BATC Study Guide: Communications

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BATC Study Guide: Communications

Post by Erik » Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:38 pm

Challenge & Password
When you are in the field, it can sometimes be difficult to tell who is friend and who is foe. A tool you can use for identifying approaching players is Challenge and Password.

Prior to the start of the game, each player is briefed on what the Challenge and Password is. During play, if you are approached by an unknown player, you give the Challenge, and they respond with the Password.

There are many different ways to use Challenge/Password. You can use hand/arm signals, but typically each part is a single word. In WW2, paratroopers of the 101st Airborne used ?clickers? to locate each other in the dark after parachuting into Normandy ? but they also used the Challenge ?Thunder? to which friendly troops responded with the Password ?Lightning.?

A more secure, but sometimes more difficult to use Challenge/Password is a Number Combination. The Team Leader picks an odd number, preferably a low number between 1-20. For the Challenge, a number lower than the Number Combination is given. The Password is a number that, when added to the Challenge, equals the Number Combination.

Example: If the Number Combination is 9, the Challenge can be 1-8. If the Challenge is 1, the Password is 8. (1+8=9). If the Challenge is 3, the Password is 6. (3+6=9.) If the Challenge is 7, the Password is 2. (7+2=9).

The reason even numbers are never used as Number Combinations is simple: the Challenge and Password could be the same, and an opposing player could just repeat it back. For example, if the Number Combination was 4, then if the Challenge was 2, the Password would also be 2. (2+2=4).

Challenge and Password can also be used on the radio. This will be discussed in the Radio Communications section of this manual.

Ideally, you should have different Challenge/Passwords for field use and for radio communications. It?s also recommended you use a number combination for radio authentication. It?s more secure that way.

If your Challenge/Password is compromised, you need to come up with a new one. In sustained Ops, you should periodically change the Challenge/Password, even if it is not compromised.

Radio Communications

There are 3 components to communications: the sender, the receiver, and the message itself. Having radio communications can give a team great tactical advantage, but it can also be a liability if it is not used correctly.

Radio Discipline
When conducting your pre-combat inspection, make sure your radio is secure but accessible. You want to make sure you won?t lose your radio in the woods, but still be able to reach it when you need it.

Also, make sure your microphone system and radio call button are secured, so you won?t accidentally activate them while moving around in the field.

Voice Activated (VOX) systems seem like a good idea, but they will activate when they hear any noise ? whether it?s you talking, your gun firing, or other noises. These ?hot microphone? noises tie up the radio channel and keep real information from being passed on. Don?t use VOX in the field.

Be sure to keep your radio turned down (but still loud enough to hear) so a radio call doesn?t compromise your position.

Remember that a radio is not a telephone. It?s meant to be used for brief messages containing critical information. Only use a radio when necessary, and think about what you are going to say BEFORE you send the message.

Inexperienced players will call each other on the radio when they are close enough to use hand/arm signals, or even just talk. If you will not be out of voice or visual contact with your other team members, there is really no need for you to carry a radio. 1 Radio per fire team (3-5 players) is recommended. Ideally, your team should have a designated Radio Operator (often called RTO, after the anachronistic military title ?Radio Telephone Operator.?

The Phonetic Alphabet
When spelling words out over the radio, it can sometimes be difficult to tell what is being said. For example, ?F? can sound like ?S?, ?B? can sound like ?D?, and so on. To prevent this confusion, soldiers use the phonetic alphabet. This is where a recognizable word is used to represent each letter.

US Military Phonetic Alphabet:
A-ALPHA
B-BRAVO
C-CHARLIE
D-DELTA
E-ECHO
F-FOXTROT
G-GOLF
H-HOTEL
I-INDIA
J-JULIET
K-KILO
L-LIMA
N-NOVEMBER
O-OSCAR
P-PAPA
Q-QUEBEC
R-ROMEO
S-SIERRA
T-TANGO
U-UNIFORM
V-VICTOR
W-WHISKEY
X-XRAY
Y-YANKEE
Z-ZULU

So, if you were spelling AIRSOFT, you would say: ?Alpha, India, Romeo, Sierra, Oscar, Foxtrot, Tango.? If your call sign was 6A, you would say, ?Six Alpha.?

