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071-430-0006 (SL4) - Conduct a Defense by a Platoon

Standards: The threat was engaged in accordance with the defensive plan, fires were controlled, terrain was retained, and the threat was destroyed or repelled.

Conditions: Given a specified area to defend, a platoon with table of organization and equipment (TOE) equipment, and a requirement to defend that area.

Standards: The threat was engaged in accordance with the defensive plan, fires were controlled, terrain was retained, and the threat was destroyed or repelled.

Performance Steps

1.   Analyze the mission.

a. You are given a mission to defend by the company commander. It is either an operations order (OPORD) or a warning order.

b. Identify both specified tasks and implied tasks.

c. Make an estimate of the situation using the factors of mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-TC).

2.   Issue a warning order to the squad leaders. The warning order should include the mission, time, place for issuing the OPORD, and any special instructions needed to start preparation for the mission.

3.   Make a tentative plan.

4.   Conduct a reconnaissance.

a. As a minimum, make a map reconnaissance.

b. If at all possible, conduct a ground reconnaissance.

c. Evaluate the terrain based on how the available observation, fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach best support your mission and the commander's intent.

d. Request that the squad leaders, radiotelephone operator, and forward observers accompany the platoon leader on the reconnaissance. You may need to take along some additional security depending on the tactical situation.

5.   Start necessary movement or preparations.  The platoon sergeant should:

a. Initiate orders to prepare for any necessary movement and prepare for the defense as soon as the warning order is issued.

b. Request and draw ammunition rations, water, and any special equipment required.

c. Accomplish any needed maintenance.

d. Perform any movement required.

e. Accomplish this during the time you and your reconnaissance party are conducting the reconnaissance.

6.   Complete the plan.

a. The plan is completed or revised based on continuing analysis and completion of the reconnaissance.

b. As a minimum, the plan should provide for-

(1)  The deployment of squads.

(2)  The deployment of key weapons.

(3)  The use of indirect fire.

(4)  The use of mines and obstacles.

(5)  The establishment of security measures.

(6)  The selection and operation of command and observation posts.

7.   Occupy the position.

a. Establish local security. Locate observation posts to make maximum use of long-range observations.

b. Position key weapons. Ensure machine guns cover infantry avenues of approach, have primary and secondary sectors of fire, and provide as much grazing fire as possible, and are assigned either a final protective line (FPL) or a principal direction of fire.  Ensure Javelins or Dragons cover armor avenues of approach, have primary and secondary sectors of fire, are positioned to engage targets from the flank, and are mutually supporting.

c. Clear fields of fire.  Ensure each fighting position clears its field of fire to engage the advancing enemy without exposing friendly positions. Range cards are prepared for each machine gun and Dragon.

d. Ensure positions have overlapping sectors of fire.

e. Improve fighting positions, as time is available. Improving overhead cover, aiming and limiting stakes, and camouflage are on-going activities.

f.  Select and improve alternate and supplementary positions. Improve them, as time is available.

8.   Emplace early warning devices. Platoon early warning system is used, if available. Trip flares are set out. Improvised early warning devices can be used, such as noisemakers, trip wire grenades, or other explosives.

9.   Emplace hasty minefields and other obstacles. These should be covered by observation and fire.

10. Establish communication systems. Depend on radio as little as possible. Wire networks should be established down to each squad and up to the company command post (CP).

11. Stockpile ammunition, water, food, and other supplies. Ensure that any materiel is protected from direct fire and is provided overhead protection.

12. Engage the enemy at maximum range. When the enemy appears in the platoon sector, he is engaged with supporting direct and indirect fires. As he comes within the range of your organic weapons, you direct your gunners to start engaging the enemy.

a. When the enemy encounters your minefields and obstacles, use all friendly fires to break up the enemy formations.

b. If the enemy is able to start an assault, repel or destroy him by calling for final protective fires (FPF) of small arms and machine guns, and FPF from mortars and artillery.

Evaluation Preparation:

Setup: Select an area in the field large enough for a platoon defensive position, including primary, alternate, and supplementary positions.

Brief Soldier: Tell the soldier his platoon's sector of responsibility and that he is the acting platoon leader. Issue an OPORD (from the company commander) for a defense of the position.

Performance Measures



1.   Analyzed the mission.



2.   Issued a warning order.



3.   Made a tentative plan.



4.   Conducted a reconnaissance.



5.   Caused necessary movement and preparation to be initiated.



6.   Completed the plan and issued the order.



7.   Occupied the position.



a. Established local security.



b. Positioned key weapons.



c. Ensured fields of fire were cleared.



d. Ensured overlapping sectors of fire.



e. Selected alternate and supplementary positions.



8.   Ensured early warning devices were installed.



9.   Ensured hasty protective minefields and other obstacles were constructed.



10. Established communication systems, wire and radio.



11. Requested ammunition, food, water, and other supplies for stockpiling.



12. Engaged the enemy at maximum ranges.



a. Covered obstacles with fire.



b. Called for FPL and FPF.



Evaluation Guidance: Score the soldier GO if all performance measures are passed. Score the soldier NO GO if any performance measure is failed. If the soldier scores NO GO, show what was done wrong and how to do it correctly






FM 3-21.71



FM 7-7



FM 7-8



FM 3-90.1