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Patrols are missions to gather information, to conduct combat operations, or to establish a presence in an area of operations as part of a stability operation. The reconnaissance platoon usually conducts these operations as part of a larger effort. The infantry reconnaissance platoon normally conducts two types of patrols: reconnaissance and presence. The reconnaissance platoon must also be prepared to execute combat patrols based upon the factors of METT-TC. This chapter describes the planning considerations used in preparation for patrols, conduct of patrols, and establishment of and actions taken in a patrol base.

Section I. GENERAL

The SBCT reconnaissance platoon has the ability to transport its sections to positions of advantage to conduct patrolling and to assist in sustainability operations. The platoon leader should, if possible, integrate fires from the RV as a support or security position. The RV sections can also perform communications relay. Most patrols are conducted dismounted, but the vehicles can support the operation or be left in a hide position or in the company AA. The information discussed in this section applies to all types of patrols.


To accomplish the patrolling mission, a platoon or team must perform specific tasks. As with other missions, the leader assigns tasks in accordance with his estimate of the situation. He identifies those tasks the platoon must perform and decides which elements will perform them. Where possible, the leader should maintain team integrity. The terms "element" and "team" refer to the teams, or buddy teams, that perform the described tasks. The leader must plan carefully to ensure that he has identified and assigned all required tasks in the most efficient way. Platoons conducting patrols include the common and specific elements and teams for each type of patrol. The following elements are common to all patrols.

a.   Headquarters Element. The headquarters consists of the platoon leader, a RATELO, and platoon sergeant. It may consist of other attachments that are assigned or that the platoon leader decides that he or the platoon sergeant must control directly.

b.   Aid and Litter Team. Aid and litter teams are responsible for treating and evacuating casualties.

c.   Enemy Prisoner of War Search Team. EPW teams are responsible for controlling enemy prisoners and battlefield detainees IAW the five-S procedure (Chapter 9) and the leader's guidance.

d.   Surveillance Team. The surveillance team keeps watch on the objective from the time that the leader's reconnaissance ends until the unit deploys for actions on the objective. They then join their element.

e.   Compass Man. The compass man assists in navigation by ensuring the lead fire team leader remains on course at all times. The compass man should be thoroughly briefed. His instructions must include an initial azimuth with subsequent azimuths provided as necessary. The platoon or team leader also should designate an alternate compass man.

f.   Pace Man. The pace man maintains an accurate pace at all times. The platoon or team leader should designate how often the pace man is to report the pace. The pace man should also report the pace at the end of each leg. The platoon or team leader should also designate an alternate pace man.


Leaders plan and prepare for patrols using the troop-leading procedures. Leaders identify required actions on the objective and then reverse plan to the departure from friendly lines and forward to the reentry of friendly lines while making a tentative plan. They normally receive the OPORD in the battalion TOC where communications are good and key personnel are available. Because patrols act independently, move beyond the direct-fire support of the parent unit, and operate forward of friendly units, coordination must be thorough and detailed.

a.   Items to be considered by the company commander and platoon leader are—

  • Changes or updates in the enemy situation.
  • Best use of terrain for routes, rally points, and patrol bases.
  • Light and weather data.
  • Changes in the friendly situation.
  • The attachment of soldiers with special skills or equipment (for example, engineers or interpreters).
  • Use and location of landing zones.
  • Departure and reentry of friendly lines.
  • Fire support on the objective and along the planned routes, including alternate routes.
  • Rehearsal areas and times. The terrain for the rehearsal should be similar to that at the objective, to include buildings and fortifications if necessary.
  • Signal plan to include call signs, frequencies, code words, pyrotechnics, digital communication instructions, as well as the challenge and password.

b.   The platoon leader or battalion staff coordinates with the unit through which his platoon or team will conduct its forward and rearward passage of lines.

c.   The battalion S3 coordinates patrol activities with the leaders of other units that will be patrolling in adjacent areas at the same time.


