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a. Extended areas of responsibility, reductionin troop density,
and battle area isolation, plusdifficulties in command and control,
require theuse of mission type orders that give maximumlatitude to
subordinate commanders. Northern op-erations require that tactical
commanders begiven every possible opportunity to exploit
localsituations and take the initiative when the oppor-tunity is
b. Planning of any scope must emphasize thelogistical impact of
any tactical scheme on theoverall support problem. The lack of
roads andshelter, plus climatic severity and other environ-mental
difficulties, require that logistical plans beflexible and
adaptable enough to permit adjust-ment of supply means without
endangering theoverall effort. Restrictions imposed by extremes
ofclimate and terrain constitute the major changefrom operations in
temperate areas. These restric-tions may, unless proper provisions
are made,constitute major obstacles to the successfulconduct of the
operation. Mobility is a prerequi-site to success. It can be
achieved only throughcareful planning, training, and the use of
2-2. Special Factors
The following special factors will influence opera-tional
a. Low Population Density. Settlements, sup-
plies, quartering facilities, and lines of communi-cation are
limited. Their control or destructionbecomes highly important.
b. Roads and Railroads. Roads and railroadsmay be limited and
those that exist usually arevulnerable to enemy action. In
addition, climaticconditions may greatly affect their use.
c. Lakes and Waterways. Lakes and waterwaysare prevalent and may
either aid or hinder the
operation depending upon climatic conditionsWith sufficient ice
thickness, they are easilycrossed and may be used as natural routes
of com-munication or airstrips. In some instances, driftedand hard
packed snow makes landing on ice diffi-cult, requiring further
preparation of the airstripIn the summer, waterways may either be
majorbarriers or lines of communications. Many of the
streams are glacier-fed and carry great volumesof water in the
summer. The amount of water inglacier-fed streams may vary
considerably duringany 24-hour period, particularly near its
sourceand when daytime temperatures are warm andnighttime
temperatures are near freezing. Carefureconnaissance is required to
determine the dailychanges in the volume of water throughout
theday. Location of the main channel often changefrom year to
d. Mapping. Occasionally, maps maybe unrelia-ble or even
nonexistent. Therefore, the require-
ment for timely aerial photographs must be uti-lized as a source
of terrain information. Withproper preplanning, suitable aerial
photographycan be made and converted into a photomap bysupporting
engineer topographic units. Unlessproperly laid out, annotated and
referenced toknown survey points, the aerial photograph wilnot
provide necessary map-like accuracies fornavigation and employment
of indirect fire weapons.
e. Navigation. Difficulty of land navigation isincreased by lack
of landmarks, large forestedareas, periods of reduced visibility,
difficulty ofcross-country movement, and by large
f. Weather. Weather is an important factor tobe considered in
the estimate of the situation andmay dictate a course of action. As
an example, theattacker or defender in a snow storm with thewind at
his back has a marked advantage.
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g. Forestedcealement andambushes andcomparatively
Areas. Forested areas offer con-present excellent opportunities
forhit-and-run tactics. They providegood protection against wind
snow storms but present a serious obstacle tocross-country
mobility. In the summer, forestsburn easily, and fires may become a
major prob-lem. Units in forested areas are highly vulnerableto the
blast effect from nuclear weapons.
h. Snow Cover. Snow enhances the movement oftroops suitably
equipped and trained, but reducesthe mobility of troops lacking
proper equipmentand training.
i. Ice Cover. Freezing of rivers, lakes, andswamps aids movement
j. Extreme Cold. The effects of extreme coldmust be considered
in planning operations. Thepropser use and care of clothing and
equipmentwill largely overcome most difficulties; however,extremely
low temperatures combined with windcan be very hazardous to
personnel operating out-side. The effect of these two elements
occurringtogether is called windchill, which greatly in-creases the
speed at which exposed flesh willfreeze and the length of time
personnel can operatein the open (fig 2-1). The human body is
contin-ually producing or losing heat. Wind increases theloss of
heat by reducing the thin layer of warmair next to the skin. This
loss increases as thespeed of wind increases Any movement of air
pastthe body has the same cooling effect as wind. This
may be produced by walking, running, skiing, orriding in an open
k. Sudden Changes in Weather. These changesinclude extreme
temperature changes, snowstorms, strong winds, and dense fog.
Changesmay be sudden and must be anticipated. Everyadvantage must
be taken of favorable conditionsof even short duration. The
commander who hasthe ability to predict, with accuracy, the
suddenchanges in the weather will have a distinct advan-tage over
the enemy forces. The importance oflocal weather prediction
capability cannot be ov-
eremphasized.l. Daylight and Darkness. The long night of the
winter must not be considered a bar to operations.For example,
movement, camp building andbreaking, scouting, and patrolling must
be consid-ered normal night activities. The proper utiliza-tion of
the available daylight hours assumesmajor importance in
m. Seasonal Transition. The periods of seasonal
transition must be carefully considered. Climaticchanges become
more abrupt and the appearanceof terrain features changes rapidly.
A frozenriver may one day present little problem and thenext day be
a major obstacle.
n. Atmospheric Disturbances. Extended opera-ting distances and
atmospheric distrubances make
military communications difficult.o. Delayed Personnel
Responses. The extreme
environmental problems encountered by personnelrequire that
delay and time lag be considered inall planning.
2-3. Fire Support
a. General. Fire support planning for northernoperations
basically is no different than that re-quired for more temperate
regions. However,limited ground mobility of artillery weapons,
andammunition supply, and increased time of opera-tion increase the
requirements for Army aviationaerial rocket artillery and aerial
fire support, andtactical air support.
b. Tactical Air. The importance of tactical airsupport is
increased greatly in northern opera-tions, primarily because of the
remoteness ofnorthern areas and the lack of suitable routes
ofsupply and communications, and the resulting rel-ative
unavailability of normal fire support ele-ments.
c. Fighter-Bomber Support.
