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* FM 3-20.

98 [FM 17-98]
Field Manual Headquarters
No 3-20.98 Department of the Army
Washington, DC, 2 December 2002


PREFACE ............................................................................................. v

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................. 1-1

Section I Types of Reconnaissance Platoons ....................... 1-2
Section II Operational Environment ......................................... 1-3
Section III Tactical Organization ............................................... 1-5
Section IV Responsibilities ........................................................ 1-16
Section V Missions, Capabilities and Limitations,
and Vehicle Capabilities .................................... 1-18
Section VI Battle Command ....................................................... 1-21
Section VII Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield ............. 1-26
Section VIII Situational Awareness ............................................. 1-32
Section IX Navigation ................................................................. 1-37

Chapter 2 LEADERSHIP COMPETENCIES ......................................................... 2-1

Section I Troop-Leading Procedures ...................................... 2-1
Section II Deployment ............................................................... 2-17
Section III Tactical Movement ................................................... 2-18
Section IV Actions on Contact ................................................... 2-32
Section V Employment of Fires ................................................ 2-43
Section VI Communications ...................................................... 2-44
Section VII Reporting ................................................................... 2-51

DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Distribution authorized to US Government agencies and their

contractors. This publication contains technical or operational information that is for official
Government use. This determination was made on 12 July 2002. Other requests for this document
will be referred to Commander, US Army Armor Center, ATTN: ATZK-TDD-C, Fort Knox, KY
DESTRUCTION NOTICE: Destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or
reconstruction of the document.

* This publication supersedes FM 17-98, 10 April 1999.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________

Chapter 3 RECONNAISSANCE OPERATIONS ................................................... 3-1
Section I Purpose and Fundamentals .................................... 3-1
Section II Reconnaissance Planning, Methods,
and Tactical Employment .................................. 3-3
Section III Multidimensional Aspects of Reconnaissance
and Surveillance ................................................. 3-29
Section IV Route Reconnaissance ............................................ 3-43
Section V Area Reconnaissance .............................................. 3-51
Section VI Zone Reconnaissance .............................................. 3-57
Section VII Obstacle/Restriction Reconnaissance ................... 3-64

Chapter 4 SECURITY OPERATIONS ................................................................... 4-1

Section I Purpose and Fundamentals .................................... 4-1
Section II Planning Considerations ......................................... 4-3
Section III Screening Missions .................................................. 4-4
Section IV Convoy and Area Security Operations ................... 4-22

Chapter 5 DISMOUNTED OPERATIONS ............................................................. 5-1

Section I Troop-Leading Procedures ...................................... 5-1
Section II Patrolling Tasks ........................................................ 5-14
Section III Actions on Contact ................................................... 5-24
Section IV Types of Patrols ........................................................ 5-32
Section V Patrol Bases .............................................................. 5-54
Section VI Observation Posts .................................................... 5-58

Chapter 6 OTHER TACTICAL OPERATIONS ..................................................... 6-1

Section I Assembly Areas ........................................................ 6-1
Section II Road Marches ........................................................... 6-4
Section III Battle Handover During Passage of Lines ............. 6-9
Section IV Relief in Place ........................................................... 6-16

Chapter 7 URBAN OPERATIONS ........................................................................ 7-1

Section I Phases of Urban Operations ................................... 7-1
Section II Understanding the Urban Environment ................. 7-2
Section III Planning .................................................................... 7-7
Section IV Execution .................................................................. 7-20


Section I Employ Fire Support ................................................ 8-1
Section II Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ....................................... 8-26
Section III Combat Engineers .................................................... 8-32
Section IV Air Defense ................................................................ 8-34
Section V Aviation Support ....................................................... 8-38
Section VI Multicapable Sensor Teams .................................... 8-62
Section VII Combat Service Support .......................................... 8-66

_______________________________________________________ Reconnaissance Platoon

Chapter 9 ESSENTIAL FIELD DATA ................................................................... 9-1
Section I Route Reconnaissance Symbols ............................ 9-1
Section II Route Classification ................................................. 9-7
Section III Curve Calculations ................................................... 9-12
Section IV Slope Estimation ...................................................... 9-15
Section V Constrictions ............................................................ 9-19
Section VI Stream Reconnaissance .......................................... 9-23
Section VII Ford Reconnaissance .............................................. 9-26
Section VIII Ferry Reconnaissance ............................................. 9-28
Section IX Bridge Classification and Reconnaissance ........... 9-30
Section X Bypasses ................................................................... 9-53
Section XI Measurement Conversions ..................................... 9-54

Appendix A COMBAT ORDERS .............................................................................. A-1

Section I Warning Orders ........................................................ A-1
Section II Operation Orders ...................................................... A-2
Section III Fragmentary Orders ................................................. A-6
Section IV Patrol Orders ............................................................. A-7

Appendix B REPORT FORMATS ............................................................................ B-1

Section I Contact and Blue Reports (Operations) .................. B-2
Section II Green Reports (Intelligence) ................................... B-7
Section III Yellow Reports (Logistics) ...................................... B-10
Section IV Red Reports (Personnel) ......................................... B-16
Section V NBC Reports ............................................................. B-17
Section VI Digital Reporting and C2 Messages ....................... B-21


Section I Principles of NBC Defense ...................................... C-1
Section II Contamination Avoidance ....................................... C-5
Section III NBC Equipment ........................................................ C-11
Section IV Reconnoitering an NBC Environment .................... C-26
Section V Shielding the Force (Reducing Platoon
Vulnerability) ...................................................... C-40
Section VI Decontamination and First Aid ............................... C-52


Section I General Considerations ........................................... D-2
Section II Stability Operations .................................................. D-9
Section III Support Operations .................................................. D-15
Section IV Role of the Reconnaissance Platoon in Stability
Operations and Support Operations ................ D-20
Section V Light/Medium Operations in Stability and
Support Environments ...................................... D-36

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________

Appendix E ANTENNAS .......................................................................................... E-1
Section I Siting Considerations .............................................. E-1
Section II Field-Expedient Repair ............................................. E-2
Section III Field-Expedient Antennas ....................................... E-5

Appendix F DEMOLITIONS AND OBSTACLES ..................................................... F-1

Section I Demolitions ............................................................... F-1
Section II Mines ......................................................................... F-26
Section III Obstacle Characteristics and Report Formats ...... F-36
Section IV Obstacle Turnover .................................................... F-39
Section V Obstacle Breaching Capabilities ............................. F-39
Section VI Field-Expedient Mines and Demolitions ................ F-43

Appendix G ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ...................................................... G-1

Section I Environmental Risk Management Process ............ G-1
Section II Environmental Risk Assessment Worksheet ........ G-3

Appendix H RISK MANAGEMENT .......................................................................... H-1

Section I Risk Management Procedures ............................................. H-1
Section II Implementation Responsibilities ......................................... H-6

Appendix I FRATRICIDE PREVENTION ................................................................. I-1

Section I The Role of Training in Fratricide Prevention ....... I-1
Section II Effects of Fratricide .................................................. I-2
Section III Causes of Fratricide ................................................. I-2
Section IV Fratricide Risk Assessment ..................................... I-4
Section V Fratricide Prevention Measures .............................. I-6
Section VI Stopping a Friendly Fire Incident ............................ I-7

Appendix J DEBRIEFING FORMAT ........................................................................ J-1

GLOSSARY .................................................................................. Glossary-1

BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................... Bibliography-1

INDEX ................................................................................................... Index-1

_______________________________________________________ Reconnaissance Platoon

On the ever-changing landscape of the modern battlefield, the reconnaissance
platoon remains one of the tactical commander’s most valued assets. This is
especially true in the traditional role of the cavalry: as the commander’s “eyes
and ears” on the forward edge of the battle. Today’s reconnaissance platoon
complements its strengths in mobility, speed, and stealth with the latest
technology to provide an accurate, timely picture of developments in the area
of operations.

This field manual describes how the reconnaissance platoon conducts its
primary missions, reconnaissance and security. The manual focuses on the
principles of platoon operations and on the tactics, techniques, and
procedures (TTP) the platoon uses to acquire information and provide
security and protection for other units on the battlefield. It also covers a
variety of supporting tasks and operations the platoon must perform or
coordinate, either as part of its reconnaissance and security missions or as
assigned by the commander.

FM 3-20.98 (FM 17-98) is for leaders of reconnaissance platoons employing

M3-series cavalry fighting vehicles (CFV), high-mobility multipurpose
wheeled vehicles (HMMWV), or Stryker reconnaissance vehicles (RV). This
covers platoons of the armor battalion, the mechanized infantry battalion, the
heavy division, the heavy cavalry regiment, the light cavalry regiment, and
the reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) squadron.
The principles and TTP are also adaptable for scout platoons of the light
division reconnaissance squadron.

The US Army Armor Center is the proponent for this publication. Users and
readers are invited to submit comments and recommended changes. Prepare
comments using DA Form 2028 (Recommended Changes to Publications and
Blank Forms) or in a memorandum using a similar format. Send
recommendations to Commander, US Army Armor Center, ATTN: ATZK-
TDD-C, Fort Knox, KY 40121-5000, or e-mail the DA Form 2028 to Chief,
Cavalry Branch, from the Doctrine Division web site at (After accessing
the web site, select “Organization” from the menu on the left side of the
screen to reach the Cavalry Branch site.)

The procedures described in this manual are intended as a guide only and
are not to be considered inflexible. Each situation in war and military
operations other than war must be resolved by intelligent interpretation and
application of the doctrine described here.

Chapter 1

This manual is a doctrinal
guide for reconnaissance
platoons. This field manual, Role of the Reconnaisssance Platoon ....... 1-1
Types of Reconnaisssance Platoons ......... 1-2
with ARTEP 17-97F-10 MTP Operational Environment ............................ 1-3
and ST 3-20.983, focuses on Scope of Operations ............................. 1-4
principles of reconnaissance Operational Concept ............................. 1-5
platoon operations and the Tactical Organization ................................... 1-6
tactics, techniques, and Reconnaissance Platoon
Organizations .................................... 1-6
procedures (TTP) the platoon Dismounted Organization .................... 1-15
uses to operate in a theater of Task Organization ................................. 1-17
operations and to acquire Responsibilities ........................................... 1-17
information for its higher Platoon Leader ...................................... 1-17
commander. The term “recon- Platoon Sergeant .................................. 1-18
Section and Squad Leaders ................. 1-18
naissance platoon” refers to HUMINT Collectors ............................... 1-19
all forms of the scout platoon, Missions, Capabilities and Limitations,
whether it is part of an armor and Vehicle Characteristics .......... 1-19
or infantry battalion, a Missions ................................................ 1-19
cavalry squadron, a brigade Capabilities and Limitations ................ 1-20
Vehicle Characteristics ........................ 1-21
reconnaissance troop (BRT), Battle Command .......................................... 1-23
or a cavalry squadron (recon- Command and Control
naissance, surveillance, and in the Platoon .................................... 1-24
target acquisition [RSTA]). Command Relationships ...................... 1-24
References to the “recce FBCB2 in the Battle Command
Structure ............................................ 1-25
platoon” in this manual apply Intelligence Preparation of the
specifically to reconnaissance Battlefield ....................................... 1-29
platoons that are organic to What IPB Accomplishes ....................... 1-29
the cavalry squadron (RSTA) . The IPB Process ................................... 1-30
Refer to Section II of this Friendly COA Development
and War-gaming ................................ 1-31
chapter for a discussion of the Reconnaissance and
various types of reconnais- Surveillance Plan ............................... 1-33
sance platoons. Platoon IPB Execution .......................... 1-34
Situational Awareness ................................. 1-35
Battlefield Visualization ....................... 1-35
Battlespace ............................................ 1-36
Fratricide ............................................... 1-39
Navigation ................................................. 1-40
Maps and Overlays ............................... 1-40
Land Navigation .................................... 1-40


5-1. In simplest terms, the reconnaissance platoon serves as the

commander’s eyes and ears on the battlefield. The platoon is organized,
equipped, and trained to gather battlefield information, its primary

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

function. It employs the TTP of reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S),

as well as proper techniques of movement (both mounted and
dismounted) and stealth. Scouts provide current battlefield data to help
the commander plan and conduct tactical operations in stability
operations, support operations, smaller-scale contingencies (SSC), and
major theater of war (MTW) environments. The recce platoon is
specifically tailored to conduct the multidimensional aspect of
reconnaissance in complex terrain (refer to the discussion on the
multidimensional aspect of reconnaissance in Chapter 3 of this manual).
5-2. Reconnaissance platoons also conduct limited security missions,
but they are not organized and equipped to fight for extended periods or
to act as armor killers. Although they can employ a variety of antitank
(AT) weapons (TOWs, AT-4s, or Javelins), if so equipped, they normally
use these assets for defensive purposes (self-protection and breaking
contact), not for offensive reasons.


5-3. There are two types of reconnaissance organizations. One type

relies solely on passive surveillance, human interaction (HUMINT), and
technical means to perform reconnaissance. The other type uses these
techniques and assets, but has the additional capability of fighting for
5-4. In the first category, which focuses purely on information
gathering, are reconnaissance organizations such as task force scouts
found in armor or mechanized infantry battalions, BRTs, and light
cavalry units and recce units in the cavalry squadron (RSTA) of the
Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT). Because these organizations
conduct reconnaissance dismounted, or from lightly armored vehicles,
they are not capable of surviving protracted engagement with threat
forces. For this reason, they rely on stealth and the integration of other
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets for
survivability and success. These types of organizations avoid direct fire
contact and engage threat forces with direct fire weapons only in self-
defense. They lack the capability to fight for information.
5-5. Reconnaissance organizations such as armored cavalry regiments
(ACR) and division cavalry squadrons not only use the common
techniques and assets (HUMINT, passive surveillance, and technical
means) but also are capable of employing combat power to fight for
information. Because these units are usually the forward-most elements
in MTW environments, they must have the capability to survive meeting
engagements and to destroy or impede threat forces as necessary to
sustain operations in high-threat areas. These unique, combined arms
organizations employ tanks, attack helicopters and, usually, Bradley
cavalry fighting vehicles (CFV) to enhance survivability and to sustain
the aggressive tempo required for operations in this environment. The
capabilities of the integrated weapons platforms, working together, allow
these organizations to fight for information using a higher level of
engagement criteria and tempo than those reconnaissance organizations

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

not organized in this manner. These units are capable of fighting through
threat reconnaissance (destroying the threat’s “eyes and ears”) to gain
combat information needed by higher unit commanders. In shaping
operations, the ability to fight for information is important in determining
the intent of a threat (for example, whether the threat is willing to
defend, withdraw, or fight when confronted) without committing main
body infantry or armor units.
5-6. These two types of reconnaissance organizations are mutually
supporting. Organizations working forward in an area of operations
provide the initial information that may allow the refinement of focus for
follow-on reconnaissance elements. This information can also enhance
survivability and mission success by enabling the follow-on organization
to maneuver out of contact (using stealthy movement) and then make
initial contact on the most favorable terms.
5-7. Unlike most other combat arms platoons, which maneuver
together in formation, the reconnaissance platoon normally maneuvers as
individual sections or squads (mounted, dismounted, or a combination)
under the direction and control of the platoon leader. A section may
consist of two vehicles plus any combat elements under the platoon’s
operational control (OPCON). Determining which organization best meets
his mission requirements is one of the key decisions the platoon leader
must make during his troop-leading procedures.


5-8. Reconnaissance platoons provide accurate and timely information

over large operating environments. This is especially true for the recce
platoon operating as part of the cavalry squadron (RSTA) within the
SBCT. The current operational environment in which reconnaissance
platoons will operate is characterized by a new threat, armed with
advanced equipment as a result of global arms proliferation and using
unconventional terrorist/guerrilla operating tactics. Employing
asymmetrical tactics are regular and irregular forces, special forces,
terrorists, political factions, supporting government factions,
nongovernment agencies, transnational organizations, organized criminal
groups, and even refugee populations. The geographical area in which
these threats choose to operate is characterized by highly varied terrain,
from complex urban sprawl to regions of weak infrastructure supported
by inferior roads, bridges, and transportation networks.
5-9. These adaptive strategies are designed to counter or mitigate the
strengths of US forces. Being aware of their vulnerabilities to US
precision strikes and control of the air (as seen in US operations in
Afghanistan), adversaries may attempt to avoid massing their forces in
linear offensive and defensive echelons. Instead, they may employ
selective precision strikes, along with rapid tactical and operational
maneuver from areas of sanctuary and other asymmetric actions aimed at
continuous, nondecisive engagements. Today’s reconnaissance platoons
will most likely face a threat that knows more about the US than the US
knows about them.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

5-10. Stability operations and support operations may precede and/or
follow war or occur simultaneously in the same theater. These operations
may be conducted in conjunction with wartime operations to complement
the achievement of strategic objectives, or they may support a
commander’s forward-presence operations or a US ambassador’s nation
plan. It is possible that they may even occur within the United States
itself. The Army conducts stability operations or support operations as
part of a joint team, often in conjunction with other US and foreign
government agencies. (NOTE: Refer to the discussion of stability
operations and support operations in Appendix E of this manual.)
Regardless of the location and context in which these operations are
conducted, they are designed to fulfill a number of important objectives,
including the following:

· Promote regional stability.

· Maintain or achieve democratic end states.
· Retain US influence and access abroad.
· Provide humanitarian assistance.
· Protect US interests, and to assist US civil authorities.


5-11. Historically, SSCs like those in Panama, Haiti, and Kosovo have
occurred in regions with weak infrastructure (especially roads, rail
facilities, and bridges), complex terrain with large urban areas, and
diverse weather patterns. A variety of humanitarian issues complicate
operations in these areas: overpopulation, resource shortages, natural
disasters, and inadequate local, regional, and global response capabilities.
5-12. Threats in these environments usually consist of mid- to low-end
industrial-age forces characterized by limited armor/mechanized
elements, mainly equipped with small numbers of early generation tanks
and some mechanized, but mostly motorized, infantry. There is a
pervasive presence of guerrilla, terrorist, paramilitary, special purpose,
special police, and militia organizations. These forces are equipped with
man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), antitank guided missiles
(ATGM), mortars, mines, explosives, and machine guns. They have
limited fixed- and rotary-wing aviation assets. These forces can be
expected to have robust communications, employing conventional
military devices augmented by commercial equipment such as cell
5-13. Most threats within an SSC environment are not capable of long-
term, sustained, high-tempo combat operations. They are capable of
brigade- and division-level operations of limited duration and with
limited objectives. Examples of these operations include destruction of a
weaker force, seizure of an area or region, or the seizure of an urban
center, often emphasizing the use of decentralized and distributed
operations. On the other hand, these threat forces are capable of
conducting highly effective defensive operations in complex and urban
terrain. They are also adept at conducting long-term, sustained,

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

unconventional terrorist and guerrilla operations. Present and future

trends indicate that friendly forces employed in SSCs can expect to face
the following threat capabilities and conditions:

· Employment of more sophisticated and advanced technology.

· Employment of more capable and secure command, control,
communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I).
· Increased use of urban areas as a sanctuary and operating
base for conventional capabilities.
· Use of sophisticated tactics, with the ambush as a key
operating focus.


5-14. MTW operations have the greatest potential of occurring in
regions containing moderate to well-developed infrastructure (especially
roads, rail, and bridges), complex and urban terrain with large urban
areas, and diverse weather patterns. Humanitarian issues would
probably complicate these operations in much the same fashion as they
would SSCs; examples include overpopulation; resource shortages;
natural disasters; and inadequate local, regional, and global response
5-15. Military threats in MTW operations usually include advanced
industrial-age forces, with some high-technology niches, characterized by
both armor and mechanized forces as well as motorized/light infantry.
These threats are capable of long-term, sustained, high-tempo operations
at brigade and/or division level. They can also conduct sustained,
unconventional combat operations and limited duration/objective attacks.
These forces are mostly equipped with newer generation tanks and
infantry fighting vehicles and have significant numbers of MANPADs,
ATGMs, missiles, rockets, artillery, mortars, and mines. They possess an
integrated air defense system and a robust military and civilian
communications capability. In addition, they have advanced fixed- and
rotary-wing aviation assets as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Most threats capable of initiating an MTW operation also possess
weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

5-16. Reconnaissance assets are the commander’s primary source for
information. The fundamental role of reconnaissance platoons is to
perform reconnaissance and security, as well as surveillance, target
acquisition, and battle damage assessment (BDA). These organizations
enhance the higher commander’s ability to retain freedom of maneuver,
which in turn allows him to concentrate combat power and apply assets
deliberately at the decisive time and place of his choosing. Stealth is the
reconnaissance platoon’s primary means of force protection; in most
cases, organic weapons are used only in self-defense.
5-17. It is important to note that the multidimensional aspect of
reconnaissance (as discussed in detail in Chapter 3 of this manual) is
integrated into all reconnaissance operations. All reconnaissance assets
must go beyond merely investigating terrain characteristics of an area.
They must also be prepared to assess infrastructure, demographics,

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

centers of influence, flash points, and personalities as part of their

traditional missions of zone, area, and route reconnaissance. To
accomplish his primary mission of providing continuous, accurate, and
timely information in complex environments, the commander enhances
his multidimensional reconnaissance capability by “nesting” collection
assets—either air/ground collectors or ISR assets from other units—with
ground reconnaissance platoons.



5-18. There are several types of reconnaissance platoon organizations
in the force, including platoons in light and heavy divisions and those in
separate cavalry troops. The three most prominent types, however, are
the CFV platoon, the HMMWV platoon, and the reconnaissance vehicle
(RV) recce platoon. The platoons are organized by tables of organization
and equipment (TOE) into a headquarters element and scout sections.
When executing missions, the reconnaissance platoon is organized
according to the factors of mission, enemy, terrain (and weather), troops
and support available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-
TC) into an appropriate tactical organization consisting of a variable
number of scout sections or squads.

5-19. The recce platoon consists of one officer and 20 enlisted soldiers
manning four vehicles (see Figure 1-1). The recce platoon is equipped
with the Stryker RV. Refer to Figure 1-22 for an illustration of the
vehicle’s capabilities and specifications.

Figure 1-1. Recce Platoon

Platoon Headquaters

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

5-20. The recce platoon headquarters element provides command and

control (C2) for the platoon. It consists of the platoon leader, the platoon
sergeant (PSG), and their respective vehicle crews. The recce platoon
rarely uses a headquarters element during tactical operations, relying
instead on the leaders of its sections or squads as described in the
following discussion.

Recce Sections and Squads

5-21. The recce section is normally employed as the platoon’s basic
tactical maneuver organization. Each section is made up of a section
leader, squad leaders, and their crews manning two vehicles. The platoon
may also be task organized for maneuver purposes into elements known
as recce squads; the squad is normally a single vehicle and its crew.

Recce Platoon Dismounted Organization

5-22. Dismounted operations are the recce platoon’s primary means for
gathering information. The basic dismounted elements within the recce
platoon are the team, squad, section, and platoon. Each recce vehicle has
a designated dismounted team. (NOTE: Refer to discussions of
dismounted organization later in this chapter and in Chapter 5 for
detailed information on dismounted operations.)

Recce Platoon Vehicle Organization

5-23. Regardless of the mission it is executing or the formation or
movement technique it is using, the recce platoon normally operates in
one of three organizations during mounted operations: as three sections
with one vehicle in each section and the platoon leader’s vehicle providing
C2, as two sections with two vehicles in each section, or as a four-vehicle
5-24. Three-Section Organization. The three-section organization is used
when the anticipated threat is low to medium. The key to this
organization rests in the use of dismounted elements and in ensuring that
adjacent vehicles mutually support each other. If mutual support is not
possible because of terrain or other mission constraints, vehicles must
have the ability to maneuver and support adjacent elements. This
organization allows the platoon leader to provide C2 for the platoon; he
can also provide additional support for any of the other three vehicles in
the platoon. On the other hand, this organization does not provide the
recce platoon with section overwatch capability, leaving elements
vulnerable to threat contact. (See Figure 1-2.)

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 1-2. Recce Platoon Three-Section

Vehicle Organization

5-25. Two-Section Organization. The two-section organization is used

when increased security is required, when the area of operations can be
covered efficiently with only two elements, or when the threat situation is
unknown. This type of organization limits the amount of terrain the
platoon can cover and decreases the speed with which the platoon can
perform its tasks. On the other hand, it increases internal section security
by providing mutually supporting fires. It also gives the platoon leader
and PSG greater flexibility in performing C2 and combat service support
(CSS) requirements. (See Figure 1-3.)

Figure 1-3. Recce Platoon Two-Section

Vehicle Organization

5-26. Four-Vehicle Organization. The four-vehicle organization is the

most difficult to control (refer to Figure 1-4 for an illustration). The
platoon leader employs this organization when he must have four
separate information sources at the same time or when the platoon is
executing certain surveillance missions. This organization should be used
when the threat situation is known and/or the threat is low or
nonexistent. This formation may also be implemented during short-
duration security missions, allowing for depth in the platoon’s sector.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-4. Recce Platoon Four-Vehicle Organization

5-27. The CFV platoon, also known as the cavalry scout platoon, is
equipped with six M3 CFVs (as shown in Figure 1-5). The platoon is
found in the cavalry squadrons of an armored or mechanized division or
in an armored cavalry regiment (ACR); it may also be found in certain
mechanized battalions. Regardless of the mission it is executing or the
formation or movement technique it is using, the CFV platoon normally
operates in one of three organizations: as three sections with two vehicles
in each section, as two sections with three vehicles in each section, or as a
six-vehicle platoon.

Figure 1-5. CFV Scout Platoon

Three-Section Organization
5-28. This is the basic organization for the CFV scout platoon (see
Figure 1-6). This organization allows the platoon to achieve a good
compromise between the requirement of employing a maximum number
of elements during the reconnaissance or security mission and the need
for security. It is the ideal organization for the conduct of a route
reconnaissance mission. In a screen mission, this organization allows
employment of three long-duration OPs, which are occupied for 12 or
more hours; it also facilitates the simultaneous conduct of dismounted

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 1-6. CFV Scout Platoon Three-Section Organization

Two-Section Organization
5-29. The two-section organization is used when increased security is
required, when the area of operations can be covered efficiently with only
two elements, or when operational strength (less than six vehicles
operational) makes the three-section organization impossible. Refer to the
illustration in Figure 1-7.

Figure 1-7. CFV Scout Platoon Two-Section Organization

Six-Vehicle Organization
5-30. The six-vehicle organization is the most difficult to control (see
Figure 1-8). The platoon leader employs this organization when he must
have six separate information sources at the same time.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-8. CFV Scout Platoon Six-Vehicle Organization


5-31. With 6 or 10 vehicles (see Figures 1-9 and 1-10), the HMMWV
reconnaissance platoon has a wide variety of organizational options,
including the basic options covered in the following discussion. The
platoon leader may develop other combinations to meet unique METT-TC
requirements and to accommodate attachments. No matter how he
organizes his platoon, however, the HMMWV platoon leader has only a
limited number of soldiers to conduct dismounted operations.

Figure 1-9. Ten-HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 1-10. Six-HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Two-Section Organization
5-32. This is an effective organization when only two maneuver
corridors have to be observed or when two distinct reconnaissance
missions are required. This organization maximizes security at the
section level and gives the sections sufficient maneuver and C2 capability
to conduct limited separate missions. This organization allows the platoon
to put out two long-duration observation posts (OP); it is the best
organization for dismounted operations. (See Figures 1-11 and 1-12.)

Figure 1-11. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Two-Section Organization (10-HMMWV Platoon)

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-12. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Two-Section Organization (Six-HMMWV Platoon)

Three-Section Organization
5-33. This organization is ideal for reconnaissance along a single route.
It allows employment of three long-duration OPs in a 10-HMMWV
platoon and three short-duration OPs in a six-HMMWV platoon. The
ability to concurrently conduct dismounted patrols is very limited for six-
HMMWV platoons. (Refer to Figures 1-13 and 1-14.) (NOTE: A
consolidated headquarters section, with the platoon leader and PSG as
shown in Figure 1-14, increases C2 capability and is an optional

Figure 1-13. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Three-Section Organization (10-HMMWV Platoon)

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 1-14. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Three-Section Organization (Six-HMMWV Platoon)

Five-Section Organization
5-34. This organization is used only by 10-HMMWV platoons in
reconnoitering large areas or multiple avenues of approach. Five short-
duration OPs can be established, allowing OPs to be structured in depth.
In this organization, sections have dismounted capability to conduct local
security only. (See Figure 1-15.)

Figure 1-15. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Four-Section Organization (10-HMMWV Platoon)

Six-Vehicle Organization
5-35. The six-vehicle organization is used only by six-HMMWV platoons
and is the most difficult to control (refer to Figure 1-16). The platoon
leader employs this organization when he must have six separate
information sources at the same time.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-16. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

Six-Vehicle Organization (Six-HMMWV Platoon)

Ten-Vehicle Organization
5-36. The 10-vehicle organization is used only by the 10-HMMWV
platoon. It gives the platoon an enhanced ability to conduct screening
missions in depth, although only for short durations. It also provides the
platoon with the ability to conduct numerous reconnaissance tasks
simultaneously. (See Figure 1-17.)
5-37. At the same time, however, the 10-vehicle organization is rarely
employed because it creates very difficult C2 challenges. It severely limits
the platoon’s overwatch capability; if the platoon is not echeloned in its
sector with an overwatch plan for follow-on squads, platoon elements are
left extremely vulnerable to threat contact. In addition, this organization
affords the platoon no ability to organize patrols of any type.

Figure 1-17. HMMWV Reconnaissance Platoon

10-Vehicle Organization (10-HMMWV Platoon)

5-38. Every dismounted team consists of a reconnaissance element
and a security element. The purpose of the reconnaissance element is to
obtain data on information requirements. The security element’s primary
responsibility is to protect the reconnaissance element. The security
element may also serve as a reconnaissance element or have alternate
responsibilities. Whichever role the security element plays, its primary
objective is protecting the dismounted element. A two-man team is the
smallest dismounted element within the platoon (see Figure 1-18).

Figure 1-18. Dismounted Two-Man

Reconnaissance Organization

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________


5-39. The three-man dismounted squad is the basic dismounted
element within a recce squad (single RV) and a three-vehicle HMMWV
section. It can perform reconnaissance tasks, security tasks, OP and
surveillance tasks, liaison, or a combination of these tasks. It is headed by
a 19D scout of grade E5 or higher. In this organization (as well as the
other dismounted organizations), the vehicle may provide security for the
entire element. (See Figure 1-19.)

Figure 1-19. Dismounted Three-Man Squad


5-40. The four-man organization is the basic dismounted section
configuration for the platoon leader’s RV in a recce platoon or a two-
vehicle CFV section. The four-man squad can perform reconnaissance
tasks, security tasks, OP/surveillance tasks, liaison, or a combination of
these tasks. It is headed by a 19D scout of grade E6 or higher. (Refer to
Figure 1-20.)

Figure1-20. Dismounted Four-Man

Reconnaissance Organization


5-41. The dismounted section combines the strength of two dismounted
squads. It can also perform reconnaissance tasks, security tasks,
OP/surveillance tasks, liaison, or a combination of these tasks. The

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

platoon leader, PSG, or an E6 section sergeant heads this section. The

recce platoon’s dismounted section is large enough to have a reaction
team as part of its security element.


5-42. The dismounted platoon can perform reconnaissance tasks,
security tasks, OP/surveillance tasks, liaison, or a combination of these
tasks. The platoon leader/PSG heads the dismounted platoon element,
which always includes an element designated for security (reaction force)
and control. The dismounted platoon organization may be used if the
threat is high (security of the element requires mutual support) or
vehicular movement is impossible. Infiltration, for example, may require
the platoon to conduct dismounted tactical movement. The platoon’s
vehicles may provide security for the entire element; this organization
normally leaves two scouts mounted on each vehicle.

NOTE: For a detailed discussion of dismounted operations, refer to Chapter 5 of this manual.

5-43. METT-TC circumstances will often require the reconnaissance
platoon leader to employ variations of the basic platoon organizations
discussed previously. In addition, attachments such as tanks, mobile gun
systems (MGS), infantry, or engineers may change the composition and
number of reconnaissance squads or sections. Later chapters provide
further information regarding mission task organization.


5-44. The reconnaissance platoon leader and the platoon’s

noncommissioned officers (NCO) must be experts in the use of organic
weapons, indirect fires, land navigation, supporting fires, demolitions,
obstacles, communications, reconnaissance, HUMINT collection, liaison,
and security techniques. They must be familiar with infantry, mortar,
and combined arms tactics and be able to react to rapidly changing
situations; they must also know how to employ combat support (CS)
assets that are supporting or are attached to the platoon. Because of the
many missions the platoon must be capable of performing, the platoon
leader and PSG must be proficient in tasks at all skill levels of MOS 19D
and familiar with the capabilities, limitations, and deployment of ISR
assets, such as ground sensors and UAV sections.

5-45. The platoon leader is responsible to his higher commander for the
discipline, combat readiness, and training of the platoon as well as the
maintenance of its equipment. The platoon leader must have a thorough
knowledge of reconnaissance and security tactics. He works closely with
his higher commander during the mission analysis portion of the
planning process.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

5-46. The platoon leader must be proficient in the tactical employment

of the platoon. A solid understanding of troop-leading procedures and the
ability to apply them quickly and efficiently in the field are essential. The
platoon leader must also know the capabilities and limitations of the
platoon’s personnel and equipment. He must be an expert in threat
organizations, doctrine, and equipment.
5-47. Most of all, the platoon leader must be versatile. He must be able
to exercise sound judgment and make correct decisions quickly based on
his commander’s intent and the tactical situation. He must ensure that
he, and every member of the platoon, understands and can successfully
accomplish the following leadership competencies:

· Troop-leading procedures.
· Deployment.
· Tactical movement.
· OP establishment and operation.
· Patrolling and local security.
· Establishment and maintenance of effective communications.
· Employment of fires.
· Actions on contact.
· The multidimensional aspect of R&S.
· Reporting procedures.

NOTE: Refer to Chapter 2 of this manual for additional information on the leadership

5-48. The PSG leads elements of the platoon as directed by the platoon
leader and assumes command of the platoon in the absence of the platoon
leader. During tactical operations, he may assist in the control of the
platoon, requiring him to be proficient in each of the platoon’s leadership
competencies (refer to Chapter 2 for additional discussion of these
competencies). The PSG assists the platoon leader in maintaining
discipline, as well as in coordinating training and controlling the platoon.
He supervises equipment maintenance, supply operations, and other CSS


5-49. Section and squad leaders must be experts in mounted
operations, dismounted patrolling, and employment of HUMINT assets
(whether or not these are organic to the platoon). These leaders also must
be experts in conducting surveillance and establishing OPs. Section
leaders are responsible to the platoon leader for the training and
discipline of their sections. They are also responsible for the tactical
employment and control of the section, requiring proficiency in the
platoon’s leadership competencies (refer to the discussion in Chapter 2 of
this manual). Section leaders are responsible for the maintenance and
operation of all vehicles and equipment organic to their sections. Squad

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

leaders have the same responsibilities for their squads as section leaders
have for sections.

5-50. HUMINT collectors within the recce platoon are tasked with
collecting information for intelligence use from people or related
documents. Their responsibilities are covered in detail in Chapter 3 of
this manual (in the discussion of the multidimensional aspect of
reconnaissance) as well as in Chapter 7 (urban operations). The HUMINT
collectors must be proficient in the following related procedures and

· Tactical questioning. This is an abbreviated form of

interrogation or debriefing used to collect information related
to the commander’s priority information requirements (PIR)
from human sources.
· Interrogation and debriefing. These involve the
systematic questioning of individuals to procure information
to answer specific collection requirements. Sources, such as
enemy prisoners of war (EPW) and civilian detainees who are
in the custody of US forces, are interrogated. All others are
debriefed, to include friendly forces, civilian refugees, and
local inhabitants. (NOTE: The role of interrogation in the
reconnaissance platoon is limited to the initial questioning
and evaluation of detainees. Debriefing is limited to gathering
information from internal patrols.)
· Source operations. These intelligence collection operations
use recruited and registered HUMINT sources. The
registration of sources is a legal requirement in any sustained
use of a specific individual as a source. (NOTE: The role of
recce platoon HUMINT collectors in source operations is
normally limited to identifying potential intelligence sources
for exploitation by HUMINT assets at higher levels.)

5-51. In reconnaissance platoons that do not have organic HUMINT

collectors, scouts should have an understanding of these functions of
information-gathering. A supportive civilian populous will likely pass
valuable information to the first soldiers with whom they come into
contact. In addition, all scouts should have an understanding of the roles
and duties of HUMINT collectors because these assets may be attached
once the platoon is deployed, even if they are not organic to the platoon.



5-52. The reconnaissance platoon’s primary missions are
reconnaissance, surveillance, and security in support of its parent
unit. As part of R&S tasks, the platoon will conduct target acquisition,

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

which will require it to detect, identify, and locate key targets for lethal
and nonlethal fire. The platoon is also trained and equipped to conduct
tactical BDA. It can perform these missions mounted or dismounted, day
or night, in various terrain conditions, and under all weather and
visibility conditions. In addition to the primary missions, the
reconnaissance platoon can perform the following tactical and support

· Liaison.
· Quartering party duties.
· Traffic control.
· Chemical detection and radiological survey and monitoring
operations as part of a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC)
· Limited obstacle construction and reduction.


5-53. The reconnaissance platoon is a reconnaissance force that
conducts operations as part of a larger combined arms force. Scouts in
general have capabilities and limitations that must be considered when
they are employed. Each type of reconnaissance platoon has
characteristics specific to its TOE. Characteristics of reconnaissance
platoons include the following:

· Employment considerations. Distance and mission

duration are critical considerations affecting employment of
the reconnaissance platoon away from the main body of its
parent unit. Fire support, CSS, and communications
requirements are also important factors when the platoon is
tasked to conduct sustained operations beyond the immediate
supporting range of the main body.
· Support. The reconnaissance platoon is dependent on its
parent unit for CS and CSS.
· Route reconnaissance. During route reconnaissance, the
platoon can reconnoiter only one route unless it is properly
augmented or is operating in a permissive environment.
· Zone reconnaissance. The following considerations apply
when the reconnaissance platoon is tasked to conduct zone
n Depending on METT-TC, the recce platoon can
reconnoiter a zone up to 2 to 3 kilometers wide. METT-TC
factors may increase or decrease the size of the zone.
n Depending on METT-TC, HMMWV and CFV platoons can
reconnoiter a zone up to 3 to 5 kilometers wide. METT-TC
may increase or decrease the size of the zone.
· Screening. During screening operations, recce and HMMWV
reconnaissance platoons are extremely limited in their ability
to destroy or repel threat reconnaissance units.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

· OPs. The following considerations apply when the

reconnaissance platoon employs OPs during its operations:
n A recce platoon can man up to four OPs for short
durations (less than 12 hours) or two OPs for long
durations (over 12 hours).
n The CFV scout platoon can man up to six OPs for short
durations or three OPs for long durations.
n The 10-HMMWV reconnaissance platoon can man up to
10 short-duration OPs or up to three OPs for long
n The six-HMMWV reconnaissance platoon can man up to
six short-duration OPs or up to two OPs for long
· Patrolling. When properly organized, scouts can conduct
effective reconnaissance and security patrols. The CFV scout
platoon has 12 dedicated dismounted scouts, while the recce
platoon has 13 dismounts, including HUMINT collectors
(MOS 97B) organic to the platoon. The HMMWV scout
platoon has very limited dismounted capability; it must be
carefully task organized to conduct dismounted operations.
· Communications. While operating on the platoon net, the
reconnaissance platoon leader can monitor only two nets at
one time. This means he cannot operate continuously on all
necessary squadron or battalion nets, including the
squadron/battalion command, operations and intelligence
(OI), administrative/logistics (A/L), and mortar nets. Refer to
the discussion of platoon radio nets in Chapter 2 of this
· Obstacles. The reconnaissance platoon has the following
capabilities related to the employment and reduction of
obstacles during its operations.
n The reconnaissance platoon has limited obstacle
construction ability and carries only a basic load of
n The reconnaissance platoon has very limited obstacle
reduction capability; under most conditions, it can breach
only point obstacles.

5-54. In many respects, the scout’s capability is dependent on his
equipment. The three types of reconnaissance platforms—the RV, the M3
CFV, and the M1025/1026 HMMWV—have distinctly different
characteristics. When employed with the appropriate TTP, all three
vehicles are highly effective reconnaissance and security platforms.
5-55. Every scout must understand his mount thoroughly so he can
maximize its capabilities and minimize its limitations. See Figures 1-21,
1-22, and 1-23 for illustrations of the three scout vehicles and summaries
of their capabilities and specifications.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

To be published upon selection of vehicle.

Figure 1-21. RV Characteristics

Figure 1-22. M3 CFV Characteristics

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-23. HMMWV Characteristics


5-56. Battle command is the process that leaders use to assimilate

information from many sources, to visualize the battlefield and assess the
situation, and then to direct military action as required to achieve victory.
Thinking and acting are simultaneous activities for leaders in battle.
5-57. The actions inherent in the C2 of combat elements on the modern
battlefield are the biggest challenges faced by combat leaders. Command
involves directing elements; control entails the steps taken to ensure that
the directions are carried out. The greatest tactician in the world would
be ineffective if he did not properly use the methods available to direct
and control his combat elements. C2 must be kept extremely simple to be

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

5-58. Battle command is an important consideration for all types of

reconnaissance platoons in providing their higher commands with critical
battlefield information. The accuracy and timeliness of this information
will often have a direct impact on the success or failure of the troop,
squadron/battalion, and higher commands.


5-59. The reconnaissance platoon leader leads his platoon and is
assisted by the PSG. He uses a variety of techniques to plan operations,
issue orders, employ the platoon, and communicate. At platoon level,
effective use of C2 is a function of several critical factors:

· The commander’s intent.

· Leadership.
· Training.
· Sound and thoroughly understood standing operating
procedures (SOP).
· The tactically sound employment of control measures and
communications equipment and techniques.

5-60. As noted, the reconnaissance platoon’s primary functions are to

gather information (reconnaissance), conduct surveillance, and perform
limited security missions. Except when they are operating as a part of a
larger force, the HMMWV and recce platoons are not organized and
equipped to undertake operations that entail a significant offensive
component, such as counterreconnaissance, armed reconnaissance,
reconnaissance by fire, or reconnaissance in force. The unique
information-gathering capabilities of these platoons should be preserved
by limiting direct contact with the threat force to that necessary for self-

5-61. As part of a recce, reconnaissance, or cavalry troop, the
reconnaissance platoon is subject to command relationships similar to
those of other platoons in a company-size organization. In an armor or
infantry battalion, the reconnaissance platoon performs several critical
tasks in support of the battalion commander’s concept of the operation.
The reconnaissance platoon responds to its platoon leader, who receives
guidance from the troop or battalion commander, depending on their
command relationship.
5-62. As the commander’s eyes and ears, the reconnaissance platoon
leader must stay in contact with either the troop/battalion commander or
the troop command post (CP) or battalion tactical operations center
(TOC). This is necessary if the platoon leader is to keep the platoon
informed of the next higher commander’s current situation as well as the
current threat situation. He must also ensure that information gained by
the platoon is transmitted higher.
5-63. The commander must ensure that his initial operation order
(OPORD) and any following fragmentary orders (FRAGO) focus the
reconnaissance platoon on its mission by telling the platoon leader what
is expected of the reconnaissance or security effort in each phase of the

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

operation. The intent includes the commander’s criteria for recovering the
reconnaissance platoon as tactical operations progress. He must make it
clear whether he intends for the platoon to conduct stay-behind
operations if the threat main body has passed its locations or to pass
through friendly lines before the arrival of the threat main body.
5-64. The commander also specifies PIR for which the reconnaissance
platoon is responsible. PIR cover the information for which the
commander has an anticipated and stated priority in his planning and
decision-making. Often stated in question form, these tactical and
operational considerations are the foundation for development of R&S
plans and for execution of operations involved in the overall ISR effort.
5-65. In recce/reconnaissance/cavalry troop operations, the troop XO is
a battlefield manager for the troop commander. He operates from a
vehicle CP; this vehicle gives him the communications capability and
facilities to receive, collate, and pass to higher headquarters the routine
reconnaissance information processed by the troop’s reconnaissance
platoons. In this system, most of the routine reports are sent to the troop
XO rather than to the troop commander. The troop commander’s role is to
monitor the routine actions, receive high-priority information to transmit
on command nets, and control the troop once contact is gained. In armor
or infantry battalions, reconnaissance platoons generally report to their
TOCs, although they may report high-priority information directly to the
battalion commander or S3.


5-66. Employment of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and
Below (FBCB2) system significantly enhances the reconnaissance
platoon’s battle command capability. FBCB2 is a network of computers,
global positioning system (GPS) equipment, and communication systems
that work together to provide combat leaders with real-time information
of unprecedented quantity and quality. FBCB2 affords the
reconnaissance platoon with a variety of capabilities, including the

· Maintain friendly situational awareness (BLUE SA).

· Track actual and templated threat positions and obstacles
· Submit preformatted standardized reports. These include
SALT reports (covering size, activity, location, and time of
enemy/threat forces), situation reports (SITREP), medical
evacuation (MEDEVAC) reports/requests, NBC reports, and
call for fire (CFF) reports.
· Rapidly disseminate graphic overlays and written FRAGOs.

5-67. Each of the vehicles in the reconnaissance platoon is equipped
with the three basic components of the FBCB2 system. First, the GPS
provides precise location and date/time information that is the basis for
reporting real-time friendly locations and for generating laser-designated
map spots for reporting purposes. Second, the single channel
ground/airborne radio system (SINCGARS) provides a secure means of

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

transmitting both voice and digital traffic between vehicles in the platoon.
In addition to the SINCGARS, platoon vehicles are also equipped with
the enhanced position location and reporting system (EPLRS). The
EPLRS provides a secure digital connection and serves as a router,
efficiently sending message traffic internally within the platoon and also
out to the higher command and fire support nets. This routing capability
ensures that information is passed even if the chain of command is
disrupted by physical separation on the battlefield, casualties, or
mechanical failures. Finally, the FBCB2 terminal includes a monitor,
keyboard, mouse, and a variety of computing functions; these features
provide the crew with direct access to the system. Together, these FBCB2
components form the lower tactical internet (TI). Figure 1-24 illustrates
FBCB2 architecture in a recce platoon.
5-68. The upper TI consists of a variety of tactical computer systems
and communications equipment located primarily at the
squadron/battalion level and higher. The most important of these are the
maneuver control system (MCS), the all source analysis system (ASAS),
the advanced field artillery tactical data system (AFATDS), and the
combat service support control system (CSSCS). These systems draw
upon the reports and positional data passed on the lower TI to provide
situational awareness at higher command levels. In turn, these systems
can push information such as location of adjacent units, known and
templated threat positions, graphics, and OPORDs down to FBCB2 users.

Figure 1-24. FBCB2 Architecture

for a Recce Platoon

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

5-69. This discussion focuses on several areas in which FBCB2
enhances the reconnaissance platoon’s battle command capabilities.

Friendly Situational Awareness

5-70. To enhance friendly situational awareness (also referred to as
BLUE SA), the FBCB2 screen displays an icon for each individual vehicle
in the platoon. This provides the vehicle commander with a clear picture
of where he is located in relation to the platoon and the platoon leader
with a picture of where he is operating in relation to the rest of the higher
unit. While the system functions automatically for vehicles equipped to
operate on the TI, it does not provide locations for every friendly element
on the battlefield. For example, the system does not automatically track
dismounted scout teams operating at extended distances from their
vehicles. In addition, it does not cover infantry squads from the brigade,
nondigitally equipped units, or allied troops that may be operating in or
adjacent to the platoon’s battlespace. Icons representing these elements
may be imported into FBCB2 based on FM radio reports, but these are
not updated in real time. As a result, FBCB2 cannot be the sole
instrument used for clearing fires; it does not substitute for the leader’s or
commander’s judgment in preventing fratricide.

Threat Situational Awareness

5-71. FBCB2 creates threat situational awareness (RED SA) from both
top-down and bottom-up feeds. The higher unit S2 inputs threat icons
into the system based on spot reports (SPOTREP) generated by assets
outside the unit; these include the joint surveillance target attack radar
system (JSTARS) and sensor assets organic to recce troops, such as
tactical UAV (TUAV) flights, radio intercepts, and ground surveillance
radar (GSR). Based on his IPB, the S2 augments these actual locations
with templated positions in the form of a situation template (SITEMP).
5-72. As the reconnaissance platoon conducts operations, it adds to the
RED SA by sending SPOTREPs of threat activity and obstacles via the
FBCB2. When a vehicle commander sends a SPOTREP, he automatically
creates an icon representing the threat on FBCB2 systems in his platoon.
The platoon leader or PSG evaluates the validity of the report and
forwards it to the TOC. At the troop level, the report is evaluated to make
sure it is accurate and is subsequently forwarded to the other platoons in
the troop and higher to the squadron. (NOTE: This process is the same
for the reconnaissance platoon in a battalion.)
5-73. To keep the RED SA current, units must update SPOTREPs
concerning threat locations that are represented by icons on the FBCB2.
Updates must be sent whenever the threat situation changes, such as
when a threat element moves or is destroyed. Icons will “fade” and
eventually disappear from the FBCB2 screen as their information ages.
The unit SOP governs the rate at which icons fade.
5-74. Member of the reconnaissance platoon must remember that the
RED SA provided by FBCB2 is only as good as the reports that the
system receives. It will never give a 100-percent complete or accurate
threat picture. The platoon leader and his vehicle commanders must
ensure that vehicle scanning plans and the platoon R&S plan are
adequate to detect threat forces not yet reported by digital means.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Standardized Reporting
5-75. FBCB2 streamlines the reporting process by providing the
reconnaissance platoon with the capability to send and receive
standardized reports. These include SALT reports, MEDEVAC requests,
NBC-1 reports, calls for fire, check fire reports, and SITREPs. (NOTE:
For more information on FBCB2 reporting capabilities, refer to Chapter 2
of this manual.) Figure 1-25 shows the FBCB2 screen for a SALT report.
Standardized reports afford several tactical advantages:

· They help to ensure that all required information is included

in a particular report or request.
· They reduce the chance of errors in transmission.
· They allow for the storage of messages for retrieval and

NOTE: There is still a requirement for FM voice message traffic. For example, leaders must
still transmit contact reports to initiate battle drills and cue leaders to check their
FBCB2 screens for updated information. Additionally, vehicle commanders may need
to send oral descriptions of threat locations, routes, or obstacles to help clarify the
situation. This is especially true in close or urban terrain where the FBCB2 cannot
display the terrain in sufficient detail to assist leaders in making effective decisions.

Figure 1-25. FBCB2 Display for Standardized Reports

Combat Orders and Graphics

5-76. FBCB2 greatly enhances the speed and precision of the orders
process. The system allows leaders to add or modify operational graphics
during the planning process or execution. This ensures that every
element has the most current information to control movement and fires.
In addition, commanders can use free text messages to transmit
OPORDs, FRAGOs, and battle update briefings over extended distances
without the loss of time and information inherent in FM voice
communications. Like standardized reports, graphics and orders can be
stored for retrieval and reference.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction


5-77. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is a systematic,

continuous process of analyzing the effects of the threat and the
environment on the unit. It is a dynamic staff process, driven by the
commander, that continually integrates new information into the unit’s
operational framework. Reconnaissance platoon leaders should have a
clear understanding of the IPB process, which in turn drives ISR focus
and synchronization. For a detailed discussion of IPB concepts and
procedures, refer to FM 2-01.3 (FM 34-130).


5-78. IPB identifies facts and clarifies assumptions about the threat
and the battlefield environment. The commander and his staff use the
IPB process to analyze the threat, weather, and terrain to determine and
evaluate the threat’s capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of
action (COA). The resulting information serves the following purposes:

· It facilitates staff planning and development of potential

friendly COAs for the operation.
· It provides the basis for directing and synchronizing the ISR
effort that supports the commander’s chosen COA.
· It contributes to thorough staff synchronization and
successful completion of several staff processes.
· In turn, it helps the commander to selectively apply and
maximize his combat power at critical points in time and
space on the battlefield.

The most critical mission of the reconnaissance platoon is to gather information on
threat forces that the S2 then uses to assess threat disposition and intentions. IPB
is a disciplined staff procedure that provides the reconnaissance platoon leader
with formal ISR guidance in the form of reconnaissance objectives and PIR, as
contained in the R&S plan. The platoon leader then applies this information in
accomplishing the platoon’s assigned reconnaissance tasks.

5-79. Figure 1-26 illustrates the various phases and components of the
information-gathering process, including IPB.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 1-26. The Information-Gathering Process


5-80. The first step of the IPB process focuses the staff on the
requirements of the initial ISR effort. During this step, the staff takes the
following actions:

· Identify battlefield characteristics, such as terrain and

weather, that will influence friendly and threat operations
and that require evaluation through the IPB process.
· Establish the area of interest (AI) to focus the IPB analysis
and the ISR effort.
· Identify gaps in current intelligence holdings that become the
initial information requirements.


5-81. This step identifies general limitations that the environment
imposes on friendly and threat forces, as well as the tactical opportunities
it offers. IPB products developed during this step focus on these effects;
they include, but are not limited to, the following:

· Population status overlay.

· Overlays that depict the military aspects and effects of
terrain, including the factors of observation and fields of fire,
cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of
approach (OCOKA).

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

· Weather analysis matrix.

· Integrated staff products such as the modified combined
obstacle overlay (MCOO).


5-82. Step 3 includes analysis of current intelligence holdings to
determine how the threat normally organizes for and conducts combat
operations. The results are portrayed using threat models that depict how
the threat fights; these are the only products associated with this step.
Although they usually emphasize graphic representation of the threat
situation, such as doctrinal templates with high-value targets (HVT),
threat models sometimes entail use of matrices, simple narrative
descriptions, and depictions of threat obstacle systems.


5-83. This step integrates the results of the first three steps of IPB into
a meaningful summary of likely objectives and COAs available to the
threat. IPB products, which are valid only if the staff establishes a solid
foundation during the first three steps, include the following:

· Models that depict the threat’s available COAs. These are

normally produced in the form of situation developments;
they may include associated matrices and/or text descriptions.
· Event templates and related matrices to focus the ISR effort.


5-84. During threat COA development, the staff concurrently develops
friendly COAs based on the facts and assumptions identified during IPB
and mission analysis. Incorporating the results of IPB into COA
development ensures that each friendly COA takes into account the
opportunities and limitations related to the environment and the threat
5-85. During the war-gaming session, the staff fights the set of threat
COAs, developed in step 4 of the IPB process, against each potential
friendly COA. Targeting conferences often accompany or follow the war-
gaming session to refine selected HVTs from the threat COA models into
high-priority targets (HPT) that support the friendly COAs.
5-86. Based on the results of war-gaming, the staff takes the following
actions to finalize the COA development process:

· Construct a decision support template (DST) and its

associated matrix.
· Identify information requirements for each COA.
· Refine threat COA models and event templates (and their
related matrices), focusing on the intelligence required to
execute the friendly COAs.
· For each threat COA, determine the probability that the
threat will adopt it.
· Identify the most dangerous threat COA.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

5-87. After deciding on a COA and issuing orders, the commander

approves a list of information requirements; he identifies the most
important of these as the final PIR. During execution of the operation,
emerging intelligence will confirm or deny the assumptions and
information identified during the initial IPB.
5-88. The staff continues to evaluate the situation and update the
commander and staff. As necessary, he performs parts of the IPB process
to support new iterations of the decision-making process. Figures 1-27
through 1-29 provide examples of the templates developed during IPB
and the war-gaming of friendly COAs.

Figure 1-27. Example Situational Template

Figure 1-28. Example Event Template

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-29. Example Decision Support Template


5-89. The key purpose of the R&S plan is to organize collection of
information the commander needs to fight and win the battle. Like other
brigade- and battalion-size elements, the SBCT and cavalry squadron
(RSTA) will both produce R&S plans. The brigade plan will task the
squadron or battalion, and these tasks will be incorporated into the
squadron/battalion plan. Figure 1-26 shows how the R&S plan is
developed within the overall information-gathering process.

NOTE: The R&S plan is developed very early in the ISR planning process because it is
important to integrate the reconnaissance platoon with other information-gathering
assets, such as GSR and engineer reconnaissance teams. Because reconnaissance is
a continuous and dynamic process, the reconnaissance platoon is committed as soon
as possible in accordance with the commander’s intent and reconnaissance
objectives. Deployment of the platoon should not be delayed until the R&S plan has
been formulated.


