All the way back to ancient times, if there is a thing that has been taken face value in tactical warfare that is high ground. However, even the most simple and widespread accepted principles of tactical combat need to be taken within a context. High ground is advantageous for the defender only if he holds fire superiority against the targets below. It's simple geometry: from high ground you have wider fields of fire and you can acquire a lot of targets ... But you can be targeted from a lot of places too!
In that line of thought, I placed my team in the high ground but I positioned every man in a way that would avoid them to be targeted by massed enemy fire.
|Machinegunner. He can acquire targets in the kill zone (note the road in the distance) but the rocks protect him from fires coming from enemy forces away from it.|
|Marksman. With this one I went overboard: his field of fire is way too narrow.|
|Our assault specialist has grabbed an AT weapon in all the haste of our departure from FOB Georgia. Again, his field of fire is purposely cut by the rocks. He can target the kill zone but can be shot at from enemies to his left.|
|I positioned myself where I could see the enemy advancing. Everybody in my team was holding fire. We wanted the enemy to be into the kill zone before giving away our location.|
|The kill zone ... And the killing. One insurgent is falling victim to a headshot.|
|Tactical ebb and flow: some insurgents were pulling back and others were determined to continue pushing towards the village. I decided that we would greet the second wave in the same way like we did with the first.|
And that thing was my lack of attention towards our left and blind flank. I was supposed to cover that and any correction by now turned out to be too little and too late.
|This is me trying to get a grip on our left flank. Enemy fire was now more intense and moving along has become trickier. Note how I am blind to anything moving in the left reverse slope of our position.|
|Deep tactical caca, gentlemen ... We are outflanked.|
|Shooting back to the enemy in our rear. A firefight that ended up taking my life.|
The glaring error of not keeping good security on a defensive position aside, there was also something that the team leader has failed to keep track on: enemy fire. I will not argue that there is such a thing like a language of tactical combat, but I maintain that a good team leader needs not only to hear the enemy shots but listen to them. There is a meaning in the volume of enemy fire ... Suppressed ... Firing with only what was left of the fireteam ... Great base of fire deployed, we will start maneuvering ... The US team leader knew that his position was easy to flank if he couldn't get 100% of the enemy forces into the kill zone and once the enemy is firing at you, they are unlikely to move into your weapon's optics.