The reference for combat patrols can be found on page 7-9 and A-17 of your Ranger Handbook.
Before we dive into the steps of Squad Ambush, let's go over the “20 Board” above. On the left side of the board are the steps for a squad ambush. At the top right hand corner of the board there is a north-seeking arrow, which orients us to the ground. At the bottom right hand portion of the board there is a Squad that recently stopped and is currently in a Security Halt (SH). If you are unfamiliar with the Security Halt or the Formations and Order of Movement (FOOM) it is covered here in great detail. Above the SH there is an Objective Rally Point (ORP). Above the ORP there is the Release Point (RP) where you will conduct what’s known as the “rucksack plan” (more on this later). Notice the “kill zone” in the center of the board, where the squad will engage the enemy. Also, notice the direction of travel of the depicted enemy team (the red diamond) in relation to the Support By Fire or SBF (depicted by three yellow arrows near the center of the board). Additionally, the Limit of Advance (LOA) has been depicted.
Notice that the board is color-coded but not personalized. Color coded refers to the board displaying the lead team in BLUE, the HQ element in YELLOW, and the trail team in GREEN. While at Ranger School and Sapper Leader Course, you will color-code and personalize all of your boards. For example, if I were the Squad Leader (SL), there would be a line next to the SL circle with my name on it.
Now let’s go over an Ambush at the platoon and squad level. An ambush is a surprise attack from a covered and concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target.
An ambush has four tasks which are to; disrupt/destroy, collect information/intelligence, block/deny access, and canalize.
An ambush always falls into one of two categories, hasty or deliberate. A hasty ambush is conducted when a unit makes visual contact with an enemy force and has time to establish an ambush without being detected. The conduct of the hasty ambush should represent the execution of disciplined initiative within the parameters of the commander’s intent. The actions for a hasty ambush should be established in a unit SOP and rehearsed so Soldiers know what to do on the leader’s signal. A deliberate ambush is conducted against a specific target at a predetermined location and time.
There are two types of ambushes, point and area. Point ambushes are set at the most ideal location to inflict damage on the enemy. Such ambushes must be able to handle being hit by the enemy force from more than one direction. The ambush site should enable the unit to execute an ambush in two or three main directions. The other directions must be covered by security that gives early warning of enemy attack. An area ambush (more than one point ambush) is not conducted by a unit smaller than a platoon. This ambush works best where enemy movement is restricted.
There are three characteristics every good ambush at Ranger or Sapper School has in common. There are surprise, coordinated fires, and violence of action. You gain surprise by moving into our positions undetected by enemy personnel until the ambush is initiated. A good rule of thumb is, if I can see the enemy, they can see me. When you obtain the element of surprise you have gained the initiative. To have coordinated fires, you must carefully plan each individual sector of fire, using direct fire weapons to their maximum potential (you don’t always have to be right up on the road), and ensuring you have interlocking fields of fire covering the entire kill zone, to include indirect fires to properly canalize and seal off the objective. When you coordinate fires you achieve fire superiority and maintain the initiative. Violence of action is obtained by massing fires; this causes an instantaneous neutralization of everyone and everything on the objective. When you achieve violence of action you can retain the initiative and instill an overwhelming sense of fear in the enemy crushing their will to fight.
There are two formations that you should use at Ranger or Sapper School, linear ambush and L-shaped ambush. A linear ambush is an ambush using a linear formation, the assault and support elements deploy parallel to the enemy’s route. This position forces the enemy on the long axis of the kill zone, and subjects the enemy to flanking fire. The linear formation can be used in close terrain that restricts the enemy’s ability to maneuver against the squad, or in open terrain. In an L-shaped ambush the assault element forms the long leg parallel to the enemy’s direction of movement along the kill zone. The support element forms the short leg at one end of and at a right angle to the assault element. This provides both flanking (long leg) and enfilading (short leg) fires against the enemy. The L-shaped ambush can be used at a sharp bend in a road, trail, or stream. It should not be used where the short leg would have to cross a straight road or trail. The squad leader must consider the other factors of METT-TC (More on METT-TC here) before opting for the L-shaped formation. Special attention must be placed on sectors of fire and sectors of fires for the weapons because of the risk of fratricide when conducting an L-shaped ambush. Generally a L-shaped ambush is conducted with a platoon size element or larger.
Basic Task Organization of a Squad Ambush:
- ASSAULT (BTM) - MBITR, lift/shift signals, special teams kits, map
- SUPPORT (HQ) - M240B COMPLETE, ASIP, GPS, lift/shift signals, map
- SECURITY (ATM) - 2x MBITR, 2x M18A1 Claymores, 2x AT4’s, lift/shift signals, map
The “Actions on the OBJ” for an ambush begins once the Security Halt (SH) has been initiated prior to the ORP and ends with the dissemination of information and calling in the Operational Schedule (OPSKED) to higher for mission complete.
- 5 Point/BTL, ATL
Once the squad is in the security halt, set up in a long halt posture (LHP) according to the SL’s T, C and S, the SL will tell the BTL to move around the perimeter to ensure that security is maintained throughout the perimeter, and tell the ATL to gather prep the men going on the leader's recon of the tentative ORP. At this point it is imperative that the BTL and ATL work together to adjust the parameter as the ATL collects the personnel going on the recon. The element for the ORP recon will consist of ATM R, ATM AR, ATL, and the SL. Their rucksacks will be going with them on the recon. Once prepped, bring them to the SL’s so that he can spot check. This will be a hasty prep where he will check to ensure that they are re-camouflaged if necessary, have weapons are locked and loaded with a full magazine, commo is checked and NVGs are operational.
