You are on page 1of 134



What is a sniper, what are his tasks?

By David Reed

A sniper is an expert rifleman trained in the techniques of the individual soldier and assigned the
mission of sniping. A sniper needs many skills. He must be physically and mentally hard, a crack
shot, and must be able to --

 Estimate ranges.
 Search areas.
 Locate and identify sounds.
 Use cover, concealment, and camouflage.
 Use maps, sketches, aerial photos, and the compass.
 Recognize enemy personnel quickly.
 Move without detection.
 Endure long periods of waiting.

Your Mission as a Sniper

Your mission as a sniper is to shoot key enemy personnel -- leaders, gunners of crew served or
automatic weapons, communications specialists and radio operators, observers, and enemy
snipers. In the absence of these priority targets, fire on any targets of opportunity. You must also
collect information for your intelligence officer.

Employment of Snipers

Plans must be made to properly locate sniper teams. Other troops in the area must avoid these
areas. The use of snipers must be incorporated into the tactical plans of the unit commander.

Your Equipment
You should carry only mission essential equipment. Besides your weapon, you may need
binoculars or spotting scope, watch, map, compass, and camouflage clothing.
Much has been written about sniper weapon systems. The best caliber is not necessarily the
flattest shooting, longest-range cartridge. You have limits in the amount of ammunition that you
can carry, because of space and weight considerations. Re-supply is an issue to consider. Field
reloading equipment will allow you to make your own ammunition when you need it. But
reloading has its disadvantages. It takes time, and the extra equipment is heavy. Equipment used
by sport shooters is out of the question. Such equipment is designed for use on a bench. You
must be able to load using a volume, not weight, of powder. You must use tools designed to be
portable and accurate. You must also practice until you are sure you can make reliable,
consistent ammunition. Other sources of resupply are cartridges in standard use by other weapon
systems, including the enemies own.
Every rifle has a distinctive sound. If you choose a rifle that sounds different than those used by
others in your area of operations, you will call attention to yourself. If you choose a system that
your enemy uses, you must be careful to let others in your unit know the area in which you will
be. Failure to do so could result in friendly fire, and "friendly fire" never is when you are on the
receiving end.
Your mission will dictate the equipment you carry. Most sniper teams employ rifles that are
designed for the types of missions that they will be assigned. If resupply is not an issue, and you
will not be in the area long, a .300 Winchester Magnum makes a very good choice. It is
expensive to shoot and load and heavy in bulk. .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO) is a
popular choice because the ammunition is plentiful, recoil is light, and more ammunition can be
carried. Other systems are employed in special circumstances.
A good spotting scope is essential. Yes, there are laser range finders that are very good for long
range shooting. But one must never take them for granted; good range estimation is something
you must be able to do without mechanical or optical aids.
Finally, you will need tools for the observation and scouting aspects of sniping. You should carry
the following: camera, tape recorder, pencil, and notebook for recording intelligence, a map of
the area, compass, camouflage paint, and weapon cleaning supplies.

What It Takes to Be a Good Sniper

By David Reed

Basically, it takes three things to be a good sniper, and a wicked shot is the least of them.
Discipline and cunning are the important qualities. Snipers do not (usually) roam around looking
for people to shoot. They do not shoot non-combatants, i.e. women and children, other
unarmed persons, livestock, windshields, and houses, etc. The sniper is either alone, or with
one to three other people, depending on the mission requirements. Taking shots at targets not
worth shooting only increases the risks of being discovered, captured or killed. Discipline and
patience are essential qualities to have when faced with a shoot or not to shoot decision.

Ask yourself this -- Do you have a hot temper? Do you anger quickly? Anger causes the pulse to
quicken, which we will discuss later, and may cause careless or irrational behavior, all of which
are bad. Do you like to hunt? Do you like to hunt alone? Have you ever spent an entire week
alone? No television, no phone, no friends, no family, no nothing? Have you ever gone camping
alone? In a remote area where you saw no one? How did it make you feel, what did you think
about? What did you do while you were there? How many times did you masturbate? How often
did you eat? Was there a difference in your mental state on the first day and the last? Snipers are
not necessarily "loners." In fact, someone who has problems relating to other people may not
make a good choice.

Why is all of this important? A sniper may stalk a target for days to get a shot. He may never get
it. Could you abandon the mission without shooting anything? The window of opportunity for a
shot may last only 3 seconds. If you are daydreaming, fooling around, eating, or anything else
you will not be successful. You should be studying the kill zone and waiting for your shot. This
is why a spotter or second shooter is so desirable. It is very hard on the eyes to use binoculars or
a spotting scope for more than 20 minutes at a time. You and your partner can take turns. You
can't change positions while in your hide. You must remain still at all times to avoid detection.
This sounds easy but it's not. Think of a small child who is just learning to fish. It's impossible
for them to leave their line in the water for more than a minute or two without pulling it out to
check it. If you have hunted deer you know how hard it is to hold still in a deer blind. It might be
easier if you knew that your prey would shoot you if it saw you first. But it is very easy to relax
when you think that no one can see you.

What does the word "cunning" mean to you? To a sniper it is everything, and it affects
everything he does. Cunning alone can make a sniper successful. A sniper must decide where to
position himself, how to get there, how to leave, what to take with him, how to camouflage the
hide, where to place alternate hides, and what to do if something bad happens. A sniper must be
able think an entire shoot through from beginning to end and set it up in a manner which will
produce results. Anyone who has watched enough television has seen a million wrong ways to
do this. Snipers do not shoot from rooftops, open windows, or a prominent terrain feature. These
are the places that will immediately draw attention and return fire. A rooftop can be a hard place
to escape from too, as would a climbing stand used by deer hunters.

Marksmanship is the final element. A sniper must be able to engage targets at as long a range as
is possible under any circumstance. Distance equals escape time. Surprisingly, people who have
never before fired a rifle can become excellent shots with proper training. Old habits are hard to
break, and this applies to shooting methods as well. In order to develop adequate shooting skills
an individual should be prepared to fire between 5,000 to 10,000 rounds of ammunition during
long and arduous practice sessions. A good coach is essential. If you don't know how to read shot
strings you will not know what you are doing wrong.

Special Operations Target Interdiction

Course - Memorandum of Instruction
MEMORANDUM THRU: Commander, United States Army Special Operations

ATTN.: AOOP. Fort Bragg, North Carolina 28307-5200

FOR: Commander, United States Army Special Operations Command,

ATTN.: AOOP-TP, Fort Bragg, North Carolina 28307-5200

SUBJECT: Memorandum of Instruction, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course


1. PURPOSE. To provide the United States Army Special Operations Command with the
information necessary to prepare students for the SOTIC.

2. General.

a. Purpose of the SOTIC. To train selected personnel in the technical skills and
operational procedures necessary to deliver precision rifle fire from concealed positions to
selected targets in support of special operations forces. Course emphasis it to provide the
force with personnel who can achieve first-round hits from a cold barrel on these high-
value targets. Additionally, personnel will be able to correct for wind and determine the
previous round's bullet trace to achieve second-round hits if necessary.

b. Course Length. The SOTIC is a six-week course conducted at Fort Bragg, North
carolina. Students will be attached to Company D, 2d Battalion, 1st Special Warfare
Training Group (Airborne), U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and
School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina 28307-5200.

c. Class Size.

(1) Maximum - 24 students.

(2) Optimum - 24 students.

(3) Minimum - 8 students.

d. Prerequisites. Students must meet the following prerequisites. Students who fail to
meet these prerequisites will be returned untrained to their parent unit.
(1) Must be currently assigned to or on orders to a Special Forces detachment of Ranger
company, currently Ranger-qualified or Special Forces-qualified, or selected Department
of Defense personnel.

(2) Must have a current periodic physical. Students must have their medical records with
them when they report for inprocessing. Vision must be correctable to 20/20 in each eye.
(3) Must have in their possession a memorandum from their unit commander certifying
that the student has scored expert with the M16A1/M16A2 rifle in accordance with FM 23-
9, M16A1 Rifle and M16A2 Rifle Marksmanship, July 1989, within 12 months of the
reporting date.

(4) Must have undergone a psychological evaluation (Minnesota Multi-phasic Personality

Inventory) under the direction of a qualified psychologist within 12 months of the reporting
date. A copy of the evaluation must be presented on the course starting date.

(5) Must have in their possession an original verification of their security clearance (copies
unacceptable), dated no earlier than 30 days prior to the course starting date.

(6) Must meet the Army height and weight standards as prescribed in AR 600-9, Height
and Weight Standards.

(7) Must currently be on jump status and be medically qualified to participate in airborne

Requests for waivers must be addressed to --

1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne)
Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5200

Waivers must be approved prior to the class starting date. Personnel who report on the
class starting date without an approved waiver will be returned untrained to their parent

e. Reporting. Students will report to Company D at Building O-3550 prior to 1700 on

the course report date or telephone DSN xxx-xxxx/xxxx or commercial (910) xxx-xxxx/xxxx
during duty hours. Students arriving after duty hours prior to the starting date should
obtain lodging at Moon Hall (bachelor enlisted quarters [BEG]). Company D maintains a
24-hour guard post located in our compound (telephone DSN xxx-xxxx or commercial (910)
xxx-xxxx). Students reporting after the closing of inprocessing will not be permitted to start
the course and will be returned to their parent unit. Additionally, personnel reporting
prior to the course starting date should secure any weapons in the company arms room,
which can be accessed 24 hours a day through the aforementioned guard post phone

3. RATIONS AND QUARTERS. Temporary duty orders should reflect that rations and
quarters are not available. As a result, it is recommended that off-post parent units provide
a rental car for their students attending the course. On-post BEQ reservations may be
available if coordinated for at least 45 days prior to the course starting date. If the BEQ is
unavailable, statements of non availability will be issued and students may billet off post. It
is the responsibility of the student to file an accurate travel voucher upon his return to his
parent unit.
4. UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT. Each student should bring the following uniforms
and equipment.

a. Rucksack.
b. Three sets of the seasonal duty uniform with a battle dress uniform (BDU) cap and
jungle boots or black boots.
c. Light combat equipment, to include two 1-quart canteens with cup and covers and a
first-aid pouch with field dressing.
d. One set of the seasonal physical training (PT) uniform. Parent unit PT uniform is
e. Poncho and poncho liner.
f. Waterproof bag.
g. Two pads of paper and two mechanical pencils.
h. Entrenching tool.
i. Len static compass.
j. Flashlight/penlight with batteries and lenses.
k. Two pairs of prescription eyeglasses, if required.
l. Two pairs of jungle boots or combat boots (Gortex boots may be worn only in the field).
m. Sewing kit.
n. Civilian clothing and toilet articles, as desired.
o. One pair of old sterile fatigues or one set of coveralls for preparation of a ghillie suit.
p. Two padlocks.
q. Black gloves with inserts.
r. Air items: H-harness, modified 18-inch attaching straps, hook pile tape lowering line,
and jump helmet (Kevlar).
s. Field jacket.
t. Two sweat shirts.
u. Identification card and dog tags.
a. Suspenders.
b. Camp/survival saw.
c. Hearing protection: Earplugs or earmuffs.
d. Personal camouflage sticks/paints: one tan, one light green, one sand, and one brown.
e. Rain suit, complete.
f. Pruning shears.
g. Sewing awl.
6. WEAPONS. Students are encouraged to attend this course with their unit-assigned M24
sniper system. Student loaner systems are available. Privately owned weapons are not
authorized on MacRidge Triangle Compound. Any weapons bought while attending the
SOTIC will not be stored in the Company D arms room.

7. PHYSICAL CONDITION. The SOTIC is a high-risk course. Students must be in top

physical condition and must not be under any medication that may affect their reflexes or
their judgment. Local commanders should screen all attendees to ensure they meet the
prerequisites for course attendance. The use of alcohol or illegal drugs is strictly forbidden
during the SOTIC. These items will not be brought to the training site. Any student found
under the influence of such items will be removed from training immediately and returned
to his parent unit for appropriate actions.
8. STUDENT MAILING ADDRESS. Students can be contacted at Fort Bragg by mail:

Full Name
SSN, Class Name and Number
Co D, 2d Bn, 1st SWTG(A)
Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5200

NOTE: Mail should not be sent to the above address after the fifth training week.


a. Students must ensure that all dental, medical., administrative, and personnel actions are
completed prior to the course starting date. No routine medical appointments will be
allowed during the course.
b. Students should bring adequate monies for incidentals.

c. There are approximately 19 days of field duty with a 36-hour final field training exercise.

10. POINT OF CONTACT. The company operations center may be reached at DSN xxx-
xxxx/xxxx or commercial (910) xxx-xxxx/xxxx.

Chief of Staff


Basic Rifle Marksmanship

By David Reed


If you can hit what you normally shoot at, with relative certainty, that may be good enough for
you. I however, have strived over many years to develop my skills to the point that I am better
than that. I want to know that I can make that shot at any range within the effective range of the
rifle. It does not matter whether there is wind or not, nor the direction from which it comes.
Whether the wind is 5kts or 20kts, uphill or downhill, raining, humid, or dry -- I want to know
that I can make that shot, or, that I cannot. If I cannot make it then I will not take it.
This site is going to focus on rifle marksmanship at a level above and beyond that used for clay
pit plinking. I created this material for those who want to learn to shoot well, and as a gathering
place for those who do shoot well. There are many things that influence accuracy and I am going
to include all that come to mind. I will allow others to contribute their own material.

This is a new site and I appreciate all germane comments. If you have a question I will try to
clear up my text, reformat, or organize the thoughts better. This is not a forum for arguments
about which cartridge is best, or which makes the ultimate dense brush, rainy weather, waxing
moon, wild boar rifle. You can find that garbage in any number of gun magazines at your local
drugstore or news stand. My philosophy is that some cartridges are better than others for certain
situations or targets. However, bullet placement is far more important than caliber when your
shot must achieve an effect. It will not allow you to stalk dangerous game with a .22, but it does
make the question of 30-06 or 7mm Rem. Mag. academic within the effective range of a medium
size high velocity rifle -- about 900 meters.

One final note, I had an acquaintance once respond with incredulity that I would have the
audacity to suggest that anyone could see, let alone hit, a target at 900 meters. This was a guy
who never shot his rifle except to check his scope at the beginning of deer season. If you fall in
this category please do two (2) things before you send flames:

 Talk to anyone who has graduated from the XVIIIth Airborne Corps Sniper School at
Fort Bragg North Carolina (or other similar service school)
 Pick up any copy of the NRA's American Rifleman that highlights the annual pilgrimage
to Camp Perry -- Read it.

Body Physiology

This section delves into the human body and the factors that must be considered before one sits
down behind a rifle.

Our heartbeat causes our body to move. Chest, shoulders, arms, neck, hands, and fingers all
move when our heart beats. Remember that these things are touching, or connected to parts that
are touching, our rifle. This can be seen through a very hi-power scope. The cross hairs bump
along the target as our heart beats. This is not really evident through a 9X hunting scope. Change
your body position slightly, and the pattern the cross hairs follows changes as well.

Now If you try this experiment you will find something else out real quick, not only is your pulse
moving the rifle but it's probably hard to see clearly because your breathing is moving it even
more! If you have a less than optimum grip and hold on the rifle, while you are studying these
phenomena, you will notice that it starts getting worse. This is because your muscles are starting
to fatigue, and when they fatigue they begin to tremble. Stop breathing and the lack of oxygen to
those muscles will cause them to tremble even more!

You cannot make your heart stop, but you can slow it. Your pulse rises when you work out or
become excited. Your respiration increases in the same way. I will not belabor this point, just
think about it and use common sense. Think about the time you missed that deer and blamed it
on your rifle, load, scope or whatever. Think about it -- how did you feel when you saw that
buck? What were you experiencing when you raised your rifle and took aim?

Chances are that the experience was quite different from the feeling you got when you were
sighting in that rifle at the range. Was it really the rifle? Was it you? Buck fever is an extreme
case, the shooter is so overwhelmed by the experience that they cannot even remember pulling
the trigger while the gun was still pointing up in the air! Many people suffer from increased
pulse and respiration when they sight game. This will reduce the maximum range that clean shots
are possible. If it's buck fever, you are in trouble.

What to do about it?

 Relax!
 Feel the targets presence.
 Try to smell the target.
 Breathe normally, in, out, steady breaths. If the target is close just open your mouth wide,
your breathing will be silent.
 Think of nothing -- Clear your mind -- Think only of what you must do.
 Control yourself, you will get this shot only once


Yes, you can control this too. Conditioning is important, but it no matter what your condition is,
if you do not have good form you will shake. You must take advantage of bone structure when
supporting the rifle. This is easier when you are prone, I have pictures in an army field manual
for the prone shooting position that I will add when I get them scanned. If they are not here, use
these tips as guides.

Keep forearm vertical under the forearm of the rifle. Straight up and down. When you angle your
arms you are using muscles to hold them still. Gravity will do this for you if you keep your
forearm vertical.

Your body must lie in a relaxed, flat position. Point your toes out so your feet lay sideways, flat
against the ground. Start with your feet and think about the position of all body parts, working up
to your fingers. If you are using muscles to hold your position you will shake.

Find the position you could hold for hours without tiring. Try every variation you can think of
with your rifle in your shoulder. You are looking for the combination that will allow the least
vibration, and the flexibility needed to work the action on your rifle. When shooting you do not
want to take your eyes off your target to reload or work the action. You must be able to do this
without your movement being seen.

When you have found it, take a mental snapshot of each part of your body and it's position.
Remember how each part feels in that position, look at your hands , arms elbows, and where the
rifle is resting in relation to your nose. What part of the rifle is close to your nose? I will explain
this when I discuss sight alignment. Practice assuming this position until you have it down pat. It
may help to sequence the movements necessary to assume this position and number them.
Practice assuming the position by the numbers. Eventually it will become second nature. If you
shoot infrequently you may want to write this down so you will remember it if you forget.

If you are a hunter and you must use this process from a blind or tree stand, use the same
principles. What you do will be different from every tree you hunt and for every game animal
that walks out in front, behind, or to the side of you. The position the hunter must shoot from
depends on the situation. This will give you something to think about when the time comes. You
will focus on a problem and the solution, not freak out because you finally have that 8 point in
front of you!

For the rest of you, I will try to stay away from hunting situations. You hunters can do as I did. I
took the principles I learned about shooting at long ranges and applied them where the situation

Sight Alignment and Sight Picture

When shooting a rifle without a scope, it is important to align the front and rear sights perfectly
and consistently. There are four things in this equation -- your shooting eye, the rear sight, the
front sight, and the target. The distance between the sights does not change. The distance from
your eye to the rear sight can change and this must be avoided.

The relationship between your eye and the rear sight is important. Once you find the right
position for your eye, note the relationship between your nose and the stock or action of the rifle.
Each time you aim, put your nose in the same place. This will help you get your sight picture

Peep sights are the best sights for a rifle. For those of you unfamiliar with these, they will take
some getting used too. Hopefully you will be able to see that the rear sight in each example
(graphic missing) is fuzzy looking. That is because you should always focus on the front sight
post. You will have to align the front sight post in the center of the rear sight aperture using your
"peripheral" vision. The target will be fuzzy too.

The peep sight system is better because it allows you to get a better picture of sight alignment. It
is very hard to focus on the front sight post with leaf sights. The only part of the front sight that
is visible through leaf sights is the very top. When the leaf sight blurs out of focus, it is very hard
to tell whether the front post is centered in the rear sight groove. Leaf sights work well out to 100
yds. The are adequate for hunting purposes on a .22 rifle. But for serious target work, the peep
sight is far superior.

When using a scope it is also important to note the relationship between the gun and your nose.
In dim light, if your eye is not perfectly positioned, you will lose a great deal of the field of view.
Yes, you'll lose it when it's bright too, but in dim light this problem is not readily apparent.
Notice that when your eye is not in position that areas of the scope view are black. In dim light
the correct view is also very dark. If you don't know where your eye should be without "looking"
through the scope to find it, you will find yourself chasing a fleeting image through the scope.

If you don't breath you will shake. There is a correct way to breath when shooting. Try this
exercise --

 Take a breathe.
 Let it out.
 While exhaling, notice that there is a point during exhale where you do not feel it
necessary to to continue exhaling, or to start breathing in again.
 Now try it again. This time when you get to that "place", stop breathing for a second or
two. It's easy!

That is the place in your breath cycle you want to take your shot. Since you can only hold it a
second, two at most, you must time the rise and fall of the rifle, the sight alignment & picture,
and the trigger squeeze to coincide with that "place". Notice that when you inhale the muzzle of
the rifle drops. It rises again when you exhale. When your chest expands your shoulder rises,
your forearm that supports the rifle does not move so the muzzle drops. You must time this rise
and fall so that the target is sighted at that "place".

Trigger Squeeze

Look at your finger. bend it to a hook shape like you would when pulling a trigger. Now simulate
trigger pull and watch your finger. Notice that at no point on your finger, does your finger move
straight back. The movement of your finger is to the side and back. No matter where you touch
the trigger, pulling like this will exert a sideways pressure on the trigger. What do you think the
muzzle will do?

If you are right-handed, the muzzle will move to the right because you are pushing the portion of
the rifle behind your forearm to the left. The place on your finger that moves the the LEAST to
the side is the very tip. You want to put the very end of your finger on the trigger. Do not use the
tip by the nail, but the soft part between the tip and the first joint. When squeezing the trigger be
conscious of this, and try your best to eliminate all lateral pressure.

When you pull the trigger you must apply steadily increasing pressure until the gun fires. The
shot should come as a surprise every time. If you anticipate, and flinch, you will never be able to
shoot well.

The biggest mistake a shooter can make is to start off with a loud, powerful, hard kicking rifle
and not wear hearing protection. Not only can you damage your hearing, but the noise will be
most unpleasant. You will begin to associate the noise with the recoil, and in your mind they will
be one and the same -- a big unpleasant event.

Isolating recoil and noise is very important when trying to overcome a flinch. Once you realize
that the kick is not that bad, and it certainly will not hurt you, you will be able to focus on sight
picture, breathing, and squeezing.
A .300 Win. Mag. kicks hard. It is something you will have to get used to. Many gun writers
recommend that people of slight build stick to lighter weapons for this reason. Bullshit, size has
little to do with it. Carlos Hathcock, all 140 lbs. of him, killed most of his 93 confirmed people
with a 30-06, and won the 1965 Wimbledon Cup with a .300 Winchester Magnum. But if you
think you are too tough to wear hearing protectors, or wear cheapies, you may have problems
with a big rifle.

Shooting Fundamentals Summary

 Solid, comfortable body position

 Breathe
 Sight Picture
 Squeeze

Bullet Flight

Ballistics will be covered in detail in a section devoted to the subject. For now I'll only discuss a
few fundamentals. The moment a bullet leaves the barrel it begins to fall. I have been to the
range and heard people talking about how their [insert bullet here] climbs for the first 50 yds. or
so. The laws of physics do not work differently for these people or their guns. They just don't
understand the relationship between the line of sight (LOS) and the bullet path (BP).

The LOS is perfectly straight. The sights on a rifle are on top of the rifle. If they are straight, and
the bullet is always dropping, then the only way the two paths will ever intersect is if the LOS is
adjusted to cross the BP at some point. That is exactly what we do. If the rear sight post is raised
then the LOS will cross the bullet path. In fact, it crosses the bullet path twice. The bullet will
steadily drop until it crosses the LOS again. I'll include a picture when I can get it scanned. If any
of you have one scanned feel free to donate it!

 Between sights and the first intersection, bullet is BELOW LOS.

 LOS crosses BP, after first intersection bullet is ABOVE LOS.
 Bullet drops more and crosses the LOS. After this the bullet is below LOS again.

The point at which the two paths cross the first time is referred to as "battle sight zero" in the US
Army. If an M16's sight's are adjusted until they are "zeroed" at 25 meters, they will also be
zeroed at 250 meters (where the two cross again). This means that out to 25 meters the rifle will
shoot low, between 25 and 250 meters the rifle will shoot high, and after 250m the rifle will
shoot low again. This is what people are referring to when the say that their "bullet climbs after
so many feet". Their sights are pointed down at an angle like everyone else's.

Bullets do not drop at a constant rate. As soon as a bullet leaves the barrel it is a prisoner of
gravity and drag. The longer a bullet flies, the longer it is exposed to gravity, and the farther it
will drop. When a bullet leaves the barrel it is moving very fast. It covers the first 30% of it's
maximum range very quickly. Accordingly, the effect of gravity is very small during this period.
In proportion, the drag effect is quite high. As the bullet slows the proportional effects of drag
and gravity swap places. Once a bullet has flown 60% of it's maximum range, drag is very small,
and gravity is causing the bullet to drop very fast. These topics will be discussed in greater detail
in the section titled "Exterior Ballistics".
Advanced Marksmanship

By David Reed

Most of the data and discussions which follows is taken directly or paraphrased from the Sierra
Rifle Reloading Manual 3rd Edition. I have many books and manuals but Sierra's is by far the
best. If you do not have this manual then I urge you to get it. All reloading manuals contain
extensive disclaimers and Sierra's is no exception.

I am providing this information because I have not found it elsewhere on the Web. It would take
days to convert all of their data to HTML and it would be full of errors, piss them off, and keep
you from buying their book! These pages should not be considered a worthwhile substitute for
their manual. They do good work and I encourage you to support them by buying their manual. I
think I paid around $34.95 US for it and as I mentioned, it is my favorite. Speer, Nosler, and
Hornady also have good references. When I need data, I usually compare all of them.

I've tried many bullets and can't honestly say that any brand is better than any other for my
purposes. My .300 Win. drops everything I shoot with it. I have favorite bullets for each rifle that
I own. It might surprise you to know that one of my guns shoots 180gr round nose bullets better
than any other bullet I've tried! Don't be to quick to assume that a match grade bullet will fly
better than others in any particular rifle. Bullet weight has a lot to do with it. (See section on rifle
tuning where I discuss harmonics.) Try them all and decide for yourself. When the manufacturer
recommends a bullet for a particular purpose don't try to read to much between the lines. A
hollow point bullet is designed to expand rapidly, but if you are shooting whitetail with a .300
that is not a disadvantage! And now, on to exterior ballistics . . .

 Ballistic Coefficient
 Altitude and Humidity
 Uphill/Downhill Shooting
 Wind Effects

Ballistic Coefficient
Rather than try to calculate ballistics for every bullet made, it is easier to compare the ballistics
potential of the bullet in question to one standard bullet. The potential of the standard bullet can
be calculated very precisely. The drag deceleration of another bullet can be compared to this
standard to produce a factor for calculating deceleration. This factor is known as the Ballistic
Coefficient. It simple terms the BC of a bullet is a measure of it's efficiency. If we compare
several bullets all fired at the same muzzle velocity, then the higher the BC of any bullet, the
flatter it shoots, the better it bucks the wind, and the better it retains its velocity as it travels

For a given bullet fired at a known muzzle velocity, the BC of the bullet determines its
trajectory. This is because drag is the strongest force acting on the bullet, and the BC governs the
amount of drag. The effect of the BC enters mainly through the time of flight. The drop at any
range is nearly proportional to the square of the time of flight. It is clear that a bullet with a
shorter time of flight will drop less than one with a longer time of flight. Time of flight is
affected by drag, because drag slows a bullet down. Since the drag gets less as BC gets larger,
larger BC means less drop.

Time of flight also depends on muzzle velocity (MV). A large heavy bullet typically has a high
BC (Inertial), but you cannot get the MV very high on a heavy bullet. So a high BC bullet may
drop more than a lighter bullet fired much faster. For a comparison to be fair, you should also
compare the final velocity and energy at the range in question.

It should be evident that between 600 and 1000 yards, the heavier bullet is actually moving faster
and of course, carrying more energy. We should also note that after 1000 yds, the heavier bullet
will be flatter than the lighter bullet, but this is pretty much out of the effective range of the rifle.

Look for the higher BC, but don't wear blinders. Consider MV, energy, and final velocity when
choosing a bullet.

Altitude & Humidity

Drag depends on the density of air and on the speed of sound. These depend on temperature,
humidity, and barometric pressure. Sierra uses standard factors in their ballistics tables. The
values are:

Altitude: sea level

Pressure: 29.53 inches of mercury (Hg)

Temperature: 59 degrees F.

Humidity: 78%

You may think that if you develop a load at lower elevations and then go to the mountains on a
hunt, that your round will shoot flatter. The air is less dense, however it will probably be colder,
thus offsetting the difference. What may surprise you is that a bullet will shoot flatter in humid
air than it will in dry air. That is because the molecular weight of water is less than the molecular
weight of dry air. Therefore the BC increases when we go from dry to more humid air. However
the difference is pretty small and probably not worth figuring out. The most dramatic effect on
bullet performance is a change in altitude provided that the temperature increase is not that great.
If you sight your rifle in on a cold day, and go to the mountains and it's not that much colder, you
will see a difference in trajectory. The best way to calculate the difference is to use a ballistics
program. You'll find a freeware/shareware version to download on my home page. If you would
like one for Windows, I highly recommend JBM's On Target! Ballistics software. The author is
very knowledgeable and his program is based on solid physics. It is the best ballistics program
that I know of.

You should try to prepare a table which shows how your rifle will shoot over a reasonable range
of altitudes. Once you commit to memory the altitude effect, you will be close enough to make
accurate shots. The very best way is actually test your rifle under conditions that are close.
Shooting Uphill/Downhill
Bullet drop does not change very much when shooting uphill/downhill. But the rifle will appear
to shoot high. In fact it shoots high by almost the same amount whether you are shooting up or
down. Therefore you must adjust your hold or change your scope when taking shots at high
angle, especially as range increases. If you know what the drop (d) is for your bullet at any given
range, you can use the following table to calculate the amount your bullet will shoot high, in
inches. Think about a 600 yd shot downhill at 40 degrees -- Instead of a 50" correction we are
talking about a 40" correction. Check your tables or ballistics program for your rifle. If you
would like to know what it is right now, then try JBM's online ballistics calculator! Just use your
"back" button on your web browser to return.

Wind Effects
This is a big one. You must understand wind effects to shoot well. Formulas abound for this, but
as we'll see, exact calculations are of little use. There is no substitute for practice. For our
purposes we will refer to wind direction using the clock method. 12:00 is straight in the face,
6:00 is on the back of the head. Vertical deflection of bullets is very slight, at most a few inches
at long ranges with 20+ winds. We will ignore head & tail winds (HTW) in this discussion. You
will have to find the right place to hold, or adjust your sights slightly, for this component. If we
discount HTW, then the wind effect of a 2:00 wind is the same as a 4:00, 8:00, and 10:00. Thus
we only need to remember wind adjustments for 1,2, and 3:00. To be exact, you could calculate
wind using 2:15, 1:48, etc. Those of you who are sailors know that wind is constantly shifting.
Anywhere you are shooting, the wind4:00the target will always be different than the wind where
you are shooting from. It changes all the way to the target. It may be 2mph where you are, 7mph
halfway down range (from a slightly different direction), and 5mph at the target (from a slightly
different direction). Usually the wind clocks or veers. Over a period of 10 minutes lets say, the
wind will be 7mph for 3 min., then clock 5 degrees to the right for 5 minutes, then veer back to
the left 5 degrees. Frequently there will be a brief lull in the wind, then it will reappear from the
new direction. Aviators know this too. The wind swirls across the earth in large systems, each
made up by an almost infinite number of microsystems. When on the water, you can see "wind
lines". They look like areas of the water that have ripples. On big grassy fields you can see this

In the morning, when the sun comes up, the air and ground begins to warm. As the ground
warms, convection currents form cause air to move uphill. The western slope of a hill will have
stronger currents than the eastern slope. In the evening, the opposite occurs. If you are near the
water, the land - sea heat differential effect also occurs. Warm air rises over the ground and is
replaced by cooler air over the water. This is known as an offshore breeze and occurs mid-
morning. As the ground cools in late afternoon, the reverse occurs, although not as strong. After
the sun has gone down is when the onshore breeze gets stronger. During the day, late morning -
through afternoon, you are in the doldrums where nothing much is happening (minus the
presence of a system). A shooter must study these winds as they swirl along the ground. Shooters
cannot see ripples in the water, they must look for other signs.

Mirage's move with the wind just like grass does. When shooting across flat ground you can see
the shimmer of the heat rising off the ground. If the shimmer is straight up, there is less than
2mph wind. The mirage will lean away from the wind up until about 20mph when it disappears
almost completely. Watch trees and grass. With a 2-4mph breeze the grass will move and you
will see the eddies of air moving the ground. Fields are excellent places to read the wind because
you can see the air currents. The leaves will also shimmer and and small limbs will move. 5-
9mph and the grass starts to lean pretty well. Smaller limbs on the trees are moving constantly
and thicker limbs barely move. 10-14mph and the thicker limbs are moving and the grass is
being pushed strongly during the stronger gusts. 15-20mph and the trees are swaying and the
grass is in constant motion.

Be aware that trees block the wind on fields. The windward side of the field will not have as
much air as the leeward because the trees are blocking it. As you look across the field you will be
able to see the stronger air moving at the center and leeward sides. (Pronounced "looward").
Now that you understand a bit about reading wind, you can see why complex calculations are
fruitless. You must average these effects, always giving more credence to wind that is closer to
the target (where the bullet is moving slower). Only with practice will you become good at this.
For target shooters, those who can read wind well will always outshoot those who can't, all other
things being equal. Wind has a dramatic effect on long range shots. Recall that I said we would
only consider winds from 1, 2, and 3. Look at a ballistics table for your bullet and use these
factors to determine crosswind. (Or use JBM's) If your bullet moves 36" inches at some range
with a 3 or 9 wind, then it will move about 18" with winds at 1,5,7, or 11. You only need to
remember wind effects for your bullet at each range where wind is an issue. Then remember two
other numbers -- 50% and 90%, 1/2 and "almost all of it". Now look downrange and average it
all out, come up with your number, and shoot. If you have time, figure windage for lulls and
strong winds both. If you can't get your shot off in a lull, you'll have to adjust, but you'll know
how much.

Use this target below to establish zero's on your tactical rifles out to 200 yards. The grids are 1/2
Date: ______________
Caliber: ______________
Rifle: ______________
Bullet: ______________
Powder: __________Grs: _____
Case: ______________
Primer: ______________
The Prone Position
We Don't Need No Stinkin' Sandbags
16 February 2001
By JD Hicks *

The object of a bench rest is to provide a stable and repeatable platform for executing a
string of shots. True enough. Is that not also exactly what the prone position can do? Bill Pullum
and Frank T. Hanenkrat say the prone position should provide a sight picture that is motionless
and that an experienced shooter should easily be able to hold a scoped rifle on the inside of a
single .22 caliber bullet hole at 50 meters. A .22 caliber bullet hole at 50 meters is less than a
half-minute of angle. In comparison, the 10-ring on a UIT target is one full minute and the 10-
ring on the 600yard NRA Highpower Rifle target is about two minutes. To achieve this half-
minute hold, it is necessary to learn and employ what the U.S. Army Sniper Training Manual
calls the three elements of a good position: bone support, muscular relaxation, and natural point
of aim.

