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Formations Guide - Section Level Tactics
Forum » Training » Guides
Joined: 20th Jan 2013
Rank: Member
Likes 2491
18th Sep 2017

Formations Guide - Section Level Tactics
The following is a guide on British Section formations, and our slight deviation from the real ones. Whilst we do strive for realism, we do have to unfortunately work within the confines of a virtual space done for enjoyment,  as such, the placement of the 2IC is different than real life to help us overcome our unique challenges.

For each formation I will break down on where it should ideally be used, why and any special notes. Hopefully with these understandings you'll appreciate the purpose of them, as well make better informed decisions in command roles.

Before we get into the meat of it, why bother with formations in the first place?
An organised section is able to react reliably, predictably and quickly to a contact. Giving that section commander that much better organisation over his foe, allowing him to exploit that via the means of tactical manoeuvring. Giving them greater chance at winning the fire fight with fewer casualties.

It also means that for every engagement the section commander doesn't need to reinvent the wheel tactically speaking based on where his men are, and use that newly untested method. Instead, he is able to apply a more standard, taught and tested tactic where he can deviate on it where necessary for a more predictable result.

The Formations Themselves
Okay, let's get into the meat of it. For each formation I've created an image depicting its layout. The yellow circles represent members of the Charlie fire-team. The orange circles represent members of the Delta fire-team. Each circle has a caret indicting the direction they're facing. Each image has a North indication noting the direction of travel for that section, unless noted otherwise.

Line Formation:

Where: Approaching a known enemy position, with good assurances on flank security.
Why: Allows for maximum fire power forward facing on to target, as well as providing an easy platform for all known manoeuvres.
Notes: Alternatively can be used for pushing through a forest, allowing members to use trees as cover on the move.

Column/File Formation:

Where: Travelling through low risk areas, or high IED/mine threats.
Why: Easy to move around, where individuals only have to focus on following the person in front. In the case of explosives, it's about maintaining a proven route to reduce the chance of setting one off.
Notes: Particularly useful for moving within low visibility (e.g. night time, or a dark forest).

Staggered Column Formation:

Where: Wide open paths/roads open to flanking ambushes, for example country roads.
Why: When under fire from their flank, the units closest can immediately prone and fire on the contacts, whilst those opposite can move up and fill in the gaps. This immediately makes a line facing the enemy with fire-teams on each side correctly.
Notes: Please note that in the staggered formation, it's a fire-team in front, and the other behind. Not on either side of the road, as sometimes mistaken for.

Double File Formation:

Where: Urban paths/roads, particularly when escorting vehicles.
Why: With each fire team looking towards the opposite fire team, there's maximum fire arcs afforded to each unit. Reducing the risk of being shot at by those in buildings, or having a single unit in front of the section exposed to both flanks simultaneously.
Notes: When escorting an armed vehicle forward facing security by the infantry can be sacrificed, as the vehicle will be able to provide that cover with greater capability.

Wedge/Arrowhead Formation:

Where: Approaching a known enemy position, with little to no assurance on flank security.
Why: Allows for the units to quickly form a line to the front, or either flank if they take fire.
Notes: The side with Delta is longer than Charlie, this is known as the "Heavy Side". If someone gives the order "Wedge, Heavy Side Right" that means Delta on the right side.

Echelon Formation:

Where: Passing a position on one side that has moderate enemy presence potential.
Why: Allows for the entire section to turn 45 degrees to left or right and to be immediately in a line facing in that direction.
Notes: Limited potential usage, requires a great deal of platoon support to ensure other flanks are secure.

Diamond Formation:

Where: Passing through an area with possibility of attack from any angle.
Why: Allows the unit to quickly stop and provide an all round defence. Particularly useful in the escort of VIPs etc.
Notes: This formation is a moving formation only.

All Round Defence Formation:

Where: Stationary in an area for a reasonable amount of time, and with the possibility of attack from any angle.
Why: Allows the unit to provide a full 360 degree arc of fire and vision.
Notes: This formation is a stationary formation only. Standard formation for dismounting helicopters.

Herringbone Formation:

Where: Stationary in an area for a short amount of time, and with the possibility of attack from any angle.
Why: Allows the unit to provide a full 360 degree arc of fire and vision, whilst also allowing them to move off into a column with ease.
Notes: Particularly useful for quickly stopping in a column, for example the section commander needs to refer to his map with the pointman.


"Jokes on them, I was only pretending to be retarded."



"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured... the first thought forbidden... the first freedom denied – chains us all irrevocably."

Last Edit: 1st Feb 2018 by Bosenator
Joined: 20th Jan 2013
Rank: Member
Likes 2491
22nd Jan 2018

This guide now features words in it. Woo.


"Jokes on them, I was only pretending to be retarded."



"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured... the first thought forbidden... the first freedom denied – chains us all irrevocably."

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