UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received an Anonymous comment on the Urban Survival - Tactical Movement on Foot post,……”Everyone should understand that the reason for the various formations and tactics is to minimize the possibility of an ambush wiping out the patrol/unit. To translate that; it means if you encounter the enemy and they see you before you see them the first awareness you will have is when they take out your point man or your tail man. The bottom line is there is no safe way to move through territory, woods or any terrain. There are steps you can take to mitigate the danger and other steps you can take to maximize the damage to your enemy but there are no "safe" movements through enemy territory. This means your sister or your brother or your brothers wife might die right in front of you. When the SHTF there is no safe".
UrbanMan Replies: Not only is the reason, for proper tactical formations and interval between patrol group members, to preclude getting a sizeable portion of your group or patrol wiped out in an ambush or chance contact,…. the formation and interval allows for your patrol to rapidly execute contact drills to either fire and maneuver on the threat or to establish a base of fire for other members can disengage or withdrawal.
The next step after your Survival Group becomes decent at executing Patrol formations; using arm and hand signals; crossing danger areas; conducting long term and short stay security halts, would be to develop, rehearse and get really good at contact drills.
Contact drills are the pre-executed maneuver and actions your patrol will take upon contact with a threat or a circumstance. These are typically called “reaction drills for chance contacts”.
Chance contact is defined as un-forewarned contact with the enemy, from any direction, during movement or a short duration halt. Usually specifically moving to make contact or break out from an area, the patrol will probably always attempt to break contact from any chance contact with the enemy, as your goal is survival and not achieving any military objective.
During normal movement (column formation), the greatest possibility of making chance contact with the enemy is walking into an enemy position or moving enemy patrol. One reaction drill is the "peel" method of breaking contact. Upon making contact with the threat the point man will initially hold his position, may not be able to give an arm and hand signal for the threat, then be prepared to immediately fire upon the threat in a design to make the threat hold their position so the patrol can break contact.
If the point man has to shoot, and upon completion of firing (several rounds) at the enemy, the point man will turn and run parallel down the axis of the movement formation, placing the patrol between himself and the threat if possible and not flag the fire of the other patrol or survival group members as he turns, peels and runs.
The point man will move to a location approximately 50 meters to the rear of the tail man and take a knee or assume the prone. This location is the immediate rally point. The second man/women in the patrol will also engage the threat with several rapid rounds just as soon as he/she can safely do so, then turn and peel following the point man. The rest of the patrol will also engage the threat then individually and in turn follow the man in front if him as he turns and peels.
The point man after gaining the immediate rally point will direct incoming patrol personnel to one direction, either his left or right, beginning to achieve a skirmish line. Upon the rear slack and tail man arriving at the immediate rally point, the patrol members will be positioned in a linear formation that is perpendicular to its original route of travel.
The patrol, from this linear position, can be prepared to engage fire and maneuver, bounding back to further disengage from the threat….or move forward to close with the threat or to recover a wounded patrol member.
This same drill can be executed with a chance contact from the rear like if a bandit group is trying to run you to ground.
If you are in a wedge formation, your reaction drill may look like the below picture, where patrol members just move up into a skirmish type line in order to bring all weapons to bear on the threat and be able to maneuver either forwards or backwards as directed.