The platoon column makes control easier and action
to the flanks favorable. It uses minimum firepower in a
forward direction and is useful when speed and control
are governing factors and when visibility is limited. The
platoon column is suitable for advancing through
narrow, covered avenues of approach with maximum
speed and control.
The platoon wedge makes control easier, provides
good all-around security, and is extremely flexible. It
permits reasonable firepower to both the front and the
flanks. When the enemy is known to be in the area but
his exact strength and location are unknown or not clear,
the platoon wedge should be used. Also, it is useful when
the terrain and visibility require a greater dispersion of
the platoon. The wedge tends to keep the bulk of the
platoon from becoming engaged with the enemy too
Figure 4-22.--Rifle platoon formations.
soon. It also permits flexibility in the employment of
squads when contact is established.
majority of these changes. Notice that the first fire team
is used as a pivot for all formations and that the other
fire teams take the most direct route to their new
The platoon vee uses movement into the platoon
location. Although any formation shown can also be
line formation (fig. 4-22). The platoon vee provides
used to show the opposite movement, remember that all
excellent firepower to both the front and the flanks, and
movement is to the front. For example, figure 4-21, view
it is useful primarily when the strength of the enemy and
1, shows a squad column moving to the squad line. To
their location to the front are known. The platoon vee is
move from the squad line back into the squad column,
easy to control and provides good security but is less
fire teams two and three would not move to the rear and
maneuverable than the wedge.
fall in behind team one. Instead, fire team one would
move forward rapidly. Then teams two and three would
Platoon Echelon Right or Left
move at a forward angle in behind it.
RIFLE PLATOON FORMATIONS
The platoon echelon formations are hard to control;
therefore, movements are slow and maneuvering
The platoon commander selects the initial attack
difficult. However, it does provide heavy firepower to
formation for his platoon. However, he may change this
the front and in the direction of echelon. The platoon
echelon is used primarily in protecting an exposed flank
formation as the attack progresses to meet a changing
either right or left.
tactical situation. The available avenues of approach
toward the enemy affect the platoon commander's
choice to a great degree. Also, the need for security,
control, flexibility, and speed influences his choice. On
occasion, the platoon commander may prescribe the
The platoon line formation allows the platoon to
initial formation of the fire teams within the squads.
deliver maximum firepower to the front. It is difficult to
Platoon formations (fig. 4-22) are similar to squad
control and is most often used in the coordinated assault
formations and are described below.
of all three squads.