Insertion, Extraction, Escape, and Evasion
Insertion is the entrance of a ranger force into a hostile area to execute a particular mission. It is the first critical phase of a ranger operation. These operations often involve deep penetrations of enemy territory by air, water, or land. This chapter emphasizes fundamentals and techniques employed by ranger units when their mission requires insertion and extraction. Extraction is conducted quickly after the mission to avoid casualties.
a. Insertion plans are based on timely and accurate intelligence. The headquarters directing the operation must provide current intelligence information to the ranger force. The ranger regiment normally takes action to solicit required information from the controlling headquarters and from other agencies, if security permits. The type of intelligence needed varies depending on the specific mission, but normally includes the following:
(1) Current photographs from aerial or overhead reconnaissance.
(2) Detailed maps.
(3) Data on the population, terrain, and weather from area studies.
(4) Current enemy order of battle, enemy troop locations, and enemy capabilities.
(5) Details on the target area and infiltration routes.
b. To meet its need for current intelligence, the ranger force also relies on aerial reconnaissance and surveillance of the terrain over which it will move. Emphasis is on getting information on the enemy's ability to detect and engage the inserting forces. The location and abilities of air defense radar and weapons systems are critical. Terrain analysis is detailed and focuses on areas suitable for the insertion. Weather information must be detailed and current.
c. In getting information and intelligence data, OPSEC measures are stringent and must be enforced. Coordination with other agencies is kept within security constraints approved by the directing headquarters.
There are always plans to deny the enemy knowledge of the ranger unit's insertion, or to deceive him as to the location or intent of the operation. Feints, false insertions, and other deception operations all add to ranger deception plans. Selection of unexpected means, time, place, and routes of insertion, as well as use of speed and mobility, give less reaction time to the enemy. Planning may include the use of diversionary fires to direct the enemy's attention away from the inserting unit. Deception techniques that may be used include--
a. Multiple airdrops, water landings, or both. This precludes the entire force from becoming engaged at the same time and place, if detected.
b. Dispersion of insertion craft (air or water) both in time and location.
c, Landing a force in an area closer to other potential targets than to the actual targets.
d. Leaks of false information and false messages.
e. False insertions or radio traffic to disguise actual insertions.
f. Diversionary actions such as airstrikes in other than the target areas.
g. Increased reconnaissance flights, either by manned aircraft or remotely piloted vehicles, over false targets.
4-3. Speed and Mobility.
a. Speed of action must be emphasized when the enemy can react quickly to the ranger force presence or when there are limited means of withdrawal. The operation must be conducted swiftly, allowing the ranger force to withdraw before the enemy can react.
b. Major problems facing ranger units are the need for speed and mobility, and the heavy loads carried by soldiers for sustained operations. Ranger units are required to be flexible and to be able to react to any problem within the objective area. However, if equipment is carried to cover every encounter, the load will become too heavy. This will reduce the speed and mobility of the ranger unit. The ranger force commander must always have a balance between the equipment carried and the mobility of his unit. He does this by making three different types of loads: fighting, mission, and existence. He decides what items will make up these loads, where they are carried, and what will be done with them upon contact with the enemy.
(1) The fighting load consists of those items of equipment, weapons, ammunition, food, and water that are common to all soldiers and are necessary for immediate use in combat. These items are normally carried and are retained at all times while in contact with the enemy.
(2) The mission load consists of those items of equipment or ammunition that are required by the mission, but are not normally carried by all rangers in a unit. The load may include spare batteries, demolitions, radios, antitank weapons, or mines. This load is normally spread out among members of the unit and is rotated often. It may be dropped upon enemy contact, but is normally carried to the objective and either used or emplaced there.
(3) The existence load consists of any items designed to provide protection from the elements: sleeping gear, changes of clothes, spare rations, or tentage. This load may or may not be brought into the objective area, depending on the tactical situation. If it is brought, it is normally dropped upon enemy contact or left in an assembly area and retrieved later.
Methods and steps chosen for insertion must emphasize stealth and try to avoid detection by the enemy. Multiple routes or methods of insertion may be used to preserve the ranger force if some soldiers or units are seen.
Effort must be made to suppress enemy detection devices, weapons systems, and command and control facilities. This may include electronic countermeasures or direct attack. This helps prevent the enemy from finding and engaging the ranger force en route to the objective area. Deception tactics add to suppression activities. If the ranger force is inserting by infiltration, suppression must not disclose friendly activities.
Emphasis on OPSEC prevents compromise of an impending operation. The operation must not be disclosed by overt rehearsals or training activities, the open use or procurement of special items of equipment, or the location of the marshalling area. Several measures can help in maintaining security:
a. Guarded and secure facilities for the headquarters and staff during planning.
b. Issue of operation orders only after units are moved to secure marshalling areas.
c. Alerts, rehearsals, and training to get the local people used to conditions that will exist during actual marshalling.
d. A secure facility set up to isolate units selected for an impending operation.
4-7. Night vision and electronic devices.
a. Rangers use night vision devices to detect and avoid the enemy's forces and his detection devices. These devices also assist in controlling and speeding movement and allow units to traverse almost impassable terrain.
b. The use of electronic homing devices permits precise navigation during reduced visibility. These devices may also be used with visual marking systems.
c. Passive night vision devices are used to assemble rapidly and to reorganize.
d. The use of active night vision devices in assembling, and the degree to which drop zones or assembly areas are "sterilized," depends on the following:
(1) Mission success may depend on not being seen during insertion. When a clandestine insertion is made, the time needed to get to the objective will normally be greater, the use of passive devices will prevail, and the sterilization of the area will be vital. Each ranger must be briefed on sterilization plans and techniques for erasing signs of the insertion.
