Infantry Drills

3-26: Retrograde

Previous: 3-23: Mobile Defense

3-26. Retrograde is a defensive task involving organized movement away from the enemy. The enemy may force a retrograde or the leader may execute it voluntarily. In either case, the higher commander of the force executing the operation must approve retrograding.

3-27. Retrogrades are conducted to improve a tactical situation or preventing a worse situation from developing. Platoons usually conduct retrogrades as part of a larger force but may conduct independent retrogrades (withdrawal) as required. Retrograde operations can accomplish the following:

  • Resist, exhaust, and defeat enemy forces.
  • Draw the enemy into an unfavorable situation.
  • Avoid contact in undesirable conditions.
  • Gain time.
  • Disengage a force from battle for use elsewhere for other missions.
  • Reposition forces, shorten lines of communication, or conform to movements of other friendly units.
  • Secure favorable terrain.

3-28. The three forms of retrograde are—

  • Delay.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Retirement.

Next: 3-29: Delay

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