Can We Be A Clean, Cold, Fighting Machine? CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA Manpower CAN WE BE A CLEAN COLD FIGHTING MACHINE? The Writing Program Command and Staff College Major Richard F. Holihan United States Marine Corps April 6. 1984 Can We Be A Clean, Cold, Fighting Machine? Outline The Marine Corps must be able to identify, deal with and solve the large unit level sanitation and hygiene problems which exist when conducting military oper- ations in cold weather environment. I. INTRODUCTION A. Organizational pride B. Public confidence C. Worldwide contingencies D. Cold weather contingencies E. Training initiatives F. Hygiene and sanitation requirements II. BODY A. Transition 1. Define terms 2. Distinguish individual and unit respon- sibilities B. Historical examples 1. Soviet Finnish War 1944 2. Soviet mistakes 3. Finnish success 4. Moscow Battle Winter 1941-2 5. German mistakes C. Marine Corps present posture 1. Renewed interest 2. Individual training 3. Publication for individual training 4. Individual hygiene and sanitation measures 5. Small unit leader training 6. Small unit hygiene and sanitation measures 7. Recapitutation of present position 8. Present equipment assets D. Marine Corps proposed posture 1. Logistics identified as key item 2. Northrop Study 3. Medical initiatives 4. Personal hygiene and sanitation initiatives 5. Unit problems as a concern 6. Need to establish overall environment E. Areas requiring further strdy 1. Take up "too hard to handle" questions 2. Key CSS functions 3. Two key problems 4. Heated medical facilities 5. Outdoor sanitation 6. Clean clothing exchange and proper shower facilities III. CONCLUSION A. Focus of action for the future CAN WE BE A CLEAN COLD FIGHTING MACHINE? Those of us who proudly snap to attention whenever the words or lyrics of the Marine Corps Hymn are being played have ample reason for the air of confidence about us. The Marine Corps is the Nations force in readiness. We pride ourselves and the collective organization on our reputation for preparedness. Whenever called upon to be the leading edge of the country's sword of justices we have responded well and admirably. The Marine Corps as a small group within the populations as well as that population as a whole, believe that we have always been ready to respond for service whenever called. After all, if we evaluate Marine Corps history it will show that we have answered time and again the call to serve. We are held in high esteem by the public, but with that respect comes the obligation to respond. To some of us who can remember and to all of us who can read know the power of popular support and associated prestige that the Marine Corps holds, was never more thoroughly tested than in 1947. After the Second World War a movement was initiated to streamline the United States Armed Services. Among others, President Truman wanted to have the U. S. Army absorb both the functions and the physical entity known as the United States Marine Corps. The shocked indignent uproar from the country was so resounding that the consolidation idea was dropped. President Truman was reported to have remarked to the effect that the Marine Corps had a better propaganda machine than Stalin. We overcame that hurdle due to the trust the American people had in us to do what was ex- pected. Namely, the American people were saying to carry on as the force in readiness. Part of a single line of the Marine Corps Hymn will produce the words of committment. "in every clime and place". The words are patriotic and stirring but look at the meaning those two words, clime and place connate. As I understand both the meaning of our contingency plans around the world and the words to the Marine Corps Hymn say the same thing. Todays Marine Corps must be able to move, work, and fight in any geographic area of the world that our government chooses to send it. Besides the more traditional contingencies in the Western Pacific. we have begun to see places like South Korea and NATO's northern flank in Norway creep into our daily venacular. In my mind those last two countries spell one thing. COLD WEATHER OPERATIONS. As sure as I am that my spelling can stand some improvement, I am also of the opinion that the Marine Corps could stand some improvement in the area of cold weather operations. Since the early 1970's when the Marine Corps reopened the Mountain Warefare Training Center at Bridgeport, California, renewed em- phasis has been placed upon training for combat in a cold weather environment. Add to this the real world contingency and recurring training operations in Norway, which has been going on since the mid 1970's and the Marine Corps' concern for being able to move, work, and fight in a cold weather environment has been both obvious and real. Much has been written on this broad area of cold weather operations. However, many individual facets have neither been studied nor