Bone support and muscular relaxation provide a system in which the weight of the rifle
is transferred from bone to bone, and ultimately to the ground, without being interrupted by any
special muscular effort. It is very important to understand this concept. If one were standing on a
street corner and decided to unconditionally relax every muscle, the body would collapse into a
heap. It is easy to agree, however, that standing can be done while remaining fully relaxed.
Standing, after all, is something routinely performed without any special effort. This is exactly
the sort of relaxation that is required in the prone position.

The third component is a natural point of aim. Using the bench rest example again, no
shooter would lower the point of impact by pressing down on the rifle while trying to slowly pull
the trigger. Rather, the front rest or rear bag would be adjusted in preparation for making the
shot. One could also visualize a mannequin with a rifle glued in place. The mannequin's natural
point of aim is what it is. The only possible way to get the rifle on target would be to move the
mannequin and, therefore, the rifle, right or left, up or down - just like the bench rest. The prone
shooter, then, must learn to similarly adjust their point of aim.

In order to achieve a solid prone position that allows the shooter to maintain the proper
bone support and muscular relaxation, it is necessary to learn the basic principles of the position.
It is interesting to note that there are widely differing ideas about this perfect prone position
amongst top scoring shooters. However, according to Pullum and Hanenkrat, this is not the least
bit strange. They explain that, within reasonable bounds, specialized variations based on physical
size and other factors are to be expected. Nevertheless, the basics are not to be overlooked, and
variations that violate the three elements of a good position must be avoided.

The basic principles can be thought of in several logical groups. These groups are the
left arm and hand; the right arm and hand; the legs and spine; and the head and neck. The
discussion begins with the left arm, hand, sling and handstop.

Position of the Left Elbow

World-class prone shooter Ernest Vande Zande says the most common error prone
shooters make is developing a position where the left elbow is not extended far enough forward.
The left elbow should be fully extended and set just to the left of the rifle. The placement of the
left elbow should not be the enabling factor for building a "high" or "low" prone position. "High"
and "low" prone positions are just what they sound like. A "high" position is one in which the
left hand and indeed the entire position is high off the ground relative to what would be the
lowest possible legal position. Moving the left elbow farther out to lower the position or closer to
the body to lift the position is a mistake.

The left elbow is the single foundation point of the entire position. Everything else is
adjusted and oriented around this point.

Position and Configuration of the Sling

The sling running from the upper left arm to a point on the rifle near the left hand forms
a triangle with the upper left arm and left forearm. The sling must transmit the rifle's weight to
the bone in the upper left arm, thus removing the need for the muscles in the left arm to hold this
weight. The sling should be made of a material that does not stretch and is as wide as the rules
allow. A sling that stretches will allow the position to creep and become increasingly difficult to
maintain without extra muscular effort. The sling can also slip down the upper arm if it is not
adjusted snugly and held in place with some type of keeper. This can likewise degrade the
position or cut off the flow of blood. Most shooting jackets have some type of hook, ring or strap
on the top of the left arm expressly for this purpose. A heavy button sewn to the sleeve just
below the sling will work just as well. A wider sling is less likely to cut off the blood flow as it
spreads the weight of the system over a larger area of the upper arm.

The sling should be placed either high or low on the arm, but not in the middle. The
brachial artery can become compressed between the sling and the bone when the sling is placed
in the middle of the upper arm. A "high" prone position usually works best with the sling higher
on the arm, and, conversely, a "low" prone position usually works best with the sling lower on
the arm.

The sling should extend from the upper arm in a straight line on the inside of the left
wrist. It should then pass flatly under the wrist and back of the hand to the connection point on
the rifle. Pullum and Hanenkrat remind shooters to remove their wristwatch. It may also be
necessary to adjust the cuff of the shooting jacket and/or the shooting glove under the sling at
this point. It is certain that any extra bulk from a watchband or heavy jacket seam will become a
distraction under continued pressure from the sling.

The use, utility and merit of cuff-type slings are left to the reader to discover.

The Hand Stop / Sling Swivel

On the "service rifle," the sling swivel is fixed and the shooter's prone position must be
built around that fact. The length of the sling and, therefore, the height of the position are
governed to a great extent by this fixed point. This is not necessarily the case when using a
"match rifle." A match rifle may provide an adjustable hand stop that allows the position to be
adjusted to any number of possible configurations. A good starting point for an adjustable hand
stop is to arrange it so that the distance from the rifle butt to the trigger is the same as the
distance between the hand stop and the trigger.

The position of the hand stop and length of the sling will govern the shape of the
supporting triangle discussed earlier and raise or lower the position. These adjustments should
not be initially tinkered with in order to achieve some desired higher or lower position. Rather, a
stable position should be sought and then simply labeled as high or low. The point needs to be
made that the position of any single element of the prone position affects all others. The arm
bone is connected to the shoulder bone, to use a juvenile example. If after some experience with
a particular position one is convinced that higher or lower might be better, then proceed to
experiment with caution.

There are as many different types of hand stops as there are hands. Try several. Finally
choose the one that is the most comfortable for the longest period of time. Using a hand stop that
hurts like the devil just because Lonnes Wigger uses that type will only help Lonnes - not that he
actually needs any help. When using multiple rifles, use the same type of hand stop on all of
them, if possible.

The Left Hand

The left hand and wrist must be kept straight, as any bending will cause extra muscles to
be used and set up a springing motion that affects recoil. It is also important not to grasp the rifle
with the fingers of the left hand. Any force exerted by the left hand will change recoil from shot
to shot and thus the bullet's impact on the target. One may also unconsciously "finger" the rifle
the last little bit onto the target when aligning the sights. This will result in shots that look and
feel clean but are off call. Just as the trigger releases the supporting fingers relax and the rifle
springs back to the true natural point of aim.

Once a stable position is established, record the length of the sling, the position of the
sling on the upper arm, and the position of the hand stop. Index numbers are found stamped in
many commercially available slings. If this is not the case, a simple black line marked with a "P"
for prone can be employed. Many rifles equipped with an adjustable hand stop are similarly
indexed. This notwithstanding, a piece of tape or any other suitable mark may be substituted.

As an extra note: If a journal is not currently being maintained - start one now.

The Legs and Spine

The position should be oriented so that the spine is straight and relaxed. The left leg
should be parallel to the spine with the toe of the left foot pointed in towards the position. The
right leg should be brought up to about a 450 angle with the lower part parallel with the left leg
and the toe of the right foot pointing out and away from the position. The angle of the right leg
controls the relationship of the right shoulder to the center of the position and by moving the
chest up and down, can control the effect of breathing. The individual shooter is invited to
experiment with the right leg through the entire range of motion. It is an interesting experiment
to set oneself in position and then observe the position of the right shoulder and chest as the right
leg is swung through the entire possible range. A home video camera can be most illuminating in
this particular exercise, as well as allowing general analysis of the position. Ultimately, one will
determine the position of the right leg that is most stable and results in the least disturbance of
the front sight from pulse beat.

The Right Elbow

In Full Metal Jacket, a stern faced drill instructor growls, "Move the rifle around your
head, not your head around the rifle!" Exactly the same thing applies to the right elbow. The
placement of the right elbow must be governed by the position of the rifle. To imitate the drill
instructor, "Move the elbow to the rifle, not the rifle to the elbow." To achieve this, the shooter
must grip the rifle with the right hand first and then plant the right elbow. It is also important to
allow the right arm to relax normally when planting the elbow. No extra muscular effort should
be used to pull or push the position into place.

Special care should be taken to guarantee that the right elbow does not slide around. A
sheet of course grit sand Ppaper or emory paper should be in your shooter's equipment box. As
needed, the surface of the elbow pad or shooting mat can be roughed up to improve friction.

The Right Hand

The grip of the right hand should be just strong enough to hold it in place on the rifle.
The fingers should be firm but not tight. The United States Army Sniper Training Manual
explains that one will close the whole hand while pulling the trigger if the grip is not firm
enough. This action of closing the hand along with pulling the trigger will move the rifle off
target as the shot is being fired. A simple exercise will clearly show this action. While in the
prone position with an empty chamber and un-cocked rifle, sight on an appropriate and safe
target. With the right hand intentionally loose, pull the trigger and close the grip on the rifle
snugly as one action. Notice the wild movement of the front sight. Next, try the same exercise
while concentrating on not allowing the front sight to move. Difficult? Probably impossible. One
might also extend this exercise using the correct technique to discover the best possible grip and
hand position. This will be one that allows the trigger to be pulled straight back without
disturbing the sights.

Master Sergeant James R. Owens instructs shooters that the position of the right hand
must be such that the trigger finger is able to move without touching the rifle stock. The finger
touching or brushing on the stock during trigger pull is called, "dragging wood." This makes it
impossible to pull the trigger straight back or in a fashion that does not disturb the sights.
According to Master Sergeant Owens, a symptom of this is a group of shots strung out

The United States Army Sniper Training Manual agrees with Master Sergeant Owens,
and further states that touching any part of the rifle - including the trigger guard - even at a slight
angle will disturb the sights.

The Right Shoulder

The butt plate should be placed close to the neck and have as much contact with the
shoulder as possible. The larger the contact area is between the shoulder and the butt plate, the
less likely it will be for the rifle to slide around and require constant adjustment. It will also be
easier to keep a consistent cant angle if the butt plate has a large contact area. A rifle supported
by the very top or bottom of the butt plate is free to swing on the pivot point created by the small
contact area. The pressure on the butt plate should be equal to the pressure on the hand stop. This
pressure should be adjusted by adjusting the length of the stock rather than the position of the
hand stop or length of the sling. Recall that the position of the hand stop and length of the sling
should be used to adjust the height of the position and front sight. According to the Small Arms
Marksmanship Manual of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, insufficient pressure on the butt plate
is the main cause of most weaknesses in the prone position. The upper body and right shoulder
should be as close to the ground as possible. If a match rifle is being used, the height of the butt
plate can be adjusted to help improve the amount of shoulder contact and pressure.

The Head Position

Generally, in the prone position, the cheek piece will be set such that the top of it is in
line with the axis of the bore. With this in mind, the cheek piece should be adjusted to allow the
head to rest in a natural position without straining the neck or shoulder muscles. A proper head
position, in addition to being natural and relaxed, should allow the shooter to look through the
sights without obstruction from the bridge of the nose or eyebrows. The position of the shooter's
head can be quickly referenced using the sight picture. The position and relative size of the front
sight as seen through the rear sight should appear exactly the same every time the head is
positioned on the cheek piece.

In an article published in InSights, Joseph Roberts, Jr. says that seeing your sights the
same way every time will keep you from making sight alignment errors. There is an explanation
of sight alignment verses sight picture in the appendix. Ernest Vande Zande says that it is also
important to move the cheek piece up and down with the rear sight. Keeping journal entries for
how much the sight physically moves when adjusted from one yard-line to the next is key. If the
rear sight moves one-quarter inch to move from 300 to 500 yards for example, the cheek piece
should also be moved one-quarter inch. It should be understood that the physics of recoil include
the weight of the head on the rifle. If during the first shot the head is being held up off of the rifle
in order to align the sights and then during the next shot the head is pressed down firmly, the
recoil will be different. This changing cheek pressure, and resulting different recoil, will cause
the shots to be strung out across the target.

Stay within the rules

Recall any position must pass the test of remaining legal under the rules. It is the duty of
every shooter to know and understand the rules. A visit from a match official in the middle of a
string of shots can be pretty distracting. Pushing the envelope of legal is begging for a challenge.


A. Sight Alignment vs. Sight Picture: Sight alignment error has a far greater effect on where a
shot hits the target than does sight picture. The reason for this is that sight alignment is angular
while sight picture is parallel. If you aim three inches off center (a parallel error), your shot will
be three inches off at all ranges. If you misalign by three minutes (an angular measurement) a
600-yard shot will be three minutes (approximately 18 inches) off.

B. Canting the Rifle: Each one-degree of cant results in a 1/4 minute change in impact. The use
of a spirit level on a Match Rifle can prevent canting or maintain a constant intentional cant.

C. The Spotting Scope: According to N. Kalinichenko, the spotting scope can be just as
fatiguing on the eyes as the sight picture. He suggests in his September 1970 American Rifleman
article, How the Soviets View Aiming Problems, that the same color filter be used on the spotting
scope as is currently being used for the rear sight.
D. Pulse Beat: Pulse beat is the motion of the position generated by the beating of the heart. As
the heart pumps blood through the vascular system, the pressure in that system changes and
causes blood vessels to expand and contract with this change in pressure.

The use of the Model of 1907 sling.

by Walt Kuleck
From FM 23-5, October 1951:
(a.) Place the rifle butt on your right hip and cradle the rifle on the inside of your right
forearm, sights to the right (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Both of your hands are now free to adjust the sling. Loosen the sling, then unhook the
lower hook and rehook it down near the butt swivel (Figure 1, note 1).

(b.) The loop to be placed on your arm is formed by that part of the long strap between the
D-ring and the lower keeper. For the average sling adjustment, unhook the upper hook and
engage it four to six holes from the end of the long strap (Figure 1, note 2). To shorten or
lengthen the sling to conform with your body and arms, make the adjustment by moving
the upper hook. Push the lower keeper up (Figure 2, note 3); the loop now formed is the
loop for your left arm (Figure 2, note 4).

Figure 2

Straighten out the sling so that it lies flat, then give it a half turn to the left (Figure 2, note
5). Insert your left arm through the loop until the loop is high on the upper arm, above the
biceps (Figure 2, note 6). Now, using both hands, left hand on the outside strap, right hand
on the inside, rotate the sling through the upper swivel, moving the lower keeper and upper
hook downward to your arm (Figure 3, note 7).

Figure 3

This tightens the loop on your arm. Now, to keep the loop from slipping, pull the upper
keeper down tight against the upper hook, locking it in place (Figure 3, note 8). The feed
end of the sling is left hanging downward. Do not roll it up between the keepers as this will
stretch them.

(c.) For the average soldier, the adjustment of the loop sling in the kneeling, squatting, and
sitting positions is about two holes shorter than that for the prone position.
(d.) After the sling has been adusted on the upper arm, grasp the rifle so that the hand is
against the stock ferrule swivel (Figure 4, note 9) and the sling lies flat against the back of
the left hand (Figure 4, note 10).

Figure 4

(e.) Before taking your position, place your left hand so that the rifle lies in the center of the
V formed by your thumb and first finger.
(f.) Some leeway in the position of the loop on the arm is permitted. In general, the loop
should be above the biceps; however, experience has shown that many men get good results
with the sling somewhat lower. It is important that daylight be visible between the sling and
the crook of the arm formed at the elbow.
(g.) Be sure the sling is doing its share of the work in giving your rifle full support. The
tendency of most men is to use a sling adjustment which is too long (loose). A properly
adujsted sling means a steady rifle (Figure 5).
Figure 5: A Properly Adjusted Sling! Simple, isn't it?

How to attach the Model of 1907 Sling to the Rifle

by Walt Kuleck

The US sling is singularly adapted to steadying one's aim in position shooting.

I have in front of me as I type this the "Imperial Army Series (Based on Official Manuals):
Musketry (.303 and .22 Cartridges); Elementary Training, Visual Training, Judging
Distance, Fire Discipline, Range Practices and Field Practices, Based on Musketry
Regulations" (1915). In no case is the sling used for support whilst shooting from any of
the positions. It's a carrying strap that just hangs there. So the Brits were in the dark
about the use of the sling as an aid to marksmanship, at least in 1915.

I suspect the Germans were too.

British (non) use of the sling for position shooting, circa 1915

In contrast, here is the U.S. Army way, from FM 23-5, October 1951:

The Gun Sling M1907 (leather) (fig. 1) is placed on your rifle as shown in figure 2.
Figure 1: Nomenclature and Arrangement of M1907 Sling Components

Figure 2: The M1907 Sling on the Rifle

1. Thread the feed end of the long strap through the upper keeper as shown in figure
3; then place the upper hook in the third of fourth pair of holes near the feed end of
the long strap. Engage the lower hook in the pair of holes below the upper hook.
The sling is now attached to the rifle.

Figure 3: Attaching the M1907 Sling to the Rifle

2. To tighten the sling (fig. 4), grasp the inside strap of the sling near the trigger
housing with the left hand. With the right hand, grasp the sling between the hooks.
Now pull toward the butt with the left hand and push toward the muzzle with the
right hand until the sling is tight. Slide the lower keeper toward the muzzle until the
feed end of the long strap has been passed.

Figure 4: Tightening the M1907 Sling

3. To loosen the sling for carrying purposes, slide the lower keeper down from the feed
end of the long strap and grasp the inside strap with the left hand. Now force the
inside strap toward the muzzle and at the same time pull the outside strap toward
the butt of the rifle.
4. To hold the sling in a tight position, force the upper keeper against the stock ferrule
swivel and slide the lower keeper up until it has passed the feed end of the long

Simple, isn't it?

Applying Basic TrackingFor The Sniper

6 November 2000

By Jeff Waters

Since the Army FM on Sniping covers tracking skills pretty well, I will simply discuss
integrating those skills into a mission. I am not a master tracker, but have found that using what
little bit I know about it can help the unit a lot in terms of intelligence and help out my fellow
Snipers by helping us hunt down our targets.

First, start by getting an S-2 update on known/suspected enemy activity in your Area of
Operations (AO). This will help you analyze tracks you find although it shouldn't dominate your
When you find a set of tracks, establish a SLLS halt. (that's stop, look, listen, smell and watch
your perimeter!). After being satisfied that the track makers are not in the immediate area
carefully move forward for a look. Make sure you have someone covering you and don't step
out in the open.

Again, I won't cover the stuff already written in the FM's that you can get online, but gather
the following information;

Track Report:

Type of prints : Boots? Tread pattern, depth, toes in/out etc

Direction of
Magnetic azimuth
travel :
Number of Box method; count the number of prints in a meter long box and divide by 2
persons : for a reasonable estimate
Guestimate, are their strides long or close together, are the heels dug in deeper
Speed :
than the toes etc.
How deep are the tracks etc, are there marks high up indicating crew-served
Load :
weapons being carried and so on
Age : How fresh are the tracks

Note: there is probably a better format out there in the FM or elsewhere.

Call in the report then move away a safe distance from the site and after setting up security,
pull out your map. Plot the location and direction of the tracks, to include their back azimuth.
Think about the intelligence you have and the situation and see if you can make a reasonable
guess about where they are coming from and where they are going. Are they headed towards a
danger area where you can be waiting for them?

Even if you don't pursue them, you have gathered/reported a valuable piece of information
which can be fitted into the bigger picture by the S-2. You have learned something useful

When Scouting an area for the enemy, you can identify terrain in which someone is going to
leave tracks in because the ground is soft. Some people call these traps. The enemy has to have
water, just like you do and they have to cross rivers/streams somewhere. Where would you do it
if you were leading an Infantry Patrol? Does the S-2 have any info on enemy routes or tactics
that can help you?

If you decide to follow the tracks, be careful! We are not the only people in the world who set
up rear security or double back on their trails. Use your knowledge of the enemy's direction of
travel, situation, tactics and terrain to try and help you estimate where they are headed.

More useful information can be gathered even if significantly behind the enemy patrol by
studying the sites in which they halt, set up patrol bases etc. Each should be thoroughly and
carefully studied and reported when discovered.
Also, if at all possible, don't attempt to track them down and hit them. I say this because I
know that I am an amateur tracker and understand the risks involved. Better, get another element
to get in front of them and others to their flanks to set up ambushes in favorable terrain. Who
knows, they may come running back past you breaking contact en route to a rally point. Good
opportunity to maximize confusion and break a unit's moral. Hitting a leader who is trying to
reorganize and consolidate a unit that has already fallen back can deal a strong psychological
blow to the entire unit. Especially from an unseen foe (you) who seemed to operate with
impunity. On the other hand, it could really piss them off, so don't stick around very long.

Be patient, snipers don't rush in, track someone down and engage from 100 meters out. Wait
for the best opportunity and feel good that if they don't know you are behind them, you have a
tremendous advantage.

A tracking stick can be useful to stay with an enemy element which, due to its small size, or
the terrain is not leaving a clearly seen set of tracks.

Cut a stick at least the length of a stride. Put the end of the stick at the base of the heel on a
print and slide a rubber band up the stick where the print's toe is. This should allow you to put
the bottom of the stick over the end of a print and have the rubber band end at the toe, showing
the exact size of the print.

Now point the stick towards the next set of prints and slide a rubber band over the base of the
heel of next print. In this manner when you put your stick over a base print, the rubber band on
the front of the stick should be located over where the next set of prints will be.

It should look something like this:

| PRINT#1 | (length of stride) | PRINT#2 |


Before moving up from the base print to examine the subsequent set of tracks, look for the
print, displaced vegetation or soil, scrapes or marks on trees higher up and so on. There is plenty
of sign to look for rather than just the prints, and the prints point you in the direction of travel.

You can tell a lot about the enemy from his sign. When he halts does the sign indicate that
they establish security behind good cover and concealment? Do they leave trash? (a good item
for intelligence). Do they dogleg their route? Do they cross or skirt danger areas? All this is
great intelligence even if you do nothing more than pass it on.

Again, I am far from a master tracker, but just this little bit of knowledge and making the
teams practice it and report it on the radio and debriefs will develop them into much better
snipers and provide a real benefit to the unit.

Teams should always be debriefed on a terrain analysis of the AO and any signs of enemy
activity. By always tasking this info as a Priority or Other Information Requirement and asking
them during debrief about it, it becomes an integral part of their mindset and even the most
novice sniper will learn from his experience one mission at a time.

Arctic Survival
Written by Roger Perron and David R. Reed

This section is entitled "Arctic Survival," but one may need cold weather skills at very high
altitudes everywhere. Near the Equator in the Andes for example, the snow line is not reached
until an altitude of about 5,000 meters (18,000 ft), but the nearer the poles the lower the snow
line will be.

At the southern tip of South America there is permanent snow at only a few hundred meters
(1,000ft). Arctic conditions penetrate deep into the northern territories of Alaska, Canada,
Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia & Russia. Antarctica is covered with a sheet of ice. In the arctic
the Pole is capped by deep ice floating on the sea and all the land north of the timberline is

Note: When in the Arctic or Antarctic, there are only 2 seasons- long winter and short summer --
the day varying from complete darkness in midwinter to 24 hours daylight at midsummer.

Arctic summer temperature can rise to 18C (65F) except on glaciers and frozen seas, but fall in
winter to as low as -56C (-81F) & are NEVER above freezing point. In the northern forests
summer temperatures can reach 37C (100F) but altitude pushes winter temperatures even lower
than in the Arctic. In Eastern Siberia -69C (-94F) has been recorded at Verkhotansk.

Temperatures in the Antarctic are even lower than in the Arctic. Antarctic winds of 177km
(110mph) have been recorded and in the autumn, winter winds reach hurricane force and can
whip snow 30m (100ft) into the air giving the impression of a blizzard even when it is not
South of the Polar Cap, the ground remains permanently frozen & vegetation is stunted. Snow
melts in summer but roots cannot penetrate the hard earth. High altitudes give the same

Northern Coniferous Forest

Between the arctic tundra and the main temperate lands is a forest zone up to 1300 km. deep. In
Russia where it is known as Taiga, the forest penetrates up to 1650km and north of the Arctic
Circle along some Siberian rivers. For only 3-5 months of the year is the ground thawed
sufficiently for water to reach the roots of the trees & plants that especially flourish along the
great rivers that flow to the Arctic Ocean. There is a wealth of game; elk, bear, lynx, sable,
squirrel, as well as smaller creatures and many birds.

Wind Chill
Accompanied by low temperatures, winds have a chilling effect much greater than the
thermometer indicates. Very cold air brought too rapidly into the lungs will chill your whole
body. Under extreme conditions it may even damage the lung tissue & cause Internal
Hemorrhage. Exhale completely and slowly to build 50% more resistance to the cold. An
attentive control on your respiration and especially of your timing contributes to your stress
control in any moments of tension or stress. Most of us breathe only half way. A sigh is used by
our body to exhale completely once we have neglected to do so under stress.

Once you have been thoroughly chilled (without any injury whatever) it takes "several hours" of
warmth & rest to return your body to normal, regardless of superficial feelings of comfort. When
recovering from an emergency cold situation, don't venture out into an extreme cold too soon.

A 32km per hour (20mph) wind will bring the temperature of -14C (5F) down to -34C (-30F)
and one at 64kmph (40mph) would make it -42C or (-34F) with even greater drops at lower
temperatures. Speeds over 64kmph (40mph) don't appear to make a great difference.
Camouflage and Concealment
The success of the sniper’s mission depends heavily upon the ability of the sniper to approach,
remain concealed and engage the target undetected. The accepted standard is to move within 200
meters of a trained observer, fire two shots, one with a walker within 3 meters, and egress the
area without detection. This demonstrates the sniper’s ability to move to within 200 meters of an
Observation Post, which would be placed from 150 to 200 meters from the perimeter. The actual
target would be inside the perimeter and this would account for the 400 to 600 meter shot. These
requirements test the sniper's ability not only to move stealthily, but his skill in the art, and
science, of camouflage. Remember that the sniper’s mission is not suicide, thus he must now
leave the area without detection while the enemy is fully alert and has an attitude problem.

The sniper must first understand the difference in the terms cover, concealment, and
camouflage. Cover is the protection of the sniper from small arms fire. Cover can be natural
such as a hiding place behind a rock or it can be manmade, such as a tank. The enemy may
know where the sniper is located but can not hit the sniper with small arms fire. Cover, while
protection from small arms fire, does not mean the sniper is undetected and when under cover
the sniper can not complete his mission. The sniper must come out of cover to “see” the target
and engage and once out the enemy now has the capability of detecting and engaging the sniper.
This means that the sniper must rely on concealment.

Concealment can be natural or artificial protection from enemy observation. The

surroundings may provide natural concealment, which needs no change prior to use such as
bushes, grass and shadows. The sniper can also create artificial concealment from materials such
as burlap and camouflage nets. Or he can move natural materials (bushes, leaves, and grass)
from their original locations, and create areas that work with his artificial camouflage. The
sniper must consider the effects of the change of seasons, weather, and light on the concealment
provided by both natural and artificial materials.

Camouflage is those measures the sniper takes to conceal himself and his equipment from
enemy observation. As with concealment, camouflage may be artificial or natural. Artificial
camouflage is any material or substance, which is man made and is used for the purpose of
concealing through color, outline change, or texture. Natural camouflage is vegetation or
materials that are native to the given area. The sniper will always augment his appearance by
using natural camouflage. The ratio of natural to artificial would be approximately 60 – 70
percent natural to 30 to 40 percent artificial. Man made substances will always appear, under
scrutiny, to be man made. The secret to camouflage is to never draw the attention of the enemy
and create a reason for the enemy to “inspect with close scrutiny” your position. Once that
occurs, you will be observed due to target indicators.
Target indicators
Target indicators are anything that a sniper does or fails to do that could result in being
detected. A sniper must know and understand target indicators to not only move undetected, but
also to detect enemy movement. The sniper trains to seek and engage targets; knowledge of
target indicators are vital is his quest NOT to be a target himself.

Target indicators are grouped into the four areas or senses of olfactory, tactile, auditory, and
visual. Olfactory is what you do, or fail to do, that allows the enemy to smell your presence.
Tactile is what you do or fail to do that allows the enemy to touch an object that gives away your
presence. Auditory is what you do or fail to do that allows the enemy to hear your presence.
Visual is what you do or fail to do that allows the enemy to see you or indications that you are

Each target indicator must be further examined to look at some very specific causes, which
reveal the position of the sniper. We will begin with the Tactile Target Indicator.

Target indicators: Tactile ( Touch )

The tactile target indicator is an indicator that you would usually leave at your final firing
point, whether it is a hasty or deliberate hide site. Usually the tactile indicator would be of a
very close nature to you and this would in itself be a major problem. However, in the process of
building your hide site you may leave tactile indicators a distance from your hide site and this
would indicate that you are in the area. Cut branches from hide construction or partial clearing
of a fire lane, trip wires or warning devices would be examples of these types of indicators.
Closer to your site would be poorly concealed hide edges, equipment left outside the hide, litter,
etc. This indicator will cause the enemy to look at the area harder and will probably result in
your capture. When cutting branches or material for your site or fire lane always cut in a manner
that the enemy would not bump into the sharp cut edges. This means cut below the ground
surface or directly against the parent tree or shrub. Use of booby traps and warning devices near
your FFP is usually counter productive. Always check and maintain your hide or FFP site to
prevent edges from being exposed.

Target indicators: Olfactory ( Smell )

The olfactory target indicator will not show the enemy, under normal circumstances, exactly
where you are, only that you are in the area. This is enough to ruin your whole day if he comes
after you with dogs and a concerted effort to kill. The indicators include cooking, smoking,
soaps, lotions, latrines, deodorants, insect repellents, weapons-cleaning solvents, etc. The sniper
team must learn to negate most of these odors or match them to the surrounding area. Snipers
should carry food that does not require cooking and the food should be of low moisture content.
This lowers the odor factor somewhat, but does not negate the odor of food. Use of tobacco
products should not be permitted on a mission. The sniper team should use the same materials as
the enemy for weapons cleaning while on a mission. The sniper team should also eat the same
food as the enemy prior to infiltration and for the duration of the assignment. This will change
the body’s chemical balance to closer that of the enemy and aid in masking your different body
odor. Essentially your survival requires you to smell as the enemy, so as not to attract attention.

Target indicators: Auditory ( Hear )

The auditory target indicator is a bigger factor during hours of darkness and periods of fog or
light mist. Movement, equipment rattling or talking causes sound. Some low-level noise may be
dismissed as natural, however, equipment sounds, talking, metal on metal, will not be dismissed,
as will unnatural rustling of foliage or digging. When traveling, always pay attention to what
you are stepping on. Remember that animals are bare footed and if you wouldn’t step on it
barefooted then don’t step on it now while traveling. Stop and listen to the surrounding sounds,
do not forget them or the normal lack of sounds. Always move with minimum change in those
sounds. All of the proper techniques of noise discipline can be adhered to and then destroyed by
the sudden noise of panicked animals. Always pay attention to what you are moving into and
avoid areas that give indications of being inhabited by birds or small animals. In addition to
sound created is the sudden lack of sound caused by the sudden hush of insect buzzing. Just as
the olfactory indicator, the auditory will give away your presence to the enemy, and probably the
direction to you, but not your exact location.

Target indicators: Visual ( See )

The visual target indicators are comprised of various factors that can be individual in nature
but usually are overlapping. A visual indicator, unlike the others, will tell the enemy exactly
where you are located and thus are the main ingredient of camouflage. These factors are
described as “Why Things Are Seen”. These various factors include the following list, and are
what the sniper must guard against.

Target indicators: Visual: Siting

The first factor is siting. This is simply something which does not belong in the immediate
surroundings. This becomes obvious and is readily detectable. This will arouse the observer’s
curiosity and cause him to investigate the area more thoroughly. All other factors usually arise
from the siting factor. A siting error would be a natural camouflage in the wrong area, such as
oak leaves presented in pine trees. Mounds caused from hide construction on a flat field. Dark
green colors present in a field of light green. Siting is usually dependent upon the mission,
dispersion (with multiple teams) and terrain patterns. The sniper must take these factors into
consideration when planning his site and matching his camouflage. Also remember that if an
area appears to be the perfect location for a sniper hide or final firing position, then the enemy
knows that as well as you do and will probably have greater observation on the area and may
have it pre-registered for indirect fire.

Target indicators: Visual: Shape

Shape is the next factor of why things are seen. Most objects can be recognized instantly by
their shape, especially when it contrasts with the background. Experience teaches people to
associate an object with its shape or outline. At a distance the outline of objects can be
recognized well before the details of makeup can be determined. The human body, head and
shoulder area especially, and the equipment a soldier carries are easily identified unless the
outline has been altered. Several factors aggravate the situation for the sniper and they are the
clear-cut outline of parts, or all of a sniper and/or his equipment. The sniper must remember that
only man-made objects have geometric shapes. Mother Nature is very random in the formation
of most things and as such geometric shapes do not occur in nature on a large scale. The shape
factor is usually a result of other factors indicated below.

Target indicators: Visual: Shadow

Shadow is a double-edged sword for the sniper. Where light is excessively bright, shadows
will look especially dark. Contrast will be extreme between the two areas and in this
exaggerated contrast the observer's eye cannot adjust to both areas simultaneously. This can be
used to the sniper's advantage as the light will be flat in the shadowed area, however do not
become careless while in deep shadows. It is easy for the sniper to expose himself as a shadow
against a lighted background of sunlight. In sunlight an object or a man will cast a shadow
which can give away his presence. Care must be taken not to change the natural shape of a
shadow. The sniper must always be aware of his location in relation to an area of light and try to
avoid casting a shadow upon himself. This shadow will create a shape that is unnatural and
attract the attention of an observer.

Target indicators: Visual: Silhouette

The silhouette factor will cause shape and can be the result of shadow, however it is usually
the result of skylining. Remember, however, that any object silhouetted against a contrasting
background is conspicuous. Any smooth, flat background such as water, a field, or worst of all
the sky, will cause an object to become well defined in shape. However, an area with an uneven
background helps the sniper, as it is more difficult to detect the silhouette of an object. Again,
by casting a shadow on yourself you will create a silhouette, which can create a recognizable

Target indicators: Visual: Surface

Surface factors include shine and texture. If an object has a surface, which contrasts with its
surroundings, then it becomes conspicuous. Objects with a smooth surface will reflect light and
become more obvious than an object with a rough surface that casts shadows on itself. An
extremely smooth object becomes shiny and the reflections from a belt buckle, watches, or
optical devices can be seen over a mile away from the source. Any shine will attract the
observer's attention. Another factor is the texture of the object to its background. The sniper
must be aware that a pattern can not overcome a texture. Uniforms with patterns will not match
the texture of terrain. The sniper must make this match with natural camouflage. The sniper
should be aware that most things in nature do grow vertically and NOT horizontally. When
attaching grass to the ghillie suit, take time to attach it vertically, as it grows, and not let it “fall
as it may”. If the overall texture is vertical, as in grass, and the sniper introduces horizontal to
the mix then the sniper will become noticeable.

Target indicators: Visual: Spacing

Spacing is a factor that usually does not effect the sniper as it does larger units unless multiple
teams are used for a sniper ambush. Remember that nature never places objects in a regular
equally spaced pattern. Only man places objects in rows and equally spaces those objects. Do
not fall into the "army trap" of regularly spacing objects for beautiful uniformity. Where spacing
does seem to effect the sniper is when the sniper riflescope lens is on the same height as the
observation scope lens. For some reason this is more noticeable then when there is a difference
in height between the two.

Target indicators: Visual: Color

Color is a major problem for the sniper. Color is also the biggest cause of siting problems.
Nature changes color on a regular basis and the sniper must match it as close as possible. This is
only possible through the use of natural camouflage. The greater the contrasting color the more
visible the object becomes. This is especially true when the color is not natural for that area.
Black is not a natural color and just does not belong. The underside of leaves is lighter than the
surface and the sniper will cause a problem if he does not take care when attaching leaves to his
ghillie suit. Always avoid the use of any point of color that could attract the eye. Color alone
will usually not identify the object but is often an aid in locating the sniper.

