Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 1 – Section II – Doctrine and Training

Section II — Doctrine and Training

Infantry Doctrine

1-35.     Doctrine contains the fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative, but requires judgment in application (FM 1-02, Operational Terms and Graphics). Infantry doctrine expresses the concise expression of how Infantry forces fight. It is comprised of principles; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP); and terms and symbols.

1-36.     Infantry doctrine is based on hard-fought lessons from generations of combat Infantry Soldiers engaged in numerous conflicts. Doctrine is always evolving and adapting, yet its fundamental principles are as true today as they were generations ago.

1-37.     Infantry doctrine facilitates communication among Infantry Soldiers regardless of where they serve, contributes to a shared professional culture, and serves as the basis for training and instruction. Infantry doctrine provides a common language and a common understanding of how Infantry forces conduct tasks and operations. To be useful, doctrine must be well known and commonly understood.


1-38.     Principles are fundamental concepts and facts underlying the conduct of tasks and operations. Principles are usually general, flexible, and apply across a broad spectrum. Because they are broad, they apply at the Infantry platoon and squad levels as well as at the higher levels with relatively the same meaning. Therefore, leaders at all levels need to remain aware of both the generic and specific aspects of doctrinal terms.

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures

1-39.     One of the defining characteristics of war is chaos. TTP are the counterweight to this chaos.  From the moment combat begins, plans often become obsolete, communications fail, Soldiers become casualties, and units fragment. Military tactics are the practical means armies use to achieve battlefield objectives. From this, “tactics” came to imply the deliberate control of military formation, movement and fire, and the attempt to impose order where there is disorder to defeat the enemy.

1-40.     TTP are those generally-accepted practices used to conduct operations. “Generally accepted” means that the doctrine described is applicable to most operations, most of the time, and that there is widespread consensus about their value and usefulness. “Generally accepted” does not mean that doctrine should be applied uniformly on all missions. Leaders use their own standing operating procedures (SOPs) and judgment to determine what is appropriate based on the specific mission, enemy, terrain, troops-time, civil (METT-TC) conditions.


1-41.     Tactics are: (1) The employment of units in combat.  (2) The ordered arrangement and maneuver of units in relation to each other or to the enemy to utilize their full potential (FM 1-02). Tactics are the ways that we engage in combat with an enemy force.


1-42.     Techniques are the general and detailed methods used by troops or commanders to perform assigned missions and functions, specifically the methods of using equipment and personnel. Techniques are the general methods used by the leader and his subordinates to perform the tactic. Techniques describe a way, not the only way (FM 1-02).


1-43.     Procedures are standard methods used by the leader and his subordinates to perform and accomplish a task or a portion of a task. For example, when the unit sustains a casualty, the leader or a radiotelephone operator (RTO) might use the 9-line medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) procedure to call for medical assistance.

Terms and Symbols

1-44.     Doctrine provides a common language that professionals use to communicate with one another. Terms with commonly understood definitions are a major component of the language. Symbols are its graphical representation. Establishing and using words and symbols of common military meaning enhances communications among military professionals in all environments, and makes a common understanding of doctrine possible. (See FM 1-02.)

individual Infantry Skills

1-45.     Every Infantryman, from the private enlisted Soldier, to the general officer, is first a rifleman. As such, he must be a master of his basic skills: shoot, move, communicate, survive, and sustain. These basic skills provide the Soldier’s ability to fight. When collectively applied by the fire team, squad, and platoon, these skills translate into combat power.


1-46.     Infantrymen must be able to accurately engage the enemy with all available weapons. Soldiers and their leaders must therefore be able to determine the best weapon-ammunition combination to achieve the desired effect. The best combination will expend a minimum of ammunition expenditure and unintended damage. To make this choice, they must know the characteristics, capabilities, and vulnerabilities of their organic and supporting assets. This means understanding the fundamental characteristics of the weapon’s lay (direct or indirect), ammunition (high explosive [HE], penetrating, or special purpose), trajectory (high or low), and enemy targets (point or area). Properly applying these variables requires an understanding of the nature of targets, terrain, and effects.


1-47.     Tactical movement is inherent in all Infantry operations. Movement is multifaceted, ranging from dismounted, to mounted, to aerial modes, and is conducted in varying physical environments, including the urban environment. For the individual, movement is comprised of the individual movement techniques (IMT) of high crawl, low crawl, and 3-5 second rush; for the unit it is comprised of movement formations, movement techniques, and maneuver (fire and movement). Mastering the many aspects of tactical movement is fundamental. More importantly, Infantrymen must be thoroughly trained in the critical transition from tactical movement to maneuver.

1-48.     Understanding the terrain is critical to applying the fundamental of the particulars of shoot and move. There are four basic terrain-related skills. First, the leader must know how to land navigate, mounted and dismounted, day and night, using the latest technology (global positioning systems [GPS], Falcon View). Second, leaders need to understand the basics of how to analyze the military aspects of terrain, Observation and fields of fire, Avenues of approach, Key and decisive terrain, Obstacles, Cover and concealment.  (OAKOC). Third, once they understand how to look at the terrain in detail, leaders must understand how to integrate the aspects of fire (direct and indirect) and tactical movement to fit the terrain. Fourth, leaders must understand how to apply generic tactics and techniques to the unique terrain they are in, because understanding and appreciating terrain is an essential leader skill.


