The Straight Shot on Recon

By Aaron ďGhostĒ Grubin


                The roll of the reconnaissance patrolman is to gather information on the enemy and the terrain he holds. If the information is not relayed to higher elements of command, then the whole patrol was a waste and any casualties you took were in vain. A recce patrolís objective is to get in un-noticed, gather information, and get out without the opposition even knowing you were there. Leave the strikes behind the other teamís lines to the commando detachments. Itís your job to locate the enemy, not engage him.


Conduct of a Reconnaissance Patrol

                The holy grail of the recce patrolman is stealth. Camouflage and concealment must be second nature.  Know the reasons why things are seen and do everything you can to minimize your chances of being seen.


Why Things are Seen:

    Shape: A marker looks like a marker and a hopper looks like a hopper. Break up the outline with leaves, branches, or a ghilee suit.

    Shadow:  Objects in shadow must blend in darkly with the shadows. The human eye will pass over the dark area accepting it as uniform. If the object is bright in the shadows, it will stand out and be seen.

∑    Silhouette: Anything silhouetted against a contrasting background is suspicious.

    Movement: Movement draws the attention of the eye.  Take advantage of wind on the field to hide your movements and keep then slow.

    Spacing: Mother nature does not space things evenly. Even spacing is a dead giveaway for a man-made object and will attract the eye.

    Position: Objects are often identified by their position in relation to other objects. A long object on a rail road track is assumed to be a train, a large object on a road is a vehicle, and an object moving along a trail is a person.

∑    Texture: Texture refers to the ability of an object to absorb, or reflect light.  The rough surface of  a body in a ghilee suit will absorb more light and remain undetected unlike the smooth surface of a mask.

    Colour: An object that is coloured differently than the background is easy to spot. A splashed anodized red and blue marker is easier to see than one that is a dull black.

    Scale: An object that differs greatly in size than those around it stand out and are easy to notice. Picture a pro basketball player in a room full of jockeys.

    Noise: Noise draws a personís attention making you look for the source of the noise. For example. You know who has a cell phone in a theatre during a movie if it rings out loud.

    Shine: Shine is the almost complete absence of texture. Shine is most often associated with reflected sunlight that can be seen for miles.


When you are picking our gear for the game, and getting ready to go out on the field, remember these points.


Open Fire Policy:

                The patrol should not open fire except in self-defense.  When the patrol returns fire and engages the enemy any information that the patrol returns up their chain of command will be invalid. A competent commander will change the layout of their defenses as soon as they are compromised. Thatís why it is imperative that you do not open fire unless you have to defend yourself. When hit, break contact, withdraw, and if possible, complete the mission.


Types of Recce Patrols:

    ē    Point Recce: The mission is, go to this location, scout out what is there, and report back.

    ē    Layback: The recce detachment is left behind and lets the opposing team move past them. They are now in the perfect position to report on the other teamís movements and strengths, or weaknesses.

    ē    Route: Your objective is to check out a route that your team is planning to use and you are to report back on the route and terrain that your side will use.

    ē    OPís: Observation posts are an early warning tool used in the defense.  The detachment is to go to a location, hide themselves, and report what they see in front of them. Before they get over run, fall back and warn the rest of the team.


Useful Information:

                Getting the right information back is essential. Here is a quick guide of useful information that your commander will need.


Size - Size of the unit or of the position you observed.

Activity - Activity of the players or position you observed. What are they doing, and what are they preparing for?

Location - The location where you saw the other team or the objective.

Unit/Uniform - Who are they and what were they wearing?

Terrain - Whatís the ground like where the other team is? This may be used to your teamís advantage

Equipment - What have they got? This can give insight into what the other guys are going to be up to?


                S.A.L.U.T.E. Follow the acronym, bring back the information.


                Recce is the eyes and ears of the team. You bring back important information that leads to the strategy that can make or break a game. If you want to play recon, you can do it right. Play the game. Recce is a hard job, but if it is done well, is a rewarding one. Thatís the straight shot from someone who knows.