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Re: FMA Combat Movement [long]..

From: Los <los@c...>
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 14:15:18 -0400
Subject: Re: FMA Combat Movement [long]..

Thus follows a long but hopefully interesting post with some points

I couldn't agree more with Tom's remarks on combat move variability.
Nothing happens as smooth or even half as smooth for real as in these
games. Hell last week we put some guys through a simple manuever,
to contact on a computer controlled pop-up range (where the targets fire
back too). The troops were a mixed bag, some infantry, even a pair of
Rangers, but from all various skills, all trying out for SF. They'd
already had several days of patrolling and had their immediate action
drills, formations, hand and arm signals, etc down pat. So we go out to
the range, spend a few hours doing two man buddy team movements (we call
it IMT), you spot where you are going next, roll left or right, hop up
run for 3 to 5 seconds (just say "i'm up, they see me, I'm down") then
roll into a new firing position. Once we're safe that they aren't going
kill themselves or anyone else and the weapon is controlled we walk down
to where the drills will take place and I explain the whole thing to
and we go through the motions at slow speeds.

Once that's done, we go through a few iterations at normal speed, with
blanks. When you first learn IADs you practice them usually just on an
open field where everyone can get the gist of what they're supposed to
Now we are in actual terrain, and everything becomes more complicated
movement slower. However they know their movement formations, hand and
signals etc so it's a matter of applying basic principles to the right
situation. Even after doing it a  few times there's still some
cluelessness and every iteration gets an AAR.

Once that's done, now we go to blank fire. All the little stuff that is
normally taken for granted when you see it in the movies now comes into
play.  like:

1. If at any given second we are hit while moving, where would I drop

2. How do we ensure that we keep up an even volume of fire so the whole
fire team doesn't empty their mags at the same time?

3. How do I whether my mags so I can get at them as quick as possible
while I'm in the prone trying to stay behind cover?

4. How do I actually change magazines smoothly and quickly.

5. What do I do with my empty magazines so that I can retain them after
the fight?

ANyway all this slows stuff up. Of course we have guys around behind the
troops (OCs and safeties) just to make sure noone is masking anyone's
with their movement and that noone is shooting anyone in the back.  The
first days drills are specifically designed to be simple enough to
minimize that but within fireteams firing and maneuvering it's always a
possibility. We of course make the constant reminder that by the end of
the day we'll b going hot with live rounds and that these little black
sticks can kill, and that most of us SF guys have seen more than a few
buddies killed doing this exact thing throughout our career. . Everyone
stares back sternly. Anyway after two or three blank fires at full
a  few guys are relieved of duty or switched around. This one guy a
driver trying out for SF, keeps shooting his buddies in teh back. he's
pretty much overwhelmed by teh complexity of it all. At one point he
seriously asks:

"Sergeant, why, if I have a safe position over here do I have to get up
and run forwards with the rest of the team where it's more exposed and

We try to keep a straight face, after all if a civilian was asking that
would be a logical question. But for me it's too much. "Lumpy (What
called him), that's the fuckin' business we're in. Now grab your shit
get on the truck, I'm sending you to guard the gate to the range."

Anyway we do it a few more times and we're satisfied that it's time to
hot. As a control measure i'm the squad leader on teh first day though
have student team leaders.

I have a walking stick with me. In my best "Bridge too Far" British
I ask the OIC, "Sir, can we have a go at them?"
He replies back in his best R.E. Lee: "Sergeant if you will, please move
those people off the ridge."
Right then, the squad shakes itself off into a column of fire team
me in the middle. It's about 150-200 meter move to the first targets.
know where they are but not exactly when they will pop up.

Observation One: Now with live bullets, everyone is moving more
deliberately, eyes wide open. The guy behind you is keyed up and
live rounds. The targets are pop ups controlled by he computer, they are
3d in the shape of Russians with AK47s and have pneumatic firing devices
attached. (we could have enabled MILES return fire but we 've chosen not
too). The targets go down every time they are hit and pop up with 5-8
seconds again. It they are hit three times in a row they stay down for
good. If they are not hit at all they will go down after 45 seconds.