SL will issue two, 5-point contingency plans: One to the BTL to cover the SL’s absence during the leader's recon of the ORP. The other is the ATL and ATM AR for when the SL leaves them at the 6 o’clock of the tentative ORP to cover his movement back to the security halt to pick up the remainder of the squad and movement to the tentative ORP to occupy it. These 5 points will be issued using the acronym GOTWA.
Going (where I am going), Others (others I am taking with me), Time (time I will be gone), What (what to do if I don’t return), Action (actions to be taken upon enemy contact both you and me).
The GOTWA given to the BTL will sound something like this:
- Going: I am going to recon for the tentative ORP.
- Others: I am taking the Ranger/Sapper (ATL), Ranger/Sapper (ATM R) and Ranger/Sapper (ATM AR) which is a total of 4 personnel.
- Time: I will be gone for one hour.
- What: If I am not back in 1 hour, I want you to first try to contact me on the RADIO. If you can’t contact me, then call higher, inform them of the situation and ask for further guidance.
- Actions: These are two-fold: If I make contact, we will break contact and attempt to link up with you here at the security halt. If not or we are being tracked, I will link up with you at the last En route Rally Point (ERP). You should be able to hear the contact. I want you to remain in place and be prepared to assist us in breaking contact. If you make contact, defend in place until you feel as if you are about to be overrun. If this is the case, break contact to the last ERP and conduct rally point procedures (Establish security, establish a chain of command, call higher and inform them of the situation, wait 45 minutes or until the remainder of the patrol has linked up then continue the mission). I will be able to hear the contact and work my way back to you and assist you in executing the battle drill.
The SL will also issue additional/special instructions to the BTL. To disseminate the 5-point contingency plan, readjust the perimeter as necessary, ensure Ranger/Sapper (RTO) monitors the radio, and ensure security is being maintained at all times. The BTL will back brief the SL, to ensure the BTL has a complete understanding of the 5-point. The 5-point begins once the SL leaves the security halt.
The SL will also issue a 5-point contingency plan to the ATL and ATM AR, for when he leaves them at the 6 o’clock of the tentative ORP. He will also issue any additional/special instructions to the ATL.
- Conduct recon ORP
After the 5-points and special instructions have been issued, the recon element will move to the 12 o'clock to be counted out and the BTL will count each individual of the recon team out of the perimeter. During hours of GV, the squad will move in a diamond formation, with approximately 10 meters between personnel. At the apex of the diamond formation will be the ATL, to his right at a 45- degree angle for 10 meters is the ATM R, to the ATL’s left at a 45-degree angle for 10 meters is the ATM AR, the SL will be in the rear of the formation right at a 45-degree angle for 10 meters behind the others. For hours of LV, the modified wedge. (More on FOOM here) Halfway (100 meters during LV and 200 meters during GV) to the ORP, the SL will begin looking for a location that has some or all of the characteristics of a good ORP.
- Characteristics of ORP
There are the five characteristics of a good ORP:
- Easily defendable for a short period of time.
- Away from natural lines of drift.
- Away from high-speed avenues of approach.
- Provides good cover and concealment from the ground and air
- Provides little or no tactical value to the enemy.
Just remember, “Easily, Away, Away, Provides, Provides.”
Once the SL finds an area that meets all or most of these characteristics, he will signal the ATL to halt the patrol with the same hand and arm signal.
Once the ATL receives the SL’s signal to halt, he will assume a short halt posture (SHP) at the next available cover and concealed position as will the rest of the recon element. During hours of GV they will remain dispersed. During hours of LV, you will be "back to back", rucksack to rucksack. At this time you will conduct SLLS. During hours of GV as previously described. During hours of LV we will utilize the "Squeeze" technique. The squeeze technique will be initiated in a counter-clockwise manner. The SL will squeeze the ATM R on the shoulder/arm; this will be passed man to man, until it returns back to the SL. When SLLS is complete, the SL will again utilize the "Squeeze" technique. However, this time it is the signal to terminate SLLS. SLLS will last for 3-5 minutes or for as long as he deems necessary.
- Clear, Secure/5 Point
The ATL and ATM R will clear the tentative ORP using the zigzag method. The SL and the ATL will identify the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock positions. Then the ATL and ATM R will clear from the 6 o’clock position to the 3 to the 9 to the 12 then back to the 6 o'clock. While clearing the tentative ORP they are looking for signs of enemy presence or use such as fresh tire tracks, trash, foxholes, expended ammunition or anything uncommon to the surrounding area. If so, return to the SL immediately. When you have completed the recon, the SL will spot check the area to make sure it is a suitable site for an ORP. If the tentative ORP is not suitable the SL will make the decision to move to a new location.
When the SL is satisfied, he will place the ATM AR facing towards the 12 o'clock position, the ATL will remain at the 6 o’clock position facing towards the direction of the security halt. Then the SL tells the ATL that his 5-point is in effect. Additionally, he will ensure that both Rangers/Sappers (ATL and ATM AR) have their feet interlocked, to utilize the tap code with their feet from one soldier to another.
The tap code is nothing more than one tap from one soldier to another means that everything is okay, if everything is okay with the other soldier, he will respond with one tap. Two taps means that I see or hear something. Three taps means that we need to move NOW. When you are placed in a security position, you will utilize this tap code as a non-verbal means of communication.
Before the SL leaves the ORP location, he must call the BTL and let him know that he is moving back to the security halt, and to get the rest of the squad in the SH posture and ready to move, also to keep a look out for them (SL and ATM R) as they move back to the SH.
When the SL gets within close proximity of the security halt we will stop short and exchange the near recognition signal. Once identified, the BTL will then count the SL and ATM R back into the perimeter. When movement has ceased, the SL will have the squad conduct SLLS, as previously described.
After completion of SLLS, the SL will disseminate any changes to the plan, and the route to the tentative ORP to the ATM R, who will be in charge of the remainder of ATM at this time and the BTL, and allow them time to disseminate that information to their men. Once dissemination is complete the squad will then assume the OOM to the tentative ORP, which will be the remainder of ATM, followed by HQs, and then by BTM.
