B-720 TIPS (DEC 95), 1/7
The B-720 Tips are an update of the Vietnam era "B-52
TIPS." The B-52 Tips were published in 1970 and
captured valuable combat experience in jungle operations.
In 1988 the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group
(with several joint attachments), conducted an extensive
series of jungle operations. They ended the exercises
by updating the B-52 Tips to cover changes in equipment,
weapons, and doctrine. These include many new techniques,
such as Night Vision Goggles and MH-60 (Blackhawk)
tips, and a section on "Hatchet Team" (QRF)
operations. The lengthy and detailed "PW Snatch,"
"Breakout," and "Movement Techniques"
portions from B-52 Tips were excluded because, while
important, they are step-by-step "how-to"
formats, not "tips," and can be found in
The B-720 Tips were not written to be the replacement
for B-52 Tips but to provide the Special Operations
community with a report of lessons learned (and relearned)
in combat patrolling. The reader may note redundancy
in certain information; this was done for emphasis.
There may also appear to be some inconsistencies;
these were allowed to account for variations in technique
between teams. These are tips, not regulations.
The B-720 Tips are organized into 10 major areas:
& Equipment Tips
5. Readers who want to do a more in-depth study of
jungle operations are reminded that there is a considerable
amount of Vietnam experience and techniques available.
Proponent school libraries, old Army and Marine manuals,
and the professional journals of the day are all good
places to start.
- No individual or team can practice or train too
much or too often.
- Teamwork is the key to success and will only come
through constant training and rehearsal.
- While on a mission, minimize fatigue, because
tired men become careless.
- If you show confidence, your team will have confidence.
- Always have an alternate plan. Think ahead.
- If you lose your temper, it will affect your judgment.
- Don't be afraid to take advice from your team
- Realism must be injected into all phases of training,
such as zeroing weapons at targets in the jungle,
using live training aids for PW snatch or ambush
- Conduct at least half of your training at night.
- Teams that have a good physical training program
have fewer health problems.
- Have a pre-mission and post-mission checklist
to ensure that nothing is left behind.
- Correct all personal, individual, and team errors
on the spot.
- Use tact when reprimanding your personnel, especially
indigenous team members. If possible, take the man
aside to criticize him. This enables him to react
positively to the criticism, since he will not lose
face, feel ridiculed or lose self-confidence.
- Conduct English classes for your indigenous personnel,
especially interpreters. Conduct classes for your
U. S. personnel in your indigenous team members'
- Don't set patterns in your operations.
- Never do the obvious.
- On patrol, stay alert at all times. You are never
100-percent safe until you are back home.
- Have team members write down tips and lessons
learned, and collect and consolidate them at the
end of each mission.
- Don't arbitrarily make all "tips of the trade"
your team SOP. Always consider METT-T.
UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT COMMON TO ALL
- Wear camouflage BDUs on operations. Even when
soaking wet at night, BDUs are remarkably "invisible"
to NVGs. Plain OG-107 jungle fatigues, however,
appear completely black when wet, and wet LCE appears
like white stripes on them -- a man's silhouette
can be clearly and easily seen by an enemy using
- Don't use luminous tape. It's easily spotted at
long distance with NVGs.
- Wear loose-fitting and untailored clothing on
field operations. Tight-fitting clothing often tears
or rips, allowing mosquitoes and leeches easy access
to exposed parts of the body.
- Tuck your jacket into your pants. You can't use
the lower pockets because of your LCE anyway, and,
in contact, you can temporarily stuff expended magazines
inside your shirt.
- Wear gloves to protect hands from thorns, poisonous
plants, and insect bites, provide camouflage, and
aid in holding a weapon when it heats up from firing.
Aviator's nomex gloves work well.
- Sew in a section of VS-17 panel to cover the inside
top of your field hat, for use as an emergency daylight
position marking signal to friendly aircraft. In
the center of that, sew a 2" x 2" piece
of USAF "burn tape" for use as a night-time
position marking signal to AC-130 gunships (2"
x 2" is the size recommended by the AC-130
low-light/night television operators).
- Sew the same signal pattern inside your fatigue
shirt, since hats are easily lost in firefights
- Do not hang clothing or bandannas on green bamboo
if you plan on wearing it afterwards. The fuzz on
the bamboo is just like itching powder. Of course,
clothing should not be removed or "hung out"
- If your mission requires long ropes, consider
the use of 1" nylon tubing instead. It is lighter,
more compact, and just as strong.
