Movement: Peel - Core Infantry - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P3-181 Movement: Peel

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Core Infantry Procedures

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    Peeling is a flexible movement technique typically used under-fire and in order to break contact. Breaking contact means to disengage with the enemy, this is oftentimes done either to fall back completely, or to continue an engagement from a better position. There are many methods used to break contact - typically via reverse bounding overwatch (these tactics are covered in Leadership SOP) - however when in smaller teams without mutual support these can be less effective.

    See: Battle Drills: Break Contact via Bounding Overwatch


    What is a peel

    ‘Peeling’ is a Squad movement technique employed by a small unit encountering a much larger force. During the peel, the unit employs continuous suppressive fire while successively and rapidly moving, one person hat a time, in the designated direction - this is different to bounding, where movement is done via buddy teams or fireteams. The aim is to get away as quickly as possible while denying the enemy an advance to overwhelm the small unit.


    When to peel

    Peeling is seldom used by regular infantry who aim to commit to an engagement and who have friendly units in support. When a regular platoon breaks contact, it is unlikely a squad initiates a peeling manoeuvre, knowing they or another element will provide the necessary base of fire to move safely and quickly. For this reason, the peeling manoeuvre is most often seen by special operations forces, recon patrols who typically operate in smaller numbers or any other element without mutual support.

    However, any element who is without mutual support, can and should initiate a peel until such support is in position, or until successfully disengaged.


    Types of peel

    There are two variations of the peel: centre peel and line peel.


    Centre Peel


    For the Centre Peel, the unit under fire immediately forms and maintains a staggered column towards the contact, with at least enough room in the middle for one person to sprint through.

    • When the centre peel is called, the two persons abreast facing the contact begin suppressive fire.
    • The person furthest up disengages, shouts ‘MOVING!’ and turns inwards to run down the column to take the rearmost position on the same side, then calls ‘SET!’
    • As soon as the first person passes the next on the opposite side, they also immediately disengage, shouting ‘MOVING’ to run down the column and calling ‘SET!’ in the rear.
    • This continues down the column until the leader calls the transition to a different manoeuvre towards a safe position or support arrives.


    Line Peel


    • When the Line Peel is called, the unit under fire immediately forms a line abreast with all guns facing the direction of contact and initiating suppressive fire. It is important to immediately gain fire superiority to allow the manoeuvre to be effective.
    • The person on the far end of the line disengages, shouting ‘MOVING!’, and runs passing behind the line towards the designated direction of retreat, then calls ‘SET!’
    • As soon as the next person in line on the far end is passed by the first, they disengage shouting ‘MOVING!’, continuing the cycle.
    • This process repeats, shuffling the unit sideways one by one while keeping up suppression until disengaged.




    Center vs Line

    Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.

    The Centre Peel exposes the smallest frontal profile to the enemy, but only a minority of weapons are available for suppression. However, this makes it highly sustainable with lower overall ammo expenditure and in a direction directly away from contact. It ensures that casualties are visible to other members of the fireteam and in a controlled area (between the columns) to be dealt with appropriately. All benefits of the column formation apply; maintaining flank security for the full manoeuvre, without the peeling individual passing through any lines of fire. 

    The Line Peel exposes the full unit to the enemy, but provides all guns for suppression. Therefore, fire superiority is easier to achieve, while ammo is a greater factor in prolonged retreats. This method works best with the unit’s backs against an obstacle with contact perpendicular to the direction of travel, or to traverse a danger area. Because the direction of retreat is not directly away from contact, transitioning to a different movement technique when able is paramount. It can be used to effectively move a unit into cover adjacent to the currently occupied killzone before moving into those other movement techniques.


    Bounding Overwatch

    As with other types of withdrawal speed is a key factor of success. If at all possible an element with support should transition to bounding overwatch to more rapidly withdraw as soon as supression of the assaulting force can be achieved through other means or by a supporting unit. This is especially important for elements with low combat effectiveness or casualties, such as carrying the wounded, low ammo or where a prelonged withdrawal may negatively effect that units state.

    This SOP has been contributed to by 4 editors:
    Major James
    Sergeant Jochem
    Specialist SkullCollector
    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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