Page 8 of 11 FirstFirst ... 678910 ... LastLast
Results 141 to 160 of 220

Thread: Combat Tracking (catch all)

  1. #141
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,349

    Default Obstactle

    JMA responded:
    The problem (as always) is the OPSEC issue. If one cannot discuss detail on the tactical employment of trackers in today's wars because of OPSEC then what can really be discussed?
    I posed the request mindful - from my armchair - that OPSEC may curtail discussion and other moderators no doubt will watch carefully. I know not how much can be discussed now.

    There is now a current tracking ops thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=11167

    Watch & wait.
    davidbfpo

  2. #142
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    499

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Where in today's North America would one find a resource pool of already accomplished trackers in their early 20s?
    I don't know that you could. Maybe among some of the more rural Eskimo villages but I don't know. Most Native Americans, country boys, hunters, etc., will need almost as much additional training as city boys.

    You see, most successful American hunters are what you might call track aware. For instance, good whitetail deer hunters notice deer tracks and can make some reasonably accurate deductions about track age and animal size but that's about it. They simply use tracks as an indicator that their prey is in the area but they seldom try to follow tracks.

    Being track aware is an important foundation/first step but with most outdoorsmen it doesn't go much beyond that. I know that's always the way it's been with me and I've had some successful days hunting, including one very nice elk.
    Last edited by Rifleman; 08-16-2010 at 12:44 AM.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

  3. #143
    Council Member Tracker275's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Good. Now as the Iraq war is all but over perhaps you can share with us old timers about tracking in Iraq and how the tactical deployment during a follow-up was executed?
    I also saw your other post in regards to OPSEC. Honestly, the carrying out of the tracking piece is not anything that hasn’t already been posted multiple times within U.S. Army unclassified doctrinal publications, or utlized by law enforcement for a long time in everyday forensic applications. The handoff from either an IED Post Blast, IED Found/Cleared, Small Arms Fire (SAF), etc., is simply the ability to not contaminate the area, and give the infantry a starting point to continue the pursuit of the quarry. From there, the basic principles of tracking are performed in conjunction with standard patrolling techniques that are relatively common in most military organizations. While performing the tracking, you maintain a security element that is either moving as the tracking element moves, or there are elements in an overwatch posture that allows for security of the tracking element that is walking point.

    While performing tracking operations, you don't violate the "5 Principles of Patrolling", and maintain not only maintain situational awareness of METT-TC, but also OCOKA.

    Definitions:

    "5 Principles of Patrolling": Planning, Reconnaissance, Security, Control, & Common Sense

    METT-TC: Mission, Enemy, Terrain and Weather, Troops and Support Available, Time Available, Civil Considerations

    OCOKA: Observation, Concealment, Obstacles, Key Terrain Features, Avenues of Approach

    Typically, in the urban environments in either Iraq or Afghanistan, most of the streets are either dirt, or have a concrete/asphalt base that is covered in dirt. Due to the dust storms, and the basic lacking of keeping anything picked up or clean over there, track traps are everywhere. While analysis of the initial scene of the incident is being conducted by one element, the maneuver element that found it takes it from the edge of the incident site. They continue it on from there in a “movement to contact” type of posture, which the tracker guides them to where the quarry was heading. If it is understood where the individual that was identified at the scene may be heading, the time distance gap can be shortened, particularly if there are channeling corridors that allow for only certain directions of travel. It is far easier to perform tracking in urban areas in Iraq than it is in the United States, as most of the alleys area dirt, and not paved. Additionally, our peak times in urban areas were between 2100hrs to 0100hrs, which there was limited activity in the towns we were working in. Most of the spoor was also identified going through alleys and not along the main streets. Typically, the point of setting up an IED in those areas was to eliminate either a specific person, or a group of individuals near buildings they felt safe at.

    Just like dealing with a crime scene in the United States, tracking in urban areas in Iraq are not much different. However, I have found far more evidence that has been able to be identified in Iraq than anything I have done in law enforcement here in the United States.

