The complete tactical guide for movement to contact in combat operations (tactical and offense series).

When essential, commanders order subordinates to conduct a movement to contact regardless of which aspect of decisive action is presently dominant—offense, protection, or stability. Commanders conduct a movement to contact to create favorable circumstances for subsequent tactical duties. A commander conducts a movement to contact when the tactical state of affairs shouldn’t be clear, or when the enemy has broken contact. A properly executed movement to contact develops the combat state of affairs and maintains the commander’s freedom of motion after contact is gained. This flexibility is important in maintaining the initiative. All the tactical ideas, control measures, and planning issues launched in ADRP 3-90 apply to the conduct of a movement to contact. The assault preparation issues introduced in this article also apply.

2-1. A movement to contact employs purposeful and aggressive movement, decentralized control, and the hasty deployment of mixed arms formations from the march to conduct offensive, defensive, or stability duties. The fundamentals of a movement to contact are—

  • Focus all efforts on finding the enemy.
  • Make initial contact with the smallest pressure potential, in line with protecting the pressure.
  • Make initial contact with small, cellular, self-contained forces to keep away from decisive engagement of the primary body on floor chosen by the enemy. (This enables the commander most flexibility to develop the state of affairs.)
  • Process-organize the drive and use movement formations to deploy and attack rapidly in any course.
  • Maintain subordinate forces inside supporting distances to facilitate a versatile response.

Keep contact regardless of the course of action (COA) adopted once contact is gained.

Shut air help, air interdiction, and counterair operations are essential to the success of large-scale actions to contact. Local air superiority or, at least, air parity is significant to the operation’s success.

2-2. The Army’s improved intelligence capabilities scale back the need for corps and divisions to conduct a movement to contact since modernized models usually have a basic concept of the situation of serious enemy forces. Nevertheless, enemy use of complicated terrain, resembling jungle, urban, and in depth forests, operations security, and army deception operations designed to degrade the accuracy of the friendly widespread operational image (COP) will proceed to require small tactical models to conduct a movement to contact. Likewise, if opposing a peer competitor having a classy command and management warfare or electronic warfare system capable of significantly disrupting or degrading U.S. national-level intelligence and surveillance methods, giant tactical models may be required to conduct actions to contact.

2-3. A meeting engagement is a combat action that happens when a shifting drive, incompletely deployed for battle, engages an enemy at an sudden time and place. The enemy pressure encountered may be either stationary or shifting. For a gathering engagement to occur, each forces should not have to be stunned by their assembly. The drive making sudden contact is the one conducting a meeting engagement. Such encounters typically occur in small-unit operations when reconnaissance has been ineffective.

2-4. In a gathering engagement the pressure that reacts first to the sudden contact usually positive factors a bonus over its enemy. Nevertheless, a meeting engagement can also happen when the opponents are aware of one another and each determine to attack immediately to acquire a tactical advantage or seize key or decisive terrain. A meeting engagement may additionally occur when one drive attempts to deploy right into a hasty defense whereas the opposite drive attacks before its opponent can arrange an effective defense. Acquisition methods might discover the enemy before the safety drive can achieve contact. Regardless of how the drive makes contact, seizing the initiative is the overriding imperative. Prompt execution of battle drills at platoon degree and under, and commonplace actions on contact for larger models, may give that initiative to the friendly pressure.

2-5. A movement to contact is organized (at least) with a ahead safety pressure—both a masking drive or an advance guard—and a essential physique. A portion of the primary physique composes the commander’s sustaining base. Based mostly on the mission variables (mission, enemy, terrain and climate, troops and help obtainable, time obtainable, and civil issues) of METT-TC, the commander might improve the unit’s security by resourcing an offensive masking drive and an advance guard for each column, in addition to flank and rear security (usually a display or guard). (See figure 2-1.) FM Three-90-2 discusses security operations.


Determine 2-1. Pressure organized for a movement to contact

2-6. A movement to contact mission requires the commander not to have contact with the enemy most important body. Nevertheless, the commander should know the situation of at the very least some enemy reserve and follow-on forces. If the corps or division commander has enough intelligence info to target enemy uncommitted forces, reserves, or sustaining operations actions, the commander normally designates forces, corresponding to long-range artillery methods, assault helicopters, prolonged vary unmanned aircraft, and fixed-wing aircraft to interact recognized enemy parts no matter their geographical location inside the space of operations (AO). Always the forward security factor and the primary physique perform reconnaissance.

Safety Forces

2-7. A commander conducting a movement to contact sometimes organizes the security component right into a overlaying drive to shield the movement of the primary physique and to develop the state of affairs earlier than committing the primary body. This security aspect is generally the unit’s initial fundamental effort. A overlaying drive is task-organized to accomplish particular tasks unbiased of the primary physique comparable to conduct mobility and selected countermobility operations in accordance with the mission variables of METT-TC. This overlaying drive stories instantly to the establishing commander.

2-8. If a drive conducting a movement to contact is unable to useful resource a masking drive for unbiased safety operations, it might use an advance guard in the place of a overlaying drive. An advance guard is a task-organized mixed arms unit or detachment that precedes a column formation to shield the primary body from floor statement or surprise by the enemy. This sometimes occurs when a brigade or battalion conducts a movement to contact. In instances where the upper echelon (corps or division) creates a overlaying drive, subordinate parts can establish an advance guard behind the overlaying drive and ahead of the primary body. This normally happens when subordinate models are advancing in a number of parallel columns. In this case, each major body column often organizes its personal advance guard.

