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Thread: Combat Tracking (catch all)

  1. #81
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    is on the size of the effort / numbers of people involved and concomitant tendency to use the "if you're a hammer, everything is a nail" approach. The Nagl / Petraeus methodology is the "Big Army" application. While that can certainly be made to work, on balance the track record is not good, not at all -- and it is very costly in terms of casualties, effort and money.
    Agreed.

    The use of the small SF (and CA; they've done some good stuff, particularly in Central America) footprint, OTOH has essentially been quite good. It is effective, efficient and relatively cheap in terms of all types of costs. It is also politically acceptable because it's under the ignorant media radar screen.
    IMO, the way to counter the "Metz Effect" is to do this exact thing. Small, successful efforts are hardly ever news-worthy.

    I am very much in agreement with SF on this one; I don't question that the Army and Marines need to know how to do FID and COIN and that they must be prepared at all times to do that -- it just should be a course of last resort and not the preferred method.

    I strongly question the current approach, the size of the footprint and, far more importantly, how efficient and effective the big battalion effort is. We are not doing ourselves any favors.
    I don't see much wrong with improving how "Big Army" does COIN, especially since there is not a particularly effective way to do otherwise, now that we're already there. Not only do I disagree with using big battalions for COIN, I oppose using the military as the lead agency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Try looking at it from the other perspective. For many years now COIN has been more or less the exclusive purview of the Special Forces. Big Army wanted nothing at all to do with it, whatsoever. They were perfectly happy to let the "Snake Eaters" do all that stuff because it freed them up to continue preparing for the thirty Russian Guards Tank divisions to come rolling out of the Fulda Gap. The whole concept of through with and by indigenous forces was anathema to them. Whereas, that is SF's bread and butter. That is the reason for SF's existence, going all the way back to when guys like Ken were training the Maquis, through the SF advisers in Vietnam (Ken again) to modern day FID/UW/COIN. Now, suddenly after a few short years, Big Army now has all the answers for a problem they couldn't be bothered to look at before 2002.

    SFC W
    I think some research into the history of "Who shot John" would be useful in what role Big Army and Big SF played in selling COIN army-wide. Especially in the writing of FM 3-24, as I've already seen several competing versions on how that worked. One thing that is useful to point out, I think, is that all this "SF's long history of working FID/UW/COIN" is actually not that long of a history at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    There's a degree of 'we told you so' involved, no question but even more important is the fact that the big Army approach has never worked without great cost and much time; the small footprint of people who ingrain themselves, OTOH generally work well and the costs are not excessive -- and that type effort doesn't get the overly excitable (of whom this nation has too many...) perturbed.

    There's always a rice bowl or too in the picture but in this case, there's practical evidence that the large effort is costly and prone to not succeed while the smaller, tailored one is less expensive and usually does succeed. Those SF Officers who reject Nagl and Petraeus have history on their side.

    An analogy is Socialism. Some say the only reason pure socialism has never worked is because the right people have not been in charge. Color me dubious. The big Army approach to FID and COIN almost posits the same thing; "It'll work well and cheaply -- we just haven't done it right." I'm not dubious, I flat don't believe it.

    With the caveat that I know it can be made to work -- but at what cost?.
    My dad taught me that you always use the right sized wrench to hammer with....

  2. #82
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    One thing that is useful to point out, I think, is that all this "SF's long history of working FID/UW/COIN" is actually not that long of a history at all.
    is a smart gal points out frequently that to those under forty, "...ten years is a long time..." *

    * Aside from which, having been there almost at the start of that working, I am not even coming on the 'many years' and 'history' bit. That's almost as bad as going into a Cracker Barrel to eat and seeing the wall hung with 'antique' tools you've used...

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Try looking at it from the other perspective. For many years now COIN has been more or less the exclusive purview of the Special Forces. Big Army wanted nothing at all to do with it, whatsoever. They were perfectly happy to let the "Snake Eaters" do all that stuff because it freed them up to continue preparing for the thirty Russian Guards Tank divisions to come rolling out of the Fulda Gap. The whole concept of through with and by indigenous forces was anathema to them. Whereas, that is SF's bread and butter. That is the reason for SF's existence, going all the way back to when guys like Ken were training the Maquis, through the SF advisers in Vietnam (Ken again) to modern day FID/UW/COIN. Now, suddenly after a few short years, Big Army now has all the answers for a problem they couldn't be bothered to look at before 2002.

