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CHAPTER 5

OPERATING FROM KEY LOCATIONS

This chapter implements STANAGs 1059, 2159, 2174, 2019, and 2067

As events dictate, you move into place at key locations. You set up TCPs, checkpoints, and roadblocks at key locations to expedite authorized movement into, through, and out of the AO. You operate dismount points and access control points to help control access and provide security at critical points in the rear area.

Throughout the rear area you operate in concert with MP at key locations elsewhere. Mounted and dismounted MP teams, operating in multiples or even singly if the threat level permits, take action to assist, direct, and protect combat resources at, near, or passing their location.

EXPEDITING MOVEMENT ON MSRs

MP teams or squads operate TCPs, roadblocks, checkpoints, and holding areas at key locations to expedite traffic on MSRs. Mounted MP patrols travel the MSRs to monitor traffic and road conditions. Along the routes you and, sometimes, HN civilian police or MP from other countries operating in the area enforce MSR regulations.

MSR regulation ensures only authorized movements with the proper priority move on MSRs. This keeps critical routes open for resupply operations. Vehicles trying to travel on roads too narrow or unable to support their weight can obstruct the route. Such vehicles must be denied access and rerouted to alternate MSRs.

The regulations are set by the agency having jurisdiction over the road network in an AO. MSR regulation measures are stated in the command's highway regulation plan. They also appear in traffic circulation plans and in Engineer route, bridge, and tunnel recon reports. They also may be in unit SOPs and command directives. Classification of routes is set by the highway traffic division (HTD). See Appendix F. Control of movements on a dispatch route is intense. Control on a supervised route is more limited. You patrol supervised routes. Control on an open route is slight. You often simply prevent traffic congestion by posting signs on the route and enforcing standard military movement regulations.

Sometimes to expedite movement on MSRs you may be directed to take action to ensure refugees do not spill over onto MSRs. Although host nations usually provide measures to control the movement of their populations during a conflict, a massed flow of civilians can at times seriously endanger the movement or security of military units. If this becomes likely you could expect to assist, direct, or deny the movement of civilians if their location, direction of movement, or actions would hinder military activity. You direct refugees to secondary roadways and areas not used by military forces. You direct refugees who need help to the closest refugee collecting point.

You may also be called to assist civil affairs personnel in operating a refugee collecting point. But you become involved in collecting point operations only when the volume of refugees threatens military traffic near the collecting point.

OPERATING TRAFFIC CONTROL POSTS

TCPs are set up at critical points on road networks to control the movement of vehicles and personnel. Placement of TCPs is shown on the traffic control plan. At TCPs you--

  • Monitor and assist traffic authorized to use MSRs.
  • Redirect unauthorized vehicles to the road network they need.
  • Provide route security for MSRs at critical locations or intersections.
  • Monitor for NBC contamination.
  • Reroute traffic as needed.
  • Gather intelligence and report it.
  • Provide information to passing units.
  • Assist stragglers and refugees. See Operating Straggler Posts, this chapter. You may sometimes be asked to direct refugees in need of help to the closest refugee collecting point.

PLANNING

When METT-T permits a TCP to be manned by one three-man team--

  • The team leader--

--Selects the specific location for the TCP.

--Does a terrain analysis of the location.

--Positions the team members.

--Selects the crew-served weapon fighting position.

--Directs the vehicle to a covered and concealed position near the team's fighting position. (If needed, use camouflage nets.)

--Selects a fighting position that will make the best use of individual weapons. (In urban terrain some TCP locations restrict the use of a crew-served weapon.)

--Maintains communication.

  • The second team member--

--Provides security. (The team leader and the MP providing security usually occupy the fighting position.)

--Relieves the third MP.

  • The third team member--

--Watches the flow of traffic from a covered and concealed location near the road.

--Moves to the center of the road whenever heavy traffic slows movement; directs the flow of vehicles and personnel.

Everyone stays alert for enemy activity. The MP in the road is an easy target for terrorists and enemy agents. The team leader and the team member directing traffic communicate by wire. If wire is not available they use hand and arm signals.