2-9. The advance guard operates forward of the primary body to ensure its uninterrupted advance by decreasing obstacles to create passage lanes, repair roads and bridges, or find bypasses. The advance guard additionally protects the primary physique from shock attack and fixes the enemy to shield the deployment of the primary physique when it’s committed to motion. The parts composing the advance guard ought to have equal or ideally superior mobility to that of the primary body. Because of this, mixed arms models containing a mix of mechanized or Stryker outfitted infantry, armor, and reconnaissance or cavalry parts are best suited for use in an advance guard. Engineer belongings also needs to represent a portion of the advance guard, however the primary body may also present other help. Nevertheless, there are some environments, akin to jungles and swamps, where providing the advance guard with mobility superior to that of the primary body is inconceivable.

2-10. The advance guard strikes as shortly and as aggressively as potential, however, in contrast to the overlaying drive, stays inside supporting range of the primary body’s weapon techniques. It forces the enemy to withdraw or destroys small enemy teams before they will disrupt the advance of the primary physique. When the advance guard encounters giant enemy forces or closely defended areas, it takes immediate and aggressive action to develop the state of affairs and, within its functionality, defeat the enemy. Its commander reviews the situation, power, disposition, and composition of the enemy and tries to find the enemy’s flanks and gaps or other weaknesses in its place. The essential physique might then be a part of the attack. The pressure commander often specifies how far in front of the primary physique of the drive the advance guard is to operate. The commander reduces those distances in shut terrain and underneath low-visibility circumstances.

2-11. When the command’s rear or flanks usually are not protected by adjoining or following models, it should provide its personal flank and rear security. The command can accomplish this by establishing a display or a guard on its flanks or to its rear. The flank columns of the primary physique normally provide these flank security parts; for instance, the left flank brigade would offer the left flank display for a division-level movement to contact. The rear guard usually comes from one of many subordinate parts of the corps or division and studies immediately to the corps or division headquarters. A corps might conduct a flank cowl if there’s a clearly identified, vital menace from the flank. A flank cowl requires vital assets which might be unavailable to the primary physique. Combat aviation models might establish a flank display, if the mission variables of METT-TC permit it; nevertheless, this will increase the danger to the primary body. (See FM Three-90-2 for more particular info in regards to the conduct of the varied reconnaissance and security duties.)

Primary Body

2-12. The foremost physique consists of forces not detailed to security duties. It is normally the factor that may conduct the decisive operation inside the conduct of the movement to contact. The combat parts of the primary physique prepare to reply to enemy contact with the unit’s security forces. For example, attack helicopter models organic to combat aviation brigades supporting a division or corps conducting a movement to contact usually stay beneath division and corps control till contact is made. If the state of affairs permits, the commander can assign a comply with and help mission to a subordinate unit. This enables that subordinate

unit to relieve safety forces from such duties as observing bypassed enemy forces, dealing with displaced civilians, and clearing routes. This prevents security forces from being diverted from their main mission.

2-13. The commander designates a portion of the primary physique for use as the reserve. The measurement of the reserve is predicated upon the mission variables of METT-TC and the amount of uncertainty in regards to the enemy. The extra obscure the enemy state of affairs, the bigger the dimensions of the reserve. The reserve sometimes constitutes approximately one-fourth to one-third of the drive. On contact with the enemy, the reserve offers flexibility to react to unexpected circumstances and permits the unit to shortly resume its movement.

2-14. When a movement to contact is carried out at the corps or division echelon, the corps and division commanders conducting a movement-to-contact won’t usually have a command relationship with sustainment belongings beyond that discovered in their hooked up brigades. As an alternative, these sustainment belongings are assigned to the Military Materials Command and hooked up to or positioned beneath the operational control of the Military’s theater sustainment command or some sort of joint sustainment command. They have a help relationship with the corps or division. The division or corps headquarters employees coordinate with the supporting sustainment group in order that the theater sustainment command or sustainment brigade supporting the tactical unit adjusts the supporting sustainment unit’s inner group to meet the tactical commander’s wants. The corps or division echelon employees informs the commander of any shortfall in obtainable sustainment help so that the movement to contact concept of operations and tactical plan may be modified to meet sustainment realities. This primarily happens when the tactical unit conducting a movement to contact just isn’t conducting the decisive operation or most important effort of its larger headquarters.

2-15. Brigade combat group (BCT) commanders tailor their models’ natural sustainment belongings to the mission. They decentralize the execution of the sustainment, however that help have to be constantly out there to the primary body. This consists of using preplanned logistics packages (LOGPACs). A logistics package deal is a grouping of multiple courses of provide and supply automobiles underneath the control of a single convoy commander. Day by day LOGPACs include a standardized allocation of provides. Special LOGPACs can be dispatched as needed.

2-16. The commander steadily finds that essential provide routes (MSRs) develop into extended as the operation proceeds. Aerial resupply may be vital to help large-scale movement to contacts or to keep the momentum of the primary body. Combat trains containing gasoline, ammunition, medical, and upkeep belongings move with their habitually associated supported battalion or company staff. Gasoline and ammunition stocks stay loaded on tactical automobiles in the combat trains, so they can immediately move when mandatory. Battalion subject trains transfer with a better help echelon, such because the brigade help battalion, in the primary body of each BCT. Aviation models use ahead arming and refuel factors (FARPs) to scale back plane turnaround time.

2-17. A commander uses the minimal number and sort of management measures potential in a movement to contact because of the uncertain enemy state of affairs. These measures embrace designation of an AO with left, right, entrance, and rear boundaries, or a separate AO bounded by a continuous boundary (noncontiguous operations). The commander further divides the AO into subordinate unit AOs to facilitate subordinate unit actions.

