Infantry Drills

6-173: Zone Reconnaissance Patrol

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6-173. Zone reconnaissance involves a directed effort to obtain detailed information on all routes, obstacles, terrain, enemy forces, or specific civil considerations within a zone defined by boundaries. Obstacles include both existing and reinforcing, as well as areas CBRN contamination. Commanders assign zone reconnaissance missions when they need additional information on a zone before committing other forces in the zone. Zone reconnaissance missions are appropriate when the enemy situation is vague, existing knowledge of the terrain is limited, or combat operations have altered the terrain. A zone reconnaissance may include several route or area reconnaissance missions assigned to subordinate units.


6-174. A zone reconnaissance is normally a deliberate, time-consuming process. It takes more time than any other reconnaissance mission, so the commander must allow adequate time to conduct it. A zone reconnaissance is normally conducted over an extended distance and starts from a line of departure. It requires all ground elements executing the zone reconnaissance to be employed abreast of each other. However, when the reconnaissance objective is the enemy force, a commander may forgo a detailed reconnaissance of the zone and focus assets on those named areas of interest that would reveal enemy dispositions and intentions. A reconnaissance unit cannot disregard terrain when focusing on the enemy. However, it minimizes its terrain reconnaissance to that which may influence a named areas of interest.

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