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Infantry Fundamentals - Flanking, engaging etc

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  • [GUIDE] Infantry Fundamentals - Flanking, engaging etc

    Flanking is one tool in your toolbox. The aim is to kill the enemy. That can be achieved in many ways. Flanking is one of them. Sometimes it seems like flanking ends up being the end goal for some people.

    Flanking is most effective when you have fixed the enemy. Fixing and suppressing the enemy is important as it denies them freedom of movement and keeps their heads down. This does two things. 1) It ensures your flanking element is attacking a known, static target. 2) It reduces the likelihood that your flanking element will be spotted in its movement phase.

    The above greatly increases your chances of success.

    To fix the enemy you must be firing your weapon, I know right, of course, everyone fires their weapon lol. Actually thus far that's not been my experience. In fact quite the opposite. The lack of fire at the right times and the desire to shoot at things at the wrong time is pretty strong amongst so many players.

    The obsession with stealth movement at the cost of battlefield domination in my opinion stems from the inherent selfishness of the average player and the oft touted meta (spits) of 'ninja flank all the things, all the time'.

    Again flanking is simply one type of battlefield movement, that's it. It is not the solution in every situation. This can be dependent on terrain, personnel available, position etc. It is an important tactic/manoeuvre, not the only one.

    So with flanking and stealth being apparently the predominant methodology what we have in any given engagement is Squads splitting their forces and reducing their rounds down range to facilitate movement. Often before establishing any real level of fire superiority. Couple that with the apparent reluctance to shoot at people unless it's a guaranteed kill, because that's what someone else told them.

    This is why so many engagements are so quiet and devolve down to individuals playing near hide and seek and being systematically eliminated in 1v1's, 1v2's etc. Everybody is flanking constantly and objective areas turn in to these circus whirlpools of movement. Individuals step willingly into this spinning mess and run dutifully round and round, not shooting until someone catches up with them. They don't shoot because it has been ingrained in them that shooting gives away your position and then you lose the alleged advantage that stealth grants you, at all times. Despite the fact they are regularly eliminated participating in the merry go round they persist with the strategy.

    Stealth can provide you with an advantage in certain circumstances, it is a useful tool in your toolbox. However stealthy movement has an inherent cost. The time you spend flanking and not shooting reduces the amount of rounds your squad is putting down on your enemy. During this time your squad mates who are actively engaging are under greater pressure as they do not have fire superiority. As such they are less likely to be able to engage their targets accurately and they are much more likely to take casualties.

    The enemy will enjoy fire superiority and a greater degree of freedom of movement during the entire movement phase of your flanking element. They are more likely to eliminate the part of your squad that is in the fight.

    Some people tell you suppression doesn't work. They are wrong. Effective suppression is not fire designed to miss, it's not mag dumps at 150 metres that cut down nearby telephone polls. In fact if it helps people let's not call it suppression. Let's call it engaging the enemy, because that is what it is at present. If you see the enemy and wish to flank after being engaged, return fire. Win the battle for fire superiority. Aim, attempt to kill them. If you're facing an entrenched squad they may have their whole force engaging you. As the base of fire element you need to shoot fast and accurately as you have half your force manoeuvring.

    As with many of these proven RL tactics that do translate, the issue is not with the tactic, its with the execution. If you're failing at it, you're likely doing it wrong. Shoot better, move between shots, don't pop up several times in a row from the same spot, learn to pace your shots in conjunction with the volume of fire your squad is putting out (call reloads and time your shots and own reloads accordingly). Sustained, accurate fire. If you hear your squad mate reloading up your rate of fire to cover him. If the guy next to you who was engaging a threat in the window left goes down start suppressing that point target as well. Work together, see the whole engagement picture, don't just tunnel vision on your single target.

    Much easier to kill your opponent if you fire your weapon, people should do it more often, plus the bang sound is really fun.
    Last edited by Wicks; 03-26-2017, 11:59 AM.