5-90. From the decision support template, the S3, in coordination with
the staff, prepares the detailed squadron/battalion R&S plan, which
graphically depicts where and when reconnaissance elements should look
for threat forces. The S3 should brief the R&S plan. In a squadron, the S3
should brief the plan to the recce troop commander, ensuring that the
troop commander understands all ISR objectives.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

5-91. The staff uses an R&S tasking matrix to coordinate all available
assets for ISR operations. The R&S plan must direct specific tasks and
priorities to all ISR elements, including reconnaissance platoons, GSR,
and patrols.
5-92. R&S tasking, which is handled by the S3, can take the form of a
warning order, OPORD, R&S tasking matrix, or R&S overlay. The S3
translates the R&S plan into operational terms and graphics. For
example, in preparation for reconnaissance operations, the S3 designates
named areas of interest (NAI) in terms of reconnaissance objectives.


Fire Support
5-93. To ensure the unit can provide responsive fire support to the
reconnaissance platoon, the fire support officer (FSO) stays abreast of
what the platoon will be doing throughout the conduct of the mission. The
platoon will receive indirect field artillery (FA) or mortar support and
joint fire support from 3 to 4 kilometers forward of the lead elements. The
reconnaissance platoon leader should coordinate with the FSO to discuss
his mission and the platoon’s unique fire support requirements. The
platoon leader finds out what support is available, where supporting
units are located, and what fire support restrictions exist. He will then
recommend preplanned targets and target priorities to be incorporated by
the FSO into the platoon fire support plan. The platoon leader should
receive an approved target list and/or overlay from the FSO.

5-94. The squadron/battalion signal officer (S6) must conduct additional
coordination with the troop commander and/or platoon leader if the
mission requires communications support. The reconnaissance platoon
leader must request retransmission (retrans) or relay support from the
squadron/battalion signal section if the mission dictates. Scouts should
not perform relay duties as their primary platoon mission.

Other Elements
5-95. The reconnaissance platoon leader also coordinates support with
any attached or assigned elements; examples include engineer
reconnaissance teams, fire support team (FIST), air defense artillery
(ADA) elements, Striker teams, GSR and/or remotely monitored
battlefield sensor system (REMBASS) teams, and aerial reconnaissance
elements (TUAVs). The platoon leader should be aware of how changes to
the organization affect his platoon. Ideally, linkup with support elements
should occur at the TOC in daylight and with sufficient time to conduct
thorough briefings and rehearsals.


5-96. When the platoon leader leaves the TOC area to prepare for his
mission, he should, as a minimum, have the following materials:

· Operational and ISR/R&S graphics.

· The situational template, event template, and notes on the
current threat situation.
· Fire support overlay.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

5-97. Once in the vicinity of their mission objectives, the scouts confirm
or deny the templated information. Additionally, if they find the threat,
the scouts look for possible weaknesses, gaps, and flanks of the threat
force. During screening operations, the commander directs the
reconnaissance platoon leader to report threat activity at designated
NAIs. The reconnaissance platoon leader uses OPs to observe and report
on these areas of command interest. The scouts must rapidly and
accurately report all information related to the commander’s critical
information requirements (CCIR) that they find during either
reconnaissance or screening operations.


5-98. Situational awareness is the ability to maintain a constant, clear

mental picture of the tactical situation. This picture includes an
awareness of both the friendly and threat situations and of relevant
terrain. It also entails the ability to relate battlefield information and
events through space and time to form logical conclusions and make
decisions that anticipate events. Since the platoon normally operates
dispersed as individual sections or squads, it is essential that all
reconnaissance leaders maintain situational awareness so they can make
sound, quick tactical decisions. Critical outcomes of situational awareness
on the part of all scouts are reduction in fratricide incidents and the
ability to stay one step ahead of the threat they are facing.

NOTE: The reconnaissance platoon and its higher element assess all information within
their area of operations. Their primary responsibility is to provide their squadron or
battalion with complete awareness of the situation based on their reported raw data
and assessments of information in their area of operations. In a cavalry squadron
(RSTA), the analysis section at the squadron headquarters gathers all the
information from its recce troops and surveillance troop assets. The
squadron/battalion analyzes this information and provides the SBCT/brigade with
situational understanding of the area of operations.

5-99. The commander will structure the battlefield based on the
conditions of METT-TC and his commander’s intent. How he does this
affects the reconnaissance platoon leader’s mission planning and his
ability to maintain situational awareness. The framework of the
battlefield can vary from a very rigid extreme with obvious front and rear
boundaries and closely tied adjacent units to a dispersed and
decentralized structure with few secure areas and unit boundaries and no
definable front or rear.
5-100. Between these extremes is an unlimited number of possible
variations. Maintaining situational awareness becomes more difficult as
the battlefield becomes less structured. Modern, highly mobile operations
with small forces lend themselves to a less rigid framework that
challenges the scout’s ability to maintain an accurate picture of the

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

5-101. To have a clear picture of the battlefield, the reconnaissance

platoon leader must have virtually perfect knowledge of the friendly
situation one level higher than his own. The platoon leader must have a
relatively complete knowledge of the terrain, and he must know as much
as possible about the threat. It is important that the platoon leader use
this knowledge to update his section and squad leaders periodically
regarding the higher situation.

NOTE: The requirement to maintain a real-time picture of the battlefield one level higher
does not relieve the scout of the requirement to understand the situation and
commander’s intent two levels higher than his own. The difference is that his
understanding of the situation two levels higher does not have to be as specific or in
real time. FBCB2 will assist all vehicles in the platoon in maintaining a real-time
situational awareness.

5-102. Almost all of the information the platoon leader needs comes in
the form of reports over his FM communication system or FBCB2. He
receives many reports based on his platoon’s understanding of shared,
common graphics. Effective graphics require that the subordinate
elements report periodically as they accomplish requirements. The
platoon leader must be aware of when his scouts report so he can
maintain a current visualization of the situation. If an element does not
report in a timely manner, the platoon leader must quickly determine the
situation of the overdue element.

5-103. Although many reports are not addressed specifically to him,

particularly on the higher net, the reconnaissance platoon leader must
monitor them by eavesdropping on the nets as traffic is sent. How
effectively he can accomplish this is, to some degree, experience-
dependent. The platoon leader must learn how to relate the information
he is receiving to his map, which is perhaps his most important tool in
maintaining situational awareness. He should plot all friendly position
reports up to one level higher than his own. Information from SPOTREPs
should also be plotted.

5-104. The platoon leader can employ a variety of techniques in using his
map to track the tactical situation. For example, he should use different
colors for friendly and threat elements to allow quick recognition. To
avoid cluttering the map, he should place a dot or symbol on his map
where the element is located and label the point with a number. The
same number should then be written in the map margin (or beyond the
area of operations) with the complete SPOTREP or unit ID next to it. This
notation should also include the time of the report. As positions or reports
are updated, the platoon leader crosses off the old symbol and adds a new
one with a corresponding notation; it is critical that updates to previous
reports be clearly identified as such during transmission.
5-105. Even though it is relatively simple, this type of map notation
system can help all scouts in the platoon to easily track and monitor the
tactical situation. Maps can be augmented by a formal platoon log, kept
on the platoon leader’s or PSG’s vehicle or on both.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

5-106. As discussed previously, an accurate picture of the battlefield
provides the reconnaissance platoon leader with important tactical
information, including friendly and threat positions and relevant terrain.
In turn, complete understanding of the military significance of this
picture requires knowledge of the concept of battlespace, the key
element in the intellectual process of visualizing the battlefield.
5-107. At the most fundamental level, battlespace is the three-
dimensional “bubble” or area in which the platoon can acquire threat
forces and influence them with effective fires. This space is defined by
numerous battlefield factors: the locations of friendly forces, including
the platoon’s individual sections, squads, OPs, and patrols; the effects of
terrain, weather, and movement; and the ranges of all available platoon
weapons and sensing systems. Each section or squad has its own
battlespace; the platoon battlespace is the sum of individual section/squad
battlespaces (see Figure 1-30). Platoon battlespace is not restricted by
boundaries; it can overlap with the battlespace of adjacent units.

Figure 1-30. Recce Platoon’s Battlespace

5-108. Battlespace has applications in all phases of mission planning and

execution. During the planning process, it is a critical factor in selection
of routes and tentative positions. Once mission execution begins, the
platoon leader’s knowledge of his battlespace is critical when he must
issue timely and effective orders as the situation changes.
5-109. The importance of battlespace demands that the platoon leader
direct most of his battle command effort toward managing, and
enhancing, his space. He must be aware at every moment how
battlespace is changing as friendly and threat forces move and as terrain
and visibility conditions change (as illustrated in Figures 1-31A and 1-
31B). He must evaluate how these changes affect his sections and squads.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 1-31A. Effects of Movement

on Battlespace

Figure 1-31B. Effects of Movement

on Battlespace (Continued)

5-110. As the operation progresses, the platoon leader must take active
measures to shape the platoon’s battlespace to his best advantage. In
many situations, he should attempt to eliminate any gaps, or dead space,
that exist within the “bubble.” The platoon leader can accomplish this in
several ways, such as maneuvering sections or squads, repositioning OPs,
and deploying patrols or remote sensors. He must also ensure that
organic and attached assets are positioned to achieve overlapping
coverage of critical points within the platoon’s battlespace.
5-111. The purpose of overlapping coverage is to prevent the threat from
overcoming the friendly reconnaissance effort by degrading or destroying
a single platform or sensor. It also prevents the threat from gaining an
advantage during periods when environmental or weather conditions,
including limited visibility, degrade the platoon’s observation capability
or sensor performance. Refer to Figures 1-32A and 1-32B for an
illustration of how the platoon leader can optimize his battlespace.

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

Figure 1-32A. Optimizing Battlespace

Figure 1-32B. Optimizing Battlespace (Continued)

5-112. Recent experience has shown that fratricide is a significant
danger to all forces operating on a mobile battlefield where weapon
system lethality is significantly greater than identification friend or foe
(IFF) capability. Fratricide is the result of many factors, including
inadequate direct fire control plans, navigation errors, combat
identification failures, and incorrect or inadequate operational graphics.
For an in-depth discussion of fratricide and its prevention, refer to
Appendix I of this manual.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

In many situations, the primary cause of fratricide is the lack of positive
target identification. To prevent fratricide incidents, commanders and
leaders at all levels must ensure positive target identification before they
issue commands to fire. In addition, all units must accurately report their
locations during combat operations, and all TOCs and CPs must carefully
track the locations of all subordinate elements in relation to those of all
friendly forces.



5-113. The most important role of maps and their accompanying
overlays is in helping the reconnaissance platoon to understand and
visualize the scheme of maneuver. They are the platoon leader’s primary
tools in organizing information concerning the battlefield and in
synchronizing his assets once the battle begins. They also provide vehicle
commanders with a visual reference they can consult as needed. The
platoon leader must ensure that each vehicle commander has an updated
map with the latest graphic control measures posted on the overlay.
5-114. Overlays can be prepared either in traditional fashion or digitally.
The platoon leader may receive one or more types of overlays from the
squadron, covering such areas as maneuver, threat forces, obstacles, fire
support, and CSS. All of the information is important; the key for the
platoon leader is to combine, augment, and declutter the overlays so the
information needed for a specific situation is readily available to the
platoon on one simple, combined overlay.

5-115. To protect the reconnaissance platoon, the platoon leader must
learn to use terrain to his advantage. Land navigation of reconnaissance
vehicles requires him to master the technique of terrain association. This
entails the ability to identify terrain features on the ground by the
contour intervals depicted on the map. The platoon leader analyzes the
terrain using the factors of OCOKA and identifies major terrain features,
contour changes, and man-made structures along his axis of advance. As
the platoon advances, he uses these features to orient the platoon and to
associate ground positions with map locations. (NOTE: Refer to Chapter
2 of this manual for a detailed description of the use of OCOKA factors in
the terrain analysis.)
5-116. The intellectual concept of battlespace is vital to the platoon’s
survival during navigation and movement. The platoon leader must
constantly be aware of key terrain and threat fields of observation and
fire that may create danger areas as the platoon advances. This allows
him to modify movement techniques, formations, and routes and to
maintain cross-talk with overwatch elements to ensure that the platoon is

_______________________________________________________________ Chapter 1 – Introduction

not surprised by the threat. (NOTE: Refer to the discussion of danger

areas in Chapter 2 of this manual.)
5-117. Navigation under limited visibility conditions is especially
challenging. Vehicle thermal sights and night vision goggles provide
assistance, but leaders nonetheless can easily confuse terrain features
and become disoriented. The platoon can employ a variety of techniques
and equipment to assist in navigation. For a detailed discussion of these
methods and assets, refer to ST 3-20.983.

Chapter 2

Leadership Competencies
As a tactical organization, the
reconnaissance platoon must CONTENTS
be proficient in certain tasks Troop-Leading Procedures .......................... 2-1
Operational Considerations ................. 2-2
and skills. While each platoon Military Decision-Making Process ........ 2-3
leader will establish his own Conduct of Troop-Leading
collective task list based on Procedures ......................................... 2-3
his commander’s mission Deployment ................................................... 2-19
essential task list (METL), Critical Tasks ......................................... 2-19
Platoon Guidelines ................................ 2-19
this chapter covers a roster of Tactical Movement ....................................... 2-20
established leadership com- Planning and Operational
petencies in which every Considerations ................................... 2-20
platoon and its leaders Fundamentals of Movement ................. 2-21
must train and maintain Danger Areas ......................................... 2-23
Platoon Formations ............................... 2-27
proficiency. Movement Techniques .......................... 2-30
Actions on Contact ....................................... 2-34
Contact Considerations ........................ 2-35
The Four Steps of
Actions on Contact ............................ 2-37
Examples of Actions on Contact ......... 2-45
Employment of Fires .................................... 2-48
Employment Considerations ................ 2-48
Critical Tasks ......................................... 2-48
Communications .......................................... 2-48
Means of Tactical Communications .... 2-49
Radio Net Organization
and Responsibilities .......................... 2-51
Net Control ............................................. 2-54
Techniques of Effective
Communications ................................ 2-55
Reporting ....................................................... 2-56
Operational Considerations ................. 2-57
Report Guidelines .................................. 2-57
Types of Reports ................................... 2-58
Digital Reporting and C2 Messages .... 2-59


2-1. Many platoons are not prepared to perform their mission

effectively because of inadequate planning. To prevent this from
happening, the reconnaissance platoon must be proficient in troop-
leading procedures. These are the basis of the dynamic process by which
units develop plans and orders at every level of leadership. The troop-
leading process consists of eight steps, which are discussed in this chapter
in the traditional order. The process, however, is not rigid, and the steps
are not necessarily sequential. The tasks involved in some steps (such as
initiate movement, issue the warning order, and conduct reconnaissance)

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

may recur several times during the process. Although listed as the last
step, activities associated with supervising and refining the plan and
other preparations occur throughout the troop-leading process.

2-2. The following points summarize important factors involved in
troop-leading procedures:

· Time management. The platoon leader makes the most

efficient use of the time available for planning, preparation,
and issuing the order. He ensures that his subordinate
leaders then have sufficient time to conduct their own troop-
leading procedures. (Refer to the discussion of reverse
planning and timeline development later in this chapter.)
· IPB. The platoon leader must understand the IPB process.
He develops knowledge of how his platoon’s actions feed the
IPB for higher command elements. Likewise, it is critical for
the platoon leader to understand that IPB in not just a
process performed during the planning phase; rather, he is
prepared to continually update his IPB throughout the
· Understanding the mission. The platoon leader must
understand his mission; he develops this knowledge by
conducting an effective mission analysis to identify all
specified and implied tasks. At a minimum, he understands
the focus of the reconnaissance (terrain-, threat-, or
civilian-oriented, or a combination), the tempo of the
operation, and his engagement criteria. He also develops
the facts and assumptions related to his mission with regard
to the factors of METT-TC.
· Effective orders. The platoon leader must be able to issue
an OPORD or FRAGO (oral, digital, or both as applicable) to
convey the nature of the mission so his subordinates
understand the operations they will be conducting.
· Rehearsals. The platoon leader must be proficient in
conducting rehearsals. At a minimum, he conducts rehearsals
of major events in his mission (actions on expected contact
and actions on the objective), actions on contact/battle drills
(if different), and casualty evacuation.
· Precombat checks and inspections. Before execution
begins, soldiers must be prepared for their mission and have
confidence in their equipment. To accomplish this, the platoon
conducts precombat checks (PCC), as a minimum, and
precombat inspections (PCI) before the mission begins.

NOTE: For additional information on crew orders, rehearsals, PCCs, and PCIs, refer to the
discussion of the “supervise and refine” step of troop-leading procedures later in
this chapter.

2-3. The key to success is that the platoon is prepared to move by the
time specified in the order with operational weapons and equipment and
the basic load of supplies as specified by the order and/or the platoon

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

leader. All personnel must be able to explain the higher unit’s mission,
the higher commander’s intent, the platoon mission, and their specified
tasks and duties to support the mission. All attachments must be
received, briefed, and inspected. The elements of SERE (survival, escape,
resistance, evasion) should also be considered and addressed. For further
information on SERE, refer to ST 3-20.983.


2-4. Decisions are the means by which a commander or leader
translates the information available to him and his vision of the desired
end state of an operation into the actions necessary to achieve that end
state. Decision-making is a conscious process for selecting a COA from
two or more alternatives. As outlined in FM 5-0 (FM 101-5), it is a
learned skill of knowing if to decide, then when and what to decide. The
process includes an understanding of the consequences of each decision.
2-5. The military decision-making process (MDMP) is the Army’s
adaptation of this analytical approach to decision-making and problem-
solving. It provides the commander or leader with a valuable tool in
developing his estimate of the situation and his plan. Although the
process begins with the receipt of the mission, the analytical aspects of
the MDMP continue at all levels throughout the operation. Refer to FM 5-
0 for a detailed examination of the MDMP.
2-6. At platoon level, many actions associated with the MDMP are
based on SOPs and standard unit drills; these include evacuation of
wounded soldiers, rearming and resupply procedures, and individual
crew responsibilities. This allows the platoon to operate quickly and
efficiently without constant guidance from the platoon leader. SOPs are
especially critical in helping to maintain combat preparedness when
leaders are tired as a result of the stress of continuous operations.
Because SOPs are so critical, it is absolutely necessary that everyone in
the platoon know and understand them.


2-7. Regardless of the time available, leaders must always remember
this principle: “see the terrain, see the enemy, see yourself.” Only after
they view and evaluate the terrain and the enemy, can they determine
what their own actions should be in that given situation. They update
this visualization continuously throughout the troop-leading process,
basing this new “picture” of the battlefield on their own refinements to
the plan, additional information from various sources, and/or
developments in the reconnaissance or security operation.
2-8. Troop-leading procedures begin when the platoon leader receives
the first indication of an upcoming operation (often by warning order
from higher) and continue throughout the planning, preparation, and
execution phases of the mission. The platoon leader maximizes the
available planning time by starting as soon as the first bit of information
becomes available. He normally uses one-third of the available time to
plan, prepare, and issue the order; his vehicle commanders then have the
remaining two-thirds of the time available to conduct their own troop-
leading procedures. This system of time allocation is known as the “one-
third/two-thirds” rule of planning and preparation.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

2-9. Figure 2-1 lists the eight troop-leading steps and illustrates their
role in relation to the MDMP, which plays an important role in the troop-
leading process. The following discussion provides a step-by-step overview
of troop-leading procedures.

NOTE: Refer to the appropriate platoon-level MTP for the training and evaluation outline
(T&EO) covering the task of conducting troop-leading procedures. The task,
included in Chapter 5 of the MTP, includes procedures involved in each of the
troop-leading steps.

Figure 2-1. Relationship of Troop-Leading Procedures

and the Military Decision-Making Process


2-10. The reconnaissance platoon leader normally receives his orders as
an oral, written, and/or digital OPORD, as a FRAGO, or as a warning
order. Upon receipt of the order, he begins analyzing the mission using
the factors of METT-TC: mission, enemy (threat), terrain (and weather),
troops, time available, and civil considerations. Mission analysis is a
continuous process. The platoon leader constantly receives information
during the planning phase and must decide if it affects his mission. If it
does, he then decides how to adjust his plan to meet this new situation.

Initial Actions
2-11. Although mission analysis is continuously refined throughout the
troop-leading process, the platoon leader’s initial actions are normally
based only on the initial warning order from higher. These include an
initial METT-TC analysis covering the terrain and the threat and friendly

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

2-12. The platoon leader may also conduct his initial time analysis,
develop an initial security plan, and issue his own initial warning order to
provide guidance and planning focus for his subordinates. At a minimum,
the initial platoon warning order should cover the threat and friendly
situations, movement instructions, and coordinating instructions such as
an initial timeline and security plan. (NOTE: The initial analysis is
normally conducted as quickly as possible to allow the platoon leader to
issue the initial warning order in a timely manner. He conducts a more
detailed METT-TC analysis after the initial warning order is put out.)

NOTE: The technique of using multiple warning orders is a valuable tool for the platoon
leader during the troop-leading process. He can issue warning orders for several
purposes: to alert subordinates of the upcoming mission, to initiate the parallel
planning process, and to put out tactical information incrementally as it is received
(ultimately reducing the length of the OPORD). Refer to FM 3-90.1 (FM 71-1) for a
discussion of how multiple warning orders are employed at various stages of the
troop-leading process.

METT-TC Analysis
2-13. The following discussion provides detailed information on the six
METT-TC factors. (NOTE: METT-TC factors are not necessarily
analyzed sequentially. How and when the platoon leader analyzes each
factor depends on when the information is made available to him.)
2-14. Mission. After receiving an essential task and purpose, either in
a warning order or the OPORD, the platoon leader can then begin the
analysis of his own mission. He may use a refined product to better
visualize the interrelationships of the terrain, the threat, and friendly
forces. These may include a MCOO and/or the SITEMP, if available. The
platoon leader’s goal in this analysis is to clarify what the platoon is to
accomplish and why the platoon must accomplish it. Key considerations
in the analysis include the following:

· What is my task and purpose for this operation?

· What is the commander’s intent?
· What are the specified tasks for the operation (those that the
commander stated must be accomplished)? (NOTE: In the
OPORD, these tasks are outlined in paragraph 3, which
comprises the commander’s intent, concept of the operation,
tasks to subordinate units, and coordinating instructions.)
· What are the implied tasks for the operation? These are other
tasks, not specifically noted by the commander, that must be
accomplished to achieve the purpose or specified tasks.
· What are the essential tasks for the operation? These are all
tasks, both specified and implied, that are absolutely required
to ensure mission success.
· What is the focus of the operation?
· What is the tempo of the operation?
· What are the engagement criteria for the platoon? For the
troop? For the squadron/battalion?

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

2-15. Enemy (Threat Forces). The platoon leader’s analysis of the

threat situation should focus on the areas outlined in FM 3-90.1 (FM 71-
1)—including doctrinal analysis and objectives, composition and
disposition, capabilities, weaknesses, anticipated COAs, and factors that
can influence these COAs—as well as those in FM 2-01.3 (FM 34-130),
which covers IPB. The analysis can focus on the following considerations:

· What types of threat units is the platoon up against?

· Where are these units? (NOTE: If possible, these locations
should be templated to vehicle level.)
· What is the threat doing?
· How strong is he?
· What kind of equipment does he have? What are his weapons
types and effective ranges?
· What are his capabilities and weaknesses?
· Where is he vulnerable?
· Where are his engagement areas?
· What are the threat’s intentions, doctrinal objectives, and
most probable COA(s)?
· How will he react to the eight forms of contact? These are the
n Visual contact.
n Physical contact (direct fire).
n Indirect fire contact.
n Contact with obstacles of threat or unknown origin.
n Contact with threat or unknown aircraft.
n Contact involving NBC conditions.
n Situations involving electronic warfare tactics (such as
jamming, interference, and imitative deception).
n Situations involving nonhostile elements (such as
· What can the threat do in response to friendly actions?

2-16. Terrain (and Weather). The platoon leader analyzes the terrain
using the factors of OCOKA: observation and fields of fire; cover and
concealment; obstacles; key terrain; and avenues of approach. The
following discussion focuses on questions the platoon leader can use in his
2-17. Observation and fields of fire. The platoon leader should cover
the following considerations in his analysis:

· Where can the threat observe and engage my platoon, and

how do I counter this capability?
· Where can I establish OPs to maximize my ability to see the

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2-18. Cover and concealment. The platoon leader should include the
following considerations in his analysis of cover and concealment:

· What routes within the area of operations offer cover and

concealment for my platoon or for threat elements?
· What dismounted and/or mounted routes offer my platoon the
best available cover and concealment?

2-19. Obstacles. In terrain analysis, the platoon leader first identifies

existing and reinforcing obstacles that may limit mobility (affecting such
features as objectives, avenues of approach, and mobility corridors).
2-20. Existing obstacles include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Gullies, ravines, gaps, and ditches over 3 meters wide.
· Streams, rivers, and canals over 1 meter deep.
· Mountains or hills with a slope in excess of 60 percent.
· Lakes, swamps, and marshes over 1 meter deep.
· Tree stumps and large rocks over 18 inches high.
· Forest or jungles with trees 8 inches or more in diameter and
with less than 4 meters of space between trees.
· Man-made existing obstacles, including built-up areas such as
towns, cities, or railroad embankments.

2-21. Reinforcing obstacles include, but are not limited to, the

· Minefields.
· Antitank ditches.
· Road craters.
· Abatises.
· Wire obstacles.

2-22. Based on the degree of obstruction posed by obstacles, terrain is

further classified in one of the following categories:

· Unrestricted. This is terrain that is free of any restriction to

movement; no actions are required to enhance mobility. For
wheeled vehicles, this terrain is typically flat or moderately
sloped, with scattered or widely spaced obstacles such as trees
or rocks. This type of terrain generally allows wide maneuver
and offers unlimited travel over well-developed road
· Restricted. Restricted terrain hinders movement to some
degree. Little effort is needed to enhance mobility, but units
may have to zigzag or make frequent detours. They may have
difficulty maintaining optimum speed, moving in some types
of combat formations, or transitioning from one formation to
another. For wheeled vehicles, restricted terrain typically
encompasses moderate to steep slopes and/or moderate to
dense spacing of obstacles such as trees, rocks, or buildings.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Swamps and rugged ground are examples of restricted terrain

for dismounted infantry forces. Logistical or rear area
movement in this type of terrain may be hampered by poorly
developed road systems.
· Severely restricted. This terrain severely hinders or slows
movement in combat formation unless some effort is made to
enhance mobility. This could require commitment of engineer
forces to improve mobility or deviation from doctrinal tactics,
such as using a column rather than a line formation or
moving at speeds much lower than otherwise preferred.
Severely restricted terrain for wheeled vehicles is typically
characterized by steep slopes, densely spaced obstacles, and/or
the virtual absence of a developed road system.

2-23. Key terrain. Key terrain is any location or area whose seizure,
retention, or control affords a marked advantage either to friendly forces
or to the threat. The platoon leader’s analysis should cover these factors:

· Where and what is the key terrain?

· How can the platoon use key terrain to support the mission?
· How will the threat use key terrain to support his mission?

2-24. Avenues of approach. These are areas through which a unit

can maneuver. The definition of an avenue of approach is an area that
provides sufficient ease of movement and enough width to allow passage
of a force large enough to significantly affect the outcome of the battle.
The platoon leader’s analysis should include these considerations:

· Where are the most favorable mounted and dismounted

avenues of approach for threat and friendly forces?
· Where are the best air avenues of approach for threat forces?

2-25. Weather. The platoon leader analyzes weather conditions as part

of his evaluation of the terrain. The following considerations should be
included in this evaluation:

· What are the light conditions (including percentage of night

illumination) and visibility?
· How has recent weather affected the area of operations?
· What are the times for beginning of morning nautical twilight
(BMNT), sunrise, sunset, end of evening nautical twilight
(EENT), moonrise, and moonset?
· Will weather become better or worse during the mission?
· How will fog, rain, dust, heat, snow, wind, or blowing sand
affect the troops and equipment of both friendly and threat
forces during the mission?
· How will weather conditions affect the employment of
chemical weapons and/or smoke?

2-26. Troops and Support Available. The platoon leader’s analysis of

troops and support available for an operation includes an assessment of

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the platoon’s vehicles and equipment. His analysis should include the
following considerations:

· What is the present condition of the platoon’s soldiers,

vehicles, and equipment?
· What is the supply status of ammunition, fuel, and other
necessary items?
· What is the turnaround time for resupply operations (time
between transmission of the request and delivery of supplies)?
· What is the state of training of the platoon?
· What is the state of morale?
· How much sleep have the soldiers had?
· How much sleep can they get before and during the operation?
· Does the platoon need any additional equipment to support or
accomplish its mission?
· What attachments does the platoon have (or require) to
accomplish its mission?
· How many OPs (mounted/dismounted and long-/short-
duration) can be manned with the available assets?
· How big a frontage can be covered with the available assets?

2-27. Time Available. The platoon leader’s analysis of the time

available for an operation begins with the “one-third/two-thirds” rule of
planning and preparation discussed earlier in this section. This principle
allows the platoon leader to use one-third of planning and preparation
time himself, then to allocate the remaining two-third to subordinates.
Additional considerations in the analysis should include the following:

· How much time is available to plan and conduct

· How much time is available for rearming, refueling, and
· How long will it take the platoon to move to planned OPs, to
the line of departure (LD), and/or to the objective?
· Is there enough time for rehearsals?
· How much time is available to the threat for the activities
listed in the previous items?
· How does the potential threat timeline for planning and
preparation compare with that developed for friendly forces?

2-28. Civil Considerations. In his analysis of how the platoon will

handle situations involving civilians and other aspects of the civil
environment (including stability operations and support operations), the
platoon leader should assess the following considerations:

· How will existing civil considerations affect the mission?

What are the potential negative effects of civilian contact?
· What are the applicable rules of engagement (ROE) and/or
rules of interaction (ROI)?

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

· What procedures and guidelines will the platoon use in

dealing with refugees, prisoners, and other civilians?
· Will the platoon be working with civilian organizations, such
as governmental agencies, private groups, or the media?
· Will the platoon conduct stability operations (such as peace
operations or noncombatant evacuation) or support operations
(such as humanitarian or environmental assistance)? See the
discussion of the multidimensional aspect of reconnaissance
in Chapter 3 of this manual and the discussion of stability
operations and support operations in Appendix D.

Information Sources
2-29. In planning and preparing for the mission, the platoon leader
may find that he requires additional sources of information to help
answer some of the questions raised in the analysis of METT-TC. The
platoon can receive and/or request information from a variety of sources
to assist in planning and understanding the operational area, including
the following:

· Paragraph 1 of the OPORD (especially those portions covering

the threat and the applicable terrain and weather).
· UAV imagery and video (such as photos/video of a route or
danger area to assist with the METT-TC assessment).
· Satellite imagery (for example, showing locations of increased
military traffic).
· Engineer database information on terrain, such as from the
TERRABASE program.
· HUMINT reports from brigade and higher, such as a human
density overlay.
· Assessments on the operational area.
· Signal intelligence (SIGINT) and measurement and signal
intelligence (MASINT) reports from the surveillance troop.

Risk Management
2-30. Leaders must make a thorough risk assessment, identifying and
evaluating hazards the platoon will face during the operation. They then
develop risk management controls and ensures that all subordinate
leaders and individual scouts implement them to eliminate or reduce the
risks. Refer to Appendix H of this manual for a detailed discussion of the
risk management process.

Reverse Planning and Timeline Development

2-31. After completing his METT-TC analysis, the platoon leader
conducts reverse planning to ensure that all specified, implied, and
essential tasks can be accomplished in the time available. He develops a
reverse planning schedule (timeline), as illustrated in Figure 2-2.
Beginning with actions on the objective, he works backward through each
step of the operation and then through preparation and planning
activities to the present time. This process also helps the platoon in
making efficient use of planning and preparation time.

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

NOTE: Simultaneous planning and preparation are key factors in effective time
management during the troop-leading process. The next five steps (issue a warning
order; make a tentative plan; initiate movement; conduct reconnaissance; complete
the plan) may occur simultaneously and/or in a different order. As noted, the final
troop-leading step, supervise and refine, is on-going throughout the process.

Figure 2-2. Example Reverse Planning Timeline


2-32. After the platoon leader has analyzed his orders and worked out
his mission and related tasks, he must quickly pass this information to
his subordinate leaders. This is accomplished through the warning order.
As a minimum, the following information must be included:

· Elements and individuals to whom the warning order applies.

· Threat situation as stated in the higher unit’s order.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

· The time and nature of the operation.

· The earliest time of movement.
· Coordinating instructions, including an initial timeline.
· The time and place the OPORD will be issued.

2-33. If possible, the platoon leader should issue a conventional

(analog) and/or digital overlay of the area of operations. In the absence of
further orders, this gives the platoon an idea of the scope of the operation.
Also, the platoon leader should inform his subordinates of the results of
his reverse planning process and delegate appropriate preparation tasks
to the PSG and to the section and squad leaders. If possible, the platoon
leader should also include the task organization of the platoon. In
addition to accounting for all required preparatory tasks, the reverse
planning schedule should include a sleep plan. All elements should
acknowledge receipt of the warning order.

NOTE: The sleep plan should be a 24-hour plan with the goal of maximizing available time
in the planning, preparation, and execution phases of the operation. It covers all
platoon members.


2-34. Based on results of his mission analysis, the platoon leader
develops a tentative plan that addresses all specified, implied, and
essential tasks using the OPORD format (see Appendix A of this manual).

2-35. After issuing a warning order and making a tentative plan, the
platoon leader may choose to initiate movement. The platoon leader
should at least be able to determine when the platoon will move. He
announces this in terms of a readiness condition (REDCON) level. Each
REDCON level indicates critical tasks and time available to prepare for
future operations. The following considerations apply:

· REDCON-1 (be prepared to move immediately). These

conditions are in effect:
n All personnel alert and ready for action.
n Vehicles loaded and secured, and weapons manned.
n Vehicle engines running and OPs not manned.
NOTE: A variant of REDCON-1 is REDCON-1(-); the same conditions apply except that
the vehicles are not started in REDCON-1(-).
· REDCON-2 (be prepared to move in 15 minutes).
n All personnel alert.
n OPs and wire pulled in.
· REDCON-3 (be prepared to move in half an hour).
n Fifty percent of each crew/squad stand down for rest,
feeding, and maintenance.
n Remaining 50 percent man vehicles, OPs, and weapons
and monitor radios/phones.

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· REDCON-4 (be prepared to move in one hour).

n Two men per platoon make dismounted checks of platoon
n One man per vehicle monitors radios/phones and mans
turret weapon.

2-36. All personnel remain at 100 percent alert until prioritized mission
preparations are complete. The platoon leader initiates the appropriate
REDCON when the work is finished. As the time for mission execution
nears, he increases the REDCON in accordance with guidance from
higher, achieving REDCON-1 before the platoon must move.

2-37. This step of the troop-leading procedures allows the platoon
leader to confirm the validity of his tentative plan and to refine the plan.
The platoon leader should conduct the reconnaissance with his
subordinate leaders. This will allow them to see the terrain and develop a
better visualization of the projected plan. At a minimum, the platoon
leader conducts this step as a detailed map reconnaissance. He should at
least confirm his initial march route to the LD or start point (SP) and
check initial positions. If possible, he should also check some of the area
beyond the LD; this may require permission from the commander.
2-38. If the platoon leader cannot personally conduct on-site
reconnaissance, he should make the most efficient use of available time
by tasking his subordinates to accomplish specific reconnaissance
requirements. An example of this is tasking a squad leader to reconnoiter
and time routes to the SP. The platoon leader must conduct the
reconnaissance with an open mind; not everything he sees will match his
tentative plan. He must be flexible enough to change and competent
enough to work out new plans rapidly.

NOTE: For detailed discussions of reconnaissance procedures, refer to Chapter 3 of this



2-39. The platoon leader refines his plan based on the results of the
reconnaissance. He then completes the plan using these results and any
new information from his commander and members of his platoon. He
should keep the plan as simple as possible, at the same time ensuring
that it effectively supports the commander’s intent.
2-40. As he completes and refines his plan, the platoon leader should
consider delegating planning responsibilities to other members of the
platoon. He can then use the information developed by these soldiers in
developing his order and in establishing an effective platoon SOP.
Examples of delegated planning responsibilities include the following:

· The HUMINT NCO researches and briefs the threat/civilian

· A section sergeant researches and briefs terrain and weather.
· An NCO sets up rehearsals.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

· The PSG researches, plans, and briefs CSS considerations

(such as MEDEVAC and vehicle recovery operations).
· An NCO translates graphics to FBCB2 and overlays.
· Section sergeants plan specific reconnaissance patrols in
support of the overall mission.
· An NCO plans and briefs occupation procedures for such areas
as objective rally points (ORP), OPs, and surveillance sites.
· An NCO plans and briefs specific communication issues
(paragraph 5 of the OPORD).
· An NCO plans and briefs specific coordinating instructions
(such as the collection plan, actions on contact, special
equipment, linkup tasks, and methods of handling EPWs).
· A leader finalizes the risk management process, as outlined in
Appendix J of this manual.

2-41. Using this type of planning delegation will help the platoon leader
to ensure that his subordinate leaders are in synch with the plan. It also
facilitates a more rapid planning process. The platoon leader must
remain fully aware of all facets of the plan and of the activities of his
subordinates. He must also give clear guidance for this technique to be


2-42. The platoon leader issues his finalized order in the five-paragraph
OPORD format, as discussed in Appendix A of this manual. He refers to
notes to make sure he does not forget anything. He ensures that all
subordinate leaders understand the entire plan as well as their particular
portion of it. To ensure complete understanding of the operation, the
platoon leader should end the order with a brief-back of key points by his
2-43. Whenever possible, the platoon leader should issue his order to
the entire platoon. At a minimum, he should issue the order to his
subordinate leaders and vehicle commanders. Once everyone has arrived
at the place and time specified in the warning order, the platoon leader or
PSG should ensure that everyone has recorded the applicable graphic
control measures. The platoon leader should issue the revised operations
overlay before he starts; he should have a copy of the graphics for each of
his leaders. The PSG ensures that each subordinate leader’s overlay
matches the platoon leader’s overlay. To use his time most efficiently, the
platoon leader should use a walk-through rehearsal as part of his briefing
of paragraph 3 of the order.
2-44. If he can issue the order from a favorable vantage point, the
platoon leader can physically indicate the ground over which his scouts
will maneuver. If a vantage point is not available, he can use a terrain
cloth, sand table, or map as a reference. He leader should have a briefing
kit available to build a model of the area of operations; items in the kit
might include the following:

· Nylon rope and nails or spikes.

· “Micro” armor vehicles or other models.

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· Preconstructed plexiglas squares for units and equipment

(blue for friendly elements, red for threat forces).
· Pens and markers.
· Stakes.
· Engineer tape.
· Operational symbol cutouts.
· Dry eraser board.

2-45. In extreme situations, FBCB2 allows the platoon leader to issue

the OPORD to his sections or squads when they are widely dispersed and
cannot gather at a central point. The platoon leader must alert his
elements (via FM voice) that a new order is available on the FBCB2 and
direct each element to acknowledge receipt of the order.


2-46. Flexibility is the key to effective operations. The reconnaissance
platoon leader must be able to refine his plan whenever new information
becomes available. If he adjusts the plan, he must inform the platoon and
supervise implementation of the changes. Once the operation has begun,
the platoon leader must be able to direct his platoon in response to new
information and new situations.
2-47. Crew orders, rehearsals, and inspections are essential elements of
the supervision process as the platoon prepares for the mission. The
following discussion covers these procedures in detail.

Crew Orders
2-48. The platoon leader and PSG make sure all crewmembers have
been briefed by their leaders or vehicle commanders and understand the
platoon mission and concept of the operation. Combat orders are the
means by which the platoon leader receives and transmits information,
from the earliest notification that an operation will occur through the
final phases of execution. They are absolutely critical to mission success.
All members of the platoon must be familiar with the formats of warning
orders, OPORDs, and FRAGOs. For a detailed discussion of combat
orders, refer to Appendix A of this manual.

2-49. The platoon leader should never underestimate the value of
rehearsals. They are his most valuable tools in preparing the platoon for
the upcoming operation. Refer to FM 101-5 for a detailed discussion of
rehearsal types, techniques, and procedures. The platoon leader uses
well-planned, efficiently run rehearsals to accomplish the following

· Reinforce training and increase proficiency in critical tasks.

· Reveal weaknesses or problems in the plan.
· Synchronize the actions of subordinate elements.
· Improve each soldier’s understanding of the concept of the

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

2-50. Rehearsal Types. The platoon leader can choose among several
types of rehearsals, each designed to achieve a specific result and with a
specific role in the planning and preparation timeline. The following
discussion focuses on the five rehearsal types.
2-51. Confirmation brief. The confirmation brief is, in effect, a
reverse briefing process routinely performed by subordinate leaders
immediately after receiving any instructions, such as an OPORD or
FRAGO. They confirm their understanding by repeating and explaining
details of the operation for their leader. In the reconnaissance platoon,
the platoon leader should conduct confirmation briefs after his
subordinate leaders have received the OPORD, but before other phases of
the platoon rehearsal begin.
2-52. Backbrief. Leaders perform this type of rehearsal throughout
the planning and preparation timeline to help clarify their intent for their
subordinates. The backbrief allows the platoon leader to identify
problems in his own concept of the operation and his subordinates’
understanding of the concept; he also uses the backbrief to learn how
subordinates intend to accomplish their missions.
2-53. Support rehearsal. Support rehearsals are normally conducted
within the framework of a single operating system, such as fire support or
CSS, or a limited number of operating systems. The goals are to ensure
that support elements can achieve their missions within the higher
commander’s plan and that their support plans are synchronized with the
overall maneuver plan. The rehearsals are conducted throughout the
planning and preparation timeline.
2-54. Battle drill or SOP rehearsal. This type of rehearsal is used to
ensure that all participants understand a technique or a specific set of
procedures. The platoon initiates battle drill and/or SOP rehearsals as
soon as possible after receipt of the mission; he then can continue to
conduct them as needed throughout the planning and preparation
timeline. This rehearsal does not necessarily cover a published drill or
SOP, giving the commander or leader flexibility in designing the
rehearsal. For example, the platoon leader could rehearse procedures for
marking obstacle lanes or establishing local security. (NOTE: It is
recommended that drills for actions on contact be rehearsed frequently
during planning and preparation.)
2-55. Rehearsal Techniques. The platoon leader can choose among
several techniques in conducting rehearsals, which should follow the
crawl-walk-run training methodology to prepare the platoon for
increasingly difficult conditions. As noted in FM 5-0 (FM 101-5),
techniques for conducting rehearsals are limited only by the
resourcefulness of the commander or leader; that manual outlines six
basic techniques (full dress, reduced force, terrain model, sketch map,
map, and radio). The following discussion covers these techniques, which
are listed in descending order in terms of the preparation time and
resources required to conduct them. Considerations in selecting a
rehearsal technique include the following:

· Time. How much time will be needed for planning,

preparation, and execution?
· Terrain. What are the applicable terrain considerations?

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· Multiechelon employment. How many echelons are

· Operations security (OPSEC). Will the rehearsal allow the
threat to gain intelligence about upcoming operations?

2-56. Full force rehearsal. This rehearsal produces the most detailed
understanding of the mission, but is the most difficult to conduct in terms
of preparation and resources. It involves every soldier and system
participating in the operation. If possible, units should conduct the full
force rehearsal under the same conditions (such as weather, time of day,
terrain, and use of live ammunition) that they will encounter during the
actual operation.
2-57. Reduced force rehearsal. This rehearsal normally involves
only key leaders of the unit and is thus less extensive than the full dress
rehearsal in terms of preparation time and resources. The commander
decides the level of leader involvement. The selected leaders then
rehearse the plan, if possible on the terrain to be used for the actual
operation. The reduced force rehearsal is often conducted to prepare
leaders for the full dress rehearsal.
2-58. Terrain model rehearsal. This is the most popular rehearsal
technique, employing an accurately constructed model to help
subordinates visualize the battle in accordance with the commander’s or
leader’s intent. When possible, the platoon leader places the terrain
model where it overlooks the actual terrain of the area of operations or is
within walking distance of such a vantage point. Size of the model can
vary, but it should be large enough to depict graphic control measures
and important terrain features for reference and orientation. Participants
walk or move “micro” armor around the table or model to practice the
actions of their own vehicles in relation to other members of the platoon.
2-59. Sketch map rehearsal. Units can use the sketch map technique
almost anywhere, day or night. Procedures are similar to those for the
terrain model rehearsal. The sketch must be large enough to allow all
participants to see as each subordinate “walks” through an interactive
oral presentation of his actions. Platoon elements can use symbols or
“micro” armor to represent their locations and maneuver on the sketch.
2-60. Map rehearsal. Procedures are similar to those for the sketch
map rehearsal except that the commander or leader uses a map and
operation overlay of the same scale as he used to plan and control the
operation. This technique is useful in conjunction with a confirmation
brief or backbrief involving subordinate leaders and vehicle commanders.
The platoon leader uses the map and overlay to guide participants as they
brief their role in the operation.
2-61. Radio rehearsal. The commander or leader conducts this
rehearsal by having his unit simulate critical portions of the operation
orally and interactively over established communications networks. The
radio rehearsal may be especially useful when the situation does not
allow the platoon to gather at one location. Subordinate elements check
their communications systems and rehearse events that are critical to the
platoon plan. To be effective, the radio rehearsal requires all participants

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

to have working communications equipment and a copy of the OPORD

and applicable overlays.

2-62. PCCs and PCIs allow leaders to check the platoon’s operational
readiness. The key goal is to ensure that soldiers and vehicles are fully
prepared to execute the upcoming mission. The platoon leader makes
sure the entire chain of command conducts PCCs and PCIs in accordance
with ST 3-20.983 or his own SOP.
2-63. Precombat Checks. Equipment operators, vehicle crewmen, and
individual soldiers conduct PCCs before executing operations. These
checks are designed to ensure that equipment is in working order,
required supplies are on hand, and soldiers are ready to execute the
mission. PCCs are conducted in accordance with appropriate technical
manuals, supply catalogs, and unit SOPs. Areas covered by PCCs include
the following:

· Preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) of

essential equipment.
· Vehicle load plans.
· Inspections of TA-50 equipment.
· NBC protective equipment (known as the ICE pack) and
combat lifesaver bag inventories.
· Resupply of rations, water, fuel, oil, all weapons, ammunition,
pyrotechnics, first-aid kits, and equipment batteries (for such
items as flashlights, night-vision devices, mine detectors, and
NBC alarms).
· Individual readiness. This includes ensuring that
crewmembers understand the mission and tactical situation
and are in the correct uniform and mission-oriented protective
posture (MOPP) level.
· Vehicle readiness, including camouflage and light leaks.
· Prepare-to-fire checks for all weapons. This includes reporting
or repairing deficiencies and making sure that weapons are
boresighted and all sights are referred. Machine guns should
be test-fired, if possible.
· Communications checks, including radio, FBCB2, and tactical
satellite (TACSAT) systems. This includes verifying proper
uploading of data for digital equipment, proper filter settings,
and integration of attached assets in digital systems.

2-64. Precombat Inspections. Leaders in the reconnaissance platoon

conduct PCIs to ensure that subordinate leaders and soldiers have
executed the necessary PCCs. Obviously, leaders cannot possibly check
everything. They should focus on key pieces of equipment and details of
the plan that are critical to mission accomplishment. The platoon leader
and PSG should coordinate their inspections to make optimum use of
available time and to avoid redundant inspections. PCIs must be
completed in time to fix deficiencies before mission execution begins.

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

NOTE: Refer to ST 3-20.983 for a comprehensive precombat checklist that can be employed
for both PCCs and PCIs.


2-65. Global commitments place requirements on the US Army to

conduct short-notice deployments. The American military is transforming
itself from a forward-deployed force to a power projection force. The
characteristics of this type of organization have generated new interest in
the TTP involved in deployment and in the process known as reception,
staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI). In planning and
preparing for future operations, the US military is focusing on the
strategy, tactics, and resources necessary to conduct two major,
simultaneous regional contingency force projection scenarios. Such a
situation will require forces to be at a high state of deployability.
2-66. The reconnaissance platoon will never deploy by itself; it will
always be part of a larger organization. To ensure that the platoon is
ready to fulfill its role in the power projection force, however, the platoon
leader must understand the fundamentals of deployment and RSOI.

2-67. Execution of deployment and RSOI entails the following critical
tasks and purposes:

· Prepare for deployment. Purpose: To ensure necessary

personnel and equipment are on hand and fully mission capable.
· Execute deployment. Purpose: To carry out orders from
higher headquarters and protect US national interest.
· Conduct reception operations. Purpose: To receive all
unit resources, personnel, and equipment at the entry point to
the theater of operations.
· Conduct staging operations. Purpose: To incrementally
build forces capable of meeting the commander’s operational
and tactical mission requirements by organizing personnel and
material at designated areas and preparing them for movement.
· Execute onward movement. Purpose: To relocate forces
that are capable of meeting the commander’s operational and
tactical requirements to the initial point of their mission
execution by rail, road, boat, or air.
· Execute integration. Purpose: To provide the commander
with a synchronized force ready to conduct operations.

NOTE: For more detailed discussions of deployment tasks and procedures, refer to FM 3-35
(FM 100-17) and to the RSOI appendix in FM 3-20.96.

2-68. The reconnaissance platoon leader should use the following
guidelines to help ensure successful completion of deployment and RSOI:

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

· Adhere strictly to established timelines.

· Maintain communications with higher headquarters
throughout the deployment/RSOI process.
· Conduct effective deployment preparations. Platoon
preparations include the following:
n The platoon is prepared to deploy 24 to 36 hours after
n Vehicles are loaded, inspected (using PCI procedures),
and prepared for shipment by the appropriate means
(rail, road, boat, or air).
n Soldiers are deployable, meeting the standards
established in the unit SOP.
· Track the platoon’s combat power throughout the process.
· Ensure that the platoon arrives at the area of operations
ready to execute the assigned missions.


2-69. To be successful, the reconnaissance platoon must be able to

conduct effective tactical movement. The platoon’s ability to conduct
stealthy movement, undetected by the threat, is critical to mission


2-70. This section focuses on several critical aspects of tactical
movement, including the following:

· Movement fundamentals and formations. The

reconnaissance platoon needs a thorough understanding of
the fundamentals of movement and proper employment of
movement formations. Use of formations must take into
account such factors as METT-TC, applicable troop-leading
procedures, and additional assets that influence the platoon’s
movement (such as FBCB2, ground sensors, TUAVs, and
· Movement techniques. The platoon must be proficient at
using the appropriate movement technique for the specific
situation. Effectively employed, movement techniques
(traveling, traveling overwatch, bounding overwatch, move-
set techniques) allow the platoon to conduct reconnaissance
without becoming compromised. They also assist the platoon
leader in achieving a number of tactical purposes:
n Minimize the platoon’s exposure to threat observation
and/or fire.
n Help the platoon maintain freedom of movement.

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n Maximize the number of tactical options available to the

· Mission considerations. The platoon applies movement
fundamentals, formations, and techniques in support of its
primary missions, such as reconnaissance and surveillance. It
can use an array of digital tools in the planning, preparation,
and execution of these operations. Such resources as TUAVs,
GSR, and FBCB2 assist the platoon in conducting stealthy
movement and in gaining visual contact with threat forces
before they can see the scouts.
· Chance contact. The reconnaissance platoon must take
steps to minimize chance contact with threat forces. (NOTE:
The use of national-level intelligence sources, coupled with
the available internal information from such assets as TUAVs
and ground sensors, can greatly increase the platoon’s
situational awareness and therefore decrease chance contact.)
· Timelines. The platoon conducts and completes tactical
movement in accordance with the timelines directed by the
higher commander.

2-71. Sound tactical movement is the essence of all reconnaissance
platoon operations. Effectively employed, the guidelines in this section
can help scouts to see the threat first and observe him undetected. The
scouts are then able to achieve a number of tactical goals, including
retaining the initiative and retaining freedom of movement to gain


2-72. Terrain offers concealment from threat observation and cover
from threat fire. Scouts must make maximum use of this natural
protection to survive and accomplish their mission; avoiding threat
detection is the key. Cover should be used whenever possible. When no
cover is available, however, scouts should use the concealment offered by
trees, shadows, brush, and man-made structures (see Figure 2-3). The
crest drills illustrated in Figures 2-4 and 2-5 are examples of using the
terrain to protect the vehicle from threat observation during movement.
2-73. During mounted or dismounted movement, individual vehicles
and personnel should avoid becoming silhouetted against a skyline. In
addition, they should never move directly forward from a defilade
position. Direct forward movement may enable the threat to pinpoint the
vehicle and engage it as it moves. Instead, vehicles should back up and
move left or right around the previous position to get to the next position.
2-74. Despite its obvious advantage, movement along covered and
concealed routes can present disadvantages that should be considered.
Speed is often reduced, and control problems increase. The possibility of
being ambushed by threat forces increases. In most situations, these
limitations must be accepted because the accuracy and lethality of long-
range weapons make exposed movement too dangerous. The vehicle
commander or dismounted leader must be careful to balance the need for

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

security with his ability to conduct required observation and


Figure 2-3. Use of Natural Concealment

Figure 2-4. Dismounted Crest Drill

Figure 2-5. Mounted Crest Drill


2-75. Scouts must be prepared to take necessary precautions when they
encounter danger areas. Based on terrain analysis and IPB, the
reconnaissance platoon leader considers where threat reconnaissance
assets will be focused and determines their fields of observation. The
platoon can then avoid movement through these areas. In addition, scouts

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

should combine proper terrain driving techniques with carefully selected

routes to maximize security.
2-76. The reconnaissance platoon should stop short of danger areas and
use dismounted scouts to reconnoiter them. For example, when it
encounters an open area, the platoon should send dismounts to a
concealed position where they can observe the area. From that position,
scouts should carefully check the other side of the open area for threat
positions. The scouts must then cross the open area quickly, using
overwatch and following the folds in the terrain. (NOTE: Refer to the
discussion of danger areas later in this chapter.)

2-77. As a general rule, scouts dismount. This enhances mission
accomplishment and survivability. Vehicles are easily identified because
of their visual, sound, and exhaust signatures; vehicles that can be seen
(or otherwise detected) can be killed. Conversely, dismounted patrols and
OPs are very difficult to detect. Scouts should dismount their vehicles and
use optical devices to gain information on objectives or areas of interest.
2-78. As an example, during reconnaissance operations, the scouts
should dismount beyond the direct fire range of suspected threat
positions and weapon systems. Dismounted scouts can then move in front
of their vehicles using the cover and concealment of a dismounted avenue
adjacent to the mounted route. Additionally, dismounts can occupy OPs
while leaving the vehicles in a hide or overwatch position. These basic
actions enable the dismounted scouts to provide critical information while
enhancing the unit’s survivability and its ability to perform later
missions. (NOTE: Refer to Chapter 5 of this manual for further
discussion of dismounted operations.)


2-79. The reconnaissance platform’s major signatures (audible,
thermal, visual) can be reduced. Audible signature can be reduced simply
by shutting off the vehicle and related systems, such as heaters or
thermal sights, whenever the vehicle is not moving or the system is not
needed. Reduce visual and thermal signatures using these steps:

· Erect camouflage nets. This will help hide a stationary vehicle

both visually and thermally; nets tied to the vehicle can
reduce dust and exhaust signatures, as well as reduce the
thermal signature while moving.
· Keep hatches closed to reduce noise and light signatures.
· Prevent white light displays at night. Conduct careful PCIs of
flashlights and dome lights to check for leaks.
· Reduce vehicle glass reflection from periscopes and windows
by removing, covering, or camouflaging them (placing a net
over the windshield, for example).

2-80. During the execution of reconnaissance and security missions,
scouts will encounter specific types of terrain or features that expose
them to threat fire. Known as danger areas, these are likely points of

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

threat contact due both to the reconnaissance platoon’s vulnerability and

to the cover, concealment, and observation these sites afford to the threat.
Danger areas should be identified and highlighted when the platoon
leader performs his map reconnaissance during troop-leading procedures.
Once these areas are identified, the platoon leader can employ specific
reconnaissance methods and movement techniques to move through them
quickly and with maximum security.

