Infantry Drills

2-168: Advance Guard

Previous: 2-167: Security Forces

2-168. When the platoon serves as the advance guard, its purpose is to protect the main body from surprise attack, and develop the situation to protect the deployment of the main body when it is committed to action. These responsibilities include—

  • Providing security and early warning for the main body and facilitating its uninterrupted advance.
  • Conducting reconnaissance to locate enemy forces along the battalion’s axis of advance.
  • Conducting actions on contact to retain freedom of maneuver for the battalion.
  • Calling for indirect fires to impede or harass the enemy.
  • Destroying enemy reconnaissance elements.
  • Finding, fixing, defeating, destroying, or containing enemy security forces to retain freedom of maneuver for the battalion.
  • Bypassing and reporting obstacles, or act as the battalion support or breach force during breaching operations.

2-169. Composition of the advance guard depends upon METT-TC. In open terrain, it may move mounted; but in restricted, close, complex, or urban terrain, dismounted movement with vehicles in the overwatch may be a better choice. Engineers, tank, or Infantry company platoons may be attached to the advance guard. The mortar platoon or a mortar section may also support the advance guard.

2-170. The advance guard is the battalion commander’s main effort until the main body is committed; then the priority of fires shifts to the main body. In planning the movement to contact, each decision point should be based on the actions of the advance guard.

Next: 2-171: Flank Guard

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