    Tracking is not merely a patrolling function, but a way to gather forensic evidence left by the individuals responsible for the incident that got you called to an area in the first place. Just like how law enforcement utilizes shoe impressions, tire impressions, skid marks on roads, etc., to determine what happened, or be able to identify a suspect, so does the tracker. The principles of tracking remain the same, and are not something that is some kind of “Special Forces” function, but a function that a trained Infantryman can utilize to better the pursuit of a suspect, or develop knowledge of TTPs utilized by the individual they are after.

    In today’s combat environments, we are almost as limited as personnel in Law Enforcement. We are not allowed to call in artillery on a sniper in a building anymore, like early on in the war. The fact that we are in a “peace keeping” roll, and not open combat, limits the use of easy methods of eliminating a threat. Through this restricted form of warfare, we have to utilize such capabilities that are proven to go after the target in a surgical manner, and not try and kill a fly with a sledge hammer.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-16-2010 at 06:02 AM. Reason: Cooied to the current tracking ops thread

  4. #144
    Council Member Tracker275's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Where in today's North America would one find a resource pool of already accomplished trackers in their early 20s?
    Nowhere in history has age been a predetermination of wisdom in warfare. To look for a specific age bracket of experience is only to limit yourself in finding the resources that allow for the completion of mission.

    If there is a limitation in experience within a younger group within a military force, then it is up to the commanders and other leaders with knowlege in proven warfare tactics to provide that training to the younger future leaders in military organizations.

    With that being said, any shortfalls found need to be identified, and corrected by those that make the decisions in training for our younger soldiers.

    ...To ignore these shortfalls only proves the inadequate focus of leadership in supporting the completion of mission.

    However, I have found that many in leadership roles in not only our own organization, but those in others, are more concerned with providing themselves with a "legacy" in a combat theater to further their careers, which is carried on the backs of those that actually "leave the wire."

    I can only hope this will change. To identify those individuals that are in their "mid 20's" that offer this type of knowledge, will require those in leadership positions to offer the training essential to allowing for this type of experience at that age bracket.
    Last edited by Tracker275; 08-16-2010 at 06:54 AM.

  5. #145
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracker275 View Post
    Nowhere in history has age been a predetermination of wisdom in warfare. To look for a specific age bracket of experience is only to limit yourself in finding the resources that allow for the completion of mission.
    "Nowhere in history"? That is some claim!

    OK, the age aspect is in relation to the requirement to have combat soldiers in their 20's (give or take). So one needs to recruit people with tracking skills into the military in their early 20's.

    If there is a limitation in experience within a younger group within a military force, then it is up to the commanders and other leaders with knowlege in proven warfare tactics to provide that training to the younger future leaders in military organizations.
    Yes, that is obvious... but I was talking about tracking skills. A knowledge of minor tactics is worthless unless the man/men has tracking skills.

    With that being said, any shortfalls found need to be identified, and corrected by those that make the decisions in training for our younger soldiers.
    This is again why I believe that when looking for trackers you go out and recruit them based on the possession of that skill... and then train them up as soldiers.

    ...To ignore these shortfalls only proves the inadequate focus of leadership in supporting the completion of mission.
    What does this mean? The clear priority is the ability to track first and foremost. The follow-up team can and normally does take on the tactical battle once contact is made.

    However, I have found that many in leadership roles in not only our own organization, but those in others, are more concerned with providing themselves with a "legacy" in a combat theater to further their careers, which is carried on the backs of those that actually "leave the wire."
    That's your opinion... BTW which others do you have experience of?

    I can only hope this will change. To identify those individuals that are in their "mid 20's" that offer this type of knowledge, will require those in leadership positions to offer the training essential to allowing for this type of experience at that age bracket.
    For tracking to make any advances and gain recognition in a large military like the US the command will have to be convinced that there is a role for tracking across the board in the modern army. (I believe unlike the army the USMC is to continue with tracking training)

    Can you convince them?

  6. #146
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracker275 View Post
    I also saw your other post in regards to OPSEC. Honestly, the carrying out of the tracking piece is not anything that hasnít already been posted multiple times within U.S. Army unclassified doctrinal publications, or utlized by law enforcement for a long time in everyday forensic applications. The handoff from either an IED Post Blast, IED Found/Cleared, Small Arms Fire (SAF), etc., is simply the ability to not contaminate the area, and give the infantry a starting point to continue the pursuit of the quarry. From there, the basic principles of tracking are performed in conjunction with standard patrolling techniques that are relatively common in most military organizations. While performing the tracking, you maintain a security element that is either moving as the tracking element moves, or there are elements in an overwatch posture that allows for security of the tracking element that is walking point. [snip]
    Why are you telling me this stuff? I know it. Hundreds (probably many thousands) know this. It is the current operational application of combat tracking skills in Iraq/Afghanistan that some may not know (I don't).

