Tactical Briefing 03: Squad and Fire Team Movements
In today’s brief we will be discussing the squad and fire team movements and when to use which type. We will also discuss danger areas and crossing techniques.
A movement technique is the way you as an individual, or as a fire team, or a squad move through terrain. There are three common military style movement techniques most used for a fire team or squad. These three movements we will discuss are traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch.
The selection of movement is determined by either the fire team leader or the squad leader, and based on likelihood of enemy contact and the need for speed. In real life these movements and formations are given with hand and arm signals, but in our virtual computer world most of the time it’s over a voice communications program. Any of the movement techniques listed below can be used with any of the formations we discussed in Tactical Briefing 02: Formations.
Traveling is used when enemy contact is not likely and speed is needed. With traveling you have good, but not great control over your element. Your element is less dispersed. Your speed is fast, but security is weak.
With traveling you simply form up in the ordered formation and move out from point A to point B. You are trying to get somewhere quick, but not too worried about security at the moment. Most of the time you’re behind friendly controlled lines.
Traveling overwatch is used when contact with the enemy is possible. You have less control of your element because you’re more spaced out, Which means your element is more dispersed. Your speed is slower then regular traveling, because you’re on a higher alert level, therefore security is a little better.
With traveling overwatch, your fire team or squad forms up in the ordered formation, usually a wedge, but with more space and more alertness. If You are moving as a squad the squad leader may break the formation down into two fire teams, alpha fire team taking the lead, with the squad leader in the middle, then followed by bravo fire team.
Bounding overwatch is used when contact is expected, when the fire team leader or squad leader believes that the enemy is near, or when a large area or danger area needs to be crossed.
Bounding overwatch in real life is only done at the squad level or higher because fire teams are never to be broken up, and it takes two different elements (in a squads case, an alpha fire team and a bravo fire team). But for virtual computer games if it’s only 4 on 4 or something similar, then it would be OK to break down to smaller fire teams. But for this brief we will work as a proper squad.
The lead fire team overwatches first. Soldiers scan for enemies and enemies positions. The squad leader usually stays with the overwatch team.
The trail fire team bounds and signals the squad leader when his team completes his bound and is in a over watch position. The fire team leader should know where the objective is and how best to get there using the available terrain. The overwatching fire team needs to know where the other fire team is and their direction so they can properly support them especially if they come under fire.
Bounding overwatch works like this: The squad leader, using intelligence, binoculars, and map recon techniques, calls out the beginning bounding overwatch location, the direction of movement, and the end point. The alpha fire team moves out depending on terrain, (close terrain only 20 yards or less, while a nice open area could be 50 yards or more if necessary, but never over extended past the cover teams sight and fire power.) Once the alpha fire team moves out and finds a good cover location overlooking the direction of movement, the fire team leader signals the second fire team, fire team bravo, to move out. Bravo fire team moves past the alpha fire team and takes up a good cover position overlooking the direction of movement. After scanning the area for enemies, bravo fire team leader signals alpha team to move forward and this continues till out of the area or enemy contact occurs.
The squad leader can stay with one fire team or can move back and forth from fire team to fire team as needed, because one fire team will always be passing another one stopped and scanning. (Basically bunny hopping team by team.)
A danger area is any area on the movement route that might expose the unit to enemy observation, fire, or both.You should always try to avoid danger areas, but if it’s a needed area to cross it should be done as safely and quickly as possible. Technically to cross a danger area you should do three things:
- Designate rally points on both sides of the danger area in case something goes wrong and the unit breaks.
- Secure the side you’re on, both your flanks and rear.
- Recon and secure the far side of the danger area before sending over the full unit.
To cross an open area, stay concealed and observe carefully from your near side. Post security units on the left and right, and also the rear for an early warning in case of enemy contact. Then send a small recon team across the area to clear and secure the far side. Once the all clear is received send the rest of the units over, the next to last being the flank security units, then finally the rear security unit.
To cross a road or trail, do it at a bend or as near to a bend as possible to minimize your exposure.
To cross a stream or river, use the same techniques as crossing a road, just make sure the stream/river is shallow enough to get your men across.