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6-1. General

The mobility and flexibility characteristics of airborne forces are ideally suited for the diversified areas of the north. While conventional doctrine is as applicable to the north as elsewhere, some modifications to operating procedures are required to overcome the limitations imposed on airborne operations by the extreme environmental conditions. The guidance contained herein should be applied in conjunction with basic doctrine published in FM 57-1.

6-2. Factors Affecting Airborne Operations

Limitations that apply to airbome operations in temperate zones also apply in the north, and in many instances are amplified. The primary consideration is the capability of the troop carrier aircraft. Some of the limitations are--

a. The effect of weather (blizzards, ice fog, whiteout).

b. Navigational difficulties caused by inadequate maps and charts and lack of natural landmarks and manmade structures.

c. The lack of adequate marshalling areas with warm shelters and suitable troop carrier bases.

d. The few hours of daylight for airlanded operations in winter.

e. The bulkiness of the clothing worn and equipment carried requires more aircraft space per individual. This necessitates an increase in the number of aircraft to transport an organization.

f. Maintenance difficulties resulting from sufficient maintenance shelters and decreased personnel efficiency.

g. Heavy snow or deep snow drifts on airfields and landing zones with associated snow removal problems.

h. Accumulation of frost, snow and ice on parked aircraft.

i. Difficulties in constructing landing strips in summer.

j. Uncertainty of radio communications.

6-3. Parachute Operations

The capability to deliver personnel by parachute is of particular importance in undeveloped areas where surface routes of communication are limited or nonexistent. Experience indicates certain operational and planning factors require special emphasis when airborne units are committed to parachuting in northern areas. In this connection, airborne commanders must familiarize themselves with the Arctic portion of TM 57-220.

a. Airborne forces employed in northern areas must be capable of self-sustaining operations for 72 hours without benefit of resupply. In this regard, it is especially important that primary and contingency plans be made for linkup, resupply, and exfiltration.

b. The number of personnel that can be parachuted from a single aircraft is considerably reduced because of the bulk of equipment and cold weather clothing used by paratroopers. For planning purposes the maximum number as listed in TM 57-220 should be reduced by 1/3. In computing weight factors the cold weather equipped parachutist should be computed at 800 pounds. Exiting time between parachutists is computed at two seconds.

c. The rigging of personnel and their equipment must be in a warm area. If this area is at a greater distance than 200 meters from the aircraft parking area, transportation is required.

d. Winter equipped parachutist should load by way of the ramp of the aircraft. To prevent possible accidents care must be taken to insure that the ramp is free of snow, ice, water, etc. This hazard is magnified on exiting the aircraft. Each aircraft should have equipment aboard to insure that the floor is as dry as possible prior to exiting over the DZ.

e. Careful consideration must be given to the selection of DZ. An open muskeg area that looks suitable on photographic and map inspection, will frequently prove to be covered with frozen hummocks of vegetation ½ to 1 meter (18" to 39") in height. Much of the northern areas of the world are covered with scrub pine, ranging from 1 to 10 meters (3' to 30') in height. These areas with sparse tree growth make suitable DZ.

f. To avoid overheating personnel, aircraft cabin temperatures should not exceed 40 F. The heavy weight of the individual parachutist and his equipment will cause a more rapid descent than under temperate zone conditions. When the jump is to be made into a high altitude DZ, this rapidity of descent is magnified because of the thinness of the air.

g. DZ assembly procedures and the use of assembly aids are especially critical in northern operations where considerable difficulties are encountered in assembling in tree covered areas, deep snow, or during extended periods of darkness. Extensive training and rehearsals are required to overcome the problems of orientation after landing.

h. If the DZ is snow covered, all parachutists should drop with snowshoes or skis attached to their body as outlined in TM 67-220. This technique will hasten DZ assembly time and will aid in speedy recovery of heavy drop items.

i. Special effort must be made to expedite and insure the recovery of equipment that is delivered by parachute. Daylight drops and the use of colored parachutes, streamers, and smoke grenades are recommended; however, airborne commanders must designate personnel to spot dropped equipment and check for equipment aircraft aborts. The use of the Army assault team (AAT) or pathfinders in this role has proven to be practical.

j. The ahkio should accompany airborne units on the initial drop. The ahkio should contain the tent, 5- or 10-man, Yukon stove, fuel, and rations. These sleds should then be heavy dropped on load bearing platforms. The number of sleds to be loaded on one platform will depend on the type of aircraft and available type of platforms. Ideally, the sleds should not be loaded in less than platoon groups.

