Previous: 3-32: Alternate or Successive Positions
3-36. Withdrawal is a planned retrograde operation, which a force in contact disengages from an enemy force, and moves in a direction away from the enemy. Although the leader avoids withdrawing from action under enemy pressure, it is not always possible. Withdrawal is used to preserve the force or release it for a new mission.
3-37. Withdrawals are inherently dangerous. They involve moving units to the rear and away from what is usually a stronger enemy force. The heavier the previous fighting and closer the contact with the enemy, the more difficult the withdrawal. Units usually confine rearward movement to times and conditions when the advancing enemy force cannot observe the activity or easily detect the operation. OPSEC is extremely important, especially crucial during the initial stages of a delay when most of the functional and sustainment forces displace.