Target indicators: Visual: Movement

Movement is the final factor and is the “Proof” the enemy needs that you are there. This final
reason why things are seen will seldom reveal the identity of an object, but is the most common
reason for the sniper to reveal his position. Even when all other indicators are absent, movement
will give a position away. The enemy observer may believe that something is wrong with an
area and observe that area closely. Once the sniper moves, the enemy has all the “Proof” he
needs to summon the hounds of war upon you. Movement that attracts the observer is jerky
movement, or rapid movement. Always consider each move and keep that movement to a
minimum. Always keep something between yourself and the observer when you do have to
move. When observing, use the eyes as much as possible with minimal head movement. When
rising your head up to observe always be aware that there is 6 inches minimum of head before
your eyes are exposed. Just because you can’t see, does not mean the enemy can’t see your head
movement. Do not only think in terms of your movement, but in terms of movement in your
surrounding area, such as the bush you brushed up against, the birds that suddenly flew, or the
small animal that ran in panic at your presence. A stationary object may be impossible to see, a
slow moving object difficult to detect, but a quick or jerky movement WILL be seen.

Target indicators are inherent in the being and physical presence of the sniper. However, he
may diminish or reduce his overall signal, and make his job easier, by eliminating the cause
rather than masking it. Examples would be removing bright metal watches and jewelry, glasses'
rims, etc. Also, don't clip bright writing instruments where they can be seen. If the sniper must
write, it is best to use a small pad bound in a subdued binder, it is best to use paper that is of a
subdued color such as buff. Eating utensils, cleaning equipment, and items of personal hygiene,
should be dulled, taped or otherwise covered before the mission. Don't rub polish or oil onto
boots, weapons, sheaths, etc. This creates a visual and perhaps olfactory target indicator. The
sheen or gloss of new equipment or older cotton material should be dulled with paint, dirt or
mud. Be aware that paint can become a fire hazard. The sniper does not want to be a Roman
Candle, which would be one real big target indicator.
Remember and always keep the reasons why things are seen in your mind as you move into
position and you can defeat the enemy’s observation. Forget the factors and you will become
another statistic.

The two major factors in camouflage are camouflage discipline and camouflage
construction. Discipline is doing what is necessary to construct your camouflage and maintain
that camouflage. Observe the area as you move through it and change out your natural to what is
in your area as the natural changes. If the natural becomes wilted then change that out. If the
natural becomes twisted or falls over, right it. Always check your partner and have him check
you so as to maintain your level of camouflage. Camouflage construction has three different
techniques. The sniper uses one technique primarily.

Camouflage construction consists of hiding, disguising and blending. Hiding means

completely concealing the body from observation by lying or moving behind or in an object or
thick vegetation. The sniper can not use hiding when he is in position because if the enemy can’t
see the sniper then the sniper can not see the enemy. Once the sniper can see the enemy then the
enemy can see the sniper as well. The sniper must keep that in mind at all times! The sniper can
use hiding while in movement to his objective. The sniper does want to keep something between
him and the enemy as much as possible. The ghillie suit DOES NOT HIDE!

Deception through disguising. Deceiving is a technique used to trick the enemy into false
conclusions about the location or identity of the sniper. In some theaters of operations, or during
long overland movements, deception may include the use of disguises, such as simply adopting
native dress and moving during hours of limited visibility so as to fool observers. A more
elaborate plan, requiring more practice and familiarity with the area, would include walking,
sitting, dressing and behaving as the local populace. The sniper must understand that disguising
is a very difficult technique and is usually not worth the effort. The ghillie suit DOES NOT

Blending is achieved by skillfully matching personal camouflage with the surrounding area,
to a point where the sniper is part of the background. Blending is generally best achieved with
bland colors, not dramatic patterns. This is the reason for ghillie suits, they blend the sniper in
with the terrain and do not hide him nor make him appear as if he is a tree or bush. This is the
technique the sniper will use most of the time and that the sniper must perfect.

Likely weather conditions for the duration of the mission must be taken into account, since
this could affect the quantity and type of camouflage used. It will also effect the sequence and
timing of camouflage maintenance. Remember that heat will dry out natural camouflage faster
than damp weather. The rain will cause fabrics to become darker as they become wetter.
Changes from damp cool to snow will cause a complete change in camouflage requirements.
Just as a heavy rain after a light snow will require changes. As a sniper you must find out what
the weather patterns will be for the duration of the mission and plan accordingly.
Terrain patterns vary during the mission, and movement. The terrain, or mission backdrop, at
the objective may be different than that along the route to and from the objective. Again the
sniper must go to the S3 and receive as much information on the area that the mission will be in
as is possible. Read after action reports from any previous missions going into the area, or talk
to friendly indigenous personnel. This will aid in preventing those nasty surprises.

Camouflage materials
There are two basic materials that can be used for camouflage, natural (preferred) and
artificial. The sniper must also consider where the material is to be applied. Is it to be applied to
the skin or to the uniform? What are the dangers of parasites in the area and what is the make up
of the ground materials? These will effect decisions on the materials that you will use for
camouflage and where you will apply them.

Camouflage materials: Natural

Natural camouflage for the skin could cause problems for the sniper later in the mission. Due
to this, the sniper must be aware of the problems in the use of certain natural skin camouflage

Camouflage materials: Natural: Grass

The first natural camouflage to discuss is the use of grass as a camouflage for the skin and
clothing. While grass itself can not be applied to the skin, the resulting natural dye can be
applied. This would be an emergency use item only. The resulting dye caused by grass is semi-
permanent in nature. This means that the skin that is dyed would have to be sloughed off for the
dye to disappear and this would result in blotching. While this is not a problem in a war zone, it
could adversely impact the chances of a date the night after using this technique in a permissive
environment. The sniper should also be aware of any caustic sap that may be in some grasses
and make a sound judgment on its use. Grass used on the clothing is a must when moving
through an area that is grassy. The problem with grass is the tendency to apply the grass in long
pieces when short is better. Long grass on your uniform does two things, one it sticks above the
rest of the grass as you move through it and especially when you have to observe through the top
portion of grass (remember never look over anything if it can be avoided). The second problem
with long sections of grass is that is lays over when attached to your uniform thus creating a
texture problem. That being horizontal textures and patterns in a predominately vertical world.
BAD SNIPER! Another problem that the sniper must be aware of is that grass is made up of two
colors and the sniper must present the correct color to the target area or an observer will see a
color error in the area. The “top” or upper side of the leaf is darker and shinier in color than the
lower or “bottom” side of the leaf.

Camouflage materials: Natural: Leaves

As with grass, leaves can be used as a natural camouflage for both skin and uniform, and again
the leaves would not go on the skin but the dye can be used. All of the same cautions are used as
to the semi-permanence of the dyes and the caustic nature of some leaves (poison ivy jumps to
mind here!). The sniper must look at the leaves the same as he did the grass as to which side is
shown, except a screw up now is even worse in nature than the grass. As with grass there is a
dark and light side and this difference is even more pronounced than with grass. The next
problem that snipers seem to have is not noticing when they move from a three lobed leaf area to
a single lobed leaf area. In short match the leaf and change the leaves, as necessary, when
moving through your area. This is a basic part of camouflage discipline. Think about a patch of
Oak leaves in a pine forest and you will get the idea! Add the fact that the light side is turned out
and you have a compromised sniper. Remember that some type of natural camouflage, such as
foliage, should ALWAYS be integrated into the camouflage design of the sniper's uniform, with
one word of caution; beware of wilting.

Camouflage materials: Natural: Dyes

Both grass and leaves are natural dyes and so is any other by-product of live organisms. Some
of the other items would be bark from trees, some saps, animal blood, coffee and tea (at various
strengths), rock paint, and mud. All have definite problems, but can be used in an emergency
when nothing else is available. You must understand these shortcomings and balance your needs
with the dangers. Examples of potentially dangerous dyes would of course include the blood and
would appear as obvious. Less apparent is the mud that contains parasites, bacteria, and other
life threatening organisms. You must know your area before using mud. Mud can also be from
an area that is sufficiently alkaline as to cause skin burning after a short period of time. This
burn would not be felt until it is too late and the resulting reaction could cause a mission failure.
With the mud would be classified regular dirt and sand. Any of these can be used on the skin or
on the uniform as long as the dangers are taken into consideration, and the possible balance with
mission failure. Rubbing two rocks together and adding water makes rock paint. This only
works with certain “soft” stones and will come off with sweat. However, understand that rock is
basically a silicon-based object. Hmmm, glass is silicon isn’t it? Could this mean that you are
rubbing small slivers of glass into the skin? Yes, if the wrong stones are selected. Soap and
other stone from this family work well, most sand stone make wonderful rock paint and will cut
you like a razor! A self-renewing dye is the male facial hair and a beard will tone down the face
and change the shape as well. You must balance out the sanitary hazards of a facial wound and
infections caused by facial hair in a combat situation.

I must warn you of the danger of color to your scheme of camouflage. Even if you are in a
flower garden, DO NOT use points of color as in flowers. Points of color catch the light and will
attract the observer as soon as they move. This will cause the observer to watch the area and that
will be your down fall. Never use flowers or any other colorful item as a camouflage.

Camouflage materials: Artificial

While natural camouflage is preferred, artificial will be used as the base for the sniper’s
uniform (Ghillie Suit etc.) and will make up the most of the sniper’s skin camouflage. There are
a number of items now available for camouflaging the skin. The first and most obvious is the
military standard camouflage sticks. There are three sticks, however the sniper only needs to
concern himself with two. The reason being, that there are but four colors available in the
military sticks. Those colors are Loam, White, Light Green, and Sand. The three sticks consist
of loam and light green, sand and light green, and loam and white. As can be seen, the loam and
white stick with the light green and sand stick will give the sniper all of the colors available. Use
of the military sticks are a simple matter of rubbing on and rubbing off your skin in one action.
The sniper can use insect repellant to soften the sticks and this would be a definite advantage to
the skin, but again what would the olfactory target indicator be and would it be a hazard to the
sniper in itself? The Hunter’s Specialties camouflage makeup and grease is an advantage in ease
of use and color selection. However, always look at the colors around you before applying and
avoid the trap of going WAY too dark. This is a common problem and it is aggravated in the
field by the tendency of the sniper to cast a shadow upon himself while in position. Stage
makeup is another possibility for the sniper and can be used in an emergency or when the
coloration is required.

Camouflage sticks or face paints are used to cover ALL exposed areas of skin, such as face
(including ears), hands and the back of the neck. Remember the rules that if it may be exposed,
then camouflage. The parts of the face that form shadows should be lightened and the parts that
shine should be darkened, thus forming a sort of "negative" of the normal appearance of the
face. There are three types of camouflage pattern used by the sniper. Striping, the first type, is
accomplished through use of regular or irregular stripes. This pattern is used when in heavily
wooded areas and leafy vegetation is scarce. Blotching is the next technique, also called
splotching; this is used when the area is thick with leafy vegetation. The "blotches" should be
large and irregular. If they are too small, then at a distance the effect is lost, as with the BDU
uniform. The sniper should remember that at distance most small patterns are lost in the shuffle
and the eye takes in the dominant color. Combination is the last and is used when moving
through changing terrain. It is normally the best all-around pattern. Always apply camouflage in
pairs, and continuously re-check your partner and yourself.

Camouflage materials: Artificial: Why?

The main purpose of the artificial materials is the need to break up the OUTLINE of the
sniper and deny the observer a SHAPE that he can see and recognize. This is the point of
artificial, to break up the outline and allow the sniper to BLEND in with his surroundings. There
are various types of cloth or materials that can be used while keeping in mind METT-T. You
must be aware of some materials that have a natural shine such as nylon products. Artificial
materials, such as paint, may be used to augment, or improve, the camouflage protection of
already good cloth or materials. An example would be dark (not black) spray-paint splotches on
OG 107 material; a neutral gray color is good for overall blending with the surroundings. The
sniper must also be aware that paints can play a role in “flame on” when the sniper is wearing
these materials next to an open flame. The most obvious material that is overused is burlap for
the Ghillie suit. If the sniper remembers that burlap only looks like burlap and nothing else, than
he will remember to go light. Using the burlap to break up the outline of the sniper’s body and
not build a new outline of the giant, hulking, Woolybooger Ghillie Monster! The sniper would
also do well to remember that the burlap sold in most stores and placed in the Ghillie Suit Kit for
the military, is produced in colors not normally found in nature, except possibly nuclear
wastelands. The sniper would be better suited to acquire the natural color burlap and soak it in
various strengths of tea and coffee. This will produce the desired earth tones that match nature
much better than the artificial colors of man. The sniper will then need to shred the burlap into
usable pieces.

Camouflage materials: Artificial: Burlap

Buy the burlap in yard measurements as sold at cloth stores. This will permit the sniper to use
all of the burlap and have little pieces floating into everything. By cutting the burlap into 12 inch
to 16 inch squares, the sniper may now shred the burlap into individual strands and group them
into a shape that is similar to grass. The sniper can also remove 1 1/2 to 2 inches from opposing
sides and then cut the squares into 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide strips. This allows the burlap, shredded
from the ends, to be used and the sniper can then use the strips, folded over, as additional eye
confusion as is found at the base of grass clumps. The burlap can be tied into the netting of the
suit or headdress using various techniques, and the sniper does want to use various tying
techniques. This also adds to the randomness and confusion that is evident in nature. Along
with the burlap, the sniper can add pieces of hemp rope, hessian cloth, or any cloth that the
sniper has found to blend in his area of operations. The sniper must always be on the lookout for
these materials to improve his camouflage while in base camp or home base. It is always fun to
watch little old ladies eyeing you as you move through the cloth section “feeling” the different
clothes and checking both sides for color.

Camouflage materials: Artificial: Base Uniform

Another thing that the sniper must keep an open mind to is the base uniform that he will use
for camouflage. This base uniform can be a standard issue military uniform, a military uniform
of the country that the sniper is operating in, civilian camouflage uniforms, Civilian clothing
(true urban camouflage). Onto this “base uniform” would be attached the Ghillie net, Ghillie hat,
or a full Ghillie Suit would be used. The sniper must remember that the Ghillie Suit is not
designed for general wear and that it indicates that you are a sniper. This is not a good thing
around sniper conscience enemies. Also, camouflage netting, mosquito netting, IR netting, etc
can be added to or used in conjunction with the Ghillie suit. In many circumstances, the Ghillie
net or hat would be sufficient for the sniper. The Ghillie Net would be the net attached
temporarily to the uniform and removed when not needed. It would have the same burlap
garnish and space for the natural camouflage to be placed on the net. The net could be set up so
as to have a hood that would rest over the sniper’s head, arms, hands, weapon receiver and
scope. This would cover the sniper while in position and would be tucked inside the shirt during
movement. The Ghillie hat would be a boonie style hat with the brim stiffener cut off the wide
brim. The net would be sewed over the top of the hat and have sufficient netting to cover part of
the back and over the arms, hands, weapon receiver and scope. Again the net would have the
burlap tied in and sufficient space for natural camouflage to be tied to the net.

Camouflage materials: Artificial: Drag Bags

Other equipment to be considered is drag bags for the weapons and equipment. Do not
attempt to move into a final position during daylight wearing a rucksack or LBE. A rucksack
and LBE will become a moving lump that can not be camouflaged. The sniper must remember
that the drag bag is maintained under control at ALL times. The drag bag can become more of a
hindrance than help in many circumstances. Drag bags constructed of stiff materials protect the
weapon better and give a distinct signature due to that very stiffness. An example is the use of
the 1950 weapons container for airborne infiltration also used as the drag bag with minor
modification. It is very successful, but is also a tremendous signature. Soft bags do not seem to
hang on the nearest item and “wait a minute” vines do not seem to leap 6 to 7 feet just to snag
them as they do with the stiff bags. However, the soft bag does not protect as the stiff one does.
Generally the compromise of the scope/receiver cover in conjunction with muzzle guard works
the best. Protects the scope, receiver, and muzzle while leaving little to snag. Last word on drag
bags, they ARE NOT for dragging!!!! The bag is to protect the weapon, especially the muzzle
and scope, during the last portion of a stalk. This is when all of the sniper’s attention is focused
on his movement and small bad things can happen to the weapon. I have seen students dragging
their weapon while walking, high crawling, and hands and knees movement. Allowing the
weapon to drag on its own is foolhardy in the extreme. Always control the weapon; it can
become, at a minimum, a giant hand waving to say, “here I am, shoot my stupid arse”!

Camouflage materials: Artificial: Optics

The next problem for the sniper is all the glass that he is about to expose to the enemy. This is
in the form of the riflescope, binoculars, and spotting scope as a minimum, with the addition of
laser range finders, monocular, etc. a possibility. The sniper must reduce the glare and signature
“cat's eye” of these optics without degrading their performance. This is actually easier than it
first appears, since the real danger areas are the time when there is sufficient light to cause
reflection and the black hole effect of the optics. When this is the case then the size of the
objective lens can be drastically reduced without greatly effecting the optics. Only the center
portion of the objective lens is used to observe through. The rest of the objective lens gathers
light, and reflects it. By reducing the size of the objective and giving it an irregular shape the
sniper reduces the possibility of compromise. The sniper does not want to permanently reduce
the size, so a removable mask is the best way to go. The mask should be cut in an irregular
patterned opening so as not to create a smaller, though just as defined, signature of optics. The
sniper must also remember to maintain his observation scope just above the rifle scope, this
prevents the spacing problem created by two circles at even height (binos). Another problem is
the circle of the muzzle. This must also be reduced as a signature. The easiest way is through
the use of burlap and placing it over the front top half of the muzzle. The initial, precursory
column of air, muzzle blast, will move the burlap out of the way and the bullet will not touch the
burlap. After the shot the burlap will fall back into place and recover the muzzle front until the
next shot. Be aware that with each subsequent shot the burlap will shred and become less
effective as a piece of camouflage. The weapon itself can be painted and the barrel can have
some burlap placed around it as long as the stock is not also trapped in with the barrel. If this
occurs then the barrel harmonics will be seriously harmed and accuracy will be destroyed. The
rest of the weapon will be hidden from view by the sniper’s body and his veil while in position.
The best assurance of floated barrel is to always carry a strap of cloth under the barrel back at the
recoil lug. Upon movement into the FFP and prior to the shot the cloth should be pulled the
entire length of the forestock channel to insure that the barrel is floated. This prevents al of the
garbage, grass, spiders and mites from residing in that area after the stalk. It also allows the
sniper to know that his burlap has not wrapped up onto the stock and barrel, messing with the

Camouflage materials: Artificial: Ghillie suit

The sniper constructs the Ghillie suit for himself. This allows the sniper to construct what he
is comfortable with. There is no right way to do a ghillie suit, only guidelines. It may be as
elaborate or as simple as the sniper requires. There are some guidelines that the sniper needs to
follow. The base uniform can be the uniform the sniper is wearing or a dedicated uniform only
for the ghillie suit. The base uniform should be a bland color of a light material and easily
ventilated. Pockets on the front of the uniform can be removed, sewn shut, or not used during a
stalk. Padding can be sewn into the knees and elbows of the uniform or worn under the uniform
for the stalk. Heavy canvas can be sewn onto the front of the uniform to facilitate crawling or it
can be omitted. Remember that this heavy material can cause a heat problem in hot climates.
The netting can be sewn onto the base uniform or tacked onto the uniform with dark safety pins
just prior to the stalk. Be careful with one-piece base uniforms due to ventilating problems.

The shirt of the base uniform will hold most of the netting with garnish. Care must be taken
not to overload the net with garnish or you will create a new outline of the giant ghillie
woollybooger. Leave spaces for natural, as this is what will blend the suit into the terrain. If the
shirt is dedicated then the sniper may wish to sew the pockets shut or remove them. Laying on an
object in a breast pocket is an old form of sniper torture. It is possible to read the date on a dime
left in your pocket for an extended time. Place the pockets you removed from the front on the
shirtsleeves and on the back of the shirt sew a pocket, made from an old sleeve that is accessible
to your partner. This pocket will carry his partner’s equipment while his partner will carry his
equipment needed at the FFP. This prevents the snipers from “diggin” around for equipment at
the wrong time. On the cuffs of the sleeves, sew loops that will go over the thumb, or middle
finger. This prevents the sleeves from sliding up as you crawl. Also sew in a crotch belt that
will hold down the shirt while you crawl. The sniper will also want to ventilate the shirt by
cutting a 6 inch by 18 inch hole across the back and sewing a small weave net into that area for
ventilation. This net would not have any garnish tied to it, however the net placed over the top
of the whole shirt back would. If the shirt is not dedicated then remove all items from the shirt
pockets prior to the stalk. Once the shirt is modified for “Ghillie use only” with canvas, padding,
extra pockets, garnish, etc., the sniper has a very big piece of cloth on his hands. A thought on
the canvas issue is that if you need that canvas and padding for crawling, then maybe you need
more time spent on route selection and less time on ghillie suit construction.

The pants are constructed the same as the shirt in regards to pockets, canvas, netting etc. Sew
in loops on the cuffs of the pants to tie into the boots so as to keep the pants legs down. Put on
your shirt prior to sewing on the netting, this will prevent you from doubling the garnish and
creating the “fat butt” look that really stands out on a stalk. I recommend that you do not extend
the netting much below the mid calf area as this can create some problems in movement in the
walking mode as your netting, garnish, etc decides to play tangle foot with you. It can be
annoying and dangerous on the stalk when vegetation begins to wave about to indicate your

Boots should be scuffed and browned up. Burlap threads may be glued to the boots, especially
along the black soles. The black soles in any case must be subdued, as they do not fit in with
nature. Sewn canvas, shoe goo and dirt, of just plain old paint may also be used on the boots as
well as any other part of the ghillie suit. Again be aware of the possibility of a flame on
situation. Also be aware that while shoe goo is great for many of the projects, it shines like a
mirror in many circumstances, thus you must observe and modify while in construction, and this
is also an on going project with the entire suit.

Gloves should be used during the stalk to protect the hands from hazards. They may be full
gloves or fingerless gloves and should be removed for the shot. The gloves should be light
colored and garnish may be attached or glued to the backsides. Remember that your trigger
finger is important and that fingerless gloves do not protect the fingers! Another thought is that
many go to the tactical section of their friendly neighborhood sniper store to buy stuff. This is
cool for the store but remember that many of the items are really modified from another cheaper
item, and that you can modify them as well.
As a sniper you must remain undetected during the entire mission. Not only on the objective,
but enroute to and from the objective. In order to accomplish this, you must remain faithful to
every principle of camouflage and concealment, and employ a wide variety of techniques and
imagination with the utmost care. The greatest shot in the world is useless as a sniper if he
cannot reach the objective undetected, wait for the target, and then engage the target unnoticed.
Ignorance or failure to apply the principles of camouflage may cost the mission, and the life of
the sniper.

Written by David R. Reed

Whether you are in the tropics, the desert, or the Arctic, drink whenever you are thirsty. No
matter the quantity of water you may have, small or big. Rationing will not help. The average
man does not drink enough water. His thirst is often slaked before the water budget is balanced
again. American doctors made this observation in the last few years at various bases in the Arctic
and Antarctic. The soldiers stationed there had no thirst because of the cold climate and drank
little; as a result their bodies suffered from progressive dehydration. This was discovered when
the men often complained of constant fatigue. They were URGED to drink a certain amount of
water every meal, and they soon felt much better.

Points to remember regarding water, its consumption and dehydration:

 In warm weather, you may need upwards of a gallon or more a day to replace losses.
Even in cold weather you need over a liter (2 pints) a day.

 Boil all water no matter where you find it, or treat it chemically.

 Stalking even short distances will result in dehydration. Drink your water.

 It Takes 50% more heat to melt snow than to melt ice.

 On icebergs there are always depressions filled with fresh water.

 Rationing water will not help you.

The last point is critical. The Apache traveled from one water hole to another without carrying
water. To saturate your system drink as much as you can hold and urinate. Repeat the process
several times and you will have as much water as your system can hold. When your mouth feels
dry you can keep a small pebble in it to suck on. Breathe through your nose to keep moisture
from escaping through your breath. Do not spit. Try not to work hard enough to perspire.
By David Reed

You must first select an area for your kill zone. The area you select should make success likely.
You will base your decision on the probability that the target will appear in this area during the
period of time you are there. You must select a primary and at least one alternate hide. Roads,
bridges, rivers, and fields all offer good visibility.

Cover is the protection the site affords from fire. It may or may not be wise to expend a lot of
effort on overhead cover when none is available naturally. The more time spent in the area
digging and cutting the more you will be exposed to enemy detection and fire. You must be very
careful to avoid detection. 18" of dirt will protect you from direct light weapons fire. However,
when an enemy machine gunner is whittling away at that 18", it won't seem like much. The idea
is to get the hell out of there before that happens.

Wooden frame housing or single layer cinder blocks or bricks will not stop direct rifle fire or
close range pistol fire. A machine gun will tear them to pieces. If your hide is inside a building
you may use sandbags as a barricade inside the house, or dig a position through the floor and into
the ground. This will be next to impossible if the structure is on a concrete slab. If the building is
raised, and the structure is strong enough, the building itself will provide overhead cover from
RPG's or thrown grenades. Mortar or artillery is a different matter. These will devastate the
building, collapsing the structure on top of you. You must get out before heavy weapons are
brought to bear. This goes for almost any position you choose. You should use anything
available to provide cover, and choose the best cover available that fills other essential

If you do not have sandbags, or the time to fill them, use dirt, logs, timbers, bricks, or anything
else you can find.

Concealment is what keeps you from being seen. It is not necessarily cover. A bush will hide
you, but it will not stop a bullet. Use whatever is available. Do not cut bushes from the area of
your hide. If all of the bushes have been cut down and piled up in one spot your hide will be too
obvious. Gather materials distant from your hide if you need them. Gather carefully so that
people traveling through the area will not see the cuttings, otherwise they will know that
"someone" has been there gathering camouflage for a position.

Personal camouflage is essential at all times. You must achieve two things, break up your outline
and blend in. You break up your outline by creating shadows where they should not be and
highlighting places that should be in shadow. You can also do this by wearing materials that
obscure the outline of your body, face, hands, etc.

From the time we are first born we know what a face is. It is the first thing newborns sees when
their eyes open. By the time a person is 4 years old they can see facial patterns in clouds and
their closet at night! It is the one feature that is most recognizable to anyone. When applying
camouflage stick or civilian creams use the dark tones on raised facial features and the light
tones on recessed (reverse shadows), but run areas together across your face on a diagonal. You
don't want a perfect reversal because it will still look like a face!

When using vegetation for camouflage, use very short branches. Long branches and grasses
move in an exaggerated fashion when you make slight movements. Choose vegetation that
blends in to the area you are hiding in.

Try to select a place for your hide that provides natural concealment, then augment it as
necessary. It is impossible to shoot near or after darkness without your muzzle flash being seen.
Any high powered rifle puts out a tremendous muzzle flash. Be careful to position yourself in a
way that minimizes the angle at which the flash can be seen. This usually means keeping the
muzzle well back of whatever you are shooting out of. Strategically located branches will help.

The sun can be used as camouflage during certain times of the day. When the sun is to your back
and at an angle of 15 - 45 degrees to the targets' eyes, anything on the horizon under the sun is
difficult to see. If there is light colored earth, white paint, windows, strategically located cars
(windshields), the glare can work in your favor depending on the location of the sun, even if it is
in your eyes! Careful analysis of site placement and timing is necessary for this to work.

Whatever you do, do not select the most prominent terrain feature for your hide. These areas will
always be scrutinized. If the enemy is fired upon, he will return fire to these features first. See
the section below titled "Look of your hide" for more on this subject.

Selecting a hide in a built up area (towns, cities, etc.) requires some additional work. NEVER
shoot from windows unless you have too. If you must, then position yourself against the back
wall of the room. NEVER stick the barrel of the rifle out of the window. Close to the window
you can be seen from a much wider angle than you can if you are well back into the room. What
is better, in a wood frame house, is to cut a hole through the wall eight inches above floor level.
Make the hole large enough to see the kill zone from a spot four feet or more back from the wall.
If the building is somewhat dilapidated, make a few more holes in the wall to shoot from. This
will provide the enemy more choices when he is trying to decide where the fire is coming from.
It also helps to disguise the hole as "just another hole in that 'ole building over there".

If height is necessary, do not climb up on the roof unless necessary. In a house type structure, go
into the attic area and build a platform or stand which will elevate you. Cut a hole in the roof and
dislodge the shingles. From the front so it will look like a roof in a state of disrepair. Dislodge a
few other shingles at different heights and NOT equally spaced to achieve an effect like that of
the multiple wall holes described above. If you must use the roof, position yourself by a chimney
or other protrusion so that you are not silhouetted against the sky or background.

The concept of a silhouette is important. Always consider what you will look like against the
background. You should try to blend in.

Better yet, get below ground in a position under a raised floor structure. Make use of the supports
or stairs as cover/concealment. If you are using a weapon with a back blast area (LAW, 90mm
Recoilless, RPG, etc.) make sure that you are not in an enclosed area or the blast may
incapacitate you!

Route of Ingress
This is the route you will take to get to your hide. In rural areas, this route should not take you
through your own kill zone. In addition to the sign you will leave when passing through,
someone else may also think that this is a good spot to shoot!. A few words on sign -- don't leave
any! A good woodsman leaves nothing behind, including footprints. You must always be aware
of where you step. Pick a route where the ground is firm and covered by grass, leaves, etc. I have
used burlap to obscure my tracks. Tie the burlap around your foot gear. Remember different
armies may have different tread designs. Burlap will keep your prints unrecognizable.

On really soft ground, it will be apparent that a lone "someone" has walked through this area. A
good tracker can tell when you were there.

Tracking Tips

 What has the weather been like recently?

 When did the sun rise?
 Was there a dew fall?
 Look towards the sun when studying tracks, you will see the shadows better.
 Footprints in soft ground will begin to deteriorate around the edges within 2 hours
depending on the humidity, sunlight, and breeze.
 When it's very humid, the ground moist, and shaded, the edges of a track will not begin to
crumble for at least eight hours.
 If the ground is shaded until 11:00 a.m. (when the sun rises over the surrounding trees),
then the sunlight will not begin to affect tracks until then.
 If the wind is very calm and has been since the previous evening then little affect from
wind will be evident.
 Wind will blow debris into the track and increase the drying rate around the edges.
 The depth of the tracks and length of the stride can indicate the weight of the load carried
and the physical strength of the person who made them.
 People carrying a load will take shorter steps than those without.
 Tired people will 'meander', break more brush, drag their feet, etc.
 The direction of travel is pretty obvious, and when tracks can't be seen, the direction that
brush or twigs have been broken in will indicate the direction of travel.
 Every boy scout knows the "walking backwards" trick. It is impossible to walk
backwards and put the heel of your foot down first. If tracks show toes hitting first, then
look at the stride. Long stride, toes hitting hard, dirt thrown forwards and back means the
person was running. Short stride -- was the person tip-toeing or trying to walk backwards,
backwards tracks will look unnatural, sort of a wobble or stagger to them.
 By measuring a three foot section of trail, and counting the number of tracks within it, an
estimate can be made of the size of the party who made the tracks. In a three foot piece of
trail, a few people may make two tracks, those who step down at the very edge will
probably step again near the other edge, people who step down near the middle will step
again out side of the section. Count the tracks close to one edge, each of these is a person.
Count the tracks near the middle, each of these is a person. Add them up and you will
have a close approximation of the size of the patrol. Don't be fooled by tracks made at
different times on a often traveled trail.
 Discipline can be judged by debris dropped by along the way. Cigarette butts, candy
wrappers, etc., all tell a story.
 Paper will yellow and fade at a certain rate depending on sunlight and rain.
 The moisture evident in the scar left when a branch breaks can indicate how long ago that
branch was broken.
 A small green branch will be moist for 24 hours, as it dries it will become sticky from sap
secretions (depending on the variety/species). After a while the sap will harden.
 Women tend to walk more pigeon toed than men.
 The feces of a person can be examined to determine diet. The feces of a person who lives
on beans and rice will smell different from the feces of a person who eats hamburgers,
pizzas, LURP's, or c-rats. A pile of feces is a gold mine of information to a tracker. The
wetness, settling, decay, maggot growth, etc. are all indicators of age.
 When the trail goes over hard ground look carefully at small pebbles. When dislodged
there will be a small depression in the ground (the hole they were in). The pebble will be
dark on one side where it was in the hole. If the dark side is damp then you know that the
pebble was dislodged recently. Consider rain, dew, sunlight, and wind.
 Leaves should be dark underneath in the same way. Leaves that have lain on the ground
for a few days will have discolored grass underneath, if not, then the leaf has fallen very
recently. This applies to anything laying on the ground, robbed of sunlight, the grass
underneath will die.
 People who spend their lives in the outdoors are very attuned to these things and can tell
a lot about the person who left the sign. Never assume your enemy is stupid. Always
assume that he is smart, clever, cunning, rational, and clear of mind, body, and spirit.

You want to be able to approach your hide unseen, and in a manner that no one will cross your
trail while you are there.

After you have spent a few weeks in the out of doors, where there are no usually smells of
habitation, your nose will become more sensitive to foreign odors. Your enemy's will too. People
who live in remote, tribal conditions can smell much better than people who are bombarded by
odors 24 hours a day. The detergent used to wash clothes, deodorant, chewing tobacco, a bar of
soap, open containers of food, etc. all have odd smells to a person who does not use them. No
they still can't smell as well as most animals, but they can smell you as far as 20? yards. Not
strong, but enough for them to know you are around. Leave these items home when you are on
patrol. Your body secrets different odors depending on what you eat and drink. A defense
attorney will tell his client not to drink the night before the client has to take the stand under
cross examination. The opposing attorney can sense when they are on a subject that makes you
nervous. (body language as well but this isn't about trial prep). The best solution is to eat nothing
but indigenous foods for at least 48 hours prior to your mission. You are better off eating only
indigenous foods when out on patrol. This will help you conceal your odor, change your feces
and urine also.

Route of Egress
This is your escape route. You must be able to get up and get out quickly without being detected.
You must NEVER use the same route out that you used to go in. If your trail was picked up,
someone could be following it or lying in ambush for your return. Always assume that you are
being followed.

Never travel in a straight line or a predictable zig zag. Change your route often enough so that no
one can review your course over a period of time and predict where you are going. If you have
fired your rifle, you will not have time to circle and study your trail. If you have not, this is a
good thing to do. When thinking this through, consider that you are alone. You MUST NOT
GET CAUGHT, you do not have the firepower to fight the enemy. You must avoid contact at all
costs. Remember discipline? No matter how tempted you may be, do NOT hazard confrontations
without thinking about the consequences.

View or look of the site from the kill zone.

Consider this -- you are walking through a relatively flat landscape with low to medium height
bushes and a few small trees. To your right you notice a slight rise in the ground with two large
trees. Suddenly blood and brains fly out of the head of the man in front of you as you hear the
CRACCCKKKK of a bullet. You hit the ground, where are you looking? Where are you going to
shoot first? More than likely, you and everyone with you will pour a large volume of fire at that
rise and those two trees.

