An observation point or OP is one of the greatest assests in the world of tactics and combat. It allows us to gather valuable intel from a safe unknown position. Consequently, we have the advantage to develop a stategic plan without the target ever knowing we are there. An OP is most commonly used in the military but can also be used for hunting and things of similar nature. I gained a lot of experience in developing and using OPs as a Forward Observer in the Army. Here is a list of 5 things to never forget when setting up an OP.
1. Stay off the outline– If you are at an OP than you should assume someone is tasked with finding and eliminating you. That being said be well hidden. A great way to do that is to stay off the silhouette. If you are on a hill or mountain stay beween 1/4 and 3/4 high of the elevation. People will naturally scope ridge lines and cliffs so stay away from those also. When in a building stay off the roof and out of the windows on the top floors. Also avoid the side windows. These are all spots people search the hardest. If in trees and vegetation be sure to stay out of the tree tops and tree line. Instead tuck back a few yards into the trees find a high ground and treat it like a hill or mountain… Between 1/4 and 3/4 of elevation.
2. Be inaccessible– If your OP was hard for you to get to than it is hard for others to get to as well. Be sure to have as many obstacles between you and your target as possible. The noise and resistance this will provide gives you plenty of time to escape if need be.
3. Cover and Concealment– There is never a guarantee that your mission will go smooth. Be it the weather or the enemy, things can get dangerous fast. Be sure to have concealment to hide yourself and cover to protect yourself.
4. Clear the area– Whenever we set up an OP we very slowly inspect the whole area. We are searching for sign of a others having been there or signs of a possible return. We are also making sure it is not the home of dangerous animal. Also clearing the area of any dangers such as IED or booby traps.
5. Have an out– ALWAYS have atleast 1 evacuation plan. Make sure if you get injured, ambushed, or anything else that you can break contact instantly. I can not stress how important this is. It does not have to be some oceans 11 plan but you do need to have a sure fire escape.
These are my 5 musts for choosing an Observation Point from personal experience. Let me know if I missed anything or of you have a question. As always guys… Master your Tactics and NEVER BE A VICTIM