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6-13. Formations

Squad and platoon formations for tactical movements remain basically the same as for temperate regions; however, terrain and deep snow cover will necessitate some modifications. In deep snow, when speed is of the essence, a column formation may be preferable to a line formation because it will require fewer trails. Old, well-settled snow will normally provide good flotation and will facilitate skiing for the individuals. Since the trailbreaking requirement is reduced and may under favorable circumstances be nonexistent, line formations may be used without loss of speed. Downhill movement, even in deep snow, may also indicate the use of line formations when it would not be considered feasible on level terrain under the same snow conditions.

6-14. Handling of Ski and Snowshoe Equipment and Individual Weapons
a. The purpose of using skis or snowshoes in combat is to expedite the movement of individuals over deep snow in the most rapid manner, thus exposing them to hostile fire for the shortest possible period of time. In order to obtain the maximum advantage of skis they should be used as far forward as possible, leaving them behind only when the objective can be reached more quickly and easily on foot. It is finally up to the small unit leader to decide at which phase in the attack this may be done. As a rule of thumb the skis are left at the final coordination line, because close combat on foot is more effective and easier to execute than if mounted on skis. Conversely, deep snow may force units to close into the objective on skis. Individuals using snowshoes may keep them on through all phases of the attack. Under favorable snow conditions they may be left piled together at the final coordination line or fastened to the individual’s equipment where they will least hinder him.
b. As friendly forces approach the effective range of enemy weapons, they move by fire and maneuver. The individuals proceed by short rushes on foot, on skis, or on snowshoes whichever is most feasible. Rushing on foot, the skis are dragged by holding them together by the tips (poles through the two straps) in one hand, with the weapon readily available for action in the other (fig. 6–15). Skis may also be tied to the belt with the emergency thong
slipped through the holes at the ski tips.
c. The quick-release feature of the All-Terrain ski binding provides the means to quickly dismount from skis when hostile fire becomes effective. Under favorable snow conditions, as well as in emergencies, the ski bindings are kept on when lying down and firing between rushes (fig. 6–16).
d. When contact with the enemy is not expected, the individual weapon is carried across the back with the sling over either shoulder, the butt at the side or attached to the rucksack (if carried by the individuals) (fig. 6-17). When contact with the enemy is imminent, the weapon is slung around the neck and in front of the body thus releasing both arms for rapid skiing (fig. 6–18). When contact with the enemy has been established, the weapon is carried in one hand and the ski poles in the other so the weapon is readily available for action (fig. 6-19).
e. Under conditions where the depth of the snow is less than 50 cm (20”), skis may be left in the attack position if it becomes evident that launching an attack on foot can be executed in a more rapid and efficient manner than using skis
f. As soon as the objective has been seized, the skis, ski poles or snowshoes may be recovered and brought forward. A two-man team can quickly make a ski bundle (fig. 6-20) and drag the skis of an entire squad at one time.
Figure 6-15 Figure 6-16 Figure 6-17 Figure 6-18 Figure 6-19 Figure 6-20

6-15. Additional Techniques
a. In deep, loose snow under hostile fire it may be more advantageous to advance in a high crawl position by holding the skis with hands through the toe straps and taking full advantage of snowdrifts and bushes. A position such as illustrated in figure 6–21 should be adopted. Snowshoes may be used in the same manner.
b. Sliding forward in a low crawl on skis is another method of advancing, especially over firm snow (fig. 6–22). The rifle can be slung over the shoulder or laid on the skis directly in front of the individual. The latter is possible only when the snow is hard so that it cannot get into the rifle.
c. In deep snow, trenches may be dug in the snow leading in the direction of the objective when it is too difficult to be reached by oversnow movement. Snow trenches are dug on a zigzag course (fig. 6-23 ) by throwing the snow out under cover of darkness or, in an emergency, the digging may be masked by smokescreens. The snow shoveled from the trench should be placed on the enemy side of the trench to allow the individuals to crawl along the trench without being observed by the enemy.
d. Snowdrifts and vehicle tracks may be utilized when found in the battlefield. Snow fills in ditches and rolling ground and tends to flatten the terrain in general. The wind builds up snowdrifts and cornices and can change the contour of the ground a great deal. Snowcovered terrain must be continually studied and every feature utilized. On the downwind side of every obstacle, tree, house, and bush there is always a hollow which may provide an
excellent observation point or firing position (fig. 6-24).
e. The wind, particularly in open areas, may form long, wavy snowdrifts which are almost natural snow trenches. They may at times be used as an approach to the objective.
f. Frozen streams or sunken riverbeds may be used as another means of advance (fig. 6–all 35); often they may represent a longer but safer route.
g. An early fall frost will form a layer of ice on creeks or streams when the water level is high. Later, when the flowing water becomes lower and reaches its winter level, the top surface will again freeze so that there are two layers of ice. This is called shell ice or overflow ice and is not always safe.
h. Certain swampy areas do not freeze solidly during the coldest periods of winter. They are often covered with snow, hiding the water underneath and making the swamps an obstacle. Only experience and the knowledge that they exist in the local area, will prevent accidents. Suspected areas should be avoided and bypassed with no attempt made to cross.
i. Snowbanks beside plowed roads and tracks often provide excellent cover in wintertime. These banks or drifts will remain far into the spring thaw period, especially in areas of heavy snowfall.
j. The tracks left by tanks and oversnow vehicles in snow may provide routes of advance. Continuous traffic packs the snow and may allow movement on foot without skis or snowshoes. In the advance, infantry may utilize tracks left by their advancing armor.
k. In static situations the ski equipment becomes vulnerable to small arms fire and shell fragments. When troops are expected to remain in the same position for an extended period of time, skis, poles, and snowshoes should be placed in a covered position.
Figure 6-21 Figure 6-22 Figure 6-23 Figure 6-24 Figure 6-25

