The squad leader selects the precise location of the OP. In selecting the location, he looks for one that
meets as many of the following requirements as possible:
Offers a good view of the sector.
Offers cover and concealment.
Offers covered and concealed routes to and from the OP from friendly positions.
Does not attract attention.
Does not silhouette observers.
You should avoid the use of such readily identifiable features as water towers, isolated groves of trees,
and abandoned vehicles. These only serve to draw the enemy's attention. You should also avoid
using hilltops. An ideal place for an OP is on the forward scope of a hill, if there are possible withdrawal
routes. The flank of a hill, or a saddle, are also excellent positions to look for a place to site an OP.
Fields of observation may have to be selectively cleared. In clearing fields of vision, great care must be
taken not to give the position away. Cover and concealment may have to be sacrificed slightly to obtain
a good field of vision.
The OP team builds fighting positions for protection and concealment. They use trip flares, noise
making devices, night vision equipment, and similar early warning systems to detect the enemy's
approach. All positions should make maximum use of cover and concealment consistent with the
Personnel. An OP is usually manned by an MP team. One man usually observes. This may vary due
to terrain and weather. A single individual should almost never be placed on OP duty. A second
person provides security and records and reports information. The third team member provides relief
and backup security. Normally, positions should be rotated every 20 to 30 minutes. Observer
efficiency decreases rapidly after that time due to fatigue.
How often the team is to be replaced depends on several factors, not the least of which is the number
of personnel available. Frequency of relief will also depend on the physical condition of the men,
weather, and morale.
Equipment and Communications. In addition to the basic combat load and machinegun, the OP team
should have a pair of binoculars. They will also require night vision devices and early warning systems,
including flares and other pyrotechnics. Early warning systems may also be improvised. Materials to
improvise should be brought forward when the position is established. A compass and map are critical
to the proper functioning of an OP; they allow the team to get azimuth readings and give the location of
the enemy by grid coordinate. Preplanned targets may also be provided for indirect fires. Use