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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.
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 Command, 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 (SOTIC)
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 highvalue 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 239, 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 operations. Requests for waivers must be addressed to -Commander 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) ATTN.: AOJK-GP 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 unit. 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 number. 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 acceptable. 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. 5. OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT. 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. 9. COORDINATING INSTRUCTIONS. 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 xxxxxxx/xxxx or commercial (910) xxx-xxxx/xxxx. RICHARD R. SEIM COL, SF Chief of Staff
Basic Rifle Marksmanship By David Reed
Introduction 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
Fatigue 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 warranted.
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 consistent. 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.
Breathing 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 downrange. 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 too. 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 midmorning. 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. 59mph 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 inch.
Date: ______________ Caliber: ______________ Rifle: ______________ Bullet: ______________ Powder: __________Grs: _____ Case: ______________ Primer: ______________ Conditions:
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 10ring on the 600yard NRA Highpower Rifle target is about two minutes. To achieve this halfminute 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 horizontally. 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.
Appendix: 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).
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 strap. 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 thinking.
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;
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 yourself. 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 | 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 H R R T E B B O E A A E L N N D D
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.
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 frozen. 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 snowing.
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 conditions.
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.
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 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 present. 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 shape. 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 DISGUISE!
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.
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 materials. 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 semipermanent 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 harmonics. 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 presence. 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 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 requirements. If you do not have sandbags, or the time to fill them, use dirt, logs, timbers, bricks, or anything else you can find. Concealment 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. Smells 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 NOTE Security 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 enroute 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 area. 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 tracks. 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!
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.) THE FIREPLACE: 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. TEMPLE FIRE: This hearth consists of a raised platform, built of green timber. Four uprights support crosspieces 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. IN WINDY CONDITIONS: 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 grenades. LIGHTING FIRE FROM COAL: 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.) FUZZ STICKS: 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. SLOW MATCH: 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. KINDLING: 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 night. HARD WOODS: 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. SOFTWOODS: 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. ANIMAL DROPPINGS: 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 & leaves.
PEAT: 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: Coal is sometimes found on the surface - there are large deposits in the Northern Tundra. SHALES: 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!) OILS: 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. WATER & OIL FIRE: 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.
ANIMAL FAT: 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 AND STEEL: 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. MAGNESIUM STONE: 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 securely). FIRE BY AIR COMPRESSION: 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 hand.
HOW TO MAKE FIRE BY USING A SAW MOVEMENT: 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.
THONG METHOD: 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. OBTAINING FIRE WITH A BOW AND DRILL: 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 lighted. SOCKET 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. HAND DRILL METHOD 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. FIRE PLOW: 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. WHAT WOOD TO USE: 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: 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. FIRE BOARD: 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: 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. USING BOW AND DRILL: 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. LIGHTING THE FIRE & PUNK: 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. ADD ON NOTES: 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 o o
Hold the crystals from 2 watches or pocket compass of about the same size back to back. Fill the space between with water. 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.) DROP OF WATER: 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 FIRE LIGHTING WITH CHEMICALS: 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. POTASSIUM CHLORATE & SUGAR: 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. POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE & SUGAR: 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!) FIRE WITHOUT SMOKE & WITHOUT FLAME: (FLAMELESS FIRE)
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 haze. SLUSH LAMP: 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. COMMON MISTAKES IN FIRE MAKING: 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
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 TRP. 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 distances. 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
1994 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 follows:
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 o o o o
Where is the enemy focusing his strength? Are the threat forces using area X as a supply route? What is the enemy strength and disposition at location X? Does the enemy have any NBC (Nuclear, Biological & Chemical) equipment and, if so, what posture are they in? 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. Equipment 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 disabled) 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)
Observation and Fields of Fire Avenues of Approach Key Terrain Obstacles Cover and Concealment
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)
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 more. 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 trouble. 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 S/S. 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). Summary 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.
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 ground. 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. DISMISSED ! ! !
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. TAKE A BREAK
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 Amazon.com. 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 demagnetized!! You can buy a good quality compass for as low as $20 and get an almost "Top-ofthe-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 else. 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
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.
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.
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.
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 -officially.
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.
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)
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 ASS AMBUSHED! 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 time. 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
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.
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 DZ. 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 interlocking. 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.
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.
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 departure.
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
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.
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
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 off. 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.
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 something! 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 each. 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 aisles. 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.
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 disaster.
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.
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.
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?
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. Weather
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 Debriefing Extraction Call Choppers Make Shots Date 22 Nov. 22 Nov. 22 Nov. 22 Nov. Time 1700 1500 1400 1400 Equipment/Personnel All Personnel All All Snipers
On Objective Movement to Objective Disseminate Intelligence Sleep Split-up/Recon Sleep Movement to AO Parachute Jump Takeoff Board Aircraft Sleep/Eat Move to Airfield Final Inspection Draw Ammo Chow Sleep Night Rehearsals Chow Patrol Order Command/Control Chow Air Requirements Turned In Fire Support Overlays Extraction Class
21 Nov. 20 Nov. 20 Nov. 20 Nov. 18 Nov. 18 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov.
0200 2000 1800 0600 0600 0100 2100 2030 1930 1830 1030 0930 0830 0700 0600 2200 1800 1700 1400 1200 1100 1000 0900 1000
All All All All All See Patrol Base Annex. All All All All All All All - Asst. Platoon Leader to Conduct. All but Platoon Leader All All All - Exercise All All - Classroom All - Platoon Leader to Conduct.
Patrol Leader Patrol Leader Everyone Else
Danger Areas Class Fire Missions Class Chow Sleep Night Compass Class Chow Patrolling Chow Patrolling Inspection Chow Sleep Photo Intelligence Class Patrol Order Development Warning Order
16 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 15 Nov. 14 Nov. 14 Nov. 12 Nov. 12 Nov.
0900 0800 0700 2300 1800 1700 1300 1200 0800 0700 0600 2300 1900 1000 0900
Everyone Else Everyone All All All: 1 MRE, LBE, Compass, Map, Note Book and Pencil. All All All All All All All All - S2 NCO Conducts Class All 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 socks. 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
Enemy Forces Location, size, strength Capabilities, supply lines, communications, posture Probable courses of action Indigenous People Location, numbers, organizations Capabilities, resources, communications, hositilies, civic groups Languages spoken, religious, superstitions, other cultural aspects Probable courses of action Friendly Forces Mission of parent unit Mission of supporting units (air, artillery, etc.) Missions of other patrols, defensive positions you must cross Mission
Who, what, when, where (coordinates) Execution
o o o
Concept of the Operation - Overall plan Sub-unit missions - for elements, teams, individuals 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
Supply Rations Uniforms & Equipment Arms & Ammunition Captured Material Transportation - may be annexed Medical Evacuation - may be annexed Personnel Prisoners of War Command & Signal
o o o o
Signal Frequencies & Call signs Pyrotechnics & Signals Challenge and password (sign/countersign) Code words 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 o o o o o
How you will insert What you will do once you are on the ground How you will move to the objective What you will do when things happen along the route How you will occupy patrol bases/ORP What you will do once there
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 o o
What happens if someone breaks a leg on the jump? What happens if you are fired up on the DZ or LZ? 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 downward. 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 danger.
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 leaves/snow. 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.
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 (48in) 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 place. 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.
INSIDE THE IGLOO: 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. IMPROVISED KOOLIK: (Invented by "AL" KOOLIK?) 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 trouble. 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.
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 madefor-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.
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 survive. 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 approaches. 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 shade.
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 darts. 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 skills. 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 executed.
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."
Invariably, I used the following tasks to focus the scenario.
ALERT 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.
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 graded.
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 straphanging 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).
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 600900 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 OPFOR.
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 erode.
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.
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 consuming) 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 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 darkcolored 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 obvious. 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 Aframe-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 outside. (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.
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