Special Light Infantry Operations
Ranger units are normally employed on strike operations. However, broad US strategic needs demand a wide range of other military abilities. The ranger regiment may conduct special light infantry operations when larger conventional forces could not be used. The regiment conducts these operations using light infantry doctrine, methods, and techniques.
These operations include, but are not limited to, movement on foot, military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT), passage of lines, ambush, and reconnaissance. Ranger units do not normally conduct planned operations against enemy armored forces. Battlefield surprises or METT-T considerations may cause ranger units to engage armored forces for short periods. The ranger regiment can conduct a conventional light infantry defense for short periods. A defense is not normally conducted adjacent to other friendly forces. It is normally a perimeter defense from which the unit then breaks out from encirclement and links up with friendly forces.
a. Most missions involve movement on foot in tactical operations. Ranger units infiltrating behind enemy lines seek to avoid chance enemy contact. They choose the movement that allows them to retain security and control. To avoid loss of surprise and initiative, casualties, and mission failure, ranger units normally--
(1) Avoid chance enemy contact, if possible.
(2) Move on covered and concealed routes.
(3) Avoid likely ambush sites and other danger areas.
(4) Practice camouflage, noise, and light discipline.
(5) Maintain all-round security.
(6) Make unavoidable enemy contact with the smallest element possible.
(7) Retain the initiative to attack at the time and place of the ranger unit's choice.
b. In planning the movement of his unit, the ranger commander must consider all the elements of METT-T and determine how they will affect the movement. He must determine the route, formations, security measures, methods of command and control, location of key leaders and weapons, and action to be taken on chance enemy contact.
(1) Routes. The ranger force commander conducts a careful route analysis, using the factors of observation, concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA). He chooses a route that maintains the security of the force while ensuring surprise. He tries to choose a route that will avoid enemy contact and speed movement. The commander makes a detailed route reconnaissance using maps, aerial photographs, and reports from persons familiar with the area. If possible, he reconnoiters the route himself or uses a reconnaissance team. He may have that team act as guides or mark the route using covert marking devices.
(2) Formations. Ranger units use the movement techniques found in current light infantry doctrinal publications. The traveling, traveling overmatch, or bounding overmatch technique is chosen based on the likelihood of enemy contact. The ranger force normally tries to avoid detection and contact with the enemy while moving. The commander chooses a movement technique that ensures that if unexpected contact were made, it would be with the smallest element possible and not the entire formation. The distance between moving ranger elements depends on the terrain, visibility, and enemy situation. March interval is normally great enough to allow each succeeding element either to deploy or change direction if enemy contact is made. Distances are close enough that each element could quickly assist the element to its front.
(3) Security. Security is to the front, rear, and flanks when enemy contact is likely. A front security element is placed well forward with adequate communications with the main body. The security element is used to detect the enemy and warn the main body. The main body then either changes direction or hides until the enemy is past. If the enemy does detect the main body, the security element may be used to attack the enemy from the flanks or rear. Flank security elements are placed next to the route of march. They move forward either by alternate or successive bounds. An alternative is to have the security element moving adjacent to the column along routes paralleling the direction of march. Rear security is handled the same as front security. Plans are made for the rear guard to support the main body during chance enemy contact. This is done either by maneuver or by furnishing supporting fire.
(4) Command, control, and communications. All available communication is used, consistent with OPSEC and movement security, to assist in maintaining control during movement. March objectives, checkpoints, and phase lines may be used to aid in control. The number of reports is reduced, normally only exception reports are needed. The ranger force commander should be well forward in the formation but may move throughout as the situation demands. Communications with security elements are mandatory. Operations security often precludes the use of radios. Therefore, connecting files, runners, and visual signals are normally used. Detailed planning, briefing, rehearsals, and control are valuable if there is enemy contact. Alternate plans are made to cover all possible situations.
(5) Weapons. Rangers are placed within the formation to allow a mix of their individual weapons to cover the front, flanks, and rear of the formation. Rifles, grenade launchers, and light automatic weapons cover all sectors. Crew-served weapons such as machine guns, antitank weapons, and mortars should be given designated locations within the formation. This allows the element leader to employ them quickly. They should be placed near the lead element, but not so close as to be engaged along with it. Crew-served weapons are used to provide overmatch, especially when employing the bounding overmatch technique of movement.
(6) Rehearsals. The ranger force, expecting movement as part of an operation, conducts the following combat drill rehearsals:
(a) Conduct movement.
(b) React to enemy contact.
(c) Maneuver under fire (fire and movement).
(d) Cross danger areas.
(e) Break contact.
(f) Conduct a hasty ambush.
(g) Make a temporary halt.
(h) Establish a perimeter.
(i) Establish a rally point.
(j) Take actions upon consolidation.
(k) Use arm-and-hand signals.
(l) React to flares and indirect fire.
c. After a ranger force is inside enemy territory, it must be alert to avoid detection before reaching the objective.
(1) Should the ranger force security element become aware of enemy presence, it alerts the main force. The main force tries to move away without alerting the enemy and continues the mission.
(2) If the enemy does make contact, the security element then engages the enemy, trying to deceive him as to the size of the ranger force and its direction of movement. After breaking contact, the security force divides into small groups and moves to a rally point to rejoin the main force.
(3) The ranger force does not fight en route to the objective unless there is no alternative, then it quickly breaks contact and moves away.
(4) Ranger units may need to set up a temporary defensive position for resupply, evacuation of wounded, planning, or extraction. One technique that can be used is the temporary perimeter defense.
(5) If the moving ranger force comes under indirect fire, it moves quickly out of the impact area and continues the mission.
(6) The most effective means of combating an ambush is through the immediate return of a high volume of fire by all weapons. This requires alertness, discipline, dynamic leadership, and rehearsed plans.
(a) Regardless of the method of movement, all weapons should be positioned for immediate use. A well-executed ambush is hard to counteract. However, the effectiveness of an ambush can be reduced by the immediate return of fire. Enemy weapons may be silenced, thus creating weak points in the ambush position. Smoke and high-explosive (HE) grenades are effective in executing counterambush actions. They create confusion, provide a screen for movement, and disrupt the ambush plan.
(b) When all elements of a ranger force are not trapped within the ambush, the elements that are free to maneuver should initiate an immediate flank or rear assault against the ambush force. A flank assault permits better coordination with personnel in the ambush. Supporting fires are provided by those weapons that cannot be hand carried and fired in the assault.
