Game simulations are a perfect way to train individuals in the science of movement techniques and the associated communication skills that are needed to be effective when operating within a tactical scenario. In preparation for paintball matches or other tactical scenarios, teams should use games such as Call of Duty or other networked first person shooter games to replicate a battle space that requires individual communications in a tactical environment. These games/simulations allow for the execution of battle drills such as a clear a room, clear a trench, conduct ambush in a controlled environment where resources could be constrained. Prior to any field exercise the most professional militaries in the world rely on simulations such as Virtual Battlespace to refine team communication skills that are necessary to reinforce how each soldier interacts with each other when moving within a buddy team, within a fire team and within a squad. Simulations are a cost effective way to allow team members the opportunity to visualize how their actions contribute to such simple drills as laying down a base fire so another team member can maneuver. Today's simulations are a resource that must not be overlooked when establishing a training program for your team. As long as everyone has access to a gaming console, anyone can join the training from remote locations. Assign younger individuals on the team who are the most familiar with these systems to train others on how to use them. It is essential to use simulations as a rehearsal to work out any problems before the next training event. Your onsite rehearsals will go much smoother, and best of all you'll save range time expenses.
Source: FM 3-21.75
In a tactical environment individuals spend more time moving than fighting. For this reason it is essential all team members understand how to conduct Individual Movement Techniques (IMT) to prevent detection while moving and to limit exposure to enemy observation/direct fire. IMT is an individual task that must be trained on a recurring basis to make certain individuals are physically able to conduct IMT and to ensure their equipment is properly placed to allow for movement. Even the most experienced individuals must practice these techniques regularly, until they become second nature. FM 3-21.75 The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills provides the following guidance and techniques for conducting IMT for the Low Crawl, the High Crawl, and the 3-5 Second Rush. Fundamental to all unit movements is the individual's movement skills and the individual movement skills of your peers. The IMT skills discussed below drive mission success. Use the following techniques to avoid being seen or heard:
• Stop, look, listen, and smell (SLLS) before moving. Look for your next position before leaving a position.
• Look for covered and concealed routes on which to move.
• Change direction slightly from time-to-time when moving through tall grass.
• Stop, look, and listen when birds or animals are alarmed (the enemy may be nearby).
• Smell for odors such as petroleum, smoke, and food; they are additional signs of the enemy’s presence.
• Cross roads and trails at places that have the most cover and concealment (large culverts, low spots, curves, or bridges).
• Avoid steep slopes and places with loose dirt or stones.
• Avoid cleared, open areas and tops of hills and ridges. Walking at the top of a hill or ridge will skyline you against the sun or moon, enabling the enemy to see you.
In addition to walking, individuals move in one of three other methods known as Individual Movement Techniques (IMT) - Low Crawl, High Crawl, or Rush.
1. Low Crawl - The low crawl gives you the lowest silhouette. Use it to cross places where the cover and/or concealment are very low and enemy fire or observation prevents you from getting up. Keep your body flat against the ground. With your firing hand, grasp your weapon sling at the upper sling swivel. Let the front hand guard rest on your forearm (keeping the muzzle off the ground), and let the weapon butt drag on the ground. To move, push your arms forward and pull your firing side leg forward. Then pull with your arms and push with your leg. Continue this throughout the move.
2. High Crawl - The high crawl lets you move faster than the low crawl and still gives you a low silhouette. Use this crawl when there is good cover and concealment but enemy fire prevents you from getting up. Keep your body off the ground and resting on your forearms and lower legs. Cradle your weapon in your arms and keep its muzzle off the ground. Keep your knees well behind your buttocks so your body will stay low. To move, alternately advance your right elbow and left knee, then your left elbow and right knee (see attached picture).
3. 3-5 Second Rush - The rush is the fastest way to move from one position to another. Each rush should last from 3 to 5 seconds. Rushes are kept short to prevent enemy machine gunners or riflemen from tracking you. However, do not stop and hit the ground in the open just, because 5 seconds have passed. Always try to hit the ground behind some cover. Before moving, pick out your next covered and concealed position and the best route to it. Make your move from the prone position as follows:
• Slowly raise your head and pick your next position and the route to it.
• Slowly lower your head.
• Draw your arms into your body (keeping your elbows in).
• Pull your right leg forward.
• Raise your body by straightening your arms.
• Get up quickly.
• Rush to the next position.
When you are ready to stop moving:
• Plant both of your feet.
• Drop to your knees (at the same time slide a hand to the butt of your rifle).
• Fall forward, breaking the fall with the butt of the rifle.
• Go to a prone firing position.
