With Bonestrike II and Starburst 2018 wrapped, the TCA Staff started a great conversation concerning common tactical observations and actions being made by players. Concerning airsoft indirect fires like mortars, grenade launchers, and battlefield effects called in by Player Command like airstrikes and artillery, teams of players that are used to TCA events or take in advice from others and staff, are coming up with techniques/tactics/procedures (TTPs) that allow for more flexibility in both offense and defense. With Trench Knife coming up, the staff thought to cover this more with an article.
Depth and Spacing
We have all seen it, the 20 person stack, it clusters so many up, and then at the least opportune moment, that enemy strikes, wiping out more than half with either good automatic fire, a grenade, or an airstrike. At that point the enemy moves in a smaller element to occupy your position. One guy in your now "wounded" formation says out loud "we should have spread out more." Everyone nods in agreement. How do we avoid that, how do players achieve that spacing? The answer, listen, or take the initiative to spread out with a battle buddy.
4-6 shooters spread out covering multiple approaches is going to work much more for you than all of team inside one building. Having a rear gunner outside the back door provides much more than security, it provides a reserve, a medic, or additional call forward firepower if required. In the picture above a 4 man element is over watching two roads leading into the southern end of the Boaz Mosque at Fort Hood. Covering each's dead space "the areas they cannot see unless they expose themselves" each 2 man team can warn and provide fires for each other.
Never give up the high ground whether it be in an urban environment or in a rural one. Having an observation post providing details on enemy movement before they are in contact with your main force is a great asset. At both Starburst and Bonestrike, shooters in high positions can good intel on enemy movement, allowing for advance warning and defense prep. When contact occurred these positions disrupted enemy flanking efforts, buying time for on ground level shooters to reposition, treat casualties, or counter attack.
How to achieve depth
So, you have been given the task to defend a vital intersection with your 5 man squad until additional shooters can return from your CCP. The enemy is liable to attack any minute, and you can already assume you are being watched from an enemy DMR who is slightly beyond his (and yours) range. You need to determine what are your truly defending? The Intersection or buying time for your side to respawn and return from the CCP? Send one man to the high ground above you to give information on enemy movement. That leaves you 3 plus you, apply a "2 up and 1 back" can provide flexibility and depth rather than having all your people on a line, you will for sure get over run if that's the only method to use.
"2 up, 1 back" is a hasty method, that provides at least 1 man in reserve (not counting you. What do you do with yourself? You float from position to position, checking your guys on the ground. The man on the roof will provide that advance warning.
A variation is "3 up, 1 back" or "2 up, 2 back," you decide what might be the best method depending on the mission, terrain, enemy, troops and time available.
The threat of artillery or an airstrike should be considered especially if there is little cover or concealment while you are stationary or in the defense. If you have defeated a number of attackers and haven't been hit with artillery or airstrikes, it is coming. Space your troops out, have a reserve placed to the rear with a medic.
Hopefully, this post give players something to consider at the next one.