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Departure point

Definition The departure point in military operations refers to a location at which a unit, formation, or vehicle physically leaves the ground such as an airport, or a water surface such as a port or harbor. In the context of airdrop operations, this is the point at which airplanes begin to drop their payload. It […]


The departure point in military operations refers to a location at which a unit, formation, or vehicle physically leaves the ground such as an airport, or a water surface such as a port or harbor. In the context of airdrop operations, this is the point at which airplanes begin to drop their payload. It is a critical component in military strategy for the planning and coordination of maneuvers.

Key Takeaways

  1. The “Departure Point” refers to a precise location at which units may diverge from current paths to move onto new ones in military operations. It’s an essential concept in planning military movements and formations on the battlefield.
  2. This specific point is usually predefined in the overall operation strategy, which aids in coordination and organisation within the military operation. Essentially, the “Departure Point” acts as a guide to units, ensuring they are moving in the right direction and at the right time.
  3. In naval and aerial operations context, “Departure Point” can also represent the place where vessels or aircrafts will move from peace to wartime status, moving towards or departing from enemy lines. Its detection can sometimes be used by the adversary to anticipate the direction of attack.


The military operations term “Departure Point” holds significant importance as it is a specific location within an Area of Operation, often predetermined, from which resources, including personnel, aircraft, or ships, commence their journey towards the next objective or target.

This term typically relates to tactical maneuvers involving the movement of troops or equipment, strategic mission planning, and logistics operations.

Correct identification of the departure point is crucial as it determines the routes for moving assets, helps to structure the timings for different phases of an operation, and aids in the coordination and communication amidst various units.

Therefore, the “Departure Point” operates as a critical reference point in military operations, contributing to the overall effectiveness and success of a mission.


The departure point serves as a critical navigational point in military operations. It is essentially the specific point at a boundary or line separating friendly and enemy territories where military units transition from being in friendly terrain to engaging in enemy territory.

This point is crucial as it marks the beginning of the external phase of an operation, away from a secure area or from one tactical zone to another. The main purpose of the departure point is to provide coordination, organization, and control during the movements of a military unit.

In its usage, the position of the departure point is carefully selected and planned, to help maintain cohesion among troops and to execute tactical maneuvers effectively. It forms an integral part of the route planning process to ensure smooth, efficient, safe, and organized deployment or troop movement.

The exact location of a departure point is critical in determining the timing, speed, and direction of an operation, thereby shaping the overall strategy of a mission. In essence, the departure point aids military forces to anticipate, plan, and coordinate the path of their operations in a systematic and strategic manner.

Examples of Departure point

Operation Overlord (D-Day): In this notable World War II operation, the departure point can be seen as the various ports across England, specifically Portsmouth, from where the Allied forces launched their massive amphibious invasion to the beaches of Normandy in France in

Operation Desert Storm: In this operation during the Persian Gulf War, Saudi Arabia served as the departure point for many coalition forces. Some naval forces left from Bahrain. Aircraft, ground troops, tanks and other equipment all launched their missions from these points.

Operation Enduring Freedom: The initial phases of this operation to counter terrorism post 9/11 saw the use of various departure points. Naval vessels stationed in the Indian Ocean, such as aircraft carriers, were a key departure point for airstrikes. Land operations involving ground forces used departure points from established military bases in countries like Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and eventually Afghanistan.

FAQs for Departure Point

What is a departure point in military operations?

A departure point in military operations refers to a designated location on the ground, air or sea where forces begin movement. It’s crucial for coordinating travel and ensuring that units arrive at the correct location on time.

Is the departure point always a fixed location?

No, the departure point isn’t always a fixed location. Depending on the operation and changing circumstances on the battlefield, the departure point can change. These changes are communicated by commanding officers to the respective units.

What role does a departure point play in a military operation?

Departure points play a crucial role in military operations. They serve as the starting point for the operation and help in the coordination and organization of the forces. Setting a specific departure point ensures that all units are on the same page regarding their starting location.

Is there any significance to the selection of departure point?

Yes, the selection of the departure point is significant for a number of reasons. It is typically situated in a strategic location that provides access to the desired route and minimizes risk. Factors such as distance to the target, cover, and concealment are considered during selection.

Who decides on the departure point in a military operation?

In a military operation, the planning staff, usually under the direction of the commanding officers, decide on the departure points. This decision is based on factors such as the nature of the operation, terrain, enemy positions, and tactical considerations.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Military Discharge
  • Terminal Leave
  • Base of Record
  • Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
  • Travel Compensation

Sources for More Information

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica provides wide-ranging resources on various subjects, including military terms and operations. It may contain articles or entries about Departure Point.
  2. Military.com contains news updates, information, resources and in-depth articles about different aspects of military operations and terms, which might include Departure Point.
  3. U.S. Department of Defense is the official website of the United States Department of Defense and provides authentic information on various military terminology and operations.
  4. Federation of American Scientists (FAS) provides information about various scientific and military developments. It has comprehensive databases and resources that can be used for finding information on Departure Point.

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