Route Selection and Navigation
Actions at Danger Areas
Relief in Place
Passage of Lines
Movement with Combat Vehicles
Other Movement Situations
Tactical movement involves movement of a unit assigned a mission under combat conditions when not in direct ground contact with the enemy. Tactical movement is based on the anticipation of early ground contact with the enemy, either en route or shortly after arrival at the destination. Movement ends when ground contact is made or the unit reaches its destination. Movement is not maneuver. Maneuver happens once a unit has made contact with the enemy and combines movement with direct fires to gain a position of advantage over the enemy. Because tactical movement shares many of the characteristics of an offensive action, the area of operation is organized in a manner similar to other offensive actions. This chapter discusses troop movement, the basics and formations of tactical movement.
Methods of Troop Movement
Tactical Road Marches
5-1. Troop movement is a tactical enabling task that involves the movement of troops from one place to another by any available means. (ADRP 3-90) The ability to posture the force for a decisive or shaping operation depends on the capability to conduct rapid and orderly movement to concentrate the effects of combat power at decisive points and times. Movement places troops and equipment at their destination at the proper time, ready for combat. The three types of troop movement are administrative movement, tactical road march, and approach march.
METHODS OF TROOP MOVEMENT
5-2. Troop movements are made by dismounted and mounted marches using organic combat vehicles and motor transport, air, rail, and water means in various combinations. The method employed depends on the situation, size and composition of the moving unit, distance unit must cover urgency of execution, and condition of the troops. It also depends on the availability, suitability, and capacity of the different means of transportation. Troop movements over extended distances have extensive sustainment considerations. Dismounted and mounted marches can be hurried when necessary by conducting a forced march.
5-3. Dismounted marches, also called foot marches, are movements of troops and equipment, mainly by foot, with limited support from vehicles. They are conducted when stealth is required, the distance to travel is short, transport or fuel is limited, or the situation precludes using a large number of vehicles. (Refer to FM 21-18 for more information.) Advantages and disadvantages include ─
Combat readiness— can immediately respond to enemy attack without the need to dismount, ease of control, adaptability to terrain, and independence from the existing road network.
Limitations — slow movement rate and increased personnel fatigue, carrying heavy loads over long distances, changes in elevation. A unit conducts a dismounted march when the situation requires stealth, the distance to travel is short, transport or fuel is limited, or the situation or terrain precludes using a large number of vehicles.
5-4. Mounted march is the movement of troops and equipment by combat and tactical vehicles. (FM 3-90-2) The speed of the march and the increased amounts of supplies that can accompany the unit characterize this march method. The Infantry platoon is not equipped with organic truck assets and needs augmentation from transportation elements to conduct mounted marches. Considerations for mounted marches over extended distances include ─
Route network to support the numbers, sizes, and weights of the combat vehicles assigned to or supporting the unit making the move.
Refueling and maintenance sites and crew-rest areas.
Recovery and evacuation assets.
Spill kits, personal protective equipment, and spill cleanup waste disposal equipment.
5-5. Air movements are operations involving the use of utility and cargo rotary-wing assets for missions other than air assaults. Air movements are conducted to move troops and equipment, to emplace systems, and to transport ammunition, fuel, and other high-value supplies. Air movements have the same planning considerations as air assault operations. (Refer to FM 3-04.113 or FM 3-99 for more information.)
5-6. Rail and water movements are used to conduct troop movement if they are available within an area of operations. (Refer to ATTP 4-15 for more information.)
5-7. Forced marches in cases of tactical necessity can accelerate the rate of movement so as to arrive at its destination quickly. Forced marches require speed, exertion, and an increase in the number of hours marched or traveled by vehicles each day beyond normal standards. Soldiers cannot sustain forced marches for more than a short period. During a forced march, a unit may not halt as often or for as long as recommended for maintenance, rest, feeding, and fuel. The leader must understand that immediately following a long and fast march, Soldiers and combat vehicles experience a temporary deterioration in their condition. The combat effectiveness and cohesion of the unit also decreases temporarily. The forced march plan must accommodate the presence of stragglers and address increased maintenance failures.
Read the following vignette to learn more about the history of troop movement on the battlefield. ─ SELECT HERE
5-8. Administrative movement is a movement in which troops and vehicles are arranged to expedite their movement and conserve time and energy when no enemy ground interference, except by air, is anticipated. (Refer to FM 3-90-2 for more information.) Administrative movements only are conducted in secure areas. They include rail and highway movement within the continental United States. Once deployed into theater of war, administrative movements normally are not conducted.
TACTICAL ROAD MARCHES
5-9. A tactical road march is a rapid movement used to relocate units within area of operation to prepare for combat operations. Units maintain security against enemy air attack and prepare to take immediate action against an enemy ambush, although they do not expect contact with significant enemy ground forces. (If the moving unit anticipates making contact with significant enemy ground forces then it will use a mix of combat formations and movement techniques.)
5-10. The primary consideration of the tactical road march is rapid movement. However, the moving force employs security measures, even when contact with enemy ground forces is not expected. Units conducting road marches may or may not be organized into a combined arms formation. During a tactical road march, the march always is prepared to take immediate action if the enemy attacks. (Refer to FM 21.18 for more information.)
ORGANIZATION FOR A TACTICAL ROAD MARCH
5-11. The organization for a tactical road march is the march column. A march column consists of all elements using the same route for a single movement under control of a single commander. The four elements of a march column include, reconnaissance, quartering/advance party, main body, and trail party.
5-12. A brigade conducting a tactical road march is an example of a march column. The subordinate elements of a march column are a march serial and a march unit. A march serial is a major subdivision of a march column that is organized under one commander who plans, regulates, and controls the serial. An example is a battalion serial formed from a brigade-size march column. A march unit is a subdivision of a march serial. It moves and halts under the control of a single commander who uses voice and visual signals. An example of a march unit is a company from a battalion-size march serial.
5-13. A march column provides excellent speed, control, and flexibility, but sacrifices flank security. It provides the ability to deploy forces to the front of the column. A march column is utilized when speed is essential and enemy contact is unlikely. However, functional and multifunctional support elements, such as air defense and engineers, are spaced throughout the column to protect and support the movement. (Refer to FM 3-90-2 for more information.)
GRAPHIC CONTROL MEASURES
5-14. An overlay or strip map often is used to graphically depict critical information about a tactical road march route to subordinates. The overlay (see figure 5-1, page 5-4) or strip map (see figure 5-2, page 5-5) typically shows the route of march, start points, release points, checkpoints, critical points (such as bridges), light line, and traffic control post. Other graphic control measures include AA and phase lines. The terms are defined below ─
Figure 5-1. Overlay with route control measures
Figure 5-2. Strip map
Start point is a location on a route where the marching elements fall under the control of a designated march commander.
Release point is a location on a route where marching elements are released from centralized control.
Checkpoint is a point designated along the route to assist marching units in complying with the timetable.
Critical point is a point that identifies along the route where interference with movement might occur.
Light line is a designated phase line, forward of which vehicles are required to use blackout lights during limited visibility.
Traffic control post are positioned along the route to prevent congestion and confusion. Points may be manned by military police or unit personnel. These Soldiers report to the appropriate area movement control organization when each convoy, march column, and march serial arrives at and completes passage of their location.
Movement corridor is a designated area; established to protect and enable ground movement along a route, establish a movement corridor to set the conditions to protect and enable movement of traffic along a designated surface route.
TACTICAL MARCH TECHNIQUES
5-15. Tactical road marches are employed using three tactical march techniques: open column, close column, and infiltration. Each of these techniques uses scheduled halts to control and sustain the road march. METT-TC requires adjustments in the standard distances between vehicles and dismounts.
5-16. During movement, elements within a column may encounter many different types of routes and obstacles simultaneously. Consequently, parts of the column may be moving at different speeds, which can produce an undesirable accordion-like effect. The movement order establishes the order of march, rate of march, interval or time gaps between units, column gap, and maximum catch-up speed. Unless the commander directs them not to do so for security reasons, march units report when they have crossed each control measure. Throughout the move, air and ground security are maintained.
