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Assault phase


The assault phase is a critical stage in military operations where the attacking force engages the enemy in close combat to capture or destroy their objectives. This phase typically involves a synchronized approach, combining infantry, armored, and air support, to overwhelm the enemy’s defenses. The assault phase often follows the preparatory phases, such as intelligence gathering, planning, and maneuvering forces into position.

Key Takeaways

  1. The assault phase is a critical component of military operations, wherein the attacking force swiftly and aggressively engages the enemy with the primary objective of neutralization or capture.
  2. Typically conducted after extensive planning, recon, and preparation, the assault phase often involves close combat, firepower, and tactical maneuvering to exploit weaknesses in enemy defenses and gain control of the objective.
  3. Success in the assault phase heavily relies on effective coordination and communication between units, as well as the efficient use of available resources and support, such as air or artillery strikes, to minimize casualties and ensure mission accomplishment.


The military operations term “Assault Phase” is important because it refers to a critical juncture in the planning and execution of a military mission.

This phase involves the decisive offensive actions taken by military forces to neutralize or seize enemy objectives, often resulting in close combat situations.

During the assault phase, forces employ synchronized and coordinated efforts, including infantry, armor, artillery, air support, and other tactical elements, to break through enemy defenses and secure key locations or strategic positions.

The success of the assault phase is vital to achieving the ultimate goal of the mission, enabling subsequent phases to unfold smoothly, and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the military forces involved.


The assault phase is a critical component of military operations, which is specifically designed to achieve the primary objectives of a mission. It is typically the final stage of a well-planned operation, following steps like reconnaissance, preparation, and engagement.

The purpose of the assault phase is to allow the attacking force to gain control over a specific area or neutralize a high-value target, through the use of various tactics, weaponry, and strategies. By successfully executing the assault phase, military units aim to establish a foothold in enemy territory, capture key objectives, ensure force protection, and ultimately, pave the way for further advances or consolidation of gains.

During the assault phase, military commanders deploy their forces in a manner that capitalizes on their strengths, while simultaneously exploiting the vulnerabilities of the enemy. This often involves the effective use of cover and concealment, careful coordination between various units (ground, air, and naval), and implementation of diversionary tactics to create confusion.

In addition to force-on-force engagements, the assault phase may also encompass non-kinetic actions such as psychological warfare or information operations, which are intended to weaken the resolve or moral standing of enemy forces. In essence, the assault phase constitutes the decisive moment in operations where the ultimate outcome is determined and serves as a testament to the tactical prowess and adaptability of the participating military forces.

Examples of Assault phase

D-Day: Normandy Landings (1944) – The assault phase of Operation Overlord saw the Allied forces storming the beaches of Normandy during World War II. This amphibious assault consisted of airborne landings and an extensive naval bombardment. The aim was to establish a beachhead, followed by a breakout into the French countryside, ultimately leading to the liberation of France and the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.

Battle of Inchon (1950) – General Douglas MacArthur’s daring amphibious assault during the Korean War marked the onset of the assault phase of the Battle of Inchon. US and South Korean forces launched a surprise attack against the North Korean army, establishing a foothold and eventually retaking the South Korean capital of Seoul. This assault marked a turning point in the war and played a significant role in the United Nations intervention in Korea.

Fall of Baghdad (2003) – The assault phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom saw US-led coalition forces initiating a ground offensive during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The assault aimed to capture the key Iraqi city of Baghdad rapidly and saw intense urban combat as well as surrender of key Iraqi Republican Guard units. Earlier stages of the operation had focused on airstrikes and the “shock and awe” campaign, but it was the eventual ground assault that proved critical in the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

FAQ: Assault Phase

What is an assault phase in military operations?

An assault phase refers to the stage when military forces conduct a coordinated attack against an enemy’s position or objective. This usually involves closing in on the target, engaging in close combat, and seizing the objective.

What factors are considered during planning an assault phase?

Planners consider several factors during the assault phase planning, including the enemy’s strength, location, and capabilities, as well as the terrain, available manpower, and required resources to achieve the objective. Additionally, planners assess potential risks, the element of surprise, and the necessary support from air, artillery, and other assets.

How do military forces prepare for the assault phase?

To prepare for the assault phase, military forces conduct extensive reconnaissance to gather intelligence on the enemy’s positions and capabilities. Tactical units may rehearse the assault, and leaders may brief soldiers on the mission objectives, responsibilities, and rules of engagement. Forces typically synchronize their movements with other friendly units and supporting assets to ensure a successful assault.

What are common tactics used in the assault phase?

Common tactics used in the assault phase include suppressing enemy fire, using cover and concealment, maneuvering to flank the enemy, and exploiting weaknesses in the enemy’s defenses. Units may also often rely on smoke screens, suppressive fire, breach operations, and combined arms tactics to increase their chances of success.

What happens after the completion of an assault phase?

Following the completion of an assault phase, military forces may move into a consolidation or reorganization phase. They secure the objective by establishing defensive positions, treating casualties, and repelling potential counterattacks. Commanders also assess the mission’s success and gather intelligence on enemy forces and future operations to adjust their plans and strategies accordingly.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Combat Operations
  • Tactical Mission Planning
  • Forcible Entry
  • Airborne Assault
  • Amphibious Assault

Sources for More Information