SECTION I. General 133-139
II. Attack 140-148
III. Defense 149-155
IV. Security missions 156-159


  1. COMPOSITION.--The rifle squad consists of a sergeant (squad leader), a corporal (assistant squad leader and antitank rifle grenadier), an automatic rifle team (automatic rifleman, assistant automatic rifleman, and ammunition bearer), and seven riflemen, two of whom are designated as scouts.


    1. The squad leader is responsible for the discipline, appearance, training, control, and conduct of his squad. He leads it in combat. Under the platoon leader's direction, the squad leader arranges for feeding his men, enforces proper observance of rules of personal hygiene and sanitation, requires that weapons and equipment be kept clean and in serviceable condition, and checks and reports on the ammunition supply within the squad. His squad must be trained to use and care for its weapons, to move and fight efficiently as individuals, and function effectively as a part of the military team.

    2. The assistant squad leader performs duties assigned by the squad leader and takes command of the squad in his absence. He carries the antitank rifle and, during a tank attack, engages with antitank rifle grenades any hostile tanks within range. (See par. 2b(5).) The squad leader may designate him to command a portion of the squad, to act as observer, or to supervise replenishment of ammunition.

  3. TARGET DESTINATION.--Battlefleld targets are generally indistinct. They must be designated with such accuracy and simplicity as to be unmistakable. Squad leaders and


    other members of the squad are trained to designate the location and extent of such targets. For technique of target designation, see FM 23-5, 23-10, and 23-15.


    1. Fire control implies the ability of the squad leader to open fire when he desires, adjust the fire of his squad upon the target, shift the fire of all or part of the squad from one target to another, regulate the rate of fire, and cease firing at will.

    2. The squad leader announces the range, designates the target, and gives the command for opening fire. In combat, he controls the fire as long as possible by employing signals or by requiring skirmishers to transmit oral orders along the front of the squad. He concentrates the fire of the squad on the assigned target. On orders of the platoon leader, or on his own initiative, he shifts the fire of all or part of his squad to new targets. (See FM 23-5, 23-10, and 23-15.)

  2. FIRE DISCIPLINE.--Fire discipline in the rifle squad is maintained by careful observance of instructions relative to the use of its weapons and exact execution of orders. It requires care in sight setting, aim, and trigger squeeze; close attention to the squad leader; and cessation or change of rate of fire on the squad leader's order or signal. Fire discipline also requires that upon release of fire control by the squad leader to individual skirmishers, each member of the squad acts on his own initiative, selects his target, estimates the range, opens and ceases fire in accordance with the situation, and conserves his ammunition.

  3. RANGE.--Ranges can be determined most accurately by sighting shots where the strike of bullets can be observed, or when tracer ammunition is used. Estimation of ranges by eye enables a squad to place surprise fire on the target. All personnel must be trained to estimate ranges by eye. (See FM 23-5.)


    1. Each member of the squad habitually carries an initial supply of ammunition on his person; in addition, the assistant automatic rifleman and the ammunition bearer also carry ammunition for the automatic rifle. Similarly, the assistant squad leader carries some rifle


      ammunition as well as several antitank rifle grenades. Prior to entry into combat, hand grenades and an additional supply of ammunition are issued to all members of the squad. For additional details pertaining to ammunition supply, see paragraph 201.

    1. During combat the squad leader requests the platoon leader to replenish ammunition and insures that all unexpended ammunition on casualties is secured by members of his squad.



    1. The details included in fire orders are dependent upon the time available, cover, and character of the target.

      1. If the target is at close range and unmistakable, fire orders may be limited to the command "commence firing."

      2. Detailed fire orders are not practicable when the squad occupies an exposed position, and fire control must be released to the individual skirmishers.

      3. Whenever practicable, preliminary fire orders are issued under cover before the skirmishers occupy firing positions. When the target cannot be easily identified, the squad leader will have the men creep or crawl sufficiently close to the crest or other mask to see the foreground. He completes the fire order when the men have signified recognition (signal "ready"). For examples of fire orders see FM 23-5, 23-10, and 23-15.

  2. ANTIMECHANIZED DEFENSE AND ANTIAIRCRAFT SECURITY.--See paragraphs 9c, 12c, and 17i(3).


    1. Dispositions.--When the platoon leaves the route column to take up the approach march the squad marches with the platoon as ordered by the platoon leader. (See par. 106.) The squad dispositions (formations) are squad column, skirmishers, skirmishers right (left), and squad wedge. (See FM 22-5.) The initial (first) formation may be prescribed by the platoon leader; thereafter a squad leader changes the disposition of his squad to meet changes in the situation and terrain. In selecting a formation,


      the squad leader considers the necessity of employing his weapons promptly, of presenting a poor target to the enemy, and of retaining control of his squad.

      1. "Squad column" is vulnerable to hostile fire from the front and requires a change of formation to permit the employment of all the squad's weapons to the front, but is easily controlled and maneuvered. It is suitable for crossing areas exposed to artillery fire, for utilizing narrow covered routes, and for movement in woods, fog, smoke, and darkness. It facilitates immediate action toward the flanks. The automatic rifleman is posted close to the squad leader near the head of the column. A squad column does not usually exceed 60 paces in depth.

