ADDENDUM TO SECTION III
B-720 TIPS (DEC 95), 1/7 SFG
1. CALL received many favorable comments concerning the original publication of Winning in the Jungle. We also received the attached "B-720 TIPS."
2. The B-720 Tips are an update of the Vietnam era "B-52 TIPS." The B-52 Tips were published in 1970 and captured valuable combat experience in jungle operations. In 1988 the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (with several joint attachments), conducted an extensive series of jungle operations. They ended the exercises by updating the B-52 Tips to cover changes in equipment, weapons, and doctrine. These include many new techniques, such as Night Vision Goggles and MH-60 (Blackhawk) tips, and a section on "Hatchet Team" (QRF) operations. The lengthy and detailed "PW Snatch," "Breakout," and "Movement Techniques" portions from B-52 Tips were excluded because, while important, they are step-by-step "how-to" formats, not "tips," and can be found in TC 31-29.
3. The B-720 Tips were not written to be the replacement for B-52 Tips but to provide the Special Operations community with a report of lessons learned (and relearned) in combat patrolling. The reader may note redundancy in certain information; this was done for emphasis. There may also appear to be some inconsistencies; these were allowed to account for variations in technique between teams. These are tips, not regulations.
4. The B-720 Tips are organized into 10 major areas:
|a) Leader Tips||f) Commo Tips|
|b) Uniform & Equipment Tips||g) Infil/Exfil Tips|
|c) LCE/Rucksack Tips||h) Recon Tips|
|d) NVG Tips||i) RON Tips|
|e) Weapons Tips||j) Hatchet Team Tips|
5. Readers who want to do a more in-depth study of jungle operations are reminded that there is a considerable amount of Vietnam experience and techniques available. Proponent school libraries, old Army and Marine manuals, and the professional journals of the day are all good places to start.
- No individual or team can practice or train too much or too often.
- Teamwork is the key to success and will only come through constant training and rehearsal.
- While on a mission, minimize fatigue, because tired men become careless.
- If you show confidence, your team will have confidence.
- Always have an alternate plan. Think ahead.
- If you lose your temper, it will affect your judgment. Keep cool!
- Don't be afraid to take advice from your team members.
- Realism must be injected into all phases of training, such as zeroing weapons at targets in the jungle, using live training aids for PW snatch or ambush practice, etc.
- Conduct at least half of your training at night.
- Teams that have a good physical training program have fewer health problems.
- Have a pre-mission and post-mission checklist to ensure that nothing is left behind.
- Correct all personal, individual, and team errors on the spot.
- Use tact when reprimanding your personnel, especially indigenous team members. If possible, take the man aside to criticize him. This enables him to react positively to the criticism, since he will not lose face, feel ridiculed or lose self-confidence.
- Conduct English classes for your indigenous personnel, especially interpreters. Conduct classes for your U. S. personnel in your indigenous team members' language.
- Don't set patterns in your operations.
- Never do the obvious.
- On patrol, stay alert at all times. You are never 100-percent safe until you are back home.
- Have team members write down tips and lessons learned, and collect and consolidate them at the end of each mission.
- Don't arbitrarily make all "tips of the trade" your team SOP. Always consider METT-T.
UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT COMMON TO ALL
- Wear camouflage BDUs on operations. Even when soaking wet at night, BDUs are remarkably "invisible" to NVGs. Plain OG-107 jungle fatigues, however, appear completely black when wet, and wet LCE appears like white stripes on them -- a man's silhouette can be clearly and easily seen by an enemy using NVGs.
- Don't use luminous tape. It's easily spotted at long distance with NVGs.
- Wear loose-fitting and untailored clothing on field operations. Tight-fitting clothing often tears or rips, allowing mosquitoes and leeches easy access to exposed parts of the body.
- Tuck your jacket into your pants. You can't use the lower pockets because of your LCE anyway, and, in contact, you can temporarily stuff expended magazines inside your shirt.
- Wear gloves to protect hands from thorns, poisonous plants, and insect bites, provide camouflage, and aid in holding a weapon when it heats up from firing. Aviator's nomex gloves work well.
- Sew in a section of VS-17 panel to cover the inside top of your field hat, for use as an emergency daylight position marking signal to friendly aircraft. In the center of that, sew a 2" x 2" piece of USAF "burn tape" for use as a night-time position marking signal to AC-130 gunships (2" x 2" is the size recommended by the AC-130 low-light/night television operators).
- Sew the same signal pattern inside your fatigue shirt, since hats are easily lost in firefights or pursuits.
