Easy Hand Signals You Can Use to Communicate Silently During Wartime
May 29, 2019

Easy Hand Signals You Can Use to Communicate Silently During Wartime

QRF Infantry Tactics

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It is important to have some sort of method to communicate silently with your men. This is especially useful when you are flanking an attacker or in enemy territory. 

This article is part of a series we are using to teach QRF Infantry Tactics. Here is an outline of the free lessons. They are numbered in the order they are taught in the printed book.

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  1. How to Form Your Own Platoon
  2. How to Travel During Wartime Without Getting Ambushed
  3. Hand & Arm Signals - Communicate Silently 
  4. Prisoners of War
  5. How to Remove the Injured From Battle
  6. Reaction to Contact (How to Respond if You Get Attacked)
  7. How to Stop an Armored Vehicle
  8. Convoys and Obstacles
  9. How to Identify, Locate and Avoid Landmines
  10. Fighting Back: How to Ambush Your Enemy
  11. Fighting Back: Tactical Formations 
  12. Breaking Contact (How to Retreat)
  13. How to Conduct TCPs (Traffic Control Points)
  14. A Letter to the Commander (How to Keep Your Men Alive)
  15. A Story of Battle (What a Real Ambush Looks Like and How I Lived Through It)

Introduction - Communicate Silently

*Important Note* This is lesson 3 of our QRF Infantry Tactics series. Click here to read the article on lesson 1.

Below you will see a summery of the article, "Easy Hand Signals You Can Use to Communicate Silently During Wartime." Each section is linked so that you can go straight to the topic you're interested in learning about. Use the "Back to Top" button on the bottom right to navigate back up to the article summery if you want to view a different topic. Or you can simply scroll up or down if you want to take the time to do so.

If you have any questions at all about the tactics or methods mentioned in this article, you can ask by either leaving a comment at the bottom of the article, sending us an email to prepare@tackleberrysolutions.com or you can even call Arthur directly at 919 - 223 - 7741.

Article Summery

How to Communicate Silently

Hand & Arm Signal Video - Communicate Silently

Feel free to make up your own form of sign language. Just make it easy to understand. (You never know when you may have to do a joint operation with another team.) If your signals are confusing, they aren't going to have a freaking clue what you want them to do and out of frustration will be more compelled to yell out.

The following is what every unit I’ve ever been with in the Army uses to communicate silently.

Look Behind You - Communicate Silently

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Follow Me - Communicate Silently

Always use your non-dominate hand so that you’re ready to engage the enemy quickly.

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Slow to Stop - Communicate Silently

Open Hand

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Freeze! - Communicate Silently

Stop immediately and don’t move!

Closed Fist

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Platoon Leader - Communicate Silently

This is useful for when you need to get their attention by making that symbol to the person behind you. This enables your team to repeat that sign down the line until it reaches the right person. They then know that they are needed and can navigate to the front of the line. 

Senior (Your Platoon Sgt) - Communicate Silently

This is useful for when you need to get their attention by making that symbol to the person behind you. This enables your team to repeat that sign down the line until it reaches the right person. They then know that they are needed and can navigate to the front of the line. 

Grab your collar and tug a few times

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Commo Guy - Communicate Silently

This is useful for when you need to get their attention by making that symbol to the person behind you. This enables your team to repeat that sign down the line until it reaches the right person. They then know that they are needed and can navigate to the front of the line. 

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Dangerous Area - Communicate Silently

Bring your hand down and back to your side

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Repeat this movement several times.

Take a Knee - Communicate Silently

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Repeat this movement several times.

Lay Down! - Communicate Silently

*Important Note* Remember movement attracts attention. Don’t just flop down on the ground. Move slow and steady!

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Repeat this movement several times.

Listen, There is a noise that way - Communicate Silently

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Look That Way - Communicate Silently

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Head Count - Communicate Silently

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Repeat this movement several times.

Counting Off - Communicate Silently using numbers.

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Wedge - Communicate Silently

You may need to change formations depending on the terrain. That is where these hand signals come in handy.

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Ranger File - Communicate Silently

You may need to change formations depending on the terrain. That is where these hand signals come in handy.

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Watch 360° - Communicate Silently

You really shouldn’t have to use this sign as your men should already being doing 360 ° security.
However, you can use it as a reminder if it looks like they are slacking off.

Put two fingers up in the air and move your arm around in the shape of a circle.

