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Your basic soldiering skills -- your skilled use of individual and crew-served weapons and of vehicles and equipment, and your knowledgeable use of communications methods and equipment -- are the cornerstones of your tactical and technical proficiency. They enable you to fight, survive, and win in combat.


The weapons, vehicles, and equipment "organic" to your unit are crucial to your accomplishment of your missions and to your survival. Each MP team has--

  • A vehicle.
  • A crew-served weapon as well as individual weapons.
  • A secure-voice vehicle-mounted radio.
  • Devices for night vision and for detecting nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) contamination.

In addition, each squad has a field telephone, a manportable radio for dismounted operations, and a cargo trailer. You have access to mine detectors. And each platoon has platoon early warning systems (PEWs), a cargo trailer, and equipment for secure communication with its squads.


Your weapons provide firepower while allowing you to remain highly mobile and to maneuver freely on the battlefield. MP individual and crew-served weapons can deliver accurate, decisive direct and indirect fire against enemy soldiers in the open and in lightly armored vehicles. Organic machine guns (MGs), grenade machine guns (GMGs), and heavy-barrel (HB) MGs provide firepower for teams during mounted operations. Squad automatic weapons (SAWs), MGs, and HB MGs provide teams with suppressive fire and a high volume of close and continuous assault fire during dismounted operations. High explosive and light antitank weapons (LAWS) can defeat lightly armored vehicles. And, if your unit's TOE has the Stinger guided missile system, you can successfully engage attacking aircraft.


MP teams are fully mobile: Your specific vehicle depends on your mission and your unit's TOE. Among the variety of trucks and cargo trailers is the high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle called HMMWV (pronounced "Hum-V").

The HMMWV its radio, and its crew-served weapon make up a system that can move, shoot, and communicate in a variety of modes. The HMMWV enhances MP mobility and sustainment on the battlefield. And it can be used as a command and control vehicle as well as a weapons carrier. The HMMWV provides a stable weapons platform. The vehicle has a ballistic kit that offers limited protection. Its large cargo area holds equipment and ammunition for the weapon.

The all-road, all-weather HMMWV is especially suitable for rough terrain because of its--

  • 16-inch ground clearance.
  • Large tires.
  • Strong suspension system.
  • Wide dimensions.

Features promoting operating efficiency and decreasing driver fatigue include--

  • Automatic transmission.
  • Full-time four-wheel drive.
  • Inboard power disc brakes.
  • Power steering.


You must be prepared to operate in a turbulent environment of limited visibility and the effects of NBC hazards. You must be able to overcome--

  • Reduced ability to find targets.
  • Difficulty in navigating.
  • Difficulty in controlling men and weapons.
  • Difficulty in telling enemy from friendly troops.
  • Attempted neutralization of surveillance, target acquisition, and night observation devices.

Skillful use of your equipment can extend your ability to see and hear, and even to function in an NBC environment.


Traditionally, all armies try to limit the ability of their enemies to see in battle. Limited visibility helps to--

  • Conceal troops and their movements.
  • Achieve surprise.
  • Reduce the ability of an enemy to aim well.

On any battlefield, darkness and other limiting conditions hamper success. The dust and smoke of combat often obscure parts of the battlefield. So, too, do rain, fog, snow, and natural dust.

At night, with artificial light, you can fight using daylight tactics and techniques. Binoculars aid your vision, both in daytime and at night when moderate light from moonlight, flares, and headlights exists. Night-vision devices can magnify even the smallest amount of light. They help you--

  • Locate and observe the enemy.
  • Fire weapons at the enemy.
  • Detect enemy use of infrared light.

MP have two night-vision sights that you use like you use a telescope. And you have face-mounted night-vision goggles that leave your hands free for--

  • Operating vehicles and equipment.
  • Dismounted movement.
  • Administering first aid.
  • Performing maintenance.
  • Other similar tasks.