As the platoon leader completes his plan, he considers the following:

a.   Essential and Supporting Tasks. The leader ensures that he has assigned all essential tasks to be performed on the objective, at rally points, at danger areas, at security or surveillance locations, along the route(s), and at passage lanes.

b.   Movement and Execution Times. The leader estimates time requirements for movement to the objective, leader's reconnaissance of the objective, establishment of security and surveillance, completion of all assigned tasks on the objective, movement to an objective rally point to debrief the platoon, and return to and through friendly lines.

c.   Primary and Alternate Routes. The leader selects primary and alternate routes to and from the objective (Figure 10-1). The return routes should differ from the routes to the objective.

Figure 10-1. Primary and alternate routes.

Figure 10-1  . Primary and alternate routes.

d.   Signals. The leader should consider the use of special signals. These include arm-and-hand signals, flares, voice, whistles, radios, and infrared equipment. All signals must be rehearsed so that all soldiers know what they mean.

e.   Challenge and Password Forward of Friendly Lines. The platoon can use digital technology to inform units that it can track their progress, and as a redundancy it can use challenge and password. The platoon leader can also designate a running password. This code word alerts a unit that friendly soldiers are approaching in a less than organized manner and possibly under pressure. This may be used to get soldiers quickly through a compromised passage of friendly lines. The running password is followed by the number of soldiers approaching, for example "Warrior six." This prevents the enemy from joining a group in an attempt to penetrate a friendly unit.

f.   Location of Leaders. The leader considers where he and the platoon sergeant and other key leaders should be located for each phase of the patrol mission. The platoon sergeant normally is with the following elements for each type of patrol:

  • On a raid or ambush, he normally controls the support element.
  • On an area reconnaissance, he normally stays in the ORP.
  • On a zone reconnaissance, he normally moves with the reconnaissance element that sets up the linkup point.

g.   Actions on Enemy Contact. Unless required by the mission, the platoon avoids enemy contact. The leader's plan must address actions on chance contact at each phase of the patrol mission. The platoon's ability to continue the mission will depend on how early contact is made, whether the platoon is able to break contact successfully (so that its subsequent direction of movement is undetected), and whether the platoon receives any casualties as a result of the contact.

(1)   The plan must address the handling of seriously wounded soldiers and KIAs.

(2)   The plan must address the handling of prisoners who are captured as a result of chance contact and who are not part of the planned mission.

h.   Contingency Plans. The leader leaves for many reasons throughout the planning, coordination, preparation, and execution of his patrol mission. Each time the leader departs without radio or wire communications, he must issue a five-point contingency plan. The contingency plan includes—

  • Where the leader is going.
  • Who he is taking with him.
  • The amount of time he plans to be gone.
  • The actions to be taken if the leader does not return.
  • The unit's and the leader's actions on chance contact while the leader is gone.


When departing friendly lines, the platoon leader or battalion staff must coordinate with the commander of the forward unit and the leaders of other units that will be patrolling in the same or adjacent areas. This coordination includes signal plan, fire plan, running password, procedures for departure and reentry lines, dismount points, initial rally points, departure and reentry points, and information about the enemy.

a.   The platoon leader provides the forward unit leader with the unit identification, the size of the patrol, the departure and return times, and the area of operation.

b.   The forward unit leader provides the platoon leader with the following:

  • Additional information on terrain.
  • Known or suspected enemy positions.
  • Likely enemy ambush sites.
  • Latest enemy activity.
  • Detailed information on friendly positions and obstacle locations to include the location of OPs.
  • Friendly unit fire plan.
  • Support that the unit can provide (for example, fire support, guides, communications, and reaction force).

c.   In his plan for the departure of friendly lines, the leader should consider the following sequence of actions:

  • Making contact with friendly guides at the contact point.
  • Moving to the coordinated initial rally point.
  • Completing final coordination.
  • Moving to and through the passage point.
  • Establishing a security-listening halt beyond the friendly unit's final protective fires.

d.   If the platoon is dismounted, it should remain in single file. The platoon sergeant follows directly behind the guide so that he can count each soldier who passes through the passage point. He gives the count to the guide, tells him how long to wait at the passage point (or when to return), and confirms the running password. If the platoon makes contact after it is past the departure point, it fights through. Soldiers return to the departure point only if they become disorganized. They then reoccupy the initial rally point, and the leader reports to higher headquarters.