Envision a similar scenario in a town, with low houses and buildings except one six story job
right up the street. Top it off with about thirty closed windows in the building and one open
window on the fifth floor. The same thing happens -- what will you do? NEVER use a "likely"
spot. Lee Harvey Oswald made a pretty good choice when he picked that building.

NOTE -- Many people have duplicated the conditions of the JFK assassination and proven that a
good rifleman could make the same shots. Many conspiracy theorists point to some statement by
an "expert" who claimed that nobody could fire an old Mannlicher-Carcano that fast. Whoever
made that statement was just full of crap.

Two or three years ago at a shooting match in Ohio (?) the organizers recreated this scenario
with a tower, moving target, and an old Mannlicher-Carcano with a cheap scope. Practically
everyone who entered the match did just as well as Oswald and several did better. The top
shooter was left-handed -- just like Oswald! Others point to the fact that Oswald was only an
average marksman while in the Marines. So what? The only record on my DD 214 regarding
shooting skill was the "Marksman" score I shot in basic training. That was the first time I
qualified. I did it with an abused basic training issue M16. There is no record of the many times I
shot "expert" or of my "advanced marksmanship training" , as the Army refers to it -- hehehe! A
real sniper shoots his best under pressure or when he's shooting with a purpose. The sight picture
becomes a part of you, connected to your brain, and there is no way you are going to miss. END

Ideally you will have at least two people watching your rear while you are in your hide. These
men must be capable woodsmen. They may take point and/or pull rear security while you are en-
route to/from your hide. They will cover you while you concentrate on the mission.
Actions at the Objective (Other miscellaneous stuff)
People who have their "shit together" do not litter, masturbate, eat, sleep, or otherwise screw-off
while at the objective. Litter tells a story and is indicative of the discipline/professionalism of the
person in question. As the primary shooter, you have the responsibility of the mission in your
hands. You must select people who complement your efforts and can perform with a high degree
of professionalism.

You must not talk unless it is necessary and then only in a whisper. It is better to use signals for
all communication. If you must eat in your hide make sure that you do not leave litter on the
ground. Do not scatter your equipment about. Everything not in use must be packed and ready to
run with at all times. A spotting scope, rifle, notepad, and pencil are the only things you need to
have ready.

Careful notes should be kept referencing all sign that you cross and everything that you see or
hear. When you set up your position you will make a preliminary scan of the area to make
certain you have not been seen. You should then check your coordinates by using resection with
your compass and map. Every terrain feature in or near the kill zone should be noted. Check the
range to each and note it. After all ranges have been determined, go back and calculate any scope
adjustments necessary for each range. Determine the right combination of minimum scope
adjustment and hold for each range.

After I prepare my range card and I'm satisfied with my position I begin a methodical search of
the area. I use a pattern because it gives me something to do and it keeps me from missing an

I begin from the left edge of the area at maximum range and slowly sweep to the right and then
back, decreasing the range until I'm looking at the area close to my hide. DO NOT neglect the
zone close to your hide. It is very easy to become complacent and assume that there is no one
close to you. You naturally assume that if there was someone there you would see them. That is
only true if the person approaching stumbles, makes a loud noise, or is talking to someone. I
have been in many situations where people suddenly appeared very close to me.

Humans do not have super hearing. It is easy to walk closely to someone in the woods without
them hearing you. This is especially true when a wind is blowing or it is raining. When selecting
your hide, try to pick a place that will provide an early warning of someone's approach. Dry
leaves that crunch, thick vines, logs, or other obstacles that someone would have to cross.
Usually people will go around obstacles it because it is easier.

If they suspect you are there you are in trouble. If your target is a valuable leader it is possible
security forces will sweep the area before he travels through it. They will look in all the likely
spots. If it is night then they can use infrared equipment that will detect your body heat. This
equipment can be hand held or mounted on a vehicle or aircraft. You will need something to
protect you from this and a good hole will do the trick. You must have a lid covered with dirt and
camouflage to pull over you when the security forces pass by. A good shrub with intact root ball
works well. When an aircraft is involved you must be very quick to do this before they can spot
your movement. Remember this, air personnel will only spot you if there is a heat differential or
if you move. During daylight the worst thing you can do is move. Freeze, don't move, wait until
the aircraft passes. A spider hole is excellent cover and concealment. It must be positioned on
high ground to provide good visibility. This bush will die and must be replaced. Pick a variety (if
there is one) which is naturally dry looking. You will have to experiment with the vegetation in
the area to determine which plant looks live the longest. Preserving the root ball will help keep
the plant fresh. Dig the hole deep enough so that you don't have to bend to hide. Leave a step that
will raise you up to shooting level. You must hide the dirt from the hole. Don't leave it in a pile
nearby. Isolated piles of dirt look suspicious, whether you cover them with leaves or not. A
nearby stream will wash the dirt away, but be careful not to leave tracks or fresh dirt near the
bank. Also, if you dig into the side of a small rise, you may be able to disguise the dirt as part of
the rise. Then you won't have to tromp around the area of your hide, leaving sign.

A Word of Warning
You've seen all sorts of clever tricks used in movies and on TV that provide some devious trap or
ruse that leads someone to their death. Keep it simple. Don't waste time with diabolic schemes.
Use common sense instead.

One trick I've seen with several variations is this -- To set a trap, the hunter leaves a small
interesting object or clue that the hunted spots, he stops, picks up, looks around, then proceeds in
the desired direction, right into a trap. What would happen in the movie if the "hunted" spotted
the object, acted as if he didn't see it, walked past out of sight, then stopped and looked for the
hiding place the hunter was using, and surprised the hunter from behind? People who write
movie scripts do not have a secret source advising them on these things. They dream it up and
make it work on screen. ANY sign you leave WILL be used to track you down and kill you.

Another one is where the hunted hides under the water and breathes through a reed. This can
work, but depending on the diameter of the reed, it better not be more than 6" long. Otherwise
the tube fills up with your exhaled breath and you try to breathe the same air over and over again.
The worst time to discover this is when someone is standing 4 feet away and looking for you!
Have you ever tried to breathe through a straw? You don't have to be under the water to test it, or
hiding in fear of your life.

Smart soldiers will follow tracks, but they might send out security elements to their right and left
flanks just in case you double back to ambush them. If they suspect an ambush, as in the case
where sign looks too obvious or planted, they will determine the most likely spots for your hide,
then circle around to surprise you. They won't come diddy bopping down the trail following

A note about dogs: Sprinkle cayenne powder around the area in a circle around your hide, this
will keep away animals. If you must run, sprinkle some behind you every so often. Not just
where you walk but on the bushes to the right and left of your path. Hounds don't have to sniff
the ground where you walked unless the trail is several hours old. They "wind" you. Nose up,
they run towards your scent that is in the air and clinging to things you came close to. As they
run, you want them to kick up and breathe the pepper. That will put them out of action long
enough to put some distance between you and them. A good trail dog can follow a trail over 24
hours old!
Fire Building
Written by Roger Perron and David R. Reed

Have your match container attached to YOU AND WATERTIGHT. (Sniper Note: To make
waterproof matches use strike-anywhere kitchen matches. Light a candle and coat the match
head completely with wax. Don't glob it on too thick and make sure you get some on the wood
too. Women's nail polish will also work well. Also remember this, when working in the dark you
must always know where everything is. You cannot afford to lose or misplace anything in a
survival or combat situation. All equipment should be tied to you using "dummy cords". So that
even a dummy can't lose it. On my first winter exercise in the army I lost one of my gloves. My
squad leader gave me his and told me never to let it happen again. He suffered while I stayed
warm. It was a lesson I never forgot -- both for practical and leadership reasons.)

An axe is the most important tool in the bush, more so than the gun, bow and arrow, next in line
is a good machete or those new all purpose shovels. The hunting knife comes next, but well
sharpened and a good one. (Sniper Note: In my opinion you can't beat a good K-Bar, USMC, or
Air Force Survival knife. The blades on these knives have a high tensile strength, are less brittle
than stainless steel, and sharpen quickly with less than ideal abrasive surfaces. A sharpening
stone to go with the knife is very important, You can sharpen with other things but unless your
blade is extremely dull, you'll only make it worse.)


It needs to be prepared carefully. Choose a site that is sheltered, especially during high winds.
Do not light a fire at the base of a tree or a stump. Clear away leaves, twigs, moss and dry grass
from a circle at least 2m (6 feet) across & scrape everything away until you have a surface of
bare earth. If the ground is wet or covered with snow, the fire MUST be built on a platform.
Make this from a layer of green logs covered with a layer of earth or a layer of stones. If land is
swampy or the snow deep a raised platform is needed, known as a temple fire.


This hearth consists of a raised platform, built of green timber. Four uprights support cross-
pieces in their forks. Across them place a layer of green logs and cover this with several inches
of earth. Light the fire on top of this. A pole across upper forks on diagonally opposite uprights
can support cooking pots.


If there are particularly strong winds, dig a trench and light your fire in it. Also good for windy
conditions: encircle your fire with rocks to retain heat and conserve fuel. Use them to support
cooking utensils. Their heat, as well as that from the fire will keep things warm and you can use
the rocks themselves as bed warmer. Slate and shale have air pockets that when heated, turn into


To light a fire from coal, collect a bundle of dry tinder, softly tease a large piece and place the
coal in the center, fold the rest of the tinder over the coal and with the tinder ball held very
loosely between the widespread fingers. Now whirl the ball round and round at arms' length or if
there is a strong wind blowing, hold the ball in the air, allowing the wind to blow between the
fingers. The ball will start to smoke as the tinder catches. When there is a dense flow of smoke,
blow into the ball, loosening it in your hand. These few last puffs will convert the smoldering
mass to flame thus fire from coal at last. Another trick is to attach a pierced can to a 4 foot rope,
put the coal & tinder in it, & let it swirl till it smokes & flames.

Select fire area, out of the wind, protected from rain and snow. Secure fuel and build a fire
before darkness. Gather adequate supply of fuel first, so that fire can be fed immediately as it
grows. Tinder is highly combustible substance in which a spark can be blown into flame and
innumerable materials of this sort can be found, and carried in special containers such as
tinderboxes, etc.

Tinder impregnated with a solution of saltpeter and later dried MUST be carried in an airtight
container. If carried otherwise the saltpeter will become damp with moisture from the air. (Sniper
Note: A very good fire starter is a ball of dryer lint soaked with candle wax.)


Many bushmen start all fires, indoors and out, with them. Although in terms of initial effort they
are often more bother than a handful of dry twigs, they are fairly dependable. One is easily made
by shaving a straight-grained stick of dry split softwood with single knife strokes until one end is
a mass of wooden curls. (Sniper Note: Make a "pine cone" looking thing with a knife and piece
of wood, the smaller the slivers the easier they will be to light.) The usual procedure is to bunch
no less than 3 such fuzz-sticks so that the flames will be able to eat into the shavings, toss on any
stray whittling, light the mass and then go through the usual procedure of adding progressively
larger firewood.


You will discover that some of the soft inner barks teased and spun into cord will smolder slowly
when lighted. This is called: Slow Match. It's worth while to discover which plants whose barks
have this property. Lengths of cord made from such a bark can be used to maintain a "coal" for a
length of time and so save your precious matches. A slow match is a length of rope or cord that
hangs smoldering to give fire when wanted. It is used as a means of preserving fire and also as a
mean of carrying it from place to place. It can be made by making a length of cord or thin rope
from 1/4" 1/2" in diameter, from suitable barks or palm fibers. Most of the silky soft fiber barks
are ideal. When one end is put in fire or against a glowing coal it will take hold of the spark,
smoldering slowly. A slow match is a safe way when having no match or fire-lighting material to
preserve the vital spark for further use after you have doused your fire and left camp for an hour
or 2. For such a use, the slow match should be hung from a branch and exposed to air currents.
Birch bark can be detached in the thinnest of layers and these shredded to make tinder. Bark of
some cedars is also good. Piece of your shirt or pants, dry moss, lichens, dead evergreen needles,
dry hay are among the can be pulverized for tinder, even bird nests. Dry fuzz from pussy willows
is a well-known tinder, so is a dry wood that has dry rotted and can be rubbed to a powder. A
handful of very dry pine needles often works; you can also use the fluff of the so-called cotton
grass, that of the cattails and the downy heads of such flower as mature Goldenrod. Tinder is any
kind of material that takes the minimum of heat to make it catch in fire. Good tinder needs only a
spark to ignite it.


It is the wood used to raise the flames from the tinder so that larger and less combustible
materials can be burned. The best kindling consists of small dry twigs and the softer woods are
preferable because they flare up quickly. Those that contain resins burn readily and make fire
lighting a snap. The drawbacks of softwoods are that they tend to produce sparks and burn very
fast. Have lots of slower burning wood ready when you get the fire going, resinous softwoods
like lighter knot burn very fast.

As a general rule, the heavier the wood the more heat it will give, this applies to both dead and
green woods. Mixing green & dry wood makes a long lasting fire, which is especially useful at


Hickory, Beech or Oak for instance burns well, give off great heat and last for a long time as hot
coals, they keep a fire going through the night.


Tend to burn too fast and give off sparks. The worst spark-makers are Cedar, Alder, Hemlock,
Spruce, Pine, Chestnut and Willow. Remember that damp wood is sometimes advantageous --
producing smoke to keep off flies, Midges, and Mosquitoes. Use your fire to dry damp wood.
Always cut an ample supply of firewood, you never know when you will get a spell of rain or
snow. 3 days is best provision. (Sniper Note: In cold weather it is not unusual to burn a cord of
wood a day to stay warm. A cord is a heaping full size pickup truck load. If you are conservative
you can stretch this considerably. I add this note because those who have little experience will
usually gather to little firewood. You do not want to discover this at 10:00 at night when you
have 8 hours to go until daylight. Gather a lot more than you think you will need. When first
stranded, everyone in your party should devote an hour to gathering firewood. If it looks like
there is plenty, then send some people to collect other useful items for the shelter. ) MAKE
SURE that you do get one stack ready also you will need 4 mores for your signals -- Should one
pile refuse to light the extra one will do it.


These make excellent fuel; frontiersmen of the Wild West used buffalo chips for their fires. Dry
the droppings thoroughly for a good smokeless fire. You can mix them with grass, moss &

Peat is often found on well-drained moors. It is soft and springy underfoot and may be exposed
on the edges of rocky outcrops -- looking black and fibrous. It is easily cut with a knife. Peat
needs good ventilation when burning. Stacked with plenty of air the peat dries rapidly and is
soon ready to burn.


Coal is sometimes found on the surface - there are large deposits in the Northern Tundra.


Shales are often rich in oil and burn readily. Some sands also contain oil - they burn with a thick
oily smoke that makes a good signal fire and also gives off a good heat. (Sniper Note: Shales can
also explode when heated!)


If you have had a mechanical failure and crashed or broken down with fuels intact you can burn
petroleum, antifreeze, hydraulic fluid and other combustible liquids. Even insect repellent is
inflammable. Anti-freeze is an excellent primer for igniting heavier engine oils. With a little
Potassium Permanganate from your survival kit, you can set it alight in a few seconds. In very
cold areas drain oil from an engine sump before it freeze. If you have no container drain it on to
the ground to use later in its solid state. Tires, upholstery, rubber seals & much of any wreckage
can be burned. Soak less combustible materials in oil before trying to make them burn. Mix
petrol with sand and burn it in a container as a stove, or dig a hole and make a fire pit. Burn oil
by mixing in petrol or antifreeze. (Sniper Note: Liquid fuels like gas or a mixture of gas and oil
when soaked in a sand pot make a very hot, long burning fire. Ice fisherman use a coffee can
with a roll of toilet paper soaked in kerosene (fuel oil) to do the same thing. JP-4 (Jet fuel) can be
used too. High octane AvGas is pretty dangerous stuff, you must be very careful with it. ) Do not
set a light directly to liquid fuels but make a wick and let that provide the flame. The same goes
for insect repellent.


About the easiest method is to place a steel or iron plate on a couple of stones a foot above
ground level. Light a fire beneath this plate to make it really hot and while it is heating up
arrange a pipe or narrow trough about 2 or 3 feet long. One end of this pipe is over the center of
the plate and the other end is a foot or so higher than the plate. Into this top end of the pipe
arrange by means of a funnel and trough water and sump oil or any oil to be fed down the pipe to
the hot plate. The proportion of flow is 2 or 3 drops of water to one drop of oil. When the water
and the oil fall onto the hot plate it burns with a hot white flame of very great heat. The rate of
flow can be governed by cutting a channel in corks that plug the bottles holding the oil and
water, or if tins are used, pierce holes in the bottom of the tins & use a plug to control the flow.
This type of fire is excellent for an incinerator when great heat is required to burn out rubbish. It
also makes an excellent campfire where strong flame and light are required.

These can also be used with a wick n a suitably ventilated tin to make a stove. Bones can add
bulk when fat is being burned as a fire. Sometimes it is the only available fuel in Polar Regions.

Start flame with tinder or a candle, then place a network of bones cover it to support the fat or
blubber. Use only a little fat at first. Unless it is surplus, burning fat means sacrificing food
value, but seal blubber spoils rapidly and makes good fuel. Whenever you strike a match light a
candle. Many things in turn can then be lit from it -- saving matches. Place it in the wigwam of
kindling to start a fire and remove it as soon as the flame spreads. Only the smallest amount is
burned & even a small candle will last a long time. Paper matches are no good in bush for they
easily get wet, or damp, from perspiration & outer wetness. Strong direct sunlight, focused
through a lens, can produce sufficient heat to ignite your tinder. The sun shining through broken
bottles on dry leaves or pastures causes accidental fires. Your survival kit magnifying glass or a
telescope or camera lens will serve instead. Shield tinder from the wind. Focus sun's rays to form
the tiniest brightest spot of light. Keep it steady. Blow on it gently as it begins to glow.


Flint is a stone found in many parts of the world. If it is struck vigorously with a piece of steel
hot sparks fly off which will ignite dry tinder.


Among the top best to start a fire even after being hidden 3 days in icy mud. A necessity to be
included in your survival kit.

FLINT, 2001 BC-AD:

Flint and stone were the common methods before matches were invented and not great skill is
needed for their use. Yet the synthetic flint used in a cigarette lighter is a considerable
improvement on natural flint. A couple of pieces of synthetic flint pressed into a small piece of
Perpex make an excellent emergency fire lighting unit. (Heat the Perpex and press the flints in
while it's hot. Hold under the water and the *Perpex will shrink on the flints and hold them


In parts of South East Asia people make fire using this ingenious method of suddenly
compressing air in a cylinder and thereby concentrating the heat in the air to a point when the
heat is sufficient to ignite tinder. Their fire making sets, frequently a cylinder of bone or hollow
bamboo with a bone or wooden piston. A small piece of tinder is inserted into a cavity in the
lower end of the piston. The piston is placed in the cylinder and the flattened end opposite the
piston head struck a smart blow with the palm of the hand, driving suddenly down the cylinder.
Compression of air with concentration of the heat it carries produces a small glowing coal in the
tinder placed in the recess of the piston head. Frequently the jar of the blow will shake the tinder
loose, so a spark remover is used with the set to pull out the glowing tinder if it lodges in the
cylinder. The dimensions are roughly as follows:
 Cylinder: 4" to 6" long outside diameter 3/4" to 1", inside diameter about 1/2".

 Piston: 4" to 6" long of which the shaft is 3" to 5", piston length 3/4" to 1", diameter to
nicely fit the cylinder.

 Recess at the lower end of the piston - about 1/4" wide by 1/4" to 5/16" deep. The piston
shaft end is smooth and about 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter for striking with the palm of the


You take 2 sticks of wood and you rub them vigorously against one another in a sawing
movement. This method is often used in jungle. The stick that you use as the "saw" is a split
bamboo or any soft wood type. The other wood stick must be very dry. The friction is done over
a mass of good tinder.


Use a piece of cane about 60 cm long and a dry stick. Make a small slit in one of the cane's end,
and then lay it on a stone. Maintain this slit open using a small wedge (stone or wood). Place a
mass of tinder under the cane and between the cane and the tinder mass pass a thong or lash
which you will slide quickly against the cane in a sawing movement. Meanwhile retain the board
or cane with your foot.


This method will take 10 minutes, if experienced! Fires have been made throughout the world
long ago from glowing embers obtained by the combined use of bow, drill and fire board.
Although the technique is simple, considerable diligence and effort is required. You will need a
bow, with a thong long enough to loop around the dry stick that is to serve as a drill, you will
need a socket with which to hold the drill against a hollow in the fireboard. By moving back and
forth and so rotating the drill in the fireboard, you cause so much friction that a spark starts
glowing in tinder gathered to catch it. The spark you blow into flame with which the campfire is


The use of the socket is to hold the drill in place while the latter is being turned. The socket,
which for this purpose is held in one hand, can be easily grasped knot of wood with a small
dimple cut into it. It can be a smooth stone with a slight depression worn in one side, often found
near water.


This variation of the fire bow is particularly useful with very dry tinder. Instead of using a bow
to spin the spindle, just use your hands. Roll the spindle between the palms of the hands, running
them down with each burst of spinning to press the spindle into the depression in the baseboard.
When the friction makes the spindle tip glow red, blow gently to ignite the tinder around it.
Putting a pinch of sand in the spindle hole increases the friction and speeds the heating of the
tinder. A cavity below the spindle dimple with a passage between the two will allow embers to
fall into your tinder.


This method of ignition also works by friction. Cut a straight groove in a soft wood baseboard
and then plow the tip of hardwood shaft up and down it. This first produces tinder & then
eventually ignites it.


Among the North American woods favored for making fire by friction are: Poplar, Tamarack,
Basswood, Yucca, Balsam Fir, Red Cedar, White Cedar, Cypress, Cotton-Wood, Elm, Linden,
Willow. The drill and the fireboard are both often made of a single one of the above woods but
not ALWAYS the case. When not sure of type of wood see below: PUNK. *


The drill should be a straight & well-seasoned stick from 1/4 to 3/4" in diameter & some 12 to
15" long. The top end MUST be as smoothly rounded as possible so as to incur a minimum of
friction. The lower end for maximum of friction MUST be blunt. A longer drill, perhaps one
nearly a yard in length is sometimes rotated between the palms rather than by a bow. (Hand drill
method) The hands maintaining as much downward pressure as possible are rubbed back and
forth over the drill so as to spin it as strongly and as swiftly as possible. When they slip too low,
they MUST be shifted back to the top to the top with as little delay in rotation as possible. The
method is however not as effective as bow and socket.


The size of the fireboard that may be split out of a dry branch can be a matter of convenience.
The board can be about 1" thick and about 3 to 4" wide, and long enough to be held under the
foot. Using a knife or a sharp stone, start a hole about 3/4" from the edge of the board. Enlarge
this hole, thus fitting it, & the end of the drill at the same time, by turning the drill with the bow
as later described. Then cut a notch from the edge of the fireboard through to the side of this cup.
This slot or undercut " V" that is usually made wider and deeper at the bottom. It should be at
least 1/8" into the hole itself, will permit the hot black powder that is produced by the drilling to
fall as quickly as possible into tinder massed at the bottom of the notch. (Generous bundle of
tinder under "V" cut!).


The bow string from a shoe lace to a twisted length of rawhide etc. is tied at both ends so as to
leave enough slack to allow its being twisted once around the drill. NOTE: To use a fire set, the
drill is put under the thong, and twisted so that the drill finally is on the outer side of the thong &
with that portion of the thong nearest the handle of the bow on the upper side of the drill. This is
important. If the thong is on the wrong way on the drill, it will cross over itself & cut in a few
strokes, also the full length of the stroke can't be obtained.


The campfire, first having been made ready to ignite. The tinder is bedded under the slot in the
fireboard. If you are right handed, you kneel on your right knee and place the left foot as solidly
as possible on the fireboard. Take the bow in the right hand, looping the string over the drill. The
drill is set in the cavity prepared in the fireboard. Pressure from the socket, which is grasped in
the left hand, holds the drill in position. You can grip the socket more steadily you will find if
you will keep your left wrist against your left shin and hug the left leg with that arm.

The bow is held in the right hand with the little and third fingers outside the thong so that by
squeezing these 2 fingers the tension of the thing can be increased. Press down on the drill, but
not enough to slow it, when you start twirling the drill by sawing back and forth with the bow.
Only a light pressure is put on the socket. Now start drawing the bow smoothly back and forth in
sweeps as long as the string will conveniently permit. Maybe you have dropped a few grains of
sand into the cup to increase friction. When the hole starts to smoke, work the bow even faster,
never stopping the swift even action. Press down more firmly on the drill. When the drill is
smoking freely & that you have the Punk grinding out easily so that the V cut is full of it, put
extra pressure on the socket at the same time give 20 to 30 faster strokes with the bow.

Lift the fill cleanly and quickly from the foot piece. Fold some of the tinder over lightly and
blow gently into the "V" cut. If you see a blue thread of smoke continuing to rise, you can be
sure you have a coal, you will see it glowing red. Fold the tinder completely over the foot piece
& continue blowing into the mass. The volume of smoke will increase and a few quick puffs will
make it burst into flame.


Hot black powder (punk) will begin to ground out into the tinder. Keep on drilling, for the
heartier a spark you can start glowing there, the quicker you will be able to blow it into a flame.
By examining the "punk" you can learn if the wood used is suitable for fire making. The punk
which will produce a glowing coal MUST feel slightly gritty when gently rubbed between the
fingers and then with more pressure it should rub gradually to a silky smoothness as soft as face
powder. This testing of the "punk" IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT; if you do not know for
certain that the woods you are using are suitable for fire lighting.


There are other refinements that are worth knowing: The boring or burning of a hole for the
thong at the tip and also through the handle of the bow. The end of the thong at the tip of the bow
has a thumb knot tied on the topside. The hole through the handle takes the long end of the
thong, which is then wound round the handle in a series of half hitches. This hole in the handle
enables you to adjust the tension of the thong with greater accuracy. A socket of shell or smooth
grained stone with a hole in it is less liable to burn than a socket of wood. Tinder MUST be
carried in a waterproof bag. If you have any to cartridges to spare, empty the powder out of one
or two to start your tinder. Battery sparks can be used to ignite tinder.
Other items can be used to focus the sun's rays:

Watch crystals:

o Hold the crystals from 2 watches or pocket compass of about the same size back
to back.
o Fill the space between with water.
o Directing this makeshift enlarging lens so as to converge the rays of the sun in a
point sharp enough to start tinder glowing.

(Sniper Note: If the watch is a Rolex or look alike, use the magnifier over the date to concentrate
suns rays.)


Make a small hole in any paper sheet, spit in this hole or put a clear water drop that you present
to the sun rays as a magnifying glass


A survivor's pack is not likely to include a complete chemistry set but there are some very
common chemicals that if they are available, can be used to produce combustion. The following
mixtures can all be ignited by grinding them between rock or putting them under the friction
point in any of the types of fire drill already described. Mix them carefully, avoiding contact with
any metal objects. All are susceptible to dampness and MUST be kept dry.


In a mixture of 3/1 by volume is a fierce burning incendiary that can also be ignited by dripping
a few drops of Sulfuric Acid on to the mixture.


Mixed 9/1 is less sensitive and temperature is a critical factor in how long it takes to ignite. The
addition of Glycerin will also produce ignition. Sulfuric acid is found in car batteries (Sniper
note: Boil car battery acid in a bottle until it gives off white fumes. This will concentrate the acid
enough to be used in pyrotechnics.)

Potassium Chlorate:

Is found in some throat tablets, their contents may be listed on the pack. Try crushing one & see
if it works. (Sniper Note: If you have enough, the white tips of kitchen matches contain plenty,
and can be used to make explosives -- Handle with care!)


Smoke is the result of incomplete combustion thus by feeding the fire with small dry twigs which
catch fire almost instantly the size of them about 1/8" thick there will be no tell tale blue smoke


Made by filling and old tin or small hollow piece of branch with clay earth, packed tight at the
bottom. The earth should come to about an inch from the top of the tin. Into this a twig is pushed
a piece of old cotton rag or very finely teased bark fiber is wound round the twig to serve as a
wick. Fat from your cooking is poured on top of the earth and when the wick is lit the lamp burns
with a clear flame. The amount of light can be controlled by the size of the wick.


In building a campfire is to make pigsty construction with heavy logs on the outside and then
pack the inside with light brushwood. Such a fire is rarely a success. The light inside wood burns
out in a quick blaze of glory but the heavy outer logs lack sufficient heat to get them properly
alight and also having only small points of contact with each other at the corners do not burn
well nor do such fires give out a good radiation of heat.

Fire Support Planning In Support Of

Scout/Sniper Operations
14 December 2000

By Jeff Waters

Sniper Mission:

The Sniper's mission is to "Engage targets with long range precision fire and/or fire support
assets and to gather and report timely and accurate information".

Fire Support Results:

During WWII, 45% of all casualties resulted from indirect fire (taken from the US Army NCO
Academy Instructor's Guide). Think about that figure for a second. Almost half. And that was
with WWII technology. Today's artillery reaches farther, faster, with a much higher degree of
explosive power. Not to mention the development of rounds like FASCAM (Family,
Scatterable, Mines) that can plant a minefield between you and an enemy force in minutes, or the
Copperhead anti-tank round.
Fire support is used when, due to wind or distance, it is not realistic to rely on a rifle shot, or to
help a sniper team that has struck a target and is being pursued by a large force. Since fire
support is generally the only form of friendly help nearby, it is crucial for the team to thoroughly
understand how to plan for its use, and how to call it in when the time comes.

Planning & Coordinating Fire Support for a Sniper Mission:

In general terms, you want to have Target Reference Points (TRPs) established to cover your
patrol during insertion, movement to the objective, at the objective, withdrawal route, extraction
point, and any patrol bases you might have.

After establishing the TRPs and determining what type of rounds you want on each target, you
can begin to coordinate with the unit's Fire Support Officer, or FSO. TRPs should be established
to coincide with as many natural checkpoints along the route of movement as possible. The idea
is that as you reach each checkpoint, you can call it in by codeword and have the FSO adjust the
guns to the next TRP on that leg.

1. Insertion.

For example, let's say that the team's insertion is to depart the base camp with a friendly
patrol. A TRP is established to screen the patrol if it makes contact during departure. By using
smoke, they not only immediately gain protection from enemy observation, but they have
protected themselves and the Friendly Forward Unit (FFU) from any chance of friendly fire.

Since the smoke can be used to verify impact points, they still have the option to adjust fire
onto the enemy location and switch to high explosive. Since the smoke will probably reduce the
patrol's ability to observe the enemy location and the impact of rounds, the fire may have to be
adjusted by a member of the FFU. This contingency should be part of the coordinated plans
made prior to departure.

1. Movement to the OBJ.

Insertion is complete when the patrol has reached the first rally point away from the insertion
point and has completed a SLLS halt (stop, look, listen, smell). When they are ready to move,
they call in a code word that lets their HQ know that they have completed their insertion, lets
them know the patrol's general location, and signals that it is time for the guns to shift to the next

During the movement, TRPs should cover known/suspected enemy locations, rally points,
danger areas, and patrol bases. Again, by planning TRPs to cover each leg of the movement
between checkpoints, the simple act of calling in a code word keeps higher up advised of your
location and fire support readily on call. Sending a single-word code does not violate COMSEC,
either, and the team's location cannot be compromised by such a short transmission. It also
serves as a radio check, and it should be noted during the map reconnaissance whether the terrain
near the checkpoint is in dead space where commo will be difficult. If so, call it in on the last bit
of the leg where you have line-of-sight with the unit or plan a jump-off point where you can
make commo. If you don't think you can make commo at a danger area based on terrain, you
should consider changing you route since you won't be able to use fire support if needed.

Patrol bases and Rally Points are covered also, and can use the "Polar" method of control
rather than the "Shift from a Known Point" method.

1. At the Objective.

This is obviously a critical time. One thing our stalking exercises don't teach is that after you
take your shot, you will probably have some very pissed off people coming after you
immediately. If you are dressed in a heavy ghille suit, good luck getting away in a hurry without
leaving a giant trail.

If you take a shot or two at a platoon-size element and they begin to pursue you, then it's nice
to have a TRP between you and them where you can simply call in something like, "Immediate
Suppression on AA10," as you run for your life. If it's between you and the enemy, they are
more likely to move away from the impact zone rather than through it to pursue you. This buys
you valuable time for your getaway.

Another idea, based on the organization and doctrine of the enemy is to have the guns standing
by for counter-battery fire if the enemy decides to guess at your position and blast away with an
artillery strike of their own.

Additionally, the team can use fire support assets to keep a unit pinned while it picks off a
person or two and moves to an alternate location. For example, a sniper team engaging enemy
LP/Ops or patrols departing the enemy's perimeter can use fire support to suppress the main
camp, which might be sending out a reaction force.


As usual, the U.S. Army has some highly sophisticated and expensive training aids for use in
fire support training. And not surprisingly, they don't work well, are hard to schedule, and are
not that realistic.

The best way to train at the squad level is to start by reviewing the different types of missions,
the communications procedures, and how to adjust, along with the basics of danger close

Instead of wasting a lot of time at the lecture board, you can take the troops to a sandtable
marked with numbered strings for gridlines and give them a radio. You act as the FSO and they
radio in their request (for some reason, using real radios works much better than without). An
assistant instructor uses a pointer with a cotton ball taped on it to designate the impact point of
the round and the sniper adjusts accordingly. The rest of the class is allowed to stand by to
watch and learn. The first few soldiers invariably screw it up and are sent to the back of the line
to do it again.
But, after watching a few people do it correctly, almost everyone catches on and can pick up a
radio and do the job. The sandtable should be used after teaching each mission, beginning with
a grid mission, then a shift, and finally a polar if time permits.

The next step is to get them onto a live fire range and FO for the BN Mortars at least
quarterly. The mortar platoons generally enjoy having FO support.

After they have a sound foundation in the basics, training should take place on different
methods of control, fire support overlays, and the fire support coordination.

Air Support should also be trained on.


Employing fire support is an integral part of the sniper mission, both for his safety and his
combat effectiveness. FS training should be part of a sniper section's Mission Essential Task
List (METL) and require mandatory training on at least a quarterly basis.

Teams should make every effort to establish a good working relationship with the BN's FSO
and mortar sections. The sandtable is an excellent tool, which should be used to evaluate
EVERY member of the section on Call for and Adjust Indirect Fire, regardless of rank. All
snipers must know these tasks by heart.

Further, understanding the MIL Relation Formula used in determining shift, increasing the
snipers understanding of range estimation, and the mil dot scale in his scope is excellent,
excellent training for a sniper.

And as with any training - for anyone, not just snipers - practice does not make perfect.

Perfect practice makes perfect!

Finally, it's your ass out there and the unit is counting on you.

What more needs to be said?

Ghillie Suits
Constructing your own
By Dave Reed

Ghillie Suits make good camouflage when in one position, or if you must move through
somewhat open areas. They will entangle when you try to go through dense brush. Make your
personal camouflage net by selecting material that blends in with the vegetation you are
operating in.

I have received several requests for tips on Ghillie suit construction. I had considered
having one made putting it up for sale, but it is time consuming and I'm not sure that anyone
would buy it. Here are a few pointers that you should consider.

