Small Unit Tactics – Delaying Detection and Hastening Contact: How-to in Arma 3

I already wrote about Robert Leonhard’s concept of “delay detection, hasten contact”. The first mention of this principle that I know of is from the Army magazine (Leonhard RL, 1996. Force XXI and the theory of winning outnumbered. Army 46(6): 56). This principle is applicable at many levels but it is usually more understandable at the tactical level.

I wanted to provide an example of how I use it in a typical Arma 3 scenario: I’m in command of an AI reconnaissance team and I have detected an enemy patrol which we must destroy.

To move into contact, I do it with my team with the team held behind. The AI will more often than not make a dubious pathfinding choice and expose themselves to detection. I use the order “stop” to keep everybody in the back, leaping the entire team when the coast is clear. It is very important to detect the enemy before they detect you. Upon detection of the enemy, the fun starts.

Order: “All, Hold Fire!”
Order: “All, stealth, crouch, hold fire!”
Order: “All, stop!” Just in case.
The enemy patrol is in the background, staying on the road that hugs the two big hills. I use a “move order” to position each man to the perfect spot.
As my team moves into position, they start calling targets. This means they are ready to fire.
Order “All, open fire”
The entire firefight lasted 12 seconds.

And that’s it. I delayed detection from the enemy until the last seconds and from there the firefight was brief and violent. Enemy casualties: 6. My own casualties: 0.