Monday, May 31, 2010

Chicago Mayor Daley: Big Friggin' Jerk

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's behavior at a recent press conference about the Supreme Court's review of the Chicago gun ban provided further evidence that those who support gun bans hold neither the intellectual nor moral high ground in the debate. When asked by a reporter about the effectiveness of the city's gun ban (a fair question since Chicago is one of the most violent cities in the nation), Mayor Daley threatened to anally rape the reporter with a confiscated rifle that the mayor was holding and fire it up the reporter's rectum.

"It's been very effective," Daley said, holding the weapon. "If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know." Imagine the media uproar there would be if the NRA's Wayne LaPierre or a conservative politician made a similar remark to some reporter who questioned the effectiveness of the Second Amendment.

Still waiting for the Supreme Court to return a ruling on McDonald v. City of Chicago, Daley made another comment that would have been called "incitement of violence" had it been said by Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck. "You have to have confidence in the Supreme Court. Maybe they'll see the light of day," Daley said at a news conference. "Maybe one of them will have an incident and they'll change their mind overnight, going to and from work." [Emphasis added.]

Bawb has given numerous examples of liberals freely using hate-filled speech while the "Tea Party" movement gets painted as violent extremists. Please add Mayor Daley's comments to your tally, dear brother.

Hopefully, when the Supreme Court returns its ruling, they will be sticking the Chicago gun ban up Daley's butt. Expect hearty guffaws from these quarters on that day.

Remember...


THE CAPTION SAYS IT ALL

PATROL TIPS IV; GERMAN

GERMANY, WWII


The standard German infantry squad manual in 1942 was sadly lacking in direction for patrolling by regular infantry.

12. RECONNAISSANCE PATROLS

Close-in reconnaissance is carried out by infantry patrols in addition to cavalry and cyclist parties and armored scout cars. The number and the strength of the patrols sent against the enemy, also their equipment and arms (light machine guns), depend upon the situation and the mission.

The reconnoitering patrol must move cautiously and quietly. It should halt frequently in order to observe and listen. Cunning and cleverness, a quick eye and resolute action, a love of adventure, and boldness are the prerequisites for the successful execution of every reconnaissance mission. The reconnoitering patrol should get as close to the enemy as possible without being seen in order that the patrol may obtain information on his position. The men of the patrol must become acquainted with the terrain so that on their return they may give information about it and, if necessary, serve later as guides.

At night-and often during the day, too-observation and listening posts are usually sent out in front of the line of sentinel posts to suitable point (for example, exits from villages, bridges, etc.) in order to provide increased security and information. They remain in position until relieved.

In crossing a sentry line, the visiting patrols must inform the nearest post of their mission and, when they return, of their observations. The same is true of reconnaissance patrols that are met.

Reconnaissance and visiting patrols within the line of outposts observe, chiefly at night and on broken terrain, intervening areas not occupied by posts. The patrols also serve for liaison. As a rule, they consist of two men (including the leader) and are sent out by the outguards.

Ski/Mountain Troops

The Gebirgsjaeger, or German mountain troops, were essentially light infantry and more of an elite unit. They were specially selected, specially trained and equipped, and operated in a much more aggressive manner. Their manual when it came to patrolling was quite extensive.
Keeping in line with the theme of light infantry operating on their own with little or no support, that was often what mountain troops were. In the mountains, especially the Russian Caucuses, supply lines could be tenuous as best. Many issues regular infantry or panzer grenadiers could settle with an artillery barrage or a Stuka strike, the Gebirgsjaeger often had no choice but to settle with small arms and perhaps a mortar.

With logistics being so manpower intensive and complicated the mountain troops had to make sure every shot counted, and were trained to be superior marksmen, and were outfitted with more telescopic-sighted and more automatic rifles than ordinary infantry.




Squad and Platoon on Security Patrols

Ski troops frequently fight alone, independent of larger units. Such tactics require special security measures and increased watchfulness on the part of all troop employed as security patrols. At night and with poor visibility, in terrain which is difficult to observe and is near the enemy, all normal security measures must be increased. As a matter of principle, at least two men should always be assigned to patrol and sentry duty. The leader charged with maintaining security will decide whether sentries and patrols shall move on skis or on foot. Sentries at fixed posts must be camouflaged day and night.

Long hours of guard duty in any weather, particularly after strenuous marches, are part of the training of every ski unit and must also be required of all members of supply columns. Constant
supervision and care of sentries and patrols is one of the most important tasks of the squad or platoon leader assigned to security duty.

To provide immediate security for quarters located near the enemy, a circular ski track may be made. This is established, depending on the situation and the terrain, at a radius of about 1,000
or 1,500 meters (1,094 to 1,640 yards) around the position, in a manner permitting observation of enemy terrain. The track, however, should be concealed as much as possible. (See fig. 25.)


Outposts or sentries are established in heated tents, sheds, or farmhouses at the roadside or other points important for the protection of the position. Old tracks, extending beyond the security circle, should either be properly marked or be obliterated. Patrols and runners should cross the security circle only on previously designated and marked tracks. Patrols from the outposts guard the security track by constantly circulating on it. Branches placed across the track serve as a means of checking whether the enemy has used it. If new tracks of unknown origin are discovered, patrols will investigate and, if necessary, alert the outposts. A second narrower track may be constructed around the quarters and guarded in a similar manner to provide close-in protection.

Tracks for messengers must permit speedy skiing, and it must be possible to find them without difficulty even in the dark and in foggy weather. Snow squalls require frequent renewal of the tracks. In extreme cold, special trails for ski or foot travel should be prepared in the immediate vicinity of the sentries to give them an opportunity to warm up by vigorous movements. Sentries should be relieved at short intervals. To increase security and to protect sentries and outposts, various simple obstacles and alarms should be constructed on tracks or communication roads leading toward the enemy. Trip wires hidden in the snow and connected with mines, booby traps, or alarm mechanisms are particularly useful.

Listening posts are especially important at night in snow-covered terrain, and also in daytime, if the position is defiladed. At night, patrols, sentries, and outposts should be equipped with flare pistols and an ample supply of flares. Regardless of the protection provided by circular ski tracks, reconnaissance by scouting patrols in the direction of the enemy cannot be dispensed
with.

PATROLS, ASSAULT TROOPS, AND RAIDING
PARTIES

MISSIONS

The ski patrol is the most important reconnaissance organization in snow covered terrain. It may be employed for combat reconnaissance as well as general reconnaissance. Its missions may sometimes last several days. Training Regulations for Infantry, in the section entitled "The Squad in Reconnaissance," applies in general to ski patrols. Because of its mobility the ski patrol is particularly fitted to execute, besides reconnaissance, minor combat missions to disturb and harass the enemy. Detachments on skis which are organized for the sole purpose of executing limited combat missions are designated as ski assault troops.

A raiding party is used chiefly for the demolition or destruction of distant objectives or for missions behind enemy lines. It must be able to accomplish combat missions independently, fighting for several days without relying on the supply installations of the main unit. In particular, raiding parties may be employed to conduct reconnaissance in force over large areas;

b. To destroy enemy artillery positions, to annihilate troops and reserves separated from their units, and to raid command posts;
c. To destroy shelters, supply installations, and transport facilities;
d. To intercept and destroy food or ammunition supply columns and to cut off and interfere with enemy supply and communication lines;
e. To protect wide sectors against enemy guerrillas, paratroops, and airborne troops.


RUSSIAN NOTES ON GERMAN PATROLS

Russian fighting men have had excellent opportunities to learn about German reconnaissance methods. The information on this subject in the following paragraph has been collected and arranged by Lt. Col. L. Davidov of the Red Army. It should be of special interest and value to our junior officers and enlisted men.

ANALYSIS OF GERMAN RECONNAISSANCE

The Germans place great emphasis on reconnaissance. Dozens of orders and memoranda issued to German Army units include reminders that land reconnaissance must be conducted by all branches, regardless of whether or not this type of work is their primary responsibility.

During periods of inactivity on the fronts. German land reconnaissance attempts to learn:
a. The location and extent of our defensive lines.
b. The location and composition of our strong points.
c. The differences between our day and night dispositions.
d. The location of our obstacles and minefields.
e. The movement and new positions of our units.

