One of the most common armor formations utilized in urban combat is
the box, or diamond, where several tanks and armored vehicles are
grouped together to create a mutually supporting combat element.
Vehicles positioned at the four points of the formation operate using
slow, coordinated, forward movements, allowing time to scan areas that
may be dominated by enemy forces This tactic allows them to draw enemy
fire, and engage resulting targets as they are detected. When movement
is halted, vehicles usually take up positions in crossroads in order
to provide better observation and coverage.
Dispersion of forces is
maintained by employing several box formations moving in parallel
through blocks or streets and coordinating their advance and firing
sectors in order to reduce the chance of fratricide. The lateral
dispersion of forces canalizes the movement into well defined lines
and enhances lateral security for the advancing forces. The best
protected elements (tanks or armored bulldozers) are positioned in the
vanguard, to engage targets in the forward sector and low elevation
targets on the flanks. Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (AIFV) cover
the flanks, high and low, and the rear. High angle fire from machine
guns and automatic cannon can be used to engage threats on rooftops
and in dead zones. Where AIFVs are not available, self propelled air
defense guns can be used (such as M-163 Vulcan, Gepard, or ZSU-23/4).
Combined formations of tanks and AIFVs have superior maneuverability
and mutual coverage, partly because of the additional capabilities of
the smaller, and more maneuverable Bradleys. The ‘heavy vehicles
leading’ formation enables the box to absorb enemy fire and IEDs while
exposing enemy positions and engaging them with effective and accurate
firepower. If one of the vehicles is disabled, the remaining vehicles
close up around it, establishing a wall of steel that allows
CASualties EVACuation (CASEVAC), recovery or repair. Care must be
taken to ensure that the covering vehicles do not close up to the
point where they present a lucrative point target.
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