Common Radio Terms
To help expedite communications, some common words and phrases are used when talking on a tactical radio. Here are some of these terms and their definitions:

BREAK: Saying ?Break? pauses your message. You are not done talking (If you were, you would say ?Over). Think of ?Break? as putting a call ?on hold.?

CORRECTION: Literally means: ?There is an error in this transmission and I will start again with the last work or term that I said correctly?. Usually used when spelling out locations or directions.

I SAY AGAIN: Means that you are about to repeat something. The reason ?repeat? isn?t used is that has a very specific meaning in artillery fire. It means ?fire again same location?. Obviously, this could have tragic consequences if someone was, for instance, saying ?Cease Fire, Repeat, Cease Fire? which would literally mean: ?Stop firing, fire again same location, stop firing?.

MESSAGE (Follows/Ends): Used to designate the beginning and end of a specific message. For instance: Message Follows. Strategic Command authorizes use of force to secure area of operations. Message Ends.

OUT: This is the end of this exchange. No answer is required or expected. Think of this as ?hanging up the phone.?

OVER: This is the end of my transmission and I am waiting for your response.

RADIO CHECK: What is my signal strength and clarity?

ROGER: I received your message and I understand.

SAY AGAIN: Please repeat your last transmission, I did not understand.

WAIT ONE: I am pausing for a few seconds.

WAIT OUT: I must pause for longer than a few seconds. I will call you back when I return.

WILCO: I received your transmission, I understand and I will comply

WEAPONS FREE: You are authorized to use your weapons.

WEAPONS HOLD: Only fire if fired upon.

WEAPONS SAFE: You are not authorized to fire.

FLANK: The rear/side of a unit. Also used as a verb ?to flank?, meaning to move where you can fire on the side/rear of the target

BOGEY: An unidentified unit. Could be friendly, or enemy.

TANGO: Terrorist or Target.

FRIENDLY: A unit positively identified as being on your side.

ENEMY: An opposing unit. A target.

OPFOR: OPposition FORce. The enemy.

GO LOUD: Operational silence no longer needed. Units may open up with loud weapons and make other noise/light.

INBOUND: Coming towards us

OUTBOUND: Going away from us.

(number) O?CLOCK: A direction expressed based on the direction a person is facing being 12 O?CLOCK. Useful when in a defensive perimeter.

RALLY (at): Meet at a specific location, usually pre-designated as a ?rally point?.

CONTACT: skirmishing or fighting with the enemy.

BREAK CONTACT: Maneuver units to stop actively fighting the enemy. Pull back from the enemy and stop fighting. Not always a ?retreat?. Often used to have fighting elements fall back to secondary positions, reorganize and reengage the enemy quickly.

RETREAT: Break contact and attempt to maintain that break. Generally used when the enemy has the upper hand and one wishes to preserve as much of your fighting force as possible.

AMBUSH: To attack from a prepared location that allows friendly elements to concentrate their fire to decimate the enemy when they are unawares. Often misused to describe simply surprising the enemy.

VISUAL: Able to directly see. ?I have a visual? means you can see it.

MIKE: Meter, or Minute, depending on how it is used. ?I am a quarter Mike from your position.? Or ?I will be there in five Mikes.?

KLICK: Kilometer.

Call signs
Make sure you know what radio call signs will be used prior to starting the game. In extended games, these call signs may be changed as necessary. If you are operating a radio, it?s important that you keep track of who?s who.

Call signs can be anything you want. However, in Milsim play there are certain call signs that will typically be used. These call signs, combined with suffixes, can sometimes be kind of confusing. Let?s look at the call signs for a sample unit, which we will call ?RAVEN.?

?SIX? is always the Unit Commander. Example: ?RAVEN SIX? is the Commander of RAVEN.

An ?A? (ALPHA) suffix = Radio Operator. ?RAVEN SIX ALPHA? is the Commander?s RTO.