1-49.     Soldiers communicate to provide accurate and timely information to those who need it. Information is necessary to successfully execute combat operations. It enables leaders to achieve situational understanding, make decisions, and give orders. There are two aspects of communication: the technical means used to communicate; and the procedures used for reporting and disseminating information. The Soldier’s and leader’s ability to use information to assess the situation, make decisions, and direct necessary actions are also significant aspects in the communication process.


1-50.     To fully contribute to the mission, Soldiers must be able to survive. There are three aspects to surviving: the enemy; the environment; and the Soldier’s body. Survival is both a personal responsibility and a unit responsibility. These aspects require Soldiers to discipline themselves in routine matters such as maintaining local security, maintaining field sanitation, caring for their bodies, and caring for their equipment. It also requires Soldiers to know how to respond to extraordinary circumstances such as dealing with casualties or functioning in a contaminated environment. Soldiers must know about the protective properties of their personal gear and combat vehicles, the effects of weapon systems and munitions, and how to build survivability positions. In short, Soldiers must do everything possible for the security and protection of themselves, their equipment, and their fellow Soldiers. In the same way, leaders must do everything possible to ensure the security and protection of their units.


1-51.     Sustainment is an inherent feature in all operations. In order to shoot, ammunition is needed. Fuel and repair parts are needed for movement, and batteries are needed to communicate. To survive, the Soldier needs food and water. Soldiers and leaders need to forecast requirements before they need them, while at the same time managing the Soldier’s load.

Warrior Ethos and army values

1-52.     Warrior Ethos refers to the professional attitudes and beliefs that will characterize you. Developed through discipline, commitment to Army Values and knowledge of the Army’s proud heritage, Warrior Ethos notes military service as much more than just a “job” — it is a profession with the enduring purpose to win wars and destroy our nation’s enemies. Figure 1-2 displays the Warrior Ethos definition as embedded within the current Soldier’s Creed:


Figure 1-2. The Soldier’s Creed.

1-53.     Warrior Ethos is the foundation for your commitment to victory in times of peace and war. While always exemplifying the tenets of Warrior Ethos — place the mission first, refuse to accept defeat, and never quit or leave a fallen comrade behind. You must have absolute faith in yourself. And you must have complete faith in your team, because they are trained and equipped to destroy the enemy in close combat.

1-54.     The Army Values consist of the principles, standards, and qualities considered essential for successful Army leaders.  They firmly bind all Army members into a fellowship dedicated to serve the Nation and the Army.  Figure 1-3 lists the seven Army Values.  It is not a coincidence that when reading the first letters of the Army Values in sequence they form the acronym “LDRSHIP”.


Figure 1-3. The Army Values.

Every Soldier Is A Sensor (ES2)

1-55.     Soldiers must be trained to actively observe details related to the commander’s critical information requirements (CCIR) in an AO. They must also be competent in reporting their experience, perception, and judgment in a concise, accurate manner. Leaders who understand how to optimize the collection, processing, and dissemination of information in their organization enable the generation of timely intelligence.  To accommodate this, leaders must create a climate that allows all Infantryman to feel free to report what they see and learn on a mission.

1-56.     ES2 trains Soldiers and leaders to see intelligence development as everyone’s responsibility.  All must fight for knowledge to gain and maintain greater situational understanding. At the heart of the concept is the art of combat (tactical) collection. This process involves leaders directing and maximizing the collection of combat intelligence by patrols, and Soldiers who understand their vital role as collectors of combat information.

Tactical Questioning

1-57.     Tactical questioning involves the expedient initial questioning of an AO’s local population to gather information of immediate value. Because tactical questioning applies to interaction with the local population, it is more “conversational” than “questioning” in nature. The Infantry Soldier conducts tactical questioning based on the unit’s standing operating procedures, rules of engagement, and the order for that mission.

Site Exploitation

1-58.     Site exploitation is defined as the search of a specific location or area to gain items of intelligence value.  Locations may include apartments, buildings, multiple structures, compounds, or fields.  Once a site has been cleared of enemy personnel, Infantry platoons will search for items of interest.  Search items may include:

– Maps.

– Propaganda material.

– Phone or computer records.

– Photos.

– Weapons.

Debriefing and Reporting

1-59.     Once the platoon returns from the objective or site, a detailed debrief should begin.  Everyone on the mission has a role to play in a debrief. A practical method for debriefing is to review all patrol actions chronologically. Leaders should not consider the mission complete or the personnel released until the debriefings and reporting are done.

1-60.     All information collected by platoons in contact with the local population is reported through the chain of command.  Upon return from the mission, photos should be downloaded.  All material taken from the objective should be laid out.

1-61.     Finally, as detailed a sketch as possible should be made for visual reference of debriefed patrol areas. For detailed information on debriefing, reporting, and tactical questions see FMI 2-91.4, Intelligence Support to Operations in the Urban Environment.

Leave a Reply


Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Other Military Sites