During mission planning cover is a key aspect in planning routes that put terrain, such as the reverse slop of a hill or a ridge, between your group and the enemy, preventing the enemy from placing direct fire on your element. Cover also plays a critical role in maneuvering against an enemy force while in contact. If in contact with an opposing force, each individual and team plans/chooses their next position based on selecting terrain or objects that stop small arms fire and protects the element. When seeking cover a stone/concrete fence or 2 foot diameter tree provides more cover or protection then a wood fence or metal shed. High powered rifle rounds are capable of weakening the strongest of structures. When planning cover in the defense it is best to use compacted soil (dirt, sand) combined with timber to construct a two to three foot deep berm in front of your position. The earth covered timber absorbs the impact of the rounds. If defending a building, you must sandbag or build up the interior of the building to ensure you are protected from small arms fire punching through the walls.
Concealment on the other hand only hides an individual and does not provide protection from small arms fire. A mistake made by maneuvering forces are movements close to the enemy that are behind thin skinned buildings (modern homes, pole barns) or dense brush. Although the enemy cannot see you he can still place effective fire on your position by shooting through thinly skinned structures and small trees. During tactical movements routes are planned based on concealing the movement of a force from observation. Finally, another example of cover vs. concealment could be when someone chooses a car to hide behind for protection. Crouching behind the center of the car near the driver and passengers doors provides concealment but does not provide cover from small arms fire. If you crouch behind the engine compartment and wheel area, a bullet unlikely to penetrate the engine providing the individual cover from a shooter.