Squads are usually assigned a number prefix. So if RAVEN had three Squads, the prefix for each team would be RAVEN ONE, RAVEN TWO, and RAVEN THREE.

Team Leaders have a ?ONE? suffix. So the 1st Squad Leader?s call sign would be RAVEN ONE-ONE. Each player on that team would have the next number in sequence: RAVEN ONE-TWO, RAVEN ONE-THREE, etc.

Example call sign list for the RAVEN unit:

Commander: RAVEN SIX
Commander?s RTO: RAVEN SIX ALPHA
2nd in Command: RAVEN FIVE

1st Squad Leader: RAVEN ONE-ONE
1st Squad RTO: RAVEN ONE-ONE ALPHA
Player: RAVEN ONE-TWO
Player: RAVEN ONE-THREE
Player: RAVEN ONE-FOUR

2nd Squad Leader: RAVEN TWO-ONE
2nd Squad RTO: RAVEN TWO-ONE ALPHA
Player: RAVEN TWO-TWO
Player: RAVEN TWO-THREE
Player: RAVEN TWO-FOUR

3rd Squad: RAVEN THREE-ONE
3rd Squad Leader: RAVEN THREE-ONE ALPHA
Player: RAVEN THREE-TWO
Player: RAVEN THREE-THREE
Player: RAVEN THREE-FOUR

As we stated before, this is just one way to set up call signs, based on how it?s done in the US Military. Call signs can be whatever you want them to be.

How to send a radio message

When you send a radio message, you need to identify who you are calling and who you are. The common way to remember this is ?You, this is Me.? If Raven6a was calling Raven12, it would sound like this:

?Raven12, THIS IS Raven6a, OVER.?

Raven6a identified who was calling ? Raven12 ? and who he was. He then said ?OVER? to indicate he was done speaking. Saying ?OVER? is like placing a period at the end of your sentence. It lets the other person know you are done talking, and are ready to hear what they have to say.

If you hear someone calling you, you need to respond to let then know you are there. Think of this as picking up the phone when it rings. So Raven12 would respond like this:

?Raven6a, this is Raven12. Go ahead.?

Raven12 confirms that they are in contact, and who is calling them. By saying ?Go Ahead? Raven12 lets Raven6a know they are listening.

Next, Raven6a sends the actual message. A radio message should be brief and to the point. A rule of thumb is that a radio message should not exceed 8 seconds. While it?s unlikely in Airsoft (but not impossible) someone with radio direction finding equipment could use your radio signal to find your location.

?12, this is 6a, we have enemy movement on the ridge west of the lake.?

You will note that Raven6a is now using an abbreviated call sign. This is acceptable when the radio net is clear of other traffic, and both parties have established initial contact.

The Communication Triangle
When you receive a radio message, you should repeat it back to the sender to make sure your information is correct. This is called the Communication Triangle. The ?Triangle has 3 sides: The sender?s message, the receiver?s confirmation, and the sender confirming again. By using the Communication Triangle, you can ensure that radio communications are not misunderstood.

Authentication
Prior to moving out, your team should establish a Challenge/Password for team identification. You can use the Challenge/Password on the radio to make sure whoever you are talking to is a team member, and not an enemy who has captured your radio. This procedure is called Authentication.

Here is a sample Authentication Message between Raven Six-Alpha (Raven Commander?s RTO) and Raven One-One Alpha (Raven 1st Squad RTO). In this case, the Challenge is ?THUNDER? and Password is ?LIGHTNING?.

RAVEN11A, this is RAVEN6A, OVER.

RAVEN6A, this is RAVEN11A, OVER.

RAVEN11A, MOVE TO EAST SIDE OF LAKE TO SUPPORT 2nd SQUAD, OVER.

RAVEN6A, I COPY MOVE TO EAST SIDE OF LAKE TO SUPPORT 2nd SQUAD, OVER.

RAVEN11A, CORRECT, MOVE TO EAST SIDE OF LAKE TO SUPPORT 2nd SQUAD, OVER.

RAVEN6A, I AUTHENTICATE THUNDER, OVER.

