--Maneuver

Maneuver

2-136. Maneuver begins once a unit has made contact with the enemy. Direct fire is inherent in maneuver, as is close combat. At the mounted platoon level, maneuver forms the heart of every tactical operation and task. It combines maneuver, direct and indirect fire, and other combat power. The platoon leader maneuvers his mounted element and dismounted squads to close with, gain positional advantage over, and ultimately destroy the enemy.

BASE-OF-FIRE ELEMENT

2-137. Combining fire and movement requires a base of fire. Some platoon elements (usually a section, the weapons squad, and the BFVs or Stryker) remain stationary to provide protection for bounding elements by suppressing or destroying enemy elements. The dismounted mechanized platoon can maneuver while protected by the BFVs in a base of fire position and then establish another base of fire with the weapons or a rifle squad.

2-138. Because maneuver is decentralized in nature, the platoon leader determines from his terrain analysis where and when he wants to establish a base of fire. During actions on contact, he adjusts maneuver plans as needed. Making maneuver decisions normally falls to the leader on the ground, who knows what enemy elements can engage the maneuvering element and what friendly forces can provide the base of fire.

2-139. The base-of-fire element occupies positions that afford the best possible cover and concealment, a clear view, and clear fields of fire. The platoon leader normally designates a general location for the base of fire, and the element leader selects the exact location. Once in position, the base-of-fire element suppresses known, likely, or suspected enemy elements while aggressively scanning its assigned area of operation. It identifies previously unknown elements and then suppresses them with direct and indirect fires. The base-of-fire element allows the bounding unit to keep maneuvering so it can retain the initiative even when the enemy can see and fire on it. While maneuvering to or in position, the base-of-fire element leader is constantly looking for other locations that may provide better support for the maneuvering element.

BOUNDING ELEMENT

2-140. Maneuver is inherently dangerous. Enemy weapons, unknown terrain, and other operational factors all increase the danger. When maneuvering, the platoon leader considers the following:

  • The bounding element must take full advantage of whatever cover and concealment the terrain offers.
  • Squad members must maintain all-round security at all times and continuously scan their assigned area of operations.
  • METT-TC variables dictate the length of the bounds. However, the bounding element should never move beyond the range at which the base-of-fire element can effectively suppress known, likely, or suspected enemy positions. General practice is to limit movement to no more than two-thirds the effective range of the supporting weapon system.
  • In severely restricted terrain, the bounding element makes shorter bounds than it would in more open areas.
  • The bounding element must focus on its ultimate goal—gaining a positional advantage. Once achieved, the element uses this advantage to destroy the enemy with direct fires and dismounted infantrymen assault.

DISMOUNTING INFANTRY

2-141. When to dismount infantry during maneuver is a critical decision for the platoon leader. He must balance the vulnerability of his mounted element, the speed and vulnerability of his dismounted infantrymen, and the effectiveness of the enemy’s fire. The platoon leader can use successive bounds with his dismounted infantrymen moving along covered and concealed routes to secure the next base of fire position.

2-142. Considerations for remaining mounted include—

  • Open terrain.
  • Good covered and concealed mounted routes.
  • Ineffective anti armor fires.
  • Maneuver distance

2-143. Considerations for dismounting include—

  • Good covered and concealed terrain for infantry.
  • Effective anti armor fire.
  • Restricted terrain and obstacles for mounted movement.

2-144. Stryker units plan dismount points in a cover and concealed position out of the maximum effective range of the enemy weapon systems or audible range based on the last known enemy point of contact or suspected position.

DIRECT FIRE SUPPORT

2-145. The Bradley companies are routinely task organized within the combined arms battalion. Bradley companies will routinely have a tank platoon attached or a Bradley platoon can be routinely attached to a tank company. The Bradley platoon may therefore have a tank platoon as a base of fire or become the base of fire while the tank platoon bounds.

2-146. Other units within or outside the ABCT can be available as a base of fire or bounding element. Today’s modular force can be rapidly tailored and task organized to meet tactical requirements. This means that mechanized units can be attached to other BCTs for operations. Therefore, the mechanized platoon leader has to be prepared to operate with tanks, Stryker antitank guided missile (ATGM) carriers, ATGM units mounted on high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, and so on.

PLATOON AS THE RESERVE

2-147. The designation of a reserve allows the commander to retain flexibility during the attack. The commander should be prepared to commit his reserve to exploit success and to continue the attack. The reserve may repulse counterattacks during consolidation and reorganization. The reserve is normally under the commander’s control and positioned where it can best exploit the success of the attack. The reserve should not be so close that it loses flexibility during the assault.

2-148. During the attack, the mechanized platoon may be designated the company or battalion reserve. It may be an on-order or be-prepared mission. The company or battalion commander commits the reserve platoon to reinforce the decisive operation and to maintain the attack’s momentum. To exploit the success of the other attacking units, the reserve should attack the enemy from a new direction. Because of the many missions the platoon may be assigned, the platoon leader has to maintain situational awareness, know the missions and tactical plans of the other units, and be familiar with the terrain and enemy situation in the whole area of operation. It must react quickly and decisively when committed.

2-149. The reserve platoon may be assigned one or more of the following missions:

  • Protect the flank and rear of the unit.
  • Conduct a counterattack or establish a blocking position.
  • Maintain contact with adjacent units.
  • Clear a position that has been overrun or bypassed by another unit.
  • Establish a support by fire position.
  • Assume the mission of an attacking unit.
  • Attack from a new direction.
  • Protect or assist in the consolidation and reorganization on the objective.