(1) Tactical air strikes by fighter-bombersmay often be used to
supplement fire support nor-mally obtained from organic support
means. Inmountainous terrain or in glacier operations, airstrikes
may be the only fire support means availa-ble other than mortars or
(2) Movement of forward air controllers(FAC) to points where
they can control airstrikes is a problem in northern operations.
Lightaircraft, particularly helicopters, are the bestmeans for
placing the FAC in a position to see thetarget and direct the
fighter aircraft. Ground
transportation for the FAC is inadequate as hecannot move
rapidly from the area of one airstrike to the area of another.
2-4. Additional Considerations
a. Lack of large population densities and in-dustrial complexes
in the north have direct impacton unconventional warfare
activities. Low sub-sistence levels, lack of shelter, and primitive
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munications also are of importance in designatingunconventional
warfare operational areas. Theimpact of terrain, extended frontage,
extremeweather conditions, and extended periods of dark-ness on the
logistical operations of regular forcesis highly favorable to
guerrilla operations. Ex-tended lines of communication restrict
groundmovement to a few routes which are highly vul-nerable to such
b. Psychological warfare opportunities inherentin the
environmental extremes, isolation, and per-sonal discomfort present
in northern operationsare exploitable. Winterization of
loudspeakerequipment and printing presses is a requirement.Low
troop density, difficulty in positive identifica-tions, and
relatively limited movement of troopsin tactical localities make
accuracy in leaflet dis-semination and radio broadcasting
critical.Enemy psychological warfare operations may be
expected to utilize all available propaganda media,(radio,
printed matter, loudspeaker, rumor, etc.)to emphasize discomfitures
due to the environ-ment in attempting to reduce the morale of
c. The strategic location of certain remotenorthern areas and
their characteristically severe
climate, low population density, possible govern-mental neglect
or disinterest resulting in antipa-thy, ignorance, or restlessness
of the inhabitants,provides a target or breeding ground for
subver-sion. Although generally not regarded likely areasfor
insurgency, control of northern areas withinthe context of a larger
plan, may be a cold warobjective. If insurgency occurs, internal
defenseoperations must take place to maintain control ofthose areas
for friendly forces exploitation oftheir strategic value (FM 31-16
and FM 31-22).
Section II. ORGANIZATION
a. Infantry, Airmobile, and Airborne Divisions.(1) The combined
arms brigade task force is
the basic building block for the infantry divisionin northern
operations. The division can conductlimited airmobile operations
with organic Armyaviation but should be trained to conduct
totalairmobile operations by the attachment of nonor-
ganic Army aviation.(2) The airmobile division is employed
infurtherance of the ground combat effort under theguidance and
doctrine contained in FM 57-35 andchapter 6 of this manual.
(3) Airborne divisions conduct conventionalairborne operations
in furtherance of the groundcombat effort. Techniques are modified
as indi-cated in chapter 6 of this manual.
b. Armored and Mechanized Divisions. Theclosely integrated
combined task force is the basicbuilding block for armored and
mechanized divi-sion operations. These task forces as an optimumare
highly mobile and include Army aviation, en-gineer, and signal
units. They are supported logis-
tically by a mobile direct support element. Thetask forces must
be capable of conducting inde-pendent operations at extended
distances fromhigher headquarters, adjacent units, and logis-tical
2-6. Command and Controla. Mission type orders are the rule.
b. Command posts and control facilities aresometimes mechanized.
Vehicles and shelters re-quire either self-contained or associated
c. The use of highly mobile signal equipmentwith a cross-country
or airborne/airmobile capa-bility is an absolute requirement for
the taskforce in northern operations. Relay capabilitiesare
frequently required both within the task forceand between the task
force and higher headquar-ters.
d. Reduced ground visibility, lack of nega-tional aids, and
extended distance require the useof Army aviation as a means of
command recon-naissance, liaison, and communications relay.
Section III. COMBAT INTELLIGENCE, PATROLLING,
COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY
2-7. Combat Intelligence swers to at least two important
questions are nec-
a. In addition to the essential elements of infor- essary to
successful winter operations in the
mation required for other types of operations, an- north. The
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(1) What is the enemy capability for movingcross-country?
(2) What is the enemy capability for livingand fighting for
prolonged periods in extremecold?
b. A checklist to assist in determining the an-swers to these
two questions might include
(1) Is the enemy equipped with skis orsnowshoes?(2) What is the
enemy status of training in
their use?(3) Does the enemy have oversnow or
through the snow vehicles? What kind?(4) Does the enemy have any
equipment? What kind?(5) What types of artillery are being used
the enemy (SP or towed)?(6) Are guns ski-equipped?(7) Is the
enemy using sleds or some other
type of oversnow transport to move unitequipment?
(8) Is the enemy using heated shelters? Whatkind?
(9) Can shelters be moved cross-countrywithout vehicles?
(10) Is the enemy using improvised shelters?(11) What type of
winter clothing is used by
the enemy? What protection will it afford?(12) What kind of
weapons does the enemy
have? Are they effective in extreme cold? What istheir effect in
deep snow? Can their heavy weap-ons follow infantry units in
(13) What kind of aircraft does he use intransport or fire
(14) What logistical support capability doesthe enemy have?
(15) What is the enemys airmobilecapability?
c. For summer operations, units should deter-mine if the enemy
has cross-country vehiclescapable of negotiating muskeg or swampy
rain: if he has boats is he using them and forwhat purposes; and
if he has bridging equipmentand units.
d. Personnel must be aware of intelligence indi-cators that are
present in a cold weather andnorthern environment. These indicators
can bebroken down into two categoriesthose that indi-cate the
presence of a hostile force in the area,and those that indicate the
size of the force. If
these indicators are not recognized by the intell-igence staff
officer, the tactical commander will notbe given a complete
intelligence estimate on whichto base his decisions.
