Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 9 – Section V – Route Reconnaissance

section v — route reconnaissance


9-178.  A route reconnaissance is conducted to obtain detailed information about one route and all its adjacent terrain, or to locate sites for emplacing obstacles. Route reconnaissance is oriented on a road, a narrow axis such as an infiltration lane, or on a general direction of attack. Patrols conducting route reconnaissance operations attempt to view the route from both the friendly and enemy perspective. Infantry platoons require augmentation with technical expertise for a complete detailed route reconnaissance. However, platoons are capable of conducting hasty route reconnaissance or area reconnaissance of selected route areas.

9-179.  Route reconnaissance is conducted to obtain and locate the following:

– Detailed information about trafficability on the route and all adjacent terrain.

– Detailed information about an enemy activity or enemy force moving along a route.

– Sites for emplacing hasty obstacles to slow enemy movement.

– Obstacles, CBRN contamination, and so forth.

9-180.  The Infantry platoon unit can also be tasked to survey a route in a planned infiltration lane. After being briefed on the proposed infiltration, the patrol leader conducts a thorough map reconnaissance and plans a series of fans along the route (Figure 9-17). The coverage must reconnoiter all intersecting routes for a distance greater than the range at which enemy direct-fire weapons could influence the infiltrating forces.

Figure 9-17. Route reconnaissance using fans.

9-181.  The platoon reports conditions likely to affect friendly movement. These conditions include:

– Presence of the enemy.

– Terrain information.

– Location and condition of bypasses, fords, and obstacles.

– Choke points.

– Route and bridge conditions.

9-182.  If all or part of the proposed route is a road, the leader must treat the road as a danger area. The platoon moves parallel to the road, using a covered and concealed route. When required, reconnaissance and security teams move close to the road to reconnoiter key areas. The platoon plans a different route for its return.

9-183.  The leader should submit the patrol report in an overlay format (Figure 9-18) that includes—

– Two grid references (required).

– Magnetic north arrow (required).

– Route drawn to scale (required).

– Title block (required).

– Route classification formula (required).

– Road curves with a radius of less than 45 degrees.

– Steep grades and their maximum gradients.

– Road width of constrictions such as bridges and tunnels, with the widths and lengths of the traveled ways (in meters).

– Underpass limitations with limiting heights and widths.

– Bridge bypasses classified as easy, hard, or impossible.

– Civil or military road numbers or other designations.

– Locations of fords, ferries, and tunnels with limiting information.

– Causeways, snow sheds, or galleries if they are in the way. Data about clearance and load-carrying capacity should be included to permit an evaluation to decide whether to strengthen or remove them.


Figure 9-18. Route reconnaissance overlay.

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