2-81. Open areas frequently afford the reconnaissance platoon the
opportunity to observe the threat or objectives from long ranges.
Conversely, these areas often expose the platoon to possible threat
observation and fire for long periods of movement. The platoon, therefore,
must make maximum use of the terrain and employ effective observation
techniques to avoid exposing itself to a well-concealed and camouflaged
2-82. Before moving across a large open area, the platoon must make a
thorough visual scan of the area. This should be done both dismounted
and mounted. The platoon leader must use all available optics and other
assets, including TUAVs and GSR, to reconnoiter the open area and find
a bypass, if applicable. If a bypass cannot be found, he focuses not only on
finding potential threat positions, but also on locating covered and
concealed routes for bounding and covered and concealed positions to
which the unit can move. If time and terrain permit, dismounted scouts
may be used to move to the far side of the open area and secure it. In very
large open areas, use of dismounts may not be feasible because of the
distances between covered and concealed positions.
2-83. Once the area has been reconnoitered using visual, digital, and
sensor enablers, the scouts move across it. They use bounding overwatch
because of the possibility of threat contact. If the open area is very large,
the overwatch element should only remain stationary until the bounding
element has moved a distance equal to half the effective range of the
overwatching element’s weapon system. When that point is reached, the
overwatch element must move out, even if the bounding element has not
yet reached a position of cover and concealment.
2-84. When the platoon must move across large open areas with limited
cover and concealment and threat contact is likely, scouts should consider
the use of reconnaissance by indirect fire to provide additional security as
they move. The platoon must make the conscious decision to use this
method with the understanding that stealth is being sacrificed.
Additionally, indirect fire can provide concealment, with smoke either
used alone or mixed with suppressive fires. Use of smoke is feasible,
however, only for limited periods because of Class V supply restrictions
on supporting mortar or artillery units.

2-85. Wooded areas provide a high degree of concealment to forces that
occupy them, particularly infantry. They must be approached and moved
through with extreme caution. Visibility within wooded areas is very
limited; therefore, reconnaissance is confined primarily to trafficable
routes and trails through the forest. In densely wooded areas, mounted

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

scouts are extremely vulnerable to dismounted threat forces that can

close on them undetected.
2-86. Scouts should use available terrain to scan the wooded area
before entering. They should search for movement, reflections, smoke,
and any irregular shapes or colors indicating camouflage. Whenever
possible, the entire wood line should be reconnoitered with dismounts
prior to mounted movement to the wooded area.
2-87. The scouts should move mounted to the wooded area using
bounding overwatch. Once the vehicles are set inside the wood line
(approximately 100 to 200 meters), engines are shut off, dismounted
security maintained, and a listening/security halt conducted. Crewmen
wearing CVC helmets remove them. Radio speakers are turned off. The
halt should last approximately one to two minutes, with 360-degree
security maintained throughout. Similar halts must be conducted at
regular intervals during movement through the wooded area
(approximately every kilometer). At the same time, because
reconnaissance vehicles are most vulnerable in wooded areas when they
are stopped, halts should be kept to a minimum
2-88. During movement through a wooded area, scouts should move
using traveling overwatch. This technique is appropriate because of the
extremely short fields of view and the danger of dismounted ambush.
Exposed scouts should maintain a minimum silhouette in their vehicles
because of the danger from close-in snipers and ambush.
2-89. Scouts may encounter small clearings, buildings, or hills while
moving through a wooded area. Each must be treated as a separate task.
Small clearings may require crossing in the same manner as a large open
area. Isolated buildings must be checked by dismounted scouts. Hills and
curves must be approached cautiously; dismounted scouts must clear any
dead space.
2-90. Before leaving a wooded area, scouts must clear the open area to
the front. They stop inside the wood line (ensuring they are still within
the shadow line of the woods). Engines are turned off, and dismounted
scouts move to the edge of the wooded area to observe. If the area is
determined to be clear, vehicles are brought forward to observation
positions. As the dismounts remount, the vehicles use their optics to
again visually clear the open area. Once this is completed, the scouts
resume movement using their chosen movement technique.

2-91. Urban areas, including towns and villages, pose many potential
dangers for the reconnaissance platoon. Troops can be garrisoned in
villages, snipers can dominate approaches, and buildings and roads can
be mined and booby-trapped. Cover and concealment are abundant, and it
is easy for the threat to remain undetected until he is at very close range.
Urban areas are ideal for effective ambush by small numbers of infantry.
Whenever possible, scouts should initially observe urban areas from a
distance. Detailed reconnaissance of urban areas during MTW operations
is extremely difficult and is usually beyond the capability of a
reconnaissance platoon.
2-92. During reconnaissance with a multidimensional focus, scouts may
be required to execute a reconnaissance of a town or village. They must

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

always remember that this is a very dangerous task, especially if the

threat is occupying the urban area in strength. They must take steps to
counter these dangers and ensure local security. The scouts should collect
tactical information and HUMINT before they enter the urban area,
observing it from a distance. They look for movement and evidence of
threat occupation, including track marks on pavement; lack of civilian
activity; and sandbags, stakes, timber, intentional building damage, or
any other sign of prepared fighting positions and obstacles.
2-93. The scouts should attempt to observe the area from multiple
vantage points. Scouts move through it using traveling overwatch,
ensuring that vehicles remain in mutual support and maintain 360-
degree security. Once in the town, all scouts must be alert to additional
signs of threat activity, including tactical markings or signaling devices,
antennas, spent shell casings and pyrotechnics, and damage to buildings
and streets. Dismounts can be used to reconnoiter major intersections
and provide security during halts. The scouts do not have the manpower
or time to clear buildings. They can, however, be employed dismounted
for limited search and secure tasks as needed to support the movement of
the mounted element or a particular reconnaissance mission. Vehicle-
mounted crews must reduce their silhouette to a minimum when moving
through a town.
2-94. As the platoon approaches the far side of the urban area, scouts
are employed to reconnoiter the area for threat movement. The platoon
should stop short and move dismounts to the edge of town. The dismounts
will secure the local area and observe the open area beyond the town; the
platoon should also use such assets as TUAVs to observe this area. When
this reconnaissance has been completed, the vehicles will move forward
and continue to observe from covered and concealed positions while the
dismounted elements remount. The platoon is then prepared to continue
its mission.

NOTE: Refer to Chapter 7 of this manual for specific information on urban operations.


2-95. As the platoon executes reconnaissance and security missions, it
will encounter routes or mobility corridors that provide access into the
area between the platoon and friendly elements to its rear. These lateral
corridors pose a security threat to both the platoon and the other friendly
2-96. It is critical that the scouts maintain continuous surveillance of
these mobility corridors to provide security against threat forces that
move into the sector after the reconnaissance platoon has moved on. This
is especially important when the scouts are moving through a threat
security area where threat forces are likely to respond to friendly activity
or when the platoon expects to encounter a moving threat force. If
necessary, the platoon can use a series of contact points and/or
coordination points to enhance security during movement through the
2-97. To maintain surveillance, the platoon can use outposting to
maximize the reconnaissance effort forward. This security technique
involves the use of short-duration OPs consisting of two soldiers with

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

equipment. A reconnaissance section or squad should deploy an outpost

when it is at risk of losing observation on a possible threat approach route
that no other element can cover. Once deployed, the outpost maintains
surveillance of the avenue of approach until the rest of the
reconnaissance element returns. In doing so, the outpost can provide
security through early warning of threat activity that the mounted
element would not have detected.

2-98. During either mounted or dismounted movement, the
reconnaissance platoon employs combat formations when terrain
supports their use or when the mission or reconnaissance objective is very
focused, such as in a route reconnaissance. In many situations, however,
platoon formations are not appropriate to the execution of a
reconnaissance or security mission.
2-99. There are six mounted reconnaissance platoon formations: line, vee, column,
staggered column, coil, and herringbone. Formations are intended to be
flexible. They can be modified to fit the situation, terrain, and combat
losses; they do not have exact geometric dimensions and design.
Movement into and out of the various formations must be second nature
to each squad. (NOTE: The following formation examples are based on
the four-vehicle recce platoon.)

2-100. This formation (see Figure 2-6) can be used regardless of the
platoon organization and is applicable to most reconnaissance platoon
missions. It allows maximum reconnaissance forward.

Figure 2-6. Platoon Line Formation

2-101. The vee formation, illustrated in Figure 2-7, uses the two-section
organization. The platoon maintains relative positioning based on terrain
and combat losses. The vee lends itself to immediate mutual support and
provides depth; it is very flexible. Using any of the techniques of
movement, the two forward vehicles perform all of the information
gathering and reporting. The rear vehicles provide overwatch and
command and control.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 2-7. Platoon Vee Formation


2-102. The platoon uses the column formation when speed is essential as
it moves on a designated route (see Figure 2-8). The column offers good
protection to the flanks, but little to the front and rear. Normally, the
platoon leader briefs the section leaders on the route and speed and then
allows the lead section to control the column movement. This frees the
platoon leader to concentrate on the subsequent mission, enhancing
command and control. It does not, however, relieve him of the
responsibility of tracking the move on his map.
2-103. The order of march in the column may depend on which
organization the platoon will use at the end of the movement; in addition,
the lead section may vary based on METT-TC considerations. When
conducting movement in a secure area, it is appropriate to specify the
order of march by SOP.

Figure 2-8. Platoon Column Formation

2-104. The staggered column is used for rapid movement across open
terrain. It affords all-around observation and fields of fire. Figure 2-9
shows the platoon in the staggered column in a two-section organization
with Alpha section leading.

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

Figure 2-9. Platoon Staggered Column Formation

2-105. The platoon coil is used to provide all-around security during
halts. Each vehicle has a particular position to occupy in the coil. The
platoon leader designates the orientation of the coil using a cardinal
direction; in the absence of orders, the direction of travel becomes 12
o’clock. The reconnaissance platoon must develop a coil SOP based on its
METL, war plans, and most frequently used organizations. The SOP
should be practiced as a drill so that correct execution of the coil becomes
2-106. The coil is always executed from the column or staggered column,
with the lead vehicle occupying the 12 o’clock position. The other vehicles
occupy the 3, 9 and 6 o’clock positions in accordance with the order of
march. Vehicles are positioned 100 to 150 meters apart. An example is
illustrated in Figure 2-10.

Figure 2-10. Example Platoon Coil Formation

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

2-107. The herringbone is used to provide 360-degree security during a
temporary halt from a march column (see Figure 2-11). Scouts should
dismount to provide greater security. The formation may be widened to
permit passage of vehicles down the center of the column. All vehicles
should move completely off the road if terrain allows.

Figure 2-11. Platoon Herringbone Formation

2-108. As noted earlier in this section, the reconnaissance platoon
employs movement techniques for a number of reasons (minimize
exposure, maintain freedom of movement, maximize available tactical
options, and react effectively to contact). Effectively employed, movement
techniques allow the platoon to find and observe threats without being
2-109. At the same time, however, movement techniques alone are not
enough to guarantee accomplishment of these tactical goals. The platoon
must use them in conjunction with other movement- and security-related
measures. For example, scouts must make maximum use of all available
natural cover and concealment when moving. In addition, they must
avoid becoming vehicle-bound; they must dismount to improve
observation, prevent threat detection, and provide security.

2-110. In conducting either mounted and dismounted movement on the
battlefield, the reconnaissance platoon uses three movement techniques:
traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch. These
techniques provide a standard method of movement, but the platoon
leader must use common sense in employing them as he performs his
missions and encounters different situations. The decision of which
technique to use is based in large part on the likelihood of threat contact;
in general, this can be summarized as whether contact is not likely
(traveling), possible (traveling overwatch), or expected (bounding
overwatch). Terrain considerations may also affect the choice of
movement technique.
2-111. In the conduct of most tactical missions, the reconnaissance
platoon will move as separate sections or squads under the command and
control of the platoon leader. Traveling overwatch and bounding
overwatch, therefore, are most often executed at the section or squad

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level. Traveling, which is usually employed in secured areas, is used

equally at the section and platoon levels.
2-112. Regardless of which technique is used, the section leader gives
the section an order explaining what each squad will do. This becomes
more critical as the likelihood of threat contact increases. If possible, the
section leader should provide his squads with the following information:

· The threat situation as he knows or suspects it to be.

· The next overwatch position (the objective for the bounding
· The route of the bounding element to that position.
· What he wants the section to do after the bounding element
gets to the next position.


2-113. In this technique, the lead and trail elements move together as a
unit. It is the fastest but least secure movement technique. It is used
when speed is important and threat contact is not likely. Movement is
continuous, and interval and dispersion are maintained between squads
as terrain and weather permit. The platoon does not intend to engage in
combat, but it is dispersed to prevent destruction in case of unexpected
air or ground attack. When using this technique, the platoon could be in a
column formation or dispersed in its other formations (see Figure 2-12).

Figure 2-12. Recce Platoon Using Traveling Technique

and Staggered Column Formation

Traveling Overwatch
2-114. Traveling overwatch is used when contact is possible but speed is
desirable (see Figures 2-13 and 2-14). The lead element moves
continuously along covered and concealed routes that afford the best
available protection from possible threat observation and direct fire. The
trail element moves at variable speeds, providing continuous overwatch.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

It normally maintains visual contact with the lead element and may stop
periodically for better observation. The trail element remains close
enough to provide immediate suppressive fire and to maneuver for
support. It must, however, be far enough to the rear to avoid contact in
case the lead element is engaged by a threat force.

Figure 2-13. Section Using Traveling Overwatch

Technique and Wedge Formation

Figure 2-14. Dismounted Traveling Overwatch

Bounding Overwatch
2-115. Employed when threat contact is expected, bounding overwatch is
the most deliberate and secure movement technique. It provides for
immediate direct fire suppression on a threat force that engages the
bounding element with direct fire. (NOTE: When sufficient time is

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available, bounding overwatch should always be used regardless of the

likelihood of threat contact.)
2-116. In bounding overwatch, one element is always stationary to
provide overwatch. The trail element first occupies a covered and
concealed position from which it can overwatch the lead element. Upon
completing its movement (bound), the lead element then occupies a
similar position and provides overwatch as the trail element bounds
forward to its next overwatch position. Bounding overwatch can be
executed using one of the following bounding methods:

· Alternate bounds. In this method, the trail element

advances past the lead element to the next overwatch
position. This is usually more rapid than successive bounds.
· Successive bounds. In successive bounding, the trail
element moves to an overwatch position that is approximately
abreast of the lead element. This method is easier to control
and more secure than alternate bounding, but it is slower.

2-117. As an example, a two-vehicle section may use bounding

overwatch with successive bounds (see Figure 2-15). The lead vehicle
advances to a point (first move) where it can support the advance of the
overwatch vehicle. On signal, the overwatch vehicle moves forward to a
position abreast of the lead vehicle (second move) and halts. During its
move, it is overwatched by the lead vehicle. The lead vehicle then moves
forward again, with the overwatch vehicle providing security. Maximum
use is made of folds of the earth and concealment to mask movement from
likely threat positions. (NOTE: See Figure 2-16 for an illustration of
dismounted bounding overwatch. This can also be conducted at squad
level with the vehicle providing overwatch and the dismounted team
moving as the lead bounding element.)

Figure 2-15. Section Movement Using

Bounding Overwatch Technique

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

Figure 2-16. Dismounted Bounding Overwatch

Move-Set Technique
2-118. This method of movement is simply an organized way of
controlling the section when it moves in bounding overwatch. “Set” means
that the element has arrived at its destination and has occupied a
position from which it can observe to its front. This technique allows for
an absolute minimum of radio transmissions, positive control by the
section leader, and maximum security within the section. Preferably, the
section leader uses hand-and-arm signals within the section for C2. If the
section leader must use the radio, squad leaders should keep their radios
on the lowest possible power setting to minimize their signature and
reduce possible interference on the platoon net. The move-set method can
be used to control bounding overwatch within the section regardless of
the platoon organization.
2-119. When terrain permits sections to be mutually supporting (such as
in desert terrain) and other METT-TC factors are favorable, the platoon
leader can use this technique to control platoon bounding (by sections). In
such a situation, the sections would not be operating independently, but
rather would be directly controlled, and their movement coordinated, by
the platoon leader.


2-120. Prior to any mission, the leadership of the reconnaissance platoon

must conduct a detailed IPB (covered in Chapter 1 of this manual) of the
area of operations as part of analyzing the mission during troop-leading
procedures (discussed in earlier in this chapter). The leaders must
determine the probability of contact and identify locations where contact
is most likely to occur. To do this, they use information from all available

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assets, to include TUAVs, GSR reports on the FBCB2, information

collected by dismounted patrols, and intelligence from the S2. The leaders
are then able to plan for contact and determine how to employ TTP, such
as the proper movement techniques, to avoid chance contact.

2-121. The ideal way for the platoon to make contact is by means of
reports from other ISR assets (such as TUAVs or GSR). FBCB2 will allow
immediate dissemination of this information. The platoon leader can then
evaluate and develop the situation out of contact. Based on this
evaluation and further guidance from higher, he can maneuver the
platoon out of contact and make contact either on his own terms or as
directed by the commander.


2-122. No matter how thoroughly the platoon leader prepares for an
operation, direct contact with the threat is still a possibility, usually as a
result of chance contact. In all types of operations, contact occurs when an
individual soldier, squad, or section of the platoon encounters any
situation that requires an active or passive response to the threat. These
situations may entail one or more of the following forms of contact:

· Visual contact (friendly elements may or may not be observed

by the threat).
· Physical contact (direct fire) with a threat force.
· Indirect fire contact.
· Contact with obstacles of threat or unknown origin.
· Contact with threat or unknown aircraft.
· Situations involving NBC conditions.
· Situations involving electronic warfare tactics.
· Situations involving nonhostile elements, such as civilians.


2-123. The platoon must be prepared to execute actions on contact under
any of the following conditions:

· Visual contact (the platoon is undetected by the threat force).

· Contact with an unknown or superior force.
· Contact with an inferior force.

2-124. Whether the platoon remains undetected or is identified by threat

forces, it must first take actions to protect itself, find out what it is up
against, and decide on a COA. To properly execute actions on contact, the
platoon must take action consistent with the fundamentals of
reconnaissance (refer to Chapter 3 of this manual for a detailed

· Develop the situation rapidly.

· Report quickly and accurately.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

· Maintain contact with the threat in accordance with the

· Retain the freedom to maneuver.
· Remain focused on the reconnaissance objective.


2-125. When contact is made, the reconnaissance platoon executes battle
drills, designated by SOP, to maintain freedom of maneuver and avoid
becoming decisively engaged. It uses the four steps of actions on contact
(covered in detail later in this section) as the foundation for these drills:

· Deploy and report.

· Evaluate and develop the situation.
· Choose/recommend a COA and maneuver the force.
· Execute the COA.

2-126. The platoon leader will direct the platoon’s actions based on the
commander’s intent and guidance he receives from the OPORD/FRAGO.
These specific instructions must include focus of the reconnaissance,
tempo of the operation, engagement criteria, and the desired COA based
on the size and activity of the threat force encountered. By knowing these
details ahead of time, the platoon leader can develop the situation more
rapidly and arrive at and execute the desired COA. He strives to make
contact with combat multipliers (such as GSR assets or TUAVs) or with
its smallest possible internal element: the dismounted scout. The goal
is digital or visual contact in which the threat is observed but the platoon
remains undetected. This gives the platoon the greatest possible
flexibility to maneuver and develop the situation.
2-127. When the platoon deploys and reports, it employs the
fundamental techniques of tactical movement (dismounted/mounted) and
action drills, using the terrain to ensure effective cover and concealment.
As information becomes available, the element in contact sends a contact
report, followed by a SPOTREP (digital/analog). The platoon executes fire
and maneuver only when specifically directed by the platoon leader.
2-128. Developing the situation is a critical step in choosing the correct
COA and providing an accurate, timely report to the commander. Once
the platoon leader has enough information to make a decision, he selects
a COA that is within the capabilities of the platoon, that allows the
platoon to continue the reconnaissance as quickly as possible, and that
supports the commander’s concept of the operation. He considers various
possible COAs, based on well-developed TTP (including battle drills), to
meet the types of contact. At a minimum, the platoon must rehearse and
be ready to execute these potential COAs:

· Disengage from threat contact.

· Break contact and bypass.
· Maintain contact and bypass.
· Maintain contact to support an attack on an inferior force.
· Conduct an attack against an inferior force.

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· Conduct a hasty defense.

· Conduct reconnaissance handover.
· Conduct battle handover, if applicable.


2-129. The steps that make up actions on contact must be thoroughly
trained and rehearsed so that the platoon can react instinctively as a
team whenever it encounters threat forces. As noted, the four steps,
which are executed to allow the platoon to accomplish its mission in
accordance with reconnaissance fundamentals, are the following:

· Deploy and report.

· Evaluate and develop the situation.
· Choose and recommend a COA and maneuver the force.
· Execute the COA.


2-130. When a scout makes contact with the threat, he reacts according
to the circumstances of the contact. (NOTE: Refer to the eight general
categories of contact discussed earlier in this section.) The section or
squad that makes initial visual contact with the threat deploys to covered
terrain that affords good observation and fields of fire. If the scouts
receive fire from the threat, they return fire, but only with the intent of
breaking direct fire contact.
2-131. The scout or element in contact sends a contact report to the
platoon leader and follows as soon as possible with a SPOTREP using the
SALUTE format (size, activity, location, unit identification, time, and
equipment). If the scout or element in contact is unable to report or
cannot report quickly, another squad in the section must report.
2-132. Scouts that are not in contact temporarily halt in covered terrain,
monitor the incoming reports, and plot the situation on their maps. Once
they determine that they cannot be influenced by the threat or are not
needed to support the element in contact, they continue their mission
with the platoon leader’s approval. The platoon leader or PSG relays the
contact report to the commander, followed as soon as possible by a spot
report and updates.


2-133. The scouts next concentrate on defining what they are up against.
If they have not sent a spot report to this point, they initially focus on
getting enough information to send one. If they have not been detected by
the threat and time is available, the scouts reconnoiter the threat
position, emphasizing stealth, dismounted reconnaissance, and use of
such assets as GSR and TUAVs.
2-134. If the threat is aware of their presence, the scouts use a
combination of mounted and dismounted reconnaissance. They conduct
dismounted reconnaissance to get detailed information on threat
dispositions. Mounted reconnaissance will be used to move additional
assets into the area to support the element in contact.

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2-135. When physical contact occurs, the reconnaissance platoon

employs indirect and direct fires to suppress the threat while
maneuvering to get information. The scouts attempt to confirm or
determine in detail threat size, composition, activity, orientation, and
weapon system locations. They search for AT ditches, minefields, wire, or
other obstacles that could force friendly elements into a fire sack. The
scouts find the flanks of the threat position and look for other threat
elements that could provide mutual support to the position. Once the
scouts determine what they are up against, the platoon leader updates
the spot report.


2-136. Once the element in contact has developed the situation and the
platoon leader has enough information to make a decision, he selects a
COA. He ensures the COA is within the capabilities of the platoon, that it
allows the scouts to continue the reconnaissance as quickly as possible,
and that it supports the commander’s concept of the operation. The
platoon leader should consider all available COAs, including those
outlined in the following discussion. Once he decides on a COA, he
recommends it to his commander, providing information on how the
platoon COA will affect the next higher echelon’s situation.

Disengage from Threat Contact

2-137. The reconnaissance platoon cannot conduct its mission if it
becomes decisively engaged. If it is engaged, the platoon must have a plan
to break contact with the threat. As a general rule, the platoon, section, or
squad should disengage from the threat as early in the contact as
possible. This will allow for continuation of the mission and reduce the
chance of any loss of combat power.
2-138. At platoon level, OPs or patrols gain contact with the threat, then
report and prepare to displace to successive positions. These platoon
members should report the threat contact to the overwatching vehicles
and to the platoon leader.
2-139. When the threat force reaches the OPs’ break point (the point at
which the OPs must displace or risk detection and/or engagement by the
threat), the OPs pass off responsibility for tracking the threat to other
OPs in depth. The platoon then displaces its OPs to successive positions
in depth while maintaining contact with the threat. Patrols request
permission to return to the platoon vehicles. When permission has been
granted, they use covered and concealed routes back to the vehicle
positions and remount the vehicles.
2-140. Once the initial contact has been reported to higher headquarters
and the order to break contact has been given, disengagement should be
executed with one section or squad acting as overwatch for the displacing
section/squad as it moves. The section or squad that moves first will keep
its weapon systems oriented on the threat as it uses covered and
concealed routes to move to a designated rally point that precludes threat
observation and provides cover and concealment. This element may also
use on-board smoke generators or smoke grenades to cover its movement.
The overwatching section/squad provides suppressive fires, both indirect
and if necessary direct, to cover the movement of the displacing
section/squad. Mortars can also provide effective and responsive support

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when elements must break contact. The overwatching section must also
employ its dismounts with the Javelin missile system.
2-141. Once the displacing section/squad has arrived at the rally point, it
takes up defensive positions and reports its arrival to the overwatch
section/squad. The overwatching element then calls for protective fires
and uses an alternate covered and concealed route to move to the rally
point. When the entire platoon or section has moved back to the rally
point, it consolidates and reorganizes, reports its status to the higher
headquarters, and continues the mission. Figure 2-17 illustrates a
situation in which a recce platoon breaks contact by sections.

Figure 2-17. Platoon Disengages by Section

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Break Contact and Bypass

2-142. This COA may be selected when the platoon does not have the
resources to leave an element in contact and still continue to accomplish
its priority reconnaissance tasks. It may also be selected when the
platoon has made contact with a threat force that cannot adversely affect
the mission of the platoon’s higher headquarters. Because breaking
contact is a violation of reconnaissance fundamentals, the platoon leader
must be sure that his higher headquarters is informed of and approves
this COA. (Refer to Figure 2-18.)

Figure 2-18. Break Contact and Bypass.

Maintain Contact and Bypass

2-143. This COA is appropriate when a threat force, based on its current
disposition, is not in a position to influence the platoon’s higher
commander. An element (normally a section or squad) will be left to
maintain contact while the rest of the platoon continues the
reconnaissance mission. The element that remains in contact will
maintain visual contact with the threat and report if the threat situation
changes. The platoon must keep scouts in contact with the threat unless
specifically authorized to do otherwise. Depending on the applicable task
organization, the platoon leader must carefully assess METT-TC before
selecting this COA. Mission constraints may force the platoon leader to
leave one vehicle in contact. If this is the case, he must ensure that the
vehicle is AT-heavy (Javelin/TOW). To regain the use of all his assets, the
platoon leader continues coordination to execute reconnaissance or battle
handover of the contact to a follow-on element. (Refer to Figure 2-19.)

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Figure 2-19. Maintain Contact and Bypass

Maintain Contact to Support a Hasty Attack

2-144. This COA is appropriate when the platoon discovers threat
elements the higher commander wants to destroy, but which the scouts
cannot destroy, either because they lack sufficient combat power or
because they have other tasks to perform. In this situation, the platoon
maintains contact by leaving a section or squad in contact. The rest of the
platoon continues on to establish far-side security, monitor any changes
in the threat situation, and support the hasty attack by a friendly unit.
2-145. The platoon focuses on requirements for supporting a successful
friendly attack, including the following:

· Locating covered and concealed movement routes for friendly

attacking units.
· Locating attack positions.
· Locating enemy positions (within capability).
· Establishing a contact point to link up with, brief, and guide
the friendly unit as necessary.
· Designating an LD to use as a handover line to the attacking
· Preparing and coordinating fire support for the friendly
· Locating and preparing to occupy base of fire positions, if

2-146. It is essential that the section or squad left in contact understand

what needs to be accomplished, who will be executing the attack, and
when the friendly unit anticipates being in position to receive handover of
the threat. As the unit responsible for the attack moves into position, the
scouts in contact may rejoin the platoon or be placed OPCON to the
attacking unit to ease command, control, and coordination. (Refer to
Figure 2-20.)

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Figure 2-20. Maintain Contact to Support a Hasty Attack

Attack an Inferior Force

2-147. In most cases, the reconnaissance platoon cannot, or should not,
mass its combat power to defeat a threat force. If the scouts mass, they
risk losing the capability to complete their mission as well as jeopardizing
their ability to conduct subsequent missions. If the scouts are permitted
to attack a threat, they should only attack lightly armored or unarmored
reconnaissance vehicles, such as motorcycles or Soviet-style BRDMs and
BTRs. They should not engage more heavily armored vehicles except in
self-defense. (Refer to Figure 2-21.)

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Figure 2-21. Attack an Inferior Force

Establish a Hasty Defense

2-148. The platoon will establish a hasty defense if it cannot bypass the
threat, all the sections and/or squads are fixed or suppressed, and the
platoon no longer has the ability to move forward. A hasty defense will
also be used when the threat executes a hasty attack. The platoon
maintains contact or fixes the threat in place until additional combat
power arrives or the platoon is ordered to move. (Refer to Figure 2-22.) If
the platoon is required to conduct a hasty defense, the commander then
becomes responsible for continuing to develop the situation. (NOTE:
Without the use of indirect fires in this situation, the platoon will fail.)

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Figure 2-22. Establish a Hasty Defense

Conduct Reconnaissance Handover

2-149. The platoon leader will attempt to hand over responsibility for the
threat element. He does this for several tactical reasons: to continue
operations as directed, to regain use of all his elements, or to pass
reconnaissance responsibility to another friendly element. An example of
this is a BRT platoon handing over a threat element to a task force
reconnaissance platoon to maintain contact. Refer to the discussion of
reconnaissance handover in Chapter 3 of this manual.

Conduct Battle Handover

2-150. This COA is applicable when a reconnaissance platoon hands over
responsibility for a threat force to a friendly combat element. The platoon
does this for reasons similar to those for reconnaissance handover: to
continue operations, to regain use of all elements, or to hand over contact
to an element that usually will then engage and destroy the threat force.
An example of battle handover is a task force reconnaissance platoon
handing over a threat element to a tank company team for destruction.


2-151. The platoon leader updates his spot report to the commander with
any new information and then recommends a COA to the commander.
The commander approves or disapproves the recommended COA based on
how it will affect the parent unit’s mission.
2-152. If the commander and the S2 have anticipated the threat
situation the platoon is reporting, they will already have addressed the
contingency in the OPORD and given guidance to their subordinates on
what COA the platoon should execute. In such a case, the platoon leader
can evaluate the situation, choose a COA consistent with his higher
commander’s intent or concept, and execute it without further guidance.

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He keeps the commander informed of what he is doing as he executes the



2-153. The following examples illustrate actions on contact in a variety
of tactical situations. They are organized using the four-step process.


Deploy and Report
2-154. A reconnaissance section or squad makes contact when its
dismounted element identifies a threat force. It immediately sends a
contact report informing the platoon leader that it has made visual
contact with the threat but is not being engaged. This report is quickly
followed by an initial spot report.

Evaluate and Develop the Situation

2-155. Based on the initial spot report of the section or squad in contact,
the platoon leader determines that he has located his primary
reconnaissance objective; he orders additional sections or squads to
maneuver into the area. These reconnaissance elements move to
dismount points, set their vehicles in hide positions, and send dismounted
patrols from different directions into the area of contact.
2-156. The patrols move to multiple vantage points using dismounted
reconnaissance techniques, with the emphasis on avoiding detection. As
they develop new information, they send spot reports to the platoon
leader. The platoon leader moves his element to a covered and concealed
hide position where he can maintain effective communications with both
subordinate elements and higher headquarters. From this position, he
establishes local security (a hasty OP) and monitors and controls the
efforts of his sections or squads.

Choose/Recommend a COA and Maneuver the Force

2-157. When the platoon leader receives sufficient reports to have a clear
picture of the situation, he chooses to prepare to support a hasty attack.
This choice is made because the platoon leader determines that the force
he has located is the objective of his commander; therefore, this COA is in
accordance with his commander’s intent. After determining that the
commander’s intent has not changed, the platoon leader recommends the
COA to the commander and requests that the platoon execute it. He
ensures that he receives clear guidance from the commander before
moving on to the execution step.

Execute the COA

2-158. The platoon leader issues appropriate orders directing his
subordinates to prepare to support the hasty attack. He continues to
inform his commander of the threat situation and the platoon’s actions.


Deploy and Report
2-159. The scouts make contact as the lead platoon vehicle is engaged.
The lead scout and the overwatch see the signature of the threat weapon
system; since they do not have a clear idea of the size of the threat, they

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react as if it were a superior force. Simultaneously, the lead element

returns fire, sends a contact report, employs smoke grenades, and moves
to the nearest hide position. The overwatch vehicle engages the source of
threat fire by calling for mortar support and monitors to ensure the
contact report is sent. As soon as the lead vehicle is in a covered and
concealed position, the overwatch vehicle moves to an alternate firing
position and occupies a hide position while trying to maintain contact
with the smallest element, if possible.
2-160. The section or squad leader follows up on the contact report with
an initial spot report. This initial report may not be very detailed, but it
includes a description of what happened and the threat’s approximate

Evaluate and Develop the Situation

2-161. Once the section or squad is set in cover and concealment and has
submitted its initial reports, it must develop the situation. The objective
is to determine exactly what the threat situation is by dismounted
reconnaissance or use of GSR/TUAVs. This can best be done by moving to
the threat’s flank or rear. The section/squad leader organizes a hasty
reconnaissance patrol that will attempt to move to the flank or rear of the
threat and observe the threat position. Simultaneously, the section or
squad maintains at least one hasty OP in contact with the threat. As the
dismounted element maneuvers, it is supported by direct fire from the
vehicles, by indirect fire called for by the OP, or by both. These fires serve
to suppress the threat, reducing his ability to observe the scouts; they
also fix the threat’s attention on the last known location of the mounted
2-162. In the course of attempting to develop the situation, the section or
squad may determine that it is unable to determine the exact threat
situation for a number of possible reasons: suppressive fires by the
threat; obstacles; combat losses; or the size and extent of the threat
position. This information is sent to the platoon leader as soon as possible
in the form of updates to the original spot report.
2-163. If this occurs, the platoon leader must decide whether to commit
additional platoon assets to the contact to develop it further or to adopt a
COA based on the information he has discovered to that point. If the
platoon leader determines he needs more information, he may commit
additional assets to develop the situation further. He must also use
available combat multipliers such as GSR or TUAVs. The earlier in the
contact that the platoon leader can make this decision the better;
however, he must not commit unneeded resources to an action that will
detract from other reconnaissance tasks.
2-164. If he decides additional assets are required, the platoon leader
then orders other sections or squads not in contact to move to specific
locations and assist in developing the situation. As more than one section
or squad becomes involved in the situation, the platoon leader or PSG
(whoever is in the best location to do so) takes control of coordinating
their efforts. The elements conduct mounted movement to designated
dismount points, where they organize dismounted patrols to develop the
situation from a new direction. As these patrols discover the threat and
add additional information to the platoon leader’s picture, the platoon
leader may determine he has sufficient information to choose and execute

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a COA based on the commander’s engagement criteria or to recommend a

COA to the commander.

Choose/Recommend a COA and Maneuver the Force

2-165. Based on the available information and his commander’s intent
and guidance, the platoon leader determines to leave one section in
contact to support a hasty attack by a supporting element. His other
sections continue their reconnaissance mission.

Execute the COA

2-166. In this example, because the commander had specifically
addressed the contingency the platoon has developed, the platoon leader
neither makes a recommendation to his commander nor asks his
permission to execute the COA. Instead, the platoon leader immediately
issues orders to his sections and contacts the supporting element’s leader
to initiate coordination for handover of the threat and support of the
element’s hasty attack. He keeps the commander informed of his actions.


Deploy and Report
2-167. A TUAV supporting the lead element (section or squad) identifies
a threat element, which consists of one reconnaissance vehicle. In the
commander’s order, the engagement criteria tasked the section or squad
to engage when the threat force consists of one wheeled vehicle or less
(dismounted troops), giving the section/squad the initiative to execute
immediate actions on contact. The section/squad leader sends a contact
report and quickly engages and destroys the threat vehicle. After the
engagement is complete, he sends an initial spot report.

Evaluate and Develop the Situation

2-168. The lead vehicle and the overwatch element occupy positions that
allow them to observe the destroyed vehicle while the TUAV provides
area security overhead. They look for any other signs of threat activity or
any threat response to the destruction of the vehicle. The lead vehicle
then bounds past the destroyed vehicle and establishes far-side security.
Once far-side security is established, a dismounted element moves to the
destroyed vehicle and conducts a thorough search for prisoners, items of
intelligence value, and any other information that can be gained from a
close examination of the threat. When this reconnaissance is complete,
the section or squad sends an updated report to higher headquarters.

Choose/Recommend a COA and Maneuver the Force

2-169. When engagement is complete and the threat is destroyed, the
COA is obvious: the section or squad will continue its mission.

Execute the COA

2-170. Since the destruction of the threat is in accordance with the
commander’s order, the section/squad leader simply informs higher
headquarters that he is continuing the mission.


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2-171. Future battles will be mobile and violent, with emphasis on rapid
fire capability, increased speed, and maneuverability. Under these
conditions, the reconnaissance platoon’s ability to direct indirect fires is
its primary asset in helping the higher commander to shape the
battlefield. To help defeat the threat while surviving on the battlefield,
the reconnaissance platoon must be fully prepared to take maximum
advantage of the indirect fire capabilities of the friendly forces at its

2-172. The reconnaissance platoon employs FA and mortars as its
primary means of fire support across a broad spectrum of operations.
Using effects in accordance with the fires paragraph of the OPORD, the
platoon uses Army and/or joint precision fires to support reconnaissance
and security missions, as well as to impede, harass, or destroy threat
forces without compromising its current position. The platoon also
employs other types of fires. These include helicopters and fixed-wing
aircraft, which provide close air support (CAS) and aviation close fires
(ACF), and naval gunfire (NGF) assets. Refer to Chapter 8 for a detailed
discussion of fire support assets.
2-173. Target acquisition is the detection, identification, and location of a
target in sufficient detail to permit the effective employment of weapons.
With advances in precision munitions and the systems to rapidly deliver
them from relatively safe locations, the likelihood of the reconnaissance
platoon’s mission being focused on target acquisition has increased. The
process itself is embedded in reconnaissance operations, and target
acquisition may be the focus of a reconnaissance mission. The platoon
works with other ISR assets to gather targeting information and identify
targets using all available means. These assets include, but are not
limited to, individual scouts, strikers, aviation elements (including
TUAVs), and radar. In the BRT, for example, scouts and strikers may
together to execute the brigade’s essential fire support tasks (EFST).

2-174. The platoon’s critical tasks in employing fires on the battlefield
include the following:

· Conduct target acquisition.

· Conduct indirect fire planning.
· Call for and adjust indirect fires and joint fires.


2-175. The reconnaissance platoon’s primary mission is to provide

information to the commander about the threat and the battlefield
environment. Because of the extended frontages and distances over which
the platoon operates, it must rely heavily on effective communications
techniques. These techniques include not only the means of
communications (such as wire, visual signals, or radio and digital
systems) and the proper way of using them, but also the effective

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application of operational terms, radiotelephone procedures (RTP), and

digital TTP.
2-176. The platoon leader must ensure that all of his soldiers understand
communications procedures. For radio systems, including TACSAT, this
includes the different nets on which the platoon operates, as well as siting
considerations, field-expedient communications techniques, and visual
signals. In employing the platoon’s digital systems, including FBCB2, the
platoon’s scouts must understand how to prepare and send reports,
orders, and overlays and how to use hot keys.


2-177. The reconnaissance platoon always has several available means of
communications. Whether it is using messenger, wire, visual, sound,
radio signals, or digital systems, the platoon must remain flexible enough
to react quickly to new situations. Use of each of these means of
communication must be carefully planned to avoid dependence on a
single method.
2-178. SOPs can afford the platoon a tremendous advantage in mission
accomplishment. Hand-and-arm and flag signals aid in platoon
movement. Clear and concise radio transmissions can reduce
transmission times.

2-179. This is the most secure means of communications available to the
platoon. Messenger service is generally very flexible and reliable. In an
assembly area, it is the preferred means. On an infrequent basis,
members of the platoon may be called on to act as messengers to the
parent unit’s higher headquarters.

2-180. This method of communications is especially effective in static
positions or during the conduct of a screening mission. It is very versatile
and can be used in many different situations. Using one of the many wire
devices available, the platoon establishes hot loops to communicate
within the platoon, with OPs, and with the parent unit CP in assembly

2-181. Visual communications are used to transmit prearranged
messages quickly over short distances. Reconnaissance sections or squads
may rely heavily on this type of communications. Since the platoon rarely
operates as a unit over short distances, however, visual signals are
seldom used at the platoon level. In those cases when the entire platoon is
together, such as in a coil, in an assembly area, or on a road march, all
vehicle commanders must stay alert so they can receive visual signals
from the platoon leader and pass them on to other vehicle commanders in
the platoon.
2-182. Whenever visual signals are used, they must be clear enough to
be understood by vehicle commanders as they operate in tactical
situations. Standard hand-and-arm or flag signals work well during
periods of good visibility. Flashlights, chemical lights, or other types of
lights are required during limited visibility. The platoon must exercise

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extreme care when using lights to avoid alerting the threat to friendly
2-183. Pyrotechnic ammunition can also be used for visual signaling.
The meanings of these signals are identified in paragraph 5 of the
OPORD and in the unit signal operation instructions (SOI). The main
advantage of pyrotechnics is the speed with which signals can be
transmitted. Key disadvantages are the threat’s ability to see them and,
potentially, to imitate them.

2-184. This form of communications is used mainly to attract attention,
transmit prearranged messages, and spread alarms. Sound signals carry
only short distances; in addition, range and clarity are greatly reduced by
battle noise. Since they are open to threat interception, use of sound
signals may be restricted for security reasons. Prearranged meanings for
sound signals are outlined in the unit SOP and CEOI; they must be kept
simple to prevent misunderstandings.

2-185. The radio is the platoon’s most flexible and most frequently used
form of communications. Types of radio communications include
electromagnetic transmissions over FM, AM, UHF, and VHF spectrums
and use of TACSAT systems.
2-186. The most effective way to use the radio is to follow standard
guidelines for effective RTP; these include brevity, proper use of
authentication tables, and the use of approved operational terms. Threat
direction-finding units can trace radio signals. Once found, the
transmitter can easily be destroyed. For this reason, the platoon leader
and PSG must strictly enforce radio discipline regardless of encryption
devices; survival of the platoon depends on good radio habits.

FM Communications
2-187. Operations normally depend on radio as the primary means of
communication for both voice and digital traffic. Net discipline and SOP
minimize needless traffic. To avoid detection by threat direction finding
equipment, the platoon uses other means of communication whenever
possible to supplement the radio and minimize emissions. Once in
contact, the primary means of communication will be FM voice.

TACSAT Communications
2-188. Because the platoon often conducts reconnaissance operations
over great distances, the unlimited range of TACSAT radios can prove
extremely valuable.

2-189. FBCB2 is the digital system that enhances the reconnaissance
platoon’s battle command capability by linking the platoon internally and
to its higher headquarters. As noted in the discussion in Chapter 1 of this
manual, FBCB2 is part of the Army Battle Command System (ABCS), a
network of computers, GPS equipment, and communication systems that
work together to provide combat leaders with real-time information of
unprecedented quantity and quality. FBCB2 and the ABCS allow for

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advanced reporting, orders and graphics sharing, and database


2-190. The platoon may communicate via commercial lines when
approved by higher headquarters. Careful consideration must be given to
securing commercial lines and limiting the amount and type of classified
material sent over nonsecured lines. If the platoon is forced to withdraw,
existing wire lines, including commercial lines, are cut and sections
removed so the threat cannot use them.


2-191. The following radio nets are employed and/or monitored by
leaders in recce, BRT, and cavalry reconnaissance platoons. (See Figure

NOTE: The platoon leader may assign section or squad leaders to monitor the nets of units
operating to the front and/or rear of the platoon. These would become the alternate
nets monitored by the leaders. This technique supports situational awareness and
facilitates reconnaissance or battle handover.

Figure 2-23. Reconnaissance Platoon Nets

2-192. This net is used to conduct all platoon operations. All elements
within the reconnaissance platoon must have the ability to monitor and
transmit on this net at all times. Making sure this happens is one of the

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keys to effective command and control during the conduct of tactical

operations. All scouts must also have the ability to rapidly change to any
other platoon net as required to coordinate contact points or handover of
threat targets.

Troop Command
2-193. This net is used to maneuver the reconnaissance or recce troop as
well as to process most routine reports not sent on FBCB2. The troop
TOC is the net control station (NCS), and the platoon leader or PSG
sends routine reports to the troop XO. This net can be used by
reconnaissance platoon leaders to talk to each other and coordinate key
tactical actions of their platoons; however, platoon leaders will use each
other’s platoon nets to pass routine messages not of interest to the
2-194. Both the platoon leader and PSG must always have the ability to
monitor and transmit on this net. All scouts must be able to move to this
net to send reports and receive guidance if they are unable to contact
their platoon leader or PSG.

Troop Fires
2-195. Many troops operate a troop fires net to send calls for fire to the
troop FSO or directly to the troop mortars. The reconnaissance platoon
leader should direct all radios not actively operating on another net to
enter this net. All scouts must have the ability to change to this net and
coordinate indirect fire. (NOTE: Scouts must also be prepared to change
to the nets of supporting elements such as tank, MGS, and AT platoons to
coordinate supporting fires.)

2-196. The PSG will usually monitor the A/L net for the platoon, but the
platoon leader must be familiar with it as well. The PSG uses it as
required to send routine A/L reports. This net is also used to coordinate
resupply operations and evacuation of casualties.


2-197. The following are the radio nets employed and/or monitored by
leaders in the battalion reconnaissance platoon. (See Figure 2-24.)

NOTE: The platoon leader may assign section or squad leaders to monitor the nets of units
operating to the front and/or rear of the platoon. These would become the alternate
nets monitored by the leaders. This technique supports situational awareness and
facilitates reconnaissance or battle handover.

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

Figure 2-24. Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon Nets

2-198. This net is used to conduct all platoon operations. All elements
within the reconnaissance platoon must have the ability to monitor and
transmit on this net at all times. Making sure this happens is one of the
keys to effective command and control during the conduct of tactical

Battalion Command
2-199. The battalion command net is the primary net used to direct the
tactical operations of the battalion. It is monitored continuously by all
subordinate commanders in the battalion, as well as by key staff
members and the TOC. As a key maneuver element of the battalion, the
reconnaissance platoon must monitor this net continuously. The platoon
leader and the PSG should both have the capability to monitor and
transmit on this net when the battalion is conducting tactical operations.

Operations and Intelligence

2-200. Many battalions operate an OI net to handle R&S reports and
thus make the command net more efficient. This net can also be used to
control the R&S effort before the battalion main body begins tactical
operations. If the battalion has not begun tactical operations but the
scouts are engaged in reconnaissance or surveillance operations, the
platoon may use this as its primary net. In such a case, both the platoon
leader and PSG would monitor, receive, and transmit on this net.
2-201. The reconnaissance platoon should continue to maximize the use
of the OI net to pass information while conducting reconnaissance in
support of the main body, even after the main body has begun its
operations. The platoon leader can monitor the command net at this time

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

or choose to remain on the OI net. If he continues to use the OI net, he

should designate a member of the platoon to eavesdrop on the command
net to alert him when the battalion commander needs to communicate
directly with the scouts or when critical traffic is being passed over the
command net.

Battalion Fires
2-202. Because rapidly coordinating for and adjusting indirect fires is
vital in all R&S operations, the fires net is extremely critical to the
success of scout platoon operations. The platoon should have all radios
that are not on the higher command net or the platoon net preset to this
net. All scouts, whether operating mounted or dismounted and regardless
of how many radios they have, must have the ability to quickly change to
this net and coordinate indirect fire. The scout platoon leader must
coordinate with the battalion FSO regarding the use of the fires net to
ensure that the platoon can use it to send voice call for fire messages.

Company Team
2-203. All scouts must have the ability to rapidly change to any of the
battalion company team nets. These nets are used to conduct coordination
for handing off enemy targets once the scouts make contact.

2-204. The scout PSG will usually monitor the A/L net for the platoon,
but the platoon leader must be familiar with it as well. The PSG uses it as
required to send routine A/L reports. This net is also used to coordinate
resupply operations and evacuation of casualties.

2-205. When the scout platoon operates at extended distances from the
battalion TOC, it may use the battalion retrans net to facilitate effective
communications between the scout platoon leader and the TOC. The
platoon leader should request use of the retrans net during all missions
requiring FM communications at extended ranges.

2-206. The reconnaissance platoon net is the key to command and
control of the platoon. The smooth functioning of this net allows accurate
information to be passed quickly both to and from the platoon leader. This
information flow is critical in maintaining the platoon leader’s situational
awareness and in enhancing command and control. When contact is
made, the volume of traffic on the recce platoon net will increase
drastically. The platoon must be organized to control, understand, and
process this vast amount of information while engaging the threat and
possibly being engaged in turn. The following guidelines will help to
ensure that the information flowing over the net is organized and
controlled in a way that permits the platoon leader to both understand it
and issue orders in response to it.

2-207. The platoon leader should, in either the platoon order or the unit
SOP, establish criteria for flash traffic. For example, the flash traffic
criteria could dictate special handling of the platoon’s prescribed PIR.

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

When a scout gains information relevant to a critical PIR item, he

interrupts any net traffic with a proword such as “FLASH—FLASH—
FLASH.” The use of such a proword immediately advises all other scouts
to get off the net, thus clearing it for the critical traffic to be passed.

2-208. The PSG is responsible for net discipline. In this capacity, he will
challenge any violation of procedure as it occurs. Improper or inefficient
radio procedures, even in routine administrative reports, inhibit effective
command and control.

2-209. The best way to ensure effectiveness of a radio message is to write
it out before it is sent. This procedure yields a more accurate and,
ultimately, more timely tranmission. It also ensures that the message is
sent correctly, completely, and clearly in the shortest possible amount of
time. The message is easier to understand, and the duration of the
electronic signature of the sending station is minimized.

2-210. Proper RTPs are the cornerstone of effective command and
control in the reconnaissance platoon. All scouts must be expert in
communications procedures. This not only ensures efficient
communications within the platoon, but also allows all members of the
platoon to communicate effectively with outside elements such as the
squadron, troop, other platoons, and subordinate and/or supporting


2-211. The platoon leader and PSG are responsible for ensuring that
their scouts understand and adhere to the following guidelines, which can
contribute to more effective, more secure tactical communications.


2-212. Each scout must be an expert at using and maintaining his FM
communications system. In particular, he must understand its
capabilities and limitations. He must also understand how to maintain
the system and how to troubleshoot it whenever he suspects it is not
functioning properly.

2-213. All messages sent within or from the platoon must be short and
informative. The longer the message, the greater the opportunity for
threat elements to electronically determine the platoon’s location.
Message length can be controlled in several ways:

· Write the message down and then eliminate all unnecessary

words from the written message before sending it.
· Read the message as written when sending it.
· Use a brevity code that reduces the need to explain the
tactical picture in detail.
· Break long messages into several parts and send each

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

2-214. When sending a message, every scout must be conscious of the
size and nature of the electronic signature that he is emitting. He must
consider the following methods for reducing the size of the signature:

· Use terrain to mask the signature from the direction of the

· Set the transmitter power to low if that setting will provide
sufficient range (as it often does within the reconnaissance
platoon, section, or squad).
· Whenever possible (particularly in stationary operations), use
an expedient directional antenna to restrict the threat’s
ability to monitor the signal. See Appendix E of this manual
for instructions on how to construct and use such an antenna.
2-215. A thorough knowledge of report formats is critical in ensuring
timely reporting of threat information, especially in fast-moving tactical
situations. Every scout should be familiar with the report formats that
are outlined later in this chapter and know how to use them effectively.
At the same time, however, they must never delay reports only to assure
2-216. As a basic guideline, reports of threat activity follow the SALUTE
format, covering these factors:

· Size. This includes the number of sighted personnel, vehicles,

or other equipment.
· Activity. This covers what the threat is doing.
· Location. This is usually reported as the grid coordinates of
threat elements.
· Unit. This covers any indications useful in unit identification,
such as patches, signs, and vehicle markings.
· Time. This item details when threat activity was observed.
· Equipment. This includes description or identification of all
equipment associated with the threat activity.


2-217. The reconnaissance platoon’s primary function is to gather and

report information (reconnaissance). The platoon reports information,
using either analog equipment or digital means (FBCB2), in a timely and
accurate manner that enhances the decision-making process of its higher
headquarters and/or that enables the higher headquarters to employ
effective fires to defeat the threat. The use of FBCB2 enhances the scouts’
capability to send timely and detailed reports to all elements of the
combined arms force, providing the winning edge on the battlefield.
Initial contact reports should still be analog, providing immediate

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

notification to all, yet allowing the element in contact to focus on his

actions in contact procedures. Once disengaged, or there is no further
threat to the element, he can follow up the initial contact report with a
detailed, digital report.
2-218. The reconnaissance platoon’s unique information-gathering
capabilities provide the commander with information that has tactical
value concerning the threat, terrain, and effects of weather within an
area of operations. Scouts reconnoiter terrain to determine movement
and maneuver conditions. When they find the threat, they determine his
disposition, strengths, and weaknesses in detail. The reconnaissance
platoon provides the information necessary to allow combined arms forces
to maneuver against the threat, strike him where he is most vulnerable,
and apply overwhelming power to defeat him. The platoon’s accurate and
timely reporting of threat locations and strength can make the difference
between victory and defeat.

2-219. Important considerations and guidelines for the reconnaissance
platoon in its reporting of tactical information include the following:

· Conduct effective communications. This entails

understanding the means of tactical communications (such as
wire, visual signals, analog radio, or digital communications),
the correct application of operational terms, and the use of
effective RTPs. Refer to the discussion of communications
earlier in this chapter.
· Verify all information before reporting it higher.
· Report the following types of information as quickly as
n Information of potential intelligence value.
n Threat information.
n Requests for medical assistance and evacuation.
· As needed, use report formats and procedures to supplement
and enhance combat orders, including warning orders,

2-220. The reconnaissance platoon should follow these guidelines in
reporting tactical information:

· Do not overload radio nets by repeating information.

· Use local time zones for all reports unless otherwise specified.
· Send only the parts or lines of a report that contain new
information or changes.
· Though each report has a prescribed format to ensure the
completeness of the information reported, users must
remember that timely reporting, especially of threat activity,
is critical in fast-moving tactical situations.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________

· Do not delay reports only to assure correct format; REPORT


2-221. The following list covers the various reports available to the
reconnaissance platoon. Refer to Appendix B of this manual for a
discussion of these reports, including line-by-line formats and examples:

· Contact Report.
· Blue Reports (Operations).
n Blue 1 – Spot Report (SPOTREP).
n Blue 2 – Situation Report (SITREP).
n Blue 4 – Report for Bridge, Overpass, Culvert, Underpass,
or Tunnel (BRIDGEREP).
n Blue 5 – Report for Ford, Ferry, or Other Crossing Site
n Blue 7 – Route Reconnaissance Report
n Blue 9 – Obstacle Report.
n Blue 10 – Bypass Report.
n Blue 11 – Stand-to Report (STANREP).
· Green Reports (Intelligence).
n Green 2 – Sensitive Items Report (SENSEREP).
n Green 3 – Splash Report.
n Green 4 – Patrol Report.
n Green 5 – Meaconing, Intrusion, Jamming, and
Interference (MIJI) Report.
n Green 6 – EPW/Captured Material Report.
· Yellow Reports (Logistics).
n Yellow 1 – Equipment Status Report (ESTAT).
n Yellow 1A – Battle Loss Spot Report.
n Yellow 2 – Ammunition Status Report.
n Yellow 2A – Ammunition Request.
n Yellow 3 – POL Status Report.
n Yellow 3A – POL Request.
· Red Reports (Personnel).
n Red 2 – Personnel Battle Loss Report.
n Red 3 – Medical Evacuation Request.
· NBC Reports.
n NBC-1 – Observer’s Initial Report.
n NBC-3 – Immediate Warning of Expected Contamination.
n NBC-4 – Report of Radiation Dose-Rate Measurement.

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

n NBC-5 – Report of Areas of Contamination.


2-222. In addition to its capabilities related to providing situational
awareness data, FBCB2 offers a variety of functions that can enhance C2
in the reconnaissance platoon. The system has four categories of C2

· Alerts and warnings (examples include NBC reports and

warnings of danger zones such as NBC contaminated areas,
obstacles, or enemy locations).
· Joint support information (interfaces with other branches of
service). (NOTE: This type of digital information is not
covered in this discussion.)
· Combat reporting (such as the commander’s SITREP).
· Mission planning information (including OPORDs and

NOTE: This discussion also includes an explanation of geo-referenced messages, which

create icons linked to a location on the FBCB2 map. These messages can be used in
each of the C2 categories listed.


2-223. Alerts and warnings are sent via reports, free text messages, or
geo-referenced messages. They are posted on the flash immediate priority
routine (FIPR) message queue and are displayed on the function bar of
the main FBCB2 screen and as a symbol on the map screen.
2-224. When the platform penetrates the safety radius of a danger zone,
the FBCB2 alarm is triggered, an alert message is displayed on the
warnings/alerts marquee, and an entry is made in the warnings tab
group. The danger zone tab group will display the type, distance,
direction, location and originator of all danger zone information received.
Danger zone information is transmitted in specific joint variable message
format (JVMF) messages as situational awareness data. FBCB2 receives
the message and displays the situational awareness/danger zone
information in the danger zone tab group. Table 2-1 lists types of danger
zone messages as well as the safety radius within which FBCB2 will
trigger a danger zone alert.