6-4. Air Transported Operations

The inadequacy of overland means of transportation dictates the utilization of aircraft for rapid and efficient movement of personnel, supplies, and equipment. Even in those areas where limited facilities for overland transportation are available, air-transportability can contribute to greater unit mobility.

6-5. Drop Zones and Landing Zones

The selection of drop zones (DZ) and landing zones (LZ) are affected by the following considerations:

a. Visual or photographic coverage. If possible, information should be confined by ground reconnaissance.

b. Swamps and muskeg soil conditions.

c. Availability of ice of sufficient depths for suitable DZ or LZ on lakes and other water surfaces.

d. Depth of snow and configuration of drifts.

e. Location of landing fields so that cold air drainage from surrounding hills doesn't drain down onto the airfield. This subjects the field to considerable ice fog, especially during takeoffs on cold days.

6-6. Marshalling

a. Protective shelters, such as hangars, are needed for the use of troops when they put on their parachutes.

b. During the loading phase, rapid motor transport should be provided between the marshaling area and the departure field. Properly coordinated loading and rapid aircraft takeoff also help hold to an absolute minimum the time personnel are exposed to cold and other elements. Protective shelters are controlled so that troops will not become overheated in the heavy clothing prior to exposure to extremely low temperatures.

c. To reduce the effects of slower loading and delays in aircraft departure, plans for loading operations are made to provide for compact aircraft parking near the supply and equipment storage areas.

d. Equipment and supplies that might be damaged or become temporarily inoperative by exposure to extreme temperatures and moisture are packed in special bundles. Supply agencies at the marshaling area must be capable of preparing and modifying equipment bundles up until the time final loading is completed. Equipment bundles to be free dropped need special preparation and protection. This may vary with the season. Every precaution is taken to reduce the recovery problem. Even with due precaution, there will be a high loss rate of bundles which are dropped in deep snow or in marshy tundra. Bright colored parachutes and streamers attached to bundles aid in recovery.

e. When loading, troops are cautioned to keep clear of propeller blast which picks up fine snow and drives it into clothing.


6-7. Permanent Ice and Snow Covered Areas

a. Operations on permanent ice and snow covered areas may be required for the establishment of support and for protection of specialized activities. In such instances, operations normally will involve small units but the total effort required will be large because of the extreme difficulties of operating in such areas.

b. Operations on an ice cap are so different from other northern areas that different techniques of operation are required. The absence of usable resources, except ice and snow, necessitates that every item required be transported into the operating area. It is mandatory that personnel be provided with protection from high winds and extreme cold. As a result, support requirements will be extremely high. The construction of storage and maintenance shelters from ice and snow is particularly feasible in permanent ice and snow covered areas.

c. Specialized equipment for negotiating the areas is required. This equipment will include snow tractors, low ground pressure veicles, crevasse detectors, trailmarking equipment, navigational aids, living wanigans, and related items.


6-8. General

The extremes of weather may impose upon an amphibious attacking force conditions which severely limit, or make impractical, an amphibious assault against a defended beach in northern latitudes. The range of high and low tides and beach gradient present in the north must be carefully considered in planning operations. Once the attack is initiated, speed in landing troops and providing logistical support is of great importance. Logistical plans must include an alternate plan to supply by air should ice conditions change during a critical part of the operation. Plans should include the use of helicopters in an amphibious assault. Once ashore, the conduct of the operation will be the same as for any other attack in northern latitudes. FM 31-12 contains the basic guidance for Army participation in amphibious operations.

6-9. Factors influencing Amphibious Operations

a. Oceanographic Conditions.

(1) Sea ice is one of the factors affecting amphibious techniques in their adaptation to northern conditions. In any amphibious operation within sea ice areas, the amphibious task force commander should be given great latitude in determining where and when he should attack. Positive air protection must be provided as the force will be limited in evasive action. The force will probably be accompanied by icebreakers, and progress will be slow. Amphibious operations wherein ships are required to enter an icepack may have to be abandoned as impractical because shifting ice may close leads, immobilize ships, restrict landing areas, and, in some cases, form pressure ridges which are impossible, or extremely difficult, to negotiate.