(1) Examples of cold weather indicators thatmay indicate the
presence of or passage of a hos-tile forces are
(a) Signs of former bivouac areas:1. Packed snow.2. Emergency
shelters.3. Remains of fires.4. Trail networks.5. Trash left in the
area.6. Freshly cut wood.
(b) Tracks in the snow that were made by:1. Men on skis or
snowshoes.2. Tracked vehicles.3. Helicopters.4. Aircraft using
skis.5. Air cushion vehicles.6. Sleds.7. Wheeled vehicles.
(c) Improvement of winter trails.(d) Presence of winter landing
fields.(e) Presence of ice bridges.(f) Ice fog.
(g) Smoke.(h) Manmade or mechanical sounds.(i) Hot spots on IR
(2) Examples of cold weather indication thatmay indicate the
size of a hostile force in an areaare
(a) Site and configuration of bivouacareas.
(b) Size and number of shelters or tentspresent in a bivouac
(c) Number of hot spots present on IRsensors.
(d) The number of trails present within agiven area.
e. Detailed knowledge of the terrain and clima-tology of the
area of operations is essential. The
location and condition of the existing road net andrailroads, if
any, must be determined. Informa-tion regarding soil
trafficability, vegetation, waterroutes and expected ice thickness,
snow condi-tions, wind velocity and direction, and averagesnow
depth should be available to the commanderThe general features of
the terrain from the view-point of cross-county movement should
also beknown by the commander. For summer opera-
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tions, it will be necessary to determine waterroutes suitable
for transpotation and dry groundroutes in barren lands.
f. The increased effect of weather on militaryoperations in
northern areas makes it mandatorythat continual and accurate
weather forecastlerapidly disseminated to the lowest level.
g. Collection agencies are essentially the sameas for temperate
zone operations although theirmethods of operation may be
different. Increasedemphasis must be placed on effective use of
airreconnaissance by both Army aircraft and thesupporting Air Force
units. During seasons whenwaterways are open, boat patrols are
useful ingathering information.
h. It is especially important during the plan-ning phase of
northern operations to secure de-tailed information of the
operational areas from
strategic intelligence agencies. Every effort shouldbe made to
procure basic airphoto coverage of thearea for each season.
Streams, lakes, swamps, andthe general conformations of the ground
mayshow clearly on aerial photographs taken duringwarm months but
may be extremely difficult todistinguish on aerial photography
taken when wa-terways are frozen and the ground is covered
withsnow. The enemys need to rely heavily on radioalso provides a
valuable and often times easilyaccessible source of intelligence.
Support Army Se-curity Agency elements should be tasked to assistin
providing input to the EEI in the form of sig-
nal intelligence.i. After operations are initiated, some
means, such as long range patrols, lend them-selves to more than
usual exploitation in obtain-ing information deep in enemy
territory. Becauseof the unusually great operating distances,
thesepatrols can often pass undetected through flankand frontal
areas. Indigenous personnel assumeincreased importance as a source
of information.Use of special forces working with the inhabi-tants
in the area of operations prior to full scaleoperation will enhance
capability of the ground forces.j. Aerial surveillance by the
OVl Mohawk can
be advantageously employed by the use of its var-ious sensors.
The infrared (IR) detectors can beused to locate enemy or friendly
base camps andisolated groups of men during the long hours
ofdarkness in the winter as well as during daylighthours. The
side-looking airborne radar (SLAR)capability provides for detection
and location of
moving targets on the ground. This information(location and size
of element) provides the fieldcommander with vital intelligence for
immediateand future operations. Data link of IR and SLARprovides
instant readout of information at thecommand post location. The day
and night photocapability can be used to identify friendly and
enemy personnel, equipment, and base camps. Thepanoramic,
vertical, and oblique photos can pro-vide aid for advance planning
or provide currentindigence data in a static situation.
k. Unattended ground sensors can be employedduring the summer
season in the same manner asthey are used in other areas of the
world. Theiruse during the winter may be limited because ofbattery
failure caused by extreme cold.
a. Patrolling to provide information of the
enemy and to provide security increases in impor-tance since
combat units will seldom have anyclose neighboring units.
b. Reconnaissance and combat patrols may op-erate behind enemy
positions for extended peri-ods, depending upon climatic conditions
and thecapacity to provide support. Subject to equipmentissued and
weather conditions, such patrols can beself-sustaining for periods
of from 3 to 5 dayswithout resupply except for ammunition that
maybecome expended. Ideally, personnel employed onthese patrols
should be specially trained, including
mountain and glacier operation. Whenever possi-ble, qualified
skiers should be used in order toincrease the cross-country
mobility of patrols.Provision should be made for such patrols
tocarry, in addition to weapons, communications,etc., minimum
equipment for survival includingtent, stove, and fuel. Prearranged
supply dropsmay be used for replenishment of supplies.
c. The most economical way to move long rangepatrols into enemy
territory is by aircraft. Attimes, it may be feasible to pick up
patrols fromenemy rear areas by aircraft. During winter,
escort patrols should be sent with long-rangeground patrols to
insure that the long range pa-trols get through enemy lines, to
carry additionalrations for later use by the long range patrols,and
make deceptive tracks on both sides of theroute of the long range
d. Air cavalry units with attack helicopters areideally suited
for security and reconnaissance innorthern operations.
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e. In long-range patrolling communications area prime
consideration. Normally, radio is theprincipal means of
communication; however, be-cause of extended distances and
difficulty in radiotransmissions in northern areas, aerial relays
ormessage pick up and drop techniques may have tobe employed.
