Lessons from FoF: Loss of Control
November 14, 2016 at 11:25 pm #109703D CloseModerator
Edit: See comments below for link to Max’s post on Grip
It is imperative the squad leader (SL) knows the position and status of his team at all times. A squad, with one team in contact, must use the other team to break or advance. Lacking radios, a SL must be within a few bounds of his teams in order to receive information, issue orders or support. The CUTT is constrained in resources and supporting fires. Radio communications may not be available or desired so drills and plans allow for action to be executed autonomously, until the SL can exert control. The SL must also obtain, through various means, the intelligence required for mission success. For CUTT, the only source for required information may be patrolling.
The following scenario took place 05NOV16 during MVT Force on Force training.
A squad sized element was tasked with protecting Objective ACE near Shit Town village. In addition, it was also tasked with finding and capturing an enemy controlled Objective BLUE. Intel indicated a similar strength enemy element in the AO. The exact position and deployment was unknown. The AO consisted of three ridges, joined together to the north. The two opposing OBJ were separated by the ridge in the middle.
The ACE squad leader decided to split his squad into two elements, allowing the second to act as reserve and defense in depth. The first squad was tasked with occupying a ridge that ran between ACE and BLUE. This allowed for observation of the key terrain to the north as well as the draw in between. Team A was instructed to occupy the ridge and conduct reconnaisance to determine the enemy disposition. On contact, he was instructed to break contact and conduct a hasty ambush until Team B was manoeuvered to support.
Upon departure, Team A did not occupy the ridge as instructed. Instead, they moved to the key terrain to the north. ACE SL was forced to pursue on foot and reposition them to Middle Ridge. They were instructed to move to the south of a parking area there and observe. Meanwhile, the ACE SL moved back to OBJ ACE and instructed TEAM B to conduct a patrol in the valley below Shit Town and work up the draw behind Middle Ridge and TEAM A. The SL then moved to contact TEAM A. They were not in the position he assumed they were, on Middle Ridge. He moved into the eastern draw, contacted TEAM B and took two from that team to affect a join up with TEAM A. The remnant of B was instructed to reposition near Shit Town and monitor the valley where the enemy could approach from below.
TEAM B SL moved up slope to Middle Ridge. TEAM A was no longer there. He had lost control of his primary element and could not support. There were sounds of possible contact to the NW, close to where the OBJ BLUE ridge joined the main trail to the north. The SL chose to manoeuver his team to support his team under fire.
Unbeknown to the SL, TEAM A had moved off Middle Ridge and made contact just off the main road near BLUE ridge. They had indeed broken contact and fallen back to occupy key terrain, north of OBJ ACE. As SL moved to relieve his TEAM A (erroneously), he contacted enemy coming out of OBJ BLUE. His three man relief was now breaking contact along the main road, with at least six enemy pursuing by bounds. The SL and his two B riflemen set up a hasty ambush, perpendicular along the road. One enemy four man team approached the X. One member of the ambush team began taking fire from another enemy team to the south. The SL opened fire early, feeling compromised. Unable to inflict initial casualties, the SL suffered a fatal head wound in addition to one other teammate dead. A lone survivor was able to evade and rejoin the six remaining ACE members. Shit Town and OBJ ACE was captured by BLUE after a subsequent fire fight.
November 15, 2016 at 6:19 am #109704
November 15, 2016 at 9:09 am #109705RobertParticipant
You did a great job D. It’s a tough proposition to lead people you are not familiar with with varying levels of training and experience.
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far far away, we used to use the term “span of control” to talk about how many people realistically could be lead by a small team. It was roughly fire team size IIRC, 4 to 5 people roughly.
It starts with the INDIVIDUAL. If the individual is sitting there with a firefight going on waiting for a fire team leader or squad leader to tell him, perhaps even show him how to be effective for the fight, then the fight will most likely not be won. The individual must always be asking himself- “Where can I be the most effective right now?” Sometimes however that means not running up and joining the fight but waiting in reserve, or covering a flank for an expected enemy movement on the flank. But the individual should take some INITIATIVE. Without that, all hope is lost IMO.
From there it’s the buddy team. The very basic there is- stay with your buddy, do what he’s doing. Keep him alive and he will keep YOU alive.
A person could potentially be the most selfish ba$tard in the world, but if he is smart, he will understand that by helping to keep others in his team alive, he is increasing HIS chances of survival.
I truly believe when people start with these basics, they won’t need to be micro managed on the X as much. They will begin to see opportunities and exploit them. That’s not to say everyone should act on their own accord. But when you know the commanders intent and SEE an opportunity that can be exploited, you should do that without spending five minutes discussing it.
We see this hesitation in combatives all the time. We had a guy that did several amateur fights. He was a big guy, 6 foot 270 strong as hell, he was fairly well rounded, big old heavy hands, moved well, was good enough on the ground. Sparring in the gym he had good timing, rang my bell and knocked out one of the other instructors, gave us trouble on the ground also. He got in the ring and hesitated, a lot. He was beat by a guy that in the gym (practice/training) he would have clobbered easily. However in the ring (real fight) his hesitation cost him.
This is the importance of the FOF training in addition to CTT, CP, etc. Getting rid of that momentary hesitation. Getting used to having a human in your weapon sights not hesitating. Getting used to seeing opportunities and exploiting them.
You can read that stuff on the internet all you want, until it plays out it’s not going to be the same. See you all at FOF class :)
November 15, 2016 at 11:34 am #109706wheelseeParticipant
Robert – He got in the ring and hesitated, a lot. He was beat by a guy that in the gym (practice/training) he would have clobbered easily. However in the ring (real fight) his hesitation cost him.
Exactly – in American Combatives, the mantra is “hit first, hit fast, hit hard”.
Ask my offspring, what is 2nd place in combat?? Answer – body bag
November 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm #109707jappermanParticipant
So much of what I’m reading about FOF reminds me of various sports I’ve been involved with. You build individual skills then you build team skills but you must scrimmage in order to build an understanding for the game. It’s that understanding of the game that allows you to exploit the skills you’ve built and take initiative. The cohesion that comes with practicing as a team also allows people to anticipate each others movement because of a shared understanding of what the right thing to do is at the right time. It just so happens that this isn’t really a “game” and the results may become deadly serious.
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