This series of blog entries are about the so-called "maneuver warfare" as explained by William Lind. The writings of Robert Leonhard will also be included. I claim neither expertise in the subject nor devotion to this way of waging wars and thus I am not trying to convert you into anything. This series is not an analysis or a review of all ideas about maneuver warfare but rather some explorations about the topic based on computer war games and simulations. Future entries will be delivered based in readership.
Surfaces and gaps is a very simple concept: avoid enemy strengths (surfaces), find a gap in the enemy lines and go for the enemy's position depth. Kinda common sense, we may say. The real acme is how to find and be ready for these gaps. Remember the enemy is not an static entity and will be on the move or react to your moves.
Finding and exploiting those gaps in a timely manner is what is known as "recon pull" (future course of action is frequently adjusted by lower echelon commanders to what your reconnaissance troops find out). That is opposed to "command pull" (future course of action remains constant for a considerable amount of time and determined by higher echelon commanders).
Today's entry is about the smallest unit action you can imagine during a recon pull. A US Marines squad is about to conduct a reconnaissance patrol after being stopped by a seemingly strong enemy position.
According to Lind, the usual infantry squad is too symmetrical (each fire team has exactly the same weapons). In page 25 of Maneuver Warfare Handbook, Lind proposes that the squad should be split in a probing/assault team (riflemen and grenadiers) and a fire support team (automatic rifles plus grenadiers).
The probing team, composed of riflemen and grenadiers, should act as the probing, breeching, and, where necessary, assault element. The support team, armed with the squad automatic weapon and grenade launchers, should provide firepower to suppress enemy opposition.
In the next paragraph, Lind comments on how the exact composition of such teams should be adjusted according to the situation at hand. In wooded terrain, for example, he proposes that the probing team should be composed of two, maybe three riflemen with the rest of the squad as the support team.
Let's see how that works in ArmA 2.
|Just before moving north, the US Marines squad.|
|As a squad commander, I take with me two grenadiers (#6 and #8) and leave the rest of the squad behind the safety of the small rise north of us. In this picture I am carefully trying to get a better view of the open field ahead.|
|All I could see is a Russian BMP. But when there is one there is more, remember what you learnt in the scout class: know how your enemy operates. I can't take out one or more BMPs with my AAV-7 and I can't move my Marines through that open terrain.|
|The woods on our left flank look like the only alternative. We will be moving dismounted.|
|Our success had a price: #5 was injured by enemy fire. Man of the day, Marine!|
|If an enemy force would be present in Pavlovo, our support team wouldn't be here in time to save our rear ends. Sigh!|
|Bingo! An enemy artillery position just north of Pavlovo. Premium target that if destroyed will negate the enemy the use of indirect fire support.|
|Well, mission accomplished (Pavlovo is undefended and an enemy artillery firebase). Backtracking and starting our move back to friendly lines, the sight of a support trucks in Pavlovo was an irresistible temptation.|
|Our reconnaissance patrol and the enemy positions we found on the way.|