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Combat Intelligence And Counterintelligence


Using the observation techniques discussed in chapter 4, you must collect and report information about the enemy, terrain, and weather. That information becomes combat intelligence after it is interpreted. Your leaders need combat intelligence to help them plan operations. Your life and the lives of your fellow soldiers could depend on reporting what you see, hear, and smell.






You must also act to keep the enemy from gaining information about US operations. That action, called counterintelligence, involves:

  • Denying the enemy information about US plans, intentions, and. activities.
  • Detecting the enemy's efforts to get information.
  • Deceiving the enemy as to US plans and intentions.


Commanders get information from many agencies, but you are their best agency. You can collect information from the following sources:

  • Prisoners of war (PW) are an immediate source of information. Turn captured soldiers over to your leader quickly. Also, tell him anything you learn from them.
  • Captured documents may contain valuable information about present or future enemy operations. Give such documents to your leader quickly.
  • Enemy activity (the things the enemy is doing) often indicates what he is going to do. Report everything you see the enemy do. Some things that may not seem important to you may be important to your commander.
  • Local civilians often have information about the enemy, terrain, and weather in an area. Report any information gained from civilians. However, you cannot be sure which side the civilians are trying to help, so be careful when acting on information obtained from them. Try to confirm that information by some other means.


Report all information about the enemy to your leader quickly, accurately, and completely. Such reports should answer the questions WHO? WHAT? WHERE? after "WHEN?" It is best to use the "SALUTE" format (size, activity, location, unit, time, and equipment) when reporting. To help you remember details, make notes and draw sketches.

Size. Report the number of soldiers and vehicles you saw. For example, report '' 10 enemy infantrymen" (not "a rifle squad") or '' 3 enemy tanks" (not "an enemy tank platoon").

Activity. Report what you saw the enemy doing. For example, "emplacing mines in the road."

Location. Report where you saw the enemy. If you have a map, try to give an eight-digit coordinate, such as "GL 874461." If you do not have a map, relate the location to some key terrain, such as "on the Harm Road, 300 meters south of the Ken River Bridge."

Unit. Report the enemy's unit. If the unit is not known, report any distinctive features, such as bumper markings on trucks, or type of headgear. Some armies have distinctive uniforms and headgear, or colored tabs on their uniforms, to identify types of units. A unit's action may also indicate its type. The kind of equipment observed may be peculiar to a certain type of unit. For example, a BRDM may indicate a reconnaissance unit.

Time. Report the time you saw the enemy activity, not the time you report it. Always report local or Zulu (Z) time.

Equipment. Report all of the equipment the enemy is wearing or using. If you do not recognize an item of equipment or a type of vehicle, sketch it and submit the sketch with the report. The following is an example of a SALUTE report.

FM: 1st Plt, C Co, 2d Bn, 1/73 Inf.
TO S2, 2d Bn, 1/73 Inf.

Combat OP sighted four enemy tanks moving west along secondary road at grid coordinates NB613397 at 241730Z. Tanks traveling at approximately 5 kilometers per hour. Hatches were open and visible enemy personnel were wearing protective masks.


PWs are a good source of information. They must be handled without breaking international law and without losing a chance to gain intelligence.

Treat PWs humanely. Do not harm them, either physically or mentally. The senior soldier present is responsible for their care. If PWs cannot be evacuated in a reasonable time, give them food, water, and first aid. Do not give them cigarettes, candy, or other comfort items. PWs who receive favors or are mistreated are poor interrogation subjects.


In handling PWs, follow the five S's:

1. Search PWs as soon as they are captured. Take their weapons and papers, except identification papers and protective masks. Give them a written receipt for any personal property and documents taken. Tag documents and personal property to show which PW had them.

When searching a PW, have one man guard him while another searches him. (A searcher must not get between a PW and the guard.) To search a PW, have him spread-eagle against a tree or wall, or get into a pushup position with his knees on the ground. Search him, his equipment, his clothing.

2. Segregate PWs into groups by sex and into subgroups such as enlisted personnel, civilians, and political figures. This keeps the leaders from promoting escape efforts. Keep the groups segregated as you move them to the rear.

3. Silence PWs and do not let them talk to each other. This keeps them from planning escape and cautioning each other on security. Report anything a PW says or does.

4. Speed PWs to the rear. Turn them over to your leader. He will assemble them and move them to the rear for questioning by the S2.

5. Safeguard PWs when taking them to the rear. Do not let anyone abuse them. Watch out for escape attempts. Do not let PWs bunch up, spread out too far, or start diversions. Such conditions may create a chance for escape.

If a PW is wounded and cannot be evacuated through normal channels, turn him over to an aidman to be evacuated through medical channels.

Before evacuating a PW, attach a tag to him. You can make these tags yourself. The format for the tags is given in the following illustration. The battalion S2 should be able to supply these tags.


Enemy documents and equipment are good sources of information. Documents may be official (maps, orders, records, photos) or personal (letters or diaries).

If such items are not handled properly, the information in them may become lost or outdated. Give them to your leader quickly. Tag each item using the form shown above. If the item was found on a PW, put that PW's name on the tag.


The enemy must not get information about US operations. This means that you and your fellow soldiers must:

  • Practice camouflage principles and techniques.
  • Practice noise and light discipline.
  • Practice field sanitation.
  • Use proper radiotelephone procedure.
  • Use the challenge and password properly.
  • Not take personal letters or pictures into combat areas.
  • Not keep diaries in combat areas.
  • Be careful when discussing military affairs (the enemy may be listening).
  • Use only authorized codes.
  • Abide by the Code of Conduct (if captured).
  • Report any soldier or civilian who is believed to be serving or sympathetic with the enemy.
  • Report anyone who tries to get information about US operations.
  • Destroy all maps or important documents if capture is imminent.
  • Not discuss military operations in public areas.
  • Discuss military operations only with those persons having a need to know the information.
  • Remind fellow soldiers of their counterintelligence responsibilities.

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