really understood. One of those areas has been the matter of hygiene and sanitation in cold weather. Maybe this topic doesn't sound too inter- esting, but I am convinced it is both interesting and more important vitally essential. This then will be the theme of this paper. The Marine Corps must be able to identify, deal with, and solve the large unit level sani- tation and hygiene problems which exist when conducting military operations in a cold weather environment. Now that I have drawn the reader from the wide to the narrow end of the funnel, I think it is important to lay some basic ground work. The concepts of hygiene and sanitation have been around the military as long as men under arms have gathered. However, it is an area which if properly tended to can be easily handled. Similarly, ill or unattentiveness to these two subjects will produce more losses in terms of non-battle casualties than any hostile action ever could inflict. Quite simply, "hygiene is the science of health and its preservation".(2:698) "Sanitation is the establishment of environmental condi- tions favorable to proper health".(3:1341) I think it is painfully obvious that cold weather operations are in themselves quite different and more demanding than the normal military operations conducted in temperate climates. Cold weather introduces an entirely new demension to the battlefield which is basic human survival. This new and dominant force must be reconciled and overcome before the tactician draws his first big blue arrow across a map. The theme of this paper has been stated as hygiene and sanitation in cold weather operations. I will not dwell on the individual but rather the unit. All evidence points to the fact that we are doing a fine job with preparing the individual for cold weather operations. However, it appears that the unit as a whole is not pre- pared to support the individual beyond the very basics for a very short period of time. I will look at where we are, where we are currently headed, and where I think the larger unit should be heading in this matter of maintaining a healthy and viable fighting machine. However, before I discuss those three areas it would be worthwhile to evaluate a few historical examples of what hygiene and sanitation problems left unsolved have caused the military commander. History is replete with operations conducted in a cold weather environment but modern day examples dating from the Second World War will do nicely to demonstrate the focal issue. The Soviet Finnish Winter War of 1944 provides proof for both ends of the spectrum regarding unit preparedness for hygiene and sanitation.(6:5-7) The Finns were fighting in their own homeland against the attacking Russians. Winter had set in and the cold weather environment was unbearable for the uninitiated. The Russians were equipped for a mechanized attack but due to the tremendous amount of snow all of road movement was out of the question. Additionally, the Russian command did not contemplate that the cold weather would cause the campaign to take so long, let alone that they would loose. By not identifying the environment as a problem and setting about to solve those problems the Russians were doomed from the beginning. They had too many vehicles and those they had were the wrong type. The clothing they brought was not adequate nor was there sufficient amounts to permit frequent changes. Mess halls which served hot meals were few and far between. As a result, hot meals and sufficient nutrition were practically non-existant. Field showers were more rare than field kitchens. Adequate shelter was not available. This caused the Russians to gather around open fires for warmth. The result was a cold, dirty, ill clothed, ill fed, and unmotivated Russian soldier. On the other hand the Finns had proper clothing, shelter, and dining facilities. The most junior troop to the highest level commander were perfectly adapted to oper- ate in a cold weather environment. The Finns were prepared. They had identified and overcome the problem. The results were staggering. The Russians lost both Divisions, the 163rd and 44th and one separate regiment with the 163rd, nearly anhiliated. Personnel losses were 22.500 men for the Russians, of which 12% had been from frost bite and only 2,700 for the Finns.(5:29) The Finns made it a point to seek out and destroy the Russian field kitchens and shower facilities. In the end they had destroyed all 55 of these installations.(5:25) The Finns proved that even large numbers of men were able to live, work, and fight in the desolate region north of the Artic Circle.