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Modern Close Quarter Battle

by Prof Dr. D Rao & Dr. S Rao,
Guest Trainers in Modern CQB for the Indian Forces

Today’s Security Scenario

In today’s era, Terrorism is the biggest threat to mankind. Today most countries world over face the threat of terrorism.

In Counter Terror Ops (CT encounters) the terrorists are within sighting distance of the security forces. Such an engagement is called CQB – Close Quarter Battle (Close Combat). CQB also refers to Commando ops, Urban ops, Special ops, Anti hijack situations & Room combat. In today’s urban terror scenario, terror encounters involve concrete structures, hostages, interspersed civilians & use of sophisticated weapons & gadgetry at close quarters.

There is a need to modify conventional World War II British methodology to suit current day needs. Small teams which can respond quickly (QRT), using newer CQB techniques rather than use tactics of conventional long distance warfare. Large numbers of forces cannot function effectively in small urban built up areas. The forces need to leave behind outdated World War II methodology & explore newer unconventional out of the box methods in order to win the war against terror.

CQB Termination Methods

The modern CQB Tactics & Skills are unconventionally designed applications for various Special Operations, Commando Operations & Counter Terrorism Operations. The CQB component of modern CT & Special op training is composed of the following skills:

  • H2H (Hand to Hand) where one is without weapons of any kind and is pitted against the enemy in an unarmed battle i.e hand to hand.
  • H2W (Hand to Weapon) where one is forced to fight barehanded against an enemy who is armed with an edged weapon, assault rifle or handgun.
  • W2H (Weapon to Hand) is a scenario where one is in possession of a weapon; edged or projectile while the opponent is empty handed or unarmed. Eg. Sentry Termination
  • W2W (Weapon to Weapon) is a situation where both the fighting soldiers are armed and in extremely close range. For eg. Bayonet fighting.

Reflex Fire

In today’s environment of Low Intensity conflict, shooting at Close Quarters namely at 30 m is very different from shooting at 150-300 m. The newer Reflex shooting drills have shown to bring down reaction time and are now used in many training establishments in CI Ops. The Reflex shooting drills must bring down reaction time and are now used in many training establishments in CI Ops. The Rao System of Reflex Fire is simple, requiring a different initial position of the rifle with a different method of aiming, without compromising on the basic shooting method.

QRT fire involving coordinated fire by squads and teams is needed.

QRT (Quick Response Team) Protocols & Functions

Small Team or QRT Tactics is the methodology of organization and function of small teams in specialized function for CQB Ops. The QRT protocols are meant to help organizing small teams for CQB operations. The newer QRT training must include formations, protocols of function, movement, zone of fire and tactics of attack, defense and storming for use in various small team ops.

Urban Ops & Room Intervention

The Urban Close Combat scenario is at very close range and makes movement and target negotiation extremely difficult. The weapons and resources of room combat are outlined. The principles of newer CQB room combat are different from conventional room clearing methods. Door Entry (closed/open) drills are detailed. Protocols of movement, cover fire and communication are to be covered. Single and Multiple room intervention as well as staircase and corridor entry & Anti-Ricochet protocols for shooting in concrete urban areas are required.

Close Combat Tactical Exercises

CQB Exercises based upon real operations from military history, can be used to train small teams to perform effectively in CQB.

Paramedic Aid for Close Combat Injuries

Emergency Paramedic Aid for management of close combat injuries. Many times professional medical aid is far off and timely action by a trained paramedic soldier can help in saving life.

Ten Commandments of Close Quarter Combat

  1. Understand that superior Age, Height, Weight, Aggression level neutralize years of skill
  2. It’s better to practise a few techniques a hundred times rather than practice a hundred techniques few times.
  3. Fight each opponent differently to your best advantage & to his disadvantage
  4. Attack first, Attack fast, Attack hard & Force opponent to defense
  5. Attack at a Range which offers you advantage depending upon his stature & skill
  6. Attack at the best Angle possible or attained
  7. Attack at a Level uncomfortable to the opponent depending upon his height
  8. Attack in a State which the opponent cannot harness
  9. Keep varying the types of Attack
  10. Train realistically with protective gear & full contact to simulate Battle. Train for Precision, Speed & Power in that order.

Ten Commandments of Close Quarter Battle Ops

  1. Dont send large number of troops to do the job of a small team.
  2. Use small teams as force multipliers by adding superior firepower and resource. Carry short range weapons for room intervention.
  3. Command & Control should always be local, in the hands of the Team leader and never with the Higher HQs, in order to make quick and bold decisions on the spot after direct assessment.
  4. Act with stealth and surprise, dont lose this greatest advantage.
  5. Take responsibility of your own zone of function and depend upon your buddies to take responsibility for theirs.
  6. Shoot first, shoot fast and shoot on any part of the target. Do not empty your magazine with mindless burst fire. Always reload under cover or under buddy coverfire.
  7. Try to avoid collateral damage. Remember to consider ricochets.
  8. Expect a small percentage of hostage and civilian casualty
  9. The Op is always more important than the comfort or wellbeing of your self or your buddies. Cater to injury management only after the operation.
  10. Dont change the Team members. Train with the Team, Play with the Team and Fight battles with the Team.

The above commandments can be applied to any operation, say like the Taj Mumbai Terror Attack, to study the conduct & efficacy of the operation.


Today the armed forces all over the world are mostly involved in a different kind of war: battle at close quarters. All battle at 30 meter range, where you can see the enemy and where there is no time to think, where victory and defeat are separated by a fraction of a second in terms of reaction time constitutes CQB: Close Quarter Battle or Close Combat Ops. The CQB techniques and tactics need to be unconventional and based on the efficiency principle – A good technique must be simple, direct and effective. The tactics bring realism into training, they are to be practiced repeatedly till they become second nature and part of the soldier’s human survival reflex.

Prof. Dr. D Rao & Dr. S Rao have trained about 15,000 soldiers & policemen from Indian forces in modern Close Quarter Battle & Reflex shooting under invitation of various Force Chiefs & DG’s, for last 17 years without compensation, as a Selfless service to the Nation.