Night Patrol Incident

By Vicky Osborn May 16, 2019


Background: You are the Section Commander tasked with conducting a dismounted night patrol within the urban population centre on the edge of a large rural zone east of Al Theire in Tiga District. Due to recent insurgent and politically motivated violence, there has been a Government imposed curfew put in force from 2000 hrs until 0500 hrs daily.

Whilst the local security forces are primarily responsible for enforcing the curfew, you have also been tasked with ensuring compliance – through both joint and stand-alone patrolling. The secondary aim of removing the population from the streets is to aid in the identification and disruption of insurgent elements who have been firing indirect fire and burying IEDs.

Your task tonight is to conduct a stand alone dismounted patrol through a section of the urban area to the North / Northeast of your Platoon Patrol Base, specifically through 3 named areas of interest (NAIs) that have been historic IED emplacement and detonation sites. 


Heavy footprint patrols in recent days (Pl sized) have been drawing significant spotter attention and sporadic stand off insurgent attacks. Your commander has decreed that night patrols are to have as light a footprint as possible, but a robust quick reaction force ready. Accordingly, another section from your platoon, along with 2 x empty Personnel Mobility Vehicles are on reduced notice to move during your patrol.


Physical Terrain. In accordance with the attached imagery (see above or below), you are in a relatively open urban environment on the edge of a rural farming area. Houses are basic single mud brick structures and have mud brick outer compound walls. Most compounds have some livestock and dogs within them. There is scattered vegetation in some of the compounds, however the area is mostly very open and exposed. There is a police checkpoint 1.5kms Northeast of your Platoon Patrol Base.

Human Terrain. The population within your area are not accepting of your presence – they are from an extremist section of the population and see your presence as a threat to their beliefs. Accordingly, the insurgent has been able to operate relatively freely within the area. There have been frequent insurgent attacks within the village in the past 3 weeks - predominantly IED and Direct Fire attacks on CF patrols and regular indirect fire on your patrol base. It should be noted that there is suspicions of some of the local police being aligned to the insurgent elements. They are notoriously corrupt and very slow to react to any incidents that occur.


You have completed roughly half of your patrol without significant issue and have just finished your clearance of NAI 2. Your H Hr was not until 2300, so even with the curfew in place, most dwellings were quiet with residents asleep. There was a burst of fire 20 minutes ago to your east in the vicinity of the Police Station, but you heard no follow-up and put it down to either a police negligent discharge or shooting at dogs.

As your lead scout moves approximately 50 metres south of NAI 2 and begins to round the corner to re-orientate east, your whole world is enveloped by a tremendous explosion that rips your Ninox from your face and blasts you against the wall of the compound you were kneeling next to.

As you regain your senses and the ringing in your ears begins to subside a little, you can see your lead scout laying motionless in the road and your number 2 scout writhing on the ground to his right rear. The sound of barking dogs from every compound is quickly over-ridden by the yelling of your number 2 scout for help and the rest of your second reporting back to one another on their status.

As you move towards the number 2 scout you see his lower left leg is almost shredded and there is a large amount of blood on the ground. As you drop to his side and start to apply his Combat Application Torniquet you yell to your machine gunner to check on the number 1 – however you can see even from where you are, that he has taken the full blast and his still smouldering torso is unrecognisable.

With a Pri 4 and Pri 1 casualty, an area still not cleared of other potential devices – let alone your full knowledge of how the device was triggered, a normally-hostile population rapidly awakening and the ever present threat of follow up engagement by insurgent elements, you realise you need to grip up the situation quickly.


You need to gain control of the situation ASAP.

Describe what you need to do and in what priority to secure and control your situation and deal with potentially other threats.

What immediate orders would you give to your Section with regards to the following:

  • Security – incl. population control;
  • Clearing of your area for additional devices;
  • Casualty treatment; and
  • Reports and Returns.

What are your recommendations to your higher HQ with regards to extraction of your Callsign or immediate follow up of this incident with more assets?

Discussion points:

  • With regards to Aero Medical Evacuation or casualty evacuation what, looking at the imagery in detail, would your recommendation be for a helicopter landing zone/extraction point?
  •  In hindsight, for a task such as this, would it be easier / more beneficial to always be ‘partnered’ with local police / security forces?
  • If you are conducting a stand-alone task, what additional equipment would you take with you given the impact this type of incident can have?
Click here for a printable version of this activity.



Vicky Osborn

Vicky Osborn is an Education Officer posted to Headquarters Forces Command, Directorate of Professional Military Education. Previous postings include the Army Knowledge Centre (ALPC) and Army Logistics Training Centre.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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