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Survival On The Battlefield

As a part of the divisional air defense battalion, MANPAD teams become a vital part of the combined arms team. Unless the airspace over the battlefield is denied him, the enemy will attack and harass our ground forces from the air. It is the job of the team to help deny the enemy use of this airspace. Enemy air and ground forces, supported by sophisticated intelligence gathering and weapon systems, will be dedicated to air defense suppression in an effort to win control of the airspace. The answer to survival on the battlefield is to become invisible and undetectable. This chapter describes the techniques and procedures which must be used to survive on the battlefield.


Cover is protection from the fire of enemy weapons. This enemy fire includes bullets, shell fragments, flame, nuclear effects, and biological and chemical agents. Cover will also provide protection from enemy observation. Cover may be natural or artificial. Natural cover (ravines, hollows, reverse slopes) and artificial cover (foxholes, trenches, walls) provide protection from most types of fire. The battlefield provides cover such as rubble, abandoned equipment, and craters. The smallest depression or fold in the ground will provide some cover. A 6-inch depression may be enough to save your life. It is advisable to form a habit of looking for and using every bit of cover the terrain offers. Proper use of the terrain is the key to success for all tactical operations. This means using cover and concealment.


Cover, Concealment, and Camouflage

Fortifying Your Position

Additional Measures for Survival

Mine Warfare

Other Survivability Measures

Concealment is protection from enemy observation. It is concealment, natural or artificial, that hides or disguises a soldier, vehicle, position, equipment, or route. Concealment includes not only camouflage but also light, noise, movement, refuse, and odor discipline. Well concealed vehicles and fighting positions will deceive the enemy as to the team's position. Natural concealment is provided by the surroundings. The best way to use this natural concealment is to leave it undisturbed when moving into an area. Against an enemy who has night vision and other detection devices, darkness will not provide enough concealment. To supplement natural cover and concealment found on the battlefield, the team must be proficient in camouflage procedures.

Camouflage is man-made concealment. Camouflage is taking advantage of the natural environment as well as supplemental use of natural and artificial materials. Used properly, it will disguise the MANPAD team and its equipment and minimize the possibility of detection and identification by the enemy. If camouflage is required, plan to get it from areas other than your team's position. Camouflage can be made from branches, bushes, leaves, and grass. Attach this material to your vehicle with old communications wire. Live foliage for camouflage purposes is best because dead foliage and artificial materials may not blend in well with the natural surroundings. Make sure that the vegetation matches what is naturally in your area. Detailed camouflage techniques are found in FM 5-20. How to pattern-paint vehicles is contained in TC 5-200.

Camouflage nets are excellent if sited properly. A vehicle in an open field under a camouflage net is easily seen (though it may not be identifiable). That same vehicle between two trees under a camouflage net is more difficult to detect. The lightweight screening system (LSS) is described in TM 5-1080-200-10. Each team is authorized an LSS by the table of organization and equipment (TOE).

A well-sited, pattern-painted vehicle will have its camouflage improved by erecting the LSS. The LSS further reduces visibility. The LSS also defeats radar by scattering and absorption. Stainless steel fibers in the plastic garnish material absorb some of the radar signal and reflect most of the remaining signal in all directions. The result is that only a small percentage of the signal returns to the radar.


The use of field fortifications reduces injury/damage to personnel and equipment. The team fortifies its position to the extent possible. With the short period of time the team usually remains in a position and only two team members to do the work, construction of fortification is limited. Fortifications are started as soon as practical upon arrival in a new position and are improved throughout the team's stay in that position. (See appendix D for crew drill.)

At a minimum, individual prone shelters must be constructed for each team member. The soldier begins a foxhole as a hasty position for basic protection. As time permits, he improves the foxhole by completing these tasks:

  • Digs the hole deeper.

  • Builds a protective barrier, if natural cover is not available.

  • Finishes clearing fields of fire.

  • Camouflages position.

  • Builds overhead cover.

    Although it is unlikely that the Stinger team will have to fight enemy infantrymen, the protection afforded by the foxhole will be useful if enemy artillery or rocket fire is received on or near the position. Under no circumstances will a MANPAD system be fired from a foxhole.

    Make fortifications easier by selecting positions that are out of sight of enemy ground observation (the reverse slope of a hill rather than its crest). The same barrier to enemy observation also provides a barrier to enemy direct fires. Look for areas that provide natural protection. Terrain irregularities (such as defiles or mounds) provide initial fortifications that can easily be improved with a little digging. Camouflage the fresh dirt to prevent pointing out the position. Field fortifications should complement camouflage, not degrade it. FM 7-7 explains construction of fighting positions (foxholes).


    In addition to digging in and avoiding detection, there are other measures that will help you to survive.

    Alternate positions help to keep the enemy confused as to the location of MANPAD positions. Move often. When changing positions, it is not necessary to move far. Alternate positions can be selected within a short distance (at least 200-300 meters) from the primary position and occupied as required. The movement should be as rapid as possible so that the team is again ready to engage enemy targets.

    Following a weapon's firing you should continue to engage any other enemy aircraft. However, if there are no other enemy aircraft to be engaged, move to an alternate position as quickly as possible.

    In forward areas, you should move quickly so you can stay alive to fire again. Enemy artillery or ground forces may see the missile signatures and locate your position.