(c) Specific actions against a near and far ambush are as follows:
- Near ambush. Elements caught in the kill zone return fire at once and move out of the kill zone. Elements not in the kill zone help by maneuvering and conducting a flanking attack. The unit assaults the ambush position.
- Far ambush. Those ranger elements not in the kill zone set up an overmatch position and lay down a base of fire for the elements in contact. The elements in contact move out of the kill zone and prepare to assault the enemy, using individual movement techniques and fire and movement.
(7) The reorganization after enemy contact involves the use of rally points, plans for local security, reorganization of the force, evacuation of dead and wounded, and movement based on the unit mission.
6-2. Ambush operations.
a. Definition. An ambush is a surprise attack, from a concealed position. It is used on a moving or temporarily halted enemy to destroy or capture him and his equipment. An ambush is a useful tactic because--
(1) Small, well-trained, disciplined forces, with limited weapons and equipment, can destroy much larger enemy forces.
(2) It reduces the enemy's overall combat effectiveness by destruction and harassment of his forces.
(3) Enemy morale and effectiveness suffer heavily at little cost to the force executing the ambush.
b. Execution. A successful ambush must be executed with precision, violence, speed, and audacity of execution. For success, ambush operations must emphasize the following:
(1) Surprise. Surprise, more than any other single aspect, enhances the value of an ambush. Surprise increases the potential for inflicting damage on the enemy with less danger to the ranger force.
(2) Coordinated firepower and shock effect.
(a) Coordinated firepower is used for maximum shock effect. Massive volumes of accurate fire, explosives, and mines, coupled with an aggressive attack, breaks the enemy's spirit to fight back. Surprise increases shock effect and the chances for success. Shock effect can cover unexpected defects in an ambush--for example, ambushing a much larger force than expected.
(b) All weapons must be sited with interlocking fires in the kill zone and along likely avenues of entrance or exit. Mortars should be used if the terrain permits. Tripods and traversing and elevating mechanisms are normally used with machine guns to lock in fires. All riflemen use firing stakes to mark left and right limits, and elevation stakes. There is a tendency to shoot high in an ambush--especially at night. The M203 grenade launchers are sited to cover the dead space and routes of escape. When the rules of engagement permit, plastic bags containing CS crystals may be taped to the front side of Claymore mines.
(3) Control. Control is essential.
(a) Leaders must have contact with all members of their unit to alert them to the oncoming enemy. Leaders should not move around the ambush site during this crucial period. A method used to alert members can be to tie strings or vines to rangers' legs or arms. By a series of light tugs, all members of the ambush can be alerted to enemy presence.
(b) The leader must initiate the ambush with a casualty-producing device. A bank of Claymore mines on a double-ring main is an excellent device to spring an ambush. Other good techniques are to use a 90-mm recoilless rifle firing antipersonnel (APERS) rounds or a machine gun. All must be under the direct control of the ranger leader. Whistles or pyrotechnics must not be used. They will allow the enemy time to react.
- As soon as the enemy is hit, he reacts. The ambush force has only a few seconds to destroy the enemy in the kill zone. He will quickly recover from the initial shock and leave the kill zone--either with a direct counterattack or withdrawal, Subsequent fires and other banks of Claymore mines must be planned.
- The leader always executes the ambush, except when a member of the ambush knows he has been discovered. He then has the authority to execute--with killing fire, not by yelling.
- The cease-fire must be controlled by the ranger leader. A whistle or other device may be used to get attention, and then cease-fire is signaled.
(4) Security. The flanks and rear of an ambush site are open to counterattack. Flank and rear security may be enhanced by -
(a) Echeloning in depth.
(b) Designating sectors of observation.
(c) Positioning of RSTA devices.
(d) Enforcing noise and light discipline.
(e) Having a good withdrawal plan.
(f) Securing routes of withdrawal.
(g) Executing with speed and violence.
(h) Positioning security forces to sea] off the ambush area.
(i) Having good camouflage.
(5) Simplicity. A simple, direct plan improves the chance of success. The ambush plan must be clear yet concise to offer the greatest likelihood of success. For example:
(a) Mission statements for security, support, and assault elements must be clear, concise, and direct.
(b) Tasks to be performed by the ambush elements should be easy to understand.
(c) Contingency plans should be simple.
(d) Routes into positions and withdrawal routes should not cross. They should be the shortest, most secure routes.
(6) Training and self-discipline. Precise and violent execution is how ranger units win against enemy forces. All advantages must be exploited. Discipline must be strict. There must be no sleeping, talking, eating, or smoking in the ambush site. If an ambush is to be set up for long periods, then the elements of the ambush must be pulled back at set times to the ORP for rest. Extended ambushes of 24, 36, or 48 hours require six- or eight-hour shifts. It may take a company to man an extended platoon ambush position. Tired troops cannot man an ambush well. Other vigorous operations cannot be performed all day and have an alert ambush all night.
(7) Maximum use of specialized equipment. This includes the most sophisticated weapons, communications equipment, and RSTA devices. The effectiveness of any mission is enhanced by the use of this equipment.
(8) METT-T. Every ambush mission must be evaluated by the ranger commander IAW METT-T to design an ambush that works.
(a) Mission. Clearly state the mission--for example, stop enemy resupply, ambush enemy armor columns, or capture personnel or equipment.
(b) Enemy. State the type of enemy units--for example, guerrillas, main force, logistics carrying parties, or armor units. What is the size of the force, its habits when attacked, and type of support? What is the enemy night vision ability and expected time of movement?
(c) Terrain. Is it wooded, mountain, jungle, or urban? Some good ambushes can be set in a city or suburb. Are the routes available to the enemy suitable to his activity?
(d) Troops. Squads and platoons are the basic ranger ambush forces. An ambushing force should be able to engage a force two to three times its size--but evaluate enemy and terrain, A platoon ambushing an enemy tank company in daylight in open terrain is risky. But engaging that same column at night or in a forest may give the ranger platoon an advantage.
