Formations and Order of Movement (FOOM)

Formations and Order of Movement (FOOM)

Formations and Order of Movement, or FOOM, is something you will use every day in Ranger School and the Patrol Phase of Sapper School. You will receive a block of instructor from the Cadre describing how they want you to conduct FOOM at that respective course, but I believe that having a solid understanding before you arrive is crucial to success. A lot of this material can seem redundant, but how I wrote it here is similar to how they will teach the class. Reading through this a couple times will better prepare you for the Cadre's block of instruction. Additionally, each class builds on each other so having a solid understanding of basic FOOM is important so that you are not lost when they start explaining ideas that are more complicated. 

The reference for FOOM is on page A-6 of your Ranger Handbook. In addition, much of this material can be found in chapter 6 of the Ranger Handbook.

First, let me familiarize you to this "20 Board". On the left side, I have notes that will help you follow along. In the middle, I have the fire-team wedge security halt and a twelve-man Infantry squad broken down into fire team wedges. On the right, I have a modified wedge security halt and a twelve-man Infantry squad broken down into the modified wedge. You will notice my board is color coded but not personalized. At Ranger School and Sapper Leader Course, you will color-code and personalize all your boards. Color-coded refers to the lead fire team displayed in blue, the headquarters element in yellow, and the trail fire team in green. Personalized boards place the Ranger’s (or Sapper's) name next to his assigned position. An example of this would be “Ranger (or Sapper) Smith” as the lead fire Team Leader.

1. MOVEMENT FORMATION (GOOD VISIBILITY)

The most common movement formation in the U.S. Army is the fire team wedge. The fire team wedge is a fighting formation that enables 360-degree security at all times, equally distributes personnel and weapons, and is easy to control.

A. FIRE TEAM WEDGE

In every fire team wedge, the separation between team members is approximately 10 meters at a 45-degree angle.

You can see an example of this above. Notice the distance between personnel and the angle in which they follow. This 10 meter at a 45-degree angle rule will apply throughout the entire movement formation.

First, we will walk through the lead fire team. The Team Leader stands at the apex of the formation. The Team Leader is responsible for frontal security, route selection, and land navigation. 

Next, the automatic rifleman stands to the left and rear of the Team Leader.

Following the Team Leader is the rifleman / compass man standing to the right and rear of the Team Leader. The soldier who does not carry a key weapon has the additional duty as compass man so the Team Leader is free to perform his three required duties.

Finally, the Grenadier stands to the right and rear of the rifleman / compass man. This is the lead fire team.

The next element in the order of movement is the Headquarters element. The Squad Leader stands at the apex of this element. The Squad Leader is responsible for accountability, command and control, and everything the squad does or fails to do.

Next, the RTO stands to the right and rear of the Squad Leader.

Following the Squad Leader is the M240B gunner standing to the left and rear of the Squad Leader.

Following the RTO is the assistant gunner standing to the left and rear of the M240B gunner. This is the headquarters element.

The final element in the order of movement is the trail fire team. The Team Leader stands at the apex of the team. The trail fire Team Leader is responsible for rear security and assisting the Squad Leader in maintaining accountability and command and control.

Next, the automatic rifleman stands to the right and rear of the Team Leader.

Following the Team Leader the rifleman / compass man stands to the left and rear of the Team Leader.

Finally, the grenadier stands to the left and rear of the rifleman / compass man. This is the trail fire team.

B. M240B TEAM

As you can see above, the M240B is on the left of the formation. This is known as a heavy left formation. If the M240B were on the right, the formation would be heavy right. The Squad Leader deploys the M240B based on METT-TC analysis. More on METT-TC here. Common factors that affect this decision are the enemy’s probable course of action and likely avenues of approach. The Squad Leader can move the M240B during movement to the other flank by directing the machine gunner to move. The RTO, M240B gunner and AG can change positions without halting the element.

C. LEADER POSITIONS FIXED / UNFIXED

Next, we will discuss leader positions. The Squad Leader and the trail Team Leader’s positions are not fixed. This means that the Squad Leader can move anywhere within the Squad while the trail Team Leader can move anywhere within his team to maintain control.

The lead Team Leader’s position is fixed within the formation. He must remain at the apex of the formation so he can perform frontal security, route selection, and land navigation. The lead Team Leader leads by example and must be ready to deploy his fire team since they will probably make first contact.

D. EQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF M, W, E (Men, Weapons, and Equipment)

Notice that the fire team wedge allows an equal distribution of personnel and weapons. This allows the Squad Leader to engage the enemy in any direction with an automatic rifleman, a rifleman, and a grenadier with the hopes of not losing the same two types of weapon systems on initial contact.

