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Preparation and Training to Deploy to Jungle Areas

Section I. GENERAL

Chapters 1 and 2 describe the jungle environment. Since many soldiers are unaccustomed to such an environment, they must make preparations before conducting jungle operations.

This chapter lists the factors to be considered when preparing for jungle operations and presents training tips for conducting jungle training.


When a unit is alerted for training or actual combat operations in a jungle environment, the commander must first consider the following:

  • Where will the unit be training or operating?
  • What are the climatic and terrain conditions of the objective area?
  • How much time does the unit have to prepare?
  • What available training areas have climate and terrain resembling the objective area?
  • What type operations are to be conducted--conventional or counterguerrilla?
  • Will the unit be taking its own equipment?
  • Does any of the unit's equipment require modification (including camouflage painting)?
  • What special equipment does the unit require?
  • Does the unit have any jungle warfare instructors, soldiers with jungle experience, or linguists?
  • What training assistance is available? Outside instructors? Training aids?
  • Does higher headquarters have special standing operating procedures (SOP) for jungle war?
  • Are all soldiers physically fit?
  • What information is available about the enemy?
  • What information is available about local civilians and allied forces in the objective area?



  I. General

 II. Factors to be Considered when
      Preparing for Jungle Operations

III. Training Tips

Once these questions have been answered, the commander can develop a program to prepare his unit to operate in the jungle.

The idea that a unit is technically and tactically proficient is only a small part of a unit's preparation. Emphasis should be placed on the mental, physical, and psychological aspects of operating in a jungle environment. The key to overcoming these problems lies with the unit chain of command in their efforts to develop a "will to win" as well as "will to train to win."


Units committed to jungle operations may have to fight as soon as they arrive in the operational area. Commanders must make the best use of the preparation time available. Measures which commanders should consider include:

Making use of time in garrison. Certain jungle subjects can be taught using classroom instruction. This training should begin as soon as possible, so that time in jungle training areas can be devoted to more advanced techniques.

Making use of local training areas. Although these training areas may not resemble jungle terrain, some jungle techniques can be introduced in them. This will provide a training base which can be expanded when the unit deploys to its jungle training or operational areas. In addition, physical training should begin in the local training area as early as possible before deployment.

Integrating individual training into unit training exercises. Rather than devote field training time to the individual skills required to live in the jungle, these skills should be introduced early in classes, and then practiced during unit training exercises.



Obstacles and Barriers

Scouting, Surveillance, Patrolling, and Tracking

Air Defense

Adjustment and Conduct of Fires

Immediate Action Drill


Jungle Operations:






Airmobile operations

Waterborne operations

River crossing

Road clearing



Identification and Marking of Mines and Boobytraps

Working with Helicopters

Weapons Training


The first priority in preparation for jungle warfare is acclimation (getting accustomed to jungle climate). Troops who are not conditioned properly will not perform jungle warfare tasks reliably. Different people become acclimated to hot weather at different rates, but the following methods can be used in most units.

Exercise is the best method for acclimation, because troops in good physical condition will adapt easily to new climates. A 7- to 14-day conditioning period should be sufficient for most soldiers. Exercises should be moderately strenuous at the beginning, and become more demanding each day. Troops from warm climates will adapt faster than troops deploying from colder climates. Physical training in heated gymnasiums prior to deployment will also ease the acclimation process.

Leaders must be alert for symptoms of heat disorders during the acclimation period.


Convincing a soldier that he will survive alone in the jungle will go a long way in building his self-confidence. FM 21-76 contains details on survival, evasion, and escape training.


Swimming is also a vital skill for the jungle fighter. Falling into a jungle pool or river can be a terrible experience, especially for a nonswimmer. All troops should be "drown proofed" as shown in FM 21-20. Units should identify their strong swimmers for lifeguard training and other more difficult swimming tasks.


Training to conceal soldiers and equipment from ground and air observation is equally important to combat, combat support, and combat service support units. Proper use of camouflage will help to make up for an enemy's superior knowledge of the jungle area. Appendix E contains information about jungle camouflage and concealment techniques.


Following a short period of classroom instruction, soldiers should experience jungle living conditions in the field. This training can be incorporated into other unit training.

Subjects which should be stressed include:

  • Heat disorders
  • Survival
  • First aid
  • Health, hygiene, and field sanitation
  • Proper wearing of clothing
  • Use of equipment in a jungle environment
  • Prevention and treatment of snakebites and insect bites

During this period of training, use of garrison facilities should be kept to a minimum. Supplies should be brought to the field rather than the unit returning to the rear for them. Soldiers should learn to live without unnecessary personal comforts.

Land navigation should be practiced using jungle movement techniques. (See app B.)


Classes on the host country should stress those facts which apply to operations.

Subjects could include:

  • Terrain appreciation
  • Climate
  • Population and culture
  • Language (phrase books may be issued)
  • Road, railroad, and canal system
  • Standards of conduct for US Army personnel
  • Allied armed forces
  • Reasons for US involvement


Chapter 5 describes tactics common to jungle fighting. These tactics should be taught first to leaders down to squad level. The leaders then train their own units. Stress should be placed on small unit tactics and operations with Army aviation. Since night operations, especially ambushes, are common in jungle fighting, units should emphasize night training.


Units should train in tactical marches.

Training should emphasize:

  • Breaching of obstacles
  • Scouting, patrolling, and tracking
  • Off-road movement over rugged terrain
  • Air defense and counterambush drills


Most jungle fighting takes place at close range. Soldiers should be trained in "quick fire," as outlined in chapter 8, FM 23-9 Advanced training should be conducted on a "jungle range." On this range, soldiers move down a trail and engage pop-up and moving targets which appear suddenly at close range. Targets are operated by an assistant on signals from a lane grader. Targets should be exposed for 3 to 6 seconds. Only 2 or 3 rounds should be fired at each target. At a later stage, boobytraps and obstacles can be emplaced on the trail.


Soldiers should be trained in specific intelligence subjects.

These include:

  • Enemy organization and tactics
  • Equipment recognition
  • National markings
  • Sound or signature recognition

This last subject is particularly important in jungle operations, because soldiers will more often hear weapons firing than see them. If captured enemy weapons and equipment are available, they should be used as aids in this training.


Chapter 6 describes some of the jungle's effects on equipment. Operators need to learn techniques to keep their equipment operational.

Subjects to be covered include:

  • Effects of climate on equipment
  • Jungle operational techniques
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Recovery and repair techniques

Staff members and leaders should receive familiarization training on these techniques in order to supervise the operators. In addition, staff and leaders should learn those special supply requirements and procedures in the operational area. They should also be familiar with the capabilities of those logistical units supporting the force.

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