  7. #147
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    I don't know that you could. Maybe among some of the more rural Eskimo villages but I don't know. Most Native Americans, country boys, hunters, etc., will need almost as much additional training as city boys.
    (Added emphasis mine)

    Nah... simply not possible. I accept that there are exceptions to any rule but the attempted use of city boys as combat trackers is really not worth the effort (and cost). City kids can certainly benefit from "bush awareness" courses and could probably track 10 people walking in single file on a wet beach but that is about as far as it goes.

    You see, most successful American hunters are what you might call track aware. For instance, good whitetail deer hunters notice deer tracks and can make some reasonably accurate deductions about track age and animal size but that's about it. They simply use tracks as an indicator that their prey is in the area but they seldom try to follow tracks.
    Being track aware even for a single species is 9,000% better than the city boy whose natural awareness is limited to avoiding stepping in a pile of dog crap on the sidewalk.

    One can work on this foundation you mention. I would suggest that you test the candidates on the course on the first day. If they pass they continue to do a tracking course if they fail they move over to a bushcraft/woodcraft course.

    Being track aware is an important foundation/first step but with most outdoorsmen it doesn't go much beyond that. I know that's always the way it's been with me and I've had some successful days hunting, including one very nice elk.
    Yes I agree that even with some hunters and outdoors-men that they are limited in the area of skills like tracking and even shooting. Now if kids with this background and exposure are not capable of tracking then what chance does your city boy have?

    This all said. I accept that those who run tracking schools will swear on their mother's honour that they can turn out a tracker in less than a week out of your average city boy. They would wouldn't they.

    OK, so run a pre-course tracking test as an entry qualification. Then run a course of 8 weeks, 16 weeks or whatever but not a few days.

    Here is a SOF magazine article on Rhodesian tracking going back to 1985. Worth reading.
    Last edited by JMA; 08-17-2010 at 05:27 PM.

  8. #148
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Here is a SOF magazine article on Rhodesian tracking going back to 1985. Worth reading.
    Note quotation below.

    Savory’s concept took native tracking and turned it into a military discipline. He argued that a soldier already skilled in patrols, ambushes and tactical maneuvering could better almost anyone in the man tracking game once trained in the necessary techniques. From Rhodesia’s SAS he selected eight men which he felt had demonstrated special potential to form a test group.

    Savory put them through a Spartan, rigorous training program in the Sabie Valley adjacent to the Mozambique border. Eight weeks in the field, two weeks back in town and another eight weeks back in the bush was just enough to bring his men to what he felt was the required standard.
    I differ from Savory only in that he was looking for quality as opposed to quantity. You can then decide whether to select trained soldiers with the tracking aptitude or go out and find an area (or areas) where kids grow up learning this stuff and then train them as soldiers. Your core leader element would need to be found within the existing forces and I guess that would be phase one of setting up such a unit which would provide your officer and NCO structure. Phase 2 would be to find the trackers to fill the posts. Either you go find them or you run selection courses for volunteers from within the military or both.

    Savory selected 8 men out of the Rhodesian SAS (company size) as having the potential. The training was then over 16 weeks. If this is what is required in terms of training for those who already have a special aptitude then what about our city boy with less than 20:20 vision? Not going to work.

    So there will be trackers and there will be those who have attended an advanced-fieldcraft/bushcraft/woodcraft course. Let us never try to blend the two together.

    Again I say that those with a commercial agenda may well attempt to sell the idea that anyone can be turned into a tracker in a few days. Some people may even buy that.

  9. #149
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    499

    Default

    JMA,

    Okay then, maybe I was a little too self-critical (I consider it being "realistic") when I drew my conclusions, but I've spent a lot of time looking at animal "sign" (spoor) over the years, yet in spite of that I've spent very little time trying to follow animals.

