Military

CHAPTER 8

Crowd Control Formations

Crowd control formations, when properly employed and executed against a crowd of limited size, are one of the most practical methods of crowd control. In selecting force options, the riot baton generally is the main weapon of the control force. If the situation is serious, the commander may consider employing a mix of batons and rifles. For example, the first line of the formation is armed with batons and the second or supporting ranks are armed with rifles or rifles with fixed bayonets.

Crowd control formations may be employed to disperse, contain, or block a crowd. When employed to disperse a crowd, they are particularly effective in urban areas because they enable the control force to split a crowd into smaller segments. When a crowd has been dispersed, the control force must not assume that they have capitulated and returned to peaceful activities. Small groups can initiate dispersed riotous acts. Therefore, the use of formations is only a part of the total dispersal effort. If the crowd refuses to move, the control force may have to employ other techniques, such as riot control agents or apprehensions.

Commanders must realize the limitations of formations. Formations are not the answer to all civil disturbance situations. The commander must not subject his troops to unnecessary sniper fire and violence simply to impress the crowd with a show of force. When small, dispersed mobs are rampant in an area, formations are of little value. Even when a large mob has been split up, the problem is not necessarily solved. The small elements that break away from the large mob may engage in small-mob tactics, such as sniping, looting, and burning. Commanders then, of necessity, must revert to area control measures, such as building searches, saturation patrolling, and other tactics.

Rooftops must be secured to help prevent sniper fire from these vantage points. Helicopter observation is one method of visually securing rooftops. Occupation of the rooftops is another. When troops are stationed in high buildings or on rooftops, all other troops must be informed of this to avoid the possibility of control force members being mistaken for snipers.

Crowd control formations also may be used for more than just dispersal operations. If the decision is made to apprehend crowd members, the crowd control formation may be used as a blocking formation. Apprehension teams then escort apprehended crowd members back through the formation. (See Chapter 12.) A crowd control formation also may be used to aid containment operations by using blocking, flanking, and confrontation elements of the formation.

Commanders analyze the threat, the control force's missions, and how crowd control formations can be used to aid mission accomplishment. Experience has shown that the formations, to be effective, must be tailored to meet the situation. Whatever the modification, troops must be proficient in the basic formation movements to be able to react or adjust to a changing situation.

Civil disturbance training must that the soldiers understand the need to ensure stay in formation. Troops are much more vulnerable to attack when individual soldiers break ranks and chase after crowd members. The individual soldiers place themselves in danger, and the entire formation may be threatened if it begins to break down.

TYPES OF FORMATIONS

Past civil disturbances indicate that the most frequently used formations are the line, the wedge, and the echelon. The line formation is used more often because of its offensive and defensive applications. As an offensive formation, the line is used to push or drive crowds straight back, across an open area, or up a city street. As a defensive formation, the line is used to hold the crowd or to deny access to restricted streets or areas. The echelon is an offensive formation used to turn or divert groups in either open or built-up areas and to move crowds away from buildings, fences, and walls. The wedge is an offensive formation that is used to penetrate and split crowds. The diamond, as an offensive formation, is used to enter a crowd and is suitable for apprehending ring leaders. As a defensive formation, the diamond is used when all-around security is required. The circular formation may be used for the same purposes as the diamond. The decision to use either the diamond or the circle is based on the conformation of the crowd.

When a control force encounters large riotous groups, it may be best to employ vehicles with troops on foot in crowd control formations. Although vehicles add strength to formations, certain precautions must be taken. Precautions include:

  • Ensuring windshields of vehicles are upright, removed, or completely depressed. If the windshields are safety glass, they offer some protection in the upright position, minimizing the danger of injury from glass fragments.
  • Building shields for mobile barriers by mounting a wooden or metal frame strung with barbed wire across the front of a vehicle.
  • Having foot troops in formation walk as near the front corners of each vehicle as possible to keep rioters from attacking the sides and rear of the vehicles.

