Airsoft Action 07 - Mar 2012 - Page 38

ON PATROL Billy Basics: Patrolling – Part One “In Warfare, patrolling is the basis of success: it not only provides eyes to the side that excels at it and blinds its opponents, but through it the soldier learns to move confidently in the element in which he works.” That quote adorns the lectern in the main classroom of The Pathfinder Platoon, The Patrols Company in Colchester. It rather neatly sums it up doesn’t it? Enough said! Whether you find yourself clearing an area overlooking Kajaki Lake, as part of a fighting patrol looking for insurgents in the lawless Helmand Province in Afghanistan, or taking the fight to the opposition on a weekend airsoft event somewhere in the UK – the aims 038 March 2012 and principles of patrolling remain the same. Some would say that patrolling is, and always will be, the very essence of soldiering. All the training has bought us to this point: map reading, fieldcraft, weapons training, physical fitness, camouflage and concealment. The heli is turning and burning, mags checked one last time and stowed, weapons loaded and made ready, comms check (funny old thing though, it chooses right now to go down!), one last map check and confirmation with the LS. You’ve got the green light. It’s show time. The aims of patrolling We don’t just bimble about in the countryside hoping for some baddies to turn up, there’s a reason for everything we do: planned, co-ordinated, determined, purposeful action with an outcome. In much the same way, a rugby match or American Football game (without the fans, cheerleaders, beer, sponsorship… Ok ok, but you’ll get the picture in a minute) are both a series of set piece movements that the teams have practised over and over, in order to outsmart the opposition, connected by short periods of free play. We patrol to achieve certain outcomes, to ensure that victory is ours and not the enemies’. These are the aims of patrolling. 1: To discover what the enemy are doing. To obtain information – and knowledge really is power here – in business as