A patrol base is a position set up when a team or platoon conducting a patrol halts for an extended period. Patrol bases should be occupied no longer than 24 hours, except in an emergency. The platoon or team never uses the same patrol base twice. Platoons or teams use patrol bases—

  • To stop all movement to avoid detection.
  • To hide during a long, detailed reconnaissance of an objective area.
  • To eat, clean weapons and equipment, or rest.
  • To plan and issue orders.
  • To reorganize after infiltrating an enemy area.
  • To have a base from which to conduct several consecutive or concurrent operations such as ambush, raid, reconnaissance, or security.

a.   The leader selects the tentative site from a map. Plans to establish a patrol base must include selecting an alternate patrol base site. The alternate site is used if the first site is unsuitable or if the patrol must unexpectedly evacuate the first patrol base.

b.   Leaders planning for a patrol base must consider the mission and passive and active security measures. The leader plans for—

  • Observation posts.
  • Communication with observation posts.
  • Defense of the patrol base.
  • Withdrawal from the patrol base to include withdrawal routes and a rally point or rendezvous point or alternate patrol base.
  • A security system to make sure that specific soldiers are awake at all times.
  • Enforcement of camouflage, noise, and light discipline.
  • The conduct of required activities with minimum movement and noise.

c.   The leader avoids—

  • Known or suspected enemy positions.
  • Built-up areas.
  • Ridges and hilltops, except as needed for maintaining communication.
  • Roads and trails.
  • Small valleys.


A rally point is a place designated by the leader where the platoon moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed. (See FM 7-8 for more information.) The leader physically reconnoiters routes to select rally points whenever possible. He selects tentative points if he can only conduct a map reconnaissance, and he confirms them by actual inspection as the platoon moves through them. The most common types of rally points are initial, en route, objective, reentry, and near- and far-side rally points. Soldiers must know which rally point to move to at each phase of the patrol mission. They should know what actions are required there and how long they are to wait at each rally point before moving to another.

a.   Initial Rally Point. An initial rally point is a place inside of friendly lines where a unit may assemble and reorganize if it makes enemy contact during the departure of friendly lines or before reaching the first en route rally point. The commander normally selects the initial rally point.

b.   En Route Rally Point. The leader designates en route rally points every 100 to 400 meters (based on the terrain, vegetation, and visibility). When the leader designates a new en route rally point, the previously designated en route rally point is no longer in effect. To preclude uncertainty, if contact is made immediately after the leader designates the new en route rally point (within 25-50m) the soldiers should move to the previously designated en route rally point. There are three ways to designate a rally point:

(1)   Physically occupy it for a short period. This is the preferred method.

(2)   Pass by at a distance and designate using arm-and-hand signals.

(3)   Walk through and designate using arm-and-hand signals.

c.   Objective Rally Point. The ORP is a point out of sight, sound, and small-arms range of the objective area. It is normally located in the direction that the platoon plans to move after completing its actions on the objective. The ORP is tentative until the objective is pinpointed. Actions at or from the ORP include—

  • Reconnoitering the objective.
  • Issuing a FRAGO.
  • Disseminating information from reconnaissance, if contact was not made.
  • Making final preparations before continuing operations such as recamouflaging; preparing demolitions; lining up rucksacks for quick recovery; preparing EPW bindings, first aid kits, and litters; and inspecting weapons.
  • Accounting for soldiers and equipment after actions at the objective are complete.
  • Reestablishing the chain of command after actions at the objective are complete.

(1)   Occupation of an ORP by a Team. In planning the occupation of an ORP, the team leader considers the following sequence.

(a)   The team halts beyond sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of the tentative ORP (200 to 400 meters in good visibility, 100 to 200 meters in limited visibility).

(b)   The team leader positions security.

(c)   The team leader issues a five-point contingency plan before departure.

(d)   The team leader moves forward with a compass man and one member of each element to confirm the location of the ORP and determine its suitability.

(e)   The team leader positions an information gathering soldier in the ORP at 12 o'clock and a control and security soldier at 6 o'clock. He issues them a contingency plan and returns with the compass man.

(f)   He then leads the team into the ORP and positions the information-gathering element from 9 to 3 o'clock and the control and security element from 3 to 9 o'clock.