Armored vehicles are employed when practical. They have a strong psychological effect, and they offer protection for the occupants. Wheeled armored vehicles are best because they do not deface the pavement.

Vehicles are used only in conjunction with troops on foot. Whenever vehicles and foot troops are employed, the commander of the foot troops commands the unit. He joins the leader of the motor section in the command vehicle, where he has a vantage point. In every instance, his commands are executed through the subordinate leaders.

Many suitable variations of the crowd control formations can be employed. But appropriate commands and signals must be devised to execute the formations. Because of their somewhat complicated nature and the coordination required for these formations, new variations must be practiced extensively before they are used in an actual civil disturbance.

WEAPON POSITIONS

At the commander's discretion, the members of the crowd control formation may carry their weapons in any of the positions prescribed in FM 22-5. Port arms is especially useful for resting support troops who are not in direct contact with the crowd. The positions for safe port, safeguard, and on guard shown below are for the M16 rifle. These positions are equally suited for the M14 rifle and the Ml rifle. The hand grasps need only be altered where necessary.

The safe-port position is quite effective when making a show of force. In this elevated position, bayonets can be seen by participants in the rear of the crowd. The sight of bayonets can create an impression of strength and numerical superiority.

Troops move into and assemble from all crowd control formations with weapons in the safe-port position. Troops automatically assume the safe-port position on the preparatory command for a crowd control formation and when commanded to assemble.

Commanders use the safe-port position to impress rioters. However, troops should not be kept in the position very long as it is very tiring.

The safeguard position is a position of semireadiness. It is less tiring than the onguard position. It is used to rest troops when circumstances permit. For example, as troops advance, they maintain the safeguard position until just before contact is made or resistance is expected. The safeguard position can also be used when troops are pursuing a crowd that is withdrawing without resistance.

On guard is a position of complete readiness. It is used whenever troops are in contact with a group that is showing any kind of resistance or hesitance to withdraw. It also is a tiring position to maintain for extended periods of time. Commanders must rest their troops at every opportunity by using less tiring positions.

COMMANDS

Commands can be given to crowd control units in formation either orally or with hand signals. The oral commands for safe port, safeguard, and on guard are given in one count. All other commands are given in two counts, a preparatory command followed by an execution command. Oral commands cannot be relied on completely. Commanders must plan to use alternate methods for relaying commands. When it is necessary, commanders use hand and arm signals with oral commands.

The unit marches in column formation a reasonably safe distance from the crowd and within plain view of it. The unit halts and remains in formation. The commander decides on what crowd formation he desires for the situation. The unit is ordered into or assembled from crowd control formations while halted. As each soldier reaches his proper position, he automatically faces in the direction of the unit's intended advance and comes to a halt. He remains halted in the safe-port position and awaits further orders. On the preparatory command, the troops automatically assume the safe-port position. On the execution command, they form the formation. Once the troops are in the crowd control formation, the commander commands, "Safeguard," and issues the proclamation. Following the proclamation, the commander informs the participants that they have a specific time in which to comply with the order to disperse. If the participants fail to disperse within the given time, the commander employs the measures needed to disperse the crowd.

When the commander gives the safeguard and on-guard commands, the commands are for the lead element only. When using squads in support and the commands for safeguard and on guard are given, the support squads automatically move to the port-arms position when the command of safeguard is given to the lead element. If the squads are in general or lateral support and must move to another support position, they assume the safe-port position. They move to the new support position and are then commanded to port arms. The support elements give a resounding stomp with the left foot when the lead element goes to the on-guard position. On the command, "Forward march," the support elements maintain the same half-step cadence as the lead element.

CADENCE

The usual cadence for moving troops into and out of crowd control formations is double time. The troops are at safe port when performing these maneuvers. When troops in a crowd control formation are moving in the safeguard position, the usual cadence is quick time. When they are moving in the on-guard position, the usual cadence is 60 steps per minute. For psychological effect, troops using the on-guard cadence may accentuate each left-foot step with a stomp.

