The Modern “Small Kill Team” or “SKT”
About as modern as the phrase “Once lost, once forgotten, and twice remembered“. Or any of the other ways that’s said. I always liked that quote. “Once forgotten, twice remembered” is the typical parlance. Look up the history of the Army and USMC sniper programs if you think that’s not accurate. Or any other strategic invention of war.
I was recently sent a link authored by Michael Yon. It was one of Yon’s earlier pieces from the collapse of Iraq and the outbreak and onset of massive violence that later defined the entire war. (Linked below)
A little confusing if you aren’t familiar with “Sniper Bait” overwatch operations. Or how this tactic was used to great effect by both sides. That “Sniper Bait” Op was, technically, a textbook SKT. For those who are not familiar; And I don’t blame you for not knowing.
There is basically zero information on SKT‘s on the net, but endless resources on Sniper and Scout operations. For good reason… There isn’t even one single picture of anyone kitted out for an SKT.
Not a single one…
What if you combined Reaper(Sniper) and Ghost(Scout) elements into one team and/or two elements? And tripled their firepower? Bingo; The SKT or Small Kill Team. Which is actually two teams; Over-watching each other. More on that later.
What is an SKT or Small Kill Team? It’s pretty simple, its a small group, of 4-6 men(carnivores only) who are armed to the teeth and deployed into a known, and active, hostile environment. Typically, over-watching an area known for housing trouble makers, quartering enemy, IED hotspots, a weapons cache, or ambush alleys. The SKT has a QRF, or Quick Response Force, ready to quadruple their numbers and firepower should they pick a fight, find a fight, or fall into a fight larger than they can handle.
They are there. Somewhere. Watching, waiting, making radio checks, taking photos, and making range cards. Ready to pounce.
Occasionally things go very, very wrong, because the enemy is paying attention and can, in fact, count higher than their fingers and toes. (Sometimes)
Happens more often than you know…
Note; there were TWO TEAMS watching each other from a kilometer away.
That’s my old unit, before I arrived.
2/505th PIR aka “2-Kitty”, “2-P”, “2-Panther” or the officially unofficial title “Psycho-Kitties“.
If the book “Fry the Brain” by John West ever gets an update. Especially to include case studies on the Ukraine War, ISIS, Syria, and North/South African tactics; I hope he includes a case study for this 2/505 PIR event in Samara. And more stories on the modern uses of digitally distributed propaganda. In a war, populations hit a point where they become “switched on” and more “in tune” to the world around them. They see things that they ordinarily wouldn’t pay attention too or care about. They are really, really intelligent. Becoming hardened to the situation and heightened in their senses and smarts. You can feel this. Every frontline soldier, or police officer, knows which neighborhood is watching you closely.
About the story, A QRF is usually 5 minutes away. 10 minutes if they take a wrong turn; Which happens more often than you think. Quick Response Forces(QRF) differ from Rapid Rescue Teams(RRT) because the QRF’s job is to finish the fight and continue mission once on the objective(Assuming no casualties). A Rapid Rescue Team’s job is to pull you out of the fire and then return to base(RTB). Usually a medical evacuation is preplanned because of assumed pretenses; Like marching into a highly contentious area populated with men and women who will shoot at you, and, will hit what they shoot at. An RRT includes ambulances in the march/convoy.
I have done all three in the real world. SKT’s, QRF’s, and RRT’s. I liked QRF detail the best because QRF’s have several radios that reach battalion, company, platoon, and “other” levels. You get to listen to the transmissions and follow the chain of events with much, much more detail than starring down a road over a machine gun and popping a 40mm star-cluster flare for some unknown and mysterious reason. QRF detail is usually followed by another mission since you are “sitting on the trucks” anyway. It’s kinda like two missions in one. The day goes quicker
Unfortunately, QRF only gets “the call” when things go stupid, like a truck stuck in the mud, or, horribly wrong.
That was an EFP, not an IED, and the neighborhood was a checkerboard of various terrorist cells. The width of the road/intersection dictated that any EFP attack would be successful because of the size of the vehicle and the “slow roll” to make the turn. The last turn that truck would ever make. The other Trooper, the driver, lost both legs and almost too much blood. The terrorists responsible were shot in face by Delta Force hours later. The riot following the swift application of justice was a little comical and a lot crazy. The Iraqi men stamped a bloody handprint (with brains…) on their faces like the Orks and their white hand of Saruman from “Lord of the Rings”. They went totally feral; Like “Florida Man on Meth before the taser/headline” crazy. Raging out in the streets like lunatics calling for more American blood.