(2) When detection is likely and the mission depends on getting to the objective before the enemy can react, speed becomes crucial to the success of the insertion. Insertion may be near or on the objective. Rangers must get in and out quickly. They do minimum sterilization of the area and can use active RSTA devices.
Rehearsals should be close to the actual conditions of insertions and extractions. Security of rehearsals and rehearsal sites is important to the success of the operation. Rehearsals are held on terrain and structures like those in the objective area. If such structures are not available, they are built by the ranger force and the RSE with its supporting engineers.
4-9. Sand tables and terrain models.
Sand tables are useful to acquaint personnel with insertion sites and surrounding terrain. The use of sand tables and terrain models during the issuance of prejump orders and briefings enhances an orderly and speedy tactical assembly.
Reporting during insertion and extraction missions is normally by exception, using an operations schedule.
4-11. Planning insertions.
a. Centralized planning. Planning for insertion of ranger units is centralized at the lowest level responsible for the overall operation. This is normally at the joint task force level, with detailed coordination required among all supporting forces. These forces may include other Army elements, USAF, United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), other US agencies, and allies. Preparation must include detailed contingency planning for use of firepower, shock effect, speed to break contact (if detected), control measures, procedures, and planning. When planning takes a long time, intelligence must be continually updated through all available sources. This includes overhead photography and ground sources to ensure that the initial planning data are still current. Planning stresses the use of deception. Escape and evasion plans, external communication nets, and the location of caches must be known to leaders at all levels.
b. Reverse planning sequence. Insertion planning is done in the reverse planning sequence with the ground tactical plan being prepared first. Actions at the objective serve as the basis for the landing and assault plan, the plan for insertion and movement, the loading plan, and the plan for marshalling. All plans are interrelated. Some may be developed at the same time. Consideration of the factors of METT-T guides all planning. Special considerations that apply to these operations are:
(1) Mission. The nature of actions at the objective and requirements for special items of equipment and nonorganic personnel impacts on how the unit inserts. When the mission requires rapid deployment, the fastest method of insertion may be needed. In other operations, where success of the mission depends on maintaining secrecy, speed may be less important.
(2) Enemy situation. Enemy disposition, strength, and security measures along the route(s) near the objective area affect the method of insertion to be used. Planners must take into consideration whether the enemy:
(a) Uses RSTA detection devices or not.
(b) Has a strong air defense system or possesses air superiority.
(c) Has gaps between his defensive positions.
(3) Terrain and weather.
(a) Topography. Terrain such as mountains, swamps, or heavy forests favors land infiltration. Deserts, arctic regions, and open prairies favor air or water insertion. Areas not inhabited or with a friendly but scattered population favor land infiltration. A heavily populated area, or one which contains large enemy forces, favors air or water insertion. Hydrography--tides, currents, surf, reefs, and sandbars--must be considered when planning water insertion.
(b) Weather. Bad weather with reduced visibility and high winds favors land infiltration, and adversely affects air or water insertion. Limited visibility favors land infiltration; good visibility does not. Adverse weather aerial delivery systems (AWADS) lessens the impact of reduced visibility as a limiting factor on air infiltration. High winds may preclude airborne insertion.
(4) Troops. The number of men to be inserted and their level of training may be limiting factors. A need for special skills may call for use of nonranger unit personnel whose physical stamina and ability to perform many infiltration techniques may not equal that of the rangers. Whether supporting forces and special items of equipment are available must also be considered.
(5) Time. The main concern is whether the ranger operation is quick-response or deliberate-response. During a quick response mission, planning, preparation, and rehearsal time is short. The timing of the insertion is crucial with respect to weather, the enemy, and if an insertion craft is available.
4-12. Air insertion.
The most rapid form of insertion is by air. Rangers and equipment can be delivered by parachute (static-line or freefall technique), fixed-wing aircraft (airlanded), or helicopter (airlanded, parachute, or rappeling).
a. Suppression of enemy air defense along the insertion corridor may be necessary. The USAF will normally assume the major responsibility for suppressing enemy air defense artillery (ADA) capabilities that may interfere with the inserting forces. This is done by a variety of sophisticated electronic countermeasures applied against enemy equipment and by strikes against known enemy positions. Army fire support elements, special electronic mission aircraft (SEMA), and ground jammers may participate, as well as Navy aircraft, jammers, and gunfire.
(1) A main danger area is the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA) or frontier areas where the enemy employs most of his sophisticated weapons systems and air defenses. Other dangerous areas are population or troop concentration areas behind enemy lines protected by point air defense systems.
(2) Since the majority of the enemy's detection devices and air defense weapons may be located near the point of entry, fire support, smoke screens (even at night), and suppressive measures may be critical. The use of special items of equipment may be needed to counter the enemy's RSTA effort.
(3) Long-range fires (artillery and naval gunfire) should be planned on known and suspected enemy antiaircraft locations and on prominent terrain features along the route(,s). Once beyond the FEBA, inserting units may be beyond the range of conventional indirect fire. More reliance will then be placed on air assets for fire support and electronic countermeasures.
b. There must be close coordination between the ranger unit and the transporting unit. What the transporting unit does during the insertion has a great impact on the success of the mission. To decrease the chance of detection, maximum use is made of periods of reduced visibility and tactical cover and deception. Drop zones and landing zones are chosen behind tree lines, in small clearings in forests, or on other types of terrain not easily seen.
c. All flight routes over enemy territory should be planned in order to avoid occupied areas and enemy air defenses. Routes should complement the cover and deception plan. They should avoid giving away final ranger objectives.
d. In-flight emergencies, mainly in deep-pedetration flights, should be considered, The ranger force receives a preflight briefing on the route to be flown and is informed of checkpoints along the route. Simple ground assembly plans for contingencies are set up before enplaning. In an emergency, the leader of the unit involved decides whether to continue the mission or abort. This is based on METT-T factors, contingency plans, and distance to the objective as compared to the distance to friendly territory. Contingency provisions for air and water rescue are made.
