Patrolling Patrol Tips from the ETO”

‘Comments from Experienced Patrolmen: 

cartoon patrol patrolling snow footsteps combat infantry lesson world warThe following points were stressed at a conference of officers and men of the 60th Infantry Division in France after a period of intensive patrolling:

“One of the most vigilant and dangerous duties during wars and peacetime on the borders is patrolling. Even though you take all the precautions to avoid unpleasant happenings, the team is out in the open, sometimes watched out by the enemies or followed by them. Here also experience counts and when we know it is extremely tricky to patrol under or on the snow cover, a thorough review of the methods should be done”.

“Watch out for Krauts coming behind you. German snipers and small patrols often follow our patrols back to our out-posts. Patrols working in snow should never leave their lines from an outpost or return directly to one. A German patrol followed our snow tracks to one outpost and shot one of our officers.”

“Patrols moving in snow cannot avoid making noise, but they can take advantage of sounds-wind, artillery, mortar fire, etc. to cover their noise of movement.”

“Walking in the footsteps of the man ahead helps conceal the number of men in the patrol and reduces the chances of setting off booby traps.”

“Ravines are easy terrain features to follow, but experience has taught us to work on the ridge or halfway up the slope, guiding on the ravine but not following its bottom. the enemy will normally cover the natural approaches with fire.”

“Simply warning the men on the outpost line that friendly patrols are operating to their front is not enough. They should be told where and during what time the patrols will be operating.”

Outstanding patrol leaders of the 99th Infantry Division, France, add these suggestions:

patrol 2nd division Monschau Forest Germany Infantry Regiment Second woods snow“Brief the assistant patrol leader as well as the leader; two heads are better than one, and the assistant will assume more responsibility if properly briefed.”

“A warm, lighted dugout in each battalion should be reserved for exclusive use of patrols. Assemble the men
of a patrol there about an hour and a half before starting on a mission so that they can be warmed and given hot coffee. This procedure allows time, too, for such chores as field stripping, cleaning, and drying each weapon. During this time the mission should be thoroughly explained and each man’s duties carefully reviewed. Maps and aerial photographs should he studied in detail. All these things help to form the men into a team; they are the incidentals that pay off later in more effective performance of the patrol’s duties.
“Walking in the footsteps of the man ahead helps conceal the number of men in the patrol.”

“In wooded country, have the men carry only armor-piercing ammunition; it will go through trees if the enemy uses trees as cover. A few thermite grenades are handy to have along, too.  They can be used to destroy gun barrels and to start fires.”

“Make sure that each man has his first-aid kit.  Have some men carry morphine syrettes in a designated pocket so that all the men know where to obtain them.  All the men should be given instruction in the use of the syrette.  Another wise precaution is to have every man carry cough tablets.”

“Prior to departure, work out with the artillery three or four easily recognizable base points. Arrange to combat patrol city germany world war two army lessons combat patrollingcommunicate directly with the artillery by means of SCR-300 so that you can get rapid action on requests for smoke (for orientation) and supporting fire.”

“All patrol members should study the field manuals on scouting, patrolling, use of weapons, and small-unit tactics. The statement frequently made that `over here, you throw the manuals away’ is absolutely wrong.  Study of the manuals is essential, not only for getting the job done, but also for self-preservation.”

“When you run into automatic fire, don’t hit the ground and `play ostrich.’  Keep your head against the ground but look about you. You can often see where the bullets are flicking the trees or snow and generally can get a fair idea as to where the enemy guns are.”‘