Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 9 – Section II – Combat Patrols

Section II – Combat Patrols

9-45.     A combat patrol provides security and harasses, destroys, or captures enemy troops, equipment, or installations. When the commander gives a unit the mission to send out a combat patrol, he intends for the patrol to make contact with the enemy and engage in close combat. A combat patrol always attempts to remain undetected while moving, but of course it ultimately discloses its location to the enemy in a sudden, violent surprise attack. For this reason, the patrol normally carries a significant amount of weapons and ammunition. It may carry specialized munitions. A combat patrol collects and reports any information gathered during the mission, whether related to the combat task or not. The three types of combat patrols are raid, ambush, and security.


9-46.     A raid is a surprise attack against a position or installation for a specific purpose other than seizing and holding the terrain. It is conducted to destroy a position or installation, to destroy or capture enemy soldiers or equipment, or to free prisoners. A raid patrol retains terrain just long enough to accomplish the intent of the raid. A raid always ends with a planned withdrawal off the objective and a return to the main body.


9-47.     An ambush is a surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target. An ambush patrol does not need to seize or hold any terrain. It can include an assault to close with and destroy the target, or an attack by fire only.


9-48.     A security patrol is sent out from a unit location when the unit is stationary or during a halt to search the local area, detect any enemy forces near the main body, and to engage and destroy the enemy within the capability of the patrol. This type of combat patrol is normally sent out by units operating in close terrain with limited fields of observation and fire. Although this type of combat patrol seeks to make direct enemy contact and to destroy enemy forces within its capability, it should try to avoid decisive engagement. A security patrol detects and disrupts enemy forces that are conducting reconnaissance of the main body or that are massing to conduct an attack. Security patrols are normally away from the main body of the unit for limited periods, returning frequently to coordinate and rest. They do not operate beyond the range of communications and supporting fires from the main body, especially mortar fires.


9-49.      There are three essential elements for a combat patrol: security; support; and assault (Figure 9-3). Assault elements accomplish the mission during actions on the objective. Support elements suppress or destroy enemy on the objective in support of the assault element. Security elements assist in isolating the objective by preventing enemy from entering and leaving the objective area as well as by ensuring the patrol’s withdrawal route remains open. The size of each element is based on the situation and the leader’s analysis of METT-TC.

Figure 9-3. Organization of forces.

Assault Element

9-50.     The assault element is the combat patrol’s decisive effort. Its task is to conduct actions on the objective. The assault element is responsible for accomplishing the unit’s task and purpose. This element must be capable (through inherent capabilities or positioning relative to the enemy) of destroying or seizing the target of the combat patrol. Tasks typically associated with the assault element include:

– Conduct of assault across the objective to destroy enemy equipment, capture or kill enemy, and clearing of key terrain and enemy positions.

– Deployment close enough to the objective to conduct an immediate assault if detected.

– Being prepared to support itself if the support element cannot suppress the enemy.

– Providing support to a breach element in reduction of obstacles (if required).

– Planning detailed fire control and distribution.

– Conducting controlled withdrawal from the objective.

9-51.     Analysis of METT-TC, particularly for a raid, may result in the requirement to organize a separate breach force. At times this may include breaching an obstacle.

9-52.     Additional tasks/special purpose teams assigned may include:

·       Search teams – to find and collect documents, equipment and information that can be used as intelligence.

– Prisoner teams – to capture, secure, and account for prisoners and detainees.

– Demolition teams – to plan and execute the destruction of obstacles and enemy equipment.

– Breach team – to create small-scale breaches in protective obstacles to facilitate the completion of the patrol’s primary task

– Aid and litter teams – to identify, collect, render immediate aid and coordinate medical evacuation for casualties

Support Element

9-53.     The support element suppresses the enemy on the objective using direct and indirect fires. The support element is a shaping effort that sets conditions for the mission’s decisive effort. This element must be capable, through inherent means or positioning relative to the enemy, of supporting the assault element. The support force can be divided up into two or more elements if required.