    MANPAD teams are usually deployed behind the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA). They must maintain close coordination with maneuver units and must depend on the supported unit for protection against ground attack. At night and during adverse weather, teams should move into positions within a unit's defense perimeter. If teams come under enemy ground attack, they will have to defend themselves with their small arms. When teams are outside of defense perimeters, they are vulnerable to attack by guerrillas and other enemy elements operating behind friendly lines.

    Enforce light discipline. During periods of reduced visibility, any light (even filtered flashlights and burning cigarettes) can be seen for great distances. At such times the use of lights must be strictly controlled. Lights needed for maintenance and other activities must be shielded from enemy view.

    Enforce noise discipline. Soldiers must talk and move only when necessary. At night, it is particularly important to talk in a low voice and to move slowly. Don't slam hatches or doors on armored vehicles. Don't start or move the team vehicle unless it is part of a plan or tactical operation.

    Communications security (COMSEC) denies or delays unauthorized persons from gaining information of value from monitoring communications. COMSEC measures are used by the MANPAD team to accomplish this purpose. These measures include the following:

  • Using authentication to insure that the other communicating station is authorized.

  • Restricting the use of radio transmitters.

  • Using proper radiotelephone procedures.

  • Limiting transmission to official traffic.

  • Selecting a radio site with a hill or other obstacle between it and the enemy.

  • Organizing messages before transmission to reduce transmission time.

  • Using low power.

  • Using a directional antenna.

    Team personnel can expect that the enemy will attempt to disrupt their radio communications through an intensive jamming effort. Jamming is the deliberate radiation of energy to prevent or degrade the receipt of information by a receiver. It is the deliberate production of radio interference. It can be likened, in a sense, to static on a TV set. The static interferes with the radio's receiver but not the transmitter. Antijamming procedures to be used include the following:

  • Recognize the jamming. If interference is heard, do not immediately assume jamming. Symptoms of jamming are often similar to other types of radio interference. Try to determine what is causing the interference. Disconnect the receiver antenna to see if a signal is being generated internally by the receiver. If the interference decreases with the antenna removed, the interference is probably external and may be jamming.

  • Continue to operate. Radio operations should continue in a normal manner once jamming has been identified. This is to prevent the jammer from learning the effect of his jamming.

  • Reduce the transmitter power. Transmitting on low power reduces the opportunities for the enemy to hear the transmission. Use only enough transmitting power to be heard within the net but not enough to be heard by the enemy. Some radios (AN/PRC-77) do not have multiple power settings. To reduce power, the radiation pattern must be modified. This can be easily done by carrying the radio upside down with the antenna tip a foot above the ground. This technique will usually provide a good strong signal within a radius of 5 kilometer. As a last resort and when authorized, change to an alternate frequency.

  • Report the jamming. As soon as jamming is recognized, a report should be sent to the next higher headquarters. Use an alternate means of communications for this report. A jamming report format is included in the CEOI.


    Every soldier should be aware of the destructive potential of enemy mines. Mines can inflict severe injury to troops and equipment. They can effectively prevent troops from entering certain areas and channel them into areas with concentrated enemy fire. Supply lines may be disrupted and convoys forced to bunch together due to damaged vehicles.

    MANPAD teams supporting maneuver units frequently find themselves alone and in unfamiliar areas. These areas may contain mines. For this reason, team chiefs and gunners should take protective measures, be aware of likely mine locations, and be able to recognize the tell-tale signs of enemy mines.

    Where to look and what to look for in recognizing a mine's location is an expertise that may come in very handy. Signs indicating possible mine locations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Mud smears, grass, sticks, dirt, or other unusual material on roads.

  • Fresh asphalt or other signs of road repairs.

  • Markers, stakes, or other signs used to identify certain areas.

  • Wires leading away from roads.

  • Dead vegetation in small or scattered areas.

  • Civilians avoiding certain areas.

    MANPAD personnel should avoid suspected mined areas. However, if your team encounters a mined area, do not panic. Notify your next higher level of command immediately as specified in your unit TSOP. Probing for mines is a tedious process and should not normally be attempted by MANPAD personnel. Do not probe for mines with metallic objects, as some mines are triggered magnetically. Additional information on mine warfare is contained in FM 20-32.


    Unit TSOPs prescribe specific warning signals for ground, air, air assault, and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defense. The signals must be understood by all personnel. Periodic rehearsals and drills should be conducted to insure that the signals are understood and that the method of dissemination works (refer to appendix F for warning signals).

    To survive, remember the following:

  • Stay alert--see the enemy first. Seeing him first gives you the edge in the engagement. Don't lose sight of him.

  • Select a position that is hidden from enemy ground observation.

  • Move into positions during darkness.

  • Take advantage of terrain to provide cover and concealment for the weapon.

  • Do not expose anything that shines. Reflection of light from a shiny surface attracts attention and can be seen for great distances.

  • Use garnish netting, pattern-painting, and natural materials to camouflage the position.

  • Blend equipment into natural background.

  • Erase or cover tracks.

  • Keep position litter free. Be sure to replace dunnage (packing material) and barrier bags from the missile-round container into the container after the missile-round has been removed.

  • Report detected mines immediately to the next higher level of command IAW unit SOP.

    How MANPAD teams survive an NBC attack is dependent on the degree of NBC training and the availability and proper use of protective equipment (refer to appendix I for operations in an NBC environment).

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