ORDER OF EVENTS
2-179. As the platoon leader plans for a movement to contact, the following considerations apply to most, but not all, offensive tasks ─
Assembly area (AA).
Movement to the LD.
Consolidation and reorganization.
2-180. The AA is the area a unit occupies to prepare for an operation. To prepare the platoon for upcoming battles, the platoon leader plans, directs, and supervises mission preparations in the AA. This time allows the platoon and squads to conduct precombat checks and inspections, rehearsals, and sustainment activities. The platoon typically conducts these preparations within a company AA, as it rarely occupies its own AA.
2-181. All leaders should aggressively seek information about the terrain and enemy. Because the enemy situation and available planning time may limit a unit’s reconnaissance, the platoon usually conducts reconnaissance to answer the company commander’s critical information requirements (CCIR). The use of CCIRs covers friendly forces information requirements (FFIRs), priority intelligence requirements (PIRs), and essential elements of friendly information (EEFI) when dictated by the commander. An example is reconnoitering and timing routes from the AA to the LD. The platoon also may augment the efforts of the battalion reconnaissance platoon to answer the CCIRs. Other forms of reconnaissance include maps and terrain software/databases. Updates from reconnaissance can occur at any time while the platoon and squad are planning for, preparing for, or executing the mission. As a result, the leader must be prepared to adjust his plans.
MOVEMENT TO THE LINE OF DEPARTURE
2-182. The platoon and squad typically move from the AA to the LD as part of the company movement plan. This plan may direct the platoon or squad to move to an attack position and await orders to cross the LD. If so, the platoon leader reconnoiters, times, and rehearses the route to the attack position. Section leaders and squad leaders know where they are to locate within the assigned attack position, which is the last position an attacking element occupies or passes through before crossing the LD. The company commander may order all platoons to move within a company formation from the AA directly to the point of departure at the LD. The point of departure is the point where the unit crosses the LD and begins moving along a direction or axis of advance. If one point of departure is used, it is important the lead platoon and trail platoons reconnoiter, time, and rehearse the route to it. This allows the company commander to maintain synchronization. To maintain flexibility and to maintain synchronization, a point of departure along the LD may be designated for each platoon.
2-183. The platoon leader plans the approach to the movement to contact, ensuring synchronization, security, speed, and flexibility by selecting the platoon’s routes, movement techniques, formations, and methods of movement. He must recognize this portion of the battle as a fight, not as a movement. He must be prepared to make contact with the enemy. He must plan accordingly to reinforce the commander’s needs for synchronization, security, speed, and flexibility. During execution, the platoon leader may display disciplined initiative and alter his platoon’s formation, technique, or speed to maintain synchronization with the other platoons and squads. This retains flexibility for the company commander.
2-184. As the platoon deploys and moves on its movement to contact it minimizes delay and confusion by analyzing what movement technique to use, traveling, traveling overwatch, or bounding overwatch. These movements allow the platoon to move in the best tactical posture before encountering the enemy. Movement should be as rapid as the terrain, unit mobility, and enemy situation permits. A common control measure is the probable line of deployment (PLD), which is used most often under conditions of limited visibility. The PLD is a phase line the leader designates as a location where he intends to deploy his unit into an assault formation before beginning the assault.
2-185. During an offensive task, the platoon’s objective may be terrain-oriented or force-oriented. Terrain-oriented objectives may require the platoon to seize a designated area, and often requires fighting through enemy forces. If the objective is force-oriented, an objective may be assigned for orientation while the platoon’s efforts are focused on the enemy’s actual location. Actions on the objective begin when the company or platoon begins placing direct and indirect fires on the objective. This may occur while the platoon is still moving toward the objective from the assault position or PLD.
CONSOLIDATION AND REORGANIZATION
2-186. The platoon and squads consolidate and reorganize as required by the situation and mission. Consolidation is the process of organizing and strengthening a newly captured position so it can be defended. Reorganization is the action taken to shift internal resources within a degraded unit to increase its level of combat effectiveness. Reorganization actions can include cross-leveling ammunition, and ensuring essential weapons systems are manned and vital leadership positions are filled if the operators/crew became casualties. The platoon executes follow-on missions as directed by the company commander. A likely mission may be to continue the attack against the enemy within the area of operation. Regardless of the situation, the platoon and squads posture and prepare for continued offensive missions. Table 2-7 contains common consolidation and reorganization activities.
Table 2-7. Consolidation and reorganization activities.
2-186. Purposeful and aggressive movement, decentralized control, and hasty deployment of combined arms formations from the march to attack or defend characterize the movement to contact. The fundamentals of a movement to contact —
Focus all efforts on finding the enemy.
Make initial contact with the smallest force possible, consistent with protecting the force.
Make initial contact with small, mobile, self-contained forces to avoid decisive engagement of the main body on ground chosen by the enemy. This allows the leader maximum flexibility to develop the situation.
Task-organize the force and use movement formations to deploy and attack rapidly in all directions.