The first engagement begins. Of course none can here anything but they
know more or less what's expected of them and how things will go. I
till I'm horse, using violent pumping actions and stick waving with my
hand and arm signals to move the squad. Three targets have popped up.
are engaged, killed. Eventually they stay down for good as one team
assaults, sweeping across the objective. the support team follows. they
immediately go into the consolidate and reorganize drill (Ammo,
Casualties, equipment). Then it's up and off they go again.

AFter crossing a  wire obstacles, some thick terrain and a gully we have
teh next contact. More shooting, more yelling. even though guys know the
exact drill and what to expect, they take a little longer since people
intent on hitting targets. Sometimes they get tunnel vision. At one
I have to wack someone with my stick to get their attention. Like Tom
says, somone's in teh middle of a MAg change when they're told to move,
someone trips and falls requiring an extra bound. It's reasonable to
assume that it least the buddy teams will keep up with each other, but
there is sufficient variation of movement from bound to bound. Also
sometimes the teams bound within buddy teams, sometimes the whole buddy
team bounds together while the other covers, sometimes teh whole team
moves at once while other teams cover. Situation dictates.

ANyway that one ends and they consolidate and reorganize again just as
enemy counterattack hits. They engage then we go into break contact
Again teh blood goes up. I'm behind a tree between two fire teams, once
has reached the bank, and safety, and is laying suppressive fire for teh
other,. The B fire team leader begins to displace, but two guys are so
intent on stopping the horde before us that they don't respond to
I whip my stick at one, but I miss. The only thing for me to do is to
up there and grab the two. This I do, and the teams bound out of

Now another interesting point. All this time we've kept everyone firing
semi. No automatic firing. The tower calls back the hits. 242 hits out
about 700 rounds expended. That's pretty good for a live fire exercise
with guys that don't do this all the time. We have some extra rounds
at least a Mag a piece so we request the targets pop up again and we'll
let the guys fire full auto (in short controlled bursts of course) at
horde. Range, maybe 75 meters. Out of about 400 rounds the targets are
48 times. It's an excellent illustration about the differnce between
and semi. One suppresses, the other kills.

ANyway after an AAR we go through it again, and with similar but a
smoother one the movement. By this time we've been out in the 95-100
degree central california sun for 8 hours (after they rucked 8 miles out
to teh range with 60 lb packs,) so everyone is smoked.

A good point is made. A lot of people think it doesn't take to be a
Sure that's true, if you are not interested in surviving. It's hard
a lot of thinking, common sense and intelligence into being a grunt
going to live through a hitch. These truck drivers, radio men,
cannon cockers, MPs etc have now had a wake up call of what it's going
take to be good. Hopefully they've also had an exhilarating experience.
Despite teh fatigue and heat, there's a little bit more spring in
step as they ruck up and head back to teh barracks. The next day will be
more of the same, though with different drills, plus grenades, and Mgs
now the ramp up time between drills will be faster.

Some points to make as it applies to FMA and gaming in general.

1. I think having a variable move as opposed to a set move is always
realistic (ala combat move in SG2)

2. It's also reasonable that even in a skirmish game, that if you have
designated teams or at least buddy teams, that once combat move roll
suffices given the scale.

3. A team leader (given the size of SG squads they're really fire teams)
needs to ensure everyone is within atv least 10-20 meters of him MAX or
control will be very difficult. even radio comms will only improve this
slightly as we have discovered. Guys you are in charge of (If you are a
fighting leader) need to SEE you and be close enough for you to put your
hands on them if necessary. Even elites. Better to reflect them as
higher firepower in smaller teams than to allow them greater distance
between models from the leader.

4. Despite the variability of moves, some common sense need apply. Like
the city, you are crossing the street.	You are either going to get all
the way across the street or die trying. No one would stop in the middle
even if under heavy fire. You fix your sight across teh street and run
all your worth, no 3-5 second rush. This is a slight downfall to some
combat moves.



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