Bushcraft: Travel in Snow and Ice Areas

7 02 2011

A new addition to the CWO Journal are these Bushcraft Tips taken from the worlds military forces.

The first tip comes from the US Army that has drawn up the following guidelines for conducting military operations in snow and ice areas.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ashley M. Armstrong)

  • “Whiteouts” (complete snow cover and clouds so thick and uniform that light reflected by the sun is about the same intensity as that from the sky) can occur. This can result in troops falling into crevasses, over cliffs or high snow ridges. Use a stick or poles to probe ahead!
  • Poor visibility makes navigation difficult. A compass is a necessity, but because of magnetic variation navigating a true course is difficult.
  • In summer, there will be a mass of bogs, swamps and standing water, which are difficult to cross. They are accompanied by a mass of mosquitoes which can inflict severe discomfort if body parts are not covered. Use insect repellent!
  • In timbered areas, travel will be made easier with the use of skis or snow shoes.



Cold Weather Patrol Tactics and Techniques

5 02 2011

HM Armed Forces Arctic Skidoo With Figure - Toys R Us

This post is originally from SurvivalBlog.com produced by Mr. James Wesley, Rawles. This article was written by B.P. from Colorado, USA.


With the onset of widespread severe winter weather over most of the continental United States, I thought it prudent to share my experiences with cold-weather small unit tactical operations.

A little about me: As part of my active duty Army career, I spent three years stationed in Alaska in a leadership position in an Airborne Infantry battalion.  During those three years, we spent a significant amount of field time in sub-Arctic conditions, my longest deployment being two weeks in a tactical field environment in the frigid interior at temperatures pushing -40 degrees.  Through these exercises, I learned a lot about what works for small units operations in snow and cold conditions (and a few very cold lessons learned about what doesn’t work!).

As an aside, a lot of these techniques are discussed in the following military publications: U.S. Army Field Manuals FM 31-70 (Basic Cold Weather Manual), FM 31-71 (Northern Operations), and FM 90-6 (now 3-97.6) (Mountain Operations); U.S. Army Training Circular TC 21-3 (Individual Operations and Survival in Cold-Weather Areas); Marine Corps Warfighting Publication MCWP 3-35.1 (Cold Weather Operations); and Marine Corps Reference Publication MCRP 3-35.1a (Small Unit Leader’s Guide to Cold Weather Operations).  The Army manuals are very outdated; the Marine Corps versions less so.  My lessons will emphasize use of modern military clothing and equipment I have experience with.

For the purposes of this article, I’ve divided my discussion into three areas of emphasis: clothing yourself for cold-weather tactical operations, shooting in the cold, and small-unit movement in cold and snow.  Pull up next to your wood stove and let’s get started!

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Bushcraft: Russian Survival Shelter

24 10 2010

Have lost your way in the forest? Here you can learn read how to construct a house and survive, until you be found!

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Bushcraft: Land Navigation Basics

20 10 2010

Over at ITS Tactical Blog there are a number of great Land Navigation Articles

LandNav 101

1. Introduction to map terminology
In the most ideal situation, you might have access to a GPS with fresh batteries—but even then successful wilderness navigation isn’t a guarantee. Remember back to elementary school math; they always taught the long, hard way before introducing the shortcuts that are used in the real world. It is in this spirit that we are launching a new series on land navigation. We’ll start with the basics, progressing to more advanced land navigation topics.

2. Introduction to map margins
Today we’ll be addressing what all those things in the margins of your map mean and how to best use them to your advantage when navigating. The margins of a topographic map are rich with information. For the LandNav 101 series, we are going to be operating strictly against USGS maps. While other cartographic entities may vary their margin layout, most will contain all of the details covered herein.

3. Reading and associating terrain
Today we’re going to discuss how to read terrain off of a map. Reading terrain is more about artistic visualization than it is science. There are three major factors that aid in the visualization of terrain from a 2d map: Contour Lines , Colors, Shading

4. Compass selection and recommendations
Compass selection is often driven by personal preference, much like some prefer one vehicle make and model to another. Our goal with this article is not to suggest which compass to buy before you know how to use it, but rather to show you the different options out there. We feel it’s important and necessary to have a compass at your disposal during this series.

5. Understanding the Universal Transverse Mercator System
In its essence, the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system divides up the globe into small, manageable segments. Rarely is someone going to set out and hike from Oregon to Maine and most planned adventures, even when spending a week in the backcountry, won’t require more than a handful of quads. Latitude and longitude is obviously a very valid way of referencing your position on the globe, but most recreational outdoorsmen have moved on to UTM. Likewise, the military uses MGRS, another type of globe grid system, in lieu of latitude and longitude. MGRS is a topic which will be covered in-depth in the future.

Canadian Arctic Response Company Trained in Ranger Survival Techniques

12 10 2010

Resolute Bay, NU – Troops make bannock, learn history of inukshuks during off base training.

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Bushcraft: LandNav 101-Reading and Associating Terrain

4 10 2010

13th Regiment Land Navigation at Army ROTC's Leader Development and Assessment Course. via CC Flickr

ITS Tactical has a great post on how to read terrain off of a map.

Read it here: ITS Tactical

Bushcraft: Fire Platform

4 10 2010

Canadian Army soldiers build a fire on top of a Fire Platform during a Canadian Ranger survival course.

When trying to build a fire on top of snow or in wet conditions you need to build your fire as close to the ground as possible or on top of a fire platform.

Build up a platform (around 1m x 1m) of sticks with about the diameter of your wrist.

Build up a fire as you usually would without a platform, and by the time you fire has burned through the platform the ground will be dry, and warm for sleeping on.

While it is burning it is perfect for cooking as the platform logs will be half burnt through and the embers will be well protected and plentiful.

Source: http://www.wilderness-survival-skills.com

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