View Full Version : Special Forces Combat Recon Manual

03-20-2010, 03:17 AM
I thought I'd post this for historical interest: http://www.hardscrabblefarm.com/vn/ranger-manual.html

I remember seeing hard copies of this manual in surplus stores around Ft. Bragg in the '80s. It was complied in Vietnam as a "tactical tips" or "bag of tricks" type manual and was used by SF recon teams from Project Delta and MACV-SOG.

In a sense, it's also sort of like Roger's Rangers Rules: while many of the specifics are dated (makes reference to things like PRC-25 radios and M79 grenade launchers) most of the principals still hold true.

There are a few typos in the document - I spotted one refence to a round sheet when it obviously means a ground sheet - but most of it is understandable. Although I'm posting this mostly for historical interest, some tips from this manual will also complement ideas posted on the sticky threads about rural tactics and gear.

08-17-2010, 03:57 PM
I like the caption under the photo: Simple can be effective. ;)

08-18-2010, 04:11 AM
Printed it out for later study, looks good

08-18-2010, 06:08 AM
Didn't check all their suggested reading lists but, as this came out of the B-team in Nha Trang, couple of interesting reads for application of these LL's would be Plaster's 2nd SOG book and Jim Donahue's Mobile Guerilla Force, which details the Blackjack-31 mission of quite some duration. (It must be remembered to distinguish between hindsight and what's published here, as alot of those guys were makin' it up as they went in many cases.)

10-10-2010, 06:09 PM
The new version of this manual is numbered FM 31-20.5 and is titled Special Reconnaissance Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures For Special Forces and can be found at this link...


The USMC version can be found at this link...


Take care,

10-10-2010, 06:54 PM
I still have an old copy of those notes from days gone by.

10-10-2010, 07:05 PM
I still have an old copy of those notes from days gone by.But you got given yours by "Uncle Sam" no doubt?

Doing the job in Vietnam?

Just as I have a bunch of stuff, tucked away in 'me bloody head'!


10-11-2010, 02:38 AM
Looks like a reprint of the old B52 tips from Nha Trang.

B52's Tips of the Trade

10-11-2010, 07:08 PM
check out FM 7-93 LRS ops. Its the current one.....by us who are doing it currently.

10-11-2010, 08:06 PM
and Jim Donahue's Mobile Guerilla Force, which details the Blackjack-31 mission of quite some duration.

Were these the Marine find 'em and arty 'em type missions?

10-11-2010, 10:32 PM
Were these the Marine find 'em and arty 'em type missions?

No, the Mobile Guerrilla Forces, codenamed Blackjack operations, was a Special Forces A-Team advising and leading a company of indiginous troops on ranger-type operations.

That's a simplified answer but that's the gist of it.

10-12-2010, 05:14 AM
Were these the Marine find 'em and arty 'em type missions?skirmishline has it largely, destroying caches, tng camps, etc. But there was some targeting as they operated outside their friendly arty umbrella. Radar guidance of aircraft ("Sky Spot" operations) assisted with mountain-top USAF stations just over border in Laos allowed these teams to phone in grids at SITREP time and un-ass AO, then go back & do BDA.

Recalling movie "Flight of the Intruder" and the lead char's disgust at not seeing secondaries at night when vectored over a seemingly meaningless target. "Great, another 'suspected truck park'."

Meld that with real life and it might well have been. Folks on the ground were seeing what was really there, jet drivers not seeing thru triple-canopy too well at 500 knots at night. The Donahue book is a good read.

10-12-2010, 01:19 PM
I have an ongoing infatuation with LRRPs. A great book series (three total) to start with is Six Silent Men. Mobile G Force is pretty good too and really illustrates working with the locals.

I would love to see a discussion of Long Range recon as I think its still relevent in the civillian (US indiginous) backwoods world but I would guess that other than a bit in central america, most long recon stuff in the current world has gone all spooky.