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CHAPTER 5

MISSION PREPARATION

The sniper team uses planning factors to estimate the amount of time, coordinating and effort that must be expended to support the impending mission. Arms, ammunition, and equipment are METT-T dependent.

Section I

PLANNING AND COORDINATION

Planning and coordination are essential procedures that occur during the preparation phase of a mission.

5-1. MISSION ALERT

The sniper team may receive a mission briefing in either written or oral form (FRAGO). Usually, the team mission is stated specifically as to who, what, when, where, and why/how. On receipt of an order, the sniper analyzes his mission to ensure he understands it, then plans the use of available time.

5-2. WARNING ORDER

Normally, the sniper team receives the mission briefing. However, if the sniper receives the briefing, he prepares to issue a warning order immediately after the briefing or as soon as possible. He informs the observer of the situation and mission and gives him specific and general instructions. If the sniper team receives the mission briefing, the sniper should still present the warning order to the observer to clarify and emphasize the details of the mission briefing.

5-3. TENTATIVE PLAN

The sniper makes a tentative plan of how he intends to accomplish the mission. When the mission is complex and time is short, he makes a quick, mental estimate; when time is available, he makes a formal, mental estimate. The sniper learns as much as he can about the enemy and mission requirements and applies it to the terrain in the assigned area. Since an on-the-ground reconnaissance is not tactically feasible for most sniper operations, the sniper uses maps, pictomaps, or aerial photographs of the objective and surrounding area to help formulate his tentative plan. This plan is the basis for team preparation, coordination, movement, and reconnaissance.

5-4. COORDINATION CHECKLISTS

Coordination is continuous throughout the planning phase of the operation (see coordination checklists) (for example, aircraft, parachutes, or helicopters). Other items are left for the sniper to coordinate. He normally conducts coordination at the briefing location. To save time, he assigns tasks to the observer and has him report back with the results. However, the sniper is responsible for all coordination. He uses coordination checklists to verify mission-essential equipment for the mission. He coordinates directly with appropriate staff sections or the S3, or the SEO will provide the necessary information. The sniper may carry a copy of the coordination checklists to ensure he does not overlook an item that may be vital to the mission. Coordination with specific staff sections includes the following:

NOTE: Items may need coordination with more than one staff section; therefore, some items are listed under more than one heading.

a. Intelligence. The S2 informs the sniper of any changes in the situation as given in the OPORD or mission briefing. The sniper constantly updates the tentative plan with current information.

(1) Identification of the unit.

(2) Weather and light data.

(3) Terrain update.

    • Aerial photos.
    • Trails and obstacles not on map.

(4) Known or suspected enemy locations.

(5) Weapons.

(6) Strength.

(7) Probable courses of action.

(8) Recent enemy activity.

(9) Reaction time of reaction forces.

(10) Civilian activity in area.

(11) Priority intelligence requirements and information requirements.

(12) Challenge and password.

b. Operations. The sniper coordinates with the operations section to receive the overall status of the mission.

(1) Identification of the unit.

(2) Changes in the friendly situation.

(3) Route selections and LZ and PZ selections.

(4) Linkup procedure.

(5) Transportation (other than air).

(6) Resupply (along with S4).

(7) Signal plan.

(8) Departure and reentry of forward units.

(9) Special equipment requirements.

(10) Adjacent units operating in the area of operations.

(11) Rehearsal areas.

(12) Method of insertion/extraction.

(13) Frequencies and call signs.

c. Fire Support. Usually, the sniper coordinates fire support with the fire support officer.

(1) Identification of the unit.

(2) Mission and objective.

(3) Routes to and from the objective (including alternate routes).

(4) Time of departure and expected time of return.

(5) Unit target list (fire plan).

(6) Fire support means available (artillery, mortar, naval gunfire, and aerial fire support to include Army, Navy, and Air Force).

(7) Ammunition available (to include different fuzes).

(8) Priority of fires.

(9) Control measures for fire support.

    • Checkpoints.
    • Boundaries.
    • Phase lines.
    • Fire support coordination measures.
    • Priority targets (list TRPs).
    • RFA.
    • RFL.
    • No-fire areas.
    • Precoordinate authentication.