2-18. The operation often begins from a line of departure (LD) on the time specified in the operation order (OPORD). The commander controls the movement to contact through the use of part strains, contact factors, and checkpoints as required. (See determine 2-2.) The commander controls the depth of the movement to contact through the use of a limit of advance (LOA) or a forward boundary. Figure 2-2 exhibits an LOA and not a ahead boundary. The commander might designate one or more goals to restrict the extent of the movement to contact and orient the pressure. Nevertheless, these are sometimes terrain-oriented and used solely to guide movement. Although a movement to contact might outcome in taking a terrain goal, the first focus ought to be on the enemy pressure. If the commander has sufficient info to find vital enemy forces, then the commander ought to plan another sort of offensive action.


Figure 2-2. Movement to contact management measures

2-19. Corps, division, or BCT commanders use boundaries to separate the varied organizational parts and clearly set up duties between totally different organizations. Battalion commanders use these management measures along with mission orders, coupled with battle drills and formation discipline, to synchronize the movement to contact. Company teams will not be normally assigned their own areas of operations in the course of the conduct of a movement to contact.

2-20. The commander can designate a collection of part strains that may successively turn into the new rear boundary of the ahead security parts as that drive advances. Every rear boundary turns into the ahead boundary of the primary body and shifts as the security drive strikes ahead. The rear boundary of the primary physique designates the limit of duty of the rear safety component. This line additionally shifts as the primary body strikes ahead. (See FM 3-90-2 for a dialogue of security drive boundaries.)

2-21. Commanders might use an axis of advance in limited visibility. Nevertheless, there’s the danger of enemy forces outdoors the axis not being detected, and thus being inadvertently bypassed.

2-22. The commander executes the intelligence annex to the OPORD to decide the enemy’s location and intent while conducting security operations to shield the primary physique. This consists of using obtainable fixed-wing aircraft. This enables the primary body to focus its planning and preparation, to embrace rehearsals, on the conduct of hasty attacks, bypass maneuvers, and hasty defenses. The plan addresses not solely actions anticipated by the commander based mostly on out there intelligence info, but in addition the conduct of assembly engagements at anticipated occasions and places where they could happen. The commander tasks the ahead safety drive with conducting route reconnaissance of routes the primary physique will traverse.

2-23. The commander seeks to achieve contact through the use of the smallest parts attainable. These parts are normally ground scouts or aerial scouts performing reconnaissance, but can also be unmanned aircraft methods (UASs) or other reconnaissance and surveillance belongings. The commander might activity manage the unit’s scouts to provide them with further combat power to permit them to develop the state of affairs. The unit’s deliberate movement formation ought to contribute to the aim of creating initial contact with the smallest drive potential. It also needs to provide for efficient movement of the pressure and enough reserves. The commander can select to have all or a part of the drive conduct an strategy march as a part of the movement to contact to provide that efficient movement. An strategy march can facilitate the commander’s selections by allowing freedom of motion and movement of the primary body. (See FM Three-90-2 for a discussion of an strategy march.)

2-24. The frontage assigned to a unit in a movement to contact should permit it to apply enough combat energy to keep the momentum of the operation. Decreasing the frontage usually provides the unit enough combat power to develop the state of affairs on contact while sustaining the required momentum. Each the overlaying drive and advance guard commanders should have uncommitted forces obtainable to develop the state of affairs with out requiring the deployment of the primary body.

2-25. The commander depends primarily on hearth belongings to weight the lead factor’s combat energy, but the commander additionally offers it with the additional combat multipliers it wants to accomplish the mission. The fires system helps develop hearth superiority when organized appropriately to hearth speedy suppression missions to assist maneuver forces get inside direct-fire range of the enemy.

2-26. The reconnaissance effort might proceed quicker in a movement to contact than in a zone reconnaissance because the emphasis is on making contact with the enemy. Nevertheless, the commander must acknowledge that by growing the velocity of the reconnaissance effort, there’s an increased danger related to the operation.

2-27. Bypass criteria must be clearly said and rely upon the mission variables of METT-TC. For example, an armored or Stryker BCT commander in an open desert surroundings might declare that no mounted enemy drive bigger than a platoon may be bypassed. All different forces shall be cleared from the brigade’s axis of advance. Any pressure that bypasses an enemy unit should keep contact with it until handing it off to one other pleasant factor, often a pressure assigned a comply with and help mission.

2-28. The echelon intelligence officer (G-2 or S-2), assisted by the engineer and air defense employees representatives, should rigorously analyze the terrain to embrace air avenues of strategy. The echelon intelligence officer identifies the enemy’s most dangerous COA in the struggle gaming portion of the army decisionmaking course of. Due to the drive’s vulnerability, the G-2 must not underestimate the enemy during a movement to contact. A radical intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB)—by creating the modified combined obstacle overlay to embrace intervisibility overlays and different merchandise, such because the event templates—enhances the pressure’s security by indicating danger areas where the pressure is more than likely to make contact with the enemy. It also helps to decide movement occasions between part strains and different places. Potential hazard areas are doubtless enemy defensive places, engagement areas, statement posts (OPs), and obstacles. The fires system targets these areas, and they turn into on-order precedence targets placed into impact and cancelled as the lead aspect can affirm or deny enemy presence. The intelligence annex of the movement to contact order should tackle coverage of these danger areas. If reconnaissance and surveillance forces can’t clear these areas, more deliberate movement methods are required.