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Rally Point - Communicate Silently

Point in the direction you want to designate as your rally point. Be sure to pick a spot that is easily recognizable. Such as near an old dead tree or large rock. You can predetermine rally points, casualty collections points, and check points using a map to point them out before you begin traveling. If you assign rally points as you go, don’t forget to take a minute so everyone can write down the grid coordinates.

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Prisoners of War - Communicate Silently

Now that you've learned about how to communicate silently - it is time to learn about Prisoners of War. Click here to read the next article.

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Definitions/Terms

2-3  Second Rushing- “I’m up, he sees me, I’m down.” That what you say to your self as you run from one cover/concealment location to another. This is done so you can advance or retreat without getting shot. By the time the enemy gets his sights on you, you’re hitting the ground. Then your buddy jumps up and runs.

360 Security- Always maintain the ability to fire and scan in every direction. The fewer men you have, the more vigilant they must be in monitoring their sector of fire.

AUW –  Advanced Urban Warfare are advanced tactics for fighting within an urban environment.

Baseline of Fire- a position usually formed by the Alpha team. All members come and form a line facing the enemy. Remember to keep 360 security. Then they use suppressive fire to keep the enemy heads down and attention on.

Bound and overwatch- One soldier shoots with suppressive fire while the other advances onto the enemy’s position, or retreats from their position. Often using 2-3 second rushing.

Breaking contact- basically you realize that you have bit off more than you can chew and wanta get the hell out of there alive. There are formations and tactics to do this properly. Bound and overwatch, Auzzy Peel, and Rolling Peel.

Casualty Collection Point-  Predesignated location just outside the contact area of a raid sight, or locations along the route of travel, in which you will collect your wounded for treatment and stabilization for movement to a medical facility. Can also double as rally point.

CCT- Casualty Collection Team. A small team that usually consist of 3-4 guys that collect the dead or wounded during the fight. This is seen more often in  AUW (Advanced Urban Warfare).

Choke Point This is much like a fatal funnel, it is an area that you have no choice but to go through due to the natural terrain features. Example: a bridge over a large river.

Commo - communications

Concealment- A position behind an object that cannot stop bullets or fragmentation, but can act as a visual block. (i.e. tall grass)

Convoy -  A group of vehicles traveling in the same direction for the same purpose.

Cover- A position behind an object that can stop bullets, fragmentation, and visual contact. (i.e. Rock)

cross-load ammo This is like socialism, but with ammo. You will compile all of your ammunition and distribute it equally. This is typically done after a firefight.

Direct Fire- Precision incoming fire. Think J-Dam off a F-15 or rifle fire.

Dismounts – Men that get out of the vehicle and push forward on foot to either engage the enemy or clear an obstacle.

EPT- Enemy Prisoner Team. Similar to the CCT, but not as caring. They secure and search the POW again and move them (wounded or not) to the POW security point for yet another search, treatment, and evacuation for further interrogation.  CCT can double as EPT.

Far Ambush- an attack that is outside of hand grenade range.

Fatal Funnel This is like a choke point. It is an area that gives you no choice but to go through in which you have no option to go left or right. The only way out would be to push forward or go backwards.

Flanking- Moving toward the blind side of the enemy to gain tactical advantage.

FLIR Imagery This is an advanced thermal optic used by drones and other aircrafts to spot personnel, weapon cashes or anything else that gives off a heat signature. This is very difficult to avoid.

Force on Force Training -  Split your platoon in half and have one side defend, while the other side attacks. Be sure to use actual projectiles such as air soft, paint ball, or SIM rounds.

Formation- A specific placement of men to gain maximum tactical advantage.

Forward Operation Base (FOB) –  Is a city within a city. Much like a standard military base here in America. Just this base is totally geared for war. Round the clock guards, stationary and roaming, TCP, etc.

Grenadier -  Is the guy that carries the grenade launcher and grenades. Second most important weapon system in a fight. Can cause mass casualties with only one shot. 

Indirect Fire- incoming fire that is from an arial weapon. Think artillery, mortars, or grenade launcher.

Intervals – distance between each person

KIA- killed in action.

KISS – Keep it simple stupid

Lift and Shift- A command given by team leader to fire high and away from your approaching troops. This keeps enemy’s  heads down without hitting friendly forces.

Limit Of Advance – When advancing through an objective, this is an area where you stop your assault.

L-Shape- L shape ambush is when you literally place your men in a form of an L and let the enemy walk into your cross fire. With this shape, there is no way you can hit each other. But your enemy has nowhere to go and is getting hit from what seems like all sides.