6-16. General Considerations

a. In winter the whiteness of the countryside emphasizes any item which may not blend in naturally with the surroundings. Furthermore, every movement by vehicles or dismounted troops leaves tracks in the snow. Before every movement, consideration must be given to how these tracks can be kept to a minimum. Nature may assist by covering tracks with newly fallen snow or by providing a storm in which movement will be concealed. Camouflage and
concealment from air observation is of the greatest concern.
b. In the northern landscape, backgrounds are not necessarily all white. Rocks, scrub bushes, and shadows make sharp contrast with the snow.
c. Snow-covered terrain in the wooded regions, when viewed from the air, reveals a surprising proportion of dark areas.

6-17. Vapor Clouds
Firing of weapons, vehicle exhausts, and breathing will, in extreme cold, cause local fog or vapor clouds which can be seen by the enemy even though the weapon, vehicle, or soldier is well concealed. Smoke from fires hangs immediately above and will disclose the position if there is no wind to blow it away.
Under certain conditions, if the position is on a high point, smoke may flow downward into depressions and may be used as a deceptive measure. It may be necessary to move weapons frequently, shut off vehicle motors, or leave vehicles in rear areas. Conversely, deception or concealment might be gained by deliberately creating vapor fogs or clouds.

6-18. Sounds
The still, cold air of the North carries sound much farther than in temperate climates. All sounds must be kept to a minimum. Noise caused by motors, men coughing, and skiers breaking through snow crust may warn the enemy of activity at extreme distances.

6-19. Visibility
The long hours of daylight in the North during the summer allow for longer periods of aerial reconnaissance and increase the possibility of detection. The short hours of daylight during the winter months materially decrease the time available for reconnaissance. As an example, during the period 15 December to 15 January at 68° N. Lat. the sun will never appear over the horizon. Daylight will consist of only twilight and will last for only 4 or 5 hours.

6-20. Tracks
a. Tracks made in a soft surface may become quite firm if the temperature drops during the night, and will remain indefinitely as indications of movement. Special consideration must be given to the tracks in bivouacs and base camps. Number and size of trails must be kept to a minimum. All unnecessary “streets,” turnaround loops, and parking areas must be avoided. Individuals may be forced to use only a certain trail. From the air, tracks, even through wooded areas, appear like a white scar. Coniferous branches can be laid in a staggered pattern on each side of the track as well as on it. Strict track discipline both during movement as well as in bivouacs and base camps must be maintained at all times.
b. Aerial photographs are closely examined and from them can be gathered a great deal of information. The depth of a track will show the amount and the direction of movement. Vehicle or sled tracks may indicate the type of vehicle and conclusions can be made as to the type of weapons. Every effort must be made to mislead the enemy. It may be advantageous to make more tracks or trails and show greater signs of strength. All marks made in the open are generally visible to the camera.

6-21. Camouflage Materials
a. White is the predominant color in winter and snow is the most important camouflage material. By intelligent use of camouflage clothing and equipment together with what nature makes available, effective individual and group camouflage can be achieved.
b. Improvised camouflage clothes can be made from sheeting, tape, whitewashed sacking, or painted canvas. White paper, when wet, can be applied and allowed to freeze on all kinds of surfaces. Snow thrown over the object helps to increase the camouflage effect.
c. White paint has many uses in winter camouflage. Weapons, vehicles, skis, and sleds can be effectively painted with white nonglossy paint.
d. On occasion, white smoke may be used to help the camouflage plan. The major problem is to make the installation blend in with the countryside.
e. Camouflage face paint, white and loam color combination, may be applied to exposed areas of the face and hands to blend effectively in with the snow cover.