The ATM R will lead the squad out, because he knows the route back to the ORP. As the squad gets ready to depart the security halt, the SL must call the ATL to let him know the rest of the squad is coming to his location; this is the far recognition signal, at which time the ATL and ATM AR will get into the SHP.
Once the ATM R sees the ATL, he will halt the patrol, and exchange the near recognition signal. The SL will then move to the front of the formation, and get face to face with the ATL and tell him to take his team and strongpoint the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions in the SHP. The SL will remain at the 6 o’clock position as a control measure for the occupation of the ORP. After the ATM passes through the 6 o’clock, the next personnel moving into the ORP will be the RTO and the M240B gun team. He will tell them where to move to inside the center of the perimeter, there they will halt, and assume the SHP. Next, the SL must orient BTL to the tentative ORP by telling him that this is the 6 o’clock and pointing out the 12 o’clock, additionally he will also point out the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions that the ATM is Strong-pointing at, and where to place his personnel in the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. During periods of LV he will have to assist the BTL in physically emplacing his team.
Once the entire squad has moved into the ORP and halted the SL will then spot-check the perimeter to ensure that there is 360 degree security established and that all personnel are in the SHP.
They will then conduct SLLS and pinpoint their location as previously described for periods of GV and LV. If the SL is not satisfied, he can then move the ORP to either left, right or perhaps closer to the OBJ to find a more suitable location.
- Long halt/Strongpoint 10-2-4-8/MG Team
At this time the SL will then issue T, C and S to his Team Leaders for not only placing their men in the LHP but also strong pointing them at the 10-2-4 and 8 o'clock positions. This is an example of how it should sound. “Ranger/Sapper (ATL) __________, you will have the 10 and 2 o’clock positions and Ranger/Sapper (BTL)__________, you will have the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. You will strong point your men, issue them sectors of fire, and disseminate information just like we did for the security halt. I will emplace the M240 gun team at the 12 o’clock or the most likely avenue of approach.”
- Spot Check/OPSKED
Once both Team Leaders have placed their men in the LHP and returned to the SL’s location, he will then spot check the perimeter to ensure that his standards have been met. Once satisfied, the SL will have the RTO call in the OPSKED to Higher that the ORP has been occupied.
- Prep M, W, E/LDRS Recon
At this point the squad will begin to prepare men, weapons, and equipment for the Objective. Understand that no one will leave the ORP and move up to the OBJ until they are fully prepared to conduct actions on the Objective.
Priority for preparation goes to the leader’s recon element which will consist of the SL, the ATL, the Bravo Team Automatic Rifleman and the Bravo Team Rifleman. The ATL will prepare the Bravo Team Automatic Rifleman and Bravo Team Rifleman. If time is not a factor and the SL has plenty of time to prepare all the men in the squad before conducting the recon, then that is what he will do. However, if the SL wants to maximize the time he has to conduct a thorough recon of the OBJ he will have the Bravo Team Leader continuing to prepare men, weapons, and equipment in the ORP while the LDRS recon of the OBJ is being conducted. Once the ATL has finished preparing his men he will then move back to the SLs location and they will prepare and inspect each other. When the men are preparing themselves or being inspected, they will be pulled 3-5 meters off the line while maintaining noise and light discipline. Once the men are ready to be inspected the ATL will bring them to the SL to be spot checked.
While the LDRS recon element is preparing the BTL will move around the perimeter to ensure security is being maintained and assist in cross-loading equipment as needed. It is imperative that while the squad is preparing M,W,E that both Team Leaders are ensuring that noise and light discipline are maintained to avoid detection by the enemy.
The standards for preparing men, weapons, and equipment can be found here.
- Confirm Route
While the squad is prepping men, weapons, and equipment, the SL will confirm the route to the OBJ with the ATL.
- SL Inspection
As the Team Leaders finish preparing their men they will bring them to the SL so he can inspect them. Once the SL has inspected them and they have met his standards, he will then place them in the FOOM to the OBJ. The ATL will then spot check the SL.
- Depart/5 Point
Prior to departing on my leader’s recon the SL will issue a 5-point contingency plan (GOTWA) to the BTL and include additional instructions such as; continue to prep men, weapons and equipment, while maintaining 50% security. Disseminate the 5-point; readjust the perimeter as necessary; ensure the RTO monitors the radio; ensure security is being maintained and have everyone in the proper FOOM (security, support, and assault) for occupation of the ambush site upon my return. I will then have you back-brief me.
The SL will then issue two, 5-points to the Surveillance and Observation (S/O). The 1st 5-point GOTWA will cover the period while the ATL and SL conduct the LDRS recon around the OBJ area. The second 5-point will cover the SL and ATL’s movement to the ORP to pick up the rest of the element and issue additional instructions for each GOTWA.
The SL will receive a back brief from the S/O and BTL to ensure that they understand the 5-point. The BTL will then move to the 12 o’clock position, establish a choke point and count the leader’s recon out of the perimeter. The FOOM to the OBJ in GV will be the Diamond Formation and in LV it will be the modified wedge. Once the BTL is ready to count them out, the SL will signal the ATL to move out on azimuth to the OBJ.
- ID Release Point/5 Point
After moving approximately half the distance to the OBJ, the SL will begin looking for a suitable Release Point (RP). The characteristics of a good RP are the same as for an ORP, with the addition that it has an easily identifiable feature for locating it moving to and from the OBJ. Additionally, the SL may desire to place the RP on a natural line of drift to assist the Squad in the withdrawal off the OBJ because the natural line of drift will force the elements to funnel into the RP. The RP will be out of sight of the OBJ, but not necessarily out of sound.
