It doesn’t matter what task you’re practicing. It doesn’t matter if you’re ‘mounted’ (in/on a vehicle of any sort). It doesn’t matter if you’re in a static position or moving on a foot patrol. It doesn’t matter if you’re practicing some mundane cantonment area skills (they’re only ‘mundane’ until you need to do them in a real world application).
Some questions should ALWAYS be in the forefront of your mind:
- Where is the closest cover? Cover is that which stops bullets from hitting you. A six inch diameter sapling might conceal part of your body, but it doesn’t provide much cover, as today’s steel core rounds penetrate 18 inch diameter mature trees.
You can, right now, see all sorts of exotic videos on you tube of people doing live fire training and moving from small tree to small tree, using a ‘rush’ (of course, why would someone use micro terrain and crawl??) without actually getting behind cover a single time. To be fair, sometimes the ground you train in might not have any real cover, and the instructor is using that particular parcel because of the visibility to see how the group performs. On the other hand, as people train, they will begin to believe what they do is acceptable if it isn’t pointed out to them that the area they’re training in has been chosen for observation.
- If someone is behind the cover I’ve chosen, where else can I go that provides cover? Think about it. Always have a second or even third choice on where to move if someone else is behind your choice of cover. You’re not out there by yourself, or at least you shouldn’t be.
Additionally, do not mistake concealment for cover. Concealment simply hides you. Cover is always concealment, because when behind cover, you can’t be seen, even if OPFOR knows you’re there. You have to leave cover to be seen. Concealment is not necessarily cover, and mistaking the two could have disastrous consequences for you or your NPT.
- What’s the fastest or safest way to get to cover should I come under fire? A lot of factors come into play here, and this post isn’t about individual techniques. Suffice it to say that doing a ‘rush’ (aka ‘I’m up, he sees me, I’m down) might not be the best answer. When you’re up, you’re presenting a full target. Dropping in place and crawling may be the best way. It’s not glamorous by any means, but it sure might stop you from being hit, especially if you’re using depressions in the ground or other micro-terrain features to help you get to your choice of cover. See this post on crawling.
Rushing, described as a 2 to 3 second run starting from the prone position, and ending in same, is, without doubt, a fast way to cover ground. It has its place, and can and has been used very effectively. It’s also been described as a, “Medal of Honor,” or “John Wayne” run. Why? Simply put: You end up dead if you do it at the wrong time. Think about that ‘rush’ when OPFOR has one of these in the picture below. Feel like crawling now? Would you prefer better cover?
Cover is your friend. Always remember that.
What’s not your friend? ANYTHING that helps OPFOR see you in order to shoot you. Light. Noise. Movement. Silhouetted body. Any. Thing.
There’s an old saying, “You’re not going to ‘Rise to the Occassion;’ you’re going to sink to the level of your training.
Oh…and practice crawling with your full LBE. You might find that you need to clear some ‘real estate’ in the front.