Patrolling SCWS

Created by
BU2 Collins
July 21, 2011
Sources: Seabee Combat Handbook Volume I
A patrol is a detachment of troops sent out from
a larger body on a mission of combat,
reconnaissance, security, or contact with
friendly units. There are two general classes of
patrols–reconnaissance and combat-either of
which could have a mission of security. The
classification is derived from the mission
assigned to a patrol.
In the Seabees you are primarily concerned
with defensive combat; security patrolling,
rather than combat patrolling. The recon
patrol is mainly used to detect enemy
movement toward your position. You
should be aggressive in your patrols to
keep an accurate idea of what is in front of
the FLOT.
Recon Patrols
Reconnaissance patrols are sent out to gain
information about the enemy or the terrain. These
patrols engage in combat only when it becomes
necessary to accomplish their mission or to protect
themselves. In general, they should avoid combat and
accomplish their mission by stealth.
Reconnaissance patrols have a variety of missions,
but their primary mission is to obtain and report
information in a timely manner to the commander who
desires it.
Recon Patrols
A reconnaissance patrol might be dispatched to do
the following:
1. Locate and observe the characteristics of a
hostile position or installation
2. Reconnoiter a possible route of march for an
enemy force.
3. Reconnoiter a certain terrain feature or the
general nature of the terrain in a given locality.
4. Patrol the perimeter of the defense area in a static
defense. Of primary importance is enemy troop buildup
or movement and the type of weaponry in their
Planning for a patrol is just as important if
not more important than the patrol itself.
The Patrol Leader must plan for every
possible scenario that might happen. He
must plan his route and any SOPs that the
patrol will use. To aid in this process the
Patrol Leader should use the 12 Steps to
Planning a Patrol to make sure that no
detail is left out.
S-study the mission
P-plan the use of time
S-study the terrain
O-organize the patrol
S-select men, weapons, and equipment
I-issue the warning order
M-make reconnaissance
C-complete the detailed plan
I-issue the Patrol Order
S-supervise, inspect, rehearse, reinspect
E-execute the order
Study the Mission
The Patrol Leader (PL) will receive a Patrol Order
or Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) from higher.
The PL will use this to plan the mission. Through
studying of the mission, the terrain, and the
situation, he identifies the essential tasks to be
accomplished to execute the mission. These
essential tasks become missions of the patrol’s
elements and teams for which the organization,
personnel, and equipment must be considered.
Study the Mission
At this time the PL should be gathering all
the intelligence he can for the mission. To
aid in this process the acronym METT-TC
should be used so that no valuable
information is missed.
Study the Mission
E-enemy (strength, equipment, activity, etc)
T-terrain and weather
T-troops and fire support (Higher, Adjacent, Support)
Plan the Use of Time
The first step in planning is to allot (approximately)
the available time remaining before departure.
When you fully understand the order, outline
everything that must be done before you leave,
and allot time for each item. Start with the time
of departure and work backward. This
procedure, tilled BACKWARD PLANNING, helps
to ensure that you have allowed sufficient time
for each necessary action. Make sure to include
any rehearsals and planning into the time line.
Study the Terrain
Study the friendly and enemy situation closely for the effect
that troop dispositions, strengths, and capabilities may
have on your mission. These factors will influence the
route you take, the size and organization of your patrol,
and the weapons and equipment the patrol will carry.
Study the map of the terrain over which the patrol
intends to operate. The nature of the terrain in the
vicinity of the objective will determine the number of
security teams needed and the manner in which you will
conduct your leader’s reconnaissance of the objective.
KOCOA should be used to plan for terrian.
Study the Terrain
K-key terrain features
O-observation/ fields of fire
C-cover and concealment
A-avenues of approach
Organize the Patrol
Organizing consists of determining the elements
and teams required to accomplish the mission of
the patrol. Organization of the patrol, either
special or general, is given in the patrol warning
Some of the teams that you may need is: support,
point security, right/left security team, rear
security team, aid and litter team, EPW, etc.
The number of teams and personnel should be
determined by the size of the mission.
Select Personell, Weapons, and
The patrol leader selects patrol members from the platoon or squad he
commands. He should maintain the regular fire team or squad
organization when possible. No man who may interfere with the
mission should be included in the patrol. An example is a man with a
cold. His coughing or sneezing could give the patrol away to the
The number of personnel performing the patrol should be kept to the
smallest number needed to accomplish the mission. This could be 2
men or a company.
Care should be taken in choosing personnel to perform special
functions within the patrol; such as Assistant Patrol Leader (APL),
Radio Telephone Operator (RTO), Compass man, pace counter,
point man, and any special personnel that the patrol may need.
The PL should also appoint alternates for the RTO, compass man, and
pace counter.
Select Personell, Weapons, and
The patrol takes along only those weapons
absolutely necessary for mission
Care should be taken to make sure that there is a
couple of patrol members that can fix any
weapon issues that may arise.