Notice that the automatic rifleman in the lead team is on the left flank and that the automatic rifleman in the trail team is on the right flank. The rifleman and the grenadier in the lead team are on the right flank and the rifleman and grenadier in the trail team are on the left flank. If the squad is hit in the front, rear, left or right flank, an automatic rifleman, a rifleman, and a grenadier can engage the enemy.

Examine these scenarios. If the enemy is in front, the automatic rifleman, rifleman and grenadier from the lead fire team can engage the enemy. If the enemy is on the right flank, the grenadier and rifleman from the lead fire team and the automatic rifleman from the trail fire team can engage the enemy. The squad has the same security for rear and left flank contact.

E. 360 DEGREE SECURITY

The fire team wedge enables 360-degree security at all times. In the example on the board, the lead Team Leader is responsible for frontal security from the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock locations. The soldiers from the rifleman in the lead team to the automatic rifleman in the trail team are responsible for right flank security from the 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock locations. The grenadier in the trail team is responsible for rear security from the 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock locations. The soldiers from the rifleman in the trail team to the automatic rifleman in the lead team are responsible for left flank security from the 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock positions. 

As you can see the fire team wedge enables an equal distribution of personnel and weapons, 360-degree security at all times, and easy control.

2. MOVEMENT TECHNIQUES

There are three movement techniques available when moving in the fire team wedge. The three movement techniques are traveling, traveling over-watch, and bounding over-watch.

A. TRAVELING

Squads use the traveling movement technique behind friendly forward lines when contact is NOT LIKELY. The distances between personnel remain the same as I just described. However, the distances between elements or teams are approximately 20 meters. In our example, the distance between the last man in the lead team, the grenadier, and the first man in the headquarters’ element, the Squad Leader, is approximately 20 meters. The distance between the last man in the headquarters’ element, the AG, and the first man of the trail team, the trail Team Leader, is approximately 20 meters.

B. TRAVELING OVER-WATCH

Squads use the traveling over-watch movement technique forward of the friendly forward lines when contact is POSSIBLE. The only difference between the traveling and the traveling over-watch techniques is the distance between the lead team and the headquarters element is 50 meters. In our example, the distance from the last man in the lead team, the grenadier, to the first man in the headquarters element, the Squad Leader, is approximately 50 meters. The distance between the last man in the headquarters element, the AG, and the first man of the trail team, the trail Team leader, is still approximately 20 meters.

C. BOUNDING OVER-WATCH

Squads use the bounding over-watch movement technique forward of friendly forward lines when enemy contact is EXPECTED. In this period of instruction, I will not go into detail on this movement technique because you will receive an in-depth class during the open danger areas period of instruction. However, you need to remember two things about the bounding over-watch movement technique. First, the Squad Leader and the headquarters element usually stay with the over-watch element. Secondly, the bounding element does not bound more than small arms range, or out of sight of the over-watch element. This is normally no more than 150 meters.

3. DISTANCES

So far, I have discussed the distances between personnel and elements or teams. Keep in mind that these distances are based on control but dictated by vegetation, terrain and visibility.

A. VEGETATION

Soldiers may have to operate in a thickly vegetated area such as the Philippines. In this type of vegetation, leaders might decide to decrease the distances between personnel and teams to maintain control.

Alternatively, Soldiers may have to operate in a sparsely vegetated area such as wintertime in the U.S. In this type of vegetation, leaders might decide to increase the distances between personnel and teams as long as they can still maintain control.

B. TERRAIN

Army Soldiers may have to operate in terrain such as the rolling hills of Georgia. In this terrain, one team might be in the low ground while another crests the top of a hill. In this scenario, leaders might decide to decrease the distance between teams to maintain control.

Alternatively, Soldiers may have to operate in a desert environment such as Iraq or Afghanistan. In this terrain, leaders might decide to increase the distances between personnel and teams as long as they can still maintain control.

C. VISIBILITY

There are two types of visibility: good visibility and limited visibility. Good visibility (GV) is a great asset during a patrol. However, there may be periods of limited visibility (LV) such as rain, snow, fog, and/or smoke from the battlefield, and of course, darkness. In any of these situations, leaders might decide to modify their movement formation into the modified wedge in order to maintain control. As you can see, control is the most important factor in determining your distances.

4. MOVEMENT FORMATION (LIMITED VISIBILITY) 

Focus on the displayed modified wedge. The modified wedge is nothing more than collapsing the flanks of the Fire Team wedge into two columns. In the modified wedge, the distance between men is approximately 3-5 meters at a 45-degree angle.

