--Action 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.


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



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.


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.

Dismounting and clearing the area

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