- Be sure that all snaps and buckles are taped.
Do not use paper tape.
- Always carry a sharp knife or bayonet on patrol.
- Always wear your LCE buckled when not sleeping.
If you're wounded, your teammates can drag you by
your LCE shoulder straps.
- For survival, each individual should carry a cut-down
MRE in his pants' cargo pocket, and one tube of
bouillon cubes in the first aid pouch on his LCE.
One bouillon cube dissolved in one canteen of water
will provide energy for one or two days.
- Don't use 2-quart canteen covers to carry 30-round
magazines. You can fit eight mags in one, but once
you take the first mag out, the others rattle loudly
and spill out easily. Use regular ammo pouches.
- Sew a long slim pocket on the side of your ruck
to accommodate the long antenna, or use an accessory
kit bag clipped and tied to the side of the ruck.
- Snap the snap link on your rucksack through the
loop in the upper portion of your rucksack carrying
straps or the frame, so you won't lose it during
exfil when you snap it on a ladder or extraction
- Insect repellent leaks and spills easily, so put
it in a ziplock bag and isolate it from your other
equipment in the rucksack. Also, squeeze air from
the repellent container and screw the cap on firmly.
- Always use the water from canteens in or on your
rucksack before using water in the canteens on your
belt. This will ensure a supply of water should
you ditch or lose your rucksack.
- Test the shoulder straps on the rucksack before
packing it for patrol. Always carry some parachute
cord to repair straps on patrol.
- Use a waterproof bag in the rucksack to protect
equipment while on patrol. This is extremely important
during the rainy season.
- Camouflage your rucksack with black spray paint.
NIGHT VISION GOGGLES (NVG) TIPS
- At night, carry NVGs in a claymore bag around
your neck on your chest. This allows easy access
and protects the NVGs from the elements.
- Always carry a spare battery for your NVGs.
- When in an OP at night, scan with NVGs only for
a few moments every five minutes or so. If you scan
continuously, you increase the chance of the enemy
spotting your position (when two persons using NVGs
in the passive mode look directly at each other,
they will see glowing "cat-eyes," caused
- When moving at night, only every other man should
wear his NVGs. Point and trail always wear NVGs.
- "Starlight" NVGs and Thermal Imaging
Sights (TISs) complement each other, and are best
used in combination. The point wears a PVS-5/7 NVG,
and the slack (the man behind the point) uses a
- Never assume that your weapon is clean enough
on an operation. CLEAN YOUR WEAPON DAILY.
- Always carry rifle-cleaning equipment on operations
- bore and chamber brushes, cleaning rag and patches,
cleaning rod with handle and tip, and a small vial
of weapons oil. A shaving brush is very useful.
- When you fire your weapon, shoot low, particularly
at night. Ricochets will kill just as well, and
most people hit the ground when shooting starts.
- Use one magazine full of tracer during infiltration
and exfiltration. If taken under fire during infiltration
or exfiltration, the tracers can be used to identify
enemy positions to friendly air support.
- The last three rounds in each magazine should
be tracer to remind the firer that he needs a fresh
magazine. Alternative: The last eight rounds are
three tracers followed by five balls.
- Quietly replace the cartridge in the chamber of
your weapon each morning. Condensation may cause
- Oil the selector switch on your weapon daily and
work the switch back and forth, especially during
rainy season. This will prevent the common occurrence
of a stuck switch.
- Always carry your weapon with the selector switch
- Use a plastic muzzle cap or tape to keep water
and dirt out of the barrel.
- To improve noise discipline, tape all sling swivels.
- Rig the jungle sling so it is easily adjustable
(for easy transition from rappel/fastrope to carry/fire).
Tape a spare field dressing to the sling at the
stock, using a single strip of wide cloth tape with
a quick-release tab.
- Check all magazines before going on an operation
to ensure they are clean, properly loaded and that
the springs are oiled and functioning. Magazine
problems cause the majority of weapons malfunctions.
- Place magazines upside down in your pouches to
keep out dirt and water.
- Do not retrieve your first expended magazine during
contact because it will consume valuable time.
- If you use a PAQ-4 Aiming Light on an M16A2 rifle,
you must modify the handguard to allow the thumb
switch to travel far enough to activate the light.
Using the serrated edge of your bayonet, file down
the area under the thumb switch (between the eighth
and tenth ribs from the slip ring) about 1/4."
This is not a problem on the M16A2 Carbine, because
the handguard is smaller.
