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Army December 6, 2012
SLEEP was a luxury for
from Army and Air Force
during the second 35-day
Advanced Reconnaissance Course
at the School of Infantry from
October 8 to November 9.
The new development course
trains junior leaders from corporal to
captain to be reconnaissance patrol
commanders, platoon sergeants and
platoon commanders, and effectively
lead small teams in the planning and
execution of reconnaissance and sur-
Employed in RAR battalions,
reserve units and Air Force airfield
defence guard units, reconnaissance
personnel rely heavily on stealth and
teamwork to provide timely and accu-
rate information on the enemy and
WO2 Paul Dehnert is the
Reconnaissance WO of the School
of Infantry's Tactics Wing. He says
the course is continually evolving and
patrol commanders receive the quality
training previously missing from the
"We focus heavily on planning and
preparation for small team tasks," he
"During the first three weeks we
instruct on orders, mission planning,
the Individual Military Appreciation
Process (IMAP), route selection and
identification, and bridge building and
"The students also learn about
the role of the Reconnaissance
Surveillance and Sniper (RSS)
Platoon and its relationship with the
Reconnaissance specialists are highly regarded in infantry circles
and only strong leaders with good soldiering skills can hope to
keep up, Cpl Mark Doran reports.
Recon leaders put
battle group and their involvement in
the Staff MAP."
Practical activities on the course
include a 24-hour navigation exercise
on day two, followed by a standard
operating procedures training day
where the patrols have the oppor-
tunity to shake out as small teams
and practise mission profiles in the
During the field phase of the
course, reconnaissance and surveil-
lance missions are led by corporals
who are assessed as patrol command-
ers while the platoon commander,
sergeant and students controlling the
command post are assessed on their
management of the deployed ele-
WO2 Dehnert says the naviga-
tion exercise is an excellent leveller.
It gives the students an insight into
their drive, motivation and character,
as they are out bush by themselves
facing challenging terrain by day and
"The students are also diagnosti-
cally tested during the opening week
in other skill sets they should be pro-
ficient in, such as the all-arms call for
fire and the battlefield commentary,"
"The observations we have noted
show many of the soldiers attending
the course are well prepared and have
had a lot of operational experience,
but they haven't had a lot of time to
develop as junior leaders within their
trades or even within their own rank."
"Officers on the course participate
in the tasks as patrolmen to gain an
insight and appreciation of what they
are asking their soldiers to do and
subjecting them to in real time."
Kiowas from 6 Avn Regt and
Bushmasters from 12/16LHR provid-
ed insertion and extraction support for
the 19 students and seven staff on the
recent high-tempo course.
A detailed insertion and extraction
agency brief is given to pilots and
drivers by the patrol commanders as
part of the full mission profile, which
gives them a chance to meet and dis-
cuss any issues or problems.
WO2 Dehnert says knowledge and
a thorough understanding of MAP is
important, as a reconnaissance spe-
cialist needs to be a platform com-
manders can bounce ideas off.
"They also contribute equally to
the decision making and planning
process while providing relevant
advice to higher commanders," he
"Preparation for this course should
include physical conditioning, a
review of current intelligence, surveil-
lance, target acquisition and recon-
naissance and RSS doctrine, along
with map marking, overlays and mili-
tary symbology skills."
Rest is a bonus during the course
and is often dependent on the students
meeting several milestones and deliv-
ering product within set time frames,
which keeps it as realistic as it would
be within an operational environment.
Cpl Ernest Hocking, of 6RAR,
has been in the Army just over seven
years with deployments to East
Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He
says the exposure to advanced recon-
naissance tactics is a highlight of
"IMAP was challenging and there
were a few late nights with the plan-
ning for RSS operations," he says.
"For soldiers planning to do this
course I definitely recommend revision
of armour identification and military
symbology as well as doing the four-
week fitness program to boost your
WO2 Dehnert says there is a reli-
ance on technology, night-fighting
equipment, sensors and airborne assets,
inescapable facets of the reconnais-
sance specialists' trade.
"The military is a technically driven
field of endeavour, particularly in the
intelligence, surveillance and recon-
naissance space," he says.
"What we can't ever replace howev-
er, is the 'boots on the ground', by hav-
ing a well-trained reconnaissance sol-
dier providing the ground truth of what
is actually happening on the objective
to the commanders of the battle group,
combat team or brigade.
"We are aiming to turn out mentally
agile, multi-skilled platoon members.
In the future, if reconnaissance platoons
are to become truly platform neutral,
these people will be capable of being
inserted into an operating environment
by foot, vehicle, air or maritime assets,
then provide commanders a real force
of choice outside of special operations.
"So it is back to basics in some
areas on the course, with skills such as
writing orders, sketching, producing
an accurate patrol diary and navigat-
ing with a compass rather than relying
on a GPS -- so if technology fails, the
patrol can till f
Officers on the
in the tasks as
gain an insight
of what they
are asking their
soldiers to do ...
-- WO2 Paul Dehnert,
Recon WO, School of Infantry
The plan: Cpl Andrew Wells, of 2RAR, points out
features on a mud map during an orders group
before a patrol.
on and achie
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