2-29. The commander develops determination factors to help modifications in the drive’s movement formation or a change from an strategy march to a combat formation. Utilizing each human and technical means to validate choice points, the commander should determine the suitable degree of danger, based mostly on the mission. The commander’s confidence in the products of the IPB course of and the suitable danger decide the unit’s combat formation and scheme of maneuver. In a high-risk surroundings, it is often better to improve the space between forward parts and the primary physique than to sluggish the velocity of advance.

2-30. Corps and divisions can execute shaping operations in help of their subordinate BCTs as part of a movement to contact, although, by definition, a drive conducts a movement to contact when the enemy state of affairs is obscure or completely unknown. This occurs when the required info relating to enemy reserves and follow-on forces is on the market, however info relating to these enemy forces in shut proximity to the pleasant drive shouldn’t be out there. As in another sort of operation, the commander plans to focus operations on discovering the enemy and then delaying, disrupting, and destroying every enemy pressure component as a lot as attainable earlier than it arrives into direct-fire range. This enables BCT maneuver forces to put together to interact enemy models on their arrival.

2-31. In a movement to contact, the commander can choose not to designate a decisive operation until forces make contact with the enemy, until there’s a specific cause to designate it. On this case, the commander retains assets underneath direct management to reinforce the decisive operation. The commander might designate the decisive operation in the course of the preliminary levels of a movement to contact because of the presence of a key piece of terrain or an avenue of strategy.‌

2-32. The preparations for the conduct of a movement to contact are the same as these for an assault. (See the suitable section of chapter Three for further info on this topic.)

2-33. Every aspect of the drive synchronizes its actions with adjoining and supporting models, sustaining contact and coordination as prescribed in orders and unit commonplace operating procedures (SOPs). The advance guard maintains contact with the masking drive (if one is established). The lead parts of the primary body keep contact with the advance guard. The rear guard and flank safety parts keep contact with and orient on the primary physique’s movement. These safety forces forestall unnecessary delay of the primary body and forestall the deployment of the primary physique as long as attainable. Reconnaissance parts function to the front and flanks of each column’s advance guard and keep contact with the overlaying drive. The commander might instruct every column’s advance guard to get rid of small pockets of resistance bypassed by ahead safety pressure. (See figure 2-Three.)


Determine 2-3. A column advance guard attacking to destroy a contained enemy pressure

2-34. The commander of the advance guard chooses a combat formation, based mostly on the mission variables of METT-TC, to make contact with the smallest attainable pressure whereas offering flexibility for maneuver. No matter combat formation the commander chooses, the unit have to be in a position to deploy appropriately once the enemy’s location is decided. The commander ensures that the route or axis of advance traveled by the primary body is free of enemy forces. The major body might transfer constantly (using touring and traveling overwatch) or by bounds (utilizing bounding overwatch). It moves by bounds when contact with the enemy is imminent and the terrain is favorable. Some indirect-fire belongings, comparable to a mortar platoon or artillery battery and combat remark and lasing groups (COLTs), could also be positioned with the advance guard. The COLTs may help overwatch the advance guard movement, and oblique fires give attention to suppressing enemy weapons, obscuring enemy statement posts, and screening friendly movement.

2-35. The fundamental body keeps sufficient distance between itself and its ahead security parts to keep flexibility for maneuver. This distance varies with the level of command, the terrain, and the supply of details about the enemy. The most important physique might execute an strategy march for all or a part of the movement to contact to efficiently use the out there street network or scale back the time needed to transfer from one location to another. Command posts and trains journey alongside high-mobility routes inside the AO and occupy hasty positions as essential.

2-36. Behind these forward security parts, the primary physique advances over multiple parallel routes with numerous lateral branches to remain versatile and scale back the time wanted to provoke maneuver. (Whereas it is most popular for a battalion to use a number of routes, battalions and smaller models can transfer on only one route.) In a movement to contact, the primary physique’s march tendencies should permit most flexibility for maneuvering throughout movement and when establishing contact with the enemy pressure.

2-37. The commander’s hearth help methods have a tendency to concentrate on suppression missions to disrupt enemy forces as they are encountered and smoke missions to obscure or display uncovered friendly forces when conducting a movement to contact. The commander schedules the actions of fireside help techniques in synchronization with the movement of the remainder of the pressure. Hearth help techniques that can’t match the cross-country mobility of ground maneuver models cause them to sluggish their price of advance. If these models don’t decelerate, they run the danger of outrunning their hearth help. The commander synchronizes the employment of shut air help to forestall the enemy from regaining stability whereas the commander’s ground hearth help belongings are repositioning. The foremost body updates its priority target listing during a movement to contact operation.

2-38. Comparable issues apply to air and missile defense when the enemy possesses these capabilities. The unit conducting a movement to contact stays aware of the air and missile protection umbrella offered by Sentinel Radars and Army Air and Missile Protection Command Patriot methods, and the combat air patrol offered by Air Drive, Navy, and Marine Corps fighter aircraft.

2-39. The unit’s tempo, momentum, tactical dispersal, and consideration to electromagnetic emission management complicate the enemy’s means to detect and target the primary physique till contact is made. Once the drive makes contact and concentrates its results towards detected enemy forces, it turns into weak to strikes by enemy typical weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It should concentrate its combat results rapidly in a meeting engagement and disperse once more as quickly as it overcomes resistance to avoid enemy counteractions, if the movement to contact is to proceed. Nevertheless, the results of that assembly engagement and the mission variables of METT-TC will determine the precise COA chosen.

