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TitleFM17-32 The Tank Company, Light and Medium
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FM 17-32

WAR DEPARTMENT

ARMORED FORCE
FIELD MANUAL

THE TANK COMPANY,
LIGHT AND MEDIUM

August 2, 1942

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FM 17-32


ARMORED FORCE FIELD

MANUAL


THE TANK COMPANY,

LIGHT AND MEDIUM


UNITED STATES


GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE


WASHINGTON: 1942

Page 45

THE TANK COMPANY, LIGHT AND MEDIUM 25-26

d. The attack position is as close to the line of departure as
is consistent with concealment. Here last-minute checks
are made and last-minute orders given. It is here that last-
minute coordination is made with infantry when tanks attack
through infantry.

* 26. FORMATION.-a. Figure 26 shows typical formations for
a tank attack. It should be noted that the diagrams show
only one formation for the platoons. These may be in any
prescribed combat formation such as line, wedge, column,
echelon, or line of section columns, depending upon terrain
and hostile dispositions.

(1) The formation of three platoons in line is seldom usee.
It provides no reserve, is difficult to control, and has no
power for sustained effort. It may be used by a covering
force.

(2) The formation of two platoons in the assault is easier
to control than line formation and affords a reserve for in­
fluencing the action, but has less sustaining power than
column formation. The support company is usually disposed
toward the exposed flank.

(3) Column formation affords maximum control and sus­
tained power. It is the formation for a penetration when
the company is not supported by another company. It has
the disadvantage of developing very little initial fire power.

(4) Another formation not shown in the diagram is one
platoon in assault and two platoons in reserve. This forma­
tion is suitable when the situation is vague. Deployment to
right or left is facilitated.

b. During the approach to combat the company commander
is at the head of his company. When the attack begins he
goes wherever he can best influence the action. He will
usually seek an observation point, probably close to the firing
positions of his tank platoon supporting the attack, from
which point he will be able to watch the attack of his
platoons. Here he controls by radio the maneuver of the
platoons and uses his reserve at the proper time. He should
not lead the initial attack unless such action is necessary
for psychological purposes. When he leads the attack he will
become engaged in combat and will be unable to control his
company.

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26 ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL

400- YDS
900

4200­
400

0 0

7~500

TWO PLATOONS INASSAULT 0

1400 YDS

00 00 00 O

O O

LINE COLUMN

FIGURE 26.-Formations for attack. Platoons may be in line, wedge,
inverted wedge, column, line of section columns, or echelon.

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Page 90

INDEX

Paragraph Page
Leapfrogging ____-__-___-_--__-___________ 30

Liaison section_ _- ____-______._______.-.....___ 4

Liaison __-__--__ ___-___-_-------_ -____-____---_ 13


Maintenance:

Axis of ___-_-__.____-___.___------_____----- 15

Officer-.. ____ __ _.._._ 4

Operation --_ ____-__-___ _ __ -_____-- .15
_

Section_-_-_-_-- _______--- _ _______-__ 4

Use of cover---__---�__--__-___-----__-_--__ 15


Marches:

General --___-_-__ -__ ___ _-____ 22.

Halts __-_ _-__ _---------____ -__-_____ 23

Security_ _---__ _ _ ________ 19


Mass -_________'_---- _ __-__ _--------_ 7

Movement:


By bounds -_-__- ____--__----- 30
-_-__

Leapfrogging ----------------- __-_______ 30


Offensive action:

Action in smoke _____-__ __.____- _____-____ 32

Air support ________-____- __--__ ___________ 29
.

Artillery support ________..- ______-______-___ 29

Assembly __________________.-____________ 25

Attack against armored troops ____-____-- ___ 28

Attack formations__-____-.._____________---__ 26

Attack from march columnn___- __.._______ 28

Attack in woods ________-.. __________________ 35

Attack of a ford__________-_-- ____ _..__.___ 36

Attack of a position_-- ________-____._______ 29 .

Attack of a river line____..____-_-____ 37.

Attack position ______._-- ._______-._.---- 25

Attack with infantry-8_ _------ -____________31

Echelons of attack--____- ._____.___-____-___ 24

General _____________-.-- __..--____------- 24

Meeting engagement_-_-_._..____-- ----- -- 12,28


-___.. .Method of advance_ _ __------------ .. 30

Orders__-_______ --__ -- _____----
_ __ ------- 12
Position of commander __.-_______-__-.___ ___ 26


Operations_--___-___ ___.._______-_-_-------- 6

Orders____-----------------._- _________---- 12

Organizations __---_---------------------------- 4


Position:
Attack .--- __________-__________-._______ 25

Defense of _----___------------- ----- ____ -__ 39

Of commander, advance guard __.---____--- - 20

Of commander. in attack.____-_----__---_--- 26


Prior training __---_-�_ _ .__. ----- _ __.....-- 3

Purpose _____-_._-________.__.--_._---_____----- 2


Radio:
Nets _--___---____ ____-----_._- - 11___-_ ._

Use of ___________-_____.__--___--- __ 11
-- _-_
With infantry ____----__________--__________ 31


Rallying point. security at----- ____ _--________- 18

Rear guard___----- _------------------------- 42


86


58

2


18


18

.................
2


... 18

2


18


.____34

35


. ....25

7


58

58


63

56

56

36

51

41

51

75

75

56


.____75

36

60

35

35


15,51

58

15

41

7


15

2


36

76

30

41

2

2


13

13

60

25

77

Page 91

INDEX

Reconnaissance: Paragraph Page
Method _--________________--______________ 14 18
Section__--_____-___--- ________--_____._____ 4 2

River line, attack of____---_----_------____--- _ _ 37 77

Scope -------------_____________-----___________ 1 1
Security:

Air ------- ________________--_______________ 17 21
Advance guard_____-__.______ ______________ 20 30
Assembly area and rallying point_______-- _ 18, 20, 25 25,30, 36
Bivouac_____________----- _- -_-_____---- 17 21
Flank guard___---.- -_ ----------------- 21 32
General__-------_--__ ----------------------- 16 21
Halts____------ __---------------------------- 19 25
March____-_______-----------_------------- 19 25

Signals_ ___-_----__-___.__---------------- 11 13
Smoke:

Action in -_______-------------------------- 32 63
Use of __-_________---------------------- -- 27 43

Surprise_____-__.______---_-----____------__- ___ 7 7

Terrain ________-________-----___----- ___ 8 8
Training:

Ammunition -_______-- ___-- _-__-_-_____---- 9 11
General ________-------------- 9 11
Prior_________________-_____----______-- 3 2
Procedure _______------------------------ 10 12
Use of sand table _---------------__-------- 10 12

Troop leading ------------------------------ Appendix 78

Withdrawal___________--------- ------------ ___ 40 76
Woods, attack in _______-----__-___------------- 35 75

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