Once in place, you operate a TCP until you are told to stop. Make sure you have the supplies and equipment you need to do so. (If operating for extended periods of time, you sleep in shifts.) In addition to your combat load, set by unit SOP, you need--

  • Flashlights to use at night so drivers can see your directions. Use flashlights with a white cone for high visibility. (The tactical situation may require you to use a red lens.) Maintain good OPSEC. Limit the time the flashlight is on.
  • White cuffs to wear on each sleeve when directing movement. The cuffs must have light-reflecting stripes, parallel to the arm. The stripes must give off a white or yellow color when struck by light (STANAG 2159). (The tactical situation may require you to remove the cuffs to keep the enemy from detecting you.)
  • First-aid kit to give immediate first aid.
  • SOI to give radio frequencies and call signs for the day.
  • Maps with overlays of the area to give directions and to locate new mission areas.
  • Guide signs to warn drivers that a TCP is ahead. The signs show direction and distance to the TCP (STANAGs 2174 and 2019).
  • NBC monitoring equipment--chemical agent paper, chemical detection kits, radiacmeters--to monitor NBC hazards at TCPs. Use NBC markers to identify contaminated areas.

If tasked to help refugees, you may need foreign language translation dictionaries. And you will want overlays showing refugee control lines (boundaries), collection points, and designated routes.

Be ready to destroy your equipment if you are attacked and it seems likely the material could fall into enemy hands. Your TCP equipment is valuable to enemy forces. SOI reveal friendly radio frequencies. Maps may show locations of key facilities.

OPERATING

At a TCP your main purpose is to ensure smooth and efficient use of the road network in accord with the traffic circulation plan. The plan--

  • Gives military route numbers and shows directions of travel.
  • Shows light lines and blackout areas.
  • Shows highway regulation points and MP TCPs.
  • Gives the control classification of routes.

Vehicles too wide or too heavy for a road must be denied access. Reroute them to alternate MSRs. No authorization is needed for travel on an open route. But use of a classified route is limited:

  • No traffic is allowed on a prohibited route.
  • Reserved routes are set aside for the sole use of certain units/operations/types of traffic.
  • All vehicles on a dispatch route must have a current movement credit issued by the HTD.
  • On a supervised route a column of 10 or more vehicles or an individual vehicle of exceptional size or weight must have a movement credit from HTD.

Stop vehicles or convoys that are not following MSR regulations. Tell the convoy commander why the vehicles are halted. The convoy commander will make immediate corrections. When immediate corrections cannot be made, the team leader records the key information about the incident and notifies the squad leader. See Offense Report Format, Appendix D.

At a TCP you furnish information about your AO to others who find themselves in areas with which they are not familiar. You provide information about MSRs, critical points, and holding areas, as well as the general location of major units. But first establish the identity of the person asking for the information. Give tactical information, like the location of units, only to persons authorized to have the information.

At a TCP you also--

  • Pass information about route conditions and enemy activity.
  • Tell of contaminated areas.
  • Give unit locations or other information MSR users may need.
  • Provide directions.
  • Direct users to alternate MSRs when main MSRs are interdicted by rubble, contamination, and/or enemy activity.
  • Give locations of supply points and medical facilities.

Actively seek information from road users. Ask drivers what they have seen of suspected or actual enemy activity along the MSR. Be sure to use OPSEC procedures to help keep the enemy from gathering information. Be constantly on watch for enemy aircraft and suspicious activity by the local populace.

Relay spot reports (SPOTREPs) of enemy sightings or activity through the chain of command. Use the SALUTE format. See Appendix D.

When the movement control agency requests it, keep track of military movements by--

  • Keeping a record of convoys passing the TCP. (This helps the movement control agency keep track of the progress of convoys.)
  • Compiling the information into a passing report. The information to be reported is set by the movement control agency. It includes the--

--TCP location.

--Date.

--Convoy identification (unit or serial number).

--Time the first vehicle passed the TCP.

--Time the last vehicle passed the TCP.

--Number of vehicles in the convoy.

Usually, TCP passing reports are picked up at the TCPs or transmitted securely. Your squad leader compiles the TCPs passing reports into one report. He forwards the report through the chain of command or as directed by company HQ. The report may be written or transmitted. If transmitted, a report is encoded IAW the unit SOP. In some instances, a squad leader may permit a team leader to bypass the usual report channels and submit a passing report directly to the movement control agency.