5-17. The open column is the most common tactical march technique because it offers the most security while still providing a reasonable degree of control. It normally is used during daylight but also may be used at night with infrared lights, blackout lights, or passive night-vision equipment. Using an open column roughly doubles the column’s length and thereby doubles the time it takes to clear a point when compared to a close column moving at the same speed.
5-18. Vehicle distance varies from 50 to 100 meters, and may be greater if required. The distance between dismounted Soldiers varies from two to five meters to allow for dispersion and space for marching comfort. Any distance that exceeds five meters between dismounted Soldiers increases the length of the column and hinders control. In an open column, vehicle density varies from 15 to 20 vehicles per kilometer. A single Infantry company, with intervals between its platoons, occupies roughly a kilometer of road or trail.
5-19. A close column normally is employed for marches during darkness under blackout driving conditions or for marches in restricted terrain. This march technique takes maximum advantage of the traffic capacity of a route but provides little dispersion. Distance between vehicles varies from 20 to 25 meters. At night, vehicles are spaced so each driver can see the two lights in the blackout marker of the vehicle ahead. Normally, vehicle density is from 40 to 50 vehicles per kilometer along the route in a close column.
5-20. The dismounted equivalent to the close column is a limited-visibility march. The distance between individual Soldiers is reduced to one to three meters to help maintain contact and facilitate control. Limited-visibility marches are characterized by close formations, difficult mission command and reconnaissance, a slow rate of march, and good concealment from enemy observation and air attack.
5-21. Infiltration provides the best possible passive defense against enemy observation and attack. It is suited when time, space, security, deception, and dispersion are necessary. During infiltration, vehicles are dispatched in small groups, or at irregular intervals, at a rate that keeps the traffic density low and prevents undue massing of vehicles during the movement.
5-22. The disadvantages of an infiltration are that more time is required to complete the move, column control is nearly impossible, and recovery of broken-down vehicles by the trail party is more protracted when compared to vehicle recovery in close and open columns. Additionally, unit integrity is not restored until the last vehicle arrives at the destination, complicating the unit’s onward deployment. Infiltration during troop movement should not be confused with infiltration as a form of maneuver as discussed in chapter 2 of this publication.
5-23. During extended road marches, halts are necessary to rest personnel, service vehicles, and adjust movement schedules. The march order or unit SOP regulates when to take halts, and addresses actions for various tapes of halts, such as maintenance, security, and unexpected halts. During halts, each unit normally clears the march route and moves to a previously selected AA to prevent route congestion and avoid being a lucrative target. Units establish security and take other measures to protect the force.
5-24. In motor movements, short halts are scheduled every two to three hours of movement and halts may last up to an hour. Long halts occur on marches that exceed 24 hours and last no more than two hours. Long halts are not scheduled at night, which allows maximum time for night movement. Unit leaders promptly notify commanders of the time and approximate length of unscheduled halts.
5-25. An approach march is the advance of a combat unit when direct contact with the enemy is intended. However, it emphasizes speed over tactical deployment. The approach march is employed when the enemy’s approximate location is known, since it allows the force to move with greater speed and less physical security or dispersion. In an approach march, units are task-organized to allow them to transition to an on-order or a be-prepared mission without making major organizational adjustments. The approach march terminates in a march objective, such as an attack position, AA, or assault position, or it can be used to transition to an attack.
5-26. The key to movement involves selecting the best combination of combat formation and movement technique for each situation. Leaders consider METT-TC in selecting the best route and appropriate formation and movement technique. The leader's selection must allow the moving unit to ─
Provide maximum protection.
Make enemy contact in a manner allowing them to transition smoothly to offensive or defensive action.
5-27. Careless movement usually results in contact with the enemy at a time and place of the enemy’s choosing. To avoid this, leaders must understand the constantly-changing interrelationship between unit movement, terrain, and weapon systems within their area of operation. This understanding is the basis for employing combat formations, movement techniques, route selection and navigation, crossing danger areas, and security.
The following vignette describes using a massive sandtable as an aid to train Soldiers before deployment. ─ SELECT HERE
Types of Navigation
Develop a Leg
Execute the Route
5-28. During planning and preparation for tactical movement, leaders analyze the terrain from two perspectives. First, they analyze the terrain to see how it can provide tactical advantage to friendly and enemy forces. Second, they look at the terrain to determine how it can aid navigation. Leaders identify areas or terrain features dominating their avenue of approach. These areas can become possible intermediate and final objectives.
5-29. Ideally, the leader identifies along the route good ground for navigation and ground that facilitates destroying the enemy, should contact occur. If the leader wants to avoid contact, he chooses terrain that hides the unit. If the leader wants to make contact, he chooses terrain from where he can easily scan and observe the enemy. On other occasions, the leader may require terrain allowing stealth or speed. Regardless of the requirement, the leader must ensure most of the terrain along his route provides some tactical advantage.
5-30. Route selection and navigation are made easier with the aid of technology. The latest Mission Command Systems enhance the Infantry platoon’s and squad’s ability to ensure they are in the right place at the right time, and to determine the location of adjacent units.
Note. Soldiers should be proficient in land navigation. They shouldn’t always rely on technology alone.
5-31. There are two categories of navigational aids: linear; and point. Linear navigational aids are terrain features such as trails, streams, ridgelines, wood lines, power lines, streets, and contour lines. Point terrain features include hilltops, and prominent buildings. Navigation aids usually are assigned control measures to facilitate communication during the movement. Typically, linear features are labeled as phase lines while point features are labeled as checkpoints (or rally points). There are three primary categories of navigation aids: catching features; handrails; and navigational attack points.
5-32. Catching features are obvious terrain features which go beyond a waypoint or control measure and can be either linear or point. The general idea is if the unit moves past its objective, LOA, or checkpoint the catching feature will alert it that it has traveled too far.
The Offset-Compass Method
5-33. If there is the possibility of missing a particular point along the route (such as the endpoint or a navigational attack point), it is sometimes preferable to deliberately aim the leg to the left or right of the end point toward a prominent catching feature. Once reached, the unit simply turns the appropriate direction and moves to the desired endpoint. This method is especially helpful when the catching feature is linear.
Boxing-In the Route
5-34. One of the techniques leaders can use to prevent themselves from making navigational errors is to “box in” the leg or the entire route. This method uses catching features, handrails, and navigational attack points to form boundaries. Creating a box around the leg or route assists in easily recognizing and correcting deviation from the planned leg or route.
5-35. Handrails are linear features parallel to the proposed route. The general idea is to use the handrail to keep the unit oriented in the right direction. Guiding off of a handrail can increase the unit’s speed while also acting as a catching feature.
NAVIGATIONAL ATTACK POINTS
5-36. Navigational attack points are an obvious landmark near the objective, LOA, or checkpoint that can be found easily. Upon arriving at the navigational attack point, the unit transitions from rough navigation (terrain association or general azimuth navigation) to point navigation (dead reckoning). Navigational attack points typically are labeled as checkpoints.
TYPES OF NAVIGATION
5-41. There are three types of navigation: terrain association, general azimuth method, and point navigation. Leaders use whichever type or combination best suits the situation.
5-42. Terrain association is the ability to identify terrain features on the ground by the contour intervals depicted on the map. The leader analyzes the terrain using the factors of OAKOC, and identifies major terrain features, contour changes, and man-made structures along his axis of advance. As the unit moves, he uses these features to orient the unit and to associate ground positions with map locations. The major advantage of terrain association is it forces the leader to continually assess the terrain. This leads to identifying tactically-advantageous terrain and using terrain to the unit’s advantage.
