Infantry Drills

5-65: Crossing Danger Areas

Previous: Section III: Actions at Danger Areas

5-65. Regardless of the type of danger area, when the platoon must cross one independently, or as the lead element of a larger force, it must perform the following:

  • When the lead team signals “danger area” (relayed throughout the platoon), the platoon halts.
  • The platoon leader moves forward, confirms the danger area, and determines what technique the platoon will use to cross. The platoon sergeant also moves forward to the platoon leader.
  • The platoon leader informs all squad leaders of the situation, the near-side and farside rally points.
  • The platoon sergeant directs positioning of the near-side security (usually conducted by the trail squad). These two security teams may follow him forward when the platoon halts and a danger area signal is passed back.
  • The platoon leader reconnoiters the danger area and selects the crossing point providing the best cover and concealment.
  • Near-side security observes to the flanks and overwatches the crossing.
  • When the near-side security is in place, the platoon leader directs the far-side security team to cross the danger area.
  • The far-side security team clears the far side.
  • The far-side security team leader establishes an observation post forward of the cleared area.
  • The far-side security team signals to the squad leader the area is clear. The squad leader relays the message to the platoon leader.
  • The platoon leader selects the method the platoon will use to cross the danger area.
  • The platoon quickly and quietly crosses the danger area.
  • Once across the danger area, the main body begins moving slowly on the required azimuth.
  • The near-side security element, controlled by the platoon sergeant, crosses the danger area where the platoon crossed. They may attempt to cover tracks left by the platoon.
  • The platoon sergeant ensures everyone crosses and sends up the report.
  • The platoon leader ensures accountability and resumes movement at normal speed.

Note. Same principles stated above are used when crossing a smaller unit (such as a squad) across a danger area.

5-66. The platoon leader or squad leader decides how the unit will cross based on the time he has, size of the unit, size of the danger area, fields of fire into the area, and amount of security he can post. An Infantry platoon or squad may cross all at once, in buddy teams, or one Soldier at a time. A large unit normally crosses its elements one at a time. As each element crosses, it moves to an overwatch position or to the far-side rally point until told to continue movement.

Next: 5-67: Crossing of Linear Danger Areas (Platoon)

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