A Request To All Current/Former NCOs And Other Small Unit LeadersHere’s the first response to the wrsa
I am writing in response to your recent blog post. I have some fairly recent Infantry combat experience as an NCO leading a fire-team and then a rifle squad. I would rather not get any more specific as I would like to remain as anonymous as possible. I did some thinking and came up with a few ideas. These are fairly general, and would pretty much apply anywhere, with almost anyone in a group such as you described.
So here would be my “priorities of work”:
1) First, since we’ve already established an armed group, we need some place to, at a very minimum, assemble, preferably some place we could establish a safe house/base camp. Ideally, this would also be a place that we could conduct some training and zero weapons when we get to that point here in a bit. We want a location where we can remain “under the radar” as much as possible and that we all can reside in or close to. As soon as we figure out where our chosen location is, we go there and set up security. This is to prevent us getting nailed before we have even begun. Make a guard roster so that we have 2 people (minimum, preferably more) standing watch at all times for the next few hours while we sort everything else out. If they’re aren’t any other combat arms NCOs vets to help me, I’ll assign positions and sectors of fire for our security element and brief them on what they should do if they see something.
2) I would take an inventory of weapons, ammo, other items (such as night vision, commo, and NBC gear), spare parts, food, and medical supplies (I may have forgotten something here, but that’s most of it). We also want to start thinking about how to acquire more of these items, particularly ammo, food, and medical supplies.
3) With a 15 man group with the demographics you describe, I would then figure out who we have that are something resembling physically able. If we assume that 1/3 of the group would be disabled/injured/elderly/extremely young, or otherwise unable to shoot, move, and communicate, I would set that group aside as primarily a security group and designate them 3rd squad. If we assume that another 1/3 do not fall into that group, but are not physically fit enough to
shoot, move, and communicate, but could be with training to get them into shape, I would designate this group as another group (we’ll call them 2nd squad). This squad will be, for better or worse, our QRF(quick reaction force) squad. The last 1/3 of the group would be people who are something resembling physically fit, and thus “ready”(we’ll call them 1st squad).
4) Let’s assume that we have 3 vets in this group besides myself, one in each of the 3 groups. I would figure out who has what experience(i.e. who was combat arms, medical, etc). If we also make the assumption that 1 of these was an Infantryman (or Cav Scout) and one was a medic. I would put one vet in charge of each of the groups. I would get all of the vets and myself cross training immediately on any critical skills anyone is completely lacking. Once that has
been done to a reasonable level of competency, I would set them to work training everyone else in basic combat skills, first aid, etc. Like it or not, someone HAS to be in charge and with a group this size having “junior leaders” makes everything run better as each leader has a manageable work load.
5) At this point, we already have the group divided into 3 subgroups, and we know what weapons we have at our disposal. So now we are going to re-assign some weapons, if it is necessary. Basically we want to put the weapons that we have the most ammo (and preferably that we can also get more ammo for) for in 1st squad, since for the time being, they’ll be seeing the most action. We want to put the more odd ball caliber weapons in 3rd squad, as they are going to remain stationary, and shouldn’t be doing too much shooting. Obviously 2nd squad is going to end up with the weapons left over from 1st and 3rd squad. This probably isn’t going to be too popular a decision, if it is necessary, but explain to everyone why you’re doing it. Keep in mind that this situation is going to continually change as new weapons are captured from the various opposition groups and also from the unfortunate eventuality of us losing some gear.
This is all going to take place within the 1st 30 minutes hopefully, with the exception of training which will remain ongoing for the duration.
So after 30 mins we have
1) at least a really good idea of where we “set up shop”;
2) our group broken down into smaller sub-groups with our more and less capable individuals identified and assigned accordingly;
3) everybody has a weapon and ammunition;
4) we have something like a chain of command established; and
5) we have begun getting our people up to speed, training-wise.