e. Deciding the DZ location is a joint effort. After receiving input from the air and ground commanders, the joint task force commander makes the final decision. During air assault operations, the ground commander is responsible for the overall process. After reviewing MEYF-T factors, it may be determined that surprise is more important than speed, or vice versa. This may determine the number, size, and locations of DZs and LZs.
f. Planning and preparation continue during the marshalling phase of any operation using air delivery for insertion. A review must be made of items of equipment that are crucial to the ranger force reaching its target area, accomplishing the mission, and returning safely. The need for special supplies and equipment, their transport, the distance to be traversed, the delivery means, and external support are all factors that enhance or reduce the chance for success. Once the means of insertion has been decided, logistics planning continues with emphasis on requesting and coordinating external support. The following must be considered:
(1) Detailed planning for mission logistical needs.
(2) Extra sets of key items of equipment to ensure redundancy and self-sufficiency of inserting units.
(3) Plans for accompanying, planned, and emergency resupply. The ranger force should prepackage loads to meet specific contingencies. It should consider the use of supplies and equipment already in the operational area.
(4) In quick-response operations, only manportable items of equipment needed to accomplish the mission are carried. Plans and signals must be established for resupply of key items.
(5) Specific plans to evacuate casualties.
(6) All attached personnel and augmentation equipment must be properly prepared for movement.
(7) Provisions must be made for evacuating captured enemy equipment and personnel.
(8) All inserting units should be cross-loaded. Items to be considered in a cross-loading plan are the ground tactical plan, the assembly plan, the configuration of the DZ, the light route and formation of the aircraft, and the number of aircraft available. Cross-loading ensures that key leaders and equipment--for example, door bundles--are evenly distributed throughout the assaulting force. If one or more aircraft abort or are shot down, some key leaders and equipment will still arrive at the DZ. This permits mission accomplishment. Cross-loading aids rapid assembly on the DZ in support of the ground tactical plan. If a ranger is to assemble near the leading edge of a DZ, he is loaded on the aircraft to exit near the front of his stick.
(9) A bump plan is used if an aircraft should abort while still on the ground and there are no spare aircraft. The bump plan ensures that key leaders and equipment are not left behind when the main body takes off. If an aircraft aborts on the ground, key personnel move to another aircraft and replace nonessential personnel. This concept promotes success on the objective.
4-13. Airborne insertion.
a. During the planning phase of an airborne operation, there is no room for error in judgment. It can be planned and conducted well only if there is a constant exchange of information. All personnel involved must be informed of all changes in plans, times, and locations.
b. The reverse planning sequence is the key to the success of an airborne insertion. Most of the planning is based on the ground tactical plan, followed by the air movement plan to support it.
c. The USAF is responsible for flight planning, initial point (IP) selection, and crew procedures throughout the flight. The senior ranger in the aircraft must remain oriented and keep abreast of any last-minute changes. He must coordinate with the aircraft commander.
d. Most airborne insertions are made at either very high altitudes (HALO/HAHO) or very low. For combat operations, drop altitudes may be less than 500 feet above ground level (AGL), depending on the type of parachute used.
e. In airborne insertions, emphasis is on the use of special delivery or navigational techniques since normal insertion is during periods of limited visibility.
(1) Adverse weather aerial delivery system.
(a) A self-contained navigational system in some USAF C-130 aircraft is AWADS. The system allows the aircraft crew to fly a specific route to a DZ during darkness or bad weather. The system works with a Doppler radar that determines the ground speed of the aircraft, and an AWADS computer programmed with special flight route information (start point, route, checkpoints, wind speed and direction, and air speed). These two instruments show where the aircraft is in relation to the programmed checkpoints. This eliminates the need for airdrops under visual weather conditions.
(b) Only certain aircraft in formation are equipped with the actual AWADS device. Other aircraft are equipped with station-keeping equipment (SKE). This SKE consists of a computer that tells the aircrew where their aircraft is in relation to other aircraft in the formation.
Figure 4-1. AWADS abd SKE aircraft formation.
(c) Airborne insertions using AWADS give the ranger commander the ability to airdrop personnel and equipment during low or zero visibility. This increases the safety of USAF aircraft. It protects them from visually tracked enemy antiaircraft guns and non-all-weather fighters. It also uses adverse weather as a combat force multiplier. Using AWADS, personnel and equipment may be inserted day or night without a pre-positioned USAF combat control team (CCT) or an Army assault team. Time length of the air train is shortened. The air corridor has to be cleared only once. This enhances the element of surprise. The CCTs are brought in with the assault elements. They are able to direct other low altitude parachute extraction systems (LAPES), container delivery systems (CDS), and air-land or heavy drop missions. Use of AWADS enables the ranger commander to conduct rapid, vertical reinforcement of units threatened by an enemy attack during bad weather.
(d) The use of AWADS requires detailed planning, rehearsal, and close coordination among the forces involved. Intense training of both USAF and Army personnel is required.
(e) Personnel must be briefed on terrain through use of photographs, maps, and terrain models. Limited visibility relies mainly on compasses and audible and visual assembly aids.
(f) During reduced visibility, essential heavy-drop serials may precede personnel aircraft. This reduces the time lag between personnel and heavy-drop chalks due to the need to move friendly troops off the DZ. Remaining heavy-drop serials or LAPES can be scheduled following P-hour.
(2) Reconnaissance teams.
(a) The operations of the main ranger force may be enhanced by use of reconnaissance teams. These teams are inserted ahead of the main body to provide early warning or to conduct reconnaissance of key objectives. If reconnaissance teams are required at a point along the flight path or near the main DZ, they may be cross-loaded on board any aircraft within the formation. They exit at planned times so as to land as close to their objective as possible. Should such teams be required at a point perpendicular to the axis of the main formation, one of the following is used:
- Another flank aircraft delivers teams to designated points before or with arrival of the main body.