GENERAL AZIMUTH METHOD
5-43. For this method, the leader selects linear terrain features; then while maintaining map orientation and a general azimuth, he guides on the terrain feature. An advantage the general azimuth method has is it speeds movement, avoids fatigue, and often simplifies navigation because the unit follows the terrain feature. The disadvantage is it usually puts the unit on a natural line of drift. This method should end like terrain association, with the unit reaching a catching feature or a navigational attack point, then switching to point navigation.
5-44. Point navigation, also called dead reckoning, is done by starting from a known point and strictly following a predetermined azimuth and distance. This form of navigation requires a high level of leader control because even a slight deviation over the course of a movement can cause navigation errors. This method uses the dismounted compass and a distance from the pace man (or a vehicle’s odometer when mounted) to follow a prescribed route. Point navigation requires the leader to follow these steps─
Use the compass to maintain direction.
Use the pace man’s pace or a vehicle odometer to measure the distance traveled for each leg or part.
Review the written description of the route plan to help prevent navigational errors.
Note. Do not take compass reading from inside vehicles. Move away from vehicles when using lensatic compass.
5-45. When performed correctly, point navigation is very reliable, but time-consuming. It is best used when the need for navigational accuracy outweighs the importance of using terrain. Point navigation is particularly useful when recognizable terrain features do not exist or are too far away to be helpful. For example, deserts, swamps, and thick forest make terrain association difficult. Using point navigation early on in a long movement can stress the compass man and it may be advisable to switch him. One of the problems with point navigation is negotiating severely restrictive terrain or danger areas.
5-46. Leaders can benefit from combining the three types of navigation. Terrain association and general azimuth method enable leaders to set a rough compass bearing and move as quickly as the situation allows toward a catching feature or a navigational attack point. Once reached, leaders switch to point navigation by paying close attention to detail, taking as much time as necessary to analyze the situation and find their point. Terrain association and general azimuth method allow for some flexibility in the movement, and do not require the same level of control as point navigation. Point navigation, on the other hand, enables leaders to precisely locate their objective or point.
Mounted Land Navigation
5-47. The principles of land navigation while mounted are basically the same as while dismounted. The major difference is the speed of travel. To be effective at mounted land navigation, the travel speed must be considered. When preparing to move, the effects of terrain on navigating mounted vehicles must be determined. You will cover great distances very quickly, and you must develop the ability to estimate the distance you have traveled. Using the odometer on the vehicle can assists with distance traveled but can be misleading on a map due to turns and going up and down hills for instance. Having a mobility advantage helps while navigating. Mobility makes it much easier if you get disoriented to move to a point where you can reorient yourself. When determining a route to be used when mounted, consider the capabilities of the vehicles to be used. Most military vehicles are limited in the degree of slope they can climb and the type of terrain they can negotiate. Swamps, thickly wooded areas, or deep streams may present no problems to dismounted soldiers, but the same terrain may completely stop mounted soldiers.
Stabilized Turret Alignment Navigation
5-48. Another method, if you have a vehicle with a stabilized turret, is to align the turret on the azimuth you wish to travel, then switch the turret stabilization system on. The gun tube remains pointed at your destination no matter which way you turn the vehicle. This technique has been proven; it works. It is not harmful to the stabilization system. It is subject to stabilization drift, so use it for no more than 5000 meters before resetting.
5-49. There are three types of routes leaders can choose from: those which follow linear terrain features; those which follow a designated contour interval; and those which go cross compartment. Terrain association can be used with all three route types. The general azimuth method is used with the contour and terrain feature method. Point navigation is used primarily with cross compartment.
5-50. Following a terrain feature is nothing more than moving along linear features such as ridges, valleys, and streets. The advantage of this method is the unit is moving with the terrain. This is normally the least physically taxing of the methods. The disadvantage is following terrain features also means following natural lines of drift, which leads to a higher probability of chance contact with the enemy.
5-51. Contouring (remaining at the same height the entire leg) follows the imaginary contour line around a hill or along a ridgeline. Contouring has two advantages. First, it prevents undue climbing or descending. Second, following the contour acts as handrail or catching feature. The disadvantage of contouring is it can be physically taxing.
5-52. Cross compartment means following a predetermined azimuth and usually means moving against the terrain. The advantage of this method is it provides the most direct route from the start point to the end point of the leg or route. There are two primary disadvantages to this type of route. First, this method can be physically taxing. Second, the unit might expose itself to enemy observation.
DEVELOP A LEG
5-53. The best way to manage a route is to divide it into segments called “legs.” By breaking the overall route into several smaller segments, the leader is able to plan in detail. Legs typically have only one distance and direction. A change in direction usually ends the leg and begins a new one.
5-54. A leg must have a definite beginning and ending, marked with a control measure such as a checkpoint or phase line. (When using GPS, these are captured as waypoints.) When possible, the start point and end point should correspond to a navigational aid (catching feature or navigational attack point).
5-55.To develop a leg, leaders first determine the type of navigation and route best suiting the situation. Once these two decisions are made, the leader determines the distance and direction from the start point to the end point. He then identifies critical METT-TC information as it relates to the specific leg. Finally, leaders capture this information and draw a sketch on a route chart. (See figure 5-3.)
Figure 5-3. Example of sketching of legs
EXECUTE THE ROUTE
5-56. Using decisions about the route and navigation made during planning and preparation, leaders execute their route and direct their subordinates. In addition to executing the plan, leaders ─
Determine and maintain accurate location.
Designate rally points.
5-57. A leader always must know his unit’s location during movement. Without accurate location, the unit cannot expect to receive help from supporting arms, integrate reserve forces, or accomplish their mission. To ensure accurate location, a leader uses many techniques, including ─
Executing common skills.
Designating a compass man and pace man.
Using Mission Command Systems.
5-58. All Infantry Soldiers, particularly leaders, must be experts in land navigation. Important navigation tasks common to all include ─
Locating a point using grid coordinates. Using a compass (day/night).
Determining location using resection, intersection, or modified resection.
Interpreting terrain features.
Measuring distance and elevation.
Employing Mission Command Systems.
5-59. The compass man assists in navigation by ensuring the lead fire team leader remains on course at all times. The compass man should be thoroughly briefed. His instructions must include an initial azimuth with subsequent azimuths provided as necessary. The platoon leader or squad leader also should designate an alternate compass man. The leader should validate the patrol’s navigation with GPS devices.
5-60. The pace man maintains an accurate pace at all times. The platoon leader or squad leader should designate how often the pace man reports the pace. The pace man also should report the pace at the end of each leg. The platoon leader or squad leader should designate an alternate pace man.
Global Positioning Systems
5-61. GPSs receive signals from satellites or land-based transmitters. They calculate and display the position of the user in military grid coordinates as well as in degrees of latitude and longitude. During planning, leaders enter their waypoints into the GPS. Once entered, the GPS can display information such as distance and direction from waypoint to waypoint. During execution, leaders use the GPS to establish their exact location.
Note. Leaders need to remember GPS and digital displays are not the only navigational tools they can use. The best use of GPS or digital displays is for confirming the unit’s location during movement. Terrain association and map-reading skills still are necessary, especially for point navigation. Over reliance of GPS and digital displays can cause leaders to ignore the effects of terrain, travel faster than conditions allow, miss opportunities, or fail to modify routes when necessary.
DESIGNATE RALLY POINTS
5-62. A rally point is a place designated by the leader where the unit moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed. It also can be a place for a temporarily halt to reorganize and prepare for actions at the objective, to depart from friendly lines, or to reenter friendly lines. (Refer to ADRP 1-02 for more information.) Planned and unplanned rally points are common control measures used during tactical movement. Planned ORP, initial rally points (IRP), and reentry rally points (RRP). Unplanned rally points are en route rally points, near side rally points, and far side rally points. Despite the different types of rally points, the actions occurring are generally the same.
5-63. Prior to departing, leaders designate tentative rally points and determine what actions will occur there. When occupying a rally point, leaders use a perimeter defense to ensure all-around security. Those rally points used to reassemble the unit after an event are likely to be chaotic scenes and will require immediate actions by whatever Soldiers happen to arrive. These actions and other considerations are listed in table 5-1.
