The Minute Book
Saturday, 26 September 2015

Vietnam; Combat Tips (1967)
Topic: Drill and Training

Lessons Learned, Vietnam; Combat Tips (1967)

FMFRP 12-41; Professional Knowledge Gained from Operational Experience in Vietnam, 1967, U.S. Marine Corps, 1989

  • Ensure separation of communication capabilities so the probability of incoming rounds destroying all communications is reduced to a minimum.
  • The second in command at all echelons should be prepared to assume command under most adverse conditions; he should be positioned so the odds of his becoming a casualty day or night at the same time as the commander are minimized.
  • Be continuously alert to enemy tactics of trying to separate a unit, a point or a rear element from the main force or body.
  • Rehearse every, repeat every, combat patrol or contemplated offensive whenever possible.
  • Provide every patrol with the capability of calling in supporting fire.
  • If taken under mortar or artillery fire, prepare to return fire within 30 seconds. This capability requires at a minimum:
    • Mortar positions that can be occupied while under fire.
    • All personnel being capable of determining direction from which mortars are being fired (crater analysis) and a reporting procedure for passing on such information immediately.
  • Platoon commanders and company commanders should always be in a position to control and maneuver all of their units and supporting arms. For example, a platoon commander who acts as squad leader or a point, is not a platoon commander.
  • When halted for any period of time, dig in, improve holes, and cut into the sides of holes so VT can be called in on the position if such action becomes necessary.
  • When a Marine hits the deck, he should immediately roll to either the left or right to confuse the enemy as to his exact position.
  • When a unit halts at night, a change of position should be made during first hours of darkness.
  • When patrol bases are employed, prepare alternate positions. Avoid staying in one position more than one night.
  • Never occupy old positions (friendly or enemy).
  • Emphasize to Marines that stopping to render first aid while in the attack will only result in more casualties through loss of firepower and momentum.
  • No area, regardless of past activities, can be considered safe from possible enemy attack.
  • Communications have always been a lucrative source of intelligence. No matter what method of communication is used, except runners, we must assume that the enemy is listening. Don't shackle known enemy locations. Don't disclose frequencies and call signs. Don't discuss/disclose friendly locations and scheme of maneuver. Conduct comprehensive communications security training especially at the company level.
  • Learn all you can about the customs of the people.
  • Never sacrifice security for speed.
  • Practice fire discipline—shoot accurately and follow fire commands quickly. Fire at suspected enemy positions but don't squander your ammunition.
  • Listen to suggestions from others and adopt them if they are sound.
  • Use frag orders when the situation permits.
  • Don't overwhelm men with the "Big Picture."
  • Keep abreast of the tactical situation and keep your men informed.
  • Set the example.
  • Protect ammunition from deterioration. Use radio battery plastic covers and fuze cans for this purpose.
  • Move through jungle in multiple columns with all-around security using connecting files.
  • Move on concealed routes whenever possible.
  • Practice use of the compass, pacing and terrain orientation on all movements.
  • Use arm and hand or any other silent signals whenever possible.
  • Practice fire discipline.
  • Keep weapons immediately available for use. Maintain contact with the enemy once it is gained.
  • Test fire weapons before each operation.
  • Consider combat efficiency over personal comfort.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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