The commander may increase or decrease the cadence, depending on the situation. For example, the commander may call a quick-time cadence to keep pressure on a crowd that is withdrawing.

INTERVAL AND DISTANCE

Interval is the lateral space between elements. Distance is the space between elements in a column. The usual interval and distance between soldiers in crowd control formations are one pace or 30 inches.

Interval and distance can be adjusted for particular situations. The 30-inch interval may not be sufficient in some situations. It may have to be lengthened. Some police forces have found that a greater interval makes formation members less vulnerable to thrown objects.

COMMANDER AND LEADER POSITIONS

When a unit is in a column formation, each echelon commander usually takes a position at the head of the column. In crowd control formations, squad leaders and their assistants, platoon leaders and their assistants, and company commanders take positions where they can best direct and control their units. For diamond and circle formations, they place themselves in the center of the formation. For all other formations, they place themselves at the rear of the unit. However, these are only guidelines. The leaders can adjust their position with respect to their unit as they see fit.

In column formations, messengers, radio operators, marksmen, disperser operators, and other platoon HQ members usually take positions at the front of the column. In a crowd control formation, HQ personnel, at the commander's discretion, may be positioned near the commander. If the situation does not allow this kind of positioning, HQ personnel may be positioned behind the control element.

Control force formations can be based on 12-man squads, 4-squad platoons, 3-squad platoons, and 3-platoon companies with 4-squad platoons. However, a 9-man or a 10-man squad can be adapted easily to the example for a 12-man squad. Any size squad, platoon, or larger unit can be employed, and a crowd control formation can be adapted to fit the unit's organization.

SQUAD FORMATIONS

When moving a squad into a crowd control formation from a column formation, the squad leader takes one or more steps to the right of the squad and faces the squad. He gives the hand and arm signal for the formation that he wants. He then gives the preparatory command. As he gives the execution command, he points to where he wants the unit to form. The squad's number two man, or base man, moves to that position. The squad forms on the base man's position.

SQUAD LINE

The command for having a squad form in a line formation is "Squad as skirmishers, move." On the execution command, the base man moves to the place indicated by the squad leader. The squad members align themselves in sequence on the base man, one pace apart.

Based on the situation, the squad leader may designate a specific interval. He does this when he gives the preparatory command. If no interval is specified, the squad automatically forms using a one-pace interval.

SQUAD ECHELON

The command for having a squad form in an echelon formation is "Squad echelon right (left), move." On the execution command, the base man moves to the place indicated by the squad leader. The squad members align themselves in sequence on the base man, one pace to the side and one pace to the rear.

SQUAD WEDGE

The command for having a squad form in a wedge formation is "Squad wedge, move." On the execution command, the base man moves to the place indicated by the squad leader. Even-numbered squad members align themselves in sequence on the base man, one pace to the right and one pace to the rear of each preceding man. Odd-numbered members align themselves in the same way to the left of the base man.

SQUAD ASSEMBLY

When assembling a squad from the line formation, the squad leader takes a position a sufficient distance to the rear of the squad and commands, "Squad assemble." At the same time, he raises his right hand in the air and makes a circular motion. Squad members who hear the command automatically come to the safe port position. The base man does an about-face. The other squad members face toward the base man. On the execution command, "Move," the squad leader points to the place where he wants the base man to assemble. The base man double-times to the designated spot, and the other members of the squad follow the base man. When the squad is in a column formation again, they are ordered to port arms.

To assemble from a squad echelon formation, the squad leader takes the same steps as for the line formation. The base man does an about-face. The squad members do either a half left face for an echelon right or a half right face for an echelon left and follow the base man.

To assemble from a squad wedge formation, the squad leader takes the same steps as for the line and echelon formations. The base man does an about-face. All even-numbered men do a half left face, and all odd-numbered men do a half right face. They then follow the base man in sequence.

