Cold Weather Survival
3 - Small Unit Living
3-1. Characteristics of Operations in Cold Weather
Unlimited space and a sparse, widely scattered population are dominant features
of most of the colder regions of the world. Such conditions permit unrestricted
maneuver for troops properly trained and equipped for cold weather operations.
Warfare under such circumstances is characterized by, widely dispersed forces
operating at great distances from other units or their parent organization. Units
must be highly mobile and have the ability to sustain themselves while carrying
out independent operations over extended periods of time.
a. Small units (squad, gun crew, tank crew, wire team,
etc.) form the basic working group for cold weather operations. Under normal operating
they will work together, cook and eat together, and share the same tent or other
shelter. These small units should be formed at the beginning of training and,
if possible, kept intact. The standard to be achieved is a unit which can make
or break camp quickly, efficiently, and silently under all
in which each man knows the tasks to be completed and does them without having
to be told.
b. Small units operating in cold weather must be thoroughly
familiar with the special equipment required and the techniques involved in living
away from their parent organization for extended periods of time. Equipment, and
the techniques of using it, are discussed in this chapter.
II. TENTAGE AND OTHER EQUIPMENT
quantity of various types of special equipment is required to maintain small units
in cold weather. Permanent shelters are usually scarce in northern areas of operations
and heated shelters are required. Special tools are necessary for establishing
bivouacs, breaking trails, and constructing temporary winter roads and battle
Need For Shelter
a. In order to conduct successful military operations
in cold weather and maintain a high level of combat efficiency and morale, heated
shelter must be provided for all troops. An individual’s ability to continue to
work, live, move, and fight under extreme climatic conditions depends upon adequate
shelter. Tents and stoves, therefore, become a vital part of cold weather equipment.
In cold weather, tents should be placed as close as practicable to the scene of
activity, whether the activity be combat or administrative. By so placing the
tents, rotation of men for warmup is possible and maximum continuity of effort
can be maintained.
c. Tents vary in size and shape, depending on their
purpose. Small units such as a rifle squad, artillery section, or similar type
unit are normally equipped with one 10-man arctic tent. During combat, fewer tents
will be needed, as part of the personnel are always on guard detail, occupying
positions, or performing similar missions. It may become necessary for the unit,
temporarily, to use only one-half or one-fourth of its tentage; i.e., one 10-man
tent per platoon, with the men sleeping on a rotation basis. Reduced numbers of
tents and stoves will decrease the requirement for logistical support, such as
fuel and transportation.
d. Elements smaller than the rifle squad (tank
and SP artillery crews), which require less shelter space, are normally equipped
with the 5-man tent (FM 31-71).
e. Normally, small reconnaissance patrols
are not equipped with tents, as tents tend to hamper the mobility and speed of
the patrol. Strong combat patrols and long-range reconnaissance patrols may be
equipped with tents and stoves if sufficient transportation is available to move
the extra weight. When speed is of the essence, patrols will improvise shelters
built from local materials at hand. For semipermanent base camps, portable type
frame shelters may be erected for increased comfort of the troops.
Description of Tentage
a. General. Tentage issued for use in cold
weather is designed on the same layer principle as cold weather clothing. It is,
however, made of only two layers. The outside layer is made of strong, tightly
woven fabric. It is water repellent and impervious to rain and snow. The inner
layer is much lighter in
weight than the outer layer. The liner is fastened
by toggles to the tent and provides an airspace the same as in clothing. It is
designed to provide insulation against the cold. It also prevents frost from forming
on the inside of the tent. Heat is provided by stoves (normally the M-1950 Yukon
b. Tent, Arctic, 10-Man (fig. 3-1). The sixsided, pyramidal
tent, supported by a telescopic pole, normally accommodates ten men and their
individual clothing and equipment. It will accommodate additional men by leaving
individual packs and equipment outside the tent overnight and by lowering the
telescopic pole to spread the sidewalls to cover more ground surface. It may also
function as a command post, aid station, or as a small storage tent. The
has two doors; this permits tents to be joined together, with access from one
to the other, when additional space is required. A snow cloth is attached to the
bottom of the sidewalls for sealing the tent to the ground. This is accomplished
by piling and packing snow on the snow cloth. If the tent is used in
where there is no snow, sod or other materials may be used to seal the bottom
of the tent. Flexible plastic screen doors are provided and may be attached front
and rear of the tent for protection against insects. The tent is ventilated by
four built-in ventilators on opposite sides and near the peak of the tent. Four
lines are provided for drying clothing and equipment. Total weight, to include
the pins and tent pole, is 76 pounds. The tent is heated by an M1950 Yukon stove.
Tent, Hexagonal, Lightweight (fig. 3-2). This tent is also six-sided, pyramidal,
and supported by a telescopic tent pole. It is designed to accommodate four to
five men and their individual clothing and equipment. Under emergency conditions
one tent may provide shelter for a rifle squad or other similar unit when rucksacks
are placed outside the tent. The tent has one door; ventilation is provided by
two built-in ventilators located on opposite sides and near the peak of the tent.
Three lines are provided for drying clothing and equipment. Total weight of the
tent, including the pins and center poles, is 48 pounds. The tent is heated by
an M1950 Yukon stove.
d. