Saturday, January 13, 2024

Small Unit Tactics - The Hidden Flank of the Wedge Formation

Every squad formation can be evaluated by the firepower it can deliver in all directions. If a particular direction is not covered by enough weapons, this is considered as a vulnerability and an opportunity for the ENY attacking from that direction/angle. The concept is masterly explained in "Squad-Level Infantry Rural Combat: Small Unit Tactics and Battlecraft for Infantry and Recon Units", by Special Tactics LLC.
I will take the liberty of posting a figure from the beforementioned book because it is a piece of art in simplicity and educational value.

The figure (page 35 of the book) shows a top-down view of a 4 men team. Around them is the relative firepower that the men can deliver from a wedge formation. Green indicates good weapons coverage: three weapons can engage from 10 to 3 o'clock or from 4 to 9 o'clock. The situation is different for the orange arc: only two weapons can engage to that direction, with the two men in the right flank unable to engage through the other members of the team.

For engaging targets in the red arc direction, there is only one team member that can fire (the man in the right flank).

I like to consider these vulnerabilities as "flanks", even when the term is usually understood as a point geometrically located at 90 degrees from the line of advance and a formation's center of mass. 

I edited a tiny Arma 3 setup to test this. A video recording of a play session is available.

Don't try to make sense of the setup because is about testing the concept, not the story. Note how I had to wait for the angle of fire to be correct and how the ENY soldier in the right flank had no issues returning fire (he was not masked by the other team members). Also, the other team members showed no issues with firing over the heads of their brothers. That is of course an Arma 3 thing.

Great read, that book!


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