OPERATING CHECKPOINTS

Checkpoints are set up to control movement and to prevent illegal actions or actions that aid the enemy. They are set up to inspect cargo, enforce rules and regulations, and provide information. You also use them to--

  • Stop the local populace from supplying the enemy with food, medicine, weapons, ammunition, or other items of military use.
  • Ensure classified routes carry only authorized traffic.
  • Help stop black market transport of contraband.
  • Help curtail the illegal diversion of supplies.

When one team operates a checkpoint, the team leader provides leadership and monitors communications. One team member provides overwatch security. The other checks vehicles and people. Two or more teams may be needed for a checkpoint in a heavily traveled area.

You may need special equipment at a checkpoint. You can use wire, a gate, or other barriers for a roadblock to make sure traffic stops. You can post signs along the route to show MP checkpoints are in use. This encourages drivers to comply with MSR regulations. You may need flashlights for night operations. However, be sure light discipline is observed.

Place a checkpoint on a route anywhere the site will support its purpose. Look for a place where the team's fighting position for their crew-served weapon can have good fields of fire overmatching the checkpoint. You also need cover and concealment for the checkpoint team and the team vehicle.

When you set up a checkpoint to check cargo or to spot-check vehicle traffic, place the checkpoint just over a hill or around a curve. This type of checkpoint should not be seen by drivers until it is too late for them to do anything other than approach the checkpoint. Avoid placing it at the entrance to a route. When checking the cargo--

  • Check the manifest papers against the actual load.
  • Be suspicious of military equipment, supplies, or weapons being transported in civilian vehicles.

When you are tasked to check convoys for route authorization--

  • Set up the checkpoint at the entrance to the controlled route.
  • Check convoy vehicle movement credits issued by the local movement control unit. At a checkpoint on an MSR, one MP checks a vehicle's movement credit and/or cargo, while the team leader and the other MP provide security.
  • When checking a movement credit, be certain the convoy is moving on the correct route at the correct time.
  • When convoys are ahead of schedule, hold them near the checkpoint in a vehicle holding area until it is their scheduled time to pass.
  • Allow convoys that are behind schedule to proceed if route traffic permits.
  • Help drivers who have taken a wrong route by directing them to their destinations.

OPERATING ROADBLOCKS

Roadblocks are set up to stop, slow, or limit movement of vehicles along a route. They also are used to limit access to certain areas or roads. A roadblock can help channel vehicles and personnel to a checkpoint.

Make the roadblock easily movable and visible to drivers. You can use concertina wire, barbed wire, trees, debris, or warning signs. You may want concertina gloves, Claymore mines, and the like, as well as barrier material.

When one MP team operates a roadblock, the team leader provides leadership and communications. One team member stops traffic and directs where the traffic may and may not go. The other provides security for the MP in the road.

Place a roadblock where unauthorized vehicles or enemy personnel cannot bypass the roadblock. Make it difficult to bypass. When you can, position it so movement to its flanks or around it is restricted by obstacles like cliffs, swamps, rivers, or even towns. Build man-made obstacles to tie in with and reinforce natural obstacles. To gain surprise, place an obstacle--

  • Near a sharp bend in the road.
  • Just over the crest of a hill.
  • Where a road passes through a heavily wooded area.

When using a roadblock to channel traffic to a checkpoint, place it where drivers of approaching vehicles cannot see the roadblock until after they have passed all possible turnoffs. When using a roadblock to close off a road--

  • Place it at an intersection to let drivers change to another route with little delay.
  • Place it near an area where drivers can turn their vehicles around easily.

Select a defendable site for the roadblock. Cover the road block with weapons tire. Defensive positions must--

  • Include a fighting position for the crew-served weapon to provide overwatch for the roadblock.
  • Have fields of fire that cover the approaches to the roadblock to keep it from being breached.
  • Not be accessible to an attacker and must provide cover and concealment for the team and vehicle.

OPERATING STRAGGLER CONTROL POSTS AND COLLECTING POINTS

MP straggler control operations (STANAG 2067) help commanders maintain combat strength by locating and returning stragglers. MP erect temporary signs to help lost military personnel find their way to the closest MP element. MP TCPs, patrols, checkpoints, and defiles locate and redirect stragglers to military control. MP report information about stragglers with whom they come in contact. Following NBC attacks or major enemy breakthroughs or the like, MP may set up special posts and collecting points for stragglers. They may also use mounted patrols between straggler posts to direct or collect stragglers.

