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Patrolling Around the World

Patrolling Around the World

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Published by bawb-2
Patrol tips from various armies in various conflicts, a view other than from the U.S.
Patrol tips from various armies in various conflicts, a view other than from the U.S.

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Published by: bawb-2 on Jul 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Patrolling is probably the core light infantry skill. In countless cases, aggressive infantry patrolling has gained the initiative, then the dominance, and then the battle from theenemy; British forces in the Falklands and Malaya, the First Special Service Force atAnzio, Security Forces in Rhodesia, Aussies and LRRPs in Vietnam…
“Light infantry patrols relentlessly and aggressively ambushes the enemy. The enemynever knows where the light infantry is or when he will attack. The light infantry tracks,listens, locates, cuts off, raids and ambushes the enemy.”
“The side which wins the patrolling encounters wins the battles.”
“Efficient, aggressive patrolling, a requisite for success in battle, provides thecommander with security and gives him essential intelligence. A haphazard effort in patrolling invites surprise and courts disaster.”“The subject of patrolling is particularly important in modern warfare not only becauseof the security afforded troops by effective patrolling, but also because of the fact that the proper leading of a patrol under all conditions involves nearly every known principle of tactics.”
Military manuals are invaluable and have the nuts and bolts of patrolling, what you needto know, and the methods you use. Here are some links to the actual patrolling manuals:
"I will be damned if I will permit the U.S. Army, its institutions, its doctrine, and itstraditions to be destroyed just to win this lousy war." 
That quote was attributed to an American Army general during the Vietnam War, and itis quite indicative. Just because we as Americans do it one way does not make it the way.Other powers, minor and major, have developed their own tactics to fit their ownsituations and some have proven both practical and successful. That is not to say thatAmerican doctrine and tactics are all wrong, merely that other nations and militaries havegood insight to offer as well.
The American Army, with its high-tech gear and its massive firepower, has long since become an arrogant army. Korea caught us totally unprepared when it came tointelligence, equipment, and especially training. We would not take advice from theBritish regarding their successful counter insurgency in Malaya, nor would we learnmany of the same lessons from the Australian contingent in Vietnam. Today, the lessonsthe Soviets painstakingly learned during their unsuccessful foray into Afghanistan wereignored by the American military, and those same lessons had to be learned all over againat the expense of the combat soldiers with boots on the ground.So there is much more to patrolling than just the manuals. The following series will look  beyond the manuals to first-hand experiences learned in battle by various forces aroundthe world.There is much that we, especially as light infantry, can learn from other countries.Success and failure can both be enlightening, and “foreign” methods and tactics still havemuch value that can be gleaned. Focus on things relevant to your tactical situations.Winnow the wheat from the chaff, us what you can. Don’t keep using the same old playbook. Think outside the box. Teach old dogs new tricks. Or just keep an open mindto what else is out there.
Out of necessity as much as anything, the Japanese developed what was probably the bestlarge body of light infantry in the world prior to WWII. Tough, well-trained, and used tohardships and privations, when Allied forces first met the Imperial Japanese in combat,especially jungle combat, they were sent reeling and the Japanese soldier developed analmost mythical prowess in the minds of his opponents.The IJA was particularly noted for its field craft, especially, camouflage, and at first their  patrols were greatly superior to Allied patrols until the tactical lessons were learned (or 
re-learned) through blood, sweat and tears.Here then are both Allied Intelligence observations of Japanese methods, as well as portions of translated Japanese manuals.
 First, the Australians fought a bloody slugging match with the Japanese under horribleconditions in the awful jungles of New Guinea. This was the intelligence they passed onregarding what they had learned.
The information in this section summarizes the tactics used by the Japanese in and aroundMilne Bay, New Guinea. The terrain over which most of the operations took placeconsists, generally speaking, of a narrow coastal strip, varying from 1/4 mile or less to 1mile in width. It is composed mainly of thick jungle and waist-deep sago-palm swamps,with occasional coconut plantations scattered about near the villages. This narrow strip is bounded on the inland side with a chain of hills and mountains, some of which rise to aheight of 3,500 feet. Deep gorges cut this range at several points.The Japanese attack was carefully planned to take advantage of the terrain, and of extremely heavy rains which were falling at the time.
The size of Japanese night patrols encountered by our forces varied from 18 upwards,while day patrols averaged from 6 to 10 men.As a rule, these patrols moved as a body and kept on or close to roads or trails. For reconnaissance, the Japanese did not employ fighting patrols, but used scouts, whoworked singly or in pairs. These scouts utilized the thick jungle to approach our defendedlocalities or were left in hidden positions when the enemy withdrew from a night attack.The scouts lay very still while close to our troops and allowed our patrols and working parties to pass unmolested.The Japanese on our front in New Guinea did not send out combat patrols until they wereready to make a general movement forward. However, they apparently reconnoiteredwith small groups to secure information for later attacks.When the Japs sent out combat patrols, these usually consisted of 30, 60, or 120 men.Their movements were similar to those of Jap units in jungle combat.Action Against Patrols.—In New Guinea, Japanese troops were ordered not to answer thesearching-fire of hostile patrols. "One way to annul their intention (they seek to locate

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