2-225. These are JVMF messages that have been modified and grouped
together to provide single-button access to the message template,
requiring fewer keystrokes to complete and send the message. Combat
messages are the following:

· Fire mission (call for fire).
· Check fire.

FM 3-20.98 __________________________________________________________________________


Table 2-1. FBCB2 Danger Zone Messages

Safety Radius
Message Type Type of Danger Zone
NBC-1 Chemical 500
Obstacle Report / NBC-1 Biological 500
Obstacle Report / NBC-1 / Strike Warning Nuclear 1000
Spot Report Aircraft 5000
Spot Report Formation 4000
Spot Report Field Fortifications 1500
Spot Report Multiple Rocket Launcher 4000
Spot Report Air Defense Artillery 4000
Spot Report Assembly Area 4000
Spot Report Buildings 1500
Spot Report Equipment 4000
Spot Report Command Center 1500
Spot Report Supply Dump 1500
Spot Report Rocket Missiles 4000
Spot Report Vehicles 4000
Spot Report Armor Combat 4000
Spot Report Artillery 4000
Spot Report Mortar 8000
Spot Report Weapons 1500
Spot Report Personnel 1500
Spot Report Unknown 4000
Spot Report Fire Mission 600
Obstacle Report Minefield, Antipersonnel 500
Obstacle Report Minefield, Antitank 500
Obstacle Report Minefield, Mixed 500
Obstacle Report Minefield, Unknown 500
Obstacle Report Chemical, Nerve 500
Obstacle Report Chemical, Blood 500
Obstacle Report Chemical, Blister 500
Obstacle Report Chemical, Choking 500
Obstacle Report Booby Traps 500
Obstacle Report Abatis 500
Obstacle Report Craters 500
Obstacle Report Antitank Ditch 500
Obstacle Report Scatterable Mines 500
Obstacle Report Bunker Strongpoint 1500
Strike Warning Conventional 1000
Threat Warning NBC 500
Threat Warning Antiaircraft Artillery 4000
Threat Warning Aircraft 10000
Threat Warning Air-to-Air Missile 10000
Threat Warning Surface-to-Air Missile 1500
Threat Warning Surface-to-Surface Missile 10000

___________________________________________________ Chapter 2 – Leadership Competencies

Threat Warning Air-to-Surface Missile 15000

Threat Warning Unknown 4000


2-226. Mission planning information includes orders and request-type
messages that contain JVMF message templates. They include the

· Warning orders.
· Operational plans (OPLAN) and OPORDs.
· Logistics orders and requests.
· Free text massages.

2-227. These messages, which can be used in the C2 categories discussed
earlier, create icons linked to a location on the FBCB2 map. They are also
disseminated across the TI as situational awareness data. Geo-referenced
messages can be used for the following:

· Obstacle reports.
· NBC-1 reports.
· Bridge reports.
· Supply point status reports.
· Contact reports.
· Engagement reports.

2-228. FBCB2 users can choose to hide or display all geo-referenced data
from the filter dialog box. Geo-referenced messages contain “hook”
information—detailed information on the status of any icon. To access
“hook” information on a geo-referenced icon, however, the user must have
been a recipient of the message.

Chapter 3

Reconnaissance Operations
Reconnaissance platoons
conduct reconnaissance to CONTENTS
provide their commander Purpose and Fundamentals ........................ 3-1
with information that has Purpose .................................................. 3-2
tactical value concerning the Fundamentals of Reconnaissance ...... 3-2
Reconnaissance Planning, Methods,
terrain, threat, social/human and Tactical Employment .............. 3-4
demographics, infrastructure, Reconnaissance Tempo ....................... 3-4
and effects of weather within Reconnaissance Pull/Push ................... 3-6
an area of operations. Scouts Planning Considerations ...................... 3-6
Reconnaissance Operational
reconnoiter terrain to deter- Environment ....................................... 3-8
mine movement and Reconnaissance Handover .................. 3-13
maneuver conditions. When Reconnaissance Methods .................... 3-17
they find the threat, they Tactical Employment ............................ 3-21
Multidimensional Aspects of
determine his disposition, Reconnaissance and
strengths, and weaknesses in Surveillance .................................... 3-32
detail. The reconnaissance Operational Considerations ................. 3-33
platoon provides information Intelligence Collection .......................... 3-33
Civil-Military Operations ....................... 3-42
necessary to allow combined Route Reconnaissance ................................ 3-48
arms forces to maneuver Critical Tasks ......................................... 3-48
against the threat, strike him Techniques ............................................ 3-49
Example of a Recce Platoon Route
where he is most vulnerable,
Reconnaissance ................................ 3-50
and apply overwhelming Example of a CFV Platoon Route
power to defeat him. In Reconnaissance ................................ 3-54
addition, scouts must be able Area Reconnaissance .................................. 3-57
Critical Tasks ......................................... 3-57
to perform the multi-
Techniques ............................................ 3-58
dimensional aspect of Example of an Area Reconnaissance .. 3-59
reconnaissance to gather the Zone Reconnaissance ................................. 3-62
information needed for Critical Tasks ......................................... 3-62
Techniques ............................................ 3-63
execution of such activities as Example of a Zone Reconnaissance ... 3-64
stability operations and Obstacle/Restriction Reconnaissance ....... 3-69
support operations. The Steps of Obstacle/Restriction
Reconnaissance ................................ 3-70
Examples of Obstacle/Restriction
Reconnaissance ................................ 3-74


3-1. Reconnaissance is conducted as part of all scout missions, both

mounted and dismounted, and always maximizes all available assets.
Scouts conduct dismounted reconnaissance to gather detailed
information, to enhance security, and to move with stealth or in rugged
terrain. They conduct mounted reconnaissance when time is critical and
they need to cover a large area quickly. Mounted reconnaissance allows
scouts to maintain a fast tempo in combat operations and to make

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

maximum use of optics, firepower, communications, and protection

provided by scout vehicles.
3-2. Scouts must thoroughly understand how the threat deploys his
reconnaissance and security forces, as well as the sequence and timing of
their entry into battle. The scouts’ accurate and timely reporting of threat
locations and strength can make the difference between winning or losing
the main battle. At the same time, it is critical that scouts never lose
sight of their reconnaissance priorities and become involved in battles
that invariably wear down reconnaissance forces.

3-3. Based on their commander’s intent and guidance, scouts conduct
reconnaissance forward of other friendly forces to provide current,
accurate information about the threat, terrain, weather, society,
infrastructure, and physical resources within a specified area of
operations. In simplest terms, the reconnaissance platoon and its higher
headquarters take steps to link the purpose of the reconnaissance to one
or more of the following requirements:

· Obtain information to answer the CCIR.

· Obtain information to fill voids in the unit IPB by answering
IR and SIR.
· Support targeting requirements by conducting target

3-4. These actions provide follow-on forces with an opportunity to

maneuver freely and rapidly to their objective. Scouts keep the follow-on
forces from being surprised or interrupted, and they prevent these forces
from losing men and equipment along the way to the objective.
Reconnaissance platoons perform three types of reconnaissance: route,
zone, and area.

3-5. Seven fundamentals are common to all successful reconnaissance
operations. Scout leaders must ensure that their plans adhere to these
fundamentals, which are covered in the following discussion, during the
execution of reconnaissance missions.


3-6. Previous doctrine focused on maximum reconnaissance forward,
which may still be appropriate in many situations. With the increasing
likelihood of noncontiguous operations, however, reconnaissance and
security operations may be oriented in multiple directions. Planning must
also cover considerations for reconnaissance platoon operations in depth.
The platoon must be able to integrate a wide range of sensors, to include
TUAVs and ground sensors, to ensure maximum effectiveness and
survivability of ground scouts. In the recce platoon, the platoon
leadership must know how to focus platoon HUMINT collectors as well as
traditional scouts.


3-7. The reconnaissance platoon’s scheme of maneuver is focused
toward a reconnaissance objective or set of objectives. The objective may

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

be a terrain feature, a specific area, an enemy formation, or other type of

threat force (such as a paramilitary element). It may be designated by an
NAI, target area of interest (TAI), checkpoint, or objective symbol. A
multidimensional reconnaissance objective, especially in stability
operations or support operations, may reflect some aspect of the society or
infrastructure within the area of operations. In Bosnia, for example,
reconnaissance objectives were based on considerations from the Dayton
Peace Accord; these included compliance with inspectors at weapons
storage site facilities, the disbanding of illegal factional checkpoints, or
the absence of police activity in the zone of separation.
3-8. The platoon must maintain its orientation toward the objective,
regardless of what it encounters, until the mission is complete or it is
directed otherwise. The platoon’s objective is covered in paragraph 3 of
the higher commander’s OPORD. It is critical that the reconnaissance
platoon leader and his subordinate leaders completely understand the
mission focus before they begin the planning process. As noted earlier,
the focus of the reconnaissance must be clearly linked to answering the
CCIR, to filling voids in the unit IPB (especially related to the IR and
SIR), and/or to supporting target acquisition.


3-9. Commanders base their decisions and plans on the battlefield
information that scouts find and report during reconnaissance.
Information loses value over time. Scouts must report all information
exactly as they see it and as fast as possible. They must never assume,
distort, or exaggerate; inaccurate information is dangerous. Information
that the threat is not in a certain location is just as vital as where the
threat is.


3-10. Scouts must be able to maneuver on the battlefield. If the threat
fixes them, the scouts must free themselves; otherwise, they can no
longer accomplish their mission. Scouts must continually maintain
awareness of tactical developments. They must employ effective
techniques of tactical movement and react appropriately to unexpected
situations. When contact is made, the platoon leader must seek to develop
the situation at the lowest possible level, retaining the initiative, the
ability to continue the mission, and the ability to maneuver his other


3-11. Scouts seek visual contact with the threat. Ideally, the
reconnaissance platoon leader will gain a thorough understanding of the
threat situation before the operation starts by integrating ISR assets
(such as TUAVs and ground sensors) during the planning process. This
will enable him to maneuver the platoon out of contact so he can make
contact either on the most favorable terms or as directed by the
commander. He employs sound tactical movement, effective target
acquisition methods, and appropriate actions on contact to see the threat
first and thereby retain the initiative and control of the situation. Once
the scouts find the threat, they maintain contact using all available
means (sensors, radar, sound, and visual) until their commander orders
them to do otherwise or until a change of mission is specified by their

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

specific instructions and/or engagement criteria. The platoon then

conducts reconnaissance handover (RHO) to pass responsibility for the
threat to other elements.


3-12. Whether scouts run into a threat force or an obstacle, they must
quickly determine what they are up against. If it is the threat, the scouts
determine his size, composition, and activity. They find the flanks of the
threat force. They find any barriers or obstacles surrounding the threat
position and determine whether any other threat forces can support the
position. If the scouts encounter an obstacle, they find and mark a bypass
or, if appropriate, execute or assist in a breach. These actions all must be
done quickly, with a minimum of guidance from higher. Time is the
scout’s most precious resource; he cannot waste it if he is to achieve
mission success.


3-13. Units at battalion level and above conduct ISR before, during,
and after all types of operations. The reconnaissance platoon is integral
to the ISR effort; however, it is limited in its ability to conduct and
sustain continuous reconnaissance. When the platoon is involved in
reconnaissance conducted over extended time and distance, the higher
commander will have to pace his assets and rotate units to maintain
continuous reconnaissance coverage.



3-14. To reduce vulnerability on the battlefield, scouts employ

reconnaissance methods that achieve a balance between an acceptable
level of risk and the security necessary to ensure mission
accomplishment. Often this is expressed as a tradeoff between speed and
security. The faster the reconnaissance, the more risk the scout takes and
the less detailed the reconnaissance he conducts.
3-15. In conducting their missions, scouts must use all available
resources, including reconnaissance methods that have been trained and
rehearsed in detail. They must take every opportunity, both during
peacetime and on the battlefield, to hone their reconnaissance skills. By
the nature of their missions, scouts can never achieve perfect security;
however, thorough knowledge of the various reconnaissance methods and
their employment, combined with an understanding of a mission’s
particular METT-TC requirements, allows the scout leader to choose, and
mix, reconnaissance methods that both maximize security and ensure
mission accomplishment.

3-16. This discussion focuses on several reconnaissance methods that
scouts can employ. These methods have proven effective in a variety of
situations and form a foundation for how to conduct reconnaissance.
Scouts must use their experience, professional judgment, and common

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

sense to analyze a given situation and employ the appropriate method.

Usually, a mission will require that these methods be applied using a
variety of techniques, combinations, and variations.
3-17. In executing a reconnaissance mission, the reconnaissance
platoon employs methods that reflect METT-TC considerations and that
are geared to the particular task or the platoon’s unique capabilities. The
types of methods and actions that the platoon may employ during the
course of a mission can be generally characterized as stealthy or forceful,
discreet or aggressive, and deliberate or rapid. The majority of platoon
missions will actually fall along a continuum with varying levels of these
three sets of extremes.
3-18. To help the platoon leader determine the appropriate
reconnaissance method, the commander should provide him with
pertinent information on the reconnaissance focus, tempo, and
engagement criteria. The focus and engagement criteria will dictate
whether the platoon reconnaissance will be stealthy or forceful and/or
aggressive or discreet. The tempo of the mission will determine whether
reconnaissance is deliberate or rapid. (NOTE: Reconnaissance focus,
tempo, and engagement criteria are covered in the discussion of planning
considerations later in this chapter.)
3-19. Stealthy and forceful describe the level of covertness required by
the commander. Stealthy reconnaissance is a time-consuming process
that emphasizes avoiding detection by the threat. To be effective, a
stealthy approach must rely on dismounted reconnaissance assets and
maximum use of covered and concealed terrain. Forceful operations,
which are conducted without regard for whether the reconnaissance force
will be detected, often involve mounted elements, including combat units
that do not ordinarily take part in reconnaissance.
3-20. Discreet and aggressive are terms describing the potential for
engagement by the threat. Discreet reconnaissance is conducted under
restrictive conditions, especially in relation to engagement criteria and
the ability of the reconnaissance force to fight for information. Aggressive
reconnaissance emphasizes identification of the threat’s combat power by
techniques that may include fighting for information. This method is
characterized by the employment of armored vehicles and the use of
supporting fires. The platoon leader must always remain aware that
aggressive information-gathering can provide the threat with an
indication of friendly capabilities and future intentions.
3-21. The terms deliberate and rapid relate directly to the tempo of a
particular reconnaissance and to the degree of completeness required by
the commander. A deliberate operation yields a thorough, detailed
reconnaissance of a particular area or zone. Rapid reconnaissance is
focused on one or two critical tasks, thus minimizing the time necessary
to cover a particular area or zone.
3-22. Because of the nature of their organizations, recce and HMMWV
mounted reconnaissance platoons will tend to conduct stealthy and/or
discreet reconnaissance. CFV mounted platoons, on the other hand, are
more likely to conduct forceful and/or aggressive reconnaissance.
3-23. At the same time, the reconnaissance platoon leader must realize
that the opposing approaches to reconnaissance (stealthy/forceful;

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

discreet/aggressive; deliberate/rapid) are not mutually exclusive. For

example, there may be times when HMMWV mounted platoons, such as
battalion reconnaissance platoons, may choose to conduct aggressive
reconnaissance based on the efforts of division cavalry and the BRT,
which may already have operated in the area into which the HMMWV
platoon is moving. Any of the possible combinations can be useful based
on templated and actual threat dispositions, changing tactical situations,
varying weather and light conditions, and available resources.

3-24. There are two general forms of reconnaissance: push and pull.
3-25. Reconnaissance pull is used when the enemy situation is not well
known and/or the situation is rapidly changing. Reconnaissance pull
fosters planning and decision-making processes that are focused on
changing assumptions into confirmed information. Initial assumptions
and PIR are used to deploy reconnaissance assets early to collect
information for use in the development of COAs. The commander uses
R&S assets to confirm or deny initial PIR prior to the decision on a COA
or maneuver option, thus pulling the supported unit (battalion or
brigade) to the decisive point on the battlefield. Success of the
reconnaissance pull requires an integrated reconnaissance plan that can
be executed prior to the commander having to make a COA decision.
3-26. Reconnaissance push is used once the commander is committed to
a COA or maneuver option. The commander pushes his R&S assets
forward as necessary to gain greater visibility on specific NAIs and to
gain information that will confirm or deny the assumptions on which the
COA is based.

3-27. The purpose of this section is to outline the planning, methods,
and tactical employment involved in executing reconnaissance missions.
Critical to the platoon leader’s ability to execute his mission is to clearly
understand the focus, tempo, and engagement criteria of the
reconnaissance mission. This information can be labeled as essential
commander’s guidance. It is an extension of the commander’s intent and
is meant to fully clarify the intent for the reconnaissance effort. It should
be received from higher as well as issued to subordinates. The essential
commander’s guidance answers the three basic questions the platoon
leader needs to know to plan his mission:

· What is the focus of the reconnaissance? Considerations

related to the focus include the following (the first four items
are characteristics of the reconnaissance operational
environment, which are discussed later in this section):
n Threat/enemy (conventional and/or nonconventional
forces, terrorist organizations, criminal elements).
n Society/human demographics (HUMINT, civilian
n Terrain (bridges, routes, defensible terrain).
n Infrastructure (political situation, facilities, food

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

n What reconnaissance critical tasks are to be conducted or


NOTE: As noted throughout this chapter, the focus should be linked to the purpose of the
reconnaissance operation to accomplish any or all of the following tasks: answer
the CCIR, fill voids in the unit IPB (as related to the IR and specific information
requirements [SIR]), and/or support targeting operations through target

· What is the tempo of the reconnaissance?

Considerations related to the tempo include the following:
n Will the reconnaissance be conducted primarily
dismounted or mounted (stealthy or forceful)?
n Will the reconnaissance be discreet or aggressive (or a
n Will the reconnaissance be deliberate or rapid?
· What are the engagement criteria (if any)?
Considerations related to the engagement criteria include the
n What are the applicable ROE?
n What situations will lead to a fight for the supported
n What situations will lead to a reconnaissance platoon
n What weapon systems will be used to engage what types
of targets?

3-28. The focus of the reconnaissance allows the platoon leader to

determine which critical tasks he wants the platoon to accomplish first. It
helps him narrow the platoon’s scope of operations to get the information
that is most important to squadron and brigade operations. In SSC
operations the platoon focus might be terrain-oriented, or threat security-
force oriented. In an environment involving stability operations and
support operations, the platoon might be focused on determining local
populace sentiment or on identifying local paramilitary leaders. While all
critical tasks have some degree of applicability in any given operation,
certain ones are more important for specific missions; this must be clearly
articulated at each level. Given a specified amount of time, the
reconnaissance platoon accomplishes its specified critical tasks and then
accomplishes other tasks as instructed by the commander.
3-29. The tempo of the reconnaissance allows the platoon leader to
establish associated time requirements and correlate them with planning
time, movement formations, engagement criteria, and methods, such as
dismounted or mounted reconnaissance (see Figure 3-1). The platoon
leader establishes the tempo by answering two questions and articulating
the results to the platoon:
· Is the platoon conducting stealthy or forceful reconnaissance?
As noted, the term stealthy implies time-consuming,
primarily dismounted operations that minimize chance

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

contact and observation of the platoon by threat forces. The

platoon conducts forceful reconnaissance when there is no
concern about being observed; it is usually mounted during
these operations.
· Does the reconnaissance require discreet or aggressive
methods? Discreet reconnaissance is characterized by very
restrictive engagement criteria, with reconnaissance forces
restrained from initiating combat to gain information.
Aggressive reconnaissance entails primarily mounted, fast-
paced operations with permissive engagement criteria that
allow the reconnaissance force to fight for information.
· Is the reconnaissance deliberate or rapid? Deliberate
reconnaissance entails slow, detailed, broad-based operations
that require accomplishment of numerous tasks and that
usually have no specific focus for the platoon. Rapid
reconnaissance operations focus the platoon on a few key
pieces of information required by the commander. They
usually take place in a time-constrained environment and
require completion of a small number of tasks.

Figure 3-1. Tempo of Reconnaissance

3-30. The engagement criteria establish which targets the platoon is

expected to destroy and which ones it is expected to hand off to higher
elements. Conversely, by coupling his understanding of what the
commander wants the platoon to destroy with his understanding of the
threat’s most likely COA, the platoon leader is able to break down what
he wants his sections to destroy. This enables him to focus the platoon’s
weapon systems, develop engagement areas, and plan for the destruction
of specified threat vehicles if the platoon encounters them.


3-31. The reconnaissance platoon must be prepared to operate beyond a
narrow focus on the adversary and his capabilities. The platoon, of
course, must excel in the traditional roles of reconnaissance, surveillance,
and target acquisition of threat forces. In addition, it must fulfill the
broader mission of providing situational awareness of the operational

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

environment in all its dimensions, covering political, cultural, economic,

and demographic factors in addition to the military aspects of the area.
This multidimensional requirement means that the platoon must develop
an understanding not just of what is happening, but also of why. In the
asymmetric environment, identifying threat centers of gravity, decisive
points, and the means to influence the threat’s will and behavior is one of
the most important contributions that the platoon can make to the higher
unit’s success.

3-32. The Army has always focused its efforts on traditional combat
operations, based on open terrain, force-on-force battles, and symmetrical
enemy formations. The standard reconnaissance approach in this
environment has been simply to focus on gaining information on the
enemy and terrain. The Army’s thinking, however, must expand to
include nontraditional environmental variables that could influence its
operations. In the future, Army forces will not habitually face
conventional forces in open areas.

Asymmetric Warfare
3-33. The new millennium, coupled with the technological
developments of the information age, raises the specter of asymmetric
warfare, a concept in which a weak opponent successfully engages a
stronger opponent by using a variety of “offset” TTP for gaining
advantage in hopes of achieving its objectives and goals. As noted, the
reconnaissance platoon must be ready to concentrate both on the
traditional approach to reconnaissance (focused on gathering information
on enemy forces and terrain) and on the asymmetric aspects of the
operational environment that affect military operations. Asymmetric
threats include regional military forces, paramilitary forces, guerrillas
and insurgents, terrorists, criminal groups, and certain civilian groups
and individuals. Threat asymmetric approaches involve information
operations, weapons of mass destruction, operations in complex (mainly
urban) terrain, civilian involvement, and evasive attacks against US
forces and soldiers.

Urban Considerations
3-34. The urban environment confronts commanders with a
combination of difficulties rarely found in other settings in which the
Army is called upon to conduct operations. The distinct characteristics of
the urban environment are primarily a function of the following factors:

· The increasing size and global prevalence of urban areas.

· The combinations of manmade features and supporting
infrastructure superimposed on the existing natural terrain.
· The density of civilians in close proximity to combat forces.

3-35. Of those factors, the third one, and the human dimension it
represents, is potentially the most important—and the most perplexing
for commanders to understand and evaluate. Although urban terrain is
complex, understanding it is a relatively straightforward process in
comparison to comprehending the multifaceted nature of urban society.
The urban environment is, first of all, a human environment. That makes

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

it different from all other types. An urban environment is not defined by

its structures or systems but by the people who compose it. It reacts and
interacts with an army in ways that no natural environment can.
3-36. Military operations often require Army forces to operate in close
proximity to a high density of civilians, whose presence, attitudes,
actions, and needs in turn affect the conduct of operations. The behavior
of civilian populations within an urban area is dynamic and poses a
special challenge to commanders conducting military operations. Civilian
populations continually influence, to varying degrees, military operations
within an area of operations. As urban areas increase in size, they
become less and less homogenous; therefore, commanders must
understand and account for the characteristics of a diverse population
whose beliefs and actions may vary based on many factors.
3-37. The center of gravity during a military operation, particularly in
stability operations and support operations, may be the civilian
inhabitants themselves. The side that enjoys the support of the
population retains many advantages. To gain and/or retain this support,
commanders must first understand (through reconnaissance) the complex
nature and character of the urban society and its infrastructure, which
are covered later in this discussion. Second, they must understand and
accept that every military action (or inaction) may influence, positively or
negatively, the relationship between the urban population and Army
forces and, by extension, have a significant impact on mission success.
With this awareness, commanders visualize decisions they must make,
plan operations, implement programs, and/or take immediate action to
maintain support of a friendly populace, gain the support of neutral
factions, or neutralize hostile elements.
3-38. As noted, understanding how operations affect the urban society
(and vice versa) normally begins with reconnaissance of the society and
its infrastructure. As noted, these two characteristics of the
reconnaissance operational environment (covered later in this discussion)
allow the commander to determine the locations and numbers of civilians
as well as the infrastructure in relation to decisive points within the area
of operations. The commander can then decide whether civilian presence
and/or density represent a significant risk to the accomplishment of the
mission. He uses this knowledge to visualize what actions he must take
to influence and/or exploit the society and its infrastructure. It should
be emphasized that the society may assist friendly military operations by
providing information on threat forces or by supporting friendly forces
with its infrastructure resources. If civilians are the primary focus of the
operation, as in many stability and support operations, this analysis may
help to determine the decisive points.
3-39. In the broader mission of providing information for situational
understanding of the operational environment, the platoon must direct
its reconnaissance based on a number of dimensions—political, social,
cultural, and economic demographics; infrastructure; open and complex
terrain—as well as military factors. This multidimensional
reconnaissance is not a mission; rather, it expands on the traditional
focus of reconnaissance by concentrating on additional asymmetric
threats, urban factors (such as society and infrastructure), and other
considerations that can influence military operations. For the platoon to
make an effective contribution to the multidimensional reconnaissance

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

effort, leaders must clearly understand this expanded focus for

reconnaissance in the operational environment. They must also
understand how to work with a variety of ISR assets (refer to Chapter 8
of this manual) that are fused at the lowest level to assist the platoon.
See the discussion later in this chapter for more information on
multidimensional reconnaissance.
3-40. To successfully accomplish the reconnaissance mission, the
platoon leadership must clearly understand the four characteristics of the
reconnaissance operational environment: threat/enemy, society/human
demographics, terrain, and infrastructure. These characteristics, when
applied to the fundamentals of reconnaissance, will enhance the platoon’s
ability to fully understand its environment and conduct a more detailed,
comprehensive reconnaissance and surveillance mission.

3-41. The platoon no longer faces a single, monolithic, well-defined
threat. During the Cold War, planning centered on confronting
numerically superior armored forces in Europe, the Far East, or
Southwest Asia. Today’s reconnaissance units must be able to conduct
operations across the range of military operations (MTW, SSC, stability
operations, and support operations) against threats ranging in size from
major regional powers to asymmetric threats. These may include
conventional threat forces, insurgents, paramilitary forces, guerrillas,
criminal groups, and certain civilian groups and individuals.
3-42. Because of the diversity of the threat, the IPB process becomes
even more important at the brigade, squadron, troop, and platoon levels.
No longer will the threat always fit into a neat time-distance scenario.
Potential adversaries may use a variety of doctrine, tactics, and
equipment. It is extremely important to quickly identify the threat/enemy
in a specific operational area. This will almost always be the major focus
of reconnaissance for the platoon. At times, however, the reconnaissance
focus may be the identification of the unknown threat as well. That is
why the understanding of the society and infrastructure of an area are
also important factors in the reconnaissance operational environment.

Society/Human Demographics
3-43. Because the focus of reconnaissance may be the society and
people of a given area, the reconnaissance platoon must be aware of the
full dimension of demographics in its area of operations. The
demographic framework is the basis of the characteristics of a specific
environment and determines many, if not most, of the platoon’s
reconnaissance objectives. Gaining an awareness of how the local society
affects military operations and of the impact of military operations on the
society is likely to be critical to the platoon leader and his subordinate
leaders as they make operational decisions. The following are examples of
the social/human dimensions of reconnaissance focus in the area of

· Population demographics. Categories of interest in this area

include race, sex, age, religion, language, national origin,

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

tribe, clan, class, political party affiliation, education, or any

significant social grouping.
· History.
· Government.
· Government or factional leaders, including the following:
n Mayors.
n Local police chiefs.
n Local political leaders.
n Local military commanders.
n Local religious leaders.
· Nongovernmental organizations (NGO).
· Economy.
· Media personnel and outlets, including the following:
n Organizations.
n Reporters.
n Publications.
n Broadcast outlets (TV and radio).
n Internet users and World Wide Web sites.

3-44. As noted, the center of gravity during operations may be the

civilian inhabitants themselves. Failure to understand the needs of the
society or to gain the support of the population may cause elements of the
society to become a threat to the unit during military operations. To gain
and/or retain this support, the platoon leader and his soldiers must
understand the complex nature and character of the society as well as the
relationship between the population and Army forces. In addition, an
understanding of the society (gained by effective reconnaissance) provides
the platoon leader with vital information he needs to shape the
operational environment.
3-45. An understanding of how operations affect the society (and vice
versa) normally begins with gaining information on the size, location, and
composition of the society. While traditional reconnaissance is focused
mainly on conventional threat forces and their personnel, the
multidimensional environment requires the platoon to clearly understand
all types of potential threat elements—conventional, paramilitary,
terrorist, or even organized crime groups that could undermine the
stability of the local economy. Even elements of a society that are not
normally considered hostile may pose a threat and consequently become a
specific focus for reconnaissance. Examples include a mob whose
demonstrations against US military presence disrupt military operations
or refugees clogging a route that higher headquarters plans to use for
combat operations. The platoon’s reconnaissance focus may then be to
identify and evaluate these groups; it will attempt to gain information
that will allow the higher unit to use nonlethal effects to deal with the
3-46. In addition, the platoon must understand the different cultural
and economic backgrounds of the people it encounters on a day-to-day

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

basis. The platoon leadership must become familiar with civic and
factional leaders such as mayors, police chiefs, local military
commanders, and political leaders. This knowledge, while important in
SSC and MTW operations, is critical in stability operations and support
operations where the platoon might have a permanent lodgment area
surrounded by diverse local communities.

3-47. The reconnaissance platoon must never become complacent in
terrain analysis and the identification of key terrain. The platoon must
understand terrain factors as they pertain to friendly forces and threat
forces alike. It must also be able to evaluate the role of terrain not just in
traditional operations, but in stability, support, and SSC environments as
well. For example, in stability operations or support operations, key
terrain could be a religious or cultural monument or a historic
geographical boundary or town.

3-48. For a platoon to operate successfully in an area, it must
understand the local infrastructure. The platoon must develop a general
understanding of facilities, institutions, and organizations; how each of
these entities fit into the community at large; and how they relate to one
another. Infrastructure considerations include the following:

· Physical facilities like utilities, factories, transportation, and

food distribution points as well as the many services and
products that make a community function.
· Financial services and factors. What is the monetary base of
the different communities, the income demographics, and the
black market trade situation? Who can provide for the CSS
needs of friendly forces?
· The local community, political, and governmental structure.
This includes religious, military, and paramilitary
organizations, such as local security and police forces that
work independently of one another.

3-49. RHO is the action that occurs between two elements in order to
coordinate the transfer of information and/or responsibility for
observation (reconnaissance and/or surveillance) of potential threat
contact, or the transfer of an assigned area from one element to another.
The term “element” is all-inclusive of those involved in the handover,
whether it is OP to OP within the same platoon, sensors (such as GSR) to
a recce platoon, recce troop to infantry battalion, and so on.
3-50. RHO draws its origins from a World War II term “connecting file,”
which facilitated the linking of units to prevent seams between them.
RHO shares many critical tasks with battle handover: relief in place,
linkup, and passage of lines. Unlike battle handover, however, it does not
imply the assumption of a fight or being within direct fire range. Instead,
it focuses on planning for, preparing, and executing the passing of
information, threat contact, or an assigned area and the related
responsibility for it from one element to another.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

3-51. This task provides the information connection, overlapping

communications, and commander’s focus (which may differ for each echelon)
required when planning and executing layered reconnaissance and
surveillance with multiple assets. RHO is normally associated with a
designated coordination point (RHOCP) or reconnaissance handover line
(RHOL), which is in effect a phase line; it may entail handover of a
sector/zone, NAI, TAI, and/or threat contact. RHO can involve visual,
electronic, digital, or analog information sources or any combination of these.


3-52. Reconnaissance and surveillance operations must be nested with
higher, lower, and adjacent units in order to provide a coordinated and
integrated effort. Planning for these operations includes coordinating
RHO from higher echelons to the lowest element, as well as coordination
with adjacent units/elements.

3-53. Responsibility for the coordination of RHO normally occurs from
higher to lower units. Planning for RHO may take place before an
operation or may be conducted during operations as part of a change of
mission. When planning is conducted before an operation, the completed
plan is reviewed, ensuring layered, redundant reconnaissance and
surveillance using all available ISR assets. This layered
reconnaissance/surveillance is then analyzed to determine where and
who may be required to conduct RHO. Once this is determined, the
locations and/or criteria for RHO are coordinated with higher
headquarters as applicable. Pertinent control measures related to RHO,
such as the RHOL (phase line) between units or the potential RHOCP to
facilitate ground linkup, are then added with other graphic control
measures to aid in command and control.

3-54. Coordination begins as RHO requirements between units are
identified. The communications plan between the units is then identified.
The communications plan includes radio frequencies, net IDs, EPLRS
needlines, host files required to conduct the linkup (if units are from
different maneuver control systems), and COMSEC variables for
communications and establishment of the TI between the two forces.
Recognition signals must be implemented to prevent friendly troops from
exchanging fires. These signals may be pyrotechnics, armbands, vehicle
markings, panels, colored smoke, distinctive light patterns, and
passwords. The situational awareness provided by FBCB2 can
significantly enhance friendly recognition.
3-55. Indirect fires are coordinated, and fire support information is
exchanged between units, to include assets available, fire control
measures, critical friendly zones (CFZ), preplanned targets, final
protective fires (FPF), and smoke missions.
3-56. ISR (R&S) plans are exchanged allowing an understanding of how
higher information requirements (IR) may fulfill the lower unit’s or
passing unit’s IR needs. For example, this will allow the brigade
reconnaissance assets to understand the follow-on battalion IR needs
while still remaining focused on the brigade’s requirements. This
understanding may lead to the transfer of vital information collected by

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

the brigade assets to the battalion during critical moments, such as the
RHO of an enemy target for destruction (this is further emphasized in the
example). The remarks block of the ISR (R&S) matrix may also be used to
identify established RHO coordination.
3-57. The criteria for target handover (engagement criteria) are
identified and coordinated, including who will interdict if the target
exceeds the unit’s engagement criteria. If follow-on forces are designated
to destroy the target (as a result of meeting their engagement criteria), a
forward passage of lines may need to be coordinated to support that unit’s
attack. The contact report of threat forces exceeding the engagement
criteria of the element/unit in contact may act as a trigger for follow-on
forces to initiate movement to conduct the forward passage of lines.
3-58. Coordination is conducted to identify the transfer and/or
acceptance of C2 of elements between units as necessary. On-order
missions may be identified for elements/units to support RHO. An
example of this would be a TUAV task to establish and maintain contact
with a moving contact while RHO of the contact is being conducted from
one unit to another. The initial contact report may act as a trigger to
prepare the TUAV for launch, allowing the supporting element/unit
(TUAV crew) time to prepare. As RHO becomes imminent and final
coordination begins, the TUAV is launched to support the handover. This
level of coordination will allow the TUAV maximum time on station,
ensuring redundant observation during handover.
3-59. Rehearsals are of paramount importance before executing any
plan. During rehearsals, RHO coordination is confirmed and practiced to
ensure clarity and understanding.

NOTE: Throughout RHO planning and preparation, all elements/units must be prepared to
transition to battle handover in the event they are engaged by threat forces.

3-60. Elements/units may conduct RHO with follow-on or security
(stationary) forces, accept RHO from a forward force, or provide C2 for
the handover.
3-61. During execution of RHO, liaison with a unit may consist of
collocating both units’ C2 nodes as well as attaching scouts to the forward
maneuver units to facilitate implementation of command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance (C4ISR). Every effort should be made to establish a face-
to-face liaison. If this is not possible, establish a reliable digital and/or
voice linkup to exchange critical information. As the distance closes
between the forces, the requirement to maintain close liaison and
exchange information increases.
3-62. If face-to-face linkup is made at the RHOCP, final coordination is
completed and relevant information is exchanged. Confirmation is made
to ensure RHO is complete based on the specified criteria. If a target is
being handed over, the criteria should require the accepting unit to
acquire the target before handover is complete. The unit conducting RHO
may then be required to support the unit accepting the handover by
executing the responsibilities of the stationary unit while conducting a

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

forward passage of lines or relief in place. If follow-on forces are

conducting an attack, the unit conducting the RHO may facilitate the
follow-on force’s attack by conducting reconnaissance pull and support by
executing targeting, to include previously coordinated indirect fires.


Handover in Urban Terrain
3-63. The platoon may conduct RHO during an area reconnaissance
mission in urban terrain. One of its squads makes contact with a
potential source that may be able to provide information relevant to the
brigade as it moves through the area. The squad reports this contact and
begins to exploit the source through tactical questioning. The platoon
leader forwards the reports higher. The brigade tasks a supporting
HUMINT asset (such as MP, MI, or civil affairs elements) to further
develop the contact. The squad then conducts RHO, passing
responsibility for the source and all information collected to that point to
the follow-on HUMINT asset.

NOTE: The following example illustrates an RHO operation at a higher level, in this case
between a BRT and both division cavalry scouts (forward of the BRT) and task force
scouts (to the rear of the BRT). This type of higher-level handover would directly
affect the reconnaissance platoons within all of these elements.

Higher-Level Handover
3-64. A more detailed example entails a division cavalry squadron
conducting a zone reconnaissance forward of the brigade. The brigade’s
BRT has been given a mission to conduct area reconnaissance missions
behind the division cavalry to reconnoiter potential assault positions and
then conduct surveillance of TAIs in support of the brigade’s attack. This
technique will allow the BRT to conduct a thorough reconnaissance while
taking advantage of the security the ground cavalry troop (GCT)
provides. The BRT has been assigned a zone through which it will move
to its assigned areas. It conducts physical and FM/digital linkup with the
division cavalry troop directly to its front and with the lead task force’s
scout platoon following the BRT.
3-65. En route to their OPs, the BRT scouts maneuver into the
divisional scouts’ area of operations. They report real time information to
the brigade and its lead maneuver battalion. Once the conditions are set,
the BRT conducts RHO with the division cavalry troop to its front. The
divisional cavalry (DIV CAV) troop reports that it has bypassed a threat
OP consisting of two BRDM-type vehicles; it provides additional
information concerning the terrain and enemy on the brigade’s objective.
The DIV CAV troop and the BRT also coordinate passage of lines for the
BRT to move into OPs that observe the assigned TAIs. The BRT accepts
the handover from the DIV CAV. It reports the contact to the brigade and
the follow-on task force and updates both the FBCB2 overlay (adding the
OP contact) and the threat template on the objective. The brigade accepts
responsibility for the threat OP contact and directs the BRT bypass the
OP and continue the mission.
3-66. The BRT establishes OPs to observe the assigned TAIs and
support the brigade’s attack. The troop XO begins RHO with the lead

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

task force scout platoon. The task force (TF) scout platoon leader
collocates with the troop CP and gathers the relevant information for his
task force. The BRT directs a section to establish a linkup point for the
lead TF scouts. The BRT identifies the best axis of advance for the task
force from its own observations and from information provided by DIV
CAV. The BRT also provides locations of passage lanes through the DIV
CAV and the threat’s security zone as well as the latest update on the
threat’s posture on the objective.
3-67. The BRT scouts provide an “eyes-on” SITREP and then lead the
task force scouts to the position of advantage using a covered and
concealed route identified en route to the linkup point. The scout platoon
leader now has enough information to point out the RHOL on the ground,
to identify enemy/friendly locations and routes to the flank and rear of
the enemy, and then to physically lead the formation to the RHOL. The
BRT is positioned to support the BCT fight, with scouts and Strikers
conducting target acquisition.

3-68. Reconnaissance patrols provide timely and accurate information
about the threat and terrain. The reconnaissance platoon may be tasked
to conduct any of the three types of reconnaissance patrols (area, zone, or
route). The patrol leader must have specific intelligence collection
requirements for each mission. For a detailed discussion of
reconnaissance patrols, refer to Chapter 5 of this manual.

3-69. Scouts frequently conduct mounted operations, which give
reconnaissance platoons the ability to conduct fairly detailed
reconnaissance while maintaining the speed and momentum required for
the operation. Mounted reconnaissance also allows the scouts to take
advantage of the protection afforded by their vehicles, although they
must still dismount when they cross danger areas.

Employment Considerations
3-70. Mounted reconnaissance is normally used under these conditions:
· Time is limited.
· Detailed reconnaissance is not required.
· IPB provides accurate information on the threat.
· The UAV platoon is performing coordinated reconnaissance
tasks in support of ground forces.
· Ground sensors (such as GSR elements) are conducting
reconnaissance activities in support of ground forces.
· Terrain is open.

3-71. Speed and momentum are rarely necessary in a reconnaissance
operation, but they are often critical to the successful execution of
offensive operations that the reconnaissance mission may support. In

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addition to speed, mounted reconnaissance offers scouts the advantages

of their reconnaissance vehicle. These advantages depend on the specific
vehicle employed, but they can include firepower, armor protection,
enhanced navigation and communications capability, and thermal optics.

3-72. The disadvantages of mounted reconnaissance include the loss of
stealth due to the visual, noise, and thermal signatures of the vehicle and
the loss of some detail because of restricted vision and impairment of the
senses of smell and hearing. These disadvantages increase the risk to
scouts as they conduct reconnaissance.

3-73. The primary purpose of dismounted reconnaissance is to obtain
detailed information about terrain features, obstacles, or threat forces. In
addition, scouts dismount and reconnoiter forward of their vehicle to
provide security before moving through danger areas such as open
spaces, hilltops, curves, or other blind spots on the battlefield. They also
dismount to set up short- or long-duration OPs. (NOTE: Refer to
Chapter 5 of this manual for additional information on dismounted

Employment Considerations
3-74. In general, scouts conduct dismounted reconnaissance when the
following conditions apply:

· Detailed reconnaissance is required.

· Stealth is required.
· Threat contact is expected or visual contact has been
· Restricted terrain is encountered.
· Time is available.
· Danger areas are encountered.
· Security is the primary concern.
· IPB indicates close proximity to threat positions.

3-75. Dismounted scouts provide security for each other as they move.
Ideally, at least two scouts work together when operating dismounted.
When only a single scout dismounts, he should never move out of
supporting distance of the vehicle.

3-76. Dismounted reconnaissance is the preferred method when
stealthy movement is desired. Scouts on foot benefit from the
concealment offered by folds in the terrain; in addition, they do not emit a
significant visual or audio signature. Dismounted reconnaissance
techniques allow the reconnaissance platoon to observe threat vehicles
and soldiers at close range without being detected. Scouts conducting
dismounted reconnaissance can also quickly transition to a stationary OP
for a short period of time without suffering any loss of effectiveness.


__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

3-77. Disadvantages of dismounted reconnaissance include a relatively

slow rate of movement for personnel on foot, extensive requirements for
detailed preliminary planning and coordination, and considerable risk to
scouts who are conducting dismounted operations. Unless they establish
a radio relay, scouts cannot conduct dismounted reconnaissance in depth
because of the relatively short range of man-portable FM communications
systems. When dismounted reconnaissance takes place during hours of
darkness, target acquisition depends largely on hand-held night vision
devices, whose capabilities can be degraded.

Tools for Dismounted Reconnaissance

3-78. Dismounted scouts employ a variety of equipment and other
tactical tools to enhance their capability to report information accurately
and to call for and adjust indirect fires. At a minimum, they carry the
following items:

· SOPs.
· Personal weapons.
· Communications equipment.
· SOI extracts.
· Maps.
· A compass.
· Binoculars (and night vision devices, if necessary).

3-79. In reconnaissance by fire, indirect fire is used on positions where
there is a reasonable suspicion of threat occupation; the goal is to cause
the threat to disclose his presence by moving or by returning fire. In rare
circumstances, the reconnaissance platoon or section may use this
reconnaissance method when threat contact is expected and time is
limited or when the platoon cannot maneuver to develop the situation. In
such a situation, it is critical for the platoon leader to conduct thorough
war-gaming and rehearsals to prepare for the probable threat reaction.

Employment Considerations
3-80. Examples of threat locations and/or contact situations in which
reconnaissance by fire may be employed include the following:

· Contact with a natural or man-made obstacle.

· Detection of an obvious kill zone.
· A suspected threat position that fits the situational template.
· Signs of recent activity (such as track marks or trash).
· Bunker complexes that may or may not be occupied.

3-81. Reconnaissance by fire eliminates any element of surprise the

scouts may have had, and it is likely to give the threat detailed
knowledge of their location. It may, however, reduce the chance of scouts
being ambushed within established kill zones.
3-82. Reconnaissance by fire does not work in all cases. For example,
disciplined troops in prepared positions will not react to the scouts’ fires.

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As a result, reconnaissance by fire must not entail the indiscriminate use

of direct and indirect fires at all wood lines and hilltops in the hopes of
causing the threat to react. The threat will recognize this for what it is;
he will not react to it. This also wastes valuable ammunition.

Use of Indirect Fire

3-83. Scouts can conduct reconnaissance by fire by calling for and
adjusting indirect fire. Reconnaissance by indirect fire provides security
for the scouts because it does not disclose their exact position; in addition,
all scouts are available to observe the effects of the fire.
3-84. Reconnaissance by indirect fire has disadvantages as well.
Indirect fire requires more coordination and communication than direct
fire; it is also less responsive and may be less accurate. Indirect fire can
be subject to factors beyond the control of the platoon, such as the
supporting unit’s Class V supply status, counterbattery threats, and
command approval. Additionally, the effects of indirect fire may obscure
the scout’s vision.


3-85. As discussed earlier in this manual, reconnaissance organizations
such as ACRs and division cavalry squadrons not only use the common
techniques and assets (HUMINT, passive surveillance, and technical
means) to conduct reconnaissance operations, but also are capable of
employing combat power to fight for information. Because these units are
usually the forward-most elements in MTW environments, they must
have the capability to survive meeting engagements and to destroy or
impede threat forces as necessary to sustain operations in high-threat
areas. They can do this because of the platforms they operate and the
unique, combined arms organizations they employ. These units are
capable of fighting through threat reconnaissance (destroying the threat’s
“eyes and ears”) to gain combat information needed by higher unit
commanders. In shaping operations, the ability to fight for information is
important in determining the intent of a threat (for example, whether the
threat is willing to defend, withdraw, or fight when confronted) without
committing main body infantry or armor units.
3-86. The ability to fight for information is linked directly to the unit’s
engagement criteria and capabilities; therefore, the ability to fight for
information is not limited only to ACRs and division cavalry squadrons.
When an organization faces an inferior force that is within its
engagement criteria, it may have to fight for information even if it is not
traditionally equipped to fulfill this role. Because the ability to fight for
information is threat-based, a clear understanding of the threat and its
capabilities is required for units not normally conducting this form of
aggressive reconnaissance.

3-87. When available, aerial reconnaissance can be employed to
complement ground reconnaissance. Aerial assets are an integral part of
reconnaissance operations; ground scouts must synchronize their
reconnaissance efforts with that of available UAV assets if they are
operating in the same area.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

3-88. The ground scout must understand the capabilities and

limitations of aerial reconnaissance. Air-ground coordination is vital to
mission success and fratricide reduction. If possible, the platoon leader
should arrange to conduct face-to-face coordination with the UAV platoon
or section leader as well as with the leaders of any other aviation assets
in the area of operations. If this is not practical, analog or digital
coordination becomes essential.
3-89. When operating together, aerial and ground reconnaissance
assets can compensate for each other’s limitations and significantly
increase the effectiveness of their combined reconnaissance effort. Aerial
reconnaissance is the fastest form of reconnaissance. It is also terrain-
independent; air assets can reconnoiter areas that may be difficult or
impossible for ground scouts to reach.
3-90. On the other hand, aerial reconnaissance is limited by weather
conditions, the night-vision capability of the particular aircraft’s sensors,
fuel requirements, ADA threats, and the detail with which terrain can be
observed. Generally, aerial reconnaissance will not be able to identify
stationary threat elements smaller than platoon size or moving elements
of squad size or smaller, although this can vary widely depending on the
terrain and available equipment.

NOTE: Refer to Chapter 8 of this manual for further details on air/ground reconnaissance

3-91. Infiltration is a form of maneuver that the reconnaissance platoon
can use to penetrate the threat security zone or main battle area to
accomplish its mission. Entailing use of stealthy forms of movement,
infiltration is primarily conducted by, but not limited to, recce and
HMMWV mounted platoons due to their increased vulnerability, in high
threat environments, to direct and indirect fires. Although it is most
commonly used by ground reconnaissance assets, aerial and waterborne
platforms may also employ tactics based on infiltration techniques.
Purposes of infiltration include the following:

· Reconnoiter a specified area and establish OPs.

· Emplace remote sensors.
· Establish communications relay capability for a specific
period in support of other reconnaissance operations.
· Determine threat strengths and weaknesses.
· Locate unobserved routes through threat positions.
· Determine the location of high-payoff threat assets.
· Provide surveillance for follow-on echelons moving into sector.

3-92. The primary focus of infiltration is to move to a designated point

without being detected or engaged by the threat. During infiltration, the
platoon’s elements use predesignated lanes to reach their objective. The

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

infiltrating elements employ cover, concealment, and stealth to move

through identified or templated gaps in the threat array.
3-93. The platoon can infiltrate by dismounted teams; mounted by
vehicles, by sections, or as a complete platoon; or using a combination of
mounted and dismounted teams. It can infiltrate as an entire element at
one time or move into sector by echelon, at different times. Two examples
of infiltration operations follow the discussion of operational

Operational Considerations
3-94. Infiltration imposes a number of distinct, and often difficult,
operational considerations on the reconnaissance platoon.
3-95. Planning and Coordination. The amount of intelligence
information available to the reconnaissance platoon leader during the
planning process will determine the risk involved in conducting the
infiltration. The platoon leader must maximize the use of known
intelligence, including aerial photographs, for the area of operations. As
he plans the operation, the platoon leader must select appropriate routes
and movement techniques based on the mission, the terrain and weather,
the likelihood of threat contact, the expected and/or necessary speed of
movement, and the depth to which the platoon’s elements must
penetrate. Once these factors have been considered, the platoon leader
must make the decision to infiltrate either mounted or dismounted or a
combination of both. Even if he decides the platoon can conduct a
mounted infiltration, his plan must take into account that the situation
may require scouts to dismount and reconnoiter an area before the
vehicles move forward. The platoon leader’s infiltration plan must
provide platoon elements with enough time for preparation and initial
movement. The initial plan should also cover an evasion and extraction
plan, as well as any special equipment requirements.
3-96. The platoon leader must conduct detailed coordination with any
friendly elements through which the platoon will pass when executing
infiltration tactics; this includes integration of communications, fires, and
CSS activities. In addition, the platoon’s higher headquarters must
coordinate the activities of adjacent friendly units to ensure that they do
not compromise the platoon and its elements as they conduct the
3-97. Size of Infiltrating Elements. The size of the elements depends
on several factors: the assigned mission, time available, cover and
concealment, the target acquisition capabilities of both friendly and
threat forces, available communications assets, and navigation
capabilities and limitations. If the platoon is tasked to gather information
over a wide area, it may employ several small teams to cover the
complete sector. In most situations, smaller elements are better able to
take advantage of available cover and concealment. Another
consideration is that some elements of the platoon may not use
infiltration. If the platoon is moving into sector in echelon, the initial
echelons may infiltrate to a specific location and provide surveillance for
follow-on echelons that are moving into sector using a more conventional
movement technique.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

3-98. Infiltration Lanes or Routes. The reconnaissance platoon’s

higher headquarters will assign the platoon an infiltration lane or zone,
requiring the platoon leader to gather the necessary information and
intelligence to prepare for the mission. The platoon leader must decide
whether to move the entire platoon along a single lane or assign separate
lanes for each section or vehicle.
3-99. Each alternative presents distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Moving the entire platoon on a single lane makes navigation and
movement easier to control, but it can increase the chance of the platoon
being detected by threat forces. Moving on multiple lanes may require
development of additional control measures, make command and control
more difficult, and create navigation problems. On the other hand, it can
reduce the chances of detection by the threat.
3-100. In choosing infiltration lanes, the platoon leader must ensure that
lanes afford sufficient width to allow each element to change its planned
route to avoid unexpected threat contact. He must also consider civilian
activity along each lane and within the infiltration zone as a whole. The
infiltration route should avoid obstacles, populated areas, and areas
occupied or covered by threat elements. The route should provide cover
and concealment by placing ridgelines, rivers, and other restrictive
terrain between the platoon and threat forces. The plan should also make
use of limited visibility and adverse weather.
3-101. As noted, the focus for the scout during infiltration is to remain
undetected and avoid contact with any threat elements. In conjunction
with intervisibility lines, the TERRABASE program can be used on
templated enemy positions and dominant terrain to help refine route
selection. Using TERRABASE at various points of the infiltration route,
the platoon leader can determine where the route can be observed by the
threat and identify potential danger areas prior to moving into the area of
operations. If time permits and assets are available, UAVs may be used
to proof the route and to survey danger areas and influencing terrain.
The use of UAVs, however, must be weighed carefully against the
potential for compromising the infiltration route.
3-102. Communications. In general, infiltrating elements should
maintain radio listening silence except to send critical information that the
commander has directed to be reported immediately or to report contact with
threat forces. When operating out of range of normal radio communications,
an infiltrating element that must transmit required information should
move to high ground or set up a long-range expedient antenna. (NOTE: See
Appendix F of this manual for information on repair of communications
equipment and construction of field expedient antennas.)
3-103. Fire Support. Infiltration plans always cover employment of
indirect fires, although these are used only in limited circumstances. The
most common use is when the infiltrating unit makes threat contact. The
commander or platoon leader may employ indirect fires in another sector
to divert attention from the infiltration lane. Indirect fires can also be
useful in degrading the threat’s acquisition and observation capabilities
by forcing him to seek cover.
3-104. Actions on Contact. Each infiltrating element must develop and
rehearse a plan that clearly defines its actions when faced with one or
more of the eight forms of contact discussed in Chapter 2 of this manual.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

If detected, an infiltrating element will return fire, break contact, and

report; these actions are also discussed in Chapter 2. Fighting through
the threat force, however, is the least preferred COA. Direct fire
engagements are normally limited to whatever actions are required to
break contact. To prevent compromise of their established locations,
elements already established in sector may choose not to provide direct
fire support for follow-on echelons in contact.
3-105. During infiltration using multiple lanes, the detection of one
platoon’s elements may alert the threat and compromise other units in
the infiltration zone. The OPORD must clearly state the criteria under
which elements will either continue the mission or return to friendly lines
if they are detected by the threat. If an element makes visual contact but
is not detected, it should continue the mission.

Examples of Infiltration Operations

3-106. The following examples focus on the reconnaissance platoon as it
conducts infiltration either as a unit or by echelon.
3-107. Mounted Infiltration of a Platoon Moving as a Unit. This
example has a reconnaissance platoon moving as a whole along a
predesignated infiltration route. Maximizing intervisibility lines and
using masking terrain are key considerations in selecting infiltration
routes. Units must maximize all available tools and assets that support
thorough IPB, with emphasis placed on OCOKA. (NOTE: Refer to the
discussions of IPB and OCOKA factors in Chapter 1 of this manual). The
TERRABASE program is a tremendous tool that can assist leaders in
terrain analysis. For example, TERRABASE can aid in analysis of
potential OP locations. In addition, it can be used on a potential
infiltration route to determine positions from which the route can be
observed; this will help identify danger areas and help focus the platoon’s
maneuver, observation, and indirect fire plans.
3-108. Prior to the infiltration, UAVs may be deployed to check these
danger areas and reconnoiter the infiltration route and influencing
terrain. This assists in refinement of the route. Coordination is made to
receive either video or photos from the UAV reconnaissance flights. GSR
and PROPHET are also deployed prior to infiltration to provide early
detection and location of possible threat forces operating in the area. The
platoon also requests intelligence updates through the S2 prior to
infiltration. The intelligence may come from numerous ISR assets that
have worked in the area in the past, to include prior HUMINT operations
that may have collected intelligence from the local inhabitants.
Checkpoints or TIRS/GIRS may be used to control and report movement
along the route. An initial rally point may be designated beyond the
passage lane; this point may also act as a casualty or maintenance
collection point. SOPs may dictate the use of checkpoints as rally points
as well. The quick reaction force (QRF) is also briefed and is provided
with an overlay of the infiltration route.
3-109. When the infiltration begins, the platoon, moving as a whole,
conducts a passage of lines and continues along the infiltration route (see
Figure 3-2A). Temporary halts are conducted throughout the movement
to allow dismounts to move forward of the vehicles to reconnoiter danger
areas. These danger areas may have been identified during the planning
phase through the use of TERRABASE or UAVs. Each section maneuvers

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

to its proposed OP location and establishes the OP to observe its

designated NAIs. (NOTE: Refer to Chapter 5 of this manual for details
on occupying an OP.) As the initial section establishes its OP, it also
provides surveillance for those sections continuing on the infiltration
route. The next section follows the same procedures as the first section
until all sections have established their OPs. In the event COLTs/Strikers
are moving into sector to cover TAIs, which are tied to the scout NAIs,
they may use the same infiltration route and follow the same procedures
as the scout sections in establishing their positions.