FOUR-SQUAD PLATOON FORMATIONS

Platoon headquarters consists of the following four people:

  • Platoon leader.
  • Platoon sergeant.
  • Selected marksman.
  • Messenger or radio operator.

When directed by the platoon leader, other people, such as disperser operators and firefighters, may augment the platoon headquarters.

In forming all crowd control formations from the column, the platoon leader moves to the right of the platoon and faces them when giving his commands. He gives the arm and hand signal and the preparatory command. On the execution command, "Move," he points to the approximate location where he wants the platoon to form. The platoon leader pauses between the preparatory command and the execution command to allow each squad leader to issue a preparatory command to his squad.

PLATOON LINE

The command for forming a platoon line is "Platoon as skirmishers, move." Immediately following the platoon leader's preparatory command, the squad leaders of the first and fourth squads command, "Follow me." The squad leaders of the second and third squads command, "Stand fast." On the platoon leader's execution command, the first and fourth squads move forward to the point designated by the platoon leader. The number two man of the fourth squad is the base man for the platoon formation. The fourth squad forms a squad line to the right of the base man, and the first squad forms a squad line to the left of the base man, dressed on the fourth squad. After the first and fourth squads have cleared the platoon, the second and third squad leaders command, "Follow me." The second squad forms a squad line to the left of the first squad. The third squad forms a squad line to the right on the fourth squad, all squads dressing on the fourth squad.

When assembling the platoon from the platoon line formation, the platoon leader and his HQ personnel take a position to the rear of the platoon. He then gives the command, "Platoon assemble," raising his right arm and making a circular motion above his head. The members of the platoon automatically assume the safe-port position. All squad leaders go to their number two men and face the platoon leader. All number two men do an about face. All other squad members do a facing movement toward their respective number two men. On the platoon leader's execution command, he points to where he wants the platoon to assemble. The squad leaders of the fourth and third squads command, "Follow me," and together they move toward the platoon leader. As the fourth and third squads clear the line formation, the first and second squad leaders command, "Follow me," and together they move toward the platoon leader, dressing to the left of the fourth and third squads. All squads halt automatically behind the platoon HQ and dress. After the squads are in column, the platoon leader commands, "Port arms." If the platoon leader wants the platoon facing back in the direction of the crowd control formation, he commands, "Counter-column, march."

PLATOON LINE WITH GENERAL SUPPORT

Whenever the command for establishing a crowd control formation contains the phrase, in support, without modification, it means that the support element is to remain in general support.

The command for forming a platoon line with two squads in general support is "Platoon as skirmishers, second and third squads in support, move." The first and fourth squads execute the line, while the second and third squads remain in the column. The number two man of the fourth squad is the base man for the formation.

To assemble a platoon with two squads in general support, the procedure is the same as for the platoon line, except the second and third squads do a counter-column. The fourth squad then dresses to the right of the third squad, and the first squad dresses to the left of the second squad.

PLATOON LINE WITH LATERAL SUPPORT

The command for forming a platoon line with two squads in lateral support is "Platoon as skirmishers, second and third squads in lateral support, move." The fourth and first squads execute the line as before, and the second and third squads stand fast. After the line has been formed, the squad leaders of the second and third squads command, "Follow me." The second and third squads move out to their respective flanks. The second squad forms a column behind the last man on the line to the left. The third squad forms a column behind the last man on the line to the right.

The second and third squads may be moved from general support to lateral support at any time by the platoon leader. He commands, "Second and third squads, lateral support, move." To have the second and third squads join the line from either support position, the platoon leader commands, "Second and third squads, extend the line, move." The second and third squad leaders command, "Follow me." On the execution command, the squads set up individual lines, closing and dressing on the existing line.

