Let’s Build a Recon Kit, an Excercise in METT-TC

Ok so we’ve talked about what METT-TC is, why it’s important and how it applies to kit building. Now let’s build some kits based on all this information. We’ll start with a reconnaissance based kit in this article and move on to a more direct action oriented kit in the next. If this is your first introduction to this series of articles, I recommend you start with the first, entitled: Navy Seal Kit Analysis: an Introduction to METT-TC.

This kit is very similar to one I put together for an upcoming mission. As always I begin with METT-TC and break that into what I think I will need.


Our commander has intelligence stating that a major enemy force is going to infiltrate our area of operations (AO) in the morning. He wants to know every conceivable thing about them the moment they step into the area.

Enemy: The enemy is a large conglomerate of provinces that have banded together for political reasons to overtake our province. Intelligence states they will be sending regular Army units as well as assault units made up of Marines. They have wheeled and tracked vehicle support along with air support and light artillery.

Terrain/Weather: The AO is roughly 1000 acres and is a mix of heavy woods and fields, with small but very steep rolling hills. Your mission is taking place on the 23rd of May, the high for the day is 92 degrees with 87% humidity and it will be sunny with minimal cloud cover. Terrain varies between 700 and 800ft above sea level.

Troops and Support: Your 6 man unit will be fielded along with 1 other 6 man unit, each with a different point of interest to overwatch. A QRF is standing by but will take 20 minutes to arrive. Close air support is also on hand but it must split it’s resources between yours and several other units. Resupply will be cache’d overnight and brought in with QRF elements when able.

Time: Your unit must have your OP set up by sunrise tomorrow morning, which will be at 0513hrs. You will overwatch your area of interest and move locations as higher dictates.

Civilians: Two major settlements are in your AO and both are populated. Civilian militias have received word of the impending invasion and will be operating in the area, most likely concentrating around the population centers.

Reconnaissance Mission Kit:

Uniform: As your AO is a mix of wooded areas and grassy slopes, your unit has chosen to use the M-81 Woodland field blouse and pants with integrated knee pads. You do not plan to make contact and weight is very critical so you will be using soft covers rather than helmets. You’ve chosen a lightweight pair of boots with good ankle protection due to the rough terrain. As your team will be on the move during the day, you will pack a ghilie head cover for maximum camouflage while stationary. In the pockets of your uniform you will carry the following items:

  • First aid kit – to stop bleeding and deal with minor ailments
  • Knife – general utility purposes
  • Map and compass
  • 2x energy bars – I use these to keep my energy up on the move
  • Jolly Ranchers – an experienced backpacker taught me that if you get dry mouth while hiking, pop your favorite hard candy in your mouth. Your body will create saliva to digest it and you’ll get a little morale boost at the same time.

Weapon System: As a compromise between weight and firepower, your team has decided to take 3 Squad Assault Weapons and three M4 s with M203 grenade launchers. You will be carrying one SAW and will also be the assistant team leader for this mission.

Load Bearing Equipment: As your team will be operating in rough terrain, a high heat index and avoiding contact at all costs your squad leader has decided against wearing body armor.

You’ve settled on the Pantac H-harness as it will keep your chest exposed for maximum heat dispersal. With it, you will carry the following items:

  • 2x box magazines – maximum ammunition is carried due to the expected delay in QRF arrival.
  • 2x frag grenade – used to cover defilades and repel attacks
  • 2x smoke grenade – used to screen movements
  • 2x colored smoke grenade – used to mark extraction sites
  • 3 quarts of water – kept in canteens to keep back clear to allow air to flow
  • notebook and pen – for logging your observations and making drawings/maps
  • binoculars – for obtaining details on enemy forces
  • multi tool – for generic repairs and cutting of wire
  • spare battery for SAW – one is none, two is one!
  • Inter-squad radio and PTT – to be used if the unit splits into buddy teams
  • Misc tool kit to include plastic trash bag, wee whacker line (to clear barrels) lens cloth and deans/tamiya battery adapter (for battery sharing)
  • IFAK to deal with real world injuries
  • Field stripped MRE
  • Dead rag

You will also bring the Kelty MAP 3500 to carry the following items:

  • 3x field stripped MREs
  • 2 liter water bladder
  • 1 gallon of water in canteens
  • Camera with zoom lens
  • Laptop computer
  • Spare batteries for every device
  • Paracord and netting – for hide construction
  • Entrenching tool – to dig your hide
  • 2x box magazines for SAW
  • Lightweight sleeping bag with Gore-Tex cover
  • Poncho (shelter)
  • Pre-cut single wire antenna (for extended comms)

Additional supplies will be handled by each member of the team and equipment will be equally dispersed among them to even out each man’s carried weight and ensure that if one person goes down the unit will suffer the smallest hit to its combat effectiveness as possible.

To read the next article in the METT-TC series, click here.


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