The team may also occupy the ORP by force. This requires more precise navigation but eliminates separating the team.

(2)   Occupation of an ORP by a Platoon. The platoon leader should consider the same sequence in planning the occupation of an ORP. He brings a soldier from each team on his reconnaissance of the ORP and positions them at the 10, 2, and 6 o'clock positions. The first team in the order of march establishes the base leg (10 to 2 o'clock). The trailing teams occupy from 2 to 6 o'clock and 6 to 10 o'clock, respectively.

d.   Reentry Rally Point. The reentry rally point (RRP) is located out of sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of the friendly unit through which the platoon will return. This also means that the RRP should be outside the final protective fires of the friendly unit. The platoon occupies the RRP as a security perimeter.

e.   Near- and Far-Side Rally Points. These rally points are on the near and far side of danger areas. If the platoon makes contact while crossing the danger area and control is lost, soldiers on either side move to the rally point nearest them. They establish security, reestablish the chain of command, determine their personnel and equipment status, and continue the patrol mission, link up at the ORP, or complete their last instructions.


The plan must include a leader's reconnaissance of the objective once the platoon or team establishes the ORP. During his reconnaissance, the leader pinpoints the objective; selects security, support, and assault positions for his teams; and adjusts his plan based on his observation of the objective. Each type of patrol requires different tasks during the leader's reconnaissance. The platoon leader will take different elements with him. The leader must plan time to return to the ORP, complete his plan, disseminate information, issue orders and instructions, and allow his teams to make any additional preparations.


The platoon could be mounted or dismounted at the reentry rally point. The same considerations apply for coordination. The platoon leader should consider the following sequence.

a.   The platoon halts in the RRP and establishes security.

b.   The platoon leader radios the code word advising the friendly unit of its location and that it is ready to return. The friendly unit must acknowledge the message and confirm that guides are waiting before the platoon moves from the RRP.

c.   If radio communications are not possible, the platoon leader, a RATELO, and a two-man security element (buddy team) move forward and attempt to contact an OP using the challenge and password. The OP notifies the friendly unit that the platoon is ready to return and requests a guide.

d.   If the platoon leader cannot find an OP, he moves with the RATELO and security element to locate the coordinated reentry point. He must move straight toward friendly lines, never parallel to them. All lateral movement should be outside of small-arms weapons range.


The platoon leader should attempt this procedure only during daylight. At night he should use other backup signals to make contact with friendly units. The preferred method is to wait until daylight if contact with the friendly unit cannot be made as planned, but this is METT-TC dependent.

e.   The platoon leader uses far and near recognition signals to establish contact with the guide.

f.   The platoon leader signals (radio) the platoon forward or returns and leads it to the reentry point. He may post the security element with the guide at the enemy side of the reentry point.

g.   The platoon sergeant counts and identifies each soldier as he passes through the reentry point.

h.   The guide leads the platoon to the assembly area.

i.   The platoon leader reports to the command post of the friendly unit. He tells the commander everything of tactical value concerning the friendly unit's area of responsibility.

j.   The platoon leader rejoins the platoon in the assembly area and leads it to a secure area for debriefing.


Immediately after the platoon or team returns, personnel from higher headquarters conduct a thorough debrief. This may include all members of the platoon or the leaders, RATELO, and any attached personnel. The debriefing normally is oral. Sometimes a written report is required. Information on the written report should include—

  • Size and composition of platoon conducting the patrol.
  • Mission of the platoon (type of patrol, location, and purpose).
  • Departure and return times.
  • Routes. Use checkpoints, grid coordinates for each leg, or include an overlay.
  • Detailed description of terrain and enemy positions identified.
  • Results of any contact with the enemy.
  • Personnel status at the conclusion of the patrol.


This section discusses the types of patrols the SBCT reconnaissance platoon may be expected to conduct.


