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DGD&D 18/34/36

Army Code 71654

ARMY FIELD MANUAL VOLUME 2 - OPERATIONS IN SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTS

PART 1 MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS

1996
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CONDITIONS OF RELEASE Copyright This work is Crown copyright and the intellectual property rights for this publication belong exclusively to the Ministry of Defence (MOD). No material or information contained in this publication should be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form outside MOD establishments except as authorised by both the sponsor and the MOD where appropriate. This document is issued for the information of such persons who need to know its contents in the course of their official duties. Any person finding this document should hand it into a British Forces unit or to a British police station for its safe return to the MINISTRY OF DEFENCE, D MOD SY, LONDON SW1A 2HB, with particulars of how and where found. THE UNAUTHORIZED RETENTION OR DESTRUCTION OF THIS DOCUMENT COULD BE AN OFFENCE UNDER THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACTS OF 1911-1989. This publication is issued under the overall direction of the CGS. It is an MOD Approved Code of Practice (ACOP). Where issues of health and safety are concerned it takes into account the provisions of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The contents provide clear military information concerning the most up to date experience and best practice available for commanders and troops to use in their operations and training. If you are prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you have not followed the relevant provisions of the ACOP, a court may find you criminally liable unless you can show that you have complied with the requirements of health and safety legislation since it is a breach of this legislation which renders a person criminally liable. Breaches or omissions of the ACOP could result in disciplinary action under the provisions of the Army Act.

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PART 1 MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS

PART A

COMBINED ARMS OPERATIONS

PART B PART C

SKILLS, DRILLS AND MINOR TACTICS MOUNTAIN SAFETY, SUPERVISION AND BASIC TECHNIQUES HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT

PART D

"Of all wars, none is more difficult, none requires more resort to strategems, and is at the same time more dangerous, than a war in mountains where there are high passes and deep valleys, with difficult paths, ravines, terrifying precipices, and a thousand other obstacles, which furnish an infinity of stratagems and resources. It is in these sorts of situations that a great captain can put to use all that is greatest and worthiest of his address and knowledge in the science of war. It is in these sorts of countries that nicely judged strokes are delivered, but for that one needs to be alert to seize the opportunity."

From Jean Charles de Folard. Trait de l'ordre profond, in Bibliothque Historique et Militaire,

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PREFACE Background 1. Mountainous terrain is relevant to all the publications which cover operations in special environments. It is thus appropriate to have the first Part of this Volume of the Manual covering operations in such terrain. Mountainous terrain is defined as country higher than 600 metres, characterised by steep slopes and deep valleys; it includes the villages and plains between mountain ridges, plateaux, passes and the mountain sides themselves. Such country can be found all over Europe from Scotland to Scandinavia and from Spain to Turkey, indeed all over the world, in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. None of the more specialist climbing techniques adopted by the Royal Marines, Special Air Service troops or Airborne Pathfinders when deployed in mountain areas are covered in this publication. Aim 4. The purpose of this publication is to describe the effect that mountainous terrain will have on the conduct of operations and to introduce commanders and staff officers to the different tactics and procedures involved in these operations. The essential doctrine and principles for military operations do not change because of the altered terrain conditions and thus this publication complements AFM Vol I Part 1 Formation Tactics. It also records those tactical factors that need greater emphasis where mountain conditions affect operations. Scope 6.

2.

3.

5.

Mountain Operations is split into four Parts.


a. Part A deals with Combined Arms Operations, the purpose of which is to provide a guide for use by commanders, staff officers and regimental planners in units and at formation level when operating in mountain conditions. It describes the effects that this environment will have on combat operations, the functions in combat, the employment of particular weapon systems and the tactics used by the combat arms. Part B deals with aspects that concern the individual, how he survives, lives and operates in these regions and is designed for the young officer and NCO as a basis further instruction. It provides some tactical features about movement of troops, the use of animals and some basic tactical features about operating in such conditions at Section and Platoon level. Part B concludes with some details about the extra individual and collective training needed for mountain operations. iii

b.

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c.

Part C deals with mountain safety, supervision and basic climbing techniques. The purpose is to describe the minimum safety required, the supervision of military mountaineering and elementary techniques which will enable soldiers to appreciate the limit of what can be attempted by those who do not have rock climbing experience. This publication will ensure that these skills are not forgotten by an Army that does not, by tradition, have designated mountain troops with specialist training. Part D is a historical supplement which gives an insight into how soldiers have operated in the mountains during previous campaigns.

d.

7.

Nuclear and biological weapons have not been used in these environmental conditions; and although chemical weapons have been used in Northern Iraq during the 1980s, the general prospect for their use in the future is considered to be remote. Nevertheless, this assessment may change, given the growing proliferation of nuclear weapons systems and the scope for rapidly producing biological and chemical agents. Many nations already have the ability to produce chemical and biological agents and it would be wrong to discount the possible use of these weapons, or to overlook the accumulated knowledge gained about their effects on combat operations in these conditions. These points are emphasised at greater length in Chapter 5 of Part A. The implications surrounding the use of technology which became more apparent in the Gulf War of 1991 have not been properly evaluated for use in mountain conditions at formation and unit level. While there are obvious advantages to be gained from the coordinated use of such devices as Remote Ground Sensors (RGS), Thermal Imagery (TI) and Night Vision Goggles (NVG), the tactical implications for these devices have not been tested in battle conditions; neither have the logistic burdens of additional equipment resupply and maintenance. More significantly, the use of attack helicopters and the greater use of support helicopters in mountain terrain has not been properly assessed. These could have a significant effect on the tactics employed by a commander and may well speed up the overall tempo of operations. When more information has been gained, amendments and additions to this publication can be made. Until then, any initial deduction that can be made is that these weapons platforms and equipment will need to be tested properly in a mountain environment during any period of acclimatization and training for troops, which could lengthen the overall time it takes to reach combat readiness for such operations.

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MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS

PART A

COMBINED ARMS OPERATIONS

ARMY FIELD MANUAL VOLUME 2 PART 1 MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS PART A COMBINED ARMS OPERATIONS

CONTENTS CHAPTER 1 - THE ENVIRONMENT Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Annex A. Defining Mountainous Regions Climatic Conditions Terrain Mountainous Areas of the World 1-1 1-2 1-2 1-A-1

CHAPTER 2 - OPERATIONAL FACTORS IN MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 The Potential Threat Joint and Combined Operations Command, Control and Communications The Conduct of Operations The Functions in Combat 2-1 2-2 2-3 2-4 2-7

CHAPTER 3 - TACTICAL FACTORS IN MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 ii Common Features Tactical Movement Security on the Move Reconnaissance Offensive Operations Defensive Operations 3-1 3-4 3-7 3-9 3-13 3-20

Section 7 Section 8 Section 9 Annex A

Delay Operations Transitional Operations Operations in High Altitude Glacial Regions Picketing in Mountain Areas

3-34 3-41 3-46 3-A-1

CHAPTER 4 - COMBINED ARMS ACTIVITY Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 Annex A. General Considerations Armour (Including Armoured Reconnaissance) Artillery (Including Air Defence Artillery) Engineers Signals Infantry Aviation Helicopter Data. Range and Payloads 4-1 4-1 4-3 4-7 4-11 4-12 4-14 4-A-1

CHAPTER 5 - NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL CONSIDERATIONS Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Introduction The Effects of Nuclear Weapons in a Mountain Environment Tactical Considerations in a Nuclear Environment The Effects of Biological Agents in a Mountain Environment The Effects of Chemical Agents in a Mountain Environment Tactical Considerations in a Chemical Environment 5-1 5-1 5-2 5-3 5-3 5-4

CHAPTER 6 - COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT (CSS) Section 1 Section 2 Basic CSS Considerations CSS Planning 6-1 6-2

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Annex A. Annex B. Annex C.

Suggested Battalion Echelon System for Mountain Operations 6-A-1 Key Combat Service Support Factors in Mountain Operations Porterage 6-B-1 6-C-1

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CHAPTER 1 THE ENVIRONMENT SECTION 1. DEFINING MOUNTAINOUS REGIONS General 1. Success for mountain operations is usually achieved by the forces that gain control of vital ground, such ridge features, valley outlets, mountain passes, defiles and routes. Some of these features will have a natural canalizing effect on movement and can often be controlled by forces placed on dominating heights around them. The battle for these positions will, therefore, generally be the governing factor in mountain operations. Accordingly, they will be likely objectives in an attack and will be the key terrain on which the defence will be based. Owing to the restricted mobility of ground vehicles, the use of helicopters for tactical mobility, reconnaissance, resupply and casualty evacuation can be of decisive importance, although even these resources have some limitations. Knowledge of the more specialized tactics and skills required for operations under the conditions imposed by mountainous terrain is essential to the successful conduct of operations. Definition 3. For the purposes of this Manual, mountainous terrain is formally defined as; country at an altitude higher than 600 metres which is characterized by steep slopes and deep valleys and includes villages and plateaux between mountain ridges together with passes running through them and the mountain sides themselves. Such terrain is found in every continent. Mountainous terrain can be divided into the following categories: a.

2.

4.

Temperate Wet. Comparatively low level hilly country which is liable to be covered with snow in winter, such as the Lake District, Harz Mountains and parts of Scotland. Cold. Mountains high enough or far enough North to have their summits permanently covered in snow. The Alps, Norwegian mountain ranges, part of Eastern Turkey and the Balkans are examples of this category. Hot Barren. Rocky, arid ridges and peaks often rising to considerable heights but located in a hot climate and therefore free of snow. The Radfan, Muscat, Morocco and parts of Greece are typical examples of this category. Jungle. Mountainous country covered with tropical jungle such as Malaysia, Borneo and northern parts of South America.

b.

c.

d.

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Troops can normally operate in such types of mountainous terrain without special training in mountaineering techniques, although in cold mountains, or temperate wet mountains in winter, a proportion of special mountaineer troops and some ski trained troops are desirable to improve mobility. There are also areas such as most of Central Asia and parts of Kenya which, although at considerable altitude, are flat or sufficiently undulating to permit the full use of mechanized forces. As these areas are not characterized by steep slopes and deep valleys, they are outside the scope of the definition of mountainous terrain and are not considered further in this manual. However, if planning or conducting operations in such areas, the effects of altitude on men, machines and materiel covered in this manual could be relevant. The mountainous areas of the world are shown diagrammatically at Annex A to this Chapter. SECTION 2. CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

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Mountain weather is frequently unpredictable and unstable, with gentle breezes becoming hurricane force winds in minutes. Changeability is such that in one place in quick succession there may be hot sun and cool shade, chill wind or calm, thick fog or clear visibility, storms of rain or snow, followed perhaps by hot sun again in a single day. Weather can determine the success of failure of a mission. Fog or low cloud can provide valuable concealment for movement, but it can also interfere with air support. Alternative plans have to be prepared and every effort must be made to forecast the weather accurately. Advice should be sought from army sources and any meteorological services available whenever possible. Routine area forecasts could be helpful but may be optimistic if produced primarily for lowlands. For example, clearance of bad weather may be delayed for several hours or fog may persist in the mountains long after sunshine has returned to the valley.

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10. Unpredictable weather conditions in mountainous regions indicate that it would be prudent for staff officers and commanders to take advice on the prevailing and predicted weather conditions before and during any period of operations. SECTION 3. TERRAIN General 11. Characteristics. The major characteristics of all mountainous terrain include: a. The geographical size of mountain areas is often immense and underestimated. In larger mountain ranges, possession of the heights may not necessarily influence movement in the valleys. Sharp differences in elevation may provide excellent observation or, conversely may totally mask large areas of ground.

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The structure of the terrain will normally follow a distinctive grain with the track network tending to follow the drainage pattern. Valleys frequently twist and turn extensively, becoming narrower and more closely overlooked as they penetrate more deeply into the mountains. Deep swift-running rivers and streams can create instant obstacles, particularly after rain or during a thaw. Flash floods may appear many miles down stream from where rain has fallen. Road and rail networks are limited and tend to follow the valleys. The tactical importance of any flanking mountains will depend on the extent to which these dominate the valley. There are wide variations in the type of ground and, at the higher altitudes, the population is sparse and there is a lack of natural resources, particularly water, even in snow and ice conditions. Built-up areas and communication systems are usually concentrated in the valleys.

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e.

f.

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12. Cover and Vegetation. The following features usually apply in mountainous regions: a.

Lower Slopes. Every type of vegetation may be encountered on lower slopes, with impenetrable tropical jungle and large areas of forest covering the ground in some parts of the world. Upper Slopes. Higher elevations will frequently consist of exposed rock. The highest mountains will have snow all the year round and there may also be glaciers. Tree Line. The line above which the climate or ground prevents the growth of trees is known as the tree line. Dense scrub may grow well above the tree line. Trees in valleys are taller than those on hill tops; this tends to mask undulations in the ground. Terracing. Where mountains are cultivated, there may be some form of artificial terracing on hillsides. Terracing can also occur naturally and this reflects different erosions in rock strata.

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c.

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13. Ground. The following ground limitations may apply to operations in mountainous regions: a. The absence of adequate roads, railways and airfields may restrict the size of the force that can be supported. The lack of LZs for all types of aircraft and the restrictions of altitude and weather may restrict the use of air support to some extent and limit payload and endurance. 1-3

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c.

The grain of the country frequently makes movement by vehicle or on foot from one valley to the next slow and difficult. This will have a major impact on manoeuvre and mobility as land operations will be forced to utilize the general grain of the mountain region. Roads and tracks are generally narrow steep and winding, with sharp bends and weak bridges which could make them impassable to large military vehicles. Terrain frequently restricts mutual support. Lateral communications are fewer than normal. Those available will be important for command and control of land operations. Digging protective positions is often very difficult or impossible without engineer assistance. Maps are often indifferent, of small scale or non-existent. Air reconnaissance including air photography may be the only means of obtaining accurate details of the terrain. Radio communications, particularly VHF can be obscured by terrain. ,

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h.

i.

Glaciers 14. Definition. A glacier is a constantly moving river or mass of ice formed by the accumulation of ice on high ground. Glaciers are therefore only generally found in mountainous areas where the amount of snow has been enough to create and feed them. There are various types of glacier, the most important of which are: a.

Mountain Glaciers. Ice streams that flow from mountain valleys are commonly called valley glaciers. The Himalayas, the European Alps and other mountain ranges contain this type of glacier. Ice Sheet or Inland Glacier. These are the largest form of glacier which generally cover vast areas, such as the central plateau of Greenland. Scandinavian Glaciers. A rare phenomenon and are classified as between a mountain glacier and an ice sheet.

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15. Glacial Terms. These are certain geographical terms that are applied to glaciers which are in common usage. These are: a.

Moraines. Glaciers transport, during their movement, enormous quantities of material ranging from fine particles to huge boulders. This finds its way into the mass of the glacier and is called a 'moraine'. Moraines covering the surface of the glacier are termed 'superficial' while those which are engulfed in the moving ice are termed 'englacial'. Another phenomenon is the exist-

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ence of terminal moraines. These are highly uneven, broken and rugged, consisting of innumerable intervening features, varying in height from 5 to 25 metres with steep slopes. Terminal moraines are infested with both apparent and hidden crevasses running both laterally and longitudinally and deceptive frozen lakes and streams. b.

Crevasses. Large cracks (wide openings) which appear on the surface of the glaciers, with varying lengths, depth and width are called 'crevasses'. At times they are bridged with soft snow and therefore dangerously invisible. In certain areas crevasses have been known to occur in continuous rows. Movement across crevasses demands special techniques in the use of specialised equipment, such as telescopic ladders, ropes, jumars and carabiners. Glacial-Fluvial Streams. Streams formed as a result of melting snow and ice which may run on the surface or under the glacier itself are called glaciafluvial streams. They are more common during the summer. Movement across such streams is difficult and routes along or across such streams have to be reconnoitred and marked.

c.

Avalanches 16. Avalanches are a serious danger in mountains and precautions have to be taken against them. They occur when a mass of snow slides off a mountainside just as it does off the roof of a house during a heavy snowfall or thaw. A mass of snow may be released by the extra weight of a falling cornice or of a skier or person on foot, or sometimes as a result of gunfire, explosions or other loud noises, such as jet aircraft. 17. Avalanches often occur for no apparent reason, through the breaking of the tension within the snow structure, perhaps due to a rise in temperature, or to a complicated set of circumstances. 18. The most common altitude for avalanches is between 1,800 and 2,800 metres (6,000 and 9,000 feet). Above 3,000 metres avalanches are comparatively rare because slopes are generally steeper and accumulate little snow; winds are also stronger and snow is quickly dispersed. The most dangerous place for avalanches to form is on a very steep slope (over 35 degrees or 70 per cent). The snow can build up heavily on such inclines and can become a moving avalanche with devastating suddenness on an alarming scale often without warning. 19. Avalanches can be artificially induced by fire from artillery, mortar, anti-tank weapons or other explosive charges, either to bring down dangerous mass of new snow to make an area safe for friendly troops or to cause enemy casualties. In the former case it is essential that friendly troops and equipment should be well clear as avalanches can build up enormous speed and power and may run out a great deal farther than expected even on flat ground. 20. Although avalanche-craft cannot be summarised in a few lines some hints on dealing with avalanches are at Annex D to Chapter 1 in Part B of this Manual. 1-5

ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 1 MOUNTAINOUS AREAS OF THE WORLD

Length Km/Miles
7200(4500) 4800(3000) 3800(2400) 3600(2250) 3500(2200) 3000(1900) 2900(1800) 2650(1650) 2250(1400) 2000(1250) 2000(1250) 2010(1250) 1930(1200) 1930(1200) 1610(1000) 1610(1000) 1530(950) 1530(950) 1530(950) 1450(900) 1450(900) 1370(850) 1290(800) 1290(800) 1200(750) 1130(700) 1130(700) 1130(700) 1130(700) 1130(700) 1130(700) 1050(650)

Name
Andes Rocky Mountains Himalaya-Karakoram-Hindu Kush Great Dividing Range Trans-Antarctic Mts Brazilian Atlantic Coast Range West Sumatran-Javan Range Aleutian Range Tien Shan Central New Guinea Range Altai Mountains Ural Mountains Kamchatka Mountains Atlas Mountains Verkhoyansk Mountains Western Ghats Sierra Madre Oriental Zagros Mountains Scandinavian Range Ethiopian Highlands Sierra Madre Occidental Malagasy Range Drakensberg Chersky Range Caucasus Alaska Range Assam-Burma Range Cascade Range Central Borneo Range Apennines Appalachians Alps

Culminating Peak
Aconcagua (Argentina) Mt Elbert (USA) Mt Everest (China/Nepal) Kosciusko (Australia) Mt Vinson Pico de Bandeira (Brazil) Kerintji (Indonesia) Shishaldin (USA) Pik Pobeda (USSR/China) Ngga Pulu or Jayakusumu (Indonesia) Gora Belukha (USSR) Gora Narodnaya Klyuchevskaya Sopka (USSR) Jebel Toubkal (Morocco) Gora Mas Khaya (USSR) Anai Madi (India) Citlaltepetl (Mexico) Zard Kuh (Iran) Galdhopiggen (Norway) Ras Dashen (Ethiopia) Nevado de Colima (Mexico) Tsaratanana (Madagascar) Thabana Ntlenyana (Lesotho) Gora Pobeda (USSR) Elbrus, West Peak (USSR) Mt McKinley, West Peak (USA) Hkakabo Razi (Burma) Mt Rainier (USA) Kinabalu (Malaysia) Corno Grande (Italy) Mt Mitchell (USA) Mt Blanc (France)

Height m/ft
6960(22 834) 4400(14 433) 8863(29 078) 2230(7 316) 5140(16 863) 2890(9 482) 3805(12 484) 2861(9 387) 7439(24 406) 5030(16 503) 4505(14 783) 1894(6 214) 4850(15 910) 4165(13 665) 2959(9708) 2694(8 841) 5610(18 405) 4547(14 921) 2469(8 098) 4620(15 158) 4265(13 933) 2885(9 465) 3482(11 425) 3147(10 325) 5642(18 510) 6194(20 320) 5881(19 296) 4392(14 410) 4101(13 455) 2931(9 617) 2037(6 684) 4807(15 771)

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CHAPTER 2 OPERATIONAL FACTORS IN MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS SECTION 1. THE POTENTIAL THREAT Background 1. History and experience shows that mountain regions in the past have been crossed and recrossed by armies looking for a decisive military result elsewhere to end the campaign. In more recent times mountainous regions have generally formed a geographical barrier between two or more states, and it is this that tends to indicate that mountain regions may well be the first areas where combat starts in any new campaign. Mountain regions have also generally been the last areas where resistance continues against any invader although these forms of operations have often degenerated into insurgency and banditry, particularly when it was impossible to defeat the invader in open battle. The vast scales and remoteness involved in the world's mountain regions precludes a precise definition of any generic enemy. However, some outline definition is necessary as an essential background against which our own operational planning and tactical procedures can be set and from which training programmes can subsequently be derived. Over the last 50 years the main threat for British troops was from the Soviet Union and its ability to strike into the mountainous areas of North Norway or Eastern Turkey. Since 1989 this threat has virtually disappeared, but it is entirely feasible to note that this large and potentially serious threat has been replaced by a more aggressive form of nationalism or self determination based on other cultural values and that fresh tensions could appear almost anywhere in the world including mountainous regions. Requests for assistance to the UN or NATO by beleaguered nation states in vulnerable areas could result in some form of military deployment. New technology and scientific improvement has also improved the living conditions to such an extent that it is now possible to take refuge and operate in and from mountain regions on a near permanent basis. This form of activity has already occurred in Northern Iraq and Eastern Turkey. Planning Assumptions 4. Overt armed aggression by the regular forces of one or more nations against another in one of the many mountainous regions of the world is the most likely potential threat that could develop. This aggression could take many forms, but at worst, it could be an all out war in which these geographically hostile regions are used as the battleground for obtaining a decisive result. It is this assumption that forms the backdrop to the subsequent Chapters of this Manual.

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Enemy Characteristics 5. The various locations of the world's mountainous regions do not preclude a potential enemy in the region from having large and generally well equipped armed forces, but more significantly, having access to modern weapons systems and military resources. It would thus be wise to assume that any future enemy is likely to be adequately trained and equipped and could sustain land and air operations in these regions for long periods, although this is more likely to be light mobile forces rather than armour heavy troops. Beyond this general categorisation, it is well known that resistance fighters, guerillas, and insurgents have used mountain terrain to build their organisation and harass the state or occupation forces. These actions could take place within a given theatre of operations for general war. The Balkans are good examples of this type of activity during the Second World War. This Manual covers those military operations conducted in mountains in the course of a general war. Other types of military operation which are intended to counter guerilla or insurgent activities are covered in AFM Counter Insurgency Operations. Enemy Aims 7. It should be assumed that an enemy has gained the ability and experience to fight in mountainous regions. Similarly, it has to be assumed that the enemy has the ability to conduct operations on a larger and more coordinated scale at up to formation level, and that he would aim to dominate and control areas and to defeat an adversary as quickly as possible while relying on a firm base in mountain areas to sustain operations. An enemy could also take advantage of the same operational principles that we adopt and would, no doubt, utilise the same sort of military resources to a similar level of sophistication. However, the constraints and limitations that affect fighting in mountain regions will apply equally to the enemy and this, if used to advantage, could contribute to his defeat if the operational initiative can be obtained. SECTION 2. JOINT AND COMBINED OPERATIONS Background 9. Following a government policy statement to deploy a force for operations in mountainous areas, decisions would be taken within the MOD on the type and size of force to be sent and on its subsequent deployment. These are beyond the scope of this Manual.

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10. It is unlikely that British forces will operate alone in any future operations in such an environment; the prospect of operating in conjunction with a multinational Alliance, or Coalition is much more likely. AJP1(A) and ADP Vol 1 Operations all provide further details on joint and allied cooperation.

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Coalitions/Alliances 11. Whether any military grouping would come under UN, NATO, Commonwealth or Coalition auspices remains to be seen, but whatever the circumstances, there would need to be integrated command and control arrangements. 12. It is also likely that the British Authorities would nominate a self contained formation for commitment to such operations, although it is perfectly feasible to nominate only a formation headquarters, or even individual trained staff officers, observers and specialist to assist other nations or governments. 13. Whatever the British contribution, an awareness of the main characteristics of working within a group of other military partners is important. These are set out in Chapter 6 of ADP Operations and will require careful study. Joint/Combined Operations 14. Any British force committed to operations in a mountainous region will invariably be joint at the appropriate level of command and will be working to a single joint force commander. 15. In the absence of Alliance (eg: NATO) procedures being used in the operational area then UK Joint Operating Procedures should be utilised until other operating arrangements are agreed. SECTION 3. COMMAND, CONTROL AND COMMUNICATIONS Command 16. An army trained and equipped for operations in temperate climates requires both specialist training and additional equipment for deployment to a mountainous region. This essential prior preparation may engender apprehension and uncertainty amongst soldiers who have never experienced these conditions and environment and could place additional pressures on commanders at all levels. 17. The use of mission command and main effort1 will be just as important as tools of command in mountainous conditions as elsewhere. The commander who restricts flexibility by issuing over-detailed orders is likely to restrain his subordinates from using their initiative and may miss the opportunities that changes in the general situation and the weather might present. By designating a main effort a commander will be indicating where his priorities lie, thus allowing subordinates to act in accordance with the mission and in the absence of new orders. 2

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See AFM Formation Tactics, for details of 'main effort'.

2. Note that main effort is not merely the tool of operational commanders. In mountain operations, particularly where resources are limited and lines of communication restricted, the use of main effort in Combat Service Support planning will also be crucial.

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18. The military emphasis in mountains is likely to be on smaller unit operations and therefore much responsibility should be devolved upon junior commanders. Operations may be conducted over extended distances and under difficult communication conditions. There will be a danger that units may be cut off in these situations. A rigid style of command will not thrive in such an environment and subordinates should be encouraged to act in the absence of orders. Command and Control (C2) 19. Organisation. The organisation of C2 in mountain operations will depend upon the type of operation envisaged and the extent to which local conditions affect normal procedures. Limited mobility will be one of the main problems and it may be necessary to reduce the size of headquarters in order that they can maintain the appropriate mobility. 20. Relationships. The command and control relationships between units and formations do not change in cold weather operations. The states of command and Fire Support Control terms are described in Chapter 2 of Formation Tactics. Control of operations, control of fire, airspace control and control of the EM spectrum all conform with normal operational conditions. Communications 21. Priorities. Good communications will be vital if the effects of dispersion and lack of mobility are to be minimised. To compound the problem, mountain regions are subject to severe magnetic storms and ionospheric disturbances which will make HF communications less easy to maintain than in more temperate regions. 22. Effect of the Cold. Unusual atmospheric conditions can be noted in mountain regions; these can produce sporadic static, which is most severe in the High Frequency (HF) waveband between 3 and 30 MHz. Magnetic storms, particularly when combined with ionospheric disturbance, may result in communications blackouts lasting several hours. More normally it should be possible to operate by voice on HF, at least during daylight hours. Skywave should be considered for longer ranges. VHF is reliable under most conditions, although some areas pose significant screening and reflection problems which will affect ground nets and ground to air VHF/UHF communications. The handling and maintenance of communications equipment poses special difficulties in mountainous conditions, in particular, battery life is seriously reduced when low temperatures are experienced. SECTION 4. THE CONDUCT OF OPERATIONS Concepts 23. This Manual deals primarily with how to operate in mountain conditions wherever they may occur. The land areas are normally vast and generally inhabited by very few people. As with other military operations there is clear advantage in capturing 2-4

or holding areas of vital ground , such as passes over mountains, high ground or bridges where movement is canalised. 24. There is, however, every reason to prevent the enemy from making use of the terrain features and weather conditions to sustain his operations; this can be achieved by seeking to dominate and control critical terrain and the airspace above it in such a way that the enemy cannot operate there without disruption to his plans. 25. When this is achieved the ground can be utilised to canalise or restrict enemy movement which then can lead to more aggressive activity to destroy the enemy's will and capability to fight. 26. For a commander the first operational task could be to regain the tactical initiative from the enemy by establishing control and domination over the designated area of operations prior to making any further plans to defeat the enemy. Once this has been established operations on a larger and more coordinated scale can then begin. 27. Experience from history and previous campaigns in mountainous terrain indicates that, at an operational level, the use of bold thrusts that move directly to areas of vital interest while making use of deception to mask the obvious moves of reserves could provide the basis for military success. The terrain, weather conditions and seasonal changes could have an overwhelming effect on the chances of success or failure and certainly alter the pace and tempo of operations. A commander who ignores the opportunities afforded by the terrain and changes in weather conditions will not succeed. 28. Similarly a commander will need to arrange his forces in such a manner to make best use of the resources available. The grouping and regrouping of forces to take account of the task in hand will offer the greater potential for success. The acquisition of the attack helicopter and the combat groupings that can be generated from this weapons platform have to be exploited to the fullest extent. 29. There will undoubtedly be constraints and limitations that affect a commander's ability to conduct operations in mountainous regions but these do not alter the approach to operations described in Chapter 2 of ADP Vol 1 Operations and in more detail in AFM Formation Tactics. Attacking an Enemy's Cohesion 30. In the mountains attacking and fragmenting an enemy's cohesion and rendering his resistance ineffective is deemed to be potentially more rewarding than other tactics, at least initially. 31. Breaking cohesion can be achieved in many ways and a commander will need to be flexible in utilising any number of factors to tighten the noose until it becomes a stranglehold. The main techniques that can be applied are: 2-5

a.

Firepower. The selective application of firepower to attack vital bases, communication sites, command posts and logistic installations are probably those targets which have the greatest worth in mountainous terrain. Tempo. The rate of activity in relation to the enemy is the key factor. The mountainous terrain will inevitably slow the pace of battle for all sides in comparison with operations elsewhere, but if a commander can make decisions quickly and control the pace of operations at a faster rate than the enemy he will quickly gain the operational initiative. Simultaneous Operations. In conjunction with tempo this technique seeks to overload the enemy commander so much that he is forced to divert time and resources away from his main operational aims. Surprise. There are many possibilities for achieving surprise both in timing and location and these should be applied at every suitable opportunity across all levels of command.

b.

c.

d.

Command and Control at Operational Level 32. The principles of command and control of operations are described fully in ADP Vol 2 Command and are not repeated here. However, a salient feature of campaigning in the mountains is that of overall planning at the highest appropriate level followed by decentralised execution; scarce military resources can then be utilised in the most effective manner. More details are given in paras 39 to 42. Communications and Liaison 33. Radio communication is usually the only means of direct contact between a commander and his different formations and units. It may well be advantageous to establish a forward or advance headquarters at a suitable location which moves as operations develop. Redundancy and replication of communications should be considered where appropriate to improve direct contact with other users. 34. Liaison officers at all levels of command are essential. They should be suitably chosen and briefed, and capable of moving rapidly around the operational area (probably by helicopter). Given suitable radio links, liaison officers can back up and endorse the commanders's control of operations, as well as confirming any changes in tactical planning, or reporting developments as they occur. This should allow a commander to be at the place of best information during periods of activity. Combat Identification 35. Positive identification of enemy targets is always difficult but in the mountain and with limited visibility it is even more complicated. The danger of contact between friendly forces is a permanent hazard of operations and a clear definition of boundaries, objectives and other ground locations is necessary to reduce the change of this danger. 2-6

36. Misunderstandings and accidents cause casualties, prejudice security and lower confidence. SOPs have to contain precise instructions for identification, both on the ground and in the air. Policy for the accurate location and marking of mines and traps should also be clearly defined. SECTION 5. THE FUNCTIONS IN COMBAT General 37. The principles of war are the basis for the successful employment of military force in combat. The guidance of these broad principles is translated into operational concepts which are known as 'functions in combat'. The practical expression of the 'functions in combat' is combat power and physical capabilities. When guided by doctrine and with the human dimension added, the result is 'fighting power' which defines the ability to fight. 38. These 'functions in combat', their validation and their use on the battlefield are covered fully in AFM Formation tactics. Additional factors which apply to a mountainous environment are mentioned in subsequent paragraphs. Command 39. The sheer scale and nature of a mountain environment make the achievement of good and effective command and control (C2) more difficult than elsewhere unless the aims of any military activity are very simple, clear and direct. 40. Realistic timetables and timings based on sound practical knowledge of mountains are the key to successful tactical operations. If in doubt plan for two or three times the time it takes to achieve the task elsewhere, particularly for movement by night. 41. Once operations begin, the problems of command and control in practical terms, devolve down to junior commanders very quickly. Simplicity is thus the key to planning at formation level. A commander should make his operational aim and the method of achieving it very clear - not least because it enhances control. It is important to note that good workable and well rehearsed SOPs (which include drills for lost soldiers as well as communications and medevac procedures) are essential to allow for effective devolution of command and control. 42. However, a large element of initiative and latitude has to be built-in to any plan to allow subordinate commanders the ability to overcome the difficulties, delays and frustrations inherent in any operations in mountainous terrain. The hazards and danger of changing fundamental aspects of an operation in mountain regions cannot be overstated. Manoeuvre 43. Manoeuvre enables friendly forces to engage and destroy the enemy. This is vital, particularly in the mountains but take a great deal longer to achieve. The use of 2-7

engineers to improve mobility, and equally, to prevent the use of critical terrain by the enemy is a battle winning factor for a tactical commander. 44. Sensible planning by formation staffs taking full account of the capabilities of the soldier, his weapons systems and his level of training, will prevent over ambitious assumptions about movement (and hence manoeuvre) in mountain operations. This, combined with an appropriate allocation of weapon systems, will also keep the necessary balance and cohesion in the grouping of forces during moves and also allows for unexpected contacts or delays. 45. In the mountains, mobility which forms a major part in achieving manoeuvrability, is a three dimensional factor of great value. A commander who can make positive use of the ground, the air and suitable terrain to move troops and supplies will gain the tactical advantage that mobility provides. These are: a.

Ground Mobility. The speed of movement will depend entirely on the terrain. Movement up and over challenging geographical features in hot or cold conditions is difficult and time consuming. Keeping to known tracks, ridges and higher ground is usually the easiest method of movement, but, correspondingly, it may be the most obvious route to an enemy. Helicopter Support. The availability and use of helicopters for observation, reconnaissance, attack, protection and transportation significantly enhances a commanders' ability to monitor and develop military operations in mountainous areas. Many of these techniques have been practised elsewhere in other types of terrain and are not new, but in this environment the opportunity to profoundly affect the conduct of operations is enormous. Nevertheless their use in mountainous areas will require special training and the use of particular techniques. The Soviet Army, despite its total control over air space in Afghanistan lost over 330 helicopters to mujahideen air defence weapons of various sorts.

b.

Firepower 46. Mountain conditions by themselves do not reduce the effectiveness of the firepower available to modern armies. However, the problem of observation and accurate target acquisition, particularly in poor visibility, can inhibit the use of longer range weapons and can restrict the advantage of heavier supporting weapons. Despite this, artillery and mortar fire of all types can be particularly effective in halting an enemy's advance or his withdrawal, possibly through narrow and confined valleys. In addition artillery has the capacity to disrupt lines of communication and contribute substantially to both deep and close operations. 47. Manportable rocket launchers, grenade launchers, as well as hand grenades have all provided their worth against armoured vehicles and bunkers under almost any conditions and their usefulness in the restricted battle areas available in mountain operations could be enhanced.

2-8

48. Thick snow mitigates the effect of high explosive; snow also readily absorbs shell fragments and the burst radius of bombs, shells and mortars is similarly reduced. Higher rates of ammunition expenditure will probably be required to effect full neutralisation and in some circumstances special care will be needed to protect fuses from the cold and damp conditions. 49. Experience shows that medium calibre mortars provide the most practical form of manportable firepower readily available to troops in all mountain conditions. Wire guided missiles are of less value, particularly if there is lack of visibility and physical obstruction. Remote control devices can be affected by line of sight problems but could still be very effective if well located. 50. The firepower available in attack helicopters can materially assist troops operating in the mountains provided suitable visibility is present. Protection 51. All round protection, whether on the move or halted, is absolutely essential at all times. In defence the subtle use of any natural features available, such as sloping ground or trees, should be integrated into a defensive position in order to canalise the enemy towards fields of fire covering minefields or booby traps. 52. The relative lack of cover during daylight, from both ground, air and sensor observation, can reduce the opportunity for infiltration, deception and ambush. Strict track discipline and control is necessary to keep enemy observation to the minimum compatible with good security. 53. Cover from view is not necessarily cover from fire and careful training on the need for the proper depth of protection against small arms, rocket fire and artillery is essential. Information and Intelligence 54. General. As in every other theatre of war, a major difficulty faced by the commander will be the problems encountered by his G2 staff in providing him with accurate and timely intelligence. In mountain operations these difficulties will be exacerbated and whilst the intelligence cycle (see JSP 120 Manual of Service Intelligence for further details) remains unaltered by external influences, the collection of information and intelligence and its subsequent dissemination will be made infinitely more difficult by the restrictions imposed by the inhospitable nature of mountainous terrain and by the enemy's ability to employ the extremes of the mountain environment to mask his intentions. 55. Direction. In defining his Critical Information Requirements (CIRs), the commander must consider the effects of any mountainous terrain on his own and the enemy's operations. The Battlefield Area Evaluation (BAE) carried out in the course of his Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) will therefore be of particular importance in its consideration of routes, going and the effect of inadequate map2-9

ping. Particular requirements for information on the enemy (activities and intentions) will be expressed as part of his Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs), which will provide G2 with direction and will be used to formulate the Intelligence Requirements (IR) which make up the G2 Collection Plan. 56. Collection. The Collection Plan is the means through which the Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RISTA) assets required to meet the commander's PIRs are tasked by the G2 staff. Depending on the content of the PIRs, appropriate assets may be found within the formation or the tasking may have to be passed to RISTA assets belonging to, or capable of being tasked by, a higher formation. 57. Processing. Apart from the physiological effects of altitude on the G2 staff, the processing stage of the intelligence cycle will be little affected by a mountain environment. 58. Dissemination. The effects of the mountain environment on communications (described in paragraphs 21 and 22 of this Chapter), and of the difficulty of physical movement caused by the terrain, will have a corresponding impact on the dissemination of intelligence. Allowance has to be made for the fact that intelligence (together with plans and orders) may take longer to reach its intended recipient and decision and planning times may have to be adjusted accordingly. Novel methods for the dissemination of intelligence may have to be devised and adopted and at the planning state of mountain operations a requirement for the capability to transmit imagery and mapping electronically should be considered. 59. The Area of Intelligence Responsibility. The Area of Intelligence Responsibility (AIR) of a tactical commander is likely to cover a large geographical area and adequate information and intelligence may be difficult to acquire. HUMINT from refugees, local inhabitants and PWs is likely to be sparse and, apart from any organic manned reconnaissance, the commander will have to rely to a considerable extent on IMINT and SIGINT from higher formations to meet his information and intelligence requirements. 60. Operational Intelligence. Intelligence at the operational level is outside the scope of this publication (for further details refer to AFM Vol 1 Part 1, Formation Tactics and JSP 120). However, due to the relative scarcity of RISTA assets at the tactical level, and the probable large AIRs, units may have to rely on higher formations for a considerable proportion of their information and intelligence. Due to the lack of in-country logistic facilities and the probable reliance on a few vital supply routes, intelligence at the operational level will often concentrate on identifying the enemy's CSS assets and his Main Supply Routes as pointers to the strengths, locations and intentions of the combat troops. 61. Information and Intelligence Requirements. At the outset of operations the scarcity of intelligence at the tactical level will probably dictate that the operations are aimed at acquiring intelligence, rather than the destruction of any enemy forces. The extent of the tactical commander's AIR, and the limitations imposed on his 2 - 10

organic RISTA assets by the mountain environment, may mean that higher formation assets such as Special Forces (SF) patrols and access to strategic sources will be needed to provide information and intelligence otherwise unavailable at the tactical level. The Commander's tactical information and intelligence requirements will include: a.

Terrain. Detailed terrain information which is not available from existing mapping can be obtained by patrol activity or from imagery sources. Where imagery is not available and the areas are outside the range of the commander's organic reconnaissance assets, it may be possible to use SF patrols controlled at the operational level to obtain information about the terrain in the Area of Operations (AO). Enemy Strengths, Identification, Locations and Intentions. Information and intelligence about these aspects of the commander's PIR may be obtained from:
(1)

b.

HUMINT obtained from contact with the local population, refugees and PW. However, by virtue of the mountain environment, such contact will be, of necessity, sparse. Operations to acquire HUMINT are well suited to SF where they are available in theatre. SIGINT, in its various forms, can provide useful information and intelligence about the identity, location and equipment of the enemy and may also provide some indication of his intentions. SIGINT is likely to be provided from a higher formation. IMINT may be restricted both by the terrain and the climatic conditions existing in mountainous terrain. Where available, IMINT can provide information and intelligence about the enemy's location, strength and equipment. IMINT will, except where the formation possesses integral UAV assets, be disseminated from a higher formation.

(2)

(3)

62. Electronic Warfare (EW). Despite the unpredictable effects of mountainous terrain on the electro-magnetic spectrum, the possession of an EW capability will provide the commander with a wide range of information and intelligence and will also enable him to attack the enemy's Command and Control (C2) systems. Although ground based EW equipment can provide a more effective long term capability than airborne assets, the difficulties of deploying it, relatively close to its target in mountainous terrain, may well outweigh any advantage this confers. 63. Surveillance. There is a wide range of equipment which is available to units and formations to improve their surveillance capability; Global Positioning System (GPS) as a navigation aid, Thermal Imagery (TI) Image Intensification (II) devices for use at night or in poor visibility, Laser Range Finder (LRF) and improved communication systems. While much of this equipment has not, so far, been used operationally in a mountain environment, it has the potential to bring a considerable improvement in surveillance capability to this type of operation. While surveillance and target acquisition are strictly part of any gathering of information and 2 - 11

intelligence function, their more detailed aspects are not covered further in this Chapter. Nevertheless, commanders should note the limitation inherent in the graze angle of any line of sight surveillance equipment in such terrain. Conversely an overflying sensor (Satellite, RPV, or TAR) will have that much more significance. Combat Service Support (CSS) 64. The principles of good combat service support pertain equally to mountain operations as to any other operational area, but the nature of the environment and its conditions could impose some severe and real constraint on normal operating procedures and methods of support. ADP-3 Logistics provides a general background on the principles of CSS. 65. It should be normal practice to assume that the enemy could have the ability to cut or disrupt the lines of communication. Alternative means of resupply and casualty evacuation should always be considered and contingency plans prepared for such a situation along with sensible plans for protection, surveillance and effective communications links. 66. Planning for CSS is described in the interim volume of the AFM on Combat Service Support and also in Chapter 2 of Formation Tactics. Those aspects that have particular relevance to mountain operations are reiterated below: a.

CSS Framework. Integrated with operational plans should be a CSS plan which provides effective CSS activity within a framework of reliable communications and simple staff procedures. Preparation Time. Forward thinking by a commander and staff to allow adequate time to assemble sufficient stocks and to cater for the unexpected. Opportunity. CSS activity is best achieved out of contact with an enemy and when this occurs every chance should be taken to resupply, evacuate casualties, and to repair equipment. In mountain operations constant awareness of the current situation is the only sure means of anticipating opportunities, or equally important, a change in the weather conditions. An effective CSS framework will also enhance the ability to react quickly to events as they occur. Distance. A careful balance of factors is needed to ensure that CSS units are close enough to sustain operations properly but are at a sufficient distance away to avoid enemy attention. In the circumstances of mountain operations this balance is probably fundamental to the success of any operation and will require constant review by a commander and his G1 and G4 staffs. The factors involved on any CSS decision are likely to be, the value of destruction, the rate of demand, distance and duration coupled with weather and terrain. There is very little room for error and it may be appropriate, despite the additional overheads, to have more forward dumps with fewer stocks in each to offset potential shortages.

b.

c.

d.

2 - 12

e.

Logistic Control. Close application to the principles of command is essential to ensure that the logistic disadvantages of fighting in the mountains are overcome. A study of ADP Command and the relevant logistic sections of AFM Formation Tactics is directly applicable to all unit and formation commanders. A basic requisite of logistic control in these conditions is that of centralised planning at the highest appropriate level followed by a rapid decentralised execution; in that way the normally scarce resources can be utilised in the most efficient manner. Once operations start the problem of communication, liaison and logistic control effectively and rapidly devolve down to subordinate staff and commanders. Protection of Lines of Communication. Protection and security for the lines of communication between bases and forward troop positions is vital for the cohesion of all operations in mountainous terrain.

f.

2 - 13

CHAPTER 3 TACTICAL FACTORS IN MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS SECTION 1. COMMON FEATURES Background 1. Mountains limit mobility and restrict modern armies from making full use of their sophisticated weapons and equipment. This enables a determined and well trained enemy to have a military effect out of all proportion to his numbers and equipment. The Italian campaign of 1943-45, Marshal Tito's guerilla operations in Yugoslavia during the same period and more recently in Afghanistan, (1979-87) all provide illustrations of how success can be achieved against opponents who are superior in numbers and weaponry. The physical limitations imposed by mountain operations which embrace both cold and hot climates in all weather conditions, will restrict the mobility of a force. The soldier has to be able to continue to move and fight in these various circumstances which, particularly when aggravated by the contrasting requirements of daylight and darkness, can considerably reduce their overall effectiveness. Tactical Factors 3. From earlier Chapters, it is apparent that tactics for operations in mountainous country will be affected by the following important factors: a.

2.

Mobility. Mobility is the basic tactical factor upon which the successful application of all others depend. It implies the ability of the formation, the unit, or the individual to move anywhere, at any time, with the maximum possible speed, and to be fit to fight efficiently. The natural conditions encountered in mountain operations all militate against mobility, and the successful commander will be the one who overcomes these conditions by correct appreciation and by foresight in planning. The whole object of organization, equipment, training, and CSS will be to produce mobility. In the mountains mobility is an attitude of mind as much as a physical requirement. Concentration of Force. Mountainous terrain makes the ideal concentration of forces difficult to achieve. Foresight in planning and careful stage management will be necessary. Much will depend on the seizure of lateral routes. Security. Success will depend on the application of this factor since the degree of mobility and concentration it will be possible to attain will be in proportion to the degree of security enjoyed on the lines of communication and in any administrative areas. The mountains offer ideal conditions for the tactic of infiltration and for raids and ambushes. Security becomes still more important if the area of operations is occupied by a hostile population. Conversely, the use of such tactics against the enemy lines of communication
3-1

b.

c.

could pay handsome dividends. Good security lies in the complete domination of No Man's Land by active and aggressive patrolling and by the proper application of suitable forces to security tasks. d.

Surprise. Owing to limited routes for movement, their obvious nature, and the facilities for observation provided by high ground, major surprise will, in general, be more difficult to obtain than in other forms of operation. Mobility, and in particular the ability to move speedily over ground and by routes that the enemy believes to be impracticable, could overcome these difficulties. The intelligent use by troops of ground, covered approaches, of which there are many, as a means of tactical deception, and of operating by night in fog, or under smoke cover, are all means which will assist in gaining the element of tactical surprise. Fire and Movement. In the mountains the object is always to get above and behind the enemy, to outflank him, to mask his fire, and to press on. Once movement is opposed, effective fire has to be opened. As well as gaining suitable positions to dominate any fire fight, some consideration needs to be given to the limited amount of ammunition that can be moved and carried around the mountains - and hence the ability to dominate by fire could be constrained by the ability to move ammunition rapidly. A thorough understanding of weapons, rigid fire control, and an eye for mountain country, are essential. It is difficult to overstress the importance of accurate fire or the ability of troops to move by the most difficult routes, and therefore the ones least likely to be opposed. In favourable conditions the use of air or aviation forces to produce fire in direct support will undoubtedly be the most mobile, and perhaps decisive, form of fire power in the hands of a commander. NBC Hazard Prediction. Hazard prediction for nuclear, biological and chemical hazards will be complicated by the nature of mountainous terrain and the local variations of weather patterns generally. Current computer prediction (BRACIS) will only take this into account if local meteorological information is applied.

e.

f.

Deployment Factors 4. The following factors have to be considered during the estimate process: a.

Ground. This is the dominating factor. Mountain regions are seldom well mapped, and even the best of maps amplified by good air photographs cannot be relied on to give a true impression of the ground. Nor is an eye for mountain country developed without training. To fail to carry out personal reconnaissance or to observe the country with a trained eye can only result in troops being asked to achieve the impossible or for opportunities to be missed. Training in correct and rapid estimation of the tactical value of ground must be so thorough that reaction to it is instinctive.

3-2

b.

