Infantry Drills

3-157: Employment

Previous: 3-156: Fundamentals

3-157. The Infantry leader can adopt a reverse slope position when—

  • Enemy fire makes the forward slope untenable.
  • Lack of cover and concealment on the forward slope makes it untenable.
  • The forward slope has been lost or not yet been gained.
  • The forward slope is exposed to enemy direct fire weapons fired from beyond the effective range of the defender’s weapons. Moving to the reverse slope removes the attacker’s standoff advantage.
  • The terrain on the reverse slope provides better fields of fire than the forward slope.
  • Surprising and deceiving the enemy as to the true location of the Infantry platoon’s defensive positions is essential.
  • Enemy weapons systems have overmatch in range and lethality.

3-158. When executing a reverse slope defense, the leader places special emphasis on—

  • A direct and indirect fire support plan to prevent the enemy’s occupation and using crest of the hill.
  • The use of observation posts or reconnaissance elements on the forward slope to provide observation across the entire front and security to the main battle positions.
  • A counterattack plan specifying measures necessary to clear the crest or regain it from the enemy.
  • Direct and indirect fire support to destroy disrupt, and attrition of enemy forces on the forward slope.

3-159. The forward edge of positions should be within small arms range of the crest. It should be far enough from the crest, which fields of fire, allow the defender time to place well-aimed fire on the enemy before he reaches friendly positions. The platoon establishes observation posts on or forward of the topographical crest. This allows long-range observation over the entire front and indirect fire coverage of forward obstacles. Observation posts usually are provided by the unit owning the terrain being observed, and may vary in size from a few Soldiers to a reinforced squad. They should include forward observers. At night, their number should be increased to improve security.

Next: 3-160: Special Considerations

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