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MOVEMENT TECHNIQUES

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THE BILL OF RIGHTS
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
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THE FEDERALIST PAPERS - The Importance of the Union (1-14)
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Normally, you will spend more time moving than fighting. You must use proper movement techniques to avoid contact with the enemy when you are not prepared for contact.

The fundamentals of movement discussed in this chapter provide techniques that all soldiers should learn. These techniques should be practiced until they become second nature.

MOVEMENT TECHNIQUES

Your unit's ability to move depends on your movement skills and those of your fellow soldiers. Use the following techniques to avoid being seen or heard by the enemy:

  • Camouflage yourself and your equipment.
  • Tape your dog tags together and to the chain so they cannot slide or rattle. Tape or pad the parts of your weapon and equipment that rattle or are so loose that they may snag (the tape or padding must not interfere with the operation of the weapon or equipment). Jump up and down and listen for rattles.
  • Wear soft, well-fitting clothes.
  • Do not carry unnecessary equipment. Move from covered position to revered position (taking no longer than 3 to 5 seconds between positions).
  • Stop, look, and listen before moving. Look for your next position before leaving a position.
  • Look for covered and concealed routes on which to move.
  • Change direction slightly from time to time when moving through tall grass.
  • Stop, look, and listen when birds or animals are alarmed (the enemy may be nearby).
  • Use battlefield noises, such as weapon noises, to conceal movement noises.
  • Cross roads and trails at places that have the most cover and concealment (large culverts, low spots, curves, or bridges).
  • Avoid steep slopes and places with loose dirt or stones.
  • Avoid cleared, open areas and tops of hills and ridges.

METHODS OF MOVEMENT

In addition to walking, you may move in one of three other methods--low crawl, high crawl, or rush.

The low crawl gives you the lowest silhouette. Use it to cross places where the concealment is very low and enemy fire or observation prevents you from getting up. Keep your body flat against the ground. With your firing hand, grasp your weapon sling at the upper sling--swivel. Let the front handguard rest on your forearm (keeping the muzzle off the ground), and let the weapon butt drag on the ground.

To move, push your arms forward and pull your firing side leg forward. Then pull with your arms and push with your leg. Continue this throughout the move.

The high crawl lets you move faster than the low crawl and still gives you a low silhouette. Use this crawl when there is good concealment but enemy fire prevents you from getting up. Keep your body off the ground and resting on your forearms and lower legs. Cradle your weapon in your arms and keep its muzzle off the ground. Keep your knees well behind your buttocks so your body will stay low.

To move, alternately advance your right elbow and left knee, then your left elbow and right knee.

The rush is the fastest way to move from one position to another. Each rush should last from 3 to 5 seconds. The rushes are kept short to keep enemy machine gunners or riflemen from tracking you. However, do not stop and hit the ground in the open just because 5 seconds have passed. Always try to hit the ground behind some cover. Before moving, pick out your next covered and concealed position and the best route to it.

Make your move from the prone position as follows:

  • Slowly raise your head and pick your next position and the route to it.
  • Slowly lower your head.
  • Draw your arms into your body (keeping your elbows in).
  • Pull your right leg forward.
  • Raise your body by straightening your arms.
  • Get up quickly.
  • Run to the next position.

When you are ready to stop moving, do the following:

  • Plant both of your feet.
  • Drop to your knees (at the same time slide a hand to the butt of your rifle).
  • Fall forward, breaking the fall with the butt of the rifle.
  • Go to a prone firing position.

If you have been firing from one position for some time, the enemy may have spotted you and may be waiting for you to come up from behind cover. So, before rushing forward, roll or crawl a short distance from your position. By coming up from another spot, you may fool an enemy who is aiming at one spot, waiting for you to rise.

When the route to your next position is through an open area, rush by zigzagging. If necessary, hit the ground, roll right or left, then rush again.

MOVING WITH STEALTH

Moving with stealth means moving quietly, slowly, and carefully. This requires great patience.

To move with stealth, use the following techniques:

  • Hold your rifle at port arms (ready position).
  • Make your footing sure and solid by keeping your body's weight on the foot on the ground while stepping.
  • Raise the moving leg high to clear brush or grass.
  • Gently let the moving foot down toe first, with your body's weight on the rear leg.
  • Lower the heel of the moving foot after the toe is in a solid place.
  • Shift your body's weight and balance to the forward foot before moving the rear foot.
  • Take short steps to help maintain balance.

At night, and when moving through dense vegetation, avoid making noise. Hold your weapon with one hand, and keep the other hand forward, feeling for obstructions.

When going into a prone position, use the following techniques:

  • Hold your rifle with one hand and crouch slowly.
  • Feel for the ground with your free hand to make sure it is clear of mines, tripwires, and other hazards.
  • Lower your knees, one at a time, until your body's weight is on both knees and your free hand.
  • Shift your weight to your free hand and opposite knee.
  • Raise your free leg up and back, and lower it gently to that side.
  • Move the other leg into position the same way.
  • Roll quietly into a prone position.