Once the SL finds a suitable location for a RP, he will signal the ATL to halt and occupy the RP. The recon element will conduct a security Halt at the RP in the same manner as the LDRS recon did for the ORP. After halting, the recon element will conduct SLLS. SLLS will be conducted in the same manner as it was with the LDRS recon for the ORP for GV and LV. Once SLLS is complete, the recon element will place their rucksacks in the rucksack plan, while maintaining security.
The SL will place his rucksack in the rucksack plan first, in the center of the RP. He will place it frame down, cat eyes facing towards the ORP. Next, the ATL will place his rucksack to the left of the SL. The personnel on S/O TM will place theirs down last. Their rucksacks will be to the right of the SL’s. The SL needs to ensure that this is done in the correct order. Once the rucksack plan is complete, the recon element will move up and pinpoint the OBJ. If the SL has not already issued the 5-points to the S/O TM, he will do it here in the RP. To ensure the RP is easily identifiable for both hours of GV and LV, the SL needs to ensure that he looks back when the recon element begins moving up to the OBJ.
- Confirm, Change, Abort
While conducting the reconnaissance, the SL will have to decide to confirm, change or abort the plan. This is an ongoing process that is done throughout the LDRS recon of the OBJ area. The SL BEGINS the confirm, change or abort process from the time that he first Identifies the OBJ area until he moves back to the ORP to pick up the remainder of the Squad.
- Confirm: Confirming the plan means that the plan that the SL came up with and briefed during his OPORD will work on the ground.
- Change: The SL may, however, see the need to change certain parts of his plan that he briefed during the OPORD because of such things as:
- The terrain may not support the plan
- The OBJ grid given to the SL by higher is a site which is unsuitable for conducting an ambush. For example -- the site is now a clear cut area.
- Abort: Lastly, the SL may have to abort; this could be due to the enemy operating around the OBJ area. If the SL determines that he has to abort, he will extract all personnel on the LDRS recon and move them back to the ORP where he will contact Higher for further guidance.
- Emplace Surveillance
Once the SL gets in sight of what he believes is the OBJ, he will call the LDRS recon element to a halt. The SL will move forward with the ATL where they will pinpoint the OBJ. While staying in a covered and concealed position, they will pull out their maps and compasses to help pinpoint their position and determine whether or not this is the OBJ. While the SL and the ATL are doing this, the Rifleman and the Automatic Rifleman will be providing local security.
After the SL and the ATL have determined that this is the OBJ, the SL will identify the center of the kill zone. The SL needs to consider what he is looking for in a kill zone. First, he must consider that the kill zone is large enough to accommodate the enemy force yet small enough to effectively cover the kill zone with the Squad’s weapon systems. Since the SL has determined that the Squad will ambush a smaller enemy element of approximately 2-5 individuals, he can therefore plan a kill zone that is approximately 25 meters wide. The intelligence regarding the size of the enemy force comes from Higher’s OPORD or from Coordinations. Planning a kill zone that size will allow some flexibility in engaging the enemy in case the enemy element is spread out. Next, the SL needs to plan on covering the kill zone with his available weapon systems four times over. In regards to the assault line, the SL knows he must space out his weapon systems the length of the kill zone. Additionally, he wants to ensure that each weapon system can achieve interlocking sectors of fire with the weapon system to the left and right. Since the SL has directed the ATM AR to join the assault line, the two M249 gunners will be at opposite ends of the assault line to set the left and right limits. Moreover, the SAWs will each cover 50% of the kill zone and their respective sectors of fire will overlap thus covering 100% of the kill zone between them. Next, each M4 gunner positioned on the assault line will have interlocking sectors of fire with the Ranger to his left and right covering the kill zone twice over. Finally, since the Squad’s most casualty producing weapon system is the M240B MG, the SL needs to ensure that the 240B can cover 100% of the kill zone. When the SL begins his recon of the OBJ, he knows that he must position the MG Team in such a manner that they can accomplish this. Since the Squad is setting in a linear ambush, the MG Team needs to be at the far left or far right side of the assault line (depending upon the most probable enemy direction of approach).
Once the SL has identified the center of his kill zone, he will then identify a position to emplace the S/O TM. The S/O position should provide them with cover and concealment yet allow them to observe the OBJ area, particularly the area around the killzone for any enemy movement. It is also important for the SL to try and select a position for the S/O TM that is somewhat in-line with the route that the SL will use when bringing the Assault element up to the OBJ from the RP. This will assist in linking-up the personnel on the S/O TM with the assault element. When the SL is emplacing the S/O TM, he will position the Automatic Rifleman facing towards the OBJ and the Rifleman facing away with their feet interlocked in order to utilize the tap code. Once the SL has emplaced the S/O TM, he will then inform them that their first 5-point contingency plan is in effect. The ATL and the SL will then begin their recon of the positions for the assault, support and security elements. Each time that they come within sight of the S/O position, the S/O will give the SL a “thumbs-up” if everything is still good around their area or a “thumbs-down” if they see or hear something that is possibly enemy activity.
- Conduct Recon
Because the Squad’s task is to destroy, the SL will recon for a location to place the element that is assigned to do that: The Assault element. There are many things the SL needs to identify here. Most importantly, he will need to assume the prone position at each soldier's position to see what that soldier will see. The SL is looking for the following: a covered and concealed position; dimensions of the kill zone; clear fields of fire/sector of fire; an assault lane for each individual Ranger so as not to funnel into the center of the OBJ; the positions to the left and right; an LOA and ensuring that friendly positions are not in the back blast of the tentative Claymore position. In regards to the Claymore position, the SL will have to make sure that he has at a minimum 16 meters of distance between the Claymore’s position and any friendly positions. As the SL and ATL move around the OBJ, they want to ensure that they use max stealth, moving from covered and concealed position to covered and concealed position. Additionally, they want to ensure that they clover-leaf around the OBJ to prevent detection by enemy forces that may be in the area.
