Remember, all discussions of the NPT moving outside the NPA perimeter are assumed to be, ‘tactical.’
When the time comes, either by design or by chance, that you make contact with a force of MZB’s, the most basic fundamental common to all movement is:
- Make that contact with the smallest element of your team possible.
This could be one man, two, or a four person NPT, depending on the size of the group you have out. Again, contact does not necessarily mean that there are rounds being expended by either side. It simply means that you can observe or shoot them (if appropriate).
Now, don’t take that to mean that the element in contact is left there to fend for themselves while the rest of the NPT gets all the time in the world to leave the area, set up a defense, or an attack. Even if your mission plan calls for you to break contact because the reconnaissance mission you’re on has a higher value than notching the stock of your AR’s, you still need to do the following:
- Develop your combat power as rapidly as you can as soon as you know you’re in contact.
This simply means to get all your firepower into a position they can bring fire to bear upon the MZB gang if necessary. It should go without saying that your NPT should be trained to bring deliberate, accurate, and deadly fire onto their targets rather than the ‘hollywood’ popularized ‘spray and pray’ in the general direction of the MZB’s (which really, without effective control, is just a waste of ammunition). Developing your combat power could be as simple as bringing your people up on line in either a wedge or line formation as discussed in Effective NPT Movement Techniques. To be clear, make sure you understand that bringing your weapons up on line does not necessarily mean they are all dressed evenly in line. So long as the weapons can all engage to what your front happens to be, and there is no danger of fratricide (shooting each other up) due to positioning, such as one man being directly in front of one of your other men’s firing position with neither of the men being aware, you’re good to go. The development of your combat power, especially if no rounds have been expended, and your MZB opponent hasn’t seen you, gives you a distinct edge no matter which way you’re going to go. The kicker in performing this fundamental is that you also must simultaneously:
- Provide all around security for your NPT.
Simply, never, ever leave the back door open. Being taken by surprise will not be good at all. And don’t use rear security as a ‘punishment post,’, either. You want someone sharp doing this essential duty. It might not be as glamorous as other positions or tasks on the mission, but it’s vital to the survival of the NPT.
Now, chances are that if you’re ‘outside the wire,’ your job is to perform some sort of security reconnaissance patrol, that is, you’re out there to look for any evidence of MZB activity in your NPAO (Neighborhood Protection Area of Operations) or NPAI (Neighborhood Area of Interest (defined as that area outside the AO, but close enough that any activity by MZB’s would be good information to have). That means you need to have the capability to:
- Report all information you’ve found rapidly and accurately, while still attempting to gain and maintain contact with the MZB’s or other group in question (remember, you may not know if the group you’re in contact with are bad guys or just a NPT from another NPAO).
Maintaining contact may mean shadowing or observing from a concealed position the MZB group. Knowing where they are, plotting their direction and activity will help determine what, if any, actions should be taken back at the NPADOC (Neighborhood Protection Area Defensive Operations Center) to prepare the NPA or its occupants, or a change in your particular mission. The SALUTE report format comes in really handy here. To get the information back, good communications equipment, such as a VHF/UHF Hand Held Radio as described in AmRRON’s “Comm 101” is a pretty good set up. An aside, you can also get throat mics and ear pieces that are fairly robust for not too much money to help in this area, here.
The next fundamental is a ‘tattle tale,’ as it were, because if you don’t train together or trust your NPT members, or they don’t trust you, attempting to implement this fundamental will turn your mission to hammered dog shit:
- Requires decentralized execution.
This means delegation of authority and responsibility to individuals or elements to get their part of the job done, and done effectively. It’s one thing when you’re training to walk your team through (or get your team walked through with an experienced trainer) the fundamentals, but part of that training has to be the reliance on the team to start ‘getting it’ and picking up where and how they are to do their jobs when cut loose. During training is when you want things to fall apart, so they can be fixed. Not after the S has HTF, and it’s real, meaning lives are in the balance. Your NPT must be taught how to seize the initiative when opportunities present themselves that will help achieve your mission goals. Micromanagement? Not so much. The below illustration shows the difference between centralized and decentralized control.
Not the best of illustrations, but hey, it’s the internet. The ‘distributed’ diagram could be a model for NPT networking throughout a city or county. As you can see the difference between the centralized and decentralized diagrams, all actions are taken only upon the direction of the central authority. Not so good. Why? Because the central authority will most likely not be able to see what is happening beyond his line of sight. The decentralized diagram illustrates delegated authority to element leaders to deal with their teams as situations permit.
When a NPT is moving, however, the NPT PL (Patrol Leader) has the authority and responsibility to:
- Select the appropriate movement formation based upon the likelihood of MZB contact.
These are also balanced against the need for speed, control, and security. When enemy contact is not likely, “Traveling” is employed. Traveling formations provide for more control by the PL than traveling overwatch, and the team has minimum dispersion, but can attain maximum speed while having to endure minimum security. It’s a trade off.
Traveling Overwatch is basically just an extension of traveling. Instead of having both elements/fire teams as close as the terrain and situation permits, there’s a distance of 40 to 50 meters between the 2 elements/fire teams. The PL will place himself with the lead team, but occassionally drop back to the trail team to ensure cohesion and understanding of current situational factors. Traveling Overwatch is used when speed is desirable but contact is possible (not probable). The intent of traveling overwatch is to provide depth, flexibility, and maintain the ability to maneuver if contact occurs.
The next movement formation is called, ‘Bounding Overwatch,’ and is used when contact is probable or expected. It is the most secure but slowest of the three shown. It’s essentially a ‘leap frog’ exercise in parallel, where one element/fire team goes to ground to provide ‘overwatch’ by scanning sectors of fire with weapons ready to fire on a MZB gang that engages the moving team while the other element/fire team moves to a pre-determined location. It can be done by employing alternate or successive bounds. Here’s the kicker: In a small group with two elements, the PL should be with the moving element. No rest for the wicked.
- Maintain contact until directed by the NPADOC to do something else.
To employ these movement fundamentals effectively, a lot of practice is required. What you’ve read above are considered ‘basics,’ and effective NPT’s are thoroughly versed in the basics. Leave the high-speed hollywood crap for the actors. You can’t afford that; you’re in this for real.