Infantry Drills

6-177: Reconnaissance Elements

Previous: 6-176: Fundamentals of Reconnaissance

6-177. The reconnaissance element’s task is to obtain information requirements for the purposes of facilitating tactical decision making. The primary means is R&S enabled by tactical movement and continuous, accurate reporting. The reconnaissance patrol leader decides how in-depth the reconnaissance will be. A thorough and accurate reconnaissance is important. However, avoiding detection is equally important.

6-178. Below are some of the additional tasks normally associated with a reconnaissance element:

  • Reconnoiter all terrain within the assigned area, route, or zone.
  • Determine trafficability routes or potential avenues of approach (based on the personnel or vehicles to be used on the route).
    • Inspect and classify all bridges, overpasses, underpasses, and culverts on the route.
    • Locate fords or crossing sites near bridges on the route.
  • Determine the time it takes to traverse the route.
  • Reconnoiter to the limit of direct fire range.
    • Terrain influencing the area, route, or zone.
    • Built-up areas.
    • Lateral routes.
  • Within capabilities, reconnoiter natural and man-made obstacles to ensure mobility along the route. Locate a bypass or reduce/breach, clear, and mark—
    • Lanes.
    • Defiles and other restrictive/severely restrictive terrain.
    • Minefields.
    • Contaminated areas.
    • Log obstacles such as abatis, log cribs, stumps, and posts.
    • AT ditches.
    • Wire entanglements.
    • Fills, such as a raised railroad track.
    • Other obstacles along the route.
  • Determine the size, location, and composition of society/human demographics.
  • Identify essential infrastructure influencing military operations, including the following:
    • Political, government, and religious organizations and agencies.
    • Physical facilities and utilities (such as power generation, transportation, and communications networks).
  • Find all threat forces influencing movement along the area, route, or zone.
  • Report information.

Note. Infantry platoons and squads typically do not have the expertise to complete a full technical inspection of bridges, roads, and culverts; this task normally requires Engineer augmentation. Infantry platoons and squads do, however; have the ability to conduct a general assessment.

Next: 6-179: Security Elements

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