    I've been successful at hunting on quite a few occasions...





    ...but I don't consider myself a tracker and I'd certainly need a lot more training before being ready for a manhunt in the Zambezi Valley.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

  10. #150
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    JMA,

    Okay then, maybe I was a little too self-critical (I consider it being "realistic") when I drew my conclusions, but I've spent a lot of time looking at animal "sign" (spoor) over the years, yet in spite of that I've spent very little time trying to follow animals.

    I've been successful at hunting on quite a few occasions...

    [snip]

    ...but I don't consider myself a tracker and I'd certainly need a lot more training before being ready for a manhunt in the Zambezi Valley.
    Don't sell yourself short. When Savory selected his core group he took them out into the bush/wilderness for 16 weeks to hone their tracking skills and to learn the tactical requirements of tracking armed insurgents.

    Remember city kids have only seen a deer in a movie. Never breathed fresh air and never slept out in the cold/rain/snow or been chowed by mosquitoes/mopani flies/tsetse flies/centipedes/and the odd snake. They don't know what they are missing

    As to hunting... a better sport is hunting armed insurgents. They can shoot back. A more even contest?


    Waiting for chopper uplift from the flat rock behind. Now that is hunting!

  11. #151
    Council Member Tracker275's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    "Nowhere in history"? That is some claim!

    OK, the age aspect is in relation to the requirement to have combat soldiers in their 20's (give or take). So one needs to recruit people with tracking skills into the military in their early 20's.



    Yes, that is obvious... but I was talking about tracking skills. A knowledge of minor tactics is worthless unless the man/men has tracking skills.



    This is again why I believe that when looking for trackers you go out and recruit them based on the possession of that skill... and then train them up as soldiers.



    What does this mean? The clear priority is the ability to track first and foremost. The follow-up team can and normally does take on the tactical battle once contact is made.



    That's your opinion... BTW which others do you have experience of?



    For tracking to make any advances and gain recognition in a large military like the US the command will have to be convinced that there is a role for tracking across the board in the modern army. (I believe unlike the army the USMC is to continue with tracking training)

    Can you convince them?
    Mmmmm,

    You have a lot of knowledge JMA, however you are reluctant to put that out in the open to be devoured by the wolves. I have briefed many like you that seem to be the "sharpshooter" in the back of the room, but offer minimal in the amount of knowledge to educate the new combat soldiers that are moving up the chain.

    After analyzing your posts, there is one thing that continually presents itself as a pattern. That is that no matter what is stated, you must always identify the individual that posts at being in the wrong. I would imagine you spend a fair amount of time analyzing posts, and identifying what you can poke holes in.

    Granted, this post may annoy you, however you present yourself as extremely bitter, and unable to offer new soldiers or older leadership anything but argumentative retoric. The capability for you to offer any form of debate is found to be only in the form of slamming posts by anyone that may offer a challenge to what you state.

    I am currently an instructor at a school house, only recently returned from a tour in the last few weeks, and I would like to find additional information from other combat veterans out there, regardless of conflict. However, I can honestly say that you have not provided anything in the last 2wks that I can utilize to add to the training value of soldiers that I see everyday.

    There is nothing wrong with offering the "devils advocate" viewpoint, however include something that has substance for todays wars based on your experience. That is far more valuable to all readers than simply trying to combat every statement that is presented.

  12. #152
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    2

    Default 32 BN trackers

    This thread seems to be a two person dance, nevertheless. . .
    I had a friend who was a big game hunter, usually RSA but occasionally Namibia, sometimes Botswana. He told me of having hunted the Caprivi Strip (his last hunt actually) from a camp or town called Buffalo. Further, the fellow who ran the camp (white guy) was said to be an outstanding tracker. When I got back to my construction site in Iraq (I was the project security manager) I asked some of my South African security guys what they might know of the camp/town of “Buffalo” and further had they ever heard of “XYZ” (fortunately or unfortunately I can’t remember his name), the outstanding white tracker, who was as good as any black as a tracker.

