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Hand Signals

This is a listing (and eventually photos) of all the hand signals we will generally use in the field. Battlefields we are on throughout the year are generally very compressed in size, thus making the gunfire very loud. Giving orders from one end of a line to another (40 yards) can be difficult with the volume of fire going on around you. Add in artillery, planes, tanks, and the roar of the crowd and it is sometimes damn near impossible. You will go hoarse if you shout (you will anyway). Hand signals help relay a command quickly to another element which is further away.

In most situations the hand signal is given while it is being said (shouted), but there are some situations where it may not be. A patrol or ambush are two situations where silence is key, thus it may be hand signals only. The goal is for people to keep their head on a swivel and keep in line of sight of either the squad leader or someone who can pass on commands from the squad leader. 


Able: Able is the command element, comprised of the squad leader and two scouts.
Signal: Clasp hands together at chest height do not do the "A" form Y.M.C.A!

Baker: Baker is for the base of fire ("B is for Base of Fire"), comprised of the automatic rifle/machine gun and assistant gunners
Signal: Usually seen as one beating on top of their helmet with their right fist

Charlie: Is the maneuvering element, the rest of the squad
Signal: both palms flat on top of your helmet

Our unit will generally split up into these sections before hand (either just before or months before). You will know what section you are in and thus when you hear your section called out, you will know that it means you, and not the guy next to you. If/when we fall in with other units (or them with us), we will generally follow this same organization, with a few tweaks and changes.

For us the squad leader is usually with Able and the assistant squad leader with Charlie. Baker tends to stay near the squad leader since the squad leader needs to be able to quickly direct the base of fire where he wants it to be. Each section has a leader that will generally keep their eyes on the squad leader for new orders.

Forward: Move forward
Signal: Hand waving forward

Quick Time: Move at regular pace (we won't generally use)
Signal: Right arm bent over head, palm flat

Double Time: Haul ass
Signal: A fist pumped up and down

Halt: Stop, look to your front, taking a knee might be a good idea
Signal: Either a hand thrown up or a hand raised like one's taking an oath of office

Get Down/Take Cover: Go prone and/or get behind nearest cover
Signal: Palm waving downward

Assemble: Rally on this person
Signal: Hand waving up in air

Line: Form a line
Signal: Arms out at sides

Form a column
Signal: Arm is raised, palm flat, palm waves down.

While moving in column, squad members should look to their immediate flanks, usually alternating directions between men. When halting, squad members should move to the flanks, pointing outwards, seeking cover where possible. 

Wedge: Form a wedge
Signal: Now you can do the "A" from Y.M.C.A

Most often the skirmish line formation is used in the field. Depending on our position on the field that may change. If the situation is a patrol or the like, it may be a diamond formation also.

Move Left: Move to your left within your formation (spreading out)
Move Right: Move to your right within your formation (spreading out)
Signal: Use left or right arm, palm flat, to signal left or right respectively

Envelop Left: Flank on the left
Envelop Right: Flank on the right
Signal: Use left or right arm, fisted hand, to signal left or right respectively

Enemy Spotted: You see the enemy, usually followed by the person dropping to the ground if they are not there already. The next information relayed is the location and strength of the enemy.
Signal: Hold rifle above head

Open Fire: Commence firing
Signal: Downward chopping motion with the arm in front of body

Cease Fire:
Stop pulling the damn trigger!
Signal: Palm out, waving in front of face, accompany with shouting "cease fire!"

Out of Action:
This was really used to relay that your unit/section has been wiped out (if it wasn't evident already).
Signal: Fist pounding into palm of other hand

We use "OUT OF ACTION" to replace shouting, "Take hits!". Shouting "take hits!" would never have been heard on a real battlefield, shouting it 10' from the crowd line is just foolish. By denoting what section, their movement, and then 'out of action' the unit will start to take hits. Ex: "CHARLIE, ENVELOP LEFT, OUT OF ACTION" ... The leader of Charlie will pass along the "OUT OF ACTION" command and then, will attempt to flank on the left, and get wiped out in the process.

Detonate Thermonuclear Device: This is not to be confused with "ABLE". This hand signal looks a great deal like "ABLE" but is a mere reversal of the hands. When you are in the field, be careful that you signalling the proper message! We do not want the members of our unit to make the mistake of detonating the thermonuclear device instead of knowing that ABLE is wanted.