(1) Camouflage during the winter is exceed-ingly difficult.
Reliance should be placed on decep-tion techniques. Commanders must
place specialemphasis on camouflage and deception techniques.
(2) Summer camouflage techniques do notdiffer from those
applicable in temperate zones.
b. Deception. Deception has an important rolein northern
warfare. False ski or snowshoes trails
are made to mislead the enemy as to the size ofthe force,
direction of movement, and scope ofactivity. Establish rules for
track discipline insnow such as; using single file to conceal
troopstrength where possible and; restricting the blaz-ing of new
trails. Restrict the use of individualwarming fires. Open camp
fires can be started indry tree stumps in many locations to deceive
theenemy as to size and location of forces. Dummygun positions can
be constructed from materialsat hand. Sound and flash simulators
should beused in these positions to give them a semblance of
reality. If dummy rubber vehicles and weapons are
not available, snow and logs can be used as substi-tute
materials. All deceptive measures must bewell planned and carefully
executed to give themevery appearance of reality. Electronic
deceptionis equally important, as the enemy can be ex-pected to
gain intelligence by monitoring our nets,in locating our positions
by direction finding and
employing SLAR and IR devices to detect our lo-cation and
movement. The use of manipulativeelectronic deception, in
coordination with tacticalcover and deception, is essential in
concealing thelocation of major headquarters and operating
c. Concealment.(1) Excellent concealment for troop move-
ments is afforded by darkness, fog, or fallingsnow. In forests,
clearings are avoided, and troopsand vehicles leaving roads should
do so only in
places where the forest is near the road.(2) In bivouac areas
and supply points maxi-
mum use should be made of dispersion and vege-tation for
Tactical security measures employed in normaloperations remain
essentially the same in north-ern operations. Because of the long
periods ofwinter darkness and the tendency for sound totravel great
distances in cold air, light and noise
discipline deserve special security consideration.
Section IV. OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS
2-11. Generala. Offensive operations are directed toward the
destruction of the enemy in the least possibletime. Ideally, the
objective in cold weather opera-tions is not to pit rifleman
against rifleman, butrather to destroy the enemy in place by
firepower.Actions will be sudden, violent, and decisive.
Anoperation which is permitted to lag may result in
a stalemate or may offer an opportunity for theenemy to seize
the offensive. Both forces retainfreedom of maneuver limited only
by their abilityto cope with the climatic and terrain
conditions.Due to large operational areas, flanks and rearareas are
sometimes lightly defended and presentexcellent opportunities for
the conduct of uncon-venitonal warfare, for envelopment, or under
fa-vorable conditions, for turning movement.
b. Existing lines of communication must be con-trolled to assure
success in northern operations.
Severe winter weather hastens enemy destructionafter supply
lines are cut. Breaches in enemy linesof communication should be
made in the vicinityof dominating terrain if retention of the area
isrequired. During summer, such objectives shouldbe selected where
the lines of communicationcross a river or pass between two
c. Effective utilization of weather conditions in-crease
opportunities for surprise attacks. This in-cludes the exploitation
of falling snow, blizzards,fogs, low cloud cover, and natural night
illumina-tion. Imaginative use of what appear to beweather
obstacles may turn them into major ad-vantages. However, conducting
offensive opera-tions during severe weather conditions will
re-strict the use of aviation support and increasecontrol and
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d. The assault should reconducted at night orduring periods of
low visibility. Surprise is animportant factor, and the
opportunities forachieving surpirse are numerous. It may be
pre-ferable to deliver the assault without field artil-lery
e. A period of slow movement may occur be-
tween the cessation of field artillery fire on theenemy forward
positions and the arrival of theinfantry on the objective. This
period of slowmovement caused by weather or terrain condi-tions
must reconsidered in planning fire supportof the assault. However,
when weather, terrain,and lack of effective enemy resistance
permits,mechanized infantry may remain in their carriersand make a
mounted assault to capitalize on shockeffect and reduce the time
lag associated with adismounted assault through snow and
f. After seizing an objective, immediate atten-tion must be
given to consolidation of the objec-tive. The assaulting troops may
be fatigued andoverheated from the exertion of the attack.
Provi-sions must be made to prevent them from becom-ing cold
g. Army aviation can and must be effectivelyintegrated into
offensive operations, and airmobileoperations should be considered
normal ratherthan special in the northern areas.
Verticalenvelopment, diversionary attacks, and rapiddisplacement of
supporting weapons and re-serves are within the offensive
capabilities of an
airmobile force. Low troop density throughout thebattle area
plus flexibility in route selectionreduce the hazards of enemy
operations andcounter action against movement.
h. During summer months riverine operationsmay be conducted in
areas where extensive inlandwaterways exist, using craft adapted to
the north-ern rivers.
2-12. Main Attack
a. The opportunity for maneuver is usually pres-ent in northern
operations. Main attacks usuallyare directed against the flanks or
rear areas whilesupporting attacks are directed against the
enemyfront to hold him in position. An additional forcemay be
employed to bypass the enemy positionand cut enemy routes of
reinforcement or with-drawal.
b. The most mobile troops are used to breachthe enemy lines of
2-13. Control Measures
Axes of advance normally are used to control for-ward movement
during offensive operations.Boundaries forming a zone of action,
maybe usedif terrain permits designating discernible bound-aries.
In barren, flat terrain, an azimuth may beused to indicate the
direction of attack. Intermedi-
ate objectives and phase lines are assigned as nec-essary to
control the attack and seize key terrain.
Coordination is extremely important in northernoperations. At
times, the distance between twoenveloping forces may become so
great that mes-sages must be relayed. The radio relay capabilityof
Army aircraft permits significant extension ofthe range of ground
tactical radio equipment.