You can see an example of this on the board. Notice the distance between personnel and the angle in which they follow. This rule will apply throughout the entire movement formation.

A. MODIFIED WEDGE

At the apex of the formation is the lead Team Leader. He is still responsible for frontal security, route selection and land navigation. The rifleman / compass man is to the right and rear of the lead Team Leader and still performs his additional duty I explained earlier. The automatic rifleman is to the left and rear of the rifleman / compass man. The grenadier is to the right and rear of the automatic rifleman. This is the lead fire team.

The Squad Leader is to the left and rear of the lead fire-team grenadier. The Squad Leader is still responsible for accountability, command and control and whatever the Squad does or fails to do.

The RTO is to the right and rear of the Squad Leader. The M240B gunner is to the left and rear of the RTO. The assistant gunner is to the right and rear of the M240B gunner. This is the Headquarters’ element.

The trail fire team rifleman / compass man is to the left and rear of the AG. The automatic rifleman stands to the right and rear of the rifleman / compass man. The trail fire Team Leader is to the left and rear of the automatic rifleman. The trail fire Team Leader is still responsible for rear security and assisting the Squad Leader in maintaining accountability and command and control. The grenadier stands to the right and rear of the trail fire Team Leader. This is the trail Fire team.

B. MODIFIED WEDGE: M240B

Once again, the M240B gunner is on the left flank. However, this is NOT considered a heavy left or right formation when the squad uses the modified wedge formation. Based on the Squad Leader’s METT-TC analysis, the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach, and the enemy’s most probable course of action, the Squad Leader decides whether to place the M240B on the left or right side of the formation. Again, the Squad Leader can shift the M240B to the other without halting the element. The Squad Leader just tells the M240B gunner to switch out with the RTO.

C. MODIFIED WEDGE: LEADER POSITIONS FIXED / UNFIXED

Once again, the Squad Leader and trail Fire Team Leader’s positions are not fixed positions. The Squad Leader can move anywhere within the squad in order to maintain control and the trail fire Team Leader can move anywhere within his team in order to maintain control. The lead fire Team Leader is an exception because his position is still fixed within the formation. The lead fire Team Leader remains at the front of his formation so that he can perform his three duties of frontal security, route selection and land navigation. The lead fire Team Leader leads by example and stays ready to immediately deploy his fire team because the lead team is most likely to make contact first.

5. ACTIONS AT THE HALT (GOOD VISIBILITY)

While moving, it may be necessary to call a halt. For instance, the Squad Leader may want to conduct a map check, cross load heavy equipment, or conduct a water break. Although anyone in the patrol can call a halt, the lead fire Team Leader or the Squad Leader normally calls it. The reasons that anyone besides a leader should call a halt include sighting the enemy or signs of the enemy, losing mission essential equipment, or suffering an injury.

A. LEAD TL CALLS HALT – GOOD VISIBILITY

While moving during the hours of good visibility in the fire team wedge, the lead fire Team Leader may find it necessary to call a halt. If there is a need to halt, the lead Team Leader gives the hand and arm signal to halt to his team. The hand and arm signal to halt is nothing more than using the non-firing hand with the fingers extended and joined, palm facing forward, arm bent at a 90- degree angle, upper arm parallel to the ground. The lead Team Leader moves to the next available position that provides cover and concealment and assumes the short halt posture.

The Short Halt posture consists of taking a knee behind cover and concealment with your rucksack on your back, your weapon at the ready, pulling security in your assigned sector of fire.

The lead fire Team Leader ensures that the rest of his team also assumes the Short Halt posture. When halted, the lead fire team is responsible for security from the 9 o’clock thru the 12 o’clock to the 3 o’clock position.

During this time, the Squad Leader continues to close the distance between the Headquarters’ element and the lead fire team. The Squad Leader moves until the trail fire team can achieve interlocking sectors of fire with the lead fire team. When the Squad Leader reaches the point where the teams can interlock their fires, the Squad Leader gives the hand and arm signal to halt. Then, he assumes the short halt posture and ensures that the rest of his element does the same.

At all halts the Squad Leader decides where to emplace the M240B Gun Team based on his METT-TC analysis, the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach and the enemy’s most probable course of action. In this case, since the lead fire Team Leader called the halt, the Squad Leader will most likely leave the M240B Gun Team at the 9 o’clock until the Squad Leader determines why the lead fire Team Leader called the halt.

