Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 8-2 – Other Procedures


8-11. When entering buildings, exposure time must be minimized. Before moving toward the building, you must select the entry point. When moving to the entry point use smoke to conceal your advance. You must avoid using windows and doors except as a last resort. Consider the use of demolitions, shoulder-launched munitions (SLMs), close combat missiles (CCMs), tank rounds, and other means to make new entrances. If the situation permits, you should precede your entry with a grenade, enter immediately after the grenade explodes, and be covered by one of your buddies. Entry should be made at the highest level possible.


8-12. Entering a building from any level other than the ground floor is difficult. However, clearing a building from the top down is best, because assaulting and defending are easier from upper floors. Gravity and the building’s floor plan help when Soldiers throw hand grenades and move between floors. An enemy forced to the top of a building may be cornered and fight desperately, or escape over the roof. An enemy who is forced down to ground level may withdraw from the building, exposing himself to friendly fires from the outside. Soldiers can use several means, including ladders, drainpipes, vines, helicopters, or the roofs and windows of adjacent buildings, to reach the top floor or roof of a building. One Soldier can climb onto the shoulders of another and reach high enough to pull himself up. Ladders are the fastest way to reach upper levels. If portable ladders are unavailable, Soldiers can construct them from materials available through supply channels. They can also build ladders using resources available in the urban area. For example, they can use the lumber from inside the walls of buildings. Although ladders do not permit access to the top of some buildings, they do offer security and safety through speed. Soldiers can use ladders to conduct an exterior assault of an upper level, provided exposure to enemy fire can be minimized.


8-13. When you must scale a wall during exposure to enemy fire, use all available concealment. Use smoke and other diversions to improve your chance of success. When using smoke for concealment, plan for wind direction. Use suppressive fire, shouting, and distractions from other positions to divert the enemy’s attention. You are vulnerable to enemy fire when scaling an outside wall. Ideally, move from building to building and climb buildings only under cover of friendly fire. Properly positioned friendly weapons can suppress and eliminate enemy fire. If you must scale a wall with a rope, avoid silhouetting yourself in windows of uncleared rooms, and avoid exposing yourself to enemy fires from lower windows. Climb with your weapon slung over your firing shoulder so you can bring it quickly to a firing position. If the rules of engagement (ROE, which are the rules governing the use of force) permit, engage the objective window and any lower level windows in your path with grenades (hand or launcher) before you ascend. Enter the objective window with a low silhouette. You can enter head first, but the best way is to hook a leg over the window sill and enter sideways, straddling the ledge.


8-14. Buildings are best cleared from the top down. However, you might not be able to enter a building from the top. Entry at the bottom or lower level is common, and might be the only way. When entering at lower levels, avoid entering through windows and doors, since either is easily booby trapped, and both are usually covered by enemy fire (Figure 8-7 Figure 8-8, this page; and Figure 8-9 and Figure 8-10 on page 8-8). Use these techniques when you can enter the building without receiving effective enemy fire. When entering at lower levels, use demolitions, artillery, tank fire, SLMs, CCMs, ramming of an armored vehicle into a wall, or similar means to create a new entrance and avoid booby traps. This is the best technique, ROE permitting. Once you use these means, enter quickly to take advantage of the effects of the blast and concussion. Door breaching is the best way to enter at the lower level. Before entering, you may throw a hand grenade into the new entrance to reinforce the effects of the original blast.

Note: Armored vehicles can be positioned next to a building, so Soldiers can use them as a platform for entering a room or gaining access to a roof.

8-15. Blow or cut breach holes through walls to allow you to enter a building. Such entrances are safer than doors, because doors are easily booby trapped, and should be avoided, unless you conduct an explosive breach on the door.

  • Throw a grenade through the breach before entering. Use available cover, such as the lower corner of the building, for protection from fragments.

  • Use stun and concussion grenades when engaging through thin walls.

8-16. When a door is your only way into a building, beware of booby traps and fire from enemy soldiers inside the room. You can breach (force open) a locked door using one of four breaching methods:

  • Mechanical.

  • Ballistic.

  • Explosive.

  • Thermal.

8-17. If none of these methods is available, you may kick the door open. This is worst method, since it is difficult and tiring. Also, it rarely works the first time, giving any enemy inside ample time to shoot you through the door.

  • When opening an unlocked door by hand, make sure you and the rest of the assault team avoid exposing themselves to enemy fire through the door. To reduce exposure, stay close to one side of the doorway.

  • ROE permitting, once you get the door open, toss in a hand grenade. Once it explodes, enter and clear the room.


8-18. Combat in urban areas often requires extensive use of hand grenades. Unless the ROE or orders prevent it, use grenades before assaulting defended areas, moving through breaches, or entering unsecured areas. Effective grenade use in urban areas may require throwing overhand or underhand, with either the left or right hand.

Note: To achieve aboveground detonation or near-impact detonation, remove the grenade’s safety pin, release the safety lever, count "One thousand one, one thousand two," and throw the grenade. This is called cooking-off. Cooking off takes about 2 seconds of the grenade’s 4- to 5-second delay, and it allows the grenade to detonate above ground or shortly after impact with the target.


8-19. Three types of hand grenades can be used when assaulting an urban objective: stun, concussion, and fragmentation. The type of construction materials used in the objective building influence the type of grenades that can be used.

M84 Stun Hand Grenade–This grenade is a flash-bang distraction device that produces a brilliant flash and a loud bang to briefly surprise and distract an enemy force. The M84 is often used under precision conditions and when the ROE demand use of a nonlethal grenade. The use of stun hand grenades under high intensity conditions is usually limited to situations where fragmentation and concussion grenades pose a risk to friendly troops or the structural integrity of the building.

Concussion Grenade–The concussion grenade causes injury or death to persons in a room by blast overpressure and propelling debris within the room. While the concussion grenade does not discard a dangerous fragmentation from its body, the force of the explosion can create debris fallout that may penetrate thin walls.

Fragmentation Grenade–The fragmentation grenade produces substantial overpressure when used inside buildings, and coupled with the shrapnel effects, can be extremely dangerous to friendly Soldiers. If the walls of a building are made of thin material, such as sheetrock or thin plywood, you should either lie flat on the floor with your helmet towards the area of detonation, or move away from any wall that might be penetrated by grenade fragments.

High-Explosive, Dual-Purpose Grenade–The best round for engaging an urban threat is the M433 high-explosive, dual-purpose cartridge (FM 3-22.31 and Figure 8-11).


8-20. It is easier to fire a grenade into an upper-story window using an M203 grenade launcher than it is to do throw it by hand.

  • When someone must throw a hand grenade into an upper-story opening, he stands close to the building, using it for cover. He should only do this if the window opening has no glass or screening.

  • He allows the grenade to cook off for at least 2 seconds, and then steps out far enough to lob the grenade into the upper-story opening. He keeps his weapon in his non-throwing hand, to use if needed. He never lays down his weapon, either outside or inside the building.

  • The team must locate the nearest cover, in case the grenade falls back outside with them, instead of landing inside the building.

  • Once a Soldier throws a grenade into the building, and it detonates, the team must move swiftly to enter the building or room.


8-21. This paragraph discusses how to enter and clear a room:


  1. Designates the assault team and identifies the location of the entry point for the team.

  2. Positions the follow-on assault team to provide overwatch and supporting fires for the initial assault team.


  1. Moves as near the entry point as possible, using available cover and concealment.

  2. If a supporting element is to perform an explosive or ballistic breach, remains in a covered position until after the breach. If necessary, provides overwatch and fire support for the breaching element.

  3. Before moving to the entry point, team members signal each other that they are ready.

  4. Avoids using verbal signals, which could alert the enemy.

  5. To reduce exposure to fire, moves quickly from cover to the entry point.

  6. Enters through the breach and, unless someone throws a grenade before the team enters, [the team] avoids stopping outside of the point of entry.


  1. Has the option of throwing a grenade into the room before entry. Grenade type (fragmentation, concussion, or stun type) depends on the ROE and the building structure.

  2. If stealth is moot (not a factor), sounds off when he throws grenade, for example, Frag out, Concussion out, or Stun out.

  3. If stealth is a factor, uses visual signals when he throws a grenade.


12. On the signal to go, or immediately after the grenade detonates, moves through the entry point and quickly takes up positions inside the room. These positions must allow the team to completely dominate the room and eliminate the threat. Unless restricted or impeded, team members stop moving only after they clear the door and reach their designated point of domination. In addition to dominating the room, all team members identify possible loopholes and mouseholes in the ceiling, walls, and floor.

Note: Where enemy forces may be concentrated and the presence of noncombatants is unlikely, the assault team can precede their entry by throwing a fragmentation or concussion grenade (structure dependent) into the room, followed by aimed, automatic small-arms fire by the number-one Soldier as he enters.


13. Enters the room and eliminates the immediate threat. Goes left or right, normally along the path of least resistance, toward one of two corners. When using a doorway as the point of entry, determines the path of least resistance based on the way the door opens.

  • If it opens outward, he moves toward the hinged side.

  • If it opens inward, he moves away from the hinges.

14. On entering, gauges the size of the room, the enemy situation, and any furniture or other obstacles to help him determine his direction of movement.


15. Avoids planning where to move until the exact layout of the room is known. Then, each Soldier goes in the opposite direction from the Soldier in front of him. Every team member must know the sectors and duties of each position.


16. As the first Soldier goes through the entry point, he can usually see into the far corner of the room. He eliminates any immediate threat and, if possible, continues to move along the wall to the first corner. There he assumes a dominating position facing into the room.


17. Enters about the same time as Soldier No. 1, but as previously stated, moves in the opposite direction, following the wall and staying out of the center. He clears the entry point, the immediate threat area, and his corner, and then moves to a dominating position on his side of the room.


18. Moves opposite Soldier No. 2 (team leader), at least 1 meter from the entry point, and then to a position that dominates his sector.


19. Moves opposite Soldier No. 3, and then to a position that dominates his sector.

Points of Domination If the path of least resistance takes the first Soldier to the left, then all points of from doors and windows to keep team members from silhouetting themselves.


20. Ensures movement does not mask anyone’s fire. On order, any member of the assault team may move deeper into the room, overwatched by the other team members. Once the team clears the room, the team leader signals to the squad leader that the room has been cleared. The squad leader marks the room IAW unit SOP. The squad leader determines whether his squad can continue to clear through the building. The squad reorganizes as necessary. Leaders redistribute the ammunition. The squad leader reports to the platoon leader when the room is clear.

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