    Four or maybe five of my SA guys were old 32 Battalion hands, they had spent the majority of their time working out of Buffalo Camp. They knew personally, or knew of XYZ. Gale’s of laughter and shouts of derision followed my naming XYZ as a tracker as good as any black. While they all allowed that he might think that and that for a white guy he may be passable, there was no way any white man could equal the good, much less the best black trackers. Their reasoning went something like this;

    The wealth and security of a black family in that part of Africa depended on their family’s herd of goats. Early morning to late evening these goats ranged the sparse vegetation of rocky hillsides and dry valleys. From the age of six or seven the family’s boys watched over them. With a goatskin of tepid water and a stick they kept track of the young, the old, the adventurous and the stupid. Every one, day after day after day. Maybe not fun but they did learn how to keep track of their animals. . .they learned tracking from the bottom up. Later when it was man tracking time there was no way a white guy could replicate such training, they had not the hour upon numbing hour of experience, as the black kids did, none. They were all emphatic on that point. (Remember, this is not my opinion but rather what they, the guys who were there, said.)

    Further, it was explained to me that the tracking in 32 Battalion was done primarily by the black guys. The teams operated deep inside Angola picking up the would be infiltrators early in the game. The tracker teams were run by white O/NCO’s who’s job was to get the trackers (I can’t remember the exact composition of the teams.) onto the trail of a group of infiltrators (can’t remember their term for that either) and follow up with a fresh team or teams, helliborne in closer to or ahead of the infiltrators. Once the track had been established the conclusion was almost inevitable. I was told that after a while sometimes the infiltrators, upon hearing the chopper, would simply walk into a clearing with their hands up.

    My best guess is, somewhere between that African goat herder boy and the city boy who’s never seen a track, but can be trained, there is a standard sufficient to the exigencies of the moment. Time and place specific, yes. A quickly forgotten and perishable skill, probably. Something the world Duty Officer sees the need for, maybe not. Nevertheless, an arrow, however sharp (or blunted), that should be in every UW warrior’s quiver. Further, I can easily see the need for a range of competence from an “understands the basics,” FNG to a Master Tracker (what ever that might be). My SA friend’s opined that their tracking skills were just sufficient to usefully employ their pros, the black SA’s who did the heavy lifting.

    I understand this does not exactly match up with what’s been posted in this thread. Nothing of the request “expert training” assumed necessary or the methodology/ time required to achieve what ever the standard may be declared to be or the time trade off between tracking skills and other crucial tactical knowledge. It is however, very close to what I recall my SA friends describing and, I think, in the overall scheme of unconventional/guerrilla/small wars, well worth pondering.

    You don’t learn language by going to school; you learn it by yourself. . . then you go to school. Sometimes we forget that.
    Last edited by ret18zulu; 08-21-2010 at 09:05 PM. Reason: spelling

  13. #153
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ret18zulu View Post
    This thread seems to be a two person dance, nevertheless. . .
    I had a friend who was a big game hunter, usually RSA but occasionally Namibia, sometimes Botswana. He told me of having hunted the Caprivi Strip (his last hunt actually) from a camp or town called Buffalo. Further, the fellow who ran the camp (white guy) was said to be an outstanding tracker. When I got back to my construction site in Iraq (I was the project security manager) I asked some of my South African security guys what they might know of the camp/town of “Buffalo” and further had they ever heard of “XYZ” (fortunately or unfortunately I can’t remember his name), the outstanding white tracker, who was as good as any black as a tracker.

    [snip]
    Back in town today so let me jump right in.

    Your 32 battalion mates are mostly correct that to be a skilled tracker/master tracker or whatever you want to call it you need to literally grow up in the bush.

    Are all "blacks" (Africans) good trackers? No. the same principle applies and there are those who have grown up in the inner cities/townships/projects etc who will know as little as the average city boy. Can a white guy get be be able to track "as good as any black"? The answer is 99% of the time no but depends on where and how he grew up. Terrain similarities and relative geography to where he needs to track are factors. For example the Khoisan trackers of Western Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) lived and tracked in what is termed sandveld (Kalahari sands) and found it more difficult when transported to track in other vegetation and geological type areas. This whole tracking thing is more complex than some will want you to believe.

    What your 32 Battalion mates probably forget is that this guy is marketing himself and his hunting concession commercially and so is likely to hype it all up for the benefit of clients. (Same as if you check their CVs in minute detail you may also find a little exaggeration here and there.

