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An ambush is an attack by fire or other destructive means from concealed positions on a moving or temporarily halted enemy. It may take the form of an assault to close with and destroy the enemy, or be an attack by fire only.

An ambush does not require ground to be seized or held. Ambushes are generally executed to reduce the enemy force’s overall combat effectiveness. Destruction is the primary reason for conducting an ambush. Other reasons to conduct ambushes are to harass the enemy, capture the enemy, destroy or capture enemy equipment, and gain information about the enemy. Ambushes are classified by category (deliberate or hasty), formation (linear or L-shaped), and type (point, area, or antiarmor).

The execution of an ambush is offensive in nature. However, a unit may be directed to conduct an ambush during offensive or defensive operations. An ambush normally consists of the following actions:

• Tactical movement to the objective rally point (ORP)

• Reconnaissance of the ambush site

• Establishment of the ambush security site

• Preparation of the ambush site

• Execution of the ambush

• Withdrawal

The intent of any ambush is to kill enemy troops and destroy enemy equipment. From a small unit perspective, how that is achieved and to what extent determines the difference in employing either a near ambush or a far ambush.

Near Ambush

The near ambush has the expressed purpose of destroying the target. This often requires an assaulting force to literally overrun the target after the initial volley of fire has inflicted tremendous damage. Again, the intent is to destroy everything.
Since the patrol will overwhelm the target, the patrol will get as close as possible to the enemy. This close proximity also means that friendly forces MUST outnumber the enemy target.

Near Ambush
The near ambush has the express intent of overwhelming and destroying the enemy force. The near ambush masses close to the kill zone and requires careful fire coordination. The linear method offers the greatest simplicity.

Far Ambush

The far ambush has only the purpose of injuring and/or delaying the target. This rarely ever calls for an assaulting force—since the patrol doesn’t seek the complete destruction of the enemy force there is no need to risk the loss of friendly troops. The far ambush simply intends to harass.
A far ambush team can engage an enemy patrol of any size or type. It does not matter if the enemy force is larger than the patrol because significant distances are used, as well as natural obstacles of the terrain, and established routes of withdraw that allows the ambush patrol to escape before the enemy has time to organize an effective counterattack.

SUTS3: The Small Unit Tactics SMARTbook, 3rd Ed. (Planning & Conducting Tactical Operations)This article is an extract from "SUTS3: The Small Unit Tactics SMARTbook, 3rd Ed. (Planning & Conducting Tactical Operations)" by The Lightning Press. Download a free PDF sample and learn more at:  SUTS3: The Small Unit Tactics SMARTbook, 3rd Ed. (Planning & Conducting Tactical Operations).

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