Infantry Drills

3-53: Enemy Assault

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3-53. During an assault, the enemy deploys to achieve mass at a designated point, normally employing assault and support forces. This may leave him vulnerable to the combined effects of indirect and direct fires and integrated obstacles. The enemy may employ additional forces to fix friendly elements and prevent their repositioning. Friendly counterattack forces might be committed against the enemy flank or rear, while other friendly forces may displace to alternate, supplementary, or subsequent positions in support of the commander’s scheme of maneuver. All friendly forces should be prepared for the enemy to maximize employment of combat multipliers to create vulnerabilities.
The enemy also is likely to use artillery, CAS, and CBRN weapons to set the conditions for the assault.

3-54. The platoon engages the enemy. Squad leaders and team leaders control their Soldiers’ direct fires. Destroyed vital positions are reoccupied. Soldiers move to alternate positions if the primary positions become untenable. Casualties are evacuated. Mines, indirect fires to include mortars are fired. Javelins and other direct fire weapons target the enemy’s support positions.

3-55. Under limited visibility, selected mortars and field artillery units initially may fire infrared illumination if the enemy has not identified the defenders’ positions. Once the platoon engages the enemy from its primary positions, regular illumination is used. If the platoon has overhead cover and the enemy penetrates the tactical wire, fires may include variable timed fuzed HE.

3-56. When required, final protective fires are initiated. Indirect fire systems to include field artillery and heavy mortars; join in firing their final protective fires concentrations until ordered to cease-fire or have exhausted their ammunition. Medium machine guns fire along their final protective lines (FPL). Soldiers fire to the flank to provide mutual support. Soldiers are resupplied with ammunition, and casualties evacuated.

Next: 3-57: Counterattack

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