Analyzing the Polenar Tactical Raid Video
This first popped up over on the MVT FORUM HERE.
One of the guys posted the video and I saw a couple of comments where the tactics here described as legit. I nearly had a heart attack!
However, let me state this here:
This video is very well produced and appears to be for promotional purposes. It is fun to watch. However, if we look at it as a ‘tactics demo’ then it has weaknesses, and there is a danger of some of the ‘tacticool’ mistakes being propagated through this medium. Therefore I have some comments to make.
Here is the video:
Now, over on the forum post, Aaron jumped in and made some helpful comments before I actually had a coronary. Quoted here:
This might sting a little, bear with me.
You guys must be trying to give Max a heart attack. You know he’s getting older right? DO NOT WALK AND SHOOT DURING AN ASSUALT UNLESS YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Manifold is correct. This nonsense got started and now it’s infecting everything. It looks cool and that’s about it. I’m starting to see actual army units (not combat arms thank god) teaching this shit because the instructors don’t know any better. It’s really sad and it will get people killed and likely already has. I’m just glad the enemy is learning the wrong way too. Makes my job easier.
Now I’ll pontificate on the rest of the video in chronological order.
1. You can’t always walk around at the high ready sweeping everything with your muzzle. It’s a good way to tire out quickly, eat calories and you’re moving way too much. Walking can be mistaken for a deer or wind but nothing in nature looks like a muzzle sweep. That’s what the patrol ready position is for and why we don’t teach the C-grip. It just doesn’t work on long missions.
2. You don’t move to your squad leader. He moves to the team member’s position. This way security is not disturbed. Short halts you take a knee. Anything longer than 2 minutes or so and you go prone. Also when you’re face to face you can talk in hushed whispers. You don’t need to hand and arm to someone a foot away. The person might mistake your signal. That’s why they are kept simple and short. The sniper may have thought they were changing the plan and fucked it all up. Plain text speech.
3. Was this a hasty ambush, deliberate ambush or a raid? The mission will dictate specific responses to enemy action. Let’s go with a deliberate ambush because a raid is foolish with 4 people.
4. How did the squad know the sniper was in positon? How did the sniper know the squad was in position? There was no radio comms and unless they had a fixed time there is no real way to avoid fucking that up if something goes wrong.
5. They did not initiate the ambush with their most casualty producing weapon and clearly had no initiating criteria. It was just whenever the sniper felt like it and she did not have the clear picture. This is why the squad leader in the actual ambush site designates the initiation of the ambush. Did the lead element pass a certain point, did the rear, was a team member discovered etc?
6. We already covered walking and shooting so let’s not beat a dead horse. Don’t do it.
7. They peeled RIGHT INTO THE SNIPERS LINE OF FIRE! They just lost their over watch because she can’t shoot anymore. She can’t even provide good over watch now. They also wasted time and energy getting into a completely different position that was unnecessary and more dangerous. Let’s not even talk about the safety aspect of it.
8. Spacing and intervals. They are WAY TOO CLOSE. 3-5meters is the minimum dispersal distance 10meters is ideal.
9. Walking and shooting.
10. Notice how they all ran out of ammo at exactly the same time? If they had been doing correct fire and movement which they were not, and the squad leader had controlled their rate of fire which he did not that likely would not have happened. Now they are down to pistols! Speed reload with a pistol ON THE OBJECTIVE when your rifle is hanging right in front of you? No thanks.
11. Safety angle on the furthest guy. He’s shooting way to wild, way too far back. Anyone want to guess why he still had ammo? It’s because he was moving while everyone else was playing fuck fuck games with their ammo.
12. Some guys are stopping and reloading, others are walking and reloading, one dude has a handgun. What the fuck is happening?!?! Where is the Sniper? What is the Limit of Advance?
Let me get my heart rate down……………
Now for a caveat, it is a video and things get lost in translation, got it. Next, I’m sure I might have missed a thing or two but the major stuff got hit above. This was a cluster fuck and they didn’t even take casualties which will happen in real life.
Ok. So the big lesson is that looking cool does not equal knowing what the fuck you’re doing. The second is that if any of what I said sounds new or different then you have just experienced DKWYDK (pronounced dick why dick) or “don’t know what you don’t know.” This phenomenon should cause you to seek out professional training and experience from people who are both knowledgeable and capable teachers. I think we have a few on staff at MVT. I’ll check.
Here are some thoughts from me:
1) This appears to be a raid. Their support by fire is provided by the lone marksman. That is therefore their support by fire position. They show an aerial view and the marksman is positioned on the west shooting down the length of the clearing. The enemy targets are positioned at the east end of the clearing. The assault force of four have a line of departure to the south of the clearing and targets, in the woods. Now, having a lone marksman as your support by fire position is not ideal, but we will go with it because it is what they have.
2) Once the marksman initiates with fire, the assault team also opens up. However, they then start the walking forwards while firing nonsense. That is not fire and movement. They should have been doing that in their buddy pairs, whether that be pair working with pair, or each pair moving forwards by buddy rushes alongside the other pair doing same.
3) Once they have advanced forward a little in the woods, they throw in a peel movement to the left. That is all good. A peel is a legitimate technique for movement to a flank. However, where they go wrong is they then take that peel movement all the way to the left and go at right angles out into the open field. What this has done is mask the fire of their support by fire position. When planning a deliberate attack/raid you should, within reason, plan for a 90 degree angle, or right angle, between your support by fire position and your advancing assault element. This will allow the support fire to pass in front of the assault element and then be lifted and shifted ahead of them, onto depth enemy positions. Yes, they maybe just wanted to show off the high speed peel movement on the video. I get that.
4) What they should have done was simply assault from where they started in the wood, and keep going straight across into the enemy position, by fire and movement , with the marksman supporting from their left side. Now, they had a choice of assaulting across as the team of four, or perhaps using a pair as close support with the other pair assaulting. Given their situation with only the marksman in support by fire, and wanting the get the AK wielding assault team of four close, either would have been legitimate – either fight through as four, or drop off a pair as close fire support and sweep through the objective with two.
5) Once they are lined up in the open on the left of the objective, I thought they were going to do a good job. Alternate guys got up to move, which is an alternative fire and movement technique to buddy pairs moving. i.e. buddy pair moving together supported by the other buddy pair vs. buddy pairs moving as buddy rushes alongside the other buddy pair. i.e. two up on the left supported by two on the right firing, then swap, vs. one of each buddy pair up supported by the other guys in each buddy pair, then swap. However, then the middle guy got up and they all three started to walk forwards, leaving the guy on the far left too far back and out of safety angle, until he decided to give up and get up and walk. Then it was just a line of guys walking through the objective shooting.
6) This takes no account of depth enemy (enemy out in the woods) who could just light them up at this time. Given that they masked their support by fire there is no chance that the marksman can cover enemy who attack from outside of the objective. It’s a 360 degree battlefield and you always have to consider depth. Go prone! Another reason to consider, if they had attacked straight out of the woods, using the right pair as close support, with the marksman off to the left, with the left assault pair sweeping through the objective, and thus two elements are static in cover able to give flank protection.
7) Now, I know that this is a range and they may have been limited to what they wanted in the demonstration, but the enemy is out in the open with no cover. Given the consideration not to expose the assault team out in the open field, this raid could have alternatively been conducted as an ambush / attack by fire. Marksman in the position on the left, assault team on line where they started from. Just shoot the shit out of the enemy. There would only be a need to go down there if the site needed to be exploited, captured, or their were structures or vehicles to clear. Other than that, it’s an ambush, job done. Home for tea and medals!
8) The walking while shooting thing is an abomination. The only time you should shoot on the move (other than when doing CQB) is if you have to engage enemy close range as you are bounding forwards during fire and movement. This also includes putting rounds into enemy bodies as you pass over them during the fight through. We don’t normally allow shooting on the move due to range safety considerations. I let the assault group do it on the raid yesterday on the Combat Patrol class, because they were squared away.
9) The video below was taken during my demonstration of pairs fire and movement a year or so ago on a CRCD class. At the end you see I am shooting on the move as a fight through the enemy position. Please remember that this is a demo with only me – so I am shouting at my imaginary friend, and there should be two of us fire and moving forwards. The point is that I am engaging at close targets, instinctively, as I run through. Not standing and walking slowly forwards.
Now, if none of the above makes sens to you, then as Aaron says: DKWYDK. You are in serious need of some training. You can try and suck it down out of the internet all you want, by watching videos and such, but the responses to this email on the forum show that this doe not work. There is too much room for confusion. You are just kidding yourself.
You need professional training. Funny, I know where some of that is offered.
Oh, and do some PT!
Here is another video with some fire and movement in it:
Or this one: