Patrol Class: LUP vs. Patrol Base

Contact II – Table of Contents
October 29, 2013
Calling for Reviews!
October 30, 2013
Over the last several weekends I have been working, as I usually do, to improve the ranges at my training site and also digging the new target pits required for some of the tactical exercises on the Patrol Class. These include target pits for the ambush and similar exercises (the tactical exercises on the Patrol Course will all be live firing).
In the process of looking for good areas on my property to run some of these exercises, I have been looking for a place to establish the patrol base. This is for the overnight patrol base exercise on the Sunday night, which itself will involve some surprises. I had identified an area in the woods that would be suited for a class from four to twelve people, and could be adapted as a patrol base for a class of varying sizes.
My original intent was to teach classic light infantry patrol base. However, on recent reflection, I am changing that up.
Instead, I am going to move the focus to teach LUP – which is Lay Up Position. 
You will still get the lesson on Patrol Base, and the LUP will still involve the same procedures of selection, occupation, routine etc. 
However, looking at some of the areas on my property that fitted the requirements for a classic conventional light infantry patrol base, such as an obscure concealed  location on generally flat ground, it occurred to me that this is not ideal for any kind of SHTF or Resistance operation when facing any kind of ‘enemy foreign or domestic’ with an air capability – for both surveillance and attack.
As the leaves fall from the trees and I sit at some of the identified locations on relatively flat spots in the woods, I see the the big sky above me and the ridges on the other side of the valley and I’m thinking – no, let’s change this up. 
So I am going to change the focus to Patrol LUP. What this means is that we will be looking to select an position that offers maximum concealment both from ground and aerial observation. We will be looking for terrain masking and concealing vegetation. We don’t want to be seen by TI/FLIR observation from either neighboring terrain (across the valley) or from the sky. Ideally, we will use the MVT Shield (when in production) to bolster the thermal shielding whilst occupying this LUP.
The focus, for a patrol of up to three teams of four, will be not on digging shell-scrapes and occupying classic triangular style patrol bases, but to literally ‘lay up’ for concealment, rest and administration. Thus we will be seeking somewhere to hide from ground and aerial observation. 
An LUP is something that can be done short term, for a few hours, or longer term such as overnight or laying up during the day before moving again at night. As such, it is probably more apt for SHTF style operations where you may be conducting patrol operations from some sort of home base or retreat. Travel light, freeze at night stuff. 
For a longer term operating base, you will need to consider digging it in and frankly, dragging up stores via ATV or mule in order to put in some sort of longer term forward operating base. 
The procedures for patrol bases still apply to this LUP concept (Patrol Base Post HERE):
  • Hasty Ambush (break track, ambush back trail)
  • Recce
  • Occupation
  • Stand to
  • Clearance patrols
  • Sentries
  • Work Phase
  • Routine
In many ways the difference between a classic patrol base and a patrol LUP is a simple terrain selection difference, in that rather than looking for a suitable obscure flattish area in good concealment, we will be using maximum terrain masking. In practical terms , the LUP will be hidden in a gully or similar feature. This means  that it is less easy to make a layout and ‘track plan’ that follows a more classic triangle or circular formation, but will be more along the lines of a linear base with buddy pairs positioned on each side of the feature, such as a gully.
We will also be looking at some unconventional means of aiding with concealment, such as using fallen trees across the gully to aid in concealment from the air, using a mixture of tarps, branches and leaf litter strung between, and similar techniques. 
If it stops a hellfire missile landing on your during the night, then it s a good thing, right?
Live Hard.
Die Free.


  1. Anonymous says:

    My Uncle (now deceased) served in the SAS during the Bornea campaigns. I used to think it was bollocks about him being SAS until one day my Dad (deceased but also ex Army 23 years service) confirmed it was 100% true. General Sir Peter de la Billière was his Company Commander. Like DLB, my Uncle was originally from the DLI. I’m not sure if my Uncle knew DLB from the DLI days but I do remember him talking about being in Borneo with DLB as his Boss. He never talked too much about what they used to do but he did often talk about going out on patrols lasting weeks and how they would quite often set up several short term patrol bases during the course of each day. Constantly covered in sweat and grime that by the time they finished their patrol ops, their clothes were practically rotting away at the seams.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Anxiously awaiting the MVT Shield Max! Put that sucker on kickstarter if you need the prototype costs, or production start-up covered. I’ll donate TODAY to insure I receive one.

    BTW, good call on the deposit policy change. You need to cover your a** just like eveyone else.

    Cheers- Mervo

  3. Diz says:

    This is exactly what I was talking about in my review of “Contact, 2Ed”. You aren’t just quoting from FM’s that any twit can read, as some “reviewers” claim, you are modifying LI techniques to fit our needs.

    Since we will have small teams initially, I think it’s a good idea to start with patrolling techniques that support small recon or combat patrols. The LUP or RON (remain over-night) position makes much more sense for us. With somewhere between 4 to 8 guys, a simple “wagon wheel” perimeter in deep bush will do the trick.

    And I don’t think it’s such a bad idea that we think about a dedicated recce troop at some point as well. Those that excel at field craft would want to stick with small patrol techniques such as these.

  4. Chuck says:

    Always taught my squads to form a “cigar shape” for everything from a security halt to occupying a squad ORP to a squad size patrol base: if moving in a squad column, fire teams in wedges, at the halt you’re pretty much already there, just have the team leaders move to the perimeter and if the trail team was not in a diamond formation, one of the trail team members moves to six o’clock; if moving in a squad file, when the squad halts, each man, except the point and trail man takes a couple of steps to the left or right (cueing off the second man) and faces out. In both cases, team leaders adjust each man’s position so that he’s behind cover and assigns sectors of fire. In both cases the squad leader stays in the center of the patrol base. This is assuming a squad with no attached MG teams, etc.

    Terminology note: back in the day, in conventional light infantry units (includes Airborne) we used the term patrol base to mean a place (that is forward of friendly lines) you locate your patrol (platoon or in some cases squad) where it can rest, refit and plan the next mission. It was always located somewhere that was hard to find, away from natural lines of drift and in the thickest, nastiest vegetation you could find. You never, ever stayed there more than 24 hours and you never used the same location twice. Other than reading the old B-52 tips, I had never even heard the term RON (Remain Overnight) site until we deployed to Afghanistan then it was used to describe what we had previously called patrol bases. These days the term patrol base seems to imply a more permanent location that doesn’t quite rise to the level of safe house or Combat Outpost, but not as fleeting as a RON site (which is pretty much synonymous with what we always referred to as a patrol base.)

  5. […] slope that students had to sleep on in the Lay Up Position (LUP). If you review this post ‘Patrol Class: LUP vs. Patrol Base’ you will be able to see the rationale of why I decided to break with standard patrol base […]

  6. […] this previous post ‘Patrol Class: LUP vs. Patrol Base’ I discuss some of the factors that are used in classic patrol base selection, and how they […]

  7. […] this previous post ‘Patrol Class: LUP vs. Patrol Base’ I discuss some of the factors that are used in classic patrol base selection, and how they […]