Basic Infantry Skills
|SOP Title||Basic Infantry Skills|
|Implementation Date||01 MAY 15|
|Last Review Date||Nil|
The 39th Battalion started and largely remains an infantry simulation clan. In fact at present infantry action comprises up to 90% or more of the role-play the 39th Battalion conduct in Sunday operations. While it is anticipated that non-infantry roles may enter into gameplay in the future, as it is always stated by any real Army personnel, that everyone regardless of specialty is an infantry soldier first.
With such an emphasis on infantry and the realism the 39th Battalion attempt to replicate, it is natural that we train and operate using proven individual infantry techniques that when used in a fire-team, aim to achieve successful combat objectives. This SOP aims to deliver information that will assist Squad or Fire-team leaders and their men carry out the basic skills of an infantryman, combat skills honed over many generations of warfare to engage, overwhelm and defeat an enemy in the most efficient and effective way.
It is said the Squad Leader or Corporal is the most important rank in the Army; this is due to the direct control over the men in his squad of soldiers who have the ability to influence the tide of a battle and ultimately a war. Since it is primarily the squad members who engage an enemy, it is this audience that this SOP directs focus; however as important are the trainers, planners and commanders who must also understand the basic principles of this SOP in order to use these soldiers to their best effect.
In order to comply with this SOP, a soldier in the 39th Battalion would also need to be proficient in:
- Radio procedure, how to talk (and when not to talk) on a short range radio net;
- Basic infantry formations;
- Target indication;
- Basic rifle marksmanship and control of other squad weapon systems.
- Squad Leader; a Corporal who is in command and inclusive of an eight man section of infantry. Has the responsibility of managing not only his own fire-team but the other fire-team of the squad commanded by a Lance Corporal. The Squad Leader performs the role of command and control of the entire squad, whether to engage or withdraw and any tactics involved in such procedures;
- Fire-team Leader; a Lance Corporal is in command and inclusive of a four man infantry fire team. His responsibility is towards the fire-team that he commands, when, where and what kind of fire to use in order to support the other fire-team;
- Squad Member; an infantry soldier and member of any fire-team in the squad. To perform the actions contained in this SOP so to comply with the directives of his leaders in order to complete an objective.
Patrolling is a military tactic where a group of soldiers are deployed to achieve an objective and then return. The procedures of patrolling cover the action of patrolling on foot as opposed to vehicular, naval or airborne. Ground patrols are the most common form of patrol in the 39th Battalion, due to allowing maximum players the opportunity to engage enemy with small arms during clan game play. Various forms of ground patrol may be conducted in the 39th including reconnaissance, however combat patrols are always normally planned to create the highest amount of immersion for every player.
In order for any patrol to remain effective, it is important that certain rules are observed in order for the squad as a whole to maintain a tactical element of surprise. As a patrol is not classified as being in the assault phase of its operation, care is taken to ensure that a patrol remains covert while it carries out the objective of locating an enemy or location.
Elements of Patrolling
- Formation: The choice of patrol formation is dependent on the terrain, time of day and tactical situation. Whatever the case, the right formation allows a leader to use the body of his squad as an effective defensive and potentially offensive organism during a ground move. Without a structured formation, an enemy could exploit weaknesses in a squad's defence in order to impair it's ability to fight;
- Situational Awareness (SA): Is defined as simply knowing what is going on so you can figure out what to do. In the context of a squad patrol, it is understanding how each soldier digests information about his environment so they can be prepared for what may eventuate. There are many aspects of SA that are necessary to know in order to be ready:
- Adopt and maintain a thorough all round defence while moving. If in a patrol formation, this means every soldier will have a personal arc to observe whether that arc be to the front, left, right or rear, which will always overlap with another soldier nearby in the same formation;
- While moving, each soldier will be scanning for features in their environment that may be exploited should a contact ever be initiated. However he should also be aware of similar features that the enemy may also use to their advantage during a firefight;
- The six esseses (6 x S) plus M, is an acronym to describe the postures of a soldier in the field and how he presents himself (or that of the enemy) may work against him. As a patrolling soldier, a component of sound SA is being fully aware of these factors.