Time and Space. Problems of time and space are greatly complicated by the mountains, and the tendency to be over-optimistic has to be resisted. This factor applies particularly to operations by night. It is always wiser to over-insure. Deployment. Deployment for battle, because of the limited number of routes and their restricted nature, is made more difficult by the mountains. Initial errors cannot be easily corrected, and there is no room to execute last minute changes of plan. Proper stage management, and a crystal clear picture of how a commander intends to fight the battle, are thus as important to subordinate commanders as well-rehearsed battle drills are for all troops Traffic. In order to ensure each unit and supporting arms arriving punctually as required, routes (including tracks) should be kept clear of non-essential traffic and any natural blocks such as snow. Major consideration must be given to the order of march and traffic control.

c.

d.

Communications 5.

General. The mountains and the effects of the weather make setting up and maintaining communications more complicated. Personal contact is difficult if vehicles and other means of transport cannot be used or heavy snow, avalanches or mud and rock flows block the available routes. In many cases it is only possible to assemble commanders quickly by using helicopters. Messengers on foot should always be deployed in pairs. Line. It is usually necessary to establish cable links over terrain which is difficult to pass. Line laying parties will need to be reinforced and transported to the highest point of the route; they can normally operate on foot in valleys. It may be necessary to use pack animals to transport the appropriate equipment. Cable links in the mountains are frequently interrupted by rockfalls, avalanches and the movement of a covering of snow. Where possible fixed communications nets are to be used. Radio. Radio links are indispensable in combat but are subject to unusual operating conditions. The mountains, the terrain covering and changeable weather reduce the range of radio waves. However by reflecting or bending radio waves it is sometimes possible to establish good links between stations in mountain areas. In visual contact from mountain to mountain or from mountain to valley secure radio links can usually be established, even over large distances. A commander should usually be able to select his combat position from where he can expect favourable radiation conditions for operations. However it is not always possible to predict whether a radio link can be established from a particular location, and so the most important links should be tested in advance of actual deployment if the situation allows. Relay Stations Relay stations for links in the command circuit and in the fire control circuit (fig 1001) are set up as required. Where necessary and possible, relay teams should be transported by helicopter to their deployed locations. If the 3-3

6.

7.

8.

relay stations in position are inadequate, every suitably positioned radio station can be ordered to be utilised as a radio repeater. Radio repeaters should also be used to re-establish broken links. Planning for Operations 9. The planning for offensive or defensive operations in mountainous terrain at the operational level do not differ from planning for operations elsewhere. Chapter 1 of Part D covering German Army operations in the Caucasus mountains illustrates this point effectively. There are however, many differences to note in planning operations at the tactical level in mountainous terrain. The Sections of this Chapter that follow are all based around a battlegroup and its sub units. Normally the battlegroup would be an infantry heavy organisation, but this need not always be the case. The introduction into service of the attack helicopter could well affect the future tasks and organisation of any unit operating in mountainous areas. SECTION 2. TACTICAL MOVEMENT General Considerations 10. In mountainous terrain there are several means by which movement of troops can be achieved. In principle units would move: a. In vehicles (soft skinned or armoured) if the situation, terrain and weather are suitable. On foot if the terrain does not allow for vehicles or if the situation dictates otherwise. On skis if this helps to cross snow covered terrain more quickly and safely than on foot. In support helicopters if long distances, or large differences in altitude or terrain with many obstacles has to be negotiated quickly.

b.

c.

d.

11. If a unit of battlegroup size is moving in a valley it should ensure its own safety by using patrols both in the valley and on adjacent slopes and peaks to 'picket' the high ground. Often it is appropriate to occupy dominating terrain a long way ahead of any main forces. The patrols, where possible, should be transported and landed near their operational area by helicopter. An illustration of this type of movement is given in Fig 3-1. 12. As well as using patrols a major unit and its sub units should protect themselves to the front by using a vanguard, generally at platoon strength. The vanguard should have an FOO and engineers attached.

3-4

Fig 3-1: COVERING MOVEMENTS

Figure 3-1. The Covering of Movement 3-5

Movement in Vehicles 13. Vehicles need to be suited to the terrain as well as the task allocated for the troops. In mountain terrain for instance a normal travelling speed of 25 mph by day and 20 mph by night often cannot be maintained if: a. b. c. Long gradients are to be negotiated. The road has many sharp bends On-coming traffic means that overtaking is slow or passing places have to be used.

14. On fair weather roads (tracks, paths in woods, paths on alpine meadows) often only sub units can proceed slowly in light vehicles. Particularly difficult or dangerous paths should be negotiated at walking pace; occasionally the vehicles will have to be guided individually. Poor movement condition on the road, obstacles, landslides, rockfalls, snow avalanches are to be expected on fair weather road surfaces. In order to avoid congestion it is advantageous to travel at large intervals. 15. Fuel consumption in mountain areas can be up to 100% higher than on flatter land if many difficult stretches are to be negotiated or poor weather causes more low gear driving. Movement on Foot 16. A poor network of paths, the threat from the enemy, the effects of the weather and the dangers of the mountain terrain can result in troops moving on foot or on skis long before reaching the objective. In this case a formation or major unit should move, whenever possible, on several different routes. A commander should aim to keep the most important equipment on transport (eg lorries or pack animals) close to those units moving on foot or bringing them up promptly (eg by helicopter). This will depend on: a. b. How long sub units will be separated from their vehicles When equipment or supplies can be brought up.

17. Reconnaissance teams for the required march routes should have: a. b. c. d. 3-6 A qualified mountain leader. Engineer representation. An NBC trace unit. CSS representation.

e.

Suitable troops to clear and mark obstacles and secure vital points.

18. In addition to the other tasks, reconnaissance teams in mountain areas should also: a. b. Reconnoitre paths for pack animals. Construct secure facilities to make terrain that is difficult to pass or climbing country passable. Determine any dangers from the mountains, such as avalanche.

c.

19. Any pack animals employed usually travel with their handlers within a sub unit. If a confrontation is likely they should travel at the back of any column. If pack animals are attached to a sub unit the travel breaks are normally determined by their needs. 20. The performances of troops travelling on skis generally equates to those travelling on foot. In unfavourable snow conditions (eg deep heavy snow or packed snow) the travel performance on skis declines considerably. Occupying Areas. 21. Terrain and weather often make occupying areas in the mountains difficult. The sparse road and path network and the poor accessibility of the terrain drastically limit the opportunity for movement and dispersal for vehicles. As in other operations rest areas should be selected to improve the prospect that: a. b. c. Troops can find camouflage and cover from attack from the air. Positions can be secured using fewer forces Offer better conditions for man and beast to rest (eg wind protection, water, shade). Equipment and supplies brought on transport can be transferred (eg from motorised vehicles to pack animals) and Helicopters can land.

d.

e.

SECTION 3. SECURITY ON THE MOVE 22. In terrain that is difficult to pass or which can only be negotiated by climbing it is often possible to observe and fire over large areas, wide gaps and open flanks by securing a few points, and positions on ridges and crests. In carefully chosen positions outposts, sentries and patrols can also contain a large number of enemy for a long time. 3-7

Fig 3-2: SECURING DIFFICULT MOUNTAIN TERRAIN

Figure 3-2. Securing a Mountain Area which is Difficult to Cross 3-8

23. In snow it is usually advantageous to deploy, in addition to outposts and sentries, patrols on skis using cleared routes who are also to determine whether the enemy has penetrated the area. 24. If an enemy has penetrated through a defensive perimeter into terrain which cannot be monitored adequately the unit concerned would be obliged to close the gap and seek out the enemy. Once the enemy has been observed he should be destroyed, where possible by mortars and artillery, or failing this attacked. If the enemy has made progress in conditions of restricted visibility, it would often not be possible to engage him until any clouds and fog have dispersed. 25. Units and sub units in valley locations should ensure that they have protection from the enemy by positioning troops on the surrounding slopes and peaks. In good visibility slopes and peaks on the opposite side of the valley can often be sufficiently monitored by using a few well positioned troops. Unoccupied adjacent valleys in the rear or in the flank of a unit where the enemy could land unnoticed or could launch a surprise attack are to be monitored and the valley entrances secured. In mountainous areas that are difficult to traverse securing key points and terrain should be achieved before the main body of troops pass through, (See Fig 3-2). 26. Movement of troops at night or in restricted visibility will be dangerous in low cloud if a sudden clearance exposes the assaulting troops to enemy observation and fire. Smoke should be available on call even though winds are unpredictable. Advancing at night or in bad visibility should generally be at a slow pace in order to maintain control and to prevent troops becoming spread out in difficult country. Routes should be marked and objectives limited. The final stages of an advance should, whenever possible, be along ridges with the aim of assaulting from higher ground. The ideal timing for an attack is a night approach march with a dawn assault. SECTION 4. RECONNAISSANCE 27. Reconnaissance in mountainous areas is an absolute pre-requisite for troop movement, the deployment of forces and for combat. Terrain which may well be vital ground in combat should where possible, be reconnoitred by the commander and as many sub unit commanders as possible. 28. If the situation allows only for partial reconnaissance or none at all, documents such as maps and aerial photographs, (see below) guide handbooks and route descriptions plus any information from other civil authorities (eg. forestry and water board offices, road maintenance services) and the local population should be utilized. a.

Aerial Imagery. Aerial imagery has particular utility in mountainous areas. It can be used to update often inadequate mapping, for route reconnaissance, and vertical cover can "see" into dead ground. At the tactical level, stereographic cover can be used to determine intervisibility between two or
3-9

more points, and to produce "dead ground" studies from predetermined points, thus reducing time spent on the ground setting up OPs. b.

Tactical Air Reconnaissance. Imagery from tactical air reconnaissance missions (normally conventional panchromatic cover, although Infra-red and thermal imagery is increasingly available) will be up-to-date and show all relevant detail. Cover can be small scale, from high-level missions, showing a large ground area in less detail, or large scale, normally from low-level missions, which gives good detail but of a smaller area. However, the advantages of current cover have to be offset against the risk to scarce assets, and Operations Security (OPSEC) considerations. Strategic aerial Imagery. Strategic imagery is obtained from high-level reconnaissance flights or from satellites. It can be conventional panchromatic or radar cover, and will generally be small scale. Commercial satellite imagery is increasingly available, although its small scale means that its main use is for updating or supplementing mapping.

c.

29. In an initial reconnaissance, the commander would normally make a survey of the terrain by helicopter if this is appropriate. For detailed reconnaissance, the commander would use reconnaissance parties and teams incorporating where possible mountain guides and sometimes logistic reconnaissance teams. Reconnaissance teams carry out closely defined tasks, normally a search for the usable paths and dominating positions for individual weapons or sections in terrain that is difficult to pass or in climbing terrain. 30. Reconnaissance can be accelerated if it is carried out at low altitude from helicopters. If individual objects (eg. bridges, tunnels) are to be investigated more closely then teams can be landed in the adjacent area and recovered later. 31. If terrain that is predominately a climbing area or is difficult to pass needs to be reconnoitred the commander should deploy more specialist troops who have been trained in these duties. (RM, SAS or Airborne Pathfinders if available). 32. It is seldom possible to reconnoitre disjointed mountainous terrain comprehensively from a single point. The commander may well need to reinforce any reconnaissance resources, in conjunction with other combat arms, by making a widespread deployment of observers from armour artillery, infantry and aviation units, (see Fig 3-3) 33. If area reconnaissance is to be carried out , patrols should be equipped to remain on duty for several days at a time. Often it is then advantageous to transport them by helicopter for at least some of the way towards their patrol area and to supply them from the air for the duration of their reconnaissance. 34. Patrols are often the only sub units available to respond rapidly in the area away from the main forces. Often only they are able to react quickly enough to developments in the situation at the front, on the flanks or in the rear. They can then give 3 - 10

Fig 3-3: OBSERVATION OF AN AREA

Figure 3-3. Observation of an Area 3 - 11

the main forces, the time necessary to deploy suitable counter measures. Patrols in mountainous terrain can also be given additional tasks such as: a. b. c. d. e. Gaining important terrain and keeping it until reinforced. Slowing down the progress of an enemy Containing the enemy Keeping in contact with the enemy Launching a surprise attack.

35. Reconnaissance should determine the following: a. The locations of enemy dismounted forces, long range flat trajectory weapons, artillery and mortars. Alternative enemy positions. The routes which the enemy can move forces and use transport. The natural obstacles and where the enemy has laid any barriers or mines. Sections of terrain which can be observed by the enemy. Locations for helicopters to land. The direction from which an enemy can conduct counterattacks. The approach routes which provide the best cover from view and fire. The paths which can be used to by pass enemy obstacles, barriers and positions. The best positions for support weapons. The most favourable observation sites for the FOO and sub units of the artillery and mortars. The routes to be used by medical services. The climbing risks inherent in the terrain.

b. c. d. e. f. g. h. l.

m.

n. o.

3 - 12

SECTION 5. OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS General Considerations 36. Command and Control. In mountainous terrain it is usually difficult to conduct a coordinated battle. Owing to the terrain, engagements tend to be isolated and mutual support cannot always be achieved. Command and control of all available assets can best be exercised if command posts are well forward and able to react quickly. In addition the use of helicopters as airborne command posts give flexibility and good communications if the air and AD threat allow. Boundaries require careful planning. Heights overlooking valleys should be allotted to formations and units over whose area they exert most influence. This is not always easy to decide initially and may require subsequent adjustment. 37. Fire support. The important fire support considerations to note are: a. b. c. Where rates of advance are difficult to predict, fire plans should be on call. The difficulty of resupplying ammunition may restrict fire support. Both tanks and armoured reconnaissance vehicles may be able to provide fire support particularly onto crest lines for which the flat trajectory of their weapons is more suitable than artillery and mortars. If available and when the terrain permits, use should also be made of armed helicopters, naval gunfire support and close air support. If a Forward Air Controller is attached to an assaulting unit, he should be well forward, preferably in an airborne OP .

d.

e.

The Deliberate Attack 38. Frontal attacks in daylight require enormous fire support if they are to succeed against concealed and well constructed defences on dominating ground requiring a long uphill assault, particularly if troops lack the protection provided by APCs. An attack on the flanks should be considered, but this may require a long approach march and take considerable time unless a heliborne flanking insertion is mounted. 39. Another possibility is a frontal attack at night or in restricted visibility. However this will be dangerous in low cloud if a sudden clearance exposes the assaulting infantry to enemy fire. Smoke should be available on call even though winds are unpredictable. Advancing at night or in bad visibility must generally be at a slow pace in order to maintain control and to prevent troops becoming spread out in difficult country. Routes should be marked and objectives should be limited. The final stages of an advance should, whenever possible, be along ridges with the aim of assaulting from higher ground. Possibly the best timing is a night approach with a dawn assault.

3 - 13

Terrain Factors 40. The movements of the troops in mountainous terrain can be substantially accelerated by the use of support helicopters. In this way: a. b. c. d. Important sections of terrain can be taken before the enemy. The enemy can be attacked from unexpected directions. Segregated units can be rejoined. Material needed in a particular phase of battle can be brought quickly to combat positions and troops can be relieved of anything they temporarily do not require. Casualties can be rescued and transported quickly to a medical aid post

e.

41. The terrain in the mountains makes the coordination and momentum of any attack more difficult. It is not always possible to control all units and sections by time and space such that they can operate together. It is even more important therefore to bring combat forces into action at the right place and at the right time. 42. Mountainous terrain with its ridges and crests leading to the objective of the attack will dictate that combat troops be organised in depth. This also applies to units of any armoured forces which have to move in narrow valleys and on roads and tracks. Easily walkable slopes, wide mountain ridges, alpine meadows and valley floors on the other hand allow for a wider form of spacing between groups and sub units. 43. Troops should be allocated by virtue of the accessibility of the terrain to their objective. Where this accessibility changes then reorganisations will be necessary. Independent action by a sub unit will probably need some form of reinforcement from within a battlegroup to allow sufficient support from other Arms to be arranged. Coordinating Factors 44. Assembly Area. The battlegroup should prepare itself for an attack in a suitable assembly area. In the mountains this can be nearer the enemy than elsewhere, although it should be positioned in such a way that the enemy cannot use indirect fire weapons to harass any concentration of forces. The assembly area would usually lie below the tree line and should allow for good communications and a clear approach to the Line of Departure. Where possible reinforcements should marry up with other forces in the assembly area. The commander would allocate to sub units: a. A Line of Departure or Points of Departure.

3 - 14

Fig 3-4a: INITIAL DEPLOYMENT AND ATTACK ON FIRST OBJECTIVE

Figure 3-4a. Initial Deployment and Attack on First Object.

Fig 3-4b: ATTACK BY A REINFORCED COMPANY IN PLACES USING 2 OBJECTIVES

Figure 3-4b. Attack by Reinforced Company on Two Objectives 3 - 15

b. c. d.

The objective of the attack The route to the objective. Tasks after taking the objective.

45. Timings for Attack. The start of the attack in the mountains can rarely be set at a particular time. Troops which have to approach the enemy from a distance or have to negotiate great altitude differences should approach first. The start of an attack by armoured fighting troops in the valley often depends on the infantry first gaining a particular section of terrain and freeing slopes and peaks from enemy observation for fire. 46. Objectives. The commander usually selects the focus of the attack where several dominating sections of terrain are to be taken. Often possession of such terrain is the pre-requisite for taking the objective. It may be necessary to move the focus several times in the course of a large scale attack See Fig 3-4a and 34b. 47. Limited Visibility. Limited visibility allows troops to approach an enemy unnoticed even over relatively smooth covered terrain. In limited visibility the objectives of the attack are usually close together. Often the aim of a night attack or an attack in fog or snowstorm is to surprise and destroy the enemy, where in good visibility this would hardly be possible. Attacking in limited visibility in the mountains is difficult because: a. b. c. d. e. Movements in difficult or climbing terrain are limited. Movements at night, in fog and snow can only proceed slowly. Orientation is difficult. Limited use can be made of transport. Loose stones, scree and dry branches make silent movement in many sections of terrain impossible.

Preparations for a Deliberate Attack 48. In mountain terrain the battlegroup would require more time for the preparation of an attack than in other environments. The commander would first assess the options the terrain offers the enemy for defence, counterattacks and containment. 49. The enemy's aim is normally to take valleys and communication paths including adjacent slopes and peaks. Defence at obstacles and bottlenecks is usually vital for the whole of his position. He also positions his long range flat trajectory weapons on slopes and protruding peaks even in difficult mountain terrain, so that he can use flanking fire against attacking forces in the valley and on the counter slope. Where targets are available to his artillery he uses fire often with direct 3 - 16

Fig 3-5: INFANTRY COMPANY ATTACK ON THE SIDE OF A VALLEY

Figure 3-5. A Company Attack using one Slope of a Valley Feature 3 - 17

aiming. His objective will be to destroy the attacking forces as they approach. 50. In reconnaissance, the commander would order sub units to reconnoitre where they are to attack according to a provisional plan. Peaks which allow for observation of enemy occupied areas would be focal points for reconnaissance. Frequently patrols infiltrate the enemy and observe from vantage points. It may be necessary to take such focal points for further observation during the early stages of any attack. The results of a detailed reconnaissance will form the basis for timing and determining fire and movements. 51. On the basis of the reconnaissance results the commander would continue to develop the plan for the attack. He should deal with as many details as possible by early preliminary orders. Sub unit commanders preparations would include: a. Orders for troops which require time eg. raiding parties in the rear of an enemy. Incorporation of reinforcements and support weapons and their requirements. Cooperation with air mobile or airborne troops of other units. Communications to subordinate and adjacent forces. Weapons, equipment, special equipment and clothing to be carried. Transport of additional ammunition, means of combat and subsistence Type and loading of transport to be taken along (vehicles, pack animals, carriers) The location of transport not included in the attack. Distribution points, helicopter landing areas, medical unit site and the transport of casualties.

b. c. d. e. f. g.

h. i.

52. The mountain terrain and adverse weather can restrict or preclude the use of heavy weapons and artillery. Local fire superiority may only be achieved by concentrating sub unit weapons fire. Such fire concentration could be necessary for instance, to provide cover for a few troops to push forward towards an objective. Conduct of the Attack 53. Where possible sub units should use deeply dissected and covered mountain terrain when approaching the objective by-passing open sections of terrain or negotiate them in restricted visibility. By day often in the mountains rising or sinking cloud can be used as additional camouflage protection. Forests provide good opportunities for covert approach. Wooded areas near the tree line could make it easier for the enemy to locate troops from the air or from opposite slopes and 3 - 18

peaks. In open terrain above the tree line it is often more suitable to adopt a wide dispersion of troops. Sub units should protect themselves during any approach march by the use of patrols. On slopes these should push along the route in echelon towards the objective (Fig 3-5). 54. Forces proceeding on slopes on either side of a valley should support each other by observation and also, where possible and appropriate, by fire. Artillery and mortars, tanks, APC's, and anti-tank weapons are used to monitor the approach route of the attacking sub units. At particularly endangered points, sub units themselves should monitor their own movements by the use of covering parties from within the sub unit. 55. Small vehicles or pack animals follow the troops, moving from cover to cover in stages. They transport what the troops do not require temporarily, particularly machine guns tripods, anti-tank and anti-tank hand weapons, explosives and detonators, ammunition and other related equipment. 56. If helicopters support the attack landing areas and dropping points should be reconnoitred. Preparations are to be made for marking such sites and they should be away from the observed fire of an enemy. If greater numbers are to be transported by helicopter, patrols should reconnoitre and secure in advance the landing areas and dropping points. 57. In good visibility troops are usually not able to approach positions dominated by the enemy. If there is not time to wait for limited visibility and if the support weapons cannot take out the enemy, it is advantageous to by-pass such positions and cut them off from their rearward communications if this is possible. 58. To break through troops move forward under the concentrated fire of all available support weapons towards the enemy positions. Where visibility and terrain allow, artillery and mortars, and, where appropriate, tanks hold down the enemy at the breakthrough points on adjacent positions and on other peaks. Enemy not contained by fire from the support weapons should be contained by the covering parties. Sub unit commanders can also deploy anti-tank weapons against important fortifications or enemy armoured fighting vehicles which cannot be effectively engaged by other means. 59. If the combat troops have to attack uphill, the artillery and mortar fire should be broken off at the break through point to ensure that own troops are not endangered by fragments, rockfall and avalanche. The long range flat trajectory weapons in the battlegroup should then take over the close support of any attack. 60. If the enemy carries out a counterattack in the flank or rear of the battlegroup the commander should plan to intercept this with any centrally controlled reserves. In mountain terrain often only a small force is necessary to surround enemy armoured forces. However these are to be reinforced quickly so that they can prevent the breakout or relief attempts by the enemy.

3 - 19

Infiltration 61. Mountainous terrain is particularly suitable for infiltration and this technique may be used in conjunction with a deliberate attack. Moreover the advantages of surprise and the envelopment achieved are normally worth the time and effort involved. The safest routes are likely to be the most difficult to traverse and movement may be very slow, owing to the requirement to halt frequently to observe for signs of the enemy. 62. Unexpected tactical opportunities may present themselves to subordinate commanders during infiltration, such as the seizure of a key position temporarily unoccupied or held only lightly by the enemy. Junior commanders should be encouraged to use their initiative within the commander's overall plan. Helicopters may be useful for infiltration provided secure routes and LPs can be found. Surprise however may be lost. Helicopters may be better employed bringing in urgently needed reinforcements, support weapons and combat supplies after an infiltration on foot has taken place. Re-organization 63. Attacking troops are likely to be exhausted at the end of an uphill assault and consequently vulnerable to an immediate counter attack. It is essential that commanders prepare for this eventuality during the reorganization phase of any attack. 64. An attack should not be halted on a summit or on a ridge line objective, which is likely to be a recorded target for enemy artillery and mortar fire. Reorganization is generally best carried out well forward of a crest line on the next suitable slope but care must be taken that the enemy does not seize the opportunity to recapture the key terrain by counter-attack. Rapid adjustment of positions and liaison with flanking units are essential. Early adjustment of artillery DF is important and all officers and senior NCOs should be capable of controlling DF tasks. Support weapons, especially mortars, should be brought forward as quickly as possible. Helicopters should be used for this if available and may be useful for casualty evacuation on return flights. SECTION 6. DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS Planning Factors 65. The following planning factors should be considered before conducting defensive operations in mountains: a. Occupation of dominating ground affords a defender good observation and fields of fire and should be denied to an attacker. It should also be occupied to give the defender mutually supporting positions. Lack of mobility and the need to hold dominating ground normally dictate the adoption of a positional rather than a mobile defence.

b. 3 - 20

c.

Owing to the difficulty of digging and the need to construct sangars in some types of terrain, more time is needed to prepare positions. The comparative ease with which troops in mountains can conceal themselves and deceive the enemy about strengths, dispositions and intentions. If the enemy does not have the use of helicopters, delaying action is particularly effective owing to the scarcity of routes and the ease with which they can be dominated.

d.

e.

The Battlegroup in Defence 66. Preparation. In mountain terrain a battlegroup will need more time for preparation of defence than in other terrain. Where much natural cover and obstacles favours defence it may be possible to achieve a shorter preparation time. After evaluating the task the commander should carry out a general reconnaissance where this is possible. He should start by determining the options offered to the enemy by the enemy by the mountain terrain for an attack and for defence. 67. The Enemy Threat. In assessing the terrain from the point of view of the enemy the commander formulates a picture of the possible sequence of the expected attack on the following lines: a. The enemy usually attacks in mountains by following the course of valleys and roads in order to gain and keep momentum. He could well deploy tanks and APC's even in difficult terrain. Where the enemy meets or expects stubborn resistance he will use concentrated artillery fire often aiming directly to overcome the resistance quickly. With dismounted forces an enemy would attack in conjunction with tanks and APC's in the valley and also on slopes and along mountain ridges. In addition to frontal attack forces the enemy may well deploy reinforced sub units and sometimes reinforced battlegroups as flanking forces which could remain some distance away from the main forces. Their task would be to make attacks against terrain dominating bottlenecks and passes. The enemy could also land air mobile forces in conjunction with armoured vehicles to take important terrain in the rear or in the flanks. The enemy may also plan to cut off a portion of the defended area to split up the troops to eliminate supporting weapons. The enemy may break through in the neighbouring sector or through unoccupied areas.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

3 - 21

68. Defensive Requirements. In evaluating the terrain from his own point of view the commander needs to check the options available from the terrain with regard to: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Securing the preparations for defence. Establishing positions and barriers. Observing the terrain as comprehensively as possible. Moving forces around the operational area. Establishing communications. Ensuring supply and the medical service. Controlling the area.

Selection of Positions 69. It is essential to occupy dominating ground; the difficulty lies in deciding how much of it to hold. In general the following guidelines apply: a. b. c. Dominating ground on both flanks of the main axis should be occupied. The approaches to this high ground should be covered by observed fire. Any high ground which can provide the enemy with observation, dominating the main position, should be occupied or denied. Any likely outflanking routes should also be covered by observed fire or made impassable by demolitions.

d.

70. Flanks should be secured, if possible by natural obstacles such as deep ravines, vertical cliffs or rivers. However obstacles should always be observed or if possible covered by fire, since no obstacle is impassable and modern techniques can overcome even the steepest and most hazardous approaches. Remote sensors, image intensification and thermal imaging devices provide a good method of covering these difficult areas. 71. Advantage should be taken of any natural obstacles to the front. They should be improved by demolitions, cratering, creating rock slides and avalanches or by nuisance mining, booby traps and barbed wire. Such obstacles should be covered by observation and by at least indirect fire. 72. The ability to resupply defended localities should also be considered when selecting positions. If it is possible to reach some positions by helicopter, several days combat supplies may have to be dumped. Where possible, roads and tracks to main positions should be developed or may have to be constructed to ensure that continuous supplies are maintained if air resupply cannot be used. 3 - 22

73. When the formation includes tanks or armoured reconnaissance vehicles, their fire power may make the effort of constructing a special route for them into a position worthwhile. The Use of Forward and Reverse Slopes 74. Reverse slope positions give concealment, freedom of movement and surprise, but in mountains, there may be serious disadvantages: a. Reverse slopes are sometimes too steep and too convex to give an effective field of fire onto a dominating crest line. The importance of observation and the need to hold dominating ground generally make it necessary to prevent an enemy securing a hold on a crest line. Despite the disadvantages, this may force a defender to occupy a forward slope or at least to cover it by fire from defiladed positions on the flanks. Alternatively, it may be possible to tunnel through from a reverse to a forward slope to occupy battle positions or OPs.

b.

75. If the ground is sufficiently broken, it should be possible to conceal positions adequately on forward slopes. Restrictions on movement by day have to be accepted. If the enemy possesses image intensification or thermal imaging devices, night movement can also be hazardous. 76. In some circumstances it may be better to site positions on the summit of a ridge. Although these might be identified, a jagged crest line often gives reasonable opportunities for camouflage and concealment. A ridge summit is also difficult to engage with indirect fire. Commander should therefore not automatically select a reverse slope position without due consideration being given to forward slope and ridge summit options. However if a reverse slope is occupied by day, alternative night positions must be available on, or forward of, the crest. Alternatively it may be possible to use standing patrols for this purpose. Where the main position is high up on a ridge, alternative positions are also necessary at a lower level, as cloud may mask the upper parts of a mountain leaving the lower slopes clear and vice versa. Siting Individual Locations 77. Whether positions on the rear slope or on ridges and crests are to be planned depends to a great extent on the terrain but also on how a commander would wish to conduct the combat. Often it is expedient to defend a position from a system of rear slopes and edge locations. The site of individual positions are determined by: a. b. c. Terrain obstacles and barrier options. Type and range of weapons. The opportunity to deploy weapons in a flanking role. 3 - 23

d.

The options which the terrain provides for the long range flat trajectory weapons and combat helicopters of the enemy.

78. The choice of position also depends on whether: a. b. c. d. It can be observed from elevated points in the terrain Counterattacks can be carried out downhill Counterattacks in certain directions can be supported The enemy does not see the positions until he is at close range.

79. Edge positions on ridges and crests are useful if: a. b. c. The terrain precludes organising positions at depth. Forces have to be saved. The enemy cannot use long range flat trajectory fire in a targeted manner.

80. Rear slope positions are advantageous if: a. b. The troops need protection from long range flat trajectory fire. In front of their own position the enemy is exposed without protection to concentrated fire. Neighbouring or echeloned forces preclude a surprise enemy attack.

c.

81. Forward combat positions are to be positioned in such a way that they cannot be hit directly by enemy armoured forces and are difficult to by-pass. It should be possible to withdraw under cover. Barriers and Fortifications 82. The construction of field fortifications in the mountains requires a great deal of time, materials and a work force. Frequently a battlegroup will have to be supported by engineers and perhaps, the use of civilian resources. Barriers should be laid in the following locations a. b. c. d. 3 - 24 In front of and behind bottlenecks. In and behind tunnels. In conjunction with terrain obstacles. At the end of open terrain where the enemy is unprotected and exposed to fire.

e. f.

On roads which pass through impassable terrain. On narrow hillside paths running through difficult or climbing country.

83. Using engineer equipment valleys, depressions - even large ones - can be closed rapidly. On slopes, in bottlenecks and in difficult terrain barriers can often be created using little equipment. Many small barriers echeloned at depth can sometimes be more effective than a few large barriers. Reserves 84. The commander should plan the location for any reserve force in depth in the defence of area if: a. b. c. d. Sub units are deployed in various valleys. Only movements to the sides in depth are possible. It is possible to use vehicles or other means of transport for movements. The enemy has favourable opportunities for landing forces in depth.

85. If these pre-requisites are missing he generally holds the reserve closer to the sub units deployed forward. Covering Forces 86. General. A covering force forward of the main defensive position is particularly important in mountains and may allow quite small forces to impose considerable delay. A covering force is normally tasked to act as a screen or guard, so that every advantage can be taken of the many defensive positions afforded by rugged terrain to wear down and delay the enemy. 87. Composition. A balanced force of armour and heliborne infantry with artillery, engineers, anti-tank helicopters and air support is the most suitable force. 88. The Control of Operations. Armour normally operates astride the main axis and as high up the flanking hills as possible. Ideally this should consist of tanks, but if not available and if the enemy tank threat is low, armoured reconnaissance vehicles can be used. Infantry picket the dominating hills on either side of the axis and the whole force leapfrogs back to previously reconnoitred and prepared positions. Helicopters may be used to position pickets but would find it hazardous to do so in the face of direct fire or observed indirect fire. The infantry fall back along the ridge lines as far as possible and then move to a protected LP to be lifted out by helicopter. Engineers are required to construct obstacles and booby-traps, and to carry out route denial and nuisance mining in order to effect a clean break. Attack helicopters, if available, are effective for countering enemy mechanized forces. 3 - 25

Fig 3-6: DEFENCE OF A PASS BY AN INFANTRY COMPANY

Figure 3-6. A Company Defensive Position in a Mountain Pass 3 - 26

The Conduct of Defence 89. Patrols should observe the enemy far ahead of their own positions and report on his strength and composition and on the routes on which he is moving. Patrols should allow the enemy reconnaissance forces to pass and then follow the movements of the main forces on slopes and peaks from one surveillance point to another. The patrols can also, where appropriate, be tasked to remain in the rear of the enemy once he has passed. 90. Patrols or platoons tasked with reconnaissance who have also been given a combat task should then: a. b. Interrupt and attempt to deceive the enemy about strengths and locations. Destroy important weapons and equipment such as mine clearance equipment, and armoured vehicle launched bridges. Clear hidden barriers in the rear of enemy forces. Withdraw while fighting.

c. d.

91. Raiding parties surprise the enemy far ahead of the FEBA by ambush from the rear in order to compel them to disperse while still approaching the defended area. They elude pursuit by the enemy by moving into inaccessible climbing terrain. 92. The main defensive forces should defend against enemy reconnaissance forces and compel the following forces to disperse. At strong points, obstacles, or barriers the forces should be in a position to hold up a numerically superior enemy for a long time. In the course of the combat it can even be of advantage temporarily to reinforce individual strong points in order to hold a position for longer. If the enemy approaches an advanced position the battlegroup should allow the spearhead of any attack to approach and then should destroy it by concentrated fire. Fig 3-6 shows an example of company defence location in a mountain pass. 93. If the forces at advanced positions or at strong points have to withdraw the commander should generally brings them back in one tactical move. On impassable terrain with many obstacles however the troops often have the possibility to withdraw while fighting. 94. If the enemy attacks along the foot of a valley the forces deployed there should allow them to approach. They open fire in conjunction with the units echeloned on the slopes and peaks to destroy the enemy. An example of a defensive layout is shown in Figs 3-7 and 3-8. 95. In a defence area which has great depth (in a valley) the commander can clear advanced positions on slopes in the event of heavy enemy pressure in order to occupy them at a later point when the situation improves. 3 - 27

Fig 3 - 7: DEFENCE AREA FOR A REINFORCED INFANTRY COMPANY

Figure 3-7. A Battlegroup Defence for a Valley Area 3 - 28

Fig 3-8: BATTLEGROUP DEFENCE OF A PASS AND VALLEY AREA

Figure 3-8. Battlegroup Defensive Area in a Mountain Pass and Valley 3 - 29

Fig 3-9: BATTLEGROUP DEFENCE ON A RIDGELINE

Figure 3-9. Battlegroup Defence of a Ridgeline 3 - 30

Res 2

Res 1

Res x

FEBA

Fig 3-10: BATTLEGROUP DEFENCE OF AN EXTENDED SECTOR

Figure 3-10. Battlegroup Defence of an Extended Sector 3 - 31

96. If a flanking attack develops the commander could deploy unattached forces often reserves in order to intercept the enemy. For this he should choose, where possible, terrain which poses a difficult obstacle to the enemy preventing him from spreading out his attack forces. See Fig 3-9 for an illustration of a defensive location on a ridge line. 97. In densely covered impenetrable terrain it is also usually also advantageous to deploy raiding parties or patrols with the task to delay penetration by the enemy far ahead of any planned engagement position. The battlegroup should make use of helicopters to bring forces rapidly to engage. The same procedures should be adopted for an extended defensive area. See Fig 3-10 for an illustration of such a deployment. Defence When Encircled 98. In mountain defence, troops can often be cut off from the few communications lines - often only a single road - and encircled. Frequently enemy airborne or our landed forces interrupt communications in depth so that the battlegroup or its sub units can no longer be supported by road. The encircled troops then may have to conduct combat independently often in two or more directions see Fig 3-11. 99. The leader of the encircled forces should make a tactical assessment about which direction the enemy may attack from. He should then redeploy his forces accordingly. 100. Points to note in this tactical assessment are: a. b. c. d. e. f. To need to occupy and construct positions quickly at threatened points. Select these at strong obstacles so that they can be defended with few forces. Saving other forces by laying barriers. Holding or taking important slopes and peaks to dominate the occupied area. Concentrate the forces so that there is no threat of them being split up. Move the forces quickly to any threatened point and altering free plan arrangements. Secure or monitor less endangered areas.

g.

101. This may involve the establishment of new communications even if they are not very good (eg hillside paths and passes in scarcely walkable terrain or climbing terrain); those already in existence are to be kept open. 102. If encircled forces have to continue to carry out their task over a fairly long period of time supply from the air is usually necessary. It may be possible to fly in by helicopter the most important supplies and fly out the seriously wounded. In an 3 - 32

Fig 3-11: BATTLEGROUP DEFENCE WHEN ENCIRCLED

Figure 3-11. Battlegroup Defence when Encircled 3 - 33

emergency enemy air defence weapons should be neutralised or destroyed so that the helicopters can then exploit any clear flying areas produced. 103. Combat when encircled is to be conducted actively. All commanders should use every opportunity which the mountain terrain and weather offer to attack the enemy again and again even outside their own positions. Sometimes terrain and weather can allow for the forces to escape from encirclement for the most part unnoticed over difficult mountain terrain. 104. If only a sub unit is encircled, the commander should assess how the battlegroup can continue to carry out its task in the changed situation. If there is the risk that the encircled sub unit will be quickly overcome they are usually ordered to break out and in this they could be supported by a relief attack or a diversionary attack at another point. Defence of CSS Bases 105. A formations CSS base in the mountains is usually adjacent to a forward air strip and a LS. It will be a likely target for attack by air, shelling or raiding parties, particularly at night or in bad weather. The defence of this area should ideally be the responsibility of an infantry unit or sub-unit. The commander should be tasked with producing a coordinated defence plan making use of troops from all units in the area. The plan should include: a. Each unit being allocated a sector of the perimeter to defend with alarm posts, wire and properly constructed defences. Permanent pickets posted on high ground. If possible the area should be dominated with the aid of intruder alarms, ground surveillance and night observation devices to prevent the enemy establishing OPs. Aggressive patrols and ambushes on approaches to counter incursions. Close Air Defence (CAD) or Limited Area Air Defence (LAD). SECTION 7. DELAY OPERATIONS 106. The mountain terrain favours delay operations. It offers the battlegroup many opportunities. a. b. c. d. To allow the enemy to approach. To surprise an enemy in ambushes. To withdraw quickly from enemy pushing forwards. To attack an enemy in the flanks and rear and to place him in new unexpected situations.

b.

c. d.

3 - 34

Fig 3-12. Battlegroup Delaying Action across a Valley

Figure 3-12. Battlegroup Delaying Action across a Valley 3 - 35

107. The battlegroup primarily conducts delaying combat where the terrain precludes or limits movements of enemy armoured forces. Where the use of enemy armoured forces is possible the battlegroup is usually reinforced by armoured units. 108. In delaying combat the battlegroup is supported by artillery, engineers, RAF and aviation units. Where appropriate support from these units is indispensable because the terrain preclude the movements and supply of the combat troops and the transport of casualties in motorised vehicles or if large areas are to be secured or monitored. 109. In terrain where movement is difficult a battlegroup or a reinforced sub unit would often conduct delaying action independently without recourse to other troops, (see Fig 3-12) Then, if possible, they use difficult or climbing terrain. Unoccupied areas in the flanks, in the rear and between the positions are to be secured or monitored. 110. Patrols and platoons tasked with reconnaissance in delay operations are usually a combat task as well. Troops conducting delay operations alternately defending for a short period of time and then withdraw while fighting to a new defence position in order to: a. b. c. d. e. To gain time. To prevent the enemy landing there or infiltrating through the position. To have reserves available. To be able to incorporate withdrawing troops. To prevent the enemy from surrounding forwarding fighting troop in depth.

111. It may also be necessary to occupy important sections of terrain at depth (eg bridges, tunnels, bottlenecks, passes) to prevent air landed enemy forces from cutting off and surrounding the battalion (Fig 3-13 and Fig 3-14). 112. The battlegroup or reinforced sub unit should conduct the delaying combat in a combat strip. For its width the following applies: a. In delaying combat along a valley the width of the combat strip generally equates to the width of the valley, including slopes and crest lines (Fig 3-15). In delaying combat across mountain ranges and ridges the width of the combat strip depends above all on the number, local position and significance of the passes. If a mountain range or ridge can be crossed virtually anywhere then the combat strip has to be narrow. If it can only be crossed at a few points it can be wider.

b.

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FEBA

Fig 3-13. Battlegroup Delaying Action - Phase 1.

Figure 3-13. Battlegroup Delaying Action - Phase 1. 3 - 37

FEBA

Fig 3-14. Battlegroup Delyaing Action - Phase 2.

Figure 3-14. Battlegroup Delyaing Action - Phase 2. 3 - 38

2 3

Fig 3-15. Company Delaying Action in Three Stages

Figure 3-15. Company Delaying Action in Three Stages 3 - 39

c.

In delaying combat along a mountain range or ridge the width of the combat strip depends in particular on the accessibility and obstacle value of the slopes and on the tasks for cooperating with neighbours in the valleys.

113. For withdrawal the troops wherever possible use limited visibility. On roads they should generally withdraw in motorised vehicles. Withdrawal movements should be supported by helicopter where possible. 114. Where it is not possible to use any transport withdrawal is conducted on foot. Follow-up troops would have to prevent the enemy from pushing forward again quickly. The Preparation of a Delay Position 115. Often preparations can only be completed in time for the first phase of the combat. They are then to be continued during the battle at depth in the combat strip. This applies especially to laying barriers and the construction of field fortifications. The scope of preparations depend on: a. b. c. The time available. The accessibility of the terrain. Transport capacity available.

116. The commander, in reconnaissance should obtain some idea of the whole combat strip. All positions are to be roughly located. In addition to the first position in the mostly difficult mountain terrain the second and third positions are to be reconnoitred thoroughly at the same time if this is possible. 117. A battlegroup may have to conduct delaying combat alternating between accessible and inaccessible sections of terrain. Often wheeled and tracked vehicles have to reach the combat strip of the battlegroup positions in depth through neighbouring combat strips or free areas via side valleys or pass road. 118. The commander deploys sub units with the focal point on the main approach routes of the enemy. Routes and tracks of lesser significance can be secured and terrain less suitable for enemy helicopter landings to be secured or at least to be monitored. 119. The packing areas for the vehicles are primarily to be located near the nearest positions. There the drivers are often deployed on security and surveillance tasks. Frequently they can be used to build the next positions and prepare barriers. The Conduct of a Delay Action 120. With patrols raiding parties and with barriers and artillery and mortar fire the battlegroup inflicts losses on the enemy before the first position, repels his recon3 - 40

naissance, forces him to disperse early and use forces thus disguising the location of own positions. If an enemy attack has been repelled the commander should use every opportunity to further weaken or destroy enemy forces by further harassment. 121. If the enemy by-passes the first position and threatens to attack the flank at the second position is anticipated, it can be advantageous to occupy it fully and allow the enemy to approach and attack him at the same time with forces freed from the first position. 122. The commander should give the order to withdraw from each location in sufficient time so that the combat strength is maintained and entanglement with the enemy, loss of freedom of movement or encirclement is avoided. The sequence of withdrawal depends above all on: a. b. c. d. The degree of mobility within a unit. The options for monitoring withdrawal movements. The accessibility of the terrain. The opportunities for camouflage and cover along the withdrawal routes.

123. The commander should give the order to withdraw in sufficient time to ensure that no blockages and massing of forces occurs particularly at bottlenecks, in front of obstacles, on mountain roads and passes. Movements on road are to be checked and traffic regulated. Armoured fighting vehicles in the valley often withdraw with the last units of the battlegroup. 124. Raiding parties and patrols still deployed in or behind enemy lines or in his flanks can disrupt his movements increasingly if a withdrawal is planned, but only if they are aware and briefed about the overall situation. They then withdraw from the enemy usually via unoccupied areas and over difficult or climbing terrain, being picked up by helicopter at remote spots. SECTION 8. TRANSITIONAL OPERATIONS The Advance 125. General. In addition to those points already described in Section 4. Mountainous terrain generally restricts any advance on a broad front, so that a formation advancing may be limited to a single route. The emphasis is likely to be on air mobility with dismounted infantry clearing the axis, supported by mortars and artillery making use of close and indirect fire as well as air support and armed helicopters if available.

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126. Reconnaissance. Reconnaissance for the advance must include consideration of the following factors: a.

By Air. Preparation for an advance should include detailed air reconnaissance to determine actual and probable enemy positions, obstacles, defiles and deployment areas. Small parties of troops in the open in broken, rocky or jungle country are difficult to spot from the air, but well concealed defensive positions are even harder to locate, except perhaps by electronic and thermal imaging devices. It is unlikely therefore, that air reconnaissance alone will pinpoint more than a small proportion of the enemy defences. Any obstacles on the main axis should be visible from the air and these could given an indication of nearby enemy positions. From the Ground. With few routes and poor cross-country going, armoured reconnaissance vehicles may have only a limited role. However if the terrain permits, it would be normal for a reconnaissance platoon or a troop of a forward battle group to lead an advance until contact is made. Once contact is confirmed, OPs are normally deployed onto the high ground flanking an advance. If possible OPs should be lifted by helicopter to LSs on reverse slopes from where they can move forward to a crest line on foot. If helicopters are not available, the alternative is to move on foot, thus making progress very slow. In either event, OPs have to be protected.

b.

127. Maintaining Momentum. As soon as contact is made, normal battle drills should be followed. The lack of adequate routes in mountains normally makes bypassing a difficult and risky operation. Against an enemy of significant strength, any opposition dominating the route should not normally be bypassed owing to the danger of being cut off. Immediate outflanking attacks should, if possible, be made by the leading elements preferably by helicopter. Full use should be made of artillery, mortars and close air support. Engineer support should be well forward so that reconnaissance and obstacle clearance can be carried out quickly. 128. Outflanking Moves. Heliborne flanking moves should use valleys and ridge lines to give a covered approach. Heliborne infantry may be used to outflank vertically any isolated enemy pockets which may be neutralized later by follow-on forces. However once the main enemy defences are reached, the approaches and flanks may be too well protected to allow the use of helicopters so far forward without risking heavy casualties. Further detailed reconnaissance will then probably be necessary before a deliberate attack can be launched. 129. Picketing on the Move. Protection on the move is always important in mountain operations. The threat will dictate the requirement for picketing, and consequently the speed and rate of any offensive operations. More details on the techniques and procedures of picketing are given in Annex A to this Chapter.

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Fig 3-16. Encirclement of Enemy forces

Figure 3-16. Encirclement of Enemy forces 3 - 43

Fig 3-17. Pursuit of an Enemy along a Ridgeline

Figure 3-17. Pursuit of an Enemy along a Ridgeline 3 - 44

Exploitation and Encirclement 130. Local success should be vigorously exploited by the employment of heliborne reserves to follow up, harass and encircled a retreating enemy (Fig 3-16). Every effort should be made to infiltrate small patrols in helicopters to create obstacles and to block escape routes by demolitions in defiles and other key points. Armour, artillery and close air support should also be used in any pursuit. Airborne FACs and OPs are particularly effective. 131. Engineer support should be well forward with the necessary equipment to allow combat troops to maintain momentum and not to be delayed by enemy obstacles. Aircraft and artillery can be used to harass enemy engineers constructing demolitions and other obstacles, thus reducing the subsequent engineer effort needed to defeat them. Pursuit 132. In pursuit (Fig 3-17) there is a requirement to outdistance the enemy, to reach terrain above him, cut off his route back and then to destroy him. 133. For the pursuit in mountainous terrain it may be necessary to deploy reinforced sub units. These could move independently of each other but operate in coordination to an overall battlegroup plan. Surrounding the enemy has more chance of success if it is conducted over unoccupied or sparsely occupied terrain. 134. Sometimes the mountain terrain will make it easier for an enemy to re-establish themselves on withdrawal routes and set ambushes. To protect against this pursuit forces will need to avoid obvious routes and utilise the indirect approach to locations and areas of what is thought to be vital ground for the enemy. This makes the use of all types of helicopters (observation, attack and support) indispensable for the effective pursuit of enemy troops. Withdrawal 135. Tactics for a withdrawal in mountains are the same as in other operations, but the following factors need emphasis: a. More time is required for reconnaissance and preparation of new positions because of the difficulty of constructing defences and deploying off route. Every opportunity should be taken to delay the enemy using supporting arms and close air support. Every suitable feature should be used as an obstacle or a delaying position. Consequently intermediate positions are likely to be closer together than normal. For the extraction of troops by helicopter, the Pick Up Point (PUP) should be secured and should generally be sited below the reverse slopes of spurs and ridges. 3 - 45

b.

c.

d.

