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PATROL TIPS
by Tom Sawyer

1. PLANNING AND PREPARATION FOR A PATROL:

a. a detailed map study should be made; the route mentioned and terrain features selected for orientation;

b. the use of difficult terrain must be considered in route planning. Impassable terrain is very rare;

c. an "offset" in the route should be planned when applicable. An offset is a planned magnetic deviation to the right or left of the straight line to an objective. It should be used to verify the location right or left of the objective. Each mil offset will move a person one metre to the right or left for each 1000 metres travelled;

d. when the patrol is to infiltrate the enemy area, an alternate rendezvous must be selected;

e. taking weapons requiring different types of ammunition must be avoided as much as possible;

f. all weapons must be cleaned, checked, and test fired before departure. The weapon must not be cleaned after test firing. Individual weapon cleaning equipment should be carried on all patrols;

g. gloves should be carried to protect the hands;

h. at least two flashlights and two each of such critical items as binoculars, wire cutters and fuse crimpers must be carried;

i. Ponchos can be used to make litters, construct rafts, conceal lights, and as shelters. Also each man should carry two canteens on long patrols;

j. every man should carry an extra pair of socks;

k. a length of rope can be used for binding prisoners, climbing or descending obstacles and crossing streams;

l. friction tape can be used to secure rifle swivels, slings, and other items which might rattle. It should be used also to tie back loose clothing;

m. camouflage the back of the neck, behind the ears, and back of the hand;

n. a sharp knife should be carried;

o. security must be provided by assigning every man an area of responsibility;

p. at least two pacers should be detailed and the average of their individual counts should be used;

q. maps must be folded before departing so they can be more easily handled when checking. Maps must not be marked;

r. compasses should be preset before departing. More than one should be preset for each setting required;

s. a list of questions to be used at friendly positions with which the patrol will coordinate should be prepared;

t. leaders should be taken on reconnaissance;

u. all signals to be used should be simple, prearranged and rehearsed;

v. time for the patrol members to obtain their night vision must be planned (45 minutes);

w. available visual aids should be used in issuing the patrol commander's order. The use of a blanket, board, blackboard, or a sketch on the ground is helpful;

x. the patrol should be inspected carefully before rehearsals and before departure. Men should be questioned to check their knowledge and understanding of the actions planned;

aa. all human habitation should be avoided;

bb. plans to utilize ridge lines for movement in mountainous terrain should be made whenever possible. The skyline should be avoided;

cc. a garrote can be used for killing a sentry or capturing a prisoner. An insulated wire should be used if the prisoner is to be captured;

dd. luminous tape, worn on the back of the collar, greatly aids in control and movement on dark nights. The collar should be turned down if close to enemy;

ee. using the password forward of friendly positions should be avoided;

ff. radio communications should be checked before departing;

gg. a weapons sight should be carried;

ii. binoculars increase visibility at night;

jj. the desire for personal comforts should not be allowed to endanger the patrol and the accomplishment of the mission; and

kk. it is too late to consider planning and preparation when the patrol is in no man's land.

2. DURING THE PATROL:

a. on small patrols, the count should be sent up automatically after each halt or passage of a danger area. In large patrols, a chain of command should be used to account for men;

b. navigation should be checked frequently. The patrol commander is responsible;

c. on long patrols, the point and compass men should be changed occasionally;

d. weapons are always carried at a ready position. The patrol must be able to return fire instantly;

e. enemy wire should be cut only when necessary. A reconnaissance should be made first;

f. take advantage of any noises such as wind, vehicles, planes, battle sounds and even sound caused by insects;

g. there should be no movement on roads and trails unless absolutely necessary;

h. movement can be aided in daylight, especially in dense terrain, by using night compass settings;

i. do not move across the enemy's front;

j. over short distances such as the width of a road, the compass can be used for signalling at night. a piece of luminous tape can also be used;

k. crossing roads in enemy territory is a matter of common sense. Each situation may dictate a different method. Established procedure will not be violated if a proper reconnaissance is conducted before crossing an obstacle. Adequate security should be established and movement should be silent and quick to avoid. detection. A main point of consideration in any road crossing is control of the patrol. Crosses should be tried at a curve. Some of the accepted methods for crossing roads are:

(1) patrol can form a skirmish line and move quickly and quietly across the road,
(2) the entire patrol can form a file, following the footsteps of the men in front in order to minimize footprints, and
(3) men cross the road a few at a time until patrol is across.
l. when necessary to leave a wounded man to be picked up on the return trip, another man should be left with him. Walking wounded can return on their own to friendly areas. When the enemy is near, the wounded should be removed from the immediate area before applying first aid;

m. enemy positions or obstacles should be by-passed by offsetting;

n. the patrol's location should be known at all times. This is particularly important when there is a change of direction or the patrol is transported by air or water. A relatively slight error can cause a missed objective;

o. security must not be jeopardized by letting ear flaps and hoods interfere with the hearing ability of the patrol;

p. talking should be kept to a minimum. Arm and hand signals should be used to the maximum;

q. when enemy positions are being reconnoitred, a covering force must be kept within supporting distance of the reconnaissance element;

r. trash must never be thrown on the ground while on patrol. It should be buried and camouflaged to prevent detection by the enemy;

s. when friendly agents such as partisans are contacted, the entire patrol must not be taken to make contact with them. One man should make the contact and he should be covered;

t. a unique and disposable patrol password should be used forward of friendly positions;

u. at halts and during movement, odd numbered men observe to the left, and even numbered men to the right;

v. when men have difficulty staying awake on security and at halts, the number of halts should be minimized, and the men should assume a kneeling rather than prone position;

w. men should be allowed to sleep on long patrols when possible, but proper security should be maintained;

x. to aid in navigation stars should be used but it should be remembered that they move. The patrol's location should be confirmed on a compass;

aa. smoking must not be permitted;

bb. the method of finding the North Star must be known and also the watch and sun method of finding North; and

cc. during halts the communicator should position himself to the left of the patrol commander in order that the handset can be held in the patrol commander's left hand.


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