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Battle Drill #1: Conduct Platoon Attack (7-3-D101)

TASK. Conduct Platoon Attack (7-3-D101).

CONDITIONS. An enemy squad has occupied defensive positions or is moving to the platoon front. The enemy has indirect fire and CAS capabilities. The platoon is attacking separately or as part of a larger unit. Plans, preparation, and movement to the objective have been accomplished. The platoon is directed to attack the enemy.

1. The platoon main body is not surprised or fixed by the enemy.
2. The platoon accomplishes its assigned task within the commander’s intent. The platoon kills, captures, or forces the withdrawal of the enemy.
3. The platoon maintains a sufficient fighting force to defeat the enemy’s counterattack and continue operations.


1. Action on Enemy Contact.
a. The platoon initiates contact. The platoon leader directs when and how his base of fire element will establish a base of fire. The element must be in position and briefed before it initiates contact. The base of fire squad leader (normally the weapons squad leader), upon the signal from the platoon leader, initiates contact with a high casualty-producing weapon. The squad marks the engagement area with ir illumination (MTETT dependent), while the squad leader uses his hand-held laser pointer and AN/PAQ-4 to designate enemy positions, crew-served weapons, and vehicles. Soldiers focus on the squad leader’s laser as well as the team leader’s tracers and AN/PAQ-4 to engage targets. If the platoon has not been detected, steps 1 and 2 consist of positioning the support element and identifying the enemy’s positions.

b. If the enemy initiates contact, the platoon takes the following actions:
(1) The squad in contact reacts to contact (Battle Drill No. 2, React to Contact Platoon/Squad, 7-3/4-D103). It attempts to achieve suppressive fires with one fire team and maneuvers the other team to attack the enemy in the flank. The team providing suppressive fires marks its flanks by throwing ir chemlight bundles or ir flares and continues to use its AN/PVS-7B and AN/PAQ-4 to place well-aimed, accurate fires on the enemy. The squad employs M203 and hand-held ir smoke to screen the assaulting teams movement. The squad leader notifies the platoon leader of his actions.
(2) The platoon leader, his RTO, the platoon FO, the squad leader of the next squad, and one machine gun team move forward to link up with the squad leader of the squad in contact.
(3) The squad leader of the trail squad moves to the front of his lead fire team.
(4) The platoon sergeant moves forward with the second machine gun team and the weapons squad leader and links up with the platoon leader. If directed, he assumes control of the base of fire element and positions the machine guns to add suppressive fire against the enemy. The platoon sergeant uses his hand-held laser to designate the left and right limits of fires while the weapons squad leader uses the pointer to designate targets.
(5) The platoon leader assesses the situation. He follows the success of the squad’s flank attack by leading the trail squads along the covered and concealed route taken by the assaulting fire team of the squad in contact. The base of fire element uses the AN/PVS-7B to monitor the movement of the assaulting element.

c. If the squad in contact cannot achieve suppressive fire, the squad leader reports to the platoon leader.
(1) The squad in contact establishes a base of fire.
(a) The squad leader deploys his squad to provide effective, sustained fires on the enemy position. The squad leader continues to designate targets using the hand-held laser pointer and AN/PAQ-4 while soldiers SEE through their AN/PVS-7B and place accurate fires on the enemy with the AN/PAQ-4.
(b) The squad leader reports his final position to the platoon leader. (2) The remaining squad (not in contact) takes up covered and concealed positions in place and uses the AN/PVS-7B to observe the flanks and rear of the platoon. (3) The platoon leader moves forward with his RTO, the platoon FO, the squad leader of the nearest squad, and one machine gun team.

2. Locate the Enemy.
a. The squad leader of the squad in contact reports the enemy size, location, and any other information to the platoon leader. The platoon leader completes the squad leader’s assessment of the situation.
b. The squad continues to engage the enemy positions and mark the engagement area with ground ir flares, tracers, and AN/PAQ-4.
c. The platoon sergeant moves forward with the weapons squad leader and the second machine gun team and links up with the platoon leader.

3. Suppress the Enemy.
a. The platoon leader determines if the squad in contact can gain suppressive fire against the enemy, based on the volume and accuracy of the enemy’s return fire. He SEEs through the AN/PVS-7B and makes the assessment by looking at the enemy’s muzzle flashes and the strike of their rounds and tracers.

b. If YES, he directs the squad (with one or both machine guns) to continue suppressing the enemy:
(1) The squad in contact destroys or suppresses enemy weapons that are firing most effectively against it, normally crew-served weapons. The squad leader identifies the enemy crew-served by its muzzle flashes and rate of fire. He uses his hand-held laser pointer to designate priority targets for his squad.
(2) In addition, the squad in contact continues to place ir screening smoke (if enemy has NODs) to prevent the enemy from seeing the maneuver element.

c. If NO, the platoon leader deploys another squad and the machine gun team to suppress the enemy position. The second squad lead elements SEE the base of fire squad flank element’s ir chemlights or flares through the AN/PVS-7B and links up either to the left or right flank of the base of fire squad as directed by the platoon leader. (The platoon leader may direct the platoon sergeant to position this squad and one or both of the machine gun teams in a better support-by-fire position.)

d. The platoon leader again determines if the platoon can gain suppressive fire over the enemy.

e. If YES, he continues to suppress the enemy with two squads and two machine guns.
(1) The platoon sergeant assumes control of the base-of-fire element (squad in contact, the machine gun teams, and any other squad designated by the platoon leader). He uses his hand-held laser pointer to designate sectors of fire for the squads.
(2) The machine gun team occupies a covered and concealed position and suppresses the enemy position. The gunners SEE through the AN/PVS-4 and identify the targets designated by the weapons squad leader’s laser.

f. The platoon FO calls for and adjusts fires, based on the platoon leader’s directions. (The platoon leader does not wait for indirect fires before continuing with his actions.)

g. If still NO, the platoon leader deploys the last squad to provide flank and rear security and guide the rest of the platoon forward as necessary, and reports the situation to the company commander. Normally, the platoon will become the base of fire element for the company and may deploy the last squad for suppressive fires. The platoon continues to suppress/fix the enemy with direct and indirect fire, and responds to orders from the company commander.