- Selected aircraft deliver the main body, turn, and then deliver the reconnaissance teams.
- The teams are cross-loaded as complete elements on aircraft delivering other units whose flight path crosses the desired locations.
(b) Missions assigned to reconnaissance teams include:
- Providing local security for a USAF CCT, in which case, by joint doctrine, they form the Army assault team (AAT).
- Establishing surveillance or blocking positions on likely avenues of approach into the objective area or DZs.
- Locating and marking targets or assembly areas for the main assault force.
(c) Reconnaissance teams may be inserted by static line or HALO/HAHO operations.
(d) If the reconnaissance element is to locate a specific target or objective, it may be inserted up to 24 hours early. The longer the reconnaissance team remains near the objective area, the greater the danger of it being seen.
(e) In order for the information to be used by the ranger force commander, secure communications and a linkup plan must be prepared and rehearsed.
(a) The ranger airborne force can conduct a quick assembly of combat power (weapons, personnel, and command and control elements) on the DZ. Quick assembly and reorganization is crucial because the unit is open to attack. Assembly must be fast and precise. Assembly areas and plans are set forth after considering all the factors of METT-T, mainly the location of the enemy, visibility, terrain, drop information, dispersion pattern, and cross-loading.
(b) The number of assembly areas depends on the location of the DZ, size of the assembly areas, and enemy's detection ability. Unit members move directly to the assembly areas without breaching security. Dissemination of information to all jumpers is the key to a successful assembly plan.
(c) For battalion-size or larger operations, general assembly areas are prescribed in the ranger force OPORD. Company commanders select and designate the exact location of their assembly areas. Although assembly area locations are terrain-dependent, they are generally on the DZ if the drop is at night and off the DZ if the drop is during daylight.
(d) Personnel chosen to carry assembly aids are cross-loaded in the center of their unit sticks. Strong, aggressive leaders should jump first and last in each stick. Upon landing, the leaders roll up their sticks toward the center, locate and move to the proper assembly aid. They may also carry or wear assembly aids. Individual rangers then follow these key personnel. During daylight operations, radiotelephone operators (RATELOS) can display color-coded pennants on their radio antennas to facilitate linkup with leaders. Key personnel may carry and jump with their own radios, and also display color-coded pennants on the radio antennas. Key personnel and RATELOs put their radios into operation before moving to assembly areas. For drops occurring near dawn or dusk, both daylight and night assembly plans are required.
(e) When tactical vehicles or door bundles are dropped, they are normally marked with panels, chemical lights, or strobe lights. The delivery parachutes are often color-coded.
(f) A ranger force should be able to assemble on an unfamiliar DZ, at night, within 45 minutes of the final aircraft pass. Because most ranger operations are time-sensitive, the unit normally moves from the assembly area to the objective when enough of the force has assembled to accomplish the mission. A straggler control point remains at the assembly area under the control of a designated leader. When everyone assembles, or at a specific time, the leader moves to link up with the unit. If available, a radio is left with the straggler control point.
(g) Assembly area security plans are prepared and disseminated. These plans must address hasty defense, sectors of responsibility, observation posts, fire support, and chain of command.
(4) Contact on the DZ. During the conduct of parachute insertion, rangers must be ready for enemy engagement at all times. Rangers are open to attack on the DZ before assembling. Just as contingency plans and chance immediate-action drills are developed, briefed, and rehearsed for other chance enemy contacts, rangers must be prepared to execute immediate-action drills for enemy contact on the DZ. The following actions are taken when there is enemy contact on the DZ:
(a) Rangers immediately assemble in fire team-size groups and fight off the DZ to designated assembly areas. Elements attempt to break contact and assemble.
(b) Assembly areas designated by commanders in the mission OPORD serve as primary rally points.
(c) Alternate assembly areas (normally 2 to 5 kilometers from the DZ) are designated in the mission operation order (OPORD). They are used by elements that cannot link up or assemble in the primary assembly area. These elements continue with the mission once assembled.
(d) During limited visibility, personnel should move directly and quickly off the DZ. They must avoid mistaking other friendly elements for enemy, which could cause firefights among friendly forces.
(a) The unit reorganizes according to plans, using designated assembly areas, aids, and identification markings for personnel and equipment. Replacements are named for key leaders or personnel who are lost or injured.
(b) Security teams assemble and move to their positions. Remaining units move quickly to their assembly areas, carrying supplies and equipment.
(c) Subordinate leaders keep the commander informed during assembly and reorganization.
(d) Runners may be used to report assembly status. This maintains radio silence. Designated personnel quickly recover supplies and equipment and move to the assembly areas.
(e) Reorganization is complete when all units have assembled or have been accounted for, and control has been established.
(6) Pop-up technique. This involves close terrain flying until the DZ is reached, then the aircraft quickly climbs to jump altitude. Special navigational equipment and aircrew training are needed but may not always be available.
(7) HALO/HAHO. This involves high-altitude, low-opening and high-altitude, high-opening jumps with high performance parachutes designed to maneuver the jumpers to a specific point on the ground. During these operations, midair assembly procedures may be used.
(8) Arctic. Airborne insertion in extremely cold conditions is difficult. Times allocated for all parachute and equipment rigging must be increased. Rigging of individual equipment must be IAW FM 57-220. Ahkios can be rigged, packed inside a double A22 container, and dropped in platoon bundles. Because of the increased amount of individual equipment needed, allowable cargo loads for USAF aircraft are reduced.
(9) Water. Because of a lack of suitable land DZs, or to avoid detection, rangers may conduct airborne operations onto water DZs close to land. Procedures and techniques are similar to land DZ operations.
(10) In-flight rigging. On long-range operations involving extended flight time to the objective area, personnel may rig in flight. In-flight rigging requires detailed planning, coordination, of all jumpers. A rehearsal of these procedures should be conducted before deployment. Aircraft loads must be reduced to carry out in-flight rigging procedures. (See FM 57-220.)
4-14. Air-land insertion (fixed-wing).
a. Planning factors. Most of the planning factors that apply to airborne insertion operations also apply to air-land insertion operations. Most USAF aircraft cannot conduct air-land operations in total instrument weather conditions. The AWADS equipment is accurate enough for airdrop navigation, not air-land. Air-land operations are conducted, however, under conditions of extremely reduced visibility. Specially trained USAF crews, using sophisticated navigational techniques, can locate and land on small airfields in bad weather. As in airborne operations, ranger reconnaissance teams, as well as specially trained CCT elements, can jump before the air-land aircraft arrive. They emplace navigational and location markers to assist the pilots. Rangers may rely solely on air-land operations for insertion. This method does not provide for delivery of the force in the shortest time possible. Air-land insertions are normally in concert with an insertion of airborne elements.
b. Time. Since turnaround time is crucial, loads in aircraft should be unchained as the aircraft taxies. This also applies to personnel and seat belts. Aircraft should stop as close as possible to the assembly areas where personnel and equipment are off-loaded.
c. Method. Air-land insertions normally begin after a ranger Army assault team (AAT) and a USAF CCT have parachuted into the initial objective area and conducted reconnaissance, clearing, marking, and security operations. The ranger ground force commander is the arrival airfield commander. He has control over all arriving, taxiing, and departing aircraft (fixed-wing or rotary) through the CCT, which locates near him. The ranger force command and control element is usually on the first aircraft in and the last aircraft out.
d. Security. Air-land operations concentrate large numbers of men and equipment, which presents an open target to the enemy. The ranger ground force commander must ensure rapid off-loading, assembly, dispersion, and movement toward the objective.
e. Communications. The ranger ground force commander must have secure radio communications with the ground force, CCT, fire support elements, and higher headquarters. Wire should be laid to connect ground command and control locations.
f. Operation duration. Depending on the factors of METT-T, the aircraft may remain on the ground for extraction while the mission is being accomplished or take off at once. They may then orbit, pending recall, or return at a prearranged time.
g. Extraction. Extraction of the air-landed ranger force is normally planned and accomplished like an insertion, only in reverse order. A simple, yet effective, way must be found to see that no ranger personnel are left in the objective area.
4-15. Air assault insertion.
Ranger air assault (air-land, rappel, or combination) insertions normally take place during limited visibility. They quickly place the ranger force on, or close to, the objective. The ranger force (depending on the mission) normally plans on fighting when it hits the ground, completing the mission, and then being extracted. Air assault insertions need detailed planning, surprise, flexibility, speed, shock effect, concentration of combat power, and precise timing.
a. Ground tactical plan. The reverse planning process is important. The ground tactical plan, developed from the mission assessment, is the first planning area. All other planning begins from this point. The ranger commander and his staff decide stated and implied tasks, and request the proper helicopters for the mission.
b. Fire support plan. The fire support available to the ranger commander may be artillery, naval gunfire, mortars, attack helicopters, and USAF or USN tactical aircraft. Because of the timing of ranger air assault operations, preparatory fires are often not used. If they are used, enemy ADA sites normally have priority.
c. Landing plan. This plan puts the ranger force into the objective area at the time, place, and proper sequence to support the ground tactical plan. The ranger commander selects primary and alternate LZs and the priority for landing. The exact location of an LZ is determined after a detailed analysis of METT-T. Rehearsals are important. The ranger force must quickly assemble, reorganize, and accomplish the mission. The senior ranger on each aircraft ensures that the personnel on his aircraft offload at the correct LZ.
d. Air movement plan. The air movement plan provides for the coordinated movement of the ranger force into the zone of action in support of the 'landing plan. Flight routes, air movement tables, flight formation, altitude, and air speed should be considered. The ranger commander must have secure in-flight communications with his subordinate commanders.
e. Loading plan. This plan supports the air movement plan and provides for the pickup zone (PZ) setup and control. It sets priorities for the commander for loading personnel, equipment, supplies, and cross-loading. Air-loading table, aircraft loading formations, bump plan, and rehearsals should be considered.
f. Staging plan.
(1) This plan includes PZ selection and operation. The selection of PZs and LZs needs planning and coordination for best use of air assault assets. Site selection in or near the objective must be coordinated in person between the supported ranger commander and the aviation commander. The tactical situation is the key factor in PZ and LZ selection. Other factors are size of landing zones, surface conditions, ground slopes, approach and departure directions, prevailing winds, obstacles, communications, cross-loading, aircraft command and control, PZ and LZ markings, and rehearsals.
(2) The PZs are set up and secured about 15 minutes before touchdown of first aircraft. The fire support plan must support the other plans. All supporting fires must be coordinated with the air mission commander (AMC). Because of the depth of most objective locations, USAF tactical aircraft will be the main fire support method. Orbit locations for fire support aircraft must be planned.
g. Other planning considerations. These include escape and evasion, actions at the last LZ, assembly plan, downed aircraft procedures, control measures, forward area rearm and refuel point (FARP), weather delays, and deception plans.
4-16. Amphibious insertion.
Insertion by water may be by SCUBA, surface swimming, small boats, submarines, surface craft, helocasting, or a combination of these methods.
a. Planning. Planning for waterborne operations must be thorough. The plan is decided upon between the ranger commander, the transporting unit, and the joint headquarters directing the operation. Plans must be made for all types of enemy action and weather while on board the transporting craft. The transporting unit is given information on a need-to-know basis. Information that could endanger the operation may be withheld until the mission is under way. Initial planning includes:
(1) Time schedule of all events, from the beginning until the end of the joint operation, to be used as a planning guide. Timing for each event must be exact; the success of the operation depends on it. (See Figure 4-2)
Figure 4-2. Waterborne insertion.
(2) Embarkation site, where troops and equipment are loaded on the transporting craft.
(3) Drop site, where the ranger force will depart the primary craft and load into smaller boats.
(4) Handing site, where the unit will beach its boats, or land directly from amphibious craft.
(5) Loading, when loads are lashed and waterproofed IAW unit standing operating procedures (SOPs). Inspections are important. A bump plan for key personnel and equipment must be developed.
(6) Cross-loading, which will help preserve the ranger force. location of leaders, crew-served weapons, and needed equipment are stressed.
b. Landing site.
(1) Beaches. Beaches are checked to find one that allows an undetected approach. Landing sites that cannot be approached from different directions are avoided. Stretches of defended or patrolled coastline should be avoided. If sand beaches are used, tracks and other signs of operation that may compromise the mission should be erased. Rural, isolated areas are best. The area behind the landing site should provide an assembly area and concealed routes for exit.
(2) Barriers. Reconnaissance may find that good landing sites are not suitable because of barriers between the site and the objective. Such barriers may be patrolled roads, large areas giving little or no concealment, enemy obstacles or defensive positions, areas populated with enemy sympathizers, or an area used for enemy troop maneuvers and training. Unless a means of avoiding such barriers is devised, landing sites should be limited to those without barriers.
(3) Other factors. Beach selection should also consider:
(a) The scheme of maneuver.
(c) Enemy dispositions.
(d) Distance to the target.
(e) Landing and exit sites.
(f) Trafficability of the beach.
(g) Cover and concealment.
c. Routes. The route the transporting craft takes to the drop site should be planned to deceive the enemy. A major change in the route immediately after the unit's debarkation could compromise the mission. The route should be the same as a route that would be used in some other naval operation--for example, minelaying or sweeping, or a naval patrol. An alternate route must be planned.
d. Tactical deception. There should be other plans to deny the enemy knowledge of the insertion besides the water approach route plan. Plans may include electronic countermeasures (ECM), diversions, feints, ruses, or demonstrations.
e. Actions at the drop site. Some operations may permit landing directly from the transporting craft. If not, primary and alternate drop sites must be set. The drop site should be at least 1,500 meters offshore to cover any noise in the loading and launching. If the enemy has a surface radar capability, a drop site should be chosen to avoid detection. The drop site may have to be several miles offshore or may need the use of ECM. The manner in which men, small boats, and equipment are loaded must promote fast action at the drop site.
(1) Ship-to-shore navigation (to the landing site) may be done by dead reckoning. The course may also be maintained by compass navigation, reference to a shoreline silhouette, radar, or prearranged signals from the shore.
(2) Boat handlers, navigators, and other experts are relied on in various phases of the transport operation.
(3) Lead reconnaissance teams or scout swimmer teams may be used to plant radar, radio, or infrared buoys, or distinct, shielded lights. Boats may be equipped with radar reflectors or beacons to permit accurate tracking.
g. Actions on the beach.
(1) Boats hold offshore while ranger scout swimmers move to a covered and concealed position. After reaching the beach, they make a short listening halt. They check the beach and the area immediately beyond the beach for enemy activity. Swimmers signal the force "all clear," mark the landing site, and provide local security.
(2) When the boats land, chosen personnel move directly into covered and concealed security positions. They prepare to defend the landing site.
(3) If the ranger unit is not carrying equipment, boats may be moved off the beach and buried or camouflaged. If heavy equipment makes it hard to move the boats, chosen personnel start unloading at once. The remainder of the force secures the landing site. Each boatload moves into position under the control of a designated leader. Teams are positioned with the best cover, concealment, and fields of fire available.
(4) The ranger force leader sets up a command post from which he can control the operation. He may establish secure communication with his headquarters.
(5) Boats may be deflated and buried or camouflaged near the landing site or away from it. If the boats are to be hidden near the landing site, a team may be chosen to dig holes or cut brush for camouflage along with the unloading of the boats. A small team may be chosen to sweep the beach to erase tracks and drag marks.
(6) The ranger force should be assembled and prepared to move within minutes after the last boat lands. Every ranger must be briefed on the unit's plan should enemy contact be made upon landing.
h. Insertion by air from ship.
(1) Helicopters from a ship can launch the ranger force from over the horizon and move at a low level to the LZ.
(2) Helicopters may be vectored from ships to a landing zone. The aircraft may return to the ship while the ranger force conducts the mission, they may orbit offshore, or they may stay at the LZ. Other aspects of landing and assembling are the same as discussed for helicopter insertions.
i. Helocasting. This form of insertion combines helicopters and small boats in the same operation. It is planned and conducted the same as air assault operations, except that the LZ is in the water. While helicopters are moving at low levels and low speeds, rangers drop small boats and jump into the water. They then assemble, climb into the boats, and move to shore. Ranger elements are usually assembled and loaded into the small boats within 20 minutes of the last ranger entering the water. This type of operation is normally conducted during limited visibility.
j. Fire support. Fire support may be ship-to-air, ship-to-shore, air-to-ground, or ground-to-ground. Specific missions include:
(1) Suppressing enemy air defense.
(2) Neutralizing enemy field artillery within range of boat or helicopter routes.
(3) Employing on-call fires against shoreline targets.
(4) Destroying enemy aircraft.
k. Contingency planning. The following must be planned for:
(1) Actions on enemy contact.
(a) En route.
(b) Helocast site.
(d) Aerial attack.
(e) Small arms fire.
(f) Indirect fire.
(2) Bump plan with priority to key leaders, crew-served weapons, and radios.
(3) Downed craft procedures.
(4) Escape and evasion.
(5) High surf.
(6) Adverse weather.
l. Rehearsals. The ranger force must rehearse all aspects of the amphibious insertion. This includes boat launching, paddling, beaching and assembly, boat commands, and capsize drills.
4-17. Land infiltration.
Land infiltration to the objective may be the best way to complete a mission. This is normal when the enemy has total air control or effective air defenses in the operational area to be penetrated, or when the objective is close to friendly territory. Rangers can infiltrate over any type of terrain, in any climate. However, thick forests, swamps, and broken or steep terrain offer the best chance for success.
a. Planning. There are many methods of infiltrating by land, and each has its good and bad points. Plans are designed to get the infiltrating force to the objective area without being seen. Plans should include:
(1) Selecting concealed routes for surprise and protection. Primary and alternate routes are based on detailed map and aerial photo study, ground reconnaissance, and data from agent reports.
(2) Avoiding obstacles, populated areas, silhouetting (when forced to cross obstacles or ridge lines), enemy positions, main avenues of approach, and movement along often used routes and trails.
(3) Selecting the time of infiltration to make use of reduced visibility, such as darkness, rain, snow, and fog, and periods of reduced enemy alertness, such as early morning, holidays, and times following protracted movement or combat. The time of the infiltration is important during critical phases (crossing borders or passing through enemy troop concentrations or populated areas).
(4) Using speed and stealth. All rangers must know routes, linkup points, alternate linkup points, time schedules, danger areas, and actions on enemy contact and at linkup points.
(5) Centralizing planning and decentralizing execution. Centralized coordination must ensure that units are acting IAW cover and deception plans. Control should be given to the leaders of the infiltrating groups. Within their designated zones, these leaders select their own routes and formations. Leaders control the rate of advance. When the enemy has electronic detection devices, radio communications must be kept to a minimum. Key leaders normally go with the group that is using the fastest lane or the lane least likely to be detected.
(6) Seeding infiltration routes to the assembly area with unattended ground sensors. These sensors can help the infiltrating force by reducing the chance of surprise contact during the infiltration, and by helping in controlling the forward progress of the units.
(7) Planning for fire support, which must include coverage of routes, danger areas, assembly areas, objectives, and PZs.
(8) Rehearsing actions at the objective, actions on enemy contact, actions at danger areas, and movement techniques.
b. Movement. Land infiltration is conducted using one of three techniques:
(1) Movement in small groups along one axis. All members of the force use the best route. Small groups are harder to detect, easier to control, and do not compromise the total force if detected. This technique may take too long and it needs an assembly area or linkup point. If the lead group is detected, other groups may be ambushed.
(2) Movement in one group. This technique has no reassembly problem. The same route is used by all, making navigation easier. A large force can fight out of a dangerous situation easier than a small one. It has no coordination problems between other infiltrating units. This form of movement is easier for the enemy to detect. If the force is detected, the mission may be endangered.
(3) Movement in small groups along several routes at the same time. This technique avoids putting the total force in danger, is less likely to be seen, forces the enemy to react in many locations, and makes it harder for the enemy to determine the size of the force or its mission. Some groups travel over poorer routes and have problems of assembly, control, and support; the capture of personnel may endanger the mission. Regardless of which technique is used, ranger units normally move to reduce the chance of enemy contact.
c. Assembly area. Following movement into the general area of operations, infiltrating units converge on the assembly area or linkup point. Assembly may begin at once after the passage of lines, or it may take place at any time before reaching the objective. The infiltrating force must remain undetected before assembly. If an infiltrating unit is seen at this time, the enemy may learn the location of the assembly area, and the objective. It may take action to destroy the infiltrating force.
d. Linkup point(s).
(1) Selection characteristics include terrain that--
(a) Is free of enemy troops.
(b) Offers cover and concealment from enemy observation and patrols.
(c) Does not restrict movement of friendly units.
(d) Accommodates the unit.
(e) Is easily identified.
(f) Offers escape routes to alternate linkup points.
(g) Offers concealment from air attack.
(2) Action sequence for occupying the linkup point.
(a) Halt short of the point.
(b) Establish local security.
(c) Conduct a reconnaissance of the linkup point.
(d) Occupy the linkup point.
(e) Emplace observation posts and listening posts.
(f) Link up with other groups.
(g) Conduct final preparations.
(h) Continue the mission.
(3) Security may be enhanced with the aid of devices such as night vision goggles and night sights. Unattended ground sensors may be placed on likely avenues of approach into the linkup point. Normally, only passive observation devices are used to assist in avoiding detection.
(4) Plans must set a time schedule for actions at the linkup point. All unit members must move in quickly, consistent with security, so that the unit may proceed to the objective rally point (ORP) and on to the objective.
4-18. Stay-behind technique.
A ranger force can be positioned behind enemy lines by employing the stay-behind technique. In this method, a ranger force allows itself to be bypassed as the enemy advances. This is done to allow the ranger force to perform a specific mission. Stay-behind operations may require the concealment, or cache, of supplies before the enemy bypass. Rangers may need to use captured enemy supplies. The location of the assembly area and the plan for extraction are important parts of stay-behind plans.
The ranger force is normally extracted after the mission is completed. The enemy may also force the unit to abort its mission and to call for extraction. Contingency plans must be made to extract a force under enemy pressure, as well as one that is not in contact. Primary and alternate extraction sites are planned and coordinated with all ,porting forces. Ranger operations are normally conducted against deep targets. Extraction may begin with land movement but normally it includes the use of boats or aircraft. Plans may include primary I alternate means of extraction.
(1) The terrain is important in choosing the point of extraction - for example, whether or not the extraction site offers good cover from enemy direct-fire weapons and positions from which the extracting force can suppress the enemy. Tidal conditions and PZ size must be considered.
(2) Unlikely locations such as swamps, jungles, or mountain areas are often used for extraction. Specially trained air and naval crews, using the latest extraction devices, make such terrain useable.
(1) Extraction is best conducted without enemy pressure. However, such pressure could develop during the operation. Detailed plans are made for emergency or contingency extractions forced by the enemy as well as clandestine extractions not under enemy pressure. If under pressure, units will have to use planned fire support to suppress enemy weapons. At the beginning of the extraction with security posted to provide early warning, the unit may start to thin out the same as with a night withdrawal. Ground security may be relied on until the last unit withdraws under cover of suppressive fires.
(2) If enemy contact is made during an extraction, the commander must decide whether to reinsert units or break contact and move to another extraction point. Fire support and suppression are important and include suppressing enemy air defense by deception, ruses, or decoys.
(3) The ranger unit may have special weapons systems or equipment to aid in the extraction. Shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles may be used to defend against enemy aircraft threatening the extraction.
c. Extraction by air or water. Extraction by air or water is preferred when the resources are available and their use will not endanger the mission. Other factors that favor their use are when--
(1) Long distances must be covered.
(2) Time of return is essential.
(3) The enemy does not have air and naval superiority.
(4) Heavily populated hostile areas block land movement.
(5) Ranger forces are burdened with prisoners of war,casualties, or critical items of equipment.
d. Extraction by land exfiltration. Stealth and evasiveness are key elements of exfiltration. This method of extraction is favored when--
(1) The enemy has air superiority.
(2) The enemy is able to prohibit air or water extraction.
(3) The distance to friendly lines is short.
(4) The terrain provides cover and concealment (for movement on foot) and limits enemy mobile units.
(a) Multiple routes of exfiltration may be used to prevent destruction of the force if soldiers or units are detected. Captured enemy vehicles and equipment may be used to assist in the exfiltration.
(b) The ranger force may exfiltrate in one body or in small groups. Exfiltrating in small groups avoids the time delay of assembly.
(5) The exfiltrating force is lightly equipped and not burdened with captured personnel or material.
(6) The exfiltration route passes through an area occupied by friendly civilians or guerrilla forces who can assist the movement.
(7) Areas along exfiltration routes are not inhabited.
(8) The enemy force is dispersed or is not able to concentrate against the exfiltrating force.
4-20. Escape and evasion.
a. A vital part of all premission planning is the development of en-route and post mission E&E plans. Such plans enhance survival of the ranger force, and the transporting air or boat crews. The ranger force commander is responsible for--
(1) Helping in the development of an E&E plan in coordination with all supporting agencies.
(2) Ensuring that all members of the ranger force and the supporting boat or air crew are briefed on the E&E plan.
b. Each E&E plan is unique. Each situation has unique problems associated with E&E. The E&E plan devised by the ranger force commander must address these problems, while profiting from the individual abilities and training of the rangers and their supporting air and boat crews. The following considerations apply to E&E plans devised during ranger operations:
(1) The plans enhance survival of personnel who can no longer accomplish their assigned mission. The senior ranger in a group must decide if there are any remaining missions that the group can accomplish. If not, then he must try to evade and escape enemy capture if unable to link up and be extracted with the rest of the ranger force.
(2) Because of the depth of penetration behind enemy lines, most successful E&E plans may involve either air or water movement away from enemy-held territory. The air and boat crews supporting ranger operations are highly skilled and dedicated. If there is any chance of a successful rescue, these forces continue to try to retrieve rangers escaping from an enemy-held area.
(3) Rangers possess stamina and endurance. They can move a great distance (especially at night) and over rugged terrain to reach an area where they can rendezvous with search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft or boats. Rangers are also resourceful and highly trained in communication, stealth, and camouflage. This, coupled with their self-discipline, means that successful E&E can be conducted over a great distance, through heavy concentrations of enemy, and over a long period.
(4) Escape and evasion plans for ranger elements should include avoiding contact with the local civilians. However, the aid of friendly insurgent forces may be enlisted. The ranger E&E plan may also include the use of other special operations forces E&E networks that are in place behind enemy lines. These nets must not be compromised by the volume of evaders.
c. Escape and evasion plans should be based on three phases:
PHASE ONE: That portion of the insertion following entry into the hostile zone where personnel survival and recovery is the only thing considered. Should an aircraft or boat carrying rangers be disabled during phase one, the ranking survivor assumes command. He must consider E&E planning and the experience and skills of other survivors. He should be concerned with the security of the mission, caring for wounded, and moving away from enemy activity while contacting SAR elements for recovery.
PHASE TWO: That portion of the insertion that is near the objective and could permit the ranger element to successfully pursue its mission. Although part of the E&E plan, actions by the ranger force during this phase become a forced land infiltration rather than an E&E. The senior surviving ranger must decide if enough personnel and equipment can be moved to the objective area in time to accomplish the mission. If so, he must proceed, taking along any surviving air or boat crew members. If not, he may proceed directly to the extraction point and wait, or he may contact SAR elements for recovery.
PHASE THREE: That portion of the operation after mission accomplishment. It is a hard time to escape and evade since the enemy is alert and reacting to the ranger forces. The confusion caused by the violence of the attack, coupled with the rangers' ability to move quickly cross-country away from the objective area, offers the best chance of a successful escape and evasion. The surviving ranger elements that cannot be extracted can do one of the following:
(1) Move over land at once to a PZ or beach for extraction by SAR elements.
(2) Move to an area where reentry into friendly lines can be made.
(3) Move to a neutral or nonaligned country where either internment or return to friendly control can be effected.
d. Any plan for E&E should provide for the issue to each ranger of an area map, a covert means of recognition, and a small compass. An emergency ration may also be included and any items needed for the climate in that objective area. The ranger force commander must balance the need for other survival equipment against the added weight and bulk involved.
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