It is important to understand that the scope in the application of combat formations has changed since the time of the great land and sea battles in the 18th and 19th Centuries, when line infantry marched on the enemy in absolute static formations and ships would align in the line of battle. In modern warfare formation drills have to be flexibly applied with great observance more complexity and awareness of the situation and environment METT-T.
The purpose of formations is to arrange elements, vehicles and individual soldiers in regards to METT-T on the battlefield in the way most advantageous. Some of the key functions of formations are:
- Dispersion of elements to minimize effect of enemy mass fires
- Arrange elements to maximize speed, control-ability and simplify communication
- Arrange elements to maximize security and situational awareness in all or specific directions
Movement Formations are used in conjunction with Movement Techniques. This article covers movement or combat formations in their general fundamental base shapes and analyses the resulting general characteristics irregardless of their level of application or force. For the specific unit-level formations refer the respective level article.
The fundamental shapes from which most of tactical movement formations found today are derived from are very simple geometrical shapes. From the most simplified perspective they can be broken down to three ground-laying root formations:
See Line (Movement Formation) for the full article on the Movement Formation Line.
The line arranges elements perpendicular to its orientation or direction of travel, "abreast of each other". Elements are mainly dispersed along the lateral axis with limited dispersion in the depth of the element. Thus this formation is employed to concentrate firepower to the front in the direction of movement. For thousands of years the line formation has seen use in warfare, but especially since the up-come of firearms units of all sizes used the line formation to assault their enemy in.
See Column (Movement Formation) for the full article on the Movement Formation Column.
The column arranges elements parallel to its orientation or direction of travel. Elements are mainly dispersed in depth with limited dispersion along the lateral axis. Elements follow each other directly in direction of travel, which allows to travel at maximum speed.
See Wedge (Movement Formation) for the full article on the Movement Formation Wedge.
The wedge arranges elements in a triangular shape with its tip pointing towards the elements orientation or direction of travel. Elements are similarly dispersed in depth and along the lateral axis.
|Formation||When normally used||Control||Lateral Dispersion||Depth Dispersion||Speed||Security|
See Echolon (Movement Formation) for the full article on the Movement Formation Echolon.
The echolon arranges elements in the left or right half of a vee towards its orientation or direction of travel. Elements are similarly dispersed in depth and along the lateral axis.
See Vee (Movement Formation) for the full article on the Movement Formation Vee.
The vee arranges elements in a triangular or letter "V" shape with the triangle's base side pointing to its orientation or direction of travel. Elements are similarly dispersed in depth and along the lateral axis.
Movement Formations on various levels
- Fireteam Movement Formations
- Squad Movement Formations
- Platoon Movement Formations
- Company Movement Formations
Reference & Links
- SimHQ - Tactical Briefing Formations, http://www.simhq.com/_land2/land_076a.html
- Dslyecxi's ArmA2 Tactical Guide, http://dslyecxi.com/armattp3.html#formations
- Infantry Fireteam Leader's Guide, http://dowmc.darkbb.com/t15-infantry-fireteam-leader-s-guide