M203 GUNNER TIPS
- In dense jungle, carry a 1:1 ratio of buckshot
to HE, with 2-star clusters and 2-star parachutes
for signalling aircraft.
- In the jungle, point and trail men should be M203
gunners with buckshot in the chamber.
- If you fire HE in the jungle at night, be ready
to have it bounce off a tree limb right back at
you and go off in your face.
- Oil your M203 with 30W or 40W motor oil, especially
the trigger, safety housing, and slide, due to rain
and humidity in the jungle.
SAW GUNNER TIPS
- Silence ammo in plastic drums by making inserts
from tablet-back cardboard covered with acetate.
Cut to fit two per drum.
- When moving, use a 30-round magazine in the SAW.
Attach a drum in the ORP or once in position in
a hasty ambush.
- SAW drum pouches are tightly-fitted and tend to
pop open when you drop into the prone. Use cloth
tape with quick-release tabs to prevent this. The
2-quart canteen covers are acceptable substitutes.
- Claymores are factory-packed "backwards;"
i.e., to be emplaced from the firing position to
the mine position, with the excess wire left at
the mine. This is corrected by removing all the
firing wire from the plastic spool, discarding the
spool, re-rolling the wire "S"- or "Figure-8"-fashion,
and replacing it in the bag so as to enable the
mine to be emplaced first and the wire laid back
to the firing position. The clacker with circuit
tester attached is preconnected to the firing wire
and stowed in the mine pouch. The unit commander
must make the decision to either prime the mine
before departing on the mission, or to only put
the shipping plugs on the electric and nonelectric
blasting caps to speed priming during emplacement.
- Dual-prime each claymore for both electric and
nonelectric firing. The time fuses should be pre-cut
for 30-, 60-, or 120-second delay, for pursuit/break-contact
situations. However, the burn time on the fuse becomes
undependable the longer the fuse is exposed to wet/humid
- Waterproof your nonelectric firing systems.
- Carry the claymore in the rucksack so it's immediately
accessible, so after breaking contact it can be
quickly armed and emplaced on the back trail (even
while it's still in the ruck) to delay pursuers.
- When placing claymores around your position (OP,
ambush, RON, etc.), they should be emplaced one
at a time by two men - one man emplacing the mine,
and the other standing guard.
- Never emplace a claymore in a position that prevents
you from having visual contact with it.
- Because you only emplace a claymore where you
can observe it, if you are operating in dense jungle,
you may consider cutting your firing wire in half
since you won't use more than 50 feet/5 meters of
wire, easing emplacement and recovery and cutting
- Emplace each claymore so the blast parallels the
team, and the firing wire does not lead straight
back to the team position from the mine. If the
claymores are turned around by the enemy, they will
not point at the team.
- Determine in advance who will fire each claymore
and who will give the command or signal to fire.
- Make continuous daily checks on all grenades when
on patrol to ensure that the primers are not coming
- Do not bend the pins on the grenades flat. The
rings are too hard to pull when needed.
- Fold paper tape through the rings of grenades
and tape the ring to the body of the grenade. The
paper tape will tear for fast use, while plastic
or cloth tape will not. It also keeps the ring open
for your finger, stops noise and prevents snagging.
- All team
members should carry a mixture of fragmentation,
CS and WP grenades on their belts for the following
grenades are good for inflicting casualties.
are ideal for stopping or slowing down enemy
troops and dogs pursuing your team, and are
effective in damp and wet weather, whereas
CS powder will dissipate.
have a great psychological effect against
enemy troops and can be used for the same
purpose as CS grenades. The use of CS and
WP at the same time will more than double
- Thoroughly train and test your indigenous troops
in grenade-throwing, particularly WP. Not all of
them might be adept at baseball-style throwing,
or be able to get much distance.
- Violet and red are the smoke colors most visible
from the air. However, in dense jungle or wet weather,
use WP to signal aircraft.
- Notify aircraft before signalling with WP. Gunships
or fighter-bombers may mistake it for a marking
rocket indicating an enemy position and attack you.
- Camouflage smoke, CS, and WP grenades, using black
or OD spray paint.
- Smoke grenades should be carried in or on the
pack and not on the LCE. You don't fight with smoke
grenades, and if you need one, 99 times out of 100,
you will have time to get it from your pack.
- Each team should carry one thermite grenade for
destruction of either friendly or enemy equipment.
- DO NOT carry rubber baseball-style CS grenades.
They were designed for riot control on city streets
and are inadequate in the jungle.
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