The trail fire Team Leader continues moving his team forward to achieve interlocking sectors of fire with the lead fire team. Once there, the trail fire Team Leader issues the hand and arm signal to halt, assumes the short halt posture, and ensures that the rest of his fire team does the same. The squad wants interlocking sectors of fire approximately 35 meters out (hand grenade range). The trail fire team is responsible for security from the 3 o’clock thru the 6 o’clock to the 9 o’clock. The trail fire Team Leader ensures that his grenadier pulls rear security from the 4 o’clock to the 8 o’clock.

Since the lead fire Team Leader called the halt, the Squad Leader moves up to the lead Team Leader’s location to find out why he has called the halt. The Squad Leader spot-checks the lead Fire Team to ensure that they are in the proper short halt posture.

The trail Fire Team Leader ensures that his Grenadier is pulling rear security and spot checks his men to ensure that they are in the short halt posture behind cover and concealment. He then moves forward to the Squad Leader’s last known location, spot-checking the headquarters’ personnel as he moves forward, once at the Squad Leader’s last known location he waits for further guidance on a knee inside the perimeter.

Once the Squad Leader has moved up to the lead Fire Team Leader’s location he then finds out why the lead Team Leader has called the halt. For example, he has spotted a potential linear danger area, he wanted his men to cross load equipment or conduct a water break.

If the Squad Leader wanted to go ahead and move out at this time, he would give the Team Leaders the order to get their men prepared to move.

B. SL CALLS HALT – GOOD VISIBILITY

While moving in periods of good visibility if the Squad Leader wanted to call a halt he would send the signal to halt by hand and arm signal or by FM to the lead Fire Team Leader. Once the lead Fire Team Leader receives the command to halt, he finds a suitable location and the Squad then halts as previously described. 

C. CONDUCT SLLS – GOOD VISIBILITY

In periods of good visibility, the Squad Leader can use the hand and arm signal to initiate SLLS. The hand and arm signal to initiate SLLS is nothing more than taking your non-firing hand and cupping it behind the corresponding ear.

SLLS stands for Stop, Look, Listen, and Smell.

1. STOP: You will stop all movement

2. LOOK: You will look for signs of the enemy, like trash, old fighting positions, expended brass, or the enemy themselves.

3. LISTEN: You will listen for signs of the enemy, like engines running, the enemy talking, or the enemy moving.

4. SMELL: You will smell for signs of the enemy, like food, smoke from fires, or POL products (fuels).

SLLS are conducted for 3-5 minutes or for as long as the Squad Leader deems necessary. In periods of good visibility, the Squad Leader will terminate SLLS by using his non-firing hand and making a slashing motion by his ear, by rotating his hand at the wrist.

Because the Squad Leader called the halt, the Team Leaders need to move to his location to see why the Squad Leader has called a halt. The lead Fire Team Leader has the Rifleman/Compass man assume frontal security from the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock. He also spot checks his Fire team to ensure that they are in the short halt posture as he works his way to the Squad Leader’s location.

At the same time, the trail Fire Team Leader ensures that the last man in his team is pulling rear security from the 4 o’clock to the 8 o’clock. He then spot checks his team to ensure that they are in the short halt posture. While in route to the Squad Leader’s location, he also checks the Headquarters’ element to ensure that they are in the short halt posture.

Once the Team Leaders reach the Squad Leader’s location, the Squad Leader tells them why they have halted. For example, he wants to cross-load heavy equipment, conduct a water break, or conduct a security halt for whatever reason he deems necessary.

D. PINPOINT / DECISION POINT – GOOD VISIBILITY

The Squad Leader gives tasks, conditions and standards on how he wants to pinpoint his location on the map. He tells the trail Team Leader to start at the 3 o’clock position and work around the perimeter in a clockwise manner ensuring that the men are in the short halt posture and pulling security. At the same time, the lead Team Leader and the Squad Leader pinpoint their current position on the map and determine the distance and direction for their next movement. Once the Squad Leader has done this, the lead fire Team Leader and trail fire Team Leader change positions. The trail Team Leader and Squad Leader then confirm their current position on the map and the distance and direction for their next movement.

Based on the map check, the Squad Leader decides to either move out, or place the men in the long halt posture. The Squad Leader would designate long halt posture if the men will be in position for an extended period. Some examples of the long halt are the security halt for the ORP (Objective Rally Point), or he wants the men to take a break and drink water.

