Combat Patrol 18-20 Jan 2014 AAR #1 – F

Just got done with Max’s Patrol Class, what a way to spend a 3 day weekend!!!
His attempt to make a concentrated Infantry curriculum that builds on the CRCD class was highly successful IMO.

First off, It….. was….. COLD.
Yes 19F doesn’t sound as cold as some other weathers we’ve all been in but remember here we are not just crossing a parking lot to get into the office we were outside all day for 2 days and at the end the it was a full day AND a night and then the rest of the next day until 1630.
When you add that most of us tried to dress light enough so we could still move fast and low and that it we sat still on our chairs during the (outdoors) classroom session, then you realize it was COLD.

We had 9 students so we were enough for a full squad and this enabled us to fully exercise flanking and fire support elements, more on this later down in this review.

One of the first things  we did after Max taught/reviewed Small Unit Tactics on the Squad/Platoon level was a flanking live-fire Squad attack against a fixed position (“Bunker”). In other words we basically picked up where CRCD left off which is perfect IMO.

This served to reinforce the lessons learned at earlier classes and also to switch us on.
As a group it took us  a couple of hours to hit our stride and get “into the game” so to speak, because the cold served as a training distractor  IMO.

Early on we performed Squad level patrols in difficult terrain and honed our ability to act as part of  a squad/fire team on the move, going into the Herring bone formation or diamond formation at the halt, hand signals etc etc.

We learned and then practiced, setting up a lay-up patrol base including the security elements inherent and so on.
Those without military experience were introduced to some new concepts/applications and those with ground forces experience got some much needed refresher training.

One of our highlights was  when we sent out 4 man Nighttime Recon patrols made up of students. This were based on the scenario in a logical way and included night time land navigation with maps that Max provided. This was a real good student led exercise which honed our skills showed us what we can do and what we cant do (yet).
We exercised our terrain association, capabilities and limitations of night vision equipment , we (re)learned how the night turns a easy mission into a challenging one and how to integrate the strengths of individual team members.

On the Recce I was blessed with a mature, attentive and well equipped Fireteam …. this allowed us to successfully complete our mission, get the needed Intel while avoiding detection and injury…. all while traversing challenging terrain at night.

Our overnight stay in the patrol lay up was very chilly since we were trying to keep our signature low (it was a patrol lay up site NOT a bivouac ! ) so we were not in tents but just under tarps, And the 19 F wind how all thru our tarps.
When I went to my Sentry Duty shift I was wrapped in my Poncho liner,.. (brrrr)

This Infantry weather added a lot of realism.

The ambush training event was also a high payoff exercise.
Learning how to lay a professional ambush was also included and this is an event that deserves all of our attention.

Our capstone event was on Day 3, after a chilly night of very little sleep, we marched up some hills and down some hills on a part of the facility we had never seen before and conducted  a raid
We had been briefed on our objective: a location were elements of the (exercise notional) NT14 death squad, were laid up to rest from (also exercise notional) reprisal and terror operations against the areas patriot towns in the service of notional rogue agencies..

We split up into an assault and fire support element.. The fire support element laid down suppressive live- fire, and lifted/shifted fire when we, the assault team moved in.
As soon as the suppressive fire started , we the assault element raced up a dry creekbed (dead ground)  , while the rounds were zipping into our objective.
A flare signalled the fire support team to lift and shift fire and the assault team sprung up from the creekbed and overran the objective all while pumping live rounds into the generously supplied “enemy” targets.

I have not been this this exhausted for a long time as when I was hitting the limit of the objective and bounding back.

I would say to Max who designed this course, this training is the real deal, Mission accomplished!