OPERATING STRAGGLER POSTS

A "straggler post" is any post on an MSR at which you check for stragglers. You can operate a straggler post at a TCP a checkpoint, a roadblock, or on its own.

The team leader provides leadership and communications. Another MP provides security. The third MP checks the identity of military personnel, directing stragglers to their location. You need the same equipment to operate a straggler post that you need to operate a TCP.

The PM operations section plans the general location of straggler posts on likely routes of straggler flow. The company picks the location of the straggler posts. The team leader picks the specific location. He selects a place where--

  • Vehicles cannot easily turn around to avoid the post.
  • There is space for a small vehicle holding area.

He designates positions for each man at the site. He chooses a good fighting position for the crew-served weapon. He places the team's vehicle close to himself for ease of communication.

When operating a straggler control post, you must know what units are assigned to bases/base clusters within your AO. And you must know what units are operating in the area. Most stragglers are just persons who have become separated from their command by events on the battlefield. You identify stragglers by checking--

  • Uniforms.
  • Unit insignia.
  • Bumper markings on vehicles.
  • Identification cards or tags.
  • Passes or other authorization documents.

For each straggler you encounter, record at least the soldier's--

  • Service number, rank, name, and nationality.
  • Unit.
  • Category ("injured" or "uninjured" IAW STANAG 2067).
  • Whether armed or not.
  • Where and when found.
  • Where the straggler was coming from.
  • Where the straggler was going.
  • Why and when the straggler left his unit.
  • Where you sent the straggler.

List your information in your straggler report. Completed straggler reports are collected daily and forwarded to wherever the straggler control plan directs. The reports give the commander's staff information on the strength of units. They also inform the straggler's unit commander where, when, and how you encountered the straggler.

Contact your immediate chain of command if you believe that a straggler has information of immediate tactical value.

Give first aid to the injured, wounded, or ill. Request their evacuation to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible. The seriousness of the illness or injury is the key factor in deciding how soon and by what method the injured straggler must be evacuated. Dispose of an injured straggler's weapons and equipment according to the straggler control plan. See FM 8-35 for more discussion on sick or injured stragglers.

Help return fit soldiers who have mistakenly become separated from their unit. Simply direct them to their unit or a HQ within their chain of command. (If the unit location is unknown, send them to a straggler collecting point.)

Try to use "available" transport, unless many stragglers must be transferred. Then you can request transportation support. But request escorts only for stragglers trying to avoid returning to their unit.

Treat the deliberate stragglers--those who have deserted or are attempting to desert or are absent without leave (AWOL)--with caution. These stragglers may resort to violence to avoid military control. Search, disarm, and detain these stragglers. Hold them until transport and escort can be arranged to take them to their unit, the straggler collecting point, or another place set by SOP or by the straggler control plan. Safeguard confiscated property and documents, and dispose of them according to the straggler control plan.

Handle stragglers from HN or other allied forces as you would US stragglers. If the PM has coordinated with other national forces to set up joint straggler posts, allow MP from other national units to handle stragglers from their own forces. See STANAG 2085 for information on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) combined MP procedures.

OPERATING STRAGGLER COLLECTING POINTS

When large numbers of stragglers exist, and TCPs, mounted patrols, and straggler control posts are not able to handle the straggler flow, you may be tasked to operate a straggler collecting point. You temporarily hold stragglers there while you process them for return to their units, placement in medical channels, or placement in other military channels.

The PM operations section plans the location of a straggler collecting point. They usually place it along a key MSR or at an intersection of MSRs. This allows quicker access to the straggler collecting point to aid in moving stragglers to their appropriate destination. Often it is collocated where elements of medical, transportation, and MP units can share efforts to ease the disposition of stragglers. At a straggler collecting point you may need food, water, clothing, and shelter for stragglers. If a medical facility is not close by, you must request extra medical supplies and be prepared to administer first aid.

The number of MP teams needed to operate a collecting point will vary with the number of stragglers on hand. If the post is operated by a squad, the squad leader provides leadership. One MP team processes incoming stragglers. A second MP team guards deliberate stragglers. And the third MP team rotates with the other teams for relief.