Use the following techniques when crawling:

  • Crawl on your hands and knees. Hold your rifle in your firing hand. Use your nonfiring hand to feel for and make clear spots for your hands and knees to move to.
  • Move your hands and knees to those spots, and put them down softly.

IMMEDIATE ACTIONS WHILE MOVING

This section furnishes guidance for the immediate actions you should take when reacting to enemy indirect fire and flares.

REACTING TO INDIRECT FIRE

If you come under indirect fire while moving, quickly look to your leader for orders. He will either tell you to run out of the impact area in a certain direction or will tell you to follow him. If you cannot see your leader, but can see other team members, follow them. If alone, or if you cannot see your leader or the other team members, run out of the area in a direction away from the incoming fire.

It is hard to move quickly on rough terrain, but the terrain may provide good cover. In such terrain, it may be best to take cover and wait for flares to burn out. After they burn out, move out of the area quickly.

REACTING TO GROUND FLARES

The enemy puts out ground flares as warning devices. He sets them off himself or attaches tripwires to them for you to trip on and set them off. He usually puts the flares in places he can watch.

If you are caught in the light of a ground flare, move quickly out of the lighted area. The enemy will know where the ground flare is and will be ready to fire into that area. Move well away from the lighted area. While moving out of the area, look for other team members. Try to follow or join them to keep the team together.

REACTING TO AERIAL FLARES

The enemy uses aerial flares to light up vital areas. They can be set off like ground flares; fired from hand projectors, grenade launchers, mortars, and artillery; or dropped from aircraft.

If you hear the firing of an aerial flare while you are moving, hit the ground (behind cover if possible) while the flare is rising and before it bursts and illuminates.

If moving where it is easy to blend with the background (such as in a forest) and you are caught in the light of an aerial flare, freeze in place until the flare burns out.

If you are caught in the light of an aerial flare while moving in an open area, immediately crouch low or lie down.

If you are crossing an obstacle, such as a barbed-wire fence or a wall, and get caught in the light of an aerial flare, crouch low and stay down until the flare burns out.

The sudden light of a bursting flare may temporarily blind both you and the enemy. When the enemy uses a flare to spot you, he spoils his own night vision. To protect your night vision, close one eye while the flare is burning. When the flare burns out, the eye that was closed will still have its night vision.

MOVING WITHIN A TEAM

You will usually move as a member of a team. Small teams, such as infantry fire teams, normally move in a wedge formation. Each soldier in the team has a set position in the wedge, determined by the type weapon he carries. That position, however, may be changed by the team leader to meet the situation. The normal distance between soldiers is 10 meters.

You may have to make a temporary change in the wedge formation when moving through close terrain. The soldiers in the sides of the wedge close into a single file when moving in thick brush or through a narrow pass. After passing through such an area, they should spread out, again forming the wedge. You should not wait for orders to change the formation or the interval. You should change automatically and stay in visual contact with the other team members and the team leader.

The team leader leads by setting the example. His standing order is, FOLLOW ME AND DO AS I DO. When he moves to the left, you should move to the left. When he gets down, you should get down. When he fires, you should fire.

When visibility is limited, control during movement may become difficult. Two l-inch horizontal strips of luminous tape, sewn directly on the rear of the helmet camouflage band with a l-inch space between them, are a device for night identification.

Night identification for your patrol cap could be two l-inch by 1/2-inch strips of luminous tape sewn vertically, directly on the rear of the cap. They should be centered, with the bottom edge of each tape even with the bottom edge of the cap and with a l-inch space between two tapes.

FIRE AND MOVEMENT

When a unit makes contact with the enemy, it normally starts firing at and moving toward the enemy. Sometimes the unit may move away from the enemy. That technique is called fire and movement. It is conducted either to close with and destroy the enemy, or to move away from the enemy so as to break contact with him.

The firing and moving take place at the same time. There is a fire element and a movement element. These elements may be single soldiers, buddy teams, fire teams, or squads. Regardless of the size of the elements, the action is still fire and movement.

The fire element covers the move of the movement element by firing at the enemy. This helps keep the enemy from firing back at the movement element.

The movement element moves either to close with the enemy or to reach a better position from which to fire at him. The movement element should not move until the fire element is firing.

Depending on the distance to the enemy position and on the available cover, the fire element and the movement element switch roles as needed to keep moving.

Before the movement element moves beyond the supporting range of the fire element (the distance within which the weapons of the fire element can fire and support the movement element), it should take a position from which it can fire at the enemy. The movement element then becomes the next fire element and the fire element becomes the next movement element.