- Do not hang clothing or bandannas on green bamboo if you plan on wearing it afterwards. The fuzz on the bamboo is just like itching powder. Of course, clothing should not be removed or "hung out" on patrol.
- If your mission requires long ropes, consider the use of 1" nylon tubing instead. It is lighter, more compact, and just as strong.
- Be sure that all snaps and buckles are taped. Do not use paper tape.
- Always carry a sharp knife or bayonet on patrol.
- Always wear your LCE buckled when not sleeping. If you're wounded, your teammates can drag you by your LCE shoulder straps.
- For survival, each individual should carry a cut-down MRE in his pants' cargo pocket, and one tube of bouillon cubes in the first aid pouch on his LCE. One bouillon cube dissolved in one canteen of water will provide energy for one or two days.
- Don't use 2-quart canteen covers to carry 30-round magazines. You can fit eight mags in one, but once you take the first mag out, the others rattle loudly and spill out easily. Use regular ammo pouches.
- Sew a long slim pocket on the side of your ruck to accommodate the long antenna, or use an accessory kit bag clipped and tied to the side of the ruck.
- Snap the snap link on your rucksack through the loop in the upper portion of your rucksack carrying straps or the frame, so you won't lose it during exfil when you snap it on a ladder or extraction fastrope.
- Insect repellent leaks and spills easily, so put it in a ziplock bag and isolate it from your other equipment in the rucksack. Also, squeeze air from the repellent container and screw the cap on firmly.
- Always use the water from canteens in or on your rucksack before using water in the canteens on your belt. This will ensure a supply of water should you ditch or lose your rucksack.
- Test the shoulder straps on the rucksack before packing it for patrol. Always carry some parachute cord to repair straps on patrol.
- Use a waterproof bag in the rucksack to protect equipment while on patrol. This is extremely important during the rainy season.
- Camouflage your rucksack with black spray paint.
NIGHT VISION GOGGLES (NVG) TIPS
- At night, carry NVGs in a claymore bag around your neck on your chest. This allows easy access and protects the NVGs from the elements.
- Always carry a spare battery for your NVGs.
- When in an OP at night, scan with NVGs only for a few moments every five minutes or so. If you scan continuously, you increase the chance of the enemy spotting your position (when two persons using NVGs in the passive mode look directly at each other, they will see glowing "cat-eyes," caused by retro-reflectivity).
- When moving at night, only every other man should wear his NVGs. Point and trail always wear NVGs.
- "Starlight" NVGs and Thermal Imaging Sights (TISs) complement each other, and are best used in combination. The point wears a PVS-5/7 NVG, and the slack (the man behind the point) uses a TIS.
- Never assume that your weapon is clean enough on an operation. CLEAN YOUR WEAPON DAILY.
- Always carry rifle-cleaning equipment on operations - bore and chamber brushes, cleaning rag and patches, cleaning rod with handle and tip, and a small vial of weapons oil. A shaving brush is very useful.
- When you fire your weapon, shoot low, particularly at night. Ricochets will kill just as well, and most people hit the ground when shooting starts.
- Use one magazine full of tracer during infiltration and exfiltration. If taken under fire during infiltration or exfiltration, the tracers can be used to identify enemy positions to friendly air support.
- The last three rounds in each magazine should be tracer to remind the firer that he needs a fresh magazine. Alternative: The last eight rounds are three tracers followed by five balls.
- Quietly replace the cartridge in the chamber of your weapon each morning. Condensation may cause a malfunction.
- Oil the selector switch on your weapon daily and work the switch back and forth, especially during rainy season. This will prevent the common occurrence of a stuck switch.
- Always carry your weapon with the selector switch on "safe."
- Use a plastic muzzle cap or tape to keep water and dirt out of the barrel.
- To improve noise discipline, tape all sling swivels.
- Rig the jungle sling so it is easily adjustable (for easy transition from rappel/fastrope to carry/fire). Tape a spare field dressing to the sling at the stock, using a single strip of wide cloth tape with a quick-release tab.
- Check all magazines before going on an operation to ensure they are clean, properly loaded and that the springs are oiled and functioning. Magazine problems cause the majority of weapons malfunctions.
- Place magazines upside down in your pouches to keep out dirt and water.
- Do not retrieve your first expended magazine during contact because it will consume valuable time.
- If you use a PAQ-4 Aiming Light on an M16A2 rifle, you must modify the handguard to allow the thumb switch to travel far enough to activate the light. Using the serrated edge of your bayonet, file down the area under the thumb switch (between the eighth and tenth ribs from the slip ring) about 1/4." This is not a problem on the M16A2 Carbine, because the handguard is smaller.