(6:8) The Russians proved that leaders who do not plan for operations in cold weather will suffer the consequences in terms of defeated armies. In Finland it was both bullets and the environment that defeated the Russians. Failure to maintain the overall health of their fighting force by not tending to clothing hot food, cleanliness, and shelter was just as debilitating as a Finish artillery round. On the eastern front during the Second World War, the Germans also failed to consider the cold weather in their planning to attack Moscow in the winter of 1941-1942. Assuming a quick victory after the fall campaign started, only enough winter clothing and provisions were planned for the occupation force. The strong Russian resistance extended the battle from fall to winter in an area similar to the weather found in the Hudson Bay area of Canada.(5:31) Proper clothing for the Germans was never provided despite last minute attempts by German civilians to donate clothing. As a result, 100,000 Germans were cold weather non-battle injuries. A full 14,000 of these injuries required ampu- tation of at least one appendage. Again the leaders failed to provide for the health and well being of their followers. Disaster resulted. In the U. S. Marine Corps of the 1980's the subject of cold weather operations has not fallen upon deaf ears nor found a disinterested audience. The organization is well aware of problems similar to those in the previous paragraph. However, the organization has a real term commitment to participate in cold weather operations. As such, it can not ponder the past but must be prepared for today and future contingencies. Most experts when talking about cold weather operations will state that, "warfare in the north follows its own tactical rules".(6:4) This means you must learn to survive before you can fight. Considering the Marine Corps recent renewed interest in cold weather operations, we should rightfully expect, and do in fact find, that this is an area the Corps is con- centrating upon today. The vast preponderance of literature, classes, instruc- tion and training schedules have been focused on the indivi- ual Marine's ability to function and survive in cold weather environment. The Marine Corps Development and Education Command at Quantico, Virginia has been tasked with developing doctrine, publishing and updating field manuals. In the area of cold weather operations we have found a few operational handbooks which were published as quickly as possible. The attempt was to provide the fleet units with some written guidance while the more detailed field manuals were being prepared. The operational handbooks have been well developed and provide excellent guidance in the areas addressed. Remember though that while getting to first base on this ones the Marine Corps has concentrated on the indi- vidual and keeping him alive and functioning. Subsequent steps haven't had time to fall into place. The Cold Weather Operations Handbook was published in December 1979 and "serves as a basic guide to prepare Marines to survive and conduct operations for extended periods under moderate through extreme cold weather conditions".(10:1) This publication was well written and covered the of information for the individual on what he would be expected to encounter. Included are chapters on personnel equipment and clothing, cold weather injuries and first aid, encampments, shelters and field fortifications, move- ment, combat service support, and many others. The intended audience and basic training considerations are well served by this publication. Unquestionably, sanitation and hygiene are addressed. The chapter titles show that but what of the information provided. The individual is given guidance on placement and basic construction of toilet facilities. One toilet should be constructed downwind for every three or four tents or platoon size organization. The toilet will nor- mally be a pit or cross tree typed which allows the individual to sit on a trunk lashed perpendicular across two vertical trees. The toilet should be wind proofed and comouflaged.(10:35) Urinals should be constructed relatively close to the shelters but not too close. A distance of ten to fifteen meters is recommended.(10:39) Guidance on garbage pits is similarly curt. These pits should permit burial or open burning and every effort to reduce bulk should be exercised.(10:39) One of the problems in a cold weather environment is providing adequate potable water. Discussion about providing heating shelters to treat the water is made but specific guidance is lacking.(10:155) The next level of concern above the individual is the small unit. The Marine Corps has published a hand- book for small unit leaders to use in cold weather oper- ations. Published in December 1982, it is OH8-5.1. It addresses many of the same topics the earlier handbook addressed, expanding the range and depth of information. Also discussed are areas such as: group equipment, rations and diet, cold weather medical considerations, vehicular movement and helicopter operations.