    SFC W
    Simple question,

    When the Army did wise up, why didn't the SF provide the expertise to the Ft. Riley mission, FM 3-24 team, etc? Why did they voluntarily opt out of these? Your argument about us 'Johnnie come lately's' to COIN would hold more water if SWC had offered to help the GPF get better, from most all sources I have talked to the response was "Talk to the hand, we're busy". Even today, there is little interest from JFK SWC in getting involved with big army COIN efforts. SOCOM, on the other hand, is making an excellent effort to reach out to the GPF.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Simple question,

    When the Army did wise up, why didn't the SF provide the expertise to the Ft. Riley mission, FM 3-24 team, etc? Why did they voluntarily opt out of these? Your argument about us 'Johnnie come lately's' to COIN would hold more water if SWC had offered to help the GPF get better, from most all sources I have talked to the response was "Talk to the hand, we're busy". Even today, there is little interest from JFK SWC in getting involved with big army COIN efforts. SOCOM, on the other hand, is making an excellent effort to reach out to the GPF.
    I'm not at SWCS, at least not as cadre, so I don't have an answer but it is a fair question so I have been doing so enquiries over at PS.com. There are a lot people over there that have a lot more visibility on this issue than I do. I got this reply this morning so far.

    While it may appear so to this individual, and I don't know at what level of the organization he is in, I doubt much of his argument is accurate. A couple of observations from my perspective:

    SWCS as the SF proponent is probably the likely source of assistance not USASFC.

    CSM Dave Bruener has been the CAC and Fort Riley CSM for a couple of years now. He was selected and appointed by then MG Patreus. Dave's previous assignment had been the USAJFKSWCS CSM for MG Parker. I'm sure the contacts there were sufficient to get all the help needed IF MG Patreus felt necessary.

    While the SF Branch SGM in 2006, I assigned a couple of 18Zs to CAC positions; not sure how they have been utilized, but the asset has been there for a few years now.

    just my 2 cents....

    mp
    SFC W

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    Default Combat Tracking

    this is the thread on combat tracking history right?

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    This is a combination thread. Quite often discussions of history shift into current events based on that history. I'd suggest you review the whole thread if you're confused or seeking more information.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Default ATOM Manual

    Does anyone have a copy of the ATOM (Anti-Terrorism Operations In Malaya) Manual ??

    This was the FM Manual used at the British Jungle Warfare School in the 50's

    I understand there is a chapter on Jungle Tracking Operations

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTOSTracker View Post
    Does anyone have a copy of the ATOM (Anti-Terrorism Operations In Malaya) Manual ??

    This was the FM Manual used at the British Jungle Warfare School in the 50's

    I understand there is a chapter on Jungle Tracking Operations
    I have a complete copy if Infantry Training Volume IV (Australia) Tactics, Tropical Warfare, 1956. - which is basically the Australian Armies Capstone manual on Jungle Warfare. It makes no mention of trackers in the notes headings.

    Be aware that the British Army (like the Israelis) have traditionally employed local or indigenous trackers. The current trend for training own forces trackers, only began in the 1990's.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  9. #89
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    Here is the source for my Inquiry
    The Article referenced - British Operations in Malaya and Borneo, 1948-1966
    Part I. The Malayan Emergency

    From Pg3
    "The JWS provided the doctrinal basis and training for the
    tactical operations by army forces against the guerrillas. Established in 1948
    at the Far East Training Center in Johore Bahru, the school was organized
    by Lieutenant Colonel Walter Walker, a three-year veteran of the Burma
    campaign in World War II. Basically, the school ran a six-week course for
    unit cadres and a six-week course, primarily cadre taught, for unit main bodies. Training included instruction and exercises in land navigation, marksmanship, quick fire, patrolling, jungle tactics, ambushes, tracking, and the use of jungle resources. Graduation exercises were live patrols in areas where guerrillas were known to be operating."