Once an enemy realises a withdrawal has started, he may attempt to outflank positions, block defiles and cut off rearguards. To prevent this, withdrawal routes and defiles must be picketed and OPs and air reconnaissance deployed to detect any infiltration or outflanking movement. Demolitions in narrow defiles should be used wherever possible. Guards are essential on demolitions which are prepared but not blown immediately because of the increased threat of infiltration. Demolition guards may be able to withdraw by transport down the main axis but, if this is not possible, helicopters are required. Non-essential ammunition, equipment and supplies should be evacuated early. If this cannot be achieved, everything of value to the enemy should be destroyed. SECTION 9. OPERATIONS IN HIGH ALTITUDE GLACIAL REGIONS

e.

f.

General 136. The British Army has rarely if ever, fought for sustained periods above the 3000m level and hence the experience of such combat has to come from others. In European terms there has been very little experience of combat at these altitudes although some limited operations took place at the end of World War Two in the Alps. One example of this is given in Chapter 2 of Part D. The Germans also occupied parts of the Caucasus Mountains on the right flank of the offensive towards the Volga River but these mountainous regions were given up after savage fighting following the major reverse at Stalingrad in 1943. 137. Since 1945 Indian and Pakistan Armed Forces have clashed frequently in mountainous terrain in the North and West of Jammu and Kashmir often at high altitude. Indian troops fought a small and badly conducted war against the Chinese in the Assam and Ladakh border areas during 1962 and learned many bitter lessons from the lack of political and military preparedness for such operations. The ongoing dispute over the ownership of the Siachen glacier in the Chumich region is a present day example of the continuing dispute over undefined border areas. The sort of doctrinal lessons that can be learned from these types of encounter are recorded in this Section. Descriptions of terrain apply directly to the Karakoram Range of mountains but could easily apply in similar glacier regions elsewhere. Glacier Warfare 138. The term 'Glacier Warfare' applies to operations in glacial regions. These regions are characterized by perennial ice and snow-capped mountains ranging from 3500 m to 7500 m, interspersed with glaciers of varying dimensions, with unpredictable and inconsistent weather patterns of the most inhospitable variety. 139. As opposed to the high Himalyan mountainous regions, glacial regions have some distinct peculiarities which have their impact on strategy, tactics and logistics, and 3 - 46

even more so on the soldier who has to survive and fight in such surroundings. More general details on glaciers are given in Chapter 1 of Part A. Factors Affecting Military Operations 140. Terrain. Glacier regions are in general mountainous precipitous, rugged and of course glacial. The altitudes in the valley areas will range from 2500 m to 6500 m along the watershed. Any passes would be located between 5000 to 6500 m and peaks can tower to upwards of 7500 m. The direction of the main flow of the glaciers is an important terrain feature. The area is generally snow-bound throughout the year. 141. Climate. Glacial regions are devoid of vegetation. The air is rarefied. Temperatures are sub-zero throughout the year, particularly so in winter. Free movement both on the ground and in the air is hampered by high velocity winds, low clouds and ice-fogs, moraines, snow drifts, avalanches and crevasses. Due to the effects of weather, altitude and terrain conditions the load-carrying capacity of men, animals, helicopters and snow-vehicles is severely reduced. Air operations, on an average, are possible for only 180 days a year. Troops and equipment deployed in these areas face hitherto inexperienced hazards of climate and terrain and undergo the vagaries of inhospitable and mind-numbing weather. The turn-round of troops and equipment therefore is much more frequent than in other high-altitude areas. 142. Seasonal Variations. While planning operations, the varying environmental conditions on the glacier are to be kept in mind. A broad classification of these conditions for the Himalayan Mountain Region are: a.

Early Winter (October to January) - Water channels freeze during this period. Snowfalls are occasional and snow-bridging of crevasses takes place. Avalanches are not common. Hazards to movement continue. A period that is suitable for launching of operations. Late Winter (February to April) - This period is marked by heavy snowfall, bad weather conditions, frequent avalanches, snow-slides and emergence of crevasses. Movement is comparatively restricted. Operations, if mounted or ongoing, can be interrupted by prolonged periods of bad weather and terrain hazards.
Summer (May to September) - Intensity of cold is reduced. Crevasses and glacia-fluvial streams make movement hazardous, sometimes impossible. During July and August, the region is prone to long spells of bad weather. This season is not suitable for launching worthwhile operations.

b.

c.

143. Temperature. The glacial region experiences wide variations in temperature from place to place. The approximate fall in temperature of 5-7oC with an increase of 1000 m in altitude results in a temperature contrast of 20oC between sunny and shady areas. 3 - 47

144. Wind. In glacial regions ridges and passes are seldom non-turbulent, and the valleys get high velocity and turbulent winds which can uproot troops' shelters if not properly anchored and secured. The higher the altitude, the greater the wind velocity. High altitude combined with low temperature and glaciation gives rise to very strong local winds, of speeds as high as 150 kmph, thus adding to the problem of windchill beyond human endurance. A person protected by special (extra cold clothing) can stand temperatures of minus 25oC without any wind. However, with a fall in ambient temperature below minus 50oC, the human body experiences a source windchill effect. 145. Acclimatization. The principles of acclimatization as applicable to high-altitude areas equally apply in the glacier region. Troops however should be familiar with survival techniques on glaciers, such as the avoidance of mountain sickness by thorough acclimatization, avoiding exertion for 72 hours on arrival at the glacier areas, proper reception and good management of 'green' troops and encouraging them to eat and drink plenty of fluids. 146. Roulement Periods. The recommended tenure on the glacier for a unit is six months. However, individuals serving in posts deployed above 4500 m should be exchanged within three months or even earlier if evidence of physical weakness, loss of weight, sleeplessness and irritability are observed. Moral is a factor that has to be monitored closely. Combat increases mental and physical strain on a soldier; add to this the extreme cold, rarefied atmospheric conditions, loneliness, lack of amenities, difficulties in evacuation of casualties and a commander has to fine-tune the options to ensure that troops morale is kept at a reasonably high pitch. 147. Resources, Weapons and Equipment. There are no natural resources in glacial regions; the area is undeveloped. Equipment and supplies required for operations have therefore to be transported to this area along a nebulous road/track system with inherent difficulties. Weapons and equipment are not generally designed for glacial regions, and the rarefied atmosphere and extreme cold reduce their effectiveness. The creation of an adequate repair infrastructure is difficult and thus any any logistic planning would have to take this requirement into account. Tactical Concepts 148. Background. The environmental conditions in high-altitude glacial regions do not correspond to experience gained of conditions elsewhere. Before the experience of confrontation between India and Pakistan in the Siachen Glacier area, glacial regions were generally considered unsuitable for operations of any magnitude. However, with the military knowledge of operations in this area. Some modification of concepts and tactical doctrine has been found necessary. Concepts such as the indirect attack as also the indirect approach (towards objectives) have become more relevant.

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149. The Indirect Approach. Movement and fire power form the basis of all manoeuvre. Glacial terrain presents problems to both movement and application of fire power, thus adversely affecting tactical doctrine. The environment, however, has to be used as a weapon of advantage thus tactics employing the indirect approach. These will predominate in the conduct of operations, as direct assault will result in heavy casualties in men and material and will be unlikely to succeed. The concept of an indirect attack envisages the manoeuvre of forces to secure unheld or lightly held key areas, to make the enemy's defences untenable, thus forcing the defender to either abandon his locations or to physically assault the areas seized by the attacker. The ability to survive in the glacial environment is the key to the conduct of successful operations. The advantages that accrue from the destruction of the defender's supportive systems will be phenomenal and totally out of proportion to the effort involved. Tactical doctrine, therefore, should lay emphasis on destroying enemy supplies and supportive systems inclusive of the habitat in order to deprive him of the life-supportive means previously available to him. Alternately, to lure the enemy out from his prepared positions to join battle at a time and place suitable for attack. 150. Planning. The concept of the indirect approach/attack should include the securing of key areas and checkpoints in the lower regions of the glacial valley, for subsequent isolation and destruction of the enemy. Operational plans should include the air-induction of troops to secure objectives in depth, with link-up ground forces given enhanced mobility provided by snow vehicles/mobiles. Quick reaction forces with rotary-lift capability, should be assigned to respond to changing situations in the battle, by applying combat power at the crucial place at the crucial time. Offensive Operations 151. General. The aim of offensive operations should be to manoeuvre combat power to seize key areas unheld or lightly held which so dominate enemy defensive positions, that they become untenable. Alternately this action could force the enemy to launch an assault to regain these areas. When selecting areas for seizing, care should be taken to ensure that such areas if secured would facilitate the development of further operations and offer further options. To open routes of ingress for the manoeuvre force, preliminary operations may have to be launched. The employment of heliborne forces to secure a foothold initially on important objectives will not only further subsequent operations, but will give momentum, and achieve surprise, thus greatly enhancing the chances of success. 152. Terrain. Glacial regions are characterized by dominating ice-capped features, steep and narrow ridges inhibiting movement across except through a pass or saddle, along the valley of the glacier. Approaches to the ridge line normally follow routes along re-entrants, involving rock-climbing, and use of techniques in ice craft. Movement, except along beaten tracks, is difficult and time-consuming due to crevasses, ice pinnacles, soft snow and avalanche-prone areas. Wherever tracks lie along moraines, movement by means of snow vehicles/mobiles is not possible due to steep gradients, loose stones and heavy boulders. They are best 3 - 49

used in areas of soft snow and narrow crevasses. Well trained, specialized troops in small groups can traverse difficult terrain and achieve surprise. 153. Selection of Objectives. Areas which dominate major routes of ingress, lines of communication (both enemy and own) and saddles or passes, which provide routes across the ridge line are possible objectives. Depending on a number of factors, some of these objectives may be lightly held, or not held at all, making for easy capture. However, main passes and dominating areas will be strongly held and capture of these by direct assault would be prohibitive in terms of men, material and effort. The priority of objectives should therefore be to occupy areas not held by the enemy, it must be based on the following parameters: a. Areas which deprive the enemy of his supportive measures, or assist in strangulation of his logistics system. Areas which facilitate manoeuvre into objective areas described above. Areas which must be held to ensure the security of our own supportive measures.

b. c.

154. Intelligence. Acquisition of intelligence regarding enemy strengths and dispositions, habits, etc. is extremely difficult in glacial regions due to the difficulties of patrolling in inaccessible areas. Lack of population inhibits the recruitment of intelligence agents. Intelligence assessments may have to be made on scanty indications, aerial reconnaissance and air photos. As glacial regions are poorly mapped, terrain intelligence assumes great importance and special efforts should be made to gain this intelligence. 155. Troops to Task. Due to the peculiarity of terrain, operations on the glacier involve the use of a large number of subsidiary approaches and staging camps/areas. When the force is manoeuvred, the number of troops which finally reach the objective are, proportionately, a small part of the total force committed into operations. Besides, to surmount difficult approaches, there would be a requirement for specialized troops such as ski-trained troops and expert mountaineers. To further enhance the combat power at the decisive point force multipliers, such as heli-lift capability, snow vehicles/mobiles, armed helicopter support, air drop of stores such as LAW and MMGs, airborne FACs and control of the electromagnetic spectrum should form a part of the overall plan. An inescapable requirement to ensure timely commitment is the earmarking and positioning of dedicated reserves with a heli-life capability. 156. Command and Control. Due to extended distances, breakdown in communication either due to enemy action or weather, it is imperative that commanders are well forward. Detailed orders as well as the design of battle should be issued down to the lowest level, so that the conduct of the operations continues unabated despite breakdown in communications. Control of operations must be decentralized, so that junior leaders can use their initiative and exploit sudden opportunities. Aerial platforms for reconnaissance and control of the battle by commanders is essential. 3 - 50

157. Surprise. The intention to launch an offensive can very rarely be concealed. However, the point of attack, timings and force levels can be concealed by operating on a wide front and a number of axes. The staggering of timings of the main and subsidiary operations achieves both surprise and deception. 158. CSS Considerations. Operations on glaciers cannot easily be developed into the enemy rear areas. Supportive measures will not be able to keep pace with such type of operations. Long-range artillery and a logistics build-up would have to be staged forward entailing pauses at various stages of the battle, which gives away surprise and allows the enemy time to move his reserves. One way of overcoming this problem is for the selected thrust-lines to cater for many tactical options. The development of a support base and a foolproof transportation system are essential pre-requisites for success. Adverse contingencies have to be catered for in the stockpiling of supplies, and ammunition. 159. Objectives. For the subsequent elimination of enemy objectives the securing of key areas and the clearing of any initial objective may well be necessary. To open up routes of manoeuvre, a portion of the available forces would have to be committed for securing dominating areas. However, the main attention should be focused on the security of key areas. The process of securing successive key areas will continue as the battle progresses from immediate objectives, to intermediate objectives and finally to terminal objectives. In the reorganization phase of the battle, the security of routes of maintenance must be ensured, as also facilities for helipads and drop zones for logistics support and casualty evacuation. Defensive Operations 160. General. Defensive operations in the context of glacial warfare envisage holding defence positions based on key areas, to deny major routes of access to the enemy and to ensure effective surveillance of major and subsidiary approaches. The concept visualizes the presence of a 'quick reaction force' to counter enemy manoeuvre and thereby deny him access routes and also to ensure the overall security of the defensive area. Other points include: a. b. c. Defence of key areas. The establishment of a comprehensive surveillance network. Counter attack forces to cut off any enemy lodgements in key areas. A direct counter attack on a lodgement is generally not practicable.

161. Conduct of Defensive Operations. There are three stages in the conduct of defensive operations in high altitudes. Each is itemised below: a.

Preparatory Stage. A great deal of time is spent in the preparation of defences. Troops required for preparation of defences are at a premium, due to the requirement of a large number of troops for tasks elsewhere. How3 - 51

ever, since the terrain lends itself to defence, well-coordinated, partially prepared defences are capable of defeating assaults. If commanders and troops are resolute and stand firm. Since direct assaults are rare, it should be the commander's aim to defeat the enemy's manoeuvre towards any key areas. The commander, in order to achieve the success of his design for the defensive battle, must initially determine the likely enemy objectives. Once this has been done, he should plan to secure/deny these objectives by occupying key areas/dominating heights with a minimum number of troops. Those areas assessed as being capable of interfering with the enemy's manoeuvre elements should also be held. Reserves should be created and held at suitable locations for timely effectiveness. b.

Resistance Stage. Once committed to battle small hard hitting detachments, resolutely led, can cause delay and attrition on the enemys force. Since direct assaults are rare, it should be the commander's aim to defeat the enemy's manoeuvre towards key areas. Once committed, reserves should be re-created. Once the defender's counter-manoeuvre has been successful, plans for launching a spoiling attack (possibly by fire only) should be considered, so as to cause maximum attrition on the enemy. The occupation or reinforcement of a key area, by a small number of troops before it is secured by the enemy, stands a greater chance of success than efforts to evict the enemy who has occupied that key area. In a normal battlefield scenario, adverse situations at the tactical level are more often than not restored by a counter-attack. However, this principle is generally not applicable to glacial warfare, where the restoration of an adverse situation in a local environment could entail a 'siege operation' of the occupied key area and the destruction of the evening by cutting him off from his logistics support. Counter-Offensive. A counter-offensive should be launched either to capture enemy territory to compensate for loss of territory elsewhere, or to pose a sizeable threat so as to make him react and thin out his forces from the area of lodgement. Such a reaction can also be forced on the enemy, by threatening his mounting base. Such a counter-offensive would entail the employment of sizeable additional forces.

c.

Summary 162. While covering the concept and conduct of offensive and defensive operations in glacial regions, it is manifestly obvious that these battles are of manoeuvre and counter-manoeuvre with the aim of securing key areas and which deny the adversary the use of his logistic support. This aim if pursued to its successful conclusion, will result in degrading the combat potential and thus lead to the destruction or removal of enemy forces from the key areas. As in all combat situation the commander most likely to succeed is the one who, during the conduct of offensive or defensive operations, can retain mobility and the ability to manoeuvre his forces while preventing the degradation of his own combat power.

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ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 3 PICKETING IN MOUNTAIN AREAS General 1. Security and protection on the move is always important in mountain operations. The commander's assessment of the threat will dictate the requirement to picket and consequently the speed of movement. If the tactical situation allows, flank protection can be provided by attack and reconnaissance helicopters and on call artillery fire; however, against most threats ground protection will be required. Advanced and rear guards may not provide sufficient flank protection and it may be necessary to occupy ground overlooking the route with troops from the main body of the column. This procedure is known as picketing. Picketing enables troops to move inside a protected area formed by an advanced and rear guard with flank protection established on dominating ground along the route. When picketing, air defence systems will usually be required to provide protection against air attacks. Moving under protection of pickets can be extremely slow, particularly if helicopters cannot be used. A comprehensive picketing drill is essential to prevent unnecessary delays. Selection of Picket Positions 3. The features along the route which should be picketed are dictated by the ranges of the enemy's weapons. If the enemy has only small arms, features over 600 metres from the route can be ignored. If more sophisticated weapons such as mortars and rocket propelled grenades are expected, pickets must be established where they can observe out to the required range. Picket positions will usually be selected from maps and air photographs. The selection of positions is rarely easy as a likely position may itself prove to be dominated by further peaks held by the enemy some distance beyond it. The governing principle is that ground has to be occupied if the enemy, from that ground, could disrupt movement. By moving along one side of a wide valley, it may be necessary to picket only one side of a route. Picketing Procedure 5. A possible diagrammatic layout of a column on the move, using pickets, is at Figure 1. As each picket is posted, the next troops for picketing prepare to move. Pickets may vary in size from a section to a company where a large feature dominates a major part of the route. As each picket withdraws on orders from the rear guard commander, it rejoins the picket troops and reverts to under command of Picketing HQ.

2.

4.

3-A-1

6.

Except for armoured reconnaissance vehicles, locations of supporting arms are not included in Figure 1. Clearly guns and mortars have to be moved along the route so that each picket is always within range of the fire units supporting it, usually leapfrogging by troops or, exceptionally, by single guns. The deployment of both types of weapon is normally coordinated by the senior artillery officer with the column. OP parties should be deployed to pickets which dominate much of the route. An FAC with Laser Target Marking Equipment is required forward, preferably airborne or in an OP to coordinate air support. ,

TPS

Figure 1. Picketing on the Move 7. Deploying and withdrawing pickets on foot is physically exhausting and time consuming; SH provide a fast and convenient alternative, depending on the air threat. However, there are limitations on their use and it is normally safer to deploy pickets initially on foot while their subsequent support and withdrawal may be carried out by SH. It is seldom possible to be certain in mountainous country which

3-A-2

features dominate the route without themselves being dominated from elsewhere as suggested in paragraph 4. In these circumstances it is unwise, unless the enemy threat is very weak, to deploy pickets by helicopter, although the possibility of a partial deployment to a near-by defended LP should not be overlooked. 8. During an approach and at the moment of deployment, helicopters are extremely vulnerable to small arms and mortar fire from the objective and from neighbouring features. Furthermore, on features where it is not possible to land a helicopter, troops may have to be roped, winched or abseiled down when they are most vulnerable. Observed prophylactic fire and air strikes onto potential picket positions reduces the risk of failure. These factors must be carefully weighed before pickets are deployed by helicopter; troops should always be prepared to deploy on foot and train to do so. Alternative Procedure 10. Another method of picketing, known as a 'flying picket', is possible in certain types of terrain. In this method, a picketing force remains on the hill tops, changing picket locations by moving along a crest-line instead of returning each time to the valley floor. Ground and the number of troops available as pickets normally dictate which method is used. Command and Control 11. Picketing HQ can usually control operations most effectively from an airborne command post or from directly behind the advanced guard.

9.

12. Formations and units operating in mountainous country should have standing operating procedures (SOPs) to cover picketing drills. SOPs should include posting pickets, communication drills, orders to picket commanders, action on arrival in position, procedures for withdrawing pickets and orders governing identification. 13. Identification of picket locations by fire units is rarely easy particularly from the air; casualties to own troops can result unless great care is taken. Apart from fluorescent panels and screens, or coloured smoke, a heliograph is a useful method in sunlight. Attack aircraft normally find it easier to identify a position on the ground when a heliograph is used, either to indicate the location of a picket position or as an IP from which to indicate a target.

3-A-3

CHAPTER 4 COMBINED ARMS ACTIVITY SECTION 1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 1. Much of any mountain operations will be fought at close quarters by infantry on foot. The problems of meeting superior forces unexpectedly, the difficulties of rapid movement and the ease of constructing strong and concealed defences indicate that a combined arms approach to operations in mountain terrain is absolutely essential. Routes for movement are normally scarce and generally follow narrow valleys, where dispersion off roads, except for light vehicles and animal transport, is restricted. This limits the transport which can accompany troops and hence reduces the stores and equipment available for use. Mobility and counter mobility tasks can be enhanced by the use of engineers, with helicopters and with the use of boats and landing craft where appropriate. Firepower can be increased by the use of armour, artillery, mortars, naval gunfire and close air support where this is appropriate; and flexibility improved by the use of enhanced communications and the addition of air transport for logistic resupply and reinforcement. Operations in mountain terrain invariably take much longer to organise and coordinate than elsewhere, such as the movement of armoured vehicles into precise positions for supporting fire, providing timely logistic support or the ability of troops to move quickly, into very significant issues. Any successful operation will depend to a large extent on the care and attention paid to the prior planning of the role allocated to all the combat Arms and Services. While the overall requirement for achieving military success in the mountains will invariably be a combined arms approach to all operations the demands for infantry will be greater than normal. Dismounted, they can move almost anywhere in mountains, provided they are fit and acclimatized. Although other arms may also be required to operate dismounted, infantrymen are best equipped and trained to seize and hold vital ground which dominates approaches and gives observation over the enemy, while preventing observation of our positions and supply routes. Often small forces of company or platoon size can delay much larger enemy forces by occupying key positions on a pass or summit. Small parties are more effective when they have artillery, mortar and close air support and can direct their fire accurately. However, infantry will only be fully effective in the mountains if they can climb uphill quickly over extremely rough going and still be capable of fighting on to an objective. SECTION 2. ARMOUR (INCLUDING ARMOURED RECONNAISSANCE) General 4. Despite the obvious limitations on mobility imposed on the commanders of tanks and armoured reconnaissance vehicles, the successful employment of armour can be crucial to the success of operations in mountainous country. A natural 4-1

2.

3.

disinclination to commit armour in apparently impassable and very difficult country should be overcome. 5. In mountainous terrain the prime role of armour, whether tanks or armoured reconnaissance vehicles, is likely to be the provision of fire support for infantry units Boldly handled, armour can often penetrate apparently impassable terrain. The appearance of even a few armoured vehicles in areas believed by the enemy to be inaccessible can have an effect disproportionate to their numbers. Armoured Vehicles 6. On operations in mountains it is generally essential to control key terrain such as passes, valley junctions and villages and the dominating high ground. Terrain tends to restrict tank movement to valley roads, passes and ridges. In such areas tanks can operate in close support of infantry, although it will rarely be possible for them to accompany infantry in an assault. They will probably be forced to operate in small numbers and a single tank at a critical point may have a decisive effect on any fighting in the area. Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicles 7. The effectiveness of armoured reconnaissance vehicles in their primary task of obtaining information may be limited by the terrain and crews may have to operate dismounted for extended periods. In mountains, the mobility of armoured reconnaissance vehicles optimizes their use in roles normally undertaken by tanks, particularly when the initial use in mountainous terrain may be decisive in itself. They will usually justify any special engineer effort needed to improve routes and the logistic effort needed to resupply the ammunition, other combat supplies and spares needed to commit them. Helicopters, capable of lifting armoured reconnaissance vehicles as an underslung load, may enable a troop to gain entry to otherwise inaccessible areas. The effect of the reduced level of armoured protection must however be taken into account when deploying such a force in forward areas. In defence, where the enemy's vehicle movement is likely to be concentrated on a few routes, well sited light armoured vehicles can impose significant delay. Supporting Fire 9.

8.

General Points. There are inherent problems in achieving accurate and effective gunnery from armoured fighting vehicles in mountainous country. The following factors assume particular importance:
a.

Fire Positions. Good fire positions are often difficult to find and, in defensive positions likely to be occupied for some time; special preparation may be necessary to avoid problems associated with trunnion tilt and crest clearance. Ramps may be required to enable weapons to achieve greater range.

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b.

Obscuration. In hot barren mountains, obscuration caused by dust on firing can be a problem. It can be reduced by the use of sandbags or waste oil. Observation. In bright sunlight, it is difficult to observe tracer; windblown sand or snow can also hamper observation of targets and fall of shot. Engaging targets on high ridges can also be extremely difficult. Bold corrections are therefore necessary. Range Estimation. Range estimation is difficult for commanders as targets may have to be engaged at long ranges over dead ground. Handheld laser rangefinders are an essential aid.

c.

d.

10. Commanders' Machine Guns. Commanders' MGs can be used to provide immediate response in an ambush and are very useful for retaliating against fire from ground higher than the elevation which can be achieved by the normal turret weaponry. SECTION 3. ARTILLERY (INCLUDING AIR DEFENCE ARTILLERY) Field Artillery 11. General. Field artillery, whether self propelled (SP) or towed, is subject to the same constraints on mobility, deployment and fire support as other arms. In mountainous country some special artillery factors also require attention. 12. Mobility. Field artillery may be airlifted to and from gun positions by helicopter and may then require air support for subsequent ammunition resupply. However it may be necessary for light artillery to occupy positions which can only be reached by manhandling the guns using drag ropes or animal transport. Gun detachments likely to operate in mountains require training in these specialist techniques. Non essential vehicles should be left out of the order of battle to reduce congestion on the limited routes available, and greater use should be made of helicopters and motorcycles for reconnaissance. 13. Deployment. Good gun positions are difficult to find, particularly those free from crest clearance difficulties. As high crest clearance result in large areas of dead ground, high angle engagements are routine and this could easily affect MRLS more than other artillery systems. A reduction in maximum range may result if the elevation to crests is greater than 800 mils (45o). Where possible, positions should be chosen to achieve defilade fire, cover and accessibility to routes. Guns may be sited in sections or, exceptionally, singly. Although gun positions on high ground reduce local crest clearance problems and could facilitate close defence, they may be more liable to observation by the enemy and subsequently attract enemy fire or counter bombardment. 14. Observation of Fire. To achieve good observation of fire, the following should be considered:

4-3

a.

Observations Posts (OPs). These should normally be sited within defended localities offering good observation but should be staggered in height if possible to reduce the chance of all being masked by the same layer of cloud or fog. Observation. Forward Observation Officer activities in mountains is frequently difficult, particularly in deep snow. Coloured smoke may alleviate the problem and the use of airburst for adjustment in snow and trees will increase initial accuracy. Accuracy. First round accuracy is difficult to achieve because of the problem of fixing gun positions, OPs and targets. Estimation of range requires practice where visibility is exceptionally clear. The use of GPS could significantly improve accuracy. Adjustment of fire will involve increased use of the correction up/down to reflect the slope effect of mountainous country. Meteorological Conditions. In mountains, rapidly changing meteorological conditions tend to make predicted fire inaccurate. Unless standard 1:50 000 maps area available, the coordinates of targets will not generally be known to a sufficient degree of accuracy to permit predicted fire. Consequently it is important that the fall of shot for close, covering and defensive fire tasks should be observed. FOOs should be prepared to adjust previously recorded DFs and targets in close proximity to his own troops. Airborne OPs. Helicopters and airborne OPs will be invaluable for adjusting fire on to targets in otherwise dead ground and acting as relay stations. Direct Fire. Artillery sited to allow direct fire over open sights can be most effective against an unprepared enemy, although the guns would be easily identifiable and vulnerable to attack.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

15. Effects on Supporting Artillery. The following effects on the characteristics of supporting artillery should be considered: a.

Range. 155 mm calibre guns with their longer ranges and heavier shells should be used to complement the versatility of smaller calibre guns whenever possible. SP guns, with their better cross country performance, are recommended if they are available and the terrain permits. At higher altitudes and temperatures, maximum ranges are significantly increased. The minimum range is likely to be increased where local crests necessitate the use of high angle firing. Consequently guns may not be able to fill in support of their own perimeter defences or in support of nearby standing patrols which may consequently have to rely on mortars or other batteries for close support. Weapon Effects. Impact fused high explosive shells are very effective on rocky ground, scattering stones which act as shrapnel. Conversely they are relatively ineffective in deep snow or soft boggy ground. Shells with me-

b.

4-4

chanical time fuses are particularly effective against troops on reverse slopes or when deep snow conditions exist. However, variable time (VT) fuses are prone to premature initiation as they pass over crests and may burst too high over snow because of its good reflective surface. Although temperature inversion may occasionally cause smoke to persist in valleys for longer than normal, strong and variable winds and steep mountain slopes normally reduce the effectiveness of smoke, consequently increasing the consumption of smoke ammunition. Artillery fire may be used to create rock or snow slides to block supply routes or to overwhelm enemy positions. 16. Logistics. Some logistic considerations are: a. Difficulties in supplying ammunition, particularly if helicopters are not available, will make the selection of targets and allotment of ammunition of great importance. Priorities will have to be established and a close check made on monitoring expenditure and changing priorities. If 155 mm guns are available, the increase lethality is likely to outweigh the penalty of transporting a greater weight of shells.

b.

17. Manpower. Deployment of isolated gun detachments and the need for pickets makes heavy demands on manpower. As this applies particularly to OP parties, other arms should be trained to call for and to control artillery fire. Air Defence (AD) Artillery 18. The Threat. In mountainous country, air operations may be restricted or could be affected by weather and terrain. Deep narrow valleys and the accentuated grain of the country will often channel aircraft and limit their freedom of manoeuvre. This may affect enemy air avenues of approach and the direction of low level attack for fixed wing aircraft. However, the use of toss bomb techniques may allow an enemy to attack targets from behind ridge lines; avenues of aproach may not necessarily follow valley lines. Helicopters are likely to make use of these features to give cover for their attacks especially from the flanks. AD systems are always limited and the very best use has to be made of the resources available to provide a framework of AD around and above vital locations or troop concentrations. Nevertheless from the evidence available concerning Soviet operations in Afghanistan, the very few systems operated by the Mujahideen had an effect out of all proportion to their numbers even though the Soviet forces had complete air control and domination. 19. Area AD. Limited Area AD is provided by RAPIER which is a short range missile system with night and limited bad weather capabilities. It can engage all fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft up to 10,000 feet above ground level. It is a system which can be lifted by support helicopters (given at least 60 mins of notice to move) or deployed by towing vehicles including over snow tractors. The system needs continuous engineering and logistic support. Its deployment should be 4-5

confined, where possible, to easily accessible sites especially when continuous helicopter support cannot be guaranteed. Deployment will be a compromise between high sites (within the system's angle of depression) affording good coverage and lower sites with better accessibility but more limited coverage. RAPIER can engage at angles of depression but it may be underflown in valleys with steep sides. 20. Close AD. JAVELIN/HVM provides CAD, but it is a daytime only system. Missiles are either shoulder launched or fired from a Lightweight Multiple Launcher. JAVELIN/HVM can engage directly approaching fixed wing aircraft and it has a crossing target capability against helicopters. It can also be used with RAPIER as part of a coordinated AD plan. It is man-portable for short distances and can easily be moved by vehicle, helicopter or animal transport. In due course JAVELIN will be replaced by HVM. 21. Defensive Tactics. The air defence principles of mass attrition and integration will apply, but will be more difficult to achieve in mountainous country. The aim should be to ensure that any aircraft can be engaged by two or more weapon systems. A careful assessment of the threat should be made and air defences deployed to counter it on the following lines: a.

RAPIER. This should be sited on high ground from where it can most effectively engage fixed wing aircraft and make use of its crossing target capability and radar. Alternatively, it can be deployed at the bottom or on the sides of valleys if the resulting degradation of the system's all round capability is operationally acceptable. An area of relatively level ground about 30 metres square is required to deploy the equipment. JAVELIN/HVM. This may be sited forward to protect leading elements or it may be sited to cover narrow valleys and defiles. Its rapid reaction time is ideal in countering surprise attacks by helicopters. It may also be used within RAPIER coverage to provide point defence for vital installations and HQs.

b.

22. AD Deployments. AD equipments can be deployed to cover both Area and Close Air Defence (CAD) tasks. In mountainous terrain, area tasks are likely to be appreciably smaller than the 10 x 15 kilometres covered by a battery in other operations because mountains and valleys will restrict normal engagement arcs. 23. Unit AD. The use of unit weapons in the Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) role is important in mountains where aircraft are likely to fly along readily identifiable valleys and flylines. Ideally, for AD fire to be effective, it should be concentrated to cover these features. Sentries have to be briefed that helicopters may use the cover of ridges and valley sides to carry out observation or to spring surprise attacks. There will be a need for artillery commanders to identify areas of dead ground where aircraft cannot be engaged will be important. 24. Passive AD Measures. Dedicated AD coverage is restricted in mountainous country by the terrain and by the characteristics of the weapon systems available. 4-6

All troops should be briefed on the air threat and be trained in passive AD measures such as countersurveillance, deception and restrictions on movement. 25. Airspace Management. AD will be subordinate to an Air Defence Operations Centre (ADOC) or its equivalent. The AD cell at a Formation HQ will direct, control and coordinate air space management procedures and issue any weapon Control Orders. The AD Cell will also lay down the areas of responsibility and control of land and sea based A systems. Liaison with any host nation representatives and other ADOC cells should take place at this level. 26. Other Limiting Factors. Experience has shown that the following AD related factors may need to be resolved: a. Ensuring equipment engineering support reaches any isolated and inaccessible detachments. Failure to provide this support will reduce significantly the systems availability and its coverage. Missile and generator resupply such as bulky missile boxes and the large quantities of packed fuel that require transportation. Surveillance radars screened by the mountainous terrain. Timely passage of Weapon Control orders by radio if terrain causes screening. Icing which could occur on missile wings and launch rails in cold climates. Dust in filters, optics and delicate components in hot arid climates. SECTION 4. ENGINEERS General 27. Important engineer tasks to support operations in mountainous country would include: a. b. c.

b.

c. d.

e. f.

Mobility Support. Assisting own troops to maintain mobility. Countermobility Support. Hindering enemy movement. Protection. Assisting our own troops to improve protection and survivability.
Engineering Support Tasks. Survey.

d. e.

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Mobility 28. Terrain. Movement is difficult in rugged mountain terrain. The few existing road and tracks are usually primitive with steep gradients; obstacles placed correct on them can create formidable barriers. The magnitude of engineer tasks will impose constraints on mobility and consequently the speed of deployment and overall conduct of operations. 29. Obstacle Clearance. Engineer support for advancing forces may be necessary to clear obstacles such as avalanches, craters, mines and landslides. Bypassing natural obstacles may be impossible. If it is not possible to use heavy engineer equipment to move earth and snow, then explosives, light equipment and manual labour have to be relied on. Caution should be exercised when firing demolitions near snow-covered slopes to avoid creating avalanches. 30. Bridging. Bridging operations may be required to cross short gaps, to strengthen or replace existing bridges or to cross long gaps with tactical and standard or improvised bridging. Engineers may also be tasked to construct and operate cable-ways across wide or steep sided valleys. 31. Road Construction and Clearing. Construction of new roads and tracks in mountains is a major engineering task likely to require considerable plant work. Normally work will be limited to repairing and maintaining existing roads and tracks. A major factor in selecting routes for improvement will be the need to minimize the time and effort involved in making them passable. Roads with sharp bends and steep gradients may have to be accepted initially, if construction and road improvements cannot keep pace with tactical operations. Sidehill cut techniques are highly desirable in order to minimize excessive volumes of cut and fill and to reduce the need for bridging. Drainage requirements have to be considered in detail because of the effects of abnormally steep slopes, damaging thaws and characteristic heavy rains. Countermobility Support 32. General. The difficulty of bypassing obstacles in mountains make them effective. Properly placed and covered by fire, obstacles can make approaches and key routes impassable. Demolition charges detonated to block or destroy choke points such as passes or tunnels may close an area to vehicles indefinitely. 33. Mines. Anti-tank and anti-personnel mines are most effective if laid on narrow approaches to canalize movement. If flash flooding or soil movement dislodges mines from their original positions, they should be cleared or marked if they are a danger to friendly troops. 34. Remotely Delivered Mines. Mines which can be delivered remotely are particularly suitable for use in mountains because of the time, effort and logistic support required to hand emplace mines away from major routes.

4-8

35. Other Obstacles. Road craters and felled trees tied in with rugged mountain terrain make effective obstacles. Landslides and bridge demolition can also block routes. Protection 36. Careful terrain analysis and site selection by engineers may identify suitable defensive positions requiring little work. To dig combat positions and construct temporary defences in areas of sparse vegetation, particularly at higher elevations, is usually difficult. Lack of soil and exposed or underlying bedrock may dictate that sangars are built. Details of these and other field defences are in Chapter 5 of Part B. Engineering Support Tasks 37. Maintaining lines of communication is likely to require considerable engineer effort. Such engineer tasks are likely to be: a. b. c. Constructing and maintaining airstrips and landing sites. Constructing and improving maintenance and staging areas. Provision of water for all purposes.

Survey 38. General. In mountainous regions the shape of the terrain has a dominating influence on all aspects of military operations. As terrain imposes equal constraints on both sides, the advantage will lie with the commander of the side with access to the best information on details of the terrain. 39. Geographic Support. Geographic support for land and air operations could include: a. b. c. d. Provision and distribution of land maps and aeronautical charts. Publication of geodetic and geophysical data. Creation of selected terrain information data banks and special products. Terrain analysis.

40. Military Survey Tasks. In order to collect the information necessary survey detachments should be deployed to cover the following tasks: a.

Survey Reconnaissance. It will be necessary to reconnoitre possible locations required as datum points for direction, elevation and position.

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b.

Fixing Positions. Points on the ground should be marked, fixed and measured for elevation in terms of the operational grid, particularly for use by artillery, signals and supporting aircraft. Azimuth Determinations. Azimuths are essential to provide orientation for the reference system and to provide the means of calibrating, setting and monitoring inertial systems. Magnetic observations are required to determine local magnetic declination (variation) and hence grid magnetic declination (variation) and hence grid magnetic angles. Topographical Tasks. Provided that positions and heights of selected points can be fixed and identified on air photographs, detailed topographic maps can be prepared. Additional fieldwork is usually necessary to classify detail and collect place names.

c.

d.

41. Survey Teams. In unmapped mountainous terrain, a topographical squadron will deploy survey teams of up to five observers and their equipment. They have organic transport but may require helicopter support. After reconnaissance, teams will occupy summits of selected mountains until their survey observations are complete. In good conditions this may take several days and nights. Surveyed mountain locations are required either for conventional line of sight survey or for satellite tracking equipments which need an all-round view of the sky above 15o elevation. Clearance to deploy survey teams should be arranged with commanders of areas concerned and, if the tactical situation requires, escorts and pickets maybe needed. If helicopters are not available to lift observing teams and their equipment to mountain tops, there may be a requirement for guides, local porter or animal transport. 42. Preparing a Survey Site. An advance party is required to prepare a site, which may involve roping or abseiling down through tree canopy on jungle covered mountains. In mountainous country above 3000 metres, when helicopter performance is significantly reduced, it may be necessary to organize lifts by stages to intermediate bases. 43. Terrain Analysis. In mountains, terrain analysis will be important to provide information on the following: a. b. The geology of the terrain including the ability to dig. Cross-country movement including obstacles, choke points and vehicle going conditions. Roads, bridges, power lines and other low flying obstructions. River crossing. Artillery gun positions.

c. d. e.

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f. g.

Water resources. Likely enemy helicopter landing sites. SECTION 5. SIGNALS

Planning Factors 44. Tactical communications in mountainous areas are likely to be significantly affected by climatic extremes and screening caused by the terrain. Commanders may have to choose whether to allocate additional resources of men and equipment to overcome the difficulties or to accept a reduced service. Climate 45. Extreme Cold. The life of rechargeable batteries and standard primary batteries will be greatly reduced at temperatures below freezing. Hand held radios should be carried inside the outer layer of clothing. Power extension leads should be used to protect batteries for manpack sets. Lithium batteries are reliable to about -50oC. Plastic ancillaries will be liable to crack below about -30o C. Generators and charging sets need extra care in extreme cold and diesel powered generators are particularly vulnerable. More details about operating communications equipment in cold conditions are given in AFM Cold Weather Operations. 46. Extreme Heat. Communications equipment of all types should be shielded from direct sunlight whenever possible. The ducting phenomenon can cause interference from transmitters located at distances of over a hundred kilometres. Terrain Screening 47. General Points. To communicate between dispersed forces, provision has to be made to relay messages, to use static communications where they exist or to exploit the third dimension with HF skywave or satellite communications (SATCOM). 48. HF. HF ground wave communications suffer from terrain screening to a lesser extent than VHF. It is possible to achieve ground wave ranges of up to 30 kilometres with frequencies between 2-4 MHz by day, and above 15 MHz by night. Automatic RRB is not possible although manual relay remains an option. In mountainous areas, short range HF skywave is effective, but has to be used at the halt for best results. On-line voice encryption is not yet available. At high latitudes, ionospheric disturbances can be very pronounced and cause complete loss of skywave communications. 49. VHF. VHF is the primary means of command and control and should be retained wherever possible because it is widely available, reliable and can be readily fitted with on-line voice encryption. However the VHF band can be screeded significantly by terrain, particularly in mountainous terrain, and there is a real danger of poor or non existent communication between points if this band width is the only 4 - 11

method of contact with outstations. A commander should seek to have alternative means of communication at any such locations. VHF coverage can be extended by the use of relay or rebroadcast (RRB) stations, but there are still likely to be problems associated with deployment, resupply and defending any isolated detachments. In addition, since RRB stations are likely to be on high ground, they could be vulnerable to enemy intercept unless carefully sited. 50. UHF. UHF is the primary means of communication with offensive close air support aircraft and will be affected similarly by screening. Careful selection of Indication Points (IPs) to ensure line of sight will minimize screening effects. 51. Satellite Communication (SATCOM). Ground terminals for SATCOM should have a clear line of sight to the satellite and it may be necessary to site terminals away from the HQs they serve. At high latitudes, such sites may need to be on or near mountain tops or on slopes which face the equator. A dedicated link is therefore required to pass signal traffic. Manportable SATCOM offers both secure speech and telegraph and does not suffer from interference. 52. Trunk Communications. The use of military of civil land line or multi-channel mocro-wave trunk communication systems should be considered as a method of overcoming screening caused by the terrain. 53. Screening. In mountains covered with jungle or thick forest, screening problems will increase. Ground wave communications are likely to be very difficult and HF skywave may be the only viable option. SECTION 6. INFANTRY General 54. Infantry's versatility and ability to move virtually anywhere, will play a dominant role in mountain operations. Rugged terrain gives opportunities for infiltration by small parties and there is greater scope for independent action by pickets, outposts, ambushes and sniping and sabotage parties. These tasks require the highest standards of leadership, physical toughness, fieldcraft and individual skill-at-arms, particularly at platoon, section and patrol level. A reconnaissance platoon is especially useful to conduct some of the more difficult operations, as are the patrol companies in parachute battalions. 55. Infantry will have to accept that the terrain may prevent some supporting arms from playing a full part in the battle and consequently greater reliance must be placed on their integral man-portable support weapons. Integral Support Weapons 56. Mortars. Mortars are the most valuable infantry support weapons in mountains and other equipment may have to be sacrificed to ensure an adequate supply of ammunition for them. MFCs should be well forward and positioned on high ground. 4 - 12

57. GPMG (SF). The GPMG(SF) is useful for engaging point and area targets at long range. They should also be used to provide mutual support between sub units dominating the high ground. Anti-Armour Weapons 58. The carriage and use of anti-armour weapons will depend on the threat posed by enemy armour. A high threat will require some MRATGW to be deployed. These weapons can also be used against bunkers or sangars if necessary. LAW should be considered for terrain where fields of fire are below 600m. Siting all antiarmour weapons requires careful consideration owing to noise and smoke signatures. Close Quarter Battle 59. Skill at Arms. Engagements in mountains will generally be at long range and infantrymen should be able to shoot accurately with suitable sights to ranges up to 600 metres and at maximum range with the GPMG(SF). In mountain areas covered in jungle, engagements will be short and at close range. Troops should therefore be trained to react quickly and to shoot accurately. The use of scatter guns and claymore-type mines are particularly effective in thick jungle. 60. Snipers. In open country, good cover and visibility provide opportunities for snipers. Infantry units should thus train as many soldiers as possible to act as snipers. Their siting and control needs careful planning. 61. Grenades. A plentiful supply of grenades is essential, particularly in defence. They can be lobbed downhill for considerable distances to good effect on rocks. Coloured smoke grenades are useful for marking positions and for directing aircraft and helicopters. 62. Night Vision Devices. Surveillance devices can be used to good effect by day and night in open mountainous country. Aids such as thermal imaging (TI) and image intensification currently issued to infantry battalions can be employed effectively in mountains and may be more useful than heavy ground surveillance radars. Skilfully sited, their line of sight characteristics can be exploited to cover areas which would otherwise require large numbers of troops in OPs and patrols. However, siting is critical and screening will often occur. The logistic implications of recharging pure-air bottles has to be considered during planning. Equipment 63. Light Loads. Infantry moving on foot in difficult country should be loaded as lightly as possible. Heavy weapons, ammunition and supplies should whenever possible be lifted to forward positions by helicopter. As sufficient air lift will seldom be available, economy will have to be made and only essential weapons and equipment should be moved by air. Selection will depend on climate, ground and the enemy threat. Commanders at all levels must decide priorities and issue 4 - 13

precise orders. If there is conflict between weights of ammunition and weapons, experience has shown that it is better to take more ammunition and fewer weapons. 64. Radios. Although the scale of issue of radios is adequate additional manpack radios may be required for the extra OPs pickets and relay stations that will be deployed as well as radios for ground to air communications. With increased dispersion of troops as pickets and OPs, consideration may have to be given to providing or redistributing radios for such tasks. SECTION 7. AVIATION General 65. The use of helicopters in mountainous regions provides a commander with an unrivalled ability to reduce or eliminate the disadvantages of operating in this type of terrain. There are, however, some limitations to their use which should be noted. The general points are recorded in the next paragraphs; and the more technical limitations are recorded in Army Code 71489 Special Flying Techniques Army Aviation Vol V Pamphlet 501. Flying in Mountains 66. Flying in mountainous country presents pilots with additional difficulties, owing to the effects of altitude, turbulence and weather. Wind strengths at high altitudes are usually greater than those on the plains and the air is less dense. Mountain formations cause turbulence and variations in wind strengths. To windward the air flow should remain fairly steady in direction but may well fluctuate in strength. To leeward, wind is likely to be turbulent with rapid changes of direction and strength causing up draughts and down draughts which increase in severity in proportion to the wind strength. It is always helpful to a pilot to indicate the local wind conditions with the use of a smoke grenade. Low cloud and formation of ice on aircraft are additional hazards which reduce aircraft performance and impose extra strain on aircrew because margins for error are less than normal. 67. Helicopter performance degrades with increased altitude, temperature and humidity. Close liaison with the helicopter force commander will be essential to assess likely aircraft performance. These assessments are likely to change frequently. Annex A gives temperate weather planning guidelines. Landing Sites (LS) 68. Details of the dimensions and requirements of helicopter HLSs are contained in ATP-49(A) - Use of Helicopters in Land Operations UK Supplement 1. The following additional points are also relevant: a.

Selection. An LS should normally be on the windward side of mountain ridges or peaks to ensure a reasonably smooth air flow. However in forward areas concealment from the enemy observation is a more important factor

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in selecting a site. These should be well clear of tents and other light structures which are vulnerable to helicopter rotor downwash, particularly in confined spaces. b.