2-40. Movement must be as speedy because the terrain, the mobility of the drive, and the enemy state of affairs permit. Open terrain supplies maneuver area on both aspect of the line of march and facilitates high-speed movement. It also permits for higher dispersal and often permits more separation between ahead safety parts and the primary physique than restricted terrain permits. The commander should by no means commit the primary physique to canalizing terrain earlier than these ahead security parts have advanced far sufficient to make sure that the primary body won’t turn out to be fastened inside that terrain. The enemy might have also established hearth help control measures that permit the enemy to employ non-observed harassing and interdiction fires to interdict friendly forces traversing these choke points. Because the enemy state of affairs turns into recognized, the commander might shorten the space between parts to lower reaction time or deploy the drive to prepare for contact.

2-41. At battalion and firm levels, a shifting pressure moves alongside coated or concealed routes from one coated or hid place to one other, using terrain to reduce its vulnerability to enemy weapons. Additional, an overwatching drive ought to cover the shifting drive. (FM Three-90-2 describes movement methods, akin to traveling overwatch.) Regardless of the particular movement method employed, subordinate parts want to present mutual help and be knowledgeable about their counterpart’s sectors of fireside.

2-42. The drive must attempt to cross any obstacles it encounters with out lack of momentum by conducting hasty (in-stride) breaches. The commander makes use of forward security forces in an attempt to seize intact bridges each time potential. Lead safety parts bypass or breach obstacles as shortly as potential to keep the momentum of the movement. If these lead parts can’t overcome obstacles, the commander directs subsequent parts of the primary body to bypass the impediment website and take the lead. Following forces may also scale back obstacles that hinder the unit’s sustainment movement.

2-43. The commander moves nicely ahead in the movement formation. Once the formation makes contact with the enemy, the commander can transfer shortly to the world of contact, analyze the state of affairs, and direct aggressively. The unit’s safety parts conduct actions on contact to develop the state of affairs once they find the enemy. As soon as they make contact with the enemy, a lot of actions happen which were divided into the following sequence. (Models outfitted with a full set of digital info methods might have the opportunity to mix or skip one or more of the steps in that sequence. Those models will conduct maneuver and stay within supporting distance of one another with a significantly larger AO than models outfitted with analog techniques.) These actions usually represent a serious portion of the unit’s shaping operations.

2-44. This publication discusses executing all 4 offensive duties in a five-step sequence:

  • Achieve and keep enemy contact.
  • Disrupt the enemy.
  • Repair the enemy.
  • Maneuver.
  • Comply with via.

This sequence is for discussion functions only and is just not the one method of conducting these offensive duties. The five steps used in this publication to illustrate the execution of offensive tasks truly tend to overlap one another through the conduct of offensive actions. Normally the primary three of these steps are shaping operations or supporting efforts, while the maneuver step is the decisive operation or primary effort. Comply with via is generally a sequel or a branch to the plan based mostly on the current state of affairs.

2-45. A shaping operation is an operation at any echelon that creates and preserves circumstances for the success of the decisive operation via results on the enemy, different actors, and the terrain (ADRP Three-0). If the results of any of these three steps is the complete improvement of the state of affairs and the institution or regaining of contact with the enemy important body, not just enemy security forces, then that step may have been the decisive operation of the movement to contact.

Achieve and Keep Enemy Contact

2-46. All reconnaissance and surveillance belongings concentrate on determining the enemy’s tendencies and providing the commander with current intelligence and relevant combat info; this ensures that the commander can commit friendly forces beneath optimum circumstances. The commander makes use of all obtainable sources of combat info to find the enemy’s location and tendencies. Corps and divisions use the long-range surveillance models and detachments, unmanned plane methods, and technical methods found in the hooked up battlefield surveillance brigade (BFSB) in conjunction with knowledge offered by special operations forces, joint, and multinational belongings to achieve contact with the enemy. BCTs and their subordinate battalions use their organic reconnaissance belongings to achieve that contact. This contact could also be in any of seven types: visual; bodily; indirect hearth; obstacles; aircraft; chemical, organic, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE); and direct hearth. Commanders use these methods to cue the conduct of aerial and floor reconnaissance by their hooked up BCTs and combat aviation brigades.

2-47. The enemy state of affairs turns into clearer because the unit’s forward safety parts conduct actions on contact to quickly develop the state of affairs in accordance with the commander’s plan and intent. By determining the power, location, and disposition of enemy forces, these security parts permit the commander to focus the consequences of the primary body’s combat power towards the enemy most important body. The general drive must remain versatile to exploit both intelligence and combat info. The safety pressure shouldn’t permit the enemy pressure to break contact until it receives an order from the commander. When a robust overlaying drive has not preceded the advance guard, it should seize terrain that gives essential remark.

2-48. Actions on contact are a collection of combat actions typically carried out simultaneously taken on contact with the enemy to develop the state of affairs (ADRP 3-90). Actions on contact are:

  • Deploy and report.
  • Consider and develop the state of affairs.
  • Choose a course of action.
  • Execute selected plan of action.
  • Advocate a course of action to the upper commander.

2-49. As soon as the lead parts of a pressure conducting a movement to contact encounter the enemy, they conduct actions on contact. The unit treats obstacles like another type of enemy contact, since it assumes that the obstacles are coated by hearth. The unit carries out these actions on contact regardless of whether or not the enemy has detected its presence. The unit’s safety pressure typically good points a tactical benefit over an enemy drive through the use of tempo and initiative to conduct these actions on contact, permitting it to achieve and keep contact without turning into decisively engaged. How shortly the unit develops the state of affairs is instantly related to its safety. This tempo is immediately related to the unit’s use of well-rehearsed SOPs and drills.