If you have been firing from one position for some time, the enemy may have spotted you and may be waiting for you to come up from behind cover. So, before rushing forward, roll or crawl a short distance from your position. By coming up from another spot, you may fool an enemy who is aiming at one spot and waiting for you to rise. When the route to your next position is through an open area, use the 3 to 5 second rush. When necessary, hit the ground, roll right or left, and then rush again.
Throughout American history every citizen soldier was identified first as a rifleman. As such, citizen soldiers must be a master of the following basic skills: Shoot, Move, Communicate, Survive, and Sustain. These basic skills provide the ability to fight and win. When collectively applied as an organization such as a 4-person fire team or a 9-person squad these skills translate into combat power that can defeat the best trained forces. Organization trainers should use these five basic skill areas as a framework for all training events. To reinforce learning, all of the basic skill areas must be trained on a reoccurring basis. Training events should first focus on individual skill training to ensure competency and then culminate in a collective training event or training lane that integrates the five skill areas into one combined event. The following Individual Infantry skills outlined in FM 3-21.8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad are a starting point for citizen soldiers to begin a training program to ensure they are able to defend themselves, their families, their property and their country. For college age students Army ROTC college elective courses are a great training venue to learn leadership, military tactics, weapons training and physical fitness. All of the basic skill areas addressed below are trained in the first two years of ROTC with no service obligation, and provide the additional benefit of college course credit.
1. Shoot - Citizen soldiers must be proficient and able to accurately engage targets, with both their own weapon systems and also must be proficient in the use of the most popular combat weapon systems. As mentioned above, I recommend all college students take ROTC as an elective course to become proficient in the M4 Carbine and crew served weapons. If an individual does not own a specific type of weapon and does not have access to formal training, group trainers must allocate time for weapon training opportunities for those individuals to be crossed trained. All individuals must be able to determine the best weapon-ammunition combination to achieve the desired effect on a threat force, to include range and ammunition type for the best target penetration. To make this choice, individuals must know the characteristics, capabilities, and vulnerabilities of their available weapon systems. This means understanding the fundamental characteristics of the weapon’s range, ammunition (trajectory), and enemy targets (point or area). By knowing a weapons range and ammunition capabilities, individuals will expend a minimum amount of ammunition to create the intended damage. Finally, individuals must understand the nature of targets, terrain, and effects.
2. Move - Tactical movement is inherent in all Infantry operations. Movement is multifaceted, ranging from dismounted, to mounted, and is conducted in varying physical environments, including the urban environment. For the individual, movement is comprised of the individual movement techniques (IMT) of High Crawl, Low Crawl, and 3-5 Second Rush; for the unit it is comprised of Movement Formations, Movement Techniques, and Maneuver (fire and movement). Mastering the many aspects of tactical movement is fundamental. More importantly, Infantryman/citizen soldiers must be thoroughly trained in the critical transition from tactical movement to maneuver. Understanding the terrain is critical to applying the fundamental of the particulars of shoot and move. There are four basic terrain-related skills. First, the leader must know how to land navigate, mounted and dismounted, day and night, using the latest technology (global positioning systems). Second, leaders need to understand the basics of how to analyze the military aspects of terrain, Observation and fields of fire, Avenues of approach, Key and decisive terrain, Obstacles, Cover and concealment. (OAKOC). Third, once they understand how to look at the terrain in detail, leaders must understand how to integrate the aspects of fire (direct and indirect) and tactical movement to fit
the terrain. Fourth, leaders must understand how to apply generic tactics and techniques to the unique terrain they are in, because understanding and appreciating terrain is an essential leader skill.
3. Communicate - Communicate to provide accurate and timely information to those who need it. Current and accurate information is necessary to successfully execute combat operations. It enables leaders to achieve situational understanding, make decisions, and give orders. There are two aspects of communication: the technical means used to communicate; and the procedures used for reporting and disseminating information. The individual’s and leader's ability to use information to assess the situation, make decisions, and direct necessary actions are also significant aspects in the communication process.
4. Survive - To fully contribute to the mission, individuals must be able to survive. There are three aspects to surviving: the Enemy; the Environment; and the Individual’s Body. Survival is both a personal responsibility and a group responsibility. These aspects require individuals to discipline themselves in routine matters such as maintaining local security, maintaining field sanitation, caring for their bodies, and caring for their equipment. It also requires individuals to know how to respond to extraordinary circumstances such as dealing with casualties or functioning in a contaminated environment. Soldiers must know about the protective properties of their personal gear and combat vehicles, the effects of weapon systems and munitions, and how to build survivability positions. In short, Soldiers must do everything possible for the security and protection of themselves, their equipment, and their fellow Soldiers. In the same way, leaders must do everything possible to ensure the security and protection of their units.
