Entering and clearing a building is a multi-person task. In order to do this right, it is necessary that you train and practice with others. Even highly skilled individuals need to work with their team for months until they get an organic feel for each other. The base level is going to require four members for each team. This is enough to clear an individual room, though urban operations are best completed with 8 to 9 members because it allows the two teams to leap frog through the building.
Since it can be difficult to find 8 other individuals who would make an effective member of your team, for the purposes of this post we are only going to focus on a fireteam (4 total members). Though the military has specific roles for each member, we are only going to focus on the tactics of the group as a whole.
The first step to effectively clearing a room is the creation of the stack. This formation is used to provide security for the team before they enter the room. Each member has an assigned sector of security. The number one man (the first person in the stack) focuses on the door. They are
The number one man (the first person in the stack) focuses on the door. They are responsible for ensuring the team is safe from any threats coming from the doorway. In addition, they will eventually be the first person through the doorway.
The second man is generally the leader of the team. They are responsible for covering the area directly in front of the stack and are responsible for making in the moment decisions.
The third team member should be focused on providing high security, which means that they watch second stories and windows. The third man is also partnered with the first man and will continue along the same path once they entire the room.
The last person in the fireteam is used as rear security and is the breach man.
During the breach, the fourth man comes forward and scans the door. They should look for traps and explosives that could present potential harm to the team. Once the door is cleared, the will initiate the appropriate breach method which can range from turning the handle to blowing the hinges with explosives.
Since many people do not have access to C4 or other forms of stable explosives, a shotgun can be an effective way to breach a door. By using the weapon to destroy the hinges and handle, a strong kick will likely be enough to knock the door in.
If you are the breach man, kicking the door is a critical function of the position. If you fail to breach with the initial kick, you alert those within to your presence and you lose the element of surprise. The U.S. Army estimates that the element of surprise has a massive combat multiplier. This can be the difference between an all-out annihilation of the enemy and a massacre of your team.
Upon the breach, the fourth man will step back and return to providing rear security. The first team member will enter the room and choose to walk along one of the walls. The entire time, they will have their weapon raised and will scan the room through the sights. The second man will go in the opposite direction, and the third man will follow the first. By looking at the below picture, it is easy to understand the flow of the team into the room.
Will the movements are simple, it is important to maintain safety. The most dangerous areas of the room are within the doorway. This is called a fatal funnel and allows the enemy to engage you without having to wonder where you are. It is critical that you get out of the doorway as quickly as possible. In addition, rounds tend to ricochet and travel along the straight surfaces. This means it is dangerous to hug the walls. Try to stay at least a foot or two away from the wall.
Urban Operations can be very dangerous due to the extremely close quarters. It is imperative that allow team members have incredible discipline when it comes to engaging inside the room. Make sure that your team does not flag each other (unintentionally point the barrel of their weapon at a friendly). Also, anyone can effectively use a firearm in close quarters. Do not assume that a threat is cleared until they are searched. Surprise can work two ways, and if you are taken by surprise by someone you thought were safe, you are still vulnerable to their combat multiplier.
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