(e) Time. How long will it take to emplace the ambush? A complex, lethal ambush with plenty of "dirty tricks" takes hours to set up; a hasty ambush on a trail takes 15 to 30 minutes. How long is the ambush to be in place? What hours of the day, or at nighttime only? How soon must it be set up? Do not set up an ambush in darkness--even if it is to be executed in darkness. Try to allow every ranger to '6see" and "lay" in his weapon in daylight. Time is important.
c. Organization of the ambush force. A ranger unit conducting an ambush must be task-organized to perform the following functions: assault, security, and support. The ambush forces should be task-organized according to the TOE--by platoons, squads, and fire teams. The TOE should not be changed to create smaller elements for an ambush. The TOE formations may be reinforced with machine gun, recoilless rifle teams, or a 60-mm mortar squad.
(1) Assault. The elements assigned the assault mission either move directly into their positions or through a release point. The mission may include any combination of the following:
(a) Conduct the main assault.
(b) Halt an enemy's motorized column or any moving target,
(e) Kill or capture personnel.
(d) Recover supplies and equipment.
(e) Destroy vehicles and supplies.
Search teams are not always used. The ranger leader must decide how and when to use search teams. When rangers leave the security of their well-chosen, concealed ambush position, they are subject to the fires of the enemy who may also be hidden and ready. If it is at night, do not throw tripflares or shoot illumination to light the search area as this will illuminate and expose rangers to the enemy. Always assume there is hidden enemy--the ambush will not kill them all. Night observation devices (NODs) or a red filtered flashlight taped to M16s should be used to quickly search in ranger buddy teams. If the return fire from the enemy is great or if the ambush missed the main body, then the leader may choose to break contact and leave without searching the kill zone.
(2) Security. The elements assigned the mission of security may move to their positions directly or by way of a release point. Their missions may include any or all of the following:
(a) Secure flanks, rear, or ORP.
(b) Provide early warning.
(c) Seal off the kill zone to prevent the enemy from escaping or reinforcing.
(d) Assist in executing the ambush.
(e) Cover withdrawal of main ambush force.
(3) Support. The units assigned a support mission provide fires that may include employment of--
- Heavy automatic weapon fires.
- Antitank fires.
- Mortar fires.
- Flame munitions.
d. Ambush site.
(1) Choose an ambush site. When choosing an ambush site, all sources of information must be used to enhance surprise, exploit the enemy's weak points, and take advantage of the terrain. An analysis of the terrain is also based on the other factors of METT-T to include maps, aerial photos, and, if possible, personal reconnaissance. Emphasis is on--
(a) Natural cover and concealment for the ambush force.
(b) Routes of entry and withdrawal (at least two) that should be direct and easy to reach.
(c) Good observation and fields of fire.
(d) Harmless-looking terrain.
(e) Few enemy escape routes.
(f) Limited enemy reinforcement ability.
(g) Nearby assembly or rendezvous area.
(h) Terrain that will canalize enemy into kill zones, and natural obstacles to keep him there.
NOTE: Try to select a site covered by friendly supporting indirect fires.
(2) Take advantage of the terrain. Emphasis must be on exploiting all natural cover and concealment afforded by the terrain. Site the ambush and individual positions based on the terrain rather than trying to adapt the terrain to a fixed geometric design.
(3) Restrict enemy movement. Restricting enemy movement by natural or man-made obstacles should also be planned.
e. Types of ambushes.
(1) Ambushes have two categories for ranger purposes--area ambush and point ambush.
(a) Area ambushes may be set up by ranger platoons, companies, or battalions. They are used to interdict enemy movement in a given area or inflict casualties on his forces. Area ambushes consist of a series of point ambushes. The size and location of the ambushes are dictated by the METT-T analysis.
(b) Point ambushes are set at the most ideal location to inflict damage on the enemy. Such ambushes must be able to accept the enemy force from more than one direction. The ranger force levels may enable it to execute an ambush in two or three main directions. The other directions must be covered by security that gives early warning of enemy attack.
(2) The basic ambush is linear (Figure 6-1). An ambush is set on an expected avenue of approach. This ambush can accept contact from three basic directions--left, right, and front. The rear is secured by a security team.
Figure 6-1. The linear ambush.
(3) A variation of the linear ambush is the L-shaped ambush (Figure 6-2). The L-shaped ambush is formed with the base (bottom) of the L perpendicular to the expected enemy direction of advance. This is a good ambush for a road, jungle trail, or an area where the enemy is canalized and his approach route is known. The L-shaped ambush can handle an enemy coming from the expected direction (toward the base of the L) from the front (stem of the L). It is less effective against an enemy formation that comes from the opposite direction. The ambush must be executed when the enemy main body has cleared the base of the L. The flank security must protect the rear of the base of the L. In the L-shaped ambush, weapons must be sited to avoid direct or ricochet fire into friendly forces. The security elements must be considered as fire fans are being planned.
Figure 6-2. The L-shaped ambush.
(4) Other ambushes (the Z, the X, the V, and so on) are all variations of the linear and L formations (Figure 6-3). The more advanced ambush formations are difficult. Units must be expert in the basics before they are ready to employ such techniques.
Figure 6-3. Other ambush variations.
(5) Another type of point ambush is the mechanical ambush (Figure 6-4). It consists of Claymore mines set in series with a double-ring main. It is command detonated or detonated by a triggering device activated by the enemy. Mechanical ambushes are normally manned. Rangers prepare to engage the enemy with direct fire if the mechanical ambush does not detonate or if it is wholly or partially ineffective. Mechanical ambushes are an effective way to interdict a large area using a small ranger force. If the mechanical ambush is effective and rangers do not reveal their presence, the enemy is confused. This has a devastating effect on his morale and effectiveness.
Figure 6-4. The mechanical ambush.
f. Execution of the ambush.
(1) Occupation. Stealth and security are important factors.
(a) Position security teams and early warning detection devices first.
(b) Use the rest route to main ambush position consistent with security.
(c) Quickly occupy the ambush position and set up communications and signaling devices.
(d) Position key weapons (automatic and antiarmor).
(e) Rig Claymore mines, tripflares, and booby traps.
(f) Ensure that all weapons are correctly positioned. Assign sectors of fire to provide mutual support and cover dead space.
(2) Camouflage. Each man must be hidden from the enemy, During preparation for the mission, each man camouflages himself and his equipment, and secures his equipment to prevent noise. At the ambush site, positions are prepared with minimum change in the natural appearance of the site. All debris resulting from preparation of positions is concealed to prevent evidence of occupation.
(3) Movement. Movement is kept to a minimum. The number of men moving at a time is closely controlled. Every man is as quiet as possible, especially at night. Light discipline is rigidly enforced at night. Smoking is forbidden.