E. STRONG POINT / LONG HALT POSTURE – GOOD VISIBILITY 

The Squad Leader then gives the Team Leaders tasks, conditions, and standards to strong point their personnel into a long halt posture. Strong pointing the squad is the technique of placing soldiers in positions of two or more. Typically, these positions are at the 10, 2, 4, and 8 o’clock locations of the perimeter. Strong pointing has several advantages over the traditional halted formation. The advantages are that soldiers can keep each other alert, accomplish some limited priorities of work such as drinking water or adjusting gear, and pull security for each other during the transition to the Long Halt posture. These advantages help free up the Team Leaders. If the Squad Leader decides to strong point the squad, the best time to do so is before the transition to the Long Halt posture. The Squad Leader accomplishes this by designating the desired clock positions and instructing the Team Leaders to strong point their men at those clock positions. While the Team Leaders strong point their men, the Squad Leader can emplace the machine gun team.

When a Soldier transitions to the Long Halt posture, he quietly rotates his rucksack off his back, places the rucksack frame on the ground with cat eyes facing the center of the perimeter, and moves into the prone position behind available cover and concealment. In the Long Halt posture, Soldiers pull security in their assigned sectors of fire.

After the Squad Leader designates that, the squad should move to the Long Halt posture, the lead Team Leader moves to the man in his team that is closest to the 9 o’clock location on the perimeter.  

Starting at this position, the lead Team Leader moves in a clockwise direction from the 9 o’clock to the 3 o’clock to set the perimeter. The trail Team Leader begins at the man in his team closest to the 3 o’clock position. Starting at this position, the trail Team Leader moves in a clockwise direction to the 9 o’clock position to set the perimeter. Each Team Leader has two options to position their men in the Long Halt posture. The first option is that the Team Leader strong points his men. With this option, one soldier can cover a buddy while the buddy transitions to the Long Halt posture and vice versa. The second option is that the Team Leader takes up the Short Halt posture at each position and cover each man as they transition to the Long Halt posture.

While positioning their teams, Team Leaders assign positions sectors of fire. Strong point positions have one sector of fire and everyone in the position must know it. In good visibility, Team Leaders can use easily identifiable features like trees or rocks to assign left and right limits. Team Leaders must ensure that the sectors of fire interlock at approximately 35 meters out. The lead Team Leader ensures that his last position near the 3 o’clock location and the first position of the trail team near the 3 o’clock location have interlocking fields of fire out to 35 meters. At the same time, the trail Team Leader ensures the adjoining positions at the 9 o’clock location have interlocking fields of fire out to 35 meters.

F. DISSEMINATE

As the Team Leaders put their men into the Long Halt posture, they disseminate the following information at a minimum:

1. The reason for the squad halt

2. The squad’s current location on the map

3. The distance and direction for the next movement. 

For example, “We have halted because this is the security halt prior to the ORP. This is our current location on the map our next movement is 300 meters on a 290 degree azimuth to the ORP.”

Take note that the Team Leaders are working on opposite sides of the perimeter at the same time. The reason for this is that if the squad makes contact, there is a better chance that both Team Leaders are not lost on initial contact. After Team Leaders have emplaced their men in the Long Halt posture, they return to the Squad Leader for further guidance.

G. EMPLACING M240B

As the Team Leaders emplace their men in the Long Halt posture, the Squad Leader emplaces the M240B gun team if he did not do so when the squad halted. If the Squad Leader already emplaced the M240B team, he must still check the gun. After the M240B team is in position, the Team Leader whose perimeter includes the M240B position is responsible for disseminating information to the team.

The M240B holds a sector of fire that is independent from the squad’s sector of fire. During initial emplacement, the Squad Leader gives M240B gun team a Principle Direction of Fire (PDF). An example of this is “Orient your fires on that road intersection.” The M240B has a primary sector of fire and possibly a secondary sector of fire.

It is important that the positions to the left and right of the M240B gun team have interlocking sectors of fire out to 35 meters, which is in front of the M240B. The reason for this is that the Squad Leader has the flexibility to move the M240B to a different position on the perimeter without creating a gap in the squad’s sector of fires. The Squad Leader might choose to do this if the tactical situation changes.

H. SPOT CHECK PERIMETER

After the squad has taken up the Long Halt posture, Team Leaders return to the Squad Leader’s position in the center of the perimeter. The Squad Leader spot-checks the perimeter to ensure that the tasks, conditions, and standards are met. When the Squad Leader is satisfied with the perimeter, he gives guidance to the Team Leaders for conducting any priorities of work deemed necessary.