Good luck with that…
Gosh, I wonder where J.R. Tolkien got his source material from.
We may never know.
Professional groups will have a QRF available. An insurgency will not.
Anyway… SKT‘s are deployed using a variety of methods. From night time or day time insertions by foot or they are dropped off by trucks or helicopters. Using a variety of tactics, I won’t go into too much detail on their insertion for obvious reasons, but needless to say, “Shell Games” are used to conceal the “missing” soldiers. 24 men go on patrol and 18-20 return to base. It’s that simple. You plant an SKT the same way you plant an Sniper Team, IED, Cache, or EFP; Very carefully. Or, like Michael Yon noted, you completely fake the reason for being there, or not being there. By staging “Combat Theater” and in the fog of war, you make your moves. Believe me, even the troops on the ground are little confused. It works.
This is why an SKT is comprised of the organizational structure they have. 4-6 men consisting of a sniper team and a “Light” weapons team. “Light” weapons team meaning they have two medium machine guns, but instead of the usual 3-4 men gun team, they have only 2 men and two guns. A Machine Gunner(MG) armed with Medium Machine Guns and extra ammo. Technically, this role makes you an Automatic Rifleman(AR) but that’s a lot of semantics and a little too pedantic. Everyone has lots of hand grenades, thermals, smokes, and extra magazines. We would even pack 16 ounze gatorade bottles with C4 and use them as “Super Flash Bangs” in cases of extreme emergency. Like enemy troops in the building. A lesson learned the hard way; As they usually are.
The point being, this isn’t a regular day at the Office for Orientation of Optimized Rifle Fire(Snipers) or the Office for Observation and Orientation of Enemy Objects(Scouts) This is a 4-6 man team of Rambo’s running ’round, except they aren’t running, they are watching the 360 sitting on glass, “rear” gates, rifles, and radio guard.
How does this tactic translate to our situation as armed and prepared American Partisans?
Well, first, you need to know it exists. That “Sniper Team” you spotted, whether foreign or domestic in origin, might be six guys; Not two. And they have two radios, two medium machine guns with 1,000 rounds of ammo, two rocket launchers, 24 40mm grenades, 24 hand grenades, and 40 5.56 magazines. At least. With some friends four times as dangerous 5 minutes away.
Did I mention there are two of these SKT‘s? Watching each other.
I would organize our version of the SKT, that we are gonna call a CRKT, in the following manor.
Let’s run a thought experiment and let me know what you think in the comments.
“Combat Recon Kill Team” Or the “Citizen’s Recon Kill Team”.
CRKT: “The Cricket”
3 Bolt Action Riflemen(BARs): Modeled after combat rifles, not your grandfather’s deer rifle. No thermal shifts on the barrels, plenty of ammo or magazines for a rapid reload, DOPE books, well trained and seasoned sharpshooters. Binoculars and/or spotting scopes. Short range radios with stubby antenna and extra batteries (500 meter range max). Plenty of water, food, and overhead camouflage netting. Medical kits. Soft litter.
3 SSAR’s, SPR’s, Recce Rifles, or ADW Riflemen: Check our articles on these weapons. Mini-RPKs(AK’s) or RPK’s if you run a Kalashnikov pattern. Lots of magazines(600 rounds a man minimum). Short range radios with stubby antenna and extra batteries (500 meter range max). Plenty of water, food, and overhead camouflage netting. Medical kits. Soft litter.
The SSARmen are assigned to the BARmen: Three teams of two. BAR’s and SSARs paired up. 120 degrees a piece. Or, watching both windows, both directions, and a team on the stairwell. ALWAYS watch your direction of infiltration and exfiltration for suspicious activity. Spotting and scanning with the scoped AR/AK’s, the Bino’s, Spotting Scopes, or BAR’s. Work together and communicate. Keep a very low profile. Behave as if you are hunting deer, raccoons, coyote, and geese at the same time; And they are hunting you back. If you are spotted or shot at, you have to be packed, planned, and ready to move in less than 2 minutes. CRKT’s don’t carry extra changes of clothing. You aren’t gonna be there too long, lest you get enveloped and routed with ease. I would say no more than 24-48 hours. Only 48 hours if you see a lot of interesting people who need an extra look, or you need to wait for an escape window to slip through. You should bring at least two men who are competent shooters and qualified medics.
Did I mention there are two teams?
For a total of 12 men.
6 on each team.
Just an idea.
Thanks for reading,