2-15. Attack of an Organized Position
a. Commanders inform their staff officers asearly as possible of
all aspects concerning theconcept for conducting the attack, so
that anattack order can be formulated as far in advanceas possible.
This applies in particular to the logis-tical officer whose
arrangements for logistical sup-port are most likely to require
additional time innorthern operations.
b. Reconnaissance is initiated early on a widefront with
missions of determining enemy loca-tions and reconnoitering routes
and terrain, in-cluding terrain in enemy hands.
c. Harassment of the enemy is started simulta-neously with
reconnaissance and is executed bypatrols, limited to objective
attacks, and interdic-tion by aircraft and field artillery.
d. Prepared fires of supporting field artilleryand mortars are
closely coordinated. Forward ob-server parties are included in
Infantry recon-naissance patrols and in combat patrols.
Prepara-tion of firing positions for supporting weapons isbegun
early as it is likely to be time consuming.
e. Engineer reconnaissance troops should be in-cluded in
infantry reconnaissance patrols. Bridg-ing equipment and materials
are moved well for-ward to be ready for use when needed.
f. The communication plan is made in detailand must provide
measures for overcoming diffi-culties peculiar to northern
operations and thenorthern environment.
g. Supply reserves are kept mobile when possi-
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ble. It may be necessary to establish distributingpoints in
h. Aerial photos of enemy positions, terrain androutes thereto
should be taken when possible priorto the attack.
2-16. Preparation for the Attack
a. When reconnaissance is completed and otherpreliminary
measures taken for the attack, trailsare opened to assembly areas.
If the distance isnot too great, these trails are not opened until
theday before troops plan to move. Wire communica-tions, when used,
are laid simultaneously withbreaking of trails.
b. Movement to assembly areas is executed thenight before the
attack unless conditions of lowvisibility deny enemy daytime
observation. Guidesmust be provided.
2-17. Movement to Line of Departure
A halt is made in the assembly areas only longenough to feed and
prepare troops for the attack.Vehicles are dispersed and artillery
moved to pre-pared positions and camouflaged or concealed.Troops
remain in the assembly area for the mini-mum length of time
necessary to prepare for theattack. Supporting weapons are moved to
2-18. Conduct of the Attack
a. The attack may be conducted by the infantryon foot, skis, and
snowshoes or transported bytanks or personnel carriers or
helicopters. Tech-niques of conducting the attack are as in
normaloperations, except when troops are using skis
b. When the attack is conducted on skis orsnowshoes, the attack
formation should facilitateuse of trails broken by the lead
elements of theattacking force. Every attempt is made to get
asclose as possible to the enemy before deliveringassault fire.
Whenever possible, the attack on
a. The defensive is assumed for the same
or snowshoes should be conducted downslope.Troops do not
disperse or halt to fire until reach-ing the assault position or
enemy fire becomeseffective. Final coordination lines should
generallybe closer to the enemy during winter than duringsummer
especially if the assault is made on footthrough snow. The decision
as to whether the as-
sault is to be conducted on skis, snowshoes, orfoot must be made
by the commander based uponexisting conditions. If skis or
snowshoes are re-moved in the attack they should be brought
for-ward during reorganization.
c. In continuing the attack, special efforts aredirected toward
rapid displacement of close-sup-port weapons using sleds or
vehicles. Supplyroutes are prepared as far forward as possible
tofacilitate unit distribution.
d. The relief of committed units is executed asunder normal
conditions with consideration being
given to rapid relief of assault elements to bringthem back to
warm shelter. Warming tents, ifneeded, are moved to the closest
available conceal-ment by each unit responsible.
The exploiting force is aided by cross-country ve-hicles and
aircraft. The pursuit force, which musthave high mobility, is
mounted, on skis, vehicles,or helicopters. Airborne or airmobile
troops arepositioned near defiles to block the retreat of theenemy.
During summer, waterways may be usedby the pursuing force as a
means of moving pa-trols behind the enemy to destroy bridges
anderect road blocks along the enemy lines of retreat.
2-20. Security in the Offensive
When attacking units have large gaps betweenthem and ffanks are
vulnerable, patrol and sur-veillance requirements increase.
Basically, how-ever, security requirements in the offense
duringnorthern operations are no different than in moretemperate
tures. The defense may also be assumed to encour-
gen-age the enemy to attack under unfavorable condi-tions, such
as in long, narrow passes or through
eral reasons as in other areas. It may be necessary deep snow
and obstacles where movement is diffi-in northern operation to
assume a defensive pos-ture for short periods during breakup or
seasons, snow storms, or extremely low tempera- b. Defensive
actions are difficult in extreme
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cold because of the requirement to keep troopswarm and in
condition to fight. However, im-proved opportunities for the
success of the de-fense and counterattack exist since an enemyforce
may be exposed to the elements especially ifwarming equipment and
other logistical supporthas not accompanied him. The breakup season
favorable to the defender because trafficability ispoor for the
c. Conduct of the defense under northern condi-tions is the same
as under other conditions. Thetendency to remain shelter bound must
be re-sisted. Strong combat patrols are used to harassthe enemy
flanks and rear.
d. All-round defense is essential since attacksmay be launched
from any direction. Duringspring, summer, and fail a mobile defense
is ex-tremely difficult because of trafficability.
e. Routes of supply are often attacked by enemypatrols,
therefore, supply personnel must be capa-ble of defense at all
times. In rear installations,area security and damage control plans
are madeand a warning system established. Special atten-tion is
paid to possible landing areas, such aslakes or rivers. When
necessary, combat units willfurnish escorts for supply columns.
