--Fires

3-128. For indirect fire plan to be effective in the defense, the Infantry platoon plans and executes fires in a manner, which achieves the intended task and purpose of each target. Indirect fires serve a variety of purposes in the defense, including the following ─

  • Slow and disrupt enemy movement.
  • Prevent the enemy from executing breaching operations.
  • Destroy or delay enemy forces at obstacles using massed fires or precision munitions.
  • Disrupt enemy support by fire elements.
  • Defeat attacks along avenues of approach with the use of final protective fires.
  • Disrupt the enemy to enable friendly elements to disengage or conduct counterattacks.
  • Obscure enemy observation or screen friendly movement during disengagement and counterattacks.
  • Provide obscurants screens to separate enemy echelons or to silhouette enemy formations to facilitate direct fire engagement.
  • Provide illumination as necessary.
  • Execute suppression of enemy air defense missions to support aviation operations.
Infantrymen fire a 120mm mortar during a night-fire exercise.

Infantrymen fire a 120mm mortar during a night-fire exercise.

3-129. In developing the fire plan, the platoon leader evaluates the indirect fire systems available to provide support. Considerations when developing the plan include tactical capabilities, weapons ranges, and available munitions. These factors help the platoon leader and forward observer determine the best method for achieving the task and purpose for each target in the fire plan. The Infantry company fire support personnel contribute significantly to the platoon fight. Positioning is critical. The platoon leader, in coordination with the company fire support officer, selects positions providing his forward observer with unobstructed observation of the area of operation, ensuring survivability.