--Characteristics of the Offense


An infantryman provides security for members of his platoon.

An infantryman provides security for members of his platoon.

2-2. The Infantry platoon and squad gains, maintains the initiative and keeps constant pressure on the enemy throughout its area of operation. Success in the offense greatly depends upon the proper application of the characteristics of the offense discussed in the following paragraphs.


2-3. Audacity is a simple plan of action, boldly executed. Audacity inspires Soldiers to overcome adversity and danger. It is a key component of all offensive actions, increasing the chance for surprise. Audacity depends upon the leader’s ability to see opportunities for action, decide in enough time to seize opportunities, and accept prudent risks. Leaders understand when and where to take risks, plan, and execute boldly.


2-4. Concentration is the massing of overwhelming effects of combat power to achieve a single purpose. Leaders balance the necessity for concentrating forces to mass effects against the need to disperse forces in order to avoid creating lucrative targets. Advances in ground, air mobility, target acquisition, and long-range precision fires enable attackers to concentrate effects. Mission command systems provide reliable, relevant information that assist commanders in determining when to concentrate forces to mass effects. The Infantry platoon and squad achieves concentration through—

  • Careful planning and coordination based on a thorough terrain and enemy analysis, plus accurate reconnaissance.
  • Designation of a main effort and allocation of resources to support it.
  • Continuous information flow.
  • Massing firepower using long-range precision fires and maneuver.


2-5. In the offense, surprise is achieved by attacking the enemy at a time or place they do not expect or in a manner for which they are unprepared. Estimating the enemy commander’s intent and denying the ability to gain thorough and timely situational understanding are necessary to achieve surprise. Unpredictability and boldness help gain surprise. The direction, timing, and force of attack also help achieve surprise. Surprise delays enemy reactions, overloads and confuse his command and control systems, induces psychological shock in enemy soldiers and leaders, and reduces the coherence of defensive missions. By diminishing enemy combat power, surprise enables the attackers to exploit enemy paralysis and hesitancy. The Infantry platoon and squad achieve surprise by—

  • Gaining and maintaining information dominance by conducting thorough information collection and counterreconnaissance efforts.
  • Striking the enemy from an unexpected direction, at an unexpected time, and by unique combinations of movement with units that cross all types of terrain.
  • Quickly changing the tempo of operations.
  • Being unpredictable


2-6. Tempo is the relative speed and rhythm of military operations over time with respect to the enemy. Controlling or altering tempo is necessary to retain the initiative. A faster tempo allows attackers to quickly penetrate barriers and defenses, and destroy enemy forces in-depth before they can react. Leaders adjust tempo as tactical situations, sustainment necessity, or operational opportunities allow. This ensures synchronization and proper coordination, but not at the expense of losing opportunities, that defeats the enemy. Rapid tempo demands quick decisions. It denies the enemy the chance to rest while continually creating offensive opportunities.

Read the following historical example “A Lesson in Battle Tempo: The Union Pursuit after Gettysburg”.  SELECT HERE

Edited by MAJ J.LaFlash