130 Tactical Maneuver: Infiltration Tactics

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There are times in small unit warfare that infiltration tactics are needed. 

Infiltration is used when

  • you want to execute movement undetected
  • you want to move into and through enemy territory
  • you want to occupy an area
  • you want to position your group into the enemy’s rear area
  • to give an attack advantage.

Infiltration forces are lightly equipped and stealthy.

This allows them to slip through the front line for strategic attacks

Infiltration can NOT defeat the defense by itself, so it must be used as a supplement to another maneuver.

Modern infiltration tactics are heavily influenced by 3 main sources:

  • French Infiltration Tactics
  • Laffargue Infiltration Tactics
  • Hutier Infiltration Tactics

French Infiltration Tactics


The Theory

  • the first wave of infantry penetrate as far as possible
  • follow-up waves then attack strong points. 

This was partially adopted in battle, but German counterattacks were difficult to reinforce or hold against.

Laffargue Infiltration Tactics

Captain Laffargue

  • French captain
  • Injured in battle of 1915
  • Proposed a better idea

The Theory

  • A small infantry unit with mobile firepower to deal with machine guns.
  • Penetrate gaps and weak points with heavy fire
  • Strong points would be temporarily neutralized by fire or smoke.
  • Then new waves would encircle and attack each one.

Hunter Infiltration Tactics

German General Oskar von Hutier

In 1918 used Laffargue’s insights to supplement his tactics

The Theory

First, a brief and violent artillery attack of the enemy front lines (suppress the positions)

Then, the artillery would be shifted to the enemy’s rear to disrupt

  • lines of communication
  • artillery
  • logistics
  • and command/control nodes
  • meant to
    • provide confusion
    • weaken counterattacks
    • weaken concentrated fires
    • weaken the ability to fill gaps/penetrations.

Then light infantry would

  • Evade and bypass fortified positions
  • identify gaps in the front line
  • be followed by more heavily armed units.

Then heavy units would attack the strong points and yet other forces would enter gaps shortly after to further attack the strong points, which would quicken the collapse of the entire front.

In 1918, this was successful against the British and French

Reasons to use Infiltration Tactics

  • Direct attack from lightly defended positions
  • To flank or rear attack strongly defended positions
  • Disrupt enemy operations
  • Reconnaissance or surveillance

If you are wanting to succeed at this, you must be a force that:

  • Has trained together
  • Established command and control
  • Is small for stealth
  • Is large enough to get out of trouble

Infiltration Lanes


We will stick with a single lane of infiltration since, in a defense position, you probably will only have a small force.

Rally Points

Rally Point is an easily identifiable object where the force can assemble or reorganize if dispersed

Rally points should be defensible as well as away from normal routes of movement.

Initial Rally Point

Assemble for initial instructions, behind friendly lines

En Route Rally Point

based on terrain and visibility

Objective Rally Point

ORPs are tentative until the objective is pinpointed and can be used before and after conducting objective ops.  It is out of sight, sound, and small arms distance.  This is where:

  • Orders can be updated
  • Recon information is typically received
  • Update preps
  • Determine missing soldiers or equipment after objective actions

Reentry Rally Point

Where everyone will meet before reentry of friendly lines.  It is out of sight, sound, and small arms distance or friendly lines.  It will be occupied as a security perimeter as well

Near / Far Side Rally Points

If accidental contact is made during infiltration and control is lost, people on the sides of this point will go to the nearest rally point to them to regroup.

When will you need to consider infiltration?

  • Reconnaissance
  • Neighborhood defense, using urban terrain to flank the marauders
  • For use of a precision attack on a superior force in a rioting scenario.
  • Can you think of any other uses for this?  What about the best ways to train together?

Examples of Infiltration

  • Moving a small mobile unit by water
  • Using trenches and hilltops to keep undetected as you move through defenses
  • Flanking (moving around and coming in from the back or side)
  • Cover fire on defenses to weaken the line, while the infiltration team takes advantage of the confusion

One example of infiltration tactic

The set

  • Both groups are lined up, Group A plans to infiltrate Group B
  • There is one route (a) available by going around a hill
  • There is one route by a small river through wetland
  • There is a lot of tree coverage

The plan

  • Hit the front line hard as a way to weaken and confuse them.
  • Then overload one side of their forces in order to divert attention away from route A.
    • By overloading them, we may be able to break through.
    • Send a few guys through that route.
  • Hit the support positions behind the front.
  • Send a Group through the wetland where fortifications are nil.
  • Anyone that makes it through will meet up on the backside.
    • We will have a couple snipers and others that can cause damage from behind the defenses.
  • Continue to hit the front, so it seems like the main attack.

infiltration tactics

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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