NOTE: Although doctrine prescribes the use of infiltration lanes, a specific route may be
identified, as described in this example, to increase survivability and the chance for

Figure 3-2A. Mounted Platoon Moving on an Infiltration Route

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3-110. Once established, OP1 observes NAIs 1 and 2, OP2 observes NAIs
3 and 1, and OP3 observes NAIs 2 and 3 (see Figure 3-2B). This
observation plan allows redundancy of observation of the NAIs and
enhances the platoon’s ability to conduct handover of contact from one OP
to another. OP1 must also be prepared to conduct handover of contact
with the elements to its rear. These potential actions are coordinated
prior to execution of the infiltration.

Figure 3-2B. NAI Observation Plan with Built-In Redundancy

3-111. Platoon Infiltration by Echelon. This example never has more

than one section moving at any time. Planning and coordination for the
infiltration is virtually the same as for the first example; the main
difference is that the platoon does not move as a whole. GSR, PROPHET,
and UAVs may be used throughout the infiltration process, but caution

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must be taken not to compromise the infiltration route by frequent UAV

3-112. At 1730 hours, a dismounted squad conducts a passage of lines
and moves along an infiltration route to establish OP1 (see Figure 3-2C).
Once established, this OP conducts surveillance along the mounted
infiltration route and reports its observations to assist the platoon leader
in refining the mounted infiltration plan. Elements of the platoon may act
as the QRF for this dismounted team.

Figure 3-2C. Initial Infiltration of Dismounted Team

3-113. At 2017, the first mounted section begins its infiltration along the
designated route, moving to OP2 (see Figure 3-2D) with the dismounts at
OP1 providing surveillance. OP1 is also prepared to support the first
mounted section’s actions on contact with preplotted indirect fires if

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needed. Once the first mounted section is established at OP2, OP1 may
also handle communications retrans duty as required.

Figure 3-2D. Infiltration of Mounted Section

3-114. The second mounted section begins infiltration at 0115 along the
previously employed route. OP1 and OP2 provide surveillance for its
movement to OP3 (see Figure 3-2E).

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Figure 3-2E. Infiltration by Second Mounted Section

3-115. At 0325, the third section infiltrates along the same, successful
route with OP1, OP2, and OP3 providing surveillance. If OP1 is not
needed to conduct retrans, the third section picks the dismounted team
up and proceeds to OP4. Establishment of all OPs is completed no later
than 0500 with redundant observation on NAIs 1, 2, and 3 (refer to
Figure 3-2F).

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-2F. Completed Infiltration with

Redundant Observation of NAIs

3-116. The reconnaissance platoon and its elements may have to conduct
exfiltration in several types of tactical situations. For example,
reconnaissance forces that infiltrate the threat main battle area or rear
area must exfiltrate once they gather the required information. In
another instance, the platoon may be deliberately employed in a stay-
behind mode during defensive operations, forcing it to use exfiltration to
return to friendly lines.

Planning Considerations
3-117. In all situations, exfiltration must be planned as carefully as
infiltration. An effective exfiltration plan is essential in terms of mission
accomplishment and morale. In most cases, planning for an exfiltration
operation begins at the same time as planning for the infiltration (or

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other tactical operation) that precedes it. For example, the platoon leader
must anticipate contingency measures that may be required if his
elements must conduct an unplanned exfiltration during a
reconnaissance operation. His exfiltration plan should factor in additional
time that the platoon may need to react to unforeseen circumstances,
such as inadvertent contact with threat forces or unexpected restricted
terrain. Whether the platoon plans to exfiltrate on foot or by another
transport method (ground vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft), detailed
planning is required to establish criteria for a passage of lines to
minimize the chances of fratricide. The exfiltrating force must also be
prepared to conduct additional planning once the operation is under way,
particularly if threat contact occurs.
3-118. The exfiltration plan should also cover other types of
contingencies that will not require the platoon to exfiltrate. For example,
when a section or squad repeatedly misses mandatory radio contact, it
must be assumed that the element has a communications problem, is in
trouble, or both. The exfiltration plan might address this situation by
calling for a resupply drop of new batteries and another means of
communication at a predetermined location. The plan would mandate
that the resupply location be specially marked to ensure that the
equipment does not fall into threat hands.

Movement Considerations
3-119. The principles of route selection, movement formations, and
movement security are critical to the success of the exfiltration operation.
Plans for extraction by applicable means (ground, air, or water) must be
developed before the operation, covering procedural contingencies such as
the loss of vehicles, evacuation of sick and wounded personnel, and
disruption of communications. These plans should address various
contingencies for movement, such as the possibility that the platoon may
be able to exfiltrate intact or the option of breaking into smaller groups to
avoid detection. Elements may use successful infiltration routes as their
exfiltration routes as well. Planning should also include identifying
casualty collection points and emergency resupply points along
exfiltration routes, providing supporting elements with a more secure,
stealthy route into the sector to conduct these support operations.

Routes and Pickup Points

3-120. The methods that the platoon uses for exfiltration route selection
are the same as those discussed for infiltration earlier in this section. The
platoon leader ensures that primary and alternate linkup points are not
on a single azimuth leading away from the OP or exfiltration route.
3-121. Exfiltration pickup points for dismounted personnel should be far
enough away from the OP to ensure that the threat does not hear vehicle
or helicopter noises. The exfiltrating force should use mountains, dense
foliage, and other terrain features to screen these noises. Under normal
conditions in flat, open terrain on a clear night, rotary-wing aircraft lose
most of their audio signature at a distance of approximately five

Methods of Exfiltration
3-122. Exfiltration can be conducted by air, water, or land. Each
alternative presents the platoon with specific operational considerations

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as well as tactical advantages and disadvantages. The exfiltration plan

and the OPORD must address these factors as well as operational
contingencies such as actions the reconnaissance unit will take if an
unplanned exfiltration becomes necessary.
3-123. Extraction by air or water means is favored when the resources
are available and their use will not compromise the mission. These
methods are used when long distances must be covered, when time of
return is essential, when the exfiltration zone lacks adequate cover and
concealment, when the threat does not have air or naval superiority, or
when complex terrain or heavily populated hostile areas obstruct ground
3-124. Reconnaissance forces normally conduct exfiltration via land
routes when friendly lines are close or no other extraction method is
feasible. Ground exfiltration is preferred when areas along the route are
largely uninhabited, when threat forces are widely dispersed or under
such pressure that they cannot conduct counterreconnaissance and
security operations, or when terrain is sufficiently restricted to degrade
threat efforts to use mobile forces against the exfiltrating reconnaissance

Emergency Exfiltration
3-125. The platoon may have to conduct emergency exfiltration if it is
detected or engaged by a threat force. This type of operation requires
activation of an escape and evasion plan or deployment of a reaction or
support force to assist with the extraction of friendly elements.
Employment of the reaction force and supporting fires must be carefully
coordinated and rehearsed before the infiltration (or other tactical
mission, if applicable) is initiated.



3-126. The multidimensional aspect of operations is part of all

reconnaissance platoon missions. The term “multidimensional” refers to
the directed effort, during the conduct of reconnaissance or surveillance
operations, to obtain detailed information on an area. This effort covers
all types of threat forces (military, paramilitary, criminal, and other
types), civilian (social/human) demographics, infrastructure (including
utilities, transportation, and the political, economic, and agricultural
situation), routes, obstacles, and terrain. Planning and execution of any
reconnaissance or surveillance mission must always take into account the
multidimensional aspect of the operation. In turn, the multidimensional
aspect must include the effective integration and employment of the full
range of ISR assets, including TUAVs and sensors.
3-127. This discussion is primarily for recce platoons, even though all
reconnaissance platoons must understand the multidimensional aspect of
reconnaissance operations and be prepared to execute it to benefit their
operations. Because of its unique organization, which includes organic
HUMINT collectors, the recce platoon is ideally suited to focus on the

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multidimensional aspect of reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

Recce platoons primarily operate in areas with reduced threat levels.
They enhance situational awareness by working closely with their
HUMINT soldiers to collect and assess information through contact with
community leaders and the local populace. Reconnaissance platoons that
do not have organic HUMINT collectors must be prepared to have these
assets attached and then be able to employ them properly to execute
conduct liaison operations, conduct tactical questioning, or identify
HUMINT information requirements. In addition, it is extremely
important that all types of reconnaissance platoons fully understand the
commander’s focus for the reconnaissance two levels up and that they
understand the operational considerations of civil-military operations.

3-128. The multidimensional aspect of reconnaissance is deliberate and
detailed. It requires the platoon leader and other leaders within the
platoon, specifically the HUMINT collectors, to develop relationships with
local military/civilian leaders to determine information that may be
pertinent to troop, squadron, and brigade operations. The HUMINT
collectors are the subject matter experts in dealing with the local
populace; they provide training so the platoon’s scouts can operate
effectively in large populated areas where multidimensional information
is key to operational success. In these areas, soldier-based, human-
intensive intelligence compensates for the limitations of equipment-based
sensors, which are better suited for providing situational awareness in
open and rolling terrain for conventional force-on-force operations.
3-129. The multidimensional facet of reconnaissance expands on the
traditional forms of reconnaissance by acquainting the platoon’s soldiers
with the local populace throughout the area of operations; the threat level
will greatly influence the level of interaction between reconnaissance
elements and the populace of the area. Understanding this human
dimension of the environment (political, religious, ethnic, criminal, and
transnational) will be a key factor in the analysis of threat centers of
gravity and the execution of decisive operations. The ability to conduct
the multidimensional aspect of reconnaissance can assist the commander
in defeating or countering asymmetrical threats. In addition, the
multidimensional aspect of any reconnaissance or surveillance mission
can greatly enhance situational awareness at all levels by gaining
operational information from previously untapped sources. On the other
hand, multidimensional reconnaissance can become an inordinately time-
consuming process without specific, precisely focused guidance from the
platoon’s higher command; refer to the discussion of essential
commander’s guidance earlier in this chapter.

Human Intelligence
3-130. HUMINT is the intelligence, to include adversary intentions,
derived from information collected from people and related documents. It
is the oldest collection discipline and is a key contributor to the
intelligence picture of the battlefield. HUMINT uses passively and
actively acquired human sources to gather information to answer

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

intelligence requirements and to cross-cue other intelligence disciplines.

HUMINT tasks include, but are not limited to, the following:

· Source operations using tactical and other developed sources.

· Liaison with host-nation (HN) officials and allied counterparts.
· Elicitation of information from the civilian populace,
including transients.
· Debriefing of US and allied forces and civilian personnel.
· Interrogation of EPWs and detainees.
· Exploitation of adversary and open-source documents, media,
and material.

Counterintelligence (Within the SBCT’s MI Company)

3-131. Counterintelligence (CI) is a multidiscipline function whose
purpose is to detect, identify, assess, counter, neutralize, or exploit the
intelligence collection efforts of competitors, opponents, adversaries, and
enemies. It is the key intelligence community asset to protect the force
against espionage and other intelligence activities, as well as against
sabotage or assassination. CI helps to guard against these dangers when
they are conducted by or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations or
persons, or international terrorist groups. CI agents use HUMINT
collection in some aspects of their collection and investigative mission. CI
tasks include the following:

· Intelligence support to assessments of vulnerability and

OPSEC requirements.
· Investigations of security violations and employment
suitability of local nationals.
· Multidiscipline counterintelligence analysis.
· Liaison with other service and HN counterintelligence
· Limited counter-HUMINT operations.

Intelligence Activities
3-132. HUMINT and CI operations may entail some or all of these
· Interrogation and debriefing. These activities involve the
systematic questioning of individuals to obtain information
related to specific collection requirements. Sources who are in
the custody of US forces, such as EPWs and civilian
detainees, are interrogated. All other sources are debriefed;
these include friendly forces, civilian refugees, and local
· Tactical questioning. This is an abbreviated form of
interrogation or debriefing used to collect PIR-related
information from human sources.
· Source operations. These are collection operations using
recruited and registered HUMINT sources. The registration

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

of sources is a legal requirement in any sustained use of a

specific individual as a source.


3-133. The recce platoon’s organic HUMINT collectors, who are
specifically trained in military intelligence (MI) operations, maximize its
effectiveness in multidimensional aspects of reconnaissance missions. It
is impossible to overemphasize the importance of properly using these
personnel. While the platoon leader is not likely to have the time to be an
expert on every aspect of MI operations, he must be proficient in
HUMINT and CI training, operations, and implementation.

NOTE: Unless noted as otherwise, the term “HUMINT collector” refers to personnel in
MOSs 351E and 97E/B. The term “counterintelligence collector” or “CI agent” refers
strictly to those in MOSs 35E, 351B, and 97B.

HUMINT Personnel and Missions

3-134. HUMINT collectors, either through training or by occupying
specific positions such as an S2, are tasked with collecting information for
intelligence use from people or related documents. (NOTE: A HUMINT
source is anyone who can provide information to answer collection
requirements.) As noted, HUMINT collectors also assist CI personnel at
the MI company in detecting and countering the intelligence collection
efforts of outside elements, especially threat forces.
3-135. The four HUMINT collectors in the recce platoon provide the
squadron with an organic, trained HUMINT/CI collection capability. The
intelligence collectors will normally be distributed as one per recce squad,
but they can be task organized based on METT-TC to concentrate
collection capability as needed to meet specific mission parameters. The
senior HUMINT/CI collection NCO advises the platoon leader on
intelligence collection operations, provides initial assessment and quality
control of HUMINT/CI collection and source spotting, and acts as the
platoon HUMINT/CI trainer.
3-136. The HUMINT collector’s mission within the platoon includes the
following general tasks:

· Collect information of immediate tactical value from EPWs,

civilian detainees, refugees, and civilians on the battlefield.
· Collect information of immediate tactical value from foreign
· Assist in the debriefing of friendly forces, such as patrols.
· Identify individuals for potential detailed exploitation by the
CI teams in the brigade’s MI company.

3-137. Specific missions for HUMINT collectors (MOS 351E/97E) in an

MTW include, but are not limited to, the following:

· Conducting tactical questioning.

· Conducting interrogation of EPWs and civilian detainees.
· Debriefing or interviewing civilians on the battlefield.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Debriefing friendly forces.

· Conducting HUMINT analysis.
· Conducting document exploitation.

CI Personnel and Missions

3-138. As noted, CI collectors/agents (MOS 351B/97B/35E) are organic to
the SBCT’s MI company. Specific missions for CI teams in the MTW
include, but are not limited to, these:

· Identifying and recommending countermeasures to threat

intelligence collection efforts.
· Conducting CI investigations.
· Conducting CI analysis.
· Providing CI support to threat and vulnerability analysis.


3-139. The recce platoon leader conducts HUMINT collection activities
to gather the information he needs to make decisions in support of the
overall mission. HUMINT activities help the platoon leader shape the
battlefield by providing information that enables him to respond to
previously unforeseen threats. He focuses the HUMINT effort by
carefully assigning missions and clearly defining the desired results. In
orienting the unit’s HUMINT capabilities, he must decide who or what
will be advantageous targets for collection activities.

Role of HUMINT Collectors

3-140. The platoon’s HUMINT soldiers, who can be augmented by
interrogators (from the MI company) when available, conduct collection
operations in support of the overall mission. These operations rely on the
use of both casual and recruited sources of information. The collection
effort includes liaison activities; the debriefing of refugees, civilian
detainees, and EPWs; review of open source literature; and document
exploitation. These operations use the techniques identified in FM 2-22.2
(FM 34-5) (S). Other resources include AR 381-172 (S), which covers
policy concerning counterintelligence force protection source operations
(CFSO), and AR 381-10, which outlines policies and procedures governing
the conduct of intelligence activities by DA.
3-141. In addition, during the planning process, the platoon leader must
be aware of the combat multiplier capability that his HUMINT assets
provide. In this role, the platoon’s HUMINT personnel conduct the
following tasks:

· Support to combating terrorism.

· Support to rear operations.
· Support to civil-military operations (discussed later in this
· Support to operations security (OPSEC).
· Support to information operations.
· Support to domestic civil disturbances.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

· Liaison.
· Local operational data collection.
· Debriefing and interrogation.
· Threat assessment.
· Assessment of the HUMINT threat in the area of operations.

HUMINT Sources
3-142. To satisfy command PIR, HUMINT personnel should be prepared
to use all sources of information consistent with mission, policy, and
resources. These sources include the following:

· Casual source. A casual source is one who, by social or

professional position, has access to information of CI interest,
usually on a continuing basis. Casual sources usually can be
relied on to provide information that is routinely available to
them. They are under no obligation to provide information.
Casual sources include private citizens, such as retired
officials or other prominent residents of an area. Members of
private organizations also may furnish information of value.
· Official sources. These are liaison contacts. CI personnel
conduct liaison with foreign and domestic CI intelligence,
security, and law enforcement agencies to exchange
information and obtain assistance. CI personnel are
interested in investigative, operational, and threat
· Recruited sources. These include sources who support
CFSO, as identified in FM 34-5 (S). By design, CFSOs entail
the use of human source networks, dispersed throughout the
area, that can provide timely and pertinent force protection
· Refugees, civilian detainees, and EPWs. Interrogators
normally conduct collection operations with these sources,
often with technical assistance from a CI agent. The key to
identifying the source of valuable CI force protection
information is in analyzing the information being sought and
predicting which potential sources, by virtue of their regular
duties, would have regular, frequent, and unquestioned
access to such information.
· Open source publications. These printed materials, as well
as radio and television broadcasts, are valuable sources of
information of CI interest and operational information. When
information is presented in a foreign language, linguist
support is required for timely translation. Depending on the
resources, this support can be provided by interrogation
personnel, allied personnel, indigenous employees, or reserve
component (RC) translators (MOS 97L).
· Documents not openly available. Such sources as
adversary plans and reports are exploited in much the same
way as open source publications.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Reconnaissance Support Activities

3-143. In military urban operations, people (EPWs and civilians) are the
preeminent source of information. HUMINT collection provides
information not otherwise available through SIGINT and image
intelligence (IMINT). When a lodgment is made in a building, the
HUMINT collectors move in and are readily available to interrogate
EPWs, persuade holdouts to surrender, and help with the questioning
and evacuation of noncombatants that are encountered in the building.
They collect information on floor plans, defensive plans, and locations of
combatants and noncombatants in the building and surrounding
3-144. Another focus of the HUMINT teams is intelligence support to
force protection. The teams establish a network of force protection
sources, debrief casual sources, and interview/debrief local national
employees. The information they collect helps to enhance the security
posture of US forces, to provide information in response to command
collection requirements, and to provide early warning of threats to US
3-145. As noted, the HUMINT collectors organic to the recce platoon will
normally be allocated to individual reconnaissance squads as necessary.
They provide the platoon with language and tactical questioning ability.
They also debrief friendly forces and translate and exploit foreign
documents. Another important function is to identify individuals as
potential force protection sources to be more fully exploited by the
HUMINT platoon in the brigade’s MI company.

HUMINT Assessment Forms

3-146. Higher headquarters may provide assessment forms to further
focus HUMINT collection efforts. These products help the platoon to
gather information on enemy, terrain, society, and/or infrastructure in an
urban environment. They also address the requirement to identify the
basic human needs of the society (such as food, water, and shelter). This
information gives the higher command the ability to influence the society
based on these identified needs. Figure 3-3 shows an example of a
HUMINT collection and assessment form. For further discussion of these
forms, refer to FM 3-20.971.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-3. HUMINT Urban Assessment Form

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-3. HUMINT Urban Assessment Form (Continued)

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-3. HUMINT Urban Assessment Form (Continued)

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-3. HUMINT Urban Assessment Form (Continued)

3-147. When they take part in civil-military operations, military
elements, including the reconnaissance platoon, will encounter a number

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

of factors that they seldom face in any other setting. This discussion
covers some of these crucial, but often subtle, considerations.

Local Cultural Factors

3-148. One problem encountered by the reconnaissance platoon is
adapting to the local culture. Each culture has its own peculiar customs
and courtesies. While they may seem insignificant to US personnel, these
customs and courtesies are very important to local nationals.
Understanding a country’s culture and adhering to its etiquette are very
important. What is socially acceptable behavior in the US could very well
be offensive in other cultures. Knowing the local culture helps the platoon
understand the behavior and mentality of a liaison source. It also helps in
gaining rapport and avoiding embarrassment for both the liaison source
and the platoon. In many cultures, embarrassing a guest causes “loss of
face.” This inevitably undermines rapport and may cause irreparable
harm to the liaison effort.
3-149. The platoon may have to adapt to unfamiliar food, drink,
etiquette, social customs, and protocol. While some societies make
adjustments for an “ignorant foreigner,” many expect an official visitor to
be aware of local customs. Platoon personnel must make an effort to
avoid cultural shock when confronted by situations completely alien to
their background. They also must be able to adjust to a wide variety of

Local Agencies, Organizations, and Individuals

3-150. The platoon also must understand the capabilities of outside
agencies involved in civil-military operations. Knowledge of the liaison
source’s capabilities in terms of mission, human resources, equipment,
and training is essential in the process of requesting information or
services. Information exchanged during the conduct of liaison activities is
frequently sanitized. Information concerning sources, job specialties, and
other sensitive material relating to the originator’s operations may be
deleted. This practice is common to every intelligence organization
worldwide and should be taken into account when analyzing information
provided by another agency.
3-151. The platoon may also have to deal with individuals who have had
no previous contact with US agencies and who are unsure of how to deal
with a US intelligence soldier. In their work with liaison sources, platoon
soldiers must remember that they represent the people, culture, and
government of the entire nation. The liaison source assumes the behavior
of the platoon to be typical of all Americans. Once the American identity
becomes tarnished, it will be difficult to regain rapport, not only for the
platoon and its soldiers but for other American individuals and
organizations as well.
3-152. The platoon leader and his HUMINT soldiers must be aware of
any known or hidden agendas of the individuals or organizations with
which they conduct liaison. Furthermore, jealousy between agencies is
often a problem. Platoon personnel must never play favorites and never
play one agency against another.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Corruption, Bribery, and Gifts

3-153. Corruption is the impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral
principle or the inducement to wrong by bribery or other unlawful or
improper means. In some countries, government corruption is a way of
life. The reconnaissance platoon must be familiar with these customs if
indications of bribery, extortion, petty theft of government goods and
funds, or similar incidents are discovered in the course of liaison. When
corruption is discovered, the platoon leader must request command
guidance before continuing liaison with the particular individual or
organization. Regardless of the circumstances, all platoon soldiers must
exercise caution and professionalism when they encounter corruption.
3-154. Occasionally, because of the close professional relationships
developed during civil-military operations, a source may wish to present a
personal gift. If possible, platoon personnel should diplomatically refuse
the gift. If that is not possible, such as when rapport might be
compromised, the soldier can accept the gift. Any gifts received must be
reported in accordance with AR 1-100; they can be kept only if higher
authorities approve a request to do so.

Records and Reporting

3-155. Complete and accurate records and reports are essential in
maintaining the continuity of civil-military operations, including
intelligence collection and liaison. All records must contain information
on agencies contacted. It is preferable to have a file on each organization
or individual contacted to provide a quick reference concerning location,
organization, mission, and similar intelligence-related information. Limit
information to name, position, organization, and contact procedures when
the liaison is a US representative. For contacts with foreign sources, use
the formal administrative, operational, and information reporting
procedures outlined in FM 2-22.2 (FM 34-5).

3-156. Liaison with appropriate US, host-nation, and allied military and
civilian agencies is fundamental to the success of civil-military
operations, including the multidimensional effort. Without the support of
the local government and authorities, attempts to win the cooperation of
the populace are almost certainly doomed to failure. In many cases, full-
time liaison officers (LO) or sections are necessary to maintain regular
contact with appropriate organizations and individuals. In addition to
national agencies, numerous local agencies and organizations also
provide assistance and information.
3-157. A basic tenet of liaison is the quid pro quo (meaning “something
for something”) exchange. While the LO sometimes encounters
individuals who cooperate out of a sense of duty or for unknown reasons
of their own, an exchange of information, services, material, or other
assistance normally is part of the interaction. The nature of this
exchange varies widely, depending on the locations, cultures, and
personalities involved.

Critical Tasks
3-158. The recce platoon and its HUMINT assets may be tasked to
conduct liaison activities, either for the platoon’s own operations or in

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

support of higher missions. The IR and PIR must be identified and

defined by the platoon. Critical tasks in liaison operations include the

· Identify key authority figures. Purpose: To assist in

developing a list of priority contacts within the area of
operations to facilitate mission success.
· Match liaison personnel with each contact. Purpose: To
facilitate the communication between local factions and the
US forces operating in the area of operations.
· Evaluate contacts. Purpose: To determine the capabilities of
each contact within the area of operations and to ascertain
the influence the contact has within the community.
· Establish each liaison/contact agenda. Purpose: To
determine the end state for each contact. Once this is
established, the liaison officer knows how to conduct himself
at meetings.
· Identify information requirements. Purpose: To assist in
defining the scope of liaison activities. These can be developed
through liaison with the civilian/military agency based on
guidance from the higher and platoon OPORDs.
· Use available HUMINT collection assets. Purpose: To
assist with liaison, develop IR, or debrief reconnaissance

Role of the Recce Platoon and its Intelligence Assets

3-159. The recce platoon’s HUMINT soldiers conduct liaison to obtain
information, gain assistance, coordinate or procure material, and
exchange views necessary to understand the liaison counterparts with
whom friendly forces must work. All of these activities are essential for
successful reconnaissance missions. Operational benefits derived from
using the platoon’s HUMINT assets in liaison activities include the

· Establishing working relationships with various commands,

agencies, or governments.
· Exchanging operational information and intelligence within
policy guidelines.
· Facilitating access to records and personnel of other agencies
not otherwise available. Access includes gaining information
via other agencies when cultural or ethnic constraints
preclude effective use of US personnel.
· Acquiring information to satisfy troop and squadron
intelligence collection requirements.

3-160. Recce platoon leaders who task HUMINT assets with liaison
should provide the following guidance:

· Liaison objectives. Liaison objectives are the types of

information to be collected, the methods of operations unique
to the area, and the command objectives to be accomplished.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Limitations on liaison activities. These limitations

include the following:
n Prohibitions against collection of specific types of
information or against contacting certain types of
individuals or organizations.
n Delineation of areas of responsibility of other elements.
· Authority. The platoon leader must define the authority
under which the specific liaison program is conducted as well
as guidelines for joint and combined operations.
· Applicable ROE/ROI.
· Additional factors. The platoon leader should outline SOPs
for related aspects, such as intelligence information reporting
procedures and areas of responsibility and jurisdiction.

3-161. The nature of intelligence-collection activities and the many legal

restrictions imposed, including SOFAs or other agreements, make success
of these activities largely dependent on effective liaison. During
transition from increased tension to open hostilities, the liaison emphasis
shifts to support the platoon leader. HUMINT soldiers must establish
liaison with appropriate agencies before the outbreak of hostilities.
Information and cooperation gained during this period can have a major
impact on the effectiveness of both intelligence and combat operations.
3-162. Liaison with foreign organizations and individuals normally
requires foreign language proficiency, a highly desirable capability for
HUMINT soldiers. It is easier to deal with a liaison source if the LO or
intelligence collector can speak directly to the source rather than rely on
an interpreter. Even if the LO is not fluent, the liaison source usually
appreciates the LO’s effort to learn and speak the language. This often
enhances rapport.

Example Liaison Techniques and Procedures

3-163. The following example illustrates the techniques and steps
involved in liaison operations. It is meant to be a guide and should be
modified to fit individual METT-TC conditions. The majority of the steps
are geared toward a stability operation because, under these conditions,
there are more things to consider. This example liaison operation,
however, can and should be modified to meet the operational
requirements of the specific tactical situation. Steps in the liaison
operation may include the following:

· Higher headquarters determines liaison requirements, which

are then refined by the platoon leadership (platoon leader,
n Identifies military forces, civil authorities, religious
leaders, ethnic groups, local factions, and NGOs operating
in the area of responsibility (AOR).
n Develops liaison requirements and contact frequency for
elements in the AOR.
n Establishes times and locations for initial liaison contacts
with elements.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

· Unit conducts liaison activities.

n Maintains a positive, cooperative image of the unit and
other friendly forces with the population in the AOR.
- Ensures uniforms and personal appearance are
professionally maintained.
- Provides communication and transportation for
liaison elements.
- Ensures LOs and all soldiers know current political
and military situation.
- Enforces the mandate, ROI, ROE, terms of reference
(TOR), and status of forces agreement (SOFA) in all
dealings with liaison counterparts.
n Complies with requests for liaison assistance from the
civil population if consistent with unit constraints.
(NOTE: This may not be possible in SSC or similar
tactical environments.)
- Establishes an on-call liaison to respond to crises that
develop in the unit AOR.
- Updates the platoon/troop situation map for current
locations of liaison contacts.
- Ensures that LOs do not deploy beyond range of the
platoon/troop quick reaction force response.
- Ensures that LOs are prepared to cope with hijacking
or kidnapping.
n Coordinates with observer teams operating in the unit
AOR, as required.
- Identifies UN military observer (UNMO) teams
operating in the unit AOR.
- Establishes contact with UNMOs at checkpoints or as
specified in the regional force SOP.
- Exchanges information on military, paramilitary, and
mass civilian movements; minefields and obstacles;
intentions and missions of belligerents; and locations
of key faction force leaders.
n Stabilizes areas identified as having escalating tension.
- Identifies potential “hot spots” of increased tension.
- Determines which factions may be involved and the
regions affected.
- Designates forces to stabilize the area, within
capability, or requests additional support.
- Coordinates with belligerents to resolve real or
perceived problems.
- Reports developments of any destabilizing situation to
higher headquarters, as required.
- Contacts forces or civilians involved.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

- Establishes an upgraded alert status and security

awareness of units in the affected area and in
adjacent areas, as needed.
- Dispatches LOs to all elements involved.
· Unit employs LOs to initiate coordination for negotiations or
dispute resolution using neutral facilities.
n Identifies all units, agencies, and individuals within the
sector with whom liaison or coordination must be
n Specifies linkup times and locations.
n Develops an agenda for liaison meetings.
n Complies with local protocols and established limits of
support in accordance with TORs, SOFAs, or other
n Maintains continuous contact until disputes are resolved
and/or tensions are reduced.
· Unit coordinates a meeting with local officials.
n Directs that only major problems be brought to the attention
of LOs and local liaison counterparts and then only after
subordinates have been unable to resolve the issues.
n Demonstrates resolve, confidence, commitment, and
concern for local customs and people living in the AOR by
attending major local events.
n Implements immediate response to any serious breach of
trust, confidence, or deception that has occurred.


3-164. The reconnaissance platoon conducts a route reconnaissance to

gain detailed information about a specific route or axis as well as the
terrain on both sides of the route that the enemy could use to influence
movement on the route. The platoon is usually tasked with this type of
reconnaissance when the commander wants to use a certain route, but
first wants to make sure that the route is free of obstacles and threat
forces and that it will support the movement of his vehicles. Because of
the large number of critical tasks associated with route reconnaissance,
the platoon normally can conduct detailed reconnaissance of only one
3-165. An exception is the recce platoon, which can conduct
reconnaissance of a single route by itself only in a permissive
environment. When contact is likely, the recce platoon requires
augmentation, either a section from another recce platoon or an engineer
attachment, to conduct the route reconnaissance. In the nonpermissive
environment, the platoon can assist in the troop mission of route
reconnaissance by conducting reconnaissance of the route or providing
security; this allows the troop to reconnoiter one or two routes depending

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

on the likelihood of contact. As an alternative when augmentation is not

available, the recce platoon can conduct a route classification in which
lateral routes are not cleared.

3-166. During a route reconnaissance, the reconnaissance platoon must
be prepared to accomplish a wide range of tasks. Based on the time
available and the commander’s intent, however, the platoon may be
directed to conduct the reconnaissance to acquire specific information
only. To be ready for either type of situation, the platoon leader must
clearly understand the following critical tasks that may have to be
accomplished in a route reconnaissance:

· Determine the trafficability of the route.

· Reconnoiter all built-up areas along the route.
· Reconnoiter, to the limit of direct fire range, terrain that
dominates the route.
· Reconnoiter, to the limit of direct fire range, all lateral routes.
· Inspect and classify all bridges on the route.
· Locate fords or crossing sites near all bridges on the route.
· Inspect and classify all overpasses, underpasses, and culverts.
· Reconnoiter all defiles along the route.
· Locate minefields, and other obstacles, along the route.
· Locate a bypass around built-up areas, obstacles, restrictions,
and contaminated areas.
· Report route information.
· Find and report all threat forces that can influence movement
along the route.

NOTE: Refer to Chapter 9 of this manual for a detailed discussion of route overlays and
related information.

3-167. Because of the number of critical tasks that must be
accomplished, the reconnaissance platoon, such as a recce platoon(+), can
conduct a detailed reconnaissance of only one route. The following
discussion outlines techniques of getting all the tasks accomplished as
rapidly and securely as possible.
3-168. The order the platoon leader receives specifies the route the
platoon must reconnoiter and defines the route from the SP to the release
point (RP). Additionally, the order may specify platoon boundaries, phase
lines, an LD, and a limit of advance (LOA) or reconnaissance objective.
These control measures specify how much terrain on both sides of the
route the platoon must reconnoiter and where the operation must begin
and end.
3-169. The boundaries are drawn on both sides and include the terrain
that dominates the route. They usually extend out to include terrain from
which a threat force, based on the maximum effective range of its direct

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

fire weapons, may influence the route. This ensures that the scouts
reconnoiter all terrain that the threat could use to influence movement
along the route. The LD is drawn from one boundary to the other behind
the SP. This allows the platoon to cross the LD and be fully deployed
before reaching the route. The LOA or objective is placed beyond the RP
on the last terrain feature that dominates the route or at a location out to
about 3 kilometers.
3-170. The platoon leader may add additional phase lines, contact
points, and checkpoints to the graphics he receives from his commander.
Phase lines are used to help control the maneuver of the platoon. The
contact points ensure that the sections or squads maintain contact at
particular critical points. Checkpoints are used along the route or on
specific terrain to control movement or to designate areas that must be
3-171. In coordination with the FSO, the platoon leader plans artillery
targets on known or suspected threat positions and on dominant terrain
throughout the area of operations. The platoon leader evaluates the
factors of METT-TC to select a platoon organization. He must ensure that
at least one section has responsibility for reconnoitering the route.
3-172. A three-section organization is usually the type best suited for
reconnaissance of one route. One section reconnoiters the terrain on the
left side of the route, another covers the terrain on the right side, and the
third section reconnoiters the route and controls the movement of the
other two. In this organization, the platoon leader’s section has specific
responsibility to reconnoiter the route.

NOTE: The first example of route reconnaissance in the following discussion is for a recce
platoon in a permissive environment. As noted, an unaugmented recce platoon
cannot reconnoiter a route by itself in a nonpermissive environment; it takes part in
a route reconnaissance as part of a larger force, such as a recce troop. This second
example is for a CFV platoon in a higher threat environment.


3-173. In this low threat scenario, a recce platoon has been ordered to
conduct classification of a route in the troop sector. The situation is
permissive, and the troop’s area of operations is considered friendly. The
troop has one platoon conducting checkpoint operations and one acting as
squadron quick reaction force, leaving the route reconnaissance platoon
operating independently. The troop commander has provided the tempo
and engagement criteria and has focused the platoon leader on
confirming trafficability of the route to vehicles within the SBCT,
identifying key terrain along the route, and surveying the citizens of
communities along the route to determine their feelings concerning
upcoming elections. The troop commander is clear in his guidance that
the platoon leader is to stay on hard surface roads.
3-174. The platoon leader organizes the platoon into two sections, which
move using the traveling overwatch technique. Bravo section, consisting
of the PSG and his wingman, take the lead while Alpha section,
consisting of the platoon leader and his wingman, provide overwatch. The

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

platoon leader reports when the platoon arrives at and crosses the SP.
(See Figure 3-4A.)

Figure 3-4A. Recce Route Reconnaissance (Part One)

3-175. The platoon leader is responsible for the recce platoon’s

movement through the sector. He uses checkpoints to control and report
the platoon’s movement and to focus on key terrain or features that may
influence movement along the route.
3-176. Bravo section moves along the route at a speed dictated by the
platoon leader in his OPORD. The platoon makes steady progress until
checkpoint 3, which is a small village. There the platoon halts,
consolidates, and conducts HUMINT operations. The platoon leader, two
scouts from his vehicle, his HUMINT collector, and his interpreter walk
to the police chief’s office to let him know their intentions and to find out
if he knows of any obstructions along the route. (See Figure 3-4B.)

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-4B. Recce route reconnaissance (part two)

3-177. The police chief identifies an obstacle north of checkpoint 4 and

shows the platoon leader the route the locals use to bypass the obstacle.
Additionally, two dismounted patrols move through opposite sides of the
village conducting HUMINT operations and area assessment. One squad
is left to provide vehicle security and maintain communications with the
troop CP. The platoon leader contacts the troop commander and relays
the information he learned from the police chief. The troop commander
tells him to verify the obstacle and continue his mission on the new route.
The patrols return, and the platoon continues its mission. (NOTE: Refer
to the discussion of urban operations in Chapter 7 of this manual.) North
of checkpoint 4, the platoon identifies the complex wire and mine
obstacle. The platoon sketches the obstacle from the road, but based on

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

the troop commander’s guidance, it does not search for an immediate

bypass. (See Figure 3-4C.)

Figure 3-4C. Recce Route Reconnaissance (Part Three)

3-178. When the sketch is complete, the platoon moves back along the
route to the bypass indicated by the police chief. The platoon continues its
mission, stopping one more time to conduct HUMINT operations at the
village west of checkpoint 6 before returning to the base camp. Once the
platoon has closed on the base camp, the platoon leader submits a
reconnaissance overlay (refer to the discussion and illustrations in
Chapter 9 of this manual) and reports to the troop CP to be debriefed by
the troop HUMINT NCO.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________


3-179. The following example of route reconnaissance is for a cavalry
scout platoon. Refer to Figures 3-5A through 3-5H for an illustration of
this situation.
3-180. When the platoon conducts a route reconnaissance, it often
deploys in a vee formation because of the very focused nature of this
mission. Section A is positioned to the left of the route, Section B to the
right, and Section C in the center of the zone along Route SABER. The
platoon should deploy into formation before reaching LD PATTON so that
it crosses the LD at the specified time. The platoon leader reports
crossing the LD when the first element crosses it (see Figure 3-5A). The
platoon leader is responsible for the platoon’s movement through the
sector. He uses checkpoints to control the movement and to focus on key
terrain or features that may influence movement along the route.
3-181. Section C should be positioned along the route so it can observe
the route, and one element of the section must physically drive the entire
route. Unless the sector is very small or very open, the platoon will move
as individual sections. As the sections move to the checkpoints, they
maneuver in a zigzag pattern to reconnoiter the sector and accomplish all
critical tasks of a route reconnaissance. The lead sections, on the flanks,
must observe the route and report any restrictions or obstacles that may
restrict movement along the route. Visually clearing the route before
Section C travels it provides for better security and allows Section C to
concentrate on the critical reconnaissance tasks. As the lead sections
maneuver toward the checkpoints, they maintain visual contact with the
route (see Figure 3-5B).
3-182. After both lead sections report “SET” and are in overwatch
positions, Section C begins the route reconnaissance (see Figure 3-5C). As
the section leader moves along Route SABER, his wingman maneuvers to
provide overwatch for the section leader. During the reconnaissance, the
platoon leader normally must send a route classification of the
trafficability at intervals designated by the commander. A route report
may be required only if there is a significant or unexpected change in the
route’s makeup.
3-183. As Section C reconnoiters the route, the other sections move
ahead, reconnoitering critical and dominant terrain. The platoon leader
controls and coordinates the movement of all three sections. He must
ensure that the flank sections remain far enough forward of Section C to
provide security. The flank sections have also been assigned
responsibility for covering lateral routes. Section A is executing a lateral
route and will use contact point B to tie in with Section C on Route
SABER (see Figure 3-5D).

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-5. CFV Route Reconnaissance (Part One)

3-184. The platoon order must address actions on the approach to the
stream. In this case, the two flank sections have been given the task of
locating bypasses in the form of fords or unmapped bridges. Section B is
successful in locating a ford; Section A is not. Section B conducts a ford
reconnaissance, following the steps used for obstacle and restriction
reconnaissance. It crosses the stream at the ford and then continues its
mission on the far side of the stream (see Figure 3-5E).
3-185. Section C continues its route reconnaissance along the route until
it approaches the bridge site. It then executes a bridge reconnaissance to
establish trafficability of the bridge. Section A occupies an overwatch
position while Section C reconnoiters the bridge. Section B continues its
reconnaissance one terrain feature beyond the stream and then occupies
a short-duration OP (see Figure 3-5F).

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

3-186. Section C completes its bridge reconnaissance and establishes

local security on the approaches to the far side of the bridge. Once this is
complete, Section A passes across the bridge and through Section C,
continuing its reconnaissance of the dominant terrain on the left flank of
the route (see Figure 3-5G). Once Section A is set in sector, the platoon
resumes its route reconnaissance to the LOA (see Figure 3-5H).

Figure 3-5. CFV Route Reconnaissance (Part Two)

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3-187. Before moving forces into or near a specified area, the commander
may call on the reconnaissance platoon to conduct an area reconnaissance
to avoid being surprised by unsuitable terrain conditions or unexpected
threat forces. The area could be a town, ridgeline, woods, or another
feature that friendly forces intend to occupy, pass through, or avoid. Area
reconnaissance is the primary mission of the recce platoon, the BRT, the
task force scouts, and scouts in light cavalry organizations.
3-188. Area reconnaissance is frequently employed to gain information
on objective areas as well as to confirm IPB templates and provide
detailed information regarding threat dispositions. Within a zone of
operations, area reconnaissance can be used to focus the platoon on the
specific area that is critical to the commander. Examples include platoons
from the BRT directed to focus on areas that could hold brigade-size
threat targets or a battalion reconnaissance platoon directed to focus on
areas of dominant terrain that influence the battalion’s axis of advance
because division cavalry and BRT troops have already moved through the
area. This technique of focusing the reconnaissance also permits the
mission to be accomplished more quickly. Area reconnaissance can thus
be a stand-alone mission or a task to a section or platoon within the
larger context of a platoon or higher reconnaissance mission.
3-189. Area reconnaissance can be terrain-oriented, force-oriented
(threat), society-oriented, infrastructure-oriented, or a combination of any
of these factors. The commander analyzes the mission using METT-TC to
determine whether to conduct one of these types of reconnaissance
separately or to conduct them in conjunction with each other.
3-190. A recce platoon, or a reconnaissance platoon augmented with the
appropriate assets, conducts the multidimensional aspect of area
reconnaissance, if directed, to gain detailed information about the civilian
populace and infrastructure in a particular area.

3-191. The reconnaissance platoon must accomplish numerous critical
tasks during the area reconnaissance. The platoon’s primary critical
tasks include the following (unless the commander directs otherwise):

· Reconnoiter all terrain within the area.

· Inspect and classify all bridges within the area.
· Locate fords or crossing sites near all bridges in the area.
· Inspect and classify all overpasses, underpasses, and culverts
in the area.
· Within capability, locate all minefields and other obstacles in
the area, reduce or breach them, and clear and mark lanes.
· Locate bypasses around built-up areas, obstacles, and
contaminated areas.
· Find and report all threat forces within the area.
· Report reconnaissance information.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

3-192. In addition to these tasks, the platoon must be prepared to

conduct other tasks that may be deemed as critical by the higher
commander. Additional tasks for the area reconnaissance may include
the following:

· Identify threat activities, countermeasures, and probable

· Determine the size, location, and composition of
society/human demographics. Examples include race, sex,
age, religion, language, tribe, clan, class, education, history,
government, and/or factions.
· Establish and maintain contact with local civilian and
military leadership.
· Conduct reconnaissance of the society to determine the
regional, local, and neighborhood situations.
· Determine the needs of the society to assist friendly forces in
determining operations/actions needed to maintain support of
the friendly populace, gain support of neutral factions, and/or
neutralize hostile elements.
· Identify key infrastructure that could affect military
operations, including the following:
n Political, government, and religious organizations and
n Financial and economic systems.
n Physical facilities and utilities (such as power generation,
transportation, and communications networks).
· Determine media activities (local, US, international).
· Identify organizations and methods of operation for terrorists,
transnational groups, and ethnic centers of power.
· Identify the allegiances of the local populace to factions,
religious groups, or other organizations.

3-193. To conduct an area reconnaissance mission, the reconnaissance
platoon leader first identifies the area to be reconnoitered within a
continuous boundary. The platoon leader analyzes the mission, threat,
and terrain and completes his troop-leading procedures. He also plans the
movement to and, if necessary, from the area, following the basic rule of
using different routes to and from the area. The routes may be specified
for the platoon in the OPORD it receives from its higher command.
3-194. The platoon’s primary concern during movement to the area to be
reconnoitered is security rather than reconnaissance. If the platoon
leader feels there may be threat forces along the route to the area, the
platoon should employ the principles of tactical movement based on
METT-TC factors. The platoon leader must also incorporate information
from UAVs and ground sensor assets (such as GSR) into the operation.
During movement to the area, it may be appropriate (depending on the
commander’s intent) for the platoon to avoid contact. The platoon leader

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

may also choose to orient and focus sections or squads on checkpoints as

the platoon moves to the area.
3-195. The platoon leader encloses the given area within a platoon zone;
he uses boundaries, an LD, and an LOA. He can divide the area into
section zones by placing boundaries on identifiable terrain; this ensures
that each section has responsibility for specific pieces of terrain.
3-196. The platoon leader places contact points at the intersections of
phase lines and boundaries and at any other locations where he wants
physical contact and coordination between his sections. He uses
GIRS/TIRS as necessary. He works with the FSO to plan indirect fires to
support the platoon’s scheme of maneuver.
3-197. The platoon can conduct area reconnaissance using any of the
platoon organizations. The platoon leader deploys his sections abreast
across the LD to accomplish their reconnaissance tasks. Formations are
often not appropriate to the area reconnaissance mission because the
area may be irregular in shape and because of the wide variety of METT-
TC considerations the platoon may encounter.


3-198. The following example illustrates area reconnaissance by a recce
platoon; however, the mission may be conducted in similar fashion by any
type of reconnaissance platoon.
3-199. The platoon is operating within a troop conducting an area
reconnaissance in an SSC scenario. Each of the troop’s platoons has a
different reconnaissance objective. The focus and tempo of the operation
allow the troop to move to a dismount point close to its reconnaissance
objective. The engagement criteria allow the recce platoon to use indirect
fire on threat dismounts and vehicles only to break direct fire contact.
3-200. In this example, the recce platoon has been given the mission of
performing an area reconnaissance of OBJ IRON. A UAV overflew the
area several hours ago and confirmed threat soldiers in OBJ IRON, but it
could not remain on station to determine the direction in which threat
vehicles were being focused. The platoon will conduct stealthy
reconnaissance in establishing its OPs.
3-201. The platoon has been assigned a specific infiltration route. It is
believed that the threat has established a traffic control point at an
intersection, checkpoint 7, in OBJ IRON. From this intersection the
threat is deploying forces east or west into BPs. The platoon leader
decides, after analyzing METT-TC factors, to deploy his platoon to
maximize security. Based on his analysis of the terrain and his mission
requirements. he decides to use the two-section organization. He decides
to move with Alpha section on Lane SABER and assigns Bravo section,
with the PSG, to Lane SPUR. The platoon leader decides to move the
platoon using phase lines, allowing the sections more latitude in choosing
covered and concealed terrain rather than checkpoints.
3-202. Using the two-section organization, the platoon crosses PL RAY
at the time specified in the commander’s OPORD. It infiltrates in two
sections, with each section using internal bounding overwatch. (See
Figure 3-6A.)

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-6A. Area Reconnaissance (Part One)

3-203. The recce sections continue their move to the designated

dismount points. Alpha section occupies its dismount point, checkpoint
12. Bravo section occupies its dismount point, checkpoint 15. Each section
sets its vehicles in hide positions, organizes a patrol, and deploys local
3-204. The platoon leader notifies the UAV section assigned to his area
of operations that his elements are set in their dismount points. Based on
prior coordination, the UAV section sends a TUAV to reconnoiter OBJ
IRON before the recce platoon continues its move to establish its OPs.
The UAV section leader reports to the recce platoon leader that his
aircraft confirmed soldiers at the intersection, but detected no vehicle
movement or activity.
3-205. After evaluating the UAV update, each patrol moves on covered
and concealed dismounted routes to OBJ IRON, conducting dismounted
reconnaissance. Based on their commander’s guidance, each patrol
carries equipment to establish a 48-hour OP. Each four-man team
conducts stealthy movement, using traveling overwatch. Two of the men
focus on moving forward, conducting reconnaissance; the other two
provide security. (See Figure 3-6B.)

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-6B. Area Reconnaissance (Part Two)

3-206. Each section places its OP where it can observe the objective area.
Alpha section establishes its OP at checkpoint 13; Bravo section
establishes its OP at checkpoint 14. Each OP establishes communications
back to its vehicles in the hide position.
3-207. The OPs send reports, in terms of content and frequency, as
outlined by the troop commander or unit SOP. The soldiers in the hide
position maintain communications with the troop CP and are prepared to
act as a quick reaction force for the dismounted OPs. The platoon
continues to observe the objective until relieved or assigned subsequent
tasks by the troop commander.

NOTE: For a detailed discussion of area reconnaissance in an urban environment, refer to

Chapter 7 of this manual.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________


3-208. The commander normally assigns a zone reconnaissance to the

reconnaissance platoon when he needs detailed information before
maneuvering his forces through the zone. This reconnaissance provides
the commander with a detailed picture of how the threat plans to defend
the zone, enabling him to choose the appropriate COA. (NOTE: The
recce platoon will normally conduct zone reconnaissance as part of a
larger force; it will conduct the mission on its own only with sufficient
augmentation support.) Zone reconnaissance is a primary mission of
regimental and division cavalry reconnaissance elements.
3-209. As in area reconnaissance, the main types of zone reconnaissance
are terrain-oriented, force-oriented (threat), society-oriented, and
infrastructure-oriented. The specific zone reconnaissance mission may be
focused on one of these types or be a combination of any of them. The
techniques and objectives of terrain-oriented and force-oriented zone
reconnaissance missions are not mutually exclusive. The commander’s
intent, his guidance on the focus of the reconnaissance, and METT-TC
factors will dictate the priorities and critical tasks for the mission.
3-210. The platoon conducts terrain-oriented zone reconnaissance to
gain detailed information about routes, terrain, and resources within the
assigned zone. This is the most thorough and complete reconnaissance
mission and therefore is very time-intensive. It is common for scouts
executing a zone reconnaissance in terrain with heavy vegetation to
advance at only about 1 kilometer per hour.
3-211. The platoon conducts force-oriented zone reconnaissance to gain
detailed information about threat forces within the zone. As the platoon
conducts this type of zone reconnaissance, its emphasis is on determining
the threat’s locations, strengths, and weaknesses.
3-212. A recce platoon, or a reconnaissance platoon augmented with the
appropriate assets, conducts the multidimensional aspect of zone
reconnaissance, if directed, to gain detailed information about the civilian
populace and infrastructure in a particular zone.

3-213. The reconnaissance platoon must accomplish numerous critical
tasks during the zone reconnaissance. Unless the commander directs
otherwise, the platoon’s primary critical tasks include the following:

· Reconnoiter all terrain within the zone.

· Inspect and classify all bridges within the zone.
· Locate fords or crossing sites near all bridges in the zone.
· Inspect and classify all overpasses, underpasses, and culverts
in the zone.
· Within capability, locate all minefields and other obstacles in
the zone, reduce or breach them, and clear and mark lanes
through the obstacles.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

· Locate bypasses around built-up areas, obstacles, and

contaminated areas.
· Find and report all threat forces within the zone.
· Report reconnaissance information.

3-214. In addition to these tasks, the platoon must be prepared to

conduct other tasks that may be deemed as critical by the higher
commander. Additional tasks for the zone reconnaissance may include
the following:

· Identify threat activities, countermeasures, and probable

· Determine the size, location, and composition of
society/human demographics. Examples include race, sex,
age, religion, language, tribe, clan, class, education, history,
government, and/or factions.
· Establish and maintain contact with local civilian and
military leadership.
· Conduct reconnaissance of the society to determine the
regional, local, and neighborhood situations.
· Determine the needs of the society to assist friendly forces in
determining operations/actions needed to maintain support of
the friendly populace, gain support of neutral factions, and/or
neutralize hostile elements.
· Identify key infrastructure that could affect military
operations, including the following:
n Political, government, and religious organizations and
n Financial and economic systems.
n Physical facilities and utilities (such as power generation,
transportation, and communications networks).
· Determine media activities (local, US, international).
· Identify organizations and methods of operation for terrorists,
transnational groups, and ethnic centers of power.
· Identify the allegiances of the local populace to factions,
religious groups, or other organizations.

