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MANPAD in an NBC Environment

All NBC weapons have an inherent residual effect that presents a hazard to both enemy and friendly forces. Nuclear bursts create local contamination of an area around ground zero and may produce radioactive fallout which can contaminate thousands of square kilometers. Some chemical and biological weapons create airborne hazards which can be carried downwind for long distances while others can contaminate terrain with long-term effectiveness. Areas affected by airborne residual effects are determined primarily by the speed and direction of the wind in the target area and the persistency of the weapon used.


No treaty or international agreement prohibits the use of nuclear weapons in warfare. An enemy might use such weapons from the start, or he might attack in a conventional manner first, and use nuclear weapons later on. Threat forces have nuclear weapons and, if they are employed, you must be prepared to fight on a nuclear battlefield.


Threat forces plan for the use of nuclear weapons in both offensive and defensive operations. Nuclear attacks are combined with conventional fires and air attacks, and are exploited rapidly by ground forces. Nuclear weapons can also be used with chemical and biological weapons.

Threat nuclear tactics in the offense and defense will be similar to his conventional tactics. The threat will try to overwhelm the defense with the weight and speed of his attack, both by day and by night. To reduce the risk of open flanks, threat forces will use nuclear weapons to neutralize the terrain dominating his advance. To avoid presenting worthwhile nuclear targets, he will disperse his forces. Concentration of his forces will only be for short periods of time and only when necessary. He may close with the defender not only to destroy him, but also to insure that the defender cannot use nuclear weapons without endangering his own forces.

The following are primary nuclear targets for threat attacks:

  • Committed enemy units and reserves.

  • Enemy nuclear systems and field artillery.

  • ADA.

  • Selected command and control elements.


    Operating in a Nuclear Environment

    Operating in Biological and Chemical Environments

    NBC Alarms, Emergency Reports, and Warning Signs

    MANPAD teams will fight in a nuclear environment essentially the same as in a conventional environment. Combat service support and communications may be disrupted more than in a conventional environment. Teams may also be isolated for extended periods of time. Otherwise, conventional MANPAD tactics are unchanged for use in a nuclear environment.


    Even when used in low yields, nuclear weapons can quickly and decisively change combat power ratios and the course of a battle. Yield is a term that refers to the energy released when a nuclear weapon explodes. It is measured in terms of kilotons (KT) or megatons (MT) of TNT needed to produce the same effect. One KT equals 2,000,000 pounds of TNT and 1 MT equals 2,000,000,000 pounds of TNT.

    A 1-KT nuclear weapon has about the same killing power against troops in the open as a single volley of improved conventional munitions from seven artillery battalions. However, the 1-KT weapon is much more effective against troops in individual fighting positions or Chaparrals, as compared to the artillery option. In this case, the 1-KT weapon has 20 to 30 times the lethal area coverage of the same artillery volley.

    How do nuclear weapons achieve such tremendous killing power? Casualties and damage to equipment are caused by one or more of the various nuclear effects resulting from the nuclear burst.


    At a fraction of a second after nuclear detonation, a high-pressure wave develops and moves outward from the fireball. This blast wave is the cause of most destruction from a nuclear burst. The front of the wave travels quickly away from the fireball, acting like a moving wall of highly compressed air.

    After the burst, when the fireball is no longer visible, the blast wave is still moving faster than the speed of sound. Strong winds are associated with the blast wave. These winds can have peak velocities of several hundred miles per hour. The overpressure (pressure more than normal air pressure) and the winds are the major causes of blast damage. The crushing overpressure can cause death or injury to personnel and damage to equipment. The high-speed winds can pick up and throw objects such as tree limbs, people, and debris, turning them into lethal missiles.

    Thermal Radiation -- Heat

    Less than a millionth of a second after burst, extreme heat generated by the nuclear fission/fusion process forms the fireball; a hot, bright, round mass of air and nuclear residue. To an observer 80 kilometers away, the fireball would seem many times brighter than the sun at noon. The heat radiated from the fireball adds to the damage of the nuclear burst by starting fires in buildings, forests, and fields.

    These fires spread quickly among the debris produced by the blast. At distances from ground zero where blast and nuclear radiation are minor, the heat from the fireball can still burn exposed skin. This distance, however, is highly dependent on terrain and weather.

    Thermal Radiation -- Light

    The fireball is also a source of extremely bright light. This light can cause temporary blindness. At night, temporary loss of vision will last for longer periods. Persons looking directly at the fireball will likely suffer permanent blindness. This is caused by burns within the eye itself. The distance at which thermal radiation can cause burns is dependent on the terrain, weather, yield, and type of burst (that is, surface, low burst).