Separate the injured stragglers from the uninjured. Process each soldier at the collecting point. Record the key information on each soldier for a straggler report. Search, segregate, and guard stragglers who refuse to return to their unit. Assemble and forward the report to wherever the straggler control plan directs. Hold stragglers at the collecting point until transport arrives.

Use whatever transport is available to get stragglers from a collecting point to their units. When you have large numbers of stragglers who must be returned to one place, request support from the local movement control unit. Stragglers who refuse to return to their unit should be detained until their unit provides an escort or until you receive other instructions from your superior.

OPERATING DISMOUNT POINTS

MP typically operate dismount points to limit or eliminate vehicle movement within a given area. You may also use them for access control. See Operating Access Control Points, this chapter.

At a dismount point the team leader provides control, maintains communications, and sets up security. One team member controls movement at the dismount point. The remaining team member provides additional security and relieves the MP operating the dismount point. MP may inspect packages, briefcases, and vehicle loads as a security precaution. The MP leader charged with overall security directs these actions by SOP/orders. Team organization changes with the terrain and the size of the dismount point. Several MP may be required to control movement in and around the dismount point during a large operation.

The officer in charge of setting up a CP or a facility usually picks the general site for a dismount point. The MP team leader usually picks the exact location. A dismount point can be set up wherever vehicle access to an area must be controlled. You can set up a dismount point on or outside a perimeter.

Select a location that--

  • Has a place where the vehicles can stop and passengers dismount and a place where the vehicles can park.
  • Is easily accessible from a road.
  • Is not easily seen as this would violate good OPSEC procedures and could lead the enemy to the CP.
  • Offers cover and concealment, such as natural terrain features or an enclosed structure.

Set up the parking area on fairly level grassy or paved surfaces. This reduces the amount of dust and makes vehicle tracks hard to detect. Place the parking area within walking distance of the CP or facility, but not so close that direct fire from it could be brought to bear on the CP or facility. Use a terrain feature, whenever possible, as a buffer between the parking area and the facility. Select a parking area that provides cover and concealment for parked vehicles. This may include wooded areas, barns, factories, or warehouses. You may need certain equipment at a dismount point, such as--

  • Night-vision devices.
  • Field telephones to communicate with the facility.
  • Alternate communications like visual devices, dismounted radios, or messengers.

At a dismount point, you--

  • Provide information for persons entering the area.
  • Offer directions and explain procedures for access to and movement within the area.
  • Provide information about the location of other facilities and recent enemy activity in the area.
  • Ensure vehicles in the parking area are camouflaged.
  • Enforce light and noise discipline.
  • Prevent civilian traffic and refugees from entering the area by directing them to a new route.
  • Control stragglers by giving directions, providing for medical care, and detaining them for future disposition.
  • Check vehicle identification and determine if the vehicle is allowed in the area. (If the vehicle is authorized access, the vehicle is directed to the parking area, preferably by a ground guide. If the vehicle is not authorized, detain the vehicle and notify your superior for guidance on further actions.)

OPERATING ACCESS CONTROL POINTS

Access control points are used to screen entry to secured areas that require specific permission for entry. Persons can enter or leave such a facility only by passing the access control points. Often one team operates an access control point. One MP checks identification (ID); one provides security and the third is the relief.

Place access control points near entrances and where persons approaching the facility can be seen at the earliest possible moment. When setting up the access control point, choose a place where you can set up a two-man fighting position. Locate the position to take advantage of the terrain. Ensure the fighting position offers good fields of tire and an unobstructed view of the main approach to the facility. Improve fighting positions as time permits. Because the access control point will often be in an area occupied by friendly troops, you must coordinate with these troops to prevent friendly soldiers from shooting at one another.

You must have an access roster stating who is authorized in the facility. (This is developed by the G2.) You may have a badge system, or a combination of entry systems, to identify persons authorized in the facility. See FM 19-30 and AR 640-3 for more information on badge systems.

When persons approach the access control point, stop them and request identification. Check their IDs against the access roster, observing light discipline if it is nighttime. Search any items being carried in. Detain anyone attempting to enter who is not on the access roster. Notify your superior for instructions on what to do with the person.