The Support By Fire (SBF) position is similar with the exception of a couple of factors. First, the MG Team doesn’t need an assault lane. Secondly, instead of a sector of fire, the SL will need a PDF (Principle Direction of Fire) for the MG in order to support the assault element while they assault through the kill zone and a secondary sector of fire for the MG to shift to when the assault element moves across the OBJ and establishes an LOA. Moreover, the SL needs to ensure that the left or right limit has at least a 15 degree ricochet factor off of the assault line to prevent fratricide. Third, the SL wants a position where he can maximize the enfilade fires from the MG. Once the SL is satisfied with the support position, he will recon for the left and right flank security positions.
When conducting the recon for the Security elements positions, the SL will do this by taking bold bounds back and away from the LDA so as not to parallel the OBJ. The SL should first recon the security position that the enemy is most likely to approach from according to Higher’s OPORD or Coordinations.
In regards to the security positions, the SL is looking for a position that has good cover and concealment, provides early warning and allows the security team to seal off the OBJ from enemy personnel coming into or out of the kill zone. The SL will determine this location based on his METT-TC analysis -- Time, Enemy and Terrain. The SL is also looking for a good place to employ the claymore. He will have to make sure that he has at a minimum 16 meters of distance between the claymore’s position and any friendly positions. He is also looking for a position that will allow the security position to engage enemy vehicles with the AT-4. The SL wants a position that allows the AT-4 firer to acquire an oblique target (Flank and frontal/rear), and that is at least 30 meters away from the firing position to ensure that the missile has enough time to arm. Also, the SL needs to ensure that the AT-4’s back-blast is not in the direction of any friendly elements (90 degree acre for 60 meters). Lastly, the SL needs to determine a route back to the RP using terrain or an azimuth and distance in order to enable the security position to move directly back to the RP during the withdrawal.
When the SL is satisfied with one of the security positions, he and the ATL will begin to recon for the opposite side security position. Enroute, the SL will stop by the S/O TM to get a "thumbs-up". When reconning for the other security position, the SL is looking for the same characteristics as previously stated.
When the recon is complete, the SL will again stop by the S/O position to get a "thumbs-up" and to inform them that their second 5-point contingency plan is now in effect.
- Occupy Security, Support, Assault
The SL and the ATL will then return back to the RP to secure their rucksacks and move back to the ORP. Prior to leaving the RP to the ORP, the SL will call the BTL on the MBITR and let him know that they are enroute back to the ORP. This is the far recognition signal and the cue for the BTL to get everyone in the SHP and into the correct OOM for occupation of the ambush site.
The OOM for occupation is Security (ATM), Support (HQs), followed by Assault (BTM). Once back in the ORP, the SL will direct the Squad to conduct SLLS as previously described. If there are any changes to the plan, the SL brief those changes to the TLs and allow the TLs time to disseminate the changes to their men. Additionally, the SL will spot check those Rangers that he didn't have the opportunity to check before departing on the recon. At this time, the BTL will give his MBITR to the ATM RM to ensure that the flank security positions have communications. Once the Squad is ready to move, the BTL will move to the 12 o’clock position in order to count out the Squad.
Again the FOOM to the OBJ will be the modified wedge with security element leading, followed by the support element and then the assault element. When the Squad arrives at the RP, the ATL will issue the signal to halt and get into the SHP as will the rest of the element. The Squad will conduct SLLS as previously described. Once SLLS is complete, the Squad will begin placing their rucksacks, one by one, in the rucksack plan. The SL will give the BTL T, C and S on how and where he wants the rucksack plan emplaced. The BTL will direct one man from a team at a time into the center of the RP to emplace their rucksacks down in the rucksack plan.
Once the SL and ATL have placed their rucksacks in the rucksack plan and the SL has given the BTL his T, C and S for the rucksack plan, the SL and ATL will move forward to check with the S/O TM to ensure that nothing has changed on the OBJ. If the S/O TM hasn’t seen any evidence of the enemy around the OBJ area they will give the SL a “thumbs-up” at that time.
After they have gotten the “thumbs-up” from the S/O TM, the SL and ATL will return to the RP to start emplacing the security elements.
The SL will give the ATL T, C and S and a time hack for emplacing his security element on the side that the enemy is most likely to approach from. For example, “ATL, you will have 30 minutes to emplace security which means that the claymore is out and in place, the AT-4 is ready to fire, and both you and the Grenadier are camouflaged and prepared to perform your duties as flank security. If you cannot accomplish this within 30 minutes then you need to inform me by calling me on the MBITR, if you cannot contact me via the MBITR, return back to the RP to inform me why you cannot be emplaced.” In the event that the ATL cannot reach the SL via MBITR and the ATL has moved back to the RP to inform the SL, then the SL needs to move to the ATL’s position, emplace the Grenadier and ATL and spot-check the position.
NOTE: The SL cannot assume that security is in position. Security must be emplaced before any other elements are emplaced.
While the ATL is emplacing his flank security position, the SL will take the other security team consisting of the ATM Grenadier and the ATM Rifleman and emplace them at their position. The RTO will move with the SL as his Battle Buddy and pull security while the SL emplaces the security position. Once they get to the security position, the SL will show the Grenadier or the Rifleman where to emplace the claymore or the SL can simply emplace the claymore himself. Once the claymore is emplaced and the SL has checked the Grenadier’s AT-4 to ensure that it is ready to fire, the SL will brief the position on their route back to the RP. Once this is completed, the SL will camouflage them and then he and the RTO will return back to the RP. Ideally, by the time the SL and the RTO return back to the RP, the ATL should have called on the MBITR to inform the SL that he is in position (claymore is out, AT-4 prepped and ready to fire and the position is camouflaged).
