Military Tactical Maneuvers: Patrolling Tactic and It’s Purpose

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patrolling tactic

Military Tactical Maneuvers: Patrolling

This should be fairly short today, because this will sum up a few that I have done in the past.


The Patrolling Tactic and It’s Purpose

Patrolling is a valuable military tactic used, where individuals or very small groups are deployed from the larger, main body, or formation, to perform a small and specific function and then return.

Usually you would think of this when you are sending out a reconnaissance team, where their objective is to collect information and stay hidden and undetected, but this tactic can be applied to a large number of functions and assets.  Sometimes patrols are less covert.

This is a very general term and can be applied to troops, armored units, aircraft, or even naval units.

The Different Types of Patrols

Combat Patrol

combat patrol

Combat Patrols are usually a medium to large group with enough resources and power to ambush a target.  This is not considered an all-out attack, because the purpose is not to take or hold ground.

Clearing Patrol

A clearing patrol is generally used when there is a change in position or in a newly acquired defensive position.  Once the group takes a location, they will often send a clearing patrol to ensure the immediate area is secure.  It is also often used in a routine fashion in the day to night transition or the night to day transition.

Standing Patrol

standing patrol

Commonly known as the Observation Post (OP) or Listening Post (LP), the standing patrol is pretty much what it sounds like.  It is a static patrol that is usually small and intended to provide early warning, security, or to guard something.  This may also we called a “watch.”

Reconnaissance Patrol

Reconnaissance Patrol

This is the one that you probably initially thought of when I introduced the topic.  Recon Patrols usually have the mission of gathering information.  Recce (or recon) Patrols usually are tasked to stay covert, undetected, and avoid contact.  But this is not always the objective of this patrol.

Screening Patrol

Using multiple patrols, we can “Screen a Large Area.”  Screening Patrol is often used by armed and armored formations in deserts, as well as by ground troops in urban areas.  If we mix a clearing patrol with a number or static observation posts (standing patrol), we create one type of screening patrol.

Using the Patrolling Tactic in Your Neighborhood

The “night watch” or “neighborhood watch” is a great example of a clearing patrol.  If you find yourself in a survival situation, the watch will be many people.

In a SHTF situation, you may keep an ongoing Recce patrol to gather intelligence about surrounding areas or neighborhoods.

I usually try to keep my suggestions defensive, but you could use a combat patrol as well.  Generally you would just call this an ambush.


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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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