German land reconnaissance tries to report accurately and in detail the dispositions of our troops, heavy artillery, headquarters, and reserves. Regarding all changes in our units as significant, the enemy attempts to discover these changes and to draw conclusions which can be put to use. This reconnaissance is carried out by observers, listening sentries, patrols, or battle (reconnaissance in force).

Special attention is given to the reports of the listening sentries. Under cover of darkness, these men crawl as close to our lines as possible, and try to plot and fix the location of various sounds—especially to gain information about our tanks, our reserves, the movement of our patrols, the location of our new artillery positions, and regions in which digging is in progress. Although the listening sentries can sometimes discover important data, we are repeatedly able to deceive them by means of ruses. Since the listening reports are checked in the daytime by German visual observation, we are obliged to deceive the visual observers, as well, for the sake of consistency. For ex-ample, if we imitate tank sounds at night for the benefit of German sentries in a certain locality, the next day we must see to it that there is some sort of camouflage in the same place.

Reconnaissance by combat patrols—usually a platoon—is most often done at night. These patrols, armed with hand grenades and machine pistols, generally operate without artillery support. They try to reach positions on the flanks of our units without attracting our attention, and then suddenly attack a previously assigned objective for the purpose of capturing a "tongue." (In general, the objectives are those which have been discovered by lookouts and listening sentries). After capturing a number of outposts, the Germans send details of two and three men into our rear areas. Our wide-awake unit commanders often take advantage of these tactics for the purpose of counter-reconnaissance.

If the Germans are unable to locate our outposts and flanks or believe them to be well hidden, reconnaissance by a patrol is preceded by artillery and mortar fire. Under such circumstances the raiding party is divided into attacking and supporting groups. As a rule, one or two small groups make a frontal advance, while the remainder attack the designated objective from the flanks. Two or three days before this type of operation, the Germans place ranging fire on the objective and nearby positions. After this preparatory fire, the Germans do not fire again in this region until they are ready to attack. (However, during daylight it is not difficult to detect the movements of small groups of soldiers who are being instructed in the methods to be used for the attack and fire support. It is also fairly easy to detect a group of officers on a reconnoitering mission.) When the Germans are thoroughly prepared, they launch a night attack. If Russian units detect the approaching groups and open fire on them, the Germans signal for the previously prepared artillery and mortar fire.

Characteristic methods of German reconnaissance are clearly illustrated by an action which was attempted against the Nth unit of our army. Two days before the time set for a reconnaissance in force, a group of German officers conducted a reconnoitering tour. That same day there was a brief artillery barrage, apparently for ranging. After this there was no action whatever in the sector—no doubt the scheme was to lull the defenders into a sense of security. Two days later, during the second half of the night, the Germans opened concentrated artillery and mortar fire on the same sector. Under cover of this fire, a German reconnaissance unit, divided into three parts, advanced. Presently a German signal light went up, and the artillery fire was shifted to neighboring strong points. Simultaneously, two groups, supported by the small-arms fire of the third, made a quick rush on our trenches. We met the three groups with concentrated artillery and machine-gun fire. This forced the enemy to retreat. We have learned that when we can perceive the enemy's intentions, it is a good policy to allow these first groups to approach our positions so that we can annihilate the attackers at close range.


Finally, a word about German counter-reconnaissance. Highly resourceful officers and soldiers are chosen for this work. These men take up positions as near our lines as possible. Their primary task is to determine the intentions of our reconnaissance patrols; their secondary task is to locate our minefields and learn the boundaries of our positions.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

PATROL TIPS III; AUSTRALIAN



AUSTRALIA

MILNE BAY, NEW GUINEA, WWII

In the early stages of WWII, the Japanese seemed utterly unstoppable, steam rolling over Allied forces seemingly at will...Pearl Harbor, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies, Wake Island, Burma, the Philippines. During the wicked, bloody, clawing jungle fighting on New Guinea, it was the Australians who disproved the myth of the Japanese “Jungle Superman” and showed that he could be stopped and defeated. These are some of the lessons learned from those battles in hellish conditions.


Patrolling

“The side which wins the patrolling encounters wins the battles.”
(Quotation from Report on Milne Bay Operation)

General: Patrolling is a very wide term. In jungle warfare, where the lack of communications forces the use of smaller bodies of troops, patrolling has a wider application than ever. It is in effect the technique of moving and fighting over long distances and for periods which may extend up to ten days or even more, of bodies of troops up to one company. It is essential that
on every occasion you must produce superior forces against the enemy, so that you can destroy the enemy, dominate the battlefield, however small this may be, and remain masters of it.

Therefore, if experience shows that the Jap patrols are normally 5 or 6, then yours should be 15 or 20; if the Jap send 30 or 40, send a company. These fighting patrols have the object of gaining “ground superiority” and this they will achieve most quickly by always being the first to surprise the Japs.

Strength of Patrols: The strength of the patrol depends on its task. If it is a reconnoitering patrol it should be just as big as is required and no more. It is seldom likely to be less than one leader and two men. If, however, the patrol is likely to meet the enemy when on the move and is likely to have to defend itself it should obviously be in sufficient strength to do so.

Japanese Patrols are normally 30-50 men strong with a mortar detachment, i.e., a strong Platoon. It follows that our patrols must be as strong or stronger, or else they should be so small they can “fade” and evade the action while keeping the enemy under observation.

Planning: A patrol commander on being given his orders for his patrol must appreciate the situation and make a plan the same as for any other operation of war. He must have his object clearly fixed in his mind. He must remember that it is his duty to bring his patrol fresh to the sphere of operations.

Miscellaneous: Never send a man out from a patrol on his own more than a few yards. It is extraordinary how men get lost.

The Jungle Craft

General: The term jungle craft implies the ability of a soldier to live and fight in the jungle; to be able to move from point-to-point and arrive at his objective fit to fight; to use ground and vegetation to the best advantage; and be able to “melt” into the jungle either by freezing or intelligent use of camouflage; to recognize and be able to use native foods; and possess the
ability to erect rapidly temporary shelters to ward off tropical downpours.

Movement: There is a technique for moving in the jungle. Go slow and watch you step. The aim should be to move silently without causing any commotion of the animals. Part the jungle, don’t try to push through it. Use game trails wherever possible; take care to go where you want to go, not where the game wants you to go.

Halts and Meals: Wake at dawn, drink tea and walk a couple of hours before having a morning meal; thereafter walk until an hour before sundown, halt and cook the evening meal. Put out the fire and then move off a mile or so and rest for the night. Do not sleep near a track, game trail,
stream, or on a ridge. These are jungle highways at night and you may be disturbed.

Shooting: The rifle is the infantryman’s primary weapon. It is with this that he will achieve victory. Quick decisions and timing are as important as accuracy of aim. To exert self-control, to know when to hold one’s fire, to shoot calmly and accurately at the right moment, are matters of great importance under conditions where a second shot is most unlikely to be obtained after a miss. In the jungle 50-75 yards is a long shot.

For automatic weapons the general principles for employment are normally use single shot fire, save ammunition and don’t disclose the location of your automatic weapons; NEVER use automatic fire, unless you have a really worth while target or in the final stages of the assault; once you have disclosed your position by the use of automatic fire, take the first opportunity of moving to an alternative position to the flank or forward.

Jungle Infantry: It goes without saying that the men who fight in jungles must be well-trained and well-led and must be jungle-minded. They must move in single file but must be ready at all times to deploy and drop noiselessly out of sight. Every man must be capable, if the need arises,
of acting as an individual and being able to support himself. Jungle warfare should be regarded as a game, healthful, interesting and thrilling; the men should feel at home in the jungle and regard it as a friend. They must realize the absolute necessity for jungle training as a means to defeat the Japanese who come from one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world
and have no natural advantages as Jungle Infantry.


THE DESERT RATS, TOBRUK, WWII

During WWII German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was running amuck with his Afrika Korps throughout North Africa, heading for the Suez Canal, driving a battered British army retreating before him. The only nut the combined German and Italian forces could not crack was the port of Tobruk, held primarily by the Australian 9th Infantry Division. Tobruk was besieged for 242 days but did not fall.