Next we figure out who is short equipment, and distribute what we have so that everyone has at least some means of carrying ammo and water. Ideally, we also want to ensure that everyone has a basic combat first aid kit. Obviously the “high-speed, low-drag” kit goes to 1st squad as they’re going to be fighting shortly with what’s left going to 2nd squad as they’re next in line. This should take no longer than a few minutes.
Figure out who in our group has specific skills (i.e. mechanics, medical personnel, cooks, etc). We assign these people duties in line with their specialty. Everybody is good at something (or can be made to be), so everyone will have an extra duty, on top of their obvious duties as combatants. In a perfect world, we would have 3 medics (or something similar), one for each squad, but since this is probably not the case, we need to designate people for those
duties so whatever medical personel we do have can begin training them asap.
Someone in your group is what I call a “scrounger”. Basically this is the guy who knows where and how to get anything. We get him/her to start thinking about where to get more of the items that we will use (ammo, food, water, etc., along with other stuff that can be exchanged for what we need). Our first patrols will be aimed at locating these items, and preferably securing them.
Set up your defenses at this point. What you set up is going to vary greatly according to your AO. If you’re in a safe-house in an urban environment, you probably want to keep your defenses as low key as you can so that you don’t attract attention from whatever military forces are operating in your AO. If you’re out in BFE (Bum F**k Egypt, aka the boondocks) you can proably afford to set up better defenses.
Now we make sleeping arrangements, establish our latrines (whatever we might be using, be it an actual restroom or a slit-trench) and make our guard roster for the next 24 hours. We want to make sure that we have 360 security from here on out at all times. Establish a commo plan, as in the who, what, where, how, and why you can communicate with your security positions and patrols.
At this point we begin really training. Ideally we want 1st squad to be able to go on patrol in a few hours, in a day or two at the absolute most. Zeroing any un-zeroed weapons is a priority here. On the assumption that it is already quite violent (otherwise why would your group have come together in the first place?), you can “field zero” your weapons if you have
We want to begin getting 2nd squad in shape in earnest at this point. So they are conducting training or doing PT during the day from here on out.
If we assume that for all intents and purposes there is no law and order at this point, it becomes worth the risk to go “out” to gather intel on our opposition, and make sure
1) they’re not massing in our back yard to wipe us out, and
2) barring that, to figure out what they’re up to.
We also want to see about securing more food, water, ammo, etc. Initially we want to avoid getting into a fight, and concentrate on acquiring needed items (those we can get without a
fight), and gathering intel. We also want to see if there are any other groups “on our side” in the area.
When 1st sqd finally does go out, 2nd sqd is in full kit, standing by to go help them if something happens. They can train and still be ready to go in less than 5 mins.
Once we have secured what we can without force, gotten something like an idea of what the opposition is up to, and figured out what else is going on, then we can begin real “combat operations”. By this point I would say a few weeks have gone by. Our group is proficient at most of what they should be at this point. 1st sqd has probably seen some light action by this point.
Since we want to remain alive and probably aren’t going to be able to get any more ammo or weapons without a fight, I think at this point we begin targeting the groups that represent a threat to us, the gangs or other criminal elements. If we stay completely defensive, we risk these gangs “ganging up” and destroying us, so we probably should take them out of the picture as soon as we can after they prove themselves to be hostile. Better yet, if we don’t have to take them all on at once and can take them out a couple at a time. This will probably win us some local support. We can also take whatever weapons, food, etc. that they might have had. Lastly, this will also prevent them from becoming part of any legitimate government/authority (stranger things have happened) that might come out of all this when some sense of civility returns, though this will still not be for quite some time at this point.
From here what I would do operationally would vary greatly from situation to situation. But this covers the basics of getting started.
I realize that a lot of this stuff is generalities, not specifics. However, this stuff needs to be done in almost any environment/terrain in any AO.
I think that about covers most of it. Let me know what you think.And by the way – how many of you actually submitted your answers in the manner asked in the original post?
I chose to take answers that way as I wanted to force everyone into think through the drill on their own (rather than a comment ping-pong match), and thus improve the overall value of the lesson.
Thanks to Anon #1 for the response above, and to all for your participation.