    Nuclear Radiation -- Initial

    Initial nuclear radiation is that emitted within the first minute after burst. It primarily consists of neutrons and gamma rays.

    Initial radiation is very hard to protect against. This is because personnel may receive lethal or incapacitating doses before they can take any protective actions. Initial radiation effects depend on the amount (dose) of radiation received. The term centrigray(cGy) or rad is used to express radiation dose levels. For example, an active soldier suddenly exposed to 650 rads will at first show no symptoms, but will lose some of his effectiveness in about 2 hours. He may die in a few weeks. Conversely, exposure in the 100 cGy (rads) region has little effect. Other radiation effects based on cGy dose levels are shown in the table below.

    Nuclear Radiation -- Residual

    Residual nuclear radiation occurs after the first minute following a nuclear burst. It can consist of fallout, rainout, washout, or neutron-induced gamma activity. Fallout is the primary residual hazard. It is produced when material from the earth is drawn into the fireball and vaporized. This material is then combined with nuclear wastes and condensed into particles that fall back to earth. The fallout area can be very small or cover thousands of square kilometers. The fallout dose rate can vary from a minor level to one extremely dangerous for unprotected personnel.

    Electromagnetic Pulse

    Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a short duration radio frequency pulse. It is produced by the release of gamma rays from the nuclear burst. The strength and extent of the EMP field depends on the amount of gamma radiation, burst height, and atmospheric conditions.

    EMP does not affect personnel. However, most radio and radar equipment can be damaged by EMP. This is because EMP energy is higher than the circuit and component capabilities of your equipment. EMP damage can be temporary or permanent. It can range from burned out fuses, transistors, and coils to the destruction of complete power supplies.

    The frequencies generated by EMP cover most of the usable frequency band, from extremely low frequencies to super high frequencies. Most EMP energy is in the high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF) range.

    Army tactical equipment is divided into four categories based on its vulnerability to EMP. The table below shows the equipment categories and their EMP vulnerabilities.

    Nuclear Blackout

    Nuclear weapons produce one last phenomena known as nuclear blackout. Nuclear blackout is the result of the blast fireball, itself, and of large dust clouds which may also be created. It can last from a few seconds to many hours, depending on the altitude and yield of the burst, and the frequency of victim equipment.

    Nuclear blackout affects radio and radar by--

  • Refraction (bending of the waves).

  • Absorption (consuming of the waves).

  • Scattering (waves scattered in all directions).

    All of the above result in partial or total loss of the information being transmitted.


    The nuclear weapon, although tremendously powerful, is not a weapon against which there is no defense. The more you know about nuclear weapons, the more effective you will be on the battlefield. More importantly, the more you know, the greater will be your chances for survival.

    The three classes of nuclear protective measures are actions before the attack, during the attack, and after the attack.

    Protective Actions Before the Attack

    You must do two things to prepare yourself and your equipment for a nuclear attack. First, you must shelter yourself and your equipment. Second, you must further protect your equipment against EMP damage. Remember, the next war may be nuclear, so you must take these precautions when operating on a future battlefield.

    The best defense against a nuclear attack is to dig in. Unit defensive positions must be prepared whenever possible. These can vary from individual fighting positions to improved defensive positions. Certain common materials and types of construction provide good shielding against gamma rays and neutrons. They also provide protection against blast and heat.

    A well-built fighting position gives good protection against both initial and residual radiation. A deep fighting position gives more protection than a shallow one. A fighting position with overhead cover is even better. This will reduce the amount of thermal and initial radiation that reaches you and will also prevent the entrance of fallout. If you cover your fighting position, make sure that the cover is strong enough to withstand the blast wave.

    Tunnels, caves, and storm drains also provide good shelter unless there is a nearby subsurface collapse. Culverts and ditches can be used in an emergency, but they offer only partial protection. Buildings are usually not strong enough to provide effective shelter. However, if you can find the basement of a reinforced concrete or steel-framed building, it will provide good protection against all effects. If you take shelter in a building, avoid the areas around windows and other openings.

    Individual clothing, equipment, and other items must be kept in fighting positions, or in a separate covered hole. None of this equipment can be left unsecured because the blast wave will convert it into deadly missiles. Unit supplies, especially explosives and flammables, must be dispersed within the unit area and protected or shielded. Debris must be kept to a minimum and not be allowed to collect where it could catch fire. Objects such as radios, generators, tools, and fuel cans must always be secured to reduce the danger of casualties from flying objects.

