Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tactical Briefing 04: Movement to Contact


OK virtual soldiers, we got the basics down, right?
We know the role of each member in a squad and fire team, right?
We know the basic combat formations and when to use them, right?
We know how to move from point A to point B using one of the three common military movements, right?

Now it’s time to get into the meat and potatoes of virtual combat.
Today we are going to talk about our first actual combat scenario. We’re going to discuss and demonstrate movement to contact. What I mean by that is, what you as a virtual squad or fire team do when you run into the enemy.

I could go into great detail about all the steps and procedures of an ambush or an assault like forms of movement, sequence of operations, assembly areas, line of departure, movement, deployment, and then eventually the assault. But I want to concentrate on the basics so you can act and react with at least a minimal amount of tactics and teamwork. I know there is a lot more to this stuff than the simple steps presented here, but that’s not the purpose of these “tactical briefs”.

There are two types of enemy contact that we will discuss. The first is mutual contact, where you see the enemy and the enemy sees you. The second is non-mutual, where you spot the enemy but they don’t spot you. You then set up a hasty ambush (or a retreat, if it’s not winnable). By the way, if the enemy sees you first and you don’t see them, that’s an ambush on you and that’s not good.


Let’s discuss mutual contact. Say for example you have a squad out on patrol, you’re looking for the enemy; the enemy is looking for you. You have your squad broken down into two fire teams, Alpha and Bravo. You’re moving either in an overwatch or bounding overwatch.

As the lead fire team turns a bend or crests a hill, and there in front of you at 50, 100, or 200 meters is an enemy patrol. That patrol sees you and they begin to maneuver for engagement.

The first thing the lead fire team does is go prone. If cover is nearby, and I’m talking within 10 to 15 meters, then feel free to dive for cover. But no matter what — get down. Make yourself harder to hit because bullets will be flying within seconds from this point, if they aren’t already.

The lead fire team then begins to immediately engage the enemy. The fire team leader reports the contact to the squad leader, who should be between the two fire teams. The squad leader then makes an immediate decision on where to send the second fire team for support. If you can’t see, feel free to take a quick peek at your map. Locate where the woods and terrain features are, but don’t waste much time. You have no more than 10 seconds. 5 would be better to order your second fire team to flank left or right. You, as the squad leader can then either move up to support the first fire team, or go with the second fire team on the flank.
You would order the fire team to flank from the best position of cover, or at least concealment. If there is a small decline in the terrain to the left along with some woodland, and on the right side is an open area, then the left side would be best.

While the first fire team is laying suppressive fire by keeping the enemy pinned or at least their heads down, the other fire team would move as fast as possible to the direct flank, staying out of sight and hopefully the minds of the enemy. Once that fire team has gone enough flank distance, they then move up into the side of the enemy who are hopefully still pinned down. The second flanking fire team then moves in and destroys the enemy patrol while the first fire team continues suppression.

Once the firefight has ended, one fire team provides cover while the other moves in for the confirmed kills.


Non-mutual is when the front team is moving forward and they spot the enemy patrol but the enemy patrol has not spotted them. They immediately go prone to not be seen. One member can stay in the sight of the enemy for Intel, while the rest of the team slowly move back out of view. The fire team leader then contacts the squad leader. The squad leader then makes a decision on whether to set up an ambush on the enemy patrol, call in for support, or just disengage.
If the squad leader decides to conduct a hasty ambush then the fire teams are pulled back. A plan is made based on known information like enemy movement, strength, and of course the all important terrain. He will determine the best place for the ambush that would maximize surprise and firepower. 

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