9-54.     The support element is organized to address a secondary threat of enemy interference with the assault element(s). The support force suppresses, fixes, or destroys elements on the objective. The support force’s primary responsibility is to suppress enemy to prevent reposition against decisive effort. The support force—

– Initiates fires and gains fire superiority with crew-served weapons and indirect fires.

– Controls rates and distribution of fires.

– Shifts/ceases fire on signal.

– Supports the withdrawal of the assault element.

Security Element

9-55.     The security element(s) is a shaping force that has three roles. The first role is to isolate the objective from enemy personnel and vehicles attempting to enter the objective area. Their actions range from simply providing early warning, to blocking enemy movement. This element may require several different forces located in various positions. The patrol leader is careful to consider enemy reserves or response forces that, once the engagement begins, will be alerted. The second role of the security element is to prevent enemy from escaping the objective area. The third role is to secure the patrol’s withdrawal route.

9-56.     There is a subtle yet important distinction for the security element. All elements of the patrol are responsible for their own local security. What distinguishes the security element is that they are protecting the entire patrol. Their positions must be such that they can, in accordance with their engagement criteria, provide early warning of approaching enemy.

9-57.     The security element is organized to address the primary threat to the patrol—being discovered and defeated by security forces prior to execution of actions on the objective. To facilitate the success of the assault element, the security element must fix or block (or at a minimum screen) all enemy security or response forces located on parts of the battlefield away from the raid.

Leader Locations

9-58.      Leaders locate where they can best influence the situation, which is usually with either the support element or assault element. The second in charge normally locates at the opposite location of the leader.

actions on the objective – Raid

9-59.     A raid is a surprise attack against a position or installation for a specific purpose other than seizing and holding the terrain. It is conducted to destroy a position or installation, destroy or capture enemy soldiers or equipment, or free prisoners. A raid patrol retains terrain just long enough to accomplish the intent of the raid. A raid always ends with a withdrawal off the objective and a return to the main body.

9-60.     Raids are characterized by the following:

– Destruction of key systems or facilities (C2 nodes, logistical areas, other high value areas).

– Provide or deny critical information.

– Securing of hostages or prisoners.

– Confusing the enemy or disrupting his plans.

– Detailed intelligence (significant ISR assets committed).

– Command and control from the higher HQ to synchronize the operation.

– Creating a window of opportunity for the raiding force.

9-61.     Raids are normally conducted in five phases (Figure 9-4):

– Approach the objective.

– Isolate the objective area.

– Set conditions for the assault element.

– Assault the objective.

– Tactical movement away from the objective area.


Figure 9-4. The five phases of a raid.

Actions on the Objective – Ambush

9-62.      An ambush is a surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target. It can include an assault to close with and destroy the target, or only an attack by fire. An ambush need not seize or hold ground. The purpose of an ambush is to destroy or harass enemy forces. The ambush combines the advantages of the defense with the advantages of the offense, allowing a smaller force with limited means the ability to destroy a much larger force. Ambushes are enemy-oriented. Terrain is only held long enough to conduct the ambush and then the force withdraws. Ambushes range from very simple to complex and synchronized; short duration of minutes to long duration of hours; and within hand grenade range, to maximum standoff. Ambushes employ direct fire systems as well as other destructive means, such as command-detonated mines and explosives, and indirect fires on the enemy force. The attack may include an assault to close with and destroy the enemy or may just be a harassing attack by fire. Ambushes may be conducted as independent operations or as part of a larger operation.

9-63.     There are countless ways for leaders to develop an ambush. To assist the leader clarify what he wants, he develops the ambush based on its purpose, type, time, and formation.

9-64.     The purpose of an ambush is either harassment or destruction. A harassing ambush is one in which attack is by fire only (meaning there is no assault element). A destruction ambush includes assault to close with and destroy the enemy.

