NPT members are not Rangers (but their training regimen in patrolling is worth emulating). When you look at the above photo of an Army Ranger circa 1980 – 90, you can see that a NPT will be equipped similarly (except, of course, for the recoilless rifle!). Lightly armed, primarily set up for reconnaissance with no contact. Information gathering without engaging in a firefight is paramount to being able to plan and mount effective defenses. Reconnaissance teams also have calculated risks by trading personal protection with plate carriers and/or other body armor for the ability to move fast and quiet to increase the team’s effectiveness when outside your perimeter.
When training your NPT for security patrolling outside your perimeter, or ‘wire’ your ‘battle drills’ also known as ‘immediate action drills’ must be down pat and practiced until they’re second nature. When it comes to adapting these drills to your NPT during training, you must take into account that your NPT isn’t most likely going to be very large. You may only have 4 people; 6 at the most, maybe as few as 2 or 3, outside your perimeter to perform various security patrol missions because the rest are on perimeter or internal security duty, especially at the outset of any significant SHTF/WROL situation. At first, any team outside the wire will be performing reconnaissance to get a realistic picture of what your NPA might be faced with and then can plan and/or act accordingly. Your patrol’s objective then, is information gathering; not ‘mixing it up’ with any ‘mutant zombie bikers’ you find. Sure, there’s the possibility that you may not have a choice, and that’s what some of the battle drills will help you do.
That said, the battle drills practiced should consist of ‘React to Contact’, ‘Break Contact,’ ‘Hasty Ambush,’ and ‘Hasty Attack.’ They’re fairly simple and very effective drills. Mastering them takes practice; a lot of practice, and you should take every opportunity to do so when training your NPT. The foundation drill is ‘React to Contact,’ which is arguably the most important, especially for a small, lightly armed NPT perspective. React to Contact responses can be developed for the following situations balanced against your primary objective:
- The MZB’s don’t see you, but you see them.
- The MZB’s and you see each other simultaneously and they or you or both open fire.
- The MZB’s see you first and open fire.
- The MZB’s set a hasty ambush and you walk into it.
- The MZB’s have a prepared position and you walk into a sector of fire.
An entire series of posts can be written to cover the above categories (and may be, depending on interest and inclination), but for now let’s examine the first:
The MZB’s don’t see you, but you see them AND your primary objective is reconnaissance.
You’re lightly armed and equipped. 5 magazines per man, 2 days rations, and no known friendly patrols operating in the area. You’ve got a good point man. In any patrol, your point man (until your NPT is squad size or better, a single man can perform point duties; once squad size is attained, 2 men on point is ideal) is your eyes and ears. This position is responsible to make sure you know what’s in front of you. If you have a good one and you’re movement techniques are effective, chances are your NPT will see the MZB’s before they see you. Hopefully at a distance that gives you a few seconds to determine the best Course Of Action (COA). Because you’ve seen them first, you have the advantage.
First things first: The point will be able to tell if you’ve been observed or not based upon the way the MZB patrol is behaving. He should give you the ‘freeze’ or ‘enemy in sight’ hand/arm signal. If he uses the ‘enemy in sight’ hand/arm signal, the natural reaction of your team should be to ‘freeze.’ Remember, you’re not that far apart, depending on terrain, so there’s no need for radio communication that could be subjected to Radio Direction Finding (DF). This is silent, because you have not been discovered.
So, what do you do? Set an ambush? Commence a hasty attack? Remember, in this scenario, you are a lightly armed and small NPT. You should only fight at a time and place of your choosing where the risk of casualties is outweighed by the benefit of the action itself, or when they absolutely have no choice, and then, only as long as is necessary to fade away. So…once frozen, the PL should automatically give the ‘cover’ hand and arm signal so the rest of the patrol quietly goes to ground. The NPT leader crawls up to the Point to assess the situation. From there, he chooses a course of action. In this case, as you’re a small team and are lightly armed, you have two logical options:
- Stay Concealed in Place – IF the MZB patrol is not moving toward the NPT and shows no sign of being alerted to the NPT’s presence, and IF the NPT is concealed well enough to allow the MZB’s to pass by and not compromise the NPT patrol, and IF there’s not enough time to Break Contact without discovery, the NPT leader could choose to have everyone stay down, keep the MZB’s in their sights, and let them pass. Should the MZB’s pass by either flank of the NPT’s position, the team could easily transition into a hasty ambush if necessary. Lots of ‘ifs’ here, admittedly.
- Break Contact Without Firing– In this scenario, the NPT leader determines he’s facing a numerically superior force and decides to break contact without alerting the MZB’s to his team’s presence. COA would include not firing on the MZB’s and moving quietly away from the MZB patrol keeping terrain features between the NPT and MZB’s to help minimize the chance of getting engaged by the MZB patrol. The movement can be comprised of bounding in reverse or a peel or whichever tactic your team has practiced, but in this case, remember, you’re not firing. A single negligent discharge and the game is up. The move could go something like the drawing below:
- The Point, Patrol Leader, and one Rifleman get into position to provide cover for the remaining team members to silently fall back to the next available covered and concealed position using appropriate individual movement techniques and set up overwatch.
- The Point, PL and R fall back beyond the new position of the other team members and set up a covered and concealed position against the possibility of engagement by the MZB’s so the 2nd element can then move into a Rally Point. Once established, the Point, PL and R join the the RP.
A prudent following move would be to sit tight and listen for 10 to 15 minutes, and then move out on your patrol route for 100 or 200 meters, button hook, and set up a hasty ambush for a half hour or so before presuming all danger has passed.
Remember, this is an option to use when you’re not seen by the bad guys and you’re not equipped or in a position to be successful with an ambush or other attack.
Next time, we’ll look at the Hasty Ambush.