RAVEN11A, I AUTHENTICATE LIGHTING, OVER.

RODGER, OUT.

It?s recommended you use a number combination for radio authentication, as this is more secure. Ideally, your Authentication should be different than your Challenge/Password.

<small>[ March 13, 2005, 06:53 PM: Message edited by: Erik ]</small>
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Re: BATC Study Guide: Communications

Post by Erik » Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:21 am

Hand and Arm Signals

Hand and Arm signals are normally used when silent communication is necessary, or when verbal communication is not possible (due to distance or background noise).

While certain units may used specialized signals, these signals are generally universal for all US armed forces personnel.

When you are on patrol or moving towards enemy contact, watch your leader - he will be using these signals to tell you and the rest of the unit what to do.
Image
Attention
Extend the arm sideways, slightly above the head. Face your palm outward; wave arm back and forth several times.

Image
I am Ready. Are you Ready?
Extend the arm toward the person being signalled; then raisearm slightly above the horizontal, palm outward.

Image
I do not Understand
Face toward source of signal. Raise both arms sideward to the horizontal; bend both arms at elbows and place both hands across the face, palms outwards.

Image
Disregard Previous Command
Face the individual(s) being signalled; then raise both arms and cross them over the head, palms outwards.

Image
Assemble or Rally
Raise the arm vertically overhead, palm outward, and wave in large horizontal circles. By pointing to a fixed location (such as a tree, rock, or other terrain feature) a leader can use this signal to designate a Rally Point.

Come to Me
Point towards individual(s); beckon by holding the arm horizontally with the palm up, and motion toward the body.

Image
Follow Me
Face the desired direction of movement; hold the arm extended to the rear; then swing it overhead and forward in the direction of desired movement until it is horizontal, palm down.

Image
Halt or Stop
Raise the hand upward to the full extent of the arm, palm outward. Hold that position until the signal is understood.

Image
Increase Speed.
Raise the hand to the shoulder, flat closed; thrust the fist upward to the full extent of the arm and back to the shoulder rapidly.

<small>[ March 08, 2005, 01:36 AM: Message edited by: Erik ]</small>
Last edited by Erik on Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BATC Study Guide: Communications

Post by Erik » Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:36 am

Image
Extend (Open Up)
Start the signal with arms extended overhead, palms together, and bring the arms sideways to the horizontal position, palms down. Repeat as necessary. This can be use by a leader who sees his team members are too close together.

Image
Close Up
Start the signal with both arms extended sideward horizontally, palms up, and bring palms together overhead momentarily. When reception of this signal is necessary, return the arms to the starting position by moving them along the front of the body.

Image
Column (One Fire Team behind the other)
Raise either arm to the vertical position. Drop the arm to the rear, making a complete circle while keeping the arm close to the body.

Image
Disperse
Extend either arm vertically overhead; wave the hand and arm to the front, left, right, and rear, with the palm toward the direction of each movement.

Image
Cover Me
Strike top of head or helmet repeatedly with open hand.

Image
Enemy in Sight
Hold individual weapon above the head with one arm, fully extended, with the weapon parallel to the ground and pointing in the direction of the enemy. Instead of your weapon, you can point your thumb and finger (like a gun) upside down.

Image
Prepare for Action
Raise the fist to the thrust and rotate forearm several times in horizontal, clockwise circle, as if stirring a pot.

Image
Action Front (Right, Left, or Rear)
Raise fist to shoulder level and thrust it in the desired direction of action.
Last edited by Erik on Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BATC Study Guide: Communications

Post by Erik » Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:37 am

Image
Cease Firing
Raise the hand in front of the forehead, palm outward, and swing the hand and forearm up and down in fron of the face.

Image
Echelon Right (Left)
Extend one arm 45 degrees above and the other 45 degrees below the horizontal, palms to the front. The lower arm indicates the direction of echelon.

Image
Line Formation
Raise both arms to the side until horizontal, arms and hands extended, palms down.

Image
Wedge Formation
Extend both arms downward and to the sides at an angle of approximately 45 degrees below the horizontal.
Last edited by Erik on Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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