Infantry Drills

Section V: Engagement Area Development

Previous: 3-169: Positions Formed by Natural Terrain

3-171. The engagement area is where the Infantry leader intends to engage and destroy an enemy force using the massed fires of all available weapons. Leaders combine natural and man-made obstacles to canalize the attacking force into engagement area. The success of engagements depends on how the leader can integrate the obstacle plan, indirect fire plan, and direct fire plan within the engagement area to achieve the Infantry platoon’s and squads’ tactical purposes.

3-172. At the platoon level, engagement area development is a complex function
demanding parallel planning and preparation if the Infantry platoon and squad are to accomplish the myriad tasks for which it is responsible. Despite this complexity, engagement area development resembles a drill, and the platoon leader and his subordinate leaders use an orderly, standard set of procedures. The steps of engagement area development are not a rigid sequential process. Some steps may occur simultaneously to ensure the synergy of combined arms. Beginning with evaluation of METT-TC, the development process—

  • Identifies all likely enemy avenues of approach.
  • Determines likely enemy schemes of maneuver.
  • Determines where to kill the enemy.
  • Plans and integrates obstacles.
  • Emplaces weapon systems.
  • Plans and integrates indirect fires.
  • Rehearses the execution of operations in the engagement area.

Next: 3-173: Identify Likely Enemy Avenues of Approach

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