DTG: So What Do We Do If We Are Ambushed?


H/t to DanMorgan76 for this DTG post on ambushes, immediate action drills, and properly-understood humility/teachability.

There’ll be plenty of time for chest-puffing in the victory parade.

After we win.

Win first.

(Click to enlarge)

19 responses to “DTG: So What Do We Do If We Are Ambushed?

  1. AYnoneemouse

    “There’ll be plenty of time for chest-puffing in the victory parade.”

    “After we win.”

    Win what? The starry eyed Lee Greenwood, Andy Griffith, USA is dead. It died in the 1960’s, the boomers killed it. It ain’t coming back ever.

    Better think tribal or better yet offshore, I served many years ago and believed all that chest thumping oorah crap. Not anymore. GOD FAMILY TRIBE.

    Thats it, the citizens of this commu-ocracy get what they deserve and I am not lifting a finger to “save ” them.

    • The post at DTG is about using common sense and getting to cover so you can break contact instead of blindly fighting through a prepared position that a patrol accidentally stumbled upon. Several other credentialed bloggers have validated what DTG posted. Max may be missing the point and need to take a deep breath ….

      • Max Velocity

        Mr. Irish: did you read the actual post, linked by Submariner?

        No deep breath needed, but thanks for your concern.


  2. Please tell us who Max doesn’t dissent about of late. Unless it has a”MVT” label on it, he hasn’t good to say about anyone in recent months.I haven’t seen him reciprocate for any of the other trainers he used to speak well of……oh well, all part of the MVT World marketing plan I guess.

    • Max Velocity

      Who? I may have been busy, but I missed who I should be reciprocating?

      Are you referring to my plan for MVT world domination?

      1 meeelion dollars please.


      • Not enough MAX. I’ve gone thru that in the last 10 years alone. Poverty SUCKS.

      • Haters gonna hate. Just wait till they start questioning your background and calling you a fraud. Anyone outside the box must be eaten.

        • Damn, I must be a buffet. Anonymous, the suckiness of poverty is vastly overrated,..except maybe when it comes to gear. Sure, rich and miserable is better than poor and miserable, but happiness beats ’em both.

          And that doesn’t rest on gear or toys. It rests on one’s own judgment, honor, respect and yes, even love…for the person one makes oneself to be and the values one chooses.

          It’s closely akin to Responsibility and self-ownership. That’s why Collectivists hate all of it–the Ego, the Self and Responsibility. They simply despise the American ideal of Individualism, the philosophy that made this country different.

        • “Haters gonna hate. Just wait till they start questioning your background and calling you a fraud.”

          Lotta that going around…

  3. I would personally question what definition of ambush Max or DTG are using. I suspect that it isn’t the definition that I worked under.

    They seem to be developing actions against things that sound to me more like chance contact.

    The script at the beginning of DTG actually made me chuckle as I had much that same conversation back in the day. Although we asked first ‘how do you know it is an ambush’. The answer was ‘massive amount of fire and you are the only one still alive’.

    I think to understand the traditional military react to ambush drill you have to understand where it came from. It came out of Vietnam. The assumption then was that if you were ambushed it was by someone who was within ‘hand grenade range’ and that your only real chance of surviving (or even just doing damage) was to get within the enemies line so that they had to fire through themselves to fire at you.

    Really, any other ‘ambush’ was treated more as a normal chance contact where you started out being suppressed.

    If we wanted to be honest about this whole react to ambush drill thing though the first thing we should probably do is accept that any chosen drill should be tailored to your terrain. Your options in the jungle are not the same as the sandbox nor close to those of an urban area. Your practiced reactions should take that into account. So I don’t think that any one given technique would be the best for everyone.

    • Max Velocity

      That’s actually fairly interesting, and it is discussed and covered on the post linked at this one:


      (The one that submariner links above).

      Although coming from British military experience, so not so Vietnam centric, there was an older school counter ambush drill that involved turning into and fighting through the ambush very much as you describe. It is however out of vogue as a break contact drill, particularly for small reconnaissance style (perhaps 4 man) patrols.

      I also discuss how the Rhodesians used aggressive ‘fight through’ style tactics due to a specific skill gap between them and their enemy.

      But really, than main point here is that it is hard to tell, other than by weight of fire, what you have actually waled into. Hence the need for a simple react to/break contact drill.

      Best go to the link and read the articles through, before commenting about definitions.

      • Like I said, just explaining where the ‘near ambush, charge the line’ thinking came from. Really the entire near vs far line of thinking came from. Remember, the entire idea was that half your squad just got cut down. The fact that you were not one of them is just pure luck and is about to be fixed by the bad guys.

        We do not exactly follow that as a battle drill any more. That changed with the last (or maybe previous to that) iteration of battle drill edits. The React To Near Ambush used to be an immediate action, just fire and charge. That was changed to instead follow the standard ‘react to contact’ battle drill then follow into a directed battle drill that is followed every other place.

        The reason we made that change was that it was observed that having two possible recourse’s to action created conflict and delay in reaction times. While it could be argued that the traditional near ambush reaction would be better for that specific scenario, the problem was that it was causing problems across any number of other more common scenarios.

        The upshot is that you had guys freeze during that drill and any number of other drills. Not a big freeze, maybe a second or half or so. But it still matters. And of course you did have the occasional guy ‘charge’ when he really shouldn’t have.

        So we changed the entire thing to follow the standard react to contact drill and made the near ambush a battle drill like any other, one that was executed on command and evaluation.

        As I read your description I would say that you have created not so much a ‘battle drill’ but rather have selected an ‘SOP’ to be followed when chance contact is made. That is, other actions are possible but ‘break contact’ is what is going to happen because we have decided before hand.

        I’m mixed in my feelings on that. Mostly because it seems to be too broad of a rule. I suspect that you have in your mind a very specific scenario that includes terrain, troops available, enemy, etc.

        Because of that I just can’t find myself in agreement with it as ‘the way’. I’m mixed though because I happen to agree, with my own specific pet scenario that ‘break contact’ is likely a good SOP. But, at least from a cursory reading of a few articles, it looks like you have moved it from ‘SOP’ to ‘this is the way the battle drill runs’ which I think cuts out to many other options in training and will create conflict if you do decide during a real contact to take another option.

        Again, I don’t think it is horrible or anything. Just that you should probably include some qualifications as to when a ‘break contact’ should be SOP. If on the other hand you do mean it to be a hard battle drill response then I just can’t find myself agreeing with that.

  4. Great picture. Roads are made for just such things.

  5. “But really, than main point here is that it is hard to tell, other than by weight of fire, what you have actually waled into. Hence the need for a simple react to/break contact drill.”

    This and even that’s no guarantee. Small patrols should be thinking about breaking contact, particularly in a WROL scenario. Even large patrols can’t guarantee success: We (49 Iraqis, 11 Americans) once decided to maneuver on what we thought was a badly executed far ambush. Turned out to be a baited ambush and we were rapidly enveloped. If not for a Bradley equipped QRF, you wouldn’t have me to kick around. 😉 I’m pretty sure FREEFOR won’t have those in the early phases. He who shoots and runs away, lives to shoot another day.

    Your response, regardless of what it is, should be drilled to the point of automatic reaction. I’ve used and taught the Drake Drill for years for the same reasons, with suitable adjustments for urban areas, having discarded the near/far concept when no one would volunteer to stand up with a tape measure and determine which one it was. Damn those thinking Soldiers….

    And because I’ve given up on not poking Max with a doctrinal stick, here’s the Doctrinal Definition of an ambush: A surprise attack, launched from concealment, against a moving or temporarily halted target. :0