f. Defense positions located in deep snow sufferless from the
effects of enemy fire. Dense for-ests, thickets, fallen timber,
cliffs, and other natu-ral obstructions collect snow and create
obstaclesto the attacker. Rocks and fallen tree trunks maybecome
tank obstacles. The effectiveness of natu-ral terrain obstacles can
easily be increased. Theenemy use of frozen waterways can be denied
bylaying mine fields in the ice as described in FM3170.
g. Tents are sunk into deep snow or into theground and protected
by embankments. If the de-fense is to be of long duration, heated
under-ground shelters are constructed and tents areeliminated. It
must be remembered, however, thatextensive engineer work is
required to build un-derground shelters during the winter. In
areas, high water tables may preclude construc-tion of
underground bunkers and positions. Medi-cal aid stations and
command posts are also loca-ted in underground shelters for
protection fromenemy fire. Warm shelters are constructed for
re-serves. Areas in the defense where there is littlesnow, or which
are easily traversed by the enemy,are reinforced with artificial
obstacles such as
wire entanglement (especially concertina wire),pitfalls, abatis,
antitank mines, and antipersonnelmines and are covered by fire.
Deception tech-niques are practiced extensively. Seasonal
changeswill affect defense positions. The breakup seasonusually
will destroy positions built during thewinter. Positions or
obstacles built during the
summer may be made useless by heavy snow fall.h. Special
attention must be directed toward
maintaining battle preparedness in winter. Whileresting in
forward positions, men must be readyfor combat. Constant care must
be taken that allweapons are prepared for immediate use.
Firingpositions must be kept clear of snow. Guards arerotated and
i. Proper security of a defensive position re-quires the
location of living and fighting positionsfor the security force on
the outer perimeter. Awarning system is established from the
force position to the forward defense force posi-tion. All
movement on the outer edge of the pe-rimeter and in the vicinity of
the living-fightingpositions is kept to a minimum to preclude
observ-ation or attack by hostile air and ground forces.
2-22. Defense Positions
Strong points should be located on elevated ter-rain. The value
of elevated defense positions isgreater during winter than under
normal condi-tions because the enemy must attack up hill
2-23. Composition and Location of Reserves
An aggressive defense requires the formation of aproportionately
large reserve with maximumcross-country mobility. Individual
oversnowequipment, oversnow vehicles, personnel carriers,or
helicopters are used to obtain this mobility.Airmobile reserves may
be stationed fartheraway. In selecting a location for the reserve,
con-sideration must be given to the importance of restas well as to
the probable area of employment.The major portion of the reserve is
placed in cov-
ered and concealed positions, protected fromenemy light
artillery fire, while the remaindermay be placed closer to the
front lines. Trails androads to the probable points of action are
pre-pared for the reserve troops and are kept openduring snow
storms by elements of the reserve. Sofar as is possible the roads
and trails should becamouflaged.
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Section VI. RETROGRADE OPERATIONS
2-24. General 2-25. Withdrawals
Retrograde operations are executed as in normal Withdrawal is
best effected at night or underoperations. In the north, suitable
conditions are conditions of reduced visibility when enemy
frequently present for leaving strong combat pa- tions are
slowest. Trails are broken rearwardfrom positions before withdrawal
trols up to a strength of one or two platoons tomay be mined as
the rear guard withdraws. If aharass or ambush the advancing enemy.
Surprise daylight withdrawal becomes necessary, smoke
attacks can be launched against columns of vehi- may be used to
good effect. Oversnow mobility iscles and troops at natural
defiles. In some cases, it exploited to the maximum. During the
may be desirable, prior to the withdrawal, to es- drawal, troops
destroy all abandoned shelter that
tablish hidden caches of food and ammunition for can be used by
the enemy. Maximum use is madeof mines, traps, and abatis.
the use of the troops that have been left behind to forces or
air cavalry may be employed to goodambush the enemy. advantage to
Section VII. AIRMOBILE OPERATIONS
Airmobile operations are particularly adaptable toground
operations in northern regions. Generally,northern areas are devoid
of the vast air, rail, androad networks common in temperate areas.
Thenorthern areas are sparsely settled and small com-munities are
often separated by great distancesand isolated from the outside
except by small air-craft, watercraft or other, often slow and
primi-tive, means of transportation. The terrain pre-sents numerous
formidable obstacles such asmountains, swift rivers, extensive lake
systems,snow, large expanses of swamp, muskeg, and
dense stands of timber and brush. Airmobileforces can bypass
these obstacles and move rap-idly with ground combat and support
forces arriv-ing in the objective area ready to fight.
Reinforce-ments can be rapidly deployed to the battle areain
minimum time. Support can be accomplishedrapidly and effectively
under all but the most ad-verse weather conditions. Conventional
doctrineis as applicable to northern operations as it is tothe more
temperate regions of the world. How-ever, some modifications to
operating proceduresare required to overcome the limitation
imposedby the environmental conditions.
2-27. Special Factors Affecting NorthernAirmobile Operations
a. Standard Operating Procedure. The capabil-ity of ground
combat units and Army aviationunits to conduct airmobile operations
must be de-veloped through the conduct of frequent airmobileunit
training exercises and the development ofunit standard operating
procedures (SOP) fornorthern operations.
b. Loading Plans. SOP should contain detailed
primary and alternate loading plans for all typesof helicopters
available in the theater. The avia-tion mission commander or the
aviation unit liai-sion officer advises and assists the airmobile
taskforce commander in preparing loading plansbased on the lift
capabilities of the aircraft. Spe-cific considerations must be
given to increasedweight and to the special equipment required
forcold weather, mountain and glacier operations. Onmost missions
fully loaded rucksacks will be car-ried. So far as is possible, the
ahkio, with shelterand supplies and skis or snowshoes must
accom-pany the personnel on the same aircraft. Addi-
tional time is required for loading and unloadingwith winter
clothing and equipment. Protectionagainst subzero temperatures and
other adverseweather conditions may be required when consid-ering
c. Missions. Missions for the northern airmobileforce are the
same as those in other areas withtwo possible exceptions, these are
mountain andglacier, and search and rescue operations.
d. Weather. Weather minimums must be estab-lished early in the
planning to prescribe the least
acceptable weather in which the task force com-mander will
permit the operation to be mounted.Weather factors which must be
considered inplanning and conducting northern airmobile oper-ations
include: temperature, density altitude,wind speed and direction,
icing, visibility, turbul-ence, and snow and ice conditions.
