The following drill is to enable to move a section/squad across an obstacle swiftly while maintaining a good arc of Covering Fire and Tactical awareness. An obstacle can be defined as anything that will expose your section to limited defences such as river crossings, crossroads/junctions in towns, bridges, small areas of open ground not large enough to warrant a formation change or any ground a commander deems unsafe. These areas could likely be covered by Defensive fire positions, in order to minimize the threat we employ the obstacle crossing drill.1 – Identify Obstacle
In this Image, we can see a section approaching a river which will hamper their ability to maintain tactical awareness and good Arcs of Fire. The commander Should inform the team via radio or direct voice with the Pro-word ‘Obstacle’. This will ensure that the team know they are about to implement the Drill.2 – Close to All Round Defense
Just short of the obstacle bring in the team to a defensive posture dependent on your surroundings, at night or in close cover use ‘Herringbone’ or in the open use all-round defence. This will allow the commander to quickly brief the troops and begin the next phase.3 – Establish Near Side Security
Send 2 team members forward to cover along each flank of the near side of the obstacle, either side of the selected crossing point. Once in the position they should inform the commander they are in the position with the Pro-word ‘Set'(via radio or voice dependent on force type.)4 – Establish Far Side Security
Once near side is set, the commander should then send 2 team members to cross the obstacle. They should cross in between the nearside team and set up covering the flanks on the opposite side of the obstacle, when in position they should inform the commander with the Pro-words ‘Set, Stand-by’ the reason for the ‘stand-by is that they are looking and listening for any threats on the far side, once they are happy they will inform the commander with the Pro-word ‘Clear’5 – Move Across the Main Element
Once the Far Side security team has given the all clear, the commander must then move the remaining team members except the 2 man near side security team, across the obstacle as swiftly as the obstacle allows once reaching the far side he should fan his team out covering arcs away from the obstacle.6 – Move across the near side team
Finally, the commander will have the 2 near side security team cross, once safely over/through the obstacle these 2 will get down and cover back towards the obstacle. This will then ensure your team is in all-round defence. Once the commander is happy that the team has crossed and is safe, he may then continue his teams advance.
You may utilize the above drill for any type of obstacle, the key to success is communication and good command and control. It will allow your team to cross obstacles/danger areas with maximum security and control.