Infantry Drills

2-280: Movement and Maneuver

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2-280. In the plan of attack, the Infantry leader seeks to surprise the enemy by choosing an unexpected direction, time, type, or strength for attacking and by exploiting the success of military deception operations. Surprise delays enemy reactions, overloads and confuses enemy command and control, induces psychological shock in the enemy, and reduces the coherence of the enemy’s defensive operations. The leader achieves tactical surprise by attacking in bad weather and over seemingly impassible terrain, conducting feints and demonstrations, maintaining a high tempo, destroying enemy forces, and employing sound OPSEC. The leader may plan different attack times for decisive and shaping operations to mislead the enemy and allow the shifting of supporting fires to successive attacking echelons. However, simultaneous attacks provide a means to maximize the effects of mass in the initial assault. They also prevent the enemy from concentrating defensive fires against successive attacks.

2-281. The platoon leader often will find himself as the observer (and executor) of company and battalion level fires. Understanding the concept of echelon fires is critical for indirect fire plan to be synchronized with the maneuver plan. The purpose of echeloning fires is to maintain constant fires on a target while using the optimum delivery system up to the point of its risk-estimate distance in combat operations or minimum safe distance (MSD) in training. Echeloning fires provides protection for friendly forces as they move to and assault an objective, allowing them to close with minimal casualties. It prevents the enemy from observing and engaging the assault by forcing the enemy to take cover, allowing the friendly force to continue the advance unimpeded.

2-282. In planning Infantry leaders focus on the routes, formations, and navigational aids they will use to traverse the ground from the LD or PD to the objective. Some terrain locations may require the attacking unit to change its combat formation, direction of movement, or movement technique when it reaches those locations. The unit can post guides at these critical locations to ensure maintaining control over the movement.

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