Infantry Drills

2-263: Reserve

Previous: 2-261: Main Body

2-263. The leader uses the reserve to exploit success, defeat enemy counterattacks, or restore momentum to a stalled attack. For a company mission this usually is a squad size force. For a battalion mission it is usually a platoon-size element. Once committed, the reserve’s actions normally become or reinforce the echelon’s decisive operation. The Infantry leader makes every effort to reconstitute another reserve from units made available by the revised situation. Often the leader’s most difficult and important decision concerns the time, place, and circumstances for committing the reserve. The reserve is not
a committed force and is not used as a follow-and-support force, or a follow-and-assumes force.

2-264. In the attack, the combat power allocated to the reserve depends primarily on the level of uncertainty about the enemy, especially the strength of all expected enemy counterattacks. The leader only needs to resource a small reserve to respond to unanticipated enemy reactions when detailed information about the enemy exists. When the situation is relatively clear and enemy capabilities are limited, the reserve may consist of a small fraction of the command. When the situation is vague, the reserve initially may contain the majority of the Infantry leader’s combat power.

Next: 2-265: Sustainment Organization

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