To assemble the platoon from a platoon line with lateral support is the same as for the platoon line, except the number two men of the second and third squads do a right face and a left face, respectively, toward their squad leaders. On the execution command, the fourth and third squads move to the point designated by the platoon leader. As the fourth and third squads clear the formation, the first and second squads move.

PLATOON LINE WITH CLOSE SUPPORT

The command for forming a platoon line with two squads in close support is "Platoon as skirmishers, second and third squads in close support, move." The first and fourth squads execute a line as before. The second and third squads execute a second line to the rear of the first line and close in on the first line. The men in the supporting line cover the intervals between men in the first line. To do this, the squad leaders of the second and third squads command, "Stand fast." After the first and fourth squads are in position, the second and third squads form lines as indicated.

To assemble the support squads from any position to general support, the platoon leader commands, "Second and third squads in support, move." The second and third squads then return to a column behind the line formed by the other two squads.

PLATOON LINE WITH ONE SUPPORT SQUAD

The command for forming a platoon line with one squad in support is "Platoon as skirmishers, third squad in support, move." The second squad moves out and executes a squad line right. The first and fourth squads form lines on the second squad to the left and the right, respectively. The third squad remains in column formation. The support squad may be used in lateral support on one or both sides of the formation. It also can be used in close support of any segment of the formation.

To assemble the platoon, the commander takes his position as before. On the execution command, the third squad does a counter-column. The fourth squad moves and dresses to the right of the third squad. The first and second squads then move and dress to the left of the third squad. When the third squad is in lateral support, the commander assembles the third squad first. He then assembles the fourth, second, and first squads as before. The same procedure applies when the third squad is in close support.

PLATOON ECHELON RIGHT

The command for forming a platoon echelon right is "Platoon echelon right, move." After the platoon leader's preparatory command, the squad leader of the first squad commands, "Follow me." The squad leaders of the second, third, and fourth squads command, "Stand fast." On the execution command, the first squad moves out and executes an echelon right at the location designated by the platoon leader. As each squad clears the column, the next successive squad moves out and extends the echelon that has been formed.

To assemble the platoon, the commander takes his position to the rear of the formation with the platoon HQ. On the preparatory command, "Platoon assemble," all squad leaders go to their number two men and face the platoon leader. The number two man of the first squad does an about face. The number two men of the second, third, and fourth squads do a left face. All other platoon members do a half left face. On the command, "Move," the first squad moves first, then the second squad, third squad, and fourth squad. Each squad dresses as it reaches the column formation.

PLATOON ECHELON LEFT

The command for forming a platoon echelon left is "Platoon echelon left, move." The platoon echelon left is formed in the same manner as the echelon right, but in reverse order. The fourth squad is the base squad and the remaining squads extend the echelon in reverse sequence.

Assembly of the echelon left formation is the reverse of the echelon right. The fourth squad assembles first, followed by the third, second, and first squads.

PLATOON WEDGE

The command for forming the platoon wedge is "Platoon wedge, move." After the platoon leader's preparatory command, the squad leaders of the first and fourth squads command, "Follow me." At the same time, the squad leaders of the second and third squads command, "Stand fast." On the platoon leader's execution command, the first and fourth squads move directly to the front. When the last men of the first and fourth squads clear the second and third squads, the squad leaders of the second and third squads command, "Fo11ow me," and move out to the left and right, respectively. The number two man of the fourth squad is the base man for the formation. The fourth squad executes an echelon right. The first squad executes an echelon left on the base man. The second squad forms an echelon left on the last man of the first squad. The third squad forms an echelon right on the last man of the fourth squad, completing the wedge formation.

Assembling the wedge formation is basically the same as assembling the platoon line. The fourth and third squads assemble first. The first and second squads assemble to the left of the fourth and third squads.

PLATOON WEDGE WITH GENERAL SUPPORT

The command for forming a platoon wedge with two squads in support is "Platoon wedge, second and third squads in support, move." The first and fourth squads execute the wedge while the second and third squads remain in column formation.

