Range cards are a useful visual aide to help with rapid target indication. They should be produced when a position is occupied even for a shirt period of time. In order to complete a range card, you should have a good understanding of judging distances and the indication of targets.
For this lesson, you can print out a blank range card template to help you work through the example. There a few interactive panoramas used in this lesson, they don’t appear to work on mobile devices, only desktop or laptop browsers. I will try and resolve this.
Simple Range Card
A simple range card can be drawn quickly when occupying a space for a short period of time. Using a laminated template, identifying a few features and recording them as reference points along with an estimated range to each one will make issuing and responding to fire control orders much more efficient. A range card would be completed for each static point there is, for example a sentry position during a section battle drills preparation phase, or in an FRV.
To complete a range card, you will need to gather some information:
- Record details of who and when the card was made out, as well as the method used to estimate the distances.
- A description of the point the card was made out from. A range card can only be used from the location it was made out from, otherwise the perspective and ranges will be different.
- Pick an easily identified point to the front, and mark that up as a setting ray. This is used to orientate the card.
- Select a few reference points that can be recorded on the range card. Known or likely enemy positions, the corner of a tree line, gaps or gates in hedges, and buildings or other immovable objects. Mark them, including the estimated range, on the card, and draw a line from the origin to the point. Include a short description of the item to aide identification.
Farmhouse Scene Example
Above is a panorama of a typical rural scene. There is a farm to the left, there are hedgerows, electricity pylons, and trees. This was taken from our sentry position in a small clump of trees looking south, overlooking the open ground approaching the farm. You have been tasked with drawing up a range card for this position. Let’s go through the process. It would help if you can print out a blank range card template to complete as you work through.
Step 1: Complete the basic details and select suitable ranges for the range rings.
Step 2: Select a major feature to be our setting ray. Have a look at the interactive image below and see what you can find around the middle of the image to be our setting ray. Don’t worry about getting a range to this. This is an interactive image, you should be able to scroll left and right, as well as zoom in and out.
What did you choose? The pylons look very visible, and there is one in the distance behind the forest that sticks out for me and it is close to the centre of my view. It’s probably not going to be used as reference point, so I’m going to add it as my setting ray.
Step 3: Selecting and recording objects. We now want to populate our range card with features and ranges. The easiest way to do this is to hold up our car, orientated with the setting ray aligned, and then place each identified point. You will now need to include ranges. To help, there is an aerial image with range rings overlaid onto it. Our sentry position is marked and this is where the photographs was taken. Using the interactive panorama and aerial image, you should be able to find and plot your features with a description and range.
Use the panorama and aerial photograph to complete your range card
This is an interactive panorama image, you should be able to scroll left and right, as well as zoom in and out.
Check your solutions
I hope you have selected some easy to see reference points and were able to work out their ranges from the aerial map? Let’s have a look at what I chose, and compare them to what you got. This is an interactive image, you should be able to scroll left and right, as well as zoom in and out. Tapping the markers on the image will bring up information about each one.
Detailed Range Card (Type A)
There may be times where a more detailed range card is required, normally when a position is occupied for longer periods of time. This type of range card takes in a full 360 degrees surrounding a position, and is drawn with much greater detail. As well as being used to issue or respond to fire control orders, a detailed range card can be used for noting observations or recording activity throughout your area of responsibility.
In the same way we completed our simple range card, we plot major features or reference points. With more time to spend compiling the card, and with the use of binoculars or a map, we can increase the accuracy of our range estimations to 50m, keeping the 100m range intervals on the card. We can also use a compass to take bearings of the reference points for greater accuracy when plotting them.
Detailed Range Card (Type B)
The second type of range card adds more detail, ranges, bearings and descriptions. If you are familiar with route cards, you will be recognise this layout, but this form takes more time to complete, and would only be completed for positions that are occupied for longer periods, such as a sangar position in a patrol base. They can also be used to call in more accurate fire from neighbouring units, and can often have the elevation of each reference point also recorded.
As well as reference points to aid fire control, it may be important to highlight features on the ground that may help or hinder friendly and enemy forces. Some of these could be:
- Bearings to reference points as well as ranges
- Obstacles or routes in / out
- Neighbouring friendly forces and ranges to them
- Dead ground (ground that dips away that we can’t see into)