3-215. Zone reconnaissance is very time-consuming. Unless the orders
specify otherwise, all critical tasks listed in the previous discussion are
implied in the zone reconnaissance mission statement. When speed is the
primary concern, commanders must modify the focus, tempo, and
engagement criteria to prioritize the critical tasks for the platoon leader.
The width of the zone is determined by the road network, terrain
features, anticipated threat activity, and time available to accomplish the
mission. In general, reconnaissance platoons can reconnoiter a zone that
is 3 to 5 kilometers wide; however, a recce platoon can effectively
reconnoiter a zone only 2 to 3 kilometers wide. If the platoon is stretched

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

any farther than this, it quickly loses the capability to accomplish critical
tasks and move securely.
3-216. When the platoon leader receives a zone reconnaissance mission,
the order will define the zone by lateral boundaries, an LD, and an LOA
or objective. The parent unit may include additional phase lines or other
graphic control measures within the zone to help control the maneuver of
the units.
3-217. The platoon leader analyzes the mission to determine what must
be accomplished. He analyzes the commander’s guidance on focus (the
reconnaissance objective: threat, terrain, social/human demographics,
infrastructure, or a combination), tempo (time allowed for mission
accomplishment: stealthy or forceful, aggressive or discrete, deliberate or
rapid), and the engagement criteria (What situations constitute a platoon
fight? In what situation will the platoon defer the fight to a higher
element?). He evaluates any information he has received about the threat
in the IPB to determine what threat activity he should expect to
encounter. He then analyzes the terrain by conducting a map
reconnaissance and by examining any IMINT, SIGINT, HUMINT, or
information from other units to determine what types of terrain the
platoon must operate over. This reconnaissance is important in
identifying areas the threat could occupy based on observation capability,
fields of fire, and natural obstacles. From these factors, the platoon leader
determines the manner in which the platoon will accomplish its mission.
3-218. The platoon leader completes troop-leading procedures and comes
up with a COA to accomplish his assigned mission. He may add phase
lines on easily identifiable terrain through the zone to help control the
maneuver. He places checkpoints in specific areas that must be
reconnoitered or where they will aid in controlling the operation. If the
terrain is mixed, with both extensive dead space and easily identifiable
features, he may use boundaries to designate areas of responsibility for
each section. He will place contact points at critical areas where he wants
to ensure that sections maintain contact.
3-219. The platoon leader works with the FSO to plan and refine indirect
fire targets to support the platoon’s scheme of maneuver. As a minimum,
they should plan targets on known or suspected threat positions.
3-220. Depending on applicable METT-TC considerations, the platoon
can conduct the zone reconnaissance using a two-section, three-section or
single-vehicle organization. It must deploy to cover the entire zone. It
usually operates in a zone it knows very little about, so the COA must
allow for flexibility, responsiveness, and security as it moves.
3-221. The platoon leader deploys his sections before reaching the LD to
prevent detection. He then moves the sections across the LD and assigns
each section a zone within the platoon zone for which it is responsible. He
uses phase lines, checkpoints, contact points, or GIRS/TIRS to ensure
that the platoon reconnoiters the entire zone. He ensures that the
sections remain generally on line; this prevents development of
significant gaps that a moving threat could exploit. Scouts dismount to
gather detailed information, reconnoiter danger areas, or move through
areas that are not accessible to the vehicles. The platoon continues to
reconnoiter the zone until it reaches the LOA or the final reconnaissance

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations


3-222. The following example illustrates zone reconnaissance by a recce
platoon; however, the mission may be conducted in similar manner by
any type of reconnaissance platoons.
3-223. The recce platoon is operating within a troop, conducting a zone
reconnaissance in an SSC scenario. The focus and tempo of the operation
require the platoon to operate mounted, dismounting only to clear danger
areas and intervisibility lines. The engagement criteria allow the platoon
to use indirect fire on threat dismounts and vehicles. The troop
commander will mass platoons to destroy individual vehicles. A UAV
overflew the area several hours ago, but did not identify the threat
security zone.
3-224. Although recce platoons generally do not use strict formations
forward of the LD, the platoon leader in this example starts out with his
platoon on line. He will attempt to maintain this relationship even
though the sections will not always be mutually supporting. The platoon
deploys into formation prior to crossing the LD. It is operating in two
sections, with Alpha section consisting of the platoon leader and his
wingman and the PSG and his wingman in Bravo section. In this mission,
the platoon leader has chosen to position his section (Alpha) in the left
portion of the zone because of the importance of confirming the location of
a bridge in that area.
3-225. The platoon (3d Platoon in this example) crosses the LD at the
time prescribed in the commander’s OPORD, using the bounding
overwatch technique of movement within sections. The sections
maneuver through the zone in a zigzag pattern to ensure that the zone is
properly reconnoitered and to accomplish all critical tasks of a zone
reconnaissance. Security is maintained within sections because the width
and terrain of the zone prevent the sections from providing continuous
mutual support.
3-226. Depending on the factors of METT-TC, the platoon leader chooses
the movement technique best suited for command and control. He may
choose to have the sections secure the area and set at all checkpoints. As
an alternative, he may have the sections bound through the checkpoints,
report when they have been secured, and then set at the next phase line.
If the platoon leader has not assigned sections a particular checkpoint on
which to orient, the section leaders must plan their own graphic control
measures to control the movement. The sections make contact at contact
points to ensure that they remain abreast and to receive updates on the
current situation.
3-227. The recce platoon continues reconnaissance up to the river (PL
OHIO). As the platoon approaches the river, scouts move into covered and
concealed positions, dismount, and visually search the dominant terrain
on the north side of the river. Alpha section identifies the remains of the
bridge in its zone. Bravo section identifies a fording site with a rock
bottom just east of the blown bridge at checkpoint 32; the ford will
support heavy armored traffic (see Figure 3-7A). The platoon leader does
not allow any element to cross PL OHIO without permission from the
troop commander.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-7A. Zone Reconnaissance (Part One)

3-228. When the troop is set on PL OHIO, the platoon is given

permission to execute OHIO and move to PL BAMA. The sections
immediately begin reconnaissance of natural and man-made obstacles,
including the stream to their front. As the platoon continues
reconnaissance towards PL BAMA, the platoon leader learns that contact
has been made within the troop. He informs his platoon that they are
entering the threat security zone. Alpha section uses dismounts to
determine if the dominant terrain near checkpoint 33 is clear of threat
forces. The platoon continues its reconnaissance and sets at PL BAMA.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

3-229. When the troop is set on PL BAMA, the platoon is given

permission to execute BAMA and move to PL IDAHO. As the platoon
crosses the ridge at PL BAMA, Alpha section receives sporadic machine
gun fire from concealed positions south of checkpoint 34. The platoon
immediately deploys, reports the contact to the troop commander, and
calls for indirect fire to suppress the threat and enable the platoon to
break direct fire contact.
3-230. Under this protection, the platoon, primarily dismounted,
reconnoiters to the flanks and rear to develop the situation. The troop
commander acknowledges the contact report and moves immediately to
link up with the platoon leader. The troop commander orders the platoon
to continue its reconnaissance to locate the threat’s flank. The platoon
leader sends Bravo section forward on the threat’s left and his Alpha
section on the right flank to determine if the threat is mutually supported
by other forces from the flanks or rear. The Bravo section sergeant and a
three-man dismount team (two scouts as a security element and two for
reconnaissance) move in closer and determine that the threat consists of
one BRDM-2 and six dismounted soldiers. The scouts from the adjacent
2d Platoon identify the right flank of the threat and discover the flank is
unprotected by obstacles and exposed to direct fires.
3-231. The troop commander directs 2d Platoon to move to a designated
position and dismount two two-man Javelin teams to destroy the threat
OP. These teams move to checkpoint 24 and link up with the 3d Platoon
scouts, who guide them into position to attack the threat OP. (Refer to
Figure 3-7B.)
3-232. The 3d Platoon reports it is set with 2d Platoon dismounts in the
attack position. The platoon leader of 3d Platoon confirms that his
dismount teams are out of the target area and set and that his Bravo
section is providing overwatch. The platoon leader shifts mortar fire to
the rear of the threat position. Javelin teams from the 2d and 3d platoons
engage the threat from the flank to complete destruction of the OP. (See
Figure 3-7C.)
3-233. Scout dismount teams from 3d Platoon move in quickly, capture
two wounded prisoners, and search the vehicle and personnel. The
platoon HUMINT collectors conduct tactical interrogation to determine
the proximity and mission of other threat forces’ zones. The 3d Platoon
leader orders one scout dismount team to stay and secure the prisoners
and then completes his reconnaissance up to the LOA. Upon completion
of the zone reconnaissance, the platoon leader collects reports and
forwards them to the troop CP.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-7B. Zone Reconnaissance (Part Two)

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-7C. Zone Reconnaissance (Part Three)


3-234. One of the common tasks associated with reconnaissance

missions is the location and reconnaissance of obstacles and restrictions
that may affect the trafficability of a particular route or axis. The

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

reconnaissance platoon may perform obstacle and restriction

reconnaissance as a stand-alone task or as part of a route, zone, or area
reconnaissance mission.
3-235. Obstacles and restrictions can be either natural or man-made.
Current threat doctrine emphasizes the use of man-made obstacles to
reinforce natural obstacles and of restrictions to slow, impede, and
canalize friendly forces. These obstacles and restrictions include the

· Minefields.
· Bridges.
· Log obstacles such as abatises, log cribs, stumps, and posts.
· AT ditches.
· Wire entanglements.
· Defiles.
· Persistent agent contamination.
· Fills, such as a raised railroad track.

3-236. The reconnaissance platoon’s ability to deal with an obstacle or

restriction is extensive in certain areas and, at the same time, somewhat
limited in others. The platoon’s most important function is
reconnaissance of deliberate obstacles, including supporting threat
positions and possible breach sites. Another important platoon
reconnaissance task is to locate bypasses around obstacles and
3-237. The reconnaissance platoon has the capability to reduce or breach
small obstacles; however, this is generally limited to point obstacles that
are not integrated into the threat defense and are not covered by threat
fire and observation. When the scouts encounter obstacles that support a
threat defense, they have the capability to assist in breaching.

NOTE: An engineer reconnaissance team or squad may be task organized or attached to

the platoon to assist in obstacle/restriction reconnaissance. The engineer element
provides expertise in collecting pertinent intelligence, known as OBSTINTEL,
about the obstacle/restriction. The engineers also provide extremely limited
breaching capability.


3-238. How the platoon approaches obstacle and restriction
reconnaissance is highly dependent on METT-TC. In general, however,
the process of conducting this type of reconnaissance can be covered in
five steps that under most METT-TC conditions will ensure an organized
and efficient operation:

· Detection.
· Area security and reconnaissance.
· Obstacle reconnaissance.
· Selection of a COA.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

· Recommendation/execution of a COA.

3-239. During reconnaissance operations, the reconnaissance platoon
must locate and evaluate man-made and natural obstacles and
restrictions to support the movement of their parent unit. Detection of
obstacles and restrictions begins in the planning phase of an operation
when the S2 conducts IPB. The platoon combines the S2’s work with the
reconnaissance conducted during the troop-leading process (normally a
map reconnaissance only) to identify all possible obstacles and
restrictions within the area of operations. The platoon leader then plans
the obstacle/restriction reconnaissance based on the orders he receives
and on the IPB and map reconnaissance (both his own and from the S2).
3-240. Scouts use visual and physical means to detect mines and
obstacles while conducting their mission. They visually inspect terrain for
signs of mine emplacement and other reinforcing obstacles. They also
must be alert to dangerous battlefield debris such as bomblets from
cluster bomb units (CBU) or dual-purpose improved conventional
munitions (DPICM).
3-241. Mines and other types of obstacles can be difficult for mounted
elements to detect; therefore, scouts must also conduct obstacle detection
while dismounted. They may need to dismount their vehicles several
hundred meters short of a suspected obstacle and approach the obstacle
on foot to conduct reconnaissance. They look for disturbed earth, unusual
or out-of-place features, surface-laid mines, tilt rods, and tripwires. They
can incorporate vehicle-mounted thermal sights into the search to help
detect surface-laid mines.
3-242. Physical detection methods include detonating, probing, and
using a mine detector. Detection occurs when a vehicle, soldier, or
countermine system physically encounters a mine. This method does not
indicate the boundaries of the obstacle. The scouts must probe or conduct
additional visual inspection to define the extent of the minefield.


3-243. Threat forces often cover their obstacles with observation and
fire. Whenever scouts encounter an obstacle, they must proceed with
their reconnaissance assuming the threat can observe and engage them.
The element that detects the obstacle establishes overwatch before it
proceeds with the reconnaissance. The scouts in overwatch look for signs
of threat forces in and around the obstacle or in positions that allow
observation of the obstacle. They visually search the dominant terrain on
the far side of the obstacle for evidence of threat positions or ambushes.
3-244. Once they confirm the threat situation from the near side, the
scouts not in overwatch move mounted and/or dismounted to find
bypasses around the obstacle. If they find a bypass, they move around the
obstacle and establish OPs on the far side to provide 360-degree security
of the obstacle. If the scouts are unable to find a bypass, they must
conduct their reconnaissance from the near side under the security of the
overwatch elements.


FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

3-245. Once security is established, scouts then move dismounted to the

obstacle. They must be cautious when reconnoitering the obstacle.
Tripwires or other signs may indicate the threat is using booby traps or
command-detonated mines to prevent friendly forces from determining
and collecting OBSTINTEL. The reconnaissance platoon must collect all
information that may be critical to the commander in such functions as
planning a breach and verifying the threat template. Examples of
OBSTINTEL include the following:

· Obstacle location.
· Obstacle orientation.
· Soil conditions.
· Presence of wire, gaps, and bypasses.
· Composition of complex obstacles.
· Minefield composition, including types of mines.
· Breaching requirements.
· Gaps between successive obstacle belts.
· Location of threat direct fire weapons.

3-246. The element reconnoitering the obstacle prepares an obstacle

report (Blue 9) with this information and forwards the report through the
platoon leader or PSG to the commander. (NOTE: For information on
obstacle report formats, refer to Appendix B of this manual.)

3-247. The platoon leader analyzes the situation and METT-TC to
determine which COA to select. He has a choice of four COAs:

· Bypass the obstacle/restriction.

· Conduct obstacle reduction.
· Support a breaching operation.
· Continue the mission.

3-248. A bypass is the preferred COA when it offers a quick, easy, and
tactically sound means of avoiding the obstacle. To be effective, a bypass
must allow the entire force to avoid the primary obstacle without risking
further exposure to threat ambush and without diverting the force from
its objective. Bypassing conserves reduction assets and maintains the
momentum of the moving unit. If the platoon leader decides to bypass
and his commander approves, scouts must mark the bypass and report it
to the commander. They may be required to provide guides for the main
body if the bypass is difficult to locate or visibility conditions are poor.
(NOTE: For bypass report formats, refer to Appendix B of this manual.)

NOTE: In some cases, bypassing is not possible, with breaching/reduction the best, or only,
tactical solution. Such situations may include the following:

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

· The obstacle is integrated into a prepared defensive position

and the only available bypass canalizes friendly forces into a
fire sack or ambush.
· The platoon’s mission specifically tasks it to reconnoiter and
reduce any obstacle or to eliminate any threat forces located
on the original route, allowing follow-on forces to maintain
freedom of movement.
· The best available bypass route will not allow follow-on forces
to maintain their desired rate of movement.
· Improving the bypass may require more time and assets than
breaching the primary obstacle(s).

Conduct Obstacle Reduction

3-249. Obstacle reduction significantly degrades the platoon’s ability to
maintain momentum, either for its own reconnaissance effort or for
follow-on forces. Obstacles within the platoon’s breaching capability
include small minefields, simple wire obstacles, small roadblocks, craters,
and similar point-type obstacles. (NOTE: Refer to Appendix F of this
manual for information on obstacle reduction operations.) For other
types of obstacles, the scouts can support the breaching effort, as covered
in the following discussion.

Support a Breaching Operation

3-250. When the platoon locates a large obstacle that cannot be easily
bypassed, its primary option is to support a breaching operation. The
scouts perform additional reconnaissance and security tasks as
necessary; these may include determining the amount of time and
resources required to reduce the obstacle and locating the best available
reduction site. (NOTE: If he expects to encounter large obstacles during
an operation, the commander may direct engineer reconnaissance teams
to move with the scouts to determine much of this information.) The
platoon’s reconnaissance effort focuses on the following features:
· Fighting positions for support force weapons on the near side
of the obstacle.
· Trafficable routes to the reduction site and routes from the far
side leading to the objective.
· Dispersed covered and concealed areas near the reduction site.
· Work areas on the near side for reduction assets of the breach
· Fighting positions on the far side once a foothold is
· Positions on both sides of the obstacle that could facilitate
threat observation of the reduction site.
· Trafficability and soil conditions near the reduction site. This
is especially important for minefield reduction because mine-
clearing blades will not work properly in all soil conditions.
· Soil stability of wet and dry gaps.
· Width, depth, and bottom condition of wet and dry gaps.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Bank height and slope.

· Water velocity of wet gaps.
· Wind direction for obscuration of the obstacle.

3-251. Engineer assistance can make the process of gathering the

OBSTINTEL necessary for a breaching operation much easier and more
effective for the reconnaissance platoon. If he expects to encounter large
obstacles during a mission, the platoon leader should request an attached
engineer reconnaissance team or, as a minimum, an engineer NCO to
serve as a technical advisor. Scouts who have received sapper training
may also enhance the platoon’s capabilities.
3-252. After the platoon reports the necessary information to the
commander, the scouts maintain security of the obstacle and serve as
guides, if necessary, for the breach force. The information they provide is
used by the commander and his engineers to prepare the suppression,
obscuration, security, reduction, and assault (SOSRA) plans for the
breach. The platoon maintains security during the breaching operation
and calls for and adjusts indirect fires, as necessary, in support of the
breaching operation. The platoon must be in position to move rapidly
through the obstacle once a lane is created so it can continue its mission.

Continue the Mission

3-253. When the platoon encounters a restriction, such as a bridge or
defile, it may find that the restriction is not an obstacle to movement and
is not covered by threat fire or observation. Scouts may also discover
dummy minefields or obstacles that are incomplete and easily passed
through. Under these conditions, the platoon’s COA may be to report,
then continue its reconnaissance mission.

3-254. Once the platoon leader has determined the COA best suited to
the situation, he either executes it or recommends it to his higher
headquarters for approval. Generally, the platoon will execute a
particular COA without specific approval if it was addressed in the
OPORD received from higher or is covered in the unit SOP. In such a
case, the platoon leader will execute the COA and then inform the
commander of his actions. If the situation the platoon has discovered is
not covered by previous guidance, the platoon leader determines the best
COA and recommends it to his commander. He then executes the COA
specified by the commander.


3-255. These examples illustrate reconnaissance of obstacles and
restrictions in two tactical situations. They are organized using the five-
step process.
3-256. Figures 3-8A through 3-8D illustrate this situation.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

3-257. A reconnaissance section detects a bridge when a dismounted

element observes it from an overwatch position (see Figure 3-8A). The
bridge was expected because it was also identified during the scout’s IPB
and map reconnaissance. A TUAV in the area of operations confirms the
bridge’s location and reports that it appears to be intact.

Area Security and Reconnaissance

3-258. The dismounted scouts bring the section’s vehicles into covered
and concealed overwatch positions; the section establishes near side
security of the bridge. A dismounted patrol is organized to conduct
reconnaissance up to the bridge, overwatched by the vehicles and by a
TUAV attached to augment the platoon’s security and reconnaissance
capability (see Figure 3-8B). The dismounted element reconnoiters for
both mounted and dismounted bypasses. The dismounts must determine
quickly if it is possible to bypass the bridge through the use of a ford in
the local area. The platoon leader monitors the situation and, if
necessary, may direct other sections to assume the mission of locating
other bridges or fords to serve as bypasses. The TUAV focuses on the far
side of the obstacle to identify threat positions and/or reinforcements.
3-259. If the water obstacle can be forded, the dismounts use the ford to
move to the far side. On the far side, they reconnoiter the terrain that
dominates the bridge. They establish far side security on terrain where
they can observe threat approach routes to the bridge. Once the far side
is secure, the section is ready to reconnoiter the bridge itself.
3-260. If the water obstacle cannot be easily forded in the local area, the
scouts may have to cross on the bridge itself. Before attempting to cross,
the dismounted scouts visually examine the bridge for structural damage
and rigged explosives. Because the bridge appears intact, the dismounted
element then crosses the bridge one scout at a time. The scouts move
quickly to the far side and take up covered and concealed positions that
provide local security on the opposite approach to the bridge. Once the
entire dismounted element is secure on the opposite side, it continues
beyond the immediate bank area to secure the far side.

Obstacle Reconnaissance
3-261. Once the area has been reconnoitered and secured, a dismounted
element moves to the bridge under the supervision of the senior scout and
conducts a detailed examination of the bridge (see Figure 3-8C). The
scouts examine the bridge for the following purposes:

· Ensure that the bridge is free of demolitions. This requires

examination of underwater pilings and the underside of the
bridge for hidden explosives. In addition, the scouts should
take a detailed look at the far side to find any electrical cables
or wires connecting the bridge to the shore.
· Find any structural damage. Scouts look for obvious signs of
threat destruction efforts and for less obvious signs of structural
damage, including cracks or fractures in stringers or supports
and twisted or untrue alignment of stringers or supports.
· Conduct a hasty classification of the bridge. The scouts
determine if it will support the largest vehicle in the unit. For

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

additional information on bridge classification, refer to

Chapter 9 of this manual and to FM 3-34.343 (FM 5-446).

3-262. The section leader consolidates all appropriate and relevant

reports (for example, the bridge, ford, and bypass reports) and sends
them higher.

Selection of a COA
3-263. Based on results of the bridge reconnaissance, the section leader
determines that the restriction is secure, that he can safely move the
section across it, and that he can continue his mission.

Recommendation/Execution of a COA
3-264. In accordance with platoon SOP, the section leader now moves
the rest of his element across the bridge. The lead reconnaissance vehicle
moves across the bridge, overwatched by the other vehicles (refer to
Figure 3-8D). The vehicle crosses with only the driver on board. As he
observes the crossing, the section leader watches for any signs of damage
or stress on the bridge.
3-265. Once the lead vehicle is across, it moves to link up with the
dismounted element and assists in providing far side security. At this
point, the overwatch vehicles can cross the bridge, and the section can
continue its mission. The section leader also advises his platoon leader
that he is continuing his mission.
3-266. Once the lead vehicle is across, it moves to link up with the
dismounted element and assists in providing far side security. At this
point, the overwatch vehicles can cross the bridge, and the section can
continue its mission. The section leader also advises his platoon leader
that he is continuing his mission.

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-8. Reconnaissance of a Restriction


3-267. Figures 3-9A through 3-9F illustrate this situation.

3-268. Dismounted scouts detect an extensive wire obstacle from a
covered and concealed position. From its vantage point, the
reconnaissance section cannot determine any additional details.

Area Security and Reconnaissance

3-269. The section brings vehicles up to covered and concealed positions
to overwatch the obstacle. It organizes a dismounted element to attempt
to locate a bypass and secure the far side. Because of the obstacle’s size,
the section also informs the platoon leader that it will take considerable
time for the section to reconnoiter the obstacle by itself. In the process of

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

executing the patrol, the section discovers that the left flank of the
obstacle is tied into an impassable swamp (refer to Figure 3-9A).
3-270. Based on this initial evaluation, the platoon leader attempts to
increase the speed of the reconnaissance by sending the other section to
find a bypass around the right flank of the obstacle. That section moves
to a dismount point and sends a patrol around the right flank. The patrol
is engaged by threat machine guns. The overwatch vehicles suppress the
machine guns and then are engaged by threat vehicles in defensive
positions. The section reports that it can maintain contact with the threat
but can no longer maneuver (see Figure 3-9B). It can also observe the
threat from the rear and reports a company-size unit in defensive
positions overwatching the obstacle. It also reports that there are no
trafficable routes around the threat’s right flank (see Figure 3-9C).
3-271. At this point, the platoon leader determines that he does not have
the combat power to secure the far side of the objective. He also
determines that the only trafficable bypass is covered by threat direct
fires. He now must conduct a detailed reconnaissance of the obstacle
before he can recommend a COA to his commander.

Obstacle Reconnaissance
3-272. The reconnaissance section that originally detected the obstacle is
in the best position to reconnoiter it. It organizes a dismounted element
to move to the obstacle. Because there is enough light for the threat to
visually cover the obstacle, the platoon leader coordinates indirect fire to
support the patrol. As the patrol moves out, artillery lays suppressive
fires on the known threat positions, and mortars fire smoke into the area
between the threat positions and the obstacle (see Figure 3-9D).
3-273. The scouts move by covered and concealed dismounted routes to
the obstacle. Through probing and visual observation, they determine
that the wire obstacle is reinforced with buried mines. They are able to
determine that there is a mix of AT and AP mines with antihandling
devices, emplaced in 30-meter belts on both the near side and the far side
of the wire. Once they acquire this information, the scouts move laterally
along the obstacle to determine its length and to find out if its
composition is uniform. They look for the most favorable breaching
location (see Figure 3-9E).

Selection of a COA
3-274. The platoon leader evaluates the situation and determines that
he cannot bypass the obstacle and does not have the capability to breach
it. He decides to recommend a breach.

Recommendation/Execution of a COA
3-275. The platoon leader recommends to his commander that the
platoon prepare to support a breach. With higher approval, he orders the
platoon to continue the reconnaissance and security tasks necessary to
support a breach operation. He also begins coordinating with, and
passing information to, the element responsible for conducting the breach
(see Figure 3-9F).

__________________________________________________ Chapter 3 – Reconnaissance Operations

Figure 3-9. Reconnaissance of an Obstacle (Part One)

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 3-9. Reconnaissance of an Obstacle (Part Two)

Chapter 4

Security Operations
In security operations, CONTENTS
security forces protect the
Purpose and Fundamentals ........................ 4-1
main body from threat Purpose ................................................. 4-1
observation and surprise Fundamentals of Security ..................... 4-2
attack. They provide the main Planning Considerations ............................. 4-3
Screening Missions ..................................... 4-4
body commander with early
Critical Tasks ........................................ 4-4
warning, allowing him to Counterreconnaissance Techniques .. 4-14
concentrate his combat power Example of a Screen Operation ........... 4-17
at the right place and time to Convoy and Area Security Operations ...... 4-23
Convoy Security .................................... 4-23
defeat the threat. There are
Area and High-Value Asset Security ... 4-32
four types of security
· Screen.
· Guard.
· Cover.
· Area security.


4-1. All security missions serve the same general purpose: They
prevent the main body from being observed or attacked unexpectedly by
the threat. These operations are conducted forward, to the flanks, or to
the rear of the main body. The reconnaissance platoon may operate at
considerable distances from the main body it is screening (limited only by
communications capabilities and the range of indirect fire support). This
provides the main body with time and space to react and to position
forces to fight the threat.
4-2. The reconnaissance platoon can conduct screening and area
security operations independently or as part of a larger force such as a
reconnaissance troop or company team. In conducting guard missions, the
platoon works as part of a larger unit such as a battalion or squadron; in
addition, the platoon may be tasked to conduct screening or
reconnaissance missions in support of the larger unit’s guard or cover

4-3. A screening force provides early warning to the main body and
impedes and harasses the threat with direct and indirect fires. Within its
capabilities and based on the higher commander’s guidance, it destroys or
repels threat reconnaissance units in coordination with other combat

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

4-4. Screening missions, which are defensive in nature, provide the

protected force with the lowest level of protection of any security mission.
They are conducted to the front, flanks, and rear of a stationary force and
to the flanks and rear of a moving force. The screening force normally
operates within the range of the supporting artillery. The reconnaissance
platoon generally accomplishes a screening mission by establishing a
series of OPs and conducting patrols to ensure adequate reconnaissance
and surveillance of the assigned sector.

4-5. A guard force is deployed over a narrower front than is a
screening force. It accomplishes all the tasks of a screening force, with the
additional task of preventing threat ground observation of and direct fire
against the main body. A guard force reconnoiters, attacks, defends, and
delays as necessary to accomplish its mission. It normally operates within
the range of the supporting artillery. Guard operations are not conducted
below task force or squadron level.

4-6. A covering force accomplishes all the tasks of screening and guard
forces to deceive, disrupt, and destroy threat forces. The key distinction of
the cover mission is that the force operates apart from the main body to
allow early development of the situation. Unlike screening or guard
forces, a covering force is tactically self-contained; it is normally a
reinforced separate brigade or cavalry regiment. It is organized with
sufficient CS and CSS assets to operate independent of the main body.
Because the covering force (or a portion of it) can be decisively engaged by
a threat force, it must have sufficient combat power to effectively engage
the threat.

4-7. Area security missions are conducted to provide reconnaissance
and security in support of designated personnel, facilities (including
airfields), unit convoys, main supply routes, lines of communications,
equipment, and critical points.

4-8. Five fundamentals, described in the following paragraphs, are
common to all security missions. The platoon leader’s plans must adhere
to these fundamentals as the platoon executes its mission.


4-9. If the main body moves, scouts must be aware of its move and
must reposition their forces accordingly. They must understand the main
body commander’s scheme of maneuver and where he wants his security
force in relation to his movement. The element must be positioned where
it can provide the needed security.


4-10. The reconnaissance platoon conducts continuous reconnaissance
during security operations to gain as much information as possible about
the area of operations and the threat.

_________________________________________________________ Chapter 4 – Security Operations


4-11. Early and accurate warning of threat approach is essential to
successful operations. The main body commander needs this information
to shift and concentrate his forces to meet and defeat the threat. Scouts
occupy OPs and conduct patrols to provide long-range observation, to
observe threat movement, and to report the threat’s size, location, and
activity to the main body commander.


4-12. The reconnaissance platoon works at a distance from the main
body that is sufficient to enable the platoon to identify the threat force
and then report threat activities so the main body commander can react
accordingly. The platoon provides additional reaction time and/or
maneuver space by employing indirect fires to slow the threat’s rate of


4-13. Scouts gain and maintain contact with the threat to provide the
commander with continuous information. If they lose contact, they take
steps to regain it. They then maintain contact until ordered to do
otherwise or until they conduct handover of the contact to another unit.
Ideally, the reconnaissance platoon leader gains a thorough
understanding of the threat situation before the operation starts by
integrating ISR assets (such as TUAVs and ground sensors) during the
planning process. This enables him to maneuver the platoon out of
contact so he can make contact either on the most favorable terms or as
directed by the commander.


4-14. Critical to the reconnaissance platoon leader’s ability to execute

his mission is to clearly understand the focus, tempo, and
engagement/displacement criteria of the security mission. These factors,
labeled as the commander’s reconnaissance guidance, provide the basic
information the platoon leader needs to know for planning and executing
his mission. They are an extension of the commander’s overall guidance
clarifying the security mission. The platoon leader receives the
commander’s guidance from higher and then issues it to subordinates
within the platoon as part of his scheme of maneuver.
4-15. The focus of the security mission allows the commander to
determine which critical tasks he wants the platoons to accomplish. It
helps him narrow each platoon’s scope of operations to get the
information that is most important to battalion, squadron, and/or brigade
operations. In SSC operations, for example, the platoon focus might be
oriented on the threat, terrain, social/human demographics, or
infrastructure or on a combination of these factors. In stability operations
and support operations, the platoon might be focused on determining
local populace sentiment, identifying local paramilitary leaders, or
conducting checkpoint operations to determine the direction of movement

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

of displaced persons in the area of operations. While all critical tasks

have some degree of applicability in any given operation, certain tasks
are more important for specific missions; this must be clearly articulated
at each level. Given its focus and a specific amount of time, the
reconnaissance platoon accomplishes its specified critical tasks as
instructed by the commander, then moves on to any other tasks within its
4-16. The tempo of the security mission allows the commander to
establish associated time requirements, such as the available planning
time, and applicable operational methods, such as dismounted or
mounted OPs, reconnaissance patrols, engagement criteria, and triggers
for displacement.
4-17. The engagement and displacement criteria establish what the
next higher unit is expected to destroy and what it is expected to hand
over. This is particularly important when the unit is conducting
counterreconaissance. At his level, the reconnaissance platoon leader
uses the engagement criteria, coupled with his understanding of the
threat’s most likely COA, to develop his understanding of what the
commander wants the platoon to destroy. He can then determine what he
wants the sections or squads to destroy. This enables the platoon leader
to focus certain weapon systems, develop engagement areas, and plan for
the destruction of specified threat vehicles. Displacement criteria inform
the platoon leader of the events that will trigger the collapse of the
screen. He uses them in planning how to occupy the area and in
determining when the platoon will execute displacement security drills.


4-18. The reconnaissance platoon conducts screen missions for its

parent unit or other combined arms forces to provide early warning of
threat approach and to provide real-time information, reaction time, and
maneuver space for the main body. The commander calls on the platoon
to screen for him when he needs advance warning of when and where the
threat is attacking. Operating over an extended area, the platoon fights
only for self-protection within its capabilities and to deny threat elements
close-in observation of the main body.

4-19. During a screening mission, the platoon must accomplish the
following critical tasks:
· Maintain continuous surveillance of the area of operations,
including all assigned NAIs or avenues of approach into the
· Provide early warning of any threat approach.
· Within capability and based on the commander’s guidance,
identify threat reconnaissance units and, in coordination with
other combat elements, destroy them.

_________________________________________________________ Chapter 4 – Security Operations

· Gain and maintain contact with the threat main body, report
the threat activity, and conduct proper handover with other
· Impede and harass the threat main body by controlled use of
indirect fires.

4-20. The platoon maintains surveillance from a series of OPs. OPs are
positioned where they can best observe designated NAIs and/or avenues
of approach. The screen, normally identified by a phase line on a map,
designates the most forward location of the OPs. Commanders must
carefully weigh time and distance factors when choosing where to place
this line. The platoon covers the space between the screen line and the
supported/subsequent unit to the rear by establishing positions in depth.
This also supports reconnaissance handover, both within the platoon and
with the supported/subsequent unit to the rear of the screen line.
4-21. In executing a screen mission, scouts conduct active patrolling to
extend their observation range and/or to cover dead space and the area
between OPs. The platoon leader can request to place OPs forward of the
LOA if they can more effectively observe the NAI/avenue of approach.
Unless they have to, the scouts do not fight with their direct fire weapons.
Indirect fire is their primary means of engaging the threat. They use
direct fire for self-defense.
4-22. When planning a screen mission, the platoon leader uses the
critical task requirements covered in the following discussion as a guide
to prioritizing and sequencing the mission. He must address each


4-23. The first task for the reconnaissance platoon in the screening
mission is to provide surveillance of the assigned area of operations.

Surveillance Requirements
4-24. Generally, scouts are assigned to screen along a lateral line (the
screen line). This can be misleading, however. The screen is actually set
to observe specific avenues of approach or, more specifically, NAIs. The
screen line merely indicates the limit of the forward positioning of the
scouts. Along with the screen line graphic, the platoon leader must have
an event template/matrix; he may also have a decision support template.
4-25. The areas the platoon is tasked to observe should be identified in
either the reconnaissance and security plan the platoon leader receives or
in the OPORD from higher headquarters. If the platoon does not receive
an IPB product, the higher OPORD must specifically state where it must
focus the screening operation. If the platoon is assigned multiple
requirements, the higher headquarters must prioritize them.
4-26. The scout’s understanding of his commander’s intent and
guidance is the most critical aspect of planning the screen mission. More
important than the specifics of where to orient is the focus on what to
look for. There are three choices for this focus: the threat main body, the
threat reconnaissance effort, or both. The intent should specify on which
of these alternatives the platoon will focus or, if both are required (as is
often the case), which has priority.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

4-27. This guidance will then determine where the platoon will orient
and how it will allocate resources. If the commander’s priority is locating
the main body, the scout will focus most of his assets on the main avenues
of approach and accept risk on the reconnaissance avenues of approach
(RAA). If the commander’s priority is on counterreconnaissance, the scout
will put priority on the RAAs and accept some risk on the main avenue. If
the commander wants both choices, with equal priority, the scout must
plan to transition from the RAA to the main avenue at a designated point
in the battle. The commander will usually order this transition based on
the threat situation.

NOTE: A threat RAA may mirror or parallel the intended route of a threat maneuver force,
or it may follow a route that facilitates observation of key terrain or friendly forces
but is unrelated to the threat scheme of maneuver.

Surveillance Assets
4-28. Once the platoon leader has a thorough understanding of what
his surveillance requirements are, he must next determine what assets
he has available to execute these requirements. Availability of assets is
dependent on how long the screen must remain in place and how the
platoon is task organized. Among the assets that can enhance the
platoon’s surveillance capability are GSR, infantry squads, engineer
reconnaissance teams, artillery forward observers (FO), and TUAV
assets. If the screen will be of short duration (less than 12 hours),
individual squads can emplace and man separate OPs. If the duration of
the screen is unknown or longer than 12 hours, the platoon leader must
assign a two-vehicle section (CFV/RV platoons) or three-vehicle section
(HMMWV platoons) for each OP to facilitate continuous operations.
(NOTE: Refer to Chapter 8 of this manual for further details on
air/ground reconnaissance integration.)

Surveillance Techniques
4-29. To ensure that the critical task of surveillance of assigned
reconnaissance objectives is accomplished, the platoon leader and his
higher headquarters apply a combination of techniques to make the most
efficient use of their assets. (NOTE: Refer to Chapter 5 of this manual
for a discussion of surveillance methods, OPs, patrols, and use of
electronic and mechanical assets.)
4-30. Task Organization. The platoon leader will task organize the
platoon and any other assigned assets to achieve the most effective
surveillance of an NAI or avenue of approach. He may also employ assets
not under his direct control, but rather under the command of the next
higher unit. As noted, these assets could be engineer or infantry squads,
GSR, artillery observers, and TUAV assets. (NOTE: When the platoon
leader does not control the assets directly, he must ensure that his
dispositions complement those of the other forces in the screen and do not
duplicate them unnecessarily. In addition, he must ensure that all scouts
understand where these forces are and what role they are playing.)
4-31. The platoon leader may use these surveillance assets in a number
of ways. These may include adjusting the number of sections or squads in
a particular surveillance team; mixing scouts and other assets such as

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engineers, artillery, GSR, or infantry into the same team; or maintaining

elements in pure teams under the platoon leader’s control. The platoon
leader must consider the characteristics of the NAI or avenue when task
organizing for surveillance. These considerations will determine whether
the platoon will need to call for fire or conduct dismounted patrols; they
will also affect the field of view and applicability of GSR and TUAVs.
4-32. Figures 4-1A and 4-1B illustrate how the recce and HMMWV
platoons might be task organized for surveillance operations.

Figure 4-1A. Sample Recce Platoon Task Organization

Figure 4-1B. Sample HMMWV Platoon Task Organization

4-33. Redundancy. The platoon leader may task more than one
element to observe a particular assigned NAI or avenue. He does this
based on the nature of the NAI or avenue in terms of size, terrain, or
importance. For example, a very large avenue may require multiple
observation assets to ensure all aspects of the avenue are covered.
Terrain that is very broken or mixed with areas of thick vegetation may
require more than one asset to ensure that adequate continuous coverage
is achieved. Finally, if a particular NAI is assigned significant priority by

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the commander, the platoon leader may assign multiple elements to cover
it. Redundancy not only ensures that an NAI or avenue is adequately
observed, but also enables the unit to accomplish the mission even if
some assets are compromised by threat forces. Figure 4-2 illustrates
redundancy of observation assets.

Figure 4-2. Redundant Coverage of an Avenue of Approach

4-34. Cueing. Cueing is a technique the platoon leader can use to cover
an NAI or avenue when assets are limited and he lacks the capability for
redundancy. He plans contingency tasks that will increase surveillance
on a particular NAI; his surveillance teams execute the tasks when
“cued” by activity at that NAI.
4-35. The NAI or avenue is covered initially either by a single
surveillance team or by a remote or electronic signaling device such as
GSR, REMBASS, trip flares, or the platoon early warning system
(PEWS). When activity is detected, other teams move into preselected
positions to add their capabilities to the surveillance of the NAI or
avenue. Refer to Figure 4-3.

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Figure 4-3. Use of Trip Flare to Cue a Patrol


4-36. The platoon’s second critical task is to provide early warning of a
threat approach. Effective early warning requires planning for
communications in detail. The platoon leader looks at communications
distances and significant terrain features to identify potential FM
communications problems. If he anticipates problems, he can address
them by requesting support from higher (in the form of battalion or
squadron retrans) or by planning for radio relays and directional
antennas. See Figure 4-4.

Figure 4-4. Platoon Communications Setup


4-37. Once the platoon leader has planned surveillance of assigned
reconnaissance objectives and has ensured that he can provide early
warning, he must next evaluate the threat’s reconnaissance effort and the
platoon’s assigned role in the conduct of counterreconnaissance. These
operations consist of two elements: acquiring and killing. The most
appropriate role for the platoon in the counterreconnaissance operation is
acquiring threat reconnaissance assets rather than killing them,
although it does have limited killing capability.
4-38. The commander’s guidance must specifically define the role of the
scouts in counterreconnaissance operations. Once he has a thorough
understanding of his commander’s intent, the platoon leader must
consider four factors when planning to acquire threat reconnaissance

· Threat RAAs (both mounted and dismounted).

· When and under what conditions the platoon is likely to
encounter threat reconnaissance forces.

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· Likely composition of threat reconnaissance forces in terms of

size, organization, and equipment.
· Identity and location of friendly reconnaissance-killing forces.

4-39. Threat reconnaissance forces are not likely to use primary

avenues of approach to execute their mission. To acquire their assigned
reconnaissance objectives, the scouts must be oriented on RAAs, which
may include trails, rough terrain, and dead space that allows mounted
movement, but only for small teams of vehicles. They must also realize
that threat reconnaissance is most likely to move during darkness and
periods of limited visibility. A thorough understanding of the composition
of threat reconnaissance elements will allow the scouts to more
accurately determine what the threat’s likely RAAs are and how best to
acquire them.
4-40. Other assets in the battalion, squadron or, more likely, the
brigade will be given the specific mission of killing threat reconnaissance
behind the screen line where initial acquisition occurs. Once the scouts
locate threat reconnaissance elements, they must use their thorough
knowledge of the terrain and of the location and capabilities of the
friendly killing force to coordinate handover of the threat forces.
4-41. The counterreconnaissance task is extremely resource-intensive.
It is generally most effective when conducted by an element larger than a
single reconnaissance platoon. Most often, the platoon by itself does not
have sufficient assets to both acquire and kill the threat. In addition, it
may not be able to cover all RAAs and still maintain surveillance on the
threat’s main avenues of approach. The commander’s intent is critical to
resolving this dilemma.
4-42. When the platoon must acquire both threat reconnaissance
elements and the main body, the priority in the early stages of the
mission will be on the reconnaissance forces, focusing on the RAAs. The
platoon will then track the echeloned arrival of threat elements on the
battlefield and shift priority to the main avenues of approach at the
appropriate time. This technique permits the platoon to time-phase its
priorities based on battlefield conditions. The platoon leader, however,
must recognize when to change priority to the main avenue and then
execute the change successfully. See Figures 4-5A and 4-5B.

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Figure 4-5A. Changing the Screen Priority (Initial Priority

to Counterreconnaissance)

Figure 4-5B. Changing the Screen Priority (Priority

Changed to Main Avenue of Approach) (Continued)

4-43. After locating the main body of the threat, the platoon must
maintain contact with it until authorized to hand over contact to another
friendly element. This is one of the most difficult tasks for the individual
section or squad to accomplish and therefore is best accomplished
through a platoon effort.
4-44. The preferred method of maintaining contact with a moving
threat main body is to position echeloned OPs in depth along the avenue
of approach. This allows contact to be handed over from one OP to
another without the requirement for the OPs to physically displace. This
technique requires that the platoon have enough assets to pre-position
the OPs in depth. See Figure 4-6.

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Figure 4-6. Positioning OPs in Depth

4-45. Another technique used to maintain contact is to displace in front

of a moving threat. This technique is very difficult because the scouts
must move to the rear faster than the threat is moving forward. This
often exposes the scouts to threat fire. Additionally, if they attempt to use
covered and concealed routes only, they risk moving too slowly, being
outrun and/or overrun by the threat, and losing contact. Figure 4-7
illustrates how scouts can conduct displacement while maintaining

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Figure 4-7. Displacement while in Contact

4-46. A third technique is a combination of the two discussed earlier.

Leaving the original dismounted OP in position (with a vehicle in
support, if possible), the scouts detach a vehicle or vehicle section and
reposition it in depth as either a mounted or dismounted OP. This OP can
be established or reoriented to maintain contact until the threat force can
be handed over to a maneuver element. The platoon must maintain
observation of NAIs/avenues of approach or request that other assets
maintain the screen. The platoon leader can also request or coordinate
handover to maintain the screen. This technique reduces both the time
associated with moving OPs and the likelihood that any reconnaissance
element will be compromised. Refer to Figure 4-8A and 4-8B.
4-47. No matter how the platoon plans to maintain contact, the platoon
leader should attempt to rehearse the method, especially if it involves
displacement of reconnaissance elements. This will help him to validate
the method he has chosen or to choose another one if it becomes

Figure 4-8A. Repositioning OPs in Depth

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Figure 4-8B. Repositioning OPs in Depth (Continued)


4-48. Reconnaissance platoons should attempt to harass and impede
the threat using indirect fire. The platoon leader must plan carefully to
overcome the difficulties involved in effectively engaging a moving
mechanized element with indirect fire. He should focus on expected
avenues of approach, choke points, the threat rate of march, and artillery
time of flight to determine trigger lines (or points) that allow accurate
engagement of the threat. A technique for planning the use of triggers is
to have a dismounted OP, sited forward of its supporting vehicle, observe
the triggers and initiate fires, with the vehicle OP observing the impact
zone and adjusting the fires. Every scout in the reconnaissance platoon
must be proficient in planning, coordinating, and calling for indirect fires,
such as linear sheaths on main avenues of approach.
4-49. Accurate artillery fire will have an immediate effect on the threat
force. Formations will be disrupted as individual vehicles change speed,
button up, or are destroyed or disabled. Command and control will
deteriorate as vision is restricted and antennas are lost; this loss of vision
and command and control will restrict the threat’s ability to spot
displacing friendly forces. The threat may also compromise his
momentum and combat power if he attempts to locate the element
directing the fire.

4-50. Counterreconnaissance is a directed effort to prevent visual
observation or infiltration of friendly forces by threat reconnaissance
elements. It is a critical task in all reconnaissance platoon security
missions. Countering the threat’s mounted and dismounted
reconnaissance elements is the first and possibly most important step in
ensuring the friendly main body can successfully execute its mission. At
the same time, it can be extremely difficult to identify threat
reconnaissance forces, especially when they are dismounted. The platoon
may lack this capability. As a result, this task is most successfully

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executed when it is approached as a combined arms effort at troop and

battalion task force level.

4-51. The troop or task force concept of executing
counterreconnaissance must address how the unit will accomplish the
two aspects of counterreconnaissance: acquiring the threat and then
killing it. At battalion/squadron level, the S2 provides key input in this
determination. He identifies where RAAs are located in the unit sector,
what type of threat reconnaissance elements might be used in the sector,
and when they are most likely to move into the sector. It is especially
important for the S2 to note the locations and activities of dismounted
threat elements, which present the greatest danger to the platoon and
the supported unit. Information from the S2 is integrated into the
OPORD and is part of the unit’s IPB.
4-52. The commander should discuss conduct of counterreconnaissance
in the OPORD or FRAGO, indicating in tactical terms how elements will
organize and conduct the operations throughout the depth of the area of
operations. This information should include planning considerations for
the operation, including the following:

· Direct fire planning and coordination.

· Observation planning and coordination.
· Command and control.
· Battle handover.

4-53. In all counterreconnaissance operations, the goal is to destroy the

threat reconnaissance forces after they have penetrated the initial screen
line. The reconnaissance platoon’s role in these operations will usually be
to conduct a screen mission to acquire and identify threat reconnaissance
forces. This requires that the acquiring elements of the platoon be well
hidden to prevent the threat from detecting the screen. In most cases, the
platoon cannot be expected to have the capability to acquire, identify, and
defeat the threat reconnaissance by itself. Other combat elements must
be tasked to fight and destroy the threat reconnaissance elements.

4-54. Several organizational options, which are described in the
following paragraphs, are available to the commander to counter the
threat reconnaissance effort.

Reconnaissance Platoon
4-55. This technique puts the entire burden for counterreconnaissance
on the reconnaissance platoon and attached CS assets. It requires
maximum use of the CS assets to acquire the threat, freeing the scouts to
perform the killing function of counterreconnaissance. The platoon leader
places acquiring assets along the screen line and positions his designated
killing teams in depth. The killing assets of the platoon occupy positions
on likely threat reconnaissance routes; however, they must be flexible to
respond to threat elements moving on other routes. (NOTE: When the
platoon operates with units that commonly have strikers or COLTs
attached, such as BRTs, the platoon leader may have to integrate NAIs to

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support the TAIs that are positioned in depth. This will place the scouts
in the role of acquiring the threat, with the strikers/COLTs as the killers
in depth.)
4-56. This technique requires that the platoon’s sections or squads
reconnoiter alternate positions and routes that permit quick repositioning
once contact is made by the acquiring elements. When it is used,
counterreconnaissance tasks must be prioritized in the early stages of the
screen mission.

Reconnaissance Platoon and MGS/Tank Platoon

4-57. The team technique requires the close integration of a
reconnaissance platoon and an MGS/tank platoon to execute
counterreconnaissance tasks. The reconnaissance platoon is the acquiring
element, and the MGS/tank platoon is the killing element. The
reconnaissance platoon leader, whose element makes first contact,
commands the counterreconnaissance effort; the MGS/tank platoon is
placed OPCON to the reconnaissance platoon. In a cavalry troop, BRT, or
recce troop, the troop commander may control and coordinate the effort.
4-58. The scouts acquire the threat through the use of surveillance
techniques. The MGSs or tanks occupy a BP along likely reconnaissance
avenues, but they are prepared to move to previously reconnoitered
alternate positions based on reports coming from the reconnaissance
platoon. This organization will be most effective when the two platoons
establish a habitual relationship. Refer to Figure 4-9 for an illustration of
this technique using a counterreconnaissance team made up of recce and
MGS platoons.

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Figure 4-9. Recce/MGS Team Counterreconnaissance Array

Reconnaissance Platoon and Company Team

4-59. In this technique, a combined arms task force uses a company
team with an attached or OPCON reconnaissance platoon to execute
counterreconnaissance and security operations. This technique is
primarily executed by battalion reconnaissance platoons. The company
team commander controls the security effort. The reconnaissance platoon
is the primary acquiring element, but it can be supplemented with
infantry assets from the company team and CS assets from the battalion.
The commander uses all other assets as the killing element.
4-60. This is the most robust counterreconnaissance technique and has
the combat power to be very effective. It also has organic CSS assets,
making service support operations quicker and more responsive. Major
disadvantages of this technique are the combat power it diverts from the
main battle area (MBA) and the execution problems that may result if
the scouts and the killing elements have not trained together. Refer to
Figure 4-10.

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Figure 4-10. Reconaissance Platoon and Company Team

Counterreconnaissance Array


4-61. The following example illustrates a screen operation by a recce
platoon; however, the mission can be conducted in similar fashion by all
types of reconnaissance platoons.
4-62. The recce platoon normally screens as part of a troop operation.
This example focuses on 1st Platoon, Troop B, operating as part of a
RSTA squadron (see Figure 4-11). The troop commander has been
assigned the mission to screen in his sector along PL BOB and between
PL BOB and PL SAM. The troop will hand over threat contact as the
threat crosses PL SAM. The troop commander decides to screen with his
three recce platoons on line and an attached MGS platoon in depth
behind the recce platoons.

Figure 4-11. Troop Screen Concept

4-63. The primary focus of the 1st Platoon is on acquiring threat main
body elements moving along avenue of approach 2 or 2A (AA2 and AA2A

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in the accompanying illustrations). The platoon will also locate as many

threat reconnaissance elements as possible. Because of the width of the
sector, the recce platoons have permission to engage threat
reconnaissance patrols smaller than section size, but only under
favorable conditions. (NOTE: CFV-equipped scouts may be tasked to
engage enemy elements up to platoon size.) The MGS platoon’s primary
task is to destroy threat reconnaissance elements of section or platoon
size. In 1st Platoon’s area of operations, the attached MGS platoon has
been positioned in BP A6 and is prepared to occupy any other BP on
4-64. With his troop commander’s guidance, the 1st Platoon leader
evaluates the resources available to accomplish his tasks. Because there
is no assigned time limit to the mission, he plans for long-duration OPs.
This consideration leads him to select a two-section organization. He
places one section to observe AA2A from OP A and positions the other
section at OP E (see Figure 4-12). Positioning of these OPs is critical. A
map reconnaissance indicates that RAAs are probably located along the
platoon’s boundaries and through the wooded area in the center of the
platoon screen (in the vicinity of checkpoints 7, 2, and 3).
4-65. Careful positioning of the OPs will allow continuous coverage of
AA2 and AA2A and some coverage of the RAAs. The platoon leader plans
to conduct patrols for further surveillance of the RAAs. In addition to his
primary positions, the platoon leader plans alternate and subsequent OPs
throughout the depth of his sector. He selects these positions based on his
requirements to reposition if an OP is compromised and to maintain
contact with the main body throughout the depth of his sector (as
illustrated in Figure 4-12).
4-66. If time permits, the platoon leader will report all his planned
positions to the troop TOC. As a minimum, he will send the exact
locations of the initial positions.

Figure 4-12. Recce Dispositions

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4-67. As the recce sections arrive at their assigned positions (OPs A

and E), they adjust the sites to best meet the intent of the platoon leader.
Upon arriving, the sections report “SET”; after the OP is completely
installed, they report “ESTABLISHED.” Once established, the recce
sections begin executing patrols in accordance with the platoon patrol
4-68. After a period of time, OP A reports contact with a threat
reconnaissance patrol consisting of two BRDMs (see Figure 4-13). Based
on the platoon leader’s guidance, the recce section takes no action,
remains hidden, and continues to report. The platoon leader forwards the
report to the troop commander and receives instructions to coordinate
target handover with the MGS platoon in BP A6. Based on his
commander’s guidance, the recce platoon leader has the MGS platoon
move to BP A5 to engage and destroy the threat.

Figure 4-13. Initial Contact and Engagement

4-69. A short time later, the scouts in OP E report artillery impact in

the vicinity of OP C and then contact with two BMPs, moving south just
west of AA2. Having monitored the developing threat situation, the troop
commander orders the MGS platoon to move to BP A6 and engage the
threat. The MGS platoon coordinates with the recce platoon leader, then
engages and destroys the second threat. See Figure 4-14.

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Figure 4-14. Scouts Acquire Combat Reconnaissance

Patrols (CRP); MGSs Destroy CRPs

4-70. Having engaged a significant number of threat elements from BP

A6 and/or BP A5, the MGS platoon is ordered by the troop commander to
reposition to BP A8. As that occurs, the recce section at OP E identifies
the first element of the threat main body, a company-size element. The
platoon leader decides to take a risk along AA2A. He requests to displace
from OP A to OP H or displaces in accordance with the established
displacement criteria. This gives him additional depth along AA2 and will
make it easier for the platoon to maintain contact with the threat main
body (see Figure 4-15). The platoon leader reports the displacement.

Figure 4-15. Scouts Acquire Threat Main Body

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4-71. The recce section formerly at OP A reports set at OP H. The

section at OP E maintains contact with the threat main body until it can
be observed by the section at OP H (as shown in Figure 4-16). Once that
occurs, the two OPs conduct target handover, with the section at OP E
beginning displacement in depth to OP J. The section at OP H begins to
harass the threat main body by calling for indirect fire. This fire not only
breaks up the momentum of the main body, but also helps cover the
displacement of OP E. OP H also reports threat artillery impact in the
vicinity of BP A6. Eavesdropping on the troop net, the recce platoon
learns that the MGS platoon is set at BP A8.

Figure 4-16. Scouts Harass Threat Main Body

4-72. OP H maintains contact with the threat and continues to harass

him with indirect fire (as illustrated in Figure 4-17). As the threat main
body continues to move, it is engaged with direct fire by the MGS platoon
in BP A8. These combined fires disrupt and significantly slow the threat
main body. The recce section reports set at OP J and begins coordinating
battle handover to the friendly unit south of PL SAM.

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Figure 4-17. MGSs and Scouts Engage Threat Main Body

4-73. After the initial engagement of the threat main body, the MGS
platoon displaces laterally toward Troop A to conduct a rearward passage
of lines (see Figure 4-18). OP H conducts target handover with OP J and
also moves toward Troop A. OP J maintains contact with the moving
threat main body until battle handover with the friendly unit to the south
is complete. The recce section at OP J then moves east to pass to the rear.

Figure 4-18. Scouts Execute Battle Handover

to Incoming Unit


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4-74. Area security operations are designed to protect specific critical

and vulnerable assets or terrain from threat observation and direct fire.
They can involve escorting friendly convoys; protecting critical points
such as bridges, command and control installations, or other key and
vulnerable sites; or participating in protection of large areas such as
airfields. They are normally performed when conventional security or
combat operations are not appropriate to the situation. The
reconnaissance platoon may perform area security operations as part of a
larger force or as an independent platoon mission.

4-75. Convoy security missions are performed by recce troops, company
teams, cavalry troops, and larger organizations to provide protection for a
specific convoy. These missions include numerous tasks for elements such
as escort, reconnaissance, and combat reaction forces. The tasks in turn
become missions for the subordinate units. The recce platoon is
particularly well suited for outposting missions, whereas other types of
reconnaissance platoons are effective for both route reconnaissance and
outposting missions. All reconnaissance platoons can perform convoy
escort as well. The size of the unit performing the convoy security
operation is dependent on a number of factors, including the size of the
convoy, the terrain, and the length of the route. Refer to Figures 4-19A
and 4-19B for illustrations of recce troop and cavalry troop convoy
security missions.

Figure 4-19A. Recce Troop Convoy Security Mission

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Figure 4-19B. Cavalry Troop Convoy Security Mission

4-76. When route reconnaissance is conducted as part of a convoy
security operation, it is done in the same manner as discussed in Chapter
3 of this manual. In this mission, scouts focus on the trafficability of the
route and on threat forces that might influence the route. The platoon
must plan to call for engineer assets to assist in breaching point-type
obstacles. Command-detonated devices are a major threat during route

4-77. Outposting is a technique used during convoy security to screen
the route after it has been reconnoitered. Its use is similar to the
technique for covering lateral and boundary routes in reconnaissance
operations. Outposting as part of convoy security, however, is generally
done by all elements of the platoon for the specific purpose of helping to
secure the convoy. It involves employing OPs on critical portions of the
route or on key avenues of approach to the route to provide early warning
of threat elements attempting to interdict the convoy.
4-78. Outposting differs from a conventional screen in that the outposts
are oriented on the route rather than on the friendly main body.
Normally, the outposting element follows the element that is executing
the route reconnaissance (see Figure 4-20). Outposts have a limited
ability to destroy small threat forces attempting to influence the route.
Their primary purpose is to acquire the threat and then to direct the
employment of reaction forces or indirect fire to destroy him.

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Figure 4-20. Recce Platoon Conducts Outposting

4-79. The platoon may perform a convoy escort mission either
independently or as part of a larger unit’s convoy security mission. The
convoy escort mission requires that the platoon provide a convoy with
close-in protection from direct fire. The platoon can protect 5 to 10 convoy
vehicles per escort vehicle. These vehicles can include military vehicles
(CSS, command and control), civilian trucks, or buses. Among
reconnaissance platoons, those equipped with CFVs are best suited for
this mission because of their vehicles’ firepower and the armor protection
they provide against direct and indirect fires and mines. Leaders must
carefully evaluate the threat before assigning a convoy escort mission to
HMMWV- or RV-equipped platoons. The following considerations apply
during convoy escort operations.

