Actions on Contact
The hasty attack is conducted when the patrol is in contact but has not yet been engaged by the enemy. To define contact, the enemy may or may not know of your presence, but to make contact is to simply spot the enemy in your area of operation. If you can remain stealthy and always detect the enemy before they detect you then you can keep the advantage of planning and surprise in your corner. You should always seek to maintain an edge in the camo and stealth aspects of small unit tactics. The enemy cannot attack what it cannot see. The hasty attack is any type of attack that takes place without rehearsal of the operation with your unit. When attacking an enemy the objective is always to attain the enemies flank because position is everything. If you have the flank then your enemy has no where to hide because is being fired on from two positions. Always fight for position and dominance of the terrain!
React to Contact
When you react to contact then you have been in engaged by the enemy and should immediately return fire until command takes control. Violence of action is the key component in any type of ambush because the enemy should not be able to impose its surprise firepower for very long. The most devastating ambushes always occur when a team become panicked by the ambush. You should expect to have casualties in a near ambush but if you return fire quickly and effectively then you can greatly minimize your losses with simple violence of action.
The order to break contact should only be given by command authority in a close ambush because if individuals break the assault pre-maturely they can open up other teammate to more fire. This action can place the entire squad in danger, so never break contact until the order is given. It is difficult to break contact in a near ambush and should not be done unless the team in over powered and in danger of being overrun. When breaking contact the team must work cohesively to vacate that engagement in a proper security formation. Each fire team should bound out using the correct formations and timing. And as always violence of action plays a large part in ensuring the safety of the units defensive retreat!
The hasty ambush is similar to the hasty attack in many respects except a couple of key differences. The attack is used on a stationary target and the ambush is used on a moving target. Terrain usage is extremely important in any type of ambush and as always stealth is one the most important priorities of any ambush. If the ambush is used correctly it can be the most devastating type of attack on an enemy because of the surprise nature of it. The terrain should be used in a fashion to strengthen the defensive ability of the unit, while amplifying the attack abilities of individual fire teams. Funnels and points that leave the enemy in a weak defensive position when attacked are usually optimal terrain features that team leaders should look out most for!
There are two types of ambush and they are the near and far ambush. The near ambush is used on smaller units that you have superior number of troops or firepower than. The only time a smaller unit should ambush a larger unit is if they have reserve firepower that can be called in. For instance, Carlos Hathcock and Corporal Burke held off an entire of company of men for many days with well placed fire and artillery support. At the end of the firefight the two snipers had killed almost the entire company because of wise use of firepower and terrain position. This proves that superior firepower can usually surmount superior numbers if properly deployed. The far ambush should be utilized on larger units to antagonize and disparage the enemy. These are hit and run techniques used in most guerilla warfare operations.
When reacting to a near ambush the team should automatically commit to returning a maximum amount of counter fire even if they aren’t sure of exactly where the enemy emplacements. Returning large volumes of fire can have a large psychological impact on an ambushing enemy even if the fire isn’t immediately effective. In a far ambush the group can either engage the enemy quickly and move to flank them or they can disengage and try to setup either a hasty attack or hasty ambush. Terrain and intelligence will dictate exactly how to respond.
This is a video of how the SAS react to contact drills!
This is a video of a close ambush in an urban setting and the Special Forces properly responding with violence of action to the enemy engagement!