Slope. An LS should be as level as possible but may be on a slope not exceeding 7o. On slopes greater than this a helicopter cannot land but, provided rotors are clear of obstructions, they may be able to load and unload in the low hover. Marking. In addition to the agreed methods of marking given in ATP-49 a ring of stones can be used to outline the perimeter of the useable portion of a land point (LP). Care must be taken not to use objects which might be sucked up by the rotor blades and so damage the aircraft. Snow covered LPs can be effectively marked with coloured dye or smoke but they should be camouflaged with more snow when not in use. Preparations. Except in jungle, LPs need little preparation as the ground is generally firm enough to support helicopters. Loose rocks should be cleared and rocky outcrops and tree stumps may have to be levelled. If a slope is too great, it may be possible to cut a ledge wide enough for an LP In soft snow . a suitable reference point such as a vehicle should be available to the pilot to avoid disorientation in recirculating snow. Stamping snow to form LPs is dangerous as compacted snow forms a crust when frozen, which the powerful downdraught of large helicopters breaks up causing a foreign object damage hazard. In sand or dust there is a risk of ingestion. As with soft snow, some form of reference is desirable and, if time permits, the area should be damped with waste oil or water. Helicopter blown sand or ice is a hazard to troops and weapons, particularly optics and down wash in freezing conditions can cause frostbite to exposed skin. Deplaning Methods. Troops or stores being landed at temporary positions where it is impossible to touch down, can be roped, abseiled or winched down, thus avoiding the need for any site preparation but with a slight increase in turn-round time. A reduction in payload may also be necessary due to the aircraft having to achieve a high hover. Vulnerability. If the choice of LSs is limited, the enemy may be able to forecast those in use and mine them. Helicopters should therefore not use a LS unless it has been cleared for mines and secured so that the ground which dominates it is covered by fire and observation.

c.

d.

e.

f.

4 - 15

ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 4 HELICOPTER DATA, RANGE AND PAYLOADS Army Helicopters


Payload (kg) Ser Ac Type Role Radius of Action 50 nm (a) 1 (b) Lynx AH7 (c) Atk/Uty (d) 1145 Max Cruise Max External Radius of Speed Tps Payload Action (kt) (2) (kg) 100 nm (1) (e) 900 (f) 1360 (g) 120 (h) 9

Remarks

(i) Primary role is Atk. Has NVG compatible cockpit and self contained nav system and TI TOW sight. This ac can also insert by abseil 4 troops operationally and 6 in the trg role. In svc with Avn Airmob Regt. Has NVG compatible cockpit and self contained nav system. Has NVG compatible cockpit and self contained nav system. Has roof mtd obsn aid (GOA) See Note 4

Lynx AH9

LBH

1159

879

1360

140

3.

Gazelle AH1

Recce

300/400 (3)

200/300 (3)

600

120

WAH-64 Attack Apache

No hook 147

Notes: 1. Data is shown for temperate climatic conditions assuming fuel is immediately available without tactical considerations. 2. Full data and drills for UK hels is contained in ATP-49(A) USE OF HELICOPTERS IN LAND OPERATIONS UK SUPPLEMENT-1. 3. Radius of action varies according to airspeed and environment.

4. WAH-64 Apache will be used primarily for the attack role with subsidiary tasking of air escort and recce. It cannot carry freight or troops.

4-A-1

CHAPTER 5 NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL CONSIDERATIONS SECTION 1. INTRODUCTION 1.

General. The normal methods of operation in a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) environment will not change in mountainous terrain. The hazards presented by NBC weapons will remain as will, albeit to a limited extent, the risk from Toxic Industrial Hazards (TIC) presented by Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TIC) and Low Level Radiation (LLR). However, NBC pamphlets generally assume flat or gently rolling terrain and temperate climates. Mountains may produce variations in the normal effects of NBC weapons and agents which could in turn influence tactical considerations a great deal. Operational Degradation. Wearing Individual Protective Equipment (IPE) at high altitudes, when possibly combined with altitude sickness, increased dehydration and the severe effort of moving on foot over difficult country, degrades performance and increases the likelihood of indirect heat casualties. The requirement to apply the risk-taking philosophy will be increased. Every effort should be made to keep troops out of IPE until it is confirmed that a hazard actually exists. When precautions have to be taken against a hazard, commanders must allow extra time for tactical tasks and must ensure that decisions are made early. Commanders should also plan to relieve troops in contaminated areas so that they can feed, rest and change contaminated clothing. Casualty Evacuation. Evacuating a large number of NBC casualties in mountainous terrain may cause particular difficulties and will needs special consideration. Biological and Chemical Agents. An enemy may decide to use biological and chemical agents in mountains, owing to their suitability for attacking isolated targets which are difficult to locate away from local populations and not readily vulnerable to destruction by conventional forces. These agents may also be used against troops which are protected by the terrain from direct or indirect fire, but downwind hazards are more difficult to predict owing to variable winds. Warning and Reporting. Hazard prediction for nuclear chemical and biological hazards will be complicated by the nature of mountainous terrain and the local variations of air flow in valleys. Current computer prediction (BRACIS) will only take this into account if local meteorological information is applied.
SECTION 2. THE EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN A MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Height of Burst. The normal circular effects pattern of nuclear weapons is liable to be considerably distorted by terrain and variable weather. A high airburst attack is most suitable for covering large areas, but high ridges and deep valleys will make the effects unpredictable at any distance from Ground Zero (GZ). To max5-1

imise weapons effect it will be vital to achieve an accurate GZ and the related optimum height of burst. Surface or sub-surface busts could be used to block narrow, steep sided valleys, defiles or passes and will produce radioactive fallout adding to the delay caused by the blast effect. 7.

Flash and Thermal Radiation. Clear mountain air could extend the range of nuclear flash and thermal radiation but high peaks and ridges will act as a screen. The effects of flash and thermal radiation are increased by reflection from any snow and ice and will be further increased below thick cloud or in darkness. Fog, low cloud and the layers of clothing necessary in cold weather reduce the thermal effects on individuals but, conversely, those wearing less clothes in temperate or tropical mountains will be at greater risk. Flash flooding may occur in low lying areas owing to ice and snow melting. Below the tree line, fires will be a hazard. Blast. Blast waves are deflected by high ridges, while valleys may act as channels and amplifiers for blast waves. The primary and reflected blast waves may cause avalances and rock slides at considerable distances from Ground Zero (GZ). When the use of nuclear weapons is a serious threat, particular care should be taken to avoid positions where troops could be hit or cut off by avalances or tree blow-down. Radioactive Fallout. Nuclear warheads are normally fused to detonate at a height above ground level which optimises blast damage; in this case there is no radioactive fallout of military significance. However, ground or very low airbursts could be used deliberately by the enemy or could occur as the result of error or a fault in the fusing system. Fallout patterns can be highly erratic in open country, owing to variations in wind and weather conditions. This effect is likely to be increased in mountainous terrain owing to sudden changes in wind direction. In deep valleys, fallout and rainout may be localised, spreading slowly to adjacent screened areas. On the other hand, there may be isolated area of considerable radiation far from GZ. Scattering of fallout by drifting snow will make contamination control more difficult.

8.

9.

10. Decontamination. Decontamination of men, equipment and vehicles is more difficult in mountains, particularly if snow covered, in conditions where water is in short supply or when the temperature is below freezing. Radioactive dust or mud is difficult to bury and contaminated snow is even more difficult to dispose of until it melts. Personal decontamination must take place in designated areas only. After vigorous shaking of outer garments or brushing off with foliage, care must be taken that the radioactive dust, mud or snow removed does not recontaminate other men or equipment. SECTION 3. TACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN A NUCLEAR ENVIRONMENT 11. Targeting. The most profitable targets for nuclear strikes in mountainous terrain are: a. 5-2 Communications centres and headquarters.

b. c. d.

Forward air strips. Administrative areas, supply and ammunition dumps. Valleys, passes and defiles.

12. Defensive Measures. To avoid providing a worthwhile nuclear target, emphasis should be put on camouflage, concealment, deception, dispersion, the use of alternative positions, offensive patrolling and air defence to deny the enemy information about our defensive positions. Natural shelters, such as caves provide better protection than stone sangars, shallow trenches or snow trenches. If these defensive measures are taken, an attacker may find it difficult to locate troops concentrated in the forward areas in sufficient strength to warrant a nuclear strike. 13. Radiological Survey. Radiological survey is more difficult in rugged country and provides less accurate information due to the irregular deposit of fall-out. SECTION 4. THE EFFECTS OF BIOLOGICAL AGENTS IN A MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT 14. Introduction. Live biological and toxin agents can be effective in mountainous terrain. Rapidly changing weather at high altitudes together with high windspeeds may hasten dispersal of aerial borne agents. Higher humidity increases the effectiveness of live agents while cold tends to increase persistency in most types of agent. 15. The Effect on Troops. Movement of troops on foot increases their chance of picking up contamination, while crowded living conditions encourage the spread of infections and contagious conditions. The greater respiratory rate at high altitude results in a greater chance of inhaling airborne agents. Those suffering from a degree of degradation may be physically less resistant to the effects of biological agents. 16. Defensive Measures. Defence against biological agents do not differ in mountains from those measures applicable in normal terrain. As live agents and toxins may be delivered by covert means to drinking water and food supplies it is important to be alert to this form of attack. SECTION 5. THE EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL AGENTS IN A MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT 17. Delivery Means. Assembling sufficient delivery means and chemical ammunition in a forward area to achieve a high level of casualties in a surprise attack against well trained and well equipped troops will be a major logistic problem. Small quantities of chemical agents might be randomly delivered by artillery to pose a constant threat, thus forcing troops to wear IPE for long periods. Aerial delivery is the most likely means of dissemination because of the difficulties of accurate delivery by artillery. 5-3

18. Topographical Effects. Ridges, particularly those above cloud, heat up during the day more quickly than shaded valleys. This phenomenon, combined with higher winds at increased altitude, causes chemical agents to disperse more quickly. In addition, the downhill flow of cold air, may bring chemical vapour from the mountain sides into the valleys. Similarly winds blowing up the sides of the mountains may disperse agent vapour from valley bottoms upwards. At night low ground gives up its heat slowly while upper slopes radiate it; this can cause fog which tends to trap chemical vapour, preventing normal dispersion. The layered effect of air may result in a chemical vapour cloud existing at one level and not at another. To counter this, detection devices may have to be deployed in the vertical as well as the horizontal plane. The behaviour of agents and their vapours is so unpredictable in mountains that the importance of carrying out chemical surveillance in the form of monitoring and survey is increased. 19. Persistency. This can vary in differing climatic conditions as follows: a.

Cold Climate. In cold and snow covered areas, chemical agents generally become more persistent. Those with low boiling points, such as hydrogen cyanide, become more persistent and, as a result, their pattern of use by an enemy may change. Casualties may occur some time after it would have been safe to unmask in a more temperate climate. Persistent agents may last for weeks or months if buried by snow. Contaminated snow may be picked up by men and vehicles and taken unknowingly into a warmer environment, causing the chemical to vaporise which produces a hazard. Clearly this has a major impact on contamination control. Of particular importance are drills for entering buildings, tents and vehicles. Jungle. In jungle or tree covered mountains, the tree canopy hinders chemical agents from reaching the ground. However once the canopy has been penetrated, liquid vapour will persist for longer because trees and vegetation prevent air circulation thus reducing normal dissipation. Hot Climate. Chemical agents evaporate quicker in a hot climate and are therefore less persistent.

b.

c.

20. Effects on Equipment. Altitude and hot temperatures will not affect NBC equipments. In cold temperatures, battery life will be reduced and devices which contain liquid, such as NAIAD and Combopen, should be kept warm to prevent freezing. It must also be remembered that at very low temperatures, because the vapour pressure of many agents is so low, an accurate indication of the latent hazard will not be obtained from detectors and monitors designed to measure the quantities of chemical vapour in the air. SECTION 6. TACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN A CHEMICAL ENVIRONMENT 21. Collective Protection. The requirement for collective protection is as important in mountains as elsewhere. However the paucity of buildings and the logistic difficulty of moving the necessary ancillary equipments make the provision of 5-4

collective protection a particular problem. Lack of mobility may also prevent vehicles being used for collective protection in order to provide rest and relief in contaminated areas. 22. Employment Considerations. The enemy is likely to find it difficult to deliver chemical agent accurately or to predict its persistency in mountains. Downwind hazards are very difficult to predict and thus the use of chemical agents may be a double-edged weapon. He is likely to use non-persistent agents on those areas he wishes to occupy or pass through. However he may use persistent agents on areas he wishes to neutralise but not occupy. 23. Risk Assessment. When operating in mountains, commanders need to have a clear understanding of how the problems surrounding chemical agents in these conditions vary from those in normal conditions. Commanders should resist the temptation to direct the wearing of full IPE as a contingency but should ensure that the environment is monitored constantly for the presence of chemical agents. Where an actual hazard is detected, commanders should impose only that level of protection immediately necessary.

5-5

CHAPTER 6 COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT (CSS) SECTION 1. BASIC CSS CONSIDERATIONS General 1. The principles of providing effective CSS are unaltered by mountainous terrain. The terrain does, however, place an added burden on distribution, storage and maintenance, and in cold mountainous regions there is need for warmth and protection from the weather. Any military formation is likely to be well spread out and this, combined with poor ground communications and very differing weather conditions adds to the problem of keeping combat units properly and regularly supplied and of dealing with casualties to both men and equipment. Principles 2. The principles of CSS are detailed in AFM Vol 1 Part 6 Combat Service Support. These remain the same for mountain operations, however, priorities will change and factors that may be ignored in temperate regions could become critical elsewhere. Size and Composition 3. The composition and size of any military force that can be sustained in mountains depends on: a. b. c. d. e. 4. The number and capacity of the roads and the means of improving them. The amount of ground and cover available for deployment off route. Availability of specialist transport, equipment and supplies. Climate. Altitude.

Other factors that also influence the logistic support of operations in mountainous terrain are as follows: a. b. c. Air situation. Availability of air transport support. Availability of CSS units to support the force, including those required for air resupply.

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SECTION 2. CSS PLANNING General 5. Success in mountain operations will rarely be possible without a coordinated and flexible CSS plan. Such a plan is likely to be based on the principles of CSS after a detailed appreciation of the facilities available. The following paragraphs identify some of the topics which merit careful consideration during the formulation of a CSS plan. Reconnaissance 6. Detailed reconnaissance is required to cover: a. The road network to decide the type and maximum number of vehicles that can be employed in the area. The construction of new roads or improvements to existing ones may need to be considered in order to support protracted operations in isolated areas. Possible deployment areas and suitable sites for administrative areas and bases. Suitable sites for DZs, LSs and short range tactical airstrips. Availability of water sources. Availability of local resources. Special equipment required. (Snow clearing equipment, special ropes etc)

b.

c. d. e. f.

Command and Control 7.

Planning. A flexible and comprehensive CSS plan for supporting operations in the mountains will depend on a combination of forward planning (reconnaissance stockpiling and replication) and adjustment by regular checks on the vital aspects of a CSS plan, (good communications, reserves, alternative supply arrangements and regular monitoring of stocks). Echelon System. A battlegroup echelon system for use in mountain operations is at Annex A and key CSS factors are summarised at Annex B to this Chapter. These may help in the development of a sound CSS plan although they do not vary significantly from that pertaining to other operations.
Combat Service Support

8.

9.

Supply. The frequency of distribution of supplies will be affected by the terrain and disruption to lines of communication. Cross servicing of essential items between units will seldom be possible. In such circumstances essential supplies should be carried within forward formations and units. It may be appropriate to

6-2

increase the initial stocks and holdings of certain equipments or supplies - partly to take account of the increased affiliations of units and specialists. 10. Stockpiling. In mobile operations excessive quantities of supplies should not be carried forward as this may limit mobility and require troops to guard grounded stocks. In static or mobile operations centred on defended bases, stockpiles may be established to provide a buffer against failures in the resupply system. Such stockpiling generally requires an increased level of stock holding in theatre. However if supplies are limited, centralized storage and control is usually more efficient, particularly if an efficient air resupply system is in operation. 11. Limited Resources. Good communications, centralized store holding and air resupply provide the most efficient use of limited supply resources in mountainous regions. Logistic Support 12. Scaling . It is essential that there is close cooperation between G1/G4 staffs and logistic support representatives at the planning stage of operations to ensure that the stores scalings reflect the specific equipment requirements for operations in mountains. 13. Unit Replenishment. The replenishment system has in the past been based on a daily maintenance pack (DMP) system whereby units are provided with a predetermined selection of up to 30 different items of combat supplies and battle batteries. Units may demand increases or reductions daily in individual items. This system simplifies unit action, allows forward planning of transport, particularly by air, and establishes a regular routine. The DMP scale can be revised in the light of experience gained during an operation. This procedure ensures that combat supplies are delivered regularly to forward units even if radio communications are poor. 14. Combat Supplies. Terrain characteristics usually reduce the number and type of equipments deployed within the force. In extreme conditions, where the majority of operations are carried out on foot, the scale of supply support is greatly reduced. This reduction in equipment dependency will be reflected in a reduced supplies requirement. Materiel support may be limited to spares for communication equipments and light weapons. Similarly, combat supply support may be restricted to rations and small arms ammunition. Resupply by vehicle will increase fuel consumption and the need for repair units and larger stocks of vehicle spare parts (tyres, gear boxes and engines). 15. Special POL. There will probably be a requirement for special POL products to support equipment operating at exceptional altitude and in extremes of climate. 16. Ammunition. Support weapons which fire high angle are most suited to operations in mountainous areas. The difficulty of observing fall of shot and increased use of smoke is likely to lead to high consumption rates. The limited range of light 6-3

artillery equipment may require frequent change of gun position so limiting the ability to stockpile ammunition. Guns sited singly or in pairs produce a greater logistic effort, as ammunition has to be supplied to an increased number of gun positions. Furthermore ammunition resupply may be limited by the available transport. It is thus essential that the resupply system for all natures of ammunition required for operations in mountainous areas is planned as early as possible. 17. Water. In all theatres adequate water supply is essential to maintain fighting efficiency, hygiene and morale. In some types of mountainous country, supplying water will pose difficult problems. Although efficiency can be maintained for short periods on emergency rates, normal requirements for drinking have to be met as soon as possible. It is important that RAMC advice is sought before minimum consumption rates are set within a theatre of operations. 18. Selection and Testing of Water Sources. In general, reconnaissance, selection and development of water sources and subsequent treatment are an engineer responsibility. The RAMC is responsible for testing for poisons and toxic substances. The collection of water is a unit or RE responsibility but RLC assistance may be required for bulk movement. As suitable water sources in arid mountainous areas are often scarce or inadequate, operational plans should always cover water supply and distribution. It may be necessary to hold positions specifically to retain access to a local water source. 19. Water Discipline. The human body cannot be trained to function without water or to operate on a reduced intake. If there is a shortage of water, the following rules of water discipline should be enforced: a. There have to be orders for drinking to prevent troops husbanding supplies and precipitating a state of dehydration leading to a deterioration in performance. This could be particularly important in a chemical environment when troops are forced to wear full IPE. All water should be sterilized before being used for drinking or for washing and cooking food. Water for personal washing does not need to be purified unless grossly polluted. All water sources should be reported; their positions logged at unit or formation HQ and a medical officer should test them for diseases and poisons. Individual sterilising kits are issued for use whenwater is not available from a military water point. Issue of water has to be strictly controlled. Sources likely to be required for drinking must not be polluted by washing or by animals. If drinking has to be temporarily restricted when supplies are inadequate, fluid balances must be fully restored by the end of each 24 hour period.

b.

c.

d.

Medical Support 20. Bulk resupply of medical resources in theatre requires particular coordinated planning and control by RAMC and RLC staff. Specialist medical equipment can be 6-4

supplied into the theatre in the normal way but allocated from there on under RAMC control. A commander should note that the potential extremes of climate and the physical conditions involved in operating in a mountain environment will raise the emphasis to be placed on medical expertise and resources. It would be prudent to ensure that medical staff are able to operate under the best possible conditions and that these are clearly underpinned by an effective medical support process. Equipment Support 21. General. Harsh terrain conditions are likely to increase the repair load, particularly on tracked and wheeled equipment. At the same time inferior road communications will make it difficult to carry out routine recovery from forward areas to the local base. Emphasis will therefore be on having repair teams and repair facilities forward with urgently needed spares being flown in whenever possible and on improvisation by individual craftsmen. Increased flying rates increase the servicing requirement for light aircraft and helicopters. 22. Camouflage Equipment. Special camouflage clothing and equipment including nets are likely to be required in quantity. Stocks of camouflage paint should be held for the initial deployment and subsequent maintenance and replacement of vehicles, guns and equipments. Two or more types of camouflage nets and paint may have to be provided for units on operations astride the tree line or the snow line. Transport Considerations 23. Air Transport Support. Maximum use should be made of all available air transport to enhance mobility. Where possible, helicopters should be used to deliver supplies direct to units and gun positions but note has to be taken of altitude. Air support may be limited by weather, availability of LZs, DZs and the enemy air and ground threat. These limitations may in certain circumstances preclude reliance on air transport alone and alternative plans to use surface transport should be made. For fixed wing operations it is preferable to provide airland facilities due to the specialist equipment required for any intended airdrop. Engineer equipment may however, have to be dropped in advance to enable a suitable airstrip to be prepared or constructed. However in terrain at high altitude heavy drop direct to units may be required. Recovering heavy drop and underslung load equipments will need careful planning. 24. Mechanical Transport. Normal road transport should be used as far forward as possible although unit transport should be restricted to moving essentials. Units off the main axis should operate on light scales using vehicles capable of carrying up to one tonne. If conditions become dangerous, drivers and passengers should carry appropriate tools, equipment and self survival packs. In snow, tracked oversnow vehicles are invariably required for movement off roads and may also be necessary on roads in icy conditions. Wheeled vehicles require studded tyres or chains on icy roads. Unit transport not required should be centralized in base areas. 6-5

25. Rail. If railways exist in the general area, they should be fully utilised as they are particularly suitable for L of C tasks. The RAVC retain a small number of railway trained officers who would advise on local railway resources. 26. Animal Transport. If helicopters cannot be used for resupply forward of the roadhead, animal transport may be required. Employment of animal transport can cause difficulties and an ad hoc force will require very careful control if it is to be effective. Ad hoc animal transport units may be formed using locally obtained animals, with or without local handlers, and any soldiers who have experience with animals. The RAVC retain a small number of officers trained in animal management, who can assist in forming ad hoc animal transport courses and is also available for advice in selecting animals and in their basic animal management. Depending on the source of animal supply acclimatization may be necessary before they can work. 27. Animal Loads. The possibility of a British force having to use animal transport for resupply still exists and some allies use animals routinely in mountain regions. The details of the load capacities for various animals is given in Part B of this Manual which may be useful for planning purposes and for assessing the enemy's load carrying capacity, if he is using animal transport. Mules are the most versatile and can carry loads of up to 150 kgs, although 72 kgs is more normal, over distances up to 20 miles a day, depending on the terrain. Only 8-10 miles might be achieved in difficult rocky hill country. The disadvantages of animal transport are: a. b. c. d. Weight and bulk of forage and water required daily. One man is required for each animal in forward areas. Animals are conspicuous, vulnerable and can be noisy. Animal care and preparing and trying on loads take time to learn.

28. Porterage. Porterage may be required when no other means are available. If possible local porters should be employed but they cannot always be relied on to operate in forward areas, even if escorted. Combat troops can be employed on porterage duties and can also engage in combat when necessary. They may be limited to carrying 11 - 18 kgs depending on the weights of their weapons, ammunition and domestic load. Details of porterage are at Annex C to this Chapter. 29. Loading Drills. When loading materiel in any form of transport for delivery to an area of operations, items of low priority should be loaded first and those high priority items required first at the destination should be loaded last. Experience has shown that this principle is important in mountain operations.

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Traffic Control 30. The methods of traffic control assume increase importance when routes are limited in mountains. In particular: a. There is a requirement for early location and marking of bottlenecks, deployment areas, passing places, turnrounds and roadheads for various types of transport. Alternative routes must be identified and allocated as soon as possible. Routes should be classified as two-way or one-way and timings should be allotted on one-way routes. Good communications are essential, especially between start and finish points, on congested portions of the route and at any passing points. A high standard of driving and discipline as required of all road users. There is a need for an efficient organization to clear obstacles caused by enemy action, the elements or broken-down vehicles. Particularly good signing is required for both day and night moves on difficult and dangerous routes. Whenever possible at least two routes should be selected, one for vehicle traffic and the other for troops on foot, animal transport and refugees. If possible, additional separate routes for wheeled and tracked vehicles should also be allocated, particularly if the latter are likely to damage the surface.

b.

c.

d. e.

f.

g.

Administrative (G1) Support 31. Provost. A limited road network creates its own problems, particularly where only a single lane is available and traffic can only be allowed to flow in one direction at a time. Roads and tracks should be properly marked, and cross-country routes, ice crossing places and hazardous routes should be well signposted and marked with reflectors. All traffic control posts should be manned to provide for 24 hours assistance, advice and information. 32. Prisoners of War. Prisoners are a serious embarrassment in forward areas, even when they are adequately clothed, and they often will not be. Their rapid evacuation to avoid their becoming medical casualties, to prevent traffic congestion and to allow for their timely interrogation is important. When the enemy suffers reverses, either tactical or logistic, the number of prisoners may well be large, particularly if rations are running short and morale is low; arrangements must be adequate to cope with such a situation if forward troops are not to be seriously hampered.

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33. Local Resources. In undeveloped areas, local resources are generally limited and the force must be supplied from outside the theatre. As this imposes a large transport commitment, full use should be made of any locally available resources. The purchase of goods and services from the local economy is generally welcomed by the local population. However, purchasing scarce supplies and food is a special concern as it may inflate prices. Further details on dealing with the local population and making use of local resources would be handled by the G1/G5 staff.

6-8

ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 6

Track Wheel Interface (TWI) A1 2

A2

DP

FAA

Distribution Point (DP)

Log Base

Forward Administration Area (FAA)

Notes: 1. Always deployed, manning organised by transport office. 2. Colloc with TWI when deployed. Consists of: a. Coy Admin Reps if not at A2. b. RAP. c. POW Cage. d. CSups: ammo, rations, water. e. Recovery assets

3. Consists of: a. Echelon HQ. b. Balance of F Ech vehs and all B vehs. (except sub unit reps which will be in A1 Ech) c. LAD, URS, (fitter sects with coys). d. NBC (2nd line), Clothing, rations, water. e. Balance of ammo. f. POW cage. 4. Comms: HF from Coys to A1 and A2. HF from A2 to FAA.

Figure 1. A Battlegroup Echelon System for Mountain Operations 6-A-1

ANNEX B TO CHAPTER 6
KEY COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT FACTORS IN MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS
SUBJECT Movement SITUATION Lack of Infrastructure (road, rail, airstrips) at base of mountain theatre of operations POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS Use all available methods of movement (eg air and unfrozen sea lanes eg fjords) Recovery and Route Control Centralised and flexible control of assets/routes to ensure optimum use Snow conditions and terrain Preparation/winterization of vehicles Requirement for over-snow tracked capability Snow clearance and HNS assistance Movement of men in low temperatures Vehicles heated Duration of road journeys minimised Use of aircraft, landing craft, boats Drivers: Cold conditions and difficult terrain Training should concentrate on anti-skid drills, driving on ice and snow, self recovery, navigation, survival, route selection and clearance Regular sleep and food. Double manning, if possible Shelter on MSRs Hot Conditions: Reduced Aircraft Payloads Systematic resupply of water. Increased helicopter lift programme. Use of other means for resupply/movement

Fatigue - endurance is reduced in cold conditions

Combat Supplies

Rations: Cold places high priority on rations and lack of mobility may prejudice their distribution Plan for worst conditions Higher holdings forward Centralised cooking and fresh rations where possible. Often not feasible away from base area. Note requirement for higher calorific consumption Water Water required for dehydrated rations and drinking Water Problems Ammunition: Lack of mobility for resupply Ammunition should be stored under cover. Dunnage (brushwood matting) will prevent freezing to the ground Higher stock levels forward - however generally lower tempo will have compensating effect

Adequate fuel for melting snow and ice to boil water Water discipline/Control of Water Points

Deep snow reduces effect artillery rounds

6-B-1

SUBJECT Fuel:

PROBLEMS

SOLUTIONS

Higher requirement for heating and cooking

But possibly lower consumption due to reduced mobility - however different balance of fuel types and lubricants Larger stocks required/Stockpiling/Dumping

Driving Up and downhill increases fuel consumption Effect of cold climate

Petrol unaffected but vehicles should be topped up to reduce chance of freezing condensation Protection of POL Points Diesel will require additives (eg methanol) or replacement by aviation turbine fuel for limited periods

Medical

Effect of Cold

Medical facilities must be warm not just for the patients but also staff. Ideally located in buildings and near roads. Increased manning may be required Rapid evacuation essential

High proportion of casualties will be due to cold

Reduced mobility

Greater dispersion for medical units Use of oversnow vehicles, pulks and improvised sledges Aircraft - high priority but susceptable to weather Use of landing craft, boats Casevac plan to harness all available resources

Repair and Recovery

Effect of Cold on Equipment Reduced Mobility

Repairs should be done under cover and in warmth Emphasis on self help recovery Recovery assets deployed forward for quick response and to prevent freezing of engines, transmission

6-B-2

ANNEX C TO CHAPTER 6 PORTERAGE Limitations 1. When porterage is necessary, the weapons, ammunition and equipment of a unit may be carried by one of the following methods: a. b. c. d. Unit self help. Troops of other units, attached specifically for porterage. Local porters. A combination of any of the above.

Unit Self Help 2. A small scale operation against light opposition may be carried out by a unit or sub unit carrying its own requirements, when those involved in the operation share out the essential fighting loads among themselves. Clearly a unit can undertake only very limited operations if it must rely on its own manpower. In a larger scale operation of longer duration, it will need assistance Attached Troops 4. Troops may be temporarily attached to a unit or sub-unit usually for a particular operation, to carry fighting equipment and stores. They should be armed to protect themselves. As their primary task is to act as porters, their weapons will probably be restricted to small arms and grenades. Local Porters 5. Local porters will normally be friendly, indigenous inhabitants or specially enlisted local troops, usually unarmed, who cannot be used without adequate escort. Local porters usually take the place of second line transport. They will usually be employed to move daily maintenance requirements and reserves of important items only as far forward as unit rear echelons. Units themselves should then carry the loads to further forward positions. Load Carrying Capacities 7. The following figures for manpack carrying capacity are a guide and vary accordingly to the type of porters, the scale of operations and local conditions, such as climate, weather and severity of the terrain. The main points are: 6-C-1

3.

6.

a. b.

Unit Self Help. The total weight for a man should not exceed 20 kgs. Attached Troops. 10 - 15 kg payload and 10 kg domestic load (two days rations, water bottle and weapon), but this combination can be varied according to circumstances. Local Porters. 16 kg payload and 8 kg domestic load (rations and water), but the payload may be increased by 2 kg if porters are carrying only one days ration. This is a minimum and hill men may carry 30 - 32 kgs.

c.

Planning Data 8. When calculating the number of porters required for a particular operation, the following factors must be considered: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. 9. Length of carry. Type of country, including height above sea level. Type of porter available. Availability of water. Size, shape and weight of the operational and domestic loads. The location of an area suitable for off-loading stores, if necessary. The need to protect local porters.

The method of calculating the number of porters required is as follows: a. b. Calculate the lift, i.e. load carriers' potential of a unit or sub-unit. Determine the load the sub-unit needs to carry in excess of domestic load i.e. rations in excess of two days and any share of the unit's B echelon. By subtracting b. from a. the payload of the unit or sub-unit will be found. Calculate the total load to be lifted. The different between c. and d. is the load for which additional porterage is needed. The number of porters required, depending on the type available, can then be determined.

c. d. e.

6-C-2

MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS

PART B

SKILLS, DRILLS AND MINOR TACTICS

ARMY FIELD MANUAL VOLUME IV PART 1 MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS PART B SKILLS, DRILLS AND MINOR TACTICS

CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 - SURVIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Annex A. B. C. D. E. Acclimatization Morale, Discipline and Leadership Clothing and Equipment Mountain Sickness Guidance for Heat Disorders Cold Weather Injuries (Symptoms, Prevention and Cures) Hints on Avalanches Wind Chill Chart 1-1 1-6 1-8 1-A-1 1-B-1 1-C-1 1-D-1 1-E-1

CHAPTER 2 - LIVING IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN Section 1 Section 2 Annex A Shelters Living Off the Land Cooking in Tents and Shelters 2-1 2-7 2-A-1

CHAPTER 3 - MOVEMENT IN MOUNTAIN AREAS Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Movement on Foot Movement with Animals Ground and Map Appreciation Navigation 3-1 3-3 3-5 3-11 i

Annex A

Mountain Route Sketch

3-A-1

CHAPTER 4 - OPERATING IN MOUNTAIN TERRAIN Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Field Defences Minor Tactics for Use in Snow Conditions Minor Tactics for Hot and Barren Mountain Conditions Minor Tactics for Jungle Covered Mountains Raids and Deep Penetration Patrols 4-1 4-4 4-6 4-6 4-8

CHAPTER 5 - TRAINING FOR MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Adapting to the Environment Individual Training Section and Sub Unit Training Unit Training Instructor and Specialist Training 5-1 5-2 5-3 5-3 5-4

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CHAPTER 1 SURVIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS SECTION 1. ACCLIMATIZATION Below 3000 Metres 1. Medical advice should always be sought prior to conducting operations in mountainous areas. Some of the more important medical aspects of operating at altitude and extremes of temperatures are outlined in this Section. Reference should also be made to Parts 2, 3 and 4 of AFM Volume IV for comment about mountainous areas in jungle, desert and cold weather respectively. Acclimatization to altitude is subject to considerable individual variation. Although physical fitness is essential in its own right, it does not aid acclimatization. Troops are at risk at any altitude above 2000 metres. Risk is highest in those who move to high altitude too quickly by flying and those who march too high too fast, ie gaining over 1000 metres a day. From 2000 metres upwards unaclimatized troops may lose up to 50 per cent of their normal physical efficiency through lack of oxygen. Acclimatization must be achieved by gradually increased amounts of exercise, and climbing a little higher each day over a period of two to three weeks. By the end of this period troops should be back to 75 per cent of normal efficiency, but there is likely to be some shortage of breath for up to three months at an average height of 3,000 metres. At lower altitudes the effects will be reduced, although they will vary considerably with the individual. It must be accepted that some troops may never acclimatize to altitude. After two or more months at low altitudes troops will require a period of re-acclimatization before operating again on the mountains. Above 3000 Metres 3. Almost all individuals, at least temporarily, will have a headache severe enough to inhibit any level of sustained concentration. Reading, satisfactory marksmanship, or the "what if" type of deductive logic will prove difficult if not impossible. Shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness will affect nearly all troops to some extent. Insomnia and nightmares, frequently interrupted, short sleep periods are to be expected. Short term memory will be severely degraded, a deficit that is especially critical in small unit leaders. Night vision capability will be markedly reduced and, in a few soldiers, the field of vision can be restricted. Loss of appetite and inadequate attention to thirst is routine. Commanders are no more immune to these effects than their subordinates. Annex A to this Chapter gives more detail of mountain sickness. The soldiers themselves are usually unaware of their decreased performance and altitude-induced deficiencies. Worst of all, commanders may be equally aware of their soldiers' limitations but remain fully convinced that they themselves are unaffected, thereby compounding an already difficult situation for the soldiers. 1-1

2.

4.

5.

These symptoms begin about 6 to 48 hours after a unit arrives at high altitude and last from about four days to a week. Usually the symptoms will disappear in spite of anything the soldiers do or do not do, but during this period of time a unit will be largely ineffectual - and vulnerable. Only a few individuals will be capable of hard physical labour such as digging foxholes or clearing brush for fields of fire, and they will be slow in doing so. Both sustained heavy exertion and efforts that require sudden violent movement will be affected. Thus, patrolling will suffer from lack of attention to detail and also from lack of energy for prolonged efforts. Rapid manoeuvre will be difficult because the soldiers will be less efficient in loading and unloading equipment. In contrast to the soldiers' reasonably rapid recovery from the symptoms of acute mountain sickness, however, its debilitating effect on their physical efforts may not return to previous normal performances. Their ability to respond to a need for a sudden burst of strength will usually return in a matter of weeks, but a total sustained effort on their part may not return for sometime. A diagram describing the medical effects of altitude sickness is shown in Figure 11 below: 4,000 metres Chronic mountain sickness affects people who lose their tolerance to high altitude or who fail to acclimatize. It is characterized by fatigue and chest pain as well as by an increase in red blood cell count and, sometimes, heart failure. Chronic mountain sickness can be alleviated by descent to sea level. High-altitude cerebral oedema can occur at 3,000 metres but is much more common at altitudes above 3,500 metres. Characterized by mental confusion, hallucinations and drunkenlike walking, high-altitude cerebral oedema often develops within 36 hours after arrival at high altitude. High-altitude pulmonary oedema routinely occurs above 3,000 metres although it afflicts some people at lower altitudes. The symptoms - including shortness of breath, severe cough, blood-tinged sputum, headache, lethargy and mild fever - usually develop after 36 or 72 hours at altitude. 3,000 metres Acute mountain sickness affects 15 to 17 percent of people who climb to 2,500 metres or higher too rapidly. It is characterized by headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, disturbed sleep and sometimes, nausea. The illness rarely requires any treatment other than descent. Figure 1-1. The Spectrum of Altitude Sickness

6.

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7.

Aircrew and passengers will require oxygen above 3,500 metres unless the aircraft is pressurized. Acclimatization to Heat

8.

Acclimatization is also necessary for a short period after a move by air to a hot climate from a cold temperate one, such as mountain regions in tropical areas. For about two weeks after such a move, troops will sweat less freely than higher temperatures require increasing the risk of heat exhaustion. Full adaptation to the new conditions may take three weeks. Exertion in mountainous areas should be started slowly and only gradually increased to full activity by the end of this period. Exposure to the sun should be strictly controlled to avoid sunburn and consequent loss of effectiveness. In addition in very hot dry climates clothing should not be removed even when sweating. Some further guidance on heat disorders is given in Annex B to this Chapter. Fitness

9.

Physical fitness is essential for all troops operating in mountains. Stamina, endurance and the ability to sustain and recover quickly from strenuous physical exertion are fundamental to ensuring an acceptable level of mobility on foot. Hygiene

10. The usual principles of good hygiene and sanitation are as important in the mountains as elsewhere, but there are added difficulties such as: a. In intense cold at high altitude troops may be unwilling to remove clothing with the result that sweat and body oils tend to irritate the skin and decrease the insulation value of clothing. Although shortage of water often increases the difficulties of washing, troops should wash daily if possible, while underclothes should be changed twice a week. Feet should be kept dry and powdered and socks changed daily. In rocky or frozen ground it is often impossible to dig latrines. In freezing conditions latrine areas should be constructed away from positions. Excreta will freeze and can be covered with snow or put into a crevasse or over a precipice. In hot barren areas waste may be covered with stones. Many casualties can be caused by troops becoming unnecessarily wet and cold. As a precaution, troops should be trained to reduce sweating by removing some clothing when climbing or during strenuous exertion except in very hot dry climates. Snow should be brushed off clothing and boots before entering tents and bivouacs to keep sleeping accommodation dry. Wet clothes have to be changed before men get cold and should be dried as soon as possible, if necessary inside sleeping bags. If spare clothes are limited, a damp vest should be removed and put on over a jersey with a dry shirt next to the skin. 1-3

b.

c.

Exposure 11. Exposure occurs when the core body temperature falls below normal. The condition can arise at temperatures as high as 10C. Wind and rain or driven snow are likely causes of exposure, but a high wind chill factor, combined with extreme fatigue which diminishes heat production, often kills. Likely symptoms are: a. b. c. Cessation of shivering despite the individual still being cold. Complaints of being tired combined with a listless, apathetic appearance. Unusual activity such as running and then lying down. Any abnormal or irrational behaviour should be regarded as a danger sign. Blurring of vision of hallucinations. All these symptoms lead to collapse and death unless treatment is started immediately. The time between collapse and death may be as little as one hour.

d. e.

12. In general a casualty should be provided with shelter and made warm and dry. If on the move, stop, set up a bivouac in a sheltered spot and give the casualty a warm drink and food such as glucose sweets or chocolate; wet clothing should be changed if possible. The casualty should then be put in a sleeping bag which in turn should be placed inside a survival sack. If necessary another soldier should get into the sleeping bag or sack to give extra warmth. The casualty should be evacuated as a stretcher case as soon as possible. On no account should the casualty be given alcohol. Other Medical Ailments 13. General. The general ailments suffered in cold weather conditions are covered in AFM - Cold Weather Operations. However, such of these that can be contracted specifically in mountain areas are described in the subsequent paragraphs. 14. Frost Bite. This is a condition where the flesh actually freezes, and is caused by the exposure of unprotected skin to very cold conditions including wind, which need not be strong, or by the wearing of wet tight clothing or boots. Owing to wind chill frost bite can be experienced even in hot sunshine. Areas most commonly affected are the cheeks and nose, followed by the ears, fingers and feet. Initially the skin becomes red, and then later pale and waxy. Generally the pain of cold fingers is sufficient warning to the individual, but feet do not hurt enough to warm; they just feel cold. Troops should work in pairs and watch each other's faces to give warning of frost bite. An early case is simply treated by rapid rewarming of the face or ears with the hands. Feet can be placed against a friend's abdomen. In more serious cases where the skin becomes blue or crusty and blisters appear, the risk of infection becomes particularly dangerous. Treatment is based on raising the temperature very gradually, do not rub the affected part with snow, woollen 1-4

garments or in any other way. If a limb is affected it should be rested in a more or less horizontal position and kept cool, although the rest of the body should be warmed as much as possible. Non-alcoholic warm drinks are useful. The casualty should be evacuated as soon as possible. 15. Sunburn. The risk of sunburn increases with altitude due to the thinner atmosphere. Light and ultra violet rays are reflected by both snow and cloud, so the danger will be nearly as great on a cloudy day. The lips, nose and ears are especially vulnerable and should be covered with glacier cream or anti-sunburn ointment before exposure. In really hot desert climates some form of shade in the middle of the day is essential and if nothing else is available face veils and camouflage nets should be used. 16. Snow Blindness. This is also caused by increased ultra violet rays in the thinner air at high altitude. The symptoms - feelings of grit and pain in the eyes - do not appear until 6 or 8 hours after exposure. Treatment consists of resting the eyes and excluding all light behind a mask or handkerchief. Snow blindness can be avoided by wearing tinted goggles or eyeshields. If these are not available, an eyeshield can be improvised using a piece of cardboard or cloth with a small horizontal slit for each eye. 17. Heat Exhaustion. This is mainly due to lack of salt or water or both, and occurs when men are losing more salt and liquid in sweat than they are absorbing from food and drink. It happens mainly in hot barren mountains or jungle, where the loss of liquid through sweat is obvious. It can also occur at high altitudes in cooler climates, where sweat is not so apparent because it evaporates quickly in the dry thin atmosphere, and the individual may not be aware that he is dehydrated. Symptoms are weakness, exhaustion and inefficiency. Dark urine is a warning of dehydration, and severe muscle cramps indicate lack of salt. The treatment is simply to drink more water with salt added at the rate of one crushed salt tablet to a pint of water, or two teaspoonfuls of salt to a gallon of water. Salt tablets must always be crushed, as they are otherwise difficult to dissolve. They must never be swallowed whole as this may induce vomiting. Those affected should be rested until they are strong enough to carry on. Casualty Evacuation 18. By Land. Ground evacuation of casualties in mountain regions can be slow and difficult. Points to note are: a. At high altitudes or in bad weather cold will increase shock and reduce the chances of survival. Picketing of the route down may be necessary and could be expensive in the use of troops. On steep, rough ground casualties have to be lashed securely to stretchers and stretcher bearer parties may have to be increased significantly. Under expert guidance the casualty may be lowered down vertical or steep pitches. Combat troops will almost certainly have to be used for stretcher bearer duties. 1-5

b.

c.

On long carries relays of stretcher bearers should be used. Each team should operate over comparatively short sections of the route, which they will soon get to know well and be able to use even in darkness.

19. By Air. Casualties should be evacuated by air whenever this is possible. Points to note in planning this activity are: a. The survival rate will increase enormously, as will the saving in manpower. The improvement in morale is also an important factor. Air casualty evacuation can be limited by: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) c. The availability of aircraft. Prevailing weather conditions. The degree of air superiority achieved. The availability and altitude of Landing Points. The hazards of using outside litters fitted to some helicopters.

b.

It is therefore unlikely that all evacuation can be carried out by air and there has to be an alternative plan for ground evacuation, if air transport cannot be used. SECTION 2. MORALE, DISCIPLINE AND LEADERSHIP

Maintenance of Morale 20. Although morale is, in principle, a state of mind and attitude, it can be altered very rapidly and depends on many factors. Good morale is generally rooted in a shared sense of purpose, a clear appreciation of the aim, confidence, both in oneself and in others, coupled with effective training and firm discipline. 21. This applies to all theatres of war, but the remoteness and isolated conditions of mountain operations can cause severe physiological pressures not experienced elsewhere. Most of these can be overcome by good leadership, but additional supporting measures should be considered and introduced where necessary. Such additional measures could include: a.

Adverse Conditions. Awareness of the conditions and hardships faced in the mountains and suitable training to offset the worst effects of these adverse conditions. Medical. Effective medical and dental preparation and training. Every man must be his own paramedic in operations in mountainous areas.

b.

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c.

Evacuation. Practical casualty evacuation plans that are seen to function properly. Losses/Casualties. Accounting properly for casualties after contact with the enemy. This includes locating, where appropriate, drowned or missing aircrew.

d.

Discipline 22. The attention paid to self discipline and the embodiment of sensible standards of corporate discipline cannot be overrated. It is the glue which binds together the other aspects of morale and allows a commander to achieve the framework of trust and comradeship so essential for the conduct of successful operations. Without this, the difficulties and frustrations of operating in mountain regions could reduce an individual soldier's military performance and also reduce the ability of a commander to achieve any real measure of operational efficiency. Leadership 23. Mountain operations present unusual physical and mental challenges both for the soldier and his commander; the remoteness and isolation of mountain regions whether real or imagined, which is exaggerated by the usual requirement to deploy in small groupings or on narrow frontages, means that much of the practical burden of leadership will fall to the junior officer and NCO. 24. The exercise of leadership in mountains does not especially vary from other operational theatres but there are important areas where the application of leadership may need different emphasis. Officers and NCOs will need to display very firm leadership and exercise initiative at the point of contact with an enemy without recourse to outside help. The opportunity for more senior commanders to take over control of such a situation is not normally present, and thus the junior commander needs much more latitude for the interpretation and execution of orders. This would be consistent with the decentralised command process encapsulated in the mission command doctrine. 25. Commanders at all levels will need to comprehend the overall concept of operations, the designated main effort, and their own part in these plans. Furthermore, junior commanders need to have the ability to call for assistance from other Combat Arms; in effect to coordinate the use of other assets and to plan further tactical moves rapidly. This will come with good basic all arms training, will enhance a junior commander's ability to lead others effectively, and help to provide more instinctive confidence.

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SECTION 3. CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT Clothing 26. The normal ranges of combat clothing, whether arctic, temperate or tropical, are suitable for operations in mountains in the appropriate area. The temperate range of clothing may be supplemented from the arctic range by specific items, such as arctic windproofs, to meet the special conditions likely to be encountered in temperate but wet mountainous regions. 27. For extensive rock climbing, specialized footwear may be necessary. Mountain Equipment 28. A full range of rock climbing equipment such as crampons, ice axes, carabiners (snap links), pitons and ropes is available. Extensive operations requiring such items in large numbers will necessitate special purchases from commercial sources. Planning staff should therefore ensure that early warning is given for such requirements. 29. Altimeters are issued for survey purposes. Pocket altimeters, although not a normal service issue, may be useful and can be obtained if needed. Additional numbers of specialised rucksacks and other aids for porterage may also be necessary. Picketing panels and screens are available for use during operations in hot barren mountains. Other Specialist Equipment 30. Equipment for troops, particularly Special Forces and the Royal Marines, who are specifically trained for operations in mountainous areas is beyond the scope of this Manual.

