The other day I was watching Fear the Walking Dead. That show did not particularly grip me but I was bored so I watched a few episodes. Of course after various bad things the characters kept getting scattered and not having a good plan. This brings us to Rally Points.
3-5. RALLY POINTS
The leader considers the use and locations of rally points. A rally point is a place designated by the leader where the platoon moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed.
a. Selection of Rally Points. The leader physically reconnoiters routes to select rally points whenever possible. He selects tentative points if he can only conduct a map reconnaissance. He confirms them by actual inspection as the platoon moves through them. Rally points must–
▪ Be easy to find.
▪ Have cover and concealment.
▪ Be away from natural lines of drift.
▪ Be defendable for short periods.
b. Types of Rally Points. The most common types of rally points are initial, en route, objective, reentry, and near- and far-side rally points. Soldiers must know which rally point to move to at each phase of the patrol mission. They should know what actions are required there and how long they are to wait at each rally point before moving to another.
(1) Initial rally point. An initial rally point is a place inside of friendly lines where a unit may assemble and reorganize if it makes enemy contact during the departure of friendly lines or before reaching the first en route rally point. It is normally selected by the commander of the friendly unit.
(2) En route rally point. The leader designates enroute rally points every 100 to 400 meters (based on the terrain, vegetation, and visibility). When the leader designates a new en route rally point, the previously designated one goes into effect. This precludes uncertainty over which one soldiers should move to if contact is made immediately after the leader designates a new rally point. There are three ways to designate a rally point:
(a) Physically occupy them for a short period. This is the preferred method.
(b) Pass by at a distance and designate using arm-and-hand signals.
(c) Walk through and designate using arm-and-hand signals.
(3) Objective rally point. The objective rally point (ORP) is a point out of sight, sound, and small-arms range of the objective area. It is normally located in the direction that the platoon plans to move after completing its actions on the objective. The ORP is tentative until the objective is pinpointed. (Figure 3-2.) Actions at or from the ORP include–
▪ Reconnoitering the objective.
▪ Issuing a FRAGO.
▪ Disseminating information from reconnaissance if contact was not made.
▪ Making final preparations before continuing operations; for example, recamouflaging: preparing demolitions; lining up rucksacks for quick recovery; preparing EPW bindings, first aid kits, and litters; and inspecting weapons.
▪ Accounting for soldiers and equipment after actions at the objective are complete.
▪ Reestablishing the chain of command after actions at the objective are complete.
(a) Occupation of an ORP by a squad. In planning the occupation of an ORP, the squad leader considers the following sequence:
▪ Halt beyond sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of the tentative ORP (200 to 400 meters in good visibility; 100 to 200 meters in limited visibility).
▪ Position security.
▪ Move forward with a compass man and one member of each fire team to confirm the location of the ORP and determine its suitability. Issue a five-point contingency plan before departure.
▪ Position the Team A soldier at 12 o’clock, and the Team B soldier at 6 o’clock in the ORF. Issue them a contingency plan and return with the compass man.
▪ Lead the squad into the ORP, position Team A from 9 to 3 o’clock and Team B from 3 to 9 o’clock.
NOTE: The squad may also occupy the ORP by force. This requires more precise navigation, but eliminates separating the squad.
(c) Occupation of an ORP by a platoon. The platoon leader should consider the same sequence in planning the occupation of an ORP. He brings a soldier from each squad on his reconnaissance of the ORP and positions them at the 10, 2, and 6 o’clock positions. The first squad in the order of march establishes the base leg (10 to 2 o’clock). The trailing squads occupy from 2 to 6 o’clock and 6 to 10 o’clock, respectively.
(4) Reentry rally point. The reentry rally point is located out of sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of the friendly unit through which the platoon will return. This also means that the RRP should be outside the final protective fires of the friendly unit. The platoon occupies the RRP as a security perimeter.
(5) Near-and far-side rally points. These rally points are on the near and far side of danger areas. If the platoon makes contact while crossing the danger area and control is lost, soldiers on either side move to the rally point nearest them. They establish security, reestablish the chain of command, determine their personnel and equipment status, and continue the patrol mission, link up at the ORP, or complete their last instructions.
