Version 1 / 4min read / Updated Tue 25 Feb 2020 / 565 views
This movement method simply increases the distance between elements. The extra space allows for more room to maneuver and decreases the density of friendly forces, which in turn increases the security of the unit by making it harder for an enemy to inflict large casualties via a sudden ambush or explosive trap.
When moving via traveling overwatch, particularly as in a squad or platoon line formation, one element is designated as the lead or "guide-on" element. This element controls the rate of movement or speed of advance, with other elements "guiding" off of them. If this element halts, the whole formation halts. If they move, the formation moves. This helps to ensure that the overall group formation does not overrun itself or get far out of formation.
Bounding Overwatch is the de-facto "Standard Infantry Movement Technique". It is one of the most fundamental combat movement skills practiced and happens to be one of the easiest to employ as well.
The basic principle of bounding overwatch is that one element is always stationary and covering the movement of the other element(s). There are two main techniques available - alternating and successive. The choice of which one will be used depends on the threat level and the speed required. When not explicitly stated, the bounding method is determined by the second team as it begins to bound - if the threat is high, successive bounds will be employed. If not, alternating bounds will occur. Oftentimes it will become a very fluid execution that blends alternating and successive bounds as the situation requires. Being familiar with all aspects and employments of bounding overwatch allows leaders to be tactically knowledgeable enough to carry out such blended, situation-dependent employments.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when employing bounding overwatch.
Element leaders should ensure that the bounding teams are close enough to where they can support each other with fire. With this in mind, it would be wise to prevent two infantry elements from be separated by more than 300 meters, as a general guideline.
Element leaders should try to get superior ground when providing overwatch. A commanding view of the terrain increases the effectiveness of an overwatch element a great deal.
The size of each bound should be based on the terrain, visibility, proximity of enemy threat, etc. For instance, bounds across relatively open terrain can be long - both in the interest of getting across as quickly as possible and because the range of the overwatch element is higher due to the open terrain. Urban bounds, on the other hand, are typically short due to the increased density of the area and the desire to maintain security and not overextend any one element.
Vehicles (and their inherently longer-range weapons) can have larger intervals between themselves if necessary, so long as they are never out of effective weapon range of each other.
Next, we'll move on to the two main types of bounding overwatch.
Successive Bounding Overwatch
Successive bounding overwatch is the slower of the two. In it, one team advances, halts, and then the other team advances on-line with them, halts, and the process repeats itself. This provides a high level of security, but with the trade off of taking longer to employ.
Alternating Bounding Overwatch
Alternating bounding overwatch is the fastest of the two, sacrificing some security for additional speed. In this mode, the teams bound past each other before stopping and allowing the other team to pass them.
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)