(4) Signals. Audible and visual signals, such as whistles or pyrotechnics, must be changed often to avoid setting patterns and alerting the enemy. Three or four simple signals are needed to execute the ambush. Signals are used to--
(a) Provide early warning of an enemy approach. A signal by the security force to alert the patrol leader to the correct direction of enemy approach may be given. This includes arm-and-band signals, radio, or field telephone.
(b) Initiate the ambush. This may be the detonation of mines or explosives, Fire is then delivered at once in the heaviest, most accurate volume possible. Properly timed and delivered fires add to the achievement of surprise, as well as to the destruction of the target.
(c) Lift or shift fires, Signal for lift or shift fires, if the kill zone is to be assaulted. Voice commands, whistles, or pyrotechnics may be used. When the kill zone is assaulted, the lifting or shifting of fires must be as precise as when starting the ambush. Otherwise, the assault is delayed and the enemy has a chance to recover and react.
(d) Withdraw. A signal for withdrawal can be voice commands, whistles, or pyrotechnics.
(5) Objective rally point. The ORP is located far enough from the ambush site so that it will not be overrun if the enemy manages to attack the ambush unit(s). Existence loads are normally left in the ORP. Routes of withdrawal to the ORP are scouted (when possible by each man), Withdrawal routes should provide cover and concealment for the unit and hinder enemy pursuit. Withdrawal routes are a main consideration in the selection of the ambush site. They may be the key to survival after execution of the ambush. On signal, the ambush force quickly (but quietly) withdraws to the ORP. If pursued, the withdrawal may be by bounds, with mines or hasty ambushes used to delay pursuing forces.
(6) Ambush variety. If one method of ambush is used predominantly, the enemy will develop an effective defense against it and will be affected less by the shock of the ambush since he knows what to expect. More than one method of ambush should be used. No single method will fit all combinations of terrain, equipment, weather, and enemy capabilities. Variety should also be used when signaling - for example, use multiple signals, both audible and visual. Use weapons fire, mines, and RSTA when possible and vary signals to avoid compromise.
(7) Swift action. Speed in the execution of the ambush and the withdrawal should prevent enemy reaction forces from engaging the ambush force. Speed is often a shield against casualties and failure. When there is contact with reaction forces, speed may enhance quick disengagement. Ranger units must not only perform better than the enemy but also move faster than the enemy can react.
g. Successful ambush. Emphasize the following:
(1) Intelligence to ensure the enemy is ambushed at a time and place when he least expects or is least prepared to fight. This is preferred during reduced visibility to achieve surprise.
(2) Detailed planning and thorough training and rehearsing of all elements in all phases of the ambush. This ensures maximum shock effect through swift, precise execution.
(3) All available RSTA devices to permit daytime effectiveness at night when moving, shooting, or detecting enemy movement. To avoid detection, active RSTA devices should not be used until after the ambush has been triggered.
(4) All available firepower with emphasis on antiarmor, area and automatic weapons, and precision-guided munitions.
(5) Speed to achieve surprise and enhance security of the force.
(6) Cover, concealment, and overall protection afforded by the terrain when moving or when occupying ambush positions.
6-3. Antiarmor operations.
a. Antiarmor operations are not primary missions for ranger forces. They lack antiarmor firepower and have limited antiarmor ability. Ranger units can, however, perform limited antiarmor missions on close terrain by interdiction or ambush. The antiarmor weapons they do have are man-portable, but the ammunition is too heavy to carry many rounds cross-country. A ranger battalion has ten Dragon missile launchers and nine 90-mm recoilless rifles. It is also equipped with light antitank weapons (LAWs) and laser target designators (LTDs) that can guide Copperhead rounds.
b. Every ranger must be skilled with the limited antiarmor systems available. Proper selection, fortification, and camouflage of antiarmor ambush sites, route selections, withdrawal procedures, and initiative are important. Armor kill zones (AKZs) are normally set up after infiltrating the ranger force behind enemy lines under limited visibility.
c. A ranger antiarmor force is organized into four elements: command and control, support, security, and armor-killer teams (Dragons, LAWs, 90-mm recoilless rifles). These elements function the same as a raid force. The exception is that the assault force is the armor-killer team with the mission of destroying enemy armor, and it will probably not enter the AKZ. After the ambush occurs, the ranger force withdraws to its ORP. Indirect fires (if available) are then brought to bear on the AKZ.
d. Ranger units may conduct antiarmor ambushes and interdiction operation by use of laser-guided Copperhead rounds or air-delivered precision-guided munitions. Air-delivered family of scatterable mines (FASCAM) can be used to provide the ranger force security against attack by armored forces.
6-4. Military operations on urbanized terrain.
a. The ranger regiment normally tries to avoid the manpower-intensive, high-casualty battles associated with MOUT. However, due to the nature of strike operations and the types of targets selected, the regiment may conduct MOUT for limited periods. As in all ranger operations, the ranger force commander tries to surprise the enemy, attack him from unexpected directions, and destroy him with a violent, precise attack. The maze of cellars, rooms, sewer systems, rooftops, and alleys common to urban areas presents many opportunities for the ranger force.
b. Offensive operations by a ranger force exploit the centralized planning and decentralized execution aspects of ranger unit training. Individual action and initiative are always channeled to accomplish the commander's intent. The ranger unit's offensive tactics are based on quick action and boldness. Attacks by the ranger force are short and sharp. Execution is marked by swiftness, daring, timing, and surprise. The enemy's sleeping habits, eating habits, and relief times are watched. launched almost always at night or under smoke screens, attacks are often made without mortars or artillery, relying on surprise for success. Snipers and sharpshooters are used to shift the balance of battle.
c. Deliberate defensive operations are not good ranger unit missions. However, if a ranger unit must defend for a short period, the close terrain of urban areas allows it to function well against a stronger force. The buildings in a city break up advancing enemy formations and force them to move along streets. The ranger force executes an active defense anchored on strongpoints, such as a building or a group of buildings. It launches surprise counterattacks against the enemy's flank and rear. The aim of ranger defense is to give the enemy no respite and to make him feel threatened by a sudden, deadly attack. Ranger units should be withdrawn from defensive positions in urbanized areas as soon as possible. Prolonged MOUT and the associated casualties quickly degrade a ranger unit's combat effectiveness.
6-5. Perimeter defense.