5. Sustain - Sustainment is an inherent feature in all operations. In order to shoot, ammunition is needed. Fuel and repair parts are needed for movement, and batteries are needed to communicate. To survive, the individual needs food and water. Individuals and leaders need to forecast requirements before they need them, while at the same time managing the group member's individual load.
When preparing for combat everyone must condition themselves mentally, physically and spiritually in order to make ready for the potential fight that requires individuals to close and to destroy the enemy. Throughout my military career leaders counseled subordinates on their developmental activities to improve their mental, physical and spiritual toughness in order to prepare for the stress of combat. FM 3-21.8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad provides the following key insights in to the characteristics essential for preparing for close combat and a framework for everyone to concentrate on to build the toughness required to fight and win. All citizens should be physically, mentally and spiritually prepared to defend themselves, their families and their property. I believe by focusing on the following close combat characteristics individuals greatly improve their readiness. Close combat is defined by danger, physical exertion and suffering, uncertainty, and chance. To combat these characteristics, individuals must have courage, physical and mental toughness, mental stamina, and flexibility.
1. Courage - Courage is the quality individuals must possess to face and overcome danger. Hazards, real or potential, are an ever-present aspect of the battlefield. Physical courage is necessary to deal with combat hazards. Physical courage results from two sources: mental conditioning that comes from demanding training; and motives such as personal pride, enthusiasm, and patriotism. Moral courage is necessary to face responsibilities and do what is necessary and right.
2. Physical and Mental Toughness - Physical and mental toughness are the qualities individuals must have to combat physical exertion and suffering. Physical toughness enables the individuals to endure hardship and perform his rigorous duties. Mental toughness enables the individual to put the harshness of the environment and his duties into proper perspective. Mentally tough individuals can do what needs to be done to accomplish the mission.
3. Mental Stamina - The individual’s awareness during combat is never complete. There is no such thing as perfect awareness or understanding of the situation. Mental stamina is the quality Individuals must have to combat this uncertainty. Mental stamina provides the ability to assess the situation based on whatever facts are at hand, to intuitively make reasonable assumptions about what is not known, and to make logical decisions based on that information.
4. Flexibility - Chance is luck, opportunity, and fortune, and happens to both sides in close combat. It is not predictable. However, it must be dealt with in that individuals must be flexible, resolute, and able to continuously look forward.
The following list of FMs (Field Manuals) and STPs (Soldier Training Publications) are a must for your personal library and for organizational trainers. All the references mentioned are approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited, so they are downloadable for free as a PDF at the Army's Publishing Agency website. Designate one individual as your organization's Trainer and assign them the responsibility to maintain the most current copy of the reference material for your organization's library. The individual designated as the Trainer should be the only team member to download reference material so websites are not burdened with multiple individuals downloading material. Another function of having one individual as a single point of contact for training material is to ensure revision control, in order for the organization to have the most recent versions of documents in a central location. As any trainer knows, most people become overwhelmed with too much information and must manage the amount of information pushed to subordinates in manageable pieces that are most critical to the unit's mission. Smaller pieces of information is also essential for better learning and retention. Trainers must continually single out the most critical information and what is most important to the organization.
Training Reference List:
FM 3-06 Urban Operations
FM 21-60 Visual Signals
FM 3-21.8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad
FM 3-21.10 The Infantry Rifle Company
FM 3-21.75 The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills
FM 3-22.9 Rifle Marksmanship
FM 3-23.35 Pistol Marksmanship
FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency
FM 3-24.2 Tactics In Counterinsurgency
FM 3-97.6 Mountain Operations
FM 4-25.11 First Aid
FM 4-25.12 Unit Field Sanitation Team
FM 6-22 Army Leadership
FM 7-22 Army Physical ReadinessTraining
FM 90-3 Desert Operations
FM 90-5 Jungle Operations
STP 21-1-SMTP Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Skills Level 1
STP 1-24-SMTP Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4
FM 3-21.75 The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills field manual is the primary source for key combat skills used to defeat threat forces. The most critical soldier skills such as movement techniques, reporting procedures, camouflage, fighting position construction, combat marksmanship, communication and survival skills are addressed in this manual. This manual includes relevant pictures and tables that make the information easy to understand and implement. This manual is approved for public release; distribution is unlimited, so it is downloadable for free as a PDF file at the Army's Publishing Agency website. This field manual is a must for your personal library and for all group trainers.