      2. "As skirmishers" is less vulnerable to hostile fire from the front, and enables the squad to employ its weapons to the front without change of formation; but it is more difficult to control than squad column. It is adapted to rapid dashes across open spaces, particularly shelled areas. When the squad is deployed in skirmish line its front ordinarily should not exceed 60 paces.

      3. "Squad wedge" combines most of the advantages, with few of the disadvantages, of the other two dispositions. It is especially adapted to situations when readiness for action in any direction is required; it is frequently used when emerging from cover or from a defile. It is also adapted to take best advantage of cover on broken ground and for traversing zones near the enemy but beyond effective rifle range of known hostile positions.

    1. Passing through long-range fire.--When the enemy is covering a zone across the line of advance with long-range machine-gun or artillery fire (interdiction fire), the squad frequently crosses short stretches of such exposed terrain by successive movement of individuals. This action is taken by the squad leader, upon his own initiative or when directed by his platoon leader. Individuals do not stop until they have passed through the area covered by fire; this is particularly important when crossing crests or passing through defiles. The squad leader moves across the area first and reforms his squad beyond the area as the men come through.


    1. Position and duties of leaders.--

      1. Squad leader.--During the approach march the position of the squad leader is at the head of, or in advance of, his squad. He regulates his advance on the base squad or, being in command of the base squad, advances as directed by the platoon leader. He studies the ground to the front to choose the best route and to control and regulate the movement of his squad. He decreases distances and intervals between individuals as conditions of visibility become poor. He, or a member of the squad designated by him, maintains the prescribed direction. He makes minor detours to take advantage of better routes of advance.

      2. Assistant squad leader.--The assistant squad leader is usually posted in rear of the squad to prevent straggling, to prevent elongation or closing up of the squad, and to insure its orderly advance. During a hostile tank attack he takes position where he can best engage the hostile tanks with his antitank rifle grenades.

    2. Duties of scouts.--

      1. When it is not preceded by friendly troops within view, a rifle platoon in the attacking echelon of a leading company is preceded by its scouts. The scouts operate under control of the platoon leader. (See paragraph 106f.) Deployed in pairs at wide and irregular intervals, they move out boldly to the front to reconnoiter successive positions (objectives) along the route of advance, and seek to force enemy riflemen and machine guns to disclose their position. One member of each pair watches for signals from the platoon leader. They take advantage of cover without delaying their advance, and cross exposed ground at a run. Their distance in front of the platoon is governed by orders of the platoon leader and varies with the ground and with the probable position of the enemy. One moment they may be 500 yards ahead; at another time they may be absorbed within their units. In approaching houses, natural defiles, and villages, one scout of each pair covers the movement and reconnaissance of the other.

      2. When scouts reach woods, one scout of each pair reconnoiters within the woods for a short distance while the other covers his movement. As soon as the leading scout determines that the edge of the woods is free of the enemy he returns within view and signals "forward." The second scout


        repeats this signal to the platoon leader. Both scouts then enter the woods and maintain observation toward the enemy until the platoon comes up. Scouts passing through woods ahead of their platoon keep within sight of each other. If an obstacle is encountered, they reconnoiter to the front and flanks. When advancing along a road or path, scouts reconnoiter well to the flanks before signaling "forward" to the platoon. Scouts halt at the far edge of a woods until the platoon leader arrives; he then gives them further directions. When sent ahead to reconnoiter dangerous points, they signal back whether conditions indicate that the platoon halt, continue to march, or quickly rush across the area. They are continually on the lookout for signals from the rear. For signals, see FM 22-5.

      1. If the enemy opens fire, the scouts stop, seek cover, and try to determine the enemy's position. When the enemy position is located, one scout of each pair crawls to the best nearby firing position and opens fire with tracer ammunition to indicate the target. The second scout observes and orders necessary changes in range. When adjustment of fire is completed, he also opens fire. If the scouts have no tracer ammunition, one opens fire and the other points out the target to the platoon leader.

    1. Action when scouts are fired on.--When the scouts are halted by fire, the squad leader immediately gets the squad under cover, studies the terrain for covered routes forward, and watches the platoon leader for orders. The squad leader may be directed to reform his squad on the line of scouts and open the fire fight, or to move his squad to some other firing position from which he can more effectively engage the enemy. Avoiding as much as practicable the hostile fire holding up the scouts, the squad leader advances his squad to the firing position by--

      1. Infiltration of individuals or groups of individuals.--Where there is little cover or concealment and the area between the firing position and the squad is under enemy observation or fire, the advance is continued by sending forward individuals or groups of two or three men at a time.


      1. Rushes.--When the enemy fire permits, and the distance to be covered is short, the squad is moved forward by rushes. Otherwise it is preferable to crawl or creep. (See FM 22-5.)

      2. Using covered route of approach.--The squad advances as a unit when there is a covered route to the position. The usual formation is either squad column or wedge. The squad leader issues the fire order under cover, has the men creep or crawl to their firing positions, and then open a surprise volume of accurate fire.

    1. Fire distribution.--Each member of the squad fires his first shot on that portion of the target corresponding generally to his position in the squad. He then distributes his next shots to the right and left of his first shot, covering that part of the target on which he can deliver accurate fire without having to change position. The amount of the target which one man can cover will depend upon the range and the position of the firer. Frequently each man will be able to cover the entire target with accurate fire; this should be done whenever possible. Fire is not limited to points within the target known to contain an enemy; on the contrary, all men space their shots so that no portion of the target remains unhit. Automatic riflemen fire bursts of about five rounds at the slow cyclic rate (in about 1 second). This method of fire distribution is employed without command. The squad leader observes the fire to insure that the entire target is kept under fire. If other targets appear, he announces such changes in fire distribution as are necessary.


    1. Assembly areas.--

      1. Unless the squad, during the approach march, is part of a leading platoon and becomes engaged with the enemy as described in paragraph 106e, it usually is directed to halt briefly in a covered area designated by the platoon leader. This area is usually part of a company or battalion assembly area. Immediately on arrival in this area the squad leader disperses his men in the area allotted him by the platoon leader. He takes advantage of all natural cover and concealment to protect them from aerial and ground observation and fire. Every man must take advantage


        of existing holes or furrows, or must be required to dig an individual prone shelter, so that his body will be below the level of the ground in order to reduce the danger from bomb or shell fragments. (See fig. 30.)

      1. The squad may furnish an interior guard for the platoon; the principal duty of such a guard is to see that men do not congregate or expose themselves or their equipment to hostile observation. It also may post one or more sentinels to guard against surprise attack by hostile patrols or may furnish air-antitank guards.

      2. As soon as his men are disposed in the assembly area, the squad leader inspects the physical condition and equipment of every man. Extra ammunition usually is issued in the assembly area. (See par. 201.) The squad leader insures that each man receives the proper quantities and types.

    1. Reconnaissance.--

      1. The squad leader may move forward in advance of his squad to receive the platoon leader's attack order, or may receive it after the squad has left the assembly area and arrived in the vicinity from which the attack is to start. (See par. 110f) He may be able to reconnoiter or observe the ground over which his squad is to attack in much the same manner as described in paragraph par. 110b for the platoon leader. If there is so little time remaining after receiving the platoon order that he must lead his squad at once into its position, the squad leader, during his return to the squad, selects a route of advance. Thereafter, having issued certain parts of his order, he precedes his squad and continues his reconnaissance as he advances. He never exposes his squad in an area subject to enemy small-arms fire without prior reconnaissance.

    2. Squad attack order.--

      1. The squad leader issues his attack order to all men of his squad. Orders are well executed only when they are clear and definite and all 12 minds in the squad understand the squad mission and the plan for accomplishing that mission. To be certain that nothing is left out, a definite sequence is followed. The squad leader--

        1. Tells the men all that he knows about the enemy and about his own troops that they do not already know and which directly affect their conduct in the action.

        2. Tells the men what the squad is to do and what his plan is for doing it.


        1. Tells each man what he is to do. If all are to do the same thing, there is no need to tell each one separately.

        2. Tells the squad where he is going to be. When he is to be at a distance from the squad, he tells them exactly where he will be. For example: "I will be ahead of the squad, with the scouts, in those bushes" (pointing to them).

      1. Squad leaders can most effectively give instructions to their squads under cover. It is very difficult to communicate instructions and insure their execution after the squads have occupied the firing position.


    1. Movement to attack.--The squad usually moves from the assembly area to the area from which it is to start its attack under control of the platoon leader or company commander. This movement is a continuation of the approach march. (See par. 142.) The platoon leader's attack order will direct that the squad start its attack on a prescribed signal or at a specified time. The squad may be directed to attack from a certain small area or from the vicinity of a certain point. The squad must be in its assigned place, ready to move forward or commence firing, at the prescribed time. Sometimes, however, the squad is directed to cross a certain road or other "line of departure" on a prescribed signal or at a specified time. In this situation, the squad should be held under cover a short distance in rear of the designated line until just before the time of attack. If possible, the start of its movement should be so timed that, without halting, its leading man crosses the line at the specified moment.

    2. Fire and movement.--

      1. Unless otherwise ordered by the platoon leader, the squad leader permits his squad to open fire only when fire action is necessary to cover a further advance. At the first firing position, the squad seeks to gain fire superiority over the enemy to its front. Fire superiority is gained by subjecting the enemy to fire of such accuracy and intensity that his fire becomes so inaccurate or so reduced in volume as to be ineffective; once gained, it must be maintained. Unless supporting weapons or other units are able to maintain fire superiority without any help from the squad, enough members of the squad must remain in position and continue the fire to maintain it. The automatic


        rifle's capacity for putting down a large volume of fire makes it especially useful for this purpose. Meanwhile, other members of the squad move forward, take up firing positions closer to the enemy, and, by their fire, cover the forward movement of the rearward members. By this combination of fire and movement, the squad advances close enough to capture the hostile position by assault. (See pars. 145 and 146.)

      1. When the squad begins firing, the method of its further advance is determined by the effectiveness of the hostile fire and by the terrain features affording cover. The squad must take advantage of every irregularity of the ground to provide protection against hostile fire. Complete fire superiority is required for men to advance over open ground in the face of an unbeaten enemy. The squad can advance as a unit only when completely defiladed from hostile small-arms fire or when the hostile fire is kept neutralized by the fire of other units or of supporting weapons. Therefore, the squad usually works forward by irregular or successive advances of individuals.

      2. Rushes by individuals or small groups are used to move from cover to cover across short stretches of terrain. Even in very open terrain the well-trained rifleman will be able to locate and use all kinds of limited cover, such as slight depressions or rises. However, in very open areas, an advance will usually necessitate overwhelming fire superiority with consequent longer bounds between firing positions. To leave a covered position, make a short rush, and drop into a position which affords no protection from enemy ground fire, serves only to increase losses without commensurate gain.

      3. The automatic rifleman supports the rapid advance of other members of the squad from flank positions. Because of the difficulty of maintaining an adequate supply of ammunition, the fire of automatic rifles is conserved to the actual needs of the situation. Thus, when the fires of individual riflemen serve to accomplish the desired effect, they are used in preference to the automatic rifle.

      4. The squad increases its rate of fire during periods when any part of it or of an adjacent squad is in movement.


      1. When the squad leader decides to advance with certain individuals, he turns command of the remaining men over to the assistant squad leader. The assistant squad leader causes the remaining men to advance on his orders. The squad leader decides whether the automatic rifleman will accompany him in the first group of individuals or remain under the control of the assistant squad leader. In other situations, the squad leader may direct that his assistant control the advance of the first few individuals, while the squad leader remains in his present position. Exceptionally, when the squad is able to advance in a single rush, the squad leader gives the necessary commands. The intensity of the hostile resistance and the available cover will indicate which method should be used.

        1. In moving forward from one firing position to another, and if a defiladed area is available behind the new position, the men are halted in rear of it. The squad leader creeps forward quickly to locate and observe the target, and to decide where to place the individual members of his squad. First he selects a position for the automatic rifleman; then he decides how and where to employ his riflemen. He requires the men to move forward and observe the target with a minimum of exposure and gives his preliminary fire orders (sight setting and description of the target). He then commands "fire position," and his men crawl to a position from which they can open fire on the target at the leader's signal. The squad leader then orders or signals "commence firing."

        2. When this method cannot be followed, the squad leader may designate the new firing position to the first individuals to advance, send them forward, and thereafter build up the new firing line with other men as they arrive. At times it may be necessary to advance to a new firing position merely by signaling "forward" to individuals or groups in the squad and then leaving it up to the leading element to select the new firing position.

    1. Position and duties of squad leader.--

      1. During the fire fight, the primary duty of the squad leader is to place the fire of his squad on the target. He enforces fire discipline. The squad leader takes a position from which he can best control his men and observe the effect of their fire. In selecting


        his position, he considers the necessity of maintaining contact with the platoon leader. At times, on account of the noise and confusion of battle, the leader may have to go to the firing line and move from man to man to give instructions. He fires only in emergency, or when he considers that the fire power to be gained by his firing outweighs the necessity for his close control of his squad. Experienced soldiers may be designated to supervise the fire discipline of the two or three men in their immediate vicinity.

      1. When the squad leader cannot personally maintain effective control over the fire of the squad as a whole, he may retain control over a portion and temporarily delegate control over the remainder to the assistant squad leader.

      2. He requires that firing be limited to enemy troops or those positions (small areas) where enemy troops are known or believed to be located.

      3. He looks ahead for firing positions which his squad can use as the platoon moves forward.

      4. He seeks a position for his automatic rifleman which permits flanking fire to be delivered on any target across the entire squad front.

      5. He is constantly on the alert to advance his squad to a location nearer the enemy.

      6. He is responsible for maintaining contact with the platoon leader at all times; he may delegate this duty to the assistant squad leader.

      7. He prevents the members of his squad from becoming so widely separated that he loses control.

      8. He prevents several men from bunching behind cover suitable for only one man. Isolated trees, stumps, bushes, or other well-defined objects should be avoided.

      9. He observes the location of units on his flanks and makes a prompt report to the platoon leader whenever wide gaps occur in the attacking echelon.

      10. During lulls in the fight, the squad leader checks ammunition and has ammunition collected from the dead and wounded.

      11. In the absence of instructions from the platoon leader, particularly during the last stages of the fire fight, the squad leader may often have to attack important or dangerous targets without orders.


      1. He resists by fire sudden attacks from the flanks.

      2. If the squad becomes separated from its platoon, he makes every effort to locate and join the nearest friendly troops. The squad leader then takes orders from the leader of these troops. At the first favorable opportunity the squad is released and rejoins its platoon.

    1. Position and duties of assistant squad leader.--The assistant squad leader's position is not fixed; he takes position where he can best assist the squad leader and be prepared to protect the squad from tank attack. He usually assists in enforcing fire discipline, controlling the fire, supervising the replenishment of ammunition, and maintaining contact with the platoon leader. He may be required to fire caliber .30 ammunition when the squad leader believes his fire is necessary. He is always prepared to fire antitank rifle grenades on hostile tanks coming within range.

  1. ASSAULT.--The assault is delivered on orders, on signal of the platoon leader, or on the initiative of the squad leader. It is delivered at the earliest moment that promises success and without regard to the progress of adjacent squads. The squad approaches the hostile resistance by keeping as close as practicable to the supporting fires. When these fires are lifted, the squad may employ assault fire to prevent the enemy from manning his position. In the final stage of the assault the hostile position is overrun in a single rush with the bayonet. Against an intrenched enemy, the final charge may be preceded by a hand-grenade volley.

  2. ASSAULT FIRE.--Assault fire is the fire delivered by a unit during its assault on a hostile position. Automatic riflemen and riflemen, with bayonets fixed, all taking full advantage of existing cover such as tanks, boulders, trees, walls, and mounds, advance rapidly toward the enemy and fire as they advance at areas known or believed to be occupied by hostile personnel. Such fire is usually delivered from the standing position and is executed at a rapid rate.

  3. REORGANIZATON.--After a successful assault, the squad leader reorganizes his squad and prepares to advance or to repel hostile counterattacks. (See par. 108e.)



    1. Before the attack, the squad leader of a squad in support informs his men of the situation and proposed action of the platoon. He advances his squad in accordance with the orders or signals of the platoon leader or platoon sergeant, keeping it under cover as far as practicable, and preventing it from merging with the attacking squads.

    2. When directed to reinforce the attacking squads, he points out the positions of the enemy and of the attacking squads. He indicates the part of the line to be reinforced and prepares the squad for a rush (see FM 22-5), extending intervals if necessary.

    3. If ordered to attack a definitely located hostile resistance from a flank, the squad leader locates a departure position for the attack and the best-covered route of approach thereto. He then moves the squad, preceded when necessary by scouts, to the position selected, and endeavors to overwhelm the enemy by opening surprise fire and delivering the assault from an unexpected direction.


  1. GENERAL.--The platoon leader's defense order assigns to the rifle squad the general trace of the line to be occupied, a specific sector of fire, and general locations and principal directions of fire for the automatic rifleman and the antitank rifle grenadier. The location of each member of the squad and the assignment of individual sectors of fire is a function of the squad leader. As soon as the squad reaches the position, the automatic rifle is set up and prepared to fire. (See fig. 19.)

  2. SQUAD DEFENSE ORDER.--Upon receipt of the platoon defense order the squad leader looks over his areas and notes the locations of adjacent squads and any supporting weapons for which he must provide close protection. He then issues his order to the squad. The order covers:

    1. The enemy situation.

    2. Location of adjacent squads and supporting weapons.

    3. The extent of the squad area and sector of fire.


    1. General location for each member of the squad.

    2. Location of command posts of the platoon and company.


    1. The squad leader then has each man lie down in a firing position. Individuals are placed at least five yards apart. He then adjusts their positions until each man is able to cover the desired sector of fire. Minor clearing is accomplished in the immediate foreground and foxholes or slit trenches are constructed. (See appendix I.)

    2. The squad leader assigns a sector of fire to each firing member of his squad. Adjacent individual sectors of fire overlap. The field of fire of the weapon on the extreme flank of the squad includes the front of the adjacent squad.

    3. The automatic rifle is located where it can accomplish the mission assigned by the platoon leader. The sector of fire for the automatic rifle includes the squad sector of fire and the front of adjacent squads. (See par. 118.)

    4. After the squad digs in, the squad leader examines his position from the direction of the enemy to check on individual camouflage. Special emphasis is placed on concealing the position from both ground and air observation.

    5. To expedite the opening of fire, ranges are estimated to the most important landmarks in the squad sector of fire.

    6. The squad leader takes position where he can best observe the squad area and exercise control. He posts the assistant squad leader where he can cover with his antitank rifle grenades the most favorable approach for hostile tanks, and assist in exercising control.

    7. As time and other duties permit, the squad leader prepares in duplicate a rough sketch of the squad's sector of fire showing prominent terrain features with the estimated ranges thereto. He submits the sketch to the platoon leader and retains a copy for his own use.



    1. During a hostile preparatory bombardment the squad takes cover in its prepared positions. As soon as the artillery fire or aerial bombing lifts, firing positions are taken to meet the hostile attack. Fire is withheld


      until the enemy comes within effective rifle range (500 yards).

    1. Members of the squad open fire upon an approaching enemy on command of the squad leader, given in accordance with the platoon leader's orders. The success of the defense depends upon each squad defending in place. If enemy riflemen enter the squad area, they are driven out by fire, grenades, and the bayonet. A stubborn defense in place by front-line squads breaks up enemy attack formations, and makes him vulnerable to counterattacks by higher units. The squad withdraws only on orders of a higher commander.

  1. NIGHT WITHDRAWAL.--In a night withdrawal, the squad leader withdraws his men at the designated time direct to the rear and assembles them in the first position which affords cover. He then forms squad column and conducts the squad to the platoon assembly area. (See par. 86.)

  2. DAYLIGHT WITHDRAWAL.--When the squad is ordered to withdraw during daylight, individuals are sent to the rear, thinning out the squad as rapidly as possible; those left in position cover this withdrawal. The squad leader withdraws with the last man of the squad, usually the automatic rifleman. The men retire from cover to cover, taking advantage of defiladed routes. The assistant squad leader, or a designated member of the squad, assembles the squad as rapidly as possible at the platoon assembly area.


  1. GENERAL.--The rifle squad may be detailed to provide security for a larger unit, to perform reconnaissance missions, or to defend obstacles. The rifle squad or fraction thereof, in performing security or reconnaissance missions, may be classified either as a security patrol or as a reconnaissance patrol. (See FM 7-5, 21-45, 21-100, and 22-5.)


    1. General.--In order to perform their missions, security patrols usually are required to fight when they gain contact with hostile forces. Therefore the half-squad on a security patrol mission often includes the


      automatic rifleman. Security patrols regulate their movement with reference to the unit they are protecting. Such patrols are further classified as follows:

      1. Point of advance, flank, or rear guard.

      2. Flank security patrol.

      3. Connecting group.

      4. March outpost.

      5. Outguards.

    1. Point of advance guard.--

      1. The point is the name given the few infantrymen (usually a rifle squad or half-squad) sent forward by the advance party. Motorized reconnaissance and security elements from higher units usually precede the point.

      2. The point of an advance guard moves along the axis of advance; it gives warning of the presence of any enemy that may have eluded motorized or mechanized covering forces; and prevents an enemy in the immediate vicinity of the route of march from opening surprise fire on the troops in rear.

      3. The point precedes the advance party by a distance varying with the nature of the terrain, but usually, not exceeding 300 yards. To permit control by the squad leader, reduce the danger from hostile small-arms fire, and facilitate prompt fire action toward the front or either flank, the point marches in column of twos with one file on each side of the road and with a minimum of 5 paces between individuals. Two scouts precede the point by 50 to 100 yards. The squad leader may go wherever his presence is demanded, usually near the head of the point. The assistant squad leader marches at the tail of the point.

      4. The point fires on all hostile elements within effective rifle range. The presence of a distant enemy, beyond effective rifle range, is reported by the signal, "enemy in sight"; the point continues to advance until within effective range; it then opens fire and endeavors to drive the enemy off. When forced by enemy fire to stop, or when unable to drive off the enemy, the point holds its position and covers the action of the advance party. Rapid, aggressive movement and fire action by the point not only may drive off small enemy groups, but may force a large enemy group to commit itself to fire


        action and disclose its dispositions; and thus materially assist the rapid and effective employment of the advance party.

      1. The point observes toward the front and flanks, but executes no flank reconnaissance.

      2. Except to open fire, the point stops only when so ordered by the advance party commander. When the column halts, the point sends forward one or more observers to guard against surprise attack. (See par. 128.)

    1. Point of flank guard.--The point of a flank guard performs its missions in accordance with the instructions of the platoon leader, and in a manner similar to that prescribed for the point of an advance guard. (See par. 95.)

    2. Point of rear guard.--

      1. The rear point is the name given to the few infantrymen (usually a rifle squad or half-squad) farthest to the rear in a column on the march. It is detailed from the rear party. (See par. 129.)

      2. The dispositions of a rear point are similar to those of a point of an advance guard, in reverse order.

      3. The rear point stops to fire only when enemy action threatens to interfere with the march. It signals the rear party commander when the enemy is observed.

      4. The rear point can expect no reinforcement from other troops. When the enemy presses closely, other troops take up a position farther to the rear; the rear point, when forced back, withdraws around a flank or designated route so as not to mask their fire.

    3. Connecting files.--

      1. Connecting files are furnished by the larger units to keep contact with the next smaller unit in the direction of the enemy.

      2. Connecting flies pass forward all orders and messages received from the unit sending them out. They halt only on orders or signals from that unit, or when the smaller unit halts. They pass back to the larger unit no signals except "enemy in sight," and special signals previously agreed upon.

      3. If a connecting file consists of one man, he looks alternately to the rear and to the front for signals. When the connecting file consists of two men (double connecting file), one man looks to the rear for signals, the other to the front;


        and they remain near enough to each other to communicate by voice.

    1. Flank security patrol.--

      1. General.--

        1. Throughout the various phases of an attack, as well as in defense, a rifle squad or half-squad may be sent out as a flank security patrol. Such a patrol may be told to go to a certain place, or simply to move generally abreast of the attacking echelon. (See pars. 17i and 21f.)

        2. If the patrol is to remain for a time at one locality, the leader selects, and has prepared, one or more firing positions for each man, to insure all-around defense. The half-squad posts one man to observe; the squad usually posts two men; another man watches for signals from the unit whose flank is being protected. The remainder of the patrol remains under cover, ready to go immediately to the selected firing positions.

        3. If the patrol is not directed to a specific location, the leader must choose a position from which he can protect the flank of his unit by holding off the enemy, or at least by giving warning of his approach.

        4. In the absence of instructions, the patrol leader moves his patrol so as to protect the flank of the unit sending him out. He selects routes and successive positions which enable him to perform his mission and at the same time to maintain contact with the unit protected. He details one or more men to observe constantly for signals, and informs his commander of his movements and plans, by messengers or visual signals.

      2. On the march.--

        1. A rifle squad or half-squad is often detailed to act as a flank security patrol for a unit on the march. The squad leader is given orders either to go to a designated locality, remain for a specified time and then rejoin the column, or to march along a certain route or at a specified distance to the flank. (See par. 95.) Flank patrols may be required to move an equal distance in a shorter time than the main body, or a longer distance in the same time. Therefore, when vehicles are available, it may be highly desirable to provide them with motor transportation.

        2. The patrol moves so as to prevent the enemy from placing small-arms fire on the column within midrange


          (400-600 yards). It investigates areas likely to conceal hostile elements and locations which might permit good observation by the enemy on and near the route of the patrol. It observes from commanding ground and moves rapidly from point to point so as to keep between the protected unit and possible locations of hostile elements.

        1. Hostile elements are reported by signal or messenger; large forces advancing toward the main body are reported both by signal and messenger. Hostile patrols moving away from the main body are reported but are not fired on; all other hostile forces within effective range are immediately attacked by fire. If the enemy opens fire either on the patrol or on the column, the patrol determines his strength and dispositions, and reports these promptly to the column commander. Meanwhile, the patrol resists to the last man an enemy attack on the column, unless ordered to withdraw.

        2. Contact with the patrol is maintained by the commander of the unit sending it out.

    1. Connecting group.--

      1. A rifle squad, half-squad, or smaller fraction sent to the flank of a company or platoon to keep in contact with the unit on that flank is called a connecting group. It moves and operates so that it knows at all times the location of the near flank of each unit with which it is keeping contact.

      2. If an adjacent unit falls behind, immediate report should be made to the commander who sent out the group. The connecting group may be divided into two smaller patrols in order to cover the widened interval and maintain contact with both units.

      3. If contact with the adjacent unit is lost, a report of that fact is made immediately by messenger to the commander who sent out the group. Unless ordered to return, the group remains out to protect the flank and becomes a flank security patrol. (See pars. 17i, 21f, 95, and f(1) above.)

      4. While maintaining contact, the connecting group fires only for self-protection or to give warning of a flank attack by the enemy.

    2. March outpost.--When detailed as a march outpost and assigned an area of observation, a squad leader places his squad under cover so as to maintain thorough observation


      of his area. Men are assigned to reliefs to insure alert observation. (See par. 99 and i below.)

    1. Outguards.--

      1. A squad, or a portion thereof, may be detailed as an outguard of an outpost for bivouac area. (See par. 96.) The support commander prescribes the posts of the outguard and the number of sentinels. Sentinels are designated as "Sentinel No.        , Outguard No.        , Support No.        

      2. The outguard commander selects the posts for sentinels covering his sector of observation. During the day they are placed primarily to observe; at night, to listen. At night it may be necessary to change the positions of the sentinels. Any talking at night must be in whispers.

      3. Sentinels are given the following information:

        1. As to enemy:

          1. Direction.

          2. Patrol or other activity in the area.

          3. Special sector to watch.

        2. As to own troops:

          1. Location of the support and outguards to the right and left, and number of his relief.

          2. Any patrols which have gone out and will return through his post.

          3. Where prisoners are to be taken and where messages are to be sent.

        3. Special signals, such as gas alarm and countersigns.

        4. Names of features of military importance, such as roads, villages, or streams.

      4. Members of the outguard not posted as sentinels rest nearby under cover (natural cover if available, otherwise individual protective trenches) but remain fully equipped and close to their weapons.

      5. The outguard commander is told what to do if the enemy attacks. When his orders direct that he resist a hostile attack, he causes individual firing emplacements to be dug.


    1. Reconnaissance patrols are used primarily to secure information, maintain contact with the enemy, or observe terrain. They usually consist of a leader and three to five men. They avoid unnecessary


      combat and accomplish their mission by stealth. They engage in fire fights only when necessary for the successful accomplishment of their mission or to protect themselves. They regulate their movements and locations with reference to their mission, and are not required to maintain contact with the unit which they serve. Automatic riflemen should not ordinarily be detailed with reconnaissance patrols, because such a mission requires mobility and stealth rather than fire power.

    1. Orders to the patrol leader state the information of the enemy, mission, objective, general routes to be followed, the outpost or other security elements through which the patrol is to pass, time of return, and place where messages are to be sent or the patrol is to report. If the patrol is to return at a point different from its exit from the friendly lines, friendly troops at that point must be informed. Orders often are given to the entire patrol unless it is led by an officer.