M203 GUNNER TIPS
- In dense jungle, carry a 1:1 ratio of buckshot to HE, with 2-star clusters and 2-star parachutes for signalling aircraft.
- In the jungle, point and trail men should be M203 gunners with buckshot in the chamber.
- If you fire HE in the jungle at night, be ready to have it bounce off a tree limb right back at you and go off in your face.
- Oil your M203 with 30W or 40W motor oil, especially the trigger, safety housing, and slide, due to rain and humidity in the jungle.
SAW GUNNER TIPS
- Silence ammo in plastic drums by making inserts from tablet-back cardboard covered with acetate. Cut to fit two per drum.
- When moving, use a 30-round magazine in the SAW. Attach a drum in the ORP or once in position in a hasty ambush.
- SAW drum pouches are tightly-fitted and tend to pop open when you drop into the prone. Use cloth tape with quick-release tabs to prevent this. The 2-quart canteen covers are acceptable substitutes.
- Claymores are factory-packed "backwards;" i.e., to be emplaced from the firing position to the mine position, with the excess wire left at the mine. This is corrected by removing all the firing wire from the plastic spool, discarding the spool, re-rolling the wire "S"- or "Figure-8"-fashion, and replacing it in the bag so as to enable the mine to be emplaced first and the wire laid back to the firing position. The clacker with circuit tester attached is preconnected to the firing wire and stowed in the mine pouch. The unit commander must make the decision to either prime the mine before departing on the mission, or to only put the shipping plugs on the electric and nonelectric blasting caps to speed priming during emplacement.
- Dual-prime each claymore for both electric and nonelectric firing. The time fuses should be pre-cut for 30-, 60-, or 120-second delay, for pursuit/break-contact situations. However, the burn time on the fuse becomes undependable the longer the fuse is exposed to wet/humid conditions.
- Waterproof your nonelectric firing systems.
- Carry the claymore in the rucksack so it's immediately accessible, so after breaking contact it can be quickly armed and emplaced on the back trail (even while it's still in the ruck) to delay pursuers.
- When placing claymores around your position (OP, ambush, RON, etc.), they should be emplaced one at a time by two men - one man emplacing the mine, and the other standing guard.
- Never emplace a claymore in a position that prevents you from having visual contact with it.
- Because you only emplace a claymore where you can observe it, if you are operating in dense jungle, you may consider cutting your firing wire in half since you won't use more than 50 feet/5 meters of wire, easing emplacement and recovery and cutting weight.
- Emplace each claymore so the blast parallels the team, and the firing wire does not lead straight back to the team position from the mine. If the claymores are turned around by the enemy, they will not point at the team.
- Determine in advance who will fire each claymore and who will give the command or signal to fire.
- Make continuous daily checks on all grenades when on patrol to ensure that the primers are not coming unscrewed.
- Do not bend the pins on the grenades flat. The rings are too hard to pull when needed.
- Fold paper tape through the rings of grenades and tape the ring to the body of the grenade. The paper tape will tear for fast use, while plastic or cloth tape will not. It also keeps the ring open for your finger, stops noise and prevents snagging.
team members should carry a mixture of fragmentation, CS and WP grenades on
their belts for the following reasons:
- Fragmentation grenades are good for inflicting casualties.
- CS grenades are ideal for stopping or slowing down enemy troops and dogs pursuing your team, and are effective in damp and wet weather, whereas CS powder will dissipate.
- WP grenades have a great psychological effect against enemy troops and can be used for the same purpose as CS grenades. The use of CS and WP at the same time will more than double their effectiveness.
- Thoroughly train and test your indigenous troops in grenade-throwing, particularly WP. Not all of them might be adept at baseball-style throwing, or be able to get much distance.
- Violet and red are the smoke colors most visible from the air. However, in dense jungle or wet weather, use WP to signal aircraft.
- Notify aircraft before signalling with WP. Gunships or fighter-bombers may mistake it for a marking rocket indicating an enemy position and attack you.
- Camouflage smoke, CS, and WP grenades, using black or OD spray paint.
- Smoke grenades should be carried in or on the pack and not on the LCE. You don't fight with smoke grenades, and if you need one, 99 times out of 100, you will have time to get it from your pack.
- Each team should carry one thermite grenade for destruction of either friendly or enemy equipment.
- DO NOT carry rubber baseball-style CS grenades. They were designed for riot control on city streets and are inadequate in the jungle.
Section III: Tips of the Trade
Addendum, Part II
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