- Shape: There are no perfectly round or straight lines in nature, therefore a rounded helmet or long barrel may be easily recognised as being out of place;
- Shadow: The large black shape of a shadow, whether cast by day or night from under a truck, Over Head Cover (OHC) or other large object, may incur unwanted attention due to a stark contrast with its environment;
- Shine: Shiny objects such as the glint of a rifle optic, the light surface of a soldier's skin or sunglasses may stand out in certain environments where no other shine may naturally exist;
- Silhouette: Against the flat featureless surface of a still lake or against the backdrop of a bright blue sky, the outline of a soldier or vehicle are highly visible. Keeping to the one side of a hill crest rather than on top assists to avoid exposure;
- Surface: In natural environment, vegetation and terrain is naturally eclectic in colour, tone and depth. If the canvas of a truck body is present amongst the randomness of its environment, it like similar examples must be subdued in order to blend in;
- Spacing: Like most of the points, blending with your environment rather than against it is advantageous. Similarly observing a vehicle or foot patrol with equidistant separation is easily recognisable;
- Movement: It is natural to spot objects moving quickly as it ties into our evolutionary need to acquire prey for the hunt. Just like hunting, a squad's pace if slow enough will be difficult to pick up at greater distances as opposed to high amounts of movement that running generates;
- Pace: It is extremely difficult to attempt to detect the presence of enemy soldiers, features and other items of interest unless a patrolling soldier is moving at a pace that allows him to carefully scan his defensive arc. A slow walking pace or almost anything short of jogging, will allow a soldier to attentively traverse his defensive arc and if necessary, quickly adopt a stable platform in which to place effective fire upon a contact. Another reason for a slow pace is that a soldier is able to control the amount of noise and attention that jogging or running tends to attract;
- Communication: Real operations conducted in low Line of Sight (LOS) environments, will attempt to communicate in ways so not attract attention from enemy that may be situated nearby. Communication, whether conveyed in the form of hand signals or radio signal, is vital in keeping all members of a patrol informed of what is occurring in the squad's 360 degree defensive "bubble". An example could be a soldier tasked with covering the rear of a moving formation, where while the rest of the formation are covering arcs that primarily directed forward or to the flanks. If that rear soldier does not communicate any noteworthy activity occurring to the rear, then 90% of the formation are in an awareness blackout. It is also the responsibility of all squad members to constantly observe each other so that silent communications, if adopted may be quickly conveyed to all.
Despite correctly following all the principles of patrolling, a squad is still likely to be placed in a situation where enemy forces may initiate a contact against it. In order to respond appropriately to such an occurance, the Basic Drill is taught and practiced until the response of a soldier under fire is automatic. The Basic drill ensures that a soldier is able to block out the stress and confusion of a battle situation and respond in an effective way that requires very little thought to accomplish. After the Basic Drill is performed, a soldier is then prepared to carry the orders of his squad or fire team leader as required. The eight steps of a Basic Drill are:
- Contact! Shout to which direction the fire is likely originating. A simple front, left, right or rear will usually suffice, depending on the formation's patrol direction at the point of contact;
- Suppress Unlike other concentrated forms of fire supression, this is a soldier firing 2 to 3 rounds in the direction of the enemy fire. It is not important to accurately engage the enemy at this point, but to allow a possible respite in incoming fire for squad members to maximise freedom of maneuverability during the contact;
- Run Moving quickly from your original position, say around five paces in a random pattern is the commencement of confusing the enemy to where a new firing position will become;
- Drop This part of The Basic Drill gets the soldier to the prone position which presents a smaller target to the enemy;
- Roll A roll to the left or right, especially when concealed in tall grass will aid in further confusing the enemy as to your new position;
- Observe The soldier starts to scan the environment for more exact positions of enemy forces. All the while communicating clearly what he has observed using Target Indication methadology;
- Aim The soldier, using the Principles of Markmanship, prepares to engage his acquired targets;
- Fire The soldier discharges his weapon to kill the enemy.
Fire & Manouvre
A combat patrol's objective, of which is the most common form of patrol in the 39th Battalion, is to locate and kill the enemy. Whether a squad encounters the enemy through a surprise contact or when an enemy position is to be assaulted, the squad commander may perform a tactical procedure called Fire and Manoeuvre.
The objective with Fire and Manoeuvre is to allow fire-team A to advance towards an enemy protected by suppressive fire of fire-team B. The maneuvering fire-team A would advance quickly to a position to their front (in cover preferably but not always), go prone then contribute their own suppression. It is after that time that the command "set" is given, allowing fire-team B to commence their advance forward and past fire-team A in a similar manner. An important point to remember is that at no time does suppressive fire cease being applied during the assault. Obscuration using smoke grenades is favourable in order to conceal movement in open ground but not so that suppressive fire becomes ineffectual.
In large scale assaults commanded at Platoon or Company level, suppressive fire may be employed by a support attachment using heavy calibre machine guns, mortar and artillery. At the squad level, the light machine gun (LMG) is the most important weapon to support an assault due to its continuous rate of fire; therefore its value makes it a priority target for the enemy. When close enough, grenades, bayonets and hand to hand combat is normally employed to kill any remaining enemy.
- Wikipedia, Patrolling, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrolling
- Wikipedia, Situation awareness, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situation_awareness
- Defensive Arc: A limited portion of a full circle observed by a single soldier;
- Overhead Cover: Material used to conceal or lightly cover its occupant. For example a sheet of corrugated iron covering a portion of a weapon pit;
- Line of Sight: Unimpeded view to a point of reference. If an obstacle is between the observer and the object, then the object may no longer be considered Line of Sight;
- Equidistant: Equal distance between many objects;
- Contact: Meeting with the enemy. An engagement may or may not necessarily initiate at the point of Contact.