Table 5-1. Actions at rally point
Crossing Danger Areas
Crossing of Linear Danger Areas (Platoon)
Actions at Danger Areas (Mounted)
Ememy Contact at Danger Areas
5-64. When analyzing the terrain through METT-TC during the TLP, the platoon leader may identify danger areas. When planning the route, he marks the danger areas on his overlay. The term danger area refers to areas on the route where the terrain could expose the platoon to enemy observation, fire, or both. If possible, the platoon leader plans to avoid danger areas, but sometimes he cannot. When the unit must cross a danger area, it does so as quickly and carefully as possible. During planning, the leader designates near-side and far-side rally points. If the platoon encounters an unexpected danger area, it uses the en route rally points closest to the danger area as far-side and near-side rally points. Examples of danger areas include —
Open areas. Conceal the platoon on the near side and observe the area. Post security to give early warning. Send an element across to clear the far side. When cleared, cross the remainder of the platoon at the shortest exposed distance and as quickly as possible.
Roads and trails. Cross roads or trails at or near a bend, a narrow spot, or on low ground.
Villages. Pass villages on the downwind side and well away from them. Avoid animals, especially dogs, which might reveal the platoon’s presence.
Enemy positions. Pass on the downwind side. (The enemy might have scout dogs.) Be alert for trip wires and warning devices.
Minefields. Bypass minefields if at all possible, even if it requires changing the route by a great distance. Clear a path through minefields only if necessary.
Streams. Select a narrow spot in the stream offering concealment on both banks. Observe the far side carefully. Emplace near- and far-side security for early warning. Clear the far side and cross rapidly but quietly.
Wire obstacles. Avoid wire obstacles. (The enemy covers obstacles with observation and fire.)
CROSSING DANGER AREAS
5-65. Regardless of the type of danger area, when the platoon must cross one independently, or as the lead element of a larger force, it must perform the following ─
When the lead team signals "danger area" (relayed throughout the platoon), the platoon halts.
The platoon leader moves forward, confirms the danger area, and determines what technique the platoon will use to cross. The platoon sergeant also moves forward to the platoon leader.
The platoon leader informs all squad leaders of the situation, the near-side and far-side rally points.
The platoon sergeant directs positioning of the near-side security (usually conducted by the trail squad). These two security teams may follow him forward when the platoon halts and a danger area signal is passed back.
The platoon leader reconnoiters the danger area and selects the crossing point providing the best cover and concealment.
Near-side security observes to the flanks and overmatches the crossing.
When the near-side security is in place, the platoon leader directs the far-side security team to cross the danger area.
The far-side security team clears the far side.
The far-side security team leader establishes an observation post forward of the cleared area.
The far-side security team signals to the squad leader the area is clear. The squad leader relays the message to the platoon leader.
The platoon leader selects the method the platoon will use to cross the danger area.
The platoon quickly and quietly crosses the danger area.
Once across the danger area, the main body begins moving slowly on the required azimuth.
The near-side security element, controlled by the platoon sergeant, crosses the danger area where the platoon crossed. They may attempt to cover tracks left by the platoon.
The platoon sergeant ensures everyone crosses and sends up the report.
The platoon leader ensures accountability and resumes movement at normal speed.
Note. Same principles stated above are used when crossing a smaller unit (such as a squad) across a danger area.
Soldiers and Afghan Border Police walk along a mountain trail during a patrol near Combat Outpost Herrera in the Paktiya province of Afghanistan.
5-66. The platoon leader or squad leader decides how the unit will cross based on the time he has, size of the unit, size of the danger area, fields of fire into the area, and amount of security he can post. An Infantry platoon or squad may cross all at once, in buddy teams, or one Soldier at a time. A large unit normally crosses its elements one at a time. As each element crosses, it moves to an overwatch position or to the far-side rally point until told to continue movement.
CROSSING OF LINEAR DANGER AREAS (PLATOON)
5-67. A linear danger area is an area where the platoon’s flanks are exposed along a relatively narrow field of fire. Examples include streets, roads, trails, and streams. The platoon crosses a linear danger area in the formation and location specified by the platoon leader. (See figure 5-4.)
Figure 5-4. Crossing a linear danger area
Watch the following video to learn more about crossing a linear danger area.
CROSSING OF LARGE OPEN AREAS
5-68. If the large open area is so large the platoon cannot bypass it due to the time needed to accomplish the mission, a combination of traveling overwatch and bounding overwatch is used to cross the large open area. (See figure 5-5.) The traveling overwatch technique is used to save time. The squad or platoon moves using the bounding overwatch technique any point in the open area where enemy contact may be expected. The technique also may be used once the squad or platoon comes within range of enemy small-arms fire from the far side (about 250 meters). Once beyond the open area, the squad or platoon re-forms and continues the mission.
Figure 5-5. Crossing a large open area
CROSSING OF SMALL OPEN AREAS
5-69. Small open areas are small enough to bypass in the time allowed for the mission. Two techniques can be used. (See figure 5-6.)
Contouring Around the Open Area
5-70. The leader designates a rally point on the far side with the movement azimuth. He then decides which side of the open area to contour around (after considering the distance, terrain, cover and concealment), and moves around the open area. He uses the wood line and vegetation for cover and concealment. When the squad or platoon arrives at the rally point on the far side, the leader reassumes the azimuth to the objective area and continues the mission. (See figure 5-6.)
Detour Bypass Method
5-71. The squad or platoon turns 90 degrees to the right or left around the open area and moves in the direction of travel. Once the squad or platoon has passed the danger area, the unit completes the box with another 90-degree turn and arrives at the far-side rally point, then continues the mission. The pace counts of the offset and return legs is not added to the distance of the planned route. (See figure 5-6.)
Figure 5-6. Crossing a small open area
ACTIONS AT DANGER AREAS (MOUNTED)
5-72. Infantry platoons and squads must be prepared to negotiate danger areas when mounted. The discussion of leader and unit action are deliberately generic because of the wide variety of scenarios in which leaders might find themselves.
5-73. When moving mounted, units normally travel on roads, trails, and in unrestrictive terrain. Mounted units are typically vulnerable in the type of terrain favored by Infantry such as restrictive and close terrain. In addition, areas such as bridges, road junctions, defiles, and curves (denying observation beyond the turn) are also considered danger areas. When leaders identify a danger area, they determine the appropriate movement technique to employ (traveling, traveling overwatch, or bounding overwatch). They then dismount their Infantry squads and clear the area or do a combination of both
5-74. If time and terrain permit, the unit should either bypass a danger area or dismount Infantry to reconnoiter and clear it. However, the distances between covered and concealed positions may make this impractical. If time constraints prevent these options, the unit uses a combination of traveling overwatch and bounding overwatch to negotiate the danger area. As with dismounted actions at a danger area, the leader must be prepared to quickly transition to maneuver in case the unit makes contact with the enemy.
MOUNTED TRAVELING OVERWATCH
5-75. The lead element moves continuously along the covered and concealed routes giving it the best available protection from possible enemy observation and direct fire. (See figure 5-7.) The trail element moves at variable speeds providing continuous overwatch, keeping contact with the lead element, and stopping periodically to get a better look. The trail element stays close enough to ensure mutual support of the lead element. However, it must stay far enough to the rear to retain freedom of maneuver in case an enemy force engages the lead element.
Watch the following video to learn more about Mounted traveling overwatch
MOUNTED BOUNDING OVERWATCH
5-76. With bounding overwatch, one section always is stopped to provide overwatching fire. The unit executing bounding overwatch uses either the successive or alternate bounding method.
DISMOUNTING AND CLEARING THE AREA
5-77. The commander of the lead vehicle immediately notifies the platoon leader when he encounters an obstacle or other danger area. If needed, Soldiers dismount and take advantage of available cover and concealment to investigate these areas. (See figure 5-8.) If possible, the vehicle is moved off the road into a covered or concealed position. Weapons from the vehicle cover the advance of the dismounted element. Designated Soldiers reconnoiter these places under cover of the weapons in the vehicle. Obstacles are marked and bypassed, if possible. When they cannot be bypassed, they are removed cautiously.
