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Previous: 3-74: Disrupt the Enemy
3-76. When conducting an area defense, the leader does everything possible to limit the options available to the enemy. In addition to disrupting the enemy, the leader conducts shaping operations to constrain the enemy into a specific COA, control enemy movements, or fix the enemy in a given location. These actions limit the enemy’s options. While executing these operations, the leader continues to find, and to delay or to eliminate enemy follow-on reserve forces to keep them from entering the main battle area.
3-77. The leader has several options to help fix an attacking enemy force. The leader can design shaping operations, such as securing the flanks and point of a penetration, to fix the enemy and to allow friendly forces to execute decisive maneuver elsewhere.
3-78. The leader uses obstacles covered by fire to fix, to turn, to block, or to disrupt to limit the enemy’s available options. Properly executed obstacles are a result of synthesis of top-down and bottom-up obstacle planning and emplacement. Blocking forces also can affect enemy movement. A blocking force may achieve its mission from a variety of positions depending on METT-TC.
Next: 3-79: Maneuver
Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad