Actions at Danger Areas

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A danger area is any place on a route where the leader's estimate process tells him that his platoon might be exposed to enemy observation, fire, or both. Plato ons try to avoid danger areas. If a platoon must cross a danger area, it does so with great caution and as quickly as possible. a. Types of Danger Areas. The following are some examples of danger areas and cr ossing procedures. (1) Open areas. Conceal the platoon on the near side and observe the area. Post security to give early warning.
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  A danger area is any place on a route where the leader's estimate process tellshim that his platoon might be exposed to enemy observation, fire, or both. Platoons try to avoid danger areas. If a platoon must cross a danger area, it does sowith great caution and as quickly as possible.a. Types of Danger Areas. The following are some examples of danger areas and crossing procedures.(1) Open areas. Conceal the platoon on the near side and observe the area. Postsecurity to give early warning. Send an element across to clear the far side. When cleared, cross the remainder of the platoon at the shortest exposed distanceand as quickly as possible.(2) Roads and trails. Cross roads or trails at or near a bend, a narrow spot, oron low ground.(3) Villages. Pass villages on the downwind side and well away from them. Avoidanimals, especially dogs, which might reveal the presence of the platoon.(4) Enemy positions. Pass on the downwind side (the enemy might have scout dogs). Be alert for trip wires and warning devices.(5) Minefields. Bypass minefields if at all possible--even if it requires changing the route by a great distance. Clear a path through minefields only if necessary.(6) Streams. Select a narrow spot in the stream that offers concealment on bothbanks. Observe the far side carefully. Emplace near and far-side security for early warning. Clear the far side, then cross rapidly but quietly.(7) Wire obstacles. Avoid wire obstacles (the enemy covers obstacles with observation and fire).b. Crossing of Danger Areas. When the platoon crosses a danger area independently or as the lead element of a larger force, it must--* Designate near- and far-side rally points.* Secure the near side (right, left flanks, and rear security).* Reconnoiter and secure the far side.* Execute crossing the danger area.(1) The platoon leader or squad leader decides how the unit will cross based onthe time he has, the size of the unit, the size of the danger area, the fields of fire into the area, and the amount of security he can post. A small unit may cross all at once, in buddy teams, or one soldier at a time. A large unit normally crosses its elements one at a time. As each element crosses, it moves to an overwatch position or to the far-side rally point until told to continue movement.(2) To maintain momentum, trailing platoons normally cross the danger area without conducting their own reconnaissance or establishing far-side security. The lead platoon conducts reconnaissance and maintains far-side security for the wholeforce.NOTE: The secured area must be large enough to allow the full deployment of theremainder of the unit.c. Crossing of linear Danger Areas (Platoon). The platoon crosses the danger area in the formation and location specified by the platoon leader. On the far sideof the danger area, platoon personnel and equipment are accounted for. The platoon continues the mission.  (1) When the lead team signals danger area (relayed throughout the platoon), the platoon halts.(2) The platoon leader moves forward, confirms the danger area, and determines what technique the platoon will use to cross. The platoon sergeant also moves forward to the platoon leader.(3) The platoon leader informs all squad leaders of the situation and the near-side and far-side rally points.(4) The platoon sergeant directs positioning of the near-side security (usuallyconducted by the trail squad). These two security teams may follow him forward when the platoon halts and a danger area signal is passed back.(5) The platoon leader reconnoiters the danger area and selects the crossing point that provides the best cover and concealment.(6) Near-side security observes to the flanks and overwatches the crossing.(7) When the near-side security is in place, the platoon leader directs the far-side security team to cross the danger area.(8) The far-side security team clears the far side.(9) The far-side security team leader establishes an OP forward of the cleared area.(10) The far-side security team signals to the squad leader that the area is clear. The squad leader relays the message to the platoon leader.(11) The platoon leader selects the method the platoon will use to cross the danger area.(12) The platoon quickly and quietly crosses the danger area.(13) Once across the danger area, the main body begins moving slowly on the required azimuth.(14) The near-side security element, controlled by the platoon sergeant, crossesthe danger area where the platoon crossed. They may attempt to cover any tracksleft by the platoon.(15) The platoon sergeant ensures everyone crosses and sends up the report.(16) The platoon leader ensures accountability and resumes movement at normal speed.NOTE: The same principles stated above are used when crossing a smaller unit across a danger area.d. Crossing of Large Open Areas. This is an area so large that the platoon cannot bypass due to the time to accomplish the mission. A combination of traveling overwatch and bounding overwatch is used to cross the open area. The traveling overwatch technique is used to save time. At any point in the open area where contact may be expected or once the squad or platoon comes within range of small-arms fire of the far side (about 250 meters), the squad or platoon moves using thebounding overwatch technique. Once beyond the open area, the squad or platoon reforms and continues the mission.  e. Crossing of Small Open Areas. This is an open area small enough so that it may be bypassed in the time allowed for the mission. Two techniques can be used:(1) Detour bypass method. By the use of 90-degree turns to the right or left, the squad or platoon moves around the open area until the far side is reached, then continues the mission. The pace count of the offset and return legs is not added to the distance of the planned route.(2) Contouring around the open area. The leader designates a rally point on thefar side with the movement azimuth, decides which side of the open area to contour around (after considering the distance, terrain, cover and concealment), andmoves around the open area. He uses the wood line and vegetation for cover and concealment. When the squad or platoon arrives at the rally point on the far side, the leader reassumes the azimuth to the objective area and continues the mission.f. Enemy Contact at Danger Areas. If the platoon makes enemy contact in or around the danger area such as contact on the far side:1. The recon element makes contact.2. Flank security fires on enemy.3. Main body takes overwatch position and fires on enemy.4. Security and recon elements return to main body.5. Smoke and indirect fire used to break contact.6. The platoon moves to different place to cross danger area; or7. Reorganizes and assaults enemy.If the platoon makes contact on a road or trail:Flank security warns the platoon, everyone freezes and lets the enemy pass. - or-1. If spotted, security team blocks enemy with weapon fire.2. The leader decides whether to cross road or stay on near side.3. Security team not in contact moves back to main body.4. The platoon crosses road, moves into overwatch position, and fires on the enemy.5. Security team in contact breaks contact, crosses road where platoon crossed,and joins main body.6. Smoke or indirect fire is used to break contact and the platoon moves out ofthe area; -or-7. Reorganizes and assaults enemy.If the platoon makes contact on near side.1. Flank security teams fire in the direction of the enemy.2. The platoon moves quickly across danger area.3. The platoon sets up overwatch position.4. Security teams cross danger area and rejoin platoon.5. Smoke or indirect fire can and should be used.6. The platoon moves out of area; -or-7. Platoon reorganizes and assaults enemy.NOTE: Squads react to contact the same as platoons.
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