125: Individual Movement Techniques

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Military Tactical Maneuvers: Individual Movement Techniques (IMTs)

credits to Wikimedia

In a tactical situation you will:

  • Approach an opposing force
  • Be approached by an opposing force

When these situations occur, you have two choices:

  • Decide to move
  • Sit still
  • You will have next to no time to decide… What do you do?

So when practicing, you will create “immediate actions” that you take in different scenarios.

  • Hundreds of possible scenarios
  • Practice for basic movements that will cover a wide range of situations.
  • These immediate actions are called “Individual Movement Techniques (IMTs)”

Much of what I discuss is for a pair of people or an extremely small group.

Before we get into it, we need to talk about one more item…

Small Group Movements

Remember, this is a military tactic… movement often is paired with suppressive fire.

  • This principle is called “fire and movement” and this is the first IMT.
  • Also known as leap-frogging if done multiple times

Fire and Movement

Basic Steps of Fire and Movement:

  1. You provide suppressive fire at an enemy.
  2. Another group or pair advances to close in on the target.
  3. Then they provide suppressive fire at the enemy
  4. Then you advance toward the target.

This allows both teams to advance toward their objective under the protection of suppression.

Now that we have discussed basic movements, we can talk about another Individual Movement Technique.

One of the most common IMTs is taking cover.

  • It doesn’t matter where the danger is coming from, many times you will attempt cover.
  • Cover = Invisibility and Shielding (dirt bank)
  • Concealment = Only being hidden (bathroom door)

The point here is NOT to cover every IMT, it is to give you a training template to determine your own IMTs.

Let’s go over a couple situations…

You Encounter an Enemy Ahead

Instantly, take cover.

  • They see you? Take cover.
  • They don’t see you? Take cover.

This may seem like common sense, but is super important for everything else to occur.

What if the enemy has seen you?

  1. Take Cover
  2. Your partner provides suppression.
  3. You attempt to move to a 45 degree angle from him (either his 2 or his 10).
  4. Now you are set up for multi-directional fire, a huge advantage.
  5. If you aren’t satisfied with your positions, suppression and fire may be used again.

What if the enemy has not seen you?

  1. Take Cover
  2. You can decide to move to a 45 degree angle again.
  3. There probably won’t be suppressive fire… you don’t want to give away your position.
  4. As you move, your partner will WATCH, and fire if the enemy sees you.
  5. Once again, you are set up for multi-directional fire.
  6. And again, you can do this over again.

These are two variations of the same exact movements.  With lots of practice and training this can be done safely with very little thought.

You Encounter a Flank Attack

What if you get fired on from an enemy flank?

  1. You may decide to immediately dive behind cover.
  2. Using suppressive fire, everyone scatters
  3. This is a strategic placement, so you have multiple attack directions.
  4. Everyone is now in place, now they look to you for direction.

The Benefits of Individual Movement Techniques

You can practice individual movements for tons of scenarios:

  • Approaching a caravan
  • Being approached by that caravan
  • Overhead enemies (planes or helicopters)

Individual Movement Techniques (IMTs) have huge benefits.

  • They benefit any squad, platoon, group, or pair
  • They put you immediately in safe defensive or offensive positions
  • Something happens
  • Everyone takes a predictable and beneficial action
  • Now the “leader” can quickly assess the situation
  • Followup actions can then be taken based on circumstances



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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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