    Protective measures taken for EMP before a nuclear attack are critical to unit survival. Cables, wires, antenna systems, and all other metal structures are good electrical conductors, and all absorb EMP energy. The term used is "coupling." Material that couples with electromagnetic energy can absorb enough EMP energy to induce voltage and currents. The key to protection is to develop techniques of equipment installation and operation that reduce EMP coupling.

    EMP can enter electrical systems through intentional antennas, unintentional antennas, and direct penetration. Intentional antennas are standard radio and radar antennas. Unintentional antennas can be any device (masts, wiring loops, cables) that can act as an antenna even though it is not meant to be one. In direct penetration, internal electronic components act as loop antennas, allowing strong electromagnetic fields to be created inside equipment.

    Protective Actions During the Attack

    Enemy nuclear attacks can come without warning. Your first indication of an attack will be a very bright flash of light. Heat and initial nuclear radiation arrive with the light and the blast will follow in a few seconds. You will have very little time -- protective actions must be automatic and instinctive. Unit activities will be suspended for a short time while all personnel take cover. If you are out in the open when a nuclear burst occurs--

  • Immediately drop flat on the ground (face down) or to the bottom of a fighting position. Face away from the fireball. Any depression in the ground will provide you some protection if you can get to it immediately.

  • Close your eyes. Protect exposed skin by putting your hands and arms under your body. Keep your helmet on, it will protect you from flying debris.

  • Remain down until the blast wave has passed and debris has stopped falling. Stay protected until the negative phase of the blast wave has also passed. As the blast wave passes a position; there is a resulting decrease in air pressure to a point below normal atmospheric pressure. This, in effect, creates a vacuum. Air will rush in to fill the vacuum, causing high winds from the direction opposite that of the direction of travel of the blast wave.

  • Stay calm, check for injury and equipment damage, and prepare to continue your mission.

  • Count the number of seconds between the flash of light and bang, if possible, for inclusion in an NBC 1 report.

    Protective Actions After the Attack

    After a nuclear attack, secure and organize your equipment, repair and reinforce your position, and help any casualties. To protect yourself against fallout, begin to prepare or improve your position. Designated persons will begin radiological monitoring. When warned of fallout, take cover and remain protected until the fallout has stopped or until you receive further orders.

    If nuclear weapons have been used and you have no radiac equipment, you face a very real danger of exposing yourself to radiation without knowing it. If you have seen a nuclear burst, stay away from that area. If you see what looks like sand, dust, or ashes falling from the sky, assume that it is fallout. Find a good shelter or dig in quickly and cover your position and equipment. If dust particles make breathing difficult, a handkerchief or cloth can be worn over your nose and mouth. The M17 series protective mask cannot be used as a dust respirator.

    When the dust stops falling, scrape or brush the dust away from the edges of your shelter. Stay in your position for at least 24 hours, and then move to a friendly position as fast as possible. If you are separated from your FU, try to rejoin your unit or another friendly unit as soon as possible. Your unit may be ordered to move to a less hazardous area if the radiation dose reaches a dangerous level after fallout is complete. However, movement to another area is never based solely on a fallout prediction, because the exact location of fallout cannot be reliably forecast. If you come upon an area where many trees have been blown down, change your course and stay away from that area. The same is true if you find a large crater or an area of ground which looks glassy. Keep in mind that you cannot tell when you are in a radiologically contaminated area unless you have radiac equipment.

    It may be necessary for your unit to enter and/or remain in an area receiving fallout. If so, quickly dig in, sweep the fallout away from your fighting position, and cover up with your poncho until fallout is complete. The period of time a unit may stay in a contaminated area depends on the total dose of radiation the troops can receive and still remain effective, the intensity of the radiation, and the protection available.

    Take remedial actions for nuclear blackout. These actions are extremely limited. However, remember that nuclear blackout only affects certain areas and lasts for only a limited time. For radio blackout--

  • Use wire. This may be a simple solution since nuclear blackout does not affect wire systems. However, remember that wire systems are extremely susceptible to EMP.

  • Use routing through a manual relay or retransmission station to bypass the affected region.

  • Use assigned alternate frequencies. Use higher frequencies if the blackout is caused by ionization. If it appears that dust is the problem, use lower frequencies if other corrective measures do not work.


    Fallout prediction is used to estimate fallout areas from a nuclear burst before the actual arrival of the fallout. The two types of prediction procedures are: detailed fallout prediction and simplified fallout prediction. A detailed prediction is normally prepared at your major command headquarters. It will be sent to your unit in the NBC 3 report format (see FM 21-40). A simplified fallout prediction is usually prepared at battery level using the M5A2 radiological fallout area predictor (see FM 3-22 and TM 3-6665-304-10). Fallout predictions are used by commanders to--

  • Warn or alert subordinate units to expect fallout.