6. PREPARE TO MOVE – GOOD VISIBILITY 

When the Squad Leader is ready to move out, he issues tasks, conditions, and standards to the Team Leaders so they can get their men ready to move. The lead Team Leader will move to his man closest to the 9 o’clock position. Starting at the 9 o’clock location and moving in a clockwise direction through the 3 o’clock location, the lead Team Leader prepares his men to move. The lead Team Leader has two options to do this. If the positions are strong pointed, the lead Team Leader can direct one man to take up the Short Halt posture while another man pulls security. Another option is the Team Leader pulls security for each man in his team while each man transitions to the Short Halt posture. The trail Team Leader uses one of the two approved methods to transition his men to the Short Halt posture. The trail Team Leader begins at his man closest to the 3 o’clock location and move in a clockwise direction until reaching the 9 o’clock location. When the transition to the Short Halt posture is complete, each Team Leader moves to the apex of his team and give the Squad Leader a “thumbs up” to communicate that his team is prepared to move out.

As the Team Leaders prepare their men, the Squad Leader takes accountability of all squad members. In periods of good visibility, the Squad Leader does this by seeing and counting the men. After taking accountability and receiving a “thumbs up” from each Team Leader, the Squad Leader gives the hand and arm signal to the lead Team Leader to move out.

As the squad moves out they are very vulnerable. Security tends to fall off when a squad or element starts to move out because all the men are focused on the lead element. Everyone does not stand up and move out at the same time.

When the lead Team Leader receives the hand and arm signal to move out, he relays the signal to his team and moves out in the direction of travel. After the Team Leader moves approximately 10 meters, the automatic rifleman and rifleman / compass man from the lead team pick up and move out. After the automatic rifleman and rifleman / compass man move approximately 10 meters, the grenadier from the lead team picks up and moves out.

Based on the selected movement technique, the Squad Leader waits while the final man in the lead team travels the appropriate distance. Then, the Squad Leader gives the hand and arm signal to the headquarters element to move out. As an example, the Squad Leader waits until the lead element is approximately 50 meters out before his element moves if the movement technique is Travelling Over-watch. The rest of the squad members move out in the same sequential manner.

7. ACTIONS AT THE HALT- (LIMITED VISIBILITY)

When the squad is moving during periods of limited visibility in the modified wedge, it might be necessary to halt. Remember that anyone in the patrol can call a halt, but the lead fire Team Leader or the Squad Leader normally calls it. Again, the only reasons that anyone besides a leader should call a halt is if they see the enemy or signs of the enemy, have lost mission essential equipment, or they are injured.

A. LEAD TL CALLS HALT – LIMITED VISIBILITY

While moving, if the lead fire Team Leader deems it necessary to call a halt, he gives the command to halt. During periods of limited visibility, most likely hours of darkness, the lead Team Leader cannot use hand and arm signals. Once the lead fire Team Leader moves to an area that is large enough to provide cover and concealment for the entire Squad, he turns around and issues the command to halt to the Soldier behind him. The Team Leader issues the command to halt by placing his hand in the center of that man’s chest and telling him to “Halt”. Once he issues the command to halt, the lead Fire Team Leader assumes the short halt posture. Each Soldier passes back the command to halt by performing the same procedure to the Soldier behind him.

After receiving the command to halt, the Soldiers in the right column (right flank) of the modified wedge continue moving forward until they have achieved interlocking sectors of fire with the men to their front and rear. Then, each Soldier in the right column faces to the right, takes two to three steps to the nearest covered and concealed position and assumes the Short Halt posture.

The Soldier in the left column (left flank) do the same except they face to the left. The spread to the left and right allows a path for the leadership to move through the squad in the center of the perimeter without tripping over everyone. 

Since the lead fire Team Leader called the halt, the Squad Leader moves up to the lead Team Leader’s location to learn the reason for the halt. While moving up, the Squad Leader spot checks the Soldier in the lead fire team to ensure that they are in the short halt posture. Simultaneously, the trail fire Team Leader ensures that his grenadier is pulling rear security and spot checks his men to ensure that they are in the short halt posture behind available cover and concealment. Then, the trail Team Leader moves forward to the Squad Leader’s last known location to receive further guidance. While moving, the trail Team Leader spot-checks the headquarters’ personnel to ensure that they are in the short halt posture. The trail Team Leader waits at the Squad Leader’s last known location for further guidance.

Once the Squad Leader has moved to the lead fire Team Leader’s location, he learns why the lead fire Team Leader called a halt. For example, the lead Team Leader spotted a potential linear danger area, wanted his men to cross load equipment, or wanted his men to conduct a water break. If the Squad Leader wants to move out at this time, he gives the Team Leaders the order to get their men prepared so the squad can move.