From the official Australian unit history: “…this operation order decreed that active infantry patrolling should be carried out in all sectors with the utmost vigour, so inaugurating that aggressive patrolling policy pursued relentlessly throughout the siege. The garrison at once asserted its mastery over no-man’s land during the night hours and never lost it, keeping the besiegers’ frontline infantry continually on the defensive.”



Another unofficial source described the patrolling a bit more colorfully:

“Tobruk patrols were of two types - fighting and reconnaissance. The job of the reconnaissance patrol was to gather information and, if possible, to secure prisoners for identification. Its members used all their bushcraft to avoid being discovered. Like stealthy shadows, they saw without being seen. But the fighting patrol went out to fight. Its aim was to do as much damage and to kill as many of the enemy as possible. Its members would creep up on an enemy post, surround it and then, at a given signal, rush in with the bayonet and kill-soundlessly. A few brief minutes of bloody, sinew-straining work and the foray would be over, with not a shot fired.

Two typical examples of AIF offensive patrols are quoted. In the first, the raiders crawled in single file for two miles through a minefield to attack an observation post, the position of which had been revealed by reconnaissance patrols on the previous day.

The patrol started on its journey after midnight and was preparing for the final assault when Very lights lit up the scene, and the enemy post opened fire with rifles and machine guns. Five of our men then charged in with bayonets, Tommy guns, and grenades. Despite a volley of hand grenades from the enemy, the patrol stormed on, killing 15 and wounding many of the estimated 50 enemy before crossfire from supporting posts forced a withdrawal. The patrol regained its own lines, suffering only slight casualties.

The second classic patrol won for its leader, Lieutenant William. Horace Noyes, the Military Cross. With an NCO, Lieutenant Noyes stalked and destroyed three light tanks and led a bayonet attack against the enemy garrison. His unit captured the post and killed or wounded the garrison of 130, as well as the crews of seven machine-guns and 11 anti-tank guns and their protective infantry. It also damaged a heavy tank.”


This in-your-face, deep, and constant patrolling not only took the initiative away from the Axis forces and kept them off-balance, it kept the Allied command precisely informed of the identity and location of the enemy forces, while at the same time denying the Germans and Italians any firsthand ground reconnaissance of the Allied forces, their strength, composition, and positions. The Axis had to rely on out-dated inaccurate old Italian maps which proved of little use. The aggressiveness of the diggers led them to believe the defenders were stronger than they really were. Between the Aussie patrols and the need for probing attacks to try to determine the defenses, the Germans telegraphed every punch, and the defenders were ready and waiting for them.

Once again, the Aussies had shown the Allies that the Axis juggernaut could be stopped, earning the respect of friend and foe alike.

Rommel himself called them, “...immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle."

A German battalion commander wrote:

“The Australian is unquestionably superior to the German soldier:
1. in the use of individual weapons, especially as snipers
2. in the use of ground camouflage
3. in his gift of observation, and the drawing of the correct conclusions from his observation
4. in every means of taking us by surprise. . .”

VIETNAM

Due to its unique size, location, and population, at the time of the Vietnam War, Australian military forces operated under a strategic and tactical doctrine consisting of five characteristics. Those characteristics sounded as if they were right out of “Proverbs of the Light Infantry”. They were: self-reliance, mobility, logistic support, austerity and resilience.


In Vietnam, the Aussies used the jungle counter-insurgency techniques they had learned in Malaya and Borneo and which had proven so successful there. Their light infantry tactics concentrated on as patrolling, searching villages without destroying them (with a view to eventually converting them), and ambush and counter ambush.

In 1966 journalist Gerald Stone described tactics then being used by Australian soldiers newly arrived in Vietnam:

The Australian battalion has been described …as the safest combat force in Vietnam… It is widely felt that the Australians have shown themselves able to give chase to the guerrillas without exposing themselves to the lethal ambushes that have claimed so many American dead…

Australian patrols shun jungle tracks and clearings… picking their way carefully and quietly through bamboo thickets and tangled foliage…It is a frustrating experience to trek through the jungle with Australians. Patrols have taken as much as nine hours to sweep a mile of terrain. They move forward a few steps at a time, stop, listen, then proceed again."

One captured Viet Cong leader commented on the effectiveness of the Australian approach to jungle fighting. "Worse than the Americans were the Australians. The Americans style was to hit us, then call for planes and artillery. Our response was to break contact and disappear if we could…The Australians were more patient than the Americans, better guerrilla fighters, better at ambushes. They liked to stay with us instead of calling in the planes. We were more afraid of their style.”

No-nonsense maverick officer Lt. Col. David Hackworth greatly admired the Australian light infantry methods and thought the American Army could have learned something from them. “The Aussies used squads to make a contact, and brought in reinforcing elements to do the killing; they planned in the belief that a platoon on the battlefield could do anything, including get out.”

Appropriate for light infantry who don't and won't have the industrial military hardware to go about "re-arranging contour lines".

Saturday, May 29, 2010

PATROL TIPS II; BRITISH


The British Army, even after the sunset of empire, has been involved in a great many COIN and COIN-type small wars. They have, in recent history, taken a generally softer approach than the American Army, i.e. using a scalpel rather than a chainsaw. One of the most important aspects of their successful operations has been dismounted infantry patrolling.

Here is an American evaluation of British infantry patrolling during the Falklands War, and why it is so important.

"Two points that operations in the Falklands demonstrated are important to light infantry training are the development of patrolling skills and realistic simulation of ammunition carriage and resupply. There is no doubt that patrolling played a critical role in determining the outcome of the ground campaign. Without effective aerial reconnaissance, and with no flow of information down to the battalions from SAS and SBS patrols, the battalions were compelled to gather all their own intelligence. This could only be achieved by conducting small team reconnaissance patrols and establishing observation posts.


More importantly, by patrolling the British infantry dominated the battlefield and retained the initiative. During periods of slow build up, patrolling gave the soldiers the feeling of progress, dominance and aggression--all key to maintaining offensive spirit…patrol skills provided a measure of just how good a battalion was, and was an important part in the battle for domination and moral supremacy. New equipment harnessing the latest technology might replace some of the requirement for infantry to gather their own intelligence. However, the requirement for the infantry to dominate mentally and physically the battlefield by means of patrolling should always remain an essential infantry task. It is worth noting that the Argentineans relied upon technology to dominate the battle space and consequently did not patrol. This was a major factor in their loss of the tactical initiative and their loss of the will to fight. The Falklands demonstrated that patrolling maintains and develops an infantryman's aggressive spirit; it is a skill that places great demands upon junior leaders and soldiers and is a skill that must be practiced thoroughly."




NOTES ON PATROLLING IN JUNGLES OF BURMA
________________________________________
1. INTRODUCTION

British forces in the jungle areas of Burma are emphasizing the importance of patrolling in their combat against the Japanese. The following notes on patrolling summarize conclusions drawn by British officers, or by units, from their combat experiences in the western Burma area. These conclusions, while not official British doctrine, should prove a helpful stimulus to U.S. thought on the subject of patrolling.

2. PREPARATIONS

A British officer recently stated that, for jungle fighting, a soldier can hardly have too much training in patrolling. The improperly trained soldier, he continued, is completely lost when he gets off paths or trails in the jungle. "He must learn to find his way about in the jungle, and not be afraid of it. The jungle is totally new to our farm-bred soldiers as well as to our city-bred soldiers, since it bears no similarity to either environment. The jungle can be a friend and protector to you, as soon as you know how to utilize it.

"You cannot utilize the jungle very well unless you are a well-trained observer. You must know all the means of detecting the presence or passage of the enemy—such as fires, ashes, cartridges, broken undergrowth, footprints, misplaced foliage, and so forth.

"When fired upon in the jungle, patrols should pause momentarily to observe and formulate plans. These should be executed promptly—the patrols must keep moving, and not pin themselves to the ground. They must be trained to get rid of obstacles quickly or to avoid them, depending on their mission."