  • Aid in tactical planning.

  • Plan radiological surveys.


    Too much radiation can make you sick or perhaps kill you. You cannot see, feel, taste, smell, or hear radiation, so special instruments must be used to detect it. This is known as radiological monitoring, and is performed to detect radiation and measure its dose rate. At squad and platoon levels, the IM-174/PD radiacmeter, IM-93/UD dosimeter, radiac meter IM-185 and radiacmeter IM-185()UD are used in radiological monitoring shown in the following illustrations.

    It is the section chief's or team chief's responsibility to have his section or team operating area checked for radiation. Designated team members will use their IM-174/PD radiacmeter to detect any radiation and measure the dose rates. Monitoring techniques, correlation factor data, and recording forms are described in FM 3-12.


    First aid measures for nuclear casualties are limited to those for burns caused by thermal radiation and injuries caused by the blast wave. There are no immediate life saving measures for radiation sickness or blindness. Detailed procedures for the first aid treatment of specific types of injuries are given in FM 21-11.


    Nuclear fallout is a solid material and is not absorbed by equipment. The most rapid method of decontaminating vehicles, weapons, and other equipment is by brushing off the loose particles and then washing them off. Vehicles can be washed with steam or water and scrubbed with detergent. Decontamination stations may also be made available at battery or battalion level for mass decontamination of vehicles.


    The threat is the best-equipped, best trained, and most heavily armed force in the world in terms of chemical warfare. It is fully capable of producing and employing biological agents on a massive scale. Threat forces can operate either in toxic areas imposed on them or to exploit their own use of chemical agents. Their troops train and equip for chemical warfare as if it were inevitable -- so must you!


    Threat doctrine describes chemical agents as "weapons of mass destruction" and treats their use as a basic part of warfare. It emphasizes the use of chemical weapons in close coordination with conventional and nuclear weapons.

    The threat will use chemical strikes to paralyze our defensive capacity and logistic support. Specific areas may be attacked to the point of saturation. Likely targets probably will include artillery and ADA units, troops in reserve, airfields, and supply depots. In order to maintain their high-speed advance, threat forces will attempt to bypass or cross contaminated areas in sealed tanks and personnel carriers.


    Protective actions against biological and chemical agents depend on the threat, mission, situation, and weather. As with nuclear protective actions, chemical and biological protective actions fall into three categories: actions before the attack, during the attack, and after the attack.

    Protective Actions Before the Attack

    A mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) is designated for your unit by your commander for combat situations. The MOPP balances mission requirements against chemical protection requirements and other factors such as temperature and work rate. Essentially, the four levels of MOPP tell you how prepared you must be for a chemical attack. However, if your unit is attacked with chemical agents without warning, go immediately to the highest state of preparedness (MOPP 4).

    Based on the MOPP, you will be directed to wear protective clothing and equipment as shown in the illustration. Heavy work rate activities while wearing protective clothing should be done in the coolest part of the day. The protective clothing and equipment include the M17-series protective mask and protective clothing.

    The M17-series protective mask, when properly fitted and worn with the hood, gives protection against all known enemy chemical agents. It also provides protection against biological agents. Accessories and components provided for use with the mask include those items shown in the following illustration.

    Chemical protective clothing is available for wear in different weather conditions and for special purposes. In addition to the M17-series protective mask, MANPAD personnel will normally be issued a chemical overgarment, protective gloves, and overboots.

    Even in a full MOPP status you must remain alert and constantly aware of the chemical threat. You must know your unit's chemical alarm and signals and how to react to have the most protection.

    Your equipment and supplies must be protected against liquid agents. Keep them organized and covered. Fighting position covers, brush, ponchos, shelter halves, or any other material can be used for this. Wear full protective clothing when sleeping and cover yourself and your equipment before going to sleep.

    Have an alert and questioning attitude toward any indication of biological attack. Although respect for biological agents is important, don't have an unreasonable fear of disease. Don't repeat or exaggerate rumors about biological warfare. Observe the following preventive measures to reduce the effects of potential exposure to biological agents:

  • Practice good hygiene.

  • Clean all wounds and cuts well.

  • Keep your immunization shots up-to-date.

    Protective Action During the Attack

    Whenever you recognize or are alerted to a chemical or biological attack--

  • (If not already wearing MOPP level 4 clothing) hold your breath, put on your protective mask.

  • Give the alarm (per SOP), put on your protective clothing.

  • Continue your mission.

  • Keep all protective clothing buttoned up and wear your mask until the ALL CLEAR signal is given.