(10) Communications (include primary and alternate means, emergency signals, and code words and signals).

d. Coordination with Forward Unit. A sniper team that must move through a friendly forward unit must coordinate with the unit commander for a smooth, orderly passage. If there is no coordination time and place, the sniper sets the time and place with the S2 and S3. Then, he informs the forward unit and arranges assistance for the team's departure. Coordination is a two-way exchange of information.

(1) Identification (team leader, observer, and unit).

(2) Size of team.

(3) Time(s) and place(s) of departure and return, location(s) of departure point(s), IRPs, and detrucking points.

(4) General area of operation.

(5) Information on terrain and vegetation.

(6) Known or suspected enemy positions or obstacles.

(7) Possible enemy ambush sites.

(8) Latest enemy activity.

(9) Detailed information on friendly positions (for example, crew-served weapons or final protective fire).

(10) Fire and barrier plan.

(11) Support the forward unit can furnish. How long and what can they do?

    • Fire support.
    • Litter teams.
    • Navigational signals and aids.
    • Guides.
    • Communications.
    • Reaction units.
    • Other.

(12) Call signs and frequencies and exchange of Vinson cryptographic variables.

    • Pyrotechnic plans.
    • Challenge and password.
    • Emergency signals and code words.
    • Relieved unit (pass information to the relieving unit).

e. Adjacent Unit Coordination. Immediately after receiving the OPORD or mission briefing, the sniper coordinates with other units using the same area. If he is not aware of other units, he should check with the S3 to arrange coordination. The sniper exchanges the following information with other units or snipers operating in the same area:

(1) Identification of the unit.

(2) Mission and size of unit.

(3) Planned times and points of departure and reentry.

(4) Route.

(5) Fire support (planned) and control measures.

(6) Frequency, call signs, and exchange of Vinson cryptographic variables.

(7) Challenge and password and or number.

(8) Pyrotechnic plans.

(9) Any information that the unit may have about the enemy.

f. Rehearsal Area Coordination. The sniper coordinates with the S2 or S3.

(1) Identification of own unit.

(2) Mission.

(3) Terrain similar to objective site.

(4) Security of the area.

(5) Availability of aggressors.

(6) Use of blanks, pyrotechnics, live ammunition.

(7) Mockups available.

(8) Time the area is available (preferably when light conditions are close to the expected light conditions for the mission).

(9) Transportation.

(10) Coordination with other units using the area.

g. Army Aviation Coordination. The sniper coordinates with the supporting aviation unit commander through the S3 or S3 Air.

(1) Situation:

(a) Enemy forces: Location, activity, probable course of action, and enemy air defense.

(b) Weather: Decision time/POC, any delay for the mission.

(c) Friendly forces: Main mission, activity, boundaries, axis of movement.

(2) Mission: Task and purpose.

(3) Execution:

(a) Concept of the operation: Overview of what requesting unit wants to accomplish with the air assault/air movement.

(b) Coordinating instructions (PZ operation):

      • Direction of landing.
      • Time of landing/flight direction.
      • Location of PZ/alternate PZ.
      • Loading procedures.
      • Marking of PZ (panel, smoke, smoke munitions, lights).
      • Flight route planned (start point, air control point, rally point).
      • Formation of landing/flight/landing (LZ).
      • Code words: PZ secure (before landing); PZ clear (lead plane, last plane); alternate PZ (at PZ en route, at landing zone); names of PZ/alternate PZ.
      • TAC air/artillery.
      • Number of passengers/planes for entire lift.
      • Equipment carried by individuals.
      • Secure PZ or not.
      • Marking of key leaders (LZ operations).
      • Direction of landing.
      • Time of landing, false insertions.
      • Location of LZ or alternate LZ.
      • Marking of LZ (panel, smoke, SM, lights).
      • Formation of landing.
      • Codewords: LZ name, alternate LZ name.
      • TAC air/artillery preparation, fire support coordination.
      • Secure LZ or not.

(4) Service support:

(a) Number of aircraft, times, number of lifts.