When planning training events organizers must focus individual training on a wide range of basic soldier competencies that include medical, communications, land navigation, and movement tasks that are the building blocks for all tactical operations. Too often individuals focus heavily on live fire range activities and forget the most fundamental skills that are the basis for preparedness and successful operations in a field environment. Trainers should always allocate a portion of training time to review and practice basic skills, no matter what their peer experience level is. To assist with identifying key activities for training use the tasks outlined in the Army's STP 21-1-SMCT Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Skills Level 1. There is no need to purchase this manual due to its approval for public release and distribution unlimited designation. The manual can be found for free by typing Army Publishing Directorate in any search engine and downloading the manual as a PDF file. Everyone should keep both an electronic and hard copy of this essential manual in their resource library.
If you are looking for a way to improve your shooting skills at home LaserLyte's Laser Trainer Target is the system you need. The laser training target is a great dry-fire trainer that provides instant feedback on your technique without firing live ammunition. This LED reactive target gives your point of aim when the hammer engages the firing pin allowing you to rehearse your stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control and breathing. When purchasing the LaserLyte Trainer you also need to purchase a training cartridge for your pistol's caliber. This system really saves you a lot a money on both ammunition and range time. See this sites Amazon Store for more information.
One of the most important tools in anyone's rucksack is a Terrain Model Kit. Prior to any operation leaders must visually communicate how the operation is to occur. There is no better tool to communicate mission requirements and to achieve mission understanding by all participants then a mission rehearsal conducted on a terrain model. The terrain model depicts subordinate unit locations in relation to each other during each phase of the operation and provides a forum to discuss everyone's role during mission execution. The ability to replicate the operating environments terrain in a scaled down model is essential for leader understanding of the mission and leader visualization of the advantages and disadvantages the terrain has on both friendly and enemy cover, concealment and fields of fire. A basic terrain model is oriented in the direction the patrol will be traveling on, displays routes to the objective and highlights key terrain features the patrol will encounter during movement. A second terrain model is used to display detailed information of the layout of the objective so all patrol actions on the Objective (OBJ) can be discussed and all patrol members know their specific functions and actions on the OBJ. If time is limited the focus should be on the construction of the OBJ terrain model only.
Terrain Model Kit Items (see top picture for items in my kit).
1. Shaving bag to store kit.
2. Laminated index cards for Legend and key control measures (Phase lines, OBJ).
3. Dry erase markers for marking laminate cards.
4. Red yarn, red poker chips to designate enemy positions.
5. White or Blue poker chips to mark friendly element locations.
6. White yarn for marking routes, phase lines and other key graphic control measures..
7. Blue yarn for marking water.
8. Black yarn for roads.
9. 550 cord guts to make grid lines.
10. MRE meal boxes for bunkers and building on OBJ.
11. Construct perimeter wire from a spiral notebook
12. Use MRE card board boxes for additional labeling, and MRE accessory sugar and coffee packets to depict buildings and other features on the OBJ.
Key elements of a terrain model (see example).
1. Model oriented in the direction of travel.
2. North-seeking arrow.
3. Legend - Clearly identify in legend all symbols used on the terrain model.
4. Grid lines and grid coordinates.
5. Objective (OBJ).
6. Exaggerated terrain relief and water obstacles.
7. Friendly patrol locations to include support-by-fire (SBF), security elements (SE), breach and assault element positions.
8. Routes, primary and alternate.
9. Release points (RP, ORP).
10. Danger areas (roads, trails, open areas).
11. Blowup of OBJ area to discuss actions on OBJ in detail.
12. Replicate trees and vegetation using leaves, moss or pine needles.
To ensure individuals comprehend the key elements of preparedness they must first practice the topics discussed. Prior to anyone learning to run they must first learn to crawl and then walk. The Crawl, Walk, Run Methodology is used throughout the Armed Forces to reiterate that service members must understand task fundamentals and pass testing on these fundamentals prior to being allowed to perform their jobs. Everyone wants to go fire their weapons prior to mastering the fundamentals of safety and marksmanship often resulting in safety violations that could have been prevented if they practiced the basics first. By rushing the learning process and not studying the bookwork aspects of a topic you will not formalize the correct order of steps within a process or the reasons for why the steps are ordered the way they are. By not fully understanding the fundamental steps behind a task you are not going to be able to perform the task while under pressure, or be able to teach a task to someone else. Information on this site is conveyed using the Crawl (basic information/fundamentals), then Walk (practice/rehearse), then Run (execute to outlined standards/knowledge) method to ensure users are formalizing the information to memory. Initial Blog posts are focused on providing basic skills needed to live in an austere environment with a focus on equipment and techniques required for extended field time. Crawl information will be incorporated in to later posts that will incorporate techniques, procedures, rehearsal and inspection methods that will be tailored for advanced operations in a tactical environment.