If your team makes contact, your team leader should tell you to fire or to move. He should also tell you where to fire from, what to fire at, or where to move to. When moving, use the low crawl, high crawl, or rush.

MOVEMENT TECHNIQUES
 
A movement technique is the manner a platoon uses to traverse terrain. There are three movement techniques: traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch. The selection of a movement technique is based on the likelihood of enemy contact and the need for speed. Factors to consider for each technique are control, dispersion, speed, and security (Figure 2-18). Movement techniques are not fixed formations. They refer to the distances between soldiers, teams, and squads that vary based on mission, enemy, terrain, visibility, and any other factor that affects control. Soldiers must be able to see their fire team leader. The squad leader must be able to see his fire team leaders. The platoon leader should be able to see his lead squad leader. Leaders control movement with arm-and-hand signals. They use radios only when needed. Any of the three movement techniques (traveling, traveling overwatch, bounding overwatch) can be used with any formation.

a. Techniques of Squad Movement. The platoon leader determines and directs which movement technique the squad will use.

(1) Traveling. Traveling is used when contact with the enemy is not likely and speed is needed (Figure 2-19).

(2) Traveling overwatch. Traveling overwatch is used when contact is possible (Figure 2-20). Attached weapons move near the squad leader and under his control so he can employ them quickly.

(3) Bounding overwatch. Bounding overwatch is used when contact is expected, when the squad leader feels the enemy is near (movement, noise, reflection, trash, fresh tracks, or even a hunch), or when a large open danger area must be crossed.

(a) The lead fire team overwatches first. Soldiers scan for enemy positions. The squad leader usually stays with the overwatch team. (Figure 2-21).

(b) The trail fire team bounds and signals the squad leader when his team completes its bound and is prepared to overwatch the movement of the other team.

(c) Both team leaders must know if successive or alternate bounds will be used and which team the squad leader will be with. The overwatching team leader must know the route and destination of the bounding team. The bounding team leader must know his team's destination and route, possible enemy locations, and actions to take when he arrives there. He must also know where the overwatching team will be, and how he will receive his instructions. The cover and concealment on the bounding team's route dictates how its soldiers move.

(d) Teams can bound successively or alternately. Successive bounds are easier to control; alternate bounds can be faster. (Figure 2-22.)

b. Techniques of Platoon Movement. The platoon leader determines and directs which movement technique the platoon will use.

(1) Traveling. Traveling is used when enemy contact is not likely and speed is needed (Figure 2-23).

(2) Traveling overwatch. Traveling overwatch is used when contact is possible but speed is needed (Figure 2-24). The platoon leader moves where he can best control the platoon. The platoon sergeant travels with the trailing squad, though he is free to move throughout the formation to enforce security, noise and light discipline, and distances between squads. The lead squad uses traveling overwatch, and the trailing squads use traveling.

(3) Bounding overwatch. Bounding overwatch is used when contact is expected (Figure 2-25). Platoons conduct bounding overwatch using successive or alternate bounds.

(a) One squad bounding. One squad bounds forward to a chosen position, then it becomes the overwatching element unless contact is made en route. The bounding squad can use either traveling overwatch, bounding overmatch, or individual movement techniques (low and high crawl, and short rushes by fire team or pairs).

(b) One squad overwatching. One squad overwatches the bounding squad from covered positions from which it can see and suppress likely enemy positions. Soldiers use sunning techniques to view their assigned sector. The platoon leader remains with the overmatching squad. Normally, the platoon's machine guns are located with the overwatching squad also.

(c) One squad awaiting orders. One squad is uncommitted and ready for employment as directed by the platoon leader. The platoon sergeant and the leader of the squad awaiting orders position themselves close to the platoon leader.

(d) Considerations. When deciding where to have his bounding squad go, a platoon leader considers--

      • The requirements of the mission.

      • Where the enemy is likely to be.

      • The routes to the next overwatch position.

      • The ability of an overwatching element's weapons to cover the bound.

      • The responsiveness of the rest of the platoon.

      • The fields of fire at the next overwatch position.

(e) Instructions. Before a bound, the platoon leader gives an order to his squad leaders from the overwatch position (Figure 2-26). He tells and shows them the following:

      • The direction or location of the enemy (if known).

      • The positions of the overwatching squad.

      • The next overwatch position.

      • The route of the bounding squad.

      • What to do after the bounding squad reaches the next position.

      • What signal the bounding squad will use to announce it is prepared to overwatch.

      • How the squad will receive their next orders.

(f) Machine guns. The machine guns are normally employed in one of two ways:

      • Attach both guns to the overwatch squad(s).

      • One machine gun with the overwatch squad and the other with the bounding squad. This technique requires the guns to move between squads as they leave the overwatch to join the bounding squad.

c. Individual Movement Techniques. Individual movement techniques include the high and low crawl and short rushes (three to five seconds) from one covered position to another. (See FM 21-75.)

d. Other Movement Situations. The platoon can use other formations for movement.

(1) Movement with armored vehicles. For a detailed discussion of working with armored vehicles, see Section IX.

(2) Movement by water. The platoon avoids crossing water obstacles when possible. Leaders should identify weak or nonswimmers and pair them with a good swimmer in their squad.

(a) When platoons or squads must move into, through, or out of rivers, lakes, streams, or other bodies of water, they treat the water obstacle as a danger area. While on the water, the platoon is exposed and vulnerable. To offset the disadvantages, the platoon--

      • Moves during limited visibility.

      • Disperses.

      • Camouflages thoroughly.

      • Moves near the shore to reduce the chances of detection.

(b) When moving in more than one boat, the platoon--

      • Maintains tactical integrity and self-sufficiency.

      • Cross loads key soldiers and equipment.

      • Makes sure that the radio is with the leader.

(c) If boats are not available, several other techniques can be used such as--

      • Swimming.

      • Poncho rafts.

      • Air mattresses.

      • Waterproof bags.

      • A 7/16-inch rope used as a semisubmersible one-rope bridge or safety line.

      • Water wings (made from a set of trousers).

(3) Tactical marches. Platoons conduct two types of tactical marches with the company. They are foot marches and motor marches.

(a) Foot marches. See FM 21-18.

(b) Motor marches. The platoon conducts motor marches like any other tactical movement. Special requirements may include--

      • Protection. Sandbagging the bottom of the truck to protect the soldiers from mines.

      • Observation. Removing bows and canvas to allow 360-degree observation and rapid dismount.

      • Inspection. Inspecting vehicle and driver to ensure they are ready. Checking fuel level and driver's knowledge of the route, speed, and distance between vehicles.

      • Loading. The platoon should load vehicles keeping fire team, squad, and platoon integrity. For example, fire teams and squads intact on the same vehicle and platoons in the same serial. Additionally, key leaders, weapons, and equipment should be cross loaded.

      • Rehearsals. Rehearsing immediate action to enemy contact (near and far ambush, air attack) ensuring the driver knows what to do.

      • Air guards. Posting air guards for each vehicle.

(4) Movement during limited visibility conditions. At night or when visibility is poor, a platoon must be able to function the same as during day. It must be able to control, navigate, maintain security, move, and stalk at night or during limited visibility.

(a) Control. When visibility is poor, the following methods aid in control:

      • Selected personnel use of night vision devices.

      • Leaders move closer to the front.

      • The platoon reduces speed.

      • Each soldier uses two small strips of luminous tape on the rear of his helmet to allow the soldier behind him to see.

      • Leaders reduce the interval between soldiers and between units to make sure they can see each other.

      • Leaders conduct headcounts at regular intervals and after each halt to ensure personnel accountability.

(b) Navigation. To assist in navigation during limited visibility, leaders use--

      • Terrain association (general direction of travel coupled with recognition of prominent map and ground features).

      • Dead reckoning (compass direction and specific distances or legs). At the end of each leg, leaders should verify their location.

      • Movement routes that parallel identifiable terrain features.

      • Guides or marked routes.

      • GSRs to vector units to the proper location.

      • Position-location devices.

(c) Security. For stealth and security in night moves, squads and platoons--

      • Designate a point man to maintain alertness, the lead team leader to navigate, and a pace man to count the distance traveled. Alternate compass and pace men are designated.

      • Allow no smoking, no lights, and no noise.

      • Use radio-listening silence.

      • Camouflage soldiers and equipment.

      • Use terrain to avoid detection by enemy surveillance or night vision devices.

      • Make frequent listening halts.

      • Mask the sounds of movement with artillery fires.

(d) Night walking. Proficiency in night walking is gained through practice. A soldier walking at night looks ahead, then slowly lifting his right foot, he cases it forward about 6 inches to the front of the left foot. While easing his foot forward and keeping his toes pointed downward, the soldier feels for twigs and trip wires. He slowly places his foot on the ground. Confident of solid, quiet footing, the soldier slowly moves his weight forward, hesitates, then repeats the process with the other foot. This technique is slow and time-consuming.

(e) Stalking. Soldiers stalk to get as close as they can to an enemy sentry, patrol, or base. This is best described as a slow, crouching night walk. The soldier watches the enemy continuously. When close to the enemy, the soldier squints to help conceal light reflected by his eyes. He breathes slowly through his nose. If the enemy looks in his direction, the soldier freezes. He takes advantage of the background to blend with shadows and to prevent glare or contrast. Soldiers move during distractions such as gusts of wind, vehicle movement, loud talking, or nearby weapons fire.

FOR LIKE MINDED PATRIOTS WHO WANT TO SURVIVE ANY AND ALL SITUATIONS THAT THEY MAY FACE.