RECON TEAM EQUIPMENT
Recon teams are small, mobile forces generally with a defined task. Careful consideration should be given to the equipment taken and weapon selection. The likely task must be considered, and alternate tasking considerations planned for. Recon operators need to be self sufficient when it comes to medical, spotting ability and potentially CAS direction.
Typically the marksman and spotter combo carry suppressed weapons chambered for the same ammunition, preferably 7.62mm NATO, to allow for ammunition sharing. The marksman would normally equip a high-powered scope (10x-20x) and bipod. The spotter, a weapon with underslung 40mm grenade launcher and intermediate range scope (4x). Both should carry alternate optics in case of re-tasking (1x-3x).
Recon operators should not be using tracer ammunition unless directed. Remember tracers work both ways.
RECON TEAM PURPOSE
Although ASOR has a broad use for our recon teams covering a number of roles, the primary use is reconnaissance of the enemy with the intent of providing information to the ASOR Commander, providing an enhanced view of the battlefield for maneuvering and other tactical decisions.
Therefore recon teams need to communicate to Commander what they need to know and in time to act. This requires an understanding of the Commander’s intent of the team’s recon mission and the ability to deliver information clearly and quickly. An understanding of the Commander’s intent starts at the briefing, briefings can be sometimes hasty or remote via radio at times but it is vital to understand what the intent of your recon operation is. Without a good understanding of the intent your team’s reporting can become pointless general information that provides no effective use to the Commander or the main force.
AHEAD OF TIME PRINCIPLE
Another important aspect for a recon team is the ‘Ahead of Time’ principle or sometimes referred to as the 5 P’s – Prior, Preparation, Prevents, Poor, Performance. Basically planning as much as you can beforehand because your team will not have time later.
Being a small and vulnerable team out of support range, planning is key. Knowledge of the AO in extreme detail by everyone in the team is only the first step in this process. Know the likely route you are taking, emergency rv’s, likely enemy, contingency plans for different scenarios should be covered and planned for before deploying. It needs to be a structured process as recon teams may need to deploy quickly to get ahead of the main force.
The end result of the ‘Ahead of Time’ principle is a Reconnaissance and Surveillance Plan (R&S). At minimum an initial R&S should include:
- LZ / DZ (Landing Zone / Drop Zone)
- FUP (Form-Up Point; in case insertion is dispersed)
- eRV1 / eRV2 (Emergency Rendezvous points)
- E&E Plan (Escape & Evade)
- OW / OBJS (Overwatch / Objectives)
- ENEMY (Known Locations / High Threats)
- And any “actions on” you can think of to help you through the mission.
RECONNAISSANCE vs SURVEILLANCE (R&S)
Reconnaissance is actively seeking out enemy positions, movements, supply and support where Surveillance is the passive observation of those aspects generally from a concealed position. A recon operation will always involve both but it is important to understand which ‘mode’ your team is in and execute the right SOPs to suit and particularly switch efficiently from one to the other.
TYPES AND METHODS OF RECON
ASOR only implements force recon, force recon refers to reconnaissance of enemy forces. Other types of recon include terrain and civil, terrain recon may be touched upon at times with recon teams scouting a path for the main force but is generally not practiced.
The reconnaissance of a fixed area such as a MSR (Main Supply Route), likely routes of enemy advance or likely enemy positions or patrol areas.
The reconnaissance of a fixed position such as an enemy base or defensive position generally with the intent of providing information on the position for planning or assault purposes.
The reconnaissance of a route from one location to another such as a patrol path or vehicle convoy planned route, track or road. A route can be any pathway ahead of a main force including air, water or land.
RECON MODE ACTIVE VS PASSIVE
Active recon generally involves the movement of the recon team either by foot patrol or motorised scouting where Passive recon is generally a fixed position or minimal movement covering a likely enemy approach or making use of a position with a large overwatch. Generally each type of recon can be performed in either an Active or Passive way and tactics change based on the ‘mode’ your team is in.
If your team can master switching between the two ‘modes’ quickly and in coordination your team will gain the ability to efficiently vanish into the terrain.