Cold Weather Survival
Nose and Cheek Protectors and Masks
a. The Mask, Cold Weather may
be issued for use during severe windchill conditions. The mask must be
removed at intervals to check for frostbite.
b. A certain amount of
protection can be gained by covering as much of the face as possible with a wool
scarf. It may be adjusted from time to time, and should be rotated when the section
opposite the mouth and nose becomes covered with frost. The frozen end should
be left outside the coat or parka. The
scarf, like the mask, must be removed
at intervals to check for frostbite.
a. Winter camouflage clothing (overwhites)
consists of white trousers and lightweight parka with hood. White covers are also
issued for the rucksacks.
b. Camouflage clothing provides a means of
concealment and camouflage from the enemy—both from the ground and from the air
in winter conditions. Use of the white camouflage clothing is, however, dependent
on the background; generally speaking, on vegetation and the amount of snow on
the ground. The complete white suit (fig. 6-26) is worn when terrain is covered
with snow. Mixed clothing (fig. 6-27 )—white parka and dark trousers, or vice
versa—is used against mottled backgrounds. The correct use of camouflage clothing
is extremely important (para 6-22).
c. Overwhites may become frosty
and icy after use. As with all clothing, the frost and ice must be removed to
expedite drying. Soiled camouflage clothing will lose its effectiveness; therefore,
care must be exercised when handling stoves, digging in ground, and performing
similar tasks. Avoid scorching or burning the garments when drying or when lying
down by an open fire. The clothing should be washed or changed frequently. When
should be checked to insure that it fits over the basic
garments without restricting movement.
Maintenance of Clothing and Equipment
The leather in boots should be treated with approved agents. Normally, the insulated
boot can be repaired with ordinary tire patching or air mattress patching material.
If these items are not readily available, friction tape or even chewing gum may
be used temporarily to plug up the hole and prevent moisture from damaging the
insulation. If the damage cannot be repaired, the boots should be removed, airdried,
and turned in for replacement as soon as possible. The inside of the boots should
be washed at least once a month with a mild soap, and rinsed with warm water.
Do not clean with abrasive materials. Also do not apply polish or paint to any
part of the boot as it will result in deterioration of the rubber.
Socks. Socks should be washed daily, using lukewarm water to avoid excessive
shrinkage. After washing, they should be wrung out and stretched to natural shape
before drying. Holes in socks should be repaired as soon as possible, taking special
precautions to avoid bunching or roughness of the ended area. It should be noted
that proper repairs under field conditions are almost impossible and that blisters
should be expected if field mended socks are worn.
b. Handgear. Holes
should be mended promptly. Gloves or mittens should not be dried too near an open
c. Headgear. Headgear should be washed as required to remove perspiration,
dirt, and hair oils. When drying, normal care must be exercised to avoid scorching
2-12. Sleeping Equipment
a. The complete
sleeping bag for use in cold climates consists of three parts: a case, of water-repellent
material; an inner bag (mountain type), of quilted tubular construction, filled
with a mixture of down and feathers; and an outer bag (arctic bag), of the same
material as the inner bag. In addition, an insulating air mattress and a waterproof
bag into which the sleeping bags are packed are issued.
b. When temperatures
are normally above 14° F., only one bag is used. It is placed in and laced
to the cover. When temperatures are below 14° F., both bags are used. The
inner bag is placed inside the outer bag and secured at the foot with the loops
and tie straps provided and the cover laced over the outer bag.
the bag is used, it is first fluffed up so that the down and feather insulation
is evenly distributed in channels, thus preventing matting. Since cold penetrates
from below, and the insulation inherent in the bag is compressed by the weight
of the body, additional insulation is placed under the bag whenever possible.
Added insulation can be obtained by placing ponchos, extra clothing, backboards,
fiber ammunition or food containers, or boughs between the sleeping bag and the
ground. The insertion of a waterproof cover, such as a poncho, between the sleeping
bag and air mattress will prevent the mattress and bag from freezing together
at very cold temperatures. This is caused by condensation on the mattress due
to the difference in temperatures between the lower side touching the ground and
the upper side touching the relatively warm sleeping bag. Care must be taken to
prevent puncturing the mattress or damaging sleeping bags. In general, the more
insulation between the sleeping bag and the ground, the warmer the body.
If the tactical situation permits, individuals should avoid wearing too many clothes
in the sleeping bag. When too many clothes are worn they tend to bunch up, especially
at the shoulders, thereby restricting circulation and inducing cold. Too many
clothes also increase the bulk and place tension upon the bag, thus decreasing
the size of the insulating airspaces between layers and reducing the efficiency
of the insulation. In addition, too many clothes may cause the soldier to perspire
and result in excessive moisture accumulating in the bag, a condition which will
likewise reduce the bag’s insulating qualities.
e. The sleeping bag
is equipped with a full length slide fastener which has a free running, nonlocking
slider. In an emergency, the bag can be opened quickly by grasping both sides
of the opening near the top of the slide fastener and pulling the fastener apart.