  • #2
    Some people tell you suppression doesn't work. They are wrong. Effective suppression is not fire designed to miss, it's not mag dumps at 150 metres that cut down nearby telephone polls. In fact if it helps people let's not call it suppression. Let's call it engaging the enemy, because that is what it is at present. If you see the enemy and wish to flank after being engaged, return fire. Win the battle for fire superiority. Aim, attempt the kill them. If you're facing an entrenched squad they may have their whole force engaging you. As the base of fire element you need to shoot fast and accurately as you have half your force manoeuvring.


    Suppresion is the best. ANd is should always be used. I have used it and have had chances to have it used by my guys. The difference In the push you make is huge.


    • #3
      Now with bullet penetration, there is no reason not to shoot in the general vicinity of the enemy, even if they are behind "cover". As I've said before, bullets are free in this game, and they do no good in your magazines. Get them down range, toward the bad guys, and in large quantities.

      "You milsim guys are ruining the game."
      |TG-42nd|Wicks-Today at 4:47 PM

      No it was fine mate I'm just an *******


      • #4
        Yup, I've gotten so many kills by using accurate suppression because the other guy seems to believe 'suppression' doesn't work, like suppressing shots aren't the same kind of bullets. Yeah, you just keep trying to peek-a-boo duel me and I'll keep aiming where your head is gonna be annnnnd he's dead.

        Suppression and shooting at the enemy also draws attention which can be what you want. This isn't a hide and seek simulator. There are numerous situations where you want the enemy to know where you are and to feel extremely uncomfortable about it. It can draw fire away from your Medic, your maneuver element, it can make the enemy think you have a greater force ratio if you put enough lead out etc.


        • #5
          A simple drill I use on Jenson's range to improve my target acquisition and accuracy is the 'spinning plate'. Basically I attempt to knock down as many targets as possible and keep them down, firing from a static position, whilst moving etc (this is on the larger range). I then mix it up by selecting targets further away and or further apart.



          • #6
            Originally posted by Wicks View Post
            A simple drill I use on Jenson's range to improve my target acquisition and accuracy is the 'spinning plate'. Basically I attempt to knock down as many targets as possible and keep them down, firing from a static position, whilst moving etc (this is on the larger range). I then mix it up by selecting targets further away and or further apart.

            I have done similarly. Learned to shoot the AK better by doing that.


            • #7
              Asta85 just got a watch out for that recoil. Although owning a ak.. I feel the recoil in the game is more then I'm real life.


              • #8
                I've been contemplating a post on effective use of the AR for awhile. Wicks (that crafty Frenchman) has kind of gotten there firstest with the mostest (google that phrase sometime.)

                In the off chance that someone is actually running a SAW, they are almost certainly utilizing it incorrectly. For most folks, it is simply a bigger version an M4. They try to engage single targets like a rifleman or get up close for some CQB. While it is certainly effective in both modes, using it like this misses the real purpose behind having it in a fireteam or squad. To wit, Wicks' talk about suppression.

                Suppression defined is denying the enemy any one or more of their basic combat functions, to wit:

                Think about when in game, you are receiving fire. Even inaccurate fire. You post up, go firm and wait for the shooter to get bored and find some other target or do a mag change. Even holed up in a building the SAW will quickly drive everyone into cover. The SAW's larger magazine (drum) allows for a higher volume of sustained fire. Again, this reinforces it's purpose in the fire team/squad.

                On the offensive its role is Base of fire / Suppressive fire while a maneuver element assaults from the assault position*. It aint a sniper rifle! And you aint buying the ammo, so their is nooooooo reason to bring it back to the fob. Hammer the windows. Spray the rooftops. Put some dents in the door jams. Heck, draw smiley faces on the walls, but keep shooting. The bottom line = volume of fire on the objective, preferably on positions likely to engage your assault team.