The Perimeter defense may be conducted to control key terrain, gain time or economize forces.
(1) Warning order. The order must be issued soon after mission receipt. It should contain the mission, time schedule (including rehearsal and inspection times, mission time, and place for OPORD), uniform and equipment, and special instructions.
(2) Operation order. The leader normally gives the OPORD on the ground to be defended. Locations and sectors of fire for squads and crew-served weapons should be designated. If time permits, leaders walk the terrain with subordinates as the OPORD is issued. The OPORD covers security, communications, signals, target reference points (TRPs), armor kill zones, and priority of engagement rules for antiarmor weapons. The OPORD also states the priority of work.
(a) Set up security and communications.
(b) Position crew-served weapons and personnel.
(c) Clear fields of fire.
(d) Prepare fighting positions.
(1) Squads are positioned with overlapping and interlocking sectors of fire and observation.
(2) The M60 machine guns are positioned either with an assigned final protective line (FPL) of fire or with a primary direction of fire (PDF). The PI)Fs are employed on covered avenues of approach such as gullies. The M60 FPLs should interlock across the unit front.
(3) The 90-mm recoilless rifles and Dragons are positioned with frontal cover to engage attacking armored vehicles from the flank.
(4) Riflemen are positioned to support and protect crew-served weapons. Riflemen are assigned FPLs that interlock at a point just beyond hand-grenade range.
(5) Dead space is covered with Claymore mines, antipersonnel mines, and M203 fires.
(6) Antitank mines, positioned to provide close-in protection from armored vehicles, are covered by LAW fires.
(7) Leaders plan indirect fire for long-range suppression of armored vehicles and short-range protection from dismounted assault. Mortar or artillery final protective fires (FPF) are placed on the most dangerous dismounted avenue of approach.
(8) Range cards are prepared for all crew-served weapons. Squad and platoon leaders prepare sector sketches and fire plans.
(9) The ranger force camouflages everything from ground and aerial observation.
(10) Leaders designate alternate and supplementary positions.
c. Executing. Leaders control the distribution and concentration of fires in their sectors. They constantly consider the overlap of fires with units to their left and right.
(1) Squads and crew-served weapons engage targets in sectors assigned by platoon leaders.
(2) Each weapon is used in its best role:
(a) Rifle, against enemy infantry within 300 meters.
(b) Machine gun, against enemy infantry within 1,000 meters.
(c) Grenade launcher, against infantry within 350 meters and armored vehicles within 200 meters.
(d) Light antitank weapon, against armored vehicles within 200 meters.
(e) Recoilless rifle, against armored vehicles within 400 meters.
(f) Dragon, against armored vehicles within 1,000 meters.
(3) Most dangerous targets are engaged first.
(4) Squads shift fires as needed or as directed by platoon leaders.
(5) The platoon masses fire on selected targets while maintaining coverage of the entire platoon sector.
(6) Platoon leaders control fires.
(7) After repelling an enemy assault, the platoon consolidates and reorganizes the defense.
6-6. Breakout from encirclement.
A breakout from encirclement is conducted when units, operating behind enemy lines, find themselves cut off from friendly forces and surrounded by superior forces. Given ranger unit missions, the chance of operating as an isolated force behind enemy lines is great. The breakout is characterized by determining enemy weak points, deception, massing of combat power, and a direct attack for a violent and timely breakout.
a. Characteristics and fundamentals. The breakout from encirclement involves the following characteristics and fundamentals:
(1) Set up a hasty defense. Adjust the perimeter as needed and make contact between subunits. Assign each a specific sector.
(2) Plan fire support. Plan FPFs on likely dismounted avenues of approach. Mass antiarmor weapons on the most dangerous mounted avenue of approach.
(3) Conduct reconnaissance. Identify enemy weak points. Locate enemy armored forces and the routes they must use. Locate enemy automatic weapons.
(1) Organize all support personnel into maneuver elements--for example, company headquarters, mortars, and antitank. Organize the ranger force into a rupture force, reserve, support force, and a rear guard.
(2) Issue a fragmentary order. It should contain current local enemy situation and cover all pertinent areas of the five-paragraph field order.
(3) Select rally points.
(1) Reduce the defense perimeter. This is done slowly until the unit is massed for the breakout attempt.
(2) Create a diversion. This is done either by fire from the rear guard force or by a limited attack in a direction other than that of the main breakout attack.
(3) Break through the defense with the rupture force. Hold the shoulders of the breakthrough.
(4) Move the reserve through to exploit the breakthrough.
(5) Move the support troops through with casualties. Have them collect casualties en route.
(6) Have the rear guard follow the support troops. It may have to fight a delaying action and use fire and movement to break contact with the enemy.
(7) Consolidate and reorganize following the breakout.
(8) Have the rupture force break contact with the enemy once the rear guard joins.
6-7. Linkup operations.
During operations behind enemy lines, ranger units may be required to link up with other friendly ground forces. Linkup may occur in airborne, air assault, amphibious, or shore-to-shore operations. It may occur during the breakout of an encircled force or during the convergence of separate forces. It may involve conventional or unconventional US forces, allied forces, or friendly guerrillas. Rangers may be required to link up with other rangers, partisans, or friendly ground forces that are conducting offensive operations.
a. Planning. Ranger commanders plan detailed linkup operations to avoid friendly forces firing on each other. Coordination and planning of communications, recognition signals, fires, command relationships and responsibilities, and control measures are essential. Coordination should be done before the start of the operation.
(1) Site. The linkup site should be easy to recognize, have cover and concealment, be located away from prominent terrain the enemy might use, be defensible, and provide multiple access and escape routes. An alternate site should be planned in case of compromise.
(2) Communications and recognition signals. Frequencies, call signs, codes, visual signals, and alternates for each of these should be planned before departure of friendly lines. Radios may be used to report the location of each unit to the site, and occupation and securing of the site. A system of mutual recognition must be devised to keep friendly patrols from firing on each other. This may include visual signals such as arm bands, panels, colored lights, or RSTA devices.
(3) Fires. The headquarters directing the linkup sets up fire control measures and priority of fires. The most commonly used control measure is the restrictive fire line (RFL), beyond which one force may not fire without coordination with another force. The RFL may be adjusted as two units draw closer together. Such an adjustment needs close coordination and should be planned before the operation. Successive phase lines between the two units can serve as on-order RFLS, provided that neither unit comes too close to the RFL before it is shifted.
