Formation Wedge 2
Patrol Formation - Wedge Traveling Overwatch
In this article we will discuss the “Wedge” Patrol Formation.
1. The Wedge: Is used in open terrain and crossing large danger areas. It
is hard to control in dense brush and is slower than the “Column
Formation” it that type of environment.
2. The Strengths of the Wedge formation are:
a. Good all around security
b. Good all around firepower
c. Good for large open areas
3. The Weaknesses of the Wedge formation are:
a. Slower than Column formation in heavy brush
b. Noisier than Column formation
c. Easier to track (there is one ‘trail’ per man)
4. The best circumstances for using the Wedge is when/where there is
little cover/concealment – i.e. large open danger areas.
5. Movement speed it totally METT-T dependant. (METT-T is – Mission;
Enemy; Terrain/Weather; Troops/Equipment; - Time. So – the Mission may not
allow you to go as slow as you want because you have to be ‘on target’ at
a certain time – OR – there is more Enemy activity in the area forcing you
to go SLOWER than you originally anticipated – OR – the Terrain is
different that you were lead to believe – OR – the Weather is WAY
different than you were told – OR – fatigue has sapped your men sooner
than you anticipated – OR – because of equipment failures you have to move
faster on foot – OR – Time is running out and you must move faster than
you planned – etc, etc, etc.)
There are a number of ways to use this formation during movement – we will
discuss two of the most useful.
The first one is called “Traveling Overwatch”. This is where the team
splits into two smaller teams, with one 3 man team leading, and one 3 man
The reason the team splits into two small ‘sub-teams’ is in case contact
is made with the enemy. Being split into two smaller teams give one team
the chance to NOT be in contact – so they can then aid/provide cover fire
so the team that is engaged can then break contact – or if the situation
warrants – the second team can begin to maneuver against the enemy while
the first team provides cover fire.
Here is a picture.
Note that each man has his own Area of Responsibility (AoR). The distance
between men in each sub-team is dependant upon terrain, weather, lighting
conditions, etc. – but you want to be close enough so that team members
don’t wander in the wrong direction.
Also notice that one team is ‘following’ the other. The primary
responsibility of the “PM” on the second team to maintain distance from
the first team. He doesn’t have a AoR – his only purpose is to not get too
far away from the lead team – and also to not be too close. So he
maintains the best ‘pace’ to keep the right distance. In this movement
technique, the PM is usually the ATL.
In flat open areas, the second team will be only close enough to see
hand/arm signals from the first team. However, in area of small hills
and/or poor light – the second team will have to be closer in order to
maintain sight with the primary team AT ALL TIMES. So – again - it is the
responsibility of the “PM” of the second team to maintain proper distance.
Traveling Overwatch is the FASTEST way to get a team across a Large Open
Danger Area. It is superior to the Column formation because it provides
much better firepower to the front. However – it is not as “secure” as the
“Bounding Overwatch” method we will discuss shortly. So – the Traveling
Overwatch method is used when the chance of enemy contact is very low.
Here is a illustration of the Sectors of Fire (SoF) for the Traveling
Note that that there is good firepower to the front and flanks. Also note
that each man has his MBR/MBC pointed to his individual AoR.
Using this technique – a team is able to cross a Large Open Danger Area
that has little chance of enemy contact – the quickest, with a decent
amount of security.
cheers tire iron