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071-720-0015 (SL3) - Conduct an Area Reconnaissance by a Platoon

Standards: Satisfactorily performed the following within the time specified by the commander: 1. Organized the platoon into the command, reconnaissance, and security elements needed to accomplish the mission. 2. Conducted a reconnaissance using the surveillance or vantage-point method. 3. Obtained and reported information about the terrain and enemy within the specified area. 4. Entered and left the target area without being detected by the enemy.

Given a 1:50,000 map, a lensatic compass,
and a mission to conduct an area
reconnaissance within a specified time.

Satisfactorily performed the following
within the time specified by the commander:

Organized the platoon into the command,
reconnaissance, and security elements
needed to accomplish the mission.
2. Conducted a reconnaissance using the
surveillance or vantage-point method.
3. Obtained and reported information about
the terrain and enemy within the specified
4. Entered and left the target area
without being detected by the enemy.


1.   Estimate the situation. 
When the reconnaissance mission
is received, develop an estimate of
the situation. 
Base the estimate on current
intelligence about the enemy in the
vicinity of the target area, and on
the capabilities of the unit. 
While planning for the mission,
have the unit prepare for the mission
Tailor the organization to best
support the mission. 
The reconnaissance element of a
platoon will normally be no larger
than a squad.

2.   Plan details. 
Develop the overall plan with a
consideration of the following

All reconnaissance operations
must be based on the best
information available as to actual
conditions in the objective area.

Use deceptive measures. 
The success of reconnaissance
operations is determined, to a large
extent, on deception measures and on
undetected infiltration and

Use the smallest unit
possible to accomplish the mission. 
This decreases the
possibility of enemy detection.  Though only a small element reconnoiters, the parent unit
must be large enough to provide
security or support if the
reconnaissance is detected or an
enemy force engages the element.

Remain undetected. 
The unit uses stealth,
camouflage, concealment, and sound
and light discipline. 
These techniques allow the
unit to take advantage of periods of
limited visibility to avoid contact
and to get near, or on, the

Use surveillance, target
acquisition, and night observation (STANO)
The unit makes use of STANO
devices to help it move and gain
information about the enemy. 
Based on intelligence
reports, consideration must be given
to the enemy’s detection devices. 
When the enemy may have
detection devices, passive devices
should be used to decrease the
probability of enemy detection.

Rehearse.  After intelligence has been analyzed, the plan developed,
special items of equipment procured
and issued, and the troops briefed,
the unit rehearses the plan. 
This rehearsal is a key
factor that enhances the probability
of the success of the operation.
Rehearsals are as detailed as time
allows and include dry runs and
briefings with repetition and
questioning as needed to ensure
understanding of the plan. 
Contingency plans are also
rehearsed. To ensure that the
contingency plans are understood,
the reconnaissance members must
repeat them.

g. Minimize audio and
electronic communications. 
Constraints on communication
depend on enemy detection abilities
and on how time sensitive the
information obtained from the enemy
There may be instances where
the importance of the information
requires an immediate report. 
The unit’s existence could be
Often, a one-time radio
contact during the mission is

The planning phase of the
operation includes at least one
inspection of all members of the
reconnaissance force, to include
their equipment. 
Only essential equipment,
identified by the platoon leader as
equipment required for mission
accomplishment, is carried. 
Special equipment must be
closely inspected and safeguarded to
ensure it functions during the
Extra personnel and equipment
assigned to the unit must also be
carefully inspected and monitored
prior to and during the operation. 
Any shortcomings found in
personnel or equipment are corrected
before the operation begins. 
Thorough inspections and
supervision of personnel and
equipment before the operation
reduce the probabilities of
compromise or failure.

3.   Assign subordinate missions.  Regardless of the types of reconnaissance, units are
normally assigned one of the three
subordinate missions:  Command and control, reconnaissance of the objective, or
security of the force.

