-- Plan, Prepare, Execute, Assess


2-188. Movement to contact is one of the most difficult missions to plan. The goal is preventing a meeting engagement with the enemy (Refer to FM 3-90.1 for more information). Planning movement to contact allows for flexibility and promoting subordinate initiative. Planning begins by developing the the concept of the operation with a focus on ultimate control of the objective, and conducting a reverse planning sequence from the objective to the LD. This is accomplished by issuing a clear commander’s intent, developing a simple concept of the operation, and developing a series of decision point to execute likely maneuver options. Increased emphasis is placed on developing an aggressive and flexible reconnaissance effort linking to the commander’s PIRs, which normally focuses on locating and gathering information about the enemy’s strength, disposition, and activities.

2-189. The Infantry leader conducts information collection to determine the enemy’s location and intent while conducting security operations to protect the main body. This includes the use of available manned and unmanned aircraft assets, allowing the main body to focus on planning and preparation. This includes rehearsals on the conduct of hasty operations, bypass maneuvers, and hasty defenses. The plan addresses actions anticipated by the leader based on available information and intelligence and the conduct of meeting engagements and other anticipated battle drills.



2-190. Preparation actions are performed by the platoon to improve its ability to execute an operation. The platoon’s success during missions depend as much on preparation as planning. Activities specific to preparation include:

  • Revising and refining the plan.
  • Rehearsals.
  • Troop movements.
  • Precombat checks and inspections.
  • Sustainment preparations.
  • Subordinate confirmation briefs and back briefs.


2-191. The platoon uses rehearsals to help understand their roles in upcoming operations, practice complicated tasks, and ensure equipment and weapons function properly. Following the last company rehearsal, the platoon should conduct a final rehearsal of its own to incorporate adjustments to the company scheme of maneuver. (Refer to FM 6-0 for more information.) The platoon rehearsal should cover the following subjects:

  • Movement from current positions.
  • Routes (to include passage points, contact points, checkpoints, CCP.



2-192. A precombat inspection (PCI) is a formal, time-intensive inspection that is done before the mission. Its goal is to make sure Soldiers and vehicles are fully prepared to execute the upcoming mission. In general, PCIs enable the platoon leaderto check the platoon’s operational readiness.

2-193. A precombat check (PCC) is less formal and more mission-specific than a PCI. Precombat checks emphasize areas, missions, or tasks required for upcoming missions. The squad and section leaders perform the PCC. It is essential that the entire platoon chain of command know how to conduct PCCs and PCIs.

2-194. The platoon leader or platoon sergeant should observe each squad and mounted crew during preparation for combat. They should conduct the inspection once the mounted section and squad leaders report that they are prepared.



2-195. Each element of the force synchronizes its actions with adjacent and supporting units, maintaining contact and coordination as prescribed in orders and unit SOP. The following paragraphs discuss executing movement to contact using the sequence of the offense mentioned earlier in this chapter.


2-196. All reconnaissance assets focus on determining the enemy's dispositions and providing the Infantry leader with current intelligence and relevant combat information. This ensures friendly forces are committed under optimal conditions. The leader uses all available sources of combat information to find the enemy's location and dispositions.


2-197. Once contact is made, the main body brings overwhelming fires onto the enemy to prevent them from conducting a spoiling attack or organizing a coherent defense. The security force maneuvers as quickly as possible to find gaps in the enemy's defenses. The leader gathers as much information as possible about the enemy's dispositions, strengths, capabilities, and intentions. As more intelligence becomes available, the main body attacks to destroy or disrupt enemy command and control centers, fire control nodes, and communication nets.


2-198. Infantry leaders initiate maneuvers at a tempo the enemy cannot match, since success in a meeting engagement depends upon actions on contact. The security force does not allow the enemy to maneuver against the main body. The organization, size, and combat power of the security force are major factors determining the size of the enemy force it can defeat without deploying the main body. The techniques the leader employs to fix the enemy when both forces are moving are different from those employed when the enemy force is stationary during the meeting engagement. In both situations, when the security force cannot overrun the enemy by conducting a hasty frontal attack, a portion of the main body is deployed. When this occurs, the unit is no longer conducting movement to contact but an attack. (Refer to ADRP 3-90 for more information.)


2-199. If the security force cannot overrun the enemy with a frontal attack, the leader quickly maneuvers the main body to conduct a penetration or envelopment that overwhelms the enemy force before it can react or reinforce. The leader attempts to defeat the enemy in detail while still maintaining the momentum of advance. After an attack, the main body leader resumes the movement to contact. If the enemy is not defeated, there are three main options: bypass, transition to a more deliberate operation, or conduct some type of defense.

2-200. Main body elements deploy rapidly to the vicinity of contact if the leader initiates a frontal attack. Maneuvering unit leaders coordinate forward passage through friendly forces in contact as required. The intent is to deliver the assault before the enemy can deploy or reinforce his engaged forces. The leader may order an attack from a march column for one of the main body's columns, while the rest of the main body deploys. The leader also can wait to attack until bringing the bulk of the main body forward. This avoids piecemeal commitment except when rapidity of action is essential, combat superiority at the vital point is present, can be maintained throughout the attack, or when compartmentalized terrain forces a COA. When trying to conduct envelopment, the leader focuses on attacking the enemy's flanks and rear before preparing to counter these actions. The leader uses the security force to fix the enemy while the main body maneuvers to look for an assailable flank. The main body also can be used to fix the enemy while the security force finds the assailable flank. (Refer to ADRP 3-90 for more information.)


2-201. If the enemy is defeated, the unit transitions back into movement to contact and continue to advance. The movement to contact terminates when the unit reaches the final objective or LOA, or transitions to a more deliberate operation, defense, or retrograde.



2-202. Assessment is the continuous monitoring and evaluation of a current situation, and the progress of an operation. It involves deliberately comparing forecasted outcomes to actual events in order to determine the overall effectiveness of force employment. Assessment allows the leader to maintain accurate situational understnding, and amend his visualization, which helps the commander make timely and accurate decisions. Assessment of effects is determining how friendly actions have succeeded against the enemy. Effects typically are assessed by measure of performance and measure of effectiveness.


2-203. Every combat situation is unique. Leaders do their best to accurately assess the situation and make good decisions about employing their units. The environment of combat, application of military principles, and the desired end state of Army operations culminate with the close fight of Infantry platoons and squads. Leaders should understand the larger military purpose and how their actions and decisions might affect the outcome of the larger operation.


2-204. Risk assessment is the process leaders use to assess and to control risk. There are two types of risk associated with combat actions: tactical hazards resulting from the presence of the enemy and accidental hazards resulting from the conduct of operations. All combat incurs both risks. The objective is to minimize them to acceptable levels. The leader identifies risk to the unit and mission by —

  • Defining the enemy action.
  • Identifying friendly combat power shortfall.
  • Identifying available combat multipliers, if any, to mitigate risk.
  • Considering the risks are acceptable or unacceptable.


2-205. Infantry platoon leaders and squad leaders use METT-TC to understand and describe the operational environment. These six widely known and used factors are categories for cataloging and analyzing information. Leaders and Soldiers constantly observe and assess their environment.


2-206. The leader assesses the terrain in his proposed area of operation. In addition to the standard Army map, the leader may have aerial photographs and terrain analysis overlays from the parent unit, or he may talk with someone familiar with the area.