Figure 5-8. Dismounting and clearing the area
5-78. Side roads intersecting the route of advance are investigated. Soldiers from one vehicle secure the road junction. One or two vehicles investigate the side road. The amount of reconnaissance on side roads is determined by the leader's knowledge of the situation. Soldiers investigating side roads do not move past supporting distance of the main body.
5-79. A defile is a narrow passage that constricts the movement of Soldiers. It is the ideal ambush site. If a defile is encountered that forces the platoon to move in single vehicle file for a significant distance the platoon leader might choose to lead with dismounted Infantry. (See figure 5-9.) Common defiles for mechanized platoons are roads or trails across streams, though swamps or heavy forests, or narrow valleys in rolling or mountainous terrain. When clearing a defile, the dismount element clears each side far enough from the choke point to make sure that there are no ambushes. It also checks the surface for evidence of mines or IEDs. Because contact should be expected at defiles, the leading squad should use bounding overwatch.
Figure 5-9. Clearing a Defile
EMEMY CONTACT AT DANGER AREAS
5-80. An increased awareness of the situation helps the platoon leader control the platoon when it makes contact with the enemy. If the platoon makes contact in or near the danger area, it moves to the designated rally points. Based on the direction of enemy contact, the leader designates the far- or near-side rally point. During limited visibility, he also can use his laser systems to point out the rally points at a distance. If the platoon has a difficult time linking up at the rally point, the first element to arrive should mark the rally point with an infared light source. This helps direct the rest of the platoon to the location. During movement to the rally point, position updates allow separated elements to identify each other’s locations. These updates help them linkup at the rally point by identifying friends and foes.
Soldiers take cover from enemy fire in Logar province, Afghanistan.
Conducting the Relief
5-81. A relief in place is a tactical enabling task in which all or part of a unit is replaced in an area by the incoming unit. The responsibilities of the replaced elements for mission and assigned area of operation are transferred to the incoming unit. The incoming unit continues the operations as ordered. (Refer to FM 3-90-2, for more information.) There are three techniques for conducting a relief: sequentially, simultaneously, or staggered ─
A sequential relief occurs when each element within the relieved unit is relieved in succession, from right to left or left to right, depending on how it is deployed.
A simultaneous relief occurs when all elements are relieved at the same time.
A staggered relief occurs when the leader relieves each element in a sequence determined by the tactical situation, not its geographical orientation.
5-82. Simultaneous relief takes the least time to execute, but is more easily detected by the enemy. Sequential or staggered reliefs can take place over a significant amount of time. These three relief techniques can occur regardless of the range of military operations in which the unit is participating.
5-83. A relief also can be characterized as either deliberate or hasty, depending on the amount of planning and preparations associated with the relief. The major differences are the depth and detail of planning and, potentially, the execution time. Detailed planning generally facilitates shorter execution time by determining exactly what the leader believes needs to be done and resources needed to accomplish the mission. Deliberate planning allows the commander and staff to identify, develop, and coordinate solutions to most potential problems before they occur and to ensure the availability of resources when and where they are needed.
5-84. Once ordered to conduct a relief in place, the leader of the relieving unit contacts the leader of the unit to be relieved. The collocation of unit command posts also helps achieve the level of coordination required. If the relieved unit’s forward elements can defend the area of operation, the relieving unit executes the relief in place from the rear to the front. This facilitates movement and terrain management.
5-85. When planning for a relief in place, the Infantry platoon leader takes the following actions ─
Issues an order immediately.
Sends himself or key leader with platoon advance party to conduct detailed reconnaissance and coordination.
As the relieving unit, adopts the outgoing unit’s normal pattern of activity as much as possible.
As the relieving unit, determines when the platoon will assume responsibility for outgoing unit’s position.
As the relieving unit, collocates with the relieved unit’s headquarters.
Maximizes operations security to prevent the enemy from detecting the relief operation.
Note. When possible, conduct the relief at night or under other limited visibility conditions.
Plans for relief of sustainment elements after combat elements are relieved.
As the unit being relieved, plans for transfer of excess ammunition, wire, petroleum, oil, and lubricants, and other materiel of tactical value to the incoming unit.
Controls movement by reconnoitering, designating, and marking routes, and providing guides.
5-86. The incoming and outgoing unit leaders meet to exchange tactical information, conduct a joint reconnaissance of the area, and complete other required coordination. The two leaders carefully address passage of command and jointly develop contingency actions to deal with enemy contact during the relief. This process usually includes coordination of the following information ─
Location of vehicle and individual fighting positions (to include hide, alternate, and supplementary positions). Leaders should verify fighting positions both by conventional map and using the latest Mission Command Systems available.
The enemy situation.
The outgoing unit’s tactical plan, including graphics, company and platoon fire plans, and individual vehicles’ area of operations sketches.
Direct and indirect fire support coordination, including indirect fire plans and time of relief for supporting artillery and mortar units.
Types of weapons systems being replaced.
Time, sequence, and method of relief.
Location and disposition of obstacles, and time when the leaders will transfer responsibility.
Supplies and equipment to be transferred.
Movement control, route priority, and placement of guides.
Command and signal information.
Note. Units conduct relief on the radio nets of the outgoing unit.
Maintenance and logistical support for disabled vehicles.
CONDUCTING THE RELIEF
5-87. When conducting the relief, the outgoing leader retains responsibility of the area of operation and mission. He exercises operational control over all subordinate elements of the incoming unit having completed their portion of the relief. Responsibility passes to the incoming leader when all elements of the outgoing unit are relieved and adequate communications are established.
5-88. Sequential relief is the most time-consuming relief method. The relieving unit moves to an AA to the rear of the unit to be relieved. Subordinate elements are relieved one at a time. This can occur in any order, with the relief following this general sequence ─
The outgoing and incoming unit’s collocates their headquarters and trains elements to facilitate mission command and transfer of equipment, ammunition, fuel, water, and medical supplies.
The first element being relieved (such as a platoon) moves to its alternate fighting positions or battle positions while the relieving element moves into the outgoing element’s primary fighting positions. The incoming element occupies vehicle and individual fighting positions as appropriate.
Incoming and outgoing elements complete the transfer of equipment and supplies.
The relieved element moves to the designated assembly area behind its position.
Once each outgoing element clears the rally point en route to its assembly area, the next relieving element moves forward.
5-89. Simultaneous relief is the fastest, but least secure, method. All outgoing elements are relieved at once, with the incoming unit usually occupying existing positions, including battle positions, and vehicle and individual fighting positions. The relief takes place in this general sequence ─
Outgoing elements move to their alternate battle positions and/or vehicle and individual positions.
Incoming elements move along designated routes to the outgoing elements’ primary fighting positions.
The units complete the transfer of equipment and supplies.
Relieved elements move to the designated unit assembly area.
Forward Passage of Lines
Rearward Passage of Lines
5-90. Passage of lines is a tactical-enabling task in which a force moves forward or rearward through another unit’s positions with the intent of moving into or out of contact with the enemy. A passage may be designated as a forward or rearward passage of lines. Units usually conduct passage of lines when at least one METT-TC factor does not permit the bypass of a friendly unit. A passage of lines is a complex operation requiring close supervision and detailed planning, coordination, and synchronization between the leaders of the unit conducting the passage and unit being passed. The primary purpose of a passage of lines is to transfer responsibility (forward or rearward) for an area from one unit to another.
5-91. Passage of lines occur under two basic conditions. A forward passage of lines occurs when a unit passes through another unit’s positions while moving toward the enemy. A rearward passage of lines occurs when a unit passes through another unit’s positions while moving away from the enemy.
