Frontline Intelligence: A Lesson Learned from 1945

I have this really bad habit of buying old intelligence manuals. I guess you’d call me a “collector.”

This evening, I flipped open one called Frontline Intelligence, published in 1946, that had some lessons learned for new Army S2s — in other words, intelligence officers.

One anecdote told the story of an S2 in Europe who often collected spot reports about enemy infantry formations, as reported by friendly Army units.

I can imagine this S2 meticulously reading those spot reports and plotting enemy units on a situational template on his map to keep his commander informed of enemy movements.

The only problem was that those reports of “enemy formations” often turned out to be U.S. patrols, incorrectly reported as enemy formations.

So you can imagine how quickly inaccurate his enemy situation template became.

I bring this up because everything in conflict goes back to training. It was a failure on the S2’s part to assume that every spot report was accurate, and a failure on the reporter’s part to provide wholly accurate information. Better training could have prevented both these failures.

I presume most of you reading this want to improve your intelligence skills. While I do offer paid subscription training, I want to make sure that you’re using the most of the free training available.

I run a YouTube channel called Forward Observer TV with hours of free content. Here’s my most recent video, which is on how to do Area Studies: Why You Need to Do An Area Study… AND HOW TO DO ONE

I also have a free podcast called Forward Observer Dispatch. You can find episodes on any major podcast platform, but also at Forward Observer Radio.

And on that topic, I’m bringing back my old show, Out Front w/ Samuel Culper. I’m not sure which night yet, but I’ll be doing a weekly video livestream with my thoughts on current events, interviews, audience Q&A (maybe some live call-ins), and a segment with me discussing an important SHTF Intelligence topic. I’ll be getting started in the next couple weeks.

If you have a burning question or topic you’d like me to talk about, please comment on this post. I want to hear what I can teach or how I can help fill in the gaps of your knowledge. I’ll make a list and then start answering those questions on future podcasts and videos.

I hope you make the most of what I offer for free. The only thing I ask in return is that you use the information I provide to increase your situational awareness and improve your security.

Things in this country are going to get more complex from here, and I encourage everyone to stay on your toes and keep your head on a swivel.

Until next time, be well and stay out front.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper


P.S. – If you want future posts by email, sign up for the FO Dispatch email list. No spam. No fluff. Just actionable intelligence from yours truly.

Samuel Culper is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. Iraq(x1)/Afghanistan(x2). He now studies intelligence and warfare.

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