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Patrol Tips II

Patrol Tips II

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Published by: bawb-2 on May 30, 2010
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11/06/2012

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The British Army, even after the sunset of empire, has been involved in a great manyCOIN and COIN-type small wars. They have, in recent history, taken a generally softer approach than the American Army, i.e. using a scalpel rather than a chainsaw. One of themost important aspects of their successful operations has been dismounted infantry patrolling.Here is an American evaluation of British infantry patrolling during the Falklands War,and why it is so important.
"Two points that operations in the Falklands demonstrated are important to light infantry training are the development of patrolling skills and realistic simulation of ammunition carriage and resupply. There is no doubt that patrolling played a critical role in determining the outcome of the ground campaign. Without effective aerial reconnaissance, and with no flow of information down to the battalions from SAS and SBS patrols, the battalions were compelled to gather all their own intelligence. Thiscould only be achieved by conducting small team reconnaissance patrols and establishing observation posts.
 
More importantly, by patrolling the British infantry dominated the battlefield and retained the initiative. During periods of slow build up, patrolling gave the soldiers the feeling of progress, dominance and aggression--all key to maintaining offensive spirit… patrol skills provided a measure of just how good a battalion was, and was an important  part in the battle for domination and moral supremacy. New equipment harnessing thelatest technology might replace some of the requirement for infantry to gather their ownintelligence. However, the requirement for the infantry to dominate mentally and  physically the battlefield by means of patrolling should always remain an essential infantry task. It is worth noting that the Argentineans relied upon technology to dominatethe battle space and consequently did not patrol. This was a major factor in their loss of the tactical initiative and their loss of the will to fight. The Falklands demonstrated that  patrolling maintains and develops an infantryman's aggressive spirit; it is a skill that  places great demands upon junior leaders and soldiers and is a skill that must be practiced thoroughly." 
NOTES ON PATROLLING IN JUNGLES OF BURMA ________________________________________ 1. INTRODUCTION
British forces in the jungle areas of Burma are emphasizing the importance of patrollingin their combat against the Japanese. The following notes on patrolling summarizeconclusions drawn by British officers, or by units, from their combat experiences in thewestern Burma area. These conclusions, while not official British doctrine, should provea helpful stimulus to U.S. thought on the subject of patrolling.
2. PREPARATIONS
A British officer recently stated that, for jungle fighting, a soldier can hardly have toomuch training in patrolling. The improperly trained soldier, he continued, is completelylost when he gets off paths or trails in the jungle. "He must learn to find his way about inthe jungle, and not be afraid of it. The jungle is totally new to our farm-bred soldiers aswell as to our city-bred soldiers, since it bears no similarity to either environment. The jungle can be a friend and protector to you, as soon as you know how to utilize it."You cannot utilize the jungle very well unless you are a well-trained observer. You mustknow all the means of detecting the presence or passage of the enemy—such as fires,ashes, cartridges, broken undergrowth, footprints, misplaced foliage, and so forth."When fired upon in the jungle, patrols should pause momentarily to observe andformulate plans. These should be executed promptly—the patrols must keep moving, andnot pin themselves to the ground. They must be trained to get rid of obstacles quickly or to avoid them, depending on their mission."Another British officer said, "In the past, lack of clear orders has been responsible for more bad patrolling than any other factor." He added that orders should be "crystal clear 
 
and not beyond the ability of the patrol to execute." __________ A large group of British officers submitted the following points for consideration inconnection with giving orders to patrols."(1) Give the patrol leader all available information about the enemy."(2) Give him full information about other friendly patrols which are operating, or whichmay operate, in the neighborhood of this area before he returns."(3) State his mission in clear and unmistakable terms."(4) State, in general terms, the route the patrol will follow."(5) State the time by which the patrol is required to return, and the place to which itshould endeavor to return."(6) Give the recognition signal for challenging friendly patrols."(7) State clearly what action the patrol leader will take if he meets the enemy beforecompleting his mission, or after completing it. For instance, should he attack, withdraw,or remain in observation?"After stating the mission to the patrol leader, have him repeat the main points.""Don't send out more men than are necessary for accomplishing the mission. Everyunnecessary man in a patrol is a hindrance and increases the chance that the patrol may be discovered." __________ Another group of British officers had this to say:"A company is not a patrol, not even a large fighting patrol, but it provides the elementfrom which patrols are produced. Whether a whole company is sent out depends upon thedistance patrols will have to cover in order to carry out a mission. If the situation calls for use of a company, the latter will provide the necessary patrols and the remainder of theunit will form a mobile base from which the patrols can, if necessary, be assisted and a base to which the patrols can withdraw after completing their missions."It is important that the remainder of the company not take up a static position, where itcan be pinned down; therefore, it must operate in a specified area, with a place of assembly having been determined in advance, in case of enemy action which necessitatesits use."Another way in which a company may be employed in this type of warfare is to carryout an ambush based on information gained by patrols."

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