Command and Control

4-80. Command and control is especially critical during convoy escort
because of the task organization inherent to the mission. When the
reconnaissance platoon is executing the escort mission, it operates under
the control of the convoy commander. The relationship between the
platoon and the convoy commander must provide for unity of command
and effort if combat operations are required during the course of the
mission. (NOTE: The convoy commander must understand the
employment of combat assets while in contact. If the senior leader in the
convoy chain of command lacks such experience, the next most senior
leader with the appropriate qualifications should assume the duties of
convoy commander.)
4-81. The platoon leader must ensure that a complete OPORD is issued
to all vehicle commanders in the convoy prior to execution of the mission.
This is vital because the convoy may itself be task organized from a
variety of units and because many of the vehicles may not have tactical

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radios. The order should follow the standard five-paragraph OPORD

format, with special emphasis on the following subjects:

· Order of march.
· Actions on contact.
· Chain of command.
· Communications and signals.
· Actions on vehicle breakdown.
· Actions at a halt.
· Route of march (this should include a sketch for each vehicle
Tactical Disposition
4-82. Security during convoy escort missions must be in all directions
and throughout the length of the convoy. This requires that the elements
of the platoon and any combat or CS attachments be dispersed
throughout the convoy formation. Engineer assets should be located
toward the front to respond to obstacles; the fire support team (FIST) or
COLT should be located near the platoon leader. The platoon will
normally use the column formation because of its inherent speed and ease
of movement. If a HMMWV unit is used as the escort, a tracked, armored
vehicle should be attached to lead the convoy whenever possible because
of its superior protection against mines. Figures 4-20A, 4-20B, and 4-20C
illustrate convoy escort missions by various types of reconnaissance

Figure 4-20A. Recce Platoon Escorts a Convoy

Figure 4-20B. CFV Platoon Escorts a Convoy

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Figure 4-20C. HMMWV Platoon Escorts a Convoy

Actions at an Ambush
4-83. Ambush is one of the most effective ways to interdict a convoy
and is therefore a threat the convoy escort must be prepared to counter.
Reaction to an ambush must be quick, overwhelming, and decisive. It
must be executed as a drill by all escort and convoy elements, with care
taken to avoid fratricide. The following actions should be included in the
convoy escort drill:

· Upon detection of a threat force, escort vehicles action toward

the threat. They seek covered positions between the convoy
and the threat and suppress the threat with the highest
possible volume of fire. They send appropriate contact reports
to higher headquarters (as shown in Figure 4-21A).
NOTE: In some situations, elements of the escort force will be required to remain with the
convoy main body. This is especially true when the convoy comprises mainly
nonmilitary elements, such as nongovernmental organizations (NGO) or local
civilian agencies. In addition to being unarmed in most cases, these elements will
usually lack communications capabilities, making it difficult for escort elements to
link back up with the main body.
· The convoy commander retains control of the convoy vehicles
and maintains radio contact with the security force while
moving the convoy on the route at the highest possible speed.
· Convoy vehicles, if armed, may return fire only until the
escort has imposed itself between the convoy and the threat.
· Any damaged or disabled vehicles are abandoned and pushed
off the route (as illustrated in Figure 4-21B).
· The escort leader (reconnaissance platoon leader) submits
spot reports. If necessary, he requests reinforcement and calls
for and directs indirect fires and air support if they are
· Once the convoy is clear of the kill zone, the escort leader
chooses one of the following COAs based on the composition of
the escort and the strength of the threat force:
n Continue to suppress the threat force while combat
reaction forces move to support (see Figure 4-22A).
n Assault the threat (see Figure 4-22B).
n Break contact and move out of the kill zone (as illustrated
in Figure 4-22C).

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4-84. Generally, CFV-equipped platoons will continue to suppress the

threat or execute an assault because of their vehicles’ capabilities.
HMMWV- and RV-equipped platoons are more likely to move out of the
kill zone as soon as the convoy is clear. Contact should be broken only
with the approval of the platoon’s higher commander.

Figure 4-21A. Convoy Escort Actions toward Ambush

Figure 4-21B. Convoy Continues to Move out of Kill Zone

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 4-22A. Escort Suppresses Ambush for Reaction Force

Figure 4-22B. Escort Vehicles Assault Ambush Position

Figure 4-22C. Escort Vehicles Break Contact

Actions at a Short Halt

4-85. The convoy may be required to make a short halt for a number of
reasons. During the short halt, the escorting unit is at REDCON-1
regardless of what actions convoy vehicles are taking. If the halt is for
any reason other than an obstacle, these actions should be taken:
· The convoy commander signals the short halt and transmits
the order via tactical radio.
· The convoy assumes a herringbone formation.
· Escort vehicles take up protective positions forward, to the
rear, and to the flanks (up to 100 meters beyond the convoy

_________________________________________________________ Chapter 4 – Security Operations

vehicles, as applicable) and orient their weapon systems

outward. They remain at REDCON-1, although they establish
dismounted local security (as illustrated in Figure 4-23A).
The vehicles being escorted pull into the protected area in the
center of the herringbone, between the escort vehicles.
(NOTE: Escort vehicles should not leave the roadway if there
is a possibility of threat mines.)
· When the order is given to move out, convoy vehicles first
reestablish the column formation, leaving space for the escort
vehicles (see Figure 4-23B). Once the convoy is in column, the
escort vehicles join the column, leaving local security
dismounted (shown in Figure 4-23C).
· Once all elements are in column, local security personnel
mount, and the convoy continues to move.

Figure 4-23A. Convoy Assumes Herringbone Formation

Figure 4-23B. Convoy Moves Back into Column Formation

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 4-23C. Escort Vehicles Rejoin Column

Actions at an Obstacle
4-86. Obstacles are a major threat to convoys. They can be used to
delay the convoy; if the terrain is favorable, they may be able to stop the
convoy altogether. In addition, an obstacle or series of obstacles can be
used to channel or stop the convoy to set up an ambush. Generally, the
convoy should treat every obstacle as though the threat is overwatching it
with direct and/or indirect fires.
4-87. The purpose of the route reconnaissance ahead of the convoy is to
identify obstacles and either breach them or find bypasses. In some cases,
it is not possible to mount a route reconnaissance ahead of the convoy; in
other cases, the reconnaissance element may fail to detect the threat or
its obstacles. In either situation, the convoy must take actions to reduce
or bypass the obstacle.
4-88. When a convoy is dealing with an obstacle, it faces a two-sided
problem: it is more vulnerable because it is stopped, and its escort force
is occupied with tasks required to overcome or bypass the obstacle. For
these reasons, security becomes critical, and actions at the obstacle must
be accomplished very quickly. The convoy escort takes the following
actions when it encounters a point-type obstacle:
· When the lead security element identifies the obstacle, the
convoy commander directs a short halt. He establishes
dismounted local security and overwatch of the obstacle.
Convoy vehicles remain on the road, with the escort elements
moving to the flanks to provide security. (NOTE: All convoy
vehicles must be aware that the threat may have buried
mines in the area, especially on the flanks of the road.)
· The convoy commander relays a spot report to higher
headquarters and requests support from combat reaction
forces, engineer assets (if they are not already part of the
convoy), and aerial reconnaissance elements. In addition, he
alerts artillery units to be prepared to provide fire support.

_________________________________________________________ Chapter 4 – Security Operations

Employment of these assets is designed to reduce the time the

convoy is halted and thus to reduce its vulnerability. The
convoy commander must always assume that the
obstacle is overwatched and covered by the threat.
· The escort forces form a reconnaissance team and begin
reconnaissance for a bypass while maintaining 360-degree
security of the convoy (see Figure 4-24).
· Simultaneously, an additional reconnaissance team made up
of escort elements and/or engineers moves forward to conduct
an obstacle reconnaissance. Because of limited time and
assets, the convoy does not need to establish far-side security
prior to reconnaissance of the obstacle (see Figure 4-24).
· Once all reconnaissance is completed, the convoy commander
determines which of the following COAs he will take:
n Bypass the obstacle.
n Breach the obstacle with the assets on hand.
n Breach the obstacle with reinforcing assets.
· The convoy commander executes the best COA and continues
the mission.

Figure 4-24. Escort Teams Conduct Obstacle

Reconnaissance and Reconnoiter for a Bypass


4-89. Units conduct area security missions in MTWs and SSCs to deny
the threat the ability to influence friendly actions in a specific area or to
deny the threat use of an area for its own purposes. This may entail
occupying and securing an area without the presence of the threat or
taking actions to destroy threat forces already present in the area. The
area security mission may provide protection of designated personnel,

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

airfields, unit convoys, facilities, main supply routes, lines of

communications, equipment, and critical points.


4-90. Area security involves a variety of techniques and may include
reconnaissance, security, defensive, offensive, stability, and support
tasks. Reconnaissance organizations, including the platoon, may conduct
the following in support of area security:

· Area, route, and/or zone reconnaissance.

· Screening operations.
· Offensive and defensive tasks (within the platoon’s capability
based on METT-TC).
· Convoy security.
· High-value asset security.

NOTE: Reconnaissance units without organic combat assets (such as the BRT, recce troop,
and task force reconnaissance platoon) rely on the brigade to provide the combat
assets needed to perform offensive and defensive actions if the enemy situation

4-91. The platoon may conduct or support the following additional

tasks in stability operations and support operations:

· Liaison.
· Compliance inspections.
· Presence patrols.
· Checkpoints.
· Roadblocks.

NOTE: See Appendix D of this manual for a more detailed discussion of platoon operations
in stability operations or support operations.

4-92. An area security force neutralizes or defeats enemy operations in
a specified area. It operates in an area delineated by the headquarters
assigning the area security mission. It screens, reconnoiters, attacks,
defends, and delays (within capability) as necessary to accomplish its
mission. Area security operations may be offensive or defensive in nature
and focus on the threat/enemy, on the force/element being protected, or
on a combination of the two. Commanders may balance the level of
security measures taken with the type and level of threat posed in the
specific area; however, all-around security is an essential consideration at
all times.
4-93. As noted, area security operations are conducted to deny the
threat/enemy the ability to influence friendly actions in a specific area or
to deny him use of an area for his own purposes. This may entail
occupying and establishing a 360-degree perimeter around the area being
secured or taking actions to destroy or neutralize enemy forces already
present. The area to be secured may range from specific points (bridges,

_________________________________________________________ Chapter 4 – Security Operations

defiles) to defined areas (terrain features such as ridgelines or hills) to

large population centers and adjacent areas.
4-94. Proper IPB is vital in providing adequate security for the
assigned area. Along with unit capability and the factors of METT-TC,
the following considerations, which are determined during the IPB, will
determine specific unit missions during area security operations:

· The natural defensive characteristics of the terrain.

· Existing roads and waterways for military lines of
communication and civilian commerce.
· Control of land and water areas and avenues of approach
surrounding the area to be secured extending to a range
beyond that of threat artillery, rockets, and mortars.
· Control of airspace.
· Proximity to critical sites such as airfields, power generation
plants, and civic buildings.

4-95. Because of the possibility of commanders tying their forces to

fixed installations or sites, area security missions may become defensive
in nature. This must be carefully balanced with the need for offensive
action. Early warning of enemy activity to provide the commander with
time to react to any potential threat is a paramount consideration in
effective area security missions. It requires thorough reconnaissance and
surveillance planning, coupled with employment of dismounted and
mounted patrols and aerial reconnaissance.
4-96. A perimeter is established when a unit must secure an area
where the defense is not tied into an adjacent unit. Perimeters vary in
shape depending on METT-TC. If the commander determines the most
probable direction of threat attack, he may weight that part of the
perimeter to cover the approach of threat forces. The perimeter shape
conforms to the terrain features that afford the most effective observation
and fields of fire.
4-97. Perimeters are divided into troop/platoon sectors with boundaries
and contact points. Mutual support and coordination between defensive
elements (usually combat elements within the brigade) require careful
planning, positioning, and coordination because of the circular aspects of
the perimeter. A screen line is established, integrating OPs, GSR, and
patrols. Tanks, MGSs, and/or antiarmor weapons systems are placed on
armor-restrictive terrain and high-speed avenues of approach. Likely
threat/enemy drop zones (DZ), landing zones (LZ), or bases are identified
and kept under observation. Air assets, if available, are integrated into
the R&S plan. (NOTE: Refer to FM 3-20.971 and FM 3-20.97 [FM 17-97]
for further discussion on area security at the troop level.)


4-98. The reconnaissance platoon may deploy to conduct area security
operations on its own or as part of a larger force. When the platoon
deploys to conduct area security on its own, it generally moves into a coil
formation around the point, area, or asset to be secured. Vehicle positions
are adjusted to orient on likely threat avenues of approach. If engineer

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

support is available, the vehicle positions are dug in; if not, vehicles
occupy hasty fighting positions.
4-99. To further improve the position, the platoon employs hasty
protective minefields, wire, and other obstacles as appropriate and
available. Wire obstacles should be emplaced outside grenade range of
friendly positions. Once vehicle positions and obstacles are established,
the platoon develops a fire plan, including integrated indirect fires, and
submits it to its higher headquarters.
4-100. In addition to setting up the platoon position around the asset to
be secured, the platoon also employs patrols and OPs to enhance security
(see Figure 4-25). It employs reconnaissance patrols and combat patrols
as needed to become familiar with the area of operations, to gain
information on threat forces, and to destroy small threat dismounted
reconnaissance elements. OPs are deployed to observe likely avenues of
approach, to provide early warning of threat activity, and to assist in
controlling indirect fires.

Figure 4-25. Platoon Area Security Dispositions

Chapter 5

Dismounted Operations
Dismounted operations, in CONTENTS
some form, are a critical
Troop-Leading Procedures .......................... 5-1
element in virtually every Tenets .................................................... 5-2
reconnaissance platoon Troop-Leading Steps in Dismounted
mission. The best scouting is Operations .......................................... 5-2
Patrolling Tasks ........................................... 5-15
done dismounted. It is critical
Movement Techniques .......................... 5-15
that all reconnaissance Security Halts ........................................ 5-18
leaders understand when and Departure from Friendly Lines ............. 5-19
how to employ dismounted Use of Rally Points ................................ 5-20
Contingency Plans ................................ 5-21
scouts to enhance the Leader’s Reconnaissance .................... 5-21
platoon’s effectiveness in Reentry to Friendly Lines ..................... 5-22
reconnaissance and security Debriefing .............................................. 5-23
tasks. This chapter focuses on Actions at Danger Areas ....................... 5-23
Actions on Contact ...................................... 5-26
the two major types of Battle Drills ............................................ 5-26
dismounted operations: Methods of Handling Casualties and
patrols and observation posts. Prisoners ............................................ 5-32
Types of Patrols ........................................... 5-33
Reconnaissance Patrol ......................... 5-33
Security Patrol ....................................... 5-39
Combat Patrol ........................................ 5-40
Presence Patrol ..................................... 5-51
Tracking Patrol ...................................... 5-51
Patrol Bases .................................................. 5-57
Site Selection ......................................... 5-57
Planning Considerations ...................... 5-58
Patrol Base Occupation ........................ 5-58
Patrol Base Activities ........................... 5-60
Passive (Clandestine) Patrol Base ...... 5-61
Observation Posts ........................................ 5-61
Critical Tasks ......................................... 5-62
Types of Observation Posts ................. 5-63
Positioning the OP ................................ 5-63
Selecting an OP Site ............................. 5-64
Occupying the OP ................................. 5-65
Manning the OP ..................................... 5-66
Improving the Position ......................... 5-67
OP Communications ............................. 5-68
OP Security ............................................ 5-68
Extended OP Operations ...................... 5-69
Remote Electronic/Mechanical
Surveillance ....................................... 5-80


5-1. Patrols are missions to gather information or to conduct combat

operations. The platoon must be proficient at conducting the five types of
patrols: reconnaissance, security, combat, presence, and tracking. The
leaders understanding of how and when to employ dismounted scouts will

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

facilitate the successful accomplishment of any assigned reconnaissance

and security task. A mission to conduct a patrol may be given to a team,
section, squad, or the entire platoon. (NOTE: Refer to Chapter 7 of this
manual for a discussion of urban operations.)

5-2. The following considerations are basic to the platoon’s
understanding, planning, and execution for every patrol mission:

· The platoon must plan and conduct the reconnaissance patrol

in accordance with the fundamentals of reconnaissance
outlined in Chapter 3 of this manual.
· Based on the higher commander’s guidance and intent, the
platoon leader must specify the following aspects of the
n The focus of the patrol. In most cases, this is the
reconnaissance objective.
n The tempo. This includes the level of planning and
preparation (deliberate or hasty) and the methods and
actions to be employed (stealthy or aggressive).
n Engagement criteria, including applicable ROE and ROI.
· The platoon must execute the patrol using the correct
movement technique to prevent compromise of any patrol
element. It must always maintain local security by using
separate reconnaissance and security elements.
· The platoon must take advantage of available resources
(including TUAVs, GSR, FBCB2, and other enablers) to
develop the situation prior to threat contact.
· Threat contact is avoided unless specifically directed by the
platoon leader. In such a situation, the platoon gains contact
with its smallest element. Unexpected contact by
reconnaissance elements is absolutely minimized.
· Based on the higher commander’s intent and the platoon
order, the platoon reports all critical and information
requirements rapidly and accurately (by FM voice and/or
FBCB2, as applicable).
· The platoon can execute reconnaissance patrols to ensure the
security of OPs and integrity of the platoon area of operations.
For example, a section can send out a reconnaissance patrol
after establishing an OP to check all locations from which the
threat can observe the OP; this will ensure the OP position
was not detected as it was occupied. When executed as part of
a screen or other security mission, this type of patrol is
referred to a security patrol.
· The platoon accomplishes the assigned patrol mission within
the timeline specified by the higher commander.


5-3. When ordered to lead a patrol, the patrol leader follows the troop-
leading procedures discussed in Chapter 2 of this manual. The following

______________________________________________________ Chapter 5 – Dismounted Operations

discussion focuses on how he can use the troop-leading process as a tool to

make and carry out tactical decisions quickly and effectively.


5-4. Orders come in two forms: written OPORDs and FRAGOs. Once
an order is received, the first thing the patrol leader must do is clearly
understand what is required to accomplish the mission. First, he looks at
the order and jots down the tasks the commander told him to perform,
such as conduct reconnaissance of a bridge; these are called specified
tasks. Next, he identifies the tasks that must be done even though the
commander did not tell him to do them, such as cross a stream and an
open area en route to the patrol objective; these are called implied tasks.
The patrol leader does not list tasks that are part of the SOP. He takes a
hard look at the list of specified and implied tasks and puts a check mark
by those tasks that must be done for the unit to accomplish its mission.
These are called essential tasks. To identify these tasks accurately, the
patrol leader must thoroughly understand the commander’s intent. He
then restates the patrol mission in terms of WHO, WHAT, WHERE,
WHEN, and WHY.


5-5. The patrol leader issues the warning order to all patrol members
whenever possible or, at a minimum, to key members of the patrol. It
should include the following:

· Elements/personnel to whom the warning order is issued.

This identifies the soldiers involved in the patrol and allows
them to prepare for the operation.
· The time and nature of the operation. This is a brief and clear
statement of' what the patrol must accomplish. It may tell
who, what, when, where, and why.
· The earliest time of movement. This helps the patrol
members prepare, inspect, and organize for movement by a
specified time.
· The time and place the OPORD will be issued.

5-6. The patrol leader also gives instructions to special purpose teams
and key men so they can get ready for the patrol by taking such actions
as preparing explosives, checking radios, and making a map study (point
and compass men).


5-7. Once the warning order is issued, the patrol leader selects a COA
that will accomplish the assigned mission(s). To develop a COA, he must
consider all the things that will influence his patrol’s ability to
accomplish the mission. The primary influences on his decisions are the
factors of METT-TC: the mission; the known or expected enemy (threat);
terrain and weather; troops or combat power available; time available to
plan, prepare, and execute the mission; and civilian considerations.
5-8. The plan should take into account how each aspect of METT-TC
will influence the others regarding mission accomplishment. The patrol
leader should give special consideration to the terrain the patrol must

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

traverse, the threat forces it will pass near or through en route to its
objective, the effects of extensive dismounted work on the scouts, and the
amount of time available to conduct the mission.

Patrol Time Schedule

5-9. A method the patrol leader uses to organize his time is to back-
plan from mission completion to the present time. This aids in mission
planning and provides a schedule of events for all patrol members. An
example of back-planning a time schedule is illustrated in Figure 5-1.


0200 - Return Friendly Area
2330 - 0200 - Movement En Route
2300 - 2330 - Accomplish Mission, Reorganize
2230 - 2300 - Reconnaissance of Objective Area
2000 - 2230 - Movement En Route
2000 - Depart Friendly Area
1945 - 2000 - Movement to Departure Area
1930 - 1945 - Final Inspection
1845 - 1930 - Night Rehearsals
1800 - 1845 - Day Rehearsals
1745 - 1800 - Inspection
1700 - 1745 - Supper Meal
1515 - 1700 - Subunit Planning and Preparation
1445 - 1515 - Issue Operation Order
1400 - 1445 - Complete Detailed Plans
1315 - 1400 - Conduct Reconnaissance
1300 - 1315 - Issue Warning Order

Figure 5-1. Example Patrol Time Schedule


5-10. Patrols may act independently, may move beyond the direct fire
support of the parent unit, and may operate forward of friendly units. As
a consequence, their coordination effort must be thorough, detailed, and
continuous throughout the planning and preparation phases. The patrol
leader may perform coordination personally, or his superior may do it for
him. Keeping in mind that the entire platoon may be tasked to patrol, the
necessary coordination may be extensive. A checklist is a common tool
used to ensure that all items of vital importance are covered.

Times of Departure and Return

5-11. Times of departure and return are based on the amount of time
needed to accomplish the following:

______________________________________________________ Chapter 5 – Dismounted Operations

· Reach the objective. This is determined by considering the

distance, terrain, anticipated speed of movement, friendly and
threat situation, and (if applicable) the time at or by which
the mission must be accomplished.
· Accomplish essential tasks in the objective area. This includes
the leader’s reconnaissance and movement of elements and
teams into position, as well as the accomplishment of the
patrol’s mission.
· Return to a friendly area. This may be difficult to determine
because casualties, EPWs, or captured equipment may slow
the patrol. The use of a different return route may change the
time needed.

Primary and Alternate Routes

5-12. The patrol leader selects a primary route to and from the
objective. The return route should be different from the route to the
objective. The patrol leader also selects an alternate route that may be
used either to or from the objective. The alternate route is used when the
patrol has made contact with the threat on the primary route. It may also
be used when the patrol leader knows or suspects that the patrol has
been detected (see Figure 5-2).

Figure 5-2. Primary and Alternate Routes

Routes Divided into Legs

5-13. Routes are divided into legs with each leg starting, if possible, at
a point that can be recognized on the ground (see Figure 5-3). A pace
count and azimuth are used between points. This makes it easier to stay
oriented. When it is not possible to start and stop legs at recognizable
points, a continuous pace count and azimuth may be used.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 5-3. Route Divided into Legs

Rally Points
5-14. A rally point is a place where a patrol can conduct these actions:

· Temporarily halt to prepare to depart from friendly lines.

· Reassemble and reorganize if dispersed during movement.
· Temporarily halt to reorganize and prepare for actions at an
· Temporarily halt to prepare to reenter friendly lines.

5-15. Types of Rally Points. The most common types of rally points
are initial, en route, objective, reentry, and near side and far side rally
points. Soldiers must know the rally point to which they are moving at
each phase of the patrol mission. They should know what actions are
required there and how long they are to wait at each rally point before
moving to another. Rally point considerations include the following:
· Initial rally point. An initial rally point is where a patrol
may assemble and reorganize if it is dispersed or makes
enemy contact before departing friendly lines or before
reaching the first en route rally point. Located within friendly
lines, the initial rally point is normally selected by the
commander of the friendly unit.
· En route rally point. An en route rally point is where a
patrol rallies if dispersed en route to or from its objective.
There may be several en route rally points along the patrol’s
route between friendly lines and the objective. They are either
planned or designated by the patrol leader en route every 100
to 400 meters (based on the terrain, vegetation, and
visibility). When the leader designates a new en route rally
point, the previously designated one goes into effect. This

______________________________________________________ Chapter 5 – Dismounted Operations

precludes uncertainty over which one soldiers should move to

if contact is made immediately after the leader designates a
new rally point. There are three ways to designate an en
route rally point:
n Physically occupy the rally point for a short period. This is
the preferred method.
n Pass by the rally point at a distance and designate it
using arm-and-hand signals.
n Walk through the rally point and designate it using arm-
and-hand signals.
· Objective rally point. An ORP is where the patrol halts to
prepare for actions on its objective. It is normally located in
the direction that the platoon plans to move after completing
its actions on the objective. The ORP must be located near the
objective. At the same time, it must be out of sight and sound
range of the objective area so that the patrol’s activities at the
ORP will not be detected by the threat. It must also be out of
small arms range of threat forces and far enough from the
objective that it will not be overrun if the patrol is forced off
the objective. The ORP is tentative until the objective is
pinpointed. The patrol uses the ORP as a base for conducting
the following actions:
n Reconnoiter the objective.
n Issue a FRAGO.
n Disseminate information from reconnaissance if contact
was not made.
n Make final preparations before continuing operations.
These may include applying or replenishing camouflage;
preparing demolitions; lining up rucksacks for quick
recovery; preparing EPW bindings, first aid kits, and
litters; and inspecting weapons.
n Account for soldiers and equipment after actions on the
objective are complete.
n Reestablish the chain of command after actions on the
objective are complete.
· Reentry rally point. A reentry rally point is where a patrol
halts to prepare to reenter friendly lines. It is located just
short of friendly lines and out of sight, sound, and small arms
range of friendly OPs. This also means that the reentry rally
point should be outside the limit of FPF of the friendly unit.
The patrol occupies the rally point as a security perimeter
while it awaits reentry.
· Near side and far side rally points. These rally points are
established on the near and far side of danger areas. If the
patrol makes contact while crossing the danger area and
control is lost, soldiers on either side move to the rally point
nearest them. They establish security, reestablish the chain of
command, and determine their personnel and equipment
status. They can then continue the patrol mission, link up at
the ORP, or complete their last instructions.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

5-16. Rally Point Selection. The patrol leader should pick rally
points either during the patrol or by a map study before the patrol. Those
selected before the patrol begins are tentative and will remain so until
confirmed on the ground. In selecting rally points, the patrol leader
should look for locations with the following characteristics:

· Large enough for the patrol to assemble.

· Easily recognizable.
· Affording adequate cover and concealment.
· Defensible for a short time.
· Away from normal routes of troop movement and natural
lines of drift (streams, ridges).

5-17. The patrol leader may be required to direct the patrol to move
once he issues his warning order and is making his plan. This movement
may involve securing a passage point (PP) or moving to the SP.

5-18. The patrol leader must make a map, ground, or aerial
reconnaissance before completing his plan. This allows him to proof his
tentative plan and get an idea of the ground he will initially traverse. He
must keep an open mind during the reconnaissance; not everything he
sees will match his tentative plan.


5-19. After the warning order has been issued, reconnaissance has been
made, and patrol members are preparing themselves and their
equipment, the patrol leader completes his plan. He first assigns
essential tasks to be performed by elements and men in the objective
area. After this, he plans and assigns tasks that will help the patrol reach
the objective and return, such as navigation, security during movement
and halts, actions at danger areas, actions on threat contact, and stream
crossing. The following discussion focuses on additional planning

5-20. The patrol leader must determine whether the men should carry
rations. If so, he specifies the type and amount and where to get them.

Weapons and Ammunition

5-21. This applies if there is something out of the ordinary that the
patrol needs to bring, such as significant amounts of demolitions.

5-22. The signals to be used on the patrol must be planned and
rehearsed. Signals may be needed to lift or shift supporting fires, order
withdrawal from the objective, signal “all clear,” stop and start movement
of the patrol, and direct linkup of elements. Visual and audible signals

______________________________________________________ Chapter 5 – Dismounted Operations

such as hand-and-arm signals, flares, voice, whistles, radios, and infrared

equipment may be used. All patrol members must know the signals.

Communications with Higher Headquarters

5-23. The plan must include retrans sites, the correct FBCB2
programming, radio call signs, primary and alternate frequencies, times
to report, and codes.

Challenge and Password

5-24. The challenge and password from the SOI should not be used by a
patrol beyond the FEBA. The patrol leader may devise his own challenge
and password system.
5-25. The platoon can use the odd-number system. If the patrol leader
specifies 11 as the odd number, the challenge could be any number
between 1 and 10. The password would be the number which, when
added to the challenge, equals 11 (such as challenge 8, password 3).
5-26. The platoon leader can also designate a running password. This
code alerts a unit that friendly soldiers are approaching in a less than
organized manner and may be under pressure. This technique may be
used to get soldiers quickly through a compromised passage of lines. The
running password is followed by the number of soldiers approaching
(Dogwood, 6); this prevents threat soldiers from joining the group in an
attempt to penetrate friendly lines.

Chain of Command
5-27. Everyone on the patrol must understand where he fits into the
patrol or his element of the patrol.

Location of Leaders
5-28. The locations of the patrol leader and assistant patrol leader are
planned for all phases of the patrol during movement, at danger areas,
and at the objective. These considerations apply:

· The patrol leader plans to be where he can best control the

patrol during each event.
· The assistant patrol leader may have a specific job for each
phase of the patrol. He may help the patrol leader control the
patrol by being where he can best take command, if required.
· Duties and responsibilities for the assistant patrol leader
during actions on the objective area include these:
n Area reconnaissance in the ORP.
n Zone reconnaissance with a reconnaissance element that
has been directed to move to and establish the point at
which all elements are to link up after completing the
n Combat patrol (raid or ambush). The assistant patrol
leader normally controls the support element.
Patrol Organization
5-29. To accomplish the patrolling mission, a platoon or squad must
perform specific tasks. Examples include providing security for itself or at
danger area crossings or rally points; reconnoitering the patrol objective;

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

and conducting breach, support, or assault operations. As with other

missions, the leader tasks elements of his platoon in accordance with his
estimate of the situation. He identifies those tasks the platoon must
perform and decides which elements will perform them. If possible, the
patrol leader should maintain squad and fire team integrity in assigning
tasks. The chain of command continues to lead its elements during a
5-30. The basic patrol configuration includes a reconnaissance element
and a security element. In turn, these elements are made of individual
soldiers with specific roles, as well as subordinate and supporting groups
known by the terms “element” and “team.” These refer to the squads, fire
teams, or buddy teams that perform the common and specific elements
for each type of patrol. Squads and fire teams may perform more than one
task in an assigned sequence; others may perform only one task. The
leader must plan carefully to ensure that he has identified and assigned
all required tasks in the most efficient way. The following elements are
common to all patrols:

· Headquarters element. The headquarters consists of the

platoon leader, PSG, and RTO. It may consist of any
attachments that the platoon leader decides that he or the
PSG must control directly, such as an FO.
· Aid and litter team. Aid and litter teams treat and evacuate
· EPW team. EPW teams are responsible for controlling
prisoners in accordance with the “five-S” principles and the
leader’s guidance. This team may also be the search team. If
contact results in wounded and/or killed threat soldiers, this
team searches those individuals for information and material
they may have been carrying while the rest of the patrol
provides security.
· Surveillance team. The surveillance team keeps watch on
the objective from the time that the leader’s reconnaissance
ends until the unit deploys for actions on the objective. The
members of the team then join their elements.
· Point man. The point man selects the actual route through
the terrain, guided by the compass man or patrol leader. In
addition, he provides security to the front of the patrol.
· En route recorder. The en route recorder records all
information collected by the patrol.
· Compass man. The compass man assists in navigation by
ensuring that the lead fire team leader remains on course at
all times. Instructions to the compass man must include an
initial azimuth, with subsequent azimuths provided as
necessary. The compass man should preset his compass on
the initial azimuth before moving out, especially if the move
will be during limited visibility conditions. The platoon or
squad leader should also designate an alternate compass
· Pace man. The pace man maintains an accurate pace at all
times. The platoon or squad leader should designate how

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often the pace man is to report the pace to him. The pace man
should also report the pace at the end of each leg. The leader
should designate an alternate pace man.


5-31. The order is issued in standard OPORD sequence. Terrain models
or sketches are used to illustrate the plan. Sketches to show planned
actions can be drawn in the sand, dirt, or snow. Figure 5-4 includes a
sample format for a patrol order. It is organized in the standard five-
paragraph outline and includes examples of information that can be
included. For detailed information on the annexes listed at the end of the
patrol order, refer to Appendix A of this manual.


Task Organization: Explain how the patrol is organized for the operation and confirm the composition of
each element. Identify time(s) of attachment and detachment. If there is no change to the previous task
organization, the patrol leader indicates that there is no change.
A. Enemy Forces.
(1) Weather and light data.
· Precipitation.

· Temperature.

· Other weather conditions (such as wind, dust, or fog).

· Light data:
BMNT: _______. Sunrise: _______.
Sunset: _______. EENT: _______.
Moonrise: _______. Moonset: _______.
Percent Illumination: _______.
· How it will affect the patrol and threat forces.
(2) Terrain (factors of OCOKA).
· Observation and fields of fire.
· Cover and concealment.
· Obstacles.
· Key terrain.
· Avenues of approach.
· How it will affect the patrol and threat forces.
(3) Enemy forces.
· Identification, composition, disposition, and strength/weaknesses.
· Capabilities.
· Recent activities.
· Most probable course of action.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Current/last known location (only those forces that pertain to the specific mission of
the patrol).

Figure 5-4. Patrol Order

B. Friendly Forces
(1) Concept of the operation for the next higher unit.
(2) Location and mission of the units on the left, right, front, rear and supporting.
(3) Missions and routes of adjacent patrols.
(4) Unit(s) providing fire support.
(5) Mission and commander’s intent for the rest of the platoon (in the event the platoon has
multiple missions).
C. Attachments and Detachments.
Include any special personnel or elements (such as engineers, medics, linguists, FOs) who
will accompany the patrol.
D. Civilian Population.
· Culture.
· Political/government/religious.
· Factional allegiances.
· Factions/groups/organizations/terrorists.
· Restrictions and curfews.

Include a clear and concise statement of the task and purpose, including the aspects of who, what
(including type of patrol), when, where, and why.

Commander’s Intent.
A. Concept of the Operation.
(1) Commander’s focus, tempo, and engagement criteria.
(2) In general terms, how the patrol will accomplish the mission.
· Mission essential tasks and other critical tasks.
· Duration of the patrol.
· Scheme of maneuver and graphics, sequentially, as they will occur during the patrol
(with simultaneous reference to a terrain board, dirt sketch, or map).
· Maneuver.
· Fires. Include team target overlay, with target numbers; who has priority of fires; use
and/or availability of special purpose fires (such as smoke, illumination, or CAS);
triggers; how and when fires will be used.
· Intelligence.
· Electronic warfare.
B. Tasks to Maneuver Units.
(1) Task and purpose of teams and sections.
(2) Task and purpose of special teams and key individuals.
(3) Task and purpose to support/attached personnel.
C. Coordinating Instructions.

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(1) Actions at the objective.

(2) Time line, covering the time sequence from issuance of the OPORD to actions at the
(3) Priority intelligence requirements (PIR).

Figure 5-4. Patrol Order (Continued)

(4) Movement techniques.

(5) Primary route.
(6) Alternate route.
(7) Departure and reentry of friendly lines.
· Linkup time and location.
· Departure point.
· Reentry point.
(8) Rally points and actions at rally points.
(9) Actions on contact (covering the eight forms of contact).
(10) Actions at danger areas.
(11) Actions at halts.
(12) Debriefing time and place.
(13) MOPP level, initiation time, and exposure guidance (in cGy).
(14) Rehearsals (prioritized).
(15) Inspections.
(16) Equipment (including special equipment) needed to accomplish the mission.
(17) Soldier safety.
(18) Rules of interaction (ROI), engagement (ROE), and graduated response.
(19) Annexes (air assault, airborne, stream crossing, vehicle movement, linkup, evasion and
escape, hide site, cache).

A. Supply.
Include requirements for Classes I, III, V, and IX.
B. Transportation.
Include location and route of mounted elements of the platoon.
C. Personnel.
(1) Procedures for handling EPWs and captured documents and equipment.
(2) MEDEVAC/CASEVAC procedures.
(3) Personnel replacement (alternate team members or assignment changes based on the
loss of personnel).
D. Civil/military restrictions.
(1) Curfews.
(2) Collateral damage restrictions.
(3) Rules of interaction (ROI), engagement (ROE), and graduated response.


A. Command.
(1) Curfews.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

(2) Locations of patrol leader and assistant patrol leader.

(3) Location of next higher commander.
(4) Succession of command.

Figure 5-4. Patrol Order (Continued)

B. Signal.
(1) Time zone used and time synchronization criteria.
(2) SOI and matrix used.
(3) Key hand-and-arm signals.
(4) Code words and reports.
(5) Times when radio listening silence is in affect.
(6) Alternate frequencies and time or condition for changing frequency.
(7) Challenge and password (regular, forward of friendly lines, running).
(8) Electronic protection.
(9) Visual and pyrotechnic signals (alternate means of control, emergency signaling).

A. Air Assault and Airborne.
B. Stream Crossing.
C. Vehicle Movement.
D. Evasion and Escape.
E. Linkup.
F. Rest Overnight, Hide Site, Surveillance Site.
G. Cache Site.

Figure 5-4. Patrol Order (Continued)


5-32. Rehearsals and inspections are vital to proper preparation. They
must be well planned and conducted even though the men are
experienced in patrolling. Coordination is made with the commander or
S3 for use of a rehearsal area resembling the objective area. Inspections
determine the patrol’s physical and mental state of readiness. Inspections
before rehearsals ensure uniforms and equipment are complete and
correct. Each soldier is questioned to ensure that he knows the following:

· The plan.
· What he is to do and when he is to do it.
· What others are to do.
· Challenges and passwords, signals, codes, radio call signs,
frequencies, and reporting times.

5-33. Rehearsals help to ensure the proficiency of the patrol. They let
the patrol leader check plans and make any needed changes. The

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suitability of equipment is verified. It is through well-directed rehearsals

that soldiers become familiar with their actions and responsibilities
during the patrol.
5-34. If the patrol is to be at night, it is advisable to have both day and
night rehearsals. Terrain similar to that over which the patrol will
operate should be used. All actions are rehearsed when time permits.
When time is short, only the most critical actions are rehearsed. Actions
on the objective area are the most critical and should always be
5-35. A good way to rehearse is to have the patrol leader walk and talk
the whole patrol through each action. He describes the actions of
elements, teams, and men and has them perform these actions. In this
“dry run,” patrol members take their positions in formations at reduced
distances. This can all be done with little or no distance separation so the
soldiers get the “feel” of the patrol. When the different actions are clear to
the patrol members, a complete rehearsal, at full speed, is conducted with
the whole patrol. This is a “wet run.” As many “dry runs” and “wet runs”
are conducted as are necessary to gain proficiency. When possible,
element and team leaders rehearse their units separately before the final
rehearsal of the entire patrol. Supervision is continuous by all leaders.
5-36. An inspection after the final rehearsal and just before departure
ensures that all equipment is still working, that nothing is being left
behind, and that each member of the patrol is ready.


5-37. Scouts who work dismounted must know a variety of tasks that
are slightly different from the tasks they perform during mounted
operations. Although not every patrol requires the same tasks, those
discussed here are common to most patrols.

5-38. The selection of a movement technique is based on METT-TC.
Factors to consider for each technique are control, dispersion, speed, and
security. Movement techniques are not fixed formations. They refer to
the distances between soldiers, teams, and squads that vary based on
mission, enemy, terrain, visibility, and any other factor that affects
control. Soldiers must be able to see their patrol leaders, and the patrol
leader should be able to see his leaders. Leaders should control
movement with arm-and-hand signals and use radios only when needed.

Ensure that Patrol Members Can Navigate
5-39. Preparations are worthless if the patrol cannot find the objective
in time or if the patrol is compromised by enemy contact during
movement. Always plan to use a compass and pace man on a patrol.
(NOTE: The element point man must not be tasked to perform compass

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

or pace duties. The point man’s sole responsibility is forward security for
the element.)

Avoid Detection
5-40. Patrols must use stealth and the cover and concealment of the
terrain to its maximum advantage. Whenever possible, move during
limited visibility to maximize technological advantages gained by night
vision devices and to hinder the enemy’s ability to detect the patrol.
Exploit the enemy’s weaknesses, and attempt to time movements to
coincide with other operations that will distract the enemy.

Maintain Constant Security

5-41. Always maintain 360-degree security. The patrol must constantly
use both active and passive security measures. Give elements or
individual soldiers responsibility for security en route, at danger areas, at
patrol bases, and most importantly, in the objective area.

Plan for Use of Support Fires

5-42. Patrol leaders must plan for fire support (artillery, tactical air,
attack helicopter, NGF) even if they think it may not be needed during

Use Appropriate Movement Techniques

5-43. The enemy situation determines which of the three movement
techniques will be used: traveling (when contact is not likely), traveling
overwatch (when contact is possible), or bounding overwatch (when
contact is expected). When manpower allows more than one team, the
patrol will usually move in traveling overwatch. Vary movement
techniques to meet changing situations.

Maintain Dispersion in Open Terrain

5-44. When enemy contact is possible and manpower permits, have one
team well forward and overwatch it with a security team. Assign duties
for the movement. Security teams maintain visual contact, but the
distance between them is such that the entire patrol does not become
engaged if contact is made. Patrols can spread their formations as
necessary to gain better observation to the flanks. Although widely
spaced, men must retain their relative position when in a wedge
formation. Only in extreme situations should the file formation be used in
the open

Assign Responsibilities and Positions

5-45. The lead elements must secure the front along with assuming
responsibility for navigation. For a long movement, the platoon leader
may rotate the lead squad’s responsibilities. The elements in the rear are
charged with rear security. Leaders should move inside the formation
where they can best maintain control of the patrol.

Use Control Measures

5-46. During movement, leaders use control measures (such as head
counts, rally points, or phase lines) to maintain the patrol’s effectiveness
and security.

Plan for Effective Contact

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5-47. Leaders maneuver the patrol to ensure that enemy contact is

made with the smallest element possible.

5-48. Figures 5-5 through 5-8 illustrate patrol movement formations.

Figure 5-5. File Formation

Figure 5-6. Diamond Formation

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 5-7. Alternate Diamond Formation

Figure 5-8. Four-Man Diamond Formation

5-49. During short halts, team members drop on one knee, face out, and
freeze in place. The security halt should not exceed five minutes. If the
halt exceeds five minutes, the team should move to the prone position.
For extended halts, team members may sit with their feet facing outward
and shoulders touching (see Figures 5-9 and 5-10). This aids quick and
quiet communication, and guarantees all-round security at all times. This
technique offers the smallest signature, and it is the most difficult to
detect and is best used in dense vegetation.

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Figure 5-9. Security/Extended Halt

Figure 5-10. Security/Extended Halt



5-50. The departure from friendly lines must be thoroughly planned
and coordinated using considerations outlined in the following discussion.

5-51. In his plan for the departure of friendly lines, the leader should
consider the following sequence of actions:

· Make contact with friendly guides at the contact point.

· Move to the coordinated initial rally point.
· Complete final coordination.
· Move to and through the passage point.
· Establish a location for a security-listening halt beyond the
friendly unit’s limit of FPF.
5-52. The platoon leader must coordinate with the commander of the
forward unit and the leaders of other units that will be patrolling in the
same or adjacent areas. The coordination includes SOI information,
signal plan, fire plan, running password, procedures for departure from
and reentry to friendly lines, departure and reentry points, dismount
points, initial rally points, and information about the threat. The
following actions take place:

· The platoon leader provides the forward unit leader with unit
identification, size of the patrol, departure and return times,
and information on the area of operations.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· The forward unit leader provides the platoon leader with the
n Additional information on terrain.
n Known or suspected threat positions.
n Likely threat ambush sites.
n Latest threat activity.
n Detailed information on friendly positions and obstacle
locations. This includes the location of OPs.
n Friendly unit fire plan.
n Support that the unit can provide, such as fire support,
litter teams, guides, communications, and reaction force.
5-53. The platoon should remain in single file. The PSG, or the patrol
equivalent (such as assistant patrol leader), follows directly behind the
guide so he can count each soldier who passes through the PP. He gives
the count to the guide, tells him how long to wait at the PP (or when to
return), and confirms the running password. If the platoon makes contact
after it is past the departure point, it fights through. Soldiers return to
the departure point only if they become disorganized. They then reoccupy
the initial rally point, and the leader reports to higher headquarters.


5-54. The patrol leader plans for the use and locations of rally points.
As noted, a rally point is a place designated by the leader where the
platoon moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed.
Refer to the discussion of the types and characteristics of rally points
earlier in this section.


5-55. In planning the occupation of an ORP (see Figure 5-11), the squad
leader considers the following sequence:

· Halt beyond sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of

the tentative ORP (200 to 400 meters in good visibility; 100 to
200 meters in limited visibility).
· Position security elements.
· Move forward with a compass man and one member of each
fire team to confirm the location of the ORP and determine its
suitability. Issue a five-point contingency plan before
· Position the Team A soldier at 12 o’clock and the Team B
soldier at 6 o’clock in the ORP. Issue them a contingency plan
and return with the compass man.
· Lead the squad into the ORP. Position Team A from 9 to 3
o’clock and Team B from 3 to 9 o’clock.

NOTE: The squad may also occupy the ORP by force. This requires more precise
navigation, but eliminates separating the squad.

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5-56. In planning the occupation of an ORP, the platoon leader should
consider a sequence similar to that outlined for a squad (see Figure 5-11).
He brings a soldier from each squad on his reconnaissance of the ORP
and positions them at the 10, 2, and 6 o’clock positions. The first squad in
the order of march establishes the base leg (10 to 2 o’clock). The trailing
squads occupy from 2 to 6 o’clock and 6 to 10 o’clock.

Figure 5-11. Occupation of an Objective Rally Point

5-57. The patrol leader leaves the main patrol body for many reasons
throughout the planning, preparation, and execution of the mission. One
of these departures, conducted after the ORP is occupied and secure, is
the leader’s reconnaissance by the patrol leader, compass man, and
element leaders. The assistant patrol leader remains in the ORP. Before
the patrol leader departs, he issues a five-point contingency plan.
5-58. The contingency plan covers the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE,
and WHY by covering the following points:

· Who the leader will be taking with him.

· What actions are taken if the leader fails to return and the
actions of the unit and the leader on chance contact while the
leader is gone.
· When the leader is leaving and how long he will be gone.
· Where the leader is going (to include routes there and back).
· Why the leader is leaving (his mission).

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

5-59. Consideration must always be given to the possibility of an

element becoming separated from the rest of the patrol. Refer to ST 3-
20.983 for a discussion of SERE situations and techniques.

5-60. The plan must include a leader’s reconnaissance of the objective
once the platoon or squad establishes the ORP. During his
reconnaissance, the leader pinpoints the objective; selects positions for
his squads and teams; and adjusts his plan based on his observation of
the objective. Each type of patrol requires different tasks during the
leader’s reconnaissance, and the leader will take different elements with
him depending on the patrol’s mission. The leader must plan for adequate
time to return to the ORP, complete his plan, disseminate information,
issue orders and instructions, and allow his squads to make any
additional preparations.


5-61. The patrol leader’s initial planning and coordination must include
the reentry of friendly lines. He should consider a sequence for this
process similar to the one covered in the following discussion. (NOTE:
This example is for a patrol conducted by a platoon.)

Reentry of friendly lines at night is dangerous and
should only be attempted when it is essential to
the success of the patrol.

5-62. The platoon halts in the reentry rally point (RRP) and establishes
security. The platoon leader communicates the code word advising the
friendly unit of patrol’s location and that it is ready to return. The
friendly unit must acknowledge the message and confirm that guides are
waiting before the platoon moves from the RRP.
5-63. If digital/radio communications are not possible, the platoon
leader, radiotelephone operator (RTO), and a two-man security element
(buddy team) move forward and attempt to contact an OP using the
challenge and password. The OP notifies the friendly unit that the
platoon is ready to return and requests a guide.
5-64. If the platoon leader cannot find an OP, he moves with the RTO
and security element to locate the coordinated reentry point. He must
move straight toward (and away from) friendly lines, never parallel to
them. All lateral movement should be outside small-arms weapons range.

NOTE: The platoon leader should only attempt this procedure during daylight. At night he
should use other backup signals to make contact with friendly units. The preferred
method is to wait until daylight if contact with the friendly unit cannot be made as

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5-65. Once the friendly unit acknowledges the return of the platoon, the
platoon leader issues a five-point contingency plan and moves with his
RTO and security element on a determined azimuth and pace to the
reentry point. The platoon leader uses far and near recognition signals to
establish contact with the guide.
5-66. The platoon leader signals the platoon forward (radio) or returns
and leads it to the reentry point. He may post the security element with
the guide at the threat side of the reentry point. The PSG counts and
identifies each soldier as he passes through the reentry point. The guide
leads the platoon to the assembly area.
5-67. The platoon leader reports to the CP of the friendly unit. He tells
the commander everything of tactical value concerning the friendly unit’s
area of responsibility. The platoon leader rejoins the platoon in the
assembly area and leads it to a secure area for debriefing.

5-68. Immediately after the patrol element (platoon or squad) returns,
personnel from higher headquarters conduct a thorough debriefing. This
may include all members of the patrol or the leaders, RTOs, and any
attached personnel. Normally the debriefing is oral. Sometimes a written
report is required. Refer to Appendix J of this manual for a sample
debriefing format for the reconnaissance platoon. NATO forces use the
patrol report form specified by STANAG 2003.


5-69. A danger area is an area that increases the chance of detection or
a direct fire engagement. When moving, the patrol tries to avoid danger
areas. Typical danger areas are the following:

· Known threat positions.

· Roads and trails.
· Streams.
· Open areas.
· Urban environments.

5-70. Specific plans are made before crossing danger areas. These plans
are very similar to actions taken during mounted operations; however,
they require more practice and rehearsal because a dismounted patrol
does not have the same mobility, protection, and firepower to extract
itself should it encounter a threat. In addition, general plans are made for
crossing unexpected danger areas; these can be modified quickly to fit the
5-71. The patrol uses bounding overwatch or variations of it to cross a
danger area. The leader designates procedures the patrol will use based
on the time available, the size of the patrol, the size of the danger area,
the fields of fire into the area, and the amount of security he can post. A
small patrol may cross all at once, in pairs, or one man at a time. A large
patrol normally crosses its subordinate elements one at a time. As each

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

element crosses, it moves to an overwatch position or to the far side rally

point until told to continue movement.
5-72. To cross a danger area, a patrol must take these actions:

· Designate near side and far side rally points.

· Secure the near side.
· Secure the far side.
· Cross the danger area.

5-73. Securing the near side may involve nothing more than observing
it. In some places, however, it may involve posting security teams far
enough out on both flanks and to the rear of the crossing point to give
warning of an approaching threat and to overwatch the crossing of the
rest of the patrol (see Figure 5-12).

Figure 5-12. Securing the Near Side of a Danger Area

5-74. Once flank and rear security elements are positioned, the danger
area is quickly crossed by a team that then reconnoiters and secures the
far side (see Figure 5-13). The area secured on the far side must be large
enough for the entire patrol to deploy. When the team leader is sure the
far side is safe, he sends two men back to signal the rest of the patrol to
cross. When the patrol has crossed the danger area, the security teams
cross and rejoin the patrol (see Figure 5-14).

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Figure 5-13. Securing the Far Side of a Danger Area

Figure 5-14. Crossing the Danger Area


5-75. The lead team member identifies the danger area and moves
across, placing his left or right shoulder toward the danger area (see
Figure 5-15). The second team member faces in the opposite direction
from the lead team member. This gives security in both directions. Each
member crosses in the same manner.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 5-15. Scroll to the Road Technique


5-76. When crossing a small open area, the team uses the contour or
detour bypass method (see Figure 5-16). They avoid crossing directly
through the open area, if possible.

Figure 5-16. Crossing a Small Open Area

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5-77. Unless required by the mission, the patrol avoids threat contact.
If it makes unexpected contact with a threat, it must quickly break
contact so it can continue its mission. The leader’s plan must address
actions on chance contact during each event of the mission. The patrol’s
ability to continue the mission will depend on how early contact is made,
whether the patrol is able to break contact successfully (so that its
subsequent direction of movement is undetected), and whether the patrol
suffers any casualties as a result of the contact. The plan must address
the handling of soldiers who are seriously wounded in action (WIA) and
killed in action (KIA) and the handling of prisoners who are captured as a
result of chance contact and are not part of the planned mission.

5-78. Well-rehearsed battle drills are critical to the success of a
dismounted team. The team is lightly armed with a limited supply of
ammunition and can expect little or no fire support. If indirect fires are
precoordinated, they should be maximized while breaking contact. An
immediate suppression fire mission on a near target from the target
overlay may support the team breaking contact; then, once in a covered
and concealed position, adjusted fire missions may be executed against
the enemy. Indirect fires should be considered whenever breaking
contact, emphasizing the need for thorough fire support planning.

5-79. The team breaks contact as soon as possible because it lacks the
assets to stay and fight. METT-TC determines which drill is executed.

Break Contact (Front)

5-80. The team executes fire and movement by two- or three-man
teams until contact with the enemy is broken. When contacted from the
front, the senior observer and another observer return fire with one full
magazine each. An observer and the team leader move to a position to
provide support for the withdrawal of the senior observer and observer.
Once the senior observer and observer have fired a complete magazine,
team leader and observer begin firing, covering the withdrawal of the
senior observer and observer to the next firing position. The process of
fire and movement continues until contact is broken (see Figures 5-17
and 5-18). The RTO and assistant team leader may place a Claymore
with a time-delay fuze to slow the enemy. It is placed in the position
where the RTO was when the team began the break contact drill. When
using a Claymore mine in a battle drill, the mine is dual-primed
(electrically and time-delay fuze).

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 5-17. Break Contact (Front)

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Figure 5-18. Break Contact (Front; Four-Man)

Break Contact Using Australian Peel (Front or Rear)

5-81. The Australian peel is a method to break contact from the front
or rear. This technique, which should be executed as a battle drill, is most
effective while the team is in a file formation, where the vegetation is
dense, or during limited visibility. The second through the sixth team
members take one or two steps to the left or right, depending on the
terrain. One member at a time passes back through the formation (see
Figure 5-19).
5-82. Front Contact. When contact occurs from the front, the first
member fires a full magazine (automatic or burst). Every other member
does the same, one at a time. Each member waits until the member in
front of him is even with him or on his left or right before firing a weapon.
Individuals move straight back through the inside of the formation,
avoiding masking the fires of the members providing covering fire. The
assistant team leader or the last member throws a hand grenade
(fragmentary). During limited visibility, the battle drill may be executed
without firing weapons. In this event, the battle drill is still executed in
the same sequence. Upon completion of the first iteration, the team can
emplace a Claymore mine with a time-delay fuze to slow the enemy. The
team initiates fires only if it has been compromised. If the enemy element
breaks contact and ceases fire, the team should cease fire immediately to
prevent revealing their new position.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

5-83. Rear Contact. If contact occurs from the rear, the Australian
peel technique is executed in the reverse sequence. The first member is
the last to throw a hand grenade (fragmentary). Once the drill is
completed, the team moves to the designated rally point.

Figure 5-19. Break Contact

(Front; Using Australian Peel)

Break Contact (Left or Right)

5-84. If a patrol finds itself in a threat ambush, it must get out of the
kill zone or face destruction. Team members in the kill zone, without
order or signal, immediately return fire, throw smoke, and move quickly
out of the kill zone by the safest route (refer to Figures 5-20 and 5-21).
There is no set procedure for this; each man must decide the best way for
his situation. For inferior-sized enemy force, a team may assault through
a near ambush. Soldiers not in the kill zone fire to support the
withdrawal or hasty assault of the men in the kill zone.

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Figure 5-20. Break Contact (Left or Right)

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Figure 5-21. Break Contact (Left or Right; Four-Man)


5-85. The first soldier who hears or sees an aircraft signals, “FREEZE.”
The first soldier who sees an attacking aircraft alerts the patrol:
“AIRCRAFT, FRONT (LEFT, RIGHT, OR REAR).” Each soldier hits the
ground, using available cover, and returns fire. Between attacks, the
team should seek better cover and concealment. If the team leader wants
the team to move out of the area, he gives the clock direction and
distance. See Figure 5-22.

Figure 5-22. React to Air Attack


5-86. Upon receiving indirect fire, the team deploys and takes cover. If
more rounds impact, the team leader gives the clock position and the
direction and distance to move. The team consolidates while moving or at
a distance given by team leader. The team may elect to move to the last
rally point or as otherwise directed by the team leader (see Figure 5-23).

