Definition/Scope: (FM 3-90) A line formation is an arrangement of vehicles or personnel in which elements are arranged abreast of each other. This formation permits maximum fire to front and rear and a minimum of fire to the flanks. A commander employs this formation when he assaults an objective because it concentrates firepower to the front in the direction of movement. A line formation also: facilitates speed and shock in closing with an enemy; allows the coverage of wide frontages; facilitates the occupation of attack-by-fire or support-by-fire positions. There are also disadvantages of a line formation: provides less flexibility of maneuver than other formations since it does not distribute units in depth; linear deployment allows a unit deployed on line to bring only limited firepower to bear on either flank; provides limited or no reserve; limits overwatch forces; limits control of a unit using a line formation in restricted terrain or under conditions of limited visibility. OLD VERSION An arrangement of vehicles or personnel in which elements are arranged abreast of each other.
Related Terms:box formation