Two basic designs for ghillie suits:

1. Simple net for fixed positions

2. Suit construction

Your ghillie suit does not have to be elaborate to be effective. I have seen some for sale in a
magazine that made whoever wore it look like exactly what it should not -- a guy in a ghillie suit.
Now the very best one I can think of is the one Tom Berenger wore in that sappy movie --
"Sniper". If you saw the movie, did you notice how it magically transformed itself to match the
background behind him? Amazing huh! By taking camouflage from the surrounding vegetation,
and adding it to the netting, you can make it look just like the ground you are laying on. If you
didn't see the movie, you didn't miss much. Or then again, maybe you missed a lot, like the
magic rifle scopes!

Simple Net

Advantage - Light weight, rolls up into a small bundle, very adaptable to fixed positions.

Disadvantage - Difficult to crawl in, or move through brush.

Your net should be flexible enough for you to adapt to each situation. Keep it simple, and
allow lots of room for improvement. A piece of camouflage netting will work well. All you need
is a shroud, or short poncho, that covers your head, shoulders, and hangs down to your waste,
with one side of it long enough to cover down to your knees. Cutting it out in an irregular shape,
like a rounded triangle will help. You want to be able to adjust the shape of it so that it breaks the
outline of your body. You can sew pieces of burlap to the netting in a haphazard fashion to
increase it's effectiveness at short distances.

Go to a an army surplus store and look for a piece of camouflage netting. If you can't find a
piece you can make a good one with a piece of fish net or shrimp net. The shrimp net must be
cleaned very well and dried a couple of times to insure that it does not smell. You want your
netting to be durable so it should be made of twisted line and treated with an anti-rot coating. All
shrimp nets are coated with the stuff and it's a dark green color. The tail of a shrimp net will last
forever when treated.

Put the net over your head and arrange it so that you can see out. You will need to shape it
so that you'll have a large hood with a lot of overhang to cover your face. You can gather it using
thin nylon web strap. Don't worry about buckles, just leave enough strap to tie it in place. This
will keep it from coming off. Leave it longer in back so it will cover your upper legs.
Go to an Army surplus store or to Wal-Mart's hunting department and get some camouflage
colored burlap. If they have it, get two or three different colors/textures.

Cut the burlap in strips that are shaped like bow ties. The skinny part in the middle is where
you will tie the strip around a piece of the net. Don't make the sides of the bow tie the same
length or width. The shortest should be about 5 -6" and the longest a side should be is about 9".
Two half hitches should tie the bow on to the net securely. Leave room between strips, if you
bunch them too tight you will look a guy wearing a funny suit. Alter the colors you use as you tie
them onto the suit. Don't make the knots too tight until you have a lot of pieces on and are
satisfied with the look and arrangement.

Two straps at the neck will keep your "hood" in place and another at the waist will keep you
from losing the suit when tangled.

The simple net is easy to make, light, and can stretched overhead in a position and arranged
in various manners to meet the situation. With all of the holes, and loose burlap, you can stick all
manner of small branches, grasses, and leaves to the suit to match the terrain.

The next piece of the net solution is an apron. Police snipers and competition shooters can
use elaborate shooting mats. Snipers need an apron. This will help you remain comfortable while
laying on wet ground for long periods of time. It will keep you warm and make it easier to slide
along the ground. A suitable apron can be made from a canvas shelter half. It doubles as
something to keep you dry in the rain, or a blanket at night. Keep it short enough that you can
run with it.

BDU method

Advantages - It stays on at all times, provides total coverage of all body parts.

Disadvantages - It is hot and much larger will rolled up.

Sniper training in the military includes this skill by starting with BDU's and sewing
camouflage to them. When sewing strips of anything to your suit, DON'T make them all one
length, color, and shape. You use camouflage to breakup outlines, you don't want to create new
patterns that will look unnatural. Cut strips as described above only make them any shape you
want. You may sew these strips to the BDUs or use some kind of net or mesh. Sew the net to the
BDU's at the shoulders and small of back. On the pants sew to the waist, upper back of legs, and
calves. Now you can sew the strips to the mesh.

In place of an apron you will need to add canvas from a shelter half to the front of the shirt
and pants down to the knees.

For the sewing use a good strong thread and needle. This is the time consuming part. When
I went to sniper school we did not have to make these, a simple camo net scrounged from the
battalion supply sufficed. The suit is bulky and hot, if you must cover open ground without being
seen then it would be nice to have.
If you need a suit that is light, and will only be used to supplement your other camouflage
in a fixed position, the simple net will work well. A sniper must be resourceful.

Your ghillie suit will be a waste of time if you wear an exposed watch or ring. You must
also wear gloves and of course your "camo" stick. You must cover all exposed body parts.

Camouflage for your weapon can be made in the same manner by wrapping the weapon
with burlap. Take one long strip and sew a few smaller strips to it. Make sure you can reach your
adjustment knobs and there is nothing obstructing the scope.

Heat Stressin the TacticalEnvironment

8 July 1999
by Scott Powers

Taking care of your body in a tactical or hunting environment can sometimes take a back seat to
your immediate goals. There is not a soldier or hunter, police officer or support person who has
not put the mission before his or her bodily needs at least once in their career. A bruised knee, a
twisted ankle, even an open wound can be ignored depending on the severity of the situation and
the injury. This kind of minor damage can be easily assessed and treated or ignored depending
on time constraints and an individual's ability to deal with pain. The main point is that because
these wounds are physical in appearance or provide immediate pain, one becomes aware of them
quickly and acts accordingly. There is one form of physical damage that creeps up on you
without a lot of fanfare. It is easily ignored until too late. It can cripple you and place your
mission at great risk of failure. Heat Stress. This form of heat induced ailment can easily be
avoided with a little forethought, but once you have let the symptoms creep up on you without
treatment, you will be down for the count or worse, dead.

Whether you are a student at a firearms training facility, a police officer on the job or a troop in
the field, keeping hydrated should be paramount on your list of preventative care and health
maintenance. You can not operate if you are unconscious. Lives may depend on your ability
and clear thinking. We seldom speak of heat stress here on Sniper Country and we apologize for
not highlighting this less than glamorous topic. It is easy to write at length about a new and
exiting piece of equipment or a new training technique, but too often we ignore the physical end
of the spectrum, assuming most people know what is needed to keep them effective on the job.
As the fourth of July weekend ends and my local area is coming out of a record high temperature
spike, heat stress seems like a good topic to broach for our readers.

Heat Stress can be one of a series of conditions where the body is under stress from overheating.
It includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat rash, and heat stroke. Each produces physical
symptoms that range from profuse sweating, dizziness, delirium and collapse. Heat stress comes
from many sources including; high temperatures, heavy workloads, lack of proper hydration and
even the type of clothing being worn.
Heat Stroke is insidious. The victim often overlooks the signs. He may assume he is feeling a
little slow or sluggish simply from the heat of his environment, but with profuse sweating he
may feel sufficiently cooled by the evaporation of his precious fluids. If he is not taking active
measures to replace these, he will become confused or unable to concentrate. Left untended, he
will experience more sever symptoms such as fainting or complete collapse. If heat signs occur
in the field and you recognize them, move to the cover of a shaded area and drink water. If you
recognize the symptoms in a member of your team, immediately get their attention and treat
them. They may not understand what is happening to them and only feel a little off their game.
Make them drink water even if they do not want it. Hydration and shade are the best and often
only medicine in the field. If not taken care of the victim will soon find it difficult to breathe and
will lose consciousness.

Some people are more prone to Heat Stress than others. Younger individuals and those in
excellent physical condition are less likely to experience stress, at least not as quickly as other,
less physically fit troops. Individuals with heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes and those on
medications are more likely to experience heat stress issues. Diet pills, sedatives, tranquilizers
and CAFFEINATED drinks all accelerate the likely of heat stress, as does ALCOHOL. While
you might not think a team member is on any of the above, you simply can not know. People do
self-destructive things as a matter of course and if the mission is important, you’d better be
aware of the possibilities. While the likelihood of a soldier in combat taking these seems slim, a
police officer may have taking something listed above as a matter of course. Caffeine is an
obvious villain and one accepted as a daily starter. Diet pills? You bet. Without meaning to be
a chauvinist or starting a war of the sexes, women often rely on these little items without
informing their husbands OR partners on the job. If you know your partner has perceived
problems with his or her weight, make sure they are aware of the affects of dietary pills when the
temperature rises.

You are more likely to experience heat stress when first exposed to a new environment or when
your job is physically demanding. It takes time to acclimate to a hot environment and if an
officer has not been spending much time out of doors in the summer heat he or she may find
themselves on the back side of the power curve on their first call out in the heat wave. When
temperatures approach 90 degrees F you must be especially aware. In addition to temperature an
increase in humidity, a decrease in air movement and a lack of shade from direct radiant heat will
all affect the potential for Heat Stress.

There are some precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim. Learn to recognize the
symptoms of Heat Stress. Pace yourself if possible. Take adequate rest periods – in shade – if
the mission allows. Wear loose clothing to allow for better ventilation. And STAY
HYDRATED! Drink plenty of water. In a hot environment the body requires more water than
typically needed to satisfy your thirst. In other words, drink MORE than you think you need!
Hydrate BEFORE the mission. Drink as much as you can hold over a period of days if possible.
The standard eight glasses a day will not cut it. Top off at every opportunity before and during
the mission. Make sure you take sufficient water along on the mission. When it is hot out of
doors water is more important than food, so pack accordingly. Leave unessential items behind
and take extra liquid.
The common forms of Heat Stress that you may experience if you do not take care are as

 Heat Stroke: Heat Stroke is the most serious health problem experienced by individuals
in a hot environment. It is caused by a failure of the body’s internal mechanism to
regulate your core temperature. Sweating will completely stop at this stage and the body
can no longer rid itself of excess heat via surface evaporation. Signs include; Mental
Confusion, Delirium, Loss of Consciousness, Convulsions or even a Coma. The body
temperature will often soar to 106 degrees F and above. The skin will become hot and
dry. The skin will often appear to be red, mottled or even bluish. Victims of Heat Stroke
will die unless treated promptly. Until a medic can tend to the victim he or she should be
moved to a cool area (shade if nothing else) and they should be doused in water. Fan
them vigorously to increase the cooling effect. Permanent injury will result in the brain
and vital organs if heat stroke is not treated in a timely manner. Death is the ultimate end
of this condition. Troops in the field are at the greatest risk from Heat Stroke since they
may not be in a position to be evacuated or may be low on water. Police and civilians
fare better as they are usually a dial of 911 or other emergency services away from help
and can often be treated quite effectively onsite by their team mates.

 Heat Exhaustion: Heat Exhaustion results from the loss of fluid through sweating. This
happens when the individual fails to take in enough liquid or salt to compensate for his
environment. Unlike Heat Stroke, the individual will still sweat but he or she will
experience extreme weakness or fatigue, giddiness, nausea, or headaches. Their skin will
become clammy and moist to the touch. Their complexion pales or appears flush and
their body temperature remains normal or slightly higher. Treatment is fairly
straightforward. The victim should rest in as cool a place as possible and drink an
electrolyte solution. This will restore the potassium, calcium and magnesium salts lost
from sweating. Short of carrying a bottle of Gatorade into the field, just stay completely
and properly hydrated to prevent this condition from affecting you. Severe cases
resulting in vomiting or a loss of consciousness will require medical treatment outside the
purview of this article. Again, preventative measures go a long way to assuring you will
not become a victim!

 Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are a painful spasm of the muscles. They are caused when
an individual drinks a large quantity of water but fails to replace the body’s salts. Tired
muscles -- those being worked the most at the time -- are the most susceptible to cramps.
Cramps may occur during or after the activity that prompted them. Relief may be found
by drinking liquids that will replace the missing salts -- once again a sports drink is the
easiest method of replenishment for those outside a combat zone. In the worse cases a
medic will use an intravenous saline solution for a quick response.

 Fainting: (Heat Syncope) Fainting is most common when an individual who is not
acclimatized to a hot environment is required to stand or be still for a great length of
time. This is an obvious problem for someone manning a hide or observation post. A
person forced to stand is far more prone (pun intended) to fainting than someone who is
supine. Movement is usually all that is needed to avoid fainting, but as we know, this
may not always be an option, especially for the military sniper. Victims usually recover
quickly once they have fallen prone and have lain down for a short period of time.

 Heat Rash: Heat Rash oh wonderful Heat rash… I saved our favorite for last. Better
known as prickly heat, this rash is the scourge of soldiers everywhere. To a soldier often
forced to go days without bathing this rash could be more than a little mind altering. It
may not make you physically insane, but it certainly has the ability to drive you to
distraction! Sleep is a rare commodity when in the field. Every troop I have ever known
has relished the few minutes of sleep he can steal in the field. There is nothing more
disconcerting or annoying than suffering through heat rash when at long last your platoon
sergeant tells you to unload your gear and catch some shut eye. He usually follows this
statement up with “you're on watch in two hours.” Prickly heat will make damn sure you
will not be well rested come the next watch. By that time you will have contemplated
scraping the effected area with you knife, or worse, standing up, yelling to your enemy
“here I am! Put me out of my misery!” Neither of these solutions will make you very
popular with your platoon or team, so it is best to just avoid this thing altogether. Prickly
Heat will occur in a hot and especially humid environment where sweat is not easily
removed from the surface of the skin via evaporation. Standing sweat will seemingly
attack the skin and the rash quickly results. When complicated by infection this rash can
be so uncomfortable or debilitating that it becomes hard to perform your tasks. It will
inhibit sleep and that in turn will affect an individual's ability to think clearly. While you
can certainly function with Heat Rash, you will not be at your best and the mission may
suffer. Keeping your skin dry is often problematic but it is the only way to prevent this
rash. Loose clothing may help. Try to keep you chest and joint areas dry. Tight clothing
like underwear briefs often exacerbate the problem, trapping moisture and abrading the
affected area. Many troops go without their skivvies when in a tropical environment.
Skin powder and certain medications will provide relief if not always a cure.

In summery, most heat casualties are avoidable. Common sense and an awareness of the issues
are usually all it takes for an individual to keep themselves in healthy order when in the field in
hot weather. A little preventive maintenance is all it takes to avoid the worst symptoms of Heat
Stress. It is better to be a hound about the issue than simply ignore it or say, “it can not happen
to me.” Keep hydrated, keep aware and watch your buddy.

Information Gathering For The Scout/Sniper

23 August 2001
By Jeff Waters

The mission of the Scout/Sniper is to shoot high value targets with his rifle or fire support assets
and to gather and report timely and accurate information.

A sniper must be patient and may not always have a good target to shoot. A good sniper may
decide not to engage a low value target that would give his position away so that he can wait for
a better one, even if that takes a couple of days.

He always has the opportunity to gather and report information of high value to his unit.

The S/S is the eyes, ears, and trigger finger of the Commander; and a smart CDR doesn't show
his hand until the crucial moment. Without good information, he can't determine when or where
that crucial moment will be.

Intelligence Cycle

In order to understand your role in the information gathering process, it's helpful to start with an
overview of the big picture and where you fit into it. The first part of understanding this is
learning the "Intelligence Cycle."

The Intelligence Cycle consists of 4 parts (the civilians use 5, the military keeps it simple), which
are explained below.

a. Direction:

The Commander directs his Intelligence Staff (S2) to establish Priority Information
Requirements (PIR) so that he can effectively plan his tactics and strategy. Typical
examples of PIR include:

o Where is the enemy focusing his strength?

o Are the threat forces using area X as a supply route?
o What is the enemy strength and disposition at location X?
o Does the enemy have any NBC (Nuclear, Biological & Chemical) equipment and,
if so, what posture are they in?
o Where is the enemy Command Post located?

b. Collection:

Once the PIR have been established, the Intel and Ops officers formulate their collection
efforts. They will use several assets to obtain this information, but the S/S team will
definitely be one of them.

The team gathers and reports information to based on the PIR and reports in by radio or
in person during debriefs. We will discuss the specifics a bit later in the document.

Other common sources of battlefield information are POWs, Captured Documents,

Electronic Intercepts, and Satellite or Aerial Photography.
c. Analysis

What the S/S team gives to the S2 is information. The information is then examined and
matched against other pieces of information the Intel section has to corroborate it and tie
it into the big picture.

When this analysis is complete, the end product is called intelligence.

d. Dissemination:

Now that all this information has been gathered and analyzed, it has to be disseminated in
a timely fashion in order to help people in planning and executing operations.

A common example of this dissemination is when you receive or read the Situation
Paragraph of the Operations Order. This information is the end product of the Intelligence
Cycle, however the cycle is continuous and never stops. As everyone knows, the situation
can change with little or no notice, and information must go through the cycle again.

Accuracy of Reporting

It is important to understand that tactical and strategic decisions will rest upon the information
that is provided. In other words, report accurately as if lives depend on it-because they do.

There is a major difference between a marksman and a sniper. Shooting is about 15% of the
sniper's job. This is why units are selective about who they take.

Standard PIR

The PIR are generally collected in the same manner with little variation. The S/S has special
equipment available that is not common to all troops, and must be trained on observation and
reporting skills as well as how to avoid detection. Communications skills are a must; otherwise
the information cannot be passed on.

In order to guide you on how to go about collection, it is best to start by reviewing the standard
NATO Debriefing Forms contained in the Ranger Handbook and countless other publications.

This is off the top of my head, but it goes something like this:

 ID of self and patrol

 Brief review of Situation in AO
 Time, Date, Method, and location of Insertion
 Route followed
 Terrain Info re: route
 Sign of enemy (TRACK REPORT)
 Contact with enemy is sequence (SALUTE REPORT)
 Map Corrections
 Review Actions on the OBJ
 Summarize results at FFP (Contact Rpts, Obsevations, Terrain, Photos, sketches and
summarize all findings related to PIR)
 Exfil route and info
 Time, date, location, and method of extraction
 Condition of Patrol and equipment
 Suggestions
 All activity logs, sketches, etc. turned in to S2 or representative

Another excellent format to study as a guide on what you can gather to help out your buddies is
the S2 Update format. The Ranger Handbook has all this information in it, in a pocket-sized
format, and is the best publication since the New Testament. If you are a grunt of any kind, you
should get one.


The equipment the sniper will need and which is generally issued is:

 Note taking/Sketching materials

 Binoculars
 Spotting Scope
 Camera (available from the S2, should be waterproofed and cammo'ed, and have flash
 Radio and Codebooks

Down and dirty that's all that's needed - and the camera is not common, but not uncommon.

Reporting Formats

Troop Sightings:

 Size (#s seen, do not guess that it's a squad, etc.)

 Activity (moving south, digging in, etc)
 Location (6 digit grid and terrain feature)
 Uniform (distinctive patches, headgear, epaulets, mixed with civilian clothes, etc)
 Time (local time and date unless your unit is on ZULU, which is a bad idea-KISS)
 Equipment (Weapons, NBC gear, Night Vision, Anything besides equip common to all)

Terrain Analysis:

 Observation and Fields of Fire

 Avenues of Approach
 Key Terrain
 Obstacles
 Cover and Concealment

Track Report:

 Tread Pattern & Trash (Sketch and record/Consider bringing back)

 Route of march (Azimuth)
 Age and Approximate number (Sides caved in or sharp?/Use box method)
 Crew Served Weapons? (scuffs on trees at shoulder lvl etc.)
 Kit (Heavy load indicated by deep impression etc?)
 Speed/Staining (Heels dug in deep with long strides?/Blood trails, etc.)

Note: Also See Tracking Article

Dissemination for the S/S

 Secure or encrypted by radio

 Link up and Debrief (done near the Objective)
 Dead drop for written notes
 Re-Entry and Debrief (done at the base camp)

Training Tips

 Observation Exercises are conducted with realistic objects you would find on the
battlefield rather than rolls of tape and other garbage.
 Study Order of Battle. The S2 will be happy to help you, particularly when he realizes
how much help you will be to him.
 Always incorporate thorough Debriefs into FTX's and encourage the unit staff to attend
once the men are trained up.
 Make observations specific, i.e. "good fields of fire" means little to nothing. "Fields of
fire from location X extend to the NE, covering the entire objective with grazing fire, but
limited with 150 meters of dead space beginning at the 200 meter line," says a whole lot
 Study tactics at the company level. You can't really grasp what to look for if you don't
know what is going on or what its going to be used for.
 Work with the S2, and even MI units, as much as possible.
 Practice Recon Patrols and Link Up Patrols frequently.
 Practice link ups with the units you support so you develop SOP's.
 Establish permanent relations between the sniper teams and the units they support. A
team should always support A company if possible. The effectiveness is highly increased
due to SOP's that are developed and chances of fratricide reduced.
 Train with the MTU, but realize that they are generally excellent marksmen and not
snipers. You can learn from a marksman, but they do not know the realities of sniping.
 Train with other sniper units, even if it means stooping to the level of working with MP's.
(Actually, MP's may well generate good urban snipers in the future.)
 Request evaluations from COMPETENT SNIPERS. SF units will generally always help.
There's nothing worse that being evaluated by someone who doesn't know what he is
talking about.

Immediate Use Information

Sometimes you will find information that is of immediate use. Reporting it any time after now
will be too late. Some discretion comes into play here and the S/S must be able to make good
calls on the value of the information based on his PIR and Mission of supported unit.
This is why Operations Orders include a paragraph called Commander's Intent. You have to be
able to think on your feet if something renders portions of the plan ineffective while maintaining
balance with the orders you are given.

For example, if he spots a company-sized element heading toward a crucial objective. The S2
and unit did not know that this unit was in the area and your mission was to observe a radio relay
site for a possible raid. You can't make commo with the unit.

What should you do? There's no way to say that only one answer is correct, especially with a
three sentence situation briefing, but for the most part you should get to a spot where you can
report the unit. If you engage it prior to passing the information, you only hurt your chances of
getting the message out. The information, in this case, may well be far more important that
picking off a couple of people and slinking away.

Unit Integrity

Earlier we discussed the importance of keeping the same teams assigned to the same companies
in the BN or supported unit. By doing this, they can get to know each other, how they work, and
develop SOPs.

Unit Integrity allows the units to stay together and learn how each other work, but it does more
than that. It fosters-over time and hard training-trust, morale, esprit de corp, and a genuine
concern for the well-being of the other unit. This is one of those intangible combat multipliers
that I believe have eroded over the last 10 years in light of political correctness. Unit Integrity
makes a unit stick together in a bar fight and on the job.

Deviating from your assigned mission is a big decision, one that can easily get you into a lot of

By maintaining Unit Integrity the S/S will have a much better idea about what he is expected to
do than a team who has never supported the unit at all. And, he can make the decision knowing
that if it's consistent with the way they have trained with this unit, that the unit's Commander will
be with him.

Knowing that your chain of command is behind you (as long as you are a good team) is another
Combat Multiplier. With the pressures of live missions and the particular stresses associated with
working forward of the friendly unit in a small team with a bolt rifle, the S/S doesn't need much
more to worry about. If he does not enjoy this backing, his effectiveness and contribution to the
unit will be reduced due to fear of exercising initiative-and initiative is a crucial trait to have in a

Sniper Traits & Values Essential for the Mission

Lots of people say they want to be snipers, but they have no idea what one really is or does. Even
in the military, there were those who thought it was more about some kind of fashion show and
posing than anything else. Thankfully, most of those guys didn't last long.
Being a sniper is not about a glorification of self. It is about what you can contribute to your unit
in a risky job. To be good at it, you need to be the type that sincerely cares about your unit and
your fellow soldiers. Ass kissers and posers need not apply.

Self-reliance is one of the biggest traits needed. Initiative and Coolness under Stress are the other
big ones that come to mind. A sniper has to be of above-average intelligence and be a thinker.
You can't just receive a plan and stick to it. You have to make your own and be flexible and able
to understand and follow the CDR's Intent.

You must be able to have an extreme degree of trust in your sniper buddy in terms of ability,
values, and reliability. There is only one guy to watch your back the way units are currently
organized (a mistake in my opinion: I think there should be 3).


The secondary mission of the sniper is to gather and report timely and accurate information. This
information is put into the Intelligence Cycle, where Tactical and Strategic decisions will be
based upon it. Though you may not shoot on every mission, you will report information back to
the supported unit.

Therefore, it is critical that the information be accurate and objective. The only room for
speculation in your reports is under the heading of "Recommendations."

In order to effectively report information, you must know what is relevant and what is not. The
reporting formats regarding Troop Sightings, Terrain Analysis, NATO Debriefs, etc. are the bare
minimum a new sniper should know. They are nothing but a starting point.

In order to improve your knowledge beyond this, you should work with the S2 and study topics
such as Order of Battle and Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield in order to become a
bigger asset to your unit.

By maintaining a strong relationship with the S2 and supported units, SOP's and relationships
based on professional trust and respect for competence will be created. These relationships
multiply everybody's effectiveness many times and improve morale and esprit de corp.

The main point is that the value of the sniper section's information reporting; as with the entire
program; depends on the snipers. They will frequently receive little support from the parent unit.
This is not necessarily a negative thing. Among other things, snipers are selected for their
initiative and flexibility-and this is an opportunity to exercise it and learn from it.

In time, after units have seen proven and continuous results, the support (at least in spirit, if not
in material) will be there.
An introduction
18 April 2000

By Will Adams

ALLRIGHT!! LISTEN UP!!! Today's lesson is on MAPS: What is a map; what type maps are
there; what do you need to look for on a map and finally; where can you find and buy maps?

A map is:

A. Something you can never find when you need it.

B. A Folded, warped, piece of paper, shoved under the passenger seat with bits of
partially decomposed pogue bait covering it.
C. Directions someone drew for you on a bar napkin while they were drunk.
D. A graphic representation of the earth's surface (or a portion of the earth's surface)
drawn to scale on a flat surface.

Correct choice today is "D". Remember this: You will see this again (sounds familiar, doesn't
it?). Maps are identified as - Planimetric, Topographic or Photomaps. There are different types
and scales but they all fall into one of these classifications.

Now then, moving on rapidly, but without confusion... I hope. We have Planimetric maps,
better known as "civilian roadmaps". Not much use to us "sniper type individuals", but they do
give horizontal distance and other information like the next rest area but that's about it.

Topographic (topo) maps are our friends (for the most part). These maps show horizontal
AND vertical positions and features, which shows the shape of the terrain (ground for you
"civvies") by the addition of contour lines. Rivers, woods, roads and hills are shown by lines,
symbols and colors.

Next are Photomaps. These are either single photographs or an assembly of aerial
photographs of an area to make a composite picture with gridlines, contour lines, marginal data
and other information printed over the pictorial area.

OK, we have covered... what a map is and types of maps. A map is a graphic representation of
the earth's surface drawn to scale on a flat surface.

LISTEN UP AGAIN!!! You have 3 Scales in military topographic maps - Large, Medium,
Small. Guess which one serves you best? Answer - ALL OF THEM!! On a daily basis in your
local AO (Area of Operation) or "da 'hood" to the "civvies", you would use a Large Scale map.
No, large scale does NOT mean a larger area but more detail of a smaller area. The USGS and
most (not all) mil-topo maps are large scale which is given as a Representative Factor (RF) such
as 1:25,000 where 1 unit of measurement on the map equals 25,000 of the same units on the

Let's clear the air on some stuff. ALL maps have scale, either stated or not. For the record -
military maps (referred from now on as topo, even if it is not military) and USGS (United States
Geological Survey) use 3 scales as mentioned earlier. The Standard Small Scale Map is
1:1,000,000 ... in other words, lots of area but very little detail. A Medium Scale Map is one in
which the scale is between 1:75,000 and 1:600,000. Last is the Large Scale Map whose scale is
1:75,000 and larger. These show lots of detail and provide us with very useful information, like,
just how tall is Storm Mountain? Anyone? BTW, a large scale topo covers an area roughly 49
to 70 SQUARE MILES!! A small scale map covers (again roughly) 73,000 to 100,000 square
miles. Now do you see what I mean about detail available? A large scale map covers a smaller
area in more detail and that's what is going to be discussed now.

Before someone in the military or with prior service starts to blast me about some stuff... this
is an overview, although slightly detailed about maps and map reading and where to purchase
said items. Any technical details, PLEASE, e-mail me!! I am not going to discuss
orthographic view, conic projection, or making a terrain study at this time.

On a topo map there are FIVE (5) basic colors and they are:
BLACK - All man-made or cultural features on a map. Railroads, roads, bridges. airfields. etc.
BLUE - All features shown in blue have something to do with water. Things like shorelines,
lakes, canals, swamps, etc.
BROWN - This is used to show elevation or relief by use of CONTOUR LINES. A Contour
Line is an imaginary line of equal elevation. A series of contour lines will show the presence or
absence of relief such as hills and valleys.
GREEN - This color indicates any feature that is some type of vegetation such as; woods,
orchards, vineyards and grasslands.
RED - This color is used to show Main Roads, built-up areas and special features.

Depending on your needs you will probably work with large scale 1:24,000 (USGS calls these
7 1/2 minute maps) or 1:62,500 (USGS 15-minute maps) where the 1:24,000 has a representation
of 1 inch on the map equals 2,000 feet and the 1:62,500 has 1 inch on the map equals nearly 1
mile. For you militaria or trivia "studs", a small scale map (remember, large area - little detail) is
used for general planning or strategic studies, where the large scale maps (small area, lots of
detail) are used for tactical, technical, and administrative needs of military field units. Oh yeah,
medium scale maps are normally JOGs (Joint Operational Graphic).

Let's see, we have covered what a map is "graphic representation of the earth's surface drawn
to scale on a flat surface." Types of scale: small, medium and large and we have learned that
there are 5 basic colors - Black, Blue, Brown, Green and Red. Also what those colors mean on
the map.

Good enough!! Take a break and the next part will cover how to read a map.

This portion of our discussion of maps will cover reading a map. Let me make a
comment/clarification on the last part. I stated that USGS 15-minute maps are at a scale of
1:62,500 which is nearly 1 mile on ground per 1 inch on paper while the ACTUAL scale
1:63,360 1 inch on map DOES equal 1 mile on ground. Just didn't want anyone to think I was
"blowing smoke".

At the top of the topo map will be a name. This name is the "largest", best identified part of
this map. If you are using a military map it will have an alpha-numeric system of identification...
more on that later. At the bottom of the map you will find more information and it is normally
called a Legend. This Legend will have such information as scale distances, topographic
symbols, road examples and etc. You will also notice a group of lines, evenly spaced, going
horizontal and vertical, creating a grid. The squares of this grid help to locate "Points" quickly
and accurately. These squares are further numbered and from this you can find a location
(point), give your location, and after studying the map long enough... figure out where you aren't
if the person reading the map before you has "become disoriented". Maps are read to the east
from left to right and from the bottom up!! Because these lines measure distance eastward they
are called "Eastings" and since you read the vertical lines from bottom to top and they measure
distance northward, they are called "northings".

58 -|-----|-----|-----|-----|-
57 -|-----|-----|-----|-----|-
56 -|-----|-----|-----|-----|-
55 -|-----|-----|-----|-----|-
30 31 32 33 34

Using the above example, you will see that the 1st grid if read correctly would be 3055 and the
northeastern most grid will be 3357. Remember, READ RIGHT and UP! ! ! Always start in the
lower left corner. Always. Every grid square comes from the two grid lines at the LOWER
LEFT CORNER! ! ! Digest that for a minute or two and we will cover features next.


US Army Land Navigation and Map

That is the "Source" for US Army Land Navigation and Map reading. Of course I could be
"tabbed" to discuss the finer points... just an idea. One good thing about that site is that it is
geared toward an 8th grade reading level! ! ! No Lie! ! ! Go to the site and check it out... very
simple reading. Also that site has "pretty pictures"!! hee hee hee

This portion of the discussion has to do with where to acquire maps/waterproofing maps and
other gear you might need, like compasses etc.

Earlier there was a description of what a map is and the different scales. I'm going to repeat
myself but bear with me... this might make things easier to understand. A small scale map
covers lots of ground but not a lot of detail. Several medium scale maps will make up one small
scale map. Last but not least... a whole bunch of large scale maps cover a medium scale map.
Almost like a puzzle where little pieces combine to make a larger piece and those connect to
make the puzzle whole! ! I realize that is very simplistic but I'm limited in being able to draw...

Now that that's said and done... where do you locate, buy maps.

Online, I go to USGS National Mapping Information, to me that is "the Source" for

maps of the U.S. Remember, I am primarily concerned with topo maps but you can also go to
Delorme Maps and Mapping Software or MapBlast!. You can also find maps in
some malls where there is a map shop and really good outdoor specialty shops carry maps
(especially for climbers and hikers).

As to learning more about maps an how to use them... one of the easiest to understand is the
US Army's Field Manual, FM 21-26 Map Reading and Land Navigation. If you prefer a civilian
book that is excellent then chase down a copy of, "Be Expert with Map & Compass" by B.
Kjellstrom, probably available at If you want to improve your skills with map and
compass then take up the sport of Orienteering. The site for that is the US Orienteering
Federation. IMHO, orienteering is a great way to hone your skills in cross-country
movement. Check it out.

How to Waterproof Maps

One way is to use clear contact paper but that makes the map very difficult to write on and can
be a real pain to do properly. There is a product called "Stormproof" available at most map
shops and outdoor specialty stores that really works as the name states. FOLLOW THE
INSTRUCTIONS ! ! ! This stuff coats the paper, makes it waterproof, flexible, and you can still
mark on it. Then there is the tried and proven method of stuffing the map in a zip-lock baggie!!
Its grease pencil friendly and marker friendly. Not perfect but it does work.

OK, now the fun stuff... I am NOT EVEN going to talk about GPS...unh unh.... no way!! I'll
deal with the mundane run-of-the-mill compasses!! The military lensatic compass works and is
simple in design. Being the prudent person I am I always carry a back-up, especially when it
comes to something so important, and for that matter have been known to have another stashed
in my gear somewhere. However, the back-ups were not military but either a "SILVA" brand or
a "Brunton" model. Just remember that you get what you pay for!! It is your butt lost in the
woods and its getting very miserable and all because you bought the "el cheapo" hang from the
zipper, or the type you can attach to your watch, forgetting that your watch is not de-
magnetized!! You can buy a good quality compass for as low as $20 and get an almost "Top-of-
the-Line" for under $70. Good sources for compasses are Cabela's, Brigade
Quartermaster and U.S. Cavalry Store.
Patrolling Fundamentals I
Written by David R. Reed

The patrol order will be a briefing that includes all of the details and contingencies. It will
provide the instructions that everyone needs to do their job. It will begin with the boarding of the
helicopters/trucks/aircraft/submarine and end with the debriefing. You must include every
conceivable contingency and allow time for training and rehearsals.

What do you do if you are discovered on the LZ upon insertion? If you will break your team into
two elements for some reason, what are you going to do if one of the elements is
discovered/captured/killed/ or for some reason doesn't return at the prearranged time?

