Infantry Drills

3-156: Fundamentals

Previous: 3-155: Reverse-Slope Defense

3-156. Planning fundamentals to a defense on a reverse slope include:

  • Positioning forward squads so they block enemy approaches and exploit existingobstacles. Plans should—
    • Permit surprise fire on the crest and on the approaches around the crest.
    • Have rear and overhead cover to protect friendly Soldiers from fratricide while in forward fighting positions.
  • Positioning observation posts, on the crest or the forward slope of the defended hill. Plans should—
    • Increase observation posts and patrols to prevent infiltration at night.
    • Consider attaching medium machine guns to observation posts.
  • Positioning the squad in-depth or reserve where it can provide the most flexibility, support the forward squads by fire, protect the flanks and the rear of the platoon, and counterattack, if necessary. It might be positioned on the counterslope to the rear of the forward squad if that position allows it to fire and hit the enemy when he reaches the crest of the defended hill.
  • Positioning the platoon command post to the rear where it will not interfere with the reserve or supporting units. Plans should consider that—
    • The platoon leader may have an observation post on the forward slope or crest and another on the reverse slope or counterslope.
    • The observation post is used on the forward slope or crest before the battle starts when the platoon leader is determining the enemy’s intentions.
    • During the fight, he moves the observation post on the reverse slope or counterslope.
  • Planning indirect fire well forward of, on, and to the flanks of the forward slope, crest, reverse slope, and counterslope.
  • Planning direct final protective fires on the crest of the hill to control the crest and stop assaults.
  • Reinforcing existing obstacles.
  • Knowing that protective obstacles on the reverse slope􀊊just down from the crest where it can be covered by fire􀊊can slow the enemy’s advance and hold him under friendly fire.
  • Knowing that the platoon leader normally plans for counterattacks and plans to drive the enemy off the crest by fire, if possible.
  • Knowing that the platoon leader is prepared to drive the enemy off by fire and movement.

Next: 3-157: Employment

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