    2. Prior to departure, the patrol leader studies a map and the terrain, and selects a suitable route. He designates alternate leaders, informs the men of the situation, mission of the patrol, terrain to be crossed, individual tasks, special signals, and the assembly point in case the patrol is forced to separate. He prescribes what items of clothing are to be left behind and insures that each man carries a full canteen of water and the necessary rations. He inspects the patrol to insure that arms and equipment will not glisten or rattle, and that no letters or documents are carried. On leaving the friendly lines, the patrol leader informs the nearest outguard or front-line unit of his proposed route and obtains available information concerning the enemy and friendly patrols operating in the vicinity.

    3. A reconnaissance patrol usually advances by bounds from one covered position to another. (See fig. 20.) Bounds are short near the enemy. When approaching a dangerous area, the patrol leader sends a scout ahead, while the others cover his advance. The scout signals "forward" if all is clear and remains in observation while the rest of the patrol advances.


      1. In searching woods, the patrol moves in a thin skirmish line. The interior of the woods is carefully reconnoitered by successive advances to clearings or trail junctions.

Figure 20
Distribution of patrol halted in observation.


      1. A patrol usually moves along the heights on one or both sides of ravine or cut. If necessary to pass through a defile, the patrol adopts a staggered formation and keeps close to the sides. (See fig. 21.) If the distance to be traversed is

Figure 21
Formation of patrol passing through village.


        short, a scout is sent to the far side to observe; the remainder of the patrol does not enter the defile until he signals "forward." If the distance is too great or observation is limited, a scout moves by bounds at least 150 yards ahead of the patrol.

      1. Before a stream is crossed, the opposite bank is carefully observed. A scout crosses first; the other members of the patrol cover his advance and cross after he has made a brief reconnaissance. (See fig. 22.)

      2. On approaching a cross road, a patrol halts and sends scouts to the flanks to reconnoiter the side roads. The patrol advances when all is reported clear.

      1. By day, patrols are usually controlled by arm-and-hand signals and oral orders. By night, they are controlled by voice and by prearranged sound signals.

      2. Success in night patrolling depends largely upon the ability to move silently and maintain direction and control. Before starting, the patrol leader determines the compass direction and location of prominent objects near his route. In planning the route, he endeavors to avoid terrain features which hinder movement. Dispositions are similar to those adopted during daylight, but distances and intervals are reduced. (See fig. 23.)

    1. Prearranged signals, audible for only a short distance, such as rustling of paper, snapping the edge of a matchbox with the finger nail, or tapping the helmet, are used to control the patrol. Oral orders and whispering are limited to emergencies. Signals to stop the patrol and move it forward are often given by the leading scout but may be given by any member in an emergency. Whoever halts the patrol is responsible for starting it again. A check-up signal, given by the patrol leader to verify the presence of all men, is answered according to a prearranged plan.

    2. If a patrol is attacked, the man who first notes the danger calls out, "front," "right," "left," or "rear." All members face toward the man attacked. The men on the flanks advance a short distance straight ahead and then close on the enemy from the flanks. The patrol leader and any men with him rush the enemy. During the combat, the members of the patrol repeat their recognition signals.


Figure 22
Method of approaching house and of crossing stream.


Figure 23
Difference between correct routes over same ground by day and by night.


      The patrol leader designates a get-away man to stay out of the fight so that he can return with the information obtained in case the other members of the patrol are killed or captured.

    1. The patrol leader decides whether information gained is to be sent back at once by messenger or reported on the return of the patrol. An example of a message which a patrol leader might send back is shown in figure 24. After

Figure 24
Example of message.

      the message is written, the patrol leader points out to the messenger the location of the stone fence, woods, and machine guns. He then is told what the patrol leader intends to do. This sketch can be made quickly and requires no special ability. It contains all necessary information. If the commanding officer of Company A wants to know what the patrol leader intends doing, the messenger can supply the


Figure 25
Night ambush.


      information. Thus, if the messenger and the message are captured by an enemy patrol there is nothing in the message to indicate where the patrol is now located. To have written "squad will remain at B" invites capture.

    1. Since many night patrols are sent out to capture prisoners and execute tasks which may require combat, each patrol rehearses plans for night combat and laying ambushes until it is highly proficient. (See fig. 25.) Only through repeated rehearsals and training can each member of the patrol learn to do his part unhesitatingly and correctly, and thus gain confidence in the ability of the patrol as a unit. Failure to do this results in heavy losses.


    1. A rifle squad, reinforced, frequently is detailed to cover an obstacle with fire. The members of the squad are so placed that they can sweep the outer edges of the obstacle by flanking fire.

    2. When the squad is protecting a mine field, the squad leader establishes a warning patrol over the mine field area to prevent damage to friendly vehicles.

    3. The men protecting the obstacle are concealed from hostile observation, and are placed at such distance from the obstacle as to be outside the zone of dispersion of artillery fire or dive bombing directed at the obstacle (200 to 400 yards). (See par. 131a(2).)


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