For general use, night-vision devices enhance available light. In this passive mode they do not put out a light signal. Their ranges depend on the available light levels. Extremely low light levels, rain, fog, smoke, and dust reduce their usefulness. In clear air you can increase their usefulness with flares or other artificial light. But the devices also have a battery-operated built-in infrared light source you can turn on to enhance their use in close-up viewing.

You must avoid looking directly at a visible light source when using night-vision devices. This causes the device to shut off. And night-vision devices can cause you to develop eye fatigue and lose night vision temporarily. When using the devices you need 5 to 10-minute breaks every 30 minutes to prevent fatigue. It is best to alternate operators every 30 minutes. Operators should not operate night-vision devices for more than six hours.


Remote sensors like the PEWS are critical to your defense on the modern battlefield. PEWS sensors detect objects in motion. You can set a PEWS beyond the limits of your sight and hearing to extend your range of control. Use PEWS to help establish local security. Set the sensors in dead spaces or gaps forward of or between MP elements. The PEWS is ideal for monitoring avenues of approach masked by terrain or by poor visibility. When you place sensors parallel to an avenue of approach, the devices can help you approximate the number and rate of a passing movement of troops or vehicles. With practice, you will even be able to tell troops from vehicles.

The PEWS has a limited sensor-to-target range. Position sensors with care. Each sensor can detect movement up to 15 meters from the sensor location. Its signal can be transmitted 1,500 meters. See Appendix A for information on metric-English conversion.

No one type of sensory-enhancing device can fill all needs. Use of several types can help you--

  • Locate friendly and enemy units and note their movements.
  • Detect the use of devices by an enemy.

A mix might include PEWS sensors for out-of-sight areas and dead spaces and night-vision devices for close ranges. A mix of devices is best because it--

  • Extends the spectrum of conditions in which you can operate.
  • Permits overlapping sectors and more coverage.
  • Allows the capabilities of one type of device to compensate for the limitations of another.


MP like all soldiers on the battlefield, are prepared to detect and monitor contamination levels and to carry out operations in or around NBC-contaminated areas. Each MP team has equipment for dealing with NBC hazards:

  • Radiacmeter to detect radiation.
  • Dosimeter to monitor the total radiation dose the team has received.
  • Chemical agent alarm system to detect chemical hazards.
  • Chemical agent detection paper and chemical detection kit to locate chemical hazards.
  • NBC contamination marking signs to mark contaminated areas.
  • Decon apparatus.

For more detailed information about MP weapons, vehicles, and equipment see Appendixes B and C.


On the battlefield you must be able to communicate. You must be able to control your elements, to call for fire, to request support, and to respond to orders. Your communication procedures are usually set by your unit's standing operating procedure (SOP) and signal operation instructions (SOI). Your communication means are usually determined by mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) and battlefield circumstances. Plan to use more than one means of communication. If only one is planned and it does not work, the mission may not be accomplished. You can use any combination:

  • Sight and sound.
  • Messenger.
  • Wire.
  • Radio.


Visual signals are useful for sending prearranged messages over short distances. They are also useful during radio silence or when jamming interferes with radio transmissions. Quick visual signals may be sent by arm and hand, flashlight, and pyrotechnics. But visual signals have some disadvantages. They--

  • Are less effective when visibility is limited.
  • May be seen and intercepted or imitated by the enemy.
  • May be masked by terrain features, reducing the chance of a message being received.
  • Are easy to misunderstand. (To overcome this last disadvantage, each man in the unit must be able to send, receive, and understand messages using visual signals.)

Although arm and hand and light signals are fairly standard throughout the Army, the meaning of pyrotechnic signals must be set in the command and control portion of operations orders (OPORDs) and in the SOI. To be sure a pyrotechnic message was correctly received you should confirm the message by some other means as soon as possible. For more information or for a more detailed discussion on visual signals, see FM 21-60.