Another British officer said, "In the past, lack of clear orders has been responsible for more bad patrolling than any other factor." He added that orders should be "crystal clear and not beyond the ability of the patrol to execute."
__________
A large group of British officers submitted the following points for consideration in connection with giving orders to patrols.

"(1) Give the patrol leader all available information about the enemy.

"(2) Give him full information about other friendly patrols which are operating, or which may operate, in the neighborhood of this area before he returns.

"(3) State his mission in clear and unmistakable terms.

"(4) State, in general terms, the route the patrol will follow.

"(5) State the time by which the patrol is required to return, and the place to which it should endeavor to return.

"(6) Give the recognition signal for challenging friendly patrols.

"(7) State clearly what action the patrol leader will take if he meets the enemy before completing his mission, or after completing it. For instance, should he attack, withdraw, or remain in observation?

"After stating the mission to the patrol leader, have him repeat the main points."

"Don't send out more men than are necessary for accomplishing the mission. Every unnecessary man in a patrol is a hindrance and increases the chance that the patrol may be discovered."
__________

Another group of British officers had this to say:

"A company is not a patrol, not even a large fighting patrol, but it provides the element from which patrols are produced. Whether a whole company is sent out depends upon the distance patrols will have to cover in order to carry out a mission. If the situation calls for use of a company, the latter will provide the necessary patrols and the remainder of the unit will form a mobile base from which the patrols can, if necessary, be assisted and a base to which the patrols can withdraw after completing their missions.

"It is important that the remainder of the company not take up a static position, where it can be pinned down; therefore, it must operate in a specified area, with a place of assembly having been determined in advance, in case of enemy action which necessitates its use.

"Another way in which a company may be employed in this type of warfare is to carry out an ambush based on information gained by patrols."

These officers considered the Bren gun too heavy for patrols which were to stay out more than two days. The rifle, Tommy gun, and grenade were considered the best weapons for patrolling.
During the daytime, the officers said, Japanese patrols almost invariably consisted of two or three men, who generally were led by a native guide.

3. COMMENTS ON TACTICS

A high-ranking British officer stated that the major slogan for jungle warfare against the Japanese is "Patrol! Patrol! Patrol!" A patrol, he said, must avoid taking up a static defense; it must be "offensive" in its tactics. It should stay out two or three days, sometimes up to six days, and it should be self-sufficient.

"You must outfox the Jap," this officer explained. "The main point is to confuse him as to what you are doing; then you have an even chance of inflicting casualties.

"The Japs watch and listen all the time. They attempt all sorts of ruses to deceive our patrols. We soon caught on to the enemy's tricks, and he appeared to be foxed completely....

"You can frequently catch the Jap on the loose—swimming, eating, resting, playing, and so forth. Usually when he is caught under such circumstances, he is absolutely unprotected. Once, during a recent campaign, one of our platoons caught more than 100 Japs completely off guard; the platoon killed 30 of the enemy while the others fled in confusion.

"The British patrols usually moved by day, and frequently caught the Japs unaware. At night the patrols generally hid out, away from streams, watering places, and trails."
__________

A group of British officers made the following suggestions for getting better results from patrolling:

"a. Avoid the 'circular tour' tactics by patrols; use a larger number of smaller patrols to deal with a larger number of smaller areas.

"b. If possible, avoid entering villages or being seen by local inhabitants. More reliance should be placed on silent observation at close range.

"c. If it is impossible to avoid being seen, employ the maximum guile to conceal the route and intentions of the patrol. For example, the patrol leader might tell local inhabitants of a village that his destination is a certain place. The patrol would actually start for the place named, but later would either return close to its starting point and watch the village for, say, 24 hours, or cut through the jungle to another route.

"d. Seek to complete the mission of the patrol. The patrol must not turn away because of resistance. If its route is barred, the patrol must probe the enemy front until it finds a suitable approach route, or it must try to maneuver around a flank.

"e. Use cunning, regardless of whether the patrol's mission is to fight or strictly to reconnoiter.

"f. Patrol deep enough to get the desired information."

A Note from North Africa

The best patrolling troops we have come across are the Moroccan Goums, whose success as compared with any European unit is phenomenal. Even against the best of the Germans, they never fail. Why are they better than we are? First, because they are wild hillmen and have been trained as warriors from birth. Second, because the preparation of their patrols is done with such detailed thoroughness. No fighting patrol is sent out until its leaders have spent at least a day watching the actual post they are after, and reconnoitering exact routes and so forth. If the leaders are not satisfied at the end of the day, they will postpone sending out the patrol, and will devote another day to the preliminaries.

Some of our men are a little too inclined to think of a patrol at four or five in the afternoon, and send it out that same night, To be worth a damn, a fighting patrol must start off with an odds-on chance of two-to-one—not six-to-four or even money, but a good two-to-one bet. To make this possible, your information has got to be really good and up to date.

As regards composition of fighting patrols, there is a wide divergence of opinion. In this battalion we go on the principle of maximum fire power with minimum manpower, and our patrols have usually consisted of an officer, a noncom, and nine men—in other words, an assault group consisting of an officer, three grenadiers, and three Tommy gunners, and a support group of a noncom and three Bren gunners.

The type of reconnaissance patrol which has produced the best result is the one composed of an officer or sergeant and two men who go out at night, remain awake and observe all the next day, and return during the second night.


MALAYA

Extracts below are from the ATOM Manual. I felt this warranted to show a different type of squad formation (3x3) that has seemed to work well for others, such as the British in Malaya and the Red Chinese, as well as its slightly different take on things than the American manuals.

PATROL MOVEMENT AND FORMATION



Section 1.—Introduction

1. All movement on operations in Malaya is tactical movement. The CT is cunning and ever ready to take advantage of any carelessness or relaxation by SF.
2. The formations given in this chapter are similar to those used in normal warfare, though the placing of individuals and weapons within formations may be peculiar to anti-CT operations under Malayan conditions. The factors which have affected the evolution of these formations are:--
a. The requirement to produce maximum fire power immediately on contact.
b. Battle is largely at close quarters.
c. Formations must be such that troops are capable of taking immediate counter ambush action.

Section 2.—MOVEMENT OF PATROLS

1. Silence.—Silence is essential at all times. This refers both to voice and movement. With practice it is possible to move at considerable speed in comparative silence. Move steadily and carefully and part the undergrowth rather than crash through. Do not blunder forward—this will produce bruises, scratches and loss of direction besides loss of silence. Avoid treading on dry leaves, sticks, rotten wood, etc., whenever possible. Use silent hand-and-arm signals.

a. Cutting.

i. Cut only as a last resort and only to avoid excessive detours. There is nearly always a way nearby where movement is easier. Cutting has the following disadvantages:--
1. It is not silent.
2. It reduces speed of movement.
3. Fatigue is increased in the leading elements.
4. Quick handling of weapons is prejudiced.
ii. If it is necessary to cut:--
1. Make sure the machete is always kept sharp.
2. Do not slash—a sawing action is just as quick and is more silent.
3. Cut upwards—this stops pulling vines, etc., down on you
iii. In many battalions cutting on the move is forbidden.

2. Tracks and Track Discipline.

—Movement on tracks should be avoided, though it may sometimes be necessary when speed in follow-up is required, or when moving in mountainous country. Movements on tracks simplifies the problem of the CT who constantly seek SF targets on tracks as a potential source of weapons.

3. Not only should established tracks be avoided but efforts should be made to disguise or hide signs of movement to prevent the leaving of a trail even in virgin country. Some aids in this problem are:--
a. i. Wear hockey boots.
i. Have the last man brush the trail lightly with a small branch after the patrol has passed.
b. Remember track discipline. Do NOT signpost the route with litter and waste food. These should be kept and buried. Do NOT while away the time by plucking leaves, breaking twigs—this blazes a trail.
c. When crossing streams a patrol should spread out along the bank, and be ready to give supporting fire to the leading troops.
d. When crossing established tracks signs of crossing should be obliterated by the rear man.
e. When moving through close, hilly country avoids handling small saplings. The shaking of overhead branches can be seen and heard at a distance.
f. When moving through rubber estates, keep on the tracks if only by walking parallel to a track and a few feet from it.