9-65.     The two types of ambushes are point, and area. In a point ambush, Soldiers deploy to attack a single kill zone. In an area ambush, Soldiers deploy as two or more related point ambushes. These ambushes at separate sites are related by their purpose (Figure 9-5).

Figure 9-5. Point and area ambush.

9-66.     Based on the amount of time available to set an ambush, ambushes are hasty and deliberate.

9-67.     A hasty ambush is conducted based on an unanticipated opportunity. It is used when a patrol sees the enemy before the enemy sees them, and the patrol has time to act. The leader gives the prearranged signal to start the action and all Soldiers move to concealed firing positions, prepared to engage the enemy. Depending on the mission, the patrol may allow the enemy to pass if the enemy does not detect the patrol.

9-68.     A deliberate ambush is conducted against a specific target at a location chosen based on intelligence. With a deliberate ambush, leaders plan and prepare based on detailed information that allows them to anticipate enemy actions and enemy locations. Detailed information includes: type and size of target, organization or formation, routes and direction of movement, time the force will reach or pass certain points on its route, and weapons and equipment carried.


9-69.      During terrain analysis, leaders identify at least four different locations: the kill zone, the ambush site, security positions, and rally points. As far as possible, so-called “ideal” ambush sites should be avoided because alert enemies avoid them if possible and increase their vigilance and security when they must be entered. Therefore, surprise is difficult to achieve. Instead, unlikely sites should be chosen when possible. Following are characteristics of these four ideal positions.

Ambush Site

9-70.      The ambush site is the terrain on which a point ambush is established. The ambush site consists of a support-by-fire position for the support element and an assault position for the assault element. An ideal ambush site—

– Has good fields of fire into the kill zone.

– Has good cover and concealment.

– Has a protective obstacle.

– Has a covered and concealed withdrawal route.

– Makes it difficult for the enemy to conduct a flank attack.

Kill Zone

9-71.     The kill zone is the part of an ambush site where fire is concentrated to isolate or destroy the enemy. An ideal kill zone has these characteristics:

– Enemy forces are likely to enter it.

– It has natural tactical obstacles.

– Large enough to observe and engage the anticipated enemy force.

Near Ambush

9-72.     A near ambush is a point ambush with the assault element within reasonable assaulting distance of the kill zone (less than 50 meters). Close terrain, such as an urban area or heavy woods, may require this positioning. It may also be appropriate in open terrain in a “rise from the ground” ambush.

Far Ambush

9-73.     A far ambush is a point ambush with the assault element beyond reasonable assaulting distance of the kill zone (beyond 50 meters). This location may be appropriate in open terrain offering good fields of fire or when attack is by fire for a harassing ambush.

Security Positions

9-74.     An ideal security position —

– Does not mask fires of the main body.

– Provides timely information for the main body (gives the leader enough time to act on information provided).

– Can provide a support by fire position.

Rally Points

9-75.     The platoon leader considers the use and locations of rally points (see paragraph 9-42). The rally point is a place designated by the leader where the platoon moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed.

9-76.     The leader physically reconnoiters routes to select rally points whenever possible. He selects tentative points if he can only conduct a map reconnaissance. He confirms them by actual inspection as the platoon moves through them.  Rally points must—

– Be easy to find

– Have cover and concealment

– Be away from natural lines of drift

– Be defendable for short periods


9-77.     Many ambush formations exist. This FM only discusses the linear, L-shaped, and V-shaped (Figures 9-6 through 9-8). All of these formations require leaders to exercise strict direct fire control. Leaders need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their units and plan accordingly.

9-78.     The formation selected is based on the following:

– Terrain.

– Visibility.

– Soldiers available.

– Weapons and equipment.

– Ease of control.

– Target to be attacked.

Linear Ambush

9-79.     In an ambush using a linear formation, the assault and support elements parallel the target’s route. This positions the assault and support elements on the long axis of the kill zone and subjects the target to flanking fire (Figure 9-6). Only a target that can be covered with a full volume of fire can be successfully engaged in the kill zone. A dispersed target might be too large for the kill zone. This is the disadvantage of linear formations.