If you are walking along and are ambushed what are you going to do? Break the patrol down into
phases and spend a lot of time discussing each phase with your people. Identify all areas of
concern and plan for them. You should rehearse everything as best you can. If you can locate an
area to rehearse in that has similar terrain, practice moving into your ORP (Objective Rally
Point)/Patrol Base at night. Make sure each person knows what sector he will be responsible for
and can set up in the dark without talking. Rather than give a lengthy narrative on all of this, why
don't we discuss some specific techniques and then go over the phases of a patrol and discuss
how these techniques are integrated into the mission.

Much of these texts concern small clandestine patrols. Small clandestine patrols avoid contact
with the enemy. They do not have the firepower to engage, and frequently operate beyond the
range of rapid reinforcement. A large, powerful, and heavily armed combat patrol on a mission
to seek out and destroy the enemy doesn't give a darn whether they make noise or not. They want
the enemy to try and mess with them. They know that if the enemy does, they are going to kick
some ass.

Vietnam was a war, not a movie. I don't doubt that with constant rotation of personnel, and a lot
of young lieutenants, that some of the silly things you see in Vietnam-era War movies actually
took place. Point is not a job for some green kid because he's more expendable. Point is the most
important job in the patrol. I suppose if your patrol is undisciplined, noisy, high on drugs,
listening to portable radios, and stumbling along through the jungle loaded down with comic
books and all kinds of other crap there is VERY GOOD CHANCE you are going to get
ambushed. In the movies these patrols put cherries on point because they know they are going to
get hit. This is the stupidest, most screwed up, irresponsible wad of worms I can think of. If you
think you are doing anyone any good by running a unit in this manner you should be court
martialled and tried for treason. You go on patrol for a lot of reasons, but you don't do it to kill
off your own people. Your job is to give the enemy the best opportunity that you can to die for
HIS country. It's not the other way around.

Other things you see in movies that would get you slapped for trying on a patrol:
 If the uniform include helmet, wearing it with the chinstrap unhooked and dangling.
Cigarettes, LSA, Bug Juice, playing cards, or anything else stuck into the band.
 Decorating the camouflage cover of your helmet with peace signs, slogans, or anything
 Rolling your sleeves up for any reason.
 Wearing camouflage paint in some silly "war paint" design.
 Carrying your weapon on your shoulder.
 Sauntering along like you are on a nature hike.
 Not wearing camouflage at all times.
 Stumbling, falling, tripping, making noise of any kind.
 Dropping anything on the ground.

It should be noted that if I found you in possession of unauthorized items mentioned above
(cigarettes, playing cards, and comic books) the punishment would be most severe. This is
because the only way you could have gotten them would have been to sneak back and get them
after the APL inspected you and your gear. If the APL let you bring any of the items he would
probably be relieved immediately and charged with dereliction of duty.
Phase of Patrol (Modified for our sample warning order)

 Planning & Preparation

 Insertion
 Movement to the Objective
 Reconnaissance
 Setup our 'hides' and shoot people
 Movement to the LZ
 Extraction
 Debriefing

Fundamental Concepts
When moving at night you will be very close to each other. 'Ranger Eyes' are sewn onto the back
of your cap. These are two small strips of luminescent tape. In very dark places (like in a triple
canopy jungle) you may have to hold onto the man in front of you. The worst sin a man can
commit (along with coughing, sneezing, and stumbling) is to break contact with the man in front
of him. DON'T DO THIS. People who are wont to break contact have no place on a patrol.

Movement formation should be such that the PL can control all of the patrol elements.
Remember that you must be able to control teams in a variety of emergency situations. If you are
strung out to far, your patrol can be cut in half by an ambush. If you are too close to each other,
one mortar or artillery round can kill you all. You should organize your little patrol into a point
element, headquarters, and rear security. (This is only for our small sniping mission) Patrols are
usually organized according to the mission. While moving, people are organized into 'maneuver
elements' and each has a team leader. In battle, the patrol leader will maneuver these teams
against the enemy.
Point Element
While moving your patrol should have a point element. A point element is composed of a Point
man and a slack man. Their mission is to provide security, NOT to navigate. The point team
should not stray too far ahead. The PL must be able to control their direction and see them at all
times. The point team must be very alert for booby traps, ambushes, and enemy patrols,
positions, etc. The point man walks in front and the slack man moves behind him about 20
meters depending on terrain and vegetation. The slack man must watch the point man in his
peripheral vision. When the point-man looks to the right, the slack man 'takes up the slack' by
looking to the left. They must work together to provide constant 270 degree surveillance and
check back to the patrol to get guidance on direction. If the point team does not keep an eye on
the patrol, and the patrol stops for any reason, they will break contact. The point team is the
patrols primary defense against ambush. They must be able to spot an ambush before the patrol
gets within the kill zone. They will communicate by hand and arm signals. At night, or in dense
vegetation, or rocky terrain, the point team will close up to the patrol. Tired men have a habit of
looking at the ground in front of them. It is difficult to concentrate for long periods of time in a
high-pressure situation like point.

The point team should not be in place for longer than one hour. 30 minutes is a better time
period. That way your point team will always be alert. If your patrol is not large enough to rotate
the point, or you have other reasons, make sure that your point team is a good one.

Headquarters Element
Your HQ element will be the Patrol Leader (PL), APL, and RTO (Radio Telephone Operator). If
you were taking a medic, the medic would be part of the HQ element. For movement purposes
the APL will be at the rear of the patrol. He will watch for litter, broken branches, tracks, and
pull rear security. In a small patrol you may want to alternate the position of RTO so that each
man can have a respite from point. It really depends on how well each person can operate the
radio. Assuming everyone can operate the radio with a high degree of competence it is OK to do
this, if not you may have to use a dedicated point team. You will have to make the decision, it is
important to have a competent radio operator at all times. It is also important to have an alert
point team at all times. Remember this, combat success is measured by the degree your unit can
move, shoot, and communicate. Without communication, both within your patrol, and with field
artillery and air support, you are dead in combat. A patrol leader must be able to maneuver his
men, talk to HQ, fire support, and display leadership, all under a hail of bullets and other
weapons. A good RTO must be able to encode and transmit messages fast. Once you are in
contact with the enemy, the enemy knows where you are; it is acceptable to talk in the clear. This
means it is no longer necessary to encrypt messages when time is of the essence. If you are in
danger of being overrun you cannot waste time encoding. The "gun bunnies" love this stuff.
When they hear you under fire and the urgency in your voice, they really earn their pay. They
will load and fire like their lives depend on it. Every man in your patrol must be able to call for
fire, quickly, and accurately. Part of your patrol order should cover fire missions.
Sniping Element
If you and the APL are snipers then you are also the sniping element. You will not be sniping
during the movement phase, so it is acceptable to perform other jobs during this phase of the
patrol. It is no different from any other special purpose team, demolitions, snatch, POW search
and handling, river crossing, all must perform security and be ready to fire and maneuver in
contact with the enemy.

All weapons must be kept on safe. Everyone will keep his finger on the selector switch. Since
you will be behind enemy lines, and outnumbered by virtually any enemy unit in the area, you
must not have an accidental discharge. You must hide and or run from anyone we meet if at all
possible. The moment anyone fires an M16 or .308 you are compromised. This danger can be
minimized somewhat by using sound suppressors. Would it make sense for everyone except
snipers to carry enemy weapons? Could we get resupply if necessary? What are the chances of
being re-supplied instead of extracted? Is everyone trained and competent with enemy weapons?
Are sound suppressors available for the weapon you want to carry? Sound suppressors are
essential pieces of equipment for all weapons.

Familiarity is one thing and competence is another. How you will perform with the equipment
when suddenly ambushed, pinned down, or in a serious firefight is quite another. Dime store
novels have commandos carrying all sorts of exotic weapons.

I'm saying that you are better off carrying the standard weapons everyone regularly carries. If
everyone is competent with foreign weapons you may consider it. Remember that you don't want
to fire your weapons, and resupply will be difficult if you are carrying non-standard items. The
fact that the area is crawling with the enemy cannot be overlooked. The odds of a shoot-out at
some point are likely and you want to survive it first, and then escape. If you can survive the
fight with enemy weapons and you are sure of it, then your odds of escape are somewhat
enhanced. Everyone within earshot will have heard their own weapons being fired, they will
know their comrades are shooting at something, but won't know what.

This uncertainty can work in your favor. If the troops guarding the rear area are not seasoned
combat soldiers, i.e., MPs, or other green troops, they will be more likely to wonder what the
ruckus is about and wait for someone to tell them what to do. They will know that certain
weapons sounds don't sound like theirs, even if they don't immediately recognize the source. If
they don't hear strange weapons, they may think someone is qualifying or practicing! Notice I'm
using a lot of 'less likely', 'apt to', 'odds are" 's. You must consider these things and make your
decisions, there are no guarantees. What will happen may be something else entirely.

Weapons always follow your eyes. As you scan an area to your flank, your weapon's muzzle
follows. It should always be pointed wherever you are looking.

Each man in the patrol has a sector to watch as you move. Stagger this so that you alternate from
right to left. One man looks right, the man behind him looks left, and so on all the way back
through the patrol.
All of your men should be able to qualify right & left handed with their weapons.

The basic indivisible unit is a 2-man buddy system. You should never leave a man alone for any
reason. You will not be forgiven for a tragedy befalling someone under your command when it
could have been avoided.

You should not use radios unless absolutely necessary. The enemy can determine where you are
transmitting from and they will fire upon your location. You should work out a system of
squelch breaks to communicate. When you separate for recon purposes, each team should have a
small, low-power radio.

Immediate Action Drills

Spotted by unarmed civilian
If you can you should capture him and tie him up. If you can't leave him tied up for whatever
reason consider killing him, quietly, with a knife. Can you trust him? Can you verify that he is a
partisan? Anyone in fear of his life will tell you anything to get out of the situation. The
textbooks will tell you to gag him, tie him up, and force him to go with you. After all, he's a
civilian and you are not supposed to kill him. Another thing you won't be forgiven for --

Spotted by armed soldier who doesn't shoot

Kill him quickly and quietly -- if he shoots try to kill him quietly. If you have the same kind of
weapon he has kill him with it if you have to. Rehearse this. Now what will you do, did anyone
hear you? He will certainly be missed; can you make it look as someone else shot him? Like he
shot himself? Can you bury him, drown him, anything to keep his body from being discovered?

Spotted by Armed soldier(s) Who Shoot

The point team should immediately drop and return fire. The point man fires an entire magazine
at full-auto and throws a grenade. If possible the slack man should lay down a base of
suppressive fire while the point man runs or crawls back to the patrol. The patrol fires to cover
the slack man's escape. You can repeat this moving one man to the rear of the patrol at a time
until you have broken contact. Then everyone can run like hell to the last rally point.

Far Ambush
Suddenly mortars fall on you or a heavy machine gun opens up from 600 yd.'s away. The PL
yells "9:00 300 meters!" or something, everyone runs to the 9:00 direction for 300 meters and
regroups. If they are separated then they return to the last rally point. (Later)
Near Ambush
You are suddenly ambushed, the only thing you can do is assault their position. Don't try to hide,
any place that provides cover will only be booby-trapped in a well-laid ambush. If you run you'll
be shot down. Your only hope in a near ambush is to attack the enemy firing on full auto,
throwing grenades, swinging you rifle like a club, etc. This must be rehearsed. Everyone must do
it instantly, w/out hesitation for it to have any chance of working. Anyone not in the kill zone
must immediately flank and assault the enemy position. Basically, if you are caught in a near
ambush you are dead meat! The best defense is this one, don't ever forget it DON'T GET YOUR

Your point team must be a good one! Its job is to make sure there is no one hiding in ambush
along your route.

Rally Points

Along your route you must select rally points while you walk. You will probably have a few
picked out beforehand by looking at prominent terrain features on your map. As you pass big
gnarled trees, rocks, etc. you point and say rally point. Make sure the point element gets the
word, not just the people behind you. If you have to run, the rendezvous place is always the last
rally point. If that isn't possible the rally point before that one becomes the rendezvous.

In Ranger and LRP training these concepts are drilled into your head in a pressure cooker
environment. The slightest error brings almost violent reactions from the instructors. By the time
you have lived like this it becomes second nature, instinctive. If you have not had the benefit of
this training then you must rehearse (and you should anyway, no matter how much it pisses them
off) these actions with your men prior to the patrol.

Actions When Stopped

Whenever you stop for any reason everyone must form a hasty perimeter. You must never stand
up unless you are moving. The instant the patrol stops everyone quietly moves a few feet out and
forms a defensive perimeter. This can be a simple cigar shape.

When you start out again get a head count. People who are very tired can fall asleep while
stopped. The PL should tap his hat as the signal for the count. Everyone in turn will tap his hat
all the way back to the APL who is in the rear. He says "one" to the man in front of him who in
turn says "two," so on and so forth back to the front of the patrol. If someone has been left asleep
you will know and can get him up before you move out.

When in formation everyone has a direction they will watch while stopped. You don't want
everyone walking off to the left and leaving the right unguarded.
If you will be stopped for more than a few minutes you may follow this schedule of maintenance.

 Weapons cleaning -- Reapply camouflage -- take turns

 Sock changing -- foot powder -- take turns
 Water gathering -- two men collect all canteens and carry them to the source.
 Each man purifies his own water.
 Eating -- Take turns
 Sleep - Take turns -- depending on the danger present you may only want 1 in 3 men
asleep at a time. Divide the time you will be stopped and allow each shift equal sleep
 Frag order -- If the course will be changing or the mission changes for any reason a frag
order is issued, this is an addendum to the Patrol order.

Actions at Danger Areas

Contingencies are:

 What if the point man gets fired up?

 What if you are hit while crossing?

Plan to have people separated as little as possible. If you are hit you don't want a danger area
separating your men. Do not send one man across at a time unless you are crossing a stream or
river. If it is a road spread everyone out. When the right & left flank give you an all clear
everyone runs across at once.

Command and Control

Certain signals will mean certain things in an emergency. You need a signal to:

 Stop
 Move forward
 Provide Covering Fire
 Form perimeter
 Head Count
 Rally Point
 Establish Patrol base
 Hasty Ambush
 Abandon the ORP
 Final Protective Fire

At night, when everyone is firing, they cannot hear you yell. A good way to signal is with
different colored flares that everyone can see. Everyone must know radio frequencies without
writing them down. They must know how many clicks left or right to arrive at the right
frequencies in the dark. If you run the risk of capture you must reset the radio to a different
frequency so that the enemy won't find the radio with the proper frequency already set for them.

Forget birdcalls. Unless your enemy is a bunch of idiots they will know your signals are not birds
chirping. Most birds call in the early morning and evening. They do not call each other in the
middle of the night. Owls hoot, but how many owls do you hear? Are they native to the area?
Owls stick to one area their entire lives. If you have one near your house you will hear him every
now and then. If the enemy has been in an area for several weeks without hearing an owl, and
suddenly they hear two of them hooting back and forth they are not going to think it's two owls.
Any noise you male will be assumed a threat and fired upon. Forget cowboy movie tricks, your
enemy has probably seen a few westerns too.

Scout dogs have no place on a clandestine patrol. They are noisy, defecate everywhere, and may
give away your position. If they are hot they can't help panting. They may bark, scratch, or any
number of things that can compromise your mission. Don't even think about it.

Water Proofing

Radios must be water proofed by wrapping with visqueen and taping. Leave enough slack in the
plastic to operate the knobs. The handset is wrapped too. First put it in a sock to absorb
condensation then wrap with plastic. Tape the handset cord far enough down to insure a
watertight seal.

Patrolling Fundamentals II
Written by David R. Reed

The Patrol Base

A patrol base is any place you intend to occupy for more than umm..., 4 hours? You'll be there a
while anyway. This is what you must plan for and do.

Whatever method you choose, make certain that everyone knows where 12:00 is. Now if you
have to run the PL can say 3:00 400 meters and everyone will know what direction that is. You
should have an evacuation plan that includes at least two rendezvous locations that everyone
knows. When in position the PL can say rally point 1 is at 2:00 , 300 meters and RP 2 is at 3:00
600 meters. This is the direction everyone will run if a flare goes up to signal the evacuation of
the patrol base.

dead space is any place that you cannot shoot into from the patrol base. It is usually a depression
in the ground where a person could hide. If attacked, your enemy will be able to use these places
to fire into your location and you cannot hit him with direct fire weapons. In a small patrol that
has no mortars, you may want to booby trap the dead spaces. If you lack explosives for this,
sharp stakes can be used, and they are difficult for the enemy to use against you.

You may now begin the maintenance schedule. Usually larger units will send out LP's at night
(Listening Posts) or maybe an ambush patrol. A frag order is issued telling a team to go
somewhere nearby and set up an ambush or something. It is very important that everyone knows
where the LP or ambush is located, when they will be back, and a running password. If the LP
has to high tail it back at a run they need something to yell when doing this so they won't be fired
up. Our little patrol lacks the resources for this. We will have passwords to exchange when we
meet up after the recon mission, and if we parachute in, we'll need one when we meet up on the

Another concept is Final Protective Fire. When in a patrol base, each man will have an assigned
sector. At night you must be very careful not to shoot the men in the position directly to your
right and left. You should press aiming stakes into the ground in front of your position. These
will keep you from swinging your rifle too far to one side. If the patrol base is in danger of being
overrun, the PL may decide to fire final protective fire as a last attempt at holding the position.
On a recon patrol we HOPE to take all precautions to keep from being found, much less overrun.
Nonetheless it is important to have this down. Final Protective Fire usually means swinging your
rifles all the way to one side and firing directly in front of the position to your side. You will also
blow all claymores, throw grenades, and when firing, you fire on full auto everything you can
feed through your weapon. With a system of interlocking fires, it makes for a very deadly
defense. I believe the system of interlocking fires now in use by the US Army was learned from
the Vietnamese. The APL should check all sectors of fire and insure they are safe, and

Digging in means digging fighting positions in the patrol base. Remember that digging is noisy
and leaves a lot of sign. The enemy will know exactly how many people occupied the position. I
do not think that digging in is wise on a recon patrol. The whole concept is to avoid detection. If
you are compromised, break contact, run a safe distance, and resume the patrol in a manner that
the enemy will be unable to find you again.

[interlocking fire picture]

ORP - Objective Rally Point is a special patrol base located within 50 - 100 meters of the
objective. This is the place where we would drop rucks on a raid mission. Our little patrol will
not really have an ORP. All men will have to pull security on the objective. We will take
everything with us.

You can't take people who smoke. They have poor night vision, and they certainly can't take
tobacco with them. Skoal, bar soap, deodorant, etc. must also be left behind. They smell. Period.

You should eat only the food your enemy eats for 48 hours prior to the patrol. This will give you
the same smell that they have.
Bring only water and do not drink alcohol for 48 hr. prior.

Sand Table
This is a sandbox about 6' square. with 2x4 sides. Fill it with sand, dirt, rocks, etc. Take string
and stretch it across the box where the grid square lines are on your map and label them. Tie the
strings to small nails. Use your hands to sculpt the dirt to match the contour lines on your map.
Add little trees, streams, fences, roads, buildings, etc. Make sure you add all major terrain
features. These will help you get an overall 3D impression of the land you will be working on.
Be as detailed and creative as time allows. It is good to let everyone participate in this by
building it in stages. This gets everyone involved and creates a lasting impression of the terrain
in each team members mind. You will use this table to help you plan, and help you deliver the
OPORD when it's finished.

Other Tips

 Make a thorough, detailed terrain analysis of the country you will cover on your patrol.
 Build a Sand table.
 Consider all types of explosives, grenades, mines, and other weapons in your plan -- Use
them to create diversions, cut-off bridges, roads, etc.
 Avoid taking weapons that use different kinds of ammo.

Every person must bring:

 Weapons cleaning equipment.

 Gloves.
 Individual First Aid Kits.
 Signal Mirror.
 Compass.
 Knife.
 Poncho.
 Lots of socks.
 Flashlights with (2) red lens filters.
 Radio batteries.
 Two canteens.
 Water purification tablets or filter.
 Secure all equipment with duct tape so that it will not squeak or rattle.
 Tape weapon sling swivels.
 Camouflage stick, ghillie suit.
 Waterproof maps.
 Commo wire and garrot handles.
 Swiss seat and snaplink.

Once you are on the ground, and clear of the LZ, everyone sits down, closes their eyes, and
spends five minutes listening to the sounds of the forest. Birds, crickets, tree frogs, wind.

Test everyone's knowledge of the mission, call signs, frequencies, passwords, etc. prior to
Check EVERYTHING on each man in your patrol. Do not allow men to wear two sets of
clothing, long underwear, or thick socks unless it will be sub-zero weather. Extra clothes make a
man hot while moving. Long underwear or extra clothes will wear you out quickly. Travel Light,
freeze at night. When stopped for long periods use poncho's to stay warm. Anything not
inspected is probably neglected.

Patrolling Fundamentals III

Written by David R. Reed

Danger Areas
A danger area is a place where the enemy can see you. You should avoid danger areas where
possible. When studying the terrain you will cross, look for these and plan to go around them.
Streams, rivers, roads, fields, and clear areas are all places that the enemy may be watching.
When you come to a danger area that cannot be bypassed, you should cross it in this manner.
First, send out security to the right and left. They should move along the edge for at least 50
meters looking for enemy positions. If they spot danger, they will return and advise the patrol
leader. They will take up a position where they can cover the patrol when everyone crosses.

Next send the point team across. When they cross the right and left security must be ready to
cover them. Once across, the point team will recon the far side of the danger area to insure there
is no danger waiting for the patrol. When they are satisfied that it is safe, they will return to the
danger area and signal. They will then pull far side security until the team is across.

Next, everyone gets to the edge of the danger area and upon a signal, rushes across at once. As
soon as they reach the far side they take up a position just like they always do when the patrol is
stopped. The point team will advise the PL of what they have found ahead, and the patrol moves
out quickly. If you were spotted crossing, there may be a fire mission on its way in. You must
quickly get out of the area and be certain to leave little sign. Trackers may be called in to start
tailing you from the danger area where you were seen. The few hours after a danger area
crossing are hours spent being very careful, changing courses to confuse trackers, etc.

Standard Operating Procedures should be established for anything that you will do a lot of. By
standardizing these things, it is easier to communicate them during a patrol order. Actions while
stopped, at danger areas, and occupying a patrol base are the first three you will want to
standardize. If you always do it the same way then you will not need to rehearse these as much,
and there won't be any need for talking in the field.
Intel Collection
Each recon team should take pictures of vehicle tracks, the distance between them, etc., so that
Intelligence can determine the vehicle that made them. All equipment should be photographed. If
you can see markings on the vehicles use a telephoto lens to get good pictures. Also photograph
antennas and other equipment. Intelligence can determine a lot from these pictures. Your team
should have a good working knowledge of the enemy's radio equipment, antennas, etc. This will
help you determine the difference between company, battalion, or regiment HQ's. Frequency
counters are small and can be used to determine the freq. the enemy is transmitting on. Do not
make up stories or lie about what you saw to make your efforts seem more important. It would
be a shame to divert military assets and get people killed to strike a target that you have
exaggerated the importance of. You should arrange for experts to train your team in the use of
photo equipment, film, etc. This equipment (Unless waterproof) should be protected in the same
way radios are.

When you rendezvous you will all compare notes and make sure that everyone knows everything
that each other saw during recon. If only one man makes it back he will do so with all of the
intelligence. This is called disseminating information

Helicopter extraction
If helicopters are used you must let them know you are coming and let them know if you are
being chased. Gunships will be able to attack your pursuers giving you time to board and take

Once the choppers are in-bound you will probably want to pop a smoke for identification. The
chopper pilot will see it and say "identify purple, east edge of LZ" if you popped a purple smoke
at the east edge of the LZ you'll confirm. If you popped a yellow then the enemy is nearby trying
to lure him in. Advise the pilot and the gunships can handle the bastards with the purple smoke.
You must run to the helicopters as they are landing, not after. You want the pickup to be touch
and go, with the helicopter never really coming to a stop. Aircrews appreciate efficiency! Their
gunners can provide covering fire while you run. Make sure you coordinate this with the air
liaison. Make sure he arranges a slick with two gunners and at least two supporting gunships.
You don't want to find out that is no covering fire after you are in the open and running to meet
the helicopter. (Not that there is much you can do about it.)

Escape & Evasion

This is what you'll do if for some reason the helicopters can't pick you up at the LZ. You will
move to the next LZ, and the next, and so on trying to make contact. Have prearranged times to
meet someone at a safe, distant LZ in case your radio malfunctions. (Remember lots of batteries.)
If this fails you will have a long walk. Make sure that you know what friendly unit you will be
attempting to contact, their frequencies, and a password. You will need compasses, signal
mirrors, water purification tablets, good knives, etc.

Other tricks
You can rig a white phosphorous grenade in the bottom of your rucksack with a wire leading up
to your quick release on the harness. Tape it securely and open the pin on the grenade JUST A
LITTLE. If you have to drop rucksacks and haul ass you will have about 5 seconds after
dropping the rucksack before it goes off, right in the face of your pursuers. Good soldiers do not
drop their rucksacks on a mission for any other reason. Dropping a rucksack is a violation of
noise discipline. Tired line soldiers are in the habit of dropping rucksacks every time they stop.
This is very bad form.

Patrolling - The WarningOrder

Written by David R. Reed

It has been over fifteen years since I led a patrol. Those of you who have more recent experience
are encouraged to criticize. Virtually all of what follows comes right off the top of my head.
While trying to write the warning order and patrol order, I realized just how long it had been! I'm
sure I have left out some important information just because I can't remember everything. I do
remember spending three or four days minimum preparing OPORDs (Operations Order). That
was with the assistance of several others. Each team (i.e. demolitions, snatch, river crossing, etc.)
would prepare its own "annex" to the main order. By breaking up the problem we were able to
create very detailed OPORDs. Since I'm working by myself here, and have to earn a living doing
other things, I've not spent the time required to do a thorough job on this subject. I would like to
get it on-line; therefore I'll go ahead with it as is. My thanks to Sgt. Guajardo, who taught my
first patrolling class. I hope I can remember most of what he taught me.

To an individual soldier, everything is a patrol. Any movement of a group of men is in essence a

patrol. A Patrol Order is just a more specific Operations Order. Either one is just a detailed set of
plans that communicates the situation, mission, concept of operation, and specific requirements
to the men who will make up the operation. In combat, Murphy's law usually results in death. It
is essential that a leader expend extraordinary effort and creativity when he plans a patrol. If you
don't plan for a contingency, and rehearse for it, when it rears its ugly head your men may die as
a consequence. After you embark on your mission, if ANYTHING happens or changes that was
not allowed for in the original patrol order, the leader must prepare a "frag" order. (Depending on
the immediacy of the situation of course). The leader will use the same patrol order format to
describe the change of plans. Once men in a special operations unit become used to this it
becomes second nature. A young PFC with a Ranger tab will know the instant you have missed

An easy way to keep your sanity, and speed communication, is to develop SOPs (Standard
Operating Procedures). If you ALWAYS do something in a certain way, SOP it and have your
men rehearse this SOP during normal training exercises. When developing a patrol order,
something a leader does a lot of, you will not have to write the section for this common action
over and over again. If for example, you will always enter a DC-9 in the same manner, your
assault team will have an SOP that they follow for this. If the situation requires you to modify
the SOP so be it, but in training you will always do it the same way. This allows your team to
develop the speed needed to clear an aircraft of terrorists before the terrorists have time to react.
They way we did it was thus:

 Man 1 & 2 enter with .45's and begin engaging specific targets, two shots to the head for
 Right behind them are two men armed with sub-sonic submachine guns. They fire over
the two point men's heads -- spraying bullets over the passengers' heads and down the

Human nature will hopefully prevail here, meaning that the terrorists will instinctively try to
protect themselves first, before trying to detonate explosives. Passengers will instinctively duck;
anyone standing up or armed gets taken out. This whole drill, from start to finish takes about
three (3) seconds when rehearsed. The terrorists have only three seconds before your team is
halfway down the aisle killing anything that stands or holds a weapon. If the terrorists are
determined and ready, the first two guys are probably going to go down. Their back up must be
right behind them firing madly at anything that remotely represents a threat. These jobs go to
people, who are aggressive, motivated, and very good shots! There is no time to reload with the
slide locked back. The first two men must instinctively count their shots and reload in a fluid,
very fast manner. This takes a lot of practice. They must be able to run in a crouch, make head
shots, and keep killing until the terrorists are dead, or they are. If this is done well, there is a very
good chance of success.

(Sniper Note: I think the policy of non negotiation is foolish. It puts a lot of people at risk in
hostage scenarios for no other reason than pride. I think terrorists should be given most anything
they want (within reason), and when the hostages are safe kill every one of them, or destroy the
country that gave them asylum. Why we let international diplomacy considerations affect our
decisions is beyond me. If the other guys what to play this game with us, make them pay a heavy
price for it.)

It doesn't matter whether you are just going on a reconnaissance mission, taking out terrorists,
kidnapping, or sniping. The things that you do in this business must be planned in excruciating
detail if you want to be successful on a consistent basis. (Meaning that you want to live, there is
no second place in a gunfight).

One thing that I found lacking in line units was a lack of information sharing. In order to assure
mission success, it is very important for everyone involved in the mission to understand what the
mission is, and all of the details. If only one person knows how to signal the slicks for extraction,
and that person is killed, how does anyone else call in the extraction? I could go on and on with
examples. Junior officers who have never been in combat are likely to take the attitude that only
they understand all of the important stuff, and therefore everyone else's job is to just follow
them. Most Lieutenants will give all pertinent info to their squad leaders. If the platoon sergeant
doesn't make sure his NCO get the info to every man under their supervision, the stage is set for
tragedy. Patrol Orders are the mechanism for getting everyone's program together. All NCO are
not equal. Some are dumb, incompetent, and lack leadership skills. Special Operations units use
only the cream of the crop, and that is why they win engagements with the enemy, and have a
much higher kill ratio per man.
Navigation Skills
If you don't know how to use map & compass. you should learn. Reading is not enough, you
have to practice. I have never tried it but I think that orienteering would be a good way to learn
these skills. I think those folks do a lot of running on their courses and that is very good training.
To call yourself competent, you should be able to run a compass course, only stopping long
enough to steady the compass, and then take off again. You must be able to do this at night.

Terrain association is the next big issue. Some people have a real problem with this. I would call
it common sense. But that means many things to different people. You must be able to look at a
topographical map and relate the elevation contour lines to the physical terrain that surrounds
you. This can be difficult in heavy vegetation, or in climates that where physical changes occur
faster than the map makers can keep up. Heavy rainfall areas and wind blown deserts are places
that can change rapidly. This does not make it impossible to read the map, only harder. I mention
these because on a patrol you have to know where you are going, how to get there, and how to
get out. If bad things happen, you must be able to find prearranged rally points, LZs (Landing
Zones), etc.

It is very important that everyone in the patrol unit know how to do this. They must also have all
of the information that time allows them to be given. One or two leaders who know everything
and a gaggle of soldiers who are just following the guy in front of them is an invitation to

Sniping Patrols
The sniper goes out on patrol. A spotter (another sniper) and one or two security men accompany
him. I call them security men because that is their primary role. That does not mean that they are
deadbeats whose only job is accompany you and try to protect you. Ideally, your security team
will be better than you are. They will be masters of stealth, deception, and camouflage. They will
know everything you know and more; they just don't carry rifles with scopes.

A patrol is a detachment sent out to perform an assigned mission of reconnaissance, combat or
both. The patrol must be tailored to suit the mission. Snipers do not need machine guns, mortars,
recoilless rifles, or antitank weapons. You may want to take one automatic weapon. It will
provide additional firepower if you get in a jam. When I say automatic weapon I'm referring to
an M60 machine gun or maybe one of those new SAWs, not an M16. Small patrols must avoid
contact, or make contact when conditions are favorable, as in an ambush.

Types of Patrols

 Combat -- Engages the enemy

 Recon - Spies on the enemy, avoids detection at all costs.
 Combination - In a way, snipers operate as both. Their mission is to engage the enemy.
But they will also record and report everything they see or hear.
Organization of Patrols

Patrols are organized in to elements and teams. Teams are subdivisions of elements.

Recon Patrol Organization (Modified for sniping mission)

 Recon and Security Element - Provides early warning en route to/from and while on the
objective. Maintains surveillance.
o Point team
o Right, left, rear security
o Special security (far side security on river crossings, etc.)
o Special recon elements
 Sniper Element -- Engages the enemy at the objective
 Headquarters - Mentioned only because there will be some chain of command, Patrol
Leader (PL), Assistant Patrol Leader (APL), RTO (Radio Telephone Operator), and
medic will usually be the HQ element. If your patrol has attached people such as ASA
(Army Security Agency), CIA, FAC (Forward Air Controller), or other special purpose
people they will normally be in the headquarters element, close to the PL during
movement, and in the CP (Command Post) during halts and patrol bases. These folks are
not usually trained in the art of clandestine patrolling and must be watched carefully to
insure they don't screw up. The men on the patrol must be told to respect and protect
these guys. They are important to the mission or they wouldn't be there. Your men don't
like these guys along because they usually have to baby-sit them. They are more apt to
make noise, step where they shouldn't, and remain standing when everyone else drops. If
you make contact, they will not instinctively do the right thing. As a patrol leader you
should assign each special member of your patrol to another man. Instruct him to do
whatever your man does, walk where he walks, stop when he stops, get down when he
does, and run the direction he does.
This is a sample formation for seven men. The APL doubles as rear security. When the
formations closes up during conditions of limited visibility it will resemble a file formation. Files
are dangerous when visibility is good because a gun in enfilade position can fire down the patrol
hitting everyone very quickly. A good sniper with a self-loading rifle can hit 5 men in less than
three seconds at 900 meters! A machine gun in the hands of a good gunner can hit everyone in
the patrol two or three times.

The smaller your patrol is, the easier it is to travel silently, and control is greatly enhanced. One
man can effectively control up to 5 other men directly. When you have more than this you will
need to organize your patrol into multiple 'maneuver elements'. In this manner the PL can direct
multiple elements by directly controlling the element leader. Each element leader then controls
up to five men under him.

Crew served weapons should be located near the PL in a formation (small patrol). It makes it
easier for the PL to direct the fire of the gunners when he does not have to crawl around under
fire trying to get his gunners in action.

A good patrol leader leads by example. In a fire fight the men in the patrol look to the leader for
direction, and sometimes courage. If the PL inspires and motivates his men, by displaying
courage, leadership, and audacity in the face of the enemy, the patrol members will respond
favorably and take the fight to the enemy when it's needed. A patrol leader who is indecisive,
hides under fire, and fails to LEAD, will cause the fighting effectiveness of his patrol to collapse.

In a fight, the patrol leader, with the assistance of the APL, must constantly redistribute ammo
and give encouragement to his men. This means crawling under fire from position to position,
inspiring the men, and insuring that each has a constant supply of ammo. Some men fire more
often than others do. If the enemy is hitting you on the right then your men on the right will
expend ammo faster than those on the left will. You cannot just move every one online because
the enemy could flank you, or come around behind. Amidst the roar, fury, and smoke of combat,
good leaders distinguish themselves by this type of conduct under pressure. Some leaders rise
from the most unlikely places in the "ranks". A good patrol member must always be ready to
take command when the PL /APL is unable to do so (dead or wounded). The patrol leader must
always display unselfish courage so that when he does go down, PFC Joe Rag Bag will step
forward, and do as he has seen his leader do under fire.