    The vast majority of 32 Battalion "whites" (being officers and NCOs) probably, like me, had next to no personal tracking skills. Yes maybe they, like me, understood the basics of how to conduct follow-up operations in support of a skilled combat tracker team. That's probably where it begins and ends.

    So this guy is trying to make some money out of selling himself as the next "big white hunter". So what? He isn't the first and certainly won't be the last.

    Its all a bit like other people who may be making money out of tracking through running a variety of tracking courses. They will tell you that they can train just about anyone into a skilled combat tracker. They will certainly not screen out those with no skill and lose the course fee income. They will also hype the potential of trackers from being a highly skilled individual in a very narrow field (which is what a tracker is) to a combination of CSI/Rambo and the six million dollar man. There is a commercial motivation... in both cases.

    As to tracking in Angola one needs to remember that the local population density was sparse and as such tracking was possible. Remembering that if you are trying to track people through areas of dense population who are sympathetic to them and will drive their animals over the spoor or just walk all over it and even sweep it out then it becomes less possible or almost impossible to have a successful follow-up.

    The term for lifting trackers ahead on the line of the follow-up is called leapfrogging and relates to where trackers, lifted by helicopter, cut for spoor ahead of the follow-up force in order to catch up on the insurgents in question.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-25-2010 at 06:19 AM. Reason: Correction: Eastern to Western Rhodesia at authors request

  14. #154
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Where in today's North America would one find a resource pool of already accomplished trackers in their early 20s?
    Stupid question if you've ever been to the western United States and (I suspect) parts of Canada as well. Ranch kids here do a great deal of tracking (cattle, coyotes, wolves, lost city kids, deer, elk, bear) and often start at an early age. We have excellent trackers and outfitters...folks who make their living following critters and sometimes people. I'd also lay odds that you'd find good trackers down along the border as well.

    Rifleman, in reference to your earlier post, you'd be surprised I think at the amount of tracking that actually goes on out here. It may not happen in the Native American community, but it certainly does in other places.
    "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

  15. #155
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    499

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Rifleman, in reference to your earlier post, you'd be surprised I think at the amount of tracking that actually goes on out here. It may not happen in the Native American community, but it certainly does in other places.
    Steve,

    I think you have a point.....up to a point - if that makes any sense. But we might just have to agree to disagree on the extent of the tracking skill of most western outdoorsmen. And hopefully, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    I see you are in Montana. I live in Wyoming. I grew up southern and rural. I've done a fair amount of hunting. I've wrangled, packed and guided for outfitters around the Jackson Hole area. I've also worked for a couple of cattle ranches, both of which still had a summer free range grazing alotments on the Bridger-Teton National Forest at the time.

    I've seen many people notice tracks, find tracks, comment on tracks, draw some elementary deductions from tracks, and follow tracks for short distances. Still, I haven't I seen any long "direct spooring" follow-ups unless there was snow on the ground. Nor have I seen anyone that I would consider a cracker-jack tracker. I include myself in that condemnation.

    I think it's analogous to horsemanship. Or roping. There are some true greats around today; journeymen who take things to the highest level. But in my experience many ranch raised people just sort of muddle through at those sorts of skills their enire lives without ever achieving true excellence.

    Maybe my ideas about what somebody who calls themselves a tracker ought to be capable of are just too strict. I dunno.
    Last edited by Rifleman; 08-25-2010 at 12:46 AM.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

  16. #156
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    Maybe my ideas about what somebody who calls themselves a tracker ought to be capable of are just too strict. I dunno.
    I don't think they are. This is why trackers should be graded through a standard testing process. There are (expert) trackers and there are (self styled) trackers.

    What the military needs is trackers who are way above the average and who can track insurgents over different types of terrain, where the insurgents are anti/counter tracking and at a speed to allow the follow-up to close with the insurgents. These will be your "master trackers".

    Yes, you can use lower grade trackers to back track and maybe cast for spoor as part of a leapfrogging exercise but that is about as far as it goes.

    If standards are set low to start with the military will be just wasting their time... and money.