9-80.     The linear formation is good in close terrain restricting the target’s maneuver, and in open terrain where one flank is blocked by natural obstacles or can be blocked by other means such as claymore mines. Claymore mines or explosives can be placed between the assault and support elements and the kill zone to protect the unit from counter-ambush actions.

9-81.     When the ambushing unit deploys this way, it leaves access lanes through the obstacles so it can assault the target. An advantage of the linear formation is the relative ease by which it can be controlled under all visibility conditions.

Figure 9-6. Linear ambush.

L-Shaped Ambush

9-82.     An ambush in the L-shaped formation (Figure 9-7) is a variation of the linear formation. The long leg of the L (assault element) is parallel to the kill zone. This leg provides flanking fire. The short leg (support element) is at the end of and at a right angle to the kill zone. This leg provides enfilade fire that works with fire from the other leg. The L-shaped formation can be used at a sharp bend in a trail, road, or stream.


Figure 9-7. L-shaped ambush.

V-Shaped Ambush

9-83.      The V-shaped ambush assault elements (Figure 9-8) are placed along both sides of the enemy route so they form a V. Take extreme care to ensure neither group fires into the other. This formation subjects the enemy to both enfilading and interlocking fire.

9-84.     When performed in dense terrain, the legs of the V close in as the lead elements of the enemy force approach the point of the V. The legs then open fire from close range. Here, even more than in open terrain, all movement and fire is carefully coordinated and controlled to avoid fratricide.

9-85.     Wider separation of the elements makes this formation difficult to control, and there are fewer sites which favor its use. Its main advantage is it is difficult for the enemy to detect the ambush until well into the kill zone.

Figure 9-8. V-shaped ambush.

Final Preparations

9-86.     Final preparations begin with the unit occupying an ORP and end with the main body prepared to depart for the ambush site. The unit halts at the ORP and establishes security. When ready, the leader conducts his reconnaissance to confirm the plan, positions the security element, and returns to the ORP. The security element leaves the ORP first. Teams of the security element move to positions from which they can secure the ORP and the flanks of the ambush site (Figure 9-9).


NOTE:  The security elements should use a release point if there is a great distance between the ORP and objective.


Figure 9-9. Security teams in position.

Occupy the Site and Conduct Ambush

9-87.     Occupying the site and conducting the ambush begins with main body movement out of the ORP, and ends when the leader initiates a withdrawal. Common control measures include—

– Kill Zone.

– Limit of advance.

– ABF/SBF position.

– Assault position.

– Target reference point (TRP).

– Phase line.

Time of Occupation

9-88.     As a rule, the ambush force occupies the ambush site at the latest possible time permitted by the tactical situation and the amount of site preparation required. This reduces the risk of discovery and the time that Soldiers must remain still and quiet in position.

Occupying the Site

9-89.      Security elements are positioned first to prevent surprise while the ambush is being established. When the security teams are in position, the support and assault elements leave the ORP and occupy their positions. If there is a suitable position, the support element can overwatch the assault element’s move to the ambush site. If not, both elements leave the ORP at the same time (Figure 9-10).

9-90.     The main body moves into the ambush site from the rear. Ideally, leaders emplace the most casualty-producing weapons first, ensuring they have line of sight along the entire kill zone. Once positioned, the leader emplaces his subordinate units to complement and reinforce the key positions. The leader selects his location where he can best initiate and control the action. Once on the objective, movement is kept to a minimum and the number of men moving at a time is closely controlled. Leaders emplace and enforce local security measures.


9-91.     Each Soldier must be hidden from the target and have line of sight into the kill zone. At the ambush site, positions are prepared with minimal change in the natural appearance of the site. Soldiers conceal debris resulting from preparation of positions.