2-50. Deploy and Report. When a unit’s safety factor encounters an enemy unit or impediment, it deploys to a coated position that provides statement and fields of fireside. If the security factor is underneath enemy hearth, it uses direct and indirect hearth to suppress the enemy and restore freedom of maneuver. Concurrently, the commander of the security aspect stories the contact utilizing a spot report format to provide all out there info on the state of affairs to the subsequent greater headquarters and update the widespread operational picture. This alerts the commander and permits the initiation of essential actions. (FM 6-99.2 supplies the format for a spot report.)

2-51. Consider and Develop the State of affairs. The unit’s security pressure develops the state of affairs rapidly within mission constraints by using methods starting from stealthy, foot-mobile reconnaissance to reconnaissance by hearth, which uses both direct and indirect hearth weapons. After evaluating the state of affairs, the commander continues the security mission with different parts not at present in contact with the enemy after evaluating the state of affairs, if potential. This helps to develop the state of affairs across the front and supplies more maneuver area to execute additional actions. Because the state of affairs develops and the enemy’s tendencies, power, and intentions turn out to be clearer, the safety drive submits further reviews.

2-52. Select a Course of Motion. After the security drive makes contact, its commander gathers info, makes an evaluation, and chooses a COA in step with the upper commander’s intent and inside the unit’s capability. The unit initiates direct and oblique fires to achieve the initiative, whether it is applicable to interact the enemy. This enables the security drive to resume its mission as soon as attainable. The commander can’t permit small enemy forces to delay the movement of the security pressure. Often, out there intelligence and the idea of operations point out the COA to comply with. For obstacles not coated by hearth, the unit can either search a bypass or create the required variety of lanes to help its maneuver or the maneuver of a supported unit. Once enemy contact is made, these COAs are usually to conduct an attack, bypass, defend, delay, or withdrawal. For obstacles coated by hearth, the unit can either search a bypass or conduct breaching operations as part of a hasty assault.

2-53. Execute Selected Course of Action. The safety drive commander ought to decide shortly whether to bypass the enemy or attack. The safety drive assaults if it has enough, instantly obtainable combat power to overwhelm the enemy and the assault won’t detract from mission accomplishment (see chapter Three). Such attacks are often needed to overcome enemy makes an attempt to sluggish the movement of the security pressure. If this initial attack fails to defeat enemy defenses, the security pressure commander should contemplate other options, reminiscent of making a extra deliberate assault or assuming the protection while continuing to find out as a lot as attainable concerning the enemy’s positions.

2-54. The security drive might bypass the enemy if it does not have enough combat energy or an assault would jeopardize mission accomplishment. It must request permission to bypass an enemy drive, until the operations order supplies bypass standards. The safety drive commander should report bypassed enemy forces to the subsequent larger headquarters, which then assumes duty for their destruction or containment. Alternatively, the safety pressure might maintain a minimal drive in contact with the bypassed enemy so that the enemy can’t move freely across the battlefield. (See appendix B for a dialogue of bypass as a tactical activity.)

2-55. If the safety drive can’t conduct both a hasty assault or a bypass, it makes an attempt to establish a protection (see chapter 6). Within the defense, the security drive maintains enemy contact, continues to carry out reconnaissance, and prepares to help different forces. When the security pressure commander decides to defend, duty for further action rests with the upper commander. Within the occasion different COAs would lead to decisive engagements or destruction, the safety drive conducts these actions mandatory to guarantee self-preservation, comparable to delay or withdrawal (see chapter 9), however maintains enemy contact until the higher commander orders otherwise.

2-56. Advocate a Course of Motion to the Larger Commander. Once the security drive commander selects a COA, protecting in thoughts the commander’s intent, the safety pressure commander reviews it to the upper commander, who has the choice of disapproving it based mostly on its influence on the general mission. To keep away from delay, unit SOPs might provide automated approval of sure actions. If the upper commander assumes duty for continuing to develop the state of affairs, the safety drive helps the higher commander’s actions, as ordered. The larger commander have to be careful to keep away from turning into overly targeted on initial safety engagements to the determent of operations directed towards the enemy most important body.

Disrupt the Enemy

2-57. As soon as contact is made, the primary body commander brings overwhelming fires onto the enemy to forestall the enemy from conducting both a spoiling attack or organizing a coherent defense. The security pressure commander maneuvers as shortly as potential to discover gaps in the enemy’s defenses. The commander uses reconnaissance and surveillance belongings to achieve as much info as attainable concerning the enemy’s tendencies, strengths, capabilities, and intentions. As extra intelligence becomes out there, the primary body commander assaults to destroy or disrupt enemy command and control (C2) centers, hearth management nodes, and communication nets. The foremost physique commander conducts operations to forestall enemy reserves from shifting to counter the commander’s actions.

Fix the Enemy

2-58. The security pressure commander doesn’t permit enemy security and foremost body forces to maneuver towards the friendly foremost physique. The organization, measurement, and combat energy of the security pressure are the main elements that determine the dimensions of the enemy drive it could defeat or fix in place without deploying the primary body.

2-59. The commander uses aerial maneuver and hearth help belongings to fix an enemy drive in its current positions by instantly attacking enemy maneuver parts and command methods, and emplacing situational obstacles. The typical priorities are to assault enemy forces in contact, enemy command and management and hearth course control amenities, enemy hearth help belongings, and shifting enemy forces not yet in contact, akin to follow-on forces and reserves. These priorities range with the mission variables of METT-TC. Attack helicopters and shut air help fixed-wing plane working in joint air assault teams (JAAT) are ideally suited to interact the enemy throughout the depth of the world of operations, if suppression of enemy air defenses can scale back plane danger to a suitable diploma.