PLATOON WEDGE WITH LATERAL SUPPORT

The command for forming a platoon wedge with lateral support is "Platoon wedge, second and third squads in lateral support, move." The first and fourth squads execute the wedge while the second and third squads stand fast. After the first and fourth squads have cleared the column, the second and third squad leaders command, "Follow me," and move out to the left and right, respectively. The second squad forms in column behind the last man of the first squad. The third squad forms in column behind the last man of the fourth squad.

To move the second and third squads from general support to lateral support, the platoon leader commands, "Second and third squads, lateral support, move." To have the second and third squads join the wedge from either general support or lateral support, the platoon leader commands, "Second and third squads, extend the wedge, move." The second and third squad leaders command, "Follow me," and move out to the left and right, respectively, to extend the wedge on the first and fourth squads.

PLATOON WEDGE WITH CLOSE SUPPORT

The command for forming a platoon wedge with two squads in close support is "Platoon wedge, second and third squads in close support, move." The first and fourth squads execute a wedge. The second and third squads also execute a wedge and close in on the leading wedge. The men in the supporting wedge cover the intervals between men in the leading wedge. To do this, the squad leaders of the second and third squads command, "Stand fast." After the first and fourth squads are in position, the second and third squads then form a second wedge.

To assemble the support squads from any position to general support, the platoon leader commands, "Second and third squads in support, move." The second and third squads then form a column behind the wedge formed by the other two squads.

PLATOON WEDGE WITH ONE SUPPORT SQUAD

The command for forming a platoon wedge with one squad in support is "Platoon wedge, third squad in support, move." The second squad moves out and executes a squad wedge. The first and fourth squads form echelons left and right, respectively, on the second squad. The third squad remains in the column formation.

FORMATION VARIATIONS

During crowd control operations. the platoon leader may rotate his squads in the lead elements of the formation to give the squads a rest. He is not limited to using only those squads specified in the preceding examples as the lead elements of the formations. By changing his preparatory command, he may choose other squads to lead his unit. If he wants the first and third squads to lead his platoon wedge, he issues the command, "Platoon wedge, second and fourth squads in support, move." By designating the support squad or squads in the preparatory command, the platoon leader tells the remaining squads that they will lead the formation. The number two man of the third squad becomes the base man.

The platoon leader also may relieve squads in the lead element by forming the same formation with the support squads. The support element then passes through the lead element. This procedure is often necessary when protective masks are donned for riot control agent employment.

THREE-SQUAD PLATOON FORMATIONS

The execution of crowd control formations using a three-squad platoon is essentially the same as a four-squad platoon. The exceptions are that--

  • The first and third squads usually are used as the lead element in all formations in which one squad provides general support or lateral support.
  • The second squad is the base squad in a platoon line when all three squads are committed to the lead element.
  • The support squad, usually the second squad, may be held in general support in single column or in column of two's.

The command for forming a platoon formation with one squad in support in a single column is "Platoon as skirmishers (echelon right, echelon left, or wedge), second squad in support, move." The first and third squads execute the formation while the second squad remains in column formation.

The command for forming a platoon formation with one squad in general support in a column of twos is "Platoon as skirmishers (echelon right, echelon left, or wedge), second squad in support in column of twos, move." The first and third squads execute the formation. The second squad, at the command of its squad leader, executes a column of twos to the right.

When the support squad moves to either lateral support or to extend the existing formation, the even-numbered men move to the right, and the odd-numbered men move to the left. They execute these movements in the same manner as the support squads for a four-squad platoon. The squad leader usually controls the even-numbered men, and the assistant squad leader controls the odd-numbered men.

A three-squad platoon is assembled in the same manner as a four-squad platoon.

COMPANY FORMATIONS

When a company commander orders his company into crowd control formations from a column, he moves to the left or the right near the head of the column so he can be seen by the platoon leaders. He then faces the company. As he gives his preparatory command, he points to where he wants the formation. If he does not indicate a location, the company forms immediately in front of the lead platoon.

