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Old 08-14-2008   #41
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...Combat Tracker Teams fielded in Vietnam by the US were trained by SAS and native Iban at the British Jungle Warfare School. Maybe some of that heritage and legacy (institutional memory?) remains?
Malysian Tracker School -- which still uses Ibans -- and a few years ago, got occasional MTTs from that School to come to Hawaii. May still do so...
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Old 08-14-2008   #42
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Malysian Tracker School -- which still uses Ibans -- and a few years ago, got occasional MTTs from that School to come to Hawaii. May still do so...
You recall correctly Ken. Two NCOs with whom I've worked trained in Malaysia while assigned to Hawaii.
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Old 08-15-2008   #43
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Default Why Brit vs Native tracker style

First off, tracking is tracking. It's the ability to follow man, animal, or equipment by the sign/spoor left behind. Joel Harden, Tom Brown, Native Americans, Ibans etc. are all competent practicioners of this ancient skill, and have gained notoriety from it. Combat or tactical tracking is the combining of sign cutting, tracking and combat patrolling. Native American trackers were an integral part of U.S. military operations thru much of our history, and westward expansion. The combat side was tactical application of this skill, usually the cavalry who were close behind. Border Patrol tracking operations before 9/11 rarely involved more than 1 or 2 agents, and relied on drag roads to leap frog ahead of the quarry. The quarry for the most part were economic immigrants, and were not looking for a fight, they ran.
The British style was developed because the native trackers (Iban, Dyak, Senoi prak) initially employed against the CTs (communist Terrorists) didn't possess the tactical training to close with, or employ supporting arms to destroy the enemy. The logical conclusion was to Make soldiers out of native trackers, or trackers out of British soldiers (and Commonwealth), both were done, to inlude K-9 and handler. TTps have evolved from SE Asia, Africa, U.S.,Iraq, & Afghanistan experience. Bottom line, combat tracking is combat patrolling, but the enemy picks your route. Brit, NZ, Malay, & Rhodesian TTPs were the first to recognize this in the post WWII world,
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Old 08-15-2008   #44
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First off, tracking is tracking. It's the ability to follow man, animal, or equipment by the sign/spoor left behind.
I agree. I see a lot of parallels between tracking and sniping as concerns their relevance and standing in military pop-culture. The skill is simple but hard to achieve and maintain.

Also like sniping, my experience of military tracking (done by non-indig) is that there is a far amount of "skill-jerking", which is simply irrelevant to its employment in a military/security context. - so like sniping, there are conditions and circumstances where the skill is less relevant than others. Where the skill is relevant, the military quickly recover it. Again, like sniping, the idea that the military suddenly "rediscovers" it, is not supported by the historical record.

...but my question still stands. How do we create trackers, simply, cost effectively and quickly, and then maintain them in role in a way that makes sense?
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Old 08-15-2008   #45
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Default Snipers and trackers

As a soldier who was a sniper, sniper team sgt, and a sniper troop sgm, I couldn't agree with you more. They both require similiar skill sets, especially patience. The difference is that to maintain sniper proficiency you need lots of ammo, and range time, which is costly. Not to mention the fieldcraft time required to perfect the art. Trackers can be produced relitively cheaply, if the students arrive with the neccessary tactical background. I can train a visual combat tracking team in 10 days to a sufficienty high degree of proficiency. This is what I've been doing for ODAs here in Afghanistan. The level of tracking expertice is directly related to the time and practice the individual devotes to it. The K-9 and handler piece is the expensive part, and requires infrastucture, and lots of training time. I focus on taking highly skilled soldiers, and add tools to their ruck sack. Combat tracking here is an additional mission, not the primary one. The TTPs used to follow up squirting insurgents, also make the team very cognicent of their own spoor. This obviously enhances their survivability during patrols, OP siting, Sniping etc. If trackers learn nothing else, they increase their own survivability, by reducing their own spoor.
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Old 08-15-2008   #46
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. Trackers can be produced relitively cheaply, if the students arrive with the neccessary tactical background. I can train a visual combat tracking team in 10 days to a sufficienty high degree of proficiency.
So a two week course would suffice? Excellent. So it's not beyond the bounds of reason, logic or cost for each unit/Battle group to have a tracker platoon or for Coy/Sub-units to have tracker teams.

Dogs (K9?) are a Command or "above formation" level asset. From a cost a resources point of view I see no reason to have them any lower.

