Urban Combat – Room Breaching & Clearing – US Army (2011)

September 19, 2019 0 By Peter Engel


Well, time to take a look at urban combat. Note that this video is based on a U.S. army field manual from June 2011. Needless to say, don’t try this at home! Because these principles are made for entering someone ELSE’s home, not yours. Since we’ve got that flank covered, let’s take a look at the challenges of urban combat before we cover the breaching and clearing of rooms. Now, situational awareness is always important on the
battlefield and in case of urban warfare this means being aware of both what is
happening inside and outside of the structure this is further complicated by
the fact that the building can consist of multiple floors each with multiple
rooms next to other structures that might be occupied by enemy forces will
be cleared for friendly units simultaneously besides that the correct
use of appropriate measures is also a major concern to there’s a small amount
of space the fragile nature of certain structures and/or the in flammability and
of course civilians combined with combatants and delayed combatants will make a proper friend or foe indentification identification even more complicated now
the basic units used in the manual is the standard four man fireteam this team
ideally has the following layout where’s the number also determines who goes
first in case of this video number one the rifleman usually equipped with an m4
carbine or m16 number two the team leader which has a similar layout to the
rifleman and might be additionally equipped with shotgun number three the
Grenadier equipped with an m16 or m4 rifle and attached m203 40-millimeter
grenade launcher number four the squad automatic weapon gunner equipped with for an m249 machine gun also known as a saw for squad automatic weapon note the two
four-man fire teams and a squad leader make up a standard US infantry squad
according to Field Manual 3 – 21.8 from march 2007 now the first step is
entering a building and securing a foothold which is the first room entered
in this case here we face three potential threats enemy outside of the
building enemy inside of the building inside enemy’s ability to engage
friendly forces on the outside depending on these three threats the entry point
into the building should be selected or created
if the threat level is high ground-floor windows and doors should be avoided in
this case it’s preferable to enter from higher floors or breach holes for entry
now let’s look at room breaching and clearing how a breach is best performed
depends on multiple factors what size construction and materials is a
structure made of because depending on this breaches with certain measures
explosives could actually destroy large parts or a complete building set it
afire or generate too much dust that the immediate breach might be impossible to
perform another question is what kind of demolition equipment is available which
is can be performed with a foot but also with explosives even larger caliber guns
of course the presence of civilians also needs to be considered now to quote
directly from the manual of all breaching methods if the enemy is
suspected to be in the room or has actually fired from the room throw a
flashbang hand grenade into the room after the breach and before entry of the
clearing team it is known that if a fragmentation grenade is used instead
that it may require several minutes for dust and debris to settle the breach is
performed by two teams a breaching and a clearing team now there’s a variety of
breaching methods mechanical which can range from sledge hammers to crowbars
or even applying a hook to a door which is connected to a vehicle ballistic
which ranges from small arms fire to shotguns and rockets in the manual the
shotgun receives a lot of attention because it offers many advantages like
ease of training repetitive use speed and minimal collateral damage
additionally shotguns can be equipped with a breacher that allows a proper
escape of muzzle gases and thus the shotgun can be in direct contact with
the target another ballistic option is the grenade rifle entry munition
which allows breaches from distance between 15 to 40 metres it is useful
against wooden and metal doors unless the latest reinforced the manual also
mentions large calibre weapons ranging from 25 to 120 millimeter but note
however the collateral damage either from penetration or explosion can be
extensive typically use these weapons to create a
breach and to kill or otherwise incapacitate occupants of the room so
use it accordingly then is of course the explosive method which is often the
fastest the most combat effective method and
finally the manual method which is either by foot or shoulder now there are two
basic types of breaching the close in at the distant breach the main difference
is that with a close in breach the breach team is located at the side and
with a distant breach team at the distance since the distant breach is a
bit more complicated we take a look at it you can see the starting position
while preparing for breach and entry here is the breach team here the
soldiers covering the team here the squad leader and the clearing team is
located here whereas breach side is here as you can see the clearing team has an
easy and fast way to reach the entry point once the breach begins moving to
the entry point is crucial it is recommended that all available cover and
measures are taken to reduce the enemies abilities and opportunities to engage
the team thus suppressive fire smoke where the visionary measures should be
used to reduce the enemies capabilities it is important to note the clearing
team approaches the entry point quickly quietly and in the planned order of
entry now if the clearing team doesn’t use a grenade prior to entering it is
recommended to move from a concealed position next to the entry point
directly through the entry point into the building
which brings us to the next part room clearing room clearing involves seizing control of the room and its inhabitants both hostile and other rapidly and
methodically by eliminating the enemy dominating the room and controlling the
situation typically a squad leader or higher finalizes the plan for clearing a
room four fundamentals are particularly mentioned surprise speed security and
shock surprise aims at reducing the enemy’s effectiveness by doing something
it doesn’t expect there are several ways to achieve surprise speed perception and
distraction contributes to it speed is swiftness and action this includes rapid
movement but also reacting to the dynamic conditions thus it is noted the
key is not how fast you enter the room but rather how fast you can eliminate
the enemy and clear the room security the constant theme that the team should
adhere to the correct balance of speed security and firepower is the key to
success finally shock results from applying overwhelming violence it’s a
principle of high intensity room clearing shock slows and disrupts an enemy and
may even paralyze the enemy’s ability to fight or physically stun the enemy
surprise and speed magnifying the effects of shock now since we got the
fundamentals covered one key element of room clearing is seeking points of
domination where as a point of domination allows an occupant to
effectively control the room with observation and fire a typical point of
domination is a corner of a room it allows to cover the whole room or do
depending on layout and obstruction this might not always be the case for
instance it should be not in front of doors or windows because it would expose the team members depending on the entry point the points of domination are different as you can see here from a room the center entry point and here from the room with
corner entry point it is important to note that while entering the following
soldier goes in the opposite direction of the preceding soldier so they
complement each other’s angles now be aware that ideally one room is cleared
after another but this might not be always be possible to do to open doors
or openings in two rooms now to quote from the manual if there’s a potential or
a known threat from beyond other doors or windows immediate preparation for a
follow-on mission should begin this may include follow-on room clearing
heightened observation or even the establishing of a defense as a final note
during my research on this topic I’ll also ask a bit on the unofficial US Army
subreddit and the answers were that in general you should stay away from field
manuals so as always take everything with a grain of salt as an additional
benefit this will also keep yourself salt- employed now if you’re into
contemporary warfare on a more strategic and hypothetically level I can revenge
comments a pinkos analysis the USA forces China or if you want to
stick to military history take a look at my video on Japanese fortifications of
both a tool as always all sources are in the description thank you for watching
and see you next time