Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 9 – Section VI – Zone Reconnaissance

Section VI – Zone Reconnaissance

9-184.  A zone reconnaissance is conducted to obtain information on enemy, terrain, and routes within a specified zone. Zone reconnaissance techniques include the use of moving elements, stationary teams, or multiple area reconnaissance actions.

Moving Element TECHNIQUES

9-185.  When moving elements are used, the elements (squads or fire teams) move along multiple routes to cover the whole zone. When the mission requires a unit to saturate an area, the unit uses one of the following techniques: the fan; the box; converging routes; or successive sectors.

Fan Method

9-186.  When using the fan method, the leader first selects a series of ORPs throughout the zone to operate from. The patrol establishes security at the first ORP. Upon confirming the ORP location, the leader confirms reconnaissance routes out from and back to the ORP. These routes form a fan-shaped pattern around the ORP. The routes must overlap to ensure the entire area is reconnoitered. Once the routes are confirmed, the leader sends out R&S teams along the routes. When all R&S teams have returned to the ORP, the platoon collects and disseminates all information to every Soldier before moving on to the next ORP.

9-187.  Each R&S team moves from the ORP along a different fan-shaped route that overlaps with others to ensure reconnaissance of the entire area (Figure 9-19). These routes should be adjacent to each other. Adjacent routes prevent the patrol from potentially making contact in two different directions. The leader maintains a reserve at the ORP.

Figure 9-19. Fan method.

Box Method

9-188.  When using the box method, the leader sends his R&S teams from the ORP along routes that form a boxed-in area. He sends other teams along routes through the area within the box (Figure 9-20). All teams meet at a link-up point at the far side of the box from the ORP.

Figure 9-20. Box method.

Converging Routes Method

9-189.  When using the converging routes method, the leader selects routes from the ORP through the zone to a rendezvous point at the far side of the zone from the ORP. Each R&S team moves along a specified route and uses the fan method to reconnoiter the area between routes (Figure 9-21). The leader designates a time for all teams to link up. Once the unit arrives at the rendezvous point, it halts and establishes security.

Figure 9-21. Converging routes method.

Successive Sector Method

9-190.   The successive sector method is a continuation of the converging routes method (Figure 9-22). The leader divides the zone into a series of sectors. The platoon uses the converging routes within each sector to reconnoiter to an intermediate link-up point where it collects and disseminates the information gathered to that point. It then reconnoiters to the next sector. Using this method, the leader selects an ORP,  a series of reconnaissance routes, and linkup points. The actions from each ORP to each linkup point are the same as in the converging routes method. Each linkup point becomes the ORP for the next phase. Upon linkup at a linkup point, the leader again confirms or selects reconnaissance routes, a linkup time, and the next linkup point. This action continues until the entire zone has been reconnoitered. Once the reconnaissance is completed, the unit returns to friendly lines.

Figure 9-22. Successive sector method.

Stationary Element Techniques

9-191.         Using the stationary element technique, the leader positions surveillance teams in locations where they can collectively observe the entire zone for long-term, continuous information gathering (Figure 9-23). The leader must consider sustainment requirements when developing his Soldiers’ load plan.

Figure 9-23. Zone reconnaissance using the stationary element technique.

Multiple Area Reconnaissance

9-192.  When using multiple area reconnaissance the leader tasks each of his subordinate units to conduct a series of area reconnaissance actions within the zone (Figure 9-24).

Figure 9-24. Zone reconnaissance using multiple area reconnaissance.

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