You also must monitor personnel exiting the facility. You may be required to inspect briefcases for classified material and documents. You also may be required to inspect packages. Guidelines will be set by the facility commander.

You may need special equipment and supplies when operating an access control point, such as--

  • Flashlights.
  • Night-vision devices.
  • Field telephones or man-portable radios for communications with the facility.

OPERATING VEHICLE HOLDING AREAS

MP operate vehicle holding areas to help regulate the flow of traffic on MSRs. You hold selected vehicles and troops in these temporary waiting areas to allow other traffic to move steadily on the MSR. You can operate a holding area as an independent measure. Or it can be used along with other measures like defiles or checkpoints to support large operations like river crossings or passage of lines. Vehicles, convoys, and troops must be directed into and out of the holding area.

The number of teams you need to operate a vehicle holding area depends on the holding area's size. When one MP team operates a holding area, the team leader provides leadership, communications, and security. Another MP controls entry to the holding area. The third MP controls exit from the holding area.

The general location for a holding area may be designated by the echelon movement control unit, PM, or MP company commander. The exact location is selected by the MP leader with the mission. The holding area's location is noted on the traffic control plan and passed to the echelon movement control unit to keep the traffic circulation plan current. To select a site for a holding area, keep these principles in mind:

  • Parked vehicles must face the exit so that they can be driven from the area quickly.
  • A roadway must be set up that allows selected vehicles to leave.

Select a site where--

  • The vehicles can be dispersed.
  • There is easy access to and from the roadway.
  • The surface of the area is firm enough to hold the weight of the vehicles.
  • The area is large enough to allow the vehicles to be covered and concealed from air and ground observation.
  • You can defend the area.

At the entrance to the holding area one team member is positioned in a concealed location. When vehicles approach, he moves to the center of the road and directs the vehicles into the holding area. He tells the vehicle driver or convoy commander where to park the vehicles. He moves back to the concealed location when the vehicles have entered the holding area.

The second team member controls the exit from the holding area. He is informed by the team leader when a vehicle or a convoy may exit. He notifies the vehicle driver or convoy commander when the vehicles may move. Then he locates himself on the road at the holding area exit to help the convoy move onto the road. He remains in a covered and concealed position when not moving vehicles out of the holding area.

At night these team members direct traffic using flashlights and hand and arm signals. The tactical situation may require you to use a red lens. Colored or plain chemical light sticks may be posted to help drivers identify their locations within a holding area if the situation permits.

The team leader controls the holding area operation, ideally from a position overlooking the entrance and exit. The team leader receives instructions on when to allow vehicles to pass. When the purpose is to support a defile, the team leader receives his instructions from the leader at the defile site.

When the purpose is to support a river-crossing site, the team leader has a movement schedule to follow and receives his movement information from the echelon movement control office or the crossing area commander and his staff.

The team leader at the holding area also assigns each member of his team a fighting position. The team leader has the MG placed to provide cover for other members of the team. He ensures the vehicle is parked close to the fighting position so he can use the FM radio. He makes sure the vehicle is concealed.

When operating a large holding area, the leader may place men inside the holding area to direct traffic and parking and to make sure user units comply with the flow plan. The leader may require more than one team in this instance. The leader may also require more than one team when MP cannot provide security from one location for both entry and exit.

Large holding area operations involving several MP teams usually require dedicated security at both the entrance and exit. They require a fighting position at each location. Large holding areas must have a simple control plan, such as a subdivision system. Take the following steps when you use a subdivision system:

  • Make a map or a sketch of the area, showing the road net, trails, and major obstacles.
  • Outline the holding area on the map or sketch.
  • Divide the area into equal subdivisions and assign a letter or a name to each subdivision. This helps in directing units to their section of the holding area.
  • Erect signs showing the outline of each area.
  • Develop a traffic flow plan and erect directional signs to help users.
  • Keep a count of vehicles in the subdivisions by number, size, and unit designation for each vehicle.
  • At night, you may use chemical light sticks to identify the sections within the holding area and the exit.

In addition to signs and chemical light sticks, have the same standard items of equipment at a holding area as at a TCP. Use signs to help control traffic. Communicate between positions by field phones.




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