Manoeuvres Guide - Section Level Tactics
There are numerous manoeuvres (maneuvers if you're American) available to be utilised by a section, however in this guide I'll just be covering the two most common and widely applicable ones. Hopefully by the end of this guide you'll have an understanding in how to not only conduct the manoeuvres, but also why and where.
For these two manoeuvres the section needs to be in a line formation. This is why most of the formations utilised are easily rearranged into a line facing the target, they're designed with the manoeuvres in mind. If you're unfamiliar with section formations, you can check out a guide on them here
If you've ever played in a MilSim unit before or any realism group to any degree, based on any NATO nation (not just British or European Armies), then you've probably encountered bounding. Bounding is one of the primary methods of relocating a section onto an enemy position with minimal or no platoon support. This tactic is also applied at platoon level, but it's handled slightly differently.
By moving the fire teams at different times, you allow the non-moving fire team to lay down fire on to any potential hostile within the target location. The over-watching fire team has a significantly reduced reaction time on engaging any threats to the moving fire team and is able to keep consistent aimed suppressive fire upon their position, thus providing security through the manoeuvre.
There's two variants of bounding that we practice, with each having slightly different use cases. The verbal orders given for both are roughly the same. An example order structure for bounding is given below. Please note, there's no requirement to stick rigidly to the structure below. Many section commanders may do it a bit more relaxed, but they'll still cover the same key points.
Charlie TL: Section, successive bounding to the front. Charlie team, prepare to move!Time is given for Charlie to reload.Charlie TL: Move!Charlie proceeds to traverse.Charlie TL: Set!Once Charlie has gained ~100m of movement, or sought good cover.Delta TL: Delta team, prepare to move!Time is given for Delta to reload.Delta TL: Move!Delta proceeds to traverse.Delta TL: Set!Once Delta has gained ~100m of movement, or sought good cover.Repeat until the section commander orders otherwise.
As you can see there should be time to reload before moving, so that when the fire team is 'set', they are able to immediately lay uninhibited fire upon the target, allowing for the other fire team to move up straight after. This is the case for both variants of the manoeuvre.
Additionally, all orders should be given clearly over the section radio - including fire team leaders saying to 'move' and 'set', if in possession of one. If not, it may be beneficial to state a different form of communication ahead of time, for example a hand signal or when reaching a certain position.Successive Bounding
The "safest" bounding manoeuvre is successive bounding. It's the slow and steady approach to progressing on to the target location. I've created an image shown below to depict the motion of the section within a bounding manoeuvre.
As you can see above, you "successively" make a new line each time. This allows you to keep timely and strong fire-power on to the target, at the expenditure of speed of the whole manoeuvre. Because you are keeping the fire-teams tight together, you're also able to control the section as a whole a lot easier.Alternate Bounding
The other bounding that we'll cover is the "alternate" bounding manoeuvre. This sacrifices some of the security of a successive bounding in order to increase speed of movement onto the target location. I've created a set of image shown below to depict how an alternate bounding manoeuvre is performed.
You can see where the speed is made, and the security is expended. By "alternating" the fire teams at the front of the manoeuvre, you're able to traverse a lot more ground in the same time frame.
This particular style of bounding is seen less often, for not only is it more situationally based; a lightly defend position, but enough to warrant a bounding manoeuvre. It's also because of the asymmetrical fire team fire power in most eras (WW2, Cold War and Modern
). Typically in these eras, the Delta fire team is devised as an over-watch fire-team.Peeling
The other manoeuvre we practice is the peeling manoeuvre. This manoeuvre allows for a section to move parallel to a target, whilst maintaining that all and important security.
There can be numerous reasons for a section to move parallel to its target, for example moving along a tree line utilising the trees as cover, to seek hard cover behind a solid structure located on the sections flank, or the most common, to relocate to a better firing position whilst still dealing with the contacts.
Again, there are two variants of the peeling manoeuvre. The vocal orders follow a similar nature to that of bounding. Please remember that there's no requirement to stick rigidly to the vocal structure.
Always be sure to move around the back of your allies! You'd be amazed that when the bullets start firing how many people forget about their friendlies positions. Please don't run front of your section. You'll either stop them from being effective, or more than likely get shot by them. You wholeheartedly deserve it in this instance. Please no potato.
Peeling can also be used to move a section from a defensive position into a travelling formation easily. For example, a section to man by man peel into a moving column. Offering security, as well as ease for the section itself.Man by Man Peeling
The most common form of peeling, and is quite often done without even realising it: man by man peeling. It maintains as much security as possible whilst offering mobility. This is particularly useful as previously stated moving along a tree line under fire. It's regarded as the "safer" version of peeling, where the decision hinges more on security rather than speed.
I've created an image below to display the movement, as well as announcements made by the first person to move, on a man by man peeling to the left.
Please note the delay between actually moving and stating it, as well as the premature nature of stating set before getting down on your belt buckle. The delay before stating moving is to prevent people stating they're moving, but then not being able to proceed (such as a new threat emerging, requiring cover to be maintained
) and thus not actually moving. The premature nature of stating "set" before you are, is to help cut the effects of communication delay.
This movement is repeated until the section commander states otherwise. When that's stated, anyone currently under movement should see their action to conclusion.Fire Team Peeling
The lesser utilised but still practised peeling is the fire-team peeling, this is basically bounding but parallel to the target. As such, it follows the practice of moving under instruction of their respective fire-team lead. This follows the same delay for reloading and so forth as a bounding manoeuvre.
I've created an image below to display the movement, as well as announcements made by the fire team leader moving, on a fire team peel to the left.
Similar to man by man peeling the moving statement is given after delay, to account for the aforementioned issues, however the set statement is issued after the fire-team are all on their belt buckles. This is to allow for the fire-team lead to account for all their men, and to assure that they are in a position to start suppressing the target location.