4. Speed of Movement.—Speed of movement is dictated by the nature of the country and the task. Speed in moving from one point to another will be better obtained by intelligent route planning than by trying to push quickly and blindly forward.

5. Speed will always be limited by the necessity to avoid noise of movement and will often be painfully slow. A commander must remember that movement in the jungle is fatiguing, both physically and mentally, and that he must balance his desire for progress against the necessity for keeping his troops fresh and alert for action.

6. Halt must be frequent for observation and listening and less frequent for rest. When halted, always take up positions for all round defense. In single file formation it may be necessary to delegate responsibility for protection and lookouts down to groups. As a guide, when working out times for rest halts, start with the usual ten minutes in the hour. Do not march for longer periods. Usually the halts will be more frequent especially when traversing difficult country. After passing through swamp or climbing a steep slope it is a good plan to have a short rest. Make sure the whole party has passed through a defile before halting or only the leading elements will be rested.

7. Observation.—In jungle a man observes with all his senses. On the move he must notice every sign of movement, marks on tracks, and broken vegetation. His nose must be keen, and free from cigarette smoke, sweets, the smell of hair oil, so that he immediately notices any strange smell such as tobacco, cooking and woodsmoke. Every few minutes, depending on how close the commander suspects the CT to be, and certainly not less often than every ten minutes, a patrol must stop and listen.

8. Eyes must be trained to disregard the general pattern of foliage immediately to the front and to look through rather than at it. A better view is often obtained by looking through jungle at ground level.

9. As soon as any unusual sign or sound is noted, a patrol must ‘freeze’ silently. There should be no further movement until the commander, and his tracker, have investigated.

10. The direction of responsibility for observation by the various men in a patrol is shown diagrammatically. This method must be practiced before a patrol moves out from base.

Section 5.—PATROL FORMATIONS

1. Section.—Two types of section patrol formations are considered sufficient for use in the various types of terrain to be met in Malaya. They are:--

a. Single File formation

b. Open formation





2. Platoon.—The platoon normally consists of two or three sections. Each section moves in groups as illustrated in Appendices B and C. The sections may follow one another in single file formation or move in open formation, one or two up, on parallel axes.

3. When a platoon is moving in its selected formation it may be necessary for the “O” group to move behind the leading section, but in close country it may often be more important for the section commanders to be with their sections.

4. The patrol commander must continuously appreciate the ground and vary the formation of his patrol to suit it. Similarly he must continuously appreciate the tactical position of the patrol in relation to the ground so as to be able immediately to take action in the event of a contact.

Section 6.—POSITION OF COMMANDERS

1. The position of the patrol commander will normally be that shown in the diagrams.

2. The position of platoon and company commanders will be dictated by ground, tactical circumstances and formation. It should be sufficiently far forward for him to:--
a. Be in a position to influence the encounter from the outset, and although it is not desirable for him to be caught in the opening burst of fire, he should be placed where he can quickly exploit IA drills.
b. Exercise control, control his guides, read his map and air photos, give orders with regard to navigation and order halts when necessary.

Section 7.—POSITION OF GUIDES AND TRACKERS

1. The word ‘guide’ as used here, means somebody with an intimate knowledge of an area or someone who can lead SF to a known CT location. These may be SEPs, CEPs, Aborigines, Maylay, Chinese or Indian estate workers. They may expect to lead the patrol and have on occasions been allowed to do so, but this is wrong because:--
a. They are not trained scouts and are not part of the military team. Their function is merely to show direction.
b. If CT are encountered en route, guides may react badly and prejudice the patrol’s chance of killing.
c. Cases have occurred of troops being led into ambush.

2. The correct position for a guide is with the patrol commander. The patrol commander will make decisions as to direction and tactics, using the guide’s advice as he wishes.

3. The tracker has a different function—that of following a trail. Once a trail has been picked up, the tracker, be he man or dog, must move in the lead, otherwise faint signs of CT movement will be obliterated and confused. The tracker must be protracted by the scouts who must not be allowed to relax their alertness or be distracted by the signs of the trail. The patrol commander must appreciate that a tracker, born to the jungle and lightly equipped, may tend to outstrip the patrol. The patrol commander must ensure that contact is maintained by seeing that the tracker conforms to the speed of the patrol.

The British also worked with War Dogs quite a bit during the same era, and they were used successfully in Malaysia.



The British used dogs with considerable success. For offensive operations, they developed a tracker team that usually consisted of two dogs, each with a handler, and two human trackers from the inland Sabah tribes known as Ibans or Dayaks.

Each dog handler and each Iban had a rifleman for protection, and there was a commanding officer and a noncommissioned officer with a radio for a total strength of 10. The animals used in these units were usually Labrador retrievers. One of these teams could move fast, far, and accurately.

The British also used dogs for security around their bases and for alerting patrols to danger at night. These animals were chosen for their over-all alertness, viciousness, and sense of hearing. German shepherds were usually best for this mission.

Patrol Dogs

Patrol dogs are trained to pick up body scent, to point out the direction from which it comes, and to work in complete silence at all times. They are used only at night.

During operations the master and his dog work several paces in advance of the patrol. If the wind is coming from a direction from which opposition is expected, there is a much better chance of success. Detecting a body scent ahead, the dog points, indicating the direction. The dog's master signals the patrol leader, who can either take steps to deal with the opposition or attempt to evade it.

A U.S. Signal Corps officer reports that during a demonstration he witnessed, two of these dogs picked out men hidden in woods and ditches at distances of 100 to 150 yards, and accurately pointed the direction. The experienced trainers were able to estimate the approximate distance simply by noting the degree of excitement shown by the dogs and the eagerness with which they tugged at their leads. Another officer, after working with a night patrol which had used a patrol dog, reported that the animal was invaluable in helping the patrol to avoid opposition while carrying out reconnaissance.

PATROLLING AROUND THE WORLD, PART I

Patrolling is probably the core light infantry skill. In countless cases, aggressive infantry patrolling has gained the initiative, then the dominance, and then the battle from the enemy; British forces in the Falklands and Malaya, the First Special Service Force at Anzio, Security Forces in Rhodesia, Aussies and LRRPs in Vietnam…

“Light infantry patrols relentlessly and aggressively ambushes the enemy. The enemy never knows where the light infantry is or when he will attack. The light infantry tracks, listens, locates, cuts off, raids and ambushes the enemy.”

“The side which wins the patrolling encounters wins the battles.”


“Efficient, aggressive patrolling, a requisite for success in battle, provides the commander with security and gives him essential intelligence. A haphazard effort in patrolling invites surprise and courts disaster.”


“The subject of patrolling is particularly important in modern warfare not only because of the security afforded troops by effective patrolling, but also because of the fact that the proper leading of a patrol under all conditions involves nearly every known principle of tactics.”

Military manuals are invaluable and have the nuts and bolts of patrolling, what you need to know, and the methods you use. Here are some links to the actual patrolling manuals:

MCWP 3-11.3 USMC Scouting and Patrolling:

Canadian Army Patrolling Manual


"I will be damned if I will permit the U.S. Army, its institutions, its doctrine, and its traditions to be destroyed just to win this lousy war."

That quote was attributed to an American Army general during the Vietnam War, and it is quite indicative. Just because we as Americans do it one way does not make it the way. Other powers, minor and major, have developed their own tactics to fit their own situations and some have proven both practical and successful. That is not to say that American doctrine and tactics are all wrong, merely that other nations and militaries have good insight to offer as well.

The American Army, with its high-tech gear and its massive firepower, has long since become an arrogant army. Korea caught us totally unprepared when it came to intelligence, equipment, and especially training. We would not take advice from the British regarding their successful counter insurgency in Malaya, nor would we learn many of the same lessons from the Australian contingent in Vietnam. Today, the lessons the Soviets painstakingly learned during their unsuccessful foray into Afghanistan were ignored by the American military, and those same lessons had to be learned all over again at the expense of the combat soldiers with boots on the ground.

So there is much more to patrolling than just the manuals. The following series will look beyond the manuals to first-hand experiences learned in battle by various forces around the world.

