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Forward line of own troops (FLOT)

Definition The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) is a term used in military operations to refer to the foremost limits of a force’s territory or position at any given time. It serves as a reference point for command and control purposes. This line depicts the most forward positions of friendly forces during the phases […]


The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) is a term used in military operations to refer to the foremost limits of a force’s territory or position at any given time. It serves as a reference point for command and control purposes. This line depicts the most forward positions of friendly forces during the phases of military operations.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) refers to an identified line on a map that indicates the most forward positions of friendly forces in a combat zone during a specified period.
  2. The FLOT is used as a reference point to control and coordinate military operations, including any offensive or defensive actions taken in response to enemy movements. It serves to prevent friendly fire and maintain troop organization.
  3. Updates and changes in the FLOT position can occur frequently due to the dynamic nature of military engagements. Thus, constant communication is imperative among forces to keep the FLOT accurate and up-to-date.


The term “Forward Line of Own Troops” (FLOT) is vital in military operations because it provides a geographical reference that helps in the coordination and control of operations, ensuring that friendly units don’t mistakenly engage with each other (i.e., friendly fire). FLOT defines the most advanced position of friendly troops in combat at any given time.

This line is always subject to change, especially in fluid combat situations.

Understanding where the FLOT is can thus assist with strategic planning, troop placement, firefighting direction, and air-ground support initiatives.

Consequently, maintaining an accurate FLOT is critical to maintaining the safety and effectiveness of military operations.


The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) is a concept utilized in military operations with the primary goal of indicating the most forward positions of friendly forces during battles or conflicts. It serves as a geographic reference to spatially depict the furthest areas occupied by friendly combat forces during the dynamic and often rapidly changing circumstances of a conflict.

The FLOT is pivotal in bringing about a foolproof action plan and executing strategies that cater to the evolving conditions on the battlefield. The FLOT is not merely a storytelling or mapping tool; it guides essential aspects of operational planning.

It assists in defining the battlefield structure and offers critical insights for military commanders to secure strategic positions and direct their offensive and defensive plans. Additionally, it helps in coordinating activities across different units, such as artillery support or air strikes, avoiding friendly-fire incidents.

On a broader level, understanding where the FLOT is ensures effective communication, and optimal allocation of resources, thereby contributing to successful mission completion.

Examples of Forward line of own troops (FLOT)

Operation Desert Storm, 1991: During the Gulf War, the FLOT was a major component of the Allied Forces’ planning. This line was designated to represent the most forward positions of friendly forces at any given time. By starting the ground invasion behind this line, it ensured that the forces had a secure position before proceeding into the enemy territory.

Operation Overlord (D-Day), 1944: On D-Day during World War II, once the Allied troops had landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, they quickly established a FLOT. This designated line helped allied commands to determine friend from foe as they pushed further into enemy-occupied territories. It also guided further reinforcements and supply drops.

Korean War, 1950-53: The FLOT was used extensively during the Korean War. It was especially evident during the back-and-forth movements of troops along the 38th parallel, where the positions of friendly forces changed frequently due to intense combat and dynamic frontline changes. The FLOT was updated regularly to ensure artillery and airstrike support did not endanger friendly troops.

Frequently Asked Questions about Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT)

What is Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT)?

The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) is a term used in warfare to describe the most forward positions of friendly troops in any kind of battle or conflict. It is often used to control the friendly-fire and prevent any incident.

Why is FLOT important in military operations?

FLOT is vital as it provides a clear demarcation of the region defended by friendly forces. It aids in the coordination of movements, offer of support fire, and instigating counter-attacks against the enemy.

How is a FLOT established?

FLOT is usually established by the commanding officer of the involved troops. Considerations such as geography, enemy location and strength, resource availability, and strategic objectives are taken into account.

What are the challenges of maintaining a FLOT?

Maintaining a FLOT can be challenging due to the fluid nature of warfare. The line may need to be adjusted frequently in response to enemy actions, changes in the terrain or weather conditions, or new orders from higher command.

What is the role of technology in managing a FLOT?

Modern technologies like GPS, surveillance drones, and digital communication systems can play a crucial role in managing FLOT. They can offer real-time data on troop positions, help update FLOT as circumstances change, and promote effective communication among the troops.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Combat Zone: An area declared by an executive order from the President where the U.S. military forces are engaging or have engaged in combat.
  • Active Duty: Refers to full-time duty service in the active military, including members of the reserve component serving on active duty.
  • Theater of Operations: An area defined by the military commander that is directly involved in actual combat operations.
  • Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI): A life insurance program for servicemembers provided by the VA.
  • Military Discharge: The release of a military member from active duty military status. This can occur through retirement, resignation, or termination.

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