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Battle Drill #7: Enter/Clear a Trench (Platoon) (7-3-D110)

TASK. Enter/Clear a Trench (Platoon) (7-3-D110).

CONDITION. The platoon is attacking as part of a larger force and identifies enemy in a trench line. The platoon deploys and establishes a base of fire. The platoon leader determines that he has sufficient combat power to maneuver and assault the trench line.

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

1. The platoon leader directs one squad to enter the trench and secure a foothold.

2. The platoon leader designates the entry point of the trench line using his hand-held laser pointer and controls the direction of movement once the platoon begins clearing.

3. The platoon sergeant positions soldiers and machine guns to suppress the trench and isolate the entry point. The platoon sergeant and weapons squad leader control the machine guns by hand-held laser pointers. The platoon sergeant and weapons squad leader monitor the lead element of the assaulting squad which is marked with a Phoenix Beacon carried by the Alpha Team Leader.

4. The assaulting squad executes actions to enter the trench and establish a foothold. (See Battle Drill No. 7A, Enter a Trench Line (Squad).) The assaulting squad leader signals to the platoon leader using his hand-held laser pointer that the foothold is secure, and the follow-on element can move into the trench.

5. The platoon leader directs one of the base of fire squads to move into the trench and begin clearing it in the direction of movement from the foothold.

6. The base of fire element repositions as necessary to continue suppressive fires.

7. The platoon leader moves into the trench with the assaulting squad.

8. The assaulting squad passes the squad that has secured the foothold and executes actions to take the lead and clear the trench. NOTE: The fire support element must be able to identify the location of the lead fire team in the trench line at all times. Lead team is marked with a Phoenix Beacon mounted on a stick or sturdy radio antenna. When two teams are clearing, the Phoenix Beacon will be programmed to distinguish between squads.
a. The squad leader designates the lead and trail fire teams.
b. The lead fire team and squad leader move to the forward most secure corner of the intersection. The squad leader tells the team securing that corner or intersection that his squad is ready to continue clearing the trench. The lead team takes the Phoenix Beacon from the squad securing the intersection. The trail team follows, maintaining visual contact with the last soldier of the lead fire team.
c. The lead fire team passes the element securing the foothold.
(1) The lead soldier of the fire team moves abreast of the soldier securing the corner of the intersection, taps him and announces, “TAKING THE LEAD.”
(2) The soldier securing the corner or the intersection acknowledges that he is handing over the lead by shouting, “OKAY.” He allows the fire team to pass him.
d. The lead fire team starts clearing in the direction of movement. They arrive at a corner or intersection.
(1) Allowing for cook-off (two seconds maximum) and shouting “FRAG OUT,” the soldier prepares and throws the grenade around the corner.
(2) Upon detonation of the grenade, the lead soldier moves around the corner firing three round bursts and advancing as he fires. The entire fire team follows him to the next corner or intersection.
e. The squad leader:
(1) Follows immediately behind the lead team.
(2) Ensures that the trailing fire team moves up and is ready to pass the lead at his direction.
(3) Rotates fire teams as necessary to keep his soldiers fresh and to maintain the momentum of the attack.
(4) Requests indirect fires, if necessary, through the platoon leader. Uses his laser pointer to direct M203 fires against enemy positions along the trench line. WARNING: The fire teams must maintain sufficient interval to prevent them from being engaged by the same enemy fires.
f. At each corner or intersection, the lead fire team performs the same actions as described above (paragraph 8d).
g. If the lead soldier finds that he is nearly out of ammunition before reaching a corner or intersection, he announces “AMMO.”
(1) Immediately, the lead soldier stops and moves against one side of the trench, ready to let the rest of the team pass. He continues to aim his weapon and ir flashlight down the trench in the direction of movement.
(2) The next soldier ensures that he has a full magazine, moves up abreast of the lead soldier, taps him and announces, “TAKING THE LEAD.”
(3) The lead soldier acknowledges that he is handing over the lead by shouting “OKAY.” Positions rotate, and the squad continues forward.
h. The trailing fire team secures the intersections and marks the route within the trench with ir chemlights as the squad moves forward. The trailing fire team ensures that follow-on squads relieve his buddy teams to maintain security.
i. The squad leader reports the progress of the clearing operation. (The base of fire element must be able to identify the location of the lead fire team in the trench at all times.)

9. The platoon leader rotates squads to keep soldiers fresh and to maintain the momentum of the assault.

10. The platoon sergeant calls forward ammunition resupply and organizes teams to move it forward into the trench.

11. The base of fire element ensures that all friendly forces move into the trench ONLY through the designated entry point. (All movement must be made in the trench to avoid casualties by friendly fires.)

12. The platoon leader reports to the company commander that the trench line is secured, or that he is no longer able to continue clearing.

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