As a safety precaution, bags should be tested at frequent intervals to insure
that the slide fastener operates freely and will function properly.
sleeping bag should be kept clean and dry. It should be opened wide and ventilated
after use to dry out the moisture that accumulates from the body. Whenever possible,
it should be sunned or aired in the open. The bag always should be laced in its
water-repellent case and carried in the waterproof
bag to prevent snow from
getting on it. The warmth of the body could melt the snow during the night and
cause extreme discomfort. Individuals should avoid breathing into the bag. If
the face becomes too cold it should be covered with an item of clothing. Sleeping
bags should be drycleaned at least twice a year. As a safety precaution, bags
should be thoroughly aired prior to use to prevent possible asphyxiation from
entrapped drycleaning solvent fumes.
a. Rucksack-Nylon, OG 106 (fig. 2-7).
The nylon rucksack consists of the following:
(a) A lightweight aluminum
alloy frame to which all other components are attached.
(b) A lightweight
aluminum alloy cargo support shelf provided as optional equipment for attachment
to the frame when the frame is used as a packboard.
(c) A pouch fabricated
from 4-ounce nylon fabric.
(d) Nylon left and right shoulder straps.
The left shoulder strap has a quick-release device designed to facilitate rapid
doffing of the rucksack. The right shoulder strap has a rapid adjustment buckle
for lengthening the strap which allows the wearer to fire his rifle while in the
prone position. The two straps
are interchangeable to accommodate left-handed
(e) A nylon webbing waist belt designed to prevent the rucksack
from swinging to either side or bouncing during body movements.
A rifle carrier consisting of a rifle butt pocket, constructed of nylon webbing,
with a double hook and a rifle strap.
(2) The nylon rucksack is the normal
pack equipment used for operations in northern areas and replaces the rucksack,
with frame (Standard C). It should be noted that this item may be issued in lieu
of the nylon rucksack. It should also be noted that the plywood packboard may
be issued in lieu of the nylon rucksack. The soldier using the rucksack can carry
extra clothing and rations in the nylon pouch and can also carry one sleeping
bag (in waterproof bag). When the nylon pouch is removed and cargo support shelf
attached, the rucksack may be used as a packboard for carrying loads weighing
50 pounds (TC 10-8).
b. Suspenders and Belt, Individual
Equipment. The suspenders and belt of the M-56 standard load-carrying equipment
is worn beneath the nylon rucksack to carry ammunition pouches, first aid or compass
case, and the entrenching tool. The suspenders and belt should be adjusted to
fit loosely over the cold weather clothing, to allow for proper ventilation. The
suspender belt combination is designed so that the belt can be worn unbuckled
while on the march, if additional ventilation is required.
a. Sunglasses. Sunglasses always should
be worn on bright days when the ground is covered with snow. They are designed
to protect the eyes against sunglare and blowing snow. If not used, snow blindness
may result. They should be used when the sun is shining through fog or clouds,
A bright, cloudy day is deceptive and can be as dangerous to the eyes as a day
of brilliant sunshine. The sunglasses should be worn to shade the eyes from the
rays of the sun that are reflected by the snow. Snow blindness is similar to sunburn,
in that a deep burn may be received before discomfort is felt. To prevent snow
blindness, sunglasses must be used from the start of exposure. Waiting for the
appearance of discomfort is too late. The risk of snow blindness is increased
at high mountain altitudes because the clear air allows more of the burning rays
of sunlight to penetrate the atmosphere. When not being used, they should be carried
in the protective case to avoid scratching or breaking the lens. If sunglasses
are lost or broken, a substitute can be improvised by cutting thin, 3 cm (l”)
long slits through a scrap of wood or cardboard approximately 15 cm (6”) long
and 3 cm ( 1“ ) wide. The improvised sunglasses
(fig. 2-8 ) can be held on
the face with strips of cloth if a cord is not available.
(1) Canteen, water; cold climatic (fig. 2-9). This canteen
is a vacuum-insulated canteen of one quart capacity with an unpainted dull finish
steel exterior. The inner and outer stainless steel vessels are welded together
at the top of the neck. A nonmetallic mouthpiece at the neck prevents lips from
freezing to the metal neck. A plastic cap seals and protects the mouthpiece. A
nesting type metal cup with a capacity of one pint is provided for eating and
drinking beverages. The canteen with cup is carried in a canvas cover which fastens
to field equipment in a manner similar to the conventional canteens. Care must
be taken to insure that the mouthpiece or cap are not lost. A sharp blow to the
canteen may result in denting or rupture with consequent loss of insulating capabilities.
