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"Forming-Up Point" Topic

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Steve Ford15 Sep 2023 11:06 a.m. PST

I've been reading about Canadian operations in WWII, and noticed they (and I assume other commonwealth troops) have distinct terms for preparing for an attack. First they had the Assembly Area, then the Forming-Up Point, then the Start Line, then the Objective. see:


Did the US forces use similar terms, or did they have different tactical terms and methods?



epturner15 Sep 2023 12:58 p.m. PST

Different Terms for some things.

Start Line in Canuckistanian equals Line of Departure in Yank.

Kind of like today. Echelon is a Noun in Canadian logistics, but a Verb in American.


Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 8:22 p.m. PST

Echelon is also a noun for the US Army. Or it least it was when I was on active service.


Starfury Rider16 Sep 2023 1:11 a.m. PST

British Army terminology in the 1940s described the Assembly Area (or position), the Forming Up Place (or position) and the Start Line.

Assembly area referred to where a Battalion (or equivalent) moved to during the recce and order phase. It was also where they would be committed to action from.

Forming up place was the next position, where the unit and subunits would adopt their tactical formation (one up or two up, for example).

Start line or point was the place where the unit/subunit went into action from.

The US Army Special Series publication (No.13) compared US and British terminology. This described Assembly Area as being where the elements of a command were organised prior to further action. From there units went into the Approach March, and from there the Line of Departure. Forming Up doesn't appear as a specific stage when comparing British and US practice it would seem, at least for the WW2 era.


Martin Rapier16 Sep 2023 7:33 a.m. PST

Most armies did the same sort of thing, including Russian and German, but may have used different terminology.

The gold standard for the defender was to hit assembly areas with air and artillery while the attackers were forming up.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2023 9:50 a.m. PST

Assembly Area-logistical parking lot, preferably hidden and defended if not defensible

Forming Up Point-shake out into tactical formation preferably still behind the lines only just

Start Line-you are now the now the line or the attacking unit in the front

Might not be the text book definitions but you get the point and it saves some brain cells from thinking too hard.

Starfury Rider16 Sep 2023 10:49 a.m. PST

Infantry Training (1944) does actually use the phrase 'shake out', as in "FUP is where the battalion shakes out into its formation for the attack".

Infantry Training and War, 1937, makes a lot of mention of the forming up place but mostly in relation to night attacks. It recommended the FUP be around 500-600 yards from the target position where possible, allowing for units to maintain cover.


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