Patrol leaders never eat, or drink, until the men have been fed and watered. This is a rule that
should NEVER be violated. The mission, and men, in that order, always without exception.

A patrol order is always preceded by a warning order.

Warning Order
The warning order is a statement issued by some higher authority that authorizes the patrol,
states the mission, and the required time frame.

This is an example warning order. Signal intelligence units, recon satellites, and information
from other intelligence sources indicates that the enemy has established a headquarters area in
Grid Square ZZ1044. The enemy is using the road running east-west through the area to move
equipment and supplies. All road junctions and trails are under enemy control and the entire area
under surveillance. You mission is to get in there and recon the area without being caught for a
period of not less than 48 hours.

You must find their HQ. On 22 November 1995 you will set your sniper team in the best position
you can find, kill as many officers or key personnel as you can, and get the hell out. You will let
your relay station know when you are on your way out. They will launch your slicks to the LZ.
Intelligence indicates that this is a Regimental HQ and the probability of at least Field grade
officers is very high.

There will be a full S2 briefing in 1 hour at Battalion. You will be able to meet afterwards with
the Air Liaison. The area is 125 miles north and well beyond artillery support. The enemy has
extensive signals intelligence capabilities and you can expect artillery or rocket fire within 2
minutes of any radio transmissions.

Well, you heard it. The AO is crawling with [insert expletive here]'s. You have one hour to get
your team together. Since the AO is hot, you will need a good 3-man security team just in case
you get into trouble. They'll have to be cool heads though; the last thing you want is to be
compromised 120 miles behind enemy lines. You will need helicopter extraction standing by 24
hours a day throughout the operation. Hopefully good weather will prevail. You'll find out all
about that at the S2 briefing. For now, pick your spotter and three good LRP men.

S2 Briefing
Often this is done when the initial warning order is given. In this example, I only set it apart
because a bunch of officers aren't going to drop what they are doing to put on a "dog and pony"
show for a sniper team. There probably won't even be an officer at your briefing, and that's just
as well.

This is the most important part of the warning order. Anything that the briefer does not cover you
must ask about. Don't assume it's because they don't know. If you piss them off with a lot of
questions they'll let you know.

Enemy Forces

 Identification - Unit name/numbers, commanding officer, XO, political advisors, etc.

Pictures if they are available.
 Strength/Size - All elements including fire support, air assets, mobility.
 Equipment -- Individual, heavy weapons, vehicles, markings on vehicles
 Training - Are they well trained?
 Discipline - Are their combat forces in the area? Do military police, etc. guard them?
 Expected reactions if you are discovered -- What will they do? Do they have the
resources to mount a major search and destroy?
Indigenous Personnel

 Customs, dress, traditions, life styles.

 Will we be there during a holiday?
 Do they work? Where? Farmers?
 Are they friendly? How has the enemy treated them?
 Do we have a contact in a partisan group we can use if necessary? Can they be trusted?
 Do they keep dogs?
 Do they have electrical power? Vehicles?

We could write a book on this subject and we won't. Preferably everyone on your team should be
able to speak the local language and should already have received some training on the religious
and cultural customs of the population.
Friendly Forces

 Locations of all adjacent friendly units.

 Frequencies to use on the days in question to contact them.
 Inter-unit call signs and passwords.
 CEOI codes.


 All major weather systems.

 Forecast - Rain is the soldier's best friend -- It will limit air support, but who counts on
those guys anyway? Rain softens the sounds of your movement. It allows you to move
silently and hide. It also keeps you from being spotted from the air. Heat will have an
adverse effect. It will make you consume more water. Wide fluctuations in temperature
can be expected in mountainous or desert terrain. It will make sentries sleepy, extreme
cold will drive undisciplined soldiers indoors or into sleeping bags when they should be
alert and watchful
 Effect on terrain, infantry and vehicles -- tracked and wheeled.
 Sunrise and Sunset
 Moon Rise and set. Moon Phase
 Before morning and early evening nautical twilight

Maps and Aerial Photos

If they are available, each member of your team should have his own map. Aerial photos can
help with locating vegetation densities like forests, fields, etc. To identify and fix enemy
resources you will need assistance from the photo interpretation guys. By using stereoscopic
lenses and overlays, they can identify vehicles, positions, structures, etc. that you cannot see
looking at a flat two-dimensional aerial photo. These photos must be used to markup maps. You
will need an extra set of maps with plastic laminates to mark on with grease pencils. You must
never mark a map you will carry on your operation. We will use this information to build our
sand table.
After the warning order you must find out what assets you will have to work with. If air transport
and TACAIR are available, make arrangements with the liaison officers to meet with you after
you have worked out your patrol order. It won't do you any good to plan for choppers or a fly
over if none are available. Find out what you will have to work with first. Incorporate the air
assets into your patrol order, then meet with your liaison to give them all of the details. Do this
early enough so that if they have a problem with something you want to do, you'll have the time
to work it out. Hopefully, your chain of command has a good relationship with the rotor heads so
you won't have a problem getting the priorities your people need.

In the warning order given above, a fly over might be inadvisable. You don't want the enemy to
think you might know where he is. Use maps and aerial photos to find your insertion point.

Now you must prepare a plan for your patrol. You will give your own people the warning order
all over again, with a few additions.

 Study the mission

 Plan use of time and prepare time table
 Study terrain and situation, prepare sand table
 Organize the patrol
 Select men, weapons and equipment
 Issue Warning Order to your men
 Coordinate - (Continuous throughout)
 Make reconnaissance if possible, if not use maps and photos
 Complete detailed plans
 Issue Patrol Order
 Supervise, Inspect, Rehearse
 Execute the mission

We are going to plan on being in position 1 day sooner than required so we can scope out the
situation, and move to a better site if necessary. That means we will move into our hide on
during the night of the 20th. Scope the site out on the 21st, make our shots and air strike on the
22nd, move to the LZ and get out. Lets back up from there.
Sample Time Table
Action Date Time Equipment/Personnel

Debriefing 22 Nov. 1700 All Personnel

Extraction 22 Nov. 1500 All

Call Choppers 22 Nov. 1400 All

Make Shots 22 Nov. 1400 Snipers

On Objective 21 Nov. 0200 All

Movement to Objective 20 Nov. 2000 All

Disseminate Intelligence 20 Nov. 1800 All

Sleep 20 Nov. 0600 All

Split-up/Recon 18 Nov. 0600 All

Sleep 18 Nov. 0100 See Patrol Base Annex.

Movement to AO 17 Nov. 2100 All

Parachute Jump 17 Nov. 2030 All

Takeoff 17 Nov. 1930 All

Board Aircraft 17 Nov. 1830 All

Sleep/Eat 17 Nov. 1030 All

Move to Airfield 17 Nov. 0930 All

Final Inspection 17 Nov. 0830 All - Asst. Platoon Leader to Conduct.

Draw Ammo 17 Nov. 0700 All but Platoon Leader

Chow 17 Nov. 0600 All

Sleep 16 Nov. 2200 All

Night Rehearsals 16 Nov. 1800 All - Exercise

Chow 16 Nov. 1700 All

Patrol Order 16 Nov. 1400 All - Classroom

Command/Control 16 Nov. 1200 All - Platoon Leader to Conduct.

Chow 16 Nov. 1100

Air Requirements Turned In 16 Nov. 1000 Patrol Leader

Fire Support Overlays 16 Nov. 0900 Patrol Leader

Extraction Class 16 Nov. 1000 Everyone Else

Danger Areas Class 16 Nov. 0900 Everyone Else

Fire Missions Class 16 Nov. 0800 Everyone

Chow 16 Nov. 0700 All

Sleep 15 Nov. 2300 All

Night Compass Class 15 Nov. 1800 All: 1 MRE, LBE, Compass, Map, Note Book and Pencil.

Chow 15 Nov. 1700 All

Patrolling 15 Nov. 1300 All

Chow 15 Nov. 1200 All

Patrolling 15 Nov. 0800 All

Inspection 15 Nov. 0700 All

Chow 15 Nov. 0600 All

Sleep 14 Nov. 2300 All

Photo Intelligence Class 14 Nov. 1900 All - S2 NCO Conducts Class

Patrol Order Development 12 Nov. 1000 All

Warning Order 12 Nov. 0900 All

Well, we are back to the 12th and have a few days to work with. We should probably move
everything back a day to allow more recon time, and another day to allow everyone one full day
to sleep and eat. This patrol will take a toll on everyone. We want to be well rested and fed when
we board the choppers. Our assholes will be so tight you couldn't drive a 10-penny nail up them
with a sledgehammer. We will need the extra sleep and food. If things go bad we could wind up
without a ride home and be forced to escape & evade the 120 miles back to friendly lines. We
want a lot of good food in our system, vitamin supplements, high energy foods, foot powder and

Looking back over the timetable I can see that I have allowed too much time for some things and
not enough for others. It is important that all personnel know what they are doing so that you can
cover the basics quickly and use the rest of the time to develop the operations order. As we shall
see, all of the details will be planned for and included in our OPORD.
Patrolling - Operations Order
Written by David R. Reed

Now that we have an understanding of what we must be able to do, this is how I would plan our
sample mission. I am tired of writing all of this so I'm going to make it brief.

This is an acceptable outline to use for your operations order.

Operations Order Format


o Enemy Forces
 Location, size, strength
 Capabilities, supply lines, communications, posture
 Probable courses of action
o Indigenous People
 Location, numbers, organizations
 Capabilities, resources, communications, hositilies, civic groups
 Languages spoken, religious, superstitions, other cultural aspects
 Probable courses of action
o Friendly Forces
 Mission of parent unit
 Mission of supporting units (air, artillery, etc.)
 Missions of other patrols, defensive positions you must cross


o Who, what, when, where (coordinates)


o Concept of the Operation - Overall plan

o Sub-unit missions - for elements, teams, individuals
o Coordinating Instructions
 times of departure & return
 Formations and order of movement
 Route, primary and alternate
 Passage of friendly front lines - out/in
 Rally Points and actions at rally points
 Actions on enemy contact
 Actions at danger areas
 Actions on objective
 Fire Support (if not in it's own annex)
 Rehearsals and inspections
 Debriefings - time, place, uniform, format
 Annexes - mini OPORDs that cover specialty items

Service & Support

o Supply
 Rations
 Uniforms & Equipment
 Arms & Ammunition
 Captured Material
o Transportation - may be annexed
o Medical Evacuation - may be annexed
o Personnel
o Prisoners of War

Command & Signal

o Signal
 Frequencies & Call signs
 Pyrotechnics & Signals
 Challenge and password (sign/countersign)
 Code words
o Command
 Commander/leader location
 Chain of Command

Operations Order Summary

Look at the outline. It is a suggested format and that is all. You will issue your OPORD in any
manner you choose. Make sure it is complete, well organized, and interesting. You should use
sand tables, pictures, drawings and other instructional aids. Prepare a multiple choice and
true/false quiz that tests each soldier on every point in the patrol order. Every one must be able to
recite in detail call signs, passwords, locations, the mission, and everything that they would need
to know to complete the mission if they were the sole survivor of a firefight, plane crash, etc. If
everything goes wrong you will want each man to have the knowledge he needs to complete the
mission and return home safely. Friendly lines cannot be safely crossed without adequate
preparation and training. Soldiers in a defensive posture are apt to fire on anything they hear, see,
or think they hear or see. The unit you will be passing through must know when you will be there
and how you will contact them.

Break the mission down to these specifics:

o How you will insert

o What you will do once you are on the ground
o How you will move to the objective
o What you will do when things happen along the route
o How you will occupy patrol bases/ORP
o What you will do once there
o How you will get out.

We will want to get as close as we can without our choppers being heard. If this can't be done we
may want to consider an Airborne HALO insertion. Say about 20, 000 - 35-000 feet jump. You
will need a few minutes worth of oxygen for your free fall. You will need enough to get down to
10,000 feet. Use your imagination, if you can think of another way to get there secretly then do
that. Coastlines, rivers, and roads will probably be watched. If the enemy has strong AA
capabilities, you may want to consider some other scheme. If you choose to use aircraft, create
an annex for this part of the mission. Your annex will follow the same format as your patrol
order, except each category will pertain to the air movement only. For instance, the mission
would be to make a covert parachute jump into the enemy's rear area at 2100 hours. You will
need to complete the patrol order outline with everything you need to describe this part of the
mission. What air unit will you use? Aircraft? Where will you board? What flight path will be
followed? Command & Signal will pertain to frequencies the aircraft use etc.

When using slicks it may be advisable to make a couple of false insertions. This may confuse
any 'LZ watchers' into thinking you got out at another LZ.

Everyone must know where to run once they are on the ground. There should be at least one
alternate rally point. Once on the ground, chutes are hidden, everyone meets up, and moves off.
You will need a password to recognize each other in the dark.

Contingencies are:

o What happens if someone breaks a leg on the jump?

o What happens if you are fired up on the DZ or LZ?
o What happens if you are shot down and some of you survive?

Movement to the Objective

We will move only at night and observe during the day. Our route will follow the most difficult
country we can find within reason. We don't want to tax ourselves foolishly (and make a lot of
noise) but we sure can't go walking down a road or trail. We will establish a winding route that if
followed by a tracker, appears to lead nowhere. Our route will depend on the terrain and
vegetation. When we make camp during the day, it will be in a very inaccessible place. This will
lessen the chance of discovery by enemy patrols.

We need at least one alternate route. We will pick the one we'll use when we get there. If we
have to change, we'll try to move over to our other route. This lessens the amount of time spent
studying the map and everyone will know the route before hand.
Written by Roger Perron and David R. Reed

You will need to make fire and to choose the right type of fire construction. Shelter is necessary
to give shade, to repel wind, rain and to keep warmth. Sleep and adequate rest are essential and
the time and the effort you put into making your shelter comfortable will make them easier to
get. If you are a victim of a plane crash or a vehicle that has let you down, it may provide a
shelter or materials which one can be built, but if there is a fire or the threat of fuel tanks
exploding, wait until it has burned out before attempting salvage.

You may have to make do with any natural shelter that you can find for the night or until you can
fully assess the situation. In this case, virtually any protection from wind, rain & cold will be
welcome. If movement down a slope seems risky, traversing even a short way along the contour
may bring you out of the wind. If no cave or crevice is available to give shelter, make use of any
hollow in the ground. Add to its height, if you can, by stacking rocks or snow, but make sure that
any structure is stable & use a back-pack, if you have one, to increase the windshield before
settling down on the leeward side.

For a long-term camp you should find a secure site with convenient access to your major needs.
Look for these when selecting your campsite:

 Wind sheltered
 Offer wood for burning
 Away from swamp, dampness.
 Close to drinking water supply yet not too close bugs.
 Seek Dry ground as much as possible.
 High enough to AVOID mosquitoes using air draft.
 Shelter opening facing east or rising sun position.
 Winter: Sheltered from wind as much as possible.
 Winter storms ALWAYS come from the West & North.

Other considerations for a long-term shelter:

 Hilltops exposed to wind, move down and look for shelter on the Leeside.
 Valley bottoms and deep hollows - could be damp & especially when the sky is clear,
more liable to frost at night.
 Hillside terraces where the ground holds moisture.
 Spurs which lead down to water, which are often routes to watering places for animals.
 Look for somewhere sheltered from the wind, on rising ground that has no risk of
flooding and is safe from rock falls or avalanches.
 Hot air rises, cold air sinks, so valley bottoms will often pockets of cold air and in cold
weather, be susceptible to frost and damp mist.
 In areas that get plenty of rainfall, terraces across a slope will often be damper than the
steeper ground above and below them, for water collects there before flowing further

Pitching camp too close to water, however may lead you to be troubled by insects and the sound
of running water can hide other noises that might indicate danger or the sound of search or
rescue parties. (Sniper Note: Camping next to water will keep animals that depend on the water
for their survival from approaching. Be courteous to the natural habitants when near small ponds
or in any area with a scarce water supply.) Near riverbanks, look for the high water mark. Also
near sea where there are tidal changes.

In MOUNTAIN REGIONS streams can become torrents in minutes, rising as much as 5m (17ft)
in an hour! Even on plains keep out of old watercourses, no matter how dry they are. Heavy
rainstorms in nearby hills can easily send water rushing down them in flash floods with no
warning. Choose ground that is reasonably flat and free or rocks and insure that you have space
to lay out signals and that you can be easily spotted by rescue parties. Check above your head for
bees or hornets' nests and for dead wood in trees that could come crashing down in the next
storm or high wind. Keep away from solitary trees, which attract lightning, and in forest areas
keep to the edges where you can see what is going on around you.

Don't wait until it's dark. Make or find a shelter while there is light. You must get out of the rain,
wind, and snow before Hypothermia sets in. Make more permanent shelter when permitted.
Insulate floor of shelter as deeply as you can with brush, leaves, and grass- anything to keep you
off the cold ground.

Dig tunnel into snow if no other shelter is available. Use stick to keep air vent open. In deep
snow, base of trees can provide shelter. Use your imagination, improvise but keep shelter simple
and small, conserve energy. You will get cold faster if you lay on the bare ground, make a bed of
something. Be careful about staying near steep slopes or cliffs. Slides and avalanches are a

The following are essential for shelter:

 Insulated bed
 Wind Blocker
 Small as can be squeezed into - conserves heat

How long do you intend to remain at the location? Snow caves and natural holes are ideal if you
are on the move and do not need a permanent structure. Size will depend upon the number in the
party. Sleep with your head elevated, head lower than feet can cause headaches. Tall grass is
where the chiggers, ticks and other bugs like to camp too. Alpine meadows are fragile. Camping
there for a week may leave a visible scar for years.
All shelters must be ventilated for evaporation. Fires give off carbon monoxide. Heat up stones,
wrap them well, and insert them in your sleeping bag. Old trapper trick: Dig a rectangular hole,
fill it with hot coals, then cover up with earth and lay a blanket over it.

Mosquitoes seem to hate the smell of Basilic.

A heavy grove of big evergreen itself affords considerable shelter. From sudden shower you can
keep dry by just lingering under a spruce or pine. There is usually sufficient small growth in such
a forest to break off and angle in lean-to form against a protective log or trunk. Build a lean-to
with whatever is available. All you need is a cross bar between two supports. Lean branches
densely against the cross bar to make the shelter. If you have enough plastic groundsheet
material, fold it so that it doubles as groundsheet and a roof. Then pile on branches and

At very low temperatures snow will be solid. You need some kind of implement to cut into it or
make blocks from it. If you have tools to cut blocks of snow, you can build a complete snow
house or use it for walls around another shelter.

Snow or rock caves will be easily recognizable but not so obvious are the spaces left beneath the
spreading boughs of conifers in the northern forests when the snow has already built up around
them. A medium-sized tree may have a space right around the trunk or a large one may have
pockets in the snow beneath a branch. Try digging under any tree with spreading branches on the
Lee side. Even soft snow can be built into a windbreak. Those with equipment can cut blocks.
Anchor a ground sheet or poncho along the top with another course of blocks; use others to
secure the bottom edge. Use more snow blocks to close the sides.

Snow Construction
A saw, knife, shovel or machete is necessary to cut compacted snow into blocks. The ideal snow
will bear a man's weight without much impression being made, but be soft enough to allow a
probe to be inserted evenly through it. Cut blocks about 45 X 50cm (18 X 20in) and 10-20cm (4-
8in) thick. These will be an easy size to handle, thick enough to provide good insulation, yet
allow maximum penetration of the sun's rays. Stack for walls; cover with anything you have.

Snow trench -- Mark out an area the size of a sleeping bag including head support and cut out
blocks the whole width of the trench. Dig down to a depth of at least 60cm (2ft). Along the top of
the sides of the trench, cut a ledge about 15cm (6in) wide and the same deep. Rest the snow
bricks on each side of the ledge and lean them in against each other to form a roof. Put
equipment below your sleeping bag so that you are not in direct contact with the snow beneath.
Block the windward end with another block or piled up snow. At the other end downwind have a
removable block as a door or dig an entrance. Fill any gaps with snow. It is most effective when
built on a slight slope; the cold air will collect in the entrance leaving warmer air in the sleeping

Snow Cave -- Dig into a drift snow to make a comfortable shelter. Make use of the fact that hot
air rises and heavier, cold air sinks. Create 3 levels inside: build a fire on the highest, sleep on the
center one and keep off the lower level which will trap the cold. Drive a hole through the roof to
let out smoke and make another hole to unsure that you have adequate ventilation. Use a block of
snow as a door and keep it loose fitting and on the inside, so that it will not freeze up and jam.
Smooth the inside surfaces to discourage melt drips and make a channel around the internal
perimeter to keep them away from you and your equipment. Dripping comes from the inside
heat. Make sure that the inside dome walls are well smoothed use the back of your mittens or
mukluks to do this job not your hand. If the inner walls start to glaze with ice and drip, you are
overheating. Placing a piece of snow on the source can stop small drips in igloos.

An igloo takes time to construct but centuries of use by the Eskimo demonstrate its efficiency.
Build the main shelter first then dig out an entrance or build an entry tunnel which is big enough
to crawl along. You could bend the tunnel or build a windbreak. Mark out a circle on the ground
about 4m (13 1/2ft) in diameter and tramp it down to consolidate the floor as you proceed with
the rest of the building. Stack one layer of blocks on another and, as when laying bricks, center
new blocks over the previous vertical joint. Build up more layers but place each only halfway
over the lower tier, so that the igloo tapers in or becomes dome shaped. Shape out the entrance
arch as you proceed. Seal the top with a flat block. Make ventilation holes near the top and near
the bottom but not on the side of the prevailing wind or so low that snow rapidly builds up and
blocks it. Fill any other gaps with snow. Smooth off all the inside to remove any drip-points.
This will allow any condensation to run down the wall instead of dripping off.

Igloo - Spiral Method

Lay the first course of blocks and then shape them to the required spiral. You do not have to
overhang the blocks if you angle your initial spiral downwards and inwards. Shape the top and
bottom faces of subsequent courses to lean inwards. The last few blocks in the center may need
some support as you fit them into position. Cutting the first course to an even spiral eases the
whole process. Angle the top edge slightly down towards the center. The final block must be cut
to fit- unless the space is small enough to leave for ventilation, but this block helps to keep the
structure from collapsing.


Build a sleeping level higher than the floor or dig down when building to create a lower cold
level that can be used for storage. Cut an entrance way through the lower course of blocks or dig
a tunnel beneath them. The central hole can be used as an entrance if you are too exhausted to
complete the structure.

Parachute Snow house

This is a useful structure if stranded on sea ice where sufficient snow for an igloo for a larger
party may be hard to find. Look for snow or convenient blocks of ice in the pushed up pressure
ridge of the ice. Mark out a circle and build up a circular wall of snow blocks about 1m (4ft).
Leave an entrance space if on ice. You will not be able to dig an entrance tunnel. Dig a lower
area in the floor for cold air to sink into. Raise a central column of blocks in the center about 1-
1.5m (3-5ft) higher than the wall. Drape the parachute over this and the wall securing it with a
further row of blocks on top of the wall. The structure of this parachute roof makes it a snow
trap, which could become a dangerous weight poised above your head. Clear accumulated snow
regularly. If you want a small fire inside ensure there is adequate ventilation. Site the fire on the
outer shelf where it will not affect the canopy, not near the central column. Anchor parachute
cords with a block of ice or snow or cut a hole in the ice and pass the top through it to make a
firm anchorage.

Living in a snow house

In bad weather MAKE SURE that you have a good supply of timber or liquid fuel, inside the
shelter. Do not carry loose snow into the shelter; knock it off your boots and clothing before you
enter. That snow would melt inside and make a mess and more dampness. Mark the entrance
clearly so that it is easily found. Keep shovels and tools Inside the shelter, you may have to dig
yourself out.

Another Igloo - Mold Method

According to the latest researches of the Arctic Aeromedical Laboratory in Alaska, they can not
only be built from solid block of polar snow pressed together, but also from fresh fallen snow-as
is the practice of the Nunamiut Eskimos in Alaska. When the Eskimos of this tribe want to pitch
camp, they pile up branches and bushes and cover them with skins or tarpaulins. Then heap the
loose snow on top (use snowshoes as a shovel). After about an hour it hardens and the leaves and
branches can be taken away. The igloo is ready.

Koolik for cooking

Pots can be suspended from pegs driven firmly into the walls above the fat lamp koolik or the
primus stove koolik. The Koolik has provided heat for comfort and cooking "even cookin-king"
for thousands of years, giving a quiet pleasant light and warmth to the native home. Properly
tended it does not smoke or smell and it can be controlled to give more or less heat on demand. It
is carved from soapstone in the form of a shallow pen of 1/2 moon shape. The straight edge of
the lamp is veiled to support the wick made of Arctic cotton or moss. Seal oil or caribou fat is
used as fuel. To avoid its melting into the snow shell and to keep it warm enough to render fat, it
is supported on short sticks driven into the shelf.


You can improvise a fat lamp out of any flat pan, such as a ration can. If you have fat to burn, all
that is required is a piece of heavy cotton, linen cloth or absorbent cotton for a wick and a
slopping ramp to support it. You can burn lubricating oil in a fat lamp but the flame will smoke
more readily and the wick will have to be trimmed more carefully to keep the flame below the
smoking point. When the level of the oil drops, the flame may follow down the wick causing
further smoking.
A simple damper made of sheet metal will prevent this and will permit closer control of the
flame. A few drops of aircraft fuel used with caution will aid in lighting the wick. NEVER try to
burn a volatile fuel in the koolik, you would be far too successful and might find yourself in

Remember that a little animal fat in lubricating oil makes a good improvement in the flame.
Body heat is derived from food intake, so eat your entire ration and supplement with fish
whenever possible. Eat fat rather than burn them if the supply is low. A diet of meat is good for
you. The explorer Stefenson lived for a full year on meat alone to prove this point. You MUST
eat flesh, fat, liver and every edible part, to ensure that you don't suffer from dietetic deficiencies.

Remember FAT is ESSENTIAL in Arctic survival don't waist it.

Other Snow Shelters

If you are stranded in forest in the winder and darkness comes simply dig a hole in the snow at
the foot of a tree all around it. Cover the bottom of evergreen branches as well as the walls on the
outside toward the tree, which you then cover up with snow. It's not central home heating but
will prevent freezing to death. Scientists from an Aeromedical laboratory have established that
the temperature within such a shelter even without the bodily warmth of those occupying it can
be 18F higher than the outside where storms may be raging at 36F below freezing point.

If there are several people in the hole, the temperature will rise even further, this seems the only
explanation that in case of avalanche death is due more often to suffocation then exposure.

Shelter Summary

Shelters can be built from damn near anything. Hopefully this section has given you a few
pointers. To belabor the point by describing 100 shelters is not necessary. Shelters have walls
and a roof. They should not leak, water or wind. They must have ventilation. I watched a made-
for-TV movie about a team of athletes that crashed in the Andes. Rather than building warm
shelters (They had a multitude of supplies), they remained in a section of wreckage with no
insulation. They had cushioned seats all around them and used them all for fire fuel rather than
body/shelter insulation. Most of them died of exposure. Instead of melting snow/ice they ate the
snow cold. When they thought a plane had spotted them (because they THOUGHT he wagged a
wing) they ate all of the food they had left. Remember to drain oil from crankcases before it
freezes solid. Fuel will burn slowly if the oxygen supply to the flame is restricted. Exactly how
you would do this I'm not sure, just remember to try small first, and leave yourself plenty of
room to get out of the way. Burns blister, drawing fluids from the body, remember this before
you do something that could result in a burn.
Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion
by Dave Reed

I'm not sure how much I will include on resistance and escape. Maybe I will save these subjects
until someone else offers to contribute the material. I will definitely cover the following subjects:

 Arctic
 Jungle
 Desert

Topics will include dealing with attitude, exposure, dehydration, rescue, food gathering.

 Celestial Navigation - Stars/Sun

 Camouflage - Rural and populated areas

Attitude is everything. Some of you may read this and think "yeah, o.k., now get on to the good
stuff". What you must realize is that without the proper mental attitude, the other topics will be
of use for only a short period of time. Depression, loneliness, feelings of abandonment,
despondency, and the feeling that nobody knows where you are or cares will conspire to kill you.
If you have done your homework, practiced the techniques described, there is a very good
chance you will survive if you have a positive mental attitude. Tell yourself that you WILL get
out of this. You WILL persevere.

I have seen some survival books talk as though collecting water is easy, catching game with
snares is simple, and survival is something that can be taught in books. When I was very young, I
would leave for the country on Friday afternoons. I would take water proof matches, a liter of
water, my bow and some arrows, ground sheet/blanket, and spend the weekend making snares,
fishing with equipment I made, and hunting with my bow. I used primitive fire making methods
and only used matches when I had to. I can tell you that there is nothing easy about any of this.
There was much I didn't know at the time, but I had read a lot of books. I probably knew more at
13 than most people ever do. I was preparing myself for a life in the wilderness as a 'mountain
man'. Needless to say, I had not yet discovered girls or beer. Cable TV was unheard of, and
computers were magical talking 'entities' as seen on Star Trek and 2001. For me, society was full
of unnecessary trappings that only made men soft and weak.

By sunday I was ready to return home. My parents would usually drive out to the area I was
staying in and give me a ride. It was about a 18 mile trek. Fortunately my mom made sure I took
along 'emergency rations', just in case I had trouble finding game. Emergency rations were about
the only things I ate all weekend. I shot a few birds and snakes with my bow. Caught a few fish
too. But I learned something that many people do not realize. To survive you must battle three
things in this order:

 Exposure
 Dehydration
 Food Gathering

You can die in a few hours if you cannot retain body heat. You can die of exposure in 72 degree
weather! You will develop hypothermia when your body loses heat faster than you can produce
it. You need calories to generate body heat. People die of hypothermia in warm water. The water
is cooler than they are, subsequently the water absorbs body heat until their body can produce no
more. It is a slow death.

When you breath your breathe causes water loss. Perspiration causes water loss. Evaporation
from your eyes causes water loss. If you cannot replace these losses you will die. Drink water
with little microbes, parasites, etc. and you will develop diarrhea. This will increase your fluid
loss and you will die even quicker.

Food is the last thing you will need. In moderate climates, you can survive without food for up to
30 days. You will die without water in one or two in the desert! Finding edible berries and plants
are the last things you need to learn. Rescue and conserving fluids and body heat are the primary
survival skills. If you can survive long enough to get real hungry you are doing a good job. In
extreme cold food is more important because your body converts food to heat.

Taking Inventory
First examine what you have to work with. Seat cushions from a vehicle are insulation. Shiny
glass, mirrors, or polished metal can be used to signal search aircraft. Glass with imperfections,
bifocals, binoculars, etc. can be used to focus the suns rays enough to start a fire. Thread stripped
from a from seat cushion and wound together can be used to lash things together, make fishing
nets, sutures fro stitching wounds, etc. Remember your priorities. Rescue, Shelter, Water, and
food. You will have to balance these priorities and make decisions. Generally, you should stay in
the area where you became stranded if there is any chance of a search for you. If you try to walk
out, the search party will not find you. You will burn calories while walking, calories that will be
hard to replace. You will also perspire, can you afford the water loss? If the enemy is searching
for you, you will have to move to a safe location.

Exposure and Body Heat - Arctic

Time is running against you here. You must work quickly and conserve energy. After you have
taken inventory, build a fire:

Hopefully you will have matches or a lighter. You must conserve these valuable items. Before
you build your fire, pick a place for your shelter. (see below). Now gather combustible materials.
Cones from pine trees don't burn. Bark doesn't either. DON'T waste matches trying to ignite
them. Gather material in this order:
Very small match stick thickness twigs. Have at least a good double handful. They must be
dry. To find dry sticks in the rain, look under the overhang of an embankment, under-side of
logs, dead dry roots pulled out of an embankment, the center of a stump or dead tree (dug out
with a knife).

Small sticks a little bigger than the smallest. You will need more of these, at least a quart - half
gallon. Some of these may be a little wet.

Bigger sticks - Twice the thickness of the ones before, even more of these.

Keep moving up in size until you are collecting branches/small logs. If the wood is available you
will need as much as you can gather in an hour. Drift wood will work if it's dry.

Now that you have your wood it's time to build your fire. Take your time and do this right.
DON'T throw the fire together haphazardly. This will only waste fuel and increase the risk of the
fire not lighting. Every match you have is like gold. Do not waste them. If you do this right you
will only need one.

Take a medium size branch and lay it down. Now build a tiny lean-to with the smallest sticks by
leaning them up against the branch. Take more and and lay them perpendicular to first layer, and
parallel to the big branch. Use lots of very small sticks and leave enough gaps between them for
the flames to rise up through and ignite the upper layers. If it's raining or windy cover yourself
with something to protect your fire. Now add the bigger sticks to the top of the your neat little
lean-to, using a teepee shape, and surrounding the little lean to on all sides. Leave a small gap up
close to the big branch to get your match under the pile. If you have a small slip of paper or lint
from pockets, put it under the lean-to and ignite it. As your fire grows, start adding more and
more sticks to get the fire very hot. Now add the larger sticks, the heat will dry them if they are
damp. (Not if they are green or soaked through.) Keep building your fire in stages. DON'T wait
too long to add the next size larger sticks. The heat generated from the rapidly burning small
ones is needed to dry and ignite the larger ones. As soon as you can, put some bigger stuff on by
laying them across the big branch on the ground. Once your fire is going, DON'T let it go out. If
you need more fuel gather more, and start building your shelter.

This is the fastest shelter I know of:

Is there a snow bank nearby? Can you build a small one? You are going to dig a cave in the
snow. You want the opening to be away from the wind. The cave has to be very small. For a
snow shelter to be effective it must be below freezing. If not, melting snow will saturate your
clothing and you will freeze. Hollow out a place to lie in the snow. If you have something to line
the floor with it will be much warmer. If you have nothing but plastic or something, try to find
evergreen tree limbs to line it with. You want as much between you and the cold ground as you
can. You will lose more heat by being in contact with the cold ground than you will from the air.
The air in your cave will warm and retain heat. If you have a small heat source you can place a
vent through the roof to allow gas to escape. You must ration your heat source. You will need it
more at night when the temperature drops. Luxuries to add will be more insulation, seat
cushions, etc. and a door.
A Ranger Pile is a shelter used by small parties who lack bulky camping equipment or who for
tactical reasons, must not risk fire or shelter construction. First layer of men, four or five lays
very close together on two ponchos snapped together. Next layer lay's on top of the others, cross
ways. Another layer on top of them. Remaining ponchos are snapped together and pulled over
the top and tucked in around the sides. If a quantity of DRY pine needles, leaves, etc. can be
quietly collected, this can be used for insulation stuffing. Just pile it on each layer before the next
gets on. This is how small recon teams survive without carrying a lot of bullshit with them. It
only gets bad when one of the guys has gas!

A vehicle will block the wind but the compartment is too big to retain body heat. You will freeze
if you stay in a car or aircraft. Strip cushions, carpet, floor mats, insulation, etc. from the vehicle
to line your shelter with. If you have tools and can remove the hood or trunk lid you can use
these for a reflector to direct heat in one direction from a fire.