(2) Within ice free areas, no departure from standard amphibious techniques is required except as the operations may be affected by climatic conditions and operating conditions ashore.

(3) Unnavigable ice consists of pack ice or landfast ice fields that are either impenetrable or penetrable only by a large powerful icebreaker. Under such ice conditions an airmobile assault from ships can be used. In this case, the operations will be limited tactically and logistically in accordance with the limitations of the planes and helicopters. Another method is to use landing craft to move troops to the edge of the icepack for subsequent movement across the ice against an objective. Under these circumstances, the operation maybe of a limited nature since only light-armed, swift-moving, well-trained personnel can be used. Logistical support normally will be by air.

(4) Marginal ice areas include those areas that are negotiable by light icebreakers and areas free from pack ice but subject to drifting ice and scattered ice floes. This ice is continuously moving because of the wind and ocean currents. If a landing is to be executed within the pack area, the task force. commander must determine when to attack, basing his decision on ice conditions.

b. Effect of Northern Conditions on Personnel and Equipment.

(1) During the beach assault, waterproof suits must be provided troops and crews of landing craft to protect them from sea spray and, if a dry ramp landing cannot be made, from freezing sea water. Operation of all mechanized equipment, boats, amphibian tractors, and aircraft in subfreezing temperature is difficult. Provisions must also be made for freeing the landing craft ramps should they freeze during the movement ashore. Amphibian wheeled vehicles of the LARC type are unsuitable for landing operations either afloat or ashore due to the fragile hull and the difficult trafficability ashore. Therefore, the use of amphibian tracked vehicles is emphasized for the movement of both troops and supplies from ship to shore.

(2) Shore party operations may be restricted and efficiency reduced by low temperatures, since stations will be required for the exchange of wet clothing and for warm-up purposes. In shore-to-ship evacuation, casualties must be protected from the cold, sea spray, and sea water. Consideration should be given to beaching an LST or similar vessel for the use of the shore party as protection from weather.

6-10. Supporting Arms

a. Operation of the supporting arms, such as naval gunfire support ships and air support, both land and sea, will be hampered during periods of low visibility and during the long winter darkness. Considerable reliance may have to be placed upon electronic means for directing fire support.

b. The practicability of employing naval air is dependent upon the ability to provide necessary close range supporting bases, generally an aircraft carrier and other supporting ships which in turn must depend upon icefree conditions of the sea for vitally needed maneuverability. Because of the difficulties imposed upon air operations in northern areas, the highest degree of coordination is necessary between naval air and forces it is supporting. Among these difficulties are the following:

(1) Periodic decrease in visibility and adverse weather in northern maritime theaters limit air-ground support operations.

(2) Lack of detailed charts, identifiable terrain features, low visibility, and scarcity of good weather forecasts.

(3) Atmospheric disturbances which increase the communications difficulties for coordinating air with amphibious or land operations.

(4) Longer periods of maintenance and preparation.

(5) Heavy and cumbersome clothing which reduces efficiency of personnel.

c. Naval gunfire will operate with little decrease in efficiency expected in temperate zones. The temperature can be controlled on ammunition, such as the VT fused projectiles, enabling the ship to fire without encountering the difficulties experienced by artillery.

6-11. Supply by Water

a. A northern supply expedition by water, during icefree periods, is less difficult to execute than other methods of supply transport. Ships are self-sufficient, requiring no servicing or refueling facilities at their destinations. Supplies can be delivered on a large scale with a minimum of hazard to personnel and equipment as compared with other methods. Water movement provides bulk supply possibilities not found in any other form of transportation.

b. In the ocean areas of the north, movement possibilities vary widely from year to year depending upon the severeity of the preceding winter season. However, most areas of the Arctic Ocean bordering on land masses have about ten weeks each year when the ice permits passage of vessels. These periods usually occur during July, August, and September.

(1) The short summer season usually is long enough to melt most of the ice and snow on the land areas and to break up the southernmost portions of the polar icepack for several weeks. Poor visibility restricts observation, which is essential to picking a way through drift ice and the icepack, and also hampers cargo discharge when vessels must anchor several miles from shore. To guide landing craft which are discharging cargo, marker buoys are placed along the entire route from the ship to the shore.

(2) Navigation is restricted by the movement of the icepack, which is governed by winds, tides, and currents. Aerial observation by helicopter is essential for icebreakers because of the rapidly changing ice conditions. When the huge floes and chunks of ice are frozen together or packed solidly by the wind and currents, a powerful icebreaker is unable to force passage. Navigation is further hampered by the prevailing shallowness of the water off Arctic Ocean shores, and the numerous, migrating sandbars which prevent vessels from standing in close to shore to avoid heavy ice and to discharge cargo. A serious lack of adequate hydrographic data is an additional hazard.

(3) Cargo discharge is retarded by the lack of sheltered harbors, the absence of wharves, and piers, and the distance the vessels must anchor from shore. Consequently, more equipment and manpower is needed than under ordinary circumstances since, in a matter of hours, the icepack may change so that the exit to clear water is blocked. Timing of the operations is another governing factor to overwater supply, because the periods of open water or accessibility of installations varies from year to year, supply expeditions must be on hand to take advantage of the leads and breaks in the icepack as they occur.

(4) Resupply by submarines operating beneath the polar ice may be considered when an insufficient ice free season exists. Deep water appraoches to off-load points, explosives to clear ice at desired load areas, and over-ice tractor haul or field pipe link from off-load point to land storage areas are required.

c. For operation on inland waterways, the principal equipment consists of towboats and cargo barges which have varying capabilities for transporting dry cargo or liquid petroleum products. However, navigation of inland waterways is restricted by shallow water and with sudden changes in channels due to migrating sandbars and ice action. There are also occasional spots which may require portaging. The limitations of inland waterways may be overcome in part by the use of air-propeller driven boats for high speed scouting or delivery of small quantities of supply, and/or by the use of air cushion vehicles operating over inland waterways and adjacent swamps and lakes.


6-12. General

a. Riverine Environment. A riverine area is a land environment characterized by water lines of communication with an extensive network of rivers, streams, canals, swamps, or muskeg extending over broad, level terrain, parts of which may be inundated periodically or permanently. It may include sparsely populated swamps or forests, rivers and streams that have steep banks densely covered with undergrowth. Ocean tides may affect riverine areas near the seashore or far inland. In northern areas the riverine environment may be completely devoid of human habitation.

b. Northern Waterways.

(1) The northern regions are characterized by a vast network of rivers, lakes, and canals with sufficient depth to accommodate shallow waterway traffic. In the absence of road and railroad nets, these natural arteries may be a highly valuable complement to overland transportation, both in summer and winter. For summer operations, some inland waterways of North America and Eurasia are navigable for thousands of miles. In winter, these waterways become ice routes.

(2) Major inland waterways in the area of northern operations include the Yukon and Kuskokwim in Alaska; the Mackenzie, Back and Thelon in Canada; and the Ob, Yenesei, and Lena in Siberia. The above does not include the thousands of miles of other potential inland waterways that occur in these countries and in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. On these major waterways, operations can normally be conducted within the context of true riverine operations with naval support, however, as the operation proceeds inland, the waterways become increasingly shallow and the use of naval support craft will give way to shallow draft assault and river boats.

(3) Northern waterways can be used during the entire summer season from breakup until freezeup. Operations should not be attempted after break-up until all the ice and debris has cleared from the waterway. Operations can be continued until freezeup and the waterways start to ice over.

6-13. Characteristics of Northern Inland Waterways

Northern inland waterways are characterized by the following:

a. Many channels (braided). Main river channels may change significantly from year to year.

b. Water is normally filled with silt, sand, and debris.

c. Current is normally swift (5 to 10 knots).

d. Rivers and streams are shallow (61 cm to 305 cm (2' to 10'). In glacier fed streams the depth of water may double between early morning and noon. This is because of the increased melting of the glacier caused by warmer daytime temperatures.

e. The rivers and streams will contain many sand bars.

