Tactical movement on the paintball field is one of the most important and directly applicable real-world military skills that can drastically increase your team's effectiveness on the paintball field during big scenario and woods ball games. Before we look at each of the formations, let's discuss what exactly formations are and what we mean by 'tactical movement'.
To start off, a formation is an arrangement of elements and team members in relation to each other. Basically put, when you move, where is each person supposed to be and where are special weapons like heavy guns, snipers or rocket launchers located?
When we mention tactical movement, this refers to the movement of a team in a manner that minimizes its vulnerability to enemy attack and maximizes its chances of detecting an enemy force first. The element of tactical movement that we are going to focus on the most here is the formation aspect, some other equally-important aspects include:
- avoiding roads, paths or open areas
- moving as quietly as possible relative to the situation
- minimizing your visibility to the enemy during movements
There are several formation options available to team leaders, but these options are dependent on three main factors:
- The number of team members you have
- The type of terrain you're moving in
- Visibility conditions (day or night, clear or foggy)
- Proximity to enemy forces
As you can see in the chart, there are are 5 distinct types of tactical movement formations that a paintball team leader can use to control his unit. Some of these can only be used by larger units (half-platoon or platoon), as noted in the chart. We will now discuss each of these in detail.
Team and Squad Formations
In military terms, a group of 2 or 3 players is considered a team. Groups of 5-6 are considered squads. The types of movement formations available to paintball commanders of groups of these sizes are the file, vee and wedge formations.
Shown below is a graphic representation of the file and wedge:
The File Formation
This is the easiest formation to physically move in, because all members of the unit are in a single file that is easy to control and keep track of. It is especially useful when you need to move through rough terrain at a reasonable speed, something that is not otherwise possible with other formations like the vee.
This formation offers minimal firepower to the front, however, which means that special emphasis is on the skills of the team's pointman to ensure any frontal ambushes are avoided. In general though, this formation should only be used when enemy contact is not expected or when the unit must move quickly.
The Wedge Formation
The wedge formation is generally the best formation to use in most situations. While not as fast on the move as the file formation, it offers the greatest degree of tactical flexibility (meaning that it is easy for a commander to control his team and react to changing situations), and also gives excellent firepower to the front and flanks.
This formation should generally be used most of the time, especially when enemy contact is expected. Exceptions are when time is a factor or the terrain is very difficult to move through.
The Vee Formation
The vee formation is basically a wedge formation in reverse, with the team leader at the 'base' of the vee. Although this formation is the most difficult to maneuver, it offers excellent firepower up front when contact is expected. While not easy to maneuver, it does offer greater tactical flexibility than the file formation.
This formation should only be used when enemy contact is a certainty.
Next post, Half-Platoon and Platoon formations!
This post has been edited by jonfl1: 04 September 2008 - 06:22 AM