A patrol base is a position set up when a squad or platoon
conducting a patrol halts for an extended period. Patrol bases should be occupied no longer than 24 hours, except in an emergency.
The platoon or squad never uses the same patrol base twice. Platoons and squads use patrol bases--
- To stop all movement to avoid detection.
- To hide during a long, detailed reconnaissance of an objective
- To eat, clean weapons and equipment, and rest.
- To plan and issue orders.
- To reorganize after infiltrating an enemy area.
- To have a base from which to conduct several consecutive
or concurrent operations such as ambush, raid, reconnaissance, or security.
The leader selects the tentative site from a map or by aerial
reconnaissance. The site's suitability must be confirmed; it must be secured before occupation. Plans to establish a patrol
base must include selecting an alternate patrol base site. The alternate site is used if the first site is unsuitable or if
the patrol must unexpectedly evacuate the first patrol base.
Leaders planning for a patrol base must consider the mission
and passive and active security measures.
a. Mission. A patrol base must be
located so it allows the unit to accomplish its mission.
b. Security Measures. Security measures
involve the following.
(1) The leader selects--
- Terrain that the enemy would probably consider of little
- Terrain that is off main lines of drift.
- Difficult terrain that would impede foot movement such as
an area of dense vegetation, preferably bushes and trees that spread close to the ground.
- Terrain near a source of water.
- Terrain that can be defended for a short period and that
offers good cover and concealment.
(2) The leader plans for--
- Observation posts.
- Communication with observation posts.
- Defense of the patrol base.
- Withdrawal from the patrol base to include withdrawal routes
and a rally point, or rendezvous point or alternate patrol base.
- A security system to make sure that specific soldiers are
awake at all times.
- Enforcement of camouflage, noise, and light discipline.
- The conduct of required activities with minimum movement
(3) The leader avoids--
- Known or suspected enemy positions.
- Built-up areas.
- Ridges and hilltops, except as needed for maintaining communication.
- Roads and trails.
- Small valleys.
PATROL BASE OCCUPATION
A patrol base is established using the following steps. a.
The patrol base is reconnoitered and established the same as an ORP or RRP, except that the platoon will enter at a 90-degree
turn (Figure 3-22.)
NOTE: This action is METT-T dependent; if there is nothing
to be gained by doing this step, then the unit does not do it (for example, flat desert terrain.
b. The platoon leader leaves a two-man OP at the turn. The
platoon sergeant and the last fire team will get rid of any tracks from the turn into the patrol base.
c. The platoon moves into the patrol base as depicted in
Figure 3-22. (Squads will occupy a cigar-shaped perimeter.)
d. All squad leaders move to the left flank of their squad
e. The platoon leader and support element or weapons squad
leader start at 6 o'clock and move in a clockwise manner adjusting the perimeter (meeting each squad leader at his squad's
left flank). If the platoon leader and support element leader find a better location for one of the machine guns, they reposition
f. After the platoon leader has checked each squad's sector,
the squad leader and another squad member report to the CP as an R&S team.
g. The platoon leader issues the three R&S teams a contingency
plan and remind them that they are looking for the enemy, water, built-up areas or human habitat, roads and trails, and any
possible rally points. (Squads occupying patrol base on their own do not send out R&S teams at night.)
h. The R&S team departs from the left flank of their
squad's sector and moves out a given distance, as stated by the platoon leader in his instructions. The team moves in a clockwise
direction and reenters the patrol base at the right flank of their squad's sector. The R&S team, if at all possible, should
prepare a sketch of the squad's front and report to the CP.
NOTE 1: The distance the R&S team moves away from the
squad's sector will vary depending on the terrain and vegetation (anywhere from 200 to 400 meters). All members of the platoon
are on 100 percent alert during this time. The R&S team is of little value at night without the use of night vision
devices. The RATELO must be able to establish communications with higher headquarters using a directional antenna.
NOTE 2: If the platoon leader feels that the platoon may
have been tracked, he may elect to maintain 100 percent security and wait awhile in total silence before sending out
the R&S teams.
i. Once all squad leaders (R&S teams) have completed
their reconnaissance, they report back to the platoon leader at the CP.
j. The platoon leader gathers the information from his three
R&S teams and determines if the platoon is going to be able to use the location as a patrol base.
PATROL BASE ACTIVITIES
If the platoon leader determines that he will be able to
use the location as a patrol base, he gives the following information to his platoon sergeant and squad leaders. Platoon leader
also disseminates other information such as daily challenge and password, frequencies, call signs. Squad leaders return to
their squads, give out information, and begin the priorities of work as stated by the platoon leader. The patrol base must
be sterilized upon departure.
a. Security. Only one point of entry
and exit is used. Noise and light discipline are maintained at all times. Everyone is challenged. Squad leaders supervise
the placement of aiming stakes and ensure Claymores are put out. Each squad establishes an OP and may quietly dig hasty fighting
positions. Squad leaders prepare and turn in sector sketches to include range cards.
b. Alert Plan. The platoon leader
states the alert posture (for example, 50 percent or 33 percent) and the stand-to time for day and night. He sets up the plan
to ensure positions are checked periodically, OPs are relieved periodically, and ensure that at least one leader is up at
c. Withdrawal Plan. Platoon leader
designates which signal to use if contact is made (for example, colored star cluster), the order of withdrawal if forced out
(for example, squads not in contact will move first), and the rendezvous point for the platoon (if the platoon is not to link
up at an alternate patrol base).
d. Maintenance Plan. Platoon leader
ensures that machine guns, other weapon systems, communication equipment, NVDs are not broken down at the same time for maintenance.
NOTE: Weapons are not disassembled at night.
e. Sanitation and Personal Hygiene Plan.
The platoon sergeant ensures the platoon slit trench is dug and marked at night with a chemical light inside the trench. Squad
leaders designate squad urine areas. All soldiers accomplish the following daily: shave; brush teeth; wash face, hands, armpits,
groin, and feet; and darken (polish) boots. Soldiers ensure that no trash is left behind.
f. Mess Plan. No more than half of
the platoon eats at one time.
g. Water Resupply. Platoon sergeant
organizes a watering party. They carry canteens in an empty rucksack.
NOTE: Squads have the same requirements with their squad
patrol base as platoons.