(12:IV-VII) By evalu- ating the text the obvious check on the first level appears. The cold weather handbook has addressed bathing, clothing requirements, and other sanitation concerns. The small unit leaders handbook has now set out recommended parameters and suggested frequencies for individual action to be both accomplished and checked. For example it provides a list of personal items each individual should carry which can help make the difference between comfort and discomfort. Some of the personal items listed are: a small sharp knife, waterproof matches, sunburn preventive cream, emergency rations, chapstick and sunglasses.(12:2-18) The topics of hygiene and sanitation may not seem pertinent in the discussion in the preceeding paragraph, but in fact they are. Remembering the definitions of sanitation and hygiene, the two revolve around the maintenance and conditions leading to a healthy environ- ment and an individual surviving in this environment. I don't want to make the statements now, which rightly should be made at the conclusion of all three main topics of discussion. However, I do feel I must put my discussion in perspective. The historical examples provided demonstrate how the larger unit failed because the leaders did not properly plan for the establishment and maintenance of a healthy environment. Today, the Marine Corps is working on this problem from the lowest to the highest level. The method is sound but the problems become more difficult as the units and their logistical demands grow. We must not put the subject of large level hygiene and sanitation in the "too hard basket". At present the Marine Corps' inventory of equipment which can provide shelter, heat, food, water, and clean clothing reflects the training and initiative to date in the area of cold weather operations. The Table of Authori- zed Material NAVMC 1017, lists the equipment available for use in the fleet. The shelters provided are tents. The heat provided is squad and general purpose tent heaters. The food preparation equipment is the same as used in temperate climates. Water is provided using standard water purification equipment. (9:2-2,2-8,2-15) In short, when the Marine Corps goes to the field in a cold weather environment it takes along its standard issue equipment. With the exception of some very fine individual clothing and small unit equipment, which has been recently developed and added to the inventory, we do not have equipment designed to support a unit in the field in cold weather. So where we are now is in excellent shape at the small unit and individual levels with a menacing void hanging over our heads in the area of combat service support from large units in the area of sanitation and hygiene. Todays Marine Corps has made significant strides in coming to grips with the issue of fighting in a cold weather environment. The stated accomplishments have been to pub- lish "how to" manuals for the individual and small unit leader. Efforts have not been limited nor finalized. Numerous studies have been commissioned and sister service cooperation and sharing of information has been fostered. One study completed in 1982 was principally designed to study the tasks required of an infantryman in a cold weather environment. The study emphasized personal equip- ment, marching, loads carried, eating and sleeping. Interestingly, the summary moved from the individual to the unit as a whole. "If Marines are to fight in the cold, then technology would be brought to bear in the common sense area of logistics. Antiquated supplies and equipment are undermining our chances for success. Logistics has a crippling if not fatal affect."(8:72) Another study which has become a corner stone in identifying areas of concern devotes considerable attention to the areas of sanitation and hygiene was commissioned by the Marine Corps and done by Northrop Services Inc. It identifies a requirement for heated showers and laundry facilities.(5:7-26) Present assets are poor and not designed for cold weather operations. The study suggests that a combined self contained unit is needed to permit the individual to shower while his clothing is being laundered. To meet this requirement the Marine Corps has proposed an 8'x8'x2O' shelter with a combined laundry and bath unit (CLAUB).(7:7-26) The unit will recycle its water and is intended for use with forward units. In the medical area the study discusses such areas as developing systems for keeping liquid medication from freezing or substituting dry medications.(7:7-29) Of critical importance, a need for heated treatment rooms and operating rooms is highlighted. Presently heat in tents can only be provided by the use of sooty pot belly stoves. This produces unacceptable operating conditions due to infection and filth.(5:7-3O) In a cold weather en- vironment both medical and dental requirements increase. Medical increase due to the severity of the environment. Cold weather also produces unusual dental problems not the least of which is that prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures cause an inordinate loss of dental fil- lings.