The PL needs to make sure that all special
weapons (machine guns, etc) have plenty of
ammunition for the duration of the mission.
All weapons need to be functioned checked prior
to movement. If a new weapon or parts need to
drawn from the armory now is the time.
Select Personell, Weapons, and
There are five categories of equipment that are usually required. They are as follows:
1. OBJECTIVE AREA equipment. This IS the equipment you need to accomplish the
mission. It includes such items as weapons and ammunition, fiber line (small stuff) for
binding prisoners, etc.
2. EN ROUTE equipment. This is equipment that assists or enables you to reach the
objective. It includes such items as maps, compasses, binoculars, flashlights, wire
cutters, and stream-crossing lines.
3. CONTROL equipment. This is equipment for maintaining communications and
control. It includes telephones, whistles, pyrotechnics, flashlights, and luminous tape.
The PL needs to make sure that any mechanical equipment (ie radios) works prior to
movement and has plenty of extra parts (ie batteries).
4. WATER AND FOOD. Every man carries a canteen of water. On a long patrol, each
man may carry two canteens plus rations to cover mealtimes during absence. For a
very long patrol, arrangements must be made to resupply food and water. The patrol
should carry supplies to last them for three days even if a resupply is scheduled.
5. ROUTINE equipment. This is the equipment patrol members carry. It includes the
uniform and web equipment. Usually, each man carries a poncho and one extra pair
of socks. Gloves should be worn, even in warm weather, to protect your hands from
thorns, sharp rocks, and barbed wire.
Issue the Warning Order
To given individual patrol members maximum time
to prepare, the patrol leader should issue a
WARNING ORDER to ALL members as soon as
possible after the patrol order is received.
The Warning Order gives the who, what, where,
when , why, and how of the mission.
The Warning Order will be given in the form
Issue the Warning Order
S-situation: Enemy forces, friendly forces, and attachments and detachments.
M-mission: contains a concise statement of the mission, its purpose, and of the
command as a whole. It includes “what,” “how,” “where,” and as much of
“why” as maybe proper.
E-execution: assigns definite tasks to each element of the command, organic
and attached, that contributes to carrying out the overall mission. No
restrictions are set on the number of subparagraphs.
A-administration and logistics: this paragraph contains all the necessary
information and instructions about supply, evacuation, hospitalization,
transportation, service, personnel, and similar matters.
C-command and signal: should contain references to the index of
communications instructions (COI) currently in effect, instructions on the
use of radio and pyrotechnics, and restrictions on the use of any means of
communication. It should also include all radio signs, code words,
countersigns, etc.
In general, coordination means the arrangements
made by other units to cooperate in the mission
of the patrol.
Examples would be:
*Friendly units in which the patrol is operating so
that the patrol is not caught in blue-on-blue
*Supporting fire (direct and indirect) may be
needed by the patrol from friendly units.
*Smoke cover, illumination, medivac, supply, etc
may be needed by friendly units.
Make Reconnaissance
While the patrol is preparing for the mission, the
leader should make a visual reconnaissance,
when possible, to get information not available
on the map. This should be an aerial
reconnaissance, if possible, or a leaders
reconnaissance. Check the route to be followed,
noting prominent features of the terrain and any
signs of enemy activity. When aerial
reconnaissance is impossible, try to find a good
location from which to observe the area or use
maps and photographs from G-2 to make the
Complete Detailed Plan
The specific duties of each element.
The route of return and an ALTERNATE route incase of detection by the enemy.
Patrol conduct, such as:
the formation to maintain (wedge, column, or line) and the order of movement to follow,
the points of departure from and reentry into friendly areas,
the rallying points and the action(s) to take there,
the action to take upon enemy contact, (immediate actions)
the action to take in danger areas, and
the action to take at the objective.
Check to ensure that all the weapons, ammunition, and equipment specified in the warning order have
been obtained.
Determine the disposition to be made of friendly forces that are wounded and enemy prisoners.
Signal system to use.
Report system to follow.
Challenge and password to use not only within the patrol but also in areas covered by other friendly
Check to ensure that everybody has a place in the chain of command.
Location of leaders-that is, where the leader plans to be in the formation and where the leader plans to
station the assistant patrol leader.
Issue of Patrol Order
A patrol leader should issue orders in a
clear, concise, and forceful reamer. Follow
the standard operation order format. All
patrol members should be present. The
patrol leader precedes the order with a
complete oral description of the plan and
answers all questions after completing the
The Patrol Order follows the SMEAC format.
Supervise, Inspect, Rehearsal, and
The patrol leader should hold a REHEARSAL of the mission, even if the patrol
is thoroughly experienced. Before the rehearsal, the leader should hold an
INSPECTION to determine the state of readiness, both physical and mental,
of the men. The patrol leader must satisfy himself as to the completeness
and correctness of uniform, weapons, and equipment. Then he will question
the men to ensure that each man knows the following:
The planned operations of the patrol.