2-60. The methods a commander employs to repair the enemy when both forces are shifting are totally different than those employed when the enemy pressure is stationary in the course of the assembly engagement. In each situations, when the security drive can’t overrun the enemy by conducting a hasty frontal attack, the commander must deploy a portion of the primary physique. When this occurs the unit is not conducting a movement to contact however an attack.

2-61. If the security pressure can’t overrun enemy security forces with a frontal assault to make contact with the enemy foremost physique, the commander shortly maneuvers the pleasant essential physique to conduct a penetration, flank attack, or envelopment of these enemy safety forces. At this point, this makes the primary body the decisive operation of the movement to contact. This is among the key causes that commanders make sure that their principal body isn’t engaged until the time and place of their choosing. When and where potential, this maneuver must be initiated at a tempo the enemy can’t match. (See chapter 3 for a discussion of attack.) The commander does this to overwhelm the enemy safety drive earlier than it could react successfully or reinforce. The commander makes an attempt to defeat enemy security forces in detail while still sustaining the momentum of the advance, until the unit makes contact with the enemy most important physique.

2-62. Major body parts deploy quickly to the vicinity of the line of contact, if the commander initiates a frontal assault. Commanders of maneuvering models coordinate forward passage by means of friendly forces in contact as required. The intent is to ship the assault before the enemy drive can deploy or reinforce its engaged forces. The commander might order an assault from a march column for one of the most important physique’s columns, while the rest of the primary physique deploys. The commander may also wait to attack until the bulk of the primary body might be introduced ahead. The commander avoids piecemeal commitment, except when speedy motion is important and the unit has combat superiority at the very important point and can keep it throughout the attack, or when compartmentalized terrain forces such a COA.

2-63. When making an attempt to conduct an envelopment, the commander focuses on attacking the enemy’s flanks and rear before the enemy can prepare to counter these actions. The commander makes use of the safety pressure to repair the enemy whereas the primary body maneuvers to look for an assailable flank or the commander makes use of the primary body to repair the enemy whereas the security drive finds the assailable flank.

2-64. If the enemy isn’t quickly defeated, the commander has three fundamental options: bypass, transition to a more deliberate assault, or conduct some sort of protection. In all instances, the commander makes every effort to retain the initiative by conducting violent and resolute attacks and forestall the enemy from stabilizing the state of affairs. Concurrently the commander should keep momentum by synchronizing the actions of friendly maneuver, practical and multifunctional help, and sustainment parts.

2-65. After a profitable attack, the primary body commander resumes the movement to contact if the situation of the enemy principal body continues to be unclear and the limit of advance has not been reached, or the commander transitions to the suitable activity—deliberate attack, a protection, or retrograde—for the prevailing tactical state of affairs. (For more discussion of some of these operations, see the respective articles in this collection.)

2-66. Search and attack is a way for conducting a movement to contact that shares most of the traits of an area safety mission. A commander employs this type of a movement to contact when the enemy is operating as small, dispersed parts whose places can’t be decided to targetable accuracy by methods aside from a physical search, or when the duty is to deny the enemy the power to transfer within a given space. A search and attack is carried out primarily by dismounted infantry forces and typically supported by armor, mechanized, and Stryker outfitted forces. A search and assault usually occurs in the course of the conduct of irregular warfare. Nevertheless, it might also be crucial when conducting noncontiguous operations inside main combat operations.

2-67. All models can conduct search and assault operations. Nevertheless, a division will not often conduct search and attack operations simultaneously all through its AO. BCTs, maneuver battalions, and corporations normally conduct search and attack operations. Nevertheless, throughout World Conflict II, Germany and Japan, with their allies, carried out division and even corps-sized search and attacks designed to safe major strains of communications in Russia, the Balkans, and China. BCTs help their subordinate maneuver battalions conducting search and attack by making certain the supply of oblique fires and different help.

2-68. The commander can activity arrange a unit into reconnaissance, fixing, and finishing forces, each with a selected function and activity to accomplish. Alternatively, all models may be concerned in the reconnaissance effort with individual subordinate parts being tasked to perform the fixing and ending features based mostly on the specifics of the state of affairs.

2-69. The measurement of the reconnaissance drive is predicated on the obtainable intelligence concerning the measurement of enemy forces in the AO and the dimensions of the AO in terms of each the geographical measurement and the dimensions of the civilian inhabitants contained in that AO. The less recognized concerning the state of affairs, the larger the reconnaissance pressure. The reconnaissance drive sometimes consists of scout, infantry, aviation, and digital warfare belongings. The fixing pressure should have enough combat energy to isolate the enemy forces once the reconnaissance pressure finds them. The ending drive is generally the primary body of that echelon. It should have enough combat energy to defeat these enemy forces expected to be situated inside the AO. The commander can direct subordinate models to retain their own finishing drive, or the commander can retain direct control of the ending pressure. The commander might rotate subordinate parts via the reconnaissance, fixing, and ending roles. Nevertheless, rotating roles might require a change in activity group and further time for coaching and rehearsal.

2-70. The commander establishes control measures that permit for decentralized actions and small-unit initiative to the best extent attainable. The minimal management measures for a search and assault are an AO, goal reference points (TRPs), goals, checkpoints, and contact points. (See figure 2-Four.) The use of TRPs facilitates responsive hearth help once the reconnaissance drive makes contact with the enemy. The commander makes use of aims and checkpoints to guide the movement of subordinate parts. Coordination points point out a selected location for coordinating fires and movement between adjacent models. The commander uses different control measures, corresponding to part strains and named areas of interest (NAIs), as mandatory. (See appendix A for a dialogue of those widespread management measures.)