Reconnaissance patrols provide timely and accurate information on the enemy and terrain. They confirm the leader's plan before it is executed. The commander must brief the platoon leader the specific information requirements for each mission. The three types of reconnaissance patrols are area, zone, and route.

a.   Area Reconnaissance Patrol. An area reconnaissance is conducted to obtain information about a specific location and the area around it. The location may be given as a grid coordinate, an objective, on an overlay. In an area reconnaissance, the platoon or team uses surveillance or vantage points around the objective from which to observe it and the surrounding area. In planning for an area reconnaissance mission, the platoon leader considers the following sequence of actions.

(1)   The leader may include a surveillance team in his reconnaissance of the objective from the ORP. He positions the surveillance team while on the reconnaissance. The subordinate leader responsible for security establishes security at the ORP and positions other security teams as required on likely enemy avenues of approach into the objective area.

(2)   If required, the leader positions other surveillance elements about the objective. He may move them on one route posting them as they move, or he may direct them to move on separate routes to their assigned locations.

(3)   After observing the objective for a specified time, all elements return to the ORP and report their observations to the leader or the recorder. Once all information is collected, it is disseminated to every soldier.

b.   Zone Reconnaissance Patrol. A zone reconnaissance is conducted to obtain information on enemy, terrain, and routes within a specified zone. Zone reconnaissance techniques include the use of moving elements, stationary teams, or multiple area reconnaissance actions.

(1)   Moving Elements. The leader plans the use of teams moving along multiple routes to cover the entire zone. Methods for planning the movement of multiple elements through a zone include the fan, the box, converging routes, and successive sectors.

(a)   Fan Method. The leader first selects a series of ORPs throughout the zone. The platoon establishes security at the first ORP. Each team moves from the ORP along a different fan-shaped route that overlaps with others to ensure reconnaissance of the entire area (Figure 10-2). The leader maintains a reserve at the ORP. When all teams have returned to the ORP, the platoon leader collects and disseminates all information to every soldier before moving on to the next ORP.

Figure 10-2. Fan method.

Figure 10-2  . Fan method.

(b)   Box Method. The leader sends his teams from the ORP along routes that form a boxed-in area (Figure 10-3). He sends other teams along routes through the area within the box. All teams meet at a link-up point at the far side of the box from the ORP.

Figure 10-3. Box method.

Figure 10-3  . Box method.

(c)   Converging Routes Method. The leader selects routes from the ORP through the zone to a linkup point at the far side of the zone from the ORP (Figure 10-4). Each team moves along a specified route and uses the fan method to reconnoiter the area between routes. The leader designates a time for all teams to link up.

Figure 10-4. Converging routes method.

Figure 10-4  . Converging routes method.

(d)   Successive Sector Method. The leader may divide the zone into a series of sectors (Figure 10-5). Within each sector, the platoon uses the converging routes method to reconnoiter to an intermediate linkup point where it collects and disseminates the information gathered to that point before reconnoitering the next sector.

Figure 10-5. Successive sector method.

Figure 10-5  . Successive sector method.

(2)   Stationary Teams. Using this technique, the leader positions surveillance teams in locations where they can collectively observe the entire zone for long-term, continuous information gathering. He must consider sustainment requirements when developing his soldiers' load plan.

(3)   Multiple Area Reconnaissance. The leader tasks each of his teams to conduct a series of area reconnaissance actions along a specified route.

c.   Route Reconnaissance Patrol. A route reconnaissance is conducted to obtain detailed information about one route and all the adjacent terrain or to locate sites for emplacing obstacles. A route reconnaissance is oriented on a road, a narrow axis such as an infiltration lane, or a general direction of attack. Engineers normally are attached to the infantry unit for a complete route reconnaissance, although infantry can conduct a hasty route reconnaissance without engineer support. A route reconnaissance results in detailed information about trafficability, enemy activity, NBC contamination, and aspects of adjacent terrain from both the enemy and friendly viewpoint. In planning a route reconnaissance, the leader considers the following:

(1)   The preferred method for conducting a route reconnaissance is the fan method described above. The leader must ensure that the fans are extensive enough to reconnoiter intersecting routes beyond direct-fire range of the main route (Figure 10-6).

(2)   The platoon should use a different return route.

(3)   If all or part of the proposed route is a road, the leader must treat the road as a danger area. The platoon moves parallel to the road using a covered and concealed route. When required, reconnaissance and security teams move close to the road to reconnoiter key areas.

Figure 10-6. Route reconnaissance using fansfans.

Figure 10-6  . Route reconnaissance using fansfans.


Combat patrols are conducted to destroy or capture enemy soldiers or equipment; to destroy installations, facilities, or key points; or to harass enemy forces. They also provide security for larger units. The two types of combat patrol missions are ambush and raid.

a.   Organization. The platoon leader organizes the platoon with all assets available to include the reconnaissance teams, RVs, and attachments to complete the mission. Besides the common elements, combat patrols also have the following elements and teams.

(1)   Assault Element. The assault element seizes and secures the objective and protects special teams as they complete their assigned actions on the objective.

(2)   Security Element. The security element provides security at danger areas, secures the ORP, isolates the objective, and supports the withdrawal of the rest of the platoon once it completes its assigned actions on the objective. The security element may have separate security teams, each with an assigned task or sequence of tasks.

(3)   Support Element. The support element provides direct fire support and may control indirect fires for the platoon.

(4)   Breach Element. The breach element breaches the enemy's obstacles when required.

(5)   Demolition Team. Demolition teams are responsible for preparing and exploding the charges to destroy equipment, vehicles, or facilities on the objective.

(6)   Search Team. The assault element may comprise two-man (buddy team) or four-man (fire team) search teams to search bunkers, buildings, or tunnels on the objective. These teams may search the objective or kill zone for casualties, documents, or equipment.

b.   Leader's Reconnaissance. In a combat patrol, the leader has additional considerations for the conduct of his reconnaissance of the objective from the ORP. He is normally the assault element leader. He should also take the support element leader, the security element leader, and a surveillance team (a two-man team from the assault element).

(1)   The leader should designate a release point half way between the ORP and the objective. Teams separate at the release point and move to their assigned positions. The release point should have wire communications with the ORP and be set up so that other elements can tie into a hot loop there.

(2)   The platoon leader should confirm the location of the objective and determine that it is suitable for the assault or ambush. He notes the terrain and identifies where he can place mines or Claymores to cover dead space. He notes any other features of the objective that may cause him to alter his plan.

(3)   If the objective is the kill zone for an ambush, the leader's reconnaissance party should not cross the objective because to do so will leave tracks that may compromise the mission.

(4)   The platoon leader should confirm the suitability of the assault and support positions and routes from them back to the ORP.

(5)   The platoon leader should post the surveillance team and issue a five-point contingency plan before returning to the ORP.

c.   Ambush. An ambush is a surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target. Ambushes are classified by category—hasty or deliberate; by type—point, area, or antiarmor; and by formation—linear or L-shaped. The leader uses a combination of category, type, and formation in developing his ambush plan.

(1)   Planning. The key planning considerations include—

  • Covering the entire kill zone by fire.
  • Using existing or reinforcing obstacles (Claymores and other mines) to keep the enemy in the kill zone.
  • Protecting the assault and support elements with mines, Claymores, or explosives.
  • Using security elements or teams to isolate the kill zone.
  • Assaulting into the kill zone to search dead and wounded, assemble prisoners, and collect equipment. (The assault element must be able to move quickly through its own protective obstacles.)
  • Timing the actions of all elements of the platoon to preclude loss of surprise.
  • Using only one team to conduct the entire ambush and rotating teams over time from the ORP. This technique is useful when the ambush must be manned for a long time.

(2)   Formations. The leader considers either the linear or L-shaped formations in planning an ambush.

(a)   Linear. In an ambush using a linear formation, the assault and support elements deploy parallel to the enemy's route. This positions both elements on the long axis of the kill zone and subjects the enemy to flanking fire. This formation can be used in close terrain that restricts the enemy's ability to maneuver against the platoon or in open terrain, provided a means of keeping the enemy in the kill zone can be effected.