Command and control. 
The commander of the unit
conducting a reconnaissance normally
requires a small command group to
assist in communicating with higher
headquarters, subordinate elements,
and supporting forces, and to
coordinate and control supporting
elements, fire support, and air or
water transport for the operation. 
For small operations, this
group may consist of only the
commander and a radio operator. 
For larger operations, the
commander may require intelligence,
logistics, and fire support
elements, with adequate
communication personnel for
sustained 24-hour operations. 
The command group is always
kept as small as possible.

Reconnaissance of the
The element with the
reconnaissance mission approaches
the target using stealth and
All plans and applicable
contingencies are conducted with the
major effort made toward obtaining
the information required while
remaining undetected. 
The reconnaissance element
must skillfully avoid all known and
discovered enemy sensing devices;
therefore, patience is important. 
Passive STANO devices will be
used to observe activities at the
Information received about
the target may be transmitted back
to the appropriate headquarters by
electronic means as it is observed.  Or, the reconnaissance personnel may withdraw from the
target and disseminate information
by other means. 
The reconnaissance site
should be sterilized before
Withdrawal from the area must
be as skillful, patient, and precise
as was the movement into it.

Security of the force. 
The reconnaissance element(s)
with this mission must provide the
commander sufficient warning of the
location and movement of enemy
forces to permit the parent force to
take evasive action or, when this is
not possible, to provide covering
fires that permit withdrawal of the
reconnaissance element. 
Only if warnings are timely
and information is accurate does the
commander have the time and space to
It is also the only way that,
if the reconnaissance element is
detected, the commander can arrange
to give it sufficient over watching
suppressive fires or time to evade
and withdraw safely.

4.   Conduct an area reconnaissance and obtain
information about a specific location
and the area immediately around it
(for example, road junctions, hills,
bridges, enemy positions). 
Designate the location of the
objective by either grid coordinates
or a map overlay with a boundary line
drawn around the area.

Once given an area
reconnaissance mission, the platoon
moves to the appointed area in the
shortest possible time. 
This normally involves
traveling along existing roads and,
of course, using the appropriate
movement techniques. 
During this movement to an
area, the platoon reports and
bypasses enemy opposition unless
ordered to do otherwise.

When the platoon reaches
its area, it halts and sets up an
objective rallying point (ORP). 
Once the ORP has been set up,
the objective can be reconnoitered
in one of two ways:

When the terrain
permits the security element to
move to a position to over watch
the reconnaissance element, the
leader may decide to have small
reconnaissance teams move to each
surveillance point or vantage
point around the objective instead
of having the entire element move
as a unit from point to point. 
After the objective has
been reconnoitered, the elements
return to the ORP and information
is issued. 
The patrol then returns to
friendly lines.

When the terrain does
not allow the platoon to secure
the objective area, the platoon
leaves a security element at the
ORP and uses reconnaissance and
security (R&S) teams to
reconnoiter the objective. 
These teams move to
different surveillance points or
vantage points, from which they
reconnoiter the objective. 
Once the objective has been
reconnoitered, the R&S team
returns to the ORP, shares the
information, and returns to
friendly lines.



Setup: At
the test site, provide all equipment and
material given in the task conditions

Tell the soldier he is to
organize and conduct an area reconnaissance
using the surveillance or vantage point
method. Obtain and report any information
about the terrain and enemy within the
specified area. Tell the soldier he is to
complete the mission within the time
specified by the commander. Tell the soldier
you will act as the battalion intelligence
officer (S2) to provide answers to any
questions he may ask.




1.   Established a plan of action based on the mission
and the enemy situation.

2.   Conducted a reconnaissance.

3.   Conducted deceptive measures during infiltration
and exfiltration.

4.   Used smallest unit required to conduct the

5.   Applied stealth, camouflage, and concealment
techniques along with noise and light
discipline to avoid detection.

6.   Conducted pre-mission inspection and rehearsal.

7.   Used the correct size command and control group for
the mission.

8.   Used correct movement techniques during the

9.   Used correct security techniques during the

Score the soldier GO if all
performance measures are passed. Score the
soldier NO GO if any performance measure is
failed. If the soldier scores NO GO, show
the soldier what was done wrong and how to
do it correctly.














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