Current avia-tion weather forecasts are mandatory. Weatherforecasts
notwithstanding, the best source of
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weather information is an on the scene reportmade by a pilot in
flight in the area of interest. Ifpossible, a weather
reconnaissance flight shouldbe made if weather is marginal or shows
e. Aeromedical Evacuation. Plans must be madefor aeromedical
evacuation-of the airmobile task
force casualties. The evacuation problem is ofimmediate urgency
during periods of subzerotemperatures, because in addition to
battle cas-ualties, casualties from cold injury are likely
f. Night or Limited Visibility Operations. Thetactical situation
may dicate the conduct of airmo-bile operations during darkness or
periods of lim-ited visibility. This is particularly true in
thenorthern latitudes because of the short periods ofdaylight
during the winter months. Flares, heli-copter-mounted searchlights,
night vision devices,and other suitable techniques may be used to
illu-minate the area of operations. Airmobile opera-tions may be
conducted during bright moonlightnights on snow covered terrain,
with little or noartifical light. Areas with deep powdered
snowshould be avoided or the interval between helicop-ters greatly
increased if more than one aircraft isto land simultaneously.
g. Security Forces. Because of the greatly ex-panded area of
responsibility found in a perime-ter-type formation of an airmobile
operation, itusually is necessary to economize on the use
ofsecurity forces. The security force is further re-
duced because of the requirements to off-loadequipment and
construct warming shelters duringcold weather operations. A single
security echelonforward of the objective area defense line may
beall that is practicable. When combating highlytrained ski troops,
it is desirable that all-aroundperimeter security be maintained
because of thesecrecy and speed with which ski troops canattack.
The forces for the security echelon nor-mally are provided by the
forward elements. Toenhance early security for the airmobile
assaultand to avoid the tiresome tasks of breaking trail
through deep snow, thick brush or soft muskeg,security forces
may land directly on their posi-tions. Air cavalry or other armed
aircraft, may beemployed to extend the range of security
h. Planning.(1) The small unit leader must be assured
that he has all of the equipment required toaccomplish the
mission and to sustain his unitunder the most adverse climatic
ing subzero temperatures individuals must carrytheir existence
load (FM 31-70) at all times. Sofar as is possible loading plans
must provide roomfor the squad ahkio with shelter and supplies
onthe same aircraft as the personnel.
(2) During the winter, skis and snowshoesfor all personnel must
be carried on each helicop-
ter and should be tied together to conserve spaceand for ease
and speed in loading and off-loading.Skis not tied in a bundle must
be carried underthe arms parallel to the ground to prevent themfrom
striking the rotor blades on the helicopters.The situation
permitting, a trail should be brokento the exact landing site, a
landing pad should beprepared and the individuals skis or
snowshoesremoved and lashed together to reduce loadingtime. Troops
must not be on the landing site attime of touch down.
i. Landing Zone.(1) During winter operations, frozen lakes
should be used as landing zones. Ice thicknessshould be checked
by pathfinders before landingsare attempted (table 2). The use of
lakes as land-ing zones offer many desirable characteristics;
ap-proaches to and from the LZ will be relativelyunobstructed; snow
depth will in most cases beless than in sheltered areas; troops can
find readyconcealment in trees and vegetation around thelake; and
the lake offers a ready-made landingstrip for ski equipped fixed
(2) Because of the slowness in unloadingtroops and equipment
from helicopters during
winter operations, initial landings should not bemade in a
defended or hot landing zone. Thelanding zone should therefore be
in an undefendedor lightly defended area as close as possible to
j. Landing Operations in Deep Snow. Whenlanding operations are
conducted in deep snow,specific techniques are necessary by the
(1) Because of blowing snow and loss of visi-bility near the
ground (fig 2-2), helicopters mayhave to be spaced as much as 100
meters (110yds) apart or may be staggered into the landingzone at
20 to 30 second intervals in powder snowconditions. On wind blown,
hardpacked, orcrusted snow, the interval between helicoptersmay be
(2) Individuals exit utility helicopters withtheir own equipment
and move perpendicular tothe line of flight, breaking trail through
the snow.On medium cargo helicopters, personnel shouldmove to the
rear following the helicopter ski
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tracks when debarking. Other personnel followthe trail made by
the lead man. Personnel shouldmove approximately 50 meters (55 yds)
or one-half the distance to other helicopters to avoid themaximum
wind chill effect and blowing snowcreated by the rotor downwash of
the helicopters.Personnel within the radius of the rotor down-wash
must protect their faces by turning away
from the main blast and pulling the winter hoodover their heads
and around the face. After de-parture of the aircraft, individuals
should checkeach other for frostbite.
(3) Unit equipment, ahkios and bundled skis
or snowshoes, are unloaded as soon as the person-nel have exited
the aircraft. The equipment mustbe pulled away from the skis of the
helicopter.Small items of equipment must not be thrown intothe snow
where they may become lost or blown upinto the rotors.