Confirming the Direct Fire Plan

9-92.     Claymore mines, explosives, and grenade launchers may be used to cover any dead space left by automatic weapons. All weapons are assigned sectors of fire to provide mutual support. The unit leader sets a time by which positions must be prepared.

Movement in the Kill Zone

9-93.     The kill zone is not entered if entry can be avoided. When emplacing tactical obstacles, care is taken to remove any tracks or signs that might alert the enemy and compromise the ambush. If claymore mines or explosives are placed on the far side, or if the appearance of the site might cause the enemy to check it, a wide detour around the kill zone should be made. Here, too, care is taken to remove any traces which might reveal the ambush. An alternate route from the ambush site is also planned.

Figure 9-10. Assault element moving to the ambush site.

Initiating the Ambush

9-94.      Once all friendly elements are in position, the unit waits for the enemy target. When the target approaches, the security team that spots it alerts the ambush leader. The security team reports the target’s direction of movement, size, and any special weapons or equipment. Upon receipt of the report, the leader alerts the other elements.

9-95.     When most of the enemy force is in the kill zone, the leader initiates the ambush with the most casualty-producing weapon, machine gun fire, or the detonation of mines or explosives. The detonation of explosives can cause a pause in the initiation of fires due to the obscuration created by the explosion. Once conditions are set, cease or shift fires. The assault element may conduct an assault through the kill zone to the limit of advance (LOA). If the assault element must assault the kill zone, the leader signals to cease or shift fire. This also signals the assault to start. Besides destruction of the enemy force, other kill zone tasks can include searching for items of intelligence value, capturing prisoners, and completing the destruction of enemy equipment. When the assault element has finished its mission in the kill zone, the leader gives the signal to withdraw to the ORP.

9-96.       Fire discipline is critical during an ambush. Soldiers do not fire until the signal is given. Then it must be delivered at once in the heaviest, most accurate volume possible. Well-trained gunners and well-aimed fire help achieve surprise and destruction of the target. When the target is to be assaulted, the ceasing or shifting of fire must also be precise. If it is not, the assault is delayed, and the target has a chance to react. Sector stakes should be used if possible.


9-97.     The withdrawal begins once the assault element completes its actions on the objective and ends with consolidation/reorganization at a designated rally point. On signal, the unit withdraws to the ORP, reorganizes, and continues its mission. At a set terrain feature the unit halts and disseminates information. If the ambush fails and the enemy pursues, the unit withdraws by bounds. Units should use smoke to help conceal the withdrawal. Obstacles already set along the withdrawal routes can help stop the pursuit.

Conducting an Area Ambush


9-98.     In an area ambush, Soldiers deploy in two or more related point ambushes. The platoon may conduct an area ambush as part of a company offensive or defensive plan, or it may conduct a point ambush as part of a company area ambush.

9-99.     The platoon is the smallest level to conduct an area ambush). Platoons conduct area ambushes (Figure 9-11) where enemy movement is largely restricted to trails or streams.


Figure 9-11. Area ambush.

9-100.  The platoon leader (or company commander) selects one principal ambush site around which he organizes outlying ambushes. These secondary sites are located along the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach and escape routes from the principal ambush site. Squads are normally responsible for each ambush site.

9-101.  The platoon leader considers the factors of METT-TC to determine the best employment of the weapons squad. He normally locates the medium machine guns with the support element in the principal ambush site.

9-102.  Squads (or sections) responsible for outlying ambushes do not initiate their ambushes until the principal one has been initiated. They then engage to prevent enemy forces from escaping the principal ambush or reinforcing the ambushed force.

9-103.  Smaller ambushes can be used to isolate the main ambush kill zone (Figure 9-12).


Figure 9-12. Use of smaller ambushes to isolate the main ambush kill zone.

Antiarmor ambush

9-104.  Platoons and squads conduct antiarmor ambushes (Figure 9-13) to destroy armored vehicles. The antiarmor ambush may be part of an area ambush. The antiarmor ambush consists of the assault element (armor-killer element) and the support-security element.