    In addition if--

  • The situation permits, take cover.

  • Symptoms of nerve agent poisoning appear, use your Mark 1 nerve agent antidote against it. These kits are used for nerve agent first aid. The individual soldier will carry three of them in his protective mask carrier. However, in very cold weather, the injectors must be carried inside your clothing to prevent them from freezing.

  • Your skin becomes contaminated, use the individual decontamination kit M258A1. The M258A1 allows you to decontaminate your skin and selected personal equipment. Do not use the M258A1 on your protective overgarments.

  • Your eyes are contaminated, flush them with water from your canteen.

  • The attack is a spray attack, protect your body and equipment with a poncho, shelter half, or any other covering material.

  • The agent is identified, follow other first aid and decontamination actions prescribed for the type of agent used.

    Protective Actions After the Attack

    After the attack, remain masked and continue your mission. Give first aid to any casualties in your immediate area and report to your immediate supervisor. If exposed skin was contaminated, decontaminate it immediately. As time permits, check your clothing and equipment for possible contamination, and decontaminate equipment and reimpregnate clothing as required.

    Do not unmask after an attack until authorized by your commander. If no leader is present, follow the unmasking procedures in your SOP. These will include the use of a chemical agent detector kit and will also be applicable to situations where no such kit is available.


    Biological agents are microorganisms that cause disease among personnel, animals and plants. To a lesser extent, they can also cause deterioration of material. It is not necessary for biological agents to kill to be effective. Their purpose may only be to reduce the ability of enemy forces to fight. This can be done by killing or incapacitating troops and by causing food or supply shortage.

    Biological agents consist of groups of living microorganisms such as rickettsia, protozoa, and viruses. Most are easily destroyed by sunlight or weather within hours, but some can remain inactive for longer periods of time. Most enemy biological agents are disseminated in aerosol form. This allows them to be spread rapidly by the wind. Others are transmitted by insects (vectors) such as mosquitoes and ticks.

    Toxins are also considered in the class of biological agents. These can be derived from plants, animals or bacteria. The "Yellow Rain" toxins which witnesses and victims described as toxic rain (because the agent was released from aircraft as yellow powder or liquid) used in Southeast and Southwest Asia consisted of a mixture of toxins belonging to the tricothecene mycotoxins family. The tricothecene mycotoxins are found under certain conditions in cereal grain. There are also neurotoxins such as botulinum toxin which is occasionally found in food poisoning. Depending on the type of toxin, concentration, and exposure, toxins can be used as lethal agents or incapacitants. Some of the neurotoxins are several thousand times more lethal than CW nerve agents, such as GB. Most toxins are easily stored, stable for long periods of time, and remain effective after dissemination. The symptoms associated with the tricothecene-type toxins include any or all of the following: dizziness, severe itching or tingling of the skin, formation of multiple small, hard blisters, nausea, coughing up blood, shock, and death. Some toxins cause complete incapacitation due to nausea and vomiting, while others such as neurotoxins can kill within less than a minute. See FM 21-40 or FM 3-100 for further details regarding toxins.

    The effects of biological agents are generally the same as for the diseases they are associated with, such as typhoid or influenza. These effects can be minor, such as a common cold; or prolonged illnesses which can result in death, such as plague. TM 3-216 contains complete descriptions of diseases that can be produced by possible biological agents.


    Biological attacks are difficult to recognize. However, they can be detected by alert troops and the intelligence sources of major commands. Since sunlight reduces the effects of biological agents, the most likely time for a biological attack is in the evening and early morning hours. Cloudy and foggy days are also ideal for launching biological attacks.

    The means of delivering biological agents can signal an attack. The appearance of seemingly ineffectual explosive bomblets and missiles; aircraft with spray tanks; and generators may signal a biological attack. An abnormal number of vectors, such as mosquitoes, flies, mites, ticks, and lice may also be carrying the agents. On the other hand, other subtler measures such as using enemy infiltrators to contaminate water and food supplies may escape early detection. The following illustration shows some of the alerting signs that could signal a biological attack.

    If a biological attack is detected, stay masked and buttoned up in your protective clothing. Drink and eat only from sealed containers. "Yellow rain" or other types of toxins cannot be detected by standard CW detection devices. Individual defense measures normally associated with a persistent chemical agent attack will protect personnel against toxins; that is, the wearing of the protective mask with hood, overgarment, gloves, and booties and implementation of MOPP. Upon recognition of an attack or onset of symptoms, personnel should immediately mask and put on all protective equipment (MOPP 4).


    Chemical agents are used to kill, injure, or incapacitate personnel. The effects produced by these agents are dose-dependent. This means that increased doses produce a corresponding increase in the severity of the effects.