COMPANY LINE IN DEPTH

The command for forming a company line in depth is "Company as skirmishers in depth, move." After the company commander's preparatory command, each platoon leader gives the command, "Platoon as skirmishers." The squad leaders follow with their respective commands to their squads to form the platoon line. On the execution command, each platoon establishes a platoon line immediately to its front.

If the company commander wants a more formidable formation, he commands, "Second platoon, close support, move." The second platoon moves forward and covers the intervals between the men of the lead platoon. The second platoon automatically assumes the same weapons position being used by the lead platoon, usually the on-guard position. The platoon leader of the third platoon then moves his platoon forward to occupy the position formerly held by the second platoon.

If the third platoon is called on to support the company line, it moves forward and takes up a position directly behind the second platoon. The men of the third platoon hold their weapons at safe port. Platoon and squad leaders and their assistants help each other in controlling the company.

COMPANY LINE IN MASS

The command for forming a company line in mass is "Company as skirmishers in mass, move." The company line in mass is the same as a company line with both platoons in close support. Instead of forming it in stages, the company commander indicates his desire for this formation in his initial command. The platoons each form a line, and the second and third platoons close on the first platoon without further commands.

COMPANY LINE WITH SUPPORT

In company formations, the first platoon usually forms the lead element and the second and third platoons provide support. The support platoons can be employed in the same manner as the support squads in platoon formations. One platoon can be relieved from the lead element by another platoon while in formation by having a support platoon pass through the lead platoon.

COMPANY ECHELONS AND WEDGE

Company echelons and the company wedge are formed in the same manner and with the same variations as the company line.

A company assembles from a crowd control formation the same way a platoon or a squad does. However, due to the size of company formations, the commander must consider the area that the company is operating in when he assembles the company. If he follows the guidelines of platoon assembly, he will have no difficulty. When assembling the company, the commander takes a position to the rear of the formation and commands, "Company assemble." The platoon leaders take charge of their respective platoons. Usually, the third platoon assembles first, just behind the formation. After the third platoon is assembled, the second platoon assembles in front of the third platoon. Then the first platoon assembles in front of the second platoon. All platoons assemble facing the commander. The second and third platoons then dress on the first platoon. As each platoon is assembled, they are ordered to port arms by the platoon leader to await further orders from the commander. If four platoons are used, the fourth platoon assembles first.

COMPANY FORMATIONS WITH VEHICLES

The commands for vehicles and foot troops are the same as for foot troops alone. Because of the additional noise and distances involved, the company commander gives the arm and hand signal for the line. The command and the signal apply to the lead platoon only. The other platoons remain in general support until further directed.

The motor section moves out first. The number two vehicle, moving to the right, passes the lead vehicle and establishes the position for the center of the line. At the same time, the third and fourth vehicles swing out to the left and right, respectively. They form to the left and right and slightly to the rear of the number two vehicle. The first and fourth squads of the lead platoon then move forward and form lines to the left and right, respectively, on the front end of the number two vehicle. As soon as the troops are in position, the third and fourth vehicles close in on the squads and tighten the formation. The second and third squads of the lead platoon then form a line to the left and right of the third and fourth vehicles to complete the company line. The command (number one) vehicle takes up a position behind the line where the commander can direct and control the unit. The second and third platoons move forward and are used in general, lateral, or close support. In some instances, the foot troops may move into position first, and the vehicles join the formation as needed.

To form company echelons or a company wedge with vehicles, the company follows the same procedures used for company formations without vehicles. Vehicles are moved into appropriate positions using procedures similar to those used for a company line.

To assemble troops and vehicles, the command vehicle moves to a position behind the formation. The commander faces the formation and gives the vehicle section the hand signal for assembly. Immediately, the vehicles return to their proper positions in column behind the command vehicle while the troops stand fast. The second in command then assembles the troops in the usual manner.




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