--Offensive Tasks

2-7. The four offensive tasks are movement to contact, attack, exploitation, and pursuit. Each is explained below.


2-8. Movement to contact is an offensive task designed to develop the situation and establish or regain contact. (Refer to FM 3-90-1 for more information.) It creates favorable conditions for subsequent tactical actions. The leader conducts a movement to contact when the enemy situation is vague or not specific enough to conduct an attack. Forces executing this task seek to make contact with the smallest friendly force possible. A movement to contact may result in a meeting engagement, which is a combat action occurring when a moving force engages aSen enemy at an unexpected time and place. Once making contact with an enemy force, the leader has five options: attack, defend, bypass, delay, or withdraw. Two movement to contact techniques are search and attack and cordon and search.


2-9. An attack destroys or defeats enemy forces, seizes and secures terrain, or both. (Refer to FM 3-90-1 for more information.) Attacks incorporate coordinated movement supported by direct and indirect fires. They may be decisive or shaping operations and hasty or deliberate, depending upon the time available for assessing the situation, planning, and preparing. However, based on METT-TC, the leader may decide to conduct an attack using only fires. An attack differs from a movement to contact because enemy main body dispositions are at least partially known, allowing the leader to achieve greater synchronization. This enables the massing effects of attacking forces combat power more effective in an attack than in a movement to contact.


2-10. Exploitation follows an attack and disorganizes the enemy in depth (Refer to FM 3-90-1 for more information.) Exploitations seek to disintegrate enemy forces to the point where they have no alternative but surrender or retreat. Exploitation take advantage of tactical opportunities, foreseen or unforeseen. Division and higher headquarters normally plan site exploitations as branches or sequels plans. However, the Infantry platoon and squad may participate as part of the fixing force or striking force.


2-11. A pursuit is an offensive task designed to catch or cut off a hostile force attempting to escape, with the aim of destroying them. (Refer to FM 3-90-1.) A pursuit normally follows exploitation. Transition into a pursuit can occur if it is apparent enemy resistance has broken down entirely and the enemy is fleeing the area of operation. Pursuits entail rapid movement , decentralized control and clear commanders’ intent to facilitate control.


Edited by MAJ J.LaFlash