There’s a saying, “what is old will be new again.” Force on force is no exception. Historians and tacticians have been discussing the importance of small unit in the tactical landscape since Sun Tzu and even before. H.J. Poole writes that small units encounter the following types of enemy engagements: chance contact, ambush or prepared enemy positions. Additionally, Poole notes that the key to success for the small unit is actively preparing for conflict thru training. Success for the small unit is found in having multiple plans available for each type of engagement. “For tactical control to be successfully decentralized, subordinate units must receive adequate individual and small unit training. If they understand their commander’s intent well enough, fewer orders will be necessary to control them.” Again, Poole notes, “Battle Drill teaches small units to react and with some semblances of order without lengthy instructions.” To effective prepare, the small unit must be open to varying their tactics and their response to the current situation and not allowing their tactics and doctrine to confine their actions. There is no one right answer. Study, rehearsal and training are the keys. “Small units will fight how they train.” In other words, the unit will fall to its level of training and not rise to the occasion. Take the time now to prepare, while you can. The Last Hundred Yards, Fry the Brain, The Guerilla Sniper Tactics Handbook, Guerilla Days in Ireland are all great books that provide mechanisms for the success of future actions. Get training. NC Scout, Badlands Rifleman, JC Dodge, as well as some others here provide excellent training at the small unit level. Remember that “Rapid and forceful action [of a battle drill] will often surprise an enemy and throw him off balance.” Finally, take a look at the video clip from the beginning of We Were Soldiers where the NVA attack the French Paras. Watch the clip through the prism of the above discussion. Who had momentum and the will to fight? Who was prepared?

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