5-92. The controlling Infantry company is responsible for planning and coordinating a passage of lines involving the Infantry platoon and squad. In some situations, such as the company using multiple passage routes for example, a separate route for each platoon, the company commander takes responsibility for planning and coordinating each phase of the operation.
5-93. When planning a passage of lines, the following tactical factors and procedures are considered: passage lanes, use of deception, battle handover, obstacles, air defense, sustainment responsibilities, mission command, reconnaissance and coordination, forward passage of lines, and rearward passage of lines.
FORWARD PASSAGE OF LINES
5-94. In a forward passage, the passing unit first moves to an AA or an attack position behind the stationary unit. Designated liaison personnel move forward to linkup with guides and confirm coordination information with the stationary unit. Guides then lead the passing elements through the passage lane.
5-95. The Infantry unit conducts a forward passage by employing tactical movement. It moves quickly, using appropriate dispersal and formations whenever possible, and keeping radio traffic to a minimum. It bypasses disabled vehicles as necessary. The unit holds its fire until it passes the BHL or the designated fire control measure, unless the leader has coordinated fire control with the stationary unit. Once clear of passage lane restrictions, the unit consolidates at a rally point or attack position, and conducts tactical movement according to its orders. (See figure 5-10.)
Figure 5-10. Forward passage of lines
REARWARD PASSAGE OF LINES
5-96. Because of the increased chance of fratricide and friendly fire during a rearward passage, coordination of recognition signals and direct fire restrictions is critical. Rehearsals and training can help reduce fratricide and friendly fire. The passing unit contacts the stationary unit while it is still beyond direct fire range and conducts coordination as discussed previously. Near recognition signals and location of the BHL are emphasized. Both passing and stationary unit can employ additional fire control measures, such as RFL, to minimize the risk of fratricide and friendly fire. (See figure 5-11.)
Figure 5-11. Rearward passage of lines
5-97. Following coordination, the passing unit continues tactical movement toward the passage lane. The passing unit is responsible for its security until it passes the BHL. If the stationary unit provides guides, the passing unit can conduct a short halt to linkup and coordinate with them. The passing unit moves quickly through the passage lane to a designated location behind the stationary unit.
5-98. Stationary unit and passing unit responsibilities. (See table 5-2.)
Table 5-2. Stationary and passing unit responsibilities
Phases of the Linkup
5-99. A linkup is a meeting of friendly ground forces, which occurs in a variety of circumstances. It happens when an advancing force reaches an objective area previously seized by an airborne or air assault; when an encircled element breaks out to rejoin friendly forces or a force comes to the relief of an encircled force; and when converging maneuver forces meet. Both forces may be moving toward each other, or one may be stationary. Whenever possible, joining forces exchange as much information as possible before starting an operation.
5-100. The headquarters ordering the linkup establishes ─
A common operational picture.
Command relationship and responsibilities of each force before, during, and after linkup.
Coordination of direct and indirect fire support before, during, and after linkup, including control measures.
Recognition signals and communication procedures to use, including pyrotechnics, armbands, vehicle markings, gun-tube orientation, panels, colored smoke, lights, and challenge and passwords.
Operations to conduct following linkup.
5-101. The leader who orders the linkup establishes control measures for units conducting the linkup ─
Assigns each unit an area of operations defined by left and right boundaries and a restrictive fire line also acts as a limit of advance.
Establishes a no fires area around one or both units and establishes a coordinated fire line beyond the area where the unit’s linkup.
Establishes a no fires area to ensure unclear air-delivered munitions or indirect fires do not cross either the restrictive fire line or a boundary and impact friendly forces.
5-102. The coordinated fire line allows available fires to quickly attack enemy targets approaching the area where the linkup is to occur. The linkup forces use the linkup points established by the leader to make physical contact with each other. The leader designates alternate linkup points, since enemy action may interfere with the primary linkup points. Control measures are adjusted during the operation to provide for freedom of action as well as positive control.
5-103. There are two linkup methods. The preferred method is when the moving force has an assigned LOA near the other force and conducts the linkup at predetermined contact points. Units then coordinate additional operations. The leader uses the other method during highly fluid mobile operations when the enemy force escapes from a potential encirclement, or when one of the linkup forces is at risk and requires immediate reinforcement. In this method, the moving force continues to move and conduct long-range recognition via radio or other measures, stopping only when it makes physical contact with the other force.
PHASES OF THE LINKUP
5-104. The Infantry platoon and squad conducts linkup activities independently or as part of a larger force. Within a larger unit, the platoon may lead the linkup force. The linkup consists of three phases. The following actions are critical to the execution of a linkup.
PHASE 1—FAR RECOGNITION SIGNAL
5-105. During this phase, the forces conducting a linkup establish both FM radio and digital communications before reaching direct fire range. The lead element of each linkup force should monitor the radio frequency of the other friendly force.
5-106. Before initiating movement to the linkup point, the forces must coordinate necessary tactical information including the following ─
The known enemy situation.
Mission Command Systems, if equipped, filter setting and address book commonality.
Type and number of friendly vehicles and number of vehicles equipped with Mission Command Systems.
Disposition of stationary forces (if either unit is stationary).
Routes to the linkup point and rally point, if any.
Direct and indirect fire control measures.
Near recognition signals.
Sustainment responsibilities and procedures.
Finalized location of the linkup point and rally points, if any.
Special coordination, such as those covering maneuver instructions or requests for medical support.
PHASE 3—MOVEMENT TO THE LINKUP POINT AND LINKUP
5-107. All units or elements involved in the linkup enforce strict fire control measures to help prevent fratricide and friendly fire. Moving or converging forces must easily recognize linkup points and RFL. Linkup elements take the following actions ─
Conduct far recognition using radios or Mission Command Systems, if equipped.
Conduct short-range (near) recognition using the designated signal.
Complete movement to the linkup point.
Establish local security at the linkup point.
Conduct additional coordination and linkup activities as necessary.
Combat Vehicles and Infantry Squad Formations
Combat Vehicles and Infantry Platoon Formations
5-108. There are several options available to the platoon leader when augmented with vehicles. The platoon leader should employ the vehicles in conjunction with the rifle squads so each complements the other. Some options include -
Employ them to support the Infantry rifle squads.
Employ them separately to provide heavy direct fires or antiarmor fires.
Leave in hide positions.
Displace them to a secure location.
COMBAT VEHICLES AND INFANTRY SQUAD FORMATIONS
5-109. The principles of METT-TC guide the leader in selecting formations for combat vehicles and Infantry. The same principles for selecting combat formations with Infantry Soldiers apply when selecting combat formations for combat vehicles moving with Infantry Soldiers. The platoon leader can employ the fundamental column, line, echelon, vee, and wedge formations for combat vehicles to meet the needs of his mission. The column, line, echelon, vee, and wedge are fundamental combat formations for combat vehicles. After the leader combines the mounted and Infantry elements into one combat formation, it is his responsibility to ensure proper communication and fire control measures are implemented to maximize lethality and prevent fratricide.
5-110. After selecting the combat formations for combat vehicles and Infantry, the leader can decide whether to lead with combat vehicles, Infantry Soldiers, or a combination of the two. The default technique is to lead with Infantry Soldiers.
LEAD WITH INFANTRY
5-111. Infantry Soldiers are better suited for leading combat formations (see figure 5-12) when—
A route leads through restrictive urban or rural terrain.
Stealth is desired.
Enemy antitank minefields are templated.
Enemy antitank teams are templated.
Figure 5-12. Lead with Infantry squad
Note. Tanks fire high-velocity, armor-piercing, discarding sabot rounds that pose hazards to Infantry. Dismounted Soldiers should be at 300 meters to the left or right of the line of fire and at least 1300 meters to the front of a firing tank. Any Infantry within this danger area must have adequate cover as defined in Department of the Army Pamphlet 385-63 from the rear.
LEAD WITH TANKS
5-112. Infantry leaders may choose to lead with tanks (see figure 5-13) when─
There is an armored or tank threat.
Moving through open terrain with limited cover or concealment.