  17. #157
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Stupid question if you've ever been to the western United States and (I suspect) parts of Canada as well. Ranch kids here do a great deal of tracking (cattle, coyotes, wolves, lost city kids, deer, elk, bear) and often start at an early age. We have excellent trackers and outfitters...folks who make their living following critters and sometimes people. I'd also lay odds that you'd find good trackers down along the border as well.
    No I have not been to the US so my question was simple and honest.

    If you have followed my line of argument you we see that I suggest that these kids get targeted for recruitment as trackers (probably into a specialist tracking unit).

    Obviously there will need to be a selection course to ensure that these kids really do have the required potential to become a tracker and then provide specialist tracking training. Then basic military training and then the combat tracking tactics. That should take six or more months...
    Last edited by JMA; 08-25-2010 at 01:46 AM.

  18. #158
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracker275 View Post
    Mmmmm,

    You have a lot of knowledge JMA, however you are reluctant to put that out in the open to be devoured by the wolves. I have briefed many like you that seem to be the "sharpshooter" in the back of the room, but offer minimal in the amount of knowledge to educate the new combat soldiers that are moving up the chain.

    After analyzing your posts, there is one thing that continually presents itself as a pattern. That is that no matter what is stated, you must always identify the individual that posts at being in the wrong. I would imagine you spend a fair amount of time analyzing posts, and identifying what you can poke holes in.

    Granted, this post may annoy you, however you present yourself as extremely bitter, and unable to offer new soldiers or older leadership anything but argumentative retoric. The capability for you to offer any form of debate is found to be only in the form of slamming posts by anyone that may offer a challenge to what you state.

    I am currently an instructor at a school house, only recently returned from a tour in the last few weeks, and I would like to find additional information from other combat veterans out there, regardless of conflict. However, I can honestly say that you have not provided anything in the last 2wks that I can utilize to add to the training value of soldiers that I see everyday.

    There is nothing wrong with offering the "devils advocate" viewpoint, however include something that has substance for todays wars based on your experience. That is far more valuable to all readers than simply trying to combat every statement that is presented.
    I will not dignify this post with a reply other than to say that my presence here does not obligate me to provide you with training material.
    Last edited by JMA; 08-25-2010 at 01:55 AM.

  19. #159
    Council Member Tracker275's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA (AKA "Sharpshooter") View Post
    I will not dignify this post with a reply other than to say that my presence here does not obligate me to provide you with training material.
    Point taken, as that is what I expect from you.

  20. #160
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default Horses and the Grey's Scouts

    The Afghanis (at least some of them) have a great tradition of horsemanship.

    Saw the book Horse Soldiers where the first US SF in Afghanistan in 2001 made use of horses during their mission. Probably because there was no other mobility available.

    Rhodesia had the Grey's Scouts, a mounted infantry rather than a cavalry unit who had a tracking ability and also were working on the use of dogs (coonhounds) running free in this regard. Lacking tracking devices and GPS transmitters in those days there was always the real potential to lose the dogs or get separated. The trials were never fully completed by the end of the war.

    There were a number of occasions where Grey's were able to cover tremendous distances at a steady canter on obvious spoor. This would be where they came across spoor of large groups of heavily laden insurgents following a well warn path/route or in a post contact situation where the insurgents were fleeing with no time to anti/counter track. The dogs would have been better where anti-counter tracking was being used.

    The Rhodesian Air Force also carried out some trials using free running dogs as recorded in the excellent work Winds of Destruction by Peter Petter-Bowyer

    Tracker dogs proven

    Final Tracker Dog Trial

    In our small overstretched military we did not have the time to work on the concept of free running dogs for tracking purposes. Maybe others elsewhere have had more experience with dogs and/or mounted infantry tracking.

Similar Threads

  1. Combat Power, Conflict Resolution, and US Economy
    By AmericanPride in forum RFIs & Members' Projects
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 07-07-2014, 09:31 PM
  2. Mass Insanity: Latest Trend in Army Doctrine
    By Bob's World in forum Doctrine & TTPs
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 10-14-2012, 09:23 PM
  3. Still Combat?
    By patmc in forum US Policy, Interest, and Endgame
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-23-2011, 04:06 PM
  4. Current Combat/Tactical Tracking Operations
    By Tracker275 in forum Trigger Puller
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 12-26-2010, 10:36 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •