The rapid growth of the number and size of urban centers, especially in regions of political instability, increases the likelihood that Soldiers will be called upon to conduct operations in urban areas. Keep in mind that the urban battlefield environment is rapidly exhausting, both physically and mentally, and may look even more chaotic than it is. Successful combat operations in urban areas require skills that are unique to this type of fighting. You must be skilled in moving, entering buildings, clearing rooms, and selecting and using fighting positions to be effective while operating in this type of environment. Movement in urban areas is the first skill you must master. Movement techniques must be practiced until they become second nature. To reduce exposure to enemy fire, you should avoid open areas, avoid silhouetting yourself, and select your next covered position before movement.
The following paragraphs discuss how to move in urban areas:
1. AVOIDING OPEN AREAS - Open areas, such as streets, alleys, and parks, should be avoided. They are natural kill zones for enemy, crew-served weapons, or snipers. They can be crossed safely if the individual applies certain fundamentals, including using smoke from hand grenades or smoke pots to conceal movement. When employing smoke as an obscurant, keep in mind that thermal sighting systems can see through smoke. Also, when smoke has been thrown in an open area, the enemy may choose to engage with suppressive fires into the smoke cloud.
• Before moving to another position, you should make a visual reconnaissance, select the position offering the best cover and concealment, and determine the route to get to that position.
• You need to develop a plan for movement. You should always select the shortest distance to run between buildings and move along covered and concealed routes to your next position, reducing the time exposed to enemy fire.
2. MOVING PARALLEL TO BUILDINGS - You may not always be able to use the inside of buildings as routes of advance and must move on the outside of the buildings. Smoke, suppressive fires, and cover and concealment should be used as much as possible to hide movement. You should move parallel to the side of the building, maintaining at least 12 inches of separation between yourself and the wall to avoid rabbit rounds (ricochets and rubbing or bumping the wall). Stay in the shadows, present a low silhouette, and move rapidly to your next position. If an enemy gunner inside the building fires, he exposes himself to fire from other squad members providing overwatch.
3. MOVING PAST WINDOWS - Windows present another hazard to the Soldier. The most common mistakes are exposing the head in a first-floor window and not being aware of basement windows. When using the correct technique for passing a first-floor window, you must stay below the window level and near the side of the building (see attached image). Ensure you do not silhouette yourself in the window. An enemy gunner inside the building would have to expose himself to covering fires if he tries to engage you. The same techniques used in passing first-floor windows are used when passing basement windows. You should not walk or run pass a basement window, as this will present a good target for an enemy gunner inside the building. Ensure you stay close to the wall of the building and step or jump pass the window without exposing your legs (see attached image).
4. CROSSING A WALL - You must learn the correct method of crossing a wall (see Figure 8-3 below). After you have reconnoitered the other side, quickly roll over the wall and keep a low silhouette. Your speed of movement and low silhouette denies the enemy a good target.
5. MOVING AROUND CORNERS - The area around a corner must be observed before the Soldier moves. The most common mistake you can make at a corner is allowing your weapon to extend beyond the corner, exposing your position; this mistake is known as flagging your weapon. You should show your head below the height an enemy would expect to see it. You must lie flat on the ground and not extend your weapon beyond the corner of the building. Only expose your head (at ground level) enough to permit observation (see Figure 8-4 below ). You can also use a mirror, if available, to look around the corner. Another corner-clearing technique that is used when speed is required is the pie-ing method. This procedure is done by aiming the weapon beyond the corner into the direction of travel (without flagging) and side-stepping around the corner in a circular fashion with the muzzle as the pivot point (see Figure 8-5 below).