There is much that we, especially as light infantry, can learn from other countries. Success and failure can both be enlightening, and “foreign” methods and tactics still have much value that can be gleaned. Focus on things relevant to your tactical situations. Winnow the wheat from the chaff, us what you can. Don’t keep using the same old playbook. Think outside the box. Teach old dogs new tricks. Or just keep an open mind to what else is out there.

PATROL TIPS, JAPANESE, WWII


Out of necessity as much as anything, the Japanese developed what was probably the best large body of light infantry in the world prior to WWII. Tough, well-trained, and used to hardships and privations, when Allied forces first met the Imperial Japanese in combat, especially jungle combat, they were sent reeling and the Japanese soldier developed an almost mythical prowess in the minds of his opponents.

The IJA was particularly noted for its field craft, especially, camouflage, and at first their patrols were greatly superior to Allied patrols until the tactical lessons were learned (or re-learned) through blood, sweat and tears.

Here then are both Allied Intelligence observations of Japanese methods, as well as portions of translated Japanese manuals.

First, the Australians fought a bloody slugging match with the Japanese under horrible conditions in the awful jungles of New Guinea. This was the intelligence they passed on regarding what they had learned.

JAPANESE TACTICS AT MILNE BAY
________________________________________
INTRODUCTION

The information in this section summarizes the tactics used by the Japanese in and around Milne Bay, New Guinea. The terrain over which most of the operations took place consists, generally speaking, of a narrow coastal strip, varying from 1/4 mile or less to 1 mile in width. It is composed mainly of thick jungle and waist-deep sago-palm swamps, with occasional coconut plantations scattered about near the villages. This narrow strip is bounded on the inland side with a chain of hills and mountains, some of which rise to a height of 3,500 feet. Deep gorges cut this range at several points.

The Japanese attack was carefully planned to take advantage of the terrain, and of extremely heavy rains which were falling at the time.


PATROLS


The size of Japanese night patrols encountered by our forces varied from 18 upwards, while day patrols averaged from 6 to 10 men.

As a rule, these patrols moved as a body and kept on or close to roads or trails. For reconnaissance, the Japanese did not employ fighting patrols, but used scouts, who worked singly or in pairs. These scouts utilized the thick jungle to approach our defended localities or were left in hidden positions when the enemy withdrew from a night attack. The scouts lay very still while close to our troops and allowed our patrols and working parties to pass unmolested.

The Japanese on our front in New Guinea did not send out combat patrols until they were ready to make a general movement forward. However, they apparently reconnoitered with small groups to secure information for later attacks.

When the Japs sent out combat patrols, these usually consisted of 30, 60, or 120 men. Their movements were similar to those of Jap units in jungle combat.

Action Against Patrols.—In New Guinea, Japanese troops were ordered not to answer the searching-fire of hostile patrols. "One way to annul their intention (they seek to locate your positions) is to have snipers shoot the patrol," the order read. "Another method is to hide quietly, remain motionless until the patrol passes, and then knock the hostile troops out with one blow."

The British made these observations about Japanese patrol tactics in Burma.

Use of Patrols

Japanese patrols could always be counted upon to do the unexpected. They often withdrew from Japanese-held areas while these were being scouted by patrols of opposing forces. When the latter patrols reported back with the information that the enemy had fled, the Japanese would reoccupy the area with a strong force. When the opposition moved a considerable force into the area, the Japanese opened up with a murderous fire at close range.

The use of small patrols purely in a reconnaissance role has often been reported. According to the terrain and their mission, these patrols either remained in one position for observation or reconnoitered while on a march of several days. Such patrols often consisted of three to six privates led by an officer or noncom.

If roads or trails were suitable, the Japanese frequently used bicycles for patrolling.
Because they made less noise, patrols often moved during the rain at night.

When meeting a British patrol in column during the day, it apparently was a standard practice of the Japanese to split their patrol and send one group to the left of the trail and another to the right. These groups then moved through the jungle and tried to cut off our patrols from the rear.

These tactics were successful when our men tried to go back toward friendly troops over the same trail by which they had come out. The Japs usually failed, at least in a large measure, whenever our men stealthily took to the jungle to wipe out the enemy, or forged ahead on their mission, without regard to their line of communications.

These are American intelligence notes gathered from Japanese methods and tactics used on Guadalcanal.

Scouting and Patrolling

Japanese scouting patrols varied in number although they usually were small. Frequently they carried no weapons, or else concealed them in their uniforms.

Reconnaissance patrols generally consisted of 5 to 10 men, who usually moved about 5 yards apart. Some of these talked a lot, were not alert, and appeared to be stupid.

One combat patrol we sighted consisted of 25 men, none of whom stood out as a leader. When the patrol sighted us, it split into two groups. Another combat patrol that we encountered was smaller; it retreated immediately.

PLATOON SERGEANT C. C. ARNDT, H & S Company, Fifth Marines:

“I practice walking quietly over rocks, twigs, grass, leaves, through vines, etc. I practice this around the bivouac area. I received instructions in scouting and patrolling at Quantico, but I still practice this around here in the bivouac area. I believe because I practice this is the reason I am still alive. Some of the other NCO’s laughed at me because I am always seeing how quietly I can walk around and because I go out and practice on my own. But they have stopped laughing because I have been on more patrols than any man in the Regiment, and I am still alive.

When I am scouting and come to an opening in the jungle and have to cross it, I generally run across quickly and quietly. Going slow here may cost a scout his life. Different types of terrain calls for different methods.


Here is the way Japs patrol. I was out on the bank of the river with another man. We were observing and were carefully camouflaged. We heard a little sound and then saw two Japs crawl by about 7 feet away from us. These Japs were unarmed. We started to shoot them, but did not do so as we remembered our mission. Then, 15 yards later, came 8 armed Japs. They were walking slowly and carefully. We did not shoot as our mission was to gain information. When I got back, we had a lot of discussion as to why the two Japs in front were not armed. Some of the fellows said maybe it was a form of Japanese company punishment. I believe they were the point of the patrol and were unarmed so they could crawl better.”



JAPANESE PATROLLING ON BOUGAINVILLE

On Bougainville Island, the Japanese usually employed two types of patrols: the reconnaissance patrol, which reconnoiters terrain, hostile positions, roads, and so on; and the so-called microphone patrol, which usually destroys communication nets as well as microphone installations. In each case, the strength of the patrol is approximately one squad (10 men), but it may vary according to the situation, mission, and the time available.

If time permits, long-range officer patrols are sent out prior to an attack. Noncom patrols usually are sent out on short and less important missions. During the last few hours preceding attacks, the microphone patrols, generally led by noncoms, are sent out repeatedly.

Patrols generally study aerial photographs before going out, and one of the main duties of patrols is to confirm information indicated on these photographs.

All patrols are equipped for combat, but are instructed to resist hostile forces only when necessary. The equipment includes a light machine gun. Just prior to an attack, most patrols stay out one day, or less, but they carry more than one day's rations.

Patrols generally march in a staggered formation, which consists of two single files on either side of a trail or road. The interval between men in each file is about 5 yards. The patrol leader and the light machine- gun operator march at the head. In a withdrawal, these two men remain in the rear until the other personnel clear the danger area.

An overnight patrol generally does not bivouac, but halts for extended periods of rest. The men usually do not sleep, and all remain on watch.

When patrols are out for several nights, they maintain sentries on watch within the bivouac area. Reliefs are made about every 2 hours.


