TACTICAL TIPS
FROM
RANGER NATE
by Nate McSweeney

These are tips and tricks to help the average desk commando
in paintball, survival, and everyday events.

NIGHT OPERATIONS

AMBUSH!

RECON

MOVEMENT









NIGHT OPERATIONS
When looking at an object or area at night make a figure eight by moving your eyes in that direction. Your peripheral picks up more than your retinas at night. By moving your eyes in a figure eight you scan the target so fast that you mind can remember it all and you can somewhat decide if you saw something or not. Its better than just looking straight at the object or area.

When patrolling at night you must keep an interval distance of no more than 8-9 meters. On a moonless night no more than 5-6.This keeps the squad separated enough so that if an ambush, mine, or grenade was thrown then they would not all be killed at once. You don't want to be so wide apart that if contact is made you turn and hit your man just because you saw movement and you thought he was somewhere else."Cat's eyes"work very well. They are reflective glow strips that go on the back of a soldiers kevlar or cap. You can see these strips for quite a distance depending on light source. You can pic them up at any military surplus store. Kem-Lights are also good for night operations but give off a lot of light. They now make tiny kem-lights to replace the cat's eye's. The kem-lights go out and the cat's eye's can be sewn or glued to objects so your best bet is to go with the cat's eye's

At night sound travels farther and louder. Most think its due to the fact that traffic is non-existent, people are asleep, and animals are asleep for the most part. If patrolling at night hand signals and good training is a must to be affective. Simple hand signs go a long way for you in terms of stealth and coordination. Some military missions are conducted with out ANY voice commands at all. In this day and age the elite are using throat mics. These are awesome! The good ones only transmit your voice and nothing else.

If patrolling and you think you are spotted or you hear a noise "STOP". Don't move. Most people are seen because they are moving. Your body gives of a larger and darker form at night when you are silhouetted against thin branches and shrubs. If you know you have been seen, and contact is imminent you must act first. This is where good team coordination comes in. Your team must have trained prior for just this problem. You only have 3 choices:
1.  Attack
2.  Run
3.  Surrender.
If you decide to attack then a charge is your best bet. I know it sounds stupid but a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary target. The enemy wont expect it, and you can out run a set explosive that was pointing in the target area you were just in.Not to mention that you are probably standing right where someone has been watching and waiting just for you.If you do decide to John Wayne it then watch your lanes of fire and check your targets. Your partners could have advanced ahead of you so dont throw ordinance. You could hit them by mistake. If anyone does throw ordinance it will be the team leader more than likely.
If you decide to run then your best chance of regrouping is having a set "Rally Point". Start doing an assessment of men and equipment. When on a patrol the pointman or the team leader will assign a rally point every mile or so. This would be different for paintball players since the battlefield is smaller. But it helps to have a pre-designated point to regroup too if you are ambushed and even if you are running a raid or getting into a hasty ambush(get into that later).
Surrendering is not an option but since I gave tips on the other I will give this advice for those that surrender. In paintball surrendering is a mental letdown for anyone who has to do it. In the real world it's a long mental and physical road for ANYONE.I was taught that if caught be respectful as long as you have to. Be the GREY man. That means don't stand out. DON'T volunteer info or volunteer to work all the time. DO what everyone else does. Basically make it so that you DON'T stand out in front of your captors. Remember everything that's going on around you as much as possible. It will help if you decide to escape. There's A LOT more to this but Im not going to go into it.

For those that smoke. A person smoking a cigarette at night gives off a 5 foot radius(at least) of light when you are looking at them through night vision. In the army we would watch groups of men huddled around each other smoking and read their rank, name, badges and unit patches. To help give you a picture of just how much you can see using NV's; you can see their eyes as if you were seeing them in the daylight. I quit smoking while in the army just because of that fact.

Light discipline is a must to be stealthy. Using a red lens in a flashlight cuts down dramatically in giving off light plus it doesn't kill your night vision. It takes your eyes 20-30 minutes to fully adjust to seeing in the dark. When in a conflict at night it's a good tip to keep one eye closed .If an explosion goes off and you have both eyes open then you have lost your vision. But if you had one closed and you open it you have a better chance of seeing. NOW....that doesn't mean you will be able to see very well but it's better than nothing. On a side note flash bangs that are used have enough candle power to blind you even with your eyes closed so don't think you will hold the cops off just cause you closed you eyes.

Moving at night is tricky. When moving use shadows and depressions to your advantage. When patrolling at night you must stop and listen every few minutes or so. This helps you know if any sounds are different than the normal. This also helps in catching someone off guard if they have been following you. When moving do NOT go over the tops of hills ridges and walls. Your silhouette will give you away. If you must cross over a wall at night stay flat with the wall and hug the object. Do NOT cross over the tops of hills and ridges. Take that extra time to go around.

Im not going to go into night land nav just because I would need pictures and diagrams and not going to go into all that. My biggest tip for traveling in the dark is simply don't do it if you don't have to. Its very easy to get lost; even in your own backyard woods. DON'T use a constellation as a guide. They actually do move. I know your saying "I knew that already" but sadly I've heard it told by a grown man. The north star is your best tool for a guide if you don't have a compass. If you are lost and need a way out then your best bet is to find a river or a stream and follow it till you hit civilization.
 
