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Mission 12 - Tactical Considerations
Desert Town

Never stand on the crest of a hill. It makes you such an easy target. The whole point of camouflage is to make it hard for the enemy to acquire you as a target. You can be easily defeated if you are against the blue sky. It’s where the term “skylining” comes from. When you rat someone out, you are skylining them. You can also do it to yourself by being dumb. So standing below the crest is one big tactical principle at work. The best way to hold the hill is to not actually stand on top of it. Establish a perimeter somewhere.

In reality, grazing fire is more dangerous than plunging fire. Grazing fire is parallel to the earth, and there’s no predication on ballistic curve. From an offensive perspective, when you are on the top of a hill, all you have available to you is plunging fire. If your target is on the backside of a hill, the round has to go up and come down. It’s a precise calculation. Shooting down is harder to do than lying down and shooting across the ground at a target. It’s true that on the hilltop, you have a greater opportunity to see your target and take it out. But once again, you are a bigger target in that spot, and you have a harder shot. You best bet is to establish a perimeter below the crest with relative grazing fire across the water.

As for the water, you are still vulnerable while you’re in it. It’s a quick swim across in this map, but in real life, you would cross on your back. Things you carry, like your pack, float. If you swim normally with Kevlar on, not enough of you sticks out of the water. So you would turn over on your back and move like you were pedaling a bicycle, holding your rifle on your chest.

When you get to shore, you can use the water as concealment. Find a good piece of shoreline in the weeds at the water’s edge to stand on. You can shoot from that vantage point, but only a little bit of your body would be showing. And normally, the enemy wouldn’t be looking in the water for infantry. The water bank is also a good spot for your sniper. It gives him an unimpeded field of fire across the water. Again, resist the urge to put your sniper on the hilltop. Picking a place on the water’s edge gives your sniper a good field of fire towards the opposite shore, allows for the more effective grazing fire, and provides good cover. This is your overwatch protection, which doesn’t just mean being able to see you from above. Your overwatch has to be able to see beyond you. Place your overwatch opposite from where you are working. If you can coordinate that, you will be extremely effective. This strategy will apply to using M249 SAW cover fire as well.

From an interview with US Army Staff Sergeant Dan Snyder


Desert Town