Field Report – February 21, 2009
Field Report – February 21, 2009
Arrived for training at 0730, geared up and helped man the checkpoint. Assembled for first formation at 0815, had a prayer for those wanting to participate, and the pledge of allegiance. We then discussed new intel, current events, and had a brief opinion segment. We broke into fireteams and went through basic hand signals for the benefit of the visitors and new recruits. We then practiced rushes as a team and then went to work on iads.
The Col. placed me in charge of the platoon to teach the immediate action drills. (iads) we began with learning what types of events constitute an immediate action and what kinds of actions we might take in response. We then formed up into a platoon element for drills. Taking advantage of the open field we opened up into a three wedge traveling formation. I stressed the importance of keeping proper distance between men in each wedge, as well as proper distance between each element. The purpose being that it makes it harder to ambush an element that is spread out, especially when there are two additioanl elements not in contact and which are able to flank and counter-assault.
The platoon then practiced reacting to contacts from various directions. As they moved along i would call contact! And designate a specific direction, and the teams would have to either come up on line, flank, assault through, or break contact depending on the scenario. We discussed actions to take with near ambushes vs. Far ambushes and what to do when confronted by indirect fire (flares, mortars, etc.)
It was then time to break for lunch, hats off to randy and the other volunteers for manning the field kitchen and providing a warm meal on a cold day. Outstanding!
After lunch the platoon formed up for a patrol where they would be forced to encounter an ambush. The patrol moved out staying inside the tree line, used good security crossing obstacles and employed hand siganls well. As they began a creek crossing, the second element was just in the middle of crossing when the patrol began receiving very accurate mortar fire. The lead element was decimated, and the second element was split up and pinned down. The air bursts were right at or below tree top level and there wasn’t anything that could be done. The patrol leader ordered the remaining elements to circle around and take the hilltop.
Once the barrage was over, everyone was called down to discuss what had just happened, critique the actions taken, and discuss what could have been done differently. It was decided that the patrol route, which had been picked deliberately to force the patrol into the ambush was mostly to blame. That if proper movement techniques would have been applied, the platoon would have never crossed the creek where they did, and would have come up behind the ambush. As far as the platoon reaction to the barrage, the biggest factor was that the elements bunched up at the crossing too much, and should have maintained better security for the lda crossing.
Our visitors were “shocked and awed” at the onset of the simulated mortar attack. The pyrotechnics used were a bit of a surprise and got them to seriously consider how they would react to an attack in real life. The confusion, the concussion of the blast, the noise level, and their unfamiliarity with field tactics were all contributing factors to how they responded. During the debrief, many were still breathing hard and yet smiling from ear to ear. While we strive for realism in our training, safety is foremost. All pyrotechnics were well coordinated and controlled by a licensed technician, and safety guides were present.