Is it legal to declare a C&S operation on an empty or irrelevant target hex simply to place the active units in advantageous positions to conduct Patrol operations?
For example, surrounding several Ops Complete VC units with Patrolling units before you launch an S&D Op on them.
Mark and I often begin our operations with "Target Hex Hanoi" or "Target Hex Saigon"…
Then do as we wish with the operating units to position them as we like.
The Operation ends immediately when no combat is possible.
And the Clear and Secure Operation allows operating units to be placed on Hold or Patrol "at the end of any operation that does not find them in a target hex".
Go for it. Its brilliant.
Remember, of course, that enemy units get reaction movement if you get adjacent to them. So best go on Patrol with one hex in between to form your patrol net.