(b) Refuel/rearm during mission or not.

(c) Special equipment/aircraft configuration for weapons earned by unit personnel.

(d) Bump plan.

(5) Command and signal:

(a) Frequency and call signs.

(b) Location of air mission commander.

h. Vehicle Movement Coordination. The sniper coordinates with the supporting unit through the S3.

(1) Identification of the unit.

(2) Supporting unit identification.

(3) Number and type of vehicles and tactical preparation.

(4) Entrucking point.

(5) Departure/loading time.

(6) Preparation of vehicles for movement.

    • Driver responsibilities.
    • Sniper team responsibilities.
    • Special supplies/equipment required.

(7) Availability of vehicles for preparation/rehearsal/inspection (time and location).

(8) Route:

    • Primary.
    • Alternate.
    • Checkpoints.

(9) Detrucking points.

    • Primary.
    • Alternate.

(10) March interval/speed.

(11) Communications (frequencies, call signs, codes).

(12) Emergency procedures and signals.

5-5. COMPLETION OF PLAN

After the warning order has been issued and a thorough map reconnaissance made, most coordination should be completed. The sniper makes an intelligence update while the observer prepares himself and the equipment for the mission. The sniper completes his plan based on his map reconnaissance and or any changes in the enemy situation. He may or may not alter the tentative plan, but he can add detail. The sniper uses the OPORD format as a guide to refine his concept. He places the main focus on actions in the objective area and carefully assigns the observer specific tasks for all phases of the operation. He ensures all actions work smoothly and efficiently.

5-6. OPERATION ORDER

The operation order is issued in the standard OPORD format. Extensive use of terrain models, sketches, and chalkboards should be made to highlight important details such as routes, planned rally points, and actions at known danger areas. All aspects of the OPORD should be thoroughly understood by the sniper team to include memorizing the following:

  • Intelligence acquisition tasks.
  • Situation--both friendly and enemy.
  • Mission.
  • Execution plan.
  • Administrative plans.
  • Communications and electronics, including frequencies, call signs, and antennas to be used.
  • SALUTE format.

5-7. BRIEFBACK

The sniper team rehearses the briefback until it is near-perfect before presenting it to the S3, sniper employment officer, or commander. A good briefback indicates the team's readiness for the mission. (Figure 5-1 is an example of a sniper team briefback outline.)

5-8. EQUIPMENT CHECK

The sniper team ensures needed equipment is operational before signing it out. Weapons are clean, functional, and test-fired to confirm zero. The team checks radios by making a communications check with the NCS of the net they will be using and night vision devices by turning them on (adding an extra battery). The team then double-checks all equipment. If they encounter problems, the sniper notifies the PSG or SEO.

5-9. FINAL INSPECTION

Inspections reveal the team's physical and mental state of readiness. The sniper ensures that all required equipment is present and functional, and that the observer knows and understands the mission. The following items should be inspected:

  • Completeness and correctness of uniform and equipment.
  • Items such as pictures, papers, marked maps, and sniper data book that contain confidential material.
  • Hats and pockets.
  • Shine, rattles, and tie-downs.
  • Weapons (loaded or unloaded).
  • Fullness of canteens.

If unauthorized items are found, the sniper immediately corrects any deficiencies. Then, he questions the observer to make sure he knows the team plan, what his job is, and when he is to do it.

5-10. REHEARSALS

Rehearsals ensure team proficiency. During rehearsals, the sniper rechecks his plans and makes any needed changes. It is through well-directed and realistic rehearsals that the team becomes thoroughly familiar with their actions on the mission.

a. The sniper team uses terrain similar to that on which they will operate (if available), rehearsing all actions if time permits. A good way to rehearse is to talk the team through each phase, describing the actions of each sniper, and then perform the actions as a dry run. When actions are understood, the sniper team goes through all the phases, using the signals and commands to be used during the mission.

b. If there is no time for rehearsals, the sniper team conducts a briefback/talk-through. This method is used to supplement rehearsals or when security needs or a lack of time preclude dry runs and wet runs. In this method, the team leader talks the observer through his actions and then has him orally repeat those actions. The sniper team establishes the sequence of actions to be rehearsed and, if time permits, conducts rehearsals in the same sequence as in the mission.

