THE COUNTER RECONNAISSANCE FIGHT
GRIZZLY SCOUT RECONNAISSANCE TEAM
GRIZZLY 20 DELTA, SFC ANDREW B. CONNETTE
GRIZZLY 20 ALPHA, SFC LAWRENCE M. OHMES
GRIZZLY 20 BRAVO, SFC CARLTON N. MAYNARD
The importance of the Counter Reconnaissance fight cannot be stressed enough. If the enemy is able to conduct a successful reconnaissance of the Main Defense Area (MDA), identifying points of breach, Co/Tm locations, prepared positions or defensive prep, his chances for success then greatly outweigh yours. Therefore, this fight, the Counter Recon (CR) fight must be planned and resourced as any other fight.
The typical organization of the counter reconnaissance team includes the TF scout platoon, GSR, a armor company team with one tank platoon, one infantry platoon while one tank platoon remains in the rear preparing the company defensive position.† Also included in this is a platoon of the BRT forward of the TF scouts.† If we change our organization to be a infantry Co/Tm, we still have the ability to destroy anything on the battlefield that we will face during the CR fight plus, we will double the amount of dismounted infantry we can put on the ground to neutralize the dismounted reconnaissance effort.
Just as important for the CR fight as in the main defense is engagement area development.† After determining what we expect to see as part of the enemy reconnaissance, we need to determine where we will see them.† Do this by conducting reconnaissance of the screen to identify all infiltration routes both mounted and dismounted.† Too often, TF scouts occupy the screen by moving to over watch tem plated NAIs (that more often than not are located on main body avenues of approach) without conducting a reconnaissance of the area to determine where the enemy can infiltrate.† After reconnaissance avenues of approach have been identified, determine his likely recon scheme of maneuver.† Where will he attempt to infiltrate dismounted teams, where can track vehicles infiltrate?† What about wheeled reconnaissance, how will the effects of terrain and weather restrict his movement?† Once this is complete, we can develop a observation plan to cover these avenues.† If we have too many to watch, then we have to consider the use of obstacles or early warning devices to help us cover these avenues.† The counter recon commander now has to determine where he will kill the enemy reconnaissance.† Based upon the reconnaissance, choose where you can effectively contain and destroy the reconnaissance.† Then select BPs that allows sections to cover these small engagement areas.† In order to be effective, obstacles have to be integrated into the CR fight that will push the recon into our CR EA.† Too often, there is no obstacle support of the CR fight.† This results in CR killers moving out of BPs to hunt down the reconnaissance, which often easily evades them by ducking onto recon infiltration routes.† Obstacles should be positioned to shut down these routes and stop them where we want to kill them.† MOPPMs are also a very effective tool in the CR fight.† After determining where we are going to kill and planned obstacles to support that, emplace the killers in positions to cover with direct fire.† Next, develop a indirect fire plan to support the CR fight.† Fires should be integrated with the direct fire plan and triggered by scout observation posts.† Next, rehearse the engagement area.† Using vehicles, move along infiltration routes and rehearse the hand off and triggering of fires from the scout opís.† Then the direct fire engagement integrated with a CR fire support rehearsal.† The key to accomplishing all of this is set the security zone early.† The earlier you get out there, the longer you own it.†
Dismounted infiltration teams are particularly difficult to identify and destroy.† They pose a very dangerous threat to the main defense area as forward observers for indirect fires as well as discovering the scheme of the defense.† In order to identify and neutralize the dismounted infiltration, we have to get out early.† A good intelligence preparation of the battlefield must be conducted in order to identify possible dismount infiltration routes.† Simply place yourself in the enemy patrol leaderís shoes and determine what route you will move your patrol along to infiltrate for example, north center and south.† Determine where you are sure to see the patrols for each route you identify.† A good place to look will be linear danger areas that must be crossed.† After determining where you will likely locate the patrol as they infiltrate, position infantry ambushes to cover these sites.† Consider the use of early warning devices to cover other possible infiltration routes.
