Abermule Scout Group in Montgomeryshire

   Scouts, Cubs and Beavers for boys and girls aged 6 to 14


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Operation Commando

Saturday 26th September 2015

The annual navigation and evasion event for Scouts and Explorer Scouts in Montgomeryshire.

This year in the Hafren Forest, Montgomeryshire Scout Area



Location: Rhyd-y-Benwch car park and picnic site, Hafren Forest. Approx 7 miles eastwards along the minor road from Llanidloes (via Old Hall), Powys. (Drive into the town centre and turn off by the old black and white timbered market hall.)  OS grid reference: SN 857 869

Start time: 9.30-10am. There will be a staggered start so that teams do not set out together.
All participants must register themselves in the tent at the start and all must log out at the end of the event before leaving the forest. This applies to ALL involved – whatever part you are playing on the day.

After registering, each team will have a kit check followed by a briefing about the day. Only then can they set out on their mission.
Maps: All maps will be provided to the participants on the day (two per commando team)

Finish: The event is expected to conclude by 5-5.30pm. It is appreciated that some teams may finish earlier and they may choose to leave before 5pm – but only after
logging out at the end base.

COMMANDO TEAMS = Scouts or Explorer Scouts
Teams must consist of 4-6 Scouts or Explorer Scouts. Teams must not join or move together.
If, due to illness or injury, numbers fall to below 4 persons the team will be amalgamated with other teams so that they may continue.

CATCHER TEAMS = Explorer Scouts and Scout Network
These consist of Explorer Scouts who hunt the Commando Teams all day. Most catchers have been part of Commando Teams in previous years. The teams of catchers operate under the guidance of designated adult leaders and are moved by car to different locations throughout the day.

Explorer Scout catchers should operate on foot and not be driving themselves or mountain biking.

ENEMY AGENTS / CATCHERS can be identified by yellow markers on their vehicles and they will be wearing yellow head or arm bands.

FRIENDLY FORCES can be identified by blue markers on their vehicles and they will be wearing blue head or arm bands.

Commando Teams: The object of the exercise is for the commando teams to get to all the bases in order whilst avoiding being caught by ‘enemy agents’. The ‘agents’ will be patrolling most of the area, but there will be some ‘safe areas’ defined on the map. All teams must go through ALL checkpoints in the correct order.

Catcher teams’ (usually 2-4 members) task: to catch up with the teams and to then be given a token by the team they have ‘caught’. NEW for 2014: each catcher team is in competition with other catcher teams to capture a token from each of the commando teams.

New for 2014: at the request of Explorer Scouts after last year’s event, this year there will be an added level of competition. Each commando team will carry unique tokens and each catcher team will be tasked to collect one token from each of the commando teams. This will mean that for the first time the catcher teams will be competing with each other to collect tokens.


The use of camouflage clothing and face paint is welcomed as this fits well with the theme of the day - to navigate through forest whilst evading the catcher teams.

All teams will be given the same maps and information with regard to the locations of the checkpoints that they must visit and in what order. What route each team takes to get the checkpoints is up to them, this is what makes Operation Commando so challenging.

Commando team tactics for the event: • Either use forest roads and get caught frequently (not recommended!); or • Stay ‘undercover’ to avoid the catchers between the checkpoints. Use available cover and natural features and minimise the number of times the team gets caught. (N.B. There is a 100m radius safe zone around each of the checkpoints.)
There will be more than one ‘winner’: - The commando team that is caught the fewest times will be the ‘stealth winner’. (All teams will be issued with a bag of tokens, and must hand one over each time the team is caught.) - The team that returns to base zero after visiting all bases in order will be the ‘speed winner’.

1 A team is caught (and must hand over a token) if any member of the team is touched by one of the catchers. All catchers wear a yellow head or arm band. All enemy vehicles display yellow markers. (Rules will be fully explained at team briefings given at the start.)
2 All ‘Commandos’ MUST wear their troop scarf visible on their person at all times.
3 There are three ways to ‘win’: 1. Enjoy yourself. 2. Be the team caught the least. 3. Be the quickest to visit all the bases and return.
4 You cannot be caught within approximately 100 metres of a checkpoint.
5 The area around a ‘Friendly Forces’ vehicle (marked blue) is to be considered a safe zone – no catching allowed within this area.

1 If one of your party is injured, do not leave them alone. At least one person should stay with them whilst a minimum of two others go to a base or the nearest track to find help. Make sure you know where you are on the map! If the casualty is in the forest, leave an easily seen maker on the nearest road – to identify access to the casualty.
2 The “Blue” marked vehicles and people are there to help you, and you cannot be caught whilst near them.
3 If a Catchers’/Enemy Agents’ vehicle is showing blue markers, it has changed sides and is there to help you.
4 If you get totally lost, find a forest road and walk along it. If it comes to a dead end then turn around and go the other way – DO NOT wander off into the forest again. If you come to a junction with a main tarmac road – stop there.
5 If you hear 6 long blasts on a whistle, repeated after a pause, this is the International Rescue Signal and somebody needs help from you. Your reply to them is three long blasts.

If a team has not finished the course by 4.30pm they MUST report to the nearest checkpoint.
(All teams must have reported to the nearest checkpoint by 4.45pm at the very latest.)


(N.B. it will be wet and streams and bogs will need to be crossed)
Outdoor clothing (remember you don’t want to be seen, so bright pink is not a good colour!
Camouflage clothing and face paint is good). NO jeans to be worn as they are cold when wet.
Walking Boots (it will be wet even if good weather!)
No uniform, except Scarves – which must be worn as additional I.D.
Spare Clothing (incl. socks!).
Waterproofs (jacket & trousers)
Packed Lunch, including plenty to drink.
Emergency Rations (not intended to be eaten)
Whistle (for emergency use only)
Scout Emergency Card (or home-made version), & pencil (in plastic bag)

2 Silva type Compasses
First Aid Kit
3 Torches (plus spare batteries)
Toilet Roll
2 Bivvy Bags
KIT LOAD must not exceed one-quarter of the person’s weight. A kit inspection will take place at the start. Any team not meeting the above requirements will not be allowed to take part.

Please do not bring walkie talkies; this is because their use will interfere leaders’ communications and make the event more difficult to organise.
Mobile phones are also not required and should be left with your leader before setting out into the forest.

The cost of entry is 4 per Scout or Explorer Scout.
This is to cover the expenses of marshalling / safety, maps, bases, refreshments, etc. This fee must be paid by your leader on the day and any team failing to pay will not be allowed to compete. The fee applies to all Scouts and Explorer Scouts, whether they are team members or catchers.


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Address: Abermule Community Centre         Email:enquiries@abermulescoutgroup.org.uk