6-14. Organization

a. Tactical Unity. Tactical unity should be maintained as far as possible when loading boats. Unit SOP must contain loading plans for all available boats. Personnel in the boat perform additional duties to fulfill the requirements for navigation, observation, rowing and poling, etc. These duties are assigned by the boat commanders.

b. Boat Commander. The boat commander is normally the commander of the largest tactical organization aboard the boat. As an example, if a squad is being carried, the squad leader is the boat commander. If no tactical unity exists in the boat team, the boat commander must be appointed from within the personnel on the boat. The boat commander is responsible for the overall operation of the boat to include its safe operation and tactical operation. To accomplish his mission in a satisfactory manner, the boat commander must be trained in the fundamentals of boat operation and river navigation.

c. Boat Operators. To prevent loss of combat strength boat operators must be procured from resources outside the tacical units, i. e., the engineer company or the transportation company. In the brigade, during sustained operations, it may be advisable to form a provisional boat company, attaching the boats to maneuver elements as needed.

d. Boat elements. Normally, an element moving on the water consists of at least two boats to provide some depth, flexibility, and safety if one boat comes under enemy fire, is swamped, or is swept into obstructions. The number of men, weapons, and boats necessary for the movement depends on the mission. Units of more than eight boats normally form into smaller maneuver elements.

6-15. Basic Formations

The tactics of waterborne units are similar to those of other mounted and dismounted units. Normal formations (column, parallel columns, vee, wege, and echelon) are applicable to water movement. The situation, mission, and width of the river or stream influence the choice of formation (see FM 31-75).

6-16. Control and Coordination

A simple, rapid, and reliable means of boat-to-boat communication is necessary. Standard arm and hand signals (FM 21-60) are satisfactory, but waterborne elements require additional immediate-action procedures and backup communication means to insure smooth function. This normally can be accomplished with the squad and platoon radios. The commander assigns checkpoints along the route. These must be easily recognizable features, i. e., hills, tributary streams, etc. Reconnaissance aircraft communicate directly with the waterborne force either by radio or message drop. Use of a simple, rapid means of identification is necessary to coordinate the waterborne movement with other friendly forces in the area.

6-l7. Night Operations

Because of the difficulties encountered in reading the river and navigating, night operations should be conducted based on thorough prior reconnaissance and complete communication systems. To avoid operational losses, minimum light conditions should approximate twilight illumination.

6-18. Camouflage

Every effort must be made to camouflage boats and equipment. Camouflage nets and natural foliage can be used to camouflage the boat. Individuals can break up the outline of the boat by draping the poncho over their heads and the sides of the boat. At halts the boat should be hidden under overhanging trees or removed from the water and camouflaged on shore.

6-19. Offensive Operations

a. General. The concept of riverine operations on the major navigable waterways in northern areas is basically the same as in other areas of the world. Once the force leaves the major waterways and proceeds up the shallow, fast moving tributary rivers and streams, the operation comes under complete control of the Army. Army forces, supported by close air support aircraft, will conduct the waterborne operation utilizing Army watercraft and indigenous river boats.

b. Factors Influencing Operations. Operations will be influenced by the following factors peculiar to northern areas:

(1) The long hours of daylight during the summer in northern areas allow operations to be easily conducted 24 hours a day. This factor also allows the operation to be easily detected by the enemy.

(2) With few exceptions, major population centers are nonexistent along the navigable or tributary rivers in northern areas.

(3) Weather is unpredictable and can change rapidly.

(4) Maintenance requirements are greater especially on boat motors.

(5) Flooding may submerge or sweep away landing sites (piers, docks, etc.). During flooding periods the current may increase to a torrent making the river unnavigable. It may, in meandering streambeds, clog existing channels, cut new ones, or deposit shallow banks in channels and backwaters.

(6) Low water may reduce the channel depth below minimum requirements and reduce or temporarily eliminate the usefulness of the waterway as a means of transportation.

(7) All available forces must be employed in northern riverine operations. In the area of operations (AO), one element of the riverine force may enter the area by watercraft, another may employ airmobile tactics to enter the area, and another may proceed overland, either mounted or unmounted.

(8) Land and river navigation take on increased importance in northern riverine operations. This is caused by excessive declination, lack of identifiable landmarks, and the unreliability of the magnetic compass caused by local ore deposits and the nearness of the magnetic north pole. Reliance must be placed on the use of aerial photographs and air reconnaissance.

