Infantry Drills

2-356: Transition to the Defense

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2-356. As offensive tasks approach a culmination point, the unit leader could order a transition to defensive tasks. The leader can use two basic techniques when he transitions to the defense. The first technique is leading elements to commit forces and push forward to claim enough ground to establish a security area anchored on defensible terrain. The second technique is to establish a security area generally along the unit’s final positions, moving the main body rearward to defensible terrain.

2-357. The Infantry leader anticipating the termination of unit offensive tasks prepares orders including the time or circumstances under which the current offensive task transitions to a defensive-focused mission, the missions and locations of subordinate units, and mission command measures. As the unit transitions from an offensive to a defensive focus, the leader takes the following actions:

  • Maintains contact and surveillance of the enemy, using a combination of reconnaissance units and surveillance assets to develop the information required to plan future actions.
  • Establishes a security area and local security measures.
  • Redeploys indirect fire assets to ensure the support of security forces.
  • Redeploys forces based on probable future employment.
  • Maintains or regains contact with adjacent units in a contiguous area of operations and ensures units remain capable of mutual support in a noncontiguous area of operations.
  • Request engineer assets to shift the emphasis from mobility to countermobility and survivability.
  • Consolidates and reorganizes.

Next: 2-358: Transition to Stability

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