S.A.S. The Jungle Experts

    The British Special Air Service (S.A.S.) still trains all aspiring operators in jungle skills, with its selection and training program devoting a third of their time to such conditions. The S.A.S. was born out of desert warfare and operations of World War II, but the modern S.A.S. was made a stable organization out of the jungle operations preformed in Malaya and Borneo. With those two jungle conflicts, the S.A.S became some of the most feared jungle fighters to roam the planet, this still remains true today. The S.A.S. were so successful at these types of operations because they mastered the basics. They had a set of rules they trained and operated by, much like Rogers Rangers of the French and Indian War had his Standing Orders or Rules of Discipline, which were essentially patrolling and tracking tips. The S.A.S. in Malaya and Borneo had their rules for ‘Lead Scouts and Jungle Troopers' which run to thirty points and mention the skills that were required at a minimum to successfully operate in a hostile environment like the jungle; finding (tracking) and fighting insurgents. As you can see below these skills are straightforward and apply still today, the rules are still taught and used by the S.A.S and other prominent organizations within the special operations community. For more in-depth explanation of the rules that apply to tracking read Bob Carss book; The S.A.S. Guide to Tracking.

SAS operating in jungle water ways with Klepper Kayaks in Borneo.




Rules For The Jungle Operator


1.      Do not ‘sign post’ your routes. Laid down tactics will determine whether all camp rubbish is to be buried or carried out.

2.      Keep yourself fit, your weapon clean and your equipment ready at all times.

3.      Always move with stealth and never at such a speed that your presence in the area is telegraphed ahead of your visible distance.

4.      Your life and the lives of others often depends on the intelligence and ‘info’ that you gain and pass on. State clearly whether your information is fact, deduction, as­sumption or an intelligent guess. Never lie or knowingly pass on false information.

5.      Physical fitness is a personal responsibility, but even a fit and alert Scout can get tired. Never ‘bash on’ when you are so tired that you find your concentration and alertness slipping.

6.      Never look at the ground while moving forwards.

7.      When faced with thick undergrowth, if possible go around. If you have to go through, weave your way under or over. Never cut or allow your pack or body to get caught up in the branches or vines and so cause sounds and movement at the tops of young trees.

8.      Remember that the sound made by the rattle from poorly packed equipment, unnecessary talking above a whisper, a cough or a broken stick, will travel outwards in all directions. Don’t alert and warn an enemy in the area of your presence and approach, thus giving him time to come into the aim before you could possibly spot his movement.

9.      When acting as a Lead Scout for a patrol, ensure that your cover man is always a tactical distance away from you.

10.  Never forget your own ‘sign’ leaving tendency; ground sign, top sign, and the phantom twig snapper. If necessary detail tail end Charlie to brush over and camouflage your tracks. Always consider the possibility of using deception tactics.

11.  Always vary your route and timings, out and back from all patrols; unless you want to be ambushed.

12.  Patrol with, visit with, eat with, sit with and sleep with your weapon at all times. Never let it out of your sight or further than arm’s length away from you.

13.  ‘Belt order’ will contain your survival equipment, together with other laid down items. Wear your belt order at all times and have it at arm’s length whilst asleep.

14.  Always remember that as the Lead Scout, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not lead your patrol into the killing zone of an enemy ambush. Make use of the ‘listening halts’. Develop all your senses to a high pitch and if ever you become suspicious of the area ahead, stop the patrol and have a ‘listening halt’ or go forward and check it out with your cover man. Look through not at the vegeta­tion and undergrowth to the second or third layer.

15.  Observe and become familiar with the natural, sights and smells of the insect world, the animal kingdom, the bird life and all forms of vegetation in your area of operations. Be alert to any sign, which indicates man’s presence in the area.

16.  Once on patrol ‘switch on’ and stay ‘switched on’ for the complete duration of the patrol. Move with stealth and with every man spaced out at the correct tactical distance; cross all obstacles tactically and ensure that all halts; the smoke halt; the meal halt; the water halt; the listening halt; the radio comms halt; the navigational check halt and the overnight bivouac halt are carried out in a tactical manner.

17.  Ensure that you are familiar and well practiced in all RV (rendezvous) drills and procedures.

18.  Approximately one hundred yards before stopping for a meal halt, leave a drop-off man to check rear. This could be the second Scout. Before commencing the meal halt, check up to a hundred yards outwards and forwards of area to ensure you are not beside an enemy location. This would be the Lead Scout’s job. Front, rear and all round security must always be maintained both while on the move and during all halts.

19.  Well-disciplined and immediate reactions on contact with, or on coming under fire from the enemy, can often result in a routed foe.

20.  Always be aware of the patrols mission, be familiar and well practiced in all contact drills. On occasions it may be necessary to avoid contact and let the enemy go by, then reporting his presence and activities rather than getting involved in a ‘fire fight’.

21.  On all suspicious sights, sounds and smells, react as the wild animal does and remain perfectly still. If an enemy appears and moves across your front, there is a very good chance that he will not see you. If the enemy appears to be walking towards you, slowly and silently go down on one knee, at the same time bring your weapon into the shoul­der aimed at the approaching sound, or carry out Im­mediate Action drills.

22.  Always make positive identification before shooting.

23.  If possible, always let the first members of an enemy patrol pass you by, then shoot the third or fourth man. Here again, laid down drills will dictate which member of your patrol will spring the ambush. Remember that in the heat of battle, particularly with today’s automatic weapons, the tendency is to fire high, often missing the target altogether. AIM LOW AND SHOOT TO KILL.

24.  When operating with an SAS patrol, after the evening meal move on until just before dark, then carry out the ‘Basha up’ drill (the overnight stop). Always ensure that you are packed and ready to move before first light. Make a final check of the area on first light, then move off to the breakfast halt.

25.  When camping, selection of the site will be in such a place that a surprise night attack would be impossible. Use hammocks for camps on near vertical slopes or crawl into the center of thick, noise-making vegetation. No lights, no noise, no cooking and all unused equipment to be replaced in bergens.

26.  Again when operating as an information gathering patrol, avoid all contact with the enemy. The deeper you get into his secure areas the more relaxed he becomes and so the easier for you to observe and gain intelligence of his movements and activities. Do not leave tracks or signs to tell him that you are in his area. Do not use tracks or trails loop them.

27.  You will be required to make decisions, which will influence the lives of other people. Learn quickly to make the correct decision and do not be afraid to express your views. Do not let yourself be talked out of your beliefs.

28.  Learn all you can of the enemy in your area. His habits, tactics, customs and practices. Always keep an open mind to new learning and never become so over-confident that you think that you know it all, as often different areas and enemy personnel will present completely different sets of tactics and drills.

29.  Make use of all up-to-date intelligence information and briefings. In particular the ‘Going Maps’ i.e. tracks, maps, both animal and human, wild fruit trees and vegetable growing areas, the good fishing and game trapping areas, old enemy camp sites, ambush positions, track sitings and known courier routes.

30.  It has happened, that an enemy has ambushed and killed twice in the same location using the same tactics. Don’t let this happen to you. Read and take note of all ‘Contact Reports’ and ‘Lessons Learned’ reports.


The maxim for the modern S.A.S. soldier is:


Once on patrol;

Switch on

Stay switched on.


There is always someone ready

To switch you off



NOTE: This article is written by T.A.L. DOZER and additional information from Bob Carss book; The SAS Guide to Tracking.


***NOTE*** This originally written by me for the website OVERLORD. The original work can be view their as well as other information on special operations related topics. Also for further information on the British Special Air Service (SAS), check Huub's site on the world famous Hereford boys. It is the premier SAS on the web a must view!