(7:7-29) In the area of personal hygiene and sanitation the study demonstrates the need for forced regular cleaning, shaving, clothes changing, and teeth brushing. In short, an individual will be more concerned with sleep and food and will not attend to his body's cleanliness. The unit leaders must ensure that proper sanitation and hygiene are enforced. If this situation is not corrected it will and does lead to non-battle injuries.(7:7.32) A minimum requirement is for a change of clean underwear at least every third day. The unit must be able to provide this clean clothing, which of course is where the new laundry unit is vital because the present one will not function in a cold weather environment. It should be apparent that the "where we are going" is in the direction away from the individual problem to the question of how do we as the unit support this effort. This is the only direction to move but many areas have been untouched or more commonly glossed over. An effective plan for cold weather operations must explore all aspects of the subject and must never leave for chance any item which may effect the hygiene and sanitation of the in- dividual or the unit. Of course this paper concentrates on the Marine Corps, but we are not alone in closing one eye or sprinkling fairy dust on a too hard to handle problem. The Army has produced numerous volumes on the subject. One of which dedicates the vast majority of the discussion to getting vehicles ready for cold weather operations. To the issue of the individuals' cold weather injuries it curtly stated, "commanders are responsible for preventing cold weather injuries".(4:2) To our northern border, the Canadians have extensive experience in the area of cold weather operations. They too have produced individual and small unit "how to" handbooks. However, it is interesting to note that only one paragraph is devoted to toilet facilities and two sentences on delaing with garbage. Hygiene and first aid rate five pages out of a publication nearly one-hundred and fifty pages long.(1:13-4) Establishing an environmental condition favorable to health and then developing a system to preserve that environment is no small task in any part of the world. However, the cold weather environment aggravates and elevates these concerns exponentially. In order for the Marine Corps to come to grips with the preparation for cold weather operations a number of new areas must be addressed and some old silent areas must be resurrected. The "Northrop Study",(7)as it has come to be known is one of the best documents written on the subject. It is a guidepost to be used for near term initiatives. The prob- lem area appears to be the "too hard to handle" questions which are alluded to or passed over in most current publica- tions. In order to be an effective force that can function, move, and fight in cold weather environment the Marine Corps must resolve these large unit problems. To begin, the twenty-four functions of Combat Service Support (CSS) will continue and at an ever increasing level in a cold weather environment.(11:1-2-1-10) Sponsors in these areas should be tasked with developing concepts and requirements when faced with providing CSS in cold weather. Most important of these areas are: supply, medical, dental, food service, and engineer support. The supply types must be able to prodcor and distribute the required clothing and equipment. The medical and dental communities must develop plans and proceedures for effective care and evacuation of casualties. The food service community must develop meals which provide the increased caloric intake needed as well as develop equipment and proceedures to provide hot meals whenever possible. The engineers must develop means to treat and distribute potable water. Also, they must be able to launder large quantities of clothing and provide adequate field showers for the front line troops. Two areas which are significant obstacles to over- come are heated medical facilities and proper out door sanitation. Both present unique opportunities to excel. The medical area must move from the tent to a better shelter. The Marine Corps as part of a DOD wide effort to standardize, is developing a family of shelters which will be in the 8'x8'x2O' configuration. By developing this concept adequate medical facilities can be developed by using multiples of these shelters and most importantly they can be heated by a cleaner heat source. Additionally. this family of standard shelters can be used by food service personnel and engineers who have requirements for enclosed health spaces to provide their combat service support. The proper development of the family of standard shelters will go a long way in resolving many of the CSS cold weather problems. Outdoor sanitation in terms of human waste and refuse probably poses the most significant problems. Frozen ground can not be excavated easily for either garbage pits or outdoor toilets. While on the move, standard field techniques will have to be used, but while in a comp facility other methods must be utilized. In 1954 the Navy produced a manual called, Low Temperature Sanitation, and Cold Weather Medicine.