aviation support usually provided by the Marine Air
Group (MAG). Coordination between the companies
A well-developed defense plan includes mutual
is also critical. The fire of the squad forces the enemy
support from adjacent units. Seabee units are
to slowdown and deploy, thus creating a target for the
normally attached to an MAGTF and have a variety of
mortar crew of the battalion, adjacent companies, or
mutual support. However, conditions, created by
supporting weapons. This makes the squads a key
element in a coordinated fire plan.
wide unit separation, increase the problem of
achieving mutual support. Support of adjacent units
COORDINATED BARRIER PLAN
by fire can be hampered by distances that exceed the
ranges of the supporting units organic weapons and
Using barriers, either natural or man-made,
must be considered when seeking mutual support.
can channel, direct, restrict, or stop enemy
Mutual support becomes critical when conducting a
movement. The effective use of barbed wire and
convoy. Normally the convoy will travel out of range
concertina, claymore mines, antitank mines, and
from a Seabee unit's organic weapons, so mutual
antipersonnel mines, and the effective use of the
support from adjacent units becomes critical.
terrain add to the defense of the battalion.
Natural obstacles must be exploited. The creation
or exploitation of barriers must be coordinated at
all echelons of the command.
Although the platoon commander positions the
squads toward the expected direction of an enemy
attack the platoon must be prepared to defend against
an attack from any direction. The possibility of
A platoon commander must continually develop
multi-direction enemy attacks, including
various courses of action to meet the enemy threat.
helicopterborne or airborne attack, increases the
Being flexible is to ask yourself, What should I do if
importance of this principle. All-around defense is
the enemy does this?
best achieved by early warning and the rapid shifting
of platoons into supplementary fighting positions to
counter a developing attack. The topic of fighting
positions is discussed further in this chapter. Early
Normally in a defensive situation, squads are
warning capability provided by air defense elements
limited to how spread out they are over a wide area.
of the Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) can provide
Firing positions are assigned and should be close
defense against helicopterborne or airborne attacks.
enough to provide interlocking fire. They should not
be close enough so an enemy machine gun or mortar
can wipe out an entire fire team or an entire squad.
The degree of dispersion will be influenced primarily
Maximum defense in depth is required to absorb
by the mission and by the following:
an enemy attack within the battle area. Defense in
depth applies to the squad level by engaging the enemy
at maximum small-arms range as it advances and
Friendly and enemy air situation
continuing this fire until the enemy has been stopped.
The requirement for depth is increased when the
Mobility of opposing forces
enemy is superior in mobility or has the capability of
Enemy nuclear capability
destroying or rupturing defensive positions by using
nuclear weapons. Organized in-depth positions must
Responsiveness of friendly nuclear and
control key terrain, block avenues of approach, reduce
conventional fire support
the defender's vulnerability to nuclear weapons, and
USE OF TIME AVAILABLE
assist the maneuver of the reserve troops.
COORDINATED FIRE PLAN
Since the defender can examine the terrain in
detail and plan its best use, every effort is made to
Coordination of all fire from weapons organic and
prepare the defense in advance. The time available for
planning and preparing for the defense will influence
supporting the battalion is considered. Included in a
coordinated fire plan is naval gunfire and tactical