route markers are needed. The close column is
Types of vehicles
generally used at night because air attack threats are less
Nature of cargo
likely. It is also used over poorly marked routes when
Enemy threat (ground or air)
visual contact between vehicles is essential and in areas
where hostile action is not imminent. Seabees found
Presence of defense support
this formation to be a success in crowds during
Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, Africa. The close
column prevented crowds from coming between the
The following are types of formation a convoy
convoy and disrupting the movement of the convoy.
commander may choose for passive air defense:
2. Open Column. In open column formations
1. Close Column. Each vehicle follows the
distances between vehicles are increased to enhance
vehicle ahead at a distance sufficient to ensure against
dispersion. This formation offers an advantage in that
collision. The gap specified is dependent upon road
fewer vehicles are likely to be damaged from
conditions, weather conditions, terrain, and convoy
air-delivered rockets, cannons, or cluster bomb units.
security requirements. Close column formation eases
An open column increases the degree of passive
protection against hostile observation and attack. It
During daylight hours, fewer guides, traffic escorts, and
PER MILE/KM mi/h/km/h
Full traffic capacity of road
N i g h t , poorly
difficult. The column is
can be used. Control is
marked routes, or
easily detected. May cause
better. Fewer guides,
in congested areas.
congestion at point of
escorts, and route markers
arrival. Requires careful
scheduling and control to
b l o c k i n g at
Less chance of enemy Command and control are
observation or attack. difficult. Proper vehicle
Cargo moves faster. Driver spacing is hard to keep.
fatigue is reduced. Fewer
accidents, very flexible.
10 or less per
maximum More time required to
security and deception. complete the move.
g e s t e d areas.
High speeds are possible. Column control is nearly
H e a v y traffic
Other traffic has little impossible. Drivers can
effect on individual trucks. get lost. Specific details
Does not hinder cross must be provided each
d river. Maintenance,
refueling, and messing are
difficult to arrange.
Vehicles may bunch up,
causing close columns to
form. Requires experienced
drivers. Orders are not
The unit cannot be
redeployed as a unit until
the last vehicle arrives at
Figure 5-5.--Types of column formation.