Figure 9-13. Antiarmor ambush.

9-105.  The armor-killer element is built around the close combat missile systems. (Refer to Appendix B for information about employment of the Javelin.) The leader should consider additional shoulder-launched munitions available to supplement the CCMS fires. The leader considers the factors of METT-TC to position all antiarmor weapons to ensure the best engagement (rear, flank, or top). The remainder of the platoon must function as support and security elements in the same manner as the other types of ambushes.

9-106.  In a platoon antiarmor ambush, the company commander selects the general site for the ambush. The platoon leader must find a specific site that restricts the movement of enemy armored vehicles out of the designated kill zone. The platoon leader should emplace his weapons so an obstacle is between the platoon and the kill zone. In a squad antiarmor ambush, the platoon leader selects the general site for the ambush. The squad leader must then find a site that restricts the movement of enemy armored vehicles out of the kill zone.

9-107.  The support-security elements are emplaced to cover dismounted enemy avenues of approach into the ambush site.

9-108.  The leader should consider the method for initiating the antiarmor ambush. The preferred method is to use a command-detonated AT mine placed in the kill zone. The Javelin can be used to initiate the ambush, but even with its limited signature, it may be less desirable than an AT mine.

9-109.  The armor-killer team destroys the first and last vehicle in the enemy formation, if possible. All other weapons begin firing once the ambush has been initiated.

9-110.  The leader must determine how the presence of dismounted enemy soldiers with armored vehicles will affect the success of the ambush. The leader’s choices include:

– Initiate the ambush as planned.

– Withdraw without initiating the ambush.

– Initiate the ambush with machine guns without firing antiarmor weapons.

9-111.  Because of the speed enemy armored forces can reinforce the ambushed enemy with, the leader should plan to keep the engagement short and have a quick withdrawal planned. The platoon, based on the factors of METT-TC, may not clear the kill zone as in other types of ambushes.

Conducting a point ambush


9-112.  In a point ambush, Soldiers deploy to attack an enemy in a single kill zone. The platoon leader is the leader of the assault element. The platoon sergeant will probably locate with the platoon leader in the assault element.

9-113.  The security or surveillance team(s) should be positioned first. The support element should then be emplaced before the assault element moves forward. The support element must overwatch the movement of the assault element into position.

9-114.  The platoon leader must check each Soldier once he emplaces. The platoon leader signals the surveillance team to rejoin the assault element if it is positioned away from the assault location. Actions of the assault element, support element, and security element are shown in Table 9-1.

Table 9-1. Actions by ambush elements.

Assault Element

Support Element

Security Element

Identify individual sectors of    fire assigned by the platoon    leader; emplace aiming    stakes.

Emplace Claymores and other    protective obstacles.

Emplace Claymores, mines, or    other explosives in dead    space within the kill zone.

Camouflage positions.

Take weapons off safe when    directed by the platoon    leader.

Identify sectors of fire for all    weapons, especially    machine guns.

Emplace limiting stakes to    prevent friendly fires from    hitting the assault element              in an L-shaped ambush.

Emplace Claymores and    other protective

Camouflage positions.

Identify sectors of fire for all    weapons; emplace aiming    stakes.

Emplace Claymores and    other protective obstacles.

Camouflage positions.

Secure the ORP.

Secure a route to the ORP,    as required.

9-115.  The platoon leader instructs the security element (or teams) to notify him of the enemy’s approach into the kill zone using the size, activity, location, unit, time, and equipment (SALUTE)  reporting format. The security element must also keep the platoon leader informed if any additional enemy forces are following the lead enemy force. This will allow the platoon leader to know if the enemy force meets the engagement criteria directed by the company commander. The platoon leader must be prepared to give free passage to enemy forces that are too large or that do not meet the engagement criteria. He must report to the company commander any enemy forces that pass through the ambush unengaged.

