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Re: [SG2] [DS2] Aussie Recon Platoon Organisation

From: Alan E & Carmel J Brain <aebrain@d...>
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 20:49:22 +1000
Subject: Re: [SG2] [DS2] Aussie Recon Platoon Organisation

Somebody, a few days ago, asked for the TOE of an Australian Recon
Platoon, URLs etc.

Here's what I've found:

Quotes from (Australian) Army Magazine No 36 Sept 98 pp9-12

"Each batallion of the Royal Australian Regiment and many of the reserve
batallions dotted around the country operate a recon platoon..."

"Under current Australian doctrine, a recon platoon consists of four
reconaissance patrols, four surveillance detachments and four sniper

"Each patrol or detachment hasa commander and 2IC and each branch is
administered by its own sergeant under the overall command of a
lieutenant, making it the most NCO-heavy platoon in the batallion."

"The five-man patrol is the basic formation within a recon platoon."

"It is formed from senior soldiers, each with their own specific
"... each of the patrols is made up of a corporal patrol commander, a
lance corporal 2IC, a medic, a signaller and a scout."

"The guys are required to carry up to three means of communication, 12L
of water each, their rations and their normal kit..."

"Patrols can operate for up to 5 days without re-supply..."

"Usually patrolling in the jungle means water is less of a resupply
problem...  But as 1RAR found out when it deployed to Somalia, the
is a completely different story."

"In a patrol, one bloke was carrying a 20L water jerry, in addition to
the patrol's normal water, to resupply themselves when their own water
had run out."

List of Specialist reconaissance kit:

35m rapelling rope, fig 8 descendeer, karabiner, tape harness
Large pack
HF radio
VHF radio
ANTAS 6A Thermal Imager (1 per patrol?)
Patrol medical kit
Non-rigid stretcher (1 per patrol?)
IV fluid bags and giving set
Swift 60x telescope
ANPVS 5A Night Vision goggles
ANPVS 4A Night sight
6x binoculars
Emergency strobe
Marker panel set
M18A1 Claymore
Lightweight antenna
11 x F88 30-round magazines
Chest webbing
Basic Webbing
60x Sony Handycam
Smoke and fragmentation grenades
AusSteyr 5.56mm rifle
Dehydrated patrol rations
12L water

The article goes on to say how Recon troops have to be really good at
humping this stuff around. 20km/day is a reasonable average when
"boxing" an enemy position.

Oh yes, the Australian Army is basically a light infantry force. This
means that in terms of fieldcraft etc many (20%?) of non-recon troops
are trained about as well as many recon troops in heavy/mech infantry
armies. Viz:

"Normally trackers are employed from recon platoons but we also train
people who fill the no 1 or no 2 scout role within sections..."

Visual tracking in this case is basic hunting skills: spotting spoor,
determining number of enemy by sign, etc. In close terrain, Smell plays
a big part, as does noise if the opponent is lacking in discipline.
In my own albeit limited experience, even normal line reservists were
expected to be able to "go bush" for 3 days or so without re-supply, and
reconnoitre, set up ambushes etc. And to be reasonably adept at
camouflage (ie given 10 minutes preparation, to avoid detection at
ranges of over 1 metre) It's actually not that difficult, and it's
positively scary when someone magically appears next to you in a
featureless paddock, even when you know how its done.

Finally, although the recon troops do things like rapelling from helos
and other LRRPS stuff, the real Scary Fellas are still the SAS, in a
class of their own. They often play OPFOR.

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