4. Attack.
a. If the squad(s) in contact together with the machine gun can suppress the enemy, the platoon leader determines if the remaining squad(s) not in contact can maneuver. He makes the following assessment using his AN/PVS-7:
(1) Location of enemy positions and obstacles.
(2) Size of enemy force. (The number of enemy automatic weapons, presence of any vehicles, and employment of indirect fire are indicators of enemy strength.)
(3) Vulnerable flank.
(4) Covered and concealed flanking route to the enemy position.

b. If yes, the squad leader maneuvers the squad(s) into the assault:
(1) Once the platoon leader has ensured the base of fire squad is in position and providing suppressive fires, he leads the assaulting squad(s) to the assault position.
(2) Once in position, the platoon leader gives the prearranged signal for the base of fire squad to lift or shift direct fires to the opposite flank of the enemy position. The signal is normally FM or an ir signaling device. The assault squad leader identifies the targets (enemy positions) that have been designated by the support by fire squad leader through his AN/PVS-7B. Simultaneously, at the platoon leader’s command for the support by fire squad to lift or shift, the assault squad leader uses his hand-held laser pointer to point out the targets. Team leaders use AN/PAQ-4 to control fires. The assault squads MUST pick up and maintain effective fire throughout the assault. Handover of responsibility for direct fires from the base of fire squad to the assault squad is critical to prevent fratricide.
(3) The platoon FO shifts indirect fires (including smoke) to suppress the enemy position.
(4) The assaulting squad(s) fight through enemy positions using fire and maneuver.
(5) The platoon leader controls the movement of his squads. He uses his hand-held laser pointer to assign specific objectives for each squad and designates the main effort or base maneuver element. (The base of fire squad must be able to identify the near flank of the assaulting squads.) Flanks are marked with ir chemlight bundles, ir flares, or phoenix beacons.

NOTE: The use of the hand-held laser pointer requires moderation because it can cause confusion as well as identify friendly positions for an enemy with night-vision capabilities. The laser should not be on for a period greater than three seconds when used.
(a) The squad leader determines the way in which he will move the elements of his squad based on the volume and accuracy of enemy fire against his squad and the amount of cover provided by terrain. In all cases, each soldier uses individual movement techniques as appropriate.
(b) The squad leader designates one fire team to support the movement of the other fire team.
(c) The squad leader designates a distance or direction for the team to move. He accompanies one of the fire teams.
(d) Soldiers SEE with the AN/PVS-7B and maintain contact with team members and leaders.
(e) Buddy teams time their firing and reloading to sustain their rate of fire.
(f) The moving fire team proceeds to the next covered position, using the wedge formation.
(g) The squad leader directs the next team to move using an ir signal.
(h) When the squad leader or team leader determines that moving by teams is no longer feasible, fire teams continue forward in buddy teams. Soldiers continue to use AN/PVS-7B and AN/PAQ-4 to place accurate fires on the enemy as well as identify/point out targets previously identified by their team leaders.
(1) Soldiers maintain contact with their buddies.
(2) Soldiers fire from covered positions, SEE with the AN/PVS-7B and select the next covered position before moving. They either rush forward (no more than 5 seconds) or use the high crawl or low crawl techniques, based on terrain and enemy fires.
(i) Fire team leaders maintain contact with the squad leaders and pass signals to team members.

c. If NO, or the assaulting squads cannot continue to move, the platoon leader deploys the squad(s) to suppress the enemy and reports to the company commander.

5. Consolidate and Reorganize.
a. For consolidating once squads have seized the enemy position, the platoon leader establishes local security. (The platoon must plan to defeat any enemy counterattack. At the conclusion of the assault, the platoon is most vulnerable.)
(1) The platoon leader signals for the base of fire squad to move into designated positions.
(2) The platoon leader assigns sectors of fire for each squad using his laser pointer.
(3) The platoon leader positions key weapons to cover the most dangerous avenues of approach.
(4) The platoon sergeant begins coordination for ammunition resupply.
(5) Soldiers occupy hasty defensive positions.
(6) The platoon leader and his FO develop a quick fire plan.
(7) The squad leader places OPs to detect enemy counterattacks. When an armor or mounted threat is likely, use the AN/TAS-5A in OPs.

b. To reorganize, the platoon performs the following tasks (only after it completes consolidation on the objective):
(1) Re-establish chain of command.
(2) Redistribute and resupply ammunition.
(3) Man crew-served weapons first.
(4) Redistribute critical equipment (radios, NBC, NVD, Laser Pointer).
(5) Treat casualties and evacuate wounded.
(6) Fill vacancies in key positions.
(7) Search, silence, segregate, safeguard, and speed EPWs to collection points.
(8) Collect and report enemy information and material.

c. Squad leaders provide ammunition, casualty, and equipment (ACE) reports to the platoon leader.

d. The platoon leader consolidates ACE reports and passes them to the company commander (or Executive Officer).

e. The platoon continues the mission after receiving guidance from the company commander. The company follows the success of the platoon’s flanking attack.

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