An Cosantóir

April 2012

An Cosantóir the official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces.

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Page 24 of 35

recce down south | 25 During a search of the wounded enemy, the students discovered a map of Bere Island and a warning order to an enemy commander instructing him to deploy to the island to receive an arms shipment. With assistance from the Naval Service the students deployed to Bere Island via LÉ Emer and were inserted under cover of darkness to establish a lying-up point before first light. The platoon commander, Lt Dunne, quick- ly deployed an OP team and got eyes on a TAI that he expected the enemy to occupy. Sure enough, at midday the enemy platoon arrived and began occupying positions. Thanks to Pte Manning's OP, accurate and timely information on the enemy was re- layed through the platoon commander and on to the battalion S2. This led to the stu- dents conducting CTRs to get more detailed info and also to select potential forming up points (FUP) and fire-support base (FSB) locations for a possible company attack. After delivering a brief to the battalion com- mander, the students were instructed to set the conditions for a company-night-attack. This required a NATO-T to be marked, routes to be manned and marked, and troops to be guided from their respective drop-off points and into their FUP and FSB. The final exercise culminated in a high tempo raid to destroy the few remaining enemy who escaped the company attack. After CTRs were conducted, Lt Dunne led the platoon to destroy the enemy camp, which they did successfully but suffered a casualty during the operation, requiring the students to conduct a casevac and extract to a pick-up point to meet the Naval Service. This required maintaining communications with LÉ Orla throughout, (again sending a MIST report and '9-Liner') and moving quickly to meet her boats before the tide went out. The students, exhausted but filled with pride, boarded LÉ Orla to be wel- comed with a hot cup of tea and the knowl- edge that they were now recce soldiers. Ten of the original 12 students passed the course, which is a very impressive pass- rate. The students and instructors largely attribute this to the use of the prelim week to cover the basics, and revise students in areas where they may have suffered 'skill- fade'. The revisionary lectures and lessons conducted on basic soldiering skills such as patrolling, movement, fieldcraft, weapons handling, field admin and, most impor- tantly, map reading and navigation, were deemed highly beneficial. The students themselves all appeared very well trained and professional, which is an indication of the standard of basic train- ing in the Defence Forces at present. The function of coaching and mentoring was utilised by instructors to guide and assist students who were struggling in a particu- lar area. Informal chats and questioning were a great way to assess the learning and tweak the instruction in order to ensure students got the best possible education. The ten new soldiers to join the ranks of the 4 Inf Bn recce platoon are also joining a long-existing and continuously evolv- ing community of recce soldiers. This is thanks to the high standards and efforts of the battalion's recce NCOs and officers over the past ten years, constantly run- ning courses and refreshing the battal- ion's skills during exercises. Additionally, the recent commitment to the Nordic Battle Group saw a lot of 4 Inf Bn personnel honing their recce skills as well as gaining some new ones. The result is that the recce platoon is both steeped in tradi- tion and constantly evolving. During the course debrief, the students all commented on how confident they felt having operated at a very high standard, with constant feedback, encouragement and criticism for five weeks straight. Their exposure to so many sets of detachment- and section-level patrol orders has also set them up nicely for a potential NCO course in the future. If you are looking for a challenge and a change of tempo, then maybe an Infantry Basic Recce Course is for you. Talk to the recce qualified soldiers in your unit and ask the recce commanders for advice on how to prepare. Best of luck! Notes 1. MIST reports and '9-Liners' are NATO standard medical reporting systems used in a casevac. The MIST is handed over with the patient at each handover stage and covers the mechanism of the injury (M), the nature of the injury (I), the patient's vital signs (S), and any treatment given (T). The '9-liner' is a comprehensive pro-forma completed and transmitted at the time the casevac is re- quested in order to provide accurate informa- tion to the medical responders. THE DEFENCE FORCES MAGAZINE

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