LT – Lieutenant,  the lowest rank that a commissioned officer can hold in the military. In my experience they are usually “GOOD IDEA” fairies and cost you more sleepless night and pain than any one else.

LOA- Limit of Advance. Tells the men in your section to stop movement, and commander of other section to start their assault.

LZ Landing Zone for an aircraft.

Murphy’s Law – An old army wise tale. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, it’s Murphy’s law.

NCO – Non-commissioned officer, where the rubber meets the road, the backbone of the military. The guy that puts foot to ass, trains the men, keeps them alive in a hot zone, and makes heroes out of LT’s.

Near Ambush- An attack that is within hand grenade range. I.E. I can throw a hand grenade and it kill the enemy.

Neighborhood Guardian – Is like the stationary or roaming guard. The watchdog of your community.

Package -  A term used for the person/thing that is being protected or delivered.

Pat Tillman – Former NFL player that joined the Army Rangers after 9/11. Was killed in action during a firefight in Afghanistan. Stood up from behind cover in front of his team and was hit by friendly fire.

Platoon – Is a group of men that comprise of two sections of about 6 soldiers. They are headed by the platoon Sergeant and Lieutenant.

Platoon Leader Recon- when the LT, Senior, and a radio guy move forward to observe the objective while leaving the main body behind . This is done to prevent too much noise from excessive movement.

Point Man The man that is at the front of your formation, this is typically a sniper.

POW- prisoner of war.

Prone -  The most stable firing position and the safest during a firefight. Just lay down.

precision fire – Shooting carefully to aim and actually hit the target instead of just spraying lead.

QRF  (Quick Reaction Force) – Modern day minutemen. You can also think of them as emergency responders during war.

Rally Points - Predesignated location for your men to fall back to. This would be used as a gathering point after a raid, breaking contact, or that one member that gets separated from the group. Can also be used as check points along the route of travel to ensure you are on course.

Ranger File – Think ducks in a row.  Walking in a single file line. This is used in areas with thick under brush.

Reaction to contact – Reacting to enemy shooting at you. Depending on the situation, you will react a certain way.

RPK – Russian version of a squad automatic weapon, typically carried by their machine gunners.

Sector of Fire- The area in which you are responsible for and have free range of engagement.

Sig acts – Significant activities within the last 24 hours.  Firefights, enemy activity, etc.

SLLS  -  Pronounced Seals, stands for Stop, Look, Listen, Smell. Basically just be observant, you might just find something.

Sniper- an enemy sharp shooter that uses concealment to hide their position while delivering procession fire on enemy.

Stationary Guards –  Guards that sit in one location observing their sector of fire.

Stockholm's Syndrome-  A state of mind prisoners can develop in which they sympathize with their kidnapper and no longer try to escape.

Suppressive Fire- one round a sec. This is designed to keep the enemy’s head down while your other section advances onto their position.

S vest -  Suicide vest. A vest that is rigged with explosives, designed to be worn by individuals willing to blow themselves and others up .

TC -  Truck or Track Commander

Thermal Sighting Imagery –  Optic system used to see day or night based upon your body’s heat. Does not work through glass or any kind of obstruction. Also faulty in the desert at high noon as everything is hot.

Triage – This is where you assess the wounded in mass amounts so that you know who to treat first that have a better chance of living.

Train to Failure –  Train as if everything is failing you. Radios die, weapons jam, no support, medic is dead, etc.

Victim Detonated Basically a booby trap that is detonated by the victim themselves be it via trip wire, thermal imagery, pressure plate, etc.

VIP -  Very Important Person

Wedge Formation -  Formation used when in the open. Designed to look like a wedge. Gives you more of a chance of surviving a sniper ambush.

Side note: When you get into contact with the enemy just yell out your commands. The enemy knows you’re there anyways. Be sure that the command is repeated back to you by the rest of the group. This is to ensure they understood the order and to give anyone that didn’t hear it a second chance at hearing the order. Furthermore, dig deep, grab your balls and sound off. Use your man voice. When all hell is breaking out around you and guys are dying, no one is going to hear or listen to you if you sound like freaking Mickey Mouse. 

Arthur

Arthur has always had a serious passion for shooting and living off of the land. He started his career working with law enforcement and has been an army recon soldier for over a decade. Arthur has dedicated his life to saving others from hardships and war. Most of his free time is spent outdoors training. With the core belief that the only answer to surviving mass devastation is by being prepared & working together. His goal is to teach that concept to as many as possible.

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