The following is a direct translation of a captured Japanese infantry manual in regards to reconnaissance patrols:

Reconnaissance

Items which you will note while reconnoitering in the jungle include the following:

(1) The size of the jungle and the nature of the foliage around its edges;

(2) The nature of the terrain covering (density of plant growth, types and sizes of trees, and the condition of fallen trees);

(3) The nature of defiladed positions and the degree of defilade;

(4) The nature and condition of the terrain as a whole, including streams, marshes, cliffs, and other ground obstacles;

(5) The deviations on the compass, if any, and the accuracy of available maps or other reference material;

(6) The communication installations, if any; the condition of any inhabited areas; and any problems in connection with water supply;

(7) The degree of infestation by mosquitoes, flies, and other harmful or nuisance insects;

(8) Whether or not the area is occupied by enemy [United Nations] security detachments, positions, or defense installations; and

(9) Suitable routes for the advance of all columns.
________________________________________
During the advance, in jungle areas, make a complete reconnaissance of the enemy situation. In addition to sending out patrols, each unit will select competent personnel (those with excellent eyesight, such as fishermen and the natives of Ponape Island) for close-range reconnaissance.
________________________________________
In the jungle, the individual soldier on reconnaissance should constantly be on the alert for the slightest movement or sound. He should advance only a short distance at a time, making use of the terrain and foliage and crouching as much as possible. When resuming reconnaissance after resting, he should go forward and retreat a number of times. If an individual enemy is discovered, creep up and shoot him. Take particular care to guard your rear.

In the case of a small detachment patrolling in thick jungle, one man must go forward with his rifle ready to protect the others. It is also necessary to keep a sharp watch to the rear.

The Japanese manual instructing the individual soldier on movement techniques offered advice as pertinent today as it was then.

Observe from depressions, not from elevations. Never look over such objects as stones, tree trunks, bushes, hedges, or fences; always observe from the side--and be sure to choose the shaded side--or through cracks or gaps. Often the prone position is your greatest safeguard. In observing from houses, do not stand directly in front of a window; stand farther back in the room. Take the same kind of precaution when you are observing from the edge of a wood. Avoid roads and paths, even at night. Instead, choose such natural depressions as roadside ditches. Go around fields and clearings. Move only on the shaded side of boulders, trees, ravines, and so on. When you rest, lie down beside a fallen tree. Stoop low when passing through waist-high underbrush, and crawl through still lower growth. Your head must never be exposed against a light background. When you are observing, never betray your presence by restless and unnecessary movement. When you are creeping forward in any kind of wooded or partly wooded terrain, camouflage yourself still further by holding branches in front of you.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PONCHO VILLA




PONCHO VILLA

Well, OK, maybe it’s not a summer home on the Cote d’Azur, but you can make a pretty good shelter out of a poncho.

One of the best ways to cut down on weight in your individual kit is to make as many items as you can do double duty. I know a local retired SF officer who scoffs at the guys who carry around those great big Rambo knives; instead, he always carried a multi-purpose Swiss Army knife and later a multi-tool. They do a wide variety of things and can still cut. You can even field dress an antelope with a multi-tool blade if you’re dumb enough to loan out your skinning knife to your hunting partner and he’s a mile or two away.

The good old-fashioned GI poncho is one of the most versatile pieces of gear you can pack along anywhere. It rolls up compactly and weighs very little. As you have probably figured out yourself, one of the major uses of the poncho is to use it as…well…a poncho. Some of the guys in the service always used to think it a big score to get a-hold of one of the old rubberized olive drab ponchos, but the newer nylon ones work well enough. Especially if you wear one over a pack or web gear so that it does not lie flat directly against your shoulders. I actually carry two since they’re so handy and versatile.

When the weather is hot sometimes it’s not worth wearing rain gear at all, especially in a fairly light rain, at least when you’re wearing a waterproof jacket and rain pants. They hold in all the moisture from your body like a steam bath and you can end up wetter than you would have without wearing any rain gear at all. The poncho will do the same thing, but it is easier to avoid this by ventilation with the poncho open at the sides and the bottom. Wearing it over a pack or other gear also helps more air circulate.

In rough country or really bad weather, you can wear your load bearing equipment over the poncho to keep it from snagging on the brush and/or flapping in the wind and making noise.

Hypothermia strikes most often when it’s “not that cold out”, and almost always when a person is wet. More people die from hypothermia when temps are in the 40’s or even 50’s than when it’s below freezing. Mostly it’s hunters or hikers who are unprepared in the first place and then get wet. The poncho provides a good way to get your chilled body warmed back up. It a sitting position on a stump, rock, or rucksack, you let the poncho drape down to touch the ground. Tuck your head in like a turtle. Then light an emergency candle and put it between your boots. This puts out a very surprising amount of heat and warms you up in short order. It doesn’t really dry you out that much, but it helps and, as the old saying goes, it sure beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Then we have all the different ways you can make a hooch out of a poncho. A little parachute cord and a tree or two and you’re in business. Ben and I used nothing more than a poncho hooch while backpacking and camping in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and the Crazy Mountains. Of course, it’s not the best thing to use during mosquito and/or black fly season. In that case, a bug net over a boonie hat and a pair of leather gloves will at least keep the little bastards from driving you completely insane, but doesn’t make for the most restful sleep. Anyway, in the first illustration you can see how to make all these various poncho villas.

In the desert, digging and stacking rocks and using the poncho can provide desperately needed shade in a survival situation. This is a survival shade shelter for use with a poncho, parachute, poncho liner, whatever you may have. To reduce the surface temperature, the shelter floor should be elevated or dug down (approximately 18 inches). For thermal protection, a minimum of 2 layers of material suspended 12-18 inches above the head is required. White is the best color to reflect heat (inner most layer should be of darker material).


Or you can just do what I do and avoid deserts altogether. That works even better.

Some Korean War infantrymen, equipped only with a shelter half and a poncho, learned to connect the two via the matching snaps and stake the contraption down on the edges. When occupied, their M1 Garand rifle was used as a tent pole, butt on the ground. When it was time to bail out, the man grabbed his rifle and exited, allowing the shelter to collapse and become quite inconspicuous.

The most awesome fabulous weatherproof hooch you can make from a poncho is called the ALPHA TENT, designed by Warlord. I can't say enough good about this system. Basically, you modify the lightest shock-corded replacement tent poles from a dome tent to the right length and use electrical wire nuts to make the ends properly fit the grommets on the poncho. Check out the link for how to make one.

The Alpha Tent is amazing. I once camped out warm and dry during an all-night frog strangler downpour in the Big Belt Mountains in my little old Alpha Tent. The only concession I had to make was to trench around the hooch so that the sheets of water running down the hill didn’t go under me, a problem you’d have with any tent when it rains that hard.

When Mark and I did our first winter camp-out, I outsmarted myself by setting up canvas GI shelter halves, figuring I could keep fairly toasty with the use of a home-made candle stove made from a juice can. Well, I didn’t stay warm. Between the frozen ground and the deep snow, I naturally couldn’t use tent pegs and had to use ‘flukes” or snow anchors consisting of lengths of branches buried in the snow. In the morning it took me forever to get the thing taken down and rolled up. Get a shelter half wet in the cold, and it’s like trying to fold up cardboard.


Mark used the Alpha tent. He had his all packed up and ready in a minute or two, and spent a comfortable night. Lesson learned.

The Alpha Tent can also be used as an impromptu raft for river crossings. You flip the tent over, put your gear in it, and swim across with it. This I have not personally tested. I try to avoid swimming rivers myself. But it is a good trick to know. Here are two more methods from the manuals concerning how ponchos can be used as emergency rafts. These require two ponchos and are not, of course, designed to shoot whitewater on the River of No Return, merely to get you across a river or stream.

Brush Raft
The brush raft, if properly constructed, will support about 115 kilograms. To construct it, use ponchos, fresh green brush, two small saplings, and rope or vine as follows:

• Push the hood of each poncho to the inner side and tightly tie off the necks using the drawstrings.
• Attach the ropes or vines at the corner and side grommets of each poncho. Make sure they are long enough to cross to and tie with the others attached at the opposite corner or side.
• Spread one poncho on the ground with the inner side up. Pile fresh, green brush (no thick branches) on the poncho until the brush stack is about 45 centimeters high. Pull the drawstring up through the center of the brush stack.
• Make an X-frame from two small saplings and place it on top of the brush stack. Tie the X-frame securely in place with the poncho drawstring.
• Pile another 45 centimeters of brush on top of the X-frame, then compress the brush slightly.
• Pull the poncho sides up around the brush and, using the ropes or vines attached to the comer or side grommets, tie them diagonally from comer to corner and from side to side.
• Spread the second poncho, inner side up, next to the brush bundle.
• Roll the brush bundle onto the second poncho so that the tied side is down. Tie the second poncho around the brush bundle in the same manner as you tied the first poncho around the brush.
• Place it in the water with the tied side of the second poncho facing up.