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ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 1 MOUNTAIN SICKNESS 1. High-altitude pulmonary edema and other symptoms of illness produced by high altitudes cause significant medical problems. Today record numbers of people visit mountains to climb, ski, walk or simply vacation. In recent years rapid transportation and better equipment have made mountain climbing more popular. Mountain sickness is caused primarily by a lack of oxygen, or hypoxia. Atmospheric pressure decreases as one moves away from sea level, and because the percentage of oxygen in air remains constant, the concentration of oxygen is decreased. Lower levels of oxygen initiate a series of potentially fatal physiological changes. Yet prolonged exposure to altitude or, conversely, to sea-level conditions that cause a lack of oxygen may produce adjustments called acclimatization. This process enables people to survive with levels of oxygen that would otherwise cause serious problems. Understanding the many dangers of hypoxia, the different forms of altitude illness and the process of acclimatization is crucial to safety on the stunning mountains that crown the earth. The words "mountain sickness" began to appear in the popular and medical literature. Stories, often exaggerated, described the symptoms that plagued climbers and some animals, but there was little agreement about their cause. Failure to mention the miserable effects often raised doubts that a summit had been reached. In the last decades of the 19th century, the work of two physicians clarified the relation between thin air and mountain sickness. Paul Bert conducted studies at simulated altitudes in an iron de-compression chamber and measured the carriage of oxygen by haemoglobin. After showing that blood contained less oxygen at altitude than it did at sea level, he took himself to a simulated 6,300 metres while breathing oxygen from a leather bag. Because no symptoms appeared, he concluded that lack of oxygen, rather than lack of pressure, caused mountain sickness. Studies showed that there are several different forms of mountain sickness - one an unpleasant, but minor problem, others more serious and potentially fatal. Symptoms depend on which parts of the body are most susceptible. The brain is extremely vulnerable. On average, the human brain receives 10 to 15 percent of the heart's output and uses 15 to 20 percent of the oxygen consumed by the body. The cerebral cortex, where the most complex mental activity takes place, is the most demanding region. It is not surprising, then, that hypoxia affects the higher centres of the brain first, including judgement. Indeed, the effects of hypoxia resemble those of alcohol. Headache is the most prominent symptom of mountain sickness, but its cause remains unclear. One explanation may lie in the response of a sensitive membrane which covers brain tissue and blood vessels. As 1-A-1

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

arterial oxygen levels fall, blood flow to the brain increases. Consequently, distended vessels or swollen brain tissue may press on the surrounding membranes, causing headache. At the same time, the lack of oxygen stimulates increased breathing, which pumps carbon dioxide out of the lungs and blood. Lowered carbon dioxide, in turn, causes a decrease in blood flow to the brain. The nausea, vomiting and disturbed sleep so typical of mountain sickness may be the result of altered blood flow to the brain. 7. Hearing, smell and taste are not affected by altitude, but appetite usually decreases, in time leading to weight loss. It is unclear whether such loss results from malabsorption or simply from a smaller caloric intake. Clearly, the effects of hypoxia are quite varied. The signs and symptoms differ depending on the altitude reached, the speed of ascent and other influences. What may seem a rather unpleasant but mild illness can change rapidly to one that is life-threatening. Not uncommonly, for example, a visitor to a mountain resort will feel a headache and general malaise and will soon develop shortness of breath and a cough. These symptoms can lead to coma or hallucinations and, if not cared for properly, death. More serious than high-altitude pulmonary edema is high-altitude cerebral edema. In this form of sickness, which can occur at heights as low as 2,700 metres, the central nervous system is affected: parts of the brain become waterlogged. Early warning signs include ataxia manifested by a staggering drunken walk or by difficulty in performing fine-motor skills. These changes are attributed to swelling of the area of the brain that controls balance. Mental confusion and hallucinations are also common. If untreated, cerebral edema can cause death. At the end of the physiological continuum lies chronic mountain sickness, an uncommon problem affecting a few people who live permanently above 3,600 metres. Victims experience fatigue, palpitations, chest pain and swelling of the ankles, and they develop an overabundance of red cells and blood clots in their veins and lungs. Going to low altitude corrects the often fatal affliction.

8.

9.

10. Above heights of 3,000 metres, changes can also occur in the eyes. Because the large supply of oxygen that the rods require is no longer readily available, vision in dim light is decreased by 50 percent. In additions, above 4,200 metres people may develop tiny bleeding spots in back of their eyes. These retinal haemorrhages are usually unnoticed. Researchers have been unable to determine whether the haemorrhages have prognostic or diagnostic importance. Some believe they reflect bleeding elsewhere in the body, a rather unattractive thought for climbers. Those who contend that repeated or prolonged exposure to severe hypoxia may leave permanent brain damage blame it on similar bleeding in the brain. If sea-level residents can be so seriously affected by going to high altitudes, how is it that some mountaineers can climb and stay as high as 6,000 metres and even briefly reach the summit of Mount Everest (at 8,708 metres), where atmospheric pressure is less than a third that of sea level? How is it possible for Tibetans to live on the high plateau of central Asia or the Quechuas to survive in the high Andes? The answer is acclimatization: integrated changes in bodily functions that restore tissue oxygenation toward sea-level values. 1-A-2 11.

12. For people, acclimatization is best ensured by slow ascent. Indeed, the impatient are likely to become patients. It is a good rule to ascend no more than 600 metres a day when above 2,100 metres and to climb at a rate well tolerated by the most vulnerable member of the party. If symptoms become prominent, take a day of rest or even descend a few hundred feet at night. The altitude at which one sleeps is more important than the altitude reached during the day. It is also necessary to drink more water at altitude than at sea level to compensate for the fluid lost through overbreathing. Avoiding strenuous exercise for the first day or two is helpful. Taking more salt than usual tends to cause water retention, perhaps enough to trigger altitude sickness. 13. As for other treatments, the mild forms of illness usually pass in a few days. If the more serious pulmonary edema or cerebral edema is suspected, descent is the best and most important remedy. And getting down only a few thousand feet brings rapid relief. If not, some other illness should be suspected. Breathing extra oxygen is helpful, but on a mountain where the supply is limited, and in serious cases of edema, oxygen should not delay descent-getting down is always be best approach. When descent is impossible, a strong diuretic or morphine can be used. A recent and promising treatment is to place the patient in a bag that can be inflated to a pressure equivalent to a much lower altitude. Based on an Article in the October 1992 issue of an American Medical Journal by Doctor Charles Houston.

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ANNEX B TO CHAPTER 1 GUIDANCE FOR HEAT DISORDERS (For Troops on Operations in Mountainous Areas of the Tropics) General 1. The challenge of the heat wave and the tropical climate can be better met if there is a wider understanding of the illnesses and afflictions likely to be encountered, especially those directly due to the environment. These conditions come about through lack of water (dehydration) which cause a loss of working efficiency and a marked decline in endurance leading to heat exhaustion. Lack of salt produces similar effects. Heat disorders fall into two main groups according to the degree of incapacity they cause. Minor Disorders 3.

2.

Prickly Heat. This is common and is a source of great annoyance to the sufferer, particularly when it interferes with sleep. The prickly sensation arises from a blockage of the openings of the sweat glands which prevent sweat escaping. Instead, the sweat has to force its way through layers of skin cells causing fine eruptions, sometimes with a pustule in the centre and a reddening of the surrounding skin with irritation. Areas of skin, usually covered by clothing, are most frequently affected and may become infected due to scratching. The condition is aggravated by heat stress which would otherwise cause increased sweating. A severely affected soldier may suffer extensive damage to a large number of sweat glands causing the ability to sweat to be diminished with the result that, if not removed from the heat stress, the soldier could be predisposed to a more serious heat illness. Sunburn. Sunburn is a particular hazard of unacclimatized troops. The reddening and blistering of sunburn is due to the ultra violet content of sunshine affecting skin which has not developed a protective tan. This tan is achieved by graded exposure, but in regions where sunshine is strong the first exposure should be no longer than five minutes if sunburn is to be avoided. Extensive sunburn causes temporary upset, headache, fever and occasional vomiting, in addition to the pain of the burn. The body's heat regulation may be upset because the affected areas do not sweat. Fainting. Fainting after standing still for long periods can occur in troops anywhere. In tropical conditions some troops are more likely to faint (termed "Heat syncope") while standing quietly, from the increased strain on the circulatory system due to the environment. This is particularly true of soldiers who are not acclimatized. It occurrence does not imply any weakness or incapacity in the man, who should recover rapidly after a short rest.
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4.

5.

Major Disorders 6.

Heat Exhaustion. Heat exhaustion includes four separable conditions all of which are serious. These are:
a.

Anhidrotic Heat Exhaustion. This is the name given to chronic sweating deficiency of gradual onset (anhidrotic meaning "without sweat"), which is nearly always preceded by severe prickly heat and accompanied by loss of energy, initiative and interest. Such medical cases usually have to be returned to a temperate climate. Salt Deficient Heat Exhaustion. This commonly occurs after 2-3 days heavy sweating without replacement of sal. The symptoms are collapse, pallor, sweating, nausea or vomiting and sometimes cramp of the muscles. The latter can involve the large muscle groups and morphine may have to be used to control the severe pain. This type of heat exhaustion is a potentially lethal condition and requires urgent medical attention. Water Deficient Heat Exhaustion. This may follow any period of heavy sweating when the water intake has been restricted. The symptoms are that the soldier complains of vague discomfort, no appetite and dizziness. He is impatient, weary and sleepy; tingling sensations, shortness of breath, a blue tinge of the skin develop and he has difficulty in walking. Eventually he is unable to stand or control his muscles and becomes restless and hysterical or delirious. However, with rest in the shade and water to drink, recovery is rapid. Exercise Induced Heat Exhaustion. This is the sequel to physical exertion in a hot environment in the absence or deficiency of salt or water or sweating, and may stop at the exhaustion stage or go on to actual collapse.

b.

c.

d.

7.

Heat Hyperpyrexia and Heat Stroke. These are of serious medical importance in view of the rapidity with which a soldier may be succumb and die.
a.

Heat Hyperpyrexia means "high fever" and is usually defined as a body temperature of 41o Centigrade (106o Fahrenheit) or more, resulting from impaired functioning of the heat regulating mechanism. Heat hyperpyrexia can progress rapidly to heat stroke in which the heat regulating mechanisms have failed. The body temperature rises steadily in the absence of sweating and death ensues at a temperature of about 43o Centigrade (110o Fahrenheit). Heat Stroke. The onset of Heat Stroke is sudden and the victim may have been quite well a few hours previously. The disturbances are profound, including delirium, convulsions and partial or complete loss of consciousness, with snoring breathing and a hot, dry, flushed skin. The only cure is immediate cooling to check the rise in temperature, as a delay of one of two hours can mean the difference between life and death. The soldier should be

b.

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stripped of his clothing, wrapped in a wet sheet or covered with a wet towel and fanned by any means at hand to promote cooling by evaporation. Do not apply iced water to the skin of the patient as this will not have the desired effect and do not wait for medical aid to arrive before starting the suggested treatment if heat stroke is suspected.

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ANNEX C TO CHAPTER 1 COLD WEATHER INJURIES (SYMPTOMS, PREVENTION AND CURES)

AILMENT/ INJURY 1 Wind-chapping Wind burn

SYMPTOMS

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES * adequate protection from wind and cold * lip salve and skin cream

TREATMENT

a. Frost Nip

* numbness accompanied by blanching of the * good gloves, boots skin and tingling sensation and head gear

If not treated quickly frost nip can develop into frostbite. Treatment: * men should be paired off to inspect and examine each other * any sign of frost nip should be thawed immediately * place fingers under armpits or groin * feet on another man's abdomen * patient may return to work once warming complete

b. Superficial Frostbite

* skin is white and frozen on surface but soft when pressed * becomes numb, blue and mottled after warming and will burn, sting and swell * blisters may occur within 24-36 hrs and dry up leaving thick black skin * throbbing, aching for several weeks * scabs will fall off in time, exposing red tissues

* adequate protection from the cold * regular inspections of face, fingers and feet * immediate warming if any extremity goes white

* gradual rewarming * clothing should be removed from affected area * affected part should not be massaged or rubbed * bandages applied to area with loose sterile dressing * do not attempt to thaw the affected part if there is a likelihood of the part freezing again * treat casualty for shock - warm, sweet drinks * evacuate quickly

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AILMENT/ INJURY 3 Deep Frostbite

SYMPTOMS

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

TREATMENT

More serious, affecting underlying skin and tissue

* skin becomes yellowish, lacking mobility * skin feels waxy * large blisters in 3-7 days, skin blue or mottled grey * shooting or throbbing pain * swelling, blisters and colour change around affected parts * affected parts turn black and shrivel * blisters finally dry up and fall away leaving red tender areas and red sensitive area of new skin itches for many months * * * * * * * * * * headache abdominal pains blurred vision vomiting slow mental reactions clumsiness irrational behaviour bursts of energy followed by lethargy physical resistance to offers of help finally - collapse and coma * adequate clothing * regular meals, hot drinks and rest * dry clothing

The only form of frostbite that can be treated on the spot is frost nip * Evacuate as quickly as possible

Freezing cold injury

Warmth and Shelter. Sequence: * erect shelter * remove wet clothes * place man in sleeping bag * in bad cases - a second man in bag for added heat * head should be kept lower than body * artificial respiration if breathing and heart has stopped * 2 men with casualty at all times * evacuate quickly

Hypothermia

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A man may collapse with no obvious warning signs

* proper ventilation * do not run engines near accommodation

* Evacuate as quickly as possible

Deadly odourless gas


6 Snow Blindness Gritty sensation in the eye, followed by intense pain and blindness * wearing of tinted glasses * Apply cold compress and reassure, usually of 24 hrs duration with 100% recovery * Cover both eyes

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AILMENT/ INJURY 7 Sunburn

SYMPTOMS

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES * lip salve * barrier cream * shaving lotions with alcohol content should be avoided (they dissolve the skin's natural oils) * gradual tanning

TREATMENT

* sun's rays are reflected from snow * common areas are lips, nostrils and eyelids

Battle Wounds

* low body temp prevents blood clotting * excessive bleeding Cold accelerates * bleeding increases chance of hypothermia all the symptoms through rapid loss of body heat of battle wounds * shock - loss of warmth can lead rapidly to death Dehydration * headache * tiredness * mouth, tongue and throat become parched * swallowing difficult * nausea, fainting, dizziness, vomiting * muscular cramp * urine becomes dark orange colour * * * * * pain in the feet and legs numb and stiff feeling pain and numbness may alternate if pain is severe, casualty looks ill and shocked legs and feet begin to swell

* stop the bleeding * apply dressing * cover with clothing and padding * anti-shock treatment with fluids at body temperature (not cold fluids) * adequate warmth is essential * regular and adequate intake * keep patient warm of fluids and salt * clothing loosened for circulation * liquids should be given gradually by mouth. IV fluids if very dry. * allow plenty of rest

10

Trench Foot

* avoid prolonged immersion of feet in water * use footpowder * dry, waterproof footwear and spare socks

* do not rub and warm the feet * handle foot carefully - do not damage skin or break blisters * clean foot with soap and water and dry * elevate the foot slightly to reduce swelling * foot should be kept at about 0oC * cover foot with blanket over improvised cage, to avoid contact * give hot food and drink and aspirin to reduce pain * evacuate quickly * medical attention should be sought if constipation persists for more than 3 days

11

Constipation

* * * *

similar to dehydration irritability lethargy, nausea stomach cramps

* strict adherence to routine

12 13

Toothache

* lack of Vitamin C and failure to keep teeth clean

* dental check-up before deployment * good hygiene and regular teeth cleaning

* aspirin * casualties should be put to bed if possible, fed a fluid diet and given antibiotics * eating utensils should be sterilized

Acute Ulcerative * swollen, painful and bleeding gums Stomatitis Infection of gums - occurs to men in low physical condition

1-C-3

ANNEX D TO CHAPTER 1 HINTS ON AVALANCHES Safety Measure 1. It is dangerous to move on steep newly fallen snow which is more than a foot deep. The greater the depth of new snow the greater the danger of avalanche. Even at freezing point or a few degrees below, deep new snow is liable to avalanche on slopes steeper than 22 degrees = 40 per cent (or sometimes even less), for up to two or three days after a fall. During rain or other warm weather, even slopes of such moderate gradient as 15 to 20 degrees (27 to 36 per cent) are laiable to wet snow avalanches. If the snow becomes sticky, the approach to thaw conditions should be suspected. The temperature may rise several degrees in half an hour. During thaws avalanches occur more frequently in the afternoon than in the morning. After snowfalls accompanied by wind all lee (protected) slopes should be regarded with suspicion, since it is upon these that thick accumulations of soft powdery snow form and are most liable to avalanche. Slopes, often lee ones, where the snow has been hardened by wind (as opposed to sun and frost) should be suspected for "wind slab", the most insidious type of avalanche, as the wind hardened surface of the snow cannot easily be distinguished from safe frozen crust. The characteristic of these avalanches is that they break up into large blocks which may cause injury even though they do not travel far or fast. A dangerous slope should not be traversed. If it is impossible to turn back, it is best to go straight down or up. Should a traverse be essential the slope should be crossed as high up as possible, and with an interval of between 100 to 200 metres between members of a party, who must be roped together. Cornices are found on ridges and are built up when the wind blows snow over the ridge and it adheres to the leeward side of the crest. Big cornices may project in an overhang of many feet. See Figures 1 and 2. When there is any doubt, it is advisable to keep to ridges. Avoid routes where there is a possibility of troops being swept over precipices or on to other dangerous ground. If caught in an avalanche try by a swimming motion to keep on top. When the avalanche slows down, cover the face with the arms to clear a space for breathing round the head and shoulders.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

1-D-1

Figure 1. Formation of Cornices

Figure 2. Lines of Rupture 9. If wearing skis these should be removed if possible before the avalanche hits, as they tend to drag one down deeper into the snow. For the same reason ski sticks should be discarded at once.

1-D-2

10. Never try to run away from an avalanche; it moves far too quickly and will engulf a person when this is least expected. If a crevasse is near and provided it is not too deep, jump into it. Should all else fail and there is no cover around, sit with your back to the avalanche putting the rucksack behind you and wait for it. When the avalanche arrives, act as in para 8 above. Avalanche Rescue 11. Immediate Action. Individuals have been known to survive for up to 48 hours in an avalanche, so very effort must be made to dig victims out as soon as possible and to keep on searching until they are found, (see Figure 3 for details). Rescue is made easier if it is known: a. b. c. Where the vitim was first caught by the avalanche. Where the victim disappeared from view. The first search should then be concentrated in the lower part of the avalanche along the extension of the line from these two locations.

12. Subsequent Action. If this initial search is not successful, searchers should be spread out about four feet apart in a line across the bottom of the avalanche and search systematically upwards, probing with sticks as they go. As soon as any victim is found, clear the mouth and nose from snow and, if unconscious, start artificial respiration at once. Then provide shelter, hot drinks and warm clothing if possible. When warm, evacuate the casualty to the nearest appropriate medical unit for proper medical care.

Figure 3. Avalanche Rescue

1-D-3

ANNEX E TO CHAPTER 1

WIND CHILL CHART

WINDCHILL FACTOR THE RISK OF FROSTBITE ON BARE SKIN WIND STRENGTH BEAUFORT SCALE WIND MPH +10 +5 0 CALM 0 10 9 5 2 0 5 3 AIR TEMPERATURE -1 -7 -12 -18 -23 -29 -34 -40 -46 -51 -1 -7 -12 -18 -23 -29 -34 -40 -46 -51 -3 9 -15 -21 -26 -32 -38 -44 -50 -56

2 LIGHT BREEZE 4.2 3 GENTLE " 8.8 13 17.3

-2 -9 -16 -23 -30 -36 -43 -50 -57 -64 -71 -6 -14 -21 -29 -36 -43 -50 -58 -65 -73 -80 -8 -16 -24 -32 -40 -47 -55 -63 -71 -79 -87 -9 -18 -26 -34 -42 -51 -59 -67 -76 -84 -92 -11 -19 -28 -36 -44 -53 -61 -70 -79 -87 -96 -12 -20 -29 -37 -45 -54 -63 -72 -81 -90 -98 -12 -21 -30 -38 -46 -55 -64 -73 -82 -91 -100

4 MODERATE " 4 " " " "

5 FRESH 6 STRONG 6 "

22.3 -1 26 -2

"

30.3 -3 34.7 -3

7 MODERATE GALE

LOW RISK OF FROSTBITE

HIGH RISK OF FROSTBITE

VERY HIGH RISK OF FROSTBITE

1-E-1

CHAPTER 2 LIVING IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN SECTION 1 - SHELTERS General 1. Shelter is good for morale as well as being essential for survival and the maintenance of combat effectiveness. Tents should normally be available but improvised shelters may sometimes be desirable, affording more protection and concealment. They do, however, require time to construct. There will be wide variations in the type of shelter that can be utilised in mountain areas depending on the weather conditions, temperature range and prevailing vegetation. The shelter needed in mountainous jungle terrain will differ markedly from that required in the Alps, the Rocky Mountains, or the Caucasus Mountains. This Section does not attempt to describe each type of possible shelter but will be restricted to an outline description of three types of shelter, tents, bivouacs and snow shelters. Many other variations are possible. Tents 3. A comprehensive range of tents are currently available in varying sizes. They are quick to erect, comparatively light to carry and can also be joined together to form larger tents for other purposes Full details of the British Army's current range of cold weather tentage may be found in The Guide to Clothing and Equipment for Arctic Operations. (Reference D/DCT.6.8.36.13). The Guide also has details of all survival equipment including sleeping bags and cooking equipment Bivouacs 5. These take longer to erect than tents but can be more easily camouflaged and can be tailored to specific needs. There is much scope for initiative in their design. a. The Single Lean-To Shelter. Should be built with back to wind to avoid becoming cold or smokey. Snow cleared from the ground and the bivouac constructed as shown in diagram. The top cross bar at approximately shoulder height with sufficient width for each WALL FIRE inhabitant. Strong timbers required, THE SINGLE LEAN-TO particularly for the cross bar. Once roof rafters are in place, brushwood should be weaved through with stalk ends 2-1
PLAN VIEW OF SINGLE LEAN-TO

2.

4.

outwards with good overlap. The thicker the roof, the more shelter and warmth will be provided. A small fire and reflective wall can also be constructed in front of the shelter.
HEAT REFLECTION
LOGS SNOW SNOW BRUSHWOOD

A FIRE BASE

b. The Double Lean-To Shelter. Merely two singles facing each BRUSHWOOD other. Economical because one fire can provide for more men. However, in windy weather some of the occupants will be troubled by smoke.

THE DOUBLE LEAN TO SHELTER THE WIGWAM

PLAN VIEW The Wigwam

THE TREE-PIT

c. The Wigwam. Warmest and most draught free brushwood bivouac. However its prominence can be a disadvantage so concealment essential. Overhanging tree can be used also forms a strong base for construction. If no trees are available the main uprights should be tied together. Brushwood can be woven into the frame (as with lean-to shelters) with the apex remaining uncovered to allow smoke to escape.

PLAN VIEW The Tree-Pit Bivouac

d. The Tree-Pit Bivouac . Where there is deep snow in a wooded area, a quick and well concealed bivouac can be made by using the lower branches of a tree as a roof.

Note 1. See Para 9f of this Section 2-2

THE FALLEN TREE BIVVY

PLAN VIEW

e. The Fallen Tree Bivouac. Using a broken or fallen tree makes construction easy and aids camouflage. A fire base can be built (see diagram for single leanto shelter) in the front with a reflector wall beyond.

The Fallen Tree Bivouac

Snow Shelters 6.

Introduction. Snow shelters are relatively easy to build provided there is enough snow of the right quality available. They are more easily concealed than tents or bivouacs, they are warm and, because of their reflective white walls, are easily illuminated. Guidelines for Construction. The following apply to all snow shelters:
a. b. Top of the entrance lower than sleeping bench, to ensure that warm air is trapped around occupants. Ceiling to be arched and smooth to prevent dripping. As ceilings melt, so the interior of the shelter will increase. Snow blocks, provided the snow is compact, will be safer because they are less vulnerable to collapse. Snow shovels to be inside in case of collapse. Permanently open ventilation hole in the roof or walls; a hole made with a ski stick is suitable. Floors can be insulated with brushwood, shrub or moss. Wear waterproof clothing for the construction phase. Digging snow is warm work. Strip off to avoid making clothes damp with sweat which may freeze later, and wear your waterproof suit whilst digging. Communication must be maintained with the man who is digging. Ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the snow cavity at all times. Always mark the entrance of your snowhole. This ensures you can find it again during the night. It also assists any rescuers if your snowhole happens to collapse in the night.

7.

c. d. e. f. g.

h. i. j.

2-3

8.

Design. Depends on the depth and condition of the snow, the tactical situation and the time available for construction. The following is a list of proven types of snow shelter.
a. The Snow Hole. Simple to build, requiring a large snow bank or drift. As a general rule, for a two-four man hole, a drift 3 metres wide and 2 metres deep is required while bigger holes will require proportionally larger drifts. Two methods are utilised. (1) Tunnel Method. A tunnel is made into snow bank. Once the entrance has been dug by one man there should be room for two men to work. Provided there is sufficient depth of snow sleeping bays should be dug on either side of the tunnel although other configurations are possible. Entrance may be closed with a snow block but essential to keep the snow hole open. (2) The Block and Cave Method. Preferable to snow hole provided snow can be cut into blocks. Digging easier because more room to work. Once snow hole has been dug and interior layout established, the cave can be sealed up with snow blocks cut at the last stages of excavation from more densely packed snow inside the drift. Again, essential to ensure good ventilation.

2-4

b. The Snow Trench. Trench dug in the snow, covered to provide protection. Easiest, quickest snow shelter to build although not particularly comfortable and entry/ exit difficult. To build, at least one metre of deep snow is required and if two men are to use the trench it can be widened towards bottom to allow more room. Top should be kept narrow and can be covered with snow blocks (the best camouflage) or a combination of tent sheet, branches and brushwood with skis (with binders downwards to avoid freezing) and ski sticks as support. Once the trench has been dug, an entrance hole can be dug.

The Snow House or Igloo. c. Provides greater protection from the weather, is warmer and stronger than any other snow shelter but construction requires skill and good quality snow. The poorer the snow (powdery or granular snow is useless) the smaller will be igloo but with good snow igloos can be constructed for up to ten men.

2-5

d. The Snow Mound. When there is only poor snow available, or little depth, an effective method of providing shelter both above and below the treeline is the Snow Mound. To construct, shovel available snow into mound to a minimum of 2 metres in height, c o n t i n u a l l y compressing the snow in order for it to compact. Poles or sticks are placed into the mound to a depth of metre around the mound. Leave to compact for 30 minutes, then tunnel into the mound, using the poles/sticks as a guide when excavating. A hollow shell is left with walls and roof of metre thickness, beneath which it is possible for 2 men to live. 9.

Guidelines for Living in a Snow Hole. Some useful hints to improve the living conditions inside a snow hole are as follows:
a. b. c. Brush off all loose snow before entering the shelter, this prevents your clothing becoming damp in the warm atmosphere later. All equipment must be brought inside. Remove all wet clothing and place in a rucksack. Do not leave these lying around, but endeavour to dry them during the night. Place boots inside a polythene bag and place in your sleeping bag. Avoid having water simmering or boiling for a long period as this causes vapour inside your shelter, which will cause your clothing to become damp. Sleep with your head towards the door. Only one stove should be burning at any one time. Always have a candle burning and maintain a candle watch.

d. e.

f. g. h. 2-6

SECTION 2 - LIVING OFF THE LAND General 10. In most conditions there should be no need to make use of the information contained in this Section, and it is not foreseen that soldiers will be in the position of having to live off the land in order to survive for any length of time. However, experience has shown from operations in Northern and Eastern Europe between 1941-45 and elsewhere that there will be individuals lost, missing or assumed to have perished who may benefit from the contents of this Section. It is included in this Manual for this reason. Food can be scarce in mountainous regions, particularly during winter time, as the wild life is migratory, but determined foraging will usually yield some useful foodstuffs. Animals, especially small animals and birds, can often be traced by looking for their tracks and an attempt can be made to shoot or trap them where animals are found there must be animal food and this is often useful as a human diet. The guidance cannot possibly be comprehensive, and on occasions a potential food may have to be tested to ensure that it is not poisonous. A very small quantity should be placed on the tongue and if no ill effect is felt after 30 minutes a mouthful should be eaten. If after eight hours there are still no signs of ill effects ten another mouthful could be eaten; after a further eight hours without ill effects reasonable quantities can be consumed with safety. Fish occur in almost all lakes and rivers. As they are the most readily available source of nourishing food they are generally the most profitable to pursue and catch. Animals 13.

11.

12.

General. Finding animals is not easy but even mountain regions are seldom lifeless and where there is one kind of animal there are almost sure to be other forms of life. The animals that may be found range from reindeer to rabbits, but any that are killed will depend on the skill of the hunter and the facilities at his disposal; a military party will normally be armed, but if firearms cannot be used, the alternatives are snares and traps which although feasible generally require an unusual degree of luck and skill. Hunting Game. If it is necessary to hunt game the following points can be observed:
a. Keep the wind in your face; few days are windless. 2-7

14.

b. c.

Keep the sun at your back. In woods or forests move slowly and carefully; avoid breaking twigs under foot and do not allow swinging branches to hit clothing. In the mountains big game animals generally watch below them more than above. Keep slightly above the level where the game is most likely to be seen. If snow is present avoid crisp snow; try to hunt where snow is soft. Do not expose yourself against a skyline. Never stay on the game trail; all wild game watch their trails for predators. If game is feeding you can attempt to approach it by stalking in the open. Crawl slowly when all heads are down. Freeze motionless (whatever your position) the instant the animal starts to raise its head. When shooting game aim for the vital areas; behind the ears, in the throat, or behind the foreshoulders. Much game is lost because it is fired at when out of range.

d.

e. f. g.

h.

i.

15.

Caribou or Reindeer. Reindeer have long been domesticated in Scandinavia and northern Asia. They are mainly herd animals found in the high plateaux and mountain slopes as well as in the grassy tundra areas. Their favourite food is lichens or reindeer moss, while in the summer their diet consists of grasses, shrubs and brush tips. They are very curious animals and will often approach a hunter merely from curiosity, thus presenting a good target. Sight of a human may have no effect on them but the slightest hint of human scent will send them galloping off. It is possible to attract them near enough for a shot by waving a cloth and moving slowly toward them on all fours. In shooting, the aim should be for the shoulder or neck rather than the head. Mountain Sheep and Goats . These animals are found in many mountainous areas. During periods of heavy snow they usually move down to the valleys and lower ground. Moose. The moose is the largest known species of the deer family. They are found in most areas of the northern hemisphere. Full grown bulls weigh from 1000 to 1200 pounds and may stand two metres high. They require

16.

17.

2-8

a large amount of forage and usually are found in areas where grasses, lichens and shrubs are readily available. 18.

Rabbits or Hares. Rabbits or hares can be snared or shot. They should be shot in the head or very little meat will be left. A whistle will sometimes cause a running one to stop long enough for an aimed shot. Marmots. Marmots are burrowing rodents that live above the tree-line in the mountains. They are excellent food, especially in late summer when they are very fat. They should be shot away from their burrow or they may fall back into it. Porcupines, Beavers and Muskrats. These animals are found throughout the colder regions; all are excellent food and when found can be easily killed with sticks. Ground Squirrels. Ground squirrels occur in most cold areas and are easy to catch. They can be dug out of their burrows which are found along streams with sandy banks. Bears. All bears are edible, although the flesh must be thoroughly cooked to guard against trichinosis. The liver of the polar bear should not be eaten because of toxic vitamin A concentration. All bears are dangerous and hard to kill. The shoulder shot is best but if the bear stands up, the aim should be at the base and centre of the throat for a shot which will sever the vertebrae. Wolves and Foxes. Wolves and foxes are edible. They are, however, only to be found where there are other animals, such as reindeer herds, which are usually a more profitable target.
Birds

19.

20.

21.

22.

23.

24.

General. The best known winter birds are the ptarmigan or snow partridge, which is rarely fat; the white owl, which is usually fat and tasty; and the raven, which is tough. All birds are good to eat cooked or raw. Their blood and livers are edible. The feathers can be used for insulation. The entrails and toes make good bait for fishing. To obtain the greatest food value from birds, they should be plucked rather than skinned. Bird Catching. Unless a bird is shot through the head it will often be blown apart by a rifle bullet. Ptarmigan are very tame and can be killed with a stick or stone. Gulls can be caught with a hook and line which should be floated on a piece of wood, suitably baited, or pegged out on the beach.
2-9

25.

Fish 26. Included here under fish are seals and walrus as well as some shellfish and sea animals. Fish and shellfish which are found dead should never be eaten unless obviously freshly killed. Fishing 27.

Fishing Equipment. A fishing line is not the only means of catching fish. They can also be speared, caught in improvised nets, or stunned with sticks and stones. In shallow water they can even be caught with the hands. A fishing net is, however, by far the most efficient method. Line Fishing. Hooks can be made from stiff wire or tin openers, and lines from nylon string. An effective device is a fishing needle of wood or bone sunk in bait. The needle is swallowed whole and a pull on the line swings it cross-wise, causing it to catch in the fish's throat. The least appetising parts of animals and birds should be used as bait. A white stone can be used for a sinker, or a bit of shiny metal or brightly coloured material tied just above the hook will also attract fish. Jigging. Fish may be caught by jigging for them. The hook, or a cluster of hooks attached below a 'spoon' of shiny metal should be lowered into deep water and then jerked upward at arm's length and allowed to sink back. If the water is deep the weight must be heavy enough to carry the line downwards quickly and so suggest something alive. Narrowing a Stream. To catch fish, a shallow stream may be narrowed by building an obstruction of stones or stakes out from both banks, leaving only a narrow channel through which the fish can swim. An improvised net can then be stretched across this channel and secured firmly with stakes or boulders: an alternative is to stand ready to hit or spear the fish as they swim past, but this requires unusually quick reactions. Diverting a Stream. If a small stream has fish in and the stream can be diverted, the fish will be stranded in the pools in the stream below the diversion.
Plant Food

28.

29.

30.

31.

32.

General. Though plant food is not abundant in mountain regions, it is by no means absent. There are many varieties of berries, greens, roots, fungi, lichens and seaweeds which can be used as emergency food. In forested areas, plants are most abundant in clearings, and along streams and seashores. Food is often hidden. The feeding habits of animals,

2 - 10

particularly birds, should be watched, they will lead to plants which might otherwise be overlooked. 33.

Poisonous Plants. It is prudent not to eat plants which taste bitter or have a milky sap. The following poisonous plants grow in sub-arctic forests; they normally grow north of the tree-line.
a.

Fungi. The nutritive value of fungi, mushrooms and toadstools is not large and it is best to avoid them unless there is an expert in the party. The two commonest poisonous varieties are all white with white gills and have bulbous roots; anything like this and any toadstool or fungus with any red colouring should be avoided. Baneberry. (Figure 2-1). The berries are usually red or white but may turn blue as they get older. It can be distinguished from the edible blueberry by the fact that baneberry bushes carry their fruits in clusters and have big leaves made up of several parts; edible blueberries grow singly. Water Hemlock. The water hemlock grows in the wet soil of river valleys in forested areas. On average the plant is four feet tall, but in favourable locations it grows six to eight feet tall. The root is hollow and has cross partitions. The leaves are streaked with purple and when crushed emit a disagreeable odour. (Figure 2).

b.

c.

Figure 2-1. Baneberry

Figure 2-2. Water Hemlock

2 - 11

ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 2 COOKING IN TENTS AND SHELTERS 1. There are certain procedures and drills concerning cookers, heaters and lamps within the tent that are important to note. These are listed in the following paragraphs. The appliance must not be refilled inside. Refilling must be done outside. The only fuel used is naphtha or its authorised equivalent. The appliance is primed and ignited outside, wherever possible. Only solid fuel priming tablets or meta paste are to be used for pre-heating. Other substances such as crumbled hexamine, methylated spirits, petrol or naphtha are not to be used for priming. If weather conditions are such that the appliance can only be prepared inside, great care is to be taken to ensure that it does not flare up. A knife is to be kept near at hand at all times when an appliance is in use in tentage, so that it may be used to cut the material and permit a means of escape in the event of fire. Reserve fuel must be kept in metal containers which are not to be stored in tents or confined spaces. Plastic containers are not to be used. When different liquid fuels (eg petrol, naphtha or kerosene) are used in the same location, each type of fuel is to be stored separately and each container marked to prevent use of the incorrect type of fuel. When not in use cookers are to be stowed in bergans or in the bell ends of tents as the tactical situation dictates. A tent sentry is to be on duty and alert at all times when a heater or cooker is in use, he is not to be in a sleeping bag.

2.

3. 4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. There is to be adequate ventilation whenever any such appliances are in use. The ventilation must allow for a through draft, to remove any build up of poisonous gases, and continue for at least 15 minutes after the appliance has been turned off. 11. Cookers may be used to assist in drying or as heaters, provided the procedures above are in operation.

2-A-1

CHAPTER 3 MOVEMENT IN MOUNTAIN AREAS SECTION 1. MOVEMENT ON FOOT General 1. Mobility is the keynote of all mountain operations. The difficulties of movement on foot in steep rocky country are considerable, but fitness, determination and the correct technique will overcome them. Helicopters will play a large part in moving men and material in the mountains, but often they will not be available and much movement will have to be on foot. In soft snow, troops on foot could well use skis or snow shoes. Several weeks training is required to enable them to move effectively on skis, but they can operate on snow shoes after only two or three hours familiarisation. AFM Cold Weather Operations has details of ski drills and procedures. Crossing Mountain Areas 2. The following general points need to be observed: a.

Planning the Route. The route for any troop movement in the mountains should be thoroughly planned beforehand. If possible an air reconnaissance should be made, if not the ground should be studied from OPs, air photos and maps. Every effort should be made to avoid losing height by contouring, eg a ridge detour of 3 kilometres could well be worthwhile to avoid a down and up of say 600 metres. The presence or expected presence of the enemy will naturally affect the choice of route and easy tracks and passes may have to be avoided for tactical reasons. In high mountains and in snow the danger of rock falls and avalanches must be considered as must the danger of falling over precipices, particularly at night. Routes should normally follow ridge lines rather than gullies and streams, which tend to be full of scree and often have vertical pitches, and follow the line of least resistance downwards. In bad visibility the route should be divided into legs beforehand, and bearings, distances and changes in height should be measured off map and air photos and entered on a route card or sketch. (See Annex C to this Chapter for a specimen route sketch). Rate of March. This depends on the going, the weight of loads being carried and also the weather. A rough guide on average going is four kilometres per hour (two and a half miles per hour) with one hour added for every 300 metres of ascent or 600 metres descent seven hours should be allowed for it. Over bad going and a night, rates of march will be greatly reduced and distances will nearly always take longer to cover than expected. Clearly if nuisance mining is encountered, this will further slow down the rate of march. Ascent. The first essential is to economise effort by moving slowly but steadily without frequent halts. Whenever possible troops should walk on the flat 3-1

b.

c.

of the foot, not the toe only to avoid unnecessary strain on the leg muscles. The pace on steep ground should be regular and rhythmical with an equal distance and time interval between each step. It helps to synchronize breathing with steps in order to maintain rhythm. To increase speed lengthen the stride without breaking the rhythm. On very steep slopes shorten the stride and place the feet carefully wherever possible with the heel on a stoned or lump of turf to make the foot level and to avoid slipping and wasting energy. It is always better to use a zig zag route up the steeper slopes. Always avoid scree (slopes covered with small lose stones) when climbing. d.

Descent. Downhill movement can be more tiring than uphill particularly with heavy loads. Avoid jumping and jolting by keeping the knees slightly bent and using long strides in easy gradient zigzags. Good scree with small loose stones gives the quickest and most economical way of getting downhill if long striding steps are taken, digging the heels well in. Scree with big ankle twisting stones will not slide easily and should therefore be avoided. Halts. These should be infrequent and should be at features which give protection from weather and enemy observation rather than by the clock, i.e. just below a crest line rather than on a col or ridge. Point out the next halting place as early as possible to induce troops to keep up a steady climb until they reach it. Observation. There is a constant tendency when walking on steep slopes to keep the eyes on the ground picking out the next steps ahead and although this is necessary at times on very rough ground, it is a dangerous habit which has to be controlled. Troops should be taught to observe frequently on the move as well as at halts, to avoid enemy ambush or other unexpected contact.

e.

f.

Moving by Night 3. When in contact with the enemy, movement will normally be by night. Night movement in mountains is difficult, slow and sometimes dangerous but it may be the only acceptable method of approaching enemy positions even if he is equipped with night vision devices. A detailed daylight reconnaissance, if possible by air, is essential. Routes must be well marked and taped if possible. Preparation of a route may have to include positioning fixed ropes by specialist mountain troops to overcome steep rocky sections. This will take time and a route may have to be prepared on a previous night. Alternatively sub units or small parties may be moved independently from one hide to another over one or more nights. Any preparations have to be concealed from the enemy. The formation for night movement is normally single file. Difficult going makes it easier than usual for gaps to occur in the column and for parties to lose their way. To avoid this, frequent halts are necessary with whisper checks by radio to ensure that sub units are closed up. If a sub-unit becomes detached from the column, the

4.

5.

3-2

last two men from the preceding sub-unit must return to search for it at the next halt. As soon as sub-unit knows that it has become detached, it must halt until contacted. 6. Silence is important but difficult to maintain on steep rocky paths. Dislodging a stone may start a slide that is not only audible at a distance but is a danger to following troops. The pace must therefore be very slow and over ambitious approach marches should be avoided. Mountain streams are noisy and help to drown the sound of movement. However streams often fall precipitously and routes should be selected near them only if a reconnaissance has taken place. Temporary Halts 7. Ideally troops should move from one firm base to another. Positions for temporary halts and night harbour areas should be selected in advance from the map or by air reconnaissance and should be on high ground. If it is impossible to get the main body onto dominating high ground, an all round defensive position should be selected near the main axis. Adjacent high ground from which the enemy could bring down fire or maintain observation needs to be picketed or occupied by standing patrols. Positions should not be occupied astride or close to dried up mountain streams. Sudden heavy rainstorms, common in mountains, can change a fordable stream into a raging torrent many metres wide in the space of a few minutes or flood low lying areas to a considerable depth. Special care must be taken to avoid showing lights at night, as these may be visible at great distances in mountains. Fires and cooking stoves should be lit only in thickly wooded areas or in specially dug holes. Command Posts should be more carefully screened than usual. SECTION 2. MOVEMENT WITH ANIMALS General 10. As mentioned in Chapter 6 of Part A, the requirement for a British force to use animal transport still remains and some allied nations use animals routinely in mountain regions. Usually pack animals are utilised for resupply purposes but there is still a role for using other animals to carry ammunition and other operational stores with forward troops. 11. Planning factors for the use of pack animals in mountain areas are given in the subsequent paragraphs. Limitations 12. Pack transport is uneconomical since the load carried is small (one 4 tonne truck can carry the same lift as 42 pack mules). Range is limited by a slow pace (a round trip daily of 15-20 miles in reasonable country, 8-10 miles in difficult, rocky 3-3

8.

9.

hill country), by the availability of water and by fatigue of both animals and drivers. For these reasons, units should reduce their requirements to austerity scales and pack transport should not be used if suitable alternative means are available. 13. Pack transport is costly in manpower, at least one man being required to lead two mules. This represents a payload of 130-220 kgs for each man at an average pace of 3mph. The most effective use of pack transport is for short hauls from a roadhead to forward positions which largely overcomes the problems of fatigue and resupplying fodder and water. This method is currently in use by some European armies in mountainous regions. Types of Animal Transport 14. The Veterinary and Remount Service should always be consulted on the selection of suitable animals and measures to control contagious diseases. The type of animal transport available varies in different parts of the world and includes the following: Loads (kgs) a. b. c. d. e. f. Elephant Camel Mule (mountain artillery) Pony, yak, Mule (general service) Donkey 380 110-160 112-155 75-95 75 40

15. The remainder of this Annex is confined to mule transport, as mules are the most suitable pack animals for operations in the mountains. Employment of Mules 16. Mules may be used for first and second line tasks and can move with their loads over almost any type of country except steep rock faces or through deep snow. A useful yardstick for assessing gradients is that a loaded mule can climb slopes which a man can negotiate without using his hands. 17. Over average mountainous country a mule can be expected to cover up to sixteen miles a day, of which no more than eight should be under load. At night over very rough tracks, the range under load may reduce to about four miles. In jungle, a mule can travel as far in a day as its driver but the mule's route may be restricted by the size and shape of its load. 18. Mules can work unshod in sandy dry going but require shoeing for wet or stony ground, which wears their hooves quickly. It may be necessary to fit mules with snow shoes in snow. 3-4

19. Mules require a daily ration of up to 10 kgs of forage. Their daily water consumption is approximately ten gallons of clean water and they should be watered three times a day. 20. Expert saddle fitting and frequent adjustment of saddlery is essential if mules are to be kept fit for work. Mule saddles are not transferable between mules, except in emergency, when reduced carrying capacity must be expected. Loads must be properly balanced and secured. 21. When it is clear that a unit will have to rely on animal transport for a considerable period, mules may be permanently allotted to a first line unit to replace vehicles. Units should then train troops in mule management and loading. For limited operations, it is more economical for mules with drivers to be allotted from an animal transport squadron supporting the formation. Allowance should be made for the non-availability of a proportion of the allotted mules owing to temporary lameness or galls. 22. For front line activity it is usual to have one driver to each mule; for rear area work one man can handle two mules. 23. Mules can be moved in most types of vehicle and by helicopter, preferably underslung in a crate. Fractious animals require blindfolds. Load Carrying Capacity of Mules 24. The payload of mules is 75 kgs, but experience has shown that they can carry additional domestic loads of: a. b. c. Local mule driver's kit Local mule driver's ration (2 days) Mule reserve ration (2 days) 2 kgs 4 kgs 4 kgs

25. With this extra 10 kgs mules are initially over-loaded but loads reduce en route. SECTION 3. GROUND AND MAP APPRECIATION General 26. Movement in mountains requires accuracy in compass work, map reading and measurement of distance; these are made more difficult by terrain and weather. Although full details can be found in the Manual of Map Reading, this Section draws attention to the importance of many aspects of map reading in mountains. Some of the main points are that: a. Unless provided for in contingency plans, standard 1:50 000 maps may not be immediately available. It may be necessary to use smaller scale maps, 1:250 000 or 1:500 000, supplemented by air photography and photomaps. 3-5

b.

There are few features such as buildings, roads and woods to check direction or distance or to use as reference points for target indication. Due to the frequency of low cloud and hill fog, visibility may often be reduced to a few metres. Accurate compass work is thus essential. The ground may impede movement severely and there are often ravines, rock faces and avalanche slopes which cause detours and add to the difficulty of marching on a compass bearing.

c.

d.

Intervisibility 27. General. Intervisibility is of great importance for fields of fire and view for

weapons and communication systems. VHF and UHF communications systems, depend on line of sight between transmitter, receivers and relay stations to operate efficiently. The need to determine areas of dead ground, where aircraft or ground targets cannot be engaged, will usually be important. 28. Plotting Intervisibility. To establish whether it is possible to achieve intervisibility between two points, a computer can be used to interrogate a digital terrain data base and to display the information required either on a visual display unit or as hard copy. Until such facilities become generally available, manual methods of calculation are necessary. A simple graphical method for estimating intervisibility is to plot a vertical section of the terrain between the points of interest and to draw the terrain profile. This method assumes that the earth is flat and must not be used for distances greater than three kilometres. An example is at Figure 3-1.
10 10 10 20 30 40 30 B Metres 50 40 30 20 10 B Figure 3-1. An Intervisibility Profile Note: It is apparent that A to C, B to D and C to D are intervisible but A to B, B to C and A to D are not. 3-6 A D C D 30 40 40 30 20 C 10 A

29. Earth Curvature. In general, topographical maps represent the plan detail on the curved surface of the earth on a flat sheet of paper and a system is used to control the resulting distortion. In the case of heights however, the values shown on flat maps are heights above the curved surface of mean sea level which is extrapolated to extend under the land surface. It is thus important for the map user to have some concept of the effect of the earth's curvature when considering intervisibility, for example a man at sea level can only see an object of his height two miles away assuming that there are no intervening obstructions. 30. Obstructions to Observation. Heights shown on maps by spot heights and contours are heights of the ground surface. Maps generally do not give heights of buildings or vegetation and therefore it is essential to check the map for possible natural or artificial obstructions. Building may impose restrictions on observation and vegetation (trees scrub or even crops) can also have a significant effect. Ground observation may enable assessments of heights of obstructions to be made. If ground is inaccessible, another means of obtaining information is required. An example of a simple terrain profile with added vegetation is at Figure 3-2.

190 180 170160 150 140 130 130 195

140

150 150

140

130

130 140

ESTIMATED TREE HEIGHT 5m EDGE OF WOOD A


170 150 140 130 130 140 130 130 160 140 150 195 190 180 150

EDGE OF WOOD B
140

190

180 140 170

160

150

140

130

Figure 3-2. A Terrain Profile 3-7

31. Dead Ground. Diagrams can be prepared to show the limits of visibility from any given point using the information provided by contours. Figure 3-3 illustrates the system which is simple but time consuming. None the less it is essential if sites are to be selected providing optimum line of sight coverage. If a digital terrain data base is available, a computer may be used to speed up the profiling process and to investigate options.