(4) When the enemy does not have an aerialsurveillance
capability, various dyes may be used
on the snow to mark the landing zone for easieridentification on
subsequent lifts.(5) When unloading in the landing area,
troops will frequently be completely disoriented.A crew member
of individual aircraft should tell
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the troop commander, as a minimum, which direc-tion is north in
relation to which way the aircraftis facing. Direction can easily
be established forthe ground commander by landing the helicopterin
a predetermined direction. Troop commandersshould orient themselves
as completely as possibleprior to touch down so that squad,
platoon, andcompany assembly can be accomplished with the
least practicable delay.k. General Procedures and Safety.
(1) During extreme cold conditions, troopwarming areas must be
established in the immedi-ate vicinity of the pickup zone and also
in thevicinity of the landing zone, if the tactical situa-tion
permits. Delays caused by below weather mini-mums are frequent in
northern areas. Weatherdecisions should be made as close to the
pickuptime as possible. Locating troops in warmingareas immediately
adjacent to the pickup zonesimplifies operational requirements.
then readily available and can react to the mostrecent
developments with least delay and are notexposed to the cold during
periods of relative in-activity when delays are encountered.
Reserveunits which must be immediately available forpickup will
require warming tents at the pickupzone while waiting to be
(2) Certain procedures and safety require-ments are similar for
both loading and off-loadinghelicopters. In cold weather and deep
snow condi-tions, certain precautions take on increased im-portance
and must be continuously emphasized
during training and in all operations. The aircraftcommander is
the responsible person regardingsafety procedures. To insure
maximum safety, allpersonnel should be frequently briefed on the
dan-gers of loading and off-loading. The most crucialareas to be
concerned with in this briefing are themain and tail rotor blades,
and the methods of
approach and departure from the aircraft. Whenoperating in deep
snow the vertical clearanceunder the rotor blades is drastically
reduced, thuscreating a hazard for personnel departing and
ap-proaching the aircraft. The UH-1D may sink inthe snow
approximately 61 cm (2 ft), reducingthe normal 236 cm (7 ft 9 in)
clearance to ap-proximately 152 cm (5 ft). The helicopter
be approached and departed only when cleared bythe crew chief.
Do not walk directly forward oraft of utility helicopters.
Equipment such as indi-vidual weapons, skis and snowshoes must be
car-ried under the arms parallel to the ground to pre-vent them
from striking the rotor blades. Underno conditions should items be
carried on theshoulder when loading or off-loading the
(3) Door gunners normally will not be used incold weather
operations because of the possibilityof the gunners, flight crew,
and passengers get-ting frostbite because of the open doors.
Suppres-sive fires must then be conducted by attack heli-copters.
It may also be desirable to eliminate doorgunners at other times in
order to increase groundcombat power when limited lift is available
ordistances are greatly extended.
(4) During lengthy flights the interior tem-perature of the
helicopter should be kept rela-tively cool (40
oF.) to avoid overheating troops
dressed in cold weather clothing.(5) Attack helicopters provide
and fire support to the airmobile force the same asin summer
operations; however, over-reliance onaircraft rocket point
detonating munitions should
be avoided because the fragmentation achieved bythin-skinned
ground burst munitions will be mini-mal in deep snow.
l. Detailed Doctrinal Guidance. For detaileddoctrinal guidance
on airmobile operations, seeFM 57-35.
Section VIII. COMBAT UNDER CONDITIONS OF LOW VISIBILITY
a. In the unforested regions and those areaswhere natural
concealment of any sort is scarce orentirely lacking, it becomes
increasingly impor-tant that troops be well trained and familiar
withoperations both at night and under conditions oflow visibility
arising from blowing snow, mist, orfog.
b. Conditions of low visibility provide the great-est
opportunities for surprise. Commanders must
insure that weather forecasts and reports are con-stantly
distributed as a matter of standing opera-
2-29. Night Combat
a. Normal night combat techniques apply un-changed. Movement and
control are facilitated bythe increase in visibility resulting from
the reflec-tion from the snow. During a cloudy night,
lightconditions correspond approximately to those on a
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clear night, with a full moon without snow cover.On windless
nights during periods of extremecold, sound carries for great
distances. Undersuch conditions, all troops must realize the
needfor silence. Otherwise, surprise is impossible toachieve and
security difficult to maintain.
b. If the snow has thawed during the day, it
usually freezes at night making movement noisierbut easier than
by day. During the spring break-up, daytime thawing usually will
restrict the useof roads to night hours.
2-30. Combat During Snowstorms
a. Combat operations are sometimes assisted byhigh winds and
snow storms which cover soundand obscure movement. Close
reconnaissance andattack are possible under the cover afforded
bysuch conditions. The associated high windchill andthe lack of
visibility demand a high degree oftraining on the part of all
troops. Compact forma-
tions, simple plans, detailed instructions, limitedobjectives,
and positive means of identificationshould be employed.
b. Accurate timing is required so that troops donot remain
exposed for prolonged periods of time.If the equivalent chill
temperature is low, the
attack should be carried out downwind, if possi-ble, forcing the
enemy to face into it.
c. In the defense, particular precautions againstsurprise must
be taken during blizzard conditions.The number of listening patrols
must be increasedand continual checking will be necessary to
insurethat sentries maintain a vigilant watch, particu-larly to the
windward and most dangerous flank.
2-31. Combat Under Whiteoutand Fog Conditions
In snow covered terrain, ground irregularities arevisible only
by the shadow they cast. Under over-cast the contrast is
diminished, and in whiteout orfog it disappears entirely. Movement
under suchconditions is extremely difficult, and progress
isappreciably reduced. In hilly or mountainouscountry, it may be
dangerous since angles of slopecannot be estimated nor can changes
in terrain berecognized.
At night and under other conditions of low visibil-ity, there is
marked difficulty in distinguishingfriendly from enemy troops when
both are wear-ing white. Distinctive markings and signals