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Battle Positions Selecting and fighting


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Battle Positions

Selecting and fighting


The immediate purpose of any defensive operation is to defeat an enemy attack. Military forces defend until they gain sufficient strength to attack. Additionally, defensive operations are undertaken to gain time, to hold key terrain, to preoccupy the enemy in one area so friendly forces can attack elsewhere, and to erode enemy resources at a rapid rate while reinforcing friendly operations.

3 Levels of Preparation of a Platoon Battle Position

Reconnoiter – A ground or map recon

Prepare – Planning and preparation phases

Occupy – the complete preparation of the BP


It is critical that the platoon leader understands where the commander wants to kill the enemy.

It is also essential that he identify platoon sectors of fire and tentative platoon BP’s as well as TRP’s that define the company engagement area.

Primary Concerns of the PLT

Select fighting positions that allow the Platoon to concentrate and mass lethal fires into designated sectors of fire.

Conditions needed for a Deliberate Defense

Adequate time is available

The enemy is not expected or has not been located within direct fire range

A friendly element forward of the BP provides security for the platoon

Moving to Hide Position

Conduct a Tactical movement to the Hide Position

Assume a Herringbone formation and establish local security

Vehicles occupy and Shut down simultaneously

Preparing for a Recon

PL briefs reconnaissance group

PSG designates, briefs, and inspects security element

PL designates NCOIC for elements left in the hide on the following

Security and Maintenance

Contingency plan in event of enemy contact

Preparing for a Recon cont.

PL, PSG, and security element move to the BP

Conducting Reconnaissance

PL, PSG, TCs, and security element mark the BP covering the following elements

Engagement Area

General layout of the BP and surrounding terrain

Key Terrain corresponding to the Platoons graphic control measures

OP locations to cover possible enemy avenues of approach

Conducting Reconnaissance cont.

Existing obstacles and possible locations for reinforcing obstacles

Key locations in the BP and Engagement area marked using limited visibility materials

Following the Reconnaissance of the BP and surrounding area, confirms, reviews the following

Company team scheme of maneuver

Conducting Reconnaissance cont.

Platoon scheme of maneuver, to include trigger points, break points, and disengagement/displacement criteria

Platoon sector of fire

Covered and concealed routes into, out of, and within the BP and to subsequent BPs

Conducting Reconnaissance cont.

PL emplaces Ops as necessary and briefs the following

Overwatch responsibilities

Contingency plans, covering actions to be taken if the platoon does not return on time or enemy contact

Displacement criteria and signals

Conducting Reconnaissance cont.

PL coordinates with adjacent units and confirms the following

Location of OP

Overlapping sectors of observance and direct fire

Dead space

Locations and types of obstacles

Indirect fire data

Conducting Reconnaissance cont.

Communications information and procedures

Routes into, out of, and between platoon and adjacent unit BP

Reconnaissance group moves back to the Hide


Plt Ldr and TC will Identify Primary BP

Plt Ldr and TC will Identify Alternate BP

Plt Ldr and TC will Identify Supplementary BP

Subsequent and Supplementary BP

Subsequent BP’s are those that orient on sectors of fire along the same avenue of approach as the primary/alternate positions.

Supplementary BP’s are orientated on sectors of fire along different avenues of approach.

Occupying the BP

Vehicles start simultaneously and move covered and concealed routes to the Hide positions on Order

On PL order vehicles move simultaneously into turret-down positions “LOWSKY”

Turret Down Position

Position allow the tanks to fire only their caliber .50 or loader’s M240 machine gun.

Occupying the BP cont.

On PL orders vehicles move simultaneously into hull-down positions “TOPHAT”

Hull Down Position

Tank crews orient on the engagement area and complete their sketch cards.

Main Gun and Coax Machine gun clear the berm.

Occupying the BP cont.

TCs and gunners develop vehicle sketch cards

Once sketch cards are completed vehicles back down to hide positions and shut down their engines

TCs provide a copy of sketch cards to the PL

Occupying the BP cont.

PL consolidates the sketch cards and finalizes the platoon fire plan

Platoon Sketch Card

Individual tank positions.

Platoon sector or engagement area.


Range lines, trigger points, and break points (these may coincide).

OPs (if used).

Obstacles (if used).

Indirect fire targets, including final protective fires (FPF), if allocated.

Dead space.

Improving the BP

PL updates the platoon and commander on changes to the occupation plan and implements actions to complete occupation

Changes as a result of coordination and commanders guidance

Vehicle maintenance and prep to fire checks

Improving the BP cont.

PL directs and/or supervises improvement activities

Establish thermal TRPs

Locations of M8/M8A1

Emplacement of obstacle IAW Cos guidance

Emplacement of decoys

Improving the BP cont.

PSG conducts following improvements

Camouflaging of vehicles and equipment

Installation of Hotloop

Direct emplacement of prestock ammunitions and other supplies

Improving the BP cont.

TCs conduct the following

Ensure that vehicle positions afford clear fields of fire

If engineers are available, supervise and proof construction of dug-in fighting positions

Direct emplacement of M8/M8A1 alarms

Selecting Battle Position

TC should be responsible for the improvement of his firing position.

He must ensure the location, orientation, and depth of the hole are correct before the engineer departs for the next fighting position.

He should also be aware of the importance of selecting a site with a background that will break up the silhouette of his vehicle this helps to prevent skylining.

Completing Occupation

Conduct rehearsals

Special rehearsal (individual/crew tasks)

Map rehearsal

Communications rehearsal

Key Leader rehearsal

Sand table/terrain model rehearsal

Force on force rehearsal

Rehearsal with all crews observing designated platoon vehicle as it moves in the engagement area

Completing Occupation cont.

Complete occupation activities and priorities of work

Complete the occupation to ensure the platoon is prepared to defend by the time specified

Execute the Defense

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