Individual Movement Techniques for Rural Patrolling
By JD Lester – Suarez International Staff Instructor
"I’m Up, He Sees Me, I’m Down!”
This phrase has been used in military training to drive home the relevance of exposure time during the practical application of moving under direct fire. Where this phrase becomes applicable to us is its use as “reminder dialogue” in training, which can also carry over to the fight. It is very similar to talking yourself through an After Action Assessment after the gunfight.
With the widespread use of low powered variable optics and red dot optics which allow for quick target acquisition, limiting our exposure time has become very important. Having an optic on a gun reduces the OODA loop of the bad guy due to the reflexive nature of their use: no sight alignment is required in the shooting solution which results in less time to acquire, sight and fire. I think over time the cadence of the phrase has changed to reflect technology. If this phrase was being used during the revolutionary war and civil war era’s fighting, the soldier probably could cover a bit more distance than today.
Individual Movement Techniques (IMT)
3-5 Second Rush – The Rush is a full-on sprint to close as much distance to a piece of suitable cover in the least amount of exposure time. It is usually used in an open area that provides little or no cover or for covering short distances between scattered pieces of cover. The distance covered will vary due to several things, physical ability, fighting load, effects of the bad guy’s fire, and terrain to mention a few. Rushing with the rifle at "High Noon" lends itself to fighting using the underarm assault position to engage an unexpected threat. It also allows for a natural arm swing while running with the arm not holding the rifle. This is where the phrase "I’m Up, He Sees Me, I’m Down" comes into play most often. It gives you that measurement in your brain for about how long you have been exposed.
High Crawl – The High Crawl starts from the prone. The rifle is cradled in the arms and you use the knees and elbows to power the body. This technique is not as fast as the rush, however, it keeps you lower to the ground and helps you displace from where the bad guy last had sight of you after your last bound. This technique, used in conjunction with micro terrain, can get you the rest of the way to good cover. The High Crawl is also relatively easy to fight from.
Low Crawl – The Low Crawl also starts from the prone. The rifle is grasped by the sling and sling attachment point with the forend lying on your forearm. This technique is best suited for when none of the above techniques will work due to terrain, lack of cover, or effectiveness and volume of fire. The head is turned to the side, the arms are used to pull and the feet and legs to push the body. Basically you use your head to dig a trench for the body. Not required but a ballistic helmet could be considered a good piece of kit (comfort item) for this technique. This technique is the slowest which provides the lowest silhouette and is the hardest to defend due to the head being turned to one side. This can be modified for our use by not turning the head to the side since we probably won’t have a ballistic helmet we can scan and have better situational awareness.
Note: Personal protective gear such as quality elbow and knee pads are not necessary to accomplish any of the individual movement techniques however, those items are highly reccomended. The uniform I am wearing in the photos has pockets designed to hold a thin foam pad for each knee and elbow.
Factors that affect IMT
Volume and Effectiveness of Enemy Fire – The effectiveness of the bad guy’s fire will factor heavily on the IMT that you use. An example of this is when the enemy fire is sporadic and not effective, a series of rushes might be all that is needed to get you to cover or allow you to disengage from the contact.
Terrain - Terrain affects everything from rate of march to the different types of equipment that it takes to operate effectively. Be prepared to deal with what is in your area or any area you might end up in.
Micro Terrain - Know how to identify Micro Terrain and use it to your advantage. That small depression or washout in a field might provide you with adequate cover or at least occlude you from the view of the bad guy.
Fighting Load - This is dictated by your mission. If you are living out of your rucksack, you need to drop ruck and fight. Having all your kit with you when you die from lack of mobility doesn’t do you any good. This is where 1st 2nd and 3rd line kit becomes very important. Peel it off as necessary to fight and win.
Points to Consider
Route Selection - We select routes to take us to and from our objective usually based on a map reconnaissance. Don’t be a slave to your map. The terrain on the ground usually is not as it is depicted on the map unless you have some really good mapping assets. Adjust your route to provide you the best cover and concealment and keep your patrol safe.
Speed vs Security During Movement - Sacrificing security for speed sometimes may be necessary to make a hard time or exfiltrate an area and put some distance between you and the bad guys. However, doing the hard thing right over the easy thing wrong is usually the best course of action. Getting on a trail or road because you are wet, cold, tired, and hungry could be a bad decision. “Bad decisions lead to last decisions.”
Cover - As you are moving through an area you should be selecting points of cover that you can move to should you become engaged right now. This is applicable to everyday movement as well as actively patrolling an area. Knowing what is good cover and what is not should be high on the list of good things to know. If you are able to conduct some weapons effects testing it behooves you to know what your ammo and the potential bad guy’s ammo will and will not punch through.
Lastly, get out and train with the kit that you plan on using. It will let you know what needs changing and what works well.