The part he will play.
What others will do, insofar as their actions relate to him.
All challenges, passwords, reporting times, and other significant details.
A rehearsal improves the operational proficiency of the patrol and allows you to
check the plans and to make needed changes. If the patrol is to operate at
night, conduct both day and night rehearsals. When possible, use terrain
similar to that over which you will operate. If time permits, rehearse all
actions. Where time is limited, rehearse critical actions. Action at the
objective is the most critical phase of the patrol and should always be
rehearsed. Supervision is continuous by all patrol leaders throughout the
planning, preparing, and completing of the patrol mission
Execute the Mission
The successful completion of a patrol is the
end result of the continuing efforts of every
patrol member, including yourself, who has
earnestly applied knowledge, skills, and
ingenuity to accomplish the mission. Some
of the principles to follow in the conduct of
your patrol and some of the techniques
you may use are provided below.
Remember, details vary with different
A particular patrol formation. should provide for allaround security and good control. The formation
chosen should be such that only a minimum
number of men within the patrol are likely to be
pinned down at any one time by surprise fire.
Patrol formations must be fluid and flexible. They
must be changed to meet varying terrain and
visibility conditions. The patrol leader designates
the original formation. Individual members then
maintain assigned positions as long as they can
see each other and, at the same time, make full
use of available cover and concealment.
Column- Fast movement, good
control, minimum fire to the front
Wedge- Good control, all around
security, high fire to the front and
Vee- Slow movement, good control,
good security, high fire to the front
Echelon- Slow movement, little
control, high fire to front and flanks
Line- Slow movement, little control,
high fire to the front
Order of Movement
The order of movement should be kept the same during the
entire patrol.
Security should be kept to the front, sides, and rear at all
times. This is your early warning system against enemy
The Patrol Headquarters (PL, RTO, compass man, and
pace counter) should be near the front of the patrol to
maximize command and control.
The APL and the alternate RTO, compass man, and pace
counter should be kept near the rear of the patrol in case
the front should be ambushed and the Patrol HQ be
killed or captured.
Departure of Friendly Lines
The PL should have coordinated with the unit whose lines
he his crossing so that no friendly fire is encountered.
The PL should go ahead of the patrol to make sure that
the local leader is aware and that his troops are aware of
your presence and intended actions. After passing
through the lines the PL should halt his troops about 400
meters passed the FLOT to allow his troops a chance to
get accustomed to their surroundings. No talking or
actions should be taken at this time. This should act as
your first Enroute Rally Point should you be attacked
after leaving friendly lines.
Rally Points
A rallying point is a designated place where a patrol that has been dispersed can
assemble and reorganize. It should provide cover, concealment, and be defensible
for at least a short time. It must be easily recognizable and be known to all members
of the patrol. There are three types of Rally Points that you will use: Initial, Enroute,
and Objective.
1. INITIAL rallying point. This is a point within the friendly area where the patrol can rally
if it becomes scattered before leaving the friendly area or before reaching the first
tentative rallying point outside the friendly area.
2. EN ROUTE rallying point. This is a rallying point lying between the foremost friendly
area and the objective.
3. OBJECTIVE rallying point. This is a rallying point near the objective where the patrol
assembles after accomplishing the mission.
The Rally Points should be designated during the planning phase so that all member
know where they are located. At each rally Point the PL should halt the troops and
either say, “This is a rally point.” or use a predetermined hand signal to let the patrol
know that this area is a rally point. If the patrol should run into trouble and have to
change course than what was planned the PL can form a Hasty Rally Point while on
the move.
At each Rally Point the PL should perform a head count as each member comes to the
Rally Point to ensure that no one has been lost or that you have gained any enemy
Enemy Contact
A patrol is subject to two types of enemy
contact: (1) CHANCE contact and (2)
AMBUSH. In chance contact, you come
on the enemy unexpectedly, and the
enemy is not prepared to deal with you. In
ambush, you are subjected to an
intentional surprise attack by an enemy
that is concealed and lying in wait. The
patrol should have an immediate action for
all types of contact.
Immediate Action Drills
The PL should have a plan for every
possible scenario that might occur based
on the enemies capabilities. If the enemy
has indirect fire support then there should
be an action for contact with this type of
fire. The patrol members must know what
to do for any thing that might happen to
avoid confusion on the battle field.
Reentry into Friendly Lines
After the mission has been completed the patrol
must return through the FLOT. This may or may
not be your own unit. The PL will halt the patrol
in the last Rally Point and go ahead to contact
the friendly unit leader to ensure the safe
passage for the patrol. The PL needs to make
sure that he has the correct password for the
unit he is crossing. Other NATO nations or
services may not be using the same password
as your unit.
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