Determine 2-Four. Search and attack control measures

2-71. A commander conducts a search and attack for a number of of the following purposes:

  • Destroy the enemy: render enemy models in the AO combat-ineffective.
  • Deny the world: forestall the enemy from operating unhindered in a given area; for example, in any area the enemy is using for a base camp or for logistics help.
  • Shield the drive: forestall the enemy from massing to disrupt or destroy friendly army or civilian operations, gear, property, and key amenities.
  • Acquire info: achieve information about the enemy and the terrain to affirm the enemy COA predicted because of the IPB course of.

2-72. The products of the IPB process are crucial to conducting a search and assault. They focus the drive’s reconnaissance efforts on possible enemy places.

2-73. The search and attack plan locations the ending pressure, because the decisive operation, the place it may well greatest maneuver to destroy enemy forces or essential amenities as soon as situated by reconnaissance belongings. Sometimes, the ending pressure occupies a central location in the AO. Nevertheless, the mission variables of METT-TC might permit the commander to place the finishing drive outdoors the search and attack space. The commander weights this decisive operation or major effort through the use of precedence of fires and assigning priorities of help to obtainable combat multipliers, comparable to engineer parts and helicopter carry help. The commander establishes control measures as mandatory to consolidate models and concentrate the combat energy of the pressure earlier than the assault. Once the reconnaissance pressure locates the enemy, the fixing and ending forces can repair and destroy it. The commander also develops a contingency plan in the occasion that the reconnaissance pressure is compromised.

2-74. Hearth help plans must present for flexible and quickly delivered fires to achieve the commander’s desired effects throughout the AO. The commander positions hearth help belongings so they can help subordinate parts throughout the AO. The commander should set up procedures for quickly clearing fires. To clear fires quickly, command posts and small-unit commanders must monitor and report the places of all subordinate parts. Because of the unsure enemy state of affairs, the commander is cautious to assign clear fire-support relationships.


2-75. Each subordinate factor working in its personal AO is tasked to destroy the enemy inside its functionality. Models might enter the AO by infiltrating as a whole unit and then splitting out (see determine 2-5) or by infiltrating as smaller models by way of ground, air, or water. The commander should have in place beforehand established control measures and communications means between any closing parts to forestall fratricide and pleasant hearth incidents. The reconnaissance pressure conducts a zone reconnaissance to reconnoiter identified NAIs.

2-76. As soon as the reconnaissance pressure finds the enemy drive, the fixing pressure develops the state of affairs and executes one in every of two options based mostly on the commander’s steerage and the mission variables of METT-TC. The first choice is to block identified routes that the detected enemy can use to escape or rush reinforcement over. The fixing pressure maintains contact with the enemy and positions its forces to isolate and fix the enemy earlier than the ending drive attacks. The second choice is to conduct an assault to fix the enemy in its current positions until the finishing drive arrives. The fixing pressure assaults if attacking meets the commander’s intent and if it may possibly generate enough combat energy towards the detected enemy. Relying on the enemy’s mobility and the probability of the reconnaissance pressure being compromised, the commander may have to position the fixing pressure earlier than the reconnaissance pressure enters the AO.

2-77. Brigade combat teams (and probably battalions) might set up fire-support bases as a part of the operations of their fixing pressure to provide fire-support coverage all through the world of operations throughout search and attack operations carried out in complicated terrain. These positions must be mutually supporting and ready for all-around protection. They are situated in positions that facilitate aerial resupply. The improvement of those positions depends upon the mission variables of METT-TC as a result of their establishment requires diverting combat energy to guarantee protecting hearth help and other belongings situated within such bases.

2-78. If circumstances aren’t right to use the ending pressure or primary physique to assault the detected enemy, the reconnaissance or the fixing drive can continue to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance activities to additional develop the state of affairs. Every time this happens, the pressure sustaining surveillance have to be careful to keep away from detection and attainable enemy ambushes.

2-79. The ending pressure or fundamental body might transfer behind the reconnaissance and fixing forces, or it might find at a pickup zone and conduct air assault movement right into a landing zone close to the enemy, as soon as the enemy is situated. The ending drive or principal body have to be responsive enough to interact the enemy earlier than the enemy can break contact with the reconnaissance pressure or the fixing drive. The echelon intelligence officer supplies the commander with an estimate of the time it is going to take the enemy to displace from its detected places. The commander supplies further mobility belongings, so the ending pressure or primary physique can reply within that timeframe.

2-80. The commander makes use of the finishing drive or major physique to destroy the detected and fastened enemy throughout a search and attack by conducting hasty or deliberate attacks, maneuvering to block enemy escape routes while one other unit conducts the assault, or using oblique hearth or close air help to destroy the enemy. The commander might have the ending drive or primary physique set up an space ambush and use the reconnaissance and fixing forces to drive the enemy into the ambushes.

2-81. Cordon and search is a way of conducting a movement to contact that includes isolating a target area and looking suspected places within that focus on area to capture or destroy attainable enemy forces and contraband. Cordon and search operations happen all through the vary of army operations. Commanders conducting a cordon and search manage their models into 4 parts— command, safety, search or assault, and help. The security aspect have to be giant enough to set up both an inside and an outer cordon around the goal space of the search. In that regards, cordon and search operations are comparable to encirclement operations. (Encirclement operations are mentioned in FM Three-90-2.) Cordon and search is generally carried out at the maneuver battalion degree and under. FM Three-06.20 establishes multi-Service techniques, methods, and procedures for cordon and search operations.

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