(4) Command relationships and responsibilities. These are set up by the headquarters directing the linkup. Ideally, liaison personnel are exchanged before the operation. The key to success is liaison and guides.
b. Execution. Each member of the ranger force must understand the plan. Rehearsals are necessary in order to avoid confusion during the linkup. One uninformed ranger can start firing and cause enough confusion that friendly forces could be identified as enemy. Actions must be quick since units are open to enemy attack while they try to link up.
(1) Moving units. A linkup between moving units is hard. As the units move closer to each other, the chance of them engaging one another increases. Therefore, the linkup units must adjust their movements to each other and continuously coordinate on a designated secure radio net. If possible, one or both units should come to a short halt before linkup.
(2) Stationary units. Moving units must know the positions of the stationary units. They must keep stationary units advised of locations. Stationary units guide the moving units to the linkup point by radio. The stationary units must be ready to accept and position the moving units smoothly and quickly.
6-8. Passage of lines.
A passage of lines is an operation in which one unit moves through another unit that is stationary and disposed in a tactical formation on a FEBA. Ranger forces may conduct a passage of lines to get behind the enemy. Movement in forward unit areas must be controlled, coordinated, and kept to a minimum. This avoids conflict with friendly troops or the activation of RSTA devices. Ranger units treat the positions of forward units as danger areas. They must be assumed to be under enemy surveillance in all weather or visibility. The ranger force is open to attack during the passage. Personnel and units may be more concentrated than is desired. Fires of the stationary unit may be masked for a limited time. The passing ranger unit may not be in a good position to react to enemy contact. Detailed reconnaissance and coordination are crucial to ensure that the passage is conducted quickly and smoothly.
(1) Coordination. The ranger force commander, or his representative, must coordinate departure and reentry of friendly front lines (FFL). This is done either directly with the units through which the rangers pass or through designated staff agencies. Items to be coordinated include fire support, passage lanes, control measures, guides, communications, intelligence, CSS, and actions on enemy contact.
(2) Reconnaissance. The ranger force commander should make a ground reconnaissance of the area through which the unit will pass. He should pick the initial rally point (IRP) at this time. The reconnaissance should include observing the area just forward of the friendly unit for routes, danger areas, and obstacles. During reconnaissance or coordination, rangers should wear the same uniform as the troops in the forward unit. This will avoid attracting the enemy's attention.
(3) Security. Maintain security to avoid contact with the enemy while departing or reentering. It is important that the ranger force make no enemy contact at this time. Control is hard if a fire fight starts just forward of an FFL.
b. Departure of friendly front lines.
(1) Designate an IRP.
(2) Maintain security. Use an appropriate movement formation when departing the FFL.
(3) Do not move within the friendly unit's area without a guide.
(4) Make final coordination with the friendly unit commander.
(5) Count the ranger force members as they depart.
(6) Make a security and listening halt.
c. Departure of friendly units.
(1) The ranger force arrives at the forward unit and is met by a guide. The guide leads the rangers to an assembly area chosen by the ranger commander during initial coordination with the forward unit commander.
(2) No one should move, either singly or as a unit, anywhere in the FFL without a guide.
(3) The ranger commander makes final coordination with the forward unit commander. He determines if any changes have taken place since initial coordination and learns of any recent enemy activity.
(4) Before leaving to coordinate, the ranger commander gives instructions (called a contingency plan) for what should be done while he is gone. These instructions state where he is going, who is going with him, how long he will be gone, what to do if he does not return, and actions to be taken if there is enemy contact.
(5) On the commander's return from final coordination, he may issue a fragmentary order (FRAGO) to cover any changes.
(6) Three common threats and techniques for countering them during departure from the FFL are:
(a) Ambush and chance contact.
- The ranger force commander must avoid enemy contact while departing.
- The ranger force goes to the friendly side of the departure point where a point team is dispatched to see that the area forward of the barriers is clear.
- The point element should check the area out to the first covered position or an area large enough to allow the unit room to maneuver if it is hit while departing.
- The distance varies with the size of the ranger force and the terrain.
- The point team notifies the ranger commander when the area is clear. The rest of the unit is brought forward.
(b) Indirect fire. If enemy indirect fire is falling, the ranger commander should not halt his unit after final coordination at the forward command post. Instead, he should move it quickly through the FFL. The point element should be far enough ahead of the main body to provide security from ambush or chance contact.
(c) RSTA. If the enemy has radar, sensors, or night vision devices, they may be offset by the following countermeasures:
- Use a well-hidden departure point, such as a reverse slope or a dense woods.
- Infiltrate the unit through the departure area and have the rangers rendezvous in a defilade.
- Pass through during rain, fog, snow, or darkness to help conceal the passage.
- Employ electronic countermeasures.
(7) Have a security and listening halt after the ranger force has moved out of sight and sound of the FFL. This is a short halt to see if enemy is in the area, and to accustom the unit to the sights and sounds of the battlefield. Halt in a position that covers the unit from chance friendly small-arms fire. If the security and listening halt must be in an exposed position, have each man lie flat on the ground.
(8) During movement, have frequent halts to see that the unit is not being followed and that no enemy is in the area.
d. Reentry of friendly front lines.
(1) Set up and occupy a reentry rally point (RRP).
(2) Maintain security at the RRP and at the reentry point.
(3) Use as few personnel as possible to locate the reentry point while the bulk of the unit remains in the RRP.
(4) Meet a guide at the reentry point. Normally, a forward-of FFL password is used since it may be overheard by enemy.
(5) Count the ranger force members to ensure no infiltrators follow the unit, especially during reduced visibility.
(6) Give the friendly unit commander a spot report, providing combat information of immediate tactical value.
e. Reentry of friendly units.
(1) The unit is moved into a rally point near the reentry point. This rally point should be on a prominent terrain feature where the ranger commander can pinpoint his location, with respect to the reentry point.
(2) The forward unit is alerted by radio that the ranger unit is ready to reenter. A code word is used for security and brevity. The code word must be acknowledged by the forward unit before the ranger force reconnoiters the reentry point. This shows that a guide has been sent to the reentry point and is waiting for the unit.
(3) If the ranger commander is certain of the reentry point location, he moves the entire unit directly to the reentry point. He has the point element coordinate the reentry.
