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 Room Clearing

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Posts : 106
Join date : 2010-03-04
Age : 62

PostSubject: Room Clearing   June 25th 2010, 8:50 pm

The "Official" Room Clearing Thread w/ pics
There are numerous techniques for close combat engagement based in our doctrine, but basic infantry tactical success essentially depends on one thing: Battle Drills. Our doctrine has evolved over time, but our battle drills have not; Battle Drill 6 - Enter Building/Clear Room is one case in point. Based on my experience as a Rifle Company Commander in Somalia and FM 7-8, Battle Drill 6 is a dangerous, ineffective and an outdated method of clearing a room for any type of military operation.

FM 7-8 describes the basic room-clearing technique by first positioning a clearing team on either side of the room entrance. Once the team is in position, the lead man "cooks off" a hand grenade and throws it into the room. Following the explosion, the lead man enters the room by engaging all "identified or likely enemy positions with rapid, short bursts of automatic fire and scans the room. The rest of the team provides immediate security outside the room." Following the initial entry, the lead man is responsible for positioning the other members of the team as he calls them into the room with the command "NEXT MAN IN, LEFT (RIGHT)". Based on the enemy situation, this battle drill can be done with two men entering the room at the same time from opposite sides of the entrance. Both men enter the room simultaneously with one high and one low to prevent fratricide.

Understanding the basic layout of a room is critical to understanding this proposed drill. Based on experience in Somalia, over 95 percent of all engagements inside a building were within 25 feet. Additionally, the entrance to a room is where the enemy expected us to enter and is, therefore, the most vulnerable and critical point (decisive point).

Figure 1 shows a basic room with this decisive point or Fatal Funnel. We also identified four "Points of Domination" (PDO) and a direction of fire ("No Man's Land") using the four corners of the room. The side of the room entrance that the clearing team enters from determines the location of "No Man's Land" (Figure 1). The key to this battle drill is to mass the maximum amount of fire power possible at the fatal funnel and quickly move through it to your assigned POD orienting all weapons toward No Man's Land. Each man has one mission: secure your POD. Any perceived threat along the route to each POD is engaged. Fragmentation grenades should only be used on heavy resistance and stun grenades are preferred due to less obscuration and fratricide potential. Either fragmentation or stun grenades should be used sparingly to avoid establishing a pattern for the enemy to detect when a room will be entered.

The "Stack" or positioning of personnel outside the room is vital in getting firepower quickly through the fatal funnel. What POD for which each soldier is responsible is based on the position he is in the stack. Unlike the current Battle Drill 6, this drill does not attempt to synchronize and push two men with equipment through a doorway at once, or send one man in to fight a room alone. The physical contact of the men as they flood into the room provides the synchronization and confidence needed.

Knowing the responsibilities of each position in the stack is essential in actual combat situations. The casualties, fatigue, security and confusion associated with actual combat makes maintaining even platoon integrity difficult. It was not uncommon for soldiers from different platoons to be tasked to clear a room or series of rooms. Knowing all the positions of the stack made this possible.

Figure 2 describes the responsibilities for each man in the stack. Regardless of what side of the entrance the stack enters, the duty of each man remains the same. The two primary positions, 1-Man and 2-Man, are responsible for the left and right limit PODs. Depending on which way the door opens, one of these men must ride the door all the way to the wall to ensure it is clear. The 1-Man always moves across the doorway and goes to the deep corner of the room (straight and long). The 2-Man always buttonhooks the doorway and moves to the near corner (buttonhook and short). The 3-Man and 4-Man follow the 1-Man and 2-Man respectively and establish their PODs. Additionally, these men must complete their lead man's mission in the event he is wounded or has a weapon malfunction (signaled by taking a knee). The 4-man has the additional duty of placing the door charge in the event the door is blocked.

While it is possible to conduct this battle drill with only three men, using four men is the preferred technique. Four men clearing a room gives the flexibility to a team required in the event there are additional, unknown rooms, or casualties. In Somalia, rooms were typically cluttered and extremely difficult to move around. The fourth man assisted greatly. In actual combat, the probability of success decreases greatly after three men and only under the most extreme circumstances should two men attempt to clear a room. One man should never attempt to clear a room alone.

Figures 3 and 4 illustrate this battle drill using four or three men:

All soldiers in the stack must understand several key points when executing this battle drill. Massing combat power at and through the fatal funnel does not equate to running through the doorway. Movements by the members of the team must be deliberate and synchronized with each other. This is why physical contact between members of the team is critical. Each man stacks up outside the entrance as tight as he can with the man to his front. Weapons are pointed down with the exception of the 1-Man who provides front security. Once the 4-Man is ready to move into the room, he pushes his knee into the 3-Man to signal he is ready. The 3-Man does the same to the 2-Man and 2-Man the same to the 1-Man. Once the 1-Man feels the tap of the 2-Man, he moves into the room quickly focusing on his route to his POD. Any threat he sees that prevents him from getting to his POD is engaged with two rounds using the basic quick-fire technique from FM 23-9. Developing this tunnel vision as well as trusting yourself, your buddy and your equipment is essential for success in this battle drill.

Here is a simple walk thru:

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