Figure 3-3. A Dead Ground Profile 3-8

32. Gradient and Slopes. When selecting routes from map and estimating elapsed time for a journey by a given method of movement, the steepness of the terrain is likely to be a significant factor. A convenient way of defining the steepness of a slope is by its gradient as shown below: a. The gradient of a slope is defined as the ratio of unit vertical distance to units of horizontal distance, eg 1:4, 1:7, as shown in Figure 3-4. The convenience of this system is that it is independent of units of measurement provided the same unit is used for horizontal and vertical.

1 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Figure 3-4. Gradients of Slopes Estimated as Proportions b. Gradients are also expressed in terms of percentages, thus a 1:10 gradient, ie 10:100, may be expressed as a 10% gradient; 1:4, ie 25:100 would be a 25% gradient. See Figure 3-5.
10 100

25

100

Figure 3-5. Gradients of Slopes Estimated as Percentages c. Slopes with an angle, may be used to identify the steepness of terrain, eg a slope of 20o or a 20o slope. Again the method of definition is independent of direction in that the slope may be up or down. A gradient of 1:4 (25%) represents a 14o slope. The average domestic staircase has a slope of about 40o which represents a gradient of 1:1.4 (70%).

d.

33. Planning Vehicle Movement. For vehicles limited to moving on roads and tracks, it may be necessary to plot a longitudinal section of the route. The procedures given in Figure 3-6 is as follows: a. The total length of the route is measured by following the alignment on the map. 3-9

b.

The total length is plotted as a straight line on a separate sheet.

c. The point at which each contour crosses the route is measured on the map transferred to the plot and labelled with its value. d. A suitable scale is selected and the vertical section is plotted.

VERTICAL SCALE EX 25 HORIZONTAL SCALE


m 160 1

MAX GRADIENTS 1 4 8
3 2 4

2 5 9

1: 8 1 : 10 1 : 15

140

120

100 90 0 1

T1

T 2

4 km

3 - 10

Figure 3-6. Plotting a Route

SECTION 4. NAVIGATION Navigation by Land 34. General. A navigator is responsible for controlling speed, direction of movement and monitoring position. For most land navigation purposes a knowledge of distance, speed and direction relative to a known starting point, together with observation to independent reference points will fix a position at any point on the route. The independent reference points may be objects on the ground which are identified on the map. If there are no such features, for example in wide open spaces, an independent fix may be made using astronomical observations, satellite signals or radio beacons. Other position finding instruments and equipments such as the Global, Positioning System (GPS) are now in service and complement the more traditional methods of map and compass 35. Control of Direction. In areas where there is sparse detail on the map, resection may be necessary to identify the starting point on the map. The following points should be noted: a.

Orienting the Map. Whether moving in a vehicle or on foot, by day or by night, it is advisable to orient the map so that it is aligned in the direction of travel. As a route changes direction, the navigator must rotate the map to maintain its orientation. The process of continuously orientating the map during a move assist a navigator to maintain a continuous check on position by comparing details on the ground with corresponding details on the map. This enables him to anticipate the next change of direction and to verify that it has been correctly executed. Control of direction is straightforward when using a standard 1:50 000 scale map in average conditions. When the sun is shining an instant check is available. If conditions deteriorate additional checks are required. Circumventing Obstacles. The main source of error in maintaining direction results from the need to circumvent obstacles not included in the route plan. Examples include avalanches, land slips, ravines concealed under tree canopy or flooded water courses. When diversions are necessary, it is essential to maintain a careful log of changes in direction and distances travelled in order to return to the planned route.

b.

36. Time and Distance. Particular points to note are: a.

By Vehicle. At the start of any journey the time is recorded and if the journey is by vehicle, the odometer reading has to be noted. As the direction of travel is known, a position fix may be obtained from the distance travelled in the direction measured by the odometer. Errors in measuring distance in a vehicle occur because an odometer records the slope distance travelled while maps show flat distance. Thus, except in flat country, odometer distances tend to be too large. Odometers usually have a constant individual error which may be positive or negative and therefore they should be checked whenever possible. 3 - 11

b.

On Foot. If movement is on foot, where V is the estimated speed over an elapsed time T, the distance travelled D is given by: D = V x T. For example, if an average speed of 3 kilometres per hour is maintained for 6 hours then the distance travelled is 3 x 6 = 21 kilometres. It is important that units of measurement are defined. Errors in estimating distances travelled on foot can occur from various causes. Again the navigator walks the slope distance. In heavy vegetation or at night, all but skilled navigators tend to overestimate distances travelled. When visibility is close to zero a rope, or strong non-metallic cord of known length may be used to measure distance. A tally of the number if rope-lengths travelled must be kept (transferring pebbles from one pocket to another is a simple method which avoids counting).

37. Compass. When a compass is used to control direction through thick vegetation or at night, the rate of progress may be significantly reduced and it is essential to make reliable estimates. At altitudes over about 2000 metres, movement on foot is also constrained by the need for more frequent halts due to oxygen deficiency. It is therefore essential that times, estimated distances and changes in direction are accurately recorded by the navigator so that positions can be readily fixed. Air photographs may not be of value for fixing coordinated positions unless they have previously been rectified. The following methods can be used provided standard maps are available: a.

Resection. Resection will be simplified if a range finder, particularly a Laser range finder which is more accurate, is available. Bearing and Altitude. If a single back bearing is plotted from an identified point and the altitude of the observer is known, his position will be where the bearing cuts the appropriate contour. This method is particularly useful during a brief clearing in poor visibility when there is only time to take a bearing at one point. Altitude. If an observer is on a known long feature such as a ridge, valley bed, road or track, his altitude should indicate where he is on the feature. Altitude and Direction of Slope. In bad visibility when no objects are visible, altitude can be measured by altimeter and the direction of slope by compass. There will only be a limited number of places on the map where slopes at the same altitude face the same direction. If the remainder can be eliminated as being too steep or too gradual the position can be estimated. Compass Errors and Corrections. There are three errors that may be taken into account when reading a magnetic compass. They are:
(1) Errors in individual compasses. These differ in each case, but are usually small errors which can be neglected. It can be found by comparing readings with bearings worked out between points known to be accurately marked on the maps.

b.

c.

d.

e.

3 - 12

(2)

Errors caused by magnetic rock or magnetic surroundings. These errors cannot be catered for and cannot always be avoided. Errors caused by equipment carried by the user. When accurate bearings are needed equipment should be removed.

(3)

38. Altimeters. The altimeter is a useful navigational aid in the mountains which can be used as follows: a. The measurement of height is based on the measurement of the pressure of the atmosphere, which diminishes at a known ratio with the increase of height. The inner graduated dial of the altimeter is fixed and on this the needle records the pressure of the atmosphere in inches. The outer scale is adjustable and is calibrated in terms of height in feet. The altimeter should be set when the bearer is at a known height, making use of a trig point or spot height if possible. Move the adjustable outer scale till the known height corresponds with the tip of the needle. The pressure of the air is affected by the weather, so the altimeter is also a pocket barometer, rising slightly in fine weather and falling in bad. To allow for this the altimeter should be looked at frequently in doubtful periods, especially when travelling over level ground or during halts, and the instrument should be reset at every known altitude.

b.

c.

d.

e.

3 - 13

ANNEX A TO CHAPTER 3 MOUNTAIN ROUTE SKETCH 1. The sketch indicates a route from Hut A at 2155 metres to Col E at 2445 metres with bearings, distances and heights measured by map. The subsequent route card is a useful method of making a time and distance plan. A-Hut 2,155m N

2.

4,036 mils

2,750m

B-Rockrib 2,360 m 2,542 mils 1,500 m

C-Tree 2,270 m 3,431 mils 4,284 mils 520 m D-Stream 2,220 m 1,200 m

E-Col 2,445 m ROUTE CARD Legs Magnetic Height at bearing end of leg (mils) (metres) (b) 4036 2542 3431 4284 (c) 2360 2270 2220 2445 Up Height Distance Difference (metres) (metres) (d) 205 (e) 2750 1600 520 1200 Time (minutes) (f) 80 34 12 63

(a) A-B B-C C-D D-E 3.

Down 90 Down 50 Up 225

The time is based on an average speed of 4 Kilometres per hour with 1 hour added for each 300 metres of ascent or 600 metres of descent. 3-A-1

CHAPTER 4 OPERATING IN MOUNTAIN TERRAIN SECTION 1. FIELD DEFENCES General 1. In rocky ground, digging trenches is often impossible or very difficult. If bee-hive charges or rock drills and explosives are available, holes may be blasted in rock to give some degree of protection. More often it will be necessary to build sangars. Sangars 2.

Concealment. If sangars are to be used, considerable care should be taken to avoid siting them in view of any likely enemy approaches. Sangars will often have to be sited on reverse slope positions, with the inherent penalties for observation. Platoon sized sangars should not be used because of the difficulty of concealing them and their vulnerability to air strikes, artillery and mortar fire. Even a four man sangar is difficult to conceal if it is above any tree line. Every use should be made of camouflage nets and background rocks to break up the outline of sangars and to disguise their straight edges. While sangars will provide protection from small arms fire and some mortar and artillery splinters, they may compromise the positions of friendly forces and attract fire. Additionally, a sangar without overhead cover will intensify the effect of any bombs and shells landing inside them. Construction. Sangars should be properly built of the largest rocks available wedged securely together. The walls should be built with a slope on each face of 76 and, to prevent penetration by small arms fire, they must be not less than 0.75 metres thick at the top. An unstable wall is more of a liability than an asset, as the first shell burst or burst of small arms fire will collapse it onto the defenders. Even solidly constructed sangars will not stand up to a direct hit from heavy anti-armour weapons, but an outer wall may be constructed to cause such weapons to explode prematurely. The wall may both impede vision from fighting sangars and reduce arcs of fire. A layer of sandbags should if possible be built round the inside of the sangar and on top of the walls to prevent injury from stone chips and splinters. Overhead cover has to be added before the sangar can be considered fully effective. Simple examples of the right and wrong way to construct a sangar are at Figure 4-1.

3.

4-1

Figure 4-1. Dry Stone Walling for Sangars 4.

Scale. Two sangars for each infantry section is the normal scale with three or four men in each. Communication between sangars is difficult unless there is sufficient soil to make shallow crawl trenches possible. Temporary flank or night protection pickets in section strength may build only one sangar to save time, but more permanent defences should consist for four man sangars for greater protection.
Snow Shelters

5.

Defence in Snow. If the snow is deep enough, standard defensive positions can be dug. Snow shelters and sleeping bays should be constructed with narrow entrances, which must be covered with ground sheets or other windproof material; they will then be warm enough to sleep in provided the body is insulated by pine branches or an air mattress. AFM Vol IV Part 4 Cold Weather Operations has further details on the construction of trenches and shelters in the snow. Links Between Shelters. Communication trenches should be dug in the snow as normal and then be covered with boards, wire netting or branches with snow piled on top. In some conditions the snow may freeze hard enough for the supports to be removed and concealed tunnels will then be left. If trenches are left open, they will quickly fill with new or blown snow and become useless, unless the inside can be glazed with a heat source to melt the snow which will seal the surface when it freezes again.

6.

4-2

7.

Protection. The thickness of snow and ice needed to give protection against small arms fire is given in Figure 4-2 below.
Minimum Thickness for Protection (metres) (c) 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.2 0.4

Serial (a) 1 2 3 4 5

Description (b) Newly fallen snow (no wind) Wind driven snow Packed snow Frozen snow/water mixture (snow-crete) Ice concrete

Figure 4-2. Penetration of Small Arms Ammunition in Snow Notes: a. Newly fallen snow provides little protection but is excellent camouflage for previously prepared positions. Wind driven snow is marginally more effective than newly fallen snow if compacted in drifts which can be encouraged by erecting barriers of wood or snow. The protection provided by packed snow increases the harder it is packed. Snowcrete is formed with a mixture of snow and water allowed to freeze. Icecrete or ice concrete is made from a mixture of water and gravel or any other solid material which has been allowed to freeze.

b.

c. d. e.

Obstacles and Mines 8.

Obstacle Plans. A simple obstacle plan will usually be effective in the mountains because roads are few and routes are narrow and restricted. Most mountain roads cross numerous bridges and culverts, which can be demolished. In many cases the road can be cut even more effectively by well sited craters, often in series on a hill cut. Such demolitions can be extremely difficult to repair, particularly on a bend. Blocking Routes. Where defended positions border frozen lakes or rivers, a prepared charge on the ice may produce a moat as an obstacle. Routes can be blocked by creating a landslide or rockfall on them. However, this is not usually as effective as cutting the route unless:
a. A very large quantity of explosive and specialized items (eg shaped charges) can be used. The route is extremely restricted running through a narrow defile or a tunnel. 4-3

9.

b.

10.

Wire Obstacles. Wire obstacles can be effective, especially when used in combination with steep slopes, but they must be securely anchored. Anchorage may be a problem. On stony ground, rocks may be used to anchor the concertinas of wire. In snow, where it is not deep, conventional wire obstacles can be used but may need extra long pickets. If there is a heavy fall or one is expected, then a fence which can rest on top of the snow and be repositioned after each new fall is needed. Such techniques, including the Lapland Fence which makes use of barbed wire instead of concertinas, are described in AFM Cold Weather Operations . The possibility of burrowing under obstacles placed on the snow, particularly at night, should not be overlooked. Minefields. Large barrier or defensive minefields are unlikely to be used in mountains; instead nuisance mining may be used on routes and exists thereby inhibiting both armour and artillery from deploying on to any areas of flat ground. On rocky ground mines may have to be surface laid and then camouflaged. Because movement options are restricted by terrain, there is scope for effective use of anti-personnel mines and booby traps, including those initiated by delayed action fuses. The use of booby traps will have to be authorized by the appropriate level of tactical command. Mines laid in snow require special consideration (See AFM Cold Weather Operations). In mountains where movement tends to be canalized, mines can pose a threat to friendly troops as well as to the enemy; their use should be carefully controlled and whenever possible they should be lifted when they become redundant. Mines and Other Defence Stores. Provision has to be made in the logistic support plan for supplying sufficient mines and materiel for the construction of obstacles, minefield and other obstructions. Camouflage and Concealment. Changes in mountain cover encountered in some areas makes camouflage and concealment more difficult. For example nets and vehicle paints designed for use in woodland, are unsuitable above the treeline. Similar problems occur above and below the snow line and provision has to be made for additional camouflage materiel and clothing when moving from one type of cover to another.
SECTION 2. MINOR TACTICS FOR USE IN SNOW CONDITIONS General

11.

12.

13.

14.

The tactics described in the two previous Chapters apply to all types of mountain. The difficulties of conducting operations in a cold climate, which principally affect clothing, equipment, movement and survivability, are partially covered in AFM Part 4, Cold Weather Operations. Movement over Snow

15.

Frozen Snow. If snow is frozen hard, it is possible to walk on the surface without sinking in. However there may be soft patches under trees or near rocks, where a man on foot may sink in up to the waist. Steep slopes covered in frozen snow are slippery and, when climbing or descending, require ice axes to be carried and steps

4-4

to be dug, which is time consuming. Crampons, steel spikes or claws strapped to the soles of boots, are required on steep slopes in frozen snow. Practice is needed in their use and they are not normally provided except for specialist mountain troops. 16. Soft Snow. Movement on foot in unfrozen snow is very slow and tiring. Skis or snow shoes are therefore generally an essential aid, but climbing uphill on them is a slow process except for well trained troops. On really steep slopes skis can be edged into the snow so that the climber can step up sideways or zig zag. Snow shoes are too wide to edge and it may be quicker on steep ascents to remove them and to kick or stamp steps, as already suggested for frozen snow. Downhill, trained skiers can go fast on gentle slopes but may have to zig zag on steep slopes. Troops not trained to ski must use snow shoes which are slower downhill and uphill. Consequently patrols and assaulting troops should all be on skis or all on snow shoes so that there are no variations in the rate of march of a force. Resources permitting, every effort should be made to train complete sub-units and any affiliated signallers, OP and other liaison and reconnaissance parties to ski. 17. Avalanches . The avalanche danger should not be overlooked. In deep snow or thaw conditions extra precautions need to be observed. Shelter 18. Types of Shelter. Some form of shelter is essential in cold mountains and it should be available very close to the fire position. It may take the form of: a.

Tents. Tents are the most practical form of shelter. They should be carefully sited and dug down into the snow but are difficult to conceal, particularly from the air. When choosing a site for a shelter, avalanche and stone fall hazards have to be considered. Snow Shelters . Snow shelters can be dug as part of a defensive position, provided there is sufficient depth of snow. Natural Caves. Caves provide good shelter but may not be close enough to defensive positions. They may be suitable for headquarters, regimental aid posts or rear installations. Artificial Caves. It may be possible to blast artificial caves out of the hillside. They take considerable skill and time to construct but may be useful in a static position.

b.

c.

d.

19. Construction of Shelters . The construction of all types of shelter are covered in Chapter 2.

4-5

SECTION 3. MINOR TACTICS FOR HOT AND BARREN MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 20. Tactics in hot and barren mountains vary little from those described earlier in this Chapter. However the important factors to be considered are: a. b. Lack of vegetation, except in some wadis, makes concealment more difficult. Sharply contrasting shadows, particularly just after first light and just before last light, aid concealment. Shortage of water creates a logistic problem and emphasises the need for water discipline. Extreme heat during the day makes shade a necessity in static positions and protective measures may also be necessary on the move. Increased dust and dirt adversely affect engines and machinery, particularly helicopters. Dust arising from weapons, vehicles, helicopter rotors and airstrips gives away positions and could affect morale, particularly if the water for washing is restricted. The effects can be reduced, particularly on LSs, if sand bags, waste oil or water are applied to the effected surfaces. Visibility in heat haze conditions is severely restricted. Hot high and humid conditions reduce helicopter payloads and performance significantly. Lack of sanitation, poor hygiene and the myriad of insects are a potential health hazard and preventive measures have to be taken to avoid sickness and disease.

c.

d.

e.

f. g.

h.

SECTION 4. MINOR TACTICS FOR JUNGLE COVERED MOUNTAINS General 21. The conduct of operations in the jungle is influenced both by climate and terrain, which impose constraints and limitations on all the components of a force. These difficulties are compounded for troops required to conduct operations in mountain country which is also jungle clad. The jungle is not unfriendly or impenetrable to well trained troops but it slows down the tempo of operations; individual actions tend to be isolated by the physical conditions and fighting often takes place at short range in circumstances where a small force can have an influence on the battle out of all proportion to its size. Although full details of operations in jungle are contained in AFM Vol IV Part - Jungle Operations the impact of the factors listed below will be important for those operating in mountainous jungle terrain.

4-6

Visibility 22. Visibility in jungle is always restricted. In primary jungle it can be 50 metres, in secondary jungle virtually nil. In the wetter seasons, not only does heavy rain restrict fields of view, but ground mist may also occur and linger for several hours after a storm and in the early morning. 23. Visibility at ground level is of course at its best from high ground but even then only if windows are cut in the jungle canopy. However, even in these circumstances the view is generally restricted to the roof of the jungle and movement below it is concealed. Restricted visibility also makes natural landmarks difficult to identify and distances hard to estimate; accurate navigation becomes vital. 24. Air to ground observation is equally difficult as the jungle provides excellent concealment for troops and vehicles, although any activity which has bromine or disturbed the canopy will show up. In open areas and above the tree line, observation presents no greater problems than in other terrain conditions. 25. The effect of a restricted field of view and the suddenness with which contacts with the enemy occur in the jungle produces an abnormally high mental strain on combat troops. It requires men to develop a sixth sense, junglecraft, to remain constantly alert and to have reached a high level of individual training. Mobility 26. The jungle canalises movement. Dense vegetation, deep eroded gullies, steep sided hills and ravines, wide, swiftly flowing rivers and unfordable streams provide natural obstacles which make cross-country movement difficult for troops on foot and that of his vehicles and supporting arms impossible in many areas. During the rainy season, movement across swamp even on foot may be impracticable and the rate of progress through most secondary jungle and thickets, such as bamboo, can be painfully slow. Movement is generally easiest along ridge lines free of obstacles along valleys obstructed by streams and gullies, swamps and more dense vegetation. 27. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft can make an important contribution to improving mobility. A small force can be moved swiftly over the jungle to the scene of operations, thus making good use of the troops available and retaining considerable flexibility in their deployment. It is, however, difficult to conceal such moves and the security of an operation may be prejudiced; deception measures can help to overcome this problem. Firepower 28. The jungle reduces the effectiveness of superior firepower. Owing to the difficulties of observation and target acquisition, long range weapons lose many of their advantages and short range, manportable rocket and grenade launchers become more effective, especially against armoured vehicles and fortified defensive positions. The difficulty of acquiring targets makes a quick accurate response vital. 4-7

29.

Dense vegetation considerably reduces the effect of high explosives, because jungle canopy and undergrowth absorb the fragments of rounds and reduce the lethal range of exploding bombs, artillery and mortar rounds; a reduction in blast effect is also pronounced. Guided missiles are of doubtful value in thick jungle because of interference from trees with missiles and wire guidance systems. Except on roads and tracks and in large plantations and cultivated areas, fields of fire of all direct fire weapons are considerably reduced and fire lances must often be cleared; these can frequently be constructed in the form of a tunnel a few metres wide, with overhanging foliage left intact to provide concealment. Concealment and Cover

30.

31.

The jungle vegetation provides excellent cover from both ground and air observation. However strict discipline needs always to be maintained during movement and cutting foliage should be kept to a minimum. Good concealment provides both sides with opportunities for deception and scope for infiltration and ambushes. The density of the vegetation may deceive inexperienced troops into overestimating the effectiveness of the cover from fire. Small trees may moderate the effect of enemy fire but provide little cover while even large trees may not be impenetrable to modern small arms weapons. Although the broken nature of the terrain provides excellent opportunities for ground cover, defensive positions usually need to be properly dug in, using timber to support overhead protection. In some areas the presence of a high water table can make digging difficult and bunkers may have to be constructed above ground. Obstacles

32.

33.

The jungle is an obstacle to movement and deep wide rivers, belts of swamp and thick vegetation can all be used to supplement and replace such artificial obstacles as defensive and barrier minefields. SECTION 5. RAIDS AND DEEP PENETRATION PATROLS General

34.

Mountains are especially suitable for raids and deep penetration operations because covered approaches, hides and patrol bases are comparatively easy to find. Good targets are usually available on vulnerable enemy lines of communications. Raids

35.

Raids are, by definition, normally of comparatively short duration, probably lasting about one to three days. The aim of a raiding party is usually sabotage but raids can also be used to gain information, possibly by capturing prisoners.

4-8

36. Some of the targets for attack which are likely to be found in or near mountains are: a. b. c. Dams and hydro-electric stations. Mines and oilfields. Galleried roads, tunnels, and bridges in defiles which cannot easily be attacked from the air. Enemy rear headquarters and lines of communication control points. Radar stations. Airfields. Missile sites.

d. e. f. g.

Deep Penetration Patrols 37. General . Deep penetration patrols are designed to move into and operate deep into enemy territory and remain longer than raiding parties. The tasks for such patrols could be: a. Study the enemys habits over a period of time and collect intelligence or establish a collecting and transmitting centre. Disrupt communications by forming a firm base for raiding parties against enemy lines of communication. Mislead the enemy and induce him to move his reserves away from a thrust being prepared elsewhere. Rouse the local population against the enemy and provide support for friendly partisans, perhaps coordinating air supply.

b.

c.

d.

38. Planning. Meticulous planning, preparation, thorough training, rehearsal and considerable time and energy are required for raids and deep penetration operations. Consequently the aim must be worthwhile and not one that could be achieved more easily by other means. 39. Factors. Some of the factors to be considered when planning a raid or deep penetration operations see listed below: a. b. c. The task. The objective and all relevant details concerning it. Air support. 4-9

d.

Enemy intelligence, including partisans likely to be encountered and the action to be taken. The ground, rate of march, possible infiltration and exfiltration routes, maps and air photographs. How climate and weather can be used to advantage. Size of the force required. Logistics, including resupply and casualty evacuation arrangements. Special stores and weapons. Methods of insertion and recovery. Training. Security. Deception. The attitude of the local inhabitants. Language, guides and local currency. The vulnerability to reprisals of local helpers and methods of diverting suspicion away from them.

e.

f. g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. o. p.

40.

Methods of Insertion. The usual methods of insertion are:


a. By Air (1)

Helicopter or Fixed Wing Transport. Insertion by air is normally best carried out at last light or after dark using night vision goggles. The amount of ambient light may determine the feasibility of conducting an insertion after dark. To achieve security, this type of entry can only be made on a concealed LS, with the aircraft taking a circuitous route and possibly making dummy landings at other points. Air crew should be always be consulted at an early stage of planning. Parachute. Entry by parachute may require the use of high altitude low opening or stand-off techniques.

(2)

b.

By Water. If a target or operational area is within reach of a shore line, insertion by small boat may be considered.

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41. Air Support. Air support requirements can be met by: a.

Close Air Support. Close air support is desirable and depends on good communications and members of the patrol having FAC training. Support Helicopters (SH). SH will be invaluable for insertion and recovery as well as for resupply and casualty evacuation. Some SH are equipped with secure ground to air communications. If these cannot be used, a heliograph is a better method of attracting a pilots attention in sunlight than smoke and is less likely to betray a position.

b.

42. Recovery. Just as the insertion should achieve surprise, the recovery should leave as few clues as possible, particularly with regard to any local helpers. The quickest and most secure method of recovery should be used and, ideally, the enemy should be left unaware as to how the operation was carried out, since he will then plan to prevent a recurrence.

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CHAPTER 5 TRAINING FOR MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS SECTION 1. ADAPTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT 1. Although the appropriate mountain conditions are required to provide fully effective training, there is much that can and should be done prior to deployment. The aim of this Chapter is to provide some advice on establishing training objectives and priorities both before and after a move into mountainous terrain. It is stressed, however, that detailed advice on training should be obtained, at an early stage, from specialised organisations such as the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadres, and the Joint Services Mountain Training Organisations. Preparation for mountain operations will only be achieved with the assistance of specialist instructors. An early priority will therefore be to identify any existing unit instructors, select individuals for external instructor or refresher courses, and request assistance from other formations or units. The aim of training for mountain operations is primarily: a. b. To learn how to live and survive in the mountains. To master the techniques of moving and fighting in mountains under varying climates and conditions. To overcome the worst aspects of the weather and conditions and to be capable of turning them to advantage.

2.

3.

c.

4.

Many of the fundamental elements of this training are not specifically military in nature. A commander, for example, who encourages arduous adventure training will find that preparations for mountain operations will be easier. A high level of physical fitness will also improve stamina and make soldiers more adaptable to the harsh conditions. Some of the basic lessons can be taught in a temperate climate, for example the fitting of clothing and practising tent drills, familiarisation with equipment and dry ski training in the appropriate environment and therefore it is important that this pretraining is carefully synchronised with the real conditions that pertain in the theatre of operations. The allocation of time between these various stages of training will depend upon previous experience and the availability of time, equipment and facilities. The following are the general and overlapping stages of training for troops who have not hitherto operated in mountainous terrain.

5.

6.

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a. b. c.

Individual Training Collective Training Instructor and Specialist Training

) ) Physical Fitness and ) Basic Skills ) throughout available ) training period.

SECTION 2. INDIVIDUAL TRAINING 7.

Physical Fitness. A very high standard of physical fitness is essential in mountain operations. Physical training should not be confined to running; a vital requirement is the development of stamina and those who lack it will quickly become susceptible to injuries. Leadership. Commanders must have a good knowledge of the debilitating effects of the climate in order that they avoid becoming victims themselves and are able to set the right standards and instill confidence in their subordinates. Adventure training is an effective way of developing junior leaders, equipping them with the ability to lead in adverse weather conditions. Important subjects for leadership training are as follows:
a. b. c. Weather conditions Navigation Living in cold conditions.

8.

9.

Map Reading and Orienteering. Map reading in mountains is more difficult and therefore needs practice, especially in bad weather or at night. Orienteering can be used to introduce competition and so encourage enthusiasm. Route Selection. The problem of route selection should be studied and should include the relative merits of detours against loss of height. Elementary Rock Climbing and Abseiling. Mastery of these skills gives the individual greater self confidence, but the training needs careful supervision and organization by qualified mountaineering instructors if casualties are to be avoided. Night Movement. This is much more difficult in mountains than elsewhere and particularly when moving over scree. Much practice will be needed to gain reasonable proficiency. Skill at Arms. The following points should be noted:
a. All ranks should be trained to realize that there will be a difference in the performance of their weapons at high altitudes, since they tend to fire high in these conditions. In addition, special oil and lubricants may be required at sub-zero temperatures.

10.

11.

12.

13.

5-2

b.

The individual should be practised in firing accurately at longer ranges with both rifle and machine gun. There is a need for special training in firing up and down hill and for noting the effects of plunging fire. Crack and thump training must be carried out, because mountains produce different acoustics from other types of terrain. Firing practice at night is essential. After preliminary training all these points can best be combined in a mountain field firing area. In the later stages of training this field firing should be included at the end of a long cross mountain march.

c.

d.

e. f.

14. First Aid and Counter Exposure Training. This may be vital to the survival of the individual casualty and has to be practised by all ranks. 15. Ski Training and Living in the Cold . If this training is appropriate then see AFM Cold Weather Operations for more details. 16. NBC Training. Progressive training involving all these skills should be carried out wearing NBC protective clothing to accustom all ranks to its use. SECTION 3. SECTION AND SUB UNIT TRAINING 17. Observation Training. The manning of OPs and observation at long ranges, including judging distances, are skilled techniques which need considerable practice in real mountainous country. 18. Fire Positions . The selection of good fire positions requires practice if the problem of dead ground is to be overcome and the position is not to be overlooked. 19. Picketing. Movement into picket positions both by helicopter and on foot should be practised; this can be combined with the selection of picket positions and the construction of section sangars and general picket defences. 20. Patrolling. This is the basis of any tactics and is more important than ever in mountains where long range patrols, raids and infiltration are particularly effective. 21. Ambushes. The siting of ambushes and anti-ambush drills are equally important and the drills have to be known and practised by all concerned. SECTION 4. UNIT TRAINING 22. Mobile Reserve Training . This must include deplaning from helicopters under difficult conditions and roping down. It must also include drills to cover all contingencies after rapid deplaning to unreconnoitred country, ie immediate attack, immediate 5-3

ambush, hasty defence and quick cordoning. 23.

Air Training. In addition to helicopters all ranks must be able to operate with short and medium range transport aircraft, including the selection and marking of DZs and LPs, helicopter marshalling and air drop procedures. Armour, Artillery and Mortar Target Indication. It is equally important that all officers and NCOs down to and including section commanders should be trained in these techniques. Driving. Driving any type of vehicle on hill roads and tracks, especially at night, needs practice and experience, which can only be gained by training in mountainous terrain. Radar and NightVision Aids . The siting and use of these devices needs practice in the mountains, particular attention being paid to the many areas of dead ground. Night Operations. As operations in the mountains will be conducted at night more often than not, training for all phases of war should be carried out in the dark over really rough going conditions. Snipers. Up to ten per cent of the men in infantry companies should be trained as snipers. Part of this training should be carried out in high mountains if possible, as the thinness of the atmosphere at altitude could affect sniper rifles at long ranges. Concealment and Camouflage. A high standard of training in these skills is essential.
SECTION 5. INSTRUCTOR AND SPECIALIST TRAINING

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

29.

30.

General. A unit likely to embark on mountain operations will require a cadre of instructors. In many cases, units warned for operations at short notice will need to borrow from other units. One of the most important functions of these instructors will be to train unit instructors although lack of time may preclude this. Both skiing and cold weather instructors may well be required - although this Manual does not cover these areas of expertise in any detail. Instructors. As there are no mountain trained units in the British Army, instructors have to be trained elsewhere. The Joint Service Mountain Training Organisations may hold in this respect and the Army Mountaineering Association is a good agency through which mountain training can be carried out both abroad and within the United Kingdom. The Royal Marines train instructors in the techniques needed for mountain operations and could also assist with the training of a proportion of Army officers and NCOs. Others may be attached to the Norwegian Army, the German Mountain Division or the Chasseurs Alpine to gain information about mountain terrain and the methods of living and operating in such conditions.

31.

5-4

32. Civilian Instructors . Civilian organizations such as the Central Council for Physical Recreation and the Scottish Council for Physical Recreation can assist with mountain leadership courses, which give some instruction in rock climbing and movement in the mountains and provide a mountain leadership qualification. Much of the training consists of normal techniques being practised in the mountains and no specialist knowledge is necessary. All that is required is an enthusiasm for physical exercise and hill climbing. 33. Specialists . Units are likely to require certain specialists in greater numbers than normal - for example: medics, tracked vehicle drivers (assuming an increment of over-snow vehicles), specialist vehicle mechanics, equipment repairers, STANOC instructors, NBC instructors, Cold Weather Operations and Survival Instructors. Details of pamphlets and manuals are in the Bibliography at Annex A but advice on specialist subjects is as follows: a.

Navigation.
(1) (2) Details of courses may be found in DCIs. Specialist advice may be obtained from the School of Military Survey.

b.

Surveillance and Target Acquisition.


(1) (2) Details of courses may be found in DCIs. Specialist advice may be obtained from the STANOC Centre.

c.

NBC .
(1) (2) Details of courses may be found in DCIs. Specialist advice may be obtained from DNBCC.

d.

Mountain Operations and Survival Training.


(1) (2) Details of courses may be found in DCIs. Specialist advice may be obtained from: (a) (b) (c) HQ RM. Brigade Patrol Troop RM, c/o Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth. G3AMF(L) c/o HQ 3 (UK) Div, Bulford (for survival in cold weather).

5-5

Training Areas 34. Most of the suggested training for mountain operations including ski training, can be carried out in the remoter parts of the Scottish Highlands, although this is also available in Southern Germany. The problems of operating in cold weather and deep snow can be experienced in N. Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada or Alaska, to name but a few places. Training facilities in hot barren mountains are now difficult to negotiate, the jungle covered hills of Malaysia and Borneo are generally more useful for jungle rather than mountain training, but some training can be achieved in certain areas of the world.

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MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS

PART C

MOUNTAIN SAFETY, SUPERVISION AND BASIC TECHNIQUES

ARMY FIELD MANUAL VOLUME IV PART 1 MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS PART C MOUNTAIN SAFETY, SUPERVISION AND BASIC TECHNIQUES

CONTENTS

PREFACE SECTION 1. SECTION 2. SECTION 3. SECTION 4. SECTION 5. SECTION 6. SECTION 7. SECTION 8. SECTION 9. SECTION 10. Mountaineering Definitions Mountain Hazards Techniques of Mountaineering Rope Security on Steep Ground Ascending and Descending Difficult Ground Traversing Difficult Ground Training for Mountaineering River/Stream Crossing Improvised Stretchers Background Publications 1-1 2-1 3-1 4-1 5-1 6-1 7-1 8-1 9-1 10-1

PREFACE

The techniques described here are not intended to train soldiers as mountain instructors or rock climbers. The purpose of Part C of this Manual is to describe the minimum safety required, the supervision of military mountaineering and elementary mountaineering techniques which will enable soldiers to appreciate the limits of what should be attempted by a unit or sub-unit that does not have rock climbing experience.

SECTION 1. MOUNTAINEERING DEFINITIONS 1. ABSEILING. Abseiling, sometimes called rappelling, is a method used to descend by sliding down a rope. The speed of descent is controlled by applying friction to the rope. ACCLIMATISATION. The adaptation of the human body to the rarefied air at high altitudes. ARTIFICIAL/AID CLIMBING. Climbing which requires the use of aids such as pitons, bolts and etriers to overcome a problem. Recent advances in protection equipment have virtually eliminated the use of pitons for runners. AVALANCHE. The sliding away of surface material from a mountain, in particular snow. BELAY. The device and technique employed by a climber to safeguard the party from the effects of a fall by one of it's members. BERGSCHRUND. The crevasse separating the upper ice of a glacier from the mountain behind, often presenting the first serious obstacle of a route. BLACKSHOD OPERATIONS. Those which can be conducted by troops on or near an axis of advance in the mountains. The troops would require some special training and some alternative equipment but this does not involve movement by ski or snowshoe. BUTTRESS. A rocky protuberance from a mountain side or the rock mass between two gullies. CAIRN. A pile of stones used for marking the way to the summit of a mountain.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. COL. A dip in a ridge usually between two peaks may be deep and wide or it may be a mere dip in an icy skyline. The way across a COL is known as a pass. 11. CORNICE. A consolidated snow bank projecting over the edge of a ridge, plateau or corrie and formed by prevailing winds. 12. CRACK. A fissure in a rock not wide enough to be a chimney. Cracks may be vertical, horizontal or sloping. 13. CREVASSE. A crack in the surface of a glacier. On a dry glacier crevasses can be easily seen and are not usually difficult to avoid. They can be wide and deep but this is not always the case. 14. COIRE. A feature of glaciated mountains, a scooped-out hollow high on the mountain, usually backed by a ridge or plateau and often containing a small lochan (lake). 1 - 1

15. DINNER PLATING. The fracturing of ice when struck with an ice axe, causing plate-shaped fragments to break off. 16. DRY GLACIER. A glacier which is not covered by snow. 17. ETRIER. Nylon tape stretched to form footloops, used for artificial climbing. 18. FIXED ROPES. Ropes fixed by climbers during the course of an ascent, enabling members to pass up and down the mountain more quickly. 19. FRONT POINTING. A modern technique of climbing snow and ice wearing crampons and utilising an axe or hammer. The term arises from the frequent use of the front points of each crampon. 20. GLISSADING. If a snow slope is safe enough, with the right consistency of snow, no complications and a safe finish, it is possible for a ski-like descent to be made using boots alone. This technique requires practice and is not recommended unless the final run-out can be seen. Glissading should not be attempted without the safety of an axe for braking if required. 21. HANGING GLACIER. A subsidiary glacier set at a higher level than the valley. It may be independent and hang over the valley with ice cliffs or it may join the main glacier by means of a steep ice wall. 22. LAPSE RATE. The lapse rate is the drop in temperature with altitude. Dependent upon humidity it is approximately 3C per thousand feet or rise. 23. MILITARY MOUNTAIN TRAINING. Military mountain training can be conducted throughout the year on non-snow-covered or snow-covered mountainous terrain involving: a. b. Mountain Navigation. Movement across mountainous terrain which could involve climbing or mountaineering but only if fixed ropes are used on graded sections. Abseiling. Roping (up and down). Roller haulage. River crossing. Quadpod haulage.

c. d. e. f. g.

24. MOUNTAINEER OPERATIONS. Conducted by troops specially trained, organised and equipped to be able to operate and maintain themselves in both snowcovered and snow-free precipitous mountain country. 1 - 2

25. MOUNTAINEERING. This is movement across mountains using any one or a combination of walking, rock climbing, snow and ice climbing and navigation. 26. OBJECTIVE DANGERS. Dangers which cannot be overcome by climbing skill eg. stonefall. 27. ROCK CLIMBING. The ascent, traverse or descent of all types of rock graded from 'difficult' upwards. 28. ROPING UP Where the rope is attached at fixed points for roping up or down. . 29. ROLLER/QUADPOD HAULAGE. A means of hauling men carrying loads and equipment to the top of a obstacle. (Technique used by RM forces). 30. SCREE. Loose rock eroded from a mountain and found in steep slopes below cliffs. Can be very awkward to climb though some afford a rapid if exciting descent. Treat as for glissading. 31. SNOW AND ICE CLIMBING. This is the ascent, traverse or descent of all grades of snow and ice climbs from Grade 1 upwards. 32. WHITESHOD OPERATIONS. Those operations conducted by troops involving movement by ski, snowshoe or snow mobile machine.

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SECTION 2. MOUNTAIN HAZARDS General 1. Different types of terrain will cause different potential hazards which can vary considerably with the weather conditions and the time of year. No matter what the time of year, any movement on steep ground requires care, concentration, and a certain amount of technique. The terrain types are given in the paragraphs below. Short Grass. 2. This can be surprisingly slippery when either wet or dry. The only way to reduce the hazard is to place the feet carefully and deliberately, using local lumps and bumps as buffers. Care must be taken when on grass slopes in winter, for even gentle slopes can be lethal when covered with a thin layer of snow or ice. Long Grass and Tussocks. 3. Long grass drags at the ankles and makes patrolling surprisingly strenuous. To avoid problems walk in an exaggerated, flat-footed stomp. Tussocks, on the other hand, can totally destroy the walking rhythm. The only solution is to place feet either on top of tussocks or between them. Bracken 4. Bracken grows in profusion on many mountain slopes. If tall and green it can effectively block the route, making forward progress both difficult and frustrating. In dry weather there will be plagues of insects; in wet weather the walker will simply get soaked. Bog 5. Rainfall in mountainous areas tends to be high and drainage poor thus many mountain regions contain large areas of boggy ground. When patrolling boggy ground, look for patches of heather and heath as these often indicate drier areas. Boulders 6. Take great care when crossing boulder fields as it is all too easy to break an ankle. Forcing a route through such an area is tiring and frustrating work. Do not leap from boulder to boulder. Effects of Rain 7. Weather can play a large part in determining or modifying ground conditions. Torrential rain can turn gullies into seething water-courses; drizzle can form a thin but slippery layer of mud over hard-packed, earthy ground, particularly after prolonged dry spells.

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Snow and Ice 8. The weather will have its most profound effect on the terrain when the temperature drops and snow begins to fall. One of the more difficult surfaces is that resulting from a thin layer of loose snow over ice or frozen grass. The hazard may be reduced by wearing crampons. Deep snow is especially tiring and the deeper the snow the more energy will be required to force a passage. Trail-breaking techniques will need to be employed to over come the problem. Thin crusted snow can be frustrating, painful and exhausting, especially if the crust breaks periodically under excess weight. Snow of this type can be extremely hazardous during steep descents, knees can be injured if there is a break through when moving fast.

9.

10. Solid snow usually provides an excellent surface on which to patrol, however on sloping surfaces it can be extremely dangerous for it can be difficult to prevent a trip turning into a slide. If the slope steepens, ends in rocks, or leads towards the edge of a precipice, such a slide could be fatal. 11. In addition to forming deep drifts, the wind can blow the snow over potential hazards, hiding them from view. It is quite possible for snow to cover the ice of a mountain lake, with obvious dangers. Windblown snow can also form bridges across streams and may even hide fissures and cracks in boulder fields. Effects of Thaw 12. Changes in temperature can have a marked effect on winter terrain. A sudden thaw after a prolonged cold spell can sometimes cause a layer of surface mud to form over ground which is still frozen. Cornices 13. A cornice is an overhanging mass of snow, formed at the top of certain slopes by the action of the wind. Cornices form at the junction of two slopes and always face away from the wind which builds them. There are three situations where cornices may present a hazard: they may collapse as you walk above them, they may collapse as you walk below them, and they can form a dangerous barrier at the top of otherwise easy snow gullies. Avalanche 14. Hints on dealing with avalanches are given in Annex C to Chapter 2 of Part B. Stonefall 15. The most common cause of stonefall is freeze-thaw action particularly in Springtime, when freeze-thaw is at its height, stonefall can be a common hazard below certain cliffs. Helmets should be worn if there is any danger of stonefall. 2-2

Scree 16. It is easy to dislodge rocks onto people below when descending scree runs. Descent should be achieved either in an arrowhead formation or in line abreast, which will reduce the risk of being hit by falling rocks.

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SECTION 3. TECHNIQUES OF MOUNTAINEERING Scrambling 1. If the slope becomes so steep that it is necessary to use the hands, the climber has entered the realm of scrambling an activity lying somewhere between hill walking and rock climbing. By thinking of scrambling as an extension of mountain walking, the climber should find that many of the techniques of movement on rock tend to fall into place quite naturally. Plan the route in advance, move steadily, and stand upright. The hands, if used at all, are used to push the body away from the slope in order to stay in a upright position. The two most common mistakes are over-reliance on handholds, and leaning into the rock. A climber should push up with the feet rather than, pull up with the hands, and that he should always be able to look down and see his own ankles. Before a climber commits himself to the ascent of a small rock step, he should work out exactly what route he is going to take. Place the feet deliberately on the holds and climb smoothly and steadily, testing all holds before putting full weight on to them. Scrambling down, although slightly more difficult, is simply a reverse of the above procedures. Winter Techniques 5. The techniques used in safe movement on steep ground remain the same no matter what the conditions. However, when there is snow and ice on the hill, there are two other factors which have to be taken into consideration. Firstly, movement can sometimes appear to be easier because slopes have been smoothed by snow in which the climber can scrape or kick his own irregularities. Secondly, if the climber slips, the consequences could be far more serious than in summer, for snow and ice provide very little friction. The hazards, presented by steep ground in winter should not be underestimated, and a climber would be well advised to keep away from the steeper slopes of snow and any areas of ice. The Ice Axe 6. On snow covered terrain a climber will need a few items of extra equipment, of which an ice axe is the most important. When ascending and descending, the ice axe is used as a means of balance and support. It not only provides the ability to cut steps if required for the ascent but it also safe guards the descent by giving the climber the means to self-arrest if a fall occurs. A non technical walking axe is ideal for the job (75cm).

2.

3.

4.

3 - 1

Ice Axe Brake 7. There will always be a risk of taking a fall when moving across snow covered ground, no matter how easy angled the slope may be. Therefore a climber has to know how to avoid such an occurrence by carrying out the ice axe brake. All members of a patrol should be taught the use and techniques of ice axe carriage prior to any movement on snow covered terrain. Glissading 8. If a climber required a fast means of descending a snow covered slope, then the techniques of glissading can be employed. It is possible to carry out a ski-like descent, be it standing or sitting, however all troops should be practised in the technique on a safe slope, with the right consistency of snow and a safe run-out. Crampons 9. One of the biggest problems with the use of crampons is the false sense of security they can give. Crampons impart a feeling of invulnerability out of all proportion to the extra safety that they give and it is easy to take them for granted and feel that they will give a secure footing whatever the conditions. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Not only can snow ball up underneath them, but they can also slip without warning on verglas or other forms of thin ice, or when moving over the occasional rock step. However, there is no doubt that they can also be useful when used correctly. Along with an ice axe no activity on the mountains in winter time should be conducted without the issue and pre-training required in the use of crampons.

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SECTION 4. ROPE SECURITY ON STEEP GROUND The Rope 1. All units have to carry a rope as part of their group safety stores. An 11mm kernmantel or No 4 nylon are to be carried. Its primary function being to hold a fall, should one occur, or used to provide direct support as in fixed lines. It also provides the ability to abseil if needed. The rope should only be produced on the rare occasions when the situation demands additional security, or in the event of an emergency. The Knots 2. As part of any pre-training prior to deployment in the mountains, all troops should be conversant with the basic knots to safe-guard movement. Some essential and useful knots are described below: a.

Overhand Knot - Used to tie-off a loose end of rope after a bowline or other knot has been tied.

b.

Overhand Loop - An overhand tied in a doubled rope provides a loop for belaying or for a waist loop.

c.

Figure of 8 Loop - A more effective knot than the overhand loop for forming a waist loop. Any mistakes in tying it results in an overhand loop, which is still a safe knot. It can be easily untied after loading.

4 - 1

d.

Figure-of-8, Rewoven - Tie a figure-of-8 knot in a single rope, pass the end through or round the anchor point, then follow in reverse order the exact line of the rope in the original figure-of-8. A useful knot for attaching the rope to a waist loop, tree, thread belay, etc; where it is not possible simply to slip a loopover the top.

e.

Single Bowline - Still the standard knot for tying on. Do not have the rope too tight round the waist; it should ride up round the lower rib-cage. Allow 12-18 inches of tail and secure it with an overhand knot tied on to the waist loop.

f.

Figure-of-8 with Fisherman's - Useful when you need one knot that will fit several people, without re-tying. Use only as a safety rope. Not for use in rock climbing.
(1) (2) Tie a single figure-of-8 about 4ft from the end of the rope. Tie half a fisherman's knot back on to the main rope. The fisherman's knot must have at least three turns around the main rope. For clarity only two are shown. The figure-of-8 acts as a stopper knot. The size of the waist loop can be adjusted by changing the position of the figure-of-8 knot.

(3)

4 - 2

g.

Triple Bowline - A bowline tied in a doubled rope provides three loops which, with a bit of adjustment, can be fashioned into a rope chair. Used to lower an injured or incapacitated person.

h.

Bowline-on-the-Bight - A simple knot to tie, which provides two loops which can be used to make a chair.

i.

Double Fisherman's - The best knot for tying two ends of rope together. Each end is passed twice round both ropes and back through the loops so formed. Leave about 6-9 inches of tail.

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j.

Double Sheet Bend - A useful knot for attaching a heavier rope to a lighter one. It has a tendency to work loose if not tightened properly.

k.

Tape Knot - A rewoven overhand knot, commonly used for joining lengths of tape to make slings.

