3-186. A company commander may order a defending Infantry platoon to conduct a hasty operation or participate in a movement to contact. As part of a reserve force, the Infantry platoon and squad may execute a counterattack to destroy exposed enemy elements and free decisively engaged friendly elements. A base-of-fire element suppresses or fixes the enemy force while the counterattack (maneuver) element moves on a concealed route to firing positions from which it can engage the enemy in the flank and rear. The counterattack element must maneuver rapidly to its firing position, often fighting through enemy flank security elements, to complete the counterattack before the enemy can bring follow-on forces forward to influence the fight.
3-187. Execution of the counterattack is similar to an assault by fire. Planning and preparation considerations for counterattack vary depending on the purpose and location of the operation. For example, the counterattack may be conducted forward of friendly positions, requiring the reserve force to move around friendly elements and through their protective and tactical obstacles. In other situations, the Infantry leader may use a counterassault by fire to block, fix, or contain a penetration. In any case, the reserve force conducts the counterattack as an enemy-oriented task.