9-116.  The platoon leader initiates the ambush with the greatest casualty-producing weapon, typically a command-detonated Claymore. He must also plan a back-up method, typically a machine gun, to initiate the ambush should the primary means fail. All Soldiers in the ambush must know the primary and back-up methods. The platoon should rehearse with both methods to avoid confusion and the loss of surprise during execution of the ambush.

9-117.  The platoon leader must include a plan for engaging the enemy during limited visibility. Based on the company commander’s guidance, the platoon leader should consider the use and mix of tracers and the employment of illumination, NVDs, and TWSs. For example, if Javelins are not used during the ambush, the platoon leader may still employ the command launch unit with its thermal sights in the security or support element to observe enemy forces.

9-118.  The platoon leader also may include the employment of indirect fire support in his plan. Based on the company commander’s guidance, the platoon leader may employ indirect fires to cover flanks of the kill zone to isolate an enemy force or to assist the platoon’s disengagement if the ambush is compromised or if the platoon must depart the ambush site under pressure.

9-119.  The platoon leader must have a good plan (day and night) to signal the advance of the assault element into the kill zone to begin its search and collection activities. He should take into consideration the existing environmental factors. For example, smoke may not be visible to the support element because of limited visibility or the lay of the terrain. All Soldiers must know and practice relaying the signal during rehearsals to avoid the potential of fratricide.

9-120.  The assault element must be prepared to move across the kill zone using individual movement techniques if there is any return fire once they begin to search. Otherwise, the assault element moves across by bounding fire teams.

9-121.  The assault element collects and secures all EPWs and moves them out of the kill zone to an established location before searching dead enemy bodies. The EPW collection point should provide cover and should not be easily found by enemy forces following the ambush. The friendly assault element searches from the far side of the kill zone to the near side.

9-122.  Once the bodies have been thoroughly searched, search teams continue in this manner until all enemy personnel in and near the kill zone have been searched. Enemy bodies should be marked once searched (for example, folded arms over the chest and legs crossed) to ensure thoroughness and speed and to avoid duplication of effort.

9-123.  The platoon identifies and collects equipment to be carried back and prepares it for transport. Enemy weapon chambers are cleared and put on safe. The platoon also identifies and collects at a central point the enemy equipment to be destroyed. The demolition team prepares the fuse and awaits the signal to initiate. This is normally the last action performed before departing the ambush site. The flank security element returns to the ORP after the demolition team completes its task. The platoon will treat friendly wounded first and then enemy wounded.

9-124.  The flank security teams may also emplace antiarmor mines after the ambush has been initiated if the enemy is known to have armored vehicles that can quickly reinforce the ambushed enemy force. If a flank security team makes enemy contact, it fights as long as possible without becoming decisively engaged. It uses prearranged signals to inform the platoon leader it is breaking contact. The platoon leader may direct a portion of the support element to assist the security element in breaking contact.

9-125.  The platoon leader must plan the withdrawal of the platoon from the ambush site. The planning process should include the following:

– Elements are normally withdrawn in the reverse order that they established their positions.

– Elements may return to the release point, then to the objective rally point, depending on the distance between the elements.

– The security element at the objective rally point must be alert to assist the platoon’s return. It maintains security for the ORP while the remainder of the platoon prepares to depart.

9-126.  Actions back at the ORP include, but are not limited to, accounting for personnel and equipment, stowing captured equipment, and first aid (as necessary).

Security Patrols

9-127.  Security patrols prevent surprise of the main body by screening to the front, flank, and rear of the main body and detecting and destroying enemy forces in the local area.  Security patrols do not operate beyond the range of communication and supporting fires from the main body; especially mortar fires, because they normally operate for limited periods of time, and are combat oriented.

9-128.  Security patrols are employed both when the main body is stationary and when it is moving. When the main body is stationary, the security patrol prevents enemy infiltration, reconnaissance, or attacks. When the main body is moving, the security patrol prevents the unit from being ambushed or coming into surprise chance contact.

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