(4) An effective method of locating the reentry point is through the use of a thermal imagery device. It detects the body beat of the reentry guide, even though he may be well camouflaged or his location masked by smoke. If ground surveillance radar is available, it can be used to vector the ranger unit to the reentry point.
(5) The reconnaissance party should never move parallel to friendly barriers or move around the wire. If the reentry point cannot be found by the initial reconnaissance or if the reconnaissance party finds only the barrier wire, the unit should notify higher headquarters and move to another rally point to wait until daylight. The unit should not stay in a rally point from which a radio transmission has been made.
(6) When the reentry point is found, the ranger commander can bring the unit forward. If the reentry point is easy to find, he can call by radio for the unit to come forward.
(7) The guide leads the unit through the barriers to the security position coordinated with the forward unit commander. The unit halts in the security position, remaining in movement formation. The ranger commander then gives a spot report to the forward unit commander. The ranger commander tells him anything of intelligence value or of immediate tactical use to the forward unit.
6-9. Reconnaissance platoon operations.
a. The reconnaissance platoon organic to the ranger regiment consists of a platoon leader, a senior reconnaissance sergeant, and three five-man reconnaissance teams that include a communications specialist in each team (see Appendix A). This platoon is responsible for short-duration reconnaissance of objectives for the ranger force commander. This reconnaissance is routinely in support of future strike or special light infantry operations. The teams can also be used by the ranger force commander to conduct deep target acquisition and designation, or to confirm or disprove information reported by other sources. Rarely will teams be used to attack enemy targets.
b. The reconnaissance teams of the ranger regiment do not replace (or perform the same reconnaissance tasks associated with) long-range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) units or long-range surveillance units (LRSUs) that may be organic to the corps or division. These units are organized, trained, and equipped for long-term passive surveillance and reconnaissance in enemy territory. The ranger reconnaissance teams are trained and organized to support the immediate intelligence-gathering needs of the ranger force commander. They are not to act as a human intelligence (HUMINT) collection asset for other operational headquarters.
c. The reconnaissance platoon headquarters trains, equips, and controls the employment of the three reconnaissance teams. It operates the communications stations needed to receive reports from deployed teams. In the absence of the S2, it debriefs team members upon extraction or exfiltration. It can provide one or more teams to support each ranger battalion on independent operations. The reconnaissance teams can--
(1) Infiltrate the objective area by parachute (HALO, HAHO, or static lines), helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft, SCUBA, small boat, foot, or other means.
(2) Remain undetected in the vicinity of the objective area up to five days.
(3) Perform reconnaissance operations employing a full range of night observation devices, infrared detection devices, unattended sensors, and photographic equipment.
(4) Perform demolition target analysis.
(5) Operate small watercraft and inflatable boats.
(6) Emplace unattended ground sensors, omni-directional navigational beacons, hand-emplaced expendable jammers, and electronic target designation devices.
(7) Collect combat information to satisfy priority information requirements and mission-essential elements of information. Teams report that information by use of long-range, secure, burst-transmission communications equipment.
(8) Perform DZ selection, marking and reception duties.
(9) Report objective area weather conditions.
(10) Perform highly selective, limited attacks or ambushes when so tasked.
(11) Link up with the main body of the ranger force in the objective area, or escape and evade the enemy in order to return to friendly lines.
(12) Act as part of the AAT during airborne operations.
d. There are many limits of the reconnaissance teams.
(1) Mobility is normally restricted to foot movement in the area of operations.
(2) Use of radio and other active electronic or optical devices makes the teams open to enemy detection.
(3) All supplies and equipment needed by the team must be carried on the initial insertion, since resupply increases the probability of detection by the enemy.
(4) Conduct of insertion and extraction operations deep in enemy-held territory is difficult due to the need for secrecy, timeliness, security, and accuracy of location.
(5) Medical treatment of team casualties is limited to individual first aid. Casualty evacuation is difficult unless linkup with the main ranger force has been achieved.
e. The training of reconnaissance team members parallels that given to all members of ranger units with emphasis on infiltration, communications, and reconnaissance skills. Extensive training is also given in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) and advanced first aid. Training emphasis is placed on actions at the reconnaissance site. The reconnaissance teams must conduct their mission and remain unseen. Every team member is trained to consider the need for information balanced by the likelihood of detection. Detection by the enemy compromises future operations.
6-10. Reconnaissance planning.
a. Detailed planning ensures that the reconnaissance mission is successful. It is also vital to the survival of the reconnaissance team. This planning is conducted by the ranger force planning group assisted by elements of the JTF staff. The supporting air or naval commander, navigator, and electronic warfare officer may aid the ranger force staff in the planning.
b. Upon receipt of the mission, the team selected begins an intense preparatory phase at the REMAB or the ISB. There the team receives its initial mission briefing. The items covered allow the team to complete its detailed planning. The reconnaissance platoon leader reviews the team plan. He ensures compatibility and integration into the ranger force commander's plan for employment of the main force. Staff specialists at ranger regiment and battalion--such as those concerned with intelligence, weather, or communications--provide help.
c. Planning for the use of reconnaissance teams is conducted within the framework of the ranger planning sequence for the entire mission. There are five planning considerations for the employment of reconnaissance teams:
(1) Operations security must be considered in all staff efforts to provide maximum protection for the reconnaissance teams. This includes intelligence, CE, logistics, administration, and maintenance. Operations security must be integrated throughout every ranger force operation. It consists of four main categories of security measures: signal security, physical security, information security, and deception. All are related and must be considered at the same time for each operation.
(2) Some missions may require rapid deployment to the operational area, thereby dictating the quickest method of insertion. However, others may depend on maintaining total secrecy, regardless of time.
(3) The transportation means selected for the delivery and recovery of the teams depends on the mission. This selection is also based on the abilities, limits, and availability of mission support platforms.
(4) The distance to and from the objective area must be considered, as well as the distance from the insertion point to the actual target. Reconnaissance teams can move great distances over rugged terrain. However, this movement does require time and limits the team's ability to carry bulky or sensitive equipment.
(5) Consideration must also be given to intelligence information available concerning the objective area which includes, but is not limited to--
(a) Enemy situation. The enemy threat--his abilities, disposition, security measures, detection, and air defense systems - affects the selection of the means for delivery or recovery.
(b) Terrain. Land formations must be considered in selecting the method of infiltration and exfiltration. Terrain affects the selection of altitudes, approach and exit routes, landing areas, drop zones, and beach landing sites. Air infiltration routes that provide terrain masking are desirable in static line parachute operations.