(9) The difficulty in navigation dictates the establishment of firm control measures. These will take the form of boundaries, coordination points, phase lines, and no-fire lines. These control measures must be part of the unit SOP.

6-20. Fire Support

a. Fire support for Army waterborne operations will be difficult and in some situations nonexistent. Field artillery can support within range limitations. Because of the shallow depth and fast current of the rivers and streams, displacement and ammunition resupply may be expedited by helicopter. Field artillery units that are displaced by helicopter must be prepared to establish an all-around defense.

b. Attack helicopters can support the waterborne force subject to weather conditions, and radius of operation capability.

c. A high dependence must be placed on close air support. If this support is not available, the waterborne force must depend on its organic weapons as the only means of fire support. Every effort must be made to kill the enemy with artillery and/or air delivered weapons.

6-21. Combat Service Support

a. AS far as possible, units should carry all items of supply necessary to complete the mission. This includes rations, ammunition, and POL. If the length of the mission precludes this, resupply can be accomplished by helicopter within range limitation; air cushion vehicles; air boats; or a combination of all three. If time permits it is sometimes advisable to establish and prestock resupply points up and down the river. Resupply may also be accomplished by Air Force heavy drop.

b. Prescribed load lists (PLL) must be established for motors and related equipment. Special effort is required for stockage of nonstandard motors and equipment. This PLL must be made a part of the unit SOP. The list must contain items with a high usage factor, i.e., propellers, water pumps, spark plugs, etc.

c. Medical evacuation may be extremely difficult. Plans should be made for helicopter evacuation. If the waterborne force is operating out of helicopter range, casualties can be transported by boat to predetermined helicopter pickup areas.

6-22. Defense of Base Areas

The mission of units defending base areas in the northern riverine environment is to maintain a secure base from which to support and conduct offensive operations. For details concerning defense of base areas see FM 31-75.

6-23. Training

The most important single facet of conducting successful northern riverine operations is training (app B).

a. Boat Operators. The capability of the individual boat operator to operate his watercraft in a safe efficient manner spells the difference between success and failure. In addition to the primary boat operator, each boat should contain, as a minimum, one other qualified operator. The training course contains the following subjects:

(1) Fundamentals of river reading.

(2) River navigation.

(3) Characteristics and nomenclature of the outboard motor.

(4) First echlon maintenance of the boat, motor, and related equipment.

(5) Rules of water safety.

(6) Techniques of river charting.

(7) Chart sketching and sketching equipment.

(8) Boat operation.

(9) River patrolling.

(10) Individual equipment.

(11) Loading procedures.

b. Small Unit Leaders. Squad leaders should be as well trained in boat operation as the boat operators. Platoon leaders and company commanders should be trained in the techniques of river navigation and river reading.

c. Unit Training. Unit training starts with learning the fundamentals of riverine operations to include familiarization with the boats. SOP must be developed by each unit and should contain detailed loading plans for all types of watercraft available to the unit. (See FM 31-75.) Loading must be rehearsed until all personnel know their duties, their boat and associated boat equipment. All training afloat must be conducted under simulated tactical conditions.

6-24. Guidance

For detailed doctrinal guidance on riverine operations, see FM 7-20, FM 21-50, FM 31-75, and FM 61-100. For boat procedures see appendix D.


6-25. General

In northern operations there usually are no continuous fronts. Units may operate independently many mile apart. Installations and communication centers are often isolated. Lines of communications, where they exist, are long and vulnerable to attack. Surprise is always a possibility, and security can only be guaranteed by accurate knowledge of enemy disposition, composition, movement, capabilities, and constant vigilance. The enemy is equally vulnerable. Conditions, both operational and environmental, facilitate raids on communications centers, headquarters; and installations of all types. Patrols, stay-behind forces, and special forces are well suited for these operations. Severe weather conditions enhance the effect of such operation.