Do any open source syllabi exist?
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- 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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Old 08-15-2008   #47
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...but my question still stands. How do we create trackers, simply, cost effectively and quickly, and then maintain them in role in a way that makes sense?
Thats the difference between metropolitan America and Europe in general. Where I live many people spot & stalk deer from young ages. Following deer spoor through woodlands is not an easy task yet I know dozens of people who can do it.

The bubba beer belly stereotype hunter is no more true than the baby eating soldier is relevant. What I have experienced and seen is civilians who understand camouflage, scent control, light, stalking, wind, distance estimation, backlands navigations (without GPS), and the ability to hall a 200lb carcass out of the woods.

The skills are there but they are often ignored.
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Old 08-15-2008   #48
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Thats the difference between metropolitan America and Europe in general. Where I live many people spot & stalk deer from young ages. Following deer spoor through woodlands is not an easy task yet I know dozens of people who can do it.

The bubba beer belly stereotype hunter is no more true than the baby eating soldier is relevant. What I have experienced and seen is civilians who understand camouflage, scent control, light, stalking, wind, distance estimation, backlands navigations (without GPS), and the ability to hall a 200lb carcass out of the woods.

The skills are there but they are often ignored.
Quite so. There's also a difference between a stand hunter and a more traditional stalker of game. We've got a fair number of cadets in our detachment alone who'd make great trackers (not at the Kit Carson level, but they are good) because they've been hunting more or less since they could walk. And there are others who just like going out in the woods and seeing what's there.
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Old 09-14-2008   #49
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The Rhodesian system of visual combat tracking is currently being actively taught to all forces at Ft Huachuca through the University of Military Intelligence over a 10 day program.

For more information see:

http://www.universityofmilitaryintel...nformation.asp

It is also now integrated into the Marine Combat Hunter program http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxid-Wwk4Zk

Also, keep your eyes peeled for a tracking section in the forthcoming FM-24.2 Handbook from CAC COIN and (hopefully) a paper on the case for combat tracking and forensic evidence collection in the SW Journal in the near future.
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Old 09-14-2008   #50
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Default The Case for Combat Tracking Teams

I've just posted on the topic of tracking under the historical section thread, however I'm presently writing a paper on the above topic. Although I can find plenty of anecdotes where trained trackers have made the difference in an LE scenario, I'd greatly appreciate any such anecdotes with a military context.

I'm also looking at the increasing use of visual tracking elements in a forensic evidence gathering capacity in COIN ops. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-15-2008   #51
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There are some old newspaper articles posted on the Combat Tracker Team site, to include one about a CTT finding a soldier who got separated from his unit and lost. Go to the Combat Tracker Team site and click on archives to find them.

Here's an interesting article from the Malaya days:

http://www.dnw.co.uk/dnw/medals/FMPr...2584767&-find=

If you google Iban tracker you should fnd a few more interesting links.

And remember that renowned USMC scout/sniper Carlos Hathcock and his spotter once tracked an NVA sniper to his bivouac site and killed him.
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Old 09-15-2008   #52
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All,
Taldozer, sorry I missed in JB, I'm still in the south, for now.
Hey Cbttracker,

If you are still down south give me a e-mail, I am still in JB and will not leave till Jan 09. I still would like to have you come up to chat, train and operate.

Cheers!
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Old 09-15-2008   #53
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Default Combat Tracking and Evidence Collection Paper Assistance

I have a request up regarding combat tracking anecdotes in the RFIs and Member's Projects section that Rifleman has already been kind enough to respond to.

If anyone else could assist by posting there regarding how combat tracking teams are making the difference in theatre, it would be much appreciated.
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Old 09-15-2008   #54
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Default re:

Just finished the book, "THE BUSH WAR IN RHODESIA - The Extraordinary Combat Memoir of a Rhodesian Reconnaissance Specialist" which goes into Selous Scout TTPs and tracking.
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Old 09-15-2008   #55
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Default "Rhodesian Bush War"

Someone had the book on a tracking course recently. What did you think of it?
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Old 09-16-2008   #56
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You may want to have a look at the Australian Defence Force - Northern Territory units – NorForce – it’s a predominantly native Australian Aborigine unit that has provided tracking for the ADF.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...p?t-28403.html

http://www.specialoperations.com/For...ralia/RFSU.htm

http://www.defence.gov.au/media/down...516a/index.htm
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Old 09-16-2008   #57
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Default NorForce