Coordination between the lookers and killers is critical for success in the CR fight.† Typically, the killer Co/Tm commander is controlling the fight and must understand he has a lot more players to tie together than a ordinary company defense.† He has the task force fight and must tightly integrate the BRT, TF scouts, GSR, dismounted infantry and his own killer sections as well as any other attachments.† Communication between all these players is key.† Often the TF scouts plan to simply drop to the platoonís net that is to their rear and too often they are not aware of that teams location or where and how they plan to kill the reconnaissance.† The BRT is often reporting to brigade and by the time the report makes its way back to the Co/Tm and scouts, the reconnaissance is already in their screen.† The most effective means of communication is for all of these elements to operate on the same net.† The CR commander can then effectively control the fight.† Every element of the CR fight must know the location of every looker and every killer in the security zone.† The lookers normally understand the observation plan but have no idea what the plan to kill is.† The killers typically donít know the location of the lookers.† Without this, it is impossible to maintain situation awareness and there is no way that we have planned and prepared for target handoff and destruction.† Too often, scouts and BRT just move to occupy a screen line and are never adequately tied in to the plan to kill.† The coordination must also include where and how a target will be handed off.† Without adequate development of a CR engagement area, the best that is done is a warning that recon elements have penetrated the screen, now the killers begin looking and try to hunt them down.† The handoff coordination should leave the killers and scouts knowing where the scouts will break contact with the enemy and where the killers will gain contact.† If the scouts need to position vehicle hides in depth in order to maintain contact, this is an option.† This handoff will probably be closely tied to scout triggers for indirect fires, leaving the killer teams as observers.††††
Sustainment of the counter reconnaissance force must also be planned, resourced and rehearsed.† The counter reconnaissance commander must consider how he will sustain the scout platoon, and BRT.† The CR Co/Tm first sergeant along with the scout platoon sergeant and BRT first sergeant should all attend the TF CSS rehearsal.† The BRT 1SG or Plt sergeant and the scout platoon sergeant should assist the Co/Tm 1SG with resupply and CASEVAC of their platoons by meeting him at designated CCPs or LRPs.† The scout platoon sergeant should have time during the setting of the screen to move to each individual OP location, while insuring that these Ops are meeting the intent, he now knows exactly how to get to his men for CASEVAC and resupply.† Now he is able to move forward expeditiously with direct fire support from the killer company and pull his wounded out or resupply his OPís.† Evacuation of the BRT will require combat vehicles from the killer company to move farther forward and support as well.† Additional recovery assets may be required to position forward close to the security zone to facilitate the rapid evacuation of vehicles from the counter reconnaissance force.†† The most difficult piece of this is how are we going to evacuate the BRT and TF scout platoon after the killer company has displaced to become part of the main defense.† This has to be considered.† At a minimum, the scout platoon sergeant and BRT first sergeant must know and disseminate open routes back through friendly lines.† Often the ground truth obstacle plan interferes with movement of the counter reconnaissance force rearward.† These elements must be kept abreast of the progress of the development of the main defense and of every change to the TF plan especially obstacles and fires.
At some point, the killer company will typically pull out of the security zone and move back to the main defense.† The scouts then move back under task force control and the BRT is reporting again to brigade.† The problem often encountered at this stage of the fight is a lack of depth in the TF screen.† The killer company was providing that depth before they pulled back but now; we have a huge gap between the scout screen and the main defense.† Once the main body penetrates the screen, we lose contact with them and they can move along any avenue unobserved until they encounter the main defense.† In order to provide depth to the screen to allow the TF to maintain situation awareness, to impede and harass the main body with indirect fires, the scouts can relocate vehicle hide positions in depth behind the screen.
Understanding the enemy reconnaissance timeline is important.† With an understanding of this, the CR commander can plan his security posture and rest plan, which is crucial.† The timeline should be templated and then refined as events occur.† In the same sense, the actions of the security zone should be event oriented.† Triggers need to be established for when observation posts will shift their focus from dismounted infiltration routes to mounted infiltration routes to main body avenues of approach.† The movement of the killer Co/Tm should be event oriented i.e.; destruction of the combat reconnaissance patrols.†
After the CR fight has been prepared and coordination is conducted, it must be rehearsed.† As mentioned before, a rehearsal using vehicles moving through the screen is going to be the most beneficial.† The very minimum that should be done is a communications rehearsal incorporating all elements in the security zone.† Identify holes in the security zone, then refine and compensate for them.
Units that plan, prepare and resource the counter reconnaissance fight, as any other fight will reap rewards in the defense.† Haphazardly positioning observation posts and killers in the security zone hoping to destroy the enemy recon will not cut it against an enemy who intends to deliberately infiltrate through it.† Put your self in his shoes, could you get through your security zone unobserved?