Conventional metal and plastic canteens. Conventional canteens are carried
in a fabric carrier; however, this will not keep the liquid in the canteen from
freezing in extreme cold. When possible, the canteen should be carried in one
of the pockets or wrapped in any woolen garment and packed in the rucksack. If
available, warm or hot water should be placed in the canteen before starting an
operation. During extreme cold the canteen should never be filled over two-thirds
full. This will allow room for expansion if ice should form, and will prevent
the canteen from rupturing. Insure that the gaskets are in the cap at all times.
This is an important precaution and will prevent the liquid from leaking out and
dampening the clothing in the ruck-sack. Conventional thermos bottles will keep
liquids hot, or at least unfrozen for approximately 24 hours, depending on temperatures.
If canteens or thermos bottles freeze, they should be thawed out carefully to
prevent bursting. The top should be opened and the contents allowed to melt slowly.
Pocket Equipment. There are several small items that should be carried in
the pockets so they will be readily available for use. Having these items when
they are needed will contribute to the well-being of individuals and help prevent
injuries. A good sharp pocketknife is an essential item. It is useful for
branches, in shelter construction, in repairing ski bindings, and numerous other
tasks. Waterproof matches should be carried and kept in the watertight matchbox
and used only in an emergency. They should never be used when ordinary matches
and lighters will function. Sunburn preventive cream will protect the skin from
bright, direct sunshine, from sunrays reflected by the snow, and from strong winds.
The chapstick will prevent lips from chapping or breaking due to cold weather
or strong winds. The chapstick should be protected from freezing. The emergency
thong has numerous uses, such as lashing packs, replacing broken bootlaces, and
repairing ski and snowshoe bindings.
d. Emergency Kit. It is recommended
that all personnel carry an emergency kit for use in individual survival. With
this kit, an individual can survive off the land by trapping and fishing and can
procure the minimum amount of food necessary to maintain his strength for a short
period of time.
(1) 1 each emergency thong.
(2) 1 each sharp pocketknife.
Single-edge razor blades.
(4) Waterproof matches.
(5) Safety pins.
(7) Fire starters.
(8) Salt tablets.
(9) High protein candy
(10) Bouillon cubes.
The steel helmet may be worn during warm periods in cold
areas in the same manner as in moderate climates. During cold periods it is normally
worn over the Cap, Insulating Helmet Liner-Helmet. The helmet may also be worn
under the winter hood.
a. The Mask, Protective, Field, M17 is the Army
standard protective mask. Information on this mask can be found in TM 3-4240-202-15.
TM 3-4240-202-15, describes the winterization measures for the M17 Mask. In addition
to the wearing of tinted antiglare outserts for the plastic lenses, this kit provides
winterization inlet and nosecup valves together with an ice prefilter. This allows
the standard mask to be worn at temperatures down to –50° F. with the M6A2
b. The protective mask may be worn in moderately cold weather
in the same manner as in moderate climates. When the mask is used in extreme cold,
the rubber facepiece should be warm enough to make it pliable when it is adjusted
to the wearer’s face. One method of keeping the mask warm is to carry
the outer garments and next to the body. It is also recommended that the mask
be kept inside the sleeping bag during the night. On removing the mask, any moisture
on the face should be wiped off immediately to prevent frostbite. After drying
the face, the facepiece of the mask should be thoroughly dried to prevent freezing
of moisture inside the mask. The rubber cover of the outlet valve should also
be raised and the valve, surrounding
area, and the inside of the cover wiped
dry to prevent the outlet valve from icing.
c. If it becomes necessary
to wear the mask for protection against chemical agents during extreme cold weather,
troops must be advised that the facepiece of the protective mask will not protect
the face from the cold and that, in fact, the opposite is true. The danger of
frostbite increases when the mask is worn.
d. The three automatic atropine
injections of 2 mg each, carried as accessories during moderate temperature conditions,
are carried in a pocket of the protective mask carrier. In cold weather (40°
F. and below), the injectors will be removed from the carrier and placed in the
inside of the right-hand pocket of the OG shirt, where body temperature will prevent
Standard issue body armor may be worn with either of the cold
weather uniforms. When worn with the cold-wet uniform it is worn over the OG shirt
and under the coat and liner. When worn with the cold-dry uniform it is worn over
the OG shirt and under the coat and liner or the parka and liner. Although
body armor is worn primarily for protection against shell and mortar fragments,
it may provide additional environmental protection for the user; however, because
of the weight, armor should be worn only for its primary purpose and not for additional