 

AMBUSH!
A trap in which concealed persons lie in wait to attack by surprise on a moving or temporarily halted target. It enables a small unit to set up and destroy a larger and better armed unit.
There are 2 types of ambushes:
1.  Hasty ambush
2.  Deliberate ambush

The hasty ambush is set when imminent contact will be made. This is primarily used when you know the enemy is after you or you have seen them approaching before they saw you and you have enough time to set one up. If you don't have time you must make a decision on whether to stay or run. If you stay you must have the advantage position wise and weapon wise. Otherwise run and find a position you can defend.

The deliberate ambush is a planned action against a target. This is primarily used on well travel routes or areas in which you have intel or have watched the target for days (months even)and have a good idea of the area. To have a successful ambush you must have good concealment. Pre-planned firing lanes are a must. This is where anti personnel ordinance is at its best. A well placed claymore can eliminate an entire platoon.
Your men must wait until the person assigned to start the ambush fires his weapon or sets off any ordinance. Hit your target and then go to your next pre-assigned target. Once the ambush has gone off (successfully I hope) you will send your security teams to close off lanes of travel, another security team will check weapons, documents, and search for POW's. In some paintball scenario's eliminating a certain person requires that person to hand over an object or info. Its always good to have a security element that isn't part of the ambush line. These guys watch the ambush's teams backs. They can also come forward to help with firepower if the ambush has gone wrong. IF the ambush has gone wrong once again go to your pre-determined rally point.
There are 2 main types of ambush formations....the Line formation and the L formation. The line formation is good for assaults after the ambush has been started. The L formation is good for having interlocking fire in which the enemy is hit by 2 different directions. Fire discipline is a must for the L formation.

The best formation in setting a good ambush is what's best for your team and the terrain and situation. Concealment, firepower and fire discipline are the keys to eliminating your enemy before they even know what happened.

The most important rule in an ambush is this; The moment the ambush is set it is a natural thing for an untrained soldier to completely unload every round all at once into the kill zone. This is a big mistake that can cost you and your team. Let the heavy gunner do his thing, let the m-203 do its thing and just hit your target and stay in your lanes of fire.
 

RECON
Reconnaissance; A preliminary survey to gain information. Recon is what makes or breaks a military. Without info you're blind. In today's world we now have drones, planes and leg units watching targets all over the world gathering information and reporting it back to command.
When gathering intel on a unit the best way to get every bit of important info is to do what I was taught.
Its called a SALUTE report:
Size - How many do you see.
Activity - What are they doing?
Location - Where on the map are they?
Unit - Who are they? What team?
Time - When did you see this?
Equipment - What types of weapons are they carrying?
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If you use that simple plan when gathering info to give to your commander then you will have every bit of info they need to make decisions. On a side note one thing they left out was which direction did they come from and where do you think they are heading? That is key when deciding to send troops and also pull the recon team out of the area.

When on a patrol and you come up and encampment or the target area they following steps are what usually happen.

When setting up the defensive position for this mission it is best to do a circle formation. This gives a 360 view. Also teams make a safety word for coming back after the recon. You don't want to shoot your own man after doing his job now do you? It's really called a challenge and password command. It can be set so the security team['s word is house and the recons team's word is apple. If the recon team gives the wrong word then they get it. That is drilled into your head if you go into the military.
 
 

Elite units have been know to laager up and watch a section of area for months at a time. If you must set up a bivouac(temporary encampment under little or no shelter) then here are some tips to keep you from being seen.

MOVEMENT
BOUNDING OVER WATCH
This is a type of tactic used to move onto a target while being covered by others while you are in the movement phase. Some call it leap frogging.

While moving from your concealed position here are a few tips.


NOW you can use this technique for moving men and even squads onto a target.

Once again it is important to know your fields of fire so that all angles and areas are covered.
Most units will use a staggered man form of fire. That is where one man looks left while the other looks right some look forward and others check their rear. That is just an example.

MOVEMENT UNDER FIRE
Do not move on an empty clip(loader).you may have to engage a target that you know sees you and will fire before you can reach safe cover. The best thing to learn is counting your shots. It saves time.
Do not run in front of the covering man line of fire unless you have to. If you do run low and as fast as u can so you do not block his sight.
Tape all loose gear to your equipment(non reflective tape).It keeps the noise down and you don't want to loose your NVG's or all your paint running out in the open.
Stay low and zig zag a bit while in motion. Don't make it easy for them. Its extremely hard to hit a moving target. Especially with your adrenalin pumping, smoke, noise and what ever else is going on at the time.
If you have smoke use it if the wind is right. They cant hit what they cant see. A highly trained soldier will not fire until he has an absolute shot. the smoke will conceal movement and also set a fire at the same time if you want to start burning a gap between the 2 contacting forces.
Keep you head while under fire. Pay attention to your route. Its funny to see someone running full blast to a position only to lay themselves out due to a branch or board that was overhead. But when its you it's a different story. So keep your head up and stay alert.

Nate Out