Australian Poncho Raft

If you do not have time to gather brush for a brush raft, you can make an Australian poncho raft. This raft, although more waterproof than the poncho brush raft, will only float about 35 kilograms of equipment. To construct this raft, use two ponchos, two rucksacks, two 1.2-meter poles or branches, and ropes, vines, bootlaces, or comparable material as follows:

• Push the hood of each poncho to the inner side and tightly tie off the necks using the drawstrings.
• Spread one poncho on the ground with the inner side up. Place and center the two 1.2-meter poles on the poncho about 45 centimeters apart.
• Place your rucksacks or packs or other equipment between the poles. Also place other items that you want to keep dry between the poles. Snap the poncho sides together.
• Use your buddy's help to complete the raft. Hold the snapped portion of the poncho in the air and roll it tightly down to the equipment. Make sure you roll the full width of the poncho.
• Twist the ends of the roll to form pigtails in opposite directions. Fold the pigtails over the bundle and tie them securely in place using ropes, bootlaces, or vines.
• Spread the second poncho on the ground, inner side up. If you need more buoyancy, place some fresh green brush on this poncho.
• Place the equipment bundle, tied side down, on the center of the second poncho. Wrap the second poncho around the equipment bundle following the same procedure you used for wrapping the equipment in the first poncho.
• Tie ropes, bootlaces, vines, or other binding material around the raft about 30 centimeters from the end of each pigtail. Place and secure weapons on top of the raft.
• Tie one end of a rope to an empty canteen and the other end to the raft. This will help you to tow the raft.

So there you have it. Old GI poncho good, old GI poncho your friend. If you don’t have one in your first line gear, you might want to consider getting one so people don’t think you’re a Commie or something.

25 QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT AMERICA'S GREAT ECONOMIC REVIVAL

Detroit 2010, swimming in the benefits of Obama's stimulus bill, the government take-over of GM and decades of liberal Democrat politicians running the place.



(direct links in article linked to above)


If you listen to the mainstream media long enough, you just might be tempted to believe that the United States has emerged from the recession and is now in the middle of a full-fledged economic recovery. In fact, according to Obama administration officials, the great American economic machine has roared back to life, stronger and more vibrant than ever before. But is that really the case? Of course not. You would have to be delusional to believe that. What did happen was that all of the stimulus packages and government spending and new debt that Obama and the U.S. Congress pumped into the economy bought us a little bit of time. But they have also made our long-term economic problems far worse. The reality is that the U.S. cannot keep supporting an economy on an ocean of red ink forever. At some point the charade is going to come crashing down.

And GDP is not a really good measure of the economic health of a nation. For example, if you would have looked at the growth of GDP in the Weimar republic in the early 1930s, you may have been tempted to think that the German economy was really thriving. German citizens were spending increasingly massive amounts of money. But of course that money was becoming increasingly worthless at the same time as hyperinflation spiralled out of control.

Well, today the purchasing power of our dollar is rapidly eroding as the price of food and other necessities continues to increase. So just because Americans are spending a little bit more money than before really doesn't mean much of anything. As you will see below, there are a whole bunch of other signs that the U.S. economy is in very, very serious trouble.

Any "recovery" that the U.S. economy is experiencing is illusory and will be quite temporary. The entire financial system of the United States is falling apart, and the powers that be can try to patch it up and prop it up for a while, but in the end this thing is going to come crashing down.

But as obvious as that may seem to most of us, there are still quite a few people out there that are absolutely convinced that the U.S. economy will fully recover and will soon be stronger than ever.

So the following are 25 questions to ask anyone who is delusional enough to believe that this economic recovery is real....

#1) In what universe is an economy with 39.68 million Americans on food stamps considered to be a healthy, recovering economy? In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011. Is a rapidly increasing number of Americans on food stamps a good sign or a bad sign for the economy?

#2) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March. This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report back in January 2005. So can you please explain again how the U.S. real estate market is getting better?

#3) The Mortgage Bankers Association just announced that more than 10 percent of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment in the January-March period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago. Do you think that is an indication that the U.S. housing market is recovering?

#4) How can the U.S. real estate market be considered healthy when, for the first time in modern history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together?

#5) With the U.S. Congress planning to quadruple oil taxes, what do you think that is going to do to the price of gasoline in the United States and how do you think that will affect the U.S. economy?

#6) Do you think that it is a good sign that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of the state of California, says that "terrible cuts" are urgently needed in order to avoid a complete financial disaster in his state?

#7) But it just isn't California that is in trouble. Dozens of U.S. states are in such bad financial shape that they are getting ready for their biggest budget cuts in decades. What do you think all of those budget cuts will do to the economy?

#8) In March, the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level since December 2008. Month after month after month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us. Wealth is draining out of the United States at an unprecedented rate. So is the fact that the gigantic U.S. trade deficit is actually getting bigger a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?

#9) Considering the fact that the U.S. government is projected to have a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit in 2010, and considering the fact that if you went out and spent one dollar every single second it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars, how can anyone in their right mind claim that the U.S. economy is getting healthier when we are getting into so much debt?

#10) The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced that the U.S. government suffered a wider-than-expected budget deficit of 82.69 billion dollars in April. So is the fact that the red ink of the U.S. government is actually worse than projected a good sign or a bad sign?

#11) According to one new report, the U.S. national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP by the year 2015. So is that a sign of economic recovery or of economic disaster?

#12) Monstrous amounts of oil continue to gush freely into the Gulf of Mexico, and analysts are already projecting that the seafood and tourism industries along the Gulf coast will be devastated for decades by this unprecedented environmental disaster. In light of those facts, how in the world can anyone project that the U.S. economy will soon be stronger than ever?

#13) The FDIC's list of problem banks recently hit a 17-year high. Do you think that an increasing number of small banks failing is a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?

#14) The FDIC is backing 8,000 banks that have a total of $13 trillion in assets with a deposit insurance fund that is basically flat broke. So what do you think will happen if a significant number of small banks do start failing?

#15) Existing home sales in the United States jumped 7.6 percent in April. That is the good news. The bad news is that this increase only happened because the deadline to take advantage of the temporary home buyer tax credit (government bribe) was looming. So now that there is no more tax credit for home buyers, what will that do to home sales?

#16) Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently told the U.S. government that they are going to need even more bailout money. So what does it say about the U.S. economy when the two "pillars" of the U.S. mortgage industry are government-backed financial black holes that the U.S. government has to relentlessly pour money into?

#17) 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Tens of millions of Americans find themselves just one lawsuit, one really bad traffic accident or one very serious illness away from financial ruin. With so many Americans living on the edge, how can you say that the economy is healthy?

#18) The mayor of Detroit says that the real unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent. So can the U.S. really be experiencing an economic recovery when so many are still unemployed in one of America's biggest cities?

#19) Gallup's measure of underemployment hit 20.0% on March 15th. That was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year. Do you think that is a good trend or a bad trend?

#20) One new poll shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession. So are the vast majority of Americans just stupid or could we still actually be in a recession?

#21) The bottom 40 percent of those living in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth. So is Barack Obama's mantra that "what is good for Wall Street is good for Main Street" actually true?

#22) Richard Russell, the famous author of the Dow Theory Letters, says that Americans should sell anything they can sell in order to get liquid because of the economic trouble that is coming. Do you think that Richard Russell is delusional or could he possibly have a point?

#23) Defaults on apartment building mortgages held by U.S. banks climbed to a record 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010. In fact, that was almost twice the level of a year earlier. Does that look like a good trend to you?

#24) In March, the price of fresh and dried vegetables in the United States soared 49.3% - the most in 16 years. Is it a sign of a healthy economy when food prices are increasing so dramatically?

#25) 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 - a 32 percent increase over 2008. Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005. So shouldn't we at least wait until the number of Americans filing for bankruptcy is not setting new all-time records before we even dare whisper the words "economic recovery"?