This is one of the most useful knots for more advanced climbing techniques. The knot grips the climbing rope when it is tensioned, but can slide when the tension is released.

4 - 4

Tying On 3. The rope is always worn around the waist. Form a loop by tying a standard figure-of-8 knot, or a single bowling then step into the loop and adjust it so that the rope is tight enough to prevent it from riding up under the armpits, but loose enough to enable you easily to slip your hand beneath it. When to Rope-Up 4. There are no hard and fast rules about when to rope-up. This is a decision which is influenced by a number of interrelated factors: a. b. c.

Exposure - would a slip result in serious injury? Difficulty - Is the terrain difficult to a degree that makes a slip a possibility? Ability - How do individual members of the patrol react to exposure and how do they perform on rock? Security - Can the situation be properly safeguarded by the use of the rope? The Time Factor - Speed is often a safety factor in itself. Is the saving of time more important under the circumstances than the additional security which can be provided by roping-up. Margin of Safety - Other than in an emergency situation, the team commander must be operating well within his experience and capabilities.

d. e.

f.

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SECTION 5. ASCENDING AND DESCENDING DIFFICULT GROUND General 1. It is important to realise that technical rock climbing and Alpine movement is not covered in this Manual. This Section deals with the technique in which a rope can be used to give extra security on a scramble or any awkward or steep section. Whatever the situation, there is normally a sequence of events which starts with the decision to use the rope. When ascending, the most experienced member of the unit ties onto the top end of the rope and carefully climbs the difficult section, choosing a route which heads directly up wherever possible. As he does so, another member makes sure that the rope pays out freely. Once on easier ground, he makes himself secure (See belaying) while the next person to climb ties on to the bottom end of the rope. The person at the top then pulls in all the spare rope (or slack), so that he can feel the next person, then holds the rope in such a way that he can not only keep it taut at all times, but can also hold the weight in the event of a fall. When he is satisfied that everything is safe, he shouts down to the next person and tells him to come up. The sequence then repeats until all members of the unit are safely over the difficult section. Belaying 4. The purpose of belaying is to provide mutual protection for the members of a unit when negotiating difficult sections in the mountains by the use of a rope. The principle is that only one person is actually climbing at any one time and that person is secured by the rope which is held by the belayer who is himself secured by a loop of rope to the rock face. The components of the belay system:
1 2 3 4 5 6

2.

3.

5.

The anchor The attachment between the belayer and the anchor The belayer The stance The climbing rope The climber and his attachment to the climbing rope

5-1

Anchors 6. The selection of a really solid anchor is the first essential in setting up a belay system. It cannot be considered in isolation, although it is likely to be the determining factor in locating the belay. The best type of anchor is one which will take a pull from any direction, including an upward pull, such as a tree or a thread. More often than not you will have to settle for a spike and this is perfectly satisfactory in those circumstances when any pull on the rope attached to the anchor is in a downward direction. Ideally, the anchor should not be too far away from the stance and about head height above it. The Relationship between Anchor, Stance and Climber 8. The best situation is when all three are in the same vertical plane - centre above.

7.

5-2

The Stance 9. Sometimes only one stance is possible, at others there may be a limited choice. Choose the best position from which the climber can be safeguarded keeping in mind the following points: a. The climbers progress can be observed and monitored so that advice can be offered. The rope should be kept clear of all debris. The rope should not run over sharp edges. There should be sufficient room to adopt a good belaying position, sitting or standing with a firm brace for the feet and legs. The stance should, if possible, be in the same vertical plane as the climber and the anchor. Consider what will happen if he falls. The rope will tend to straighten between the climber and the anchor and if the stance is outside that straight line, the belayer will be pulled sideways. WRONG - Anchor low and stance high RIGHT - Adopt sitting position

b. c. d.

e.

5-3

Attachment of Belayer to Anchor 10. The rope from the waist is passed round the anchor and the belayer takes up his stance. A bight of the returning rope is taken through the waist loop and tied off in a figure-of-8 knot. It is important that when the belayer is in position there is no slack in the rope connecting him to the anchor.

The Belayer 11. The final link in the chain of security is the belayer himself. It is his responsibility to ensure that the rope is taken in or paid out as required and to provide support if and when it is needed. The belayers job is to hold on to the rope as tightly as possible and let the rope do the rest. The body belay is undoubtedly the most reliable method available which does not involve the use of special equipment. It is simple and depends for its satisfactory operation in the event of a fall on achieving the maximum amount of friction between the rope and the back of the hips. The hands, however are vulnerable with this method and should be protected by the wearing of gloves. It would be difficult to hold the weight of a person simply by 5-4

holding on to the rope with both hands, so the belay method makes use of the friction created when the rope is wrapped around the body in a particular way. 12. Pass the rope over the shoulders so that it runs around the waist. In one hand there is the rope going to the person whom is being protected, this is known as the live or active rope. In the other hand there is the rope going to the pile of coils, this is known as the dead or slack rope. It is important that the belayer identify which hand contains which rope, for he must take a twist in the slack rope. On no account take a twist in the active rope, because if the person being belayed suddenly slipped, the force could break a wrist (or worse). 13. Take-in and paying out the rope from this position requires practice, and it can seem very complicated when it is first tried. The basic rule is never to let go of the rope with either hand - simply feed the rope around the back, sliding it through first one hand, then the other. If the person being protected falls, immediately tighten the grip on the rope and cross the arms.

hand grips rope and moves in direction of arrow hand slides over rope in direction of arrow 14. Taking in the rope. Left hand is braking hand; right hand is lead hand. a. b. c. d. Pull in rope with both hands on rope until braking hand is fully extended. Hold rope with braking hand and slide leading hand out. Bring hands together. Hold both parts of the rope with leading hand: slide braking hand toward body, keeping it ready in case of a fall. Repeat cycle. Holding a Fall. Arrest position: braking hand wraps rope around body and tightens grip to hold fall.

e. f.

5-5

Communications 15. It is essential to have a well understood system of communication between the members of a unit when climbing. The tactical situation will dictate if and when these standard calls would be used. Examples are:Belayer a. Taking in' Climber Meaning I am belayed and about to take in the slack rope. That's me' All the slack rope has been taken up. I have taken up my stance and am ready to bring you up.

b.

c.

'Climb when you're ready' 'Climbing'

d.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Other calls which can be used. 'Take in' 'Tight' 'Slack' Descent 16. Finding a good safe route of descent down a rocky hillside is a skill that only comes with a great deal of practice. It is important that the climber learns to read the terrain, which will save time retracing steps later. Try to gain sight of the route in advance which will help, sight any lines of weakness, scree runs and any separated bands of rock. Avoid gullies unless known to be safe, be careful when following stream they may well turn into waterfalls. 17. Loose rock is probably the greatest hazard on any descent of steep rocky ground and the larger the group, the greater the risk. Good discipline is essential and the wearing of helmets is necessary when there is any risk of objective danger or serious injury. Take in slack rope. Give me a tight rope. Pay out some rope.

5-6

SECTION 6. TRAVERSING DIFFICULT GROUND General 1. There are few differences in the sequence used when traversing difficult ground. However, the rope must be passed behind intermediate anchors in order to reduce the possibility of a swing (or pendulum) in the event of a slip. These intermediate anchors (running belays) must obviously be secure. The disadvantage of this method is that it effectively halves the length of available rope because you have to get it back to the rest of the party once the first two people have climbed across. The best way to do this is to get each member to tie on in the middle of the rope, and have the second most experienced person pull it back each time.

2.

DIRECTION OF STRAIN ON BELAYER

BAD FOR CLIMBER

Abseiling 3.

General. In certain situations it may be necessary to descend steep ground which, for one reason or another, is extremely difficult or even impossible to climb down. When this happens, you will have to resort to a technique known as abseiling. Although abseiling as become a sport in its own right, the sport has little in common with an emergency situation in the mountains. An abseil is a slow controlled descent of the rope when being used in the mountains. There are many devices
6 - 1

to assist in abseiling available, however, when these are not available the classic abseil technique should be adopted, this technique will force troops to go slowly. 4.

The Classic Abseil. It is essential that a secure anchor is found. Abseiling by this method is done on a doubled rope, so that when the climber gets to the bottom, one end can be pulled and retrieved. Make sure that both ends meet the bottom and take into consideration the route away from the bottom of the abseil. The details of the classic abseil are:
a. Once the rope has been rigged and the anchor checked, stand astride the double rope and facing away from the drop, reach down behind and pass both strands of rope around the right thigh, across, the chest, and over the left shoulder. The rope in front is held with the left hand (the guiding hand), whilst the rope over the shoulder is pulled across the back and held in the right hand (controlling hand). The amount of friction caused by the rope passing around the body in this way will make it very difficult to move. It can also make it quite painful. Walk backwards to the edge of the drop and learn back, holding the weight with the controlling hand. Keeping legs slightly apart, and the knees just fractionally bent, and keep leaning back. Once the climber has reached the right angle, simply walk slowly backwards down the cliff.

b.

6 - 2

SECTION 7. TRAINING FOR MOUNTAINEERING Planning 1. All military mountain training is to be planned with due regard to: a. b. c. d. e. The availability of instructors. The availability of specialist equipment when required. The experience and physical fitness of the men undergoing training. The terrain. The weather conditions likely to prevail in the training area at the time of training. The advice given in local guidebooks and by the local mountain rescue organisation. The possibility of changes in circumstances or conditions that would result in the training, even for short periods, becoming increasingly hazardous.

f.

g.

Qualifications for Instructors 2. Although many Servicemen and women have experience and hold Adventure Qualifications, the only current Military Mountaineering Qualified personnel are those who are qualified as Royal Marines Mountain Leaders (ML). Supervision of Training 3. There are to be sufficient supervisors available to conduct safely the training that has been planned, which is a minimum of an officer or SNCO for every 30 men being trained. This is to include a ML advisor for each independent or detached sub unit. As an example, a rifle company of 100 men carrying out military mountain training, moving from A to B as a single unit, would require a ML officer or an ML1 as an advisor. If the same Coy moved on 3 independent axes, it would require a minimum of 1 x ML1 and 2 x ML2s. Equipment 4. Some special clothing or equipment may be required for mountain operations, depending upon the type of activities to be undertaken. It is important that orders exist within unit SOPs to direct the scales of clothing and equipment that will be carried by men for their operational role in mountain terrain. A balance has to be struck between operational equipment carried (weapons, ammunition, radios, etc.,) so that men are not overloaded. 7 - 1

5.

6.

Sufficient and suitable clothing is to be worn for the training envisaged. Extra clothing, food and equipment is to be carried to cover the possibility of changes in weather, accidents or poor navigation prolonging the period that must be spent in the mountains beyond that originally intended. When training is in an area of potential danger, in snow covered mountainous terrain, crampons and an ice axe are to be carried and if required used by all ranks. An example of the special clothing list for individuals is as follows: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. Beret/woollen hat jersey/fibre pile jacket combat shirt denims/windproof trousers Combat smock/windproof smock Combat boots Gloves Waterproofs

7.

8.

9.

Examples of special equipment for individuals and groups are as follows: a.

For the Individual


(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Military bergen Torch Knife and whistle Flask and bar ration Crampons and ice axes (to be issued if snow and ice covered areas of objective danger are to be crossed). Triple bowline abseiling harness (to be issued for abseiling) 2 x screw gate karabiners (to be issued for abseiling) Emergency rations Map and compass (minimum of one set per pair) 7 - 2

(6) (7) (8) (9)

(10) Survival bag (11) Combat helmet b.

For the Group


(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) Sleeping bag per 10 men Sleeping mat per 10 men Poncho per 10 men Tent per 10 men Helicopter panels per 10 men Ropes as necessary (11mm/No 4 Nylon) Specialist clothing equipment as appropriate Avalanche probes Radios (one with each sub unit)

7 - 3

SECTION 8. RIVER/STREAM CROSSING Introduction 1. Mountainous terrain particularly in temperate or jungle areas will often be interspersed with ravine systems. These may vary from narrow shallow streams to wider fast flowing rivers. All water courses, even in hot barren mountainous areas, are susceptible to flash floods which can further hinder the movement of servicemen and their equipment. Mountain training should therefore include the ability to conduct tactical river crossings. Realistic military training will always contain an element of danger, especially so when involving the hazards of water. A proper balance has to be struck between the degree of realism in training over a water gap, crossing or obstacle, and the maintenance of a sense of challenge on the one hand, and need to avoid the risk of death and injury which could only be justified in the case of operations. Terms of Reference 3. Sections 19, 20 and 21 of Infantry Training Volume IX, Infantry Tactics Pamphlet 46 (Army Code No 71467-1) deals specifically with river crossing techniques in the jungle. Whilst specifically related to the jungle environment, the majority of river crossing procedures in Section 20 and Section 21 can be adapted easily to river crossings in a more open or mountainous area. When conducting river crossings all units should comply with guidelines given in Pamphlet 46 paying particular attention to those on safety. In peace time the instructions for all types of military activity involving the hazards of water are given in AGAIs (Chapter 18). A river crossing should only be attempted when: a. b. Water is clearly fordable. Any potential danger, especially to men carrying heavy bergans, can be adequately safeguarded by the use of a rope. The alternatives to crossing are more hazardous than the crossing itself.

2.

4.

5.

c.

Training for River Crossings 6. River crossing training should be conducted under controlled and supervised conditions. Where possible the crossing should be made from the shallow to deep and from slack to fast moving water with an easy avenue of return either across a bridge or by wide easy shallows. These conditions are commonly found at bends in the river where the form of the river carries the main current to the outside of the bend.

8 - 1

7.

The stretch of river chosen should be free of hazards such as submerged trees, dangerous undertows, high difficult banks and tail. A member of the training team should be stationed at this point in case a fielding operation should be necessary. A look-out should also be posted upstream of the crossing to give warning of the approach of any heavy floating debris. If necessary life jackets should be worn by all those actually engaged in crossing the river whenever the rope is not in use.

Lookout

TRAINING TEAM

Cr

os

sin

g
Bank and water clear of hazards

Tail

of pool

TRAINING TEAM

Gravel Bank

um Maxim

Curre

nt

River Crossing in Mountainous Areas 8. In mountain areas where there is a quick run off of surface rain water even the smallest streams can become raging torrents in a matter of moments. In this condition they are potentially very dangerous and if there is any doubt at all about whether or not they can be crossed then either make a detour of stay put until the floods subside. This decision is the key to the problem. It can only be taken by the commander on the spot, bearing in mind all the factors relevant to the safety of the troops. 8 - 2

9.

If it is considered that the river is fordable, then certain fundamental rules have to be observed. a. Inspect as much of the river as possible before selecting the best crossing point. It is often quite easy to ford a river near its mouth. Mountain streams running into lakes normally flatten out and consequently slow down in the last half mile or so. Generally, the water is quite deep but slow-flowing. Again, however, great care must be taken in crossing, particularly with the nonswimmer. The area selected should be free of obstructions, submerged or otherwise, which could snag any ropes. Avoid high banks, and make sure that the exit point is reasonable, with good access along both banks. Inspect the outflow. As far as possible it should also meet the above conditions. Small and/or lightweight or young soldiers could be swept off their feet at shallower depths. Make allowances for this when selecting the best crossing point. Packs should be carried high on the back, making sure that any waist belt or head strap is undone for quick release if this should prove necessary. In really fast water, stones or other ballast can be added to the sack to increase stability. Never remove boots even when fording a small stream. For comfort, socks may be taken off and boots worn on bare feet. Trousers too may be removed to reduce friction. Do not test the force of the water without being secured from the bank. Do not attempt to cross by jumping from boulder to boulder where one slip could result in serious injury. If fording a river which is not in heavy flood, it is helpful to use a stout stick as a third leg. It should be inserted on the up stream side and can be used as a probe for depth. Never face downstream where the force of the water acting on the back of the legs can cause the knees to give way. Make sure that one foot is firmly placed before moving the other. Do not cross the legs. Shuffle the feet; don't lift them up. It can be a great help to angle the hips in such a way that the current exerts a force in the direction of crossing. Adopt a 'ferry-glide' position with the leading hip (ie the one nearest the bank you are heading for) advanced to make an angle of up to 45 degrees with the current.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f. g.

h.

i.

j.

8 - 3

k.

Finally, commanders should note the danger of fast melt water streams and the debilitating effect of water at very low temperatures. In such circumstances try and remain as dry as possible when crossing and allow time for troops to dry and warm themselves once the crossing is complete.

Method of Crossing Using a Rope 10. In order to conduct this type of river crossing each man involved in mountain training should carry a 6m length of rope (kerrmantle 6mm LP 0471-99-211-0002 or rope kernmantle 7mm LP 0471-99-211-003). Such rope lengths can be joined together by a suitable knot to form a continuous rope. As a guide, the length of rope required to cross a river using this method should be 3 times the width of the river. Thus a section of men will have sufficient rope lengths to cross a river over 15m wide. 11. To enhance their river crossing ability each section should also carry a 25m length of rope (Black Marlowe). This will be particularly important when using the alternative methods of river crossing.

A B (i)

C A (ii) C B

A (iii) A

C A B

(iv)

Crossing a River with a Rope 8 - 4

Notes: a. The leader 'B' ties on to a loop in the rope (figure of eight knot) and sets off across and slightly downstream supporting himself on the rope held by 'A'. He should face upstream at all times. 'A' and 'C' should not be belayed and simply pass the rope through their hands. In the event of 'B' slipping in, he is pulled to the shore by 'C' while 'A' lets his rope run. Never try to pull a man to the bank from upstream of him. He is certain to be dragged under. On reaching the far bank 'B' slips off his waist loop but leaves it tied to the rope. 'C' ties on to a second loop and, supported by 'A', who should, if possible, take up a position on a suitable promontory, sets off in the manner described for 'B'. If 'C' should fall in he is pulled to shore by 'B', on the downstream side. Once two men are established on the far bank the method can be varied slightly to assist those who come after. 'B' can now take up a position upstream of 'A', crossing, and offer him considerably more support with the rope. Should 'A' fall in he can still be fielded by 'C' on the downstream side. The last man crosses in a similar manner to the first, supported by 'B' and pulled in by 'C' if he falls in.

b.

c.

d.

Method of Crossing Using Two Ropes 12. If two ropes are available the leader and second man may cross as in 11a and 11b above. The third ('D') and subsequent members of the party tie on to the middle of one rope and the end of the other as shown. 'D' is supported by both 'A' and 'B' as he crosses diagonally downstream. In the event of mishap he can be fielded by 'C'. On reaching the far bank he unties and secures the rope from 'B' and 'C' to the 'tail' held by 'A'. 'A' then pulls all the ropes across for the next man.

B D A C

Note:

The length of rope from C-D can either be made up from several 6m lengths of Rope Kermantle or a single length of 25m Black Marlowe rope could be used for wider rivers. 8 - 5

13. An alternative method of getting the party across when high banks or trees permit a single rope to be stretched taut across the river.

14. The leader 'B' crosses in the manner previously described, tying to two ropes instead of one. 15. On reaching the far bank he unties and one of the ropes is stretched taut across the river diagonally downstream as shown and some 10 ft to 12 ft above the surface. Any solid anchor can be used, such as a tree or rock, provided it gives sufficient clearance. The rope can be tensioned by 'A' and the remainder of the group using a simple pulley system. It is important that it should be tight enough not to sag into the water when holding the weight of a man at its mid-point. 16. 'C' then ties on to the middle of the second rope held by 'A' and 'B' on the opposite banks. He attaches himself to the taut rope by means of a sling (or loop in his safety rope) and karabiner. For stability, he can hold on to the fixed rope and assisted by 'B' makes his way diagonally downstream to join him. The remainder of the party cross in the same way with the exception of the last man who crosses in a similar manner to the first. 17. The method is effective and safe if properly rigged, but is dependent on finding suitable anchors in the right position and high enough above the river. The party must also be carrying two ropes, karabiners, ideally the screwgate type, and slings (these can be constructed from the 6m lengths of Rope Kernmantle carried by each man). Method Without a Rope 18. Only in circumstances of the most dire necessity should any attempt be made to cross a river without a link to the bank. In such circumstances the following methods have proved to be the most successful: a. Cross in groups of three with arms firmly linked, heads close together and feet apart. The lower man must face upstream and only one must move at a time. In this way the two stationary men can support the moving man. A satisfactory alternative method is for the three or more to cross in a line downstream 8 - 6

b.

River Flow

River Flow

Represents man facing in direction of arrow Correct

1 2 3 4

Wrong

c.

The first man takes a small step sideways, supported by No 2 who should be the heaviest of the party. No 2 steps into line behind him, supported by No 3 and so on until all the party are in a single line downstream. No 1 moves again and the process is repeated. In this way the line moves slowly across the stream. In heavy water it is better if the group moves as a single unit (ie all take a step at the same time). If either of these methods is used great care is absolutely essential. They should only be used in relatively shallow water.

d.

8 - 7

SECTION 9. IMPROVISED STRETCHERS Introduction 1. When troops are operating in mountainous terrain, accidents can happen. It is not always possible to rely on outside agencies for evacuate casualties themselves. This Section deals with improvised stretchers that have been tried and tested over years for troops to use, with the equipment they carry. At the outset it should be appreciated that improvised "carries" and "stretchers" are of short range value. It would be exhausting and possibly dangerous to attempt a long evacuation by such methods. The main use is in moving an injured person to a more sheltered area or in evacuating someone with relatively minor injuries or, of course, when evacuation by any method is preferable to leaving the victim where he is. Lastly, it should be pointed out that improvised stretchers are as limited as ones imagination. A casualty can be moved by piggy back which can utilise the rucksack straps and padding to ease the weight on the carrier as shown in the diagram. This is however an exhausting method of moving a casualty and would not be suitable for a casualty with serious injury. a.

2.

Piggy Back Carry

9 - 1

b.

Split Rope Carry.

One Man Split Rope Carry EQUIPMENT AND MEANS Rope and padding. Casualty sits on padding with coils of rope. COMMENT Moderately comfortable.

EQUIPMENT AND MEANS Rope and padding. Split into two over outside shoulders of carriers. Casualty sits on rope (padded) in between. COMMENT Nog good on rough terrain. Unstable fore/aft

Two Man Split Rope Carry 9 - 2

c.

Two Man Rucksack and Pole Carry

EQUIPMENT AND MEANS Two rucksacks (or four slings) and pole or long ice axe. Pole slotted through rucksack's straps (or crossed slings) behind carriers' backs. Patient sits in between on pole. COMMENT Uncomfortable for casualty

d.

Sedan Chair.

EQUIPMENT AND MEANS One rucksack, two poles or long ice axes, one anorak. Anorak sleeves inside out, poles slotted through to form seat. Front carrier wears rucksack poles slotted through straps. Casualty sits back to back with front carrier. One carrier either side at rear of poles. COMMENT Good. The more helping to carry the better, provided they can see 4-5ft in front of them to place feet.

e.

Full Length Sedan.

EQUIPMENT AND MEANS Long poles (tent), four anoraksl. As above only casualty lies prone. The bed can be made with anoraks, tent, poly bag or rope. Six people required. COMMENT Excellent. Rigid sides easier to carry. 9 - 3

f.

Poly-bag Stretcher

EQUIPMENT AND MEANS One 8' x 4' survival bag, tent or similar. 6 round, plum-sized stones. 6 slings, straps, belts, etc. The stones are placed in position inside the polythene bag and each one tied off with a clove hitch. Six or more people needed. COMMENT Simple and quick to make. A bit fragile and floppy for the casualty. Excellent for sliding on snow if injuries permit. g.

The Triple Bowline Carry

Fitted as a full harness Fitted as a sit sling

EQUIPMENT AND MEANS Rope only COMMENT Easy to tie, but difficult to adjust, particularly the single loop which goes across the casualty's chest.

The triple bowline 9 - 4

h.

Rope Stretchers. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice to make a good rope stretcher, but for those who are prepared to put the time into it, it can be a worthwhile and useful technique. Constructed incorrectly, it can be worse than useless. The original Piggott stretcher has been extensively modified and the method illustrated here is considerably easier to tie and adjust. Roscoe Rope Stretcher

(1.) Find centre of the rope. (2.) Leave enough rope for a carrying loop (to go over head and shoulder of carrier). (3.) Make a loop with one of the ends using an overhand knot.

9 - 5

(4.) Make a slip knot in the rope on the opposite side.

(5a)

5(c)

(5b)

(6.) Thread the loop through the slip knot, then pull the slip knot inside out, to form a sheet bend. (The end of the loop should be long enough to tie a halfhitch, once the stretcher is finished, and be used as a small handle.) (7.) Repeat this, taking loops from alternate sides, until the stretcher is the required length. The knots should be about 4" apart at weight bearing parts of the stretcher (where shoulders, head and hips will be); if short of rope they can be further apart on legs. (8.) Adjust width of stretcher to fit patient. Tie off ends of loops with half-hitches. (These can then be used as small handles.) (9.) Tie ends of rope to form a carr ying loop at foot of stretcher. Pad stretcher before loading patient. 9 - 6

SECTION 10. BACKGROUND PUBLICATIONS Publication (a) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Mountain Rescue RAF Pam (Air) 299 B March E Lanqmuir P Cliff B March H Macinnes Steele Cicerone Press Constable Heinemann Cicerone Press Council/MLTB Author (b) Publisher (c)

Modern Rope Techniques in Mountaineering Mountain Leadership Mountain Navigation Modern Snow and Ice Techniques International Mountain Rescue Handbook Medical Care for Mountain Climbers Hazards in Mountaineering Manual of Modern Rope Techniques

Paulke/Dumler-Kaye & Ward N Sheppard T Daffern Constable Diarden

10. Avalanche Safety for Skiers and Climbers

10 - 1

MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS

PART D

HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT

ARMY FIELD MANUAL VOLUME IV PART 1 MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS PART D HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT

CONTENTS CHAPTER 1 - THE GERMAN OFFENSIVE IN THE CAUCASUS 1941-43 Section 1 Section 2 Operational Planning for the Offensive The Development of Operations 1-1 1-5

CHAPTER 2 - PARTISAN OPERATIONS IN THE FRENCH ALPS 1945 The Battle of the Valle Blanche 2-1

CHAPTER 3 - THE BATTLE OF CHUMIK-SIACHEN. APR-MAY 1989 Glacier Warfare between India and Pakistan 3-1

CHAPTER 4 - THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN Snapshots of the War in Afghanistan Example 1 Example 2 Example 3 Blocking and Sweeping a Mountain Canyon Assaulting a Canyon Seizing a Pass with an Airborne Battalion 4-1 4-4 4-6 4-9

CHAPTER 1 THE GERMAN OFFENSIVE IN THE CAUCASUS SECTION 1. OPERATIONAL PLANNING FOR THE OFFENSIVE Background 1. To Hitler, the oil of the Caucasus had always been one of the foremost attractions of Russia. He had mentioned the necessity of seizing the Baku oilfields as early as 31 July 1940 during one of the initial discussions of plans to invade the Soviet Union. In the Spring of 1941 an Oil Detachment Caucasus was formed with the purpose of taking over and maintaining the oilfields once captured. Directive No 32, circulated within the three Armed Services on 11 June 1941 envisaged a drive across from Iran from the Caucasus as part of a three pronged drive in the Middle East area after Operation BARBAROSSA was completed. On 24 July 1941 the Army Operations Division wrote a memorandum on the conduct of operations after the conclusion of Operation BARBAROSSA. With regard to the Caucasus it was anticipated that the British would seize and block this area as soon as the Germans approached the Sea of Azov. The first British troop concentrations were believed to be taking place along the northern and eastern border of Iraq. Because of terrain difficulties a German offensive from the southern slopes of the Caucasus across Iran into Iraq could not be executed before the spring of 1942. Meanwhile, data regarding the Caucasus was to be collected by the Operations Staff. At the beginning of August the German Naval Operations Staff submitted an estimate of the probable reaction of the Soviet Black Sea fleet in the event of a German penetration into the Caucasus. It was believed that the fleet could seriously hamper operations by keeping the coastal road and railroad between Tuapse and Sukhumi under fire. In the Black Sea area the German Navy had no units capable of stopping or disturbing the movements of the Soviet Fleet. Coastal batteries would be of limited use; even if they did drive the Soviet ships farther off shore, the latter would still remain within reach of the coast. Air force protection was the only effective means of safeguarding coastal traffic. In late September reports from agents and radio intercepts indicated that the Russians had from five to six divisions in the Caucasus and three in Iran. It was also estimated that if British troops entered the Soviet Union it would take three weeks to get from Iran to the Caucasus and four weeks to the Crimea. The First Plan for a Caucasus Operation 6. In October 1941 the Operations Division of the Army High Command drew up the first detailed plan for a Caucasus operation. The scope of the offensive was limited to seizing the oil resources of the Caucasus and to reaching the Iranian 1 - 1

2.

3.

4.

5.

and Iraqi border passes for a possible farther advance toward Baghdad. The operation was to be executed in six separate phases, extending from November 1941 to September 1942. These phases were outlined as follows: a. Phase 1 - Seizure of the approaches to the northern Caucasus, starting in November 1941; Phase 2 - A series of preliminary attacks leading to the seizure of suitable jump-off areas by May 1942; Phase 3 - Launching the offensive across the Caucasus Mountains in two different stages in June 1942; Phase 4 - The advance across Transcaucasia toward the Turkish and Iranian borders; Phase 5 - Seizure of favourable jump-off areas within Iran; and Phase 6 - Capture of the border passes leading into Iraq. The last three phases were to take place in the period July - early September 1942.

b.

c.

d.

e. f.

7.

The feasibility of the entire offensive would depend on the course taken by current operations in the Russian theatre. The second and third phases could be executed only if German troops reached the lower Volga during the winter of 1941-42. The scope of the preliminary attacks to be launched during the second phase would depend on the overall plan adopted for the offensive across the Caucasus. The latter could be launched via the two roads following the Black and Caspian Sea coasts respectively and over the mountain road leading to Tiflis. The interior roads crossed the mountains over passes more than 10,000 feet in altitude. These roads could be negotiated only by mountain divisions. The movement along the Caspian coastal road would be easier because only a few outdated Russian destroyers were liable to interfere. During the first stage of the offensive proper, two motorized and two mountain corps were to be employed, driving toward Sukhumi and Kutaisi in the west, Tiflis in the centre, and Baku in the east, respectively. As soon as any one of these forces had achieved a break-through, one additional motorized corps that was being held in reserve was to move up and launch the pursuit. The commitment of this reserve force would determine where the point of main effort was to be placed during the second stage of the offensive. The employment of two corps in the west during the first stage would be necessary because of the vulnerability of the lines of communications along the Black Sea. Moreover, the west had the only practical route for launching an enveloping drive, since unfavourable terrain conditions prevented any such manoeuvre elsewhere. During the second stage of the offensive the penetration into the moun-

8.

9.

1 - 2

tains would have to be exploited by the reserve corps which could thrust either via the Black Sea coastal road to Batumi and from there via Tiflis to Baku; or across the mountains to Tiflis and from there either to Batumi or Baku; or along the Caspian shore to Baku and from there, if necessary to Tiflis. 10. While the offensive was in progress, German naval contingents would have to protect Novorossiysk and Tuapse by taking over captured coastal batteries. In addition, some submarines would have to keep the Russian Black Sea fleet under control, and the Navy would also have to make available the shipping space needed for carrying supplies from Novorossiysk to Batumi once the Russian fleet had been eliminated. 11. The Luftwaffe would have to protect and support the ground forces; combat the Red Navy and its ports; commit airborne troops to capture the major cities; use dive bombers against the pass fortifications; and prepare transport planes to airdrop supplies.

12. This plan met with general approval at an exploratory conference held at Army High Command headquarters on 24 October 1941. An attack across the Caucasus was considered the quickest solution to Germany's Middle-Eastern problems. The effect of such an offensive would induce Turkey to join the Axis Powers. In addition, British forces, that would otherwise oppose Rommel in North Africa, would be tied down in Iran. 13. An offensive launched in the spring of 1942 would first lead to the seizure of the Caucasus oil fields, then open the passes from Iran to Iraq, and finally permit the capture of the Iraqi oil fields in the autumn of 1942, when the weather favoured the commitment of large ground forces. The essential prerequisite for such farreaching operations was the seizure of the west bank of the lower Volga from Stalingrade to Astrakhan. This realization implied that if, for instance, the Germans failed to capture Stalingrad, a complete re-evaluation of the plans for an offensive against the Caucasus would become necessary. 14. Among the essential preparations for a Caucasus operation discussed at this conference were the production of military maps and tropical clothing as well as the activation and deployment of special mountain troops. Later Modifications to the Plan 15. In a conversation with General Halder on 19 November, Hitler stated that the first objective for 1942 would be the Caucasus. An offensive launched for this purpose in March-April 1942 would bring the German forces to the Soviet border with Iran. Other objectives for 1942 could not yet be designated. Their scope would depend mainly on the capacity of the railroads. The question of whether a defensive wall separating Asiatic from European Russia was subsequently to be constructed remained open. Hitler thus revealed a number of interesting facts. Even as late as 19 November he seemed convinced that the Germans would be able to capture Moscow before the end of 1941. Furthermore, he seemed to believe that 1 - 3

Figure 1-1. The Overall Operation Situation in the Caucasus 1 - 4

the Caucasus offensive across difficult mountain terrain could be successfully executed within a few weeks in April and May, as a kind of southern interlude prior to another offensive farther north. Three days later, on 22 November 1941, Halder ordered a light infantry division to be organized for the Caucasus operation and certain mountain troops to be withdrawn from combat. SECTION 2. THE DEVELOPMENT OF OPERATIONS The Situation in the Army Group Area during 1942 16. The confrontation between Soviet and German forces outside Moscow and the crisis that subsequently developed across the winter of 1941/42 deflected further detailed planning for operations in the Caucasus. Indeed Army Group South was not even clear of the Crimean Peninsula. However, a Directive was issued by the Operations Division of the Army High Command in February 1942 which indicated that Army Group South was to eliminate Soviet penetrations around the Crimea and reorganise for further operations to the East. 17. During March and April 1942 the Germans were still incapable of launching offensives and were still engaged in rebuilding strength and reorganising formations. On 5 May however following a further Directive (41) operations in the Crimea commenced again and during the next two months Army Groups A and B, (the former Army Group South) advanced towards the Volga river and Stalingrad, the Kuban River, and the Caucasus under Field Marshal List. 18. By 13 July 1942 the advance towards the Volga had made such rapid progress that Hitler wanted to start a southward thrust towards the Caucasus. Stalingrad Takes Priority Over the Caucasus 19. On 25 July, Army Group A started operation Edelweiss, the capture of the Caucasus oilfields and advances of up to 30 miles a day were achieved in the early stages of the operation. By 29 July the last rail line connecting the Caucasus with central Russia was blown up at several points by German armoured elements. The Caucasus was isolated and Hitler seemed to believe that it was his for the taking. On the next day Army Group A was warned that the heavy fighting near Stalingrad would force the Army High Command to transfer one additional German corps and two Romanian ones with a number of divisions to Army Group B in order to assist Sixth Army in its struggle. The Fourth Panzer Army headquarters might also be pulled out to take charge of this support thrust, in which case only one of its corps would continue to participate in the drive toward Maikop under First Panzer Army control. The definite decision would depend on developments in the Stalingrad situation. 20. On 31 July the order to transfer the Fourth Panza Army was confirmed. In the introductory remarks to the order it was stated that with the severing of the rail communications between the Caucasus and Stalingrad the Russian front south of the Don was split wide open. The Russians in front of Army Group A would 1 - 5

attempt to stop the German advance into the Caucasus, but it seemed doubtful whether they would have the necessary forces to do so. Army Group A's immediate mission was to seize the Black Sea coast and thus paralyze the Russian fleet, which in turn would guarantee the security of the German lines of communications across that body of water. 21. Army Group A was to assemble its remaining motorized units under First Panzer army for a drive in the direction of Maikop. From there some Army elements were to cut off the withdrawing Russian forces, while others were to drive via Tuapse toward Batumi. Some motorized units would have to protect the eastern flank of the army. Mountain divisions were to be employed for the thrusts across the passes in the Caucasus. The Grossdeutschland Division would however be available for eight days more, after which it was to be moved to the West. 22. Hitler's Directive had ordered that all the Gebirgsjaeger divisions were to be deployed. There were only two on the strength of Army Group 'A'; 1st and 4th Divisions of XLIX Gebirgskorps, part of Seventeenth Army on the right flank. What had been a very difficult operation for the three original armies under List's command became an impossible task when his forces were reduced to two armies. They contained between them only sixteen divisions, and the Caucasus region between Rostov and Zimliansrata on the Don comprised more than 100 kilometres of front which would widen to more than 1,000 kilometres as the advance was pushed home towards the Caucasus mountains. Were everything to be committed to a single battle line, each division would have to cover a width of front of well over 60 kilometres. There was no prospect of reinforcement and even when the promised Alpini Corps eventually arrived it was removed almost immediately and rushed to Stalingrad. 23. If XLIX Gebirgskorps was pleased that it had at least been given the task for which it was trained, to attack and to capture mountains, its commanders were less happy. There were certain negative factors. To begin with there was a distance of 400 kilometres to be covered - on foot - before fighting for the mountain passes could begin. Corps was without a proper supply train and Seventeenth Army had no air transport squadrons allotted to it. There was, however, an overriding sense of relief among the Jaeger that finally the Gebirgs divisions were to be given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability. It was a challenge which they anticipated with pleasure although the Caucasian mountain wall ran for more than 1,200 kilometres on a general north-west/south-east line. The highest peaks were in the central massif and four of these were in excess of five thousand metres. The range on its western (ie European) side had peaks that were covered by tree growth of jungle density while on the eastern (Asiatic) side the slopes were bare rock. The region could, in 1942, be truly described as terra incognita and aware of this deficiency in his intelligence courses, General Engelseer, commanding 4th Gebirgs Division, despatched a staff officer to Munich to carry out research in the city's libraries. He found little up-to-date information. 24. The foothills of the Caucasus range extended as far northwards as the Rivers Kuban and Terek, that is to say, the approach march which the Jaeger had to 1 - 6

make would be across a country better suited to defence than to attack. The heavy rainfall, 400 centimetres was normal and turned into snow when it fell upon the northern slopes of the mountains on the Black Sea side. Above the 3,500metre line was a region of perpetual snow and ice and of thick cloud masses which formed quickly and dispersed with equal speed. The military road to Sukhumi ran through the 2,800-metre-high Klukhor Pass and could be used by motor transport. There were seven other main passes all of which, according to old guidebooks, had good roads. These passes were the Pseaskha, Adzapch, Chmakmaro, Maruklhsky, Nahmhar, Chiper and Azau. Tactical Developments in the Caucasus from August to December 1942 25. On 6 August the Gebirgskorps were ordered to turn from an advance eastwards to an advance in a southerly direction. Speed was demanded of the marching columns and within three days, in conditions of oppressive heat and smothered by clouds of mosquitoes, the regiments reached the foothills of the Caucasus. By 12 August 1st and 4th Divisions had captured the passes through the mountains and were striking towards Sukhumi, that is to say the passes between the Elbrus and the Adzapch sectors. The 1st Division was ordered to reach and seize the 'Old Army' road to the south of Sukhumi and 4th was to capture the town itself. However, the steadily lengthening lines of communications, the growing size of the territory to be kept under control, the scarcity of motor fuel, and the increasing terrain obstacles began to slow down the astonishing advance conducted by the Jaeger troops of the 1st and 4th Divisions. 26. On 23 August a German propaganda release proudly announced that at 1100 hrs on 21 August a detachment of mountain troops had raised the German flag on Mount Elbrus. That it was an excellent demonstration of Gebirgsjaeger ability cannot be doubted, but it was, in military terms, a pointless exercise. In Hitler's eyes it certainly was and he ranted on about these 'stupid mountaineers who should have been court-martialled'. Unfortunately the conquest of this peak did not alleviate the oil shortages. By an ironic coincidence of fate troops from the Fourth Panzer Army had reached the outskirts of Stalingrad on the same day and this event, although unannounced, confirmed the subsequent fate of the troops in the Caucasus region. 27. Although both divisions had broken into the mountains they soon found that they did not have the manpower or resources to advance out of them. The Gebirgskorps attack to take out Tuapse in the last week of August failed in the face of massive Soviet counter-attacks and with this failure died also the hopes that Hitler had placed upon his battle plan for the Caucasus. The Army regrouped and created, in addition to XLIX Gebirgs, a Corps of Jaeger (light infantry). A special temporary Gebirgs detachment, Gebirgs Division Lanz, was built around 13th and 98th Regiments and given the task of capturing a Soviet defence line made up of more than two thousand bunkers and other field fortifications. This group captured the entire objective as well as Mount Smaschcko, but against increasing Soviet resistance the Gebirgsjaeger could not bring the advance forward; it was the farthest southerly point that they reached. With winter weather only weeks away and aware of 1 - 7

DONETSK

ASTRAKHAN

STAVROPOL

ROSTOV KRASNODAR
CHERKESSK
BLACK SEA

GROZNY BATUMI

KLISLOVDSK

Mikoyaa Schachar

GB 99

Uchkulan 1/98 BADER 'BAUER' Kluctor Pass Teberda GB 98 Hirscheld 'MAYR' Elbrus
UC AS US

'GROTH' Chursuk

CA

SUKHUMI

MOUNTA

INS

BLACK SEA

Figure 1-2. The Tactical Situation in the Caucasus Aug-Nov 1942

Figure 1-3. German Artillery on the Move in the Caucasus

Figure 1-4. German Troops at the Summit of Mount Elbrus 1-1

the difficulties of supply that this would mean for the fighting troops who lay on the far side of the mountains, ie the southern side, Field Marshal List ordered a withdrawal across to the northern side of the range. Hitler, infuriated by the Field Marshal's action, removed him from command and assumed command himself, although his forward HQ was more than 1,000 kilometres away from the battle area. 28. The Soviet forces concentrated their efforts at driving-in the perimeter held by 'Lanz Division' and of forcing XLIX Corps back up the Caucasus to the Don River. As early as the first week of November 1942 Lanz reported that three Soviet corps and a number of independent brigades were massed against the rapidly diminishing strength of his division. Permission for his men to pull back was refused. 29. Lack of moral fibre by senior commanders condemned the Jaeger to face unequal odds and to fight and die in conditions of such misery that they cannot be imagined. Sentries died of exposure if they were not relieved within half an hour, and the bitter cold even loosened the fillings in the soldiers' teeth. Rations came forward irregularly and always in insufficient quantities. In December Lanz was reporting that men had died of exhaustion. Each day sixty pack-animals died. Only one day's rations for the men remained. There was no fodder for the animals. He reported that it was no longer possible to evacuate the wounded and that road communications had been destroyed by floods, so no ammunition was coming through to the forward positions. And still those in authority would not permit a withdrawal of Lanz's shattered regiments. Rations were cut by half. The front line strength of one unit fell from 170 men to just ten. The End of Operations 1943 30. It was eventually realized, even at Hitler's Command Headquarters, that a retreat was inevitable and this was conducted over the next three months; two of which were the coldest months of the year. The difficulties that had to be overcome beggar description. With most of the draught-horses dead, the heavy guns could not be moved except by tractors and Corps had only ten of these. Some machines broke down from constant use in the appalling road conditions. There were instances where artillery pieces had sunk so deep into the mud that three tractors had to be used to drag them free. A deterioration in the weather brought heavy rain which produced floods and when these waters froze, the tractors could not get a grip on the icy surfaces of the mountain roads. Despite the conditions XLIX Gebirgskorps brought out all its guns as well as those batteries which had been seconded to it from Seventeenth Army. The guns were towed; the Jaeger, of course, retreated on foot. After months of campaigning, of fighting against an enemy that grew in numerical strength all the time, and with their ranks disseminated by casualties, covered with lice and with empty bellies, the Jaeger marched and marched. XLIX Corps did not form the rearguard for this retreat, but, covered by units of 46th Infantry Division, moved into new positions in the swamps of the Kuban. Section 2 was based on extracts from the book Hitler's Mountain Troops by James Lucas (published by Arms and Armour Press). 1 - 10

CHAPTER 2 PARTISAN OPERATIONS IN THE FRENCH ALPS - 1945 THE BATTLE OF THE VALLE BLANCHE Background 1. In the breakup of France after the German invasion in 1940 the mountain border between France and Italy was not immediately occupied and French mountain troops in the Haute Savoie region were in a position to hide away weapons and equipment in the mountains before disbanding. In November 1942 Italian troops moved into the Haute Savoie from northern Italy although they were subsequently replaced later by German troops, particularly in strategic border regions such as Chamonix. During 1944 more active resistance was mounted against the German authorities throughout France particularly at the time of the invasion of France in June 1944. In the Chamonix area the 'maquis' were the predominate resistance group and after a serious set back during fighting with the Germans on the Plateau des Gliers managed to obtain the surrender of the German troops in Chamonix itself after a successful road ambush during August 1944. However, despite this audacious success, the war was far from over for the Mont Blanc Battalion of the Resistance because Italy was still occupied by the Germans and thus the mountain frontier now became the front line in the continuing war. Thus in 1945 the frontier was manned and patrolled by German/Italian troops on the Courmayeur side and by French Resistance troops on the Chamonix side. A combat group of the Mont Blanc Battalion was permanently stationed at the Abri Simond Hut at the Col du Midi (3,650m). Most of the men belonging to this battalion were Aspirant Guides and all were experienced mountaineers and skiers. There were usually eight to ten men living up there at any one time and due to the severity of the weather and the effects of altitude, they were relieved every 10 days. The service cable car running from the Col du Midi to les Plerins was used to transport both men and supplies to the location. The Military Situation in February 1945 4. From the Col du Midi there were regular reconnaissance patrols (on skis) across the Valle Blanche to the Torino Hut, the Col de Toule, Mont Blanc du Tacul and even the Aiguille de Rochefort - from which points the French could see down into the Aosta Valley and were able to regularly meet up with their counterparts in the Italian Resistance. There were also observation posts at the Requin Hut and at Montenvers, where there were machine guns positioned on both sides of the Mer de Glace. The Germans, for their part, occupied the Aosta valley as far as Entrves, just above Courmayeur. From here they controlled the cable car which ran from Entrves to Mont Frty, the top section to Helbronner not having been constructed. 2 - 1

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Figure 2-1. Mount Blanc Massiff

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Figure 2-2. Map of the Col du Midi and the Vallee Blanche 2 - 2A

6.

The Resistance also had an advanced post on the Italian side of the Valle Blanche at the Torino Hut, which at 3,365m dominated the Courmayeur-Entrves valley. But on the 2nd October 1944, under cover of a snowstorm and due to lack of vigilance on the part of the French, the Germans were able to attack the post. A short battle ensued, in which four members of the Resistance were killed, including the head of the Italian maquis. The hut was mostly destroyed and the Germans placed heavy machine guns at the Col du Gant and in the rocks of the Petit Flambeau. The Mont Blanc Battalion, having lost their advanced post, retreated to the Abri Simond Hut. They could no longer make sorties to the Col de Toule near the Torino Hut, but were still able to make reconnaissance patrols to the Col d'Entrves between the Aiguille d'Entrves and the Tour Ronde, and from where they could observe any movement taking place down in the Courmayeur Valley. So separated by the four kilometres of glacier across the Valle Blanche, the French and Germans watched each other throughout the winter of 1944-1945. Actions During February 1945

7.

8.

Then, in February 1945 the Germans received an order that they were to capture the Col du Midi, destroy the cable car, and then proceed down the Gant ice fall to take the Requin Hut in the frontier area from the summit of Mont Blanc to the Grandes Jorasses, cutting off any chance of the French receiving supplies or reinforcements. However, the larger purpose behind this plan was to prove that the Germans were still invincible, that they had not yet lost the war, and to demonstrate that they could capture Mont Blanc and place their men on the summit of the highest mountain in Europe. On the 16 February 1945 a French reconnaissance patrol on the Col d'Entrves observed German supply columns making their way up the Glacier de Toule towards the Torino Hut. They returned immediately to the Col du Midi to report their observation. The Germans were clearly planning an attack and reinforcements were immediately requested. Down in the valley, Sergeant Jacquet and his group of nine men had just returned to le Tour from a four hour dawn patrol in another area when they were ordered to report to Chamonix immediately. This in itself presented something of a problem as there were avalanches across the road in several places and it was necessary to cover the whole distance (12km) on skis. So it was not until 1900 hrs that day that the 10 men reached Chamonix. But, by 0100 hrs on the morning of the 17th February they arrived at the Col du Midi and, together with the 10 men already there, took up defensive positions around the Abri Simond and the Cosmiques Huts.

9.