Once the SL has verified that security is emplaced, he can begin emplacing the support by fire element.
The OOM for emplacing the support element will be the SL, followed by the AG, followed by the MG, and then followed by the AB (Ammo Bearer) (if the Squad has one) and finally the RTO. The RTO will pull local security for the SL as he emplaces the support element. As the SL moves the support element up into position, he will get a "thumbs-up" from the S/O TM, then he will move the Support element into position. Once the SL is at the Support position, he will tell the AG where to emplace the tripod and what direction the fires will be oriented. The AG will put the tripod down, double checking it to ensure that it is still fully extended, then he will move (roll) to the left side of the tripod. The SL will then call forward the MG. The MG will then mount the M240B on the tripod with the assistance of the AG. Once the Gun is mounted, the AG will link up the 500 round belt that he prepared back in the ORP. Once this has been done, the MG will move to the right of the gun, and the SL will get down behind the M240B. The SL will ensure that the gun is positioned properly and that there is a 15 degree buffer zone between the left or right limit and any friendly positions. The SL will then have the MG get behind the gun and the SL will point out to both the MG and the AG (and AB if applicable) the kill zone, the Principal Direction of Fire (PDF), a secondary sector of fire to shift the Gun to on the command of “assault” and the LOA.
Lastly, the SL will brief the MG Team on where the other elements will be located in relation to their position and where the SL will place the claymore. Once all of this is complete, the SL will camouflage the support position and the SL and RTO will move back to the RP.
Finally, the SL will emplace the assault element. The assault element will file up to the assault line behind the SL from the RP, using max stealth, moving from covered and concealed position to covered and concealed position, assuming the SHP each time they halt. The SL will emplace each soldier one at a time.
The OOM from the RP will be the SL, the RTO, the BTL, an AR, a RM (and any additional Riflemen the Squad may have), followed by the other AR. Note: the last two soldiers for the assault line should be the S/O TM (Rifleman and Automatic Rifleman) which the SL will pick up when he moves the assault from the RP to the assault line.
The SL will lead the assault element up from the RP to the vicinity of his position near the assault line, where he will place the RTO down in the LHP, facing to the rear in order to provide rear security as the SL emplaces the assault element. As the SL moves the assault element up to its position, he will pick up the S/O personnel.
Once at the assault line, the SL will orient the BTL to the area. He will point out the dimensions of the kill zone, the center of the kill zone, the LOA, the support position, where he, the SL, will be located, and how far down the road or trail each flank security element is positioned. The SL and the BTL will then begin emplacing each soldier, one at a time, in the positions that the SL identified from the LDRS Recon.
As the SL places each soldier into their individual positions, they will get down in the LHP, and the SL will show them the dimensions of the kill zone; issue them their sector of fire (the SL needs to ensure that all the sectors of fire interlock); point out their assault lane; and point out the LOA.
Once at the BTL’s position, the SL will show the BTL his position but both will by-pass in order to emplace the AR who is the final soldier on the assault line. At this last position, the SL will issue the BTL T, C and S for spot-checking the assault line while the SL emplaces the claymore. Additionally, the SL will tell the BTL that after he has spot-checked the assault line and camouflaged each position, the BTL will move to the last Ranger’s position on the line, nearest the SL’s position, and wait for the SL there.
The SL will then move down the line informing each soldier that he is moving forward of their positions to emplace the claymore so that the assault line doesn’t accidently shoot the SL. The SL will move back to his position on the OBJ and inform the RTO that he is moving up to the kill zone to emplace the claymore. The SL will then tie-off the connector end of the wire to his position and move forward to emplace the claymore. Once the SL has emplaced and camouflaged the claymore, he will move back to the RTO’s position and hook up the firing device (the Clacker). The SL will then have the RTO face towards the OBJ and the SL will hand the RTO the firing device so that the RTO has control of initiating the claymore while the SL spot-checks the assault line. If enemy personnel move into the kill zone while the SL is spot checking the assault line, the SL can initiate the ambush by firing his M-4. The SL will give the RTO guidance to blow the claymore if, and only if, the SL initiates the ambush with his M-4.
By this time the BTL should be done spot-checking and camouflaging his personnel and he should be waiting for the SL at the last man on the assault line’s position. The SL will spot-check the positions to ensure that his T, C, and S have been met. When the SL is satisfied, he will place the BTL in his position and camouflage him.
Once this is done, the SL will move back to his location and secure the claymore’s firing device (the Clacker) from the RTO and have the RTO face about and pull rear security. The SL will then camouflage the RTO and himself and get down into the prone with his feet interlocked with the RTO’s in order to utilize the tap code. While the Squad is waiting for the enemy to approach, the RTO will continue to monitor the radio and pull rear security.
- Actions on the OBJ
At this point in the operation the left and right flank security’s task is to provide early warning. As soon as either element observes the enemy they will call the SL on the MBITR and give him a SALT report. It should sound like this: “SL, this is left/right side; I have two men, in DCUs, small arms, moving into the kill zone, they should be there in 30 seconds”. As soon as the ambush is initiated the left and right side security elements will seal off the OBJ, destroying any enemy personnel attempting to enter or leave the kill zone.
The primary signal to initiate the ambush will be the detonation of the claymore. If for some reason the claymore fails to detonate, the alternate signal to initiate will be the SL firing his M4 on auto.
After the signal to initiate has been given, the MG Team will commence firing with a cyclic rate of fire for 10 seconds, then at a rapid rate of fire for 10 seconds. The AR’s will use the same rates of fire. MG and AR gunners need to ensure that they control their bursts of fire to stay on target and accurately engage the enemy. M4 firers will fire on semi-automatic at a rapid rate of fire, firing as many rounds as they can while maintaining accuracy. If the M240B goes down, the M249 gunners will immediately pick up the rate of fire; M4 firers will switch to auto.