(b)   L-Shaped. In an L-shaped ambush, the assault element forms the long leg parallel to the enemy's direction of movement along the kill zone. The support element forms the short leg at one end of and at right angles to the assault element. This provides both flanking fires (long leg) and enfilading fires (short leg) against the enemy. The L-shaped ambush can be used at a sharp bend in a trail, road, or stream. It should not be used where the short leg would have to cross a straight road or trail.

d.   Hasty Ambush. A platoon or team conducts a hasty ambush when it makes visual contact with an enemy force and has time to establish an ambush without being detected. The actions for a hasty ambush must be well rehearsed so that soldiers know what to do on the leader's signal. They must also know what action to take if detected before they are ready to initiate the ambush. In planning and rehearsing a hasty ambush, the platoon leader should consider the following sequence of actions.

(1)   Using visual signals, any soldier alerts the platoon that an enemy force is in sight. The soldier continues to monitor the location and activities of the enemy force until his team or team leader relieves him.

(2)   The platoon or team halts and remains motionless.

(3)   The leader determines the best nearby location for a hasty ambush. He uses arm-and-hand signals to direct soldiers to covered and concealed positions. The leader designates the location and extent of the kill zone.

(4)   Security elements move out to cover each flank and the rear. The leader directs the security elements to move a given distance, set up, and rejoin the platoon on order or after the ambush (the sound of firing ceases). At team level, the two outside buddy teams normally provide flank security as well as fires into the kill zone.

(5)   Soldiers move quickly to covered and concealed positions, normally 5 to 10 meters apart. Soldiers ensure that they have good observation and fields of fire into the kill zone.

(6)   The leader initiates the ambush when the majority of the enemy force enters the kill zone. (If time and terrain permit, the team or platoon may place out Claymores and use them to initiate the ambush.)


If the enemy detects a soldier, the soldier initiates the ambush by firing his weapon and alerting the rest of the platoon by saying ENEMY RIGHT (LEFT or FRONT).

(7)   Leaders control the rate and distribution of fires. The leader orders cease-fire when the enemy force is destroyed or ceases to resist, and he directs the assault element to move into the kill zone to conduct a hasty search of the enemy soldiers. All other soldiers remain in place to provide security.

(8)   The security elements rejoin the platoon after the assault element has cleared through the kill zone. The platoon withdraws from the ambush site using a covered and concealed route. The platoon returns to the ORP in effect, collects and disseminates all information, reorganizes as necessary, and continues the mission.

e.   Deliberate Ambush. A deliberate ambush is conducted against a specific target at a predetermined location. The types of deliberate ambushes are point, area, and antiarmor. The leader requires detailed information in planning a deliberate ambush:

  • Size and composition of the targeted enemy unit.
  • Weapons and equipment available to the enemy.
  • The enemy's route and direction of movement.
  • Times that the targeted unit will reach or pass specified points along the route.

(1)   Point Ambush. In a point ambush, soldiers deploy to attack an enemy in a single kill zone. The platoon leader must ensure that all elements and weapons systems are sited. In conjunction with the PSG, the platoon leader must have positive C2 of security, support, and assault elements. If using RVs, the platoon leader may or may not integrate their fires but should plan and coordinate dismount, remount, or hide positions for the vehicles, if used.

(2)   Area Ambush. The area ambush is a dynamic ambush. Soldiers deploy in two or more related point ambushes based on real-time intelligence. There are three techniques used in employing area ambushes.

  • Sequential (linear in nature).
  • Concentrated (centralized in nature).
  • Distributed (decentralized in nature).

The platoon leader should consider the following sequence of actions when planning a deliberate area ambush.

(a)   A platoon is the smallest unit to conduct an area ambush. Platoons conduct area ambushes where enemy movement is largely restricted to trails or streams.

(b)   The platoon leader should select one principal ambush site around which he organizes outlying ambushes. These secondary sites are located along the enemy's most likely approach to and escape from the principal ambush site. Team-sized elements normally are responsible for each ambush site.

(c)   The platoon leader must determine that the best employment of all weapon systems and vehicle platforms is used.

(d)   Isolating teams are responsible for outlying ambushes and do not initiate their ambushes until after the principal ambush is initiated. They then engage to prevent enemy forces from escaping or reinforcing.

(3)   Antiarmor Ambush. Platoons conduct antiarmor ambushes to destroy one or two armored vehicles. The antiarmor ambush is organized around the platoon's antiarmor capabilities and supporting assets. The leader must consider additional weapons available to supplement the platoon's fires. The leader must carefully position all antiarmor weapons to ensure the best shot (rear, flank, or top). The remainder of the platoon must function as support and security elements in the same way that they do for other combat patrols.

