Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 3 – Section VIII – Other Movement Situations

Section VIII – Other Movement Situations

3-165.  The platoon can use other formations for movement.

Administrative Movement

3-166.  Administrative movement is normally planned by the S4 as movements in which vehicles and Soldiers are arranged to expedite movement and conserve time and resources. No enemy interference is anticipated when planning administrative movement.

Tactical Road Marches

3-167.  Infantry platoons participate in two types of tactical marches with the company: foot marches and motor marches. Tactical road marches are conducted to rapidly move units within an area of operations to prepare for combat operations. Commanders arrange troops and vehicles to expedite their movement, conserve time, energy, and unit integrity. They anticipate no interference except possible enemy air. For information on dismounted tactical road marches, see FM 21-18, Foot Marches.

Movement by water

3-168.  The platoon avoids crossing water obstacles when possible. Before crossing, however, leaders should identify weak or non-swimmers and pair them with a good swimmer in their squad.

3-169.  When platoons or squads must move into, through, or out of rivers, lakes, streams, or other bodies of water, they treat the water obstacle as a danger area. While on the water, the platoon is exposed and vulnerable. To offset the disadvantages, the platoon—

– Moves during limited visibility.

– Disperses.

– Camouflages thoroughly.

– Moves near the shore to reduce the chances of detection.

3-170.  When moving in more than one boat, the platoon—

– Maintains tactical integrity and self-sufficiency.

– Crossloads key Soldiers and equipment.

– Ensures that the radio is with the leader.

3-171.  If boats are not available, several other techniques can be used such as—

– Swimming.

– Poncho rafts.

– Air mattresses.

– Waterproof bags.

– A 7/16-inch rope used as a semisubmersible, one-rope bridge or safety line.

– Water wings (made from a set of trousers).

Movement during limited visibility conditions

3-172.  At night or when visibility is poor, a platoon must be able to function in the same way as during daylight. It must be able to control, navigate, maintain security, move, and stalk at night or during limited visibility.


3-173.  When visibility is poor, the following methods aid in control:

– Use of night vision devices.

– IR chemlights.

– Leaders move closer to the front.

– The platoon reduces speed.

– Each Soldier uses two small strips of luminous tape on the rear of his helmet to allow the Soldier behind him to see.

– Leaders reduce the interval between Soldiers and between units to make sure they can see each other.

– Leaders conduct headcounts at regular intervals and after each halt to ensure personnel accountability.


3-174.  To assist in navigation during limited visibility, leaders use—

– Terrain association (general direction of travel coupled with recognition of prominent map and ground features).

– Dead reckoning, compass direction and specific distances or legs. (At the end of each leg, leaders should verify their location).

– Movement routes that parallel identifiable terrain features.

– Guides or marked routes. .

– GPS / FBCB2 devices.

Security At Night

3-175.  For stealth and security in night moves, squads and platoons—

– Designate a point man to maintain alertness, the lead team leader to navigate, and a pace man to count the distance traveled. Alternate compass and pace men are designated.

– Ensure good noise and light discipline.

– Use radio-listening silence.

– Camouflage Soldiers and equipment.

– Use terrain to avoid detection by enemy surveillance or night vision devices.

– Make frequent listening halts.

– Mask the sounds of movement with artillery fires.

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