5-11. FINAL PREPARATIONS

The sniper makes any last-minute changes and corrects any deficiencies found during initial inspections. Final inspection should be made by the SEO and an S3 representative. Again, pockets and rucksacks are emptied and inspected. The inspection team looks for personal papers, marked maps, and other unauthorized items. The sniper ensures all previous discrepancies are corrected; equipment is still operational; all needed items are present; and the observer is ready for the mission. The inspection team randomly asks questions about the mission.

5-12. PREPARATION FOR DEBRIEFING

After the mission, the SEO or S3 representative directs the sniper team to an area where they prepare for a debriefing. The team remains in the area until called to the operations center. The sniper will bring the sniper data book that contains a log sheet, a field sketch, a range card, and a road/area sketch for debriefing.

a. The sniper team--

(1) Lays out and accounts for all team and individual equipment.

(2) Consolidates all captured material and equipment.

(3) Reviews and discusses the events listed in the mission logbook from insertion to return, including details of each enemy sighting.

(4) Prepares an overlay of the team's route, area of operations, insertion point, extraction point, and significant sighting locations.

b. An S3 representative controls the debriefing. He directs the sniper--

(1) To discuss any enemy sightings since the last communications with the radio base station.

(2) To give a step-by-step amount of each event listed in the mission logbook from insertion until reentry of the FFL, including details of all enemy sightings.

c. When the debriefing is complete, the S3 representative releases the sniper team back to platoon control.

5-13. COUNTERSNIPER OPERATION

When an enemy sniper threat has been identified in the sniper team's area of operations, the team is employed to eliminate the enemy sniper.

a. A sniper team identifies an existing sniper threat by using the following indicators:

(1) Enemy soldiers in special camouflage uniforms.

(2) Enemy soldiers seen carrying weapons in cases or drag bags or weapons with long barrel lengths, mounted telescopes, and bolt-action receivers.

(3) Single-shot fire.

(4) Lack or reduction of enemy patrols during single-shot fire.

(5) Light reflecting from optical lenses.

(6) Reconnaissance patrols reporting small groups of (one to three) enemy soldiers.

(7) Discovery of single, expended casings, such as 7.62-mm ammunition.

b. The sniper team then determines the best method to eliminate the enemy sniper. To accomplish this, the team gathers information and determines the pattern.

(1) Gathers information.

(a) Time of day precision fire occurs.

(b) Location of encountered enemy sniper fire.

(c) Location of enemy sniper sightings.

(d) Material evidence of enemy snipers, such as empty brass casings or equipment.

(2) Determines patterns. The sniper team evaluates the information to detect established patterns or routines. The team conducts a map reconnaissance, studies aerial photographs, or carries out ground reconnaissance to determine the movement patterns. The sniper must place himself in the position of the enemy and ask, "How would I accomplish this mission?"

c. Once a pattern or routine is identified, the sniper team determines the best location and time to engage the enemy sniper. The team can also request the following:

(1) Coordinating routes and fires.

(2) Additional preplotted targets (fire support).

(3) Infantry support to canalize or ambush the enemy sniper.

(4) Additional sniper teams for mutual supporting fire.

(5) Baiting of likely engagement areas to deceive the enemy sniper into commitment by firing.

(6) All elements in place 12 hours before the expected engagement time.

During a countersniper operation, the team must ignore battle activity and concentrate on the enemy sniper.

d. When an enemy sniper is operating in a unit's area, the sniper team ensures the unit employs passive countermeasures to defend against enemy sniper fire.

(1) Do not establish routines. For example, consistent meal times, ammunition resupply, assembly area procedures, or day-to-day activities that have developed into a routine.

(2) Conduct all meetings, briefings, or gatherings of personnel undercover or during limited visibility.

(3) Cover or conceal equipment.

(4) Remove rank from helmets and collars. Do not salute officers. Leaders should not use authoritative methods.

(5) Increase OPs and use other methods to increase the unit's observation abilities.

(6) Brief patrols on what to look for, such as single, expended rounds or different camouflage materials.

