--Fire Team Formations


2-68. The term fire team formation refers to the Soldiers’ relative positions within the fire team. Fire team formations include the fire team wedge and fire teams file. (See table 2-2.) Both formations have advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of which formation the team employs, each Soldier must know his location in the formation relative to the other fire team members and team leader. Each Soldier covers a set area of responsibility for observation and direct fire as the team is moving. To provide the unit with all-around protection, these areas interlock. Team leaders are constantly aware of their teams’ sectors of fire and correct them as required.

Table 2-2. Comparison of fire team formations.

Comparison of fire team formations


2-69. The team leader adjusts the team’s formation as necessary while the team is moving. The distance between Soldiers will be determined by the mission, the nature of the threat, the closeness of the terrain, and by the visibility. As a general rule, the unit should be dispersed up to the limit of control. This allows for a wide area to be covered, makes the team’s movement difficult to detect, and makes it less vulnerable to enemy ground and air attack. Fire teams rarely act independently. However, in the event they do, when halted, they use a perimeter defense to ensure all-around security.


2-70. The wedge (see figure 2-7) is the basic formation of the fire team. The interval between Soldiers in the wedge formation is normally 10 meters. The wedge expands and contracts depending on the terrain. Fire teams modify the wedge when rough terrain, poor visibility, or other factors make control of the wedge difficult. The normal interval is reduced so all team members still can see their team leader and all team leaders still can see their squad leader. The sides of the wedge can contract to the point where the wedge resembles a single file. Soldiers expand or resume their original positions when moving in less rugged terrain where control is easier.

2-71. In this formation the fire team leader is in the lead position with his men echeloned to the right and left behind him. The positions for all but the leader may vary. This simple formation permits the fire team leader to lead by example. The leader’s standing order to his Soldiers is, “Follow me and do as I do.” When he moves to the right, his Soldiers should move to the right. When he fires, his Soldiers fire. When using the lead-by-example technique, it is essential for all Soldiers to maintain visual contact with their leader.

Fire team wedge

Figure 2-7. Fire team wedge.


2-72. Team leaders use the file when employing the wedge is impractical. This formation most often is used in severely restrictive terrain, like inside a building; dense vegetation; limited visibility; and so forth. The distance between Soldiers in the column changes due to constraints of the situation, particularly when in urban operations. (See figure 2-8.)

Fire team file

Figure 2-8. Fire team file.