Thanks NI- I'd heard of your lads on the top-end of downunder and I'm just realising how much military tracking history Australia has. Apparently Australian trackers were trained up in Victoria and stationed up in Timor during WW2 and were very effective against the Japanese.
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Old 11-05-2008   #58
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Sir, I am the originator and Program Director of the US Army Combat Tracking School at Fort Huachuca and the Combat Tracking SME for the USMC Combat Hunter Project. I have 40+ years of real combat tracking operational and instructional experience and have compiled a history of CT, world-wide. If you would let me know what you need and how I can assist, I would be happy to do so.
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Old 11-06-2008   #59
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Sir, I am the originator and Program Director of the US Army Combat Tracking School at Fort Huachuca and the Combat Tracking SME for the USMC Combat Hunter Project. I have 40+ years of real combat tracking operational and instructional experience and have compiled a history of CT, world-wide. If you would let me know what you need and how I can assist, I would be happy to do so.
I'm curious if you're willing.

Do you teach the use of luminol for tracking injured people?

When advancing on supposed hidden adversaries while tracking do you teach backtracking and tracking across the path as a method of cutting off returning adversaries (if I didn't hork that up totally).

Curiosity.
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Old 11-06-2008   #60
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Sam,

Although we have experimented with Luminol we do not use it as a mater of course as it’s benefits are more appropriate to crime scenes than on long follow-ups during the hours of darkness. We, at the U.S. Army Combat Tracking School at Fort Huachuca, have mastered the ability to conduct tracking operations at night using other technology and TTP’s which allow us to move quickly over the ground to close the time and distance gap to make contact with the enemy.

The world class Combat Tracking (CT) courses held at Fort H. are unique, innovate and totally unlike tracking courses conducted elsewhere. The training emphasizes the fact that CT can be effectively utilized across the entire spectrum of warfare be it counter-insurgency or conventional. We teach that CT can be used tactically, operationally and strategically; it can be used offensively or defensively. It can be used overtly or covertly; actively or passively and by day or night as well as being used for force protection, route clearance, IED indicator recognition and counter surveillance. Back-tracking training and field exercises are part of the Fort H. classes. Additionally, trained trackers can add a whole new layer of information gathering (now called VISINT) to the S2 collection tool box.

To answer your specific questions:

1. Back-tracking fits into the Passive Tracking category and is used mainly for intelligence gathering purposes in terms of establishing and recording enemy routes, bases camps, contact men, supply point, safe houses, feeding areas, habits, routines, arms caches, border crossing points and other information of value to the G3/S2 folks

As is quoted in Army FM 17-98 (The Scout Platoon) “Tracking is one of the most important sources of actionable intelligence, information about the enemy that can be put to use immediately.” A recent event clearly proved the value of this type of tracking.

2. On the tactical side, we have developed effective TTP’s enabling the CT Team to counter just about most tactical situations they could be confronted with on a follow-up including tracker specific shooting techniques and skills. Students at our Fort Huachuca classes are also trained to utilize other methods to ascertain the direction of travel of threat units so as to use other techniques to move forward, interdict and take the appropriate action against them.

When I say unique and innovative” training, I mean that we train our students in other modules such as Urban Tracking; Night Tracking; Mobile Tracking; Forensic Tracking; Tracking and Surveillance; Tracking Reports; Footprint Data Collection, Sensitive Site Exploitation and other classified subjects.

The U.S. Army Combat Tracking School Instructors are highly trained and experienced in all aspects of combat tracking operations and collective experience and knowledge covers every continent on Earth. Most are from Army and USMC spec-ops backgrounds with recent (and current) experience in all AO’s including Timor and Africa. TTOS, the provider of the instructor cadre for the Fort H. programs has a policy of expanding tracking knowledge and experience world-wide, sends its staff overseas to other tracking schools and 6 lead instructors recently went to Israel, a country which uses trackers extensively. They also have an exchange program with the British Army Jungle Warfare Wing in Brunei and the Commanding Officer, Exec Officer and number of senior instructors have attended the Fort Huachuca class. Other overseas instructor exchanges are scheduled for 2009.

For more information about the Fort Huachuca classes and bookings visit the University of Military Intelligence Website at:

http://www.universityofmilitaryintel...tc/default.asp

Click onto Functional Courses and then on to Combat Tracking.



“Combat Tracking – the Eyes of the Army”
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