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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)

Chapter VI. Infantry Patrols

Section IX

Attacking houses								6-80						
Attacking small bivouacs							6-81
Destroying caputre bivouacs							6-82

6-80 Attacking houses- a.In small war operations, it is frequently necessary to seize individuals or attack hostile groups known to be at a certain house. Although the task may appear to be simple it is often difficult to accomplish successfully.

b.The following instructions are generally applicable in planning an attack against a house:

(1) Secrecy is essential. Relatives, sympathizers, or intimidated natives may warn the enemy of the patrol's approach. In some instantes, they have been warned before the patrol cleared its home station.
(2) The location of the house and the nature of the terrain surrounding it must be definitely known, either by personal reconnaissance, a sketch, or through the medium of a guide.
(3) The patrol should usually approach and occupy its position under cover of darkness.
(4) Do not use a larger patrol than necessary to carry out the mission. A large patrol is hard to control, difficult to conceal, and makes too much noise.
(5) The approach must be made quietly and cautiously. Barking dogs often warn the inhabitants of the approach of the patrol.
(6) Utilize all available cover.
Cover all avenues of escape, either physically or by fire.
(8) Bayonets should be fixed. The patrol is sometimes unable to open fire due to the presence of women, children, or unidentified persons, or because of instructions received from higher authority.
(9) If the mission is the capture of the occupants and armed resistance is not expected, surround the house and approach it from all sides.
(10) If the mission is to attack the house , and armed resistance may be expected, the patrol must be located so that every side of the building will be covered by fire. Particular care must be taken to make certain that no member of the patrol will be in the line of fire of any other individual in the patrol.

6-81.Attacking small bivouacs.-a. A successful attack on a hostile bivouac often has a more demoralizing effect than a defeat in ordinary engagements.

b. Many of the instructions for attacking houses are applicable to attacking bivouacs. In addition, the leader of a patrol making a surprise attack on a small enemy force in bivouac should be guided by such of the following instructions as may be applicable in the particular operation:

(1) Secure a guide who knows the exact location of the bivouac. If he is a reliable friendly native, an effort should be made to have him reconnoiter a good approach to the bivouac.
(2) Require the guide to make a sketch of the, bivoac and its approaches. This can be traced on the ground. The leader should study it carefully, but should be prepared to find the actual situation quite different from that expected.
(3) Attack with few men. A leader and two teams of four men each is a suitable group for most situations.
(4) Arm the majority of the patrol with automatic or semiautomatic weapons.
(5) Leave the trail as soon as convenient and approach the bivouac from unexpected direction. When in the vicinity of the bivouac, approach slowly and cautiously.
(6) After sighting the bivouac, the leader shoi;d make a careful reconnaissance of it. Determining the exact location of the principal groups of the enemy force is generally difficult. When confident of the location of the major portion of the enemy, the leader builds up a final firing line.
(7) When the firing line is in position and prepared to open fire, the leader orders the enemy to surrender. In the event they refuse, the leader signals, "Commnce Firing." All men direct their fire into the bivouac, firing rapidly, but semi-automatically.
(8) The possibility of an assault and a pursuit should be considered, but the lack of bayonets, the nature of the terrainn over which the enemy will flee, and the agility of the enemy, will often make such efforts futile.

6-82.Destroying captured bivouacs. The value of a bivouac as a known enemy camp site should be considered before destroying it. Guerrillas have a weakness for occupying camp sites they have previously found satisfactory particularly if shelters have been constructed. The burning of bivouac shelters rarely serves any useful purpose unless they contain military stores of some value.

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