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Simply put a rally point is a place your group plans to meet if they become scattered.
Rally points need to be readily identifiable. Saying 400M west won’t work. Have a scattered confused half asleep people try to do that and they will all end up in different spots. On the other hand an identifiable feature such as ‘the abandoned car by the blackberry patch’ is much more doable.
It is important to consider the circumstances which would lead you to using a rally point. Here are two considerations.
1- A rally point needs to be out of the immediate affected area of the thing that is causing you to leave. For a house fire it might be 50 yards. In violent situations a rally point out of the immediate area (say sight/sound and rifle fire) is appropriate. This distance varies by the terrain. In a city it might be a couple blocks, in dense woods it might be a couple hundred yards. In the plains or desert it might be much further. If you are worried about a problem at the nuclear power plant it might be 10 miles. The point is that you want to reorganize and reconsolidate outside of the immediate threat of the event.
2- Does it matter if people can see you? If you aren’t worried about people seeing you (house fire, concert, etc) then it doesn’t matter. On the other hand if you are worried about being arrested or attacked then you need a more discrete rally point.
In a benign but still important civilian context this could be where you meet in a fire plan.
For the sake of this discussion we will make up a family named the Smiths. They are survivalists. The family is made up of the parents and two children who are 8 and 10. Old enough to generally follow basic guidance if it has been practiced but you wouldn’t want them traveling distances alone.
The Smith family has a few rally points for different situations.
Fire- The big oak tree in the front yard.
The oak tree worked great for a fire but fails the common sense test for danger because they want to escape whatever the danger was. While outside the scope of this article they need a plan.
Attack- Two rally points. Water and fire. Water is an old broken down pump shack 300 yards away in the woods roughly east of their house. Fire is a small old fire circle some kids used to use in a little depression a couple hundred yards generally west.
Both of these have an alternate point that leads in the direction of their planned route of evasion. That is outside of the scope of this post and recommend looking at John Mosbys posts on escape and evasion.
With these rally points the family needs a plan.
Maybe the plan is for Dad engages the threat at a high rate of fire, ideally with a large capacity weapon like a 75 dr drum for his AK. Once Dad ‘has their heads down’ Mom (with a light pack and her rifle) moves out the side door with the kids, makes for the treeline then heads to the old pump house 300 yards away on the back corner of the property.
The plan is for Dad to give them a minute to get free then he follows. Dad moved in a different direction and takes a halt at the top of a crest with a big log there and waits a few minutes to see if he is being followed. If it seems quiet Dad moves to the rally point to link up with the rest of the family.
Moms plan is to wait for 15 minutes or until she hears a continuation of gunfire (after the presumed break when Dad bolts from the house) and then move to an alternate location further away.
For patrol base/ camp or I would think a home having 2 rally points in opposite directions is the common practice. If the attackers are to the east you would go to the western one and visa versa. Of course in the real world they won’t be exactly 180 degrees apart but they should be in generally opposite directions.
It would be prudent for the family to cache some supplies at these rally points. Common sense tells us if they have to flee for their lives at 3 am they won’t be idling along with 100lb ruck sacks. A small (certainly sub 40 lb) backpack could be doable but that might not even happen. Say they stash a little bit of water and food, some medical stuff for trauma or boo boos and some loaded mags for their rifles. 2x 5 gallon buckets should do.
Lastly they have a plan for if they are separated and there is a disaster at the Nuclear base, reactor, spill on the train tracks. The plan is for Dad to get the kids since his work is closer to their school. Mom will probably be home so she will grab as much stuff from the list as she can and head out. After accomplishing their tasks they will leave separately without waiting. They will meet at the Denny’s in a town 20 miles away.
When they travel they want a plan should something happen. Remembering different points is complicated and mundane for a road trip. They have a floating plan (which would really only work in a city type environment) so should they become separated they will meet at the nearest McDonalds. If the McDonalds closes they will go to the nearest Greyhound station. The goal here is places every decent sized town has which are fairly safe and where it is not unusual for a person to wait for some time.
I may write about this more but my intent is to give you some ideas.