Once the SL is satisfied that there are no enemy personnel alive in the kill zone, he will give the signal for cease-fire. The primary signal for cease-fire is one long whistle blast. The alternate signal will be the verbal command of “CEASE FIRE!” After the command of “cease-fire” is given, the Squad will listen for sounds or watch movement coming from the OBJ. If after the command of “cease-fire” is given and the Squad detects no enemy activity in the kill zone, the SL will give the command to assault the OBJ by yelling “ASSAULT!” If, however, it appears that there is some enemy activity such as moaning, groaning, or movement in the kill zone that could be a threat, the SL will re-initiate fires into the kill zone with a burst while on auto. All personnel will re-initiate with the same rates of fire as previously described. Then the SL will give the signal for “cease-fire” as previously described.
After each command of “cease-fire”, the BTL will have the assault line place a fresh magazine or drum in their respective weapons, ensuring that not all soldiers on the assault line are reloading at the same time. If, after the second time the Squad has initiated fires into the kill zone and they still detect movement, the BTL will immediately assault the OBJ.
On that command of “ASSAULT”, the entire assault element, having reloaded, will pick up and begin to IMT by buddy team up to the last covered and concealed position prior to the kill zone, on the near side of the road.
Additionally, on the command of “ASSAULT”, the MG Team will shift the gun off of the OBJ to the secondary sector of fire that the SL gave them when he emplaced them. At this time, the AG will face about and pull rear security.
Once the BTL has maneuvered his assault element to the last covered and concealed positions prior to the kill zone/road, he needs to ensure that he has his men online and that they are centered on the enemy in the kill zone. Then the BTL will continue to assault across the OBJ to the LOA. Once the assault begins, the BTL needs to ensure that he has accountability of his men and that they stay in their assault lanes during the assault across the kill zone.
As the assault element moves across the kill zone, they need to have their weapons in the high carry position and be prepared to fire controlled pairs into any enemy personnel that pose a threat and remove any weapons from enemy bodies that they come across.
Once the assault element reaches the LOA, the BTL will move from soldier to soldier and assign them hasty sectors of fire as well as gather an ACE report. The soldiers on the ends of the assault line (ARs) will face out at a 45 degree angle to protect the flanks. Simultaneously, the SL and RTO will begin to move to the edge of the road, gaining an ACE report from the MG Team enroute. Moreover, the SL will call the left and right side security elements in order to gain their ACE reports. Once the BTL has gathered his ACE report, he will physically move to the SL’s location and give him the ACE report.
After the SL has received the ACE reports, he will call out for the EPW and search team. The designated EPW and search team will move to the SL’s location. Once there, the SL will give them T, C, and S on how to clear the OBJ.
For example, “start 20 meters past the last body on the left, move in a zigzag pattern across the OBJ, covering about 3 meters into the wood line. You will move abreast of each other, each body you come across, one man will pull security on the body while the other man checks the body to see if they are alive. If they are alive you will secure them, and call out to me that you have a live one. Whether they are dead or alive you will check them for booby-traps, and grenades. You will continue to clear the OBJ until you have gone 20 meters past the last body on the right, then return back to my position”.
Once the EPW and search team has cleared the OBJ, the SL will determine if he needs to call out his Aid and Litter TM based on the ACE report. If the Squad takes casualties, then the SL will call out his Aid and Litter TM once the OBJ has been cleared. The Aid and Litter TM will report to the SL’s location where he will proceed to give them T, C, and S for moving any wounded friendly personnel to the casualty collection point (CCP). A good rule of thumb regarding a CCP for this part of the mission would be to designate the CCP at the RP since the rucksacks are located there and all of the Squad’s personnel need to make their way back to the RP following AOO. Based on the number and type of friendly casualties that the Squad sustained, the SL will have to make a determination as to the amount of time that the Squad can dedicate to conducting a detailed search for PIR versus the amount of time it will take to conduct CASEVAC procedures.
However, if the Ambush is so deliberately and violently executed there stands to be a good chance that the Squad will sustain no friendly casualties. Therefore, the SL will not need to call forward his Aid and Litter TM and he can then give T, C, and S for the EPW and search teams to conduct their search. The SL will assign one Ranger/Sapper the code word of “Black” or “Red” and one Ranger/Sapper the code word of “Gold” or “White.” Additionally, the SL will assign each Ranger/Sapper a portion of the OBJ to search and a position to consolidate all the enemy equipment that they find. The EPW and Search TM will call out what they find during their search of the OBJ area using the code word assigned to them respectively.
An example is a Rifleman in BTM, who is part of the EPW and Search TM and has been assigned the code word of “Gold,” finds an enemy AK-47 while searching his portion of the OBJ. The Rifleman will sound off as such, “Gold…one AK-47”. This system of code words is used to limit the amount of confusion of what type and numbers of equipment is found on the OBJ.
The RTO will be recording this information as it is called off by the EPW and search team. Additionally, the RTO will start his stopwatch as soon as the ambush is initiated and he will call off the amount of time that the Squad has been on the OBJ in one minute increments, starting at three minutes. Keep in mind that the Squad does not want to spend more than 10 minutes on the OBJ as the enemy can reinforce within 20 minutes.
Once the EPW and search team has consolidated all enemy weapons and equipment at the point that the SL designated, he will call for the DEMO team. The DEMO team will report to the SL’s location and he will give them T, C, and S as to how and where he wants the DEMO prepared to destroy the enemy equipment. Once the DEMO is prepared, and the safety pins have been removed from the M81 fuse igniters, the DEMO team will hand the SL the M81s and return back to their positions on the LOA. At this point the Squad will begin their withdrawal off of the OBJ.
