RETURN TO FRIENDLY CONTROL
Establishing contact with friendly lines or patrols is the most crucial part of movement and return to friendly control. All your patience, planning, and hardships will be in vain if you do not exercise caution when contacting friendly frontline forces. Friendly patrols have killed personnel operating behind enemy lines because they did not make contact properly. Most of the casualties could have been avoided if caution had been exercised and a few simple procedures followed. The normal tendency is to throw caution to the winds when in sight of friendly forces. You must overcome this tendency and understand that linkup is a very sensitive situation.
If you have made your way to a friendly or neutral country, use the following procedures to cross the border and link up with friendly forces on the other side:
- Occupy a hide site on the near side of the border and send a team out to reconnoiter the potential crossing site.
- Surveil the crossing site for at least 24 hours, depending on the enemy situation.
- Make a sketch of the site, taking note of terrain, obstacles, guard routines and rotations, and any sensor devices or trip wires. Once the recon is complete, the team moves to the hide site, briefs the rest of the team, and plans to cross the border at night.
- After crossing the border, set up a hide site on the far side of the border and try to locate friendly positions. Do not reveal your presence.
- Depending on the size of your movement team, have two men surveil the potential linkup site with friendly forces until satisfied that the personnel are indeed friendly.
- Make contact with the friendly forces during daylight. Personnel chosen to make contact should be unarmed, have no equipment, and have positive identification readily available. The person who actually makes the linkup should be someone who looks least like the enemy.
- During the actual contact, have only one person make the contact. The other person provides the security and observes the linkup area from a safe distance. The observer should be far enough away so that he can warn the rest of the movement team if something goes wrong.
- Wait until the party he is contacting looks in his direction so that he does not surprise the contact. He stands up from behind cover, with hands overhead and states that he is an American. After this, he follows any instructions given him. He avoids answering any tactical questions and does not give any indication that there are other team members.
- Reveal that there are other personnel with him only after verifying his identity and satisfying himself he has made contact with friendly forces.
Language problems or difficulties confirming identities may arise. The movement team should maintain security, be patient, and have a contingency plan.
Note: If you are moving to a neutral country, you are surrendering to that power and become a detained person.
Linkup at the FEBA/FLOT
If caught between friendly and enemy forces and there is heavy fighting in the area, you may choose to hide and let the friendly lines pass over you. If overrun by friendly forces, you may try to link up from their rear during daylight hours. If overrun by enemy forces, you may move further to the enemy rear, try to move to the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA)/forward line of own troops (FLOT) during a lull in the fighting, or move to another area along the front.
The actual linkup will be done as for linkup during a border crossing. The only difference is that you must be more careful on the initial contact. Frontline personnel are more likely to shoot first and ask questions later, especially in areas of heavy fighting. You should be near or behind cover before trying to make contact.
Linkup With Friendly Patrols
If friendly lines are a circular perimeter or an isolated camp, for example, any direction you approach from will be considered enemy territory. You do not have the option of moving behind the lines and trying to link up. This move makes the linkup extremely dangerous. One option you have is to place the perimeter under observation and wait for a friendly patrol to move out in your direction, providing a chance for a linkup. You may also occupy a position outside of the perimeter and call out to get the attention of the friendly forces. Ideally, display anything that is white while making contact. If nothing else is available, use any article of clothing. The idea is to draw attention while staying behind cover. Once you have drawn attention to your signal and called out, follow instructions given to you.
Be constantly on the alert for friendly patrols because these provide a means for return to friendly control. Find a concealed position that allows you maximum visual coverage of the area. Try to memorize every terrain feature so that, if necessary, you can infiltrate to friendly positions under the cover of darkness. Remember, trying to infiltrate in darkness is extremely dangerous.
Because of the missions of combat and recon patrols and where they are operating, making contact can be dangerous. If you decide not to make contact, you can observe their route and approach friendly lines at about the same location. Such observation will enable you to avoid mines and booby traps.
Once you have spotted a patrol, remain in position and, if possible, allow the patrol to move toward you. When the patrol is 25 to 50 meters from your position, signal them and call out a greeting that is clearly and unmistakably of American origin.
If you have nothing white, an article of clothing will suffice to draw attention. If the distance is greater than 50 meters, a recon patrol may avoid contact and bypass your position. If the distance is less than 25 meters, a patrol member may react instantly by firing a fatal shot.
It is crucial, at the time of contact, that there is enough light for the patrol to identify you as an American.
Whatever linkup technique you decide to use, use extreme caution. From the perspective of the friendly patrol or friendly personnel occupying a perimeter, you are hostile until they make positive identification.