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February 2018


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    Typical infantry defensive positions

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    Typical infantry defensive positions

    Post by 33lima on Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:18 pm

    The diagram below illustrates what a typical infantry defensive position should look like. It's from a WW2 US War Department publication - but the layout is as relevant today as it was in WW2, although man-portable A/T weapons have largely taken the place of the infantry's towed Anti-Tank guns. It's also relevant to tank sims, especially for mission design.

    The diagram shows a battalion position but is just as representative of larger (regiment/brigade) or smaller (platoon or section) positions.

    The notation usually used for these diagrams is:

    XXX - Corps
    XX   - Division
    X     - Brigade

    III  - Regiment
    II   - Battalion
    I    - Company

    ...  - Platoon
    ..   - Section/Squad

    Looking at the diagram, the three dots ( ... ) on the small ovals show that these are platoon positions (each with three MGs); the single dash ( I ) on the medium-sized ovals show that these ovals mark company positions; and the double dashes ( II ) on the outer oval show that this marks a battalion position.

    Points to note:

    - the main consideration is that the anti-tank guns are sited to cover the likely tank approaches, with the infantry being sited to cover the A/T guns;

    - as is usual, deployment is 'two up' - each company has two of its three rifle platoons forward and one rifle platoon back. Similarly, the battalion has two companies forward and one back. Though not shown on this diagram, within each platoon position, it would be the same - each platoon would have two sections forward, and one back (roughly where the MG symbols are);

    - the frontages: in this case for a battalion in the defence, about 1600 meters, with each forward platoon having about 800m and each forward section about 400m - these are typical unit frontages;

    - the fact that the 'two up' deployment means that the whole position is sited in depth, not with everyone in the 'front line';

    - the fact the position - though oriented to face the most likely tank advance - is also sited so as to be capable of all-round defence;

    Depth and all-round defence are two of the most important principles in siting defensive positions!

    Note also that:

    - to attack a battalion position like this, you would want to do so with at least a regiment (British brigade) - that is, three times the strength of the enemy. Less than that, and you are just asking for a beating. Better kit and better troops help, but only up to a point - 'numbers are a basic driver', as one USAF officer was quoted;

    - this sort of position is best sited on a reverse slope, so that it cannot be seen by an advancing enemy until his lead elements come over the crest and are engaged and destroyed at close range, while the rear elements and artillery observers can see little or nothing. Even well camouflaged, positions on a forward slope are liable to be picked off by long-range direct or indirect fire, once they have revealed themselves.

    - not shown are mines and obstacles, which would be placed ahead of the battalion positions, where they can be covered by fire - obstacles that are not covered by fire are easily cleared.

      Current date/time is Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:42 am