Lesson 11 - OCOKA (terrain analysis)

    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

    Unfortunately most people are victims of terrain. Humans are lazy and creatures of habit - just like sheep in flock. Become a Blacksheep - breaking brush and creating your own path. This lesson applies to life not just tactics.

 

 MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

 Observation and Fields of Fire - where can you see and where can you shoot. This is a squad leader responsibility. Observation and fields of fire are different when standing compared to when you are down in a fighting position. Get down where your folks will be shooting from to ensure what they can see and shoot at fulfills your plan and interlocking fields of fire. Clear brush to ensure you can see and shoot. Shoot your airsoft weapon to establish range and then mark the friendly side of a tree to give you a reference point for targets - marker, chem light or IR light. Wait until the targets enter your range of fire to engage.

 

 MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

 Cover and Concealment - cover protects you from BBs and concealment hides you from the enemy. Sometimes they are the same, especially in MILSIM. Use cover wisely to present the smallest target to your enemy. If you are doing this correctly the smallest target is your face and your weapon - protect your face! Make sure your whole body is behind cover - I can't count the number of times I've been shot in the foot or leg, damn - HIT. Grab some foliage, dead leaves or whatever is available to camouflage your position so it blends in with the surroundings.

 

 MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

Obstacles - are any natural or man-made feature that alters the movement of your opponent or prevents them from moving through an area. Analyze the terrain to identify GO, SLOW GO and NO GO areas - this will help identify where they are likely to move and then construct obstacles to tie in with these features to further canalize their movement. Here's my favorite story about obstacles. When I was an ROTC instructor we went on an FTX (field training exercise) to get the Juniors ready for Advanced Camp - there was a whole platoon of them. My task was to take the Freshmen (about a squad) out to set up a defense so the Juniors could attack us. I put an obstacle out to make them move where I wanted them to go and this is the fun part. I took a rope and strung it through the trees and bushes about waist high out in front of our position - maybe 50 meters out. Then I put my Freshmen in positions at either end of the rope to create an engagement area. The Juniors came up the rope - damn it's too high to step over and I'm too tired to crawl under it. They followed it, came around the end and the Freshmen destroyed them. Bunch of unhappy Juniors, but the Freshmen loved it.

 

MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

Key Terrain - is any natural or man-made feature that gives you an advantage in observation and fields of fire. Obviously high ground is better than low ground. It could be the tallest building or one that controls an area.

 

MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

Avenues of Approach - how can the enemy attack you? This is the part where most people fail. I've seen security folks in the civilian sector fail at this also. Everyone thinks and develops plans looking at it from the inside-out perspective without considering the outside-in perspective. Put your enemy hat on and figure out how YOU would attack YOU. Walk out in front of your position and look back in - it's amazing how many weaknesses jump out at you. Reposition, build obstacles or put eyes-on to decrease these identified weaknesses.

 

MASTER of terrain or VICTIM of terrain

 

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