If you are fortunate enough to have the materials to construct a lean-to, build one similar to the
way you built your fire. Keep the openings away from the wind, and towards your fire. Use a
reflector to direct the heat into your lean-to.

Clothing What do you have to work with? Thin material should be put closest to your body, as
should wool. If you have extra foam from seat cushions, stuff your shirts and pants with it. It will
work as insulation. Extra clothing can be stripped in to pieces of about 5" x 4' and used as
wrapping for extra socks. The russian army has always used wool strips for field socks. You
want to have the material that best holds in heat closest to your skin. This same concept can be
used when you have the luxury of a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags are designed to hold in heat
much better than clothes. When you get into a bag, remove all of your clothes and lay on them.
Naked, your body heat will be trapped between your skin and the bag. Otherwise your heat
escapes through the thin material of your clothing, and stays between your clothes and the bag,
until it dissipates.

If you have no clothes for the environment you find yourself in, you will have to use the shelter
for clothing. Keep your shelter VERY small and use insulation. This is your only chance to

If there is plenty of snow/ice you will have a good water supply if you have a fire and a container
to melt it in. DO NOT EAT SNOW. It will lower your body temperature and bring on
hypothermia. Always melt it and get it warm first.

Do not drink alcohol of any kind. It will thin your blood and increase your urine output. If it's
strong enough, you can use it as a disinfectant, or to help start your signal fires if an aircraft

Now that you have your fire and a shelter it is time to improve the odds of rescue. The
international distress signal is three (3) of anything or the letters SOS. Don't build three fires
because it wastes fuel. Scrape out three large circles in the snow by dragging something around.
If it snows these will fill in. If you have access to lots of branches or something that provides a
good contrast to the white snow, lay them out to form 3 large X's. What looks big to you on the
ground looks very small from an aircraft at 10,000 feet. Your X's should be 100 - 150 feet across
and 75 feet apart. If you have the wood build three fires in the middle of each but don't light
them. Keep your main fire going so that you'll be able to take a torch to the other fires in a hurry.

Smoke will be quite visible from the air also. Large piles of pine needles smoke well, as does
rubber, plastic, or oil. Be careful about burning critical supplies however! I would not throw a
poncho, sheet of plastic, or rubber boots on the fire in a vain attempt to signal a distant plane.
You will have to use common sense. If the plane cannot land near you, and has to radio for help,
you could be there a while longer anyway. With bad weather it might take a rescue party several
days to get you. If the pilot is an idiot, or lacks a GPS or LORAN, he might report your location
as being 20 miles away from where you actually are.

You may want to find a book named "White Dawn". It chronicles the lives of three men who
were lost in their small whaling boat in the arctic back in the 1800's. It is an excellent work of
fiction and provides many accurate details of how northern aboriginal peoples survive in their
climate. If you are inland you will not have much opportunity to hunt for seals. In some areas of
the north, the only thing you will find are lemmings, lichens, and maybe a fox or two. (if there
are enough rats to feed them). Near the sea you will be able to hunt seal. That far north and you
won't find much snow, it is too arid and cold. On the Ice pack you will have to build your shelter
with ice, and heat it with animal fat. If you wind up on the ice pack, with no supplies, there is
little I can tell you here that will save your life. You will have to stay warm long enough to get
rescued, which had better be pretty quick.

Exposure - Desert
Since there is nothing in the desert to hold in the heat, it dissipates quickly after the sun goes
down. Deserts can drop to near freezing over night. During the day the temperature will soar and
fry your brain, dry you out, and kill you. For this reason any movement should only be at night.
For shelter you must get out of the sun. If you can, dig a hole to get in and cover it. Do not strip
off your clothes. Have you ever wondered why arabic people wear those long, heavy, hot looking
clothing on their heads and bodies? It is because moisture evaporation is your worst enemy in the
desert. Clothing helps keep in this moisture and slows evaporation. It must be loose enough to
allow heat loss. You will need to stay warm at night, refer to the arctic topic above.

Water is the most important thing to consider in the desert, it must be conserved. Long term
drinking of urine can make you sick, but if it's all you have you will have to drink it. Succulent
plants like cactus also contain water, as do the bodies of snakes, lizards, and other animals. Suck
every drop you can from them, but avoid the poison glands in snakes (they are right behind the
head in the neck). The only two parts of animals in North America that cannot be eaten are the
livers of the polar bear and bearded seal. They contain toxic amounts of Vitamin A.

If you have plastic or a poncho you can collect water at night in the desert. dig a hole (or use
support sticks) as wide as the plastic. Make a hole in the plastic at the center. Stretch the plastic
over the hole and weight down the edges with rocks. Press down the center of the sheet or tie it
to a tock to pull it down. Place a container under the hole. When dew forms on the plastic it will
roll down hill through the hole and it into your container. Use your poncho during the day as
Do not drink alcohol, it will increase your urine output and aid in dehydration.

Exposure - Jungle
Here, heat and sunlight are your worst enemies. Insects and water contamination are also major
problems. The heat and humidity of the jungle makes for rapid bacteria growth. Any untreated
wound will fester within a few hours. In a day or two a cut can become bad enough to cause
gangrene. You must protect yourself by turning down sleeves, blousing your pants to keep
insects out, and wearing gloves and a hat.

Water must be boiled well to kill parasites. Safe water can be found in water vines. These are
very thick vines that hang down from large trees. You know, the ones that Tarzan swings from?
Cut one at a 45 degree angle, move up the vine and cut it off about three feet up or sever it to
release the suction. Hold your mouth under the vine and the water will flow out. This water is
safe to drink without boiling. Try not ot let it run along the exposed outside of the vine though,
that area will have tiny creepy crawlies.

Jungle streams are usually as deep as they are wide. Diffenbachia (or 'dumb cane') can be
crushed and added to water to stun fish.

Chinese Star Apples, Mangoes, bananas, coconuts, and other fruits are safe to eat if you wash
them with sterile water first. The seeds of the Star apple are poisonous. Many species of tree
frogs in the rain forests are highly toxic. They are recognized by there bright vivid colors. If you
are very careful not to touch them, you can use their skin secretions for poisonous blow gun

Blow guns are difficult to make, but I'll tell you how for the hell of it. Take a limb and split it
length-wise. Scrape the bore of the weapon into both halves. It must be perfect. Allow it to dry
and polish the bore halves smooth. The two sides must fit perfectly. (This is harder than it
sounds). Bind the two back together with bark or vine strips.

Darts are made from any wood that can be sharpened. To launch the dart a small tuft of fiber
(like cotton) from the stem of a (????) tree branch is balled around the base of the dart.

During the rainy season, grubs can be found in the center of (????) trees. I can't remember their
names but I know what they look like.

Build a platform or hammock to get off of the ground when you sleep. Insects will eat you alive
if you don't. Mud can be used to keep mosquitos off.

The jungle is a garden of eden compared to the desert or the arctic. With a little common sense
anyone should be able to survive.

I don't know of any poisonous plants that don't taste extremely bitter and nasty. If the leaf tastes
mild it is probably OK to eat. When in doubt, try a little piece first and wait a couple of hours. If
nothing bad happens try twice as much and wait again. Keep doing this until you've tried enough
to have made you sick. If you are still OK then it's probably safe to eat. There are exceptions to
this rule, most notably among berries. Some berries don't taste too bad but are poisonous.

You should educate yourself before going to a new area. Pictures in books never look like the
actual plant. Generally, if it crawls, walks, or slithers on it's belly it is safe to eat.

Sniper Field TrainingExercises

Train Like You Fight - Fight Like You Train
26 May 2000

By Kevin R. Mussack

Whether in a military or police context, successful sniper operations require the delivery of
people, equipment and skills to the right place at the right time. This delivery can only occur
successfully if all the people involved are adequately trained.

Often, training in the sniper community focuses on those individual tasks critical to the
mission such as sniper marksmanship while neglecting some critical collective tasks. Once the
snipers have achieved the necessary proficiency in their individual tasks, sniper operations
training must be conducted. Field Training Exercises (FTXs) that closely simulate actual sniper
missions should occupy at least as much training time as that dedicated to sustaining individual

Sniper operations FTXs benefit an organization in a number of ways:

 Leaders have the opportunity to exercising their skills and accumulate experience.
Lessons learned can be applied in subsequent FTXs and integrated into the unit's
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) thereby enhancing the operational readiness of the
unit. Focusing on individual training neglects the need to train the leaders. Additionally,
leaders who have experience with sniper FTXs develop an appreciation for the
capabilities and limitations of the snipers they command and will be more likely to utilize
them properly in combat.
 FTXs, which closely simulate combat operations by allowing the fewest administrative
exceptions, harden the participants to the realities associated with sniper operations.
Over time the participants will become accustomed to the miseries common to life in the
field. Once the participant takes exhaustion, discomfort and stress for granted he would
be better able to focus on the mission.
 During FTXs, equipment is continuously tested and evaluated. An item of equipment,
which seems to make sense in garrison or on the firing range, sometimes loses its utility
after a few days in the field. Individuals familiar with the rigors of the field generally
distill their individual kits to the bare essentials with few if any "nice to have" items
included. This distillation process gave rise to the phrase, "Travel light, freeze at night."
The equipment configuration and packing list must be documented in the units' SOP and
made uniform.
 When FTXs last several days and nights the participants are afforded the opportunity
to practice a logistical routine. How the team conducts their sleep cycles, water
replenishment activities, eating and field hygiene should be practiced to the point of
habit. These practices must be standardized and documented in the unit's SOP so that
members of different teams can be rotated with minimum adaptation required.
 Maintaining communications during FTXs provides ample opportunity to practice with
the equipment, encrypt and decrypt messages, construct and use field expedient antennae,
use proper radio procedure and to act as part of a radio net. The transportation of the
radio and secure equipment along with spare batteries influences the selection of load
bearing equipment and the prioritization of essential items. The requirement that the
sniper team maintain radio contact will present opportunities to solve problems related to
radio communications not found in the classroom.
 While afield the sniper team must perform seamlessly many of the techniques taught
separately in the classroom. Practicing the integration of numerous individual tasks into
a larger combined task is the principle benefit of an FTX.

The keys to a productive sniper FTX are:

 Detailed Planning
 Complete Preparation
 Uncompromising Execution
 Detailed After Action Review (AAR)

An FTX should simulate an actual sniper mission, supported with a notional enemy situation
and a detailed operations order. The FTX should be conducted as much like a combat operation
as possible. The purpose of an FTX is to train the participants in the right way to conduct an
operation. Do not compromise or shortcut the process. Train to standard. Ensure everyone
involved knows what the standard is.

As an aid in the planning and conduct of sniper FTXs, the most current versions of the
following references may be useful:

FM23-10, Sniper Training

ST 21-75-2, Ranger Handbook
FM 31-20, Special Forces Operational Techniques
ST31-180, Special Forces Handbook
ISBN 0-87364-704-1, The Ultimate Sniper, by Maj. John L. Plaster

Evaluators are a critical element in the success of a sniper FTX. Due to the nature of sniper
operations the activity is hard to observe and measure. Competent evaluators should be attached
to each sniper team for at least part of the entire duration of the exercise so that the team's
performance can be observed and evaluated. During an FTX the evaluator keeps a physical
distance from the team except as required for evaluation purposes. He quietly observes and
records the actions of the sniper team throughout the exercise so that the technical and tactical
proficiency of the team can be assessed. The evaluator is not a spy. His role is to observe and
record the team's actions during the exercise. Additionally, the evaluator acts as a coordinator
for administrative and safety issues related to the exercise. The evaluator may, as his judgement
directs, act as a coach or advisor to the sniper team when an opportunity to instruct presents
itself. Those activities corrected on the spot that do not reoccur are not recorded as negative
observations by the evaluator during an FTX. However during periods of testing the evaluator
will not coach or advise.

Each FTX should focus on developing some particular collective task. In the beginning the
exercises should be kept simple and straightforward with a minimum number of distractions. As
the proficiency of the teams improve the complexity of the missions should be increased so to
always present a challenge. Eventually groups of sniper teams should be able to conduct
complex sniper missions such as "Wolfpacking" and Mutually Supported Retrogrades.

Whenever possible integrate live fire into the FTX. Particularly with snipers, live fire is
considered a treat and will help to motivate and reward the troops. These live fire portions of
each exercise should present realistic challenges to the snipers. Exploit every opportunity to
create interesting but plausible live fire adjuncts to the exercise. Sometimes coordinating with
units in nearby training areas can pay off in this respect. Coordination with an artillery unit
firing illumination missions might allow for night sniper firing under that same illumination
thereby reducing training costs while adding a new dimension to the sniper FTX.

FTXs for sniper operations are not fun. These exercises are mostly hard, unglamorous
infantry work with very little "high speed" activity. Properly planned and executed these
exercises will test the men, the equipment, the leaders and the SOP. Every FTX offers a lesson
to be learned. The amount of training value drawn from any FTX will be proportional to the
amount of planning and preparation done beforehand and the enthusiasm with which it is
Sniper FTX Summary
6 November 2000

By Jeff Waters

Introduction Tasks Trained Critique

The following is a summary of a standard FTX scenario I used for internal and external
evaluations. Of course you should use varying missions, but I found that when you get a few
scenarios drawn up, you can re-use them a lot, simply by changing the terrain on which they are
executed, or by changing the Situation briefing.

My goals in planning an FTX were as follows:

1. Gain a clear understanding of whether a team is ready for combat.

2. Learn what strengths and weaknesses are present in team proficiency
3. Covertly train the officer core and chain of command on sniper employment (they were
never receptive to receiving formal training from an NCO, but when they "oversaw" the
FTX, e.g., sat back and watched; they came out with a much better understanding of
sniper employment and capabilities)
4. Build confidence, pride and teamwork in both the snipers and chain of command.
5. Document and record the teams' performance according to the FM, METL (Mission
Essential Task List) etc.
6. Allow the teams an opportunity to run a mission from beginning to end with no
interruptions so they get a clear idea of the big picture.
7. Provide a real "Gut Check."

Tasks Trained:
Invariably, I used the following tasks to focus the scenario.

 Conduct Troop Leading Procedures
 Conduct Insertion
 Move Tactically
 Occupy an FFP (final firing position)
 Perform Surveillance
 Gather/Report Intelligence
 Engage a Target
 Evade and Escape
 Conduct Extraction
 Debrief

That's the plan in a nutshell, obviously there are several sub-tasks that are evaluated under
each heading. In the planning phase, all team members were evaluated regardless of rank, since
in such a small unit, everyone must be able to plan missions.

The beginning part was conducted at the squad level, with the individual teams breaking off
either before or just after insertion.

In more detail, it went something like this:

Based on current events, the team was given a thorough Situation and Mission briefing after
being placed in isolation (a secure environment). Every effort was made to produce an excellent
briefing based on a realistic future threat.

Conduct Troop Leading Procedures:

The squad leader, or acting squad leader, would give a Warning Order and Operations Order.
Every man in the squad would be heavily involved in the planning, either writing paragraphs 4
and 5 (service and support and command and signal), making the sand tables or prepping gear.
The leader must do the execution paragraph himself.

I would act as the unit's FSO (Fire support officer), CESO (Commo officer) and S-2 (Intel
officer) for the leader's coordinations. Coordinating with the above was graded. The Ranger
Handbook has a good coordination checklist for this task.

OPSEC was a graded task here as well as throughout as well as Pre-Combat checks;
particularly those unique to the sniper's equipment. Examples are did they put black electrical
tape over the muzzle of the rifle, did they check their data books and note taking material, and
did they check their optics and so on.

Additional attention was given to the Fire Support Plan, since it is part of the Sniper's Mission
and generally the only form of friend help nearby. The MEDEVAC and COMMO plans were
also closely scrutinized due to the nature of the mission.

Conduct Insertion:

I always tried to use a wide variety of techniques. Helicopters are NOT a great way for a team
to go in due to OPSEC, and the principal was to use whatever method was common to the area
and would not arouse attention.
Although helicopters are sometimes the only practical way, we used long foot movements,
cliff assaults or rappels, waterborne techniques, civilian vehicles such as vans or a military blazer
which was painted dull black with tinted windows (this was an authorized vehicle, I am not
suggesting you paint your units vehicle like that for the obvious reasons), skis, and whatever else
seemed reasonable.

A good sniper works his mind and doesn't restrict his thinking to solely what's in the manual.
Neither does he march off into fantasyland.

Using Departure of the FFU (Friendly Forward Unit) is an excellent task to incorporate here. I
again would act as the FFU CDR for the purposes of coordinating the departure, which was

Move Tactically:
This never just started with a stalk. It always included a long movement at night to get
everyone sleep deprived and physically tired. Remember what I said about covertly training the
officers or other leadership? I always found that lots of staff pogues would leap at the chance to
"evaluate the snipers." It was always a moral boost for the men to watch them suffer through the
nastiest, longest, hardest route we could find. In this manner, we scared off a lot of strap-
hanging wannabe pogues.

On the more positive side, we liked to have the S-2 come along, since the snipers should have
a strong relationship with him due to their mission.

Navigation, stealth, noise, light, litter and camo discipline, counter-tracking SOP's and route
selection were all evaluated here, in addition to the basic movement techniques. Uniform for this
should generally NOT be a ghillie suit.

They would always be expected to avoid patrols and danger areas.

They should also use OPSKEDS (code words) to report their progress and to alert the FSO and
chain of command as to their location at pre-designated checkpoints. A good FSO will have his
guns shift to the next TRP covering the current portion of the team's route upon receiving the
code word (that's easy to plan, since you call in a code word at designated check points during
your route anyway) as long as this was planned and coordinated. This is crucial upon
approaching/occupying the FFP. At this point, the mortar maggots need to be on their toes.

Normally, they would occupy a Patrol Base and be evaluated on this also. They should
obviously stay off of key terrain and natural lines of drift.

The final part of the movement would be a stalk into their FFP. This would be on a live fire
range that had OPFOR (opposing force) personal watching for them. Prior to the stalk, the
evaluator would move away from the snipers and onto the objective, which was located on the
firing range.

This was a learning point for a lot of snipers who have the 'abominable snow man' type
ghillie. By that, I mean a huge suit with burlap a foot thick. That type of suit is not practical for
a number of reasons. It takes up too much space in a rucksack, is too hot, snags on everything
leaving a trail if you have to run away and slowing you down. Neither does it leave much space
to garnish the suit with natural camo. A light suit with a well done boonie cap and veil is much
more important. The cap is light, small and covers the most important parts of the sniper, his
head and shoulders. That is the part of your body, which is normally exposed.

Occupying the FFP:

A lot of this evaluation is simply whether they are observed or not by the OPFOR. However,
the FFP's should be walked by the evaluators AFTER the contact is completed and the OPFOR
are pursuing the teams and examined for the standard stuff; natural cover and concealment, field
of fire and ESCAPE ROUTES!

One of the most often overlooked training points in fieldcraft is that after you complete a stalk
and take your shot, you better have a damn good way to get the hell out of there via multiple
routes. Its easy to throw a rock at a beehive, but remember, they are going to be pissed and
chase you (Remember what I said about the "Abominable' ghillie suit here).

Perform Surveillance:
First, let me explain what I had on the objective. There was a mock signal, missile or other
enemy site with the OPFOR bearing foreign uniforms and weapons. They were given optics to
attempt to locate the snipers but were never given the times or locations where they would be on
the objective.

Scatted around the mock site is one Iron Maiden per sniper team at ranges varying from 600-
900 meters. I put old DX'd uniforms over the targets and the effect is very good particularly in
the morning/evening. (Or BMNT and EENT for the really devoted).

The priority information requirements are SALUTE and OACOK (observation and fields of
fire, avenues of approach, cover/concealment, obstacles and key terrain) as well as any other
specifics tasked such as good support and assault positions for a follow on assault etc.

After a few hours of observation, and 15 minutes prior to hit time, I would call off the
OPFOR. After gaining 100% accountability, I would give a code word to the teams and they
would chamber a live round.

The mission leader would then conduct a simultaneous fire mission on all the targets and
begin withdrawing. All teams will call in a code word confirming their weapons are clear and
the OPFOR will pursue. Due to safety factors, and the mission, the teams will not fire on the

Evade and Escape:

This reinforces the crucial event of getting out of the objective area, which is so often not
covered at all. It concerns me greatly that our doctrine does not incorporate this as an integral
part of each stalk.
It is also fair play for the teams to employ booby traps near their FFP's or along their escape
routes to slow down their pursuers. In real life, a claymore mine with time fuse is an excellent
tool to break contact or simply disorient them from your actual position and add to the
confusion. You can remove the fuses from grenades and insert a cap with time fuse and tape a
coat hanger hook around them to leave them hanging in trees behind you also. White
phosphorous will always screen your withdrawal if you are under pressure and slow people
down. Don't try these at home unless you're qualified to do it.

The leader should be evaluated as to his plan for breaking contact after initiating. He should
anticipate the enemy's moves according to their tactics and doctrine and have
countermeasures ready. There should also be a target reference point with indirect fire on
standby at the objective.

Basic concepts like never withdrawing straight towards your actual objective should be
observed, as well as counter-tracking and ambush techniques such as doubling back on your path
and overwatching your trail once the teams are reasonably clear of the objective.

This is also an overlooked part of training. The danger here is that people hit the target
successfully and think its all over. We often mistakenly reinforce this by stopping the evaluation
right after actions on the objective and doing the AAR right there.

The fact is that after showing his hand, the sniper is in a dangerous situation, and we should
really focus on ensuring that they are trained well in dealing with this time. Reaction forces from
the OPFOR should pursue and a plan for dealing with the team as a POW included if they are
captured. If they are captured, they do not pass the evaluation, regardless of the shooting. This
is for their own good.


Extraction is like insertion, in that as many different ways that can be used should be
incorporated. There are good tools for a sniper team like the STABO rig or SPIES that are
ideally suited to them.

It should not be a cakewalk. They should come to expect the worst and prepare for problems
in every evaluation/stx. It's not to screw with them, just to prepare them. Having the helicopters
fly away as they come running out to load them is a good check on the leadership and discipline
of the teams. Does the leader immediately resort to an alternate plan? Or does the discipline of
the team erode and bad attitudes flare. Remember that sleep/chow deprivation should be
factored into the evaluation.

On the other hand, they can also be evaluated on how they deal with the helicopters, i.e., did
they issue an inbound advisory and so on. Did they maintain good security, stealth etc., or did it


Immediately upon return, the teams are given a short amount of time to prepare for a
debriefing. There should be a room or site in the field set up with a map for them to use and they
should conduct the debriefing according to the standard NATO format. The S-2 and commander
or his representative should be present and ask questions after the presentation is finished.

The evaluators should focus on the accuracy of the information and quality. The teams should
never speculate or state anything but the facts, until they are asked their opinions.

The best way to conduct the debriefing is with the team leader talking through the mission
from insertion to extraction according to the format, detailing information on the terrain, map
corrections etc. on the way in to the objective as well as the information gathered at the
objective. The sketches, logs etc., will be turned in at the beginning to the S-2.

This should take place right after the debrief, unless the teams are too tired to stay awake. If
that's the case, they should stand down so they can be alert for the evaluation.

There is an entire list of tasks listed in the ARTEP manual for Scout/Snipers by the way.

It is best for the evaluators to meet before the critique in order to avoid contradicting opinions
in front of the men and the unit commander should be briefed on the results as soon as possible.

The underlying principal of the evaluation and closing comment should be based on the
question "Is this team ready for combat?"

It never hurts to have a couple of cold beers waiting on them after a job well done and a pat on
the back by the evaluation team and unit commander.

Sniper Positions
Selecting the location for a position is one of the most important tasks a sniper team
accomplishes during the mission planning phase of an operation. After selecting the location, the
team also determines how it will move into the area to locate and occupy the Final Firing
Position (FFP).

Upon receiving a mission, the sniper team locates the target area and then determines the best
location for a tentative position by using one or more of the following sources of information:
topographic maps, aerial photographs, visual reconnaissance before the mission, and information
gained from units operating in the area.

a. The sniper team ensures the position provides an optimum balance between the
following considerations:
 Maximum fields of fire and observation of the target area.
 Concealment from enemy observation.
 Covered routes into and out of the position.
 Located no closer than 300 meters from the target area.
 A natural or man-made obstacle between the position and the target area.

b. A sniper team must remember that a position that appears to be in an ideal location may
also appear that way to the enemy. Therefore, the team avoids choosing locations that are;

 On a point or crest of prominent terrain features.

 Close to isolated objects.
 At bends or ends of roads, trails, or streams.
 In populated areas, unless it is required.

c. The sniper team must use its imagination and ingenuity in choosing a good location for
the given mission. The team chooses a location that not only allows the team to be effective
but also must appear to the enemy to be the least likely place for a team position.

 Under logs in a deadfall area.

 Tunnels bored from one side of a knoll to the other. (way too time and energy
 Swamps.
 Deep shadows.
 Inside rubble piles.

d. The selection of the hide site and surveillance site(s) is METT-T dependent.
Considerations for site selection are —

• Can the team place the designated surveillance target(s) under continuous and effective
observation and within the range of surveillance devices to be used?

• Will the surveillance site have to move if weather and light conditions change?

• Does the area provide concealment and entrance and exit routes?

• Are there dominant or unusual terrain features nearby?

• Is the area wet, is there adequate drainage, or is the area prone to flooding?

• Is the area a place the enemy would want to occupy?

• Is the site silhouetted against the skyline or a contrasting back-ground?

• Are there roads or trails nearby?

• Are there other natural lines of movement nearby (gullies, draws, any terrain easy for foot
movement)? • Could the team be easily trapped in the site?
• Are there any obstacles to prevent vehicle movement nearby (roadside ditch, fence, wall,
stream, river)?

• Are there any inhabited areas in the prevailing downwind area.

•Are there any suitable communication sites nearby?

• Is the site(s) in the normal line of vision of enemy personnel in the area?

• Is there a source of water in the area?

(1)When the sniper team arrives at the firing position, it;

a. Conducts a detailed search of the target area.

b. Starts construction of the firing position, if required.

c. Organizes equipment so that it is easily accessible.

d. Establishes a system of observing eating resting, and latrine calls.

(2) Time:

(a) Amount of time to be occupied. If the sniper team’s mission requires it to be in position for a
long time, the team constructs a position that provides more survivability. This allows the team
to operate more effectively for a longer time.

(b) Time required for construction. The time required to build a position must be considered,
especially during the mission planning phase.

(3) Personnel and equipment:

(a) Equipment needed for construction. The team plans for the use of any extra equipment
needed for construction (bow saws, picks, axes, and so forth).

(b) Personnel needed for construction. Coordination is made if the position requires more
personnel to build it or a security element to secure the area during construction.

(4) Loopholes.

The construction of loopholes requires care and practice to ensure they afford adequate fields of
fire. Loopholes must be camouflaged by foliage or other material that blends with or is natural to
the surroundings.

(5) Approaches. It is vital that the natural appearance of the ground remains unaltered and
camouflage blends with the surroundings.
Hasty Position. A hasty position is used when the sniper team is in a position for a short time
and cannot construct a position due to the location of the enemy, or immediately assumes a
position. This requires no construction The sniper team uses what is available for cover and
concealment. It can be occupied in a short time. As soon as a suitable position is found, the team
need only prepare loopholes by moving small amounts of vegetation or by simply backing a few
feet away from the vegetation that is already there to conceal the weapon’s muzzle blast.

Expedient Position. When a sniper team is required to remain in position for a longer time than
the hasty position can provide, an expedient position should be constructed. The expedient
position lowers the sniper’s silhouette as low to the ground as possible, but it still allows him to
fire and observe effectively. This position is constructed by digging a hole in the ground just
large enough for the team and its equipment. Soil dug from this position can be placed in
sandbags and used for building firing platforms.

Belly Hide. The belly hide is similar to the expedient position, but it has overhead cover that not
only protects the team from the effects of indirect fires but also allows more freedom of
movement. This position can be dugout under a tree, a rock, or any available object that provides
overhead protection and a concealed entrance and exit. This allows some freedom of movement.
The darkened area inside this position allows the team to move freely. The team must remember
to cover the entrance/exit door so outside light does not silhouette the team inside the position or
give the position away. This will help conceal all but the rifle barrel. All equipment is inside the
position except the rifle barrels. Depending on the room available to construct the position, the
rifle barrels may also be inside.

a. Construction time: 4 to 6 hours.

b. Occupation time: 12 to 48 hours.

Semi-permanent Hide. The semi-permanent hide is used mostly in defensive situations. This
position requires additional equipment and personnel to construct. However, it allows sniper
teams to remain in place for extended periods or to be relieved in place by other sniper teams.
Like the belly hide, this position can be constructed by tunneling through a knoll or under natural
objects already in place. This is completely concealed. Loopholes are the only part of the
position that can be detected. They allow for the smallest exposure possible; yet they still allow
the sniper and observer to view the target area. These loopholes should have a large diameter (10
to 14 inches) in the interior of the position and taper down to a smaller diameter (4 to 8 inches)
on the outside of the position. A position may have more than two sets of loopholes if needed to
cover large areas. The entrance/exit to the position must be covered to prevent light from
entering and highlighting the loopholes. Loopholes that are not in use should be covered from the
inside with a piece of canvas or suitable material. This position requires extensive work and extra
tools. It should not be constructed near the enemy. It should be constructed during darkness and
be completed before dawn.


Positions in urban terrain are quite different than positions in the field. The sniper team normally
has several places to choose. These can range from inside attics to street-level positions in
basements. This type of terrain is ideal for a sniper, and a sniper team can stop an enemy’s
advance through its area of responsibility.

a. When constructing an urban position, the sniper team must be aware of the outside appearance
of the structure. Shooting through loopholes in barricaded windows is preferred; the team must
make sure all other windows are also barricaded. Building loopholes in other windows also
provides more positions to engage targets. When building loopholes, the team should make them
different shapes (not perfect squares or circles). Dummy loopholes also confuse the enemy.
Positions in attics are also effective. The team removes the shingles and cuts out loopholes in the
roof; however, they must make sure there are other shingles missing from the roof so the firing
position loophole is not obvious.

(1) The sniper team should not locate the position against contrasting background or in
prominent buildings that automatically draw attention. It must stay in the shadows while moving,
observing, and engaging targets.

(2) The team must never fire close to a loophole. It should always back away from the hole as far
as possible to hide the muzzle flash and to scatter the sound of the weapon when it fires. The
snipers may be located in a different room than the loophole; however, they can make a hole
through a wall to connect the rooms and fire from inside one room. The team must not fire
continually from one position. (More than one position should be constructed if time and
situation permit.) When constructing other positions, the team makes sure the target area can be
observed. Sniper team positions should never be used by any personnel other than a sniper team.

b. Common sense and imagination are the sniper team’s only limitation in the construction of
urban hide positions. Urban hide positions that can be used are the room hide, crawl space hide,
and rafter hide. The team constructs and occupies one of these positions or a variation thereof.

Room hide position. In a room hide position, the sniper team uses an existing room and fires
through a window or loophole. Weapon support may be achieved through the use of existing
furniture-that is, desks or tables. When selecting a position, teams must notice both front and
back window positions. To avoid. silhouetting, they may need to use a backdrop such as a dark-
colored blanket, canvas, carpet, and a screen. Screens (common screening material) are
important since they allow the sniper teams maximum observation and deny observation by the
enemy. They must not. remove curtains; however, they can open windows or remove panes of
glass. Remember, teams can randomly remove panes in other windows so the position is not

Crawl space hide position. The sniper team builds a crawl space hide position in the space
between floors in multistory buildings. Loopholes are difficult to construct, but a damaged
building helps considerably. Escape routes can be holes knocked into the floor or ceiling. Carpet
or furniture placed over escape holes or replaced ceiling tiles will conceal them until needed.

Rafter hide position. The sniper team constructs a rafter hide position in the attic of an A-
frame-type building. These buildings normally have shingled roofs. Firing from inside the attic
around a chimney or other structure helps prevent enemy observation and fire.

c. Sniper teams use the technique best suited for the urban hide position.
(1) The second floor of a building is usually the best location for the position. It presents minimal
dead space but provides the team more protection since passersby cannot easily spot it.

(2) Normally, a window is the best viewing aperture/loophole.

(a) If the window is dirty, do not clean it for better viewing.

(b) If curtains are prevalent in the area, do not remove those in the position. Lace or net-type
curtains can be seen through from the inside, but they are difficult to see through from the

(c) If strong winds blow the curtains open, staple, tack, or weight them.

(d) Firing a round through a curtain has little effect on accuracy however, ensure the muzzle is
far enough away to avoid muzzle blast.

(e) When area routine indicates open curtains, follow suit. Set up well away from the loophole;
however, ensure effective coverage of the assigned target area.

(3) Firing through glass should be avoided since more than one shot may be required. The team
considers the following options:

(a) Break or open several windows throughout the position before occupation. This can be done
during the reconnaissance phase of the operation; however, avoid drawing attention to the area.

(b) Remove or replace panes of glass with plastic.

(4) Other loopholes/viewing apertures are nearly unlimited.

 Battle damage.
 Drilled holes (hand drill).
 Brick removal.
 Loose boards/derelict houses.

(5) Positions can also beset up in attics or between the ceiling and roof.

 Gable ends close to the eaves (shadow adding to concealment).

 Battle damage to gables and or roof.
 Loose or removed tiles, shingles, or slates.
 Skylights.

(6) The sniper makes sure the bullet clears the loophole. The muzzle must be far enough from the
loophole to ensure the bullet’s path is not in line with the bottom of the loophole.

(7) Front drops, usually netting, may have to be changed (if the situation permits) from dark to
light colors at BMNT/EENT due to sunlight or lack of sunlight into the position.
(8) If the site is not multi-roomed, partitions can be made by hanging blankets or nets to separate
the operating area from the rest/administrative area.

(9) If sandbags are required, they can be filled and carried inside of rucksacks or can be filled in
the basement, depending on the situation/location of the position site.

(10) Always plan an escape route that leads to the objective rally point. When forced to vacate
the position, the team meets the security element at the ORP. Normally, the team will not be able
to leave from the same point at which it gained access; therefore, a separate escape point may be
required in emergency situations. The team must consider windows (other than the viewing
apertures); anchored ropes to climb down buildings, or a small, preset explosive charge situated
on a wall or floor for access into adjoining rooms, buildings, or the outside.

(11) The type of uniform or camouflage to be worn by the team will be dictated by the situation,
how they are employed, and area of operation. The following applies:

(a) Most often, the BDU and required equipment are worn.

(b) Urban-camouflaged uniforms can be made or purchased. Urban areas vary in color (mostly
gray [cinder block]; red [brick]; white [marble]; black [granite]; or stucco, clay, or wood).
Regardless of area color, uniforms should include angular-line patterns.

(c) When necessary, most woodland-patterned BDUs can be worn inside out as they are a gray or
green-gray color underneath.

(d) Soft-soled shoes or boots are the preferred footwear in the urban environment.

(e) Civilian clothing can be worn (native/host country populace).

(f) Tradesmen’s or construction worker’s uniforms and accessories can be used.