    Through the use of various delivery systems, threat forces can initiate and sustain large-scale chemical warfare operations. They can deliver this chemical ordnance in a variety of ways, from mines and grenades to using tactical aircraft. The following illustration presents some of these delivery means.

    If a chemical agent is detected, perform the following procedures as quickly as possible:

  • Stop breathing.

  • Put on your protective mask.

  • Clear and check your mask.

  • Resume normal breathing.

  • Sound the NBC alarm (per SOP).

  • Put on your protective clothing.

  • Remove your mask only after an ALL CLEAR signal is given and you are ordered by appropriate authority to remove it.

    Other actions will vary with the chemical agent being used. The four types of chemical agents and their corresponding first aid measures are described in the following paragraphs. Detailed techniques for chemical agent first aid are listed in FM 21-11.

    Nerve Agents

    Nerve agents directly affect the nervous system and are highly toxic in both liquid and vapor form. Nerve agent vapor is readily absorbed by the eyes and by tissues in the nose, throat, and lungs. The liquid readily penetrates the skin, eyes, and tissues of the body. Its effects are similar whether inhaled or absorbed.

    The following are symptoms of nerve agent exposure:

  • Tightness of the chest and difficult breathing.

  • Excessive sweating and drooling.

  • Nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.

  • Dimness of vision and pinpointing of the pupils of the eyes.

  • Convulsions and death.

  • Unexplained runny nose.

  • Sudden headache.

  • Localized twitching in an area of exposed/contaminated skin.

    Most nerve agents are quick acting when inhaled with some symptoms developing in 1 to 2 minutes. They act quicker when absorbed through damaged skin. When the eyes are exposed to nerve agent vapor, the pupils will become pinpointed. However, this pinpointing may not occur for 10 minutes or longer if exposure was to a low concentration vapor. When only the skin is exposed to liquid nerve agent, the pupils may remain normal or be only slightly reduced in size. The casualties caused by nerve agents can range from mild disability to death. This will depend on the dose received and the adequacy and speed of first aid treatment.

    If you or one of your buddies experience any or all of the mild symptoms of nerve agent poisoning, you must perform first aid measures immediately.

    Self aid. Immediately put on the protective mask. Remove a nerve agent antidote kit Mark I from the protective mask carrier and inject yourself in the thigh with the two injectors from the kit. Use the small injector first. Hold the injector against the thigh for at least 10 seconds. Follow this procedure with the second injector (large auto-injector) on the other thigh. Remove the injectors and place each injector needle through the pocket flap of the overgarment and bend the needle to form a hook. Massage the area of injection if time permits. If you experience dryness in the mouth and a rapid heartbeat in about 5 minutes after injecting a set, you have received enough antidote. However, if symptoms of nerve agent poisoning persist or recur after 10-15 minutes, you may inject another set of auto-injectors from the Mark I nerve agent antidote kit. The maximum number of sets you may administer to yourself is three. The administration of more than three sets must be authorized by medical support personnel.

    Buddy aid. If an individual experiences severe symptoms after nerve agent poisoning and is unable to treat himself, another soldier will be required to perform buddy aid measures. If your buddy experiences nerve agent poisoning, mask him. Using the victim's nerve agent antidote kits Mark I, administer three sets immediately and in rapid succession in the thigh muscles of the legs. Hook the expended auto-injectors to his overgarment pocket flap. Administer the back pressure arm lift method of artificial respiration if breathing is difficult or has ceased. Seek medical attention for the casualty.

    Blister Agents

    Blister agents come in liquid or vapor form. They may appear as colorless or dark brown oily droplets. The agents are effective even in small amounts and produce delayed effects. For example, a pinhead-size drop of mustard agent (one of the most common types of blister agents) can produce a blister 1 inch in diameter. The effects are often more serious than what is first seen. Exposure to some agents may go unnoticed because they usually do not cause immediate pain or signs of injury. Unprotected troops exposed to low vapor concentrations for long periods of time can eventually become casualties.

    Primarily, blister agents affect the eyes and lungs and blister the skin. However, they can burn or blister any part of the body they contact. The degree of this effect depends on the type and concentration of the agent, the victim's activity, and the exposure time. Some types of blister agents are painless, others sting, and still others cause burning welts.

    Blister agents which come in direct contact with the eyes will produce marked effects such as redness, inflammation, and temporary or permanent blindness.

    They are quickly absorbed through the skin. The affected area may redden anytime up to 12 hours after exposure, depending on the concentration and weather conditions. Blisters may appear in a day or less following the reddening. Healing time varies from 6 days to as much as weeks in severe cases, particularly those involving moist skin areas, such as the crotch and armpits.