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Figure 5-23. React to Indirect Fire or Air Attack

5-87. If the team encounters flares, it should execute the following
· Ground flares. The team moves out of the illuminated area
and takes cover. Each soldier closes his firing eye to protect
his night vision.
· Overhead flare with warning. The team assumes a prone
position (behind concealment, when available) before the flare
bursts. Each soldier closes his firing eye to protect his night
· Overhead flare without warning. The team gets into a
prone position, making the most use of nearby cover,
concealment, and shadows until the flare burns out. Each
soldier closes his firing eye to protect his night vision.
5-88. If the patrol comes under sniper fire, it immediately returns fire
in the direction of the sniper. The patrol then conducts fire and maneuver
to break contact with the sniper.

5-89. This immediate action drill is used when a patrol, not yet seen by
the threat, observes the threat and does not have time to take any other
action. All patrol members remain still until signaled to continue or take
another action as directed.


5-90. Major tactical challenges may arise if members of the patrol are
WIA or KIA or the patrol encounters EPWs. Specific methods for

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handling such situations must be established prior to the patrol’s

departure. All patrol members must know what to do in each case.

5-91. The methods used for handling WIAs must not jeopardize the
mission. If patrol members become wounded during an engagement, they
are removed from the immediate area and given buddy-aid.
5-92. Walking wounded may be handled in the following ways:

· They can be evacuated by air. This is generally practical only

when the patrol is returning to friendly areas.
· They can accompany the patrol.
· They can conceal themselves for later pickup. Another soldier
should remain with the wounded soldier.
· They can return to friendly areas. Another soldier should
accompany the casualty.

5-93. Seriously wounded may be handled in the following ways:

· They can be evacuated by air, when available.

· They can be concealed for later pickup. Another soldier should
be left with the wounded soldier.

5-94. KIAs may be handled in the same way as the seriously wounded,
except that no one is left with the concealed remains. The grid location of
the remains is confirmed and is marked for later pickup.

5-95. EPWs are processed and handled in accordance with the “five-S”
procedures (search, segregate, silence, speed, and safeguard). They may
be taken under guard to a friendly area, or they may be evacuated by air,
taken with the patrol, or concealed for later pickup. (NOTE: See
Chapter 8 of this manual for a discussion of EPW handling, including the
“five-S” procedures.)


5-96. This discussion focuses on the two primary types of patrols

employed by the reconnaissance platoon: reconnaissance and security. It
also includes details of procedures for combat patrols (including raids),
presence patrols, and tracking patrols, although these are relatively rare
assignments for the reconnaissance platoon.

5-97. Reconnaissance patrols provide timely and accurate information
about the threat and terrain. The patrol leader must have specific
intelligence collection requirements for each mission. For example, a

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reconnaissance patrol objective might be a small mounted avenue of

approach that the platoon does not have assets to cover continuously. For
a more detailed discussion of reconnaissance, refer to Chapter 3 of this


5-98. The following discussion covers the three main types of
reconnaissance patrols.

Area Reconnaissance Patrol

5-99. In conducting an area reconnaissance, the patrol uses a series of
surveillance and vantage points around the objective. This type of patrol
is conducted to obtain information about a specific location (such as a
road junction, hill, bridge, or threat position) and the area immediately
around it. The location of the objective is designated either by grid
coordinates or by a map overlay with a boundary line encircling the area.
The reconnaissance platoon normally sends a squad or section on an area
patrol. In rare cases, the entire platoon may be required to conduct
reconnaissance of a large area.

Zone Reconnaissance Patrol

5-100. This patrol is conducted to obtain information on all threat forces,
terrain, and routes within a specific zone. The zone is defined by

Route Reconnaissance Patrol

5-101. This patrol focuses on obtaining information on one route and
adjacent terrain or on locating sites for friendly obstacles.
Reconnaissance is oriented on a road; on a narrow axis, such as an
infiltration lane; or on a general direction of attack. The route
reconnaissance patrol provides detailed information on trafficability,
threat activity, NBC contamination, and the adjacent terrain from the
viewpoint of both threat and friendly forces. The preferred method for
conducting a route reconnaissance is the fan method, described later in
this section. The patrol leader must ensure that the fans are extensive
enough to cover intersecting routes beyond direct fire range of the main
route. If all or part of the proposed route is a road, the patrol leader must
treat the road as a danger area. If possible, the platoon should move
parallel to the road using a covered and concealed route. As necessary,
reconnaissance and security teams move close to the road to reconnoiter
key areas and provide local security for reconnaissance teams and the
patrol main body.


5-102. Before occupying the ORP, the patrol conducts the leader’s recon-
naissance to ensure that no threat forces are in the area. Once this
reconnaissance is completed, the patrol is signaled to move forward; it
halts at the ORP and establishes security. The patrol leader and element
leaders conduct a leader’s reconnaissance of the objective to confirm the
plan and then return to the ORP. The security element departs the ORP
before the reconnaissance element. The security element leader positions
security teams at the ORP and on likely threat avenues of approach
leading into the objective area (as shown in Figure 5-24).

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Figure 5-24. Area Reconnaissance Using Separate

Reconnaissance and Security Elements

5-103. Once the security teams are in position, the reconnaissance

element departs the ORP, moving to several surveillance/vantage points
around the objective. The reconnaissance element leader may decide to
have a small reconnaissance team move to each surveillance/vantage
point instead of having the entire element move as a unit from point to
point. Once the objective has been reconnoitered, the elements return to
the ORP. The patrol leader collects information from the reconnaissance
element, report pertinent information higher, and disseminates any
required information within the patrol itself. The patrol then returns to
friendly lines.
5-104. The terrain may not allow the patrol to secure the objective area.
In this case, the patrol leader leaves a security team in the ORP and
combines his reconnaissance and security elements into several
reconnaissance and security teams (known as R&S teams) to reconnoiter
the objective. These teams move to different surveillance/vantage points,
from which they reconnoiter the objective. Once the objective has been
reconnoitered, the teams return to the ORP and report the information.
The patrol then returns to friendly lines (see Figure 5-25).

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Figure 5-25. Using Combined Reconnaissance and

Security Teams to Reconnoiter the Objective

5-105. A reconnaissance patrol can execute either long-range or short-
range observation or surveillance of the objective. The following
paragraphs examine factors that influence the distance at which the
reconnaissance is conducted.

Long-Range Observation/Surveillance
5-106. Whenever METT-TC permits the required information to be
gathered from a distance, the patrol executes long-range observation or
surveillance of the objective from an OP. The OP must be far enough from
the objective to be outside threat small arms range and local security
5-107. Since the patrol does not move in close enough to be detected,
long-range observation is the more desirable method for executing
reconnaissance. If the threat forces discover the patrol, friendly direct
and indirect fires can be employed on the objective without endangering
the patrol.
5-108. When information cannot be gathered from only one OP, multiple
OPs may be used. This is accomplished by squad-size reconnaissance
patrols. The OPs must use available cover and concealment and have an
unrestricted view of the objective.

Short-Range Observation/Surveillance
5-109. If it cannot obtain the required information by observing from a
distance, the patrol moves closer to the objective. Short-range observation
or surveillance is the technique of watching an objective from a position
that is within the range of threat local security measures and small arms
5-110. This method can be executed by the platoon as a whole or by an
individual section or squad. When the entire platoon is taking part in a

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short-range observation operation, the routes and area to be

reconnoitered must be clearly defined.

5-111. Depending on the situation and patrol requirements, the patrol
leader has a choice of several reconnaissance methods, which are
described in the following discussion.

Fan Method
5-112. In this method, the patrol leader first selects a series of ORPs
throughout the zone from which to operate. When the patrol arrives at
the first ORP, it halts and establishes security. The patrol leader then
selects reconnaissance routes out from and back to the ORP, forming a
fan-shaped pattern around the ORP. The routes must overlap to ensure
that the entire area is reconnoitered.
5-113. The patrol leader then sends out reconnaissance elements along
the routes. He does not send out all of his elements at once, keeping a
small reserve in the ORP. (For example, if the patrol has three
reconnaissance elements, only two are sent out. The other is kept as a
reserve or quick reaction force). The patrol leader sends the elements out
on adjacent routes. This keeps the patrol from making contact in two
different directions. After the entire area (fan) has been reconnoitered,
the patrol leader reports the information. The patrol then moves to the
next ORP, and the fan process is repeated (see Figure 5-26).

Figure 5-26. Fan Reconnaissance Method

Box Method
5-114. The leader sends his reconnaissance and security teams from the
ORP along routes that form a boxed-in area. He sends other teams along
routes through the area within the box. All teams meet at a linkup point
at the far side of the box from the ORP (as shown in Figure 5-27).

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Figure 5-27. Box Reconnaissance Method

Converging Routes Method

5-115. The patrol leader first selects an ORP and then reconnaissance
routes out from the ORP to a rendezvous point, at which patrol members
will link up after completing the reconnaissance. Once the patrol arrives
at the ORP, it halts and establishes security. The patrol leader designates
the following:

· The element that will handle each reconnaissance route.

· A linkup time at the rendezvous point.

5-116. Each reconnaissance element reconnoiters its designated route,

normally using the fan method. The patrol leader usually moves with the
center element. The entire patrol links up at the rendezvous point at the
designated time. The rendezvous point is secured in the same way as the
ORP. The patrol reports its information at the rendezvous point, then
returns to friendly lines (see Figure 5-28).

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Figure 5-28. Converging Routes Reconnaissance Method

Successive Sector Method

5-117. This method is basically a continuation of the converging routes
method. The patrol leader selects an initial ORP and a series of
reconnaissance routes and rendezvous points. The actions of the patrol
from each ORP to each rendezvous point are the same as in the
converging routes method. Each rendezvous point becomes the ORP for
the next phase. When the patrol links up at a rendezvous point, the
patrol leader confirms the designated reconnaissance routes and the next
rendezvous point and designates a linkup time. This sequence continues
until the reconnaissance is complete. The patrol then returns to friendly
lines (see Figure 5-29).

Figure 5-29. Successive Sector Reconnaissance Method

5-118. The reconnaissance platoon conducts security patrols to prevent
threat infiltration of a screen or an assembly area (see Figure 5-30).
These patrols reconnoiter areas through which threat units may pass and
the routes they would use. The patrols prevent infiltration and surprise
attacks on stationary units by screening their front or flanks and by
reconnoitering gaps between OPs and around their positions. A
reconnaissance squad normally conducts a security patrol. The platoon
may be tasked to provide several squads to patrol and secure an area for
a battalion task force. The patrol leader picks a series of objectives in the
area in which the patrol must reconnoiter. The patrol moves from
objective to objective until the area has been reconnoitered. The intention
of the security patrol is to destroy or capture threat dismounted troops. If
the patrol makes contact, it reports to the commander and attacks or
withdraws according to the commander’s instructions.

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Figure 5-30. Integration of Patrols into a Screen

5-119. Combat patrols are a rare assignment for the reconnaissance
platoon, but they may be employed during a counterreconnaissance
mission. Combat patrols are generally categorized into two types of
missions: an ambush or a raid. They are generally conducted for the
following reasons:

· Capture threat soldiers.

· Capture threat equipment.
· Harass threat forces.
· Destroy threat soldiers, installations, or facilities.

5-120. Even though the primary mission of the reconnaissance platoon is

to conduct stealthy reconnaissance and surveillance, a thorough
understanding of the TTP involved in a combat patrol is essential.
Certain situations may require the platoon, or elements of the platoon, to
conduct a combat patrol. For example, one section might conduct a hasty
ambush to assist another section in breaking contact. Another case may
involve the platoon conducting a raid to capture specific threat personnel.
Some specific considerations for both ambushes and raids are included in
this discussion.

5-121. Besides the common elements (discussed in the discussion of
patrol organization earlier in this section), combat patrols also have the
elements and teams covered in the following paragraphs.

Assault Element
5-122. The assault element seizes and secures the objective and protects
special teams as they complete their assigned actions on the objective.

Security Element
5-123. The security element provides security at danger areas, secures
the ORP, isolates the objective, and supports the withdrawal of the rest of

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the platoon once it completes its assigned actions on the objective. The
security element may have separate security teams, each with an
assigned task or sequence of tasks.

Support Element
5-124. The support element provides direct fire support and may control
indirect fires for the platoon.

Breach Element
5-125. The breach element breaches the threat’s obstacles when

Demolition Team
5-126. Demolition teams are responsible for preparing and exploding the
charges to destroy equipment, vehicles, or facilities on the objective.

Search Team
5-127. The assault element may comprise two-man (buddy teams) or
four-man (fire team) search teams to search bunkers, buildings, or
tunnels on the objective. These teams may also search the objective or kill
zone for casualties, documents, or equipment.


5-128. Normally the platoon headquarters element controls the platoon
on a combat patrol mission. The platoon leader must make every attempt
to maintain squad and fire team integrity as he assigns tasks to
subordinate units.
5-129. The platoon leader must consider the requirements for assaulting
the objective, supporting the assault by fire, and securing the platoon
throughout the mission. These factors include the following:

· For the assault on the objective, the leader must consider the
required actions on the objective, the size of the objective, and
the known or presumed strength and disposition of the threat
on and near the objective.
· The leader must consider the weapons available and the type
and volume of fires required to provide fire support for the
assault on the objective.
· The leader must consider the requirement to secure the
platoon at points along the route, at danger areas, at the
ORP, along threat avenues of approach into the objective, and
elsewhere during the mission.

5-130. The platoon leader must assign additional tasks to his squads for
demolition, search of threat KIAs, search and guarding of EPWs,
treatment and evacuation (litter teams) of friendly casualties, and other
tasks required for successful completion of the patrol mission. He must
also determine who will control any attachments of skilled personnel or
special equipment.


5-131. In a combat patrol, the platoon leader must take into account
several additional considerations in the conduct of the leader’s

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reconnaissance of the objective from the ORP. He is normally the assault

element leader. He should also take the support element leader, the
security element leader, and a surveillance team (a two-man team from
the assault element).
5-132. The leader should designate an RP halfway between the ORP and
the objective. Squads and fire teams separate at the RP and move to their
assigned positions. The RP should have wire communications with the
ORP and be set up so that other elements can tie into a hot loop there.
5-133. During the leader’s reconnaissance, the platoon leader should
confirm the location the objective and determine whether it is suitable for
the assault or ambush. He notes the terrain and identifies where he can
place mines or Claymores to cover dead space. He notes any other
features of the objective that may cause him to alter his plan. The platoon
leader should confirm the suitability of the assault and support positions
and routes from them back to the ORP.
5-134. If the objective is the kill zone for an ambush, the leader’s
reconnaissance party should not cross the objective; to do so will leave
tracks that may compromise the mission. The platoon leader should post
the surveillance team and issue a five-point contingency plan before
returning to the ORP.

5-135. An ambush is a surprise attack from a concealed position on a
moving or temporarily halted target. Antiarmor ambushes are
established when the mission is to destroy threat armored or mechanized
forces. Ambushes are classified by formation (linear or L-shaped),
category (hasty or deliberate), or type (point, area, or antiarmor). The
platoon leader uses a combination of formation, category, and type in
developing his ambush plan.

5-136. The key planning considerations for an ambush, conducted as
thoroughly as time permits, include the following:

· Covering the entire kill zone by fire.

· Using existing or reinforcing obstacles (Claymores and other
mines) to keep the threat in the kill zone.
· Protecting the assault and support elements with mines,
Claymores, or explosives.
· Using security elements or teams to isolate the kill zone.
· Assaulting into the kill zone to search dead and wounded,
assemble prisoners, and collect equipment. (The assault
element must be able to move quickly through its own
protective obstacles.)
· Timing the actions of all elements of the platoon to preclude
loss of surprise.
· Using only one squad to conduct the entire ambush and
rotating squads over time from the ORP. This technique is
useful when the ambush position must be manned for a long

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NOTE: For a more detailed explanation of planning considerations and procedures, refer to
the discussion of deliberate ambushes later in this section.

Ambush Formations
5-137. The leader considers the linear or L-shaped formations in
planning an ambush.
5-138. Linear. In an ambush using a linear formation, the assault and
support elements deploy parallel to the threat’s route (see Figure 5-31).
This positions both elements on the long axis of the kill zone and subjects
the threat to flanking fire. This formation can be used in close terrain
that restricts the threat’s ability to maneuver against the platoon or in
open terrain when there is a means of keeping the threat in the kill zone.








Figure 5-31. Linear Ambush Formation

5-139. L-shaped. In an L-shaped ambush, the assault element forms

the long leg parallel to the threat’s direction of movement along the kill
zone. The support element forms the short leg at one end of and at right
angles to the assault element. This provides both flanking (long leg) and
enfilading fires (short leg) against the threat. The L-shaped ambush can
be used at a sharp bend in a trail, road, or stream. It should not be used
where the short leg would have to cross a straight road or trail (see
Figure 5-32).

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! MG
! AR ! TL ! AR ! TL ! SL ! GRN !R

Figure 5-32. L-shaped Ambush Formation

Ambush Categories
5-140. In planning the ambush, the leader evaluates the considerations
and requirements for the hasty or deliberate ambush.
5-141. Hasty Ambush. A platoon or squad conducts a hasty ambush
when it makes visual contact with a threat force and has time to
establish an ambush without being detected. The actions for a hasty
ambush must be well rehearsed so that soldiers know what to do on the
leader’s signal. They must also know what actions to take if detected
before they are ready to initiate the ambush. In planning and rehearsing
the conduct of a hasty ambush, the platoon leader should consider the
following sequence of actions:

· Using visual signals, a soldier alerts the platoon that a threat

force is in sight. The soldier continues to monitor the location
and activities of the threat force until he is relieved by his
team or squad leader.
· The platoon or squad halts and remains motionless.
· The leader determines the best nearby location for a hasty
ambush. He uses arm-and-hand signals to direct soldiers to
covered and concealed positions. The leader designates the
location and extent of the kill zone.
· Security elements move out to cover each flank and the rear.
The leader directs the security elements to move a given
distance, set up, and rejoin the platoon on order or after the
ambush is completed (when the sound of firing stops). At
section level, the two outside buddy teams normally provide
flank security as well as fires into the kill zone (as shown in
Figure 5-33). At platoon level, fire teams make up the security
elements (see Figure 5-34).
· Soldiers move quickly to covered and concealed positions,
normally 5 to 10 meters apart. Soldiers ensure that they have
good observation and fields of fire into the kill zone.
· The leader initiates the ambush when the majority of the
threat force has entered the kill zone. (If time and terrain
permit, the squad or platoon may emplace Claymores and use
them to initiate the ambush.)

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NOTE: If the threat detects a soldier, the soldier initiates the ambush by firing his weapon
and alerting the rest of the platoon, saying THREAT RIGHT (LEFT or FRONT).

· The leader controls the rate and distribution of fires. He

orders cease fire when the threat force is destroyed or ceases
to resist, then directs the assault element to move into the kill
zone and conduct a hasty search of the threat soldiers. All
other soldiers remain in place to provide security.
· The security elements rejoin the platoon after the assault
element has cleared the kill zone. The platoon withdraws
from the ambush site using a covered and concealed route.
The platoon returns to the applicable ORP, collects and
disseminates all information, reorganizes as necessary, and
continues the mission.

Figure 5-33. Section Hasty Ambush

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Figure 5-34. Platoon Hasty Ambush

5-142. Deliberate Ambush. A deliberate ambush is conducted against

a specific target at a predetermined location. In planning a deliberate
ambush, the leader requires detailed information on the following:

· Size and composition of the targeted threat unit.

· Weapons and equipment available to the threat.
· The threat’s route and direction of movement.
· Times that the targeted unit will reach or pass specified
points along the route.

5-143. In addition to key planning considerations listed earlier in this

discussion, the following planning factors and procedures also may apply,
especially when time is available to permit a deliberate ambush:
· The security or surveillance team(s) should be positioned
first. The support element should be in position before the
assault element moves forward of the RP. The support
element must overwatch the movement of the assault element
into position.
· Instructions to security teams must include how to notify the
platoon leader of the threat’s approach into the kill zone
(SALUTE report). The security element must also keep the
platoon leader informed if any threat forces are following the
lead force.
· The platoon leader is the leader of the assault element. He
must check each soldier once they establish the assault
position. He signals the surveillance team to rejoin the

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assault element. Tasks for the assault and support elements

include the following:
· Actions of the assault element include the following:
n Identify individual sectors of fire as assigned by the
platoon leader. Emplace aiming stakes.
n Emplace Claymores and other protective devices.
n Emplace Claymores, mines, or other explosives in dead
space within the kill zone.
n Camouflage positions.
n Move the selection lever on each weapon off SAFE.
Because this will cause a metallic click that could
compromise the ambush if soldiers wait until the threat is
in the kill zone, it must be the last action performed by all
soldiers before waiting to initiate the ambush.
· Actions of the support element include the following:
n Identify sectors of fire for all weapons, especially machine
guns. Emplace limiting stakes to prevent friendly fires
from hitting the assault element in an L-shaped ambush.
n Emplace Claymores and other protective devices.
· The platoon leader must determine how large a threat
element his ambush can engage successfully. He must be
prepared to let units pass that are too large. He must report
to higher headquarters any units that pass his ambush
· The platoon leader initiates the ambush. He may use a
command-detonated Claymore. He must also plan a backup
method for initiating the ambush should the primary means
fail; this should also be a casualty-producing device, such as a
machine gun. Information on how the ambush will be
initiated must be passed out to all soldiers; rehearsals must
cover initiation of the ambush.
· Soldiers must have a means of engaging the threat in the kill
zone during periods of limited visibility if it becomes
necessary to initiate the ambush then. Use of tracers must be
weighed against how it might help the threat to identify
friendly positions. The platoon leader may use handheld or
indirect illumination flares.
· The platoon leader should include indirect fire support as a
part of his plan. Indirect fires can cover the flanks of the kill
zone to help isolate it. They can also help the platoon to
disengage if the ambush is compromised or the platoon must
depart the ambush site under pressure.
· The platoon leader must have an effective plan to signal the
advance of the assault element into the kill zone to begin its
search and collection activities. For example, he must realize
that smoke may not be visible to the support element. All
soldiers must know and practice relaying the signal during

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Ambush Types
5-144. This discussion focuses on considerations and procedures for the
three types of ambush operations (point, area, and antiarmor) conducted
by the combat patrol.
5-145. Point Ambush. In a point ambush, soldiers deploy to attack a
threat in a single kill zone. The platoon leader should consider the
following considerations and sequence of actions when planning a
deliberate point ambush:

· Once it begins its search, the assault element must be

prepared to move across the kill zone. Soldiers may have to
use individual movement techniques if there is any return
fire. Otherwise, the assault element moves across by
bounding fire teams. It uses the two-man search technique,
taking the following actions:
n Search from one side to the other and mark bodies that
have been searched to ensure the area is thoroughly
n As the search team approaches a dead threat soldier, one
man guards while the other man searches. First, he kicks
the threat weapon away. Second, he rolls the body over (if
on the stomach) by laying on top and, when given the go-
ahead by the guard (who is positioned at the threat’s
head), rolling the body over on him. This done for
protection in case the threat soldier has a grenade with
the pin pulled underneath him.
n The searchers then conduct a systematic search of the
dead soldier from head to toe, removing all papers and
anything new, such as different type or rank, shoulder
boards, different unit patch, pistol, weapon, or night
vision device (NVD). They note if the threat soldier has a
fresh or shabby haircut and the condition of his uniform
and boots. They take note of the radio frequency, SOI, and
maps. The search team will continue in this manner until
all threat personnel in and near the kill zone have been
searched. As noted, threat bodies should be marked (for
example, with arms folded over the chest) to avoid
· Other assault element actions in the kill zone include the
n Collect and secure all EPWs and move them out of the kill
zone before searching bodies. Establish a location for
EPWs. If there are threat WIAs who will not be taken
with the prisoners, find a location that provides them
with cover, yet allows them to be found easily by their
n Identify and collect equipment to be carried back. Prepare
it for transport. (Clear all weapons and place them on
n Identify and collect remaining equipment for destruction.
The demolition team prepares dual-primed explosives (C4

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with two M60 fuse lighters and time fuse) and awaits the
signal to initiate. This is normally the last action
performed before departing the objective and may signal
the security elements to return to the ORP.
n Treat friendly wounded first, then threat wounded, time
· The flank security teams may emplace antiarmor mines after
the ambush has been initiated if the threat is known to have
armor capability. If a flank security team makes contact, it
fights as long as possible without becoming decisively
engaged. It uses a prearranged signal to let the platoon leader
know it is breaking contact. The platoon leader may direct a
portion of the support element to assist the security team in
breaking contact.
· The platoon leader must plan the withdrawal from the
ambush site, using these actions:
n Elements normally withdraw in the reverse order that
they established their positions.
n The elements may return first to the RP, then to the ORP,
depending on the distance between elements.
n The security element at the ORP must be alert to assist
the platoon’s return to the ORP. It maintains security for
the ORP while the rest of the platoon prepares to leave.
· Actions after return to the ORP include accountability of
personnel and equipment and recovery of rucksacks and other
equipment left at the ORP during the ambush.

5-146. Area Ambush. In an area ambush, soldiers deploy in two or

more related point ambushes. A platoon is the smallest unit to conduct an
area ambush. The platoon leader should consider the following
considerations and sequence of actions when planning a deliberate area
5-147. Platoons conduct area ambushes where threat movement is
largely restricted to trails or streams (see Figure 5-35). The platoon
leader should select one principal ambush site around which he organizes
outlying ambushes. These secondary sites are located along the threat’s
most likely approach to and escape from the principal ambush site.
Squad-size elements are normally responsible for each ambush site. They
establish a point ambush as described earlier in this discussion.

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Figure 5-35. Area Ambush

5-148. The platoon leader must determine the best method for
employing his machine guns. He normally positions them both with the
support element of the principal site.
5-149. Squads responsible for outlying ambushes do not initiate their
ambushes until after the principal one is initiated. They then engage to
prevent threat forces from escaping the area or from reinforcing elements
in the kill zone.
5-150. Antiarmor Ambush. Platoons and squads conduct antiarmor
ambushes to destroy one or two armored vehicles. If a squad is given the
mission to conduct an antiarmor ambush, it should have an antiarmor
weapons team attached to it (refer to Figure 5-36). The leader considers
the following sequence and considerations when planning an antiarmor

Figure 5-36. Antiarmor Ambush

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5-151. While the antiarmor ambush is built around the antiarmor

weapons team, the leader must consider additional weapons available to
supplement its fires. These are normally LAWs or AT4s. The leader must
carefully position all antiarmor weapons to ensure the best shot (rear,
flank, or top). The remainder of the platoon must function as support and
security elements as in other combat patrols.
5-152. In a squad antiarmor ambush, the platoon leader selects the
general site for the ambush. The squad leader must find a site that
restricts the movement of armored vehicles out of the kill zone. The
leader should attempt to place his elements so that an obstacle is
between them and the kill zone. Security elements must consider
dismounted avenues of approach into the ambush site.
5-153. The leader should consider the method for initiating the
antiarmor ambush. The preferred method is to use a command-detonated
antiarmor mine placed in the kill zone. An antiarmor weapon can be used
to initiate the ambush, but its signature and slow rate of fire make it less
5-154. The antiarmor team attempts to kill the first and last vehicles in
the column, if possible. All other weapons open fire once the ambush has
begun. If the kill zone is within range of LAWs, each soldier fires one
during the ambush.
5-155. The leader must also consider how the presence of dismounted
threat elements with the tanks will affect the success of his ambush. If
the threat has a significant dismounted capability, the leader’s choices
include the following:

· Initiate the ambush as planned.

· Withdraw without initiating the ambush.
· Initiate the ambush using only automatic weapons, without
firing antiarmor weapons.
5-156. Because of the speed with which other armored forces can
reinforce the threat in the ambush site, the leader should plan to keep
the engagement short and the withdrawal quick. The platoon will not
clear through the kill zone as in other ambushes.

5-157. A raid is a combat operation to attack a position or installation,
followed by a planned withdrawal. Squads do not execute raids. The
sequence of platoon actions for a raid is similar to that for an ambush.
The platoon’s assault element may have to conduct a breach of an
obstacle; it may also have other tasks to perform on the objective, such as
demolition of freed facilities.

5-158. The presence patrol is almost always used in urban
environments, particularly during stability operations and support
operations. Among the various types of patrol the reconnaissance patrol
may conduct, the presence patrol is unique in that its primary purpose is
to be seen by military forces and civilians in the area of operations.
Although this patrol does perform limited reconnaissance and security
functions, it usually is conducted to serve as evidence of the presence of

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US and allied forces. This patrol’s focus may be the society or its
infrastructure, with the purpose of conducting tactical questioning to
fulfill information requirements.

5-159. A platoon or squad may receive the mission to follow the trail of a
specific threat unit. Soldiers look for signs left by the threat. They gather
information about the threat unit, the route, and the surrounding terrain
as they track.

5-160. Key considerations in conducting a tracking patrol include the

· The soldiers move stealthily. The soldiers must be well

disciplined and well trained in tracking techniques.
· When the platoon receives the mission to conduct a tracking
patrol, it assigns the task of tracking to only one
squad/section. The remaining squads and attachments
provide security.
· The configuration of the platoon must provide security for the
tracking team to the front and flanks as it follows the trail.
The formation of a squad conducting a tracking patrol is
illustrated in Figure 5-37. Separate elements of the squad
must move as dispersed from each other as terrain and
vegetation allow while still maintaining visual contact.
Normally, the lead fire team is responsible for point security,
tracking, and navigation.

Figure 5-37. Tracking Organization and Formation

5-161. Besides the common elements, tracking patrols include the
following elements:

· Security team. These teams provide security for the squad

leader, RATELO, and pace man and also provide rear and
flank security.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Tracking team. The tracking team reads signs and follows

the track of a specific threat unit.


5-162. The most important consideration in assigning duties for the
tracking patrol is the requirement to make the best-trained soldier the
primary tracker. The squad leader attempts to maintain the integrity of
the fire teams and, if possible, buddy teams. He assigns the following
· Patrol leader. The squad leader is the patrol leader and the
main navigator. He has overall responsibility for mission
· Primary tracker. This soldier’s only task is to follow the
main trail of the main body of the unit being tracked.
· Security man. This soldier provides security for the primary
tracker. When possible, he is the primary tracker’s buddy
team member.
· Security team. One buddy team provides security for the
squad leader, the pace man, and RTO.
· Rear security team. One buddy team provides rear security
for the squad.

5-163. Training is essential in developing and maintaining the necessary
tracking skills. Once deployed into an area of operations, the platoon
must continue its training activities to learn about local soil, climate,
vegetation, animals, vehicles, footwear, and other factors. The primary
tracker can prepare a tracking book showing specific signs and how they
weather or change over time.

5-164. Specific intelligence about threat habits, equipment, garment,
footwear, diet, or tactics is important. For example, reports might show
that the threat wears sandals like the natives in the area, while the units
being tracked show signs of one soldier wearing boots with an unfamiliar
tread. This could mean that the unit has a trained cadre, a foreign
advisor, or a prisoner with it. Any specific information about the threat is
also helpful. If possible, soldiers should interview someone who has seen

5-165. Humans, machines, and animals leave signs of their presence as
they move through an area. These signs can be as subtle as an odor or as
obvious as a well-worn path. All soldiers can read obvious signs such as
roads, worn trails, or tracks in sand or snow. To obtain better information
from signs they find in the battle area, however, soldiers must develop
and practice more refined attributes during tracking, including attention
to detail, common sense, staying alert, logic, and knowledge of the
environment and threat habits.

Finding the Trail

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5-166. This is the first task of the tracking team. When the trail cannot
be found in the immediate area, the tracking team can reconnoiter
around a known location of threat activity. There are two ways the team
can hunt for the trail:

· From a known location. Often there is a specific area or

location where the threat has been seen. Using that as a
starting point, the tracking team can locate and follow the
threat’s trail.
· Cutting trails. This occurs when the route of a friendly unit
crosses a trail left by another group (see Figure 5-38). This
can happen by chance, or the team can deliberately choose a
route that it believes will cut across one or more probable
threat routes.

Figure 5-38. Cutting Threat Trails

Trail and Sign Analysis

5-167. Once the first sign is discovered, it must not be disturbed or
covered. The tracking team analyzes it carefully before following the
threat. If the sign is found at the site of threat activity, the exact
occurrence can often be reconstructed. If a trail is the first sign found, the
tracker can still determine such facts as the size and composition of
groups being tracked, their directions, their general condition, and other
facts. The tracker determines as much as possible about the threat before
following them. As the patrol proceeds, analysis continues, increasing the
tracker’s knowledge of the threat.
5-168. At some point, it is likely that patrol will encounter any of several
potential problems in tracking, finding, and/or learning more about the
threat. These may include losing the trail of the threat force, often
because of actions the threat takes to evade tracking or detection, or
facing a threat attack. The patrol and the tracking team can use one or
more of the following techniques when the threat attacks or tries to evade
being tracked:

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Regaining a lost trail. As soon as the tracker loses the trail,

he stops. The tracking team then retraces its path to the last
threat sign. It marks this point. The team studies the sign
and the area around it for any clue as to where the threat
went. It looks for signs of the threat scattering, backtracking,
doglegging, or using any other countertracking method. If the
trail is still lost, the team establishes security in a spot that
precludes destruction of any sign. The tracker and an
assistant look for the trail. They do this by “boxing” the area
around the last clear sign (see Figure 5-39) The tracking team
always returns to the same path, away from the last sign, to
avoid creating more trails than needed.
· Overcoming common countertracking techniques. Once
the threat realizes he is being followed, he will try to evade or
attack the tracking team. Figure 5-40 illustrates a number of
countertracking techniques that the patrol and/or the
tracking team must be prepared to handle.
· Multiple patrols. Two or more tracking teams can be used to
track the same threat unit. (NOTE: The use of multiple
patrols is illustrated in Figure 5-41, which accompanies the
example of tracking patrol operations that follows this

Figure 5-39. Boxing Technique

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Figure 5-40. Countertracking Techniques

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 5-40. Countertracking Techniques (Continued)


5-169. The 1st Squad/Section is tracking a threat force (see Figure 5-41).
The squad/section leader contacts platoon headquarters (at the ORP) by
radio and tells them the estimated size, composition, rate of march, and
direction of travel of the threat. The platoon leader directs 2d
Squad/Section on a route that will cut the threat’s trail.
5-170. The 2d Squad/Section marks where they cut the trail (Point A)
and begins tracking. The mark is by prearranged signal. It can be a stake
driven into the ground, several stacked rocks, or a twist of grass tied up
and bent at an angle.
5-171. The 1st Squad/Section continues to follow the trail until it reaches
the mark left by 2d Squad/Section. This ensures that the threat unit is still
together and that 2d Squad/Section has found the correct trail. The 1st
Squad/Section leader then requests further orders from the ORP.
5-172. When 2d Squad/Section confirms the threat unit’s direction,
speed, and estimated distance, 2d Squad/Section gives this information to

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the ORP. The platoon leader directs 3d Squad/Section, which is patrolling

in sector, to set up an ambush along the probable threat avenue of

Figure 5-41. Multiple Tracking Teams


5-173. A patrol base is a position with a security perimeter that is set up

when a dismounted team conducting a patrol halts for an extended
period. Except in an emergency, patrol bases should be occupied no longer
than 24 hours. The platoon or squad never uses the same patrol base
twice. Platoons and squads use patrol bases to accomplish the following

· Stop all movement to avoid detection.

· Hide during a long, detailed reconnaissance of an objective
· Eat, clean weapons and equipment, and rest.
· Plan and issue orders.
· Reorganize after infiltrating a threat area.
· Establish a base from which to conduct several consecutive or
concurrent operations, such as ambush, raid, reconnaissance,
or security.

5-174. The leader selects the tentative site from a map or by aerial
reconnaissance. The site’s suitability must be confirmed; it must be
secured before occupation. Plans to establish a patrol base must include

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selecting an alternate patrol base site. The alternate site is used if the
first site is unsuitable or if the patrol must unexpectedly evacuate the
first patrol base.

5-175. Leaders planning for a patrol base must consider the mission and
passive and active security measures.

5-176. A patrol base must be located so it allows the unit to accomplish
its mission.

5-177. Security measures involve the following:
· The leader attempts to locate the patrol base on terrain that
will enhance its security. Whenever possible, the terrain
should meet the following criteria:
n Terrain that the threat would probably consider of little
tactical value.
n Terrain that is off main lines of drift and that affords
adequate drainage.
n Difficult terrain that would impede foot movement. An
example would be an area of dense vegetation, preferably
with bushes and trees that spread close to the ground.
n Terrain near a source of water.
n Terrain that can be defended for a short period and that
offers good cover and concealment.
· The leader avoids the following locations:
n Known or suspected threat positions.
n Built-up areas.
n Ridges and hilltops, except as needed for maintaining
n Roads and trails.
n Small valleys.
· The leader plans for the following security considerations:
n OPs.
n Communications with OPs.
n Defense of the patrol base.
n Withdrawal from the patrol base, to include withdrawal
routes and a rally point, a rendezvous point, or an
alternate patrol base.
n A security system to ensure that specific soldiers are
awake at all times.
n Enforcement of camouflage, noise, and light discipline.
n The conduct of required activities with minimum
movement and noise.

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5-178. A patrol base is established using the steps covered in the
following discussion (see Figure 5-42). The patrol base is reconnoitered
and established using the same procedures and considerations as an ORP
or RRP. The exception is that the platoon will, when necessary, enter the
patrol base at a 90-degree turn.

NOTE: This action is METT-TC dependent; if there is nothing to be gained by doing this
step, then the unit does not do it (for example, in flat desert terrain).

Figure 5-42. Occupation of the Patrol Base

5-179. The platoon leader leaves a two-man OP at the turn. The PSG
and the last fire team will obliterate any tracks from the turn into the
patrol base. The platoon moves into the patrol base as depicted in Figure
5-42. All squad leaders move to the left flank of their squad sector.
5-180. The platoon leader and support element or weapons squad leader
start at 6 o’clock and move in a clockwise manner to adjust the perimeter
(meeting each squad leader at his squad’s left flank). If the platoon leader
and support element leader find a better location for one of the machine
guns, they reposition it.
5-181. After the platoon leader has checked each squad’s sector, the
squad leader and another squad member report to the CP as an R&S
team. The platoon leader issues a contingency plan to the three R&S
teams and reminds them that they are looking for the threat, water,
built-up areas or human habitat, roads and trails, and any possible rally
points. (Squads occupying a patrol base on their own do not send out R&S
teams at night.)
5-182. The R&S team departs from the left flank of its squad’s sector
and moves out a given distance, as stated by the platoon leader in his
instructions. The team moves in a clockwise direction and reenters the
patrol base at the right flank of the squad’s sector. Whenever possible,
the R&S team should prepare a sketch of the squad’s front and report to
the CP.

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: The distance the R&S team moves away from the squad’s sector will vary
depending on the terrain and vegetation (anywhere from 200 to 400 meters). All
members of the platoon are on 100 percent alert during this time. The R&S team is
of little value at night without the use of NVDs. The RTO must be able to establish
communications with higher headquarters using a directional antenna.

NOTE: If the platoon leader feels the platoon may have been tracked, he may elect to
maintain 100 percent security and wait a while in total silence before sending out
the R&S teams.

5-183. Once all squad leaders (through their R&S teams) have
completed their reconnaissance, they report back to the platoon leader at
the CP. The platoon leader gathers the information from his three R&S
teams and determines if the platoon will be able to use the location as a
patrol base.


5-184. If the platoon leader determines that he will be able to use the
location as a patrol base, he gives the following information to his PSG
and squad/section leaders. Platoon leader also disseminates other
information such as daily challenge and password, frequencies, and call
signs. Squad/section leaders return to their squads/sections, give out the
information, and begin the priorities of work as stated by the platoon
leader. The patrol base must be sterilized upon departure.

NOTE: Squads/sections have the same requirements with their squad/section patrol bases
as platoons.

5-185. Only one point of entry and exit is used. Noise and light discipline
is maintained at all times. Everyone is challenged. Squad leaders
supervise the placement of aiming stakes and ensure Claymores are put
out. Each squad/section establishes an OP and may quietly dig hasty
fighting positions. Squad/section leaders prepare and turn in sector
sketches, to include range cards and fire plans.

5-186. The platoon leader states the alert posture (for example, 50
percent or 33 percent) and the stand-to time for day and night. He sets up
the plan to meet the following conditions:

· Positions are checked periodically.

· OPs are relieved periodically.
· At least one leader is awake at all times.

5-187. The platoon leader specifies the following information:
· Which signal to use if contact is made (for example, colored
star cluster).

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· The order of withdrawal if the unit is forced out of the patrol

base (for example, squads/sections not in contact will move
· The platoon rendezvous point (if the platoon is not to link up
at an alternate patrol base).

5-188. The platoon leader must ensure that machine guns, other weapon
systems, communications equipment, and NVDs are not broken down at
the same time for maintenance. He also redistributes ammunition.

NOTE: Weapons should not be disassembled at night.


5-189. The PSG ensures that the platoon slit trench is dug and marked
at night with a chemical light inside the trench. Squad/section leaders
designate squad urine areas. All soldiers accomplish the following
activities daily: shave; brush teeth; wash face, hands, armpits, groin, and
feet; and darken (polish) boots. Soldiers ensure that no trash is left

5-190. Leaders monitor mess activities to ensure not more than half the
platoon eats at one time.

5-191. The PSG organizes a watering party. They carry canteens in an
empty rucksack.


5-192. The purpose of a passive patrol base is to give a smaller-size
element time to rest. A Claymore mine is emplaced on the route entering
the patrol base. Teams sit back-to-back facing outward, ensuring that at
least one individual per team is alert and providing security.


5-193. Surveillance is the systematic observation of a specific area.

Scouts watch, listen, and employ electronic devices to observe their
assigned sector of responsibility. The OP, the primary means of
maintaining surveillance of an assigned avenue of approach or NAI, is a
position from which scouts observe the threat and direct and adjust
indirect fires against him. From the OP, the scouts send SALUTE reports
to their commander to provide early warning of threat activity.
5-194. The reconnaissance platoon can occupy one short-duration OP per
squad for up to 12 hours if the squads are at full strength. For extended
periods (12 hours or longer), the platoon occupies long-duration OPs by
sections; this limits long-duration OPs to a maximum of two for recce

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

platoons and three for most other platoons. The general requirement for
each long-duration OP is two vehicles in CFV/RV platoons and three
vehicles in a HMMWV platoon. These guidelines are based on the
manpower requirements for OP operations (occupy the OP, provide
security, execute a proper sleep plan to sustain long-duration operations).
5-195. The platoon can array OPs either in linear positions or in depth.
Depth is the preferred method for maintaining contact with a moving
threat. Linear placement is effective when the threat is not moving; it
provides maximum eyes on the threat.

5-196. Critical tasks for the platoon in employing OPs include the

· Determine the type of OP (mounted, dismounted, or a

combination), depending on requirements for either
maximum stealth or rapid movement.
· Position the OPs either in linear positions or in depth to allow
for observation of the assigned sector. Several factors will
affect proper positioning, such as the following:
n The need for observation from several OPs to reduce the
chance of the threat entering the sector undetected.
n A requirement for the platoon to observe the entire sector
by placing OPs along the threat’s most likely avenues of
· Select a position for each OP that affords the best possible
force protection. Selection criteria include the following:
n Covered and concealed routes to and from the OP.
n Unobstructed observation of the assigned area.
n Effective cover and concealment.
n Sites that avoid natural lines of drift and that do not call
attention to or skyline observers.
· Occupy the OP. The platoon should employ the most secure
method of moving into position; dismounted occupation is the
preferred method. Occupation steps include these:
n Establish overwatch.
n Reconnoiter the position.
n Establish security.
n Clear the site and ensure sector visibility.
n Establish vehicle hide positions.
n Develop sector sketches.
· Man the OP. The platoon leader must ensure that each OP
has the necessary personnel and equipment to perform the
following tasks:
n Observe the assigned area.
n Provide local security (including planning and
preparation for contact and actions on contact).

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n Report information.
n Call for and adjust indirect fire.
· Conduct local reconnaissance patrols when necessary to cover
dead space, provide local security, and observe avenues of
approach and/or NAIs from different vantage points.
· Employ active and passive protective measures. Scouts are
extremely vulnerable in the OP. Their best self-defense is not
to be seen, heard, or otherwise located by the threat.
· Improve the position. The platoon can enhance OP protection
using the following steps:
n Dig in the OP position.
n Camouflage the position.
n Install communications equipment.
n Emplace hasty obstacles.


5-197. OPs can be executed dismounted or mounted, or as a combination
of these two types, as outlined in the following discussion.

5-198. The dismounted OP provides maximum stealth and thus has the
greatest likelihood of remaining undetected by the threat. The
disadvantages of the dismounted OP are the time it takes to remount and
move if necessary and, if a ground-mounted thermal device is not
available, the lack of optics capability. If rapid movement or displacement
is anticipated, the OP should mount or remain mounted.

5-199. These offer the advantages of rapid movement and vehicle optics
and protection. Because the threat can more easily detect them, however,
they are potentially much less effective than dismounted OPs.

5-200. The platoon can employ an OP that combines the advantages of
both the dismounted and mounted types. For example, the vehicle could
be used to monitor a particular NAI while other crewmen dismount to
observe a threat dismounted avenue of approach. The combination OP
can offset the limitations and vulnerabilities of the other types, but some
of these weaknesses may still apply, including lack of mobility and ease of
threat detection.

5-201. As noted, OPs may be placed on the battlefield either in a linear
configuration or in depth. Linear placement (illustrated in Figure 5-43)
allows the platoon to observe the assigned sector from several OP sites,
reducing the chance of the threat entering the sector without being
observed. This method works well when the platoon has been assigned a
large sector with few avenues of approach or is in desert-type terrain. In-
depth OP placement (refer to Figure 5-44) allows the platoon to observe
the entire sector by placing OP sites where the platoon can observe the

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

most likely avenues of approach in the sector as well as along the sector
flanks. This method works well when the platoon is assigned a sector
with several avenues of approach or is in heavily wooded terrain. In-
depth placement allows for redundancy in observation and better
coverage of the sector.

Figure 5-43. Linear Positioning of OPs

Figure 5-44. In-depth Positioning of OPs

5-202. Based on his commander’s guidance, the platoon leader selects
the general location for the platoon’s OPs after analyzing METT-TC
factors. From his analysis, he determines how many OPs he must
establish; he also decides where they must be positioned to allow long-
range observation along the avenues of approach assigned by his
commander and to provide depth through the sector. Section and squad
leaders select the exact position for each OP on the ground. OPs should
have the following characteristics:

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· Covered and concealed routes to and from the OP. Scouts

must be able to enter and leave the OP without being seen by
the threat.
· Unobstructed observation of the assigned area or sector.
Ideally, the fields of observation of adjacent OPs overlap to
ensure full coverage of the sector.
· Effective cover and concealment. Scouts should select
positions with cover and concealment to reduce their
vulnerability on the battlefield. They may need to pass up a
position with favorable observation capability but with no
cover and concealment in favor of a position that affords
better survivability.
· A location that will not attract attention. OPs should not be
sited in such locations as a water tower, an isolated grove of
trees, or a lone building or tree; these positions draw threat
attention and may be used as threat artillery TRPs. The OPs
should also be located away from natural lines of drift along
which a moving threat force can be expected to travel. These
locations might include a route on the floor of a valley or a
site near a major highway.
· A location that does not skyline the observers. Avoid hilltops.
Position OPs farther down the slope of the hill or on the side,
provided there are covered and concealed routes into and out
of the position.

5-203. The reconnaissance platoon leader selects a technique to move to
the screen line based on his analysis of METT-TC. Unless the area has
already been cleared, the platoon should conduct a zone reconnaissance to
the screen line. This is the most secure method of moving to the screen
line, but also the most time-consuming. The following steps provide an
example of how the platoon’s elements, in this case a section, might
occupy an OP:

· The section stops short of its OP site. The section leader

directs the drivers into positions to overwatch the general OP
site and any terrain the threat could use to dominate
movement into or out of the position. (See Figure 5-45.)
· The section leader dismounts with scouts from each vehicle.
The squad leader stays with the vehicles. Drivers and
gunners remain on their vehicles to overwatch the
dismounted personnel as they move forward to reconnoiter
the OP. (NOTE: Because of the requirement to leave the
driver and gunner with each vehicle, only one scout per
vehicle can dismount in a HMMWV platoon.)
· The section leader moves the dismounted scouts to the OP
site, establishes security overwatching the far side of the site,
and checks the site for mines, booby traps, and threat
personnel. He verifies that he can observe his sector or area of
responsibility from this site and determines which exact
position is best for the OP.

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· The section leader selects hide positions and fighting

positions for his vehicles. Once the area around the OP is
cleared and secure, he signals the vehicles forward to move
into their fighting positions.
· The driver and a dismounted scout from each vehicle mark
their vehicle position with a ground stake. The stake, which
enables a vehicle to reoccupy the fighting position at a later
time, is centered on the driver’s station. It must be tall
enough for the driver to see as he drives into position. The
driver uses engineer tape or luminous tape on the stake so he
can see it during limited visibility operations.
· The gunner and vehicle commander for each vehicle complete
and check their sector sketch. Each vehicle then moves back
out of its fighting position into a hide position. The section
leader checks the sketches to ensure they provide complete
coverage of the sector. Sector sketches or range cards allow
the OP to use the vehicle’s thermal sights for observation;
they are also a valuable reference if the vehicle is ordered to

Figure 5-45. Vehicles Overwatching a Potential OP Site

5-204. A minimum of two scouts man each OP. They must be equipped
to observe the area, report information, protect themselves, and call for
and adjust indirect fire. One scout observes the area while the other
provides local security, records information, and sends reports to the
section/squad leader or platoon leader. The two scouts should switch jobs
every 20 to 30 minutes because the observer’s effectiveness decreases
quickly after that time. Essential equipment for the OP includes the

· Map of the area, with required graphic only.

· Compass.
· Communications equipment (wire and/or radio).
· Observation devices (binoculars, observation telescope, and/or
· SOI extract.

______________________________________________________ Chapter 5 – Dismounted Operations

· Report formats.
· Weapons, such personal, crew-served, and/or light antitank
weapons (LAW). Mines are included, if necessary.
· Seasonal uniform and load-bearing equipment (LBE).
· Appropriate NBC equipment and IPE to achieve the highest
MOPP level.


5-205. Once the section leader has established the OP and assigned the
scouts their sectors of observation, the section improves the position. The
section leader prepares a sector sketch, an example of which is illustrated
in Figure 5-46. This sketch is similar to a fighting position sketch but
with some important differences. As a minimum, the sketch will include
the following:
· A sketch of key and significant terrain, including NAI and
avenues of approach.
· Location of the OP.
· Location of the hide position.
· Locations of vehicle fighting and observation positions.
· Alternate positions (hide, fighting, observation).
· Routes to and from the OP and fighting positions.
· Sectors of observation, with dead space identified.
· Preplanned artillery targets.
· TRPs for direct fire.
· Prepared spot reports and calls for fire, based on trigger lines
and projected locations where the threat will first be seen.
· Locations of protective obstacles, such as Claymores and trip

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

Figure 5-46. Section Leader’s OP Sketch

5-206. Personnel manning the OP site begin digging in to provide

protection from indirect and direct fires. They also camouflage the
position, install wire communications equipment and directional
antennas for FM communications, and emplace hasty obstacles for local
protection. Vehicle commanders (or gunners) and drivers reconnoiter the
routes to their fighting/observation positions and alternate positions,
perform maintenance, and camouflage vehicles and positions.

5-207. The scouts occupying the OP use wire, radio, or both as their
primary means of communications. Wire is preferred because it is secure
and is not vulnerable to threat direction-finding equipment or jamming.
The scouts can conceal the wire so the threat cannot see it. If possible, the
scouts in the OP use wire to communicate with their section/squad leader
or his representative, who is located with his vehicle in the hide position
behind the OP.
5-208. The scout in the vehicle in turn relays reports or information to
the platoon leader by radio. Ideally, if the vehicles are in a hide position,
their signals are masked from the threat by terrain. If they anticipate
being in the position for a long period of time and expect to have to use
the radio, scouts should construct a directional antenna to further reduce
their vulnerability to threat jamming or direction-finding. The scouts in
the OP should carry a radio as a backup means of communications; they
can use it to send reports or to talk directly to their FIST or mortar
section for indirect fire support.

5-209. As noted, scouts are extremely vulnerable in an OP; their best
self-defense is not to be seen, heard, or otherwise located by the threat.
They employ active and passive measures to protect themselves from
threat detection and direct and indirect fires.
5-210. The first step is to locate the OP in a covered and concealed
position to reduce the chance of being seen by the threat. The scouts add
camouflage to the position to enhance natural concealment. If they have
enough time, they dig in the position and add overhead cover to increase
survivability against threat fires. The scouts enforce strict light and noise
discipline and reduce activity in and around the OP to essential
movement only. All vehicles remain hidden because the threat can easily
identify their large signatures. Scouts in the OP also must maintain
secure communications; refer to the discussion earlier in this section.
5-211. To provide early warning of threat movement around the screen
line or OP position, the scouts emplace their PEWS in areas that they
cannot observe or in the dead spaces between OPs. Trip flares and
M18A1 claymore mines provide additional early warning and protection
from threat personnel.
5-212. Active patrolling around and between OPs also enhances security.
Patrols give the platoon the ability to observe areas that cannot be
observed from the OPs and to clear the area around the OP of threat
elements. A patrol can be executed by a minimum of two dismounted

______________________________________________________ Chapter 5 – Dismounted Operations

crewmen from the vehicles in the hide position. The platoon executes
security patrols as soon after occupation of the position as possible to
discover threat elements that might have observed the occupation. The
patrol reconnoiters favorable observation positions that might be
occupied by the threat. Route selection is critical when organizing patrols
because scouts must assume that the OP position is under observation.
(NOTE: Refer to the discussion of patrols earlier in this chapter.)
5-213. OPs cannot always avoid being seen by the threat, so they must
take actions to limit their vulnerability. Covered positions provide
protection from threat fires; vehicle dispersion further reduces the effects
of these fires. The vehicles in the fighting positions are used to extricate
the scouts from the OP when the position has been identified and
attacked by the threat.

5-214. Extended OPs are fixed surveillance positions that require the
scouts to remain at the site for up to 72 hours without relief or rotation of
scout teams. They provide the maximum degree of stealth available to the
scout from a stationary position. Vehicle placement will not be in direct
support of the OP. Infiltration and exfiltration, accomplished using any
method of aerial and dismounted movement, will be the primary method
of occupying and departing the OP. Once the OP is occupied, movement
around the OP ceases until mission is complete, evacuation is required,
and/or exfiltration begins.
5-215. This discussion addresses the process of selection, construction,
and occupation of extended OPs, as used in permissive and
nonpermissive operational environments. During this process, the scouts
should apply the principles summarized by the acronym BLUES, which is
illustrated in Figure 5-47.

B Blend in with the surrounding area. Does the site look natural? Does it attract unwanted attention?

Low-to-the-ground construction techniques must be used. Does the site provide protection against
L small arms and direct weapons fire?
Unexpected sites should be used. Will the threat forces expect you to look out the window or the
U small hole in the wall?
Evacuation routes must be planned during site selection. Where will you go to link up with friendly
E forces?
Avoid silhouetting of the site by using the sides of hills, not the crests. Can the sniper see you
S silhouetted against the skyline, wall, or other object?

Figure 5-47. BLUES Principles for Extended OPs

5-216. In choosing where to position extended OPs, the reconnaissance
platoon must ensure that the sites meet the following requirements:

· Afford adequate visual and electronic line-of-sight target

observation and security for the observers.
· Have as wide a field of view and as little dead space as

FM 3-20.98 ___________________________________________________________________________

· Are not near natural lines of drift or in terrain that would

naturally draw the attention of threat forces, such as atop a
flat rock face on a hill.
· Have covered and concealed exit and entry points.
· Are far enough downwind from the target and inhabited areas
to minimize the olfactory detection of the position by dogs or
people. Keep in mind that wind direction often changes at
various times of the day.
· In general, are as close to, or distant from, the target as
mission and security considerations dictate.
· Afford effective overhead and side cover and concealment.
· Are capable of supporting execution of battle drills if the
observers must break threat contact.
· Support reliable communications between the observers and
their main body, security element, and/or communications
· Are, above all, in a location that is not obvious to threat

5-217. If no single position affords all these features (for example,

daytime versus nighttime requirements), it may become necessary to
select separate positions suited to the type of surveillance performed.
Multiple positions must be mutually supporting so that if one position is
compromised, observers in the other position are able to continue the
surveillance mission and/or warn the rest of the platoon. Further, if
positions are not used during the day, they should be kept under
observation. If the positions cannot be secured by observation, they
should not be reused the following night. This practice prevents the
scouts from walking into an ambush while trying to reoccupy the
position. Another consideration in the use of separate positions is that
observers must avoid establishing patterns and trails while moving to
and from the different positions.

5-218. Several construction techniques are common to all observation
positions. These techniques are included in SOPs and practiced during
normal training.

Dirt Removal
5-219. The primary problem in constructing any position is the removal