Infantry Drills

Section IV: Relief in Place

Previous: 5-80: Enemy Contact at Danger Areas

5-81. A relief in place is a tactical enabling task in which all or part of a unit is replaced in an area by the incoming unit. The responsibilities of the replaced elements for mission and assigned area of operation are transferred to the incoming unit. The incoming unit continues the operations as ordered. (Refer to FM 3-90-2 for more information.) There are three techniques for conducting a relief: sequentially, simultaneously, or staggered, which are described as the following:

  • A sequential relief occurs when each element within the relieved unit is relieved in succession, from right to left or left to right, depending on how it is deployed.
  • A simultaneous relief occurs when all elements are relieved at the same time.
  • A staggered relief occurs when the leader relieves each element in a sequence determined by the tactical situation, not its geographical orientation.

5-82. Simultaneous relief takes the least time to execute, but is more easily detected by the enemy. Sequential or staggered reliefs can take place over a significant amount of time. These three relief techniques can occur regardless of the range of military operations in which the unit is participating.

5-83. A relief also can be characterized as either deliberate or hasty, depending on the amount of planning and preparations associated with the relief. The major differences are the depth and detail of planning and, potentially, the execution time. Detailed planning generally facilitates shorter execution time by determining exactly what the leader believes needs to be done and resources needed to accomplish the mission. Deliberate planning allows the commander and staff to identify, develop, and coordinate solutions to most potential problems before they occur and to ensure the availability of resources when and where they are needed.

Next: 5-84: Planning

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