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Marching fire (aka walking fire) is a military tactic where suppressive fire is used to allow advancing of troops.

In marching fire, the advancing group fires their weapons, non-stop and without reaiming, attempting to pin down the enemy. This is different from my recent post on “fire and movement” because the attackers will advance in unison behind a wall of ammunition rather than leapfrogging alternately in groups.

marching fire

This technique first comes from the 18th century Prussian Troops and was first victorious due to the Dreyse Needle Gun.

A more modern technique was evolved in the early 20th century where the French army suggested the use on the Chauchat Automatic Light Machine Gun.  It was used in WWI and then further advanced with the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, and was placed in the U.S. “Small Unit Infantry Tactics” manuals in the 1920s.  George Patton Loved this technique.


The idea is to take the defence off-guard so your infantry can all advance forward.  This is usually a means for an infantry to charge to engage in close combat.

You must have a large ammunition supply and the ability to rapid-fire to implore this technique.  Also, don’t think that a small group using marching fire is enough to suppress a well-position and well-armed enemy that is resolved.  One way to support and supplement marching fire is to include heavy weapons teams in fixed locations to keep the suppressive fire going through the final charge of the infantry.

So one way to use this is to allow at least 25% of your group to fire as they advance.  As they run low, the next group will begin to fire, to keep suppression going.  At the same time you could have a pair of explosive teams that are small and can use the fire and move technique as well as a larger team with a little more power that is stationary.  These teams will assist during the final charge.

Supporting groups during marching fire and fire and movement tactics are called “overwatch groups”.  They can see terrain ahead of the advancing team.  They can even be used for “hull down” tactics as well!  During leapfrogging, or fire and move, the overwatch is also known as the bounding overwatch.

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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