(c) Weather. Seasonal weather conditions affect team delivery and recovery. Factors to be considered are temperature, precipitation, visibility, clouds, and wind. If para-SCUBA techniques are used, high surface winds and their effect upon surf conditions or period of reduced visibility may preclude the use of parachutes, inflatable boats, or swimming as entry or recovery techniques. These same conditions favor land infiltration and exfiltration, The AWADS reduces the impact of visibility as a limiting factor for air infiltrations.
(d) Astronomical conditions. Periods of sunrise and sunset, moon phase, moonrise and moonset, and twilight must be considered.
d. A reconnaissance team mission must be specific and support the mission. Information concerning the target may not be gathered because the risk of detection by the enemy is so great. Detection may preclude the conduct of the planned operation. If more than one mission is assigned, priorities are set, All team missions must be coordinated to avoid other friendly forces operating near the target. Ranger forces conduct operations at such depth behind enemy lines that no other US or allied forces are normally present. There is a chance that a friendly indigenous guerrilla force may be operating near the objective, but ranger reconnaissance teams do not normally make contact with them.
e. The reconnaissance platoon leader joins with the intelligence and operations sections of the ranger force headquarters in the initial planning for reconnaissance team operations. The method of operation while moving, communication procedures, reporting, surveillance procedures, and actions on enemy contact should be included in the platoon's SOPS.
f. The ranger force intelligence officer normally prepares the reconnaissance plan IAW the guidance provided by the controlling headquarters. He is helped by the operations officer and the reconnaissance platoon leader. Selected team members and a member of the unit providing the insertion and extraction means are briefed on the mission early in the planning phase. They should participate in the detailed planning to follow. The essential details of a reconnaissance plan normally include--
(1) Areas to be observed and recommended areas or positions from which this can be done. These positions are determined in advance of the insertions of teams. They are based on a study of terrain, road and rail nets, enemy order of battle, delivery means, operations plans of the controlling headquarters, and the desires of the ranger force commander.
(2) Load plans and procedures. This includes both insertion and extraction. Alternate sites are chosen for possible use. Primary and alternate DZs are selected, if applicable.
(3) The flight plan. This includes insertion and extraction flight routes and alternate routes.
(4) The movement plan to and from a patrol base. This includes the times, routes,. and destinations when individuals or small groups are required to operate away from the patrol base.
(5) The fire support plan. This includes the location and times of planned air strikes in support of the main body, and all planned fires by the main assault force. The reconnaissance teams should know the frequencies and call signs for tactical air support.
(6) The timing and ground tactical plan for execution of the main force operation. This includes disposition of the main force, special mission teams from the ranger force, or any other special operations force elements.
(7) The communications plan. This includes frequencies, reporting schedule, emergency reporting procedures, and alternate communications plans. It also includes the ground-to-air communications plan and the friendly recognition signal to be used during linkup with the main assault force or other friendly forces.
(8) Plans for use of technical specialists or special equipment.
(9) The plan for the treatment and evacuation of sick or wounded team members from the objective area.
(10) The E&E plan. This includes routes out of the objective area, passwords, and alternate extraction zones or methods far from the objective area.
(11) Mission-specific elements of information desired by the ranger force commander, and any special or on-order missions the team must conduct.
g. The team leader uses specific steps in planning, preparing, and executing missions. These procedures are comprehensive, yet adaptable to any situation. Three of the most important steps are:
(1) Issuance of warning order. This action gives the team maximum time to prepare for the mission. It should be issued as soon as the team leader has been notified of a mission and updated after he has made his tentative plan.
(2) Issuance of OPORD. The team leader conveys the information and instructions needed to accomplish the mission. He requires a briefback from each team member.
h. The specific steps used when planning missions are as follows:
Step 1. Study the mission.
Step 2. Plan use of time.
Step 3. Issue initial warning order.
Step 4. Study terrain and situation.
Step 5. Make tentative plan.
Step 6. Organize.
Step 7. Update warning order.
Step 8. Coordinate (continuous throughout).
Step 9. Consult aerial photographs and map updates.
Step 10. Complete detailed plan. (To be combined with paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 of the operation order.)
Step 11. Issue operation order.
Step 12. Supervise (throughout), inspect, rehearse.
Step 13. Execute mission.
i. A workable E&E plan must be developed. Such a plan enhances the survival of the reconnaissance team members. It ensures that they are psychologically prepared to conduct the mission, by knowing there is a system and plan for returning them to friendly lines. The E&E plan must include a section describing the actions of the reconnaissance team members should their insertion craft be disabled en route to the objective area. It should also include what to do if the team is unable to link up with the main ranger force, or if the main ranger force has not been inserted into the objective area.
j. Rehearsals and briefbacks are best for finding flaws in procedures or planning. Thorough coordination of all procedures is essential. The exact type of aircraft or other means that will be used for insertion should be used for training. Rehearsals should be conducted under terrain, astronomical, hydrographical, and meteorological conditions close to those to be met on the operation. The team leader conducts a briefback with the platoon leader. This lets the platoon leader decide if the team is ready for the mission. It also allows him to make changes.
6-11. Execution of insertion.
a. Reconnaissance teams normally conduct blind insertions. Blind insertions are amphibious, heliborne, or parachute drops onto unmarked DZs without help from a DZ-marking party or a CCT. Blind insertions often depend on favorable light and weather conditions in the objective area. Favorable conditions for the reconnaissance team often means low-lying cloud cover, fog, and darkness. The teams are able to operate during reduced visibility by the extensive use of night observation devices. The team's extensive training and high level of land navigation skills allow it to quickly traverse rugged terrain and not be detected.
b. Team insertion into the objective area often needs a cover and deception plan. Team members can conduct HALO and HAHO operations. Teams can be inserted into areas not normally acceptable as a DZ for conventionally trained parachutists. By the use of HAHO techniques, reconnaissance teams can assemble in the air and glide to a landing at a location far from the drop point.
c. If reconnaissance teams need special or bulky equipment that cannot be carried on the individual team member, it can be airdropped, hidden near the DZ, and retrieved later. Such container drops are often used during low-level static line insertions. The high-altitude airdrop resupply system (HAARS) can be used to deliver such items at the same time as reconnaissance teams are inserted by HALO.
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