(14) Though the text is old, it is still appropriate to camp facilities. The proceedures for chemical treatment and incineration of waste are still appropriate today and should be adapted to the Marine Corps' needs.(14:54,64,69) Earlier, the requirement to exchange clothing and to take showers for the front line troops was discussed. Of course this was not a new problem, but maybe we have forgotten the solution. The Army, during Korea, came to realize the problem and their solution is still valid today. They set up showers and clothing exchange points at regimental levels where units came back a company at a time to shower and exchange their old clothing for new. Sometimes this was all a fatigued outfit needed to perk itself up. The rear echelon troops then assumed the responsibility for laundering the exchanged clothing so the progress could be repeated.(15:177) The current problem is inadequate assets to launder clothing which is one more obstacle for the engineers to overcome. "All operations in an Artic environment revolve around an external heat source."(13:5) This statement is as true now as it was when it was made. To a large degree it symbolizes the problems confronting a planner in this arena. My concern has been hygiene and sanitation but these are inextricably woven within the source of the problem - cold. Marines no matter how well trained or led will not willingly perform the individual tasks needed to maintain proper levels of individual hygiene or contrib- ute to unit sanitation in a cold weather environment. The reason being that doing it right causes personal discomfort. The efforts that have been initiated to understand and identify the larger problems must continue. Efforts to place functions inside a family of standardized shelters must continue, allowing the proper facilities at least at the camp level. The Marine Corps can and should be proud of the advances it has made on the individual and small unit levels to provide guidance on operating in the cold weather environment. However, to be successful and able to fight in a cold climate the Marine Corps must address the areas that only the large unit can resolve. If we are to be a clean, cold, fighting machine we must continue to press on in our efforts to identify and solve the problems of surviving, moving, and fighting in a cold weather environment. After all, we have a reputation for preparedness and the publics' expectations and confidence to uphold. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Canadian National Defense Headquarters. Specific Operations Volume 2 Northern Operations Part Three A Soldiers Guide to the Cold, CFP 302(2). Ottawa, Canada, 27 June 1975. 2. "Hygiene", Dorlands Illustrated Medical Dictionary (1965), 24th Edition, 698. 3. "Sanitation", Dorlands Illustrated Medical Dictionary (1965), 24th Edition, 1341. 4. U.S. Army. Army Safety Center Publication. Countermeasure Volume 3. No. 9. Reducing Cold Weather Training Injury and Losses. Ft. Rucker, AL., August 1982. 5. U.S. Army. Combat Studies Institute. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Fighting the Russians in Winter: Three Case Studies. Ft. Leavenworth, KS., December 1981. 6. U.S. Army. Department of the Army Pamphlet No.20-292. Warfare in the Far North. Washington, D.C., October 1951. 7. U.S. Marine Corps. Headquarters Marine Corps. Cold Weather Combat Operation Study Final Report. Arlington, VA., November 1980. 8. U.S. Marine Corps. Headquarters Marine Corps. Physical Performance Tasks Required of U.S. Marines Operating in a High Altitude Cold Weather Environment. Langley Park M.D., July 1982. 9. U.S. Marine Corps. Headquarters Marine Corps. Table of Authorized Material. NAVMC 1017. Washington, D.C., November, 1980. 10. U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education Command. Cold Weather Operations Handbook. OK 8-5. Quantico, VA., December 1979. 11. U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education Command. Combat Service Support. FMFM 4-1. Quantico, VA., September 1981. 12. U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education Command. Small Unit Leaders Cold Weather Combat Oper- ations Handbook. OH 8-5.1. Quantico, VA., December 1982. 13. U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Schools. Marine Corps Education Center. The Effects of Artic Conditions on Aviation Operations. Quantico, VA., 1950. 14. U.S. Navy. Department of Navy Medicine. Low Termperature Sanitation and Cold Weather Medicine. P5053. Washington, D.C., 1954. 15. Westover, John G. Combat Service Support in Korea. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press, Publisher, 1955.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|