There is a confirmed enemy location/direction.
There are templated enemy antipersonnel minefields.
Figure 5-13. Lead with tanks
Note. The exhaust from an M1-series tank may reach more than 1700-degrees. Dismounted Soldiers following behind the tank must position themselves either to the side of the exhaust grill or, if they are directly behind the vehicle, at a safe distance away. Exhaust shield will overcome this problem. The shield is a critical element in tanks recovering other tanks, so they should be readily available in the tank platoons. Consideration should be given to fabricating enough for all tanks as a leader will not know when he will be working with the Infantry
LEAD WITH BOTH TANKS AND INFANTRY SQUAD
5-113. Infantry leaders may choose to centrally locate the tanks in their formation (see figure 5-14) when─
Flexibility if desired.
The enemy location is unknown.
There is a high threat of dismounted enemy antitank teams.
The ability to mass the fires of the combat vehicles quickly in all directions is desired.
Figure 5-14. Lead with both tanks and Infantry squad
COMBAT VEHICLE AND INFANTRY PLATOON FORMATIONS
5-114. Infantry platoons also can incorporate their formations with those of combat vehicular units. The principles for choosing platoon combat formations are the same as squad combat formations. The Infantry platoon can conduct tactical movement with a platoon of combat vehicles (normally four) or a section of combat vehicles (normally two). Figure 5-15 and figure 5-16 detail some basic Infantry platoon formations with combat vehicle platoon formations.
Figure 5-15. Combat vehicle wedge, Infantry platoon diamond
Figure 5-16. Combat vehicle echelon right, Infantry platoon column
5-115. Mounted movement is similar to dismounted movement. Depending on the vehicle type, a platoon may have a squad in one to four vehicles. Units with more than four vehicles should consider splitting the vehicles into two or more sections and control these sections much the same way squads control their teams.
5-116. Units augmented with four or more vehicles can use any of the seven formations. They use them within the context of the three movement techniques (See chapter 2, section IV for more information.) and should be prepared to execute immediate action drills when transitioning to maneuver. When the mounted unit stops, they use the coil and herringbone formations to ensure security.
5-117. In mounted successive bounds, vehicles keep their relative positions in the column. The first and second vehicles operate as a section in moving from one observation point to another. The second vehicle is placed in a concealed position, occupants dismounting if necessary, to cover movement of the first vehicle to an observation point. On reaching this point, occupants of the first vehicle observe and reconnoiter, dismounting if necessary. When the area is determined to be clear, the second vehicle is signaled forward to join the first vehicle.
5-118. The commander of the first vehicle observes the terrain to the front for signs of enemy forces and selects the next stopping point. The first vehicle then moves out and the process is repeated. Movement distance of the lead vehicle does not exceed the limit of observation or the range of direct fire support from the second vehicle. The lead vehicle and personnel are replaced frequently to ensure constant alertness. The other vehicles in the column move by bounds from one concealed position to another. Each vehicle maintains visual contact with the vehicle ahead but avoids closing up. (See figure 5-17.) However, as a rule, vehicles always work in pairs and should never be placed in a situation where one vehicle is not able to be supported by the second.
5-119. In mounted alternate bounds, all except the first two vehicles keep their relative places in the column. The first two vehicles alternate as lead vehicles on each bound. Each covers the bound of the other. This method provides a more rapid advance than movement by successive bounds, but is less secure. Security is obtained by the vehicle commander who assigns each Soldier a direction of observation (to the front, flank, or rear). This provides each vehicle with some security against surprise fire from every direction, and provides visual contact with vehicles to the front and rear.
Watch the following video to learn more about Lead vehicle moving by bounds
MINE RESISTANT AMBUSH PROTECTED VEHICLE MISSION AND PURPOSE
5-120. The mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle’s mission role is similar to the Stryker in many respects. MRAP provides small units with protected mobility and mounted firepower. Squads and platoons use MRAP vehicles to conduct both mounted and dismounted missions.
5-121. MRAP is designed for distinct purpose of increasing the protection of Soldiers against small-arms fire and detonation of mines or IEDs employed singularly or in combination. With increased protection, an MRAP vehicle can increase its standoff to potential threats or move through potential danger areas when METT-TC dictates the increased risk.
MINE RESISTANT AMBUSH PROTECTED CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS
5-122. Units employ MRAP vehicles by understanding the vehicle’s capabilities and limitations while integrating protection with training to standard, detailed planning, smart tactics, and well-rehearsed drills, MRAP vehicles operate under the full spectrum of weather and terrain conditions, to include limited off-road operation across firm soil and obstacles such as debris.
5-123. Exiting the vehicle in response to an ambush and loading or unloading equipment and casualties are difficult due to the steps and back hatch on some MRAP variants. Units must train and rehearse individuals and teams to streamline the process for mounting and dismounting operations under various conditions, especially in an emergency.
5-124. The field of view from the armored windows is limited for Soldiers, which results in blind spots and overall poor visibility.
Operating on single-lane or steeply crowned rural roads with no shoulders, roads with soft shoulders or washouts around culverts, especially road bordering water (such as canal, irrigation ditch, or pond) requires extreme caution. The majority of MRAP vehicle rollovers are due to road, shoulder or bridge approaches giving way under the MRAP vehicle’s weight and high center of gravity.
5-125. Trafficability studies/products must be available to the leaders and Soldiers operating MRAP vehicles. They can factor area of operation-specific trafficability and terrain limitations into their risk management and combat planning processes. (Refer to ADRP 3-37 for more information.)
5-126. Figure 5-18 shows possible mounted movement with MRAP vehicles both file/column or staggered. The leader based on information and intelligence, commander’s intent and METT-TC makes the determination which mounted maneuvering technique will be used.
Note: Refer to TC 7-31 for more information on the MRAP family of vehicles.
Figure 5-18. MRAP vehicle file/column or staggered formation
5-127. A convoy is a group of vehicles organized for purposes of control and orderly movement with or without escort protection moving over the same route at the same time under one commander. (Refer to ADRP 1-02 for more information.)
5-128. The platoon conducts motor marches, usually in trucks or armored protected vehicles. Some of the special considerations may include─
Protection. Sandbag the bottom of the trucks to protect from mines. Ensure crew-served weapons are manned with qualified gunners.
Observation. Ensure Soldiers sit facing outward and remove bows and canvas to allow 360 degree observation and rapid dismount.
Inspection. Inspect vehicles and drivers to ensure they are ready. Perform before, during, and after preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS). Ensure drivers’ knowledge of the route, speed, and convoy distance.
Loading. Keep fire team, squad, and platoon integrity when loading vehicles. Fire teams and squads are kept intact on the same vehicle. Platoon vehicles are together in the same march serial. Key weapons and equipment are cross loaded with platoon leader and platoon sergeant in different vehicles.
Rehearsals. Rehearse immediate action to enemy contact (near and far ambushes, air attack). Ensure drivers know what to do.
Air Guards. Post air guards for each vehicle, with special consideration on the placement of crew- served weapons.
Camouflage, Noise, and Light Discipline
5-129. Maintaining security is a constant theme of tactical movement. Security can prevent enemy surprise. Security requires everyone to concentrate on the enemy. Though this seems simple enough, in practice, it is not. This means leaders and Soldiers must be proficient in the basics of tactical movement. Failure to attain proficiency diverts attention away from the enemy, thereby directly reducing the unit’s ability to fight.
5-130. Platoons and squads enhance their own security during movement through the use of covered and concealed terrain; the use of the appropriate combat formation and movement technique; the actions taken to secure danger areas during crossing; the enforcement of noise, light, and radiotelephone discipline; and use of proper individual camouflage techniques.
5-131. During planning and preparation for movement, leaders analyze the enemy situation, determine known and likely enemy positions, and develop possible enemy courses of action. After first considering the enemy, leaders determine what security measures to emplace during tactical movement.
