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Chapter 7

Special Environments

The fundamentals of CCD do not change between environments. The seven rules for avoiding detection and the seven recognition factors that are listed in Chapter 3 and the three CCD principles—preventing detection, improving survivability, and improving deception capabilities—still apply. However, the guidelines for their application change. Different environments require thoughtful, creative, and unique CCD techniques. This chapter discusses different CCD techniques that have proven effective in three special environments—desert, snow-covered areas, and urban terrain.


7-1. The color of desert terrain varies from pink to blue, depending on the minerals in the soil and the time of the day. No color or combination of colors matches all deserts. Patches of uniform color in the desert are usually 10 times larger than those in wooded areas. These conditions have led to the development of a neutral, monotone tan as the best desert CCD paint color.


7-2. Although desert terrain may appear featureless, it is not completely flat. In some ways, desert terrain resembles unplowed fields; barren, rocky areas; grasslands; and steppes.


7-3. The closer a target is to the ground, the smaller its shadow; and a small shadow is easier to conceal from aerial observation. The proper draping of CCD nets will alter or disrupt the regular, sharp-edged shadows of military targets and allow target shadows to appear more like natural shadows. When supplemented by artificial materials, natural shadows cast by folds of the ground can be used for CCD purposes. The best solution to the shadow problem in desert terrain is to dig in and use overhead concealment or cover. Otherwise, park vehicles in a way that minimizes their broadside exposure to the sun.


7-4. Proper placement and shadow disruption remain effective techniques. Place assets in gullies, washes, wadis, and ravines to reduce their shadows and silhouettes and to take advantage of terrain masking. More dispersion is necessary in desert terrain than in wooded areas. Move assets as the sun changes position to keep equipment in shadows.


7-5. Use terrain mottling when the ground offers little opportunity for concealment. This technique involves scarring the earth with bulldozers, which creates darker areas on which to place equipment for better blending with the background. Ensure that the mottled areas are irregularly shaped and at least twice the size of the target you are concealing. Place the target off center in the mottled area and drape it with camouflage nets. When employing the scarring technique, dig two to three times as many scars as pieces of equipment being concealed. Doing this prevents the mere presence of mottled areas from giving away a unit's location.


7-6. Movement discipline is especially important in the desert. Desert terrain is uniform and fragile, making it easily disturbed by vehicle tracks. Vehicle movement also produces dust and diesel plumes that are easily detectable in the desert. When movement is necessary, move along the shortest route and on the hardest ground. Shine is a particularly acute desert problem due to the long, uninterrupted hours of sunlight. To deal with this problem, remove all reflective surfaces or cover them with burlap. Use matte CCD paint or expedient paints (see Table 3-2) to dull the gloss of a vehicle's finish. Shade optical devices (binoculars, gun sights) when using them.


7-7. Noise and light discipline is particularly important in desert terrain since sound and light can be detected at greater distances on clear desert nights. The techniques for reducing these signatures remain the same as for other environments. Be aware that thermal sensors, while not as effective during the day, have an ideal operating environment during cold desert nights. Starting all vehicle and equipment engines simultaneously is a technique that can be used to confuse enemy acoustical surveillance efforts.


7-8. When the main background is white, apply white paint or whitewash over the permanent CCD paint pattern. The amount of painting should be based on the percentage of snow coverage on the ground:

  • If the snow covers less than 15 percent of the background, do not change the CCD paint pattern.
  • If the snow cover is 15 to 85 percent, substitute white for green in the CCD paint pattern.
  • If the snow cover is more than 85 percent, paint the vehicles and equipment completely white.


7-9. A blanket of snow often eliminates much of the ground pattern, causing natural textures and colors to disappear. Blending under these conditions is difficult. However, snow-covered terrain is rarely completely white so use the dark features of the landscape. Place equipment in roadways, in streambeds, under trees, under bushes, in shadows, and in ground folds. Standard BDUs and personal equipment contrast with the snow background, so use CCD to reduce these easily recognized signatures.


7-10. Concealing tracks is a major problem in snow-covered environments. Movement should follow wind-swept drift lines, which cast shadows, as much as possible. Vehicle drivers should avoid sharp turns and follow existing track marks. Wipe out short lengths of track marks by trampling them with snowshoes or by brushing them out.


7-11. Snow-covered environments provide excellent conditions for a threat's thermal and UV sensors. Terrain masking is the best solution to counter both types of sensors. Use arctic LCSS and winter camouflage paint to provide UV blending, and use smoke to create near-whiteout conditions.


7-12. Urbanization is reducing the amount of open, natural terrain throughout the world. Therefore, modern military units must be able to apply effective urban CCD. Many of the CCD techniques used in natural terrain are effective in urban areas.


7-13. Planning for operations in urban areas presents unique difficulties. Tactical maps do not show man-made features in enough detail to support tactical operations. Therefore, they must be supplemented with aerial photographs and local city maps. Local government and military organizations are key sources of information that can support tactical and CCD operations. They can provide diagrams of underground facilities, large-scale city maps, and/or civil-defense or air-raid shelter locations.


7-14. The physical characteristics of urban areas enhance CCD efforts. The dense physical structure of these areas generates clutter (an abundance of EM signatures in a given area) that increases the difficulty of identifying specific targets. Urban clutter greatly reduces the effectiveness of a threat's surveillance sensors, particularly in the IR and radar wavelengths. Urban terrain, therefore, provides an excellent background for concealing CPs, reserves, combat-service-support (CSS) complexes, or combat forces. The inherent clutter in urban terrain generally makes visual cues the most important consideration in an urban CCD plan.

7-15. The regular pattern of urban terrain; the diverse colors and contrast; and the large, enclosed structures offer enhanced concealment opportunities. Established, hardened road surfaces effectively mask vehicle tracks. Depending on the nature of the operation, numerous civilian personnel and vehicles may be present and may serve as clutter. This confuses an enemy's ability to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population. Underground structures (sewers, subways) are excellent means of concealing movement and HVTs.

7-16. When augmented by artificial means, man-made structures provide symmetrical shapes that provide ready-made CCD. The CCD for fighting positions is especially important because of the reduced identification and engagement ranges (100 meters or less) typical of urban fighting. Limit or conceal movement and shine. These signatures provide the best opportunity for successful threat surveillance in urban terrain. Careful placement of equipment and fighting positions remains important to provide visual CCD and avoid detection by contrast (thermal sensors detecting personnel and equipment silhouetted against colder buildings or other large, flat surfaces).


7-17. The fundamental CCD rule is to maintain the natural look of an area as much as possible. Buildings with large, thick walls and few narrow windows provide the best concealment. When selecting a position inside a building, soldiers should—

  • Avoid lighted areas around windows.
  • Stand in shadows when observing or firing weapons through windows.
  • Select positions with covered and concealed access and egress routes (breaches in buildings, underground systems, trenches).
  • Develop decoy positions to enhance CCD operations.


7-18. Hide vehicles in large structures, if possible, and use local materials to help blend vehicles with the background environment. Paint vehicles and equipment a solid, dull, dark color. If you cannot do this, use expedient paints to subdue the lighter, sand-colored portions of the SCSPP. When placing vehicles outdoors, use shadows for concealment. Move vehicles during limited visibility or screen them with smoke.

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