Sound signals, like visual signals, work well only for short distances. You can use simple devices like whistles, horns, gongs, and explosives. Sound signals can be used to--

  • Attract attention.
  • Transmit prearranged messages.
  • Spread alarms.

A well-known sound signal is the use of metal-on-metal sound to indicate an NBC hazard or attack.

When you use sound signals, be aware that battlefield noise may blend with or override your signal, causing confusion and misunderstanding. Sound signals--

  • Must be simple to be understood.
  • May be restricted for security reasons.
  • Can be intercepted by the enemy.


Using messengers is the most secure way to communicate long messages and documents. However, it is also the slowest. And messengers are vulnerable to enemy action. When you use a messenger--

  • Put the message in writing.
  • Make the text clear, concise, and complete.
  • Choose the most expedient transportation on hand.
  • Encode the message (using the operational code in the SOI) if there is a risk that the messenger might be captured.
  • Send a second messenger by a different route if a backup message is needed.


Often, "wire" is more useful than radio. It is hard to jam, and, unlike radio, more than one person can talk at one time. It is used most often for communicating with static posts. But communications by wire can be cut by the enemy. When a wire line has to be checked, send soldiers out in pairs. (One hunts for the cut. The other provides overwatch security.) The enemy can take prisoners by cutting a line and capturing the soldier who goes to repair it.

Use radio to communicate with mobile or distant elements. Secure-voice radio is best. The enemy can intercept messages on unsecure radio. Regardless of radio type, if your transmission is heard, the enemy may be able to detect the radio location or learn what your unit is doing. Keep your transmissions short. Know and use signal security and electronic counter-countermeasures. To deny the enemy information from friendly telecommunications, follow your SOI to keep transmissions secure:

  • Authenticate your transmissions.
  • Use only authorized codes.
  • Use secure voice transmissions.
  • Use encoded messages.

To keep the enemy from disrupting radio communications and to protect friendly emitters from enemy detection, location, and identification--

  • Set radios at low power.
  • Place antennas where terrain blocks enemy interception.
  • Remote radios and antennas.
  • Use directional antennas.
  • Use wire whenever possible.
  • Observe listening silence.
  • Use short transmissions.
  • Use a random transmission schedule.
  • Transmit only when you need to do so.

A variety of wire and radio equipment is found in MP units. Your unit's particular TOE shows exactly what is authorized. But newly available for MP use is the Army's mobile subscriber equipment. This new communication system will provide you with a secure means of communicating throughout the battlefield, regardless of location, in either a static or mobile situation. The system provides telephone-like services. It interfaces with other systems, including net radio. And it features "call forwarding" and "conferencing." The system can significantly reduce the need to install great quantities of wire and cable when setting up command posts (CPs).


As a leader you must translate your thoughts, evaluations, and decisions into understandable reports and orders. Battlefield communication requires standardized, streamlined procedures. Despite personal exhaustion or confusion of battle, you must be able to rapidly report information or issue instructions that are simple, clear, and brief.


Combat orders are written or oral communications giving details of tactical operations and administration. The four most common types of combat orders at company level and below are--

  • Warning orders.
  • OPORDs.
  • Fragmentary orders (FRAGOs).
  • SOPs.

Warning orders and OPORDs generally have set formats. This helps ensure the receiver understands the intent of the message. It helps ensure that all needed information is provided. And standardization helps save time in the writing as well as the interpreting of the orders. For detailed information on orders and reports, see Appendix D.


Your reports to higher HQ provide information on which plans, decisions, and orders can be based. The information you include in your reports must be accurate, timely, and complete. "Negative" information ("There is no enemy at....") is often as important as positive information. Reports are the main record of operational events. The three broad categories of reports are--

  • Administrative.
  • Operational.
  • Intelligence.

The format of many of these reports is set by STANAGs. Commanders may, however, specify added report formats in their local tactical SOP. Most friendly information, including administrative reports, is classified, or at least treated as sensitive in nature, to keep information from falling into enemy hands.

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