B. SL CALLS HALT – LIMITED VISIBILITY

If the Squad Leader deems it necessary to call a halt while moving during periods of limited visibility he can pass the command to halt forward to the lead Fire Team Leader, physically move up to his position, or call him on FM. To pass the command to halt forward, the Squad Leader moves up to the man in front of him, grabs him by the shoulder and whispering in his ear “Halt”, the command to halt would be passed from man to man all the way up to the lead Fire Team Leader in this manner. Once the lead Fire Team Leader received the command to halt, the squad would halt in the same manner as previously described.

Because the Squad Leader called the halt, the Team Leaders need to move to his location to see why the Squad Leader has called a halt. The lead Fire Team Leader has the Rifleman/Compass man assume frontal security from the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock. He also spot checks his Fire Team to ensure that they are in the short halt posture as he works his way back to the Squad Leader’s location.

At the same time, the trail Fire Team Leader ensures that the last man in his team is pulling rear security from the 4 o’clock to the 8 o’clock. He then spot checks his team to ensure that they are in a Sort Halt Posture. While in route to the Squad Leader’s location, he also checks the Headquarters’ element to ensure that they are in the short halt posture.

Once the Team Leaders reach the Squad Leader’s location, the Squad Leader tells them why they have halted. For example, maybe the Squad Leader wants to cross-load heavy equipment, conduct a water break, or conduct a security halt for whatever reason he deems necessary.

C. SLLS LIMITED VISIBILITY

The Squad Leader then issues tasks, conditions and standards for conducting SLLS. Since this is during periods of limited visibility, the Squad Leader tells the Team Leaders to inform their men SLLS starts now and terminates when a leader comes back to their location and tells them it is complete.

The lead Fire Team Leader moves to his nearest man at the 9 o’clock position and then move in a clockwise direction to the 12 o’clock position then to the 3 o’clock briefing each man that SLLS starts now and completes once a leader comes back and tells them that SLLS is complete. Simultaneously the trail Fire Team Leader starts at his nearest man at the 3 o’clock position, then moving in a clockwise direction to the 6 and then to the 9 o’clock position briefing each man that SLLS starts now and complete when a leader comes back and tells them that SLLS is complete. Once the Team Leaders have gone out and briefed their men that SLLS has started, the Team Leaders lasts for 3-5 minutes or for as long as the Squad Leader deems necessary.

D. PINPOINT/DECISION POINT LIMITED VISIBILITY

Once SLLS is complete, the Squad Leader gives tasks, conditions and standards on how he wants to pinpoint his location on the map. He tells the trail Team Leader to start at the 3 o’clock position and move about the perimeter in a clockwise direction informing the men that SLLS is complete, and checking the men to ensure that they are in the short halt posture and pulling security. 

At the same time the lead Team Leader and the Squad Leader pinpoint their current location on the map, as well as determine the distance and direction for their next movement. During periods of limited visibility, they pinpoint their location using NVGs, or by getting under the RTO’s poncho and poncho liner, and using a red lens flashlight. While they do this, the RTO makes sure that no red light escapes from the poncho and poncho liner to ensure noise and light discipline remains.

After they have pinpointed their location, the lead Fire Team Leader and trail Fire Team Leader change positions. The trail Team Leader and Squad Leader confirm their current position on the map, as well as confirm the distance and direction for their next movement.

Based off the map check the Squad Leader decides to either move out, or place the men in the long halt posture because they will be there for an extended period. For example, the Squad Leader determines that this is the security halt for the Patrol Base or he wants the men to take a break and drink water.

E. STRONG POINT / LONG HALT POSTURE- LIMITED VISIBILITY

The Squad Leader then gives the Team Leaders the order to strong point their personnel and put them into a long halt posture. The Squad Leader designates the appropriate clock positions and the team leaders emplace their men as previously described for good visibility.

As the Team Leaders get their men in the long halt posture, they assign them sectors of fire. During periods of limited visibility, they use their compasses to give their men azimuths for their left and right limits. Team Leaders ensure that their men’s sectors of fire interlock with the men to their left and right approximately 35 meters out and between the teams.

F. DISSEMINATE

Additionally, during periods of limited visibility the Team Leaders at a minimum disseminate the following information to their men:

1. The reason for the squad’s halt.

2. The squad’s current location.

3. The distance and direction for the next movement.

Team Leaders must maintain noise and light discipline when they brief their men during hours of darkness. They are not going to show their men the Squad’s current location on the map. Instead, they give each man a six-digit grid for the squad’s current location.

Here is an example: “We have halted because this is the security halt prior to the patrol base. We are currently located at GA123456. Our next movement is 200 meters on a 190-degree azimuth to the patrol base”.

