Military Tactical Maneuvers: Overwatch and Bounding Overwatch


”You must prepare yourself. If you are not competent in a tactical and technical sense, you will not be fit to lead. You will be a danger to your Soldiers, exposing them needlessly, and destroying their confidence in themselves as well as in you.”
BG S. L. A. Marshall
From DA PAM 600-65, Leadership Statements and Quotes

Military Tactical Maneuvers: Overwatch and Bounding Overwatch

What is The Overwatch?

I am going to dive deeper into specifics of fire and movement tactics.  Two large items in this tactic of fire and movement, also known as a leapfrogging tactic, are the advancing force, and the overwatch.  First, I want to dive deeper into what the overwatch is.
The Overwatch is generally the person or group that is overwatching, or supporting, the advancing person or group.  The overwatch will take a position where it can observe all the terrain ahead, including enemy positions, so it can provide cover fire for the advancing group.
Basic Overwatch
 fire and maneuver overwatch

Effectiveness of the Overwatch

There are two huge factors in the effectiveness of the overwatch position.  The first factor is providing cover for the overwatch.  The second factor is providing unobstructed lines of fire, which INCLUDES friendly units.  Obviously, if the advancing group is anywhere around the line of fire, the overwatch needs to be careful.  This would be a wonderful application of tracer rounds, so the advancing group can see them.

What is the Bounding Overwatch?

Bounding Overwatch Dismounted

Bounding Overwatch Dismounted

Overwatch generally just means the person or group that is providing cover fire, but this group may not be stationary because of the fire and movement tactic being employed.  This is called the Bounding Overwatch, or moving overwatch.
All this means is that two groups are taking turns advancing while the other plays a supporting role of overwatch.  If you want to know more, just visit my fire and movement post.
Bounding overwatch mounted

Bounding Overwatch Mounted

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