Infantry Drills

3-93: Observation Posts

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3-93. An observation post provides the primary security in the defense. Observation posts provide early warning of impending enemy contact by reporting direction, distance, and size. It detects the enemy early and sends accurate reports to the platoon. The platoon leader establishes observation posts along the most likely enemy avenues of approach into the position or into the area of operation. Leaders ensure that observation posts (mounted or dismounted) have communication with the platoon.

3-94. Early detection reduces the risk of the enemy overrunning the observation post. Observation post may be equipped with a Javelin command launch unit; class 1 unmanned aircraft system; seismic, acoustic, or frequency detecting sensors to increase its ability to detect the enemy. They may receive infrared trip flares, infrared parachute flares, infrared M203 or M320 rounds, and even infrared mortar round support to illuminate the enemy. The platoon leader weighs the advantages and disadvantages of using infrared illumination when the enemy is known to have night vision devices that detect infrared light. Although
infrared and thermal equipment within the platoon enables the platoon to see the observation post at a greater distance, the observation post should not be positioned outside the range of the platoon’s small-arms weapons.

3-95. To further reduce the risk of fratricide, observation posts use GPS to navigate to the exit and entry point in the platoon’s position. The platoon leader ensures he submits an observation post location to the company team commander to ensure a no fire area is established around each observation post position.

Next: 3-96: Patrols

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