ADV: Targeting, Overwatch and Marksmanship
TARGET REPORTING AND OVERWATCH
As a recon element there will always be a need to report on whatever you are observing. The recon team needs to do this in an orderly and efficient manner otherwise the important information can be lost at the critical time. The recon team may have a lot of observable enemy but this information needs to be filtered and the SQL and the team can all play a part in that process.
Without basic equipment like optics, GPS, compass the job is still able to be completed however a higher degree of accuracy will be achieved with this equipment. If the likelihood that your team will have CAS support then a rangefinder over binoculars is what everyone should be carrying.
TIME TO ACT
Reporting targets without sufficient time for the Commander to act on the information although gives him some warning does not really help the Commander in their situation. Recon teams need to think ahead slightly of the main force but not so far the information is out of threat concern. Knowledge of the Commander’s intended movements and overall objective is vital for all of the recon team members.
Using these measures an identified target can be prioritised for reporting:
FIREPOWER – how hard can the target hit?
ARMOUR – how hard will it be to destroy?
MOBILITY – how quickly can it change location?
PROXIMITY – how close is it to friendly forces?
AWARENESS – does it know where friendly forces are?
Overwatch is generally a passive, location/objective surveillance type of recon. ASOR commonly use our recon forces to get to an overwatch position and report any enemy positions or movement. The overwatch position has risks in itself and security of the position must be maintained particularly for long stays.
For shorter overwatch positions simply the act of having a team member or buddy pair watch rear can provide the overwatch position security until moving again.
For long stay overwatch positions security can start with the selection of the overwatch location, choosing a position with limited access routes, or routes that are easily observed for example. Generally though a more proactive approach will be needed that includes conducting regular security patrols around the overwatch position which can be done with a buddy pair and still maintain the overwatch and/or deployment of mines/booby traps on likely approaches or access routes.
At absolute minimum a FUP or eRV position should be established for any overwatch position so if a hasty evacuation of the overwatch position occurs everyone knows where to go to meet again ahead of time. Other planning can include tasking of teams, who will patrol and when, who will deploy mines and where, who will establish the overwatch and who will provide security.
MARKSMANSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
A recon operator requires discipline in the conduct of engaging the enemy. There are many factors to consider when making the decision to engage a target. The position security and area awareness, other unseen threats, the objective of your team to name a few. The SQL of the recon team needs to assess the relative importance of a target over the team’s objective and security. Compromising a good overwatch to take down an unimportant patrol for example.
WATCH AND SHOOT
Maintain firing discipline at all times. Only ever engage without approval and reporting if the target is an imminent threat, otherwise seek approval to fire. Observe, Wait and Watch, Report.
EFFECTIVE AND MINIMAL
When engaging a target where possible wait for them to be in an exposed position, the middle of open ground where they have the furthest to travel to safety if a second or successive shots are required or an absolute clear line of sight is available to ensure a clean shot. Use the minimum force necessary to take down your target, a single accurate shot is far harder to determine the origin of than several shots or a burst of automatic fire.
Use communication within the team and designate targets, call your target if not designated one to prevent double up. Prioritise targets of threat to you, or others, like specialists with AT/LMG/AA capabilities, drivers when engaging vehicles, target leadership to create confusion and delay in the enemy.
If engaging targets avoid target fixation, maintain your situational awareness and remember to move soon after shooting.
Knowing accurate distance and elevation to target is critical to accuracy in the marksman role. Aim for centre of mass to maximise the chance to hit and use an appropriate weapon calibre and round type to defeat body armour rather than focusing on head shots to avoid the body armour.
The more shots taken from a fixed position, the faster the enemy will locate and target that position, so choose your targets carefully and relocate promptly after any significant engagement.
At distances under 400m, consider using 40mm grenades to engage groups of targets to cause quick casualties enabling a faster withdrawal and break from contact.
Beware ARMA 3 does not reliably render hits for multiplayer observers / spotters, so shooters will need to track their own hits and misses, blood however may be visible to a spotter for hits.