G. EMPLACING M240B

While the Team Leaders emplace their men in the Long Halt posture, the Squad Leader emplaces the M240B gun team unless he did so when the Squad initially halted. After the gun team is in position, the responsibility to disseminate information to that gun team falls to the Team Leader whose perimeter contains the gun team.

After the whole squad is in the Long Halt posture and the Team Leaders have returned to the Squad Leader’s position in the center of the perimeter, the Squad Leader spot checks the perimeter to ensure his the squad was strong pointed correctly.

8. PREPARE TO MOVE/MOVE – LIMITED VISIBILITY

When the Squad leader is ready to move out, he gives the order to the Team Leaders to get their men ready to move. The Squad Leader tells the lead Team Leader to prepare his men starting at his 9 o’clock position and moving clockwise until his 3 o’clock position. The lead Team Leader pulls security in the short halt posture for each man as they get into the short halt posture and ready to move out. If the positions are strong pointed, the lead Team Leader directs the positions to put themselves in the short halt posture with one man pulling security for the other. The trail Team Leader starts at his 3 o’clock position and moves clockwise to his 9 o’clock position. The trail Team Leader uses the same procedure as the lead Team Leader to put his men in the Short Halt posture.

When the trail Team Leader has his men ready, he moves to the Squad Leader’s location and tells him the team is ready. The Squad Leader then tells the trail Team Leader to move to the front of the formation, approximately two to three paces in front of the lead Team Leader’s position. The trail Team Leader establishes a choke point. While at the choke point, the trail Team Leader physically touches each man in the squad as they pass his position out of the security halt.

The Squad Leader follows the trail Team Leader to the front of the formation until he reaches the lead Team Leader. The Squad Leader then verifies that the lead fire team is ready to move. Once the Squad Leader verifies that all elements are ready to move and there is an established choke point, he taps the lead Team Leader on the shoulder and tells him to move out.

The lead Team Leader turns to the man behind him, places his hand on the man’s chest, and tells him “we’re moving”. Each man passes this signal back in a zigzag fashion until it reaches the last man in the patrol. The lead Team Leader then gets up and moves in the direction of travel while ensuring that he is physically counted out by the trail Team Leader and that the man behind him is up and moving. Each man waits until the man in front of him has moved approximately 3-5 meters before they get up from the Short Halt posture. When the trail Team Leader has counted everyone out of the security halt, he takes up his place in the formation and ensures that the grenadier is behind him.

A. HEADCOUNT – LIMITED VISIBILITY

The trail Team Leader then passes up the headcount by moving to the man traveling in front of him, grabbing him by the shoulder, and whispering in his ear “headcount good” if they have everyone or “headcount bad” if his count of personnel is short. The squad passes the headcount in a zigzag fashion forward from man to man until it reaches the lead Team Leader. If the headcount was “good”, the lead Team Leader passes back “headcount good” in a zigzag fashion until it reaches the trail Team Leader. This lets the leadership know that there is information dissemination and that there are no breaks in contact.

If the message that reaches the Squad Leader is “headcount bad”, the Squad Leader has two options:

The first option is the Squad Leader can re-initiate a headcount during movement by moving to the man to his front, grabbing him by the shoulder and whispering in his ear “initiate headcount”. Each man passes “initiate headcount” forward until it reaches the lead Team Leader. When the lead Team Leader gets this command, he turns around and says, “Headcount, I am one, pass it back” to the man behind him. That man then turns around to the man behind him and says, “Headcount, I am two, pass it back”. Each man in the squad adds to the tally and passes the message until it reaches the trail Team Leader. If the headcount is correct this time, the squad continues on its movement. If the headcount is still wrong, the Squad Leader must halt the patrol and conduct a physical headcount of each man.

The second option is the ONLY one you will use at Ranger and Sapper school. If the initial headcount is bad, the Squad Leader IMMEDIATELY halts the patrol and the Squad Leader and trail Team Leader move to the front of the formation, and physically count each man where they are halted. If the headcount is still bad, the Squad Leader gives the order to the trail Team Leader for the trail Team Leader and a battle buddy to return to the last security halt and police up any lost Soldier.

 In this blog post, we have covered:

1. The fire team wedge

2. The modified wedge

3. The three movement techniques

4. The distances between fire teams and personnel

5. The conduct of security halts for good and limited visibility.

If you have any questions regarding this material, please contact us at admin@militarypackinglist.com. We can explain FOOM further or even walk you through specific examples.

The next lesson we will go over is React to Contact, which can be found here.

 

 


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