Two Ship Attack Tactics (continued)
The second primary attack formation is the wedge.
You can do everything in a wedge attack that you did in the line attack and use the same conventions. While I stressed flying a forward wedge position when navigating a route, when it came to the wedge attack run-in, I tended to favor a slightly more rearward position for the wingie…instead of pushing the 30 degree back angle, I went with about 45 degrees…maybe as much as 60 degrees depending on the particular attack objective. Here’s why.
In the previous paragraphs, we flew line as shooter-shooter…you can do the same in wedge. Most likely, you are in wedge because of terrain and/or visibility issues. Once the lead rolls out on his final heading, then the wingie needs to move forward to the 30-degree angle. At the action point, both pilots unmask and fly their attack roles as we have already described. Wedge attacks usually are limited to gun and Maverick deliveries…just as in the line attack.
But, we can change our attack role in wedge…we can go to a shooter-cover technique. In shooter-cover, the person leading the attack (this could be either the lead or the wingie) shoots and the other flight member flys in a wedge position and usually does nothing but provide a visual lookout of the target area.
This attack technique (let’s call it a tactic if you want) is well suited to high threat situations. The idea is that the shooter is going to be maxed out with getting the weapon on the target…the cover man is going to be there to keep him out of trouble. The cover man has two responsibilities…detect threats to the formation and prevent shooter target fixation. In the event either situation occurs, the cover man usually calls off the shooter and breaks him away from himself…unless that would take the shooter into the threat…then the cover will break the shooter away from the threat (and into himself). There is a second option… the cover may expend on a threat if he can do this without sacrificing his ability to cover the shooter.
Let’s go back to our scenario map. This time the flight will depart the north IP (B601), ingress at low level to the southeast, and use the rising terrain just to west of the target to mask their approach. The bump point is the ridge line…the flight will climb to establish line of sight with the target…and no more. As the lead crests the ridge, he should be acquiring the target.
Wedge Attack Map
(click on the above for the full screen image)
While the cover’s primary job is to protect the shooter, he may shoot a threat if the situation presents itself…but he won’t delay calling the shooter off just to take a shot.
I’m showing the flight egressing opposite again…but this is just an example. A good case could be made for a same direction break as well. Regardless of direction, each flight member finds some terrain to get behind, makes sure he is heading back to the IP, and then looks for the other flight member. Egress in that order… protect yourself in the pulloff, choose an egress direction that will continue to protect you… and then worry about mutual support. Getting bagged because you want to fly a nifty formation position in the egress is dumb!