5-132. Leaders have to decide whether they are going to move aggressively to make contact, or stealthily to avoid contact. Either way, leaders have to anticipate enemy contact throughout. If possible, leaders should avoid routes with obvious danger areas such as built-up areas, roads, trails, and known enemy positions. If these places cannot be avoided, risk management should be conducted to develop ways to reduce danger to the unit. If stealth is desired, the route should avoid contact with local inhabitants, built-up areas, and natural lines of drift
5-133. Movement techniques help the leader manage the amount of security his unit has during movement. Traveling is the least secure and used when contact is unlikely. Traveling overwatch is used when contact is likely but not imminent. Bounding overwatch is used when contact is imminent. The leader establishes the PLD to indicate where the transition from traveling overwatch to bounding overwatch should occur. When in contact with the enemy, the unit transitions from movement to maneuver (fire and movement) while the leader conducts actions on contact. (See figure 5-19.)
Figure 5-19. Movement to maneuver
5-134. When planning movements, the leader must consider how terrain affects security while simultaneously considering METT-TC. Some missions may require the unit to move on other than covered and concealed routes. While the leader may not be able to prevent the unit’s detection, he can ensure it moves on the battlefield in a time and place for which the enemy is unprepared. Particularly when moving in the open, the leader must avoid predictability and continue to use terrain to his advantage.
A unit on patrol in the mountains near the Pakistan border.
CAMOUFLAGE, NOISE, AND LIGHT DISCIPLINE
5-135. Leaders must ensure camouflage used by their Soldiers is appropriate to the terrain and season. Platoon SOPs specify elements of noise and light discipline.
Soldiers dressed in appropriate camouflage outside Combat Outpost Chergotah, Afghanistan.
5-136. If Soldiers need more illumination than an image intensifier can provide in infrared mode during movement, they should use additional infrared light sources. The combination should provide the light needed with the least risk of enemy detection. When using infrared light, leaders must consider the enemy’s night vision and infrared capabilities. For instance, an enemy with night vision capability can send infrared light signals, and he can concentrate direct and indirect fire on a platoon using infrared light.
5-137. Units conducting tactical movement frequently make temporary halts. These halts range from brief to extended periods. For short halts, platoons use a cigar-shaped perimeter intended to protect the force while maintaining the ability to continue movement. When the platoon leader decides not to immediately resume tactical movement, he transitions the platoon to a perimeter defense. The perimeter defense is used for longer halts or during lulls in combat.
Soldiers make a security halt.
5-138. When the unit halts, if terrain permits, Soldiers should move off the route and face out to cover the same sectors of fire they were assigned while moving, allowing passage through the center of the formation. This results in a cigar-shaped perimeter. Actions by subordinate leaders and their Soldiers occur without an order from the leader. Soldiers are repositioned as necessary to take advantage of the best cover, concealment, and fields of fire.
5-139. When operating independently, the platoon uses a perimeter defense during extended halts, resupply, and issuing platoon orders or lulls in combat. Normally the unit first occupies a short halt formation. Then after conducting a leader’s reconnaissance of the position and establishing security, the unit moves into the perimeter defense.
MOUNTED SECURITY HALT
5-140. The platoon employs the coil, herringbone, and triangle “Y” formations to maintain 360-degree security when stationary.
5-141. The coil provides all-round security and observation when the platoon is stationary. The patrol also uses the coil for tactical refueling, resupply, and issuing patrol orders. When in a coil, leaders post security. (See figure 5-20.)
Figure 5-20. Coil formation
5-142. The patrol leader uses the herringbone and triangle during temporary halts or when getting off a road to allow another unit to pass. It lets the patrol move to covered and concealed positions off a road or from an open area and establishes all-round security without issued detailed instructions. The truck commander repositions their vehicles as necessary to take advantage of the best cover, concealment, and fields of fire. Fire team members dismount and establish security. (See videos below.)
Watch the following video to learn more about a Herringbone formation
Watch the following video to learn more about a Triangle Y formation
Triangle Y Video
ACTIONS AT HALTS
5-143. Table 5-3 lists the standard actions taken at halts by the Soldier, squad leader, and platoon leader.
Table 5-3. Actions at halts
Movement by Water
Movement During Limited Visibility
5-144. Movement operations are conducted to reposition units, personnel, supplies, equipment, and other critical combat elements in support of current or future operations. Other movement forms may include air movement, movement by water, and movement during limited visibility.
5-145. Air movement operations include both airdrops and air landings. Planning for air movements is similar to other missions. In addition to the normal planning process, however, air movement planning must cover specific requirements for air infiltration and exfiltration─
Coordinate with the supporting aviation units.
Plan and rehearse with the supporting aviation unit before the mission if possible. If armed escort accompanies the operation, the platoon leader and company commander, as well as the assault or general support aviation unit, should ensure aircrews are included in the planning and rehearsals.
Gather as much information as possible, such as the enemy situation, in preparation of the mission.
Plan and coordinate joint suppression of enemy air defense.
5-146. The unit also should plan different ingress and egress routes, covering the following─
Planned insertion and extraction points.
Emergency extraction rally points.
Lost communications extraction points.
5-147. Planned extraction points and emergency extraction rally points require communications to verify the preplanned pickup time or coordinate an emergency pickup time window. Planning must include details for extraction when communications between higher headquarters and unit are lost. The lost communications extraction point involves infiltration teams moving to the emergency extraction point after two consecutive missed communications windows and waiting up to 24 hours for pickup. (Refer to FM 3-04.113 for more information.)
The following vignette describes the heaviest airload ever dropped in Afghanistan. ─ SELECT HERE
MOVEMENT BY WATER
5-148. Platoons avoid crossing water obstacles when possible. Before crossing, however, leaders should identify weak or nonswimmers and pair them with good swimmers in their squads.
5-149. When platoons or squads must move into, through, or out of rivers, lakes, streams, or other bodies of water, they treat the water obstacle as a danger area. While on the water, the platoon is exposed and vulnerable. To offset the disadvantages, the platoon─
Moves during limited visibility.
Moves near the shore to reduce the chances of detection.
Soldiers cross a small stream while on a foot patrol in order to secure the area.
5-150. When moving in more than one boat, the platoon─
Maintains tactical integrity and self-sufficiency.
Cross loads essential Soldiers and equipment.
Ensures the radio is with the leader.
5-151. If boats are not available, several other techniques can be used such as─
A 7/16-inch rope used as a semisubmersible, one-rope bridge, or safety line.
Water wings (made from a set of trousers).
MOVEMENT DURING LIMITED VISIBILITY
5-152. At night or when visibility is poor, a platoon must be able to function in the same way as during daylight. It must be able to control, navigate, and maintain security, move, and stalk at night or during limited visibility.
5-153. When visibility is poor, the following methods aid in control─
Use of night vision devices.
Infrared chemical lights.
Leaders move closer to the front.
The platoon reduces speed.
Soldiers use two small strips of luminous tape on the rear of their helmet, allowing Soldiers behind them to see them from the rear.
Leaders reduce the interval between Soldiers and units to make sure they can see each other.
Leaders conduct headcounts at regular intervals and after each halt to ensure personnel accountability.
A Soldier uses his night vision goggles while on night patrol.
5-154. To assist in navigation during limited visibility, leaders use─
Terrain association (general direction of travel coupled with recognition of prominent map and ground features).
Dead reckoning, compass direction and specific distances or legs. (At the end of each leg, leaders should verify their location.)
Movement routes that parallel identifiable terrain features.
Guides or marked routes.
Mission Command Systems.
Security at Night
5-155. For stealth and security in night moves, squads and platoons─
Designate a point man to maintain alertness, the lead team leader to navigate, and a pace man to count the distance traveled. Alternate compass and pace men are designated.
Ensure good noise and light discipline.
Use radio-listening silence.
Camouflage Soldiers and equipment.
Use terrain to avoid detection by enemy surveillance or night vision devices
Make frequent listening halts.
Mask the sounds of movement with artillery fires.