(7) Do not display awareness of the enemy's presence at any time.

5-14. REACTION TO ENEMY SNIPER FIRE

Although the sniper team's mission is to eliminate the enemy sniper, the team avoids engaging in a sustained battle with the enemy sniper. If the team is pinned down by enemy sniper fire and the sniper's position cannot be determined, the sniper team attempts to break contact to vacate the enemy sniper's kill zone.

a. The sniper team uses either hand-held or artillery generated smoke to obscure the enemy sniper's view. If the smoke provides sufficient obscuration, the sniper team breaks contact and calls for indirect fire on the enemy sniper position. If the smoke does not provide sufficient obscuration, the sniper team calls for an immediate suppression mission against the enemy sniper position. The team then breaks contact under the cover of indirect fire.

b. The sniper team should expect indirect fire and increased enemy patrolling activity shortly after contact with an enemy sniper.

Section II

MISSION PACKING LISTS

The sniper team requires arms and ammunition as determined by METT-T Some of the equipment mentioned in the example lists may not be available. A sniper team carries only mission-essential equipment normally not associated with a standard infantryman.

5-15. ARMS AND AMMUNITION

As a minimum, the sniper team requires arms and ammunition that should include the following:

a. Sniper:

  • M24 sniper weapon system with M3A scope.
  • M9 bayonet.
  • 100 rounds M118 special ball.
  • M9 pistol.
  • 45 rounds 9-mm ball ammunition.
  • 4 M67 fragmentation grenades; 2 CS grenades; 2 concussion grenades (MOUT).
  • M18A1 mine, complete.

b. Observer:

  • M16A1/A2/M203 with quadrant sight and AN/PVS-4 mounted.
  • M9 9-mm pistol.
  • M9 bayonet.
  • 210 (plus) rounds 5.56-mm ball ammunition.
  • 45 rounds 9-mm ball ammunition.
  • 6 rounds 40-mm high-explosive ammunition.
  • 3 rounds 40-mm antipersonnel ammunition.
  • 4 M67 fragmentation grenade, 2 CS grenades; 2 concussion grenades (MOUT).

5-16. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

The sniper team requires special equipment that may include, but not be limited to the following:

a. Sniper:

  • M24 sniper weapon system deployment kit (tools and replacement parts).
  • M9 pistol cleaning kit.
  • Extra handset for radio.
  • Extra batteries for radio (BA 4386 or lithium, dependent on mission length).
  • SOI.
  • M15 tripod.
  • M49 observation telescope.
  • AN/PVS-5/7 series, night vision goggles.
  • Extra BA-1567/U or AA batteries for night vision goggles.
  • Pace cord.
  • E-tool with carrier.
  • 50-foot 550 cord.
  • 1 green and 1 red star cluster.
  • 2 HC smoke grenades.
  • Measuring tape (25-foot carpenter-type).
  • 3 each 9-mm magazines.

b. Observer:

  • M16A1/A2 cleaning kit.
  • M203 cleaning kit.
  • AN/PRC-77/AN-PRC-119/AN/PRC-104A radios.
  • Radio accessory bag, complete with long whip and base, tape antenna and base, handset, and battery (BA-4386 or lithium).
  • 300-feet WD-1 field wire (for field-expedient antenna fabrication).
  • Olive-drab duct tape ("100-mph" tape).
  • Extra batteries for radio (if needed).
  • Extra batteries (BA-1567/U) for AN/PVS-4.
  • M19/M22 binoculars.
  • Sniper's data book, mission logbook, range cards, wind tables, and "slope dope."
  • 7 each 30-round capacity (5.56-mm) magazines.
  • 3 each 9-mm magazines.
  • Calculator with extra battery.
  • Butt pack.
  • 10 each sandwich-size waterproof bags.
  • 2 HC smoke grenades.
  • Lineman's tool.
  • Range estimation (sniper data book).