    From Pg11
    "Jungle Tactics Against the Malayan Insurgents
    The central, omnipresent task of the British light infantry in Malaya was
    to go into the jungle, find the enemy, and kill him by surprise as often and
    as quickly as possible. This task, coupled with the nature of the enemy and
    the environment, led directly to the adoption of the principles described earlier- decentralization, offensiveness, extended operations, relentless military pressure, and the granting of wide latitude to junior leaders and commanders. In implementing these principles, however, the infantry did not wait for the CTs to act; they doggedly and expertly hunted them down in their jungle hideouts and ambushed them at trails and contact points.
    The specific tactics employed by the infantry are described in lucid detail
    in a pamphlet entitled The Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya.
    Produced by the Jungle Warfare School and widely known as the "Atom
    manual" (see bibliography and appendix A for further information), this pamphlet functioned as a tactical bible. Three editions were published from 1952 to 1957; each incorporated lessons learned through actual combat experiences. "

    From Pg12
    "For soldiers to detect the passage or presence of the guerrillas required
    finely tuned powers of observation. All troops received training in stalking
    techniques and in spotting significant jungle signs, such as overturned leaves, bent twigs, bruised blades of grass, or pieces of bark cut by passing humans. The examples set by aborigine trackers aided the development of such skills among the rank and file soldiers, who, in emulation, sometimes became as adept as the trackers themselves. "

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    Default British Tracking Training

    For William-

    I was under the impression the Brits were still quite heavy on training their own tracking operators at their Brunei Jungle Warfare Centre and also in Belize. Is this not the case?

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JT Clark View Post
    For William-

    I was under the impression the Brits were still quite heavy on training their own tracking operators at their Brunei Jungle Warfare Centre and also in Belize. Is this not the case?
    They sure are. The whole tracking thing became big in the 1990's, and is still big now. Tracking skills were prevalent in the SAS of the 1960's and 70's.

    ...but historically, the vast majority of trackers used by UK forces have been indig. That some UK soldiers became proficient trackers is almost certainly true.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Default combat tracker teams

    Sir,
    Combat trackng teams have been trained, and are operating in both Iraq, and Afghanistan, I've conducted their training personally, and been involved with numerous tracking follow ups in the last 2 years. Without getting into classified details, very recently a US SOF team was in a ambush in a very volitile frontier region. The following day the team returned, conducted a quick site survey, found a start point, and commenced a CTT follow up. The sign/spoor followed consisted of spent shell cases, foot prints, trash, cut tree brances (used for camouflage), and medical waste. The team literally tracked right into the Taliban base camps perimeter, and were in a ground TIC (Troops In Contact) almost immediatly. The enemy tried to encircle the team, but the team had, and held the high ground advantage. An air TIC was called, and A-10s arrived on station and did their CAS magic. Because of the fast approaching darkness, the team made a tactical withdrawl, and RTB (retuned to base). The following day, they returned and conducted a SSE (sensitve site survey), and found destroyed shelters, multiple blood trails, and abandoned equipment. In a near by Afghan villiage a mass burial was conducted, enemy KIA was estimated at 35 to 45.

  13. #93
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbttracker View Post
    Sir,
    Combat trackng teams have been trained, and are operating in both Iraq, and Afghanistan, I've conducted their training personally, and been involved with numerous tracking follow ups in the last 2 years. Without getting into classified details, very recently a US SOF team was in a ambush in a very volitile frontier region. The following day the team returned, conducted a quick site survey, found a start point, and commenced a CTT follow up. The sign/spoor followed consisted of spent shell cases, foot prints, trash, cut tree brances (used for camouflage), and medical waste. The team literally tracked right into the Taliban base camps perimeter, and were in a ground TIC (Troops In Contact) almost immediatly. The enemy tried to encircle the team, but the team had, and held the high ground advantage. An air TIC was called, and A-10s arrived on station and did their CAS magic. Because of the fast approaching darkness, the team made a tactical withdrawl, and RTB (retuned to base). The following day, they returned and conducted a SSE (sensitve site survey), and found destroyed shelters, multiple blood trails, and abandoned equipment. In a near by Afghan villiage a mass burial was conducted, enemy KIA was estimated at 35 to 45.
    Considering how easy it is to do it, we don't do a good job at setting tracking follow-ups into our post-blast SOP for IEDs, or other types of contact for that matter.

    I think that is partly because we are training the wrong audience with the Combat Hunter program.

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    Default Series of Internet Articles by....

    Michael Yon. He participated as a writer and attended the British tracking school on Borneo Island. There is a whole series of emails at the link.

    Combat Tracking Training

    Absolutely fascinating reading.