                SOPs and communication come into play then as the assault team gains a foothold. The command can be either lift, shift or cease fire.
                Shift fire tells the gunner to shift volume of fire in a particular direction. The pre assault brief may even dictate this once the command is issued on the net. Examples being "Shift fire south" or "Shift fire east building" etc. Heck, in the real world, we use different colored smoke to indicate lifts and shifts as coms are often chaotic, but again, this is based on SOP/training/OPORD.

                Cease fire is pretty self explanatory. If you need me to explain it... go choke yourself for being dumb.

                Now lift fire can be creative. Know the crack of a round going nearby and how you normally react to it? Yeah, head gets lower and you start thinking about self preservation a leeeeeeetle bit more right? As an assault team clears on objective (and this takes great comms) the command to lift fire is given telling the AR gunner to add a few degrees of superelevation to the gun but maintain volume of fire. So in essence, the AR gunner is still firing at the objective, but slightly over it. Purpose? To maintain a sense of "holy cripes, that machine gun is shooting at ME!" among the enemy. To keep up the "snaps" of rounds going close by. It helps to keep their heads down even as the assault team is lobbing hand grenades into doorways and shooting the last diehards in the face repeatedly. Even when they are on the ground already. And then some more just for good measure just because.

                So to review... AR = base of fire for maneuver. Suppression. Lift Fire, Shift Fire and Cease Fire. AR =/= M4.

                On the defense, orient the AR on the most likely enemy avenue of advance. Again, you don't get a discount for bringing bullets back. You're a douchebag if you die and your body isn't literally knee deep in brass and links. So how to use the AR in the defense? Orient likely AoA and let the bullets fly. The same principles of fire superiority from above apply but now we can add grazing fire.

                Dafaq is grazing fire Celt? Glad you asked. What does TG do when they assault? Copious smoke and frags right? As it should be. Well other folks are smartening up and using smoke for the assault elements now as well. So, Mr. AR Gunner, when the smoke starts coming, and coming.... and coming... fire into it and pan back and forth through it. True grazing fire is usually used with sector stakes and some sort of elevation device (Heres looking at you T&E I had to hump for awhile) but in the game, get a sense where a targets knees would be. Fire at that height in a plane parallel to the ground. You are not looking for kills through direct observation (although you may get them as the assault comes in) rather, you are keeping the enemy back and out of their own smoke.

                To recap defensive AR work... most likely enemy avenue of approach. Get a sense of what your grazing fire height is. Once the smoke comes in, go to work. Short controlled bursts, panning back and forth into the smoke. Deny them the use of it for their assault. And for the love of the gods of fire, iron and blood... announce reloads so someone can pick up the slack until the gun comes up again. The enemy senses the slacking of fire.

                Do I want to talk about react to ambushes right now? Hmmmm... bugger it.


                Plainly put, there is not enough fire going downrange when we (and by that I mean the usual squads I play with) make contact. As usually happens, we are stumbling along and someone calls out "contact!" and we all start dying. Interspaced in the death and chaos is usually "where are they," "over there" and "5#!+, I'm dead." Granted, folks call out direction.

                In a close ambush (as most are in this game) direction is really all you need to begin reacting. The proper response is everyone orienting weapons toward the threat and pulling the trigger...ALOT. ESTABLISH FIRE SUPERIORITY. Its a close ambush... you cant maneuver, time is of the essence before you all die, and there is likely an enemy force on or moving to your flanks. That leaves assault into the teeth of the ambush, violently. And again ladies... step 1 is establishing fire superiority. Once you surprise the enemy with the violence of your action (remember, you are supposed to cooperate and die in their kill zone) then you lead with frags and close the distance to them and out of the kill zone.

                To recap... if you are (close) ambushed, you don't even need to see the enemy, just get rounds toward their direction IMMEDIATELY. Sustained fire (looking at you AR gunner) towards them to shock and suppress while everyone else frags and assaults through. This violent response (at least in real life) shocks the crap out of lesser foes. Rangers... not so much. VDV... 'prolly not either, but hey, you're inna kill zone and gotta do something, right. Once you fight through the ambushers, muzzle stamp the bodies (the ole' eyeball tap... if they are even remotely alive or playing possum, muzzle stamp the eye ball and you will get an involuntary muscle reaction. If they are truly dead... nothing happens,) do quick BIT/collection and GTFO.

