Infantry Drills

5-2: Methods of Troop Movement

Previous: Section I: Troop Movement

5-2. Troop movements are made by dismounted and mounted marches using organic combat vehicles and motor transport, air, rail, and water means in various combinations. The method employed depends on the situation, size and composition of the moving unit, distance unit must cover urgency of execution, and condition of the troops. It also depends on the availability, suitability, and capacity of the different means of transportation. Troop movements over extended distances have extensive sustainment considerations. Dismounted and mounted marches can be hurried when necessary by conducting a forced march.

5-3. Dismounted marches, also called foot marches, are movements of troops and equipment, mainly by foot, with limited support from vehicles. They are conducted when stealth is required, the distance to travel is short, transport or fuel is limited, or the situation precludes using a large number of vehicles. (Refer to FM 21.18 for more information.) Advantages and disadvantages include:

  • Combat readiness—can immediately respond to enemy attack without the need to dismount, ease of control, adaptability to terrain, and independence from the existing road network.
  • Limitations—slow movement rate and increased personnel fatigue, carrying heavy loads over long distances, changes in elevation. A unit conducts a dismounted march when the situation requires stealth, the distance to travel is short, transport or fuel is limited, or the situation or terrain precludes using a large number of vehicles.

5-4. Mounted march is the movement of troops and equipment by combat and tactical vehicles. (FM 3-90-2) The speed of the march and the increased amounts of supplies that can accompany the unit characterize this march method. The Infantry platoon is not equipped with organic truck assets and will need augmentation from transportation elements to conduct mounted marches. Considerations for mounted marches over extended distances include:

  • Route network to support the numbers, sizes, and weights of the combat vehicles assigned to or supporting the unit making the move.
  • Refueling and maintenance sites and crew-rest areas.
  • Recovery and evacuation assets.
  • Spill kits, personal protective equipment, and spill cleanup waste disposal equipment.

5-5. Air movements are operations involving the use of utility and cargo rotary-wing assets for missions other than air assaults. Air movements are conducted to move troops and equipment, to emplace systems, and to transport ammunition, fuel, and other high-value supplies. Air movements have the same planning considerations as air assault operations. (Refer to FM 3-04.113 or FM 3-99 for more information.)

5-6. Rail and water movements are used to conduct troop movement if they are available within an area of operations. (Refer to ATP 4-15 for more information.)

5-7. Forced marches in cases of tactical necessity can accelerate the rate of movement so as to arrive at its destination quickly. Forced marches require a combination of speed, exertion, and an increase in the number of hours marched or traveled by vehicles each day beyond normal standards. Soldiers cannot sustain forced marches for more than a short period. During a forced march, a unit may not halt as often or for as long as recommended for maintenance, rest, feeding, and fuel. The leader must understand that immediately following a long and fast march, Soldiers and combat vehicles experience a temporary deterioration in their condition. The combat effectiveness and cohesion of the unit also decreases temporarily. The forced march plan must accommodate the presence of stragglers and address increased maintenance failures.

Next: 5-8: Administrative Movement

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