5-17. UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT

A recommended listing of common uniforms and equipment follows; however, weather and terrain will dictate the uniform. As a minimum, the sniper team should have the following:

  • Footgear (jungle/desert/cold weather/combat boots).
  • 2 sets BDUs (desert/woodland/camouflage).
  • Black leather gloves.
  • 2 brown T-shirts.
  • 2 brown underwear (optional).
  • 8 pair olive-drab wool socks.
  • Black belt.
  • Headgear (BDU/jungle/desert/cold weather).
  • ID tags and ID card.
  • Wristwatch (sweep second hand with luminous dial/waterproof).
  • Pocket survival knife.
  • Extra large ALICE pack, complete with frame and shoulder straps.
  • 2 waterproof bags (for ALICE pack).
  • 2 two-quart canteens with covers.
  • 1 bottle water purification tablets.
  • LBE complete.
  • Red-lensed flashlight (angle-head type with extra batteries).
  • MREs (number dependent on mission length).
  • 9-mm pistol holster and magazine pouch (attached to LBE).
  • 2 camouflage sticks (METT-T dependent).
  • 2 black ink pens.
  • 2 mechanical pencils with lead.
  • 2 black grease pencils.
  • Lensatic compass.
  • Map(s) of operational area and protractor.
  • Poncho.
  • Poncho liner.
  • 1 each ghillie suit complete.
  • 1 each protective mask/MOPP suit.
  • Foot powder.
  • Toiletries.
  • FM 23-10.

5-18. OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT

Certain situations may require equipment for specialized tasks and is METT-T dependent. The following equipment may prove useful in different climates/operational areas:

  • M203 vest.
  • Desert camouflage netting.
  • Natural-colored burlap.
  • Glitter tape.
  • VS-17 panel.
  • Strobe light with filters.
  • Special patrol insertion/extraction system harness.
  • 12-foot sling rope.
  • 2 each snap links.
  • 120-foot nylon rope.
  • Lip/sun screen.
  • Signal mirror.
  • Pen gun with flares.
  • Chemical lights (to include infrared).
  • Body armor/flak jacket.
  • Sniper veil.
  • Sewing kit.
  • Insect repellant.
  • Sleeping bag.
  • Knee and elbow pads.
  • Survival kit.
  • Rifle drag bag.
  • Pistol silencer/suppressor.
  • 2.5-pounds C4 with caps, cord, fuze, and igniter.
  • Rifle bipod/tripod.
  • Empty sandbags.
  • Hearing protection (ear muffs).
  • Thermometer.
  • Laser range finder.
  • Thermal imager.
  • Pocket binoculars.
  • 35-mm automatic loading camera with appropriate lenses and film.
  • 1/2-inch camcorder with accessories.
  • Satellite communications equipment.
  • Short-range radio with earphone and whisper microphone.
  • Field-expedient antennas.
  • Information reporting formats.
  • Encryption device for radio.

5-19. SPECIAL TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT (MOUT)

For operations in urban areas, the following tools and equipment are most useful; however, they are subject to availability:

  • Pry bar.
  • Pliers.
  • Screwdriver.
  • Rubber-headed hammer.
  • Glass cutter.
  • Masonry drill and bits.
  • Metal shears.
  • Chisel.
  • Auger.
  • Lock pick, skeleton keys, cobra pick.
  • Bolt cutters.
  • Hacksaw or handsaw.
  • Sledgehammer.
  • Axe.
  • Ram.
  • Power saw.
  • Cutting torch.
  • Shotgun.
  • Spray paint.
  • Stethoscope.
  • Maps/street plans.
  • Photographs, aerial and panoramic.
  • Whistle.
  • Luminous tape.
  • Flex cuffs.
  • Padlocks.
  • Intrusion detection system (booby traps).
  • Portable spotlights.
  • Money.
  • Civilian attire.

5-20. ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT TRANSPORT

The planned use of air and vehicle drops and caching techniques eliminates the need for the sniper team to carry extra equipment. Another method is to use the stay-behind technique when operating with a security patrol. (See Chapter 7.) Through coordination with the security patrol leader, the team's equipment may be distributed among the patrol members. On arrival at the ORP, the security patrol may leave behind all mission-essential equipment. After completing the mission, the team may cache the equipment for later pickup, or it may be returned the same way it was brought in.



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