Originally Posted by Mordarski J.A.
March 2012 (EW5)....
I attended as a Canadian, my role within the section was straight up "rifleman". More specifically, I was point man on every patrol. My job entailed knowing all the passwords, running passwords, light and number recognition, etc. so that while on patrol if we came in contact with another patrol (or the enemy) we had less chance of a blue-on-blue contact. This worked out pretty well until about day eight when I was tasked with leading a two-man day recce mission across the border fairly deep into enemy territory.
I had to give a warning order, write and conduct an O-Group, as well as provide all of this in writing to my higher command.
Our mission was pretty simple: Get eyes on a known junction and look for signs of enemy movement. We needed to have eyes-on for a minimum of four hours.
I planned the route with input from my number two man, conducted the O-Group, bombed up with the essentials (2L of water, rifle with one mag, binos) and we set off.
We made it to our OP and set up for the required amount of time. Unfortunately, though we saw signs of use on the road, we did not observe a damned thing by way of enemy movement....until just before we left the OP. We could hear a vehicle moving. In the distance, we saw a UAZ lumber out from a wooded area, moving left to right, and deliver a four-man Soviet patrol to a suspected enemy infil point. While observing the enemy, we took note that their weapons were pointed up beside them while they drove, and they appeared to be joking when the dismounted from the vehicle, as though they felt safe and were not expecting contact. Their morale appeared high. The UAZ then returned on the same route, suggesting a level of confidence that they were not being observed.
The enemy infil point looked dangerously close to our original exfil route. Armed with this vital tactical information - previously we (NATO) had recce'd north and west of the enemy infil area, which decisively narrowed the possible locations of the Soviet camp - we made the decision to exfil down an MSR which bordered a wooded area. If we came under contact, one person would hold off the enemy and/or risk capture to allow the other person to safely return to camp and deliver the information to NATO command.
The distance on the map indicated roughly 500m to the road, 1500m down the road, and another 500m into camp. Unfortunately, I made a mistake reading the map and didn't account for the elevation....what was 1500m 'as the crow flies' was closer to about 2500m up and down.
This lesson caused me to plan distances more accurately :P
We made it back to camp tired, but without making contact with the enemy. The information was passed to higher, and then on to the troops deployed to the field. It also changed our (the Canadian contingent) role as we left being recce troops and prepared for a fighting patrol that night.
This particular mission made me step out of my usual role and assume that of a patrol commander, and gave me a greater appreciation for Battle Procedure. If this sounds appealing, EW is definitely for you!