Employing basic formations - Core Infantry - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P3-4 Employing basic formations

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Core Infantry Procedures

Version 2 / 8min read / Updated Sun 08 May 2022 / 5635 views / of verified

Table of Contents

    Your responsiblities when in formations

    • Maintain appropriate interval and offset from the leading element; prevent gaps from developing
    • Communicate with the leading element to let them know if they're going too fast or too slow
    • Observe in the direction that they are offset from the lead element
    • If acting as a rear-security element, they observe to the rear
    • If there is no dedicated rear-security element, they share responsibility for observation to the rear with the other trail elements.

    To keep an approprioate interval, it is cruical to be in the right stance to not be too slow or too fast.
    The stances with speeds and keybinds are as follows:

    Stance Speed Keys
    Walking 5 km/h

    Ctrl + C

    Weapon lowered & Combat Speed 10 km/h 2 x Ctrl + 2 x C
    Combat Speed 11 km/h 2 x C
    Weapon lowered 12 km/h 2 x Ctrl
    Normal 14 km/h  


    Video: A visualization depicting the Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks (STP 21-1-SMCT) task Move as a Member of a Team (071-COM-0501). This was developed for the Center for Initial Military Training, FT Eustis, Va. This visualization has been approved for public release.


    Common verbal movement commands

    • On Me
      Command by the element leader to tell his element members to form up on him and follow him. Typically prefaced with the element name, ie "Bravo 2, on me!"
    • Move out / moving / step off / stepping 
      Commands used to indicate the beginning of a period of movement.
    • Hold 
      Used to control movement. "Hold" is ordered when a unit needs to make a temporary halt. Oftentimes used to maintain cohesion between multiple elements.
    • Go Firm
      The short version is that once "Go Firm" is ordered, all squads consolidate their position, assume a defensive and secure posture, get a count of their numbers, check their ammo situation, and stand by for orders. Occasionally misunderstood and used as a 'hold' command.
    • Oscar Mike
      Short for "On the move"
    • Charlie Mike
      Short for "Continue on mission"


    Video: Individual movement Techniques & Fire Team Formations - The Operational Environment Center Gaming and Visualizations (G&V) is a US Army TRADOC G2 organization that transforms actual combat events into unclassified 3d visualizations.


    Common Formations

    These are the four main formations that you will see used the majority of the time. The common theme is that they are easy to establish, control, and are very flexible.



    The wedge formation is a very versatile one that is easy to establish and control. It allows for good all-around observation and security, and can be used in the majority of situations encountered. Fire can be placed in any direction in good quantity, and a shift in formation upon contact is easy to accomplish to suit where the contact came from.



    If used at the platoon level, the Platoon Commander typically trails behind the leading squad, putting himself in the middle of the formation where he can best control things. When used at the fireteam level, the Fireteam Leader is the tip of the wedge, and the fireteam members guide off of his movements.

    The wedge formation is the one most naturally assumed during gameplay, and is also the preferred formation to use when moving through areas where contact could come from any direction.

    When not otherwise stated, the default formation for Fireteams is the wedge formation.


    Keeping proper interval while moving as a fireteam in wedge formation


    Note that when transitioning a wedge into a line, the 2nd and 3rd elements simply move forward onto the left and right of the leading element, respectively.



    The line formation is well-suited for advancing towards a known or suspected threat with the maximum number of guns brought to bear, and excels at placing a heavy volume of fire to the formation's front.




    A fireteam advancing on-line up a hill


    The line formation offers great overlapping fields of observation and heavy fire to the front. It is relatively easy to control, but suffers from being vulnerable to flanking fire. It also does not offer great flank or rear security, and should be employed with that in mind. It is natural for a line formation to 'bow' in the direction of movement slightly, as in the above picture. How tightly to control this is dependent upon the terrain and enemy situation - keeping a perfect line can result in players paying too much attention to their formation, and too little attention towards the threat of enemy contact.


    Column (Staggered)

    The column formation is the simplest formation to establish, as it is merely a matter of follow-the-leader. It allows for very rapid movement because of this. This formation is best used during travel when contact is not imminently expected or speed is a high priority.






    A column formation has great firepower to the flanks, but is not geared towards contact from the front (which it is vulnerable to). A column can rapidly shift upon contact to a line or other formation where appropriate, giving it good flexibility.

    Column formations can be used when traveling through an area where it is not practical to spread out into a line, wedge, or other formation. For instance, travel through a restricted valley might require a column.

    It is important to note that "column" formations should not consist of one-after-the-other perfectly-lined-up troops. Staggering the column so that nobody is directly in line of each other helps to reduce the vulnerability that the formation would otherwise have from the front and rear.

    This SOP has been contributed to by 5 editors:
    Major James
    Master Sergeant Aiedail
    Sergeant Jochem
    Specialist 3rd Class Noah_Hero
    Private First Class Ross (Ret.)

    UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP)
    are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
    - US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
    - Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
    - The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
    - Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
    - Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)

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