6-26. Tasks

a. The primary tasks of long range patrols will be reconnaissance missions and raids in enemy rear areas. Their operation will be supplemented by the activities of small groups, airdropped or airlanded, for special or long term destruction and intelligence tasks.

b. As an integrated part of overall planning, combat patrols will be used in the attack, for wide encircling movements to ambush and harass enemy flanks and communications and to report on and obstruct the movement of enemy reserves.

c. In retrograde movement, stay-behind forces may be left to ambush reserves, destroy lines of communication, mine defiles, and demolisth bridges. They will obtain and transmit information on enemy strength, composition, and activity.

6-27. Control

Patrols and enemy rear area operations must be part of the overall plan. For this reason, control must be vested in the commanders responsible for their area of operation. When the tactical situation demands, special arrangements must be made for cooperation with, and recognition by, local troops so as to exploit fully the tactical potential of special operations groups.

6-28. Composition and Employment

a. Long range patrols have no fixed organization. Their strength, organization, composition, and equipment are determined by the particular mission.

b. Operations can be carried out in all weather and throughout all seasons. In the winter, skis or snowshoes will be used. In summer, movement on foot is possible in most areas.

c. The great distances necessitate increased use of aircraft for the transport, supply, and the evacuation of patrols, casualties, prisoners, or documents.

d. Patrols must be capable of rapid movement on foot or skis over long distances and must be able to operate without resupply for long periods.

To achieve this standard, a rigorous reduction in the weight of equipment and rations is necessary. The weight and number of arms must be kept to a minimum and firepower must be obtained by use of lightweight automatic weapons and grenades. Communication with the base is by long range radio.

6-29. Selection of Personnel

The effectiveness of long range patrols and intelligence groups, fundamentally, depends on their ability to live under rigorous conditions and on the speed with which they can move across country. A high degree of endurance and expertness on skis or snowshoes are of paramount importance. In addition, every man must be proficient in all those subjects classified generally under the term "survival." Personnel must be specially selected from men with a wide practical experience in the northern regions and be, if possible, volunteers. Included in each group should be at least one person with a knowledge of the language, the people, and terrain of the combat theater.


6-30. Special Forces

a. The mission of the U. S. Army Special Forces is to--

(1) Plan and conduot unconventional warfare operations.

(2) Plan, conduct, and support stability operations.

(3) Plan and conduct direct action missions which are peculiar to Special Forces because of their organization, training, equipment, and psychological preparation.

(4) It is within the capabilities of the U. S. Army Special Forces to plan and conduct deep penetration missions to include--

(a) Attack of critical strategic targets.

(b) Collection of intelligence.

(c) Strategic target acquisition.

(d) Conduct direct action missions against sensitive targets as directed by higher headquarters.

b. The role of U. S. Army Special Forces is to contribute within their capability to the accomplishment of whatever missions and responsibilities are assigned to the U. S. Army. Within the framework of the contribution, the U. S. Army Special Forces group is a multipurpose force, which by organization, flexible command arrangements, tailored logistical and fiscal procedures, and highly trained personnel, can address a variety of missions. Special Forces must be constantly prepared to assume missions of an unconventional warfare (UW) nature during any intensity of conflict. Sustained unconvenitonal warfare operations require augmentation by combat support and logistical support units. Employment in other roles and/or to meet unusual requirements may necessitate augmentation or modification of TOE (MTOE).

c. When employed in northern operations, Special Forces are trained in mountaineering and survival in the harsh environment of the north. To support operational requirements, Special Forces will organize, train, and develop indigenous groups into guerrilla and paramilitary operations. When there is insufficient time and/or population to organize into guerrilla forces, U. S. Army Special Forces units may be employed unilaterally on special missions or against critical targets within the area of operations.

6-31. Psychological Operation

The extremes of weather, terrain, and climate encountered in northern operations present the commander and his PSYOP staff with unusual psychological opportunities. Every effort must be made to capitalize upon the fears and other vulnerabilities of an enemy force in this environment. PSYOP officers, utilizing their background and training, may also assist unit commanders and others in preparing information material and troop topics designed to alleviate unnecessary fear, stress survival techniques, and, in general increase the fighting potential of the soldier. PSYOP unit capabilities may be used to produce lierature, handouts, posters, and broadcasts to reinforce or supplement troop and command information (FM 33-1 and FM 33-5).

