Infantry Drills

3-124: Situational Obstacle

Previous: 3-123: Obstacle Lanes

3-124. A situational obstacle is planned and possibly prepared before a mission, but it executes only if specific criteria are met. It gives the platoon leader the flexibility to emplace tactical obstacles based on battlefield development—

  • The platoon leader anticipates situations that require maneuver and fire plan modifications to defeat the threat, and considers the use of situational obstacles to support these modifications.
  • By their very nature, situational obstacles must be quickly installable, but still achieve the desired effect. Therefore, scatterable mines (SCATMINEs) such as MOPMS, Hornets, and Volcanoes are the most common versions used at the platoon level. However, situational obstacles can consist of any type of individual obstacle.
  • The platoon leader considers where he can employ situational obstacles. He ensures the combination of fires and obstacles are enough to achieve the obstacle effect.
  • The platoon leader identifies execution triggers; situational obstacles are triggered based on friendly actions, enemy actions, or a combination of both.
  • Finally, the platoon leader withholds execution of a situational obstacle until the obstacle effect is required. Once committed, those assets are no longer available to support any other mission. The platoon leader also considers that SCATMINEs have a self-destruct time. Emplacing an obstacle too soon can cause the mines to self-destruct before the enemy arrives.

Next: 3-125: Intelligence

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