    Inhalation of blister agents will cause serious damage to tissues in the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs.

    The main danger from blisters is infection. If a blister agent has come into contact with your eyes, flush your eyes immediately with water. Decontaminate any agent on your skin using the M258A1 decontamination kit (described later in this chapter) or by using soap and water.

    Blood Agents

    Blood agents come in vapor (gas) form.

    Individual reactions to these agents are headache, dizziness, pink skin color, eye and nose irritation, nausea, convulsions, slow or rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and coma.

    If the symptoms of blood agent poisoning appear, you should immediately crush two amyl nitrite ampules and place them inside the face piece of the mask, next to the eyes. Repeat this every 4 to 5 minutes until normal breathing returns, or a total of eight ampules have been used. Medical personnel must approve the use of more than eight ampules. Artificial respiration may be necessary in some cases.

    Choking Agents

    Choking agents are usually disseminated as gases and are taken into the body by breathing. The victim usually feels no initial effects from choking agents. Delayed effects usually occur 2 to 4 hours after exposure.

    Choking agents affect the respiratory system by damaging the lungs and, in severe cases, causing the lungs to fill with fluid. This causes a victim to literally drown in his own fluids. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Rapid and shallow breathing.

  • Painful coughing and choking.

  • Tightness in the chest.

  • Nausea and headache.

  • Watering of the eyes.

  • Discomfort and fatigue.

  • Shock and death.

    If the symptoms for a choking agent develop, let another crew member or buddy know. Take cover and keep warm. Move only if absolutely necessary and await medical attention.


    Chemical agents can be detected by use of an automated chemical agent alarm system and the M256 chemical agent detection kit.

    Automatic Chemical Agent Alarm

    The automatic chemical agent alarm is an automatic miniature chemistry laboratory which continuously samples the air. It detects persistent and nonpersistent threat agents when they are in vapor or inhalable aerosol form. The two major components in the alarm system -- M43 detector unit and M42 alarm unit -- are shown in the following illustration. The alarm sounds when the detector discovers nerve agent (G or V), blood agent (Cyanide compounds), or choking agents (Phosgene). The alarm system will be issued by MTOE. TM 3-6665-225-12 provides instructions for the use of the alarm by operator and organizational personnel.

    M256 Chemical Agent Detector Kit

    This kit detects dangerous vapor concentrations of all known nerve, blister, and blood agents. It can detect residual surface contamination. Detailed operating instructions are contained in the kit. The kit is used when the unit is under chemical attack, when a chemical attack is reported to be imminent, or when the presence of a chemical agent is suspected. See TM 3-6665-307-10 for further information on this kit.

    ABC-M8 Chemical Agent Detector Paper

    A booklet of this paper is part of each detector kit and is also issued to individuals. The sheets are impregnated with chemicals that turn different colors when in contact with liquid chemical agents. A color chart is included in the booklet to aid in interpreting the test.

    Liquid Agent Detector Paper M9

    This adhesive-backed gray-green paper indicates the presence of a liquid chemical agent. The detector paper is worn by individuals and/or attached to vehicles or other pieces of equipment. The paper will detect all known liquid chemical agents under all types of weather conditions. It will not detect vapors. The paper will replace M8 detector paper except for that which is included as a component in the M256 kit and M34 sampling kit.


    Chemical decontamination includes the prompt removal of agents from the eyes and the decontamination of the skin. Decontamination must be performed automatically and without orders when required.

    Individual Decontamination

    Chemical decontamination is done by removing, neutralizing, absorbing, or weathering of the chemical agent. If you detect a chemical agent on your skin or a buddy sees it and tells you, act immediately.

    Face contaminated. If your face is contaminated, follow these procedures:

  • Snap open your decon kit. Pull out one DECON 1 WIPE packet by its tab.

  • Fold packet on solid line marked BEND, then unfold.

  • Tear open quickly at notch, remove wipe and fully unfold.


    Poisonous and caustic hazard. Keep out of eyes and mouth.

  • Hold your breath, close eyes, and lift hood and mask from chin.

  • Continue to hold your breath. Wipe your face quickly.

  • Quickly wipe inside of mask which touches your face.

  • Drop wipe to ground.

  • Reseal, clear, and check mask.

  • Pull out one DECON 2 WIPE packet. Crush the enclosed glass ampules between thumb and fingers or smash the glass ampules with the palm of the hand.

  • Fold packet on solid line marked CRUSH AND BEND, then unfold.

  • Tear open quickly at notch and remove wipe.