10. Sergeant Jacquet relates that, "To move across the glacier at night, with no light (there was no moon) would have been extremely dangerous as there are many large crevasses in the Valle Blanche. Therefore we did not expect a German attack before first light. However at 0330 hrs a flare was seen above the Gros Rognon. "glacier". The French did not realise it at the time that it was not the Germans who had lit the flare but, as they later discovered, three British Intelligence Officers. These three men had come from Chamonix via the Mer de Glace 2 - 3

and the Gant ice fall and were at that time making their way across the Valle Blanche to the Torino Hut, hoping to descend to Courmayeur where they were to meet up with another British undercover agent. In the dark the three men stumbled upon the advancing Germans, and let off a flare in the hope of warning any French groups of their approach. This act of heroism, which prevented the French from being surprised led to these three officers being captured by the Germans. Luckily they were able to escape during a later ensuing battle, but it is not known whether they ever reached their final distinction because, unaccountably, they were never heard of again. 11. "Having seen the flare" recalls Sergeant Jacquet. "We feared an imminent German attack on the Col du Midi and not wanting to be surprised with our backs to the wall (or the void) we set out immediately into the night." At 4.30am they were at the foot of Mont Blanc du Tacul when one of the scouts spotted figures crouched on the glacier. The French Lieutenant threw a grenade and gave the command to open fire. There then followed an exchange of fire during which the French were given the order to retreat back to the Col du Midi. However, Sergeant Jacquet and his group of three men had not heard the order: "It was an extremely confusing situation," said Sergeant Jacquet, "since both the Germans and ourselves were dressed in exactly the same white combat clothes and in the darkness it was impossible to tell who was who; we daren't risk shooting in case we hit our own men. The Lieutenant then decided to retreat and wait until it was light. Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, in all the noise and confusion I didn't hear the order to retreat, but realising we couldn't stay where we were, I told my men to climb up on to the rocks on the NE Arte of Mont Blanc du Tacul which was just above us. There we found ourselves in a perfect eyrie, looking straight down on the German positions at the Gros Rognon, and of course they had no idea we were there". 12. Firing more or less ceased from both sides until it got light, but once it was possible to see, the battle commenced in earnest. From his eyrie, Sergeant Jacquet could hear and see the German commander giving orders for the attack on the Col du Midi. Although the Sergeant's group were only four men, as against 45 Germans, they had the advantage of surprise and he gave the order for his group to fire. With the first burst they hit the German commander, who was killed. With the loss of their leader the enemy seemed uncertain as to what to do, and taking advantage of their hesitation, Sergeant Jacquet's group fired on them with all their weapons. The detachment on the Col du Midi now let loose with their weapons too and Sergeant Jacquet's group were able to pick off the retreating Germans, who were doing their best to "schuss" away on their skis. Unfortunately they still had the skins on the bottom of their skis and continually fell over, presenting easy targets. 13. However, while all this was happening, a lone German was able to surprise the men on Mont Blanc de Tacul: "This German, under cover of machine gun fire from the Gros Rognon, had climbed along the arte and suddenly appeared in the rocks behind us with a pistol," recalls Sergeant Jacquet, "Fortunately his first shot hit the base of our machine gun and the corporal manning the gun had the 2 - 4

presence of mind to pull out his revolver and shoot him. The German's body was never found, we assume he must have fallen in the bergschrund." 14. French reinforcements now arrived from the Col du Midi to relieve Sergeant Jacquet and seeing these troops approaching over the glacier, the last of the Germans retreated leaving behind them five dead and two prisoners; the French themselves had lost only one man. 15. But whilst celebrating their success on this improbable battlefield at 3,600m the French did not allow themselves to become complacent. This battle had only served to prove how determined the Germans were to gain control of the Valle Blanche and the Col du Midi and it was unlikely they would give up easily. Despite their victory the French did not relish another such battle and they resolved that the only way to avoid this would be to deny the Germans the means of access to the Valle Blanche and thus they would have to destroy the Entrves-Mont Frty cable car. This would be no mean feat to accomplish because their nearest base was at the Col du Midi, and this meant that their target at Mont Frty in Italy was out of their line of sight, in dead ground, a distance of 4km away across the Valle Blanche and 1,500m lower down on the other side of the frontier ridge. However, if they were to have the use of heavy field guns, it was worth the risk and effort. Actions During March 1945 16. On 15 Mar 1945, Captain Lapra of the 93rd Artillery Regiment, deployed from Belley, near Aix-les-Bains for the Col du Midi, with 20 gunners, two 75mm field guns and 500 shells. Captain Lapra had not yet been told of the aim of his mission but was slightly unsettled by the parting words of his Commanding Officer who advised him: "If at any time you judge the operation too dangerous, you are free to abandon it." 17. On arrival in Chamonix, to ensure the secrecy of their mission, they had to wait until night time to load the men and guns on to the first section of the cable car the war was not yet over and there was always the possibility of enemy informers or collaborators who would alert the Germans on the other side of the Valle Blanche of what was happening. 18. By 0200 hrs on the morning of 16th March, men and equipment were at the middle cable car station; this is where the hard work began. Because of the constraints and precarious nature of the top section of the cable car it took three whole days to transfer the heavy weaponry from the cable station to the Col du Midi, which meant that up to five men had to spend three cold and dangerous days perched on the pylon on the arte at 3,000m, transferring the equipment from one tiny wooden cable car to another. 19. On arrival at the Col du Midi the heavy pieces (which were originally designed to be carried by mules) and shells had to be manhandled to their final position at the bottom of the slope 100m below the top cable car station. As this slope was in full view of enemy positions on the other side of the Valle Blanche, the final setting 2 - 5

up of the guns was done at night, in extremely difficult conditions, as ice shelters had to be dug into the slope for them, so that during the day they could be hidden from view. 20. The range of the guns now had to be regulated exactly so that they could fire their shells the distance required, - the normal limit of range was 2,800m and they had the added difficulty of having to hit a target which was 1,500m below their position. Captain Lapra said that his calculations showed that to reach the target, that is the Italian cable car station at Mont Frty, a distance of 2,100m behind the Aiguille du Gant, trajectory of the guns would just scrape the crest of the ridge between the Aiguille du Grand Flambeau and the Tour Ronde. It was going to be a close thing as to whether or not the shells would reach their target 21. That night there was a violent storm and the guns were completely buried under several metres of snow. This bad weather was to last several days, completely submerging the men on the Col du Midi and temporarily closing the cable car which was vital for their supplies. Actions During April 1945 22. Finally, on 8 April they received the order to fire, their first target being the rocks of the Petit Flambeau where there was a three man heavy machine gun emplacement. With the third salvo of shells they scored a direct hit. A spotter plane now arrived which was to help direct their aim at their main target of Mont Frty, but unfortunately the radio link wasn't working, and after spending half and hour trying, and failing, to establish radio contact, the plane returned to its base. Captain Lapra said that the moment the plane disappeared two shells exploded in front of their position. The German troops who were at Mont Frty, were making their presence known to the French maquis. 23. For several hours the position close to the cable car was showered by bursts of enemy fire: "Suddenly" said Captain Lapra, "a German shell scored a direct hit on the Abri Simond Hut, totally destroying it. Luckily it had been evacuated at the start of the fighting and the men were all in snow holes or at the gun emplacements dug into the ice." The French were sitting targets for the moment, as without the help of their spotter plane, it was useless for them to try and retaliate. Sporadic fire continued on into the night and the French were forced to sit it out in freezing temperatures in their snow holes and ice caves. 24. The next day they received a message that the plane would return that afternoon. Now, however, a violent wind had got up, which was sending the German shells off target and over their heads, but it also meant that the French would be firing into the wind; Without knowing the wind speed it would be difficult to adjust their guns to compensate for this factor. However Captain Lapra had an idea: "the mountains told me all I needed to know. I watched the clouds being blown across the top of the Aiguilles and by counting the seconds it took for them to travel from one Aiguille to another, I was able to calculate the direction and speed of the wind - these being the two essential corrections I needed to regulate the range of fire of the guns." 2 - 6

25. At 1530 hrs the spotter plane was overhead and this time the radio link was working. This raised the morale of the French gunners, who were by now suffering greatly from the glacial wind which was blowing across the Col. They fired a first salvo of four shells and the pilot reported they were near their target, but too short and to the right. Four more salvos were reported to have fallen around the target, and then at the fifth attempt, the voice of the pilot in the plane announced "The cable car pylon just below Mont Frty has been hit ...." At this, cheers broke out from the gunners and with great enthusiasm they fired off the rest of their shells, with each salvo causing more havoc and destruction at the enemy position. There was now total silence from the German battery at Mont Frty. They were no longer able to respond - they were all dead. This final mission marked the end of the war in this area for the French resistance.

Based on an Article in the January 1995 issue of 'High' magazine written by S Clarke.

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CHAPTER 3 THE BATTLE OF CHUMIK-SIACHEN APR-MAY 1989 GLACIER WARFARE BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN Introduction 1. India and Pakistan have been conducting military operations against each other on a desultory basis since 1984 at high altitude along the mountainous border area between the two countries known as the Siachen Glacier. Translated, Siachen means 'Rose Garden', a wildly optimistic name given to a 76 kilometre long river of ice abutted by knife-edged, fluted, serrated ridge lines exceeding 7,100 metres at some of the peaks. It is only one (though the longest) of a large number of glaciers in the high Karakorams. Many lesser glaciers join it along its length. In and around it, lie the largest number of high altitude peaks in the world. The reasons for the military operations in this remote area rose from the lack of an agreed demarkation of the Line of Control (LOC) envisaged in the Simla Agreement of 1972. The Siachen Glacier and the Saltoro Ridge Line were the focal areas of this disagreement and hence the military operations. Troops from both sides moved into the area after the initial skirmishes in 1984 and took up tactical positions to observe and monitor the progress of the other side, to engage each other with artillery and mortar, fire and to seek to improve their positions by the occasional skirmish. In 1989 the conflict in the Chumik Sector of the Siachen Glacier and the operations to dominate and control the Saltoro Ridge attracted international attention and served to highlight the special features of military operations at altitudes about 20,000 ft. This article is based on one written by the Commanding Officer of the Battalion involved, Lieutenant Colonel SMY Naqvi which was printed in the Pakistan Army Journal of December 1989 and extracts from the publication The Indian Army edited by Lt Gen Thomas. The Environment 4. The battle of Chumik-Siachen was fought at the highest altitude so far recorded in the history of warfare. The troops of both sides operating in a glacier environment were faced with great challenges posed by the worst hazards of nature. With the temperature remaining well below freezing and in near permanent blizzard conditions the troops were vulnerable to acute frost bite and hypothermia. There was always the additional danger of troops falling into crevasses or being buried under avalanches. The rarefied air at this altitude also reduces the manual effort that can be generated to operate efficiently in these appalling conditions. A soldier is liable to suffer from headaches, nausea, and various types of associated ailments. A solder with small reserves of will power can easily succumb to these additional pressures in such an environment. Only soldiers with professional acumen and a high standard of motivation could withstand these rigours. 3-1

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Figure 3-1. High Altitude Infantry Patrol

Figure 3-2. Indian CHEETAH Helicopter Landing on an Ice Pillar in the Siachen Glacier. [A CHEETAH Helicopter is an ALOUETTE 2 fitted for high altitude operations.] 3-2

Figure 3-3. View of the Saltoro Ridge (from the Indian Side) 3-3

The weapons and equipment used were equally effected by the weather; metallic components tend to break and rubber goes brittle, demanding constant maintenance and careful handling. The Battle Ground 6. Since 1984 the fighting in the Siachen area witnessed many localised skirmishes, artillery duels and the exchange of missiles and small arms fire. The Indians gained access to most of the dominating heights in the Chumik Sector (previously unoccupied) although the routes further into Pakistan were effectively blocked by Pakistani troops sealing off the few remaining passes in the region. Various heights dominating these passes had been occupied by both sides for deeper observation and checking the opponents movement. The lie of the ground dictates a natural division of the area into three sectors of Gyong La, Bilafond La and Sia La (La is the Balti word for pass). Chumik Glacier lies within the Bilafond La Sector and bifurcates from it at a distance of approximately 4 kms ahead of Gayari. It lies in an easterly direction surrounded by two lofty features which are unassailable. The glacier is terminated by TIGER, PANTHER and the TANGO (T) series of heights which lie oblique to and join a high feature to the south at Point 22158. This important feature became the ultimate focal point in the operations around Chumik. The Gyong La Sector lies towards the south east and the Bilafond La Sector to its north. Across the Saltoro watershed lies the Indian approach to the Gyong La Sector. (See Figs 1-3 on page 8) Due to the late starting of winter in 1988, heavy snowfall continued until mid July in 1989, exposing the troops to the hazards of blizzards, avalanches and a deceptive cover of fresh snow over deep crevasses. In addition the troops at peaks and higher features were more vulnerable to the effects of high altitude sickness. The most forward of the Pakistani posts in the Chumik Sector effectively dominated Indian bases and camps across the Saltoro watershed which provided administrative support for the forces deployed opposite the Gyong La Sector. TIGER post was located on the left of PANTHER and provided a mutual support for that location. Three Pakistani administrative bases were spaced along the length of Chumik glacier to support these positions. (Base I, Base II and Base III).

7.

8.

9.

10. The Indians did not have any military posts to counter the domination and observation of PANTHER although the highest point [Point 22158] in the area remained vacant until hostilities intensified. The Indian administrative camp at Baniya and an associated mortar position were located approximately 4 kms east of the Saltoro watershed. 11. At the start of April 1989 the Chumik Sector was held by the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) troops. About that time the Indians started extensive reconnaissance with helicopters, and intensive artillery shelling of known positions. Pakistani counter reconnaissance by helicopter on 12 April revealed that the Indians had established five new bases and fighting posts in the Sector. They had occupied off 3-4

shoots of Point 22158 and had attained some ascendancy by gaining much improved observation over the Chumik glacier as a whole. The Indians then started engaging PANTHER, TIGER and the Pakistani administrative bases with observed artillery and mortar fire which were serious enough to restrict movement and resupply to the hours of darkness. Had this situation continued, it would have been difficult to sustain and maintain the Chumik Sector for very long. 12. The Pakistani Brigade Commander, flew over the Indian posts and on his return called Lieutenant Colonel Naqvi back from Bilafond Sub-Sector where he was visiting forward posts. He returned to Battalion Headquarters and discussed the situation with the Commander. At that stage he considered that there was no option available but to oust the Indians from the area. He ordered the necessary preparations and got busy with the detailed planning. The impending operation was indeed a difficult one. Relative Strengths and Deployment 13. On the Indian side troops were located on the Chumik-Siachen Glacier and occupied the lower fringes of Point 22158. One battalion supported by various calibres of artillery and a flight of LAMA helicopters1 had taken part in this recent redeployment operation. They had established the following posts/bases supported through the administrative bases of Baniya and Rani:a. b. c. d. e. f. Ganga Sadhu AGRA-I AGRA-II One Platoon. One Platoon (-) One Section. One Section with an FOO.

Machine Gun Position - One Section. One Company in a support role (for back up, reinforcement and portering).

14. On the Pakistani side a Company of regular troops had been ordered to relive the NLI troops in the Chumik Sector on April 10 1989. This force was further strengthened during the remainder of the month. The military activities in this Sector had intensified considerably and constant observation was necessary on the Indian locations. The risk of redeploying forces away from this area could not be taken. Other guns and Battalion mortars in the area also supported the operation. One Company of NLI when relieved from the Sector was provided for assistance in portering. Ten men of the Special Services Group (SSG) were deployed to provide additional technical assistance and expertise. Four LAMA helicopters were allocated to support the proposed operations.

Note 1. The LAMA is an ALOUETTE 3 Helicopter suitably modified to operate at high altitude.

3-5

The Operational Plan 15. The plan was finalized after discussions with the Brigade Commander and the Commander of Northern Area. This envisaged a simultaneous advance along two different routes i.e., the KILO (K) and TANGO (T) routes. After establishing intermediate administrative bases enroute, the Saddle feature located on the southwestern fringes of Point 22158, was to be occupied in order to maintaining contact with the Indians. Later the Indians around the apex would be evicted by physical attack from the Saddle and an envelopment from T route. The Advance 16. On 16 April another aerial reconnaissance was carried out to finalise the plan. Fifteen soldiers under the command of Captain Habib were despatched from Base II toward the Saddle on the same day, but the going was extremely difficult because of crevasses and fresh snow and by poor visibility. The party established a camp by midnight on the same day despite serious terrain difficulties and on 17 April a proper base K-1 was established at an altitude of 17000 feet. The advance continued and Captain Habib successfully established a further base K-II by that evening. 17. Another group consisting of 15 soldiers under the command of Captain Hussain moved to establish a base at T-I by last light on 17 April. That group could not make much progress because of bad weather and the extremely difficult going over razor sharp ice ridge lines and eventually they returned to PANTHER without establishing the base.. 18. Finding the overall progress of the plan slower than anticipated the Brigade Commander ordered Major Bilal, the Brigade Major to provide additional technical assistance. He, along with the SSG contingent, joined Captain Habib operating on K route on 18 April 1989. In spite of their best efforts, the terrain and weather did not permit any real progress and the advance on this route was eventually abandoned. It was considered of paramount importance that the Indians should not be allowed to strengthen their positions and that contact should be made at the soonest possible moment. Keeping the time factor in mind the initial plan was modified. The Modified Operational Plan 19. After detailed discussion it was decided to deploy troops by helicopter towards Point 22158 and to link up with troops advancing simultaneously along the two different routes. The plan was modified as follows: a. A Platoon together with a group from the SSG under Capt Rafaqat would be sling- dropped by helicopter on the near side of Point 22158 with a view to occupying it at a later stage.

3-6

b.

A Platoon under Captain Hussain would continue on TANGO route towards AGRA II via PANTHER with a view to linking up with the Platoon force dropped by helicopter. A Platoon from the NLI under the command of Captain Akhtar would make another try on K route towards Point 22158 via the Saddle. The artillery in the area and two further Battalion mortars would be deployed on Base III to provide close fire support for all the assaults.

c.

d.

The Vertical Approach 20. To achieve the sling-drop on the Saddle the doors of helicopters were to be removed so that soldiers could jump out on reaching the objective. Captain Rafaqat was to be dropped first. On 18 April an attempt by the pilot of the LAMA helicopter to drop the office at the Saddle was made but the configuration of the ground and bad weather did not allow this, and after further attempts the drop at the Saddle had to be abandoned. 21. On 19 April it was decided to drop the Platoon at the base of Point 22158. Lieutenant Naveed volunteered to be dropped first. Proper harnesses were not available and so he was tied to the sling with an improvised harness made of ropes. The operation began at 0930 hours that morning. The pilot of the helicopter after flying over the area for about 15 minutes released the officer on a small flat piece of ice at the base of Point 22158 (now known as Naveed Base). A unique operation in the history of warfare had thus begun. 22. Subsequently Naik Yaqoob, an SSG commando was also dropped in the same area and he joined Lieutenant Naveed. Moreover, three loads of essential commodities and stores were also dropped but two of those rolled down the mountain side. It was planned to drop more men and administrative loads on the same day but the unfavourable weather conditions in the area made further flying impossible. 23. Unfortunately the weather remained bad for the next two days. Everyone was apprehensive about the plight of these two soldiers. The chances of their survival were considered to be about 50%. There was the distinct possibilities that they would be killed, captured or succumb to merciless weather. Radio communication could not be established because of the extremely low temperature and there were great apprehensions about their safety and the outcome of the operation as a whole. 24. On the third day (21 April) the weather cleared and the operation continued. Captain Kamran was dropped on to the ice shelf followed by 8 more soldiers. Lieutenant Naveed and Naik Yaqoob were located and found alive and well . The Indians in the face of hectic helicopter activities carried out by both sides and the unusually bad weather had failed to observe the drop of these men. More supplies were dropped, radio communication established and overall operational control was resumed by Sector Headquarters. 3-7

25. Meanwhile, Captain Hussain with his Platoon started moving towards the TANGO features from PANTHER on 22 April. They made good progress and had established a base at T-1 by the evening. This Platoon then closed in with AGRA-II and after placing accurate mortar fire forced the Indians to abandon this post. This gave an immediate respite to Base III because AGRA - II was being used by Indians for directing artillery, mortar and rocket fire on this post and the adjacent area. The advance continued and T-II was established on 23 April. By 1 May Captain Manzoor, (who was now commanding this Platoon, established T-III about 300 metres short of AGRA-I. He made an attempt to close in with AGRA-I and physically evict the Indians but a huge rock en route, together with accurate Indian artillery and small arms fire made it extremely difficult. A Captain Hamid then started to explore a route to the top by means of bypassing the large rock. While he was not successful in this task he was however, able to direct fire on to AGRAI. This prevented the Indians from firing on Pakistani positions. During these last few days in April the actions of this Platoon provided the essential first steps necessary to proceed on further operations. The NLI Force 26. The second prong of the attack on Point 22158 comprising the Platoon from the NLI moving along K route, had reached K-II on 19 April and made speedy progress towards the Saddle. On 22 April they established K-III at the base of Saddle. By 25 April the leading party of this Platoon managed to reach close to the Saddle (a day's climb away). Then disaster struck . On 25 April when the party were resting in their tents, satisfied about their progress they were swept away by a huge avalanche. The three officers of NLI, Captain Akhtar, Captain Akram, Captain Gillani and one Non-Commissioned Officer were buried under tons of snow. Only the dead body of the Non-Commissioned Officer could subsequently be recovered. This marked the tragic end of this portion of the operation. Artillery Duels 27. During all the activity of the last few days intense artillery shelling continued from both sides. Pakistani reports indicate that the Indian side were desperate and this showed by the generally inaccurate artillery fire that was brought to bear on Pakistani positions along the entire length of Chumik Glacier. Up to 5000 rounds were fired in any 24 hour period but the damage was slight as movement was generally restricted to the dark hours. The Pakistani artillery and mortars continued to pound Indian positions and bases. Lieutenant Zafar accurately directed artillery fire from the newly established Naveed Base and eventually forced the Indians to abandon the GANGA Base and shift it to another location. The destruction of GANGA Base and the casualties inflicted by artillery fire acted as a catalyst for the subsequent later capitulation of the Indians in the Chumik Sector. The Race For Point 22158 28. Now it was the race between the two opposing forces to reach Point 22158 first. After a further aerial reconnaissance, Captain Kamran was ordered to move to 3-8

the top on 25 April and occupy it before the Indians. Naik Aslam and Sepoy Jan started climbing. The climb was extremely arduous, the gradient was sharp and ropes had to be used. As these two men reached the top they saw 8 Indians closing up from a distance of 200 to 300 metres. They took up positions and opened fire with a sub-machine gun and a light machine gun and forced the enemy to withdraw. 29. Captain Kamran joined them later with 6 more men and established a new post (now Kamran Top). Naik Aslam and Sepoy Jan then laid a telephone line between Naveed Base and Kamran Top in extremely difficult circumstances. However, Captain Kamran and his team were badly misled by the deceptive configuration of the summit. Actually they had not occupied Point 22158 but were in occupation of an adjacent mound which was approximately 200 yards short of the apex. However, by the occupation of this mound they achieved a huge tactical advantage by dominating the track leading to helicopter pad area, and the route from AGRA-I to it. The occupation of Kamran Top was a great achievement as it later proved to be the turning point of the whole operation. 30. Naveed Base continued to provide observation for artillery interdiction of Indian portering parties from GANGA to SADHU by accurate small arms and rocket fire. The artillery duels continued and the observation from Kamran Top did not allow any respite to the AGRA-I Base which was attacked with mortars, artillery and even small arms fire. The Raid 31. On 30 April the Pakistanis decided to exploit the advantages obtained by their occupation of Kamran Top. A raiding party consisting of 12 men including 4 officers was organized under the command of Major Bilal. The party left Kamran Top and moved towards the Machinegun (MG) Post at approximately 1900 hours. They were able to reach the Post unobserved. Their opening fire caught the Indians by surprise. Major Bilal, Naik Aslam and Sepoy Jan brought accurate small arms fire on the enemy position. There was total chaos at the Post. Sepoy Ashraf did equally well with the rocket launcher, and then discarding the launcher, he grabbed a sub-machine gun and started advancing towards the Post. As he was advancing a volley of fire struck him and he fell rolling down hill and over a precipice. 32. A further heavy exchange of fire took place but the Pakistanis continued to inflict damage until they had exhausted their supply of ammunition. The Indians lost one officer and three men with many wounded. Naik Aslam and Sepoy Jan were the last to withdraw providing covering fire to the withdrawing party. These gallant men had carried out a successful raid at an altitude where mere survival would have been an outstanding feat of endurance.

3-9

The End of Fighting 33. With the Pakistani troops in a dominating position the heavy attrition rate on the Indian battalion and their affiliated units made it almost impossible for them to remain at their occupied posts. On 6 May both Brigade Commanders held a meeting under a flag of truce at an agreed location. The talks failed and were abandoned. The battle once again intensified and pressure was generated against the Indians from all directions. After just three further days another flag meeting was held and an agreement was reached. After the finalization of this agreement by both governments a general withdrawal began. Conclusion 34. Arctic and Alpine mountaineering technology helped to sustain both sides on the Saltoro Ridge. Exactly as in an expedition, a large base camp and a series of smaller support camps got the soldiers to their objectives. Assaults on features like the Saltoro Ridge are not delivered in rushes. Men, gasping at those altitudes, claw their way up using ropes, ice axes and pitons, and thereafter, must push hard to dislodge any defenders. Shelling was the main preoccupation on the Glacier for both sides. To prevent being surprised, intensive patrolling was conducted. The other major activity was survival - a question of giving soldiers at those dizzying heights, the most modern shelters, clothing, good food, weapons, ammunition and first rate medical cover. The effects of modernization of this kind can, with careful planning sustain troops in the numbers required. In the ultimate reckoning however, it is competence, training, unit cohesion and spirit that makes the real difference. Without these factors no snowmobile or high-altitude arctic equipment or, for that matter, anything material, can suffice on its own.

Based on an article from the Pakistan Army Journal (Dec 1989) by Lt Col S M Y Naqvi.

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Figure 3-4. Plan Sketch of the Battle for Chumik-Siachen

SALTORO RIDGE

Figure 3-5. View of Point 22158 from the Indian Side

Figure 3-6. View of Point 22158 from the Pakistani Side 3 - 11

CHAPTER 4 THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN SNAPSHOTS OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN 1979-1989 Background 1. In 1979 The Armed Forces of the Soviet Union were structured, equipped and trained for a nuclear and high-intensity war on the northern European plains. However, their political leaders thrust them into the middle of the Afghanistan civil war to reconstitute and to support a nominally Marxist-Leninist government. The terrain, the climate and the enemy were entirely different from what they had prepared for. In Afghanistan their equipment functioned less well, their force structure was clearly inappropriate and their tactics were obviously wrong. Communist power was established in Afghanistan on 27 April 1978 through a bloody military coup. The new regime enjoyed little popular support. The wobbly new government was almost immediately met by armed resistance fighters who contested the new order. The Army of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan began to disintegrate as bloody purges swept the officer ranks. In March 1979 the city of Herat rose in open revolt. Forces loyal to the President advanced and occupied the city while the Afghan Air Force bombed the city and the mutinous troops. Over 5,000 people died in the fighting, including 100 Soviet citizens. This event may have lead the Soviet General Staff to start intervention planning. On Christmas Eve 1979 Moscow ordered a coup de main . Using the same techniques as employed during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union rapidly seized the major cities, radio stations, and centres of power. They executed a recently installed President and put an Afghan communist exile into power. They crushed the resistance by the Afghan Army and began consolidating their power. Concept of Soviet Operations 4. The Soviet concept for the military occupation of Afghanistan was based on the following stages: a. Stabilizing the country by garrisoning the main routes, major cities, airbases and logistics sites. Relieving the Afghan government forces of garrison duties and pushing them into the country to deal with Afghan resistance: Providing logistic, air, artillery and intelligence support to the Afghan forces. Maintaining the minimum of interface between the Soviet occupation forces and the local populace. 4 - 1

2.

3.

b.

c. d.

e. f.

Minimizing Soviet casualties; and, Strengthening the Afghan forces, so once the resistance was defeated, the Soviet Army could be withdrawn.

The End Game in Afghanistan 5. In 1989, the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan and the communist government was defeated. Approximately 620,000 Soviet troops served in Afghanistan. Of these, 525,000 were in the Soviet Armed Forces while another 90,000 were in the KGB and 5,000 were in the MVD. The Soviet Union invested much national treasure and had lost 13,833 killed. Of their 470,000 sick and wounded during this war, 10,751 became invalids. The Armed Forces had lost 118 jets. 333 helicopters, 147 tanks, 1300 armoured personnel carriers, 430 artillery pieces and mortars, 500 engineer vehicles and over 11,000 other vehicles. The war had not been the success they confidently expected in 1979. There are some striking features about the Soviet role in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had to restructure and retrain their forces while in the combat zone. Eventually, military schools and training areas began to incorporate Afghanistan combat experience and to train servicemen for duty in Afghanistan. Mountain warfare training centres sprang up in many districts. However, the war was not an allencompassing experience for the Soviet officer corps. Barely 10 per cent of the Soviet motorized rifle, armour, aviation and artillery officers served in Afghanistan. However, a majority of airborne, air assault and Spetsnaz officers served there and it is from these officers that the examples are drawn. Tactics needed a major overhaul to meet the changed circumstances. Units which adapted enjoyed relative success while units which did not paid the price in blood. The Soviet Union discussed tactical changes in their tactical journal Vovenney Vestnik [Military Herald] and taught mountain warfare in their training centres in Ushgord in the Turkmenistan Military District as well as the other new mountain training centres. With the break up of the Soviet Union, US relations with the Russian military have slowly changed. Tentative military contact programmes have been developed and attempts are being made to bridge the vast differences between the two armed forces with the possibility of future joint operations and peacekeeping. As part of this process the US Army received in 1991 a book entitled Combat Actions of Soviet Forces in the Republic of Afghanistan. This book was compiled by the History of Military Art Department at the Frunze Combined Arms Academy in Moscow. The History Faculty of the Frunze Academy had previously interviewed Afghanistan veterans, analyzed their actions and then recorded both the military action and their commentary as lessons to be learned for future combat in mountain-desert terrain. The book was intended for internal use only and, as such, shows both the good and bad. Mistakes and successes both illustrate the hard lessons learned in fighting the Mujahideen in open and mountainous terrain although the lessons learned are not peculiarly Russian or Soviet. 4 - 2

6.

7.

8.

9.

The three articles extracted from the book edited by Lt Col Grau of the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth Kansas provide snapshots of combat as witnessed by company commanders, battalion commanders, tactical staff officers and advisers to the Afghan government forces. These vignettes are an intimate look at a battlefield where a well equipped army with several years of fighting experience in Afghanistan were operating at Formation and Unit level to defeat the Mujahideen.

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Figure 4-1. Relief Map of Afghanistan

EXAMPLE 1. BLOCKING AND SWEEPING A MOUNTAIN CANYON Statement by Major P A Skovordnikov 1. In the February and March 1986 activities were recorded in the area of Kandahar, Kalat and Shakhri-Safi which included attacks on Soviet and Afghan convoys, road mining, shellings of military camps and security outposts, and the armed protection of mujahideen caravans carrying weapons and ammunition from Pakistan. Lieutenant Colonel Tsarev, the commander of the Air Assault battalion who was my commander received the following task. Prepare to move out in several days to conduct a block and sweep action to destroy the enemy in the valley near Anushella. The action will also involve the Brigade's 1st Motorized Rifle Battalion (1 MRB) minus one of its companies. Training and rehearsals for this action began on 16 March and concentrated on combat in mountainous terrain, clearing and overcoming minefields and boobytraps, night combat, sealing off caves and killing their defenders, evacuation of wounded from the mountains, and the destruction of supply caches by explosives. This last training was done in conjunction with the sappers attached to each company for this action. The training ended with a full battalion sized tactical exercise. The battalion commander refined his final orders at 2000 hours on 24 March and then issued them to his subordinates at 2200 hours. "The 1st MRB (minus its 3rd Company) will establish successive blocking positions on the eastern wall of the canyon and deny the enemy a breakout to the east. The blocking force must be in place by 0600 hours on 25 March. 1 MRB will be supported by a flight of Mi-24 helicopter gunships. The Air Assault company will establish a series of successive blocking positions also running from the south to the north on the west wall of the canyon to deny the enemy a breakout to the west. This blocking force must also be in place by 0600 hours on 25 March. The rest of the Air Assault battalion will block the southern exit of the canyon. 1 MRB is to be reinforced with a Tank platoon, an Antitank battery, a Flamethrower platoon, and a Sapper platoon. Two self-propelled Howitzer battalions, a battery of BM-22 220 mm MRLS, a squadron of Su-25 'FROGFOOT' close-air support aircraft, and a Flight of Mi-24 helicopter gunships will provide fire support to the battalion. At 0630 hours on 25 March, following an artillery preparation, the battalion will begin to sweep north to destroy the enemy and capture his ammunition caches." The force moved out on time and occupied their positions prior to the attack. The artillery fired a 25-minute preparation. The artillery fire plan included scatterable mines which were fired to block any mujahideen withdrawl to the north. Following the artillery preparation, the battalion began its sweep. An artillery forward observer accompanied each company of 1 MRB as well as the Air Assault company. An Aviation Combat Control Group (GBU) was also deployed. 1 MRB and the Air Assault company seized the dominant terrain. They controlled the canyon walls and blocked the paths away from the canyon with part of their force while leap4 - 4

2.

3.

4.

5.

frogging the other part of their force north to establish the next position. In this manner, they were constantly able to support the Air Assault company in its sweep of the canyon. By 1430 hours the sweep had been completed. In the course of combat, the Soviet force had killed up to 20 mujahideen, captured and evacuated several weapons caches and captured and destroyed several ammunition caches. Commentary by Frunze Academy 6. We found that when conducting a block and sweep of a canyon, it was best to accomplish the approach march and get into attack positions at night. further, close co-operation between the blocking and sweeping forces was absolutely crucial in order to maintain the tempo of the sweep and accomplish the task on time. These were done well. However, there were shortcomings in this action. The artillery and aviation support could have been used more effectively. Too much time was wasted during a call-for-fire. The mujahideen had enough time to move the bulk of their force into the safety of caves while maintaining observers in suitable fighting positions. The mujahideen were able to deceive our aviation by displaying our panel markings for friendly forces on their positions.

1st AA CO AIR ASSAULT RECON PATROL 2nd AA CO 2210 1st AA CO 1st MRC 4 MI-24 1/3 AA CO AIR ASSAULT BN 251300 MAR

2 SU-25 250600 MAR

1/3 AA CO 251430 MAR

RECON PLT 1 MRB

2nd MRC

1st MRC

3rd AA CO

1st MRB 251300 MAR MORTAR BTRY 2 SU-25 250730 MAR 1st MRB (-) 250200 MAR 2nd MRC

AIR ASSLT BN 251030 MAR

2200

To KA 35 LAT km

3rd AA CO 1st AA CO AT BTRY 2nd AA CO

MORTAR BTRY Supply Platoon

AIR ASSAULT BN 250650 MAR To KANDAHAR 60 km BATTERY BM22 122 BN

152 SP BN

Figure 4-2. Blocking and Sweeping a Mountain Canyon 4 - 5

7.

RDM minefields allowed a significant portion of the mujahideen to escape to the north. Further, the enemy discovered our movement into the area in sufficient time to mine the entrance to the valley and the passes. Finally, our study of this example shows that the block and sweep of the enemy requires an ever-larger, heterogeneous force, including the most modern and effective combat means. Commentary by the US Editor

8.

Airpower is great and helicopter gunships can save the day when things have gone badly. However, using standard operations procedure displays of panels or pyrotechnics to mark friendly positions or communicate with pilots is risky. The enemy is quick to learn these codes and to use them against the force which needs air support. What is really needed is the capability of ground forces to talk directly to the air forces involved. EXAMPLE 2. ASSAULTING A CANYON Statement by Lieutenant Colonel S Yu Pyatakov

9.

At the beginning of March 1986 the commander of a SPETSNAZ detachment received information from a group of intelligence agents and the staff of the Ministry of State Security of Afghanistan concerning the presence of weapons and ammunition caches in the Khadegar Canyon in Kandahar Province. In order to confirm this information, the detachment commander dispatched two SPETSNAZ reconnaissance groups to the area. He reported the resulting information to the higher staff and requested an aerial reconnaissance of the site. This additional data confirmed the earlier reports. The formation commander decided to conduct an assault on the canyon.

10. Two MR battalions from different motorized brigades. A SPETSNAZ detachment, a D-30 artillery battalion, a platoon of ZSU-23-4 SP AA guns, a squadron of Mi-8 helicopters, a squadron of Mi-24 helicopters and squadron of Su-25 'FROGFOOT' ground attack aircraft were deployed to conduct the assault. The Chief of Staff of the Turkestan Military District, had overall responsibility for conduct of the operation. 11. The plan of action was for the two MR battalions reinforced with an artillery battalion to depart from their base camp in Kandahar and conduct an 85 km night road march to the canyon. The assault would begin at 0900 hours 20 March 1986 when aviation would conduct strafing and bombing runs in the canyon. The SPETSNAZ detachment would air assault four companies in helicopters on to mountains close to the canyon. Their mission would be to block the mujahideen withdrawal and to call in and adjust air and artillery fire. 12. The operation began exactly as planned at 0600 hours 20 March. Groups of 4-6 aircraft began strafing and bombing runs along the canyon floor and on the nearby villages which sheltered the mujahideen. At 0800 hours four SPETSNAZ reconnaissance groups were air landed on the mountain tops and occupied advanta4 - 6

geous positions where they could observe and intercept withdrawing groups of mujahideen. 13. The assault group, consisting of the two MR battalions reinforced with an artillery battalion, successfully completed an off-road night march (they travelled off the roads to avoid land mines). At 0830 hours on 20 March they assembled prior to entering the canyon. The artillery preparation lasted only 20 minutes. However three hours of airstrikes had preceded the artillery fire and the mujahideen weapons systems were either destroyed or well suppressed. The dismounted assault was supported by BMP and ZSU-23-4 in the direct fire role. The combat formation deployed with two echelons with a MR battalion in each echelon. A SPETSNAZ company mounted on BMPs was the reserve formation. 14. Because of the advantages in strength and speed of motorized rifle subunits, they quickly cleared the canyon without meeting any significant resistance. At the beginning of the assault, groups of five or six mujahideen tried to move out of the canyon over various paths, but they were interdicted by SPETSNAZ groups which cut them down in ambushes or called in helicopter gunships and ground-attack aircraft on them. Aerial reconnaissance continued to track down and destroy newly discovered targets. 15. The assault on the Khadegar canyon was finished by 1200 hours 20 March. The Soviet forces killed 20 mujahideen and destroyed four DShK heavy machine-guns, one mortar and two assault rifles. They captured two DShK heavy machine guns, one mortar, 20 various small arms weapons and a large amount of ammunition, documents and combat equipment of the mujahideen. There were no Soviet casualties, but it was a small return for a big investment. Commentary by Frunze Academy 16. In general, this operation was carried out successfully. However, it did not achieve surprise. That is to say that the increased force activity and abrupt appearance of all types of reconnaissance enabled the mujahideen to guess in advance the start time and the direction of the advance. On the other hand, combat experience in Afghanistan shows that limiting the amount of reconnaissance assets employed lessened the effectiveness of the advance, weakened the fire support, allowed the mujahideen the opportunity to slip away into the mountains at the start of the offensive and led to the engagement of only a few covering forces. 17. The success of the assault on the Khadegar Canyon was, to a large extent, due to the direction and guidance of the senior leader who included all the appropriate branches of services in planning this operation. It is important when conducting similar operations to create the maximum amount of surprise. To achieve this, it is necessary to conduct 'diversionary/decoy' actions, to take the suitable measures to disguise actions and to deceive an enemy. In a word, one must be creative when carrying out the mission.

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Commentary by US Editor 18. In this vignette, a multi-battalion block and sweep operation is commanded by the Chief of Staff of the Turkestan Military District. He was nowhere linked with 40th Army's chain of command, but could field a command group which could control all the aviation required in an area of Afghanistan far removed from the 40th Army Command Post. It is unorthodox, but apparently worked. This demonstrates, however, that the senior leadership did not always trust their subordinates to 'do it right'. 19. More cynically, this practice allowed outside senior commanders to collect combat medals while in the safety of an armoured vehicle and saved them the bother of a full, uncomfortable Afghanistan tour of duty while covering their chest with symbols of glory. 20. This vignette also provides a good look at the employment of SPETSNAZ soldiers. Unlike the US Special Forces and the British SAS, SPETSNAZ were mounted on personnel carriers in Afghanistan, but when they were airdropped, the carriers functioned as a bronegruppa. This provided more flexibility in the employment of this type of unit and gave the soldiers much more manoeuverability. Three hours of airstrikes is not a good way to achieve surprise. The Soviet force seems to have engaged the rear guard and the 'uninformed' in this action.

TO SPIN VAL'VAK 60 km

AR NDAH TO KA km 80

TO SPINVAL'VAK 60 km

SPETSNAZ BRONEGRUPPA 200900 MAR 2 ML-24B 200900 MAR

2V Su-25 200800 MAR 30 Guerrillas 300th SPETSNAZ CO 200800 MAR

11th SPETSNAZ CO 200800 MAR

1 OF MRB 200200 MAR

A
2nd MRB 200900 MAR D-30 ARTY BN 200200 MAR

A A
221st SPETSNAZ CO 200800 MAR 312th SPETSNAZ CO 200800 MAR 2 Mi-24b 200900 MAR

40 Guerrillas

2 Su-17 200600 MAR

2 Mi-24b 200800 MAR

Figure 4-3. Assaulting a Canyon 4 - 8

EXAMPLE 3. SEIZING A PASS WITH AN AIRBORNE BATTALION Statement by Lieutenant Colonel A N Shiskov 21. In the autumn of 1987 mujahideen conducted combat operations against the Afghan government and Soviet forces and practically blocked off Khost district. They cut off the lines of communication and limited the supply of weapons, munitions, and food to Soviet forces. The high command decided to conduct an operation with several divisions and regiments of the army. The main purpose was to crush the mujahideen forces on the Kabul-Gardez-Khost main route. Further, the operation would clear mines from the route and support the resupply of material and the establishment of materiel reserves for the government forces in the Khost district. 22. Prior to the start of the operation, the Afghan government made an attempt to resolve the problem of delivering sufficient food and other resources to the region through peaceful methods without an armed conflict. However, the local field commander of the Paktia Province, Mullah Dzhalalutdin, used the time to augment his mujahideen forces and, in the end, rejected this offer. They decided not to allow Soviet and government forces to enter the Province. A key mujahideen blocking element were those forces concentrated in the Satukandav Pass, which is, practically speaking, the only way through the mountains between Gardez and Khost. At the 'start of the operation, approximately 15,000 mujahideen operated in the area. The Satukandav Pass, which is located 30 kilometers east of Gardez, was touted in the Western press as 'the unassailable bastion on which the Russians will break their teeth'. 23. The operation involved an MR division, an airborne division, a separate MR regiment, a separate airborne regiment, regiments and subunits of various arms and services and Special Forces of the 40th Army plus regiments of the Armed Forces of Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Gromov 40th Army Commander, led the operation. 24. In addition to conducting the routine garrison training the regiments and subunits continued additional combat preparations after they moved from their base camps and concentrated in the region of Gardez on 21 November 1987. The Commander considered several plans to seize the Satukandav Pass and then to develop this success by extending our combat power deep into the Paktia Province along the main highway. We increased our supplies daily and stockpiled ammunition and other necessary material in the area where we billeted our divisions and regiments. The division and regimental command posts and the Army Artillery Groups (AAG) and Division Artillery Groups (DAG) were sited and dug in from 21 to 27 November. Every regimental and subunit commander began a thorough commander's reconnaissance of the area. 25. On 28 November, following the unsuccessful negotiations, the 40th Army divisions and regiments plus the Afghan regiments began the attack. General Gromov had decided to determine the location of enemy weapons systems (particularly 4 - 9

air defence) and so he faked an airborne landing using 20 dummy paratroopers in parachutes. The enemy fired its weapons on these 'paratroopers' and this enabled artillery reconnaissance to pinpoint enemy strong points and firing positions. Army and Front aviation units then hit these positions. The airstrikes were followed with a four-hour artillery barrage. 26. On 29 November, following a short artillery preparation, the dismounted Motorized Rifle Regiment (minus a battalion) started up the foothills to seize the dominant terrain along the crest. Following the capture of the crest, they were to establish a strong guard force on the east side of the Pass and prevent any mujahideen reserves from moving into the area from the northeast direction of the Parachinar Salient. 27. Heavy fire greeted the subunits. Indecisiveness and excessive fear on the part of the commander bogged the Regiment down in the initial stage of the operation. On the night of 29-30 November the mujahideen took advantage of the commander's mistakes and errors and launched attacks on the three battalions of the Regiment along several axes. The mujahideen knew the territory well and was supplied with ample weapons and munitions. They used these to inflict severe casualties on the Regiment. 28. The Regiment did not succeed for several reasons. First , the regimental command post was located too far away from the subunits and could not provide direct combat leadership for this type of operation. Second, there was no regimental forward observation post. Third, the commander incorrectly calculated the required amount of ammunition and by the second day of combat, soldiers were compelled to use the emergency ammunition reserve. Fourth, the combat was led in a passive and indecisive manner and the officers involved had a poor grasp of the situation. 29. General Gromov decided to continue the advance on the mujahideen positions with subunits of the airborne division together with subunits of the Afghan force. Therefore, on 1 December, a battalion of an Airborne Regiment and a battalion of the Afghan 'Kommandos' assembled near the command post of the Motorized Rifle Regiment. 30. The airborne battalion commander, Major V N Petrov, and the Afghan 'Kommando' battalion commander studied thoroughly the current situation and coordinated their actions. Then they began their assault on the main peak. Two airborne companies captured the nearest dominant terrain and used this lodgement to support the assault on the main peak by two assault groups. Mujahideen mortar and heavy machine-gun fire held up the advance until the airborne battalion commander called in the artillery of the DAG on mujahideen positions. 31. The simultaneous, arrival of two airborne assault groups on the main peak took the mujahideen by surprise and they began to withdraw from their positions. The battalion commander called in artillery fire further into their positions - on the reverse slope of the peak and on to the path along which any reserves would be committed. 4 - 10

32. Major Petroy reported the situation to the senior commander and decided to continue the advance on the mujahideen positions in the area of the Satukandav Pass and strike them on the flank and rear in order to control the Pass. Following an artillery preparation, the airborne battalion and the 'Kommando' battalion began the assault toward the Pass. The mujahideen had not previously expected the decisive attack on the main peak and consequently they lost the initiative. Part of their force withdrew. The battalion then advanced to the south under supporting artillery fire and did not allow the mujahideen to regain their balance and cohesion. 33. Finally because the forces defending the Pass did not know the exact size of the Soviet and Afghan forces approaching on their flanks they began a hasty withdrawal, abandoning their crew-served weapons and ammunition at their firing positions. Taking advantage of this panicky withdrawal the airborne battalion captured the Pass and, along with the Afghan forces, dug in along their newly secured line. Commentary by Frunze Academy 34. Analysis of combat in the initial stage of the operation leads to the following conclusions: a. Thorough knowledge of the situation, continual analysis, decisiveness, initiative and bravery are the basis for success in combat. Artful distribution of forces during an advance in mountains, careful coordination between combined arms subunits, and the constant support of artillery fires are important steps in such a successful operation. Proper use of the protective characteristics of terrain in mountains along with constant reconnaissance will allow the task to be accomplished with the minimum of casualties. Success in mountain combat under constantly changing conditions demands continuous troop control.

b.

c.

d.

Commentary by US Editor 35. The dummy airborne drop was a masterful use of deception to discover mujahideen firing positions. The operation was the largest operation of the war and eventually involved large air assaults, attacks on different axes and the successful lifting of the siege of Khost. In this vignette, the massed artillery of an AAG and a DAG for a four-hour fire plan during the fight for the Satukandav Pass resulted in the complete destruction of the area by air and artillery and is far outside any Soviet artillery norms. This extensive artillery preparation still did not do the job. Nor did the operation despute its initial success the mujahideen once again cut off Khost and again put it under siege.

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Commentary by UK Editor 36. It is also apposite to note that the commentary by the Frunze Academy does not criticise any part of the operation - maybe because the Army Commander led this large scale attack. Tactics are normally the opinion of the Senior Officer present.

MRR

AAG

1st ABN CO 010700 DEO ABN BN 0114000 DEC ABN BN 011000 DEC 3400

3rd ABN CO 011200 DEC 40th ARMY

TO GARD EZ 12 km

DAG

DARI
ABN DIV

ABN BN 011000 DEC

TO K HO
SATUKANDAY PASS

ST

Figure 4-4. Seizing a Pass with an Airborne Battalion

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