    Background on Michael Yon

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    Default Why we don't employ more dismounted operations

    Sir,
    Even with the proven tactical benefits of utilizing combat trackers, it's hard to get a commanders approval to dismount, and pursue the enemy. The military, and the public to whom they ultimately answer, are afraid of high casualty counts. They mistakenly believe mounted patrol with MRAPs is the silver bullit. In reality, because of mobility issues, they become road bound, and easier targets. I don't even want to address, leaving body armor and helmets behind to lighten the load, and increase speed and mobility, and reduce water requirements, somebody might have a stroke. Or worse, the ACU uniform which is absolutely abysmal, seems effective only on the crushed rock floor of the FOBs.. Many an operator has dug deep into their pockets to purchase Multicam uniforms, or got back in BDUs to enhance their own survivability. When I attended tracking school over 20 years ago in Malaysia, we stayed in the field, live out of our rucksacks, and slept on the tracks. I can't imagine that happenlng here, although I belive that's how we will deny the enemy of his mountain santuaries, and focus our combat power more effectively. That said, there are some enlightend commanders, who understand the concept of combat tracking teams, to include an IED defeat organization. Consequently, I have stayed busy.

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    This one became available on the open 'net remarkably fast. Now that its readily available to the world (and the threat), I may as well link it here:

    TC 31-34-4 Special Forces Tracking and Countertracking, 30 Sep 09
    ...Tracking, countertracking, and dog-tracker team operations are basic and fundamental to every SF operation whether offensive or defensive in nature. This TC describes and illustrates how to track, how to avoid being tracked, and the theory behind the use of dog-tracker teams. Appendixes A and B provide SF Soldiers with sample tracking logs for their use. This TC does not describe specific electronic-tracking techniques, such as transistor-transistor logic, cell phone triangulation, or other sophisticated electronic-tracking tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP), but it does introduce current doctrine that addresses those topics. This TC provides the basis for common SF tactical application primarily in a rural environment and it briefly discusses urban tracking using dog teams....

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    The manual is absolutely terrible. SWC had contracted someone to produce this last year and they really didn’t get their money’s worth. I got to see it prior to it being released and I commented to the warrant that it was really bad.
    Cbttracker- If you’re who I think you are you taught my class in 2002 at Ft. Lewis. Good to hear the “boys” are using the skill. I hear you have been doing quite well over there. Maybe you can get SWC to develop a better product than the current TC 31-34-4. If you haven’t seen it yet, it will make you giggle. Field Craft is a dying art.
    "Soldiers who are lacking in basic training, discipline, poor leadership and inadequate command and control will not be able to win wars with technology and firepower alone. When their technology fails, they will find themselves in a vacuum they cannot easily extricate themselves from."- Eeben Barlow

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    Default Updated thread

    Hat tip to JMA taking me to a Rhodesian Air Force website and after scrolling through a year's entries, I found this one on an ex-Rhodesian veteran tracker David Scott-Donelan and a link to his - new - website:http://www.trackingoperations.com/ and his short bio is under 'David Scott-Donelan’s Biography'.

    David Scott-Donelan is a SWC member, but only active in 2008 when this thread was going; although he may visit without signing in.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Hat tip to JMA taking me to a Rhodesian Air Force website and after scrolling through a year's entries, I found this one on an ex-Rhodesian veteran tracker David Scott-Donelan and a link to his - new - website:http://www.trackingoperations.com/ and his short bio is under 'David Scott-Donelan’s Biography'.

    David Scott-Donelan is a SWC member, but only active in 2008 when this thread was going; although he may visit without signing in.
    Dave Scott-Donelan was also the Tarining Officer at the Selous Scouts and when at the height of the war circumstances demanded it and national servicemen were selected and trained as direct entry into the Scots he came up wit some pretty innovative basic training. Admittedly this training would have been tailored to serving in that one unit, in that war at that time. Try to sound him out on it. You will find it interesting for sure.

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    Hey guys,
    I know there are alot of people out there who think David Scott is some wiz bang tracker but be careful. Yes he has an impressive biography that he has put on his website, but the man is not what you think he is. Just be careful before you put him on a pedestal, you might be very surprised what you might find if you talk to some of those that have worked around him. On the positive side he did bring attention to the use of tracking with in the military.
    "Soldiers who are lacking in basic training, discipline, poor leadership and inadequate command and control will not be able to win wars with technology and firepower alone. When their technology fails, they will find themselves in a vacuum they cannot easily extricate themselves from."- Eeben Barlow

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