(a)   In an antiarmor ambush, the platoon leader selects a general site for the ambush that restricts the movement of armored vehicles out of the kill zone. The leader should attempt to place his elements so that an obstacle is between them and the kill zone.

(b)   The leader should consider the method for initiating the antiarmor ambush. The preferred method is to use a command-detonated antiarmor mine placed in the kill zone. The armor-killer teams, typically equipped with the platoon's Javelins, attempt to kill the first and last vehicles in the column. All other weapons open fire once the ambush has begun.

(c)   The leader must consider how the presence of dismounted enemy will affect the success of his ambush. Because of the speed with which other armored forces can reinforce the enemy in the ambush site, the leader should plan to keep the engagement short and the withdrawal quick. The platoon will not clear through the kill zone as in other ambushes.

f.   Raid Patrol. The raid patrol is a combat patrol whose mission is to attack a position or installation for any or all of these purposes:

  • Destroy the position or installation.
  • Destroy or capture troops or equipment.
  • Liberate personnel.

(1)   Surprise, firepower, and violent action are the keys to a raid.

(a)   Surprise is best achieved by attacking—

  • When the enemy may least expect an attack.
  • When visibility is poor.
  • From an unexpected direction, such as from the rear or through a swamp or other seemingly impassable terrain.

(b)   Fire is concentrated at critical points to suppress the enemy.

(c)   Violence is best achieved by gaining surprise, by using massed fire, and by attacking aggressively.

(2)   The patrol moves to the ORP as described for a reconnaissance patrol. The ORP is secured, the leaders conduct reconnaissance, and plans are confirmed. Elements and teams move to their positions. If possible, their movements are coordinated so that all reach their positions about the same time. This improves the patrol's capability for decisive action if the enemy detects the patrol early.

(3)   The teams of the security element move to positions from which they can secure the ORP, give warning of enemy approach, block avenues of approach into the objective area, prevent enemy escape from the objective area, or perform any combination of these tasks within their capability.

(a)   As the assault and support elements move into position, the security element keeps the leader of the patrol informed of all enemy action. It shoots only if detected or on the leader's order.

(b)   Once the assault starts, the security element prevents enemy entry into, or escape from, the objective area.

(c)   When the assault is completed, the security element covers the withdrawal of the assault and support elements to the ORP. It withdraws itself on order or on a prearranged signal.

(4)   The support element moves into position so that it can suppress the objective and shift fire when the assault starts. It normally covers the withdrawal of the assault element from the immediate area of the objective. It withdraws itself on oral order or on signal.

(5)   The assault element deploys close enough to the objective to permit immediate assault if detected by the enemy. As supporting fire is lifted or shifted, the assault element assaults, seizes, and secures the objective. It protects demolition teams, search teams, and other teams while they work. On order or signal, the assault element withdraws to the ORP.

(6)   At the ORP, the patrol reorganizes and moves about 1,000 meters away to disseminate information. During reorganization, ammunition is distributed, casualties are treated, and status reports are given.


US forces increasingly are deployed in support of stability and support missions all around the world. The RV-equipped infantry platoon conducts a presence patrol much the same as a combat patrol, and the planning considerations are much the same. The primary difference is that the patrol wants to be seen both as a show of force and to lend confidence and stability to the local population of the host nation. As its name implies, this patrol is constituted to effect a presence. A presence patrol can be used only if a peace agreement has been negotiated between belligerents. The presence patrol is armed, and it conducts the planning and preparation necessary for combat operations at all times. The patrol would be used as a component of a larger force conducting stability and or support operations. The platoon could be tasked to conduct mounted or dismounted patrols planned by the higher HQ to accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Confirm or supervise an agreed cease-fire.
  • Gain information.
  • Cover gaps between OPs or checkpoints.
  • Show a stability force presence.
  • Reassure isolated communities.
  • Inspect existing or vacated positions of former belligerents.
  • Escort former belligerents or local populations through trouble spots.

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