6-22. Individual Camouflage and Concealment
a. During the summer the normal principles of using camouflage clothing will apply. However, as winter approaches, men must use partial white winter camouflage to match the changing conditions; men should be trained to avoid areas of local growth and dark outlines (fig. 6-26).
b. In fairly open forest areas during the winter, men wearing “whites” should avoid the dark background of trees. In the same manner, if wearing dark clothing, men should stay under trees and avoid the open.
c. In mixed surroundings frequent changes of camouflage clothing become necessary. The use of mixed clothing is often the most preferable (fig. 6-27).
d. All equipment worn on the outside should be camouflaged. Contrasting equipment worn on the camouflage suit will increase the possibility of enemy detection. Loose items such as grenades or fieldglasses should be kept concealed inside the suit.
Figure 6-26 Figure 6-27

6-23. Camouflaging Equipment
Skis, rifles, and sleds may be painted white prior to issue. If they are unpainted, white camouflage paint or improvised local materials can be used. Sleds will be issued with white covers for concealing the load. Finally, individual weapons can be camouflaged with strips of white garnish or white adhesive tape. The tape also provides protection for the hands when handling the weapon in extreme cold.

6-24. Camouflage and Concealment of Small Groups
a. In selecting a position, enemy ground and air observation must always be considered. A location which requires the least amount of modification is the most suitable, since there is less requirement for disturbing its “natural” appearance. The camouflaging of a position commences before occupation of the position. The most suitable covered approaches must be used and tracks, if not hidden, must be kept to a minimum. Where possible, approaches should be made under the concealment offered by trees or bushes, behind snowdrifts or slopes, and in shaded areas. Poor camouflage at this point may make position camouflaging ineffective. If tracks cannot be concealed, then tracks should lead through the position to one or more dummy positions. On occupation of a position, disturb its appearance as little as possible. Snow or earth removed from the position should be thrown to the enemy side. If the position is of snow or ice construction, it must be rounded off in order to avoid reflection and marked shadows. Overhead tarpaulins or camouflage nets should be used to cover any extensive digging in snow or earth.
b. In placing the individual and the weapon it is most important that he is not silhouetted or contrasted with his background. Low positions that blend into the background is the secret.
c. If time allows, positions can be greatly improved by constructing an overhead cover of suitably camouflaged materials such as branches, nets, blankets, etc. (fig. 6-28).
d. The tent is one of the largest items to be camouflaged (fig. 6–29 ). Although large, by careful site selection using both artificial and natural camouflage material, it can be readily hidden. A decreased number of tents and stoves, due to tactical reasons, will automatically assist in keeping the bivouac area camouflaged. Occasionally, the camouflage of the tents in sparse vegetation, barren tundra, and especially under winter conditions becomes very difficult. Use white materials such as individual overwhites or snowblocks to protect the dark material from observation. In emergencies the white inside liner may be removed and placed on the top of the tent. Frequently all fires in the stoves as well as the open fires must be extinguished and the warming factor
sacrificed for camouflage and safety reasons.
Figure 6-28 Figure 6-29

6-25. Camouflage of Vehicles
a. In winter all vehicles should be painted white to fit the predominantly white terrain. In forested areas it is relatively easy to darken a white vehicle with issued or improvised camouflage material. In areas with definite contrasts, for example in the wooded areas, or during breakup and freezeup periods, a mottled effect should be used. See FM 31-71.
b. In addition to the vehicle painting, each vehicle should be equipped with an all seasonal camouflage net to be used when required. Concealment will be more effective if vehicles are parked close to dark features or in shaded areas. Always try to break the silhouette and avoid vehicle shadows. Try to make it appear flat when observed from the ground or air.
c. In wooded areas lean-tos can be built to conceal vehicles. In a static situation a snow shelter can be constructed to provide cover and concealment.
d. In extreme cold consideration must be given to the exhaust from vehicles since it will form ice fog and provide the enemy with additional means of detection.

6-26. Deception
a. More opportunities for unit or individual deception exist in the North during winter than possibly in any other areas. However, deception measures are not sufficiently effective to lessen the requirement for good concealment. Unless unit and individual camouflage is effective, the value of any deception
plan will be greatly reduced. Deception must be based on well-coordinated plans which must be logical and not too obvious. Dummy positions must be positioned to follow the tactical plan, but far enough removed from actual position so that fire directed at the dummy position will not endanger the real position (fig. 6-30).
b. A few skiers or oversnow vehicles can create a network of trails or tracks to mislead the enemy as to direction, strength, location, and intentions.
c. Regular pneumatic deception devices are inoperable and should not be used in temperatures below zero degrees. Improvised devices, however,
can be made from snow, branches, canvas; and any other available material. Dummy weapons, positions, tents, and vehicles of all kinds can be constructed (fig. 6-31). They must not appear obvious but should appear camouflaged and only “discovered” as a result of a camouflage violation. A dummy bivouac area must appear to be occupied. Small gasoline or oil flames may be used to simulate stoves or idling engines. In a bivouac area the
place must appear to look occupied; a fire or smoke could easily be used to produce this effect.
Figure 6-30 Figure 6-31

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