                Okay this turned into a monster. I shall stop here before I get all wrapped into reacting to far ambushes and vehicle stuff.

                TLDR: Wicks, in my humble opinion, is spot on. I simply provided (probably too much) expansion on certain topics. Why? Because everyone else has been having these monster posts and I felt left out, so had to do one to be cool as well. Oh, and does this qualify me to TG tags now?

                *Assault position: The last covered and concealed position the assault element has before they cross the killing ground. Great place for last minute adjustments as once you leave it, you are for good or bad, now committed.



                • #9
                  Some great guidance from Wicks and Celt! I know that I'm one of those that struggles to put rounds down range unless I can aim at a body. Suppression is something that I need to work on.

                  One of my challenges has been that a lot of times, it seems that the squad that I am in gets ambushed from the front when we are in a loose column formation. It is difficult for the team to shoot without shooting through the squad members in front of them. This seems to stem a lot from the squad spawning over time and racing off instead of waiting for everyone and heading off with some sort of marching formation. Any chance that there might be some TGU classes in the future on formations and other fundamentals for Squad? I remember watching an Arma video on this in the past.


                  • #10
                    You might find this link helpful:



                    • #11
                      If I am gonna read all that, i'll just crack open FM 3-21.8.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Celt View Post
                        If I am gonna read all that, i'll just crack open FM 3-21.8.
                        I don't seem to have a copy of that handy. I'm sure it's good though.


                        • #13
                          Learnt a few new things there from Celt's post, even though the subject matter is one I've read up on a lot since playing AA (America's Army) this was always my favorite (non-sl) role. Wicks and Celt have provided theoretical concepts better then I could. What a want to add is my practical experiences in getting this type of thing going in a game. I have had some reasonable success with the LMG's of which the SAW offc is the best at suppression. The RPK has such a small magazine it's a lot harder to sustain fire enough.

                          In a nutshell, the next sentence has the key to the decent rounds I've had with the SAW.

                          Find cover on the edge of your group, open fire.

                          All the theory is nice, but how to do it? In general as soon as the SAW fires some rounds, early the whole other team has:
                          A) recognized by sound you are enemy,
                          B) knows exactly where you are and has made you priority target.

                          Usually death follows nearly instantly.

                          => when at all possible (not being ambushed) get to cover before opening up. It will give you a chance against the impending rain of bullets, and allows you to support the squad for longer. I'd also recommend not staying in the same position, but firing, ducking, popping up with a lean etc. Anything you can do to keep fire going down range without getting picked off.

                          I recommend not firing for more then a few seconds from a new position. Even if you don't take fire, there is probably a scope looking at you. Only when you are comfortable that you are not taking fire, you can risk staying up for longer, or maybe you can risk it when the squad is in trouble to buy em time.

                          Edge of your group?

                          Why this? Well I've learned from experience that firing a saw is going to attract all eyes and bullets to you instantly. If you do that form the middle of your squad .... In the overwhelming majority of the time you will find the whole squad dead within one minute. You do NOT want to attract all that fire to your guys. You want to attract it away from them, using the enemy's tunnel vision against them instead of for their benefit by nicely pointing to your squad.

                          So either in distance to the front or side, or elevation, I strongly recommend to get at least on the edge of your squad. Alternatively .... If a SAW opens up near you, get away from them ASAP. (Unless a medic. if medic just stays in cover and keeps the saw up longer, this can be extremely useful. In the 1stMIP we'd always have a medic with the LMG and I think this is still a good idea.)

                          Whenever I want to commence firing, I'm always yelling for them to get away from me "I'm going to open up here better get to cover, bullets are coming here soon etc."

                          Basically the zone around the SAW gunner is a death-zone. Grenades, rockets, accurate fire,... Everything is coming there. I've never really read about this aspect in field manuals. I think it may be more of an issue in a video game.

                          I don't feel the LMGs or supression in general is only somewhat effective in the game at the moment.
                          What IS effective imo, is DISTRACTION, and TUNNELVISION.

                          These are the elements I'm using against the enemy much more than actually keeping their heads down. It can be really effective imo. If I can get most of the enemies to look and shoot at me, for as long as possible, that buys my squad time and opportunity to get close to the enemies firing at me, and shoot them.

                          Using Fire to scout enemy positions

                          I know there is a term for it I forgot. But most enemies will reveal themselves by shooting at a SAW. I use this a lot and feel it is very effective in the game. Think about when and where though. As said before, opening up with the SAW at the wrong time, can be a death sentence for the whole squad.

                          PS:to SL's:
                          Le's kick that **** sniper that never follows orders from the squad so we can get L-at, and LMG or grenadier! Almost never do I see squads with lmgs these days.


                          • #14
                            Great posts guys, fantastic stuff. Ok I wanted to clarify that my theorising is firmly based on realistic-ish tactics etc that I have tested and utilise in game.

                            Formation. By and large your formation should be based on the terrain and likelihood of contact. Your position within that formation is somewhat defined by your role.

                            ​​​​​​Different formations have different strengths and weaknesses. A column is great in that it reduces your visual signature to your direct front. It is less great if you hit contact front for a few reasons. Firstly your in a line therefore direct fire can cause multiple casualties. Secondly returning fire takes longer as you have to get your squad 'on line' to avoid blue on blue.

                            Due to the above reasons I personally don't like the strict column and prefer looser arrowhead type formations.

                            With regards to the ARs position in a formation. Again personally I like fire support platforms to operate on the rear shoulders of a squad, the rear flank essentially. Fire support be it marksman, AR, scoped rifleman etc should operate like the Squads big brother, always watching, looking out for the Squad, looking for the next bit of trouble.

                            Fire support platforms often need to be more static than regular infantry to be fully effective and leverage their unique advantages. Being static means they are often used as the pivot point of the Squad when movement is required as part of a reaction to contact. So the AR will go firm and utilise its sustained fire ability to facilitate the movement and skirmishing of the regular non-scoped riflemen.

                            You don't have to sit in one position as AR obviously but you definitely should be shooting more than moving, that's why you exist.

                            Scoped Riflemen need to be looking for static targets that are hindering their squads movement (often their opposite number in the opposing squad). Knock em down, reposition, repeat.

                            All this pins and eliminates the enemy and frees up your maneuver element to close and finish.
                            Last edited by Wicks; 03-29-2017, 07:00 AM.


                            • #15
                              An example of where I position myself as a scoped rifleman relative to my Squad during a non contact movement phase.

                              Lets say my Squad is on Fools Road and were in a wooded area. We need to leave the cover of the woods and cross an open area and move towards a hill with more woods.

                              In the wooded area as scoped rifleman I will sit towards the rear third of my Squad on a close flank. Not far, 20 yards or something.

                              As the Squad moves somewhat continuously I will move in a much more stop start fashion. Move forward, stop, scan. I'm checking for enemy reaction to the visual sign my squad's movement is creating. I'm looking to identify threats to the Squad early, notify the SL, and kill the threat if instructed. As I'm temporarily static with an optic and off centre to the Squad I am harder to see. I also am more likely to see the enemy.

                              As we approach the edge of the clearing I can be fairly sure enemy contact is less likely, why, because not many people will engage targets in a degree of concealment when they are in the open. So I increase my movement speed to get to the forward flank of my squad and go firm, concealed, at the edge of the clearing.

                              I then begin scanning for the enemy, searching the areas I would post up if I was them. My Squad then files past me and begins crossing whilst I cover. Once they have hit the other side and effectively occupy the area at which someone crossing would have come under long range threat I get moving and cross.




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