppresses known, likely, or suspected enemy elements while aggressively scanning its assigned area of operation. It identifies previously unknown elements and then suppresses them with direct and indirect fires. The base-of-fire element allows the bounding unit to keep maneuvering so it can retain the initiative even when the enemy can see and fire on it. While maneuvering to or in position, the base-of-fire element leader is constantly looking for other locations that may provide better support for the maneuvering element.

Next: 2-140: Bounding Element

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