tactical preschool 32

A basic (very basic) skill is simple observation. If you are defending a position or simply making a deliberate move from one position to another you need to carefully evaluate your surroundings before moving out. A simple yet effective method takes 2 steps:

* Step 1. Make a quick, overall search of the entire sector for obvious targets and unnatural colors, outlines, or movements. Look first at the area just in front of your position, and then quickly scan the entire area out to the maximum range you want to observe. If the sector is wide, divide it and search each subsector as in Step 2.


* Step 2. Observe overlapping, 50-meter wide strips, alternating from left to right and right to left, until you have searched the entire sector. When you see a suspicious spot, search it well.


While you are searching for threats you should also be looking for areas of cover and concealment, paths of approach and areas that will allow you the best points of observation and fields of fire.

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7 thoughts on “tactical preschool 32”

  1. Oh, see, this is one reason why I read your blog. Us city dwellers need methods too. And this is good.

    Now, I am not trained except by random circumstance. So perhaps my next question is dumb. How do you figure out how may meters is 500, or, for city dwellers, I just look at landmarks and corners in general? So far, the latter is my method.

    Thank you for this and all the other tactics,
    Ann T.

    1. There is no “standard” city block size, the best method to determine range where you live is to pace off a distance of a common area. Many soldiers learn meters by their time on the range. Yards can be figured out by imagining football field lengths. In your immediate area you can figure out the average length of one of your cities blocks and go from there.

    1. Another little trick is to actually mark off a Known Distance (KD) with a stake or marking…or find a landmark at the KD…. So that every time you look out from your “start point” (your front door?) you can see what that distance looks like.

      1. Yes, my front door, because it was across from a lit building (w/ glare) next to a shaded park with many trees/no light. I needed to look deeper into the dark space. Abandoned houses and cars, potholes, a lot of possible threats down a four-block vista if I stepped out to the right. The park was the most dangerous, the first five steps, anyway.

        I think I will pick something less distant than 50 m to start, because the landscape for a city is foreshortened and the hazards closer.

        Thank you Tgace, and Paul, below.

  2. If you live near a high school you can use the football field as a way of refining your estimation skills. There’s an actual ‘football field method’ where the individual estimates distance based on his/her best memory of long a football field looks.

    have someone stand at one end while you stand at the other and do the ‘I crush your head’ thing to ‘measure’ how big he/she is. That’s for 100 yards.

    Then start eyeballing the world around you and comparing how ‘big’ different objects look in comparison to that individual at 100 yards. Then you can start playing with other distances.

    There’s another list of different environmental conditions that can mess with your estimations like uphill/downhill objects, ‘forced perspective’ conditions like in city environments, light conditions, …
    I’m sure Tom will hit that issue sometime in the preschool series too.

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