Student Review: Combat Patrol July 2016: Tango

Max Sends: This was the first Combat Patrol Class (CP) at the VTC for 2016, other than ones run at remote classes. It is a 4 day class and the format has changed yet again, to something that I am very happy with. The class was full at 12 students for the longest time, and then due to some last minute cancellations ran with 8 students, which is actually an ideal number. It’s impossible to fill spaces for classes such at these a short notice, simply due to the planning and lead time people need.



Student Review: Combat Patrol July 2016: Tango

Rick Grimes and his trusted group of survivalists had made it a long way. They faced bandits, thieves, murderers, untimely deaths, cunning crooks, moral crossroads, and managed to fight through it all. Now they made it long enough to find themselves in a community away from any trouble. They have walls, water, food, power, and even social lives. The walls provide them a sense of security. A couple people on lax sentry duty throughout the day from inside the community walls is all they need. Everything is going great, it looks like they might even be in the clear now. The world is free to crumble around them.

And then an 18 wheeler smashes into their perimeter at high speed. A wave of violent humans descend upon their location. Rick Grimes’ people get split up, go missing, and get captured. Everywhere they went the enemy had the drop on them.

How did this happen? How did such experienced fighters get taken wholesale?

Rick and his gang had no patrols. No recon. No knowledge of any activity beyond their walls. They didn’t even really know this enemy was out there, nevermind their available resources, leadership, or structure. Without extended patrols they had no warning of any threat and were wholly unprepared to react.

Negan and his band of outlaws clearly had an information advantage over Rick. They knew where Rick’s group was, what resources they had, all their travel routes, and the size of their force. Negan and his group were clearly conducting reconnaissance and patrols on Rick’s group in one way or another. All that information allowed them to plan, construct, and execute a devastating assault on Rick’s group.

Combat Patrol is the class where your ring of understanding of the full picture starts to expand. Combat Team Tactics (CTT) will teach you some basic techniques to react to a basic enemy. Combat Patrol will teach you how to not only react to a complex enemy, but also teach you how to take the fight to them. Combat Patrol is not about living out of a ruck in the woods.

The neat thing about patrolling is that it’s something you probably already do every day. You drive around your neighborhood, look at the houses, look at your yard, wave at the mail man. Everything looks normal and you’re taking note whether you realize it or not.

Wikipedia says: A patrol is commonly a group of personnel that are assigned to monitor a specific geographic area. This is a very broad definition that could include driving around neighborhoods in cars, riding trails on ATVs, taking a boat up a river, going for a walk through the city, and riding a bicycle through the neighborhood. Patrolling is about observing and collecting while on the move around a particular area. It is not just about sneaking through the trees at night.

You’re probably worried about carrying that big ruck for 3 days, being a little extra dirty, and maybe even thinking this doesn’t apply to you. After all, you’re never going to need to leave your super secret hideout, right? Wrong on all accounts.

The new class format puts more emphasis on instruction. This means you’re only required to spend 1 night tactically out in the field, and that’s done as a team. If you’re worried about missing a shower – suck it buttercup! Make no mistake you will need PT, and you will be climbing hills in your gear, but your ruck will remain stashed for everything but the overnight patrol base. This particular class had great PT.

Next time you’re thinking of protecting yourself and your family remember The Walking Dead. Is your secret hiding spot safe? How will you know from inside? Who/what around you might be a threat? What equipment do they have? How many of them are there? Which direction do you expect them to approach from?

Don’t end up like Rick Grimes.


Max Adds: A full description of Combat Patrol can be found on the page HERE. The class involves squad level live fire and the prerequisite is Combat Team Tactics (CTT) HERE (no exceptions); CP is a live fire progression from CTT. I strongly advise that your training is nowhere near an acceptable level if you have not completed CTT and CP, and continued to train and return annually to prevent skill fade. I also strongly advise adding the Force on Force Team Tactics events to your training plan, because the value of these classes is off the scale.

These classes are affordable, and invaluable in terms of the benefit this training will give you and the quality of the training and instruction. I sometimes see people commenting that they are putting off training due to budget, and I scoff, due to both the value of the training and the knowledge of how much money they are likely bleeding on inconsequential ‘stuff’ and activities. None of that will keep you and your family alive when you need it, and the bottom line is that if you are not training, it is because you are not sufficiently motivated, because you do not believe it will ever come to a situation where you will need these skills. Normalcy bias.

Here is a useful post on that: ‘Training, and how it relates to the Four Stages of Competence.


Video from the weekend:

‘Commsprepper’ made this video while role playing an ‘NT14’ communications rebro station for the reconnaissance patrol portion of the Combat Patrol Class which is ongoing this weekend.

If the patrol had pushed to talk on any radio systems they had, it would have been immediately detected and DF’d. Think about that for a minute.

Here is an extract from the Combat Patrol class description:

Combat Patrol Outline Curriculum:

Class outline (subject to rearrangement):

Day 1 ‘Basics:’

  • Patrol Theory: Principles and mechanics of planning and organizing a patrol.
  • Gear: ruck/patrol pack theory, equipment and packing.
  • Live Fire Revision from CTT:
    • Assault Drills.
    • Team Break Contact Drills.

Day 2 ‘Reconnaissance:’

  • The following is conducted as a mix of classroom and practical instruction:
    • Fieldcraft
    • Patrol Movement/Security.
    • ‘Actions On’ including:
      • Enemy Contact
      • Enemy pre-seen
      • Hasty Ambush
      • Linear Danger Area (LDAs)
      • Lost / Separated
  • PM: Live Fire: This follows on as a progression from the drills learned on CTT:
    • Overwatch & multiple team break contact drills.
    • The MVT Box Peel – L-Shaped ambush / multiple firing point technique.
  • Reconnaissance Patrol: Close Target Recce.
  • Night: Practical Reconnaissance Patrol Exercise.


Day 3 ‘Ambush:’

  • AM: Ambush theory & Rehearsals.
  • AM: Live Fire Ambush Patrol
    • potentially several iterations.
  • PM: Patrol Base Theory & Rehearsals:
    • Patrol Base / Lay Up Position (LUP)
    • Procedure for setting up a Patrol Base
    • Sentries
    • Stand-To
    • Conduct & Routine in a Patrol Base
  • PM: Practical Patrol Base occupation exercise:
    • Patrol Out
    • Occupy LUP / Patrol Base.
  • Night: ‘Exercise Virgin Soldier:’ Patrol Base Practical overnight.
    • This is an overnight bivouac exercise in a patrol base format, focusing on the basics of sleeping and living tactically in the field.
    • This is a teaching  focused exercise, rather than ‘hardcore.’
Day 4 ‘Raid Day:’
  • Live Fire ‘Assault Through’ Exercise.
  • Ground Domination Activity / Security Patrolling.
  • Raid (Deliberate Attack) – live fire raid.
  • Class AAR