Infantry Drills

3-160: Special Considerations

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3-160. These are some considerations leaders may apply when defending on a reverse slope:

  • Observation of the enemy is more difficult.
  • Soldiers in this position see forward no farther than the crest. This makes it hard to determine exactly where the enemy is as he advances, especially when visibility is poor.
  • Observation posts must be placed forward of the topographic crest for early warning and long-range observation.
  • Egress from the position might be more difficult.
  • Fields of fire are usually short.
  • Obstacles on the forward slope can be covered only with indirect fire or by units on the flanks of the company unless some weapons systems are placed forward initially.
  • If the enemy gains the crest, he can assault downhill. This may give him a psychological advantage.
  • If observation posts are insufficient or improperly placed, the defenders might have to fight an enemy who suddenly appears in strength at close range.
  • A reverse slope engagement is decisive resulting in one or both forces being severely attritted. Very difficult to break contact.
  • Placing the vehicles at the bottom of the hill and the Infantry on counter slope allows the platoon to maximize its firepower into the engagement area as the enemy crests the slope.
  • The defender often has the opportunity to take the first shot at the attacker.

Next: Section IV: Fighting Positions

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