The SL will use the code words of “red, white, and blue” to withdraw the squad from the OBJ. The SL will also call the code words over the MBITR to keep the security elements updated on the assault and support withdrawal of the OBJ.
On the command of “red”, the assault element will pull off the OBJ and move back to the RP by funneling past the SL. Also on “red” the M240B gun will go to bipod mode. Once at the RP, the BTL will take charge and establish 360 degree security, get the existing personnel into the SHP with their rucksacks on their back, and start accounting for personnel. The BTL will be in charge of the RP until the SL returns.
On the command of “white”, the M240B gun team will pull off the OBJ and move to the RP. Once the MG Team begins moving back to the RP, they will yell out “GUN MOVING”, “GUN MOVING” in order to let the SL know that the MG Team is actually up and moving towards the RP.
On the command of “blue”, the SL will pull the M81 fuse igniters. Once the SL can see that the time fuse is burning, he will put the fuse igniters on the ground and call out “BURNING”. At that time, the SL and the RTO will withdraw the OBJ to the RP.
On the command of “blue”, the left and right side security elements will start their stopwatches. One minute after the security teams hear the charge explode, or two minutes after the command of “blue” is given, they will recover their claymores and other equipment and pull off the OBJ and move straight back to the RP. As the security TMs begin moving back toward the RP, they will call the SL via the MBITRs so that the SL can alert the perimeter that friendly personnel are coming in. Additionally, it might prove necessary to assist guiding the security elements into the RP with flashes of IR.
- Security Halt/Account M, W & E
As the elements return to the RP, the leadership will account for men, weapons, and equipment, and conduct a hasty repack of equipment. Once the Squad has 100% accountability of men, weapons, and equipment at the RP, the Squad will get into the OOM in order to move out. The OOM will be ATM, followed by HQs, followed by BTM.
- Move 1000 meters/Terrain Feature
After the Squad has accounted for MWE, they will move 1000 meters or a major terrain feature away from the OBJ (METT-T/C dependant) preferably in the direction of the Link-Up site in order to disseminate information. Once the Squad has moved a major terrain feature or 1,000 meters away, the SL will issue the ATL the signal/command to halt.
The squad will halt as previously described for periods of GV or LV. When all movement has ceased, the Squad will conduct SLLS as previously described for both GV and LV.
When SLLS is complete, the SL will issue T, C, and S to the ATL and BTL for placing the men in the LHP. The SL will, of course, spot check.
Once the men are in the LHP, the ATL will ensure security is being maintained by trooping the line. Meanwhile, the BTL and the RTO along with the SL will begin consolidating the PIR and preparing the SALUTE report for higher.
During periods of LV, the BTL and the SL will be doing this under the RTO’s poncho and poncho liner with a red lens flashlight. The PIR will be prepared in the SALUTE format. The RTO will use his carbon paper when preparing this to make three additional copies of the PIR in the SALUTE format.
If the SL has any doubts as to what PIR was gathered or if the SL is not satisfied, he may elect to pull either the left or right side security personnel into the center to help prepare the SALUTE report.
When the SALUTE report has been completed, the SL will give the BTL T, C, and S on how he wants him to disseminate the PIR to his men. Note: When the TL’s disseminate the PIR during GV, they will go to each man and show them the SALUTE format as well as brief them; however, in periods of LV, the TL’s will simply brief them the PIR in the SALUTE format. Also, the TL’s need to ensure that every Ranger knows that a paper copy of the PIR is water-proofed in the left shoulder pocket of the ATL, BTL, the SL, and the RTO.
The SL will instruct the BTL to start disseminating the PIR to his personnel at the 3 o’clock position and moving in a clockwise manner through the 6 o’clock to the 9 o’clock position. Then the SL will pull the ATL into the center and issue him the same T, C, and S for dissemination of the PIR that the SL gave to the BTL with the exception that he will begin disseminating at the 9 o’clock to the 12 o’clock to the 3 o’clock positions.
Before the TLs are sent out to disseminate the information to their teams, the SL will get a brief back and issue a time hack. When the TL’s are done disseminating the PIR and have returned to the center of the perimeter, the SL will go and spot check the Squad in order to ensure that every soldier knows the SALUTE report. If the SL is not satisfied, he will re-issue his T, C and S and the TLs will go back out and disseminate the PIR. The Squad will do this until the SL feels that his T, C, and S have been met or the SL can simply have the RTO make enough additional copies of the PIR so that each soldier has a copy of the PIR in the SALUTE format, waterproofed in the left shoulder pocket of his ACU top.
When the SL is satisfied that every soldier knows the information, he will have the RTO call in the OPSKED to higher for mission complete.
- Compromise Plan
At any time during this operation the Squad can make contact with the enemy. If the Squad is compromised while the entire squad is together, whether moving or at a halt, the SL will make the determination to either conduct a squad attack or break contact.
If any element is separated from the Squad such as during the recon of the ORP or while conducting the Recon of the OBJ, they will react to contact in accordance with the 5-point contingency plan that the SL will give them on the ground.
If the Squad is compromised while moving the support or assault elements into position meaning the security elements are already in position, the Squad will execute a hasty attack. The Squad will get down oriented towards the OBJ and return fire. Then, depending on the outcome of the contact, the SL will decide to either continue executing the hasty attack or break contact.
If the security (either left or right) is compromised or if the enemy reinforces, the security teams will blow their claymore mines and break contact straight back to the RP. They will call the contact over the radio so that the assault element, support element and the other security team will know to break contact and move back to the RP.
Once there, the Squad will pick up rucksacks, get 100% accountability of men, weapons, and equipment and move 1,000 meters or a major terrain feature away then call higher for further guidance.
This was a summary of how you will be expected to conduct a squad ambush at Ranger and Sapper School.
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