Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 8 – Defensive Operations

Chapter 8

Defensive Operations

Though the outcome of decisive combat derives from offensive actions, leaders often find it is necessary, even advisable, to defend. The general task and purpose of all defensive operations is to defeat an enemy attack and gain the initiative for offensive operations. It is important to set conditions of the defense so friendly forces can destroy or fix the enemy while preparing to seize the initiative and return to the offense. The platoon may conduct the defense to gain time, retain key terrain, facilitate other operations, preoccupy the enemy in one area while friendly forces attack him in another, or erode enemy forces. A well coordinated defense can also set the conditions for follow-on forces and follow-on operations.

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