Patrolling - Operations Order

Written by David R. Reed

Now that we have an understanding of what we must be able to do, this is how I would plan our sample mission. I am tired of writing all of this so I'm going to make it brief.

This is an acceptable outline to use for your operations order.

Operations Order Format

Situation Mission  Execution  Service & Support Command & Signal  Operations Order Summary

Look at the outline. It is a suggested format and that is all. You will issue your OPORD in any manner you choose. Make sure it is complete, well organized, and interesting. You should use sand tables, pictures, drawings and other instructional aids. Prepare a multiple choice and true/false quiz that tests each soldier on every point in the patrol order. Every one must be able to recite in detail call signs, passwords, locations, the mission, and everything that they would need to know to complete the mission if they were the sole survivor of a firefight, plane crash, etc. If everything goes wrong you will want each man to have the knowledge he needs to complete the mission and return home safely. Friendly lines cannot be safely crossed without adequate preparation and training. Soldiers in a defensive posture are apt to fire on anything they hear, see, or think they hear or see. The unit you will be passing through must know when you will be there and how you will contact them.

Break the mission down to these specifics:


We will want to get as close as we can without our choppers being heard. If this can't be done we may want to consider an Airborne HALO insertion. Say about 20, 000 - 35-000 feet jump. You will need a few minutes worth of oxygen for your free fall. You will need enough to get down to 10,000 feet. Use your imagination, if you can think of another way to get there secretly then do that. Coastlines, rivers, and roads will probably be watched. If the enemy has strong AA capabilities, you may want to consider some other scheme. If you choose to use aircraft, create an annex for this part of the mission. Your annex will follow the same format as your patrol order, except each category will pertain to the air movement only. For instance, the mission would be to make a covert parachute jump into the enemy's rear area at 2100 hours. You will need to complete the patrol order outline with everything you need to describe this part of the mission. What air unit will you use? Aircraft? Where will you board? What flight path will be followed? Command & Signal will pertain to frequencies the aircraft use etc.

When using slicks it may be advisable to make a couple of false insertions. This may confuse any 'LZ watchers' into thinking you got out at another LZ.

Everyone must know where to run once they are on the ground. There should be at least one alternate rally point. Once on the ground, chutes are hidden, everyone meets up, and moves off. You will need a password to recognize each other in the dark.

Contingencies are: 

Movement to the Objective

We will move only at night and observe during the day. Our route will follow the most difficult country we can find within reason. We don't want to tax ourselves foolishly (and make a lot of noise) but we sure can't go walking down a road or trail. We will establish a winding route that if followed by a tracker, appears to lead nowhere. Our route will depend on the terrain and vegetation. When we make camp during the day, it will be in a very inaccessible place. This will lessen the chance of discovery by enemy patrols.

We need at least one alternate route. We will pick the one we'll use when we get there. If we have to change, we'll try to move over to our other route. This lessens the amount of time spent studying the map and everyone will know the route before hand.

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