  • Hold your breath, close eyes, and lift hood and mask from chin.


    Poisonous and caustic hazard. Keep out of eyes and mouth.

  • Continue to hold your breath. Wipe your face quickly.

  • Quickly wipe inside of mask which touches your face.

  • Drop wipe to ground.

  • Reseal, clear, and check mask.

    Face not contaminated. If your face is not contaminated, follow these procedures:

  • Snap open your decon kit. Pull out one DECON 1 WIPE packet by its tab.

  • Fold packet on solid line marked BEND, then unfold.

  • Tear open quickly at notch, remove wipe and fully unfold.

  • Wipe skin for 1 minute.

  • Drop wipe to ground.

  • Pull out one DECON 2 WIPE packet. Crush enclosed glass ampules between thumb and fingers or smash glass ampules with palm of hand.

  • Fold packet on solid line marked CRUSH AND BEND, then unfold.

  • Tear open quickly at notch and remove wipe.

  • Fully open wipe. Let the encased crushed ampules fall to the ground.

  • Wipe contaminated skin for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Drop wipe to ground.

    Equipment Decontamination

    MANPAD personnel are provided calcium hypochloride and M11 decontaminating apparatuses for decontaminating their unit equipment.

    Biological agent decontamination. To decontaminate vehicles with biological agents, use any of the following methods:

  • Apply calcium hypochloride. Leave on 30 minutes, then remove by washing with a stream of water.

  • Wash with detergent and high-pressure water stream.

  • Steam clean, using detergent.

  • Weathering (sunlight and weather will quickly kill or incapacitate most biological agents).

    Chemical agent decontamination. Lightly contaminated vehicles may be decontaminated by airing. Each tactical vehicle is authorized one M11 decontamination apparatus that contains 1 1/3 quarts of DS-2 decontaminating agent. It is used to partially decontaminate parts of the vehicle that must be touched, such as controls.

    A complete decontamination of a vehicle is done using DS-2, soapy water, solvents, or slurry.

    Key weapons are decontaminated using DS-2, soapy water, solvents, or slurry. Ammunition is decontaminated with DS-2 solution, wiped with gasoline-soaked rags, and then dried. After decontamination, weapons are disassembled, washed, rinsed, dried, and oiled to prevent corrosion.

    Optical instruments are decontaminated by blotting with rags, wiping with lens cleaning solvent, and then allowing time for drying.

    C-E is decontaminated by airing, weathering, or hot air (if available). The metal parts of field telephones and radios are decontaminated with DS-2 and then wiped with rags.


    The US, along with other NATO nations, has adopted a standard method of disseminating emergency warnings to its land forces. The following emergency warnings are provided for use by MANPAD personnel. A complete listing of emergency warnings is contained in FM 21-40 and STANAG 2047.


    These are given in all cases as soon as an attack or hazard is detected. They include the following:

  • Rapid and continuous beating on any metal object or any other object which produces a loud noise.

  • A succession of very short blasts on a vehicle horn or other suitable device.

  • A broken warbling siren; for example, 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off.

  • Sounding of automatic chemical alarm.

  • Other sound signals as augmented by SOP.


    The warning and reporting of threat or unidentified NBC attacks and resulting hazardous areas are made by telephone or message according to the provisions of STANAG 2103.

    There are a total of six NBC reports. The reports are used as follows:

  • NBC 1 Observer's initial report, giving basic data.

  • NBC 2 Report used for passing evaluated data.

  • NBC 3 Report used for immediate warning of expected contamination.

  • NBC 4 Report used for radiation dose-rate measurements.

  • NBC 5 Report used for areas of contamination.

  • NBC 6 Report used for detailed information on chemical or biological attack.

    The following illustration lists the meaning of the letter items used in all NBC reports.


    As soon as possible following an NBC attack, units will mark off areas where contamination is still on the ground, plants, or bushes unless the area is to be abandoned to threat forces. Markers as shown by NBC contaminated area markers illustration indicating the type of contamination will be used. These markers are different-colored, right-angled isosceles triangles for each type of contamination with ATOM, GAS, or BIO printed in large letters on the front side only. Units will indicate on the front (side of marker away from the contaminated area) of GAS and BIO markers, if known, the contaminating agent and the date and time of contamination. ATOM markers may indicate the dose-rate and the time the dose-rate was measured and, if known, the burst date and time. If you come to one of these signs STOP! If you can read the information, don't go any farther. Conversely, if you do not see any written information on the sign, you have just walked through a contaminated area. Check the other side of the marker to determine the contamination agent, check yourself for contamination and decontaminate yourself.

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