6-32. Enemy Target Audiences

The decentralized and dispersed nature of northern operations will present additional psychological vulnerabilities among enemy forces. The following target audiences are examples:

a. Isolated units removed from the main stream of activity for prolonged periods.

b. Small unit leaders operating with unaccustomed freedom and independence beyond the control of immediate political and military superiors.

c. Front line units that have too long endured the rigors of cold northern life.

d. Civilian inhabitants who have been forced to surrender already scarce fuel, food, or shelter to the enemy.

6-33. Themes

Examples of themes that are effective in northern operations in attacking hostile target audiences are those that stress--

a. Solitude, privation, and monotony.

b. Lack of equipment and comfort items versus United States abundance.

c. Personal dangers such as frostbite, loss of limb, cold injuries, and disease.

6-34. Media

Media considerations peculiar to the northern environment include--

a. "Blackouts" from the auroral effect or atmospheric static must be considered when planning and programing PSYOP radio broadcasts. Antenna erection in frozen ground and the effect of extreme cold on batteries are significant factors.

b. Snowstorms, muddy ground, and high winds, are detrimental to leaflet operations. Ground immobility, static winter quarters, and limited road networks are assets.

c. Planning for the use of loudspeakers should consider man portable devices, the application of existing vehicular-mounted loudspeakers to modes of transportation commonly found in the area of operations, and rotary wing or fixed wing aircraft.


6-35. Concept

a. The substantial low altitude air threat faced by units in the combat theater may be partially countered by aggressive use of the large volume of fire which nonair defense weapons, e. g., small arms and automatic weapons, can place against this threat.

b. Exercise of the individual and collective right of self defense against hostile aircraft must be emphasized.

c. Indiscriminate use of nonair defense weapons must be prevented. Engagement of hostile aircraft in immediate self defense will be most frequent and training emphasis should reflect this.

6-36. Rules of Engagement

In the absence of orders to the contrary, individual weapon operators will engage attacking aircraft; engagement of all other hostile aircraft will be on orders (based on SOP) issued through the unit chain of command and will be supervised by unit leaders. Nothing in this rule is to be taken as requiring actions prejudicial to accomplishment of the primary mission of the unit.

6-37. Techniques

a. Engagement of Low Speed Aircraft. In accordance with the rule of engagement, engage low speed enemy aircraft with aimed fire, employing the maximum weapon rate of fire. Aerial gunnery techniques generally applicable to all small arms and automatic weapons are presented in FM 23-65.

b. Engagement of High Speed Aircraft. In accordance with the rule of engagement, engage high speed enemy aircraft with maximum fire aimed well in front of the aircraft, and above its flight path, in order to force it to fly through a pattern of fire.

c. Use of Tracer Ammunition. Automatic weapons should utilize the highest practical proportion of tracer ammunition to enhance the deterrent or disruptive effect.

d. Massed Fire. Units should employ a massed fire technique when using small arms and automatic weapons in an air defense role, i.e., unit leaders should direct fires so as to mass the available fires against a selected target(s).

6-38. SOP Items

Unit SOP should cover, but not be limited to, the following items relevant to engagement of aircraft with nonair defense weapons.

a. Applicability. (Operators of designated weapons.)

b. Relation to Primary Mission.(Primary mission is never prejudiced.)

c. Relation to Passive Air Defense. (The necessity for aggressively engaging hostile aircraft is balanced with the requirement to place in proper perspective the tactic of withholding fire to preclude disclosure of position.)

d. Authority to Engage. (Authority to engage attacking aircraft delegated to individual weapons operators, except when explicitly denied. Authority to engage all other hostile aircraft on orders through unit chain of command, subject to local and theater SOP.)

e. Rule of Engagement. (Normally self-defense only against all attacking aircraft, or as ordered.)

f. Rules for Withholding Fire. (When ordered. When not positive that aircraft are actually attacking or otherwise hostile. When friendly aircraft or troops are endangered.)

g. Position Selection. (Applicable only to weapons specifically assigned an air defense role; e. g., designated single barrel caliber .50 machineguns.)

h. Firing Techniques. (Lead and superelevation. Massed fire. Maximum rate of fire. Maximum use of tracer ammunition.)

i. Unit Training Requirements. (Motivation and discipline. Gunnery. Aircraft recognition.)

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