Infantry Drills

2-147: Platoon as the Reserve

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2-147. The designation of a reserve allows the commander to retain flexibility during the attack. The commander should be prepared to commit his reserve to exploit success and to continue the attack. The reserve may repulse counterattacks during consolidation and reorganization. The reserve is normally under the commander’s control and positioned where it can best exploit the success of the attack. The reserve should not be so close that it loses flexibility during the assault.

2-148. During the attack, the mechanized platoon may be designated the company or battalion reserve. It may be an on-order or be-prepared mission. The company or battalion commander commits the reserve platoon to reinforce the decisive operation and to maintain the attack’s momentum. To exploit the success of the other attacking units, the reserve should attack the enemy from a new direction. Because of the many missions the platoon may be assigned, the platoon leader has to maintain situational awareness, know the missions and tactical plans of the other units, and be familiar with the terrain and enemy
situation in the whole area of operation. It must react quickly and decisively when committed.

2-149. The reserve platoon may be assigned one or more of the following missions:

  • Protect the flank and rear of the unit.
  • Conduct a counterattack or establish a blocking position.
  • Maintain contact with adjacent units.
  • Clear a position that has been overrun or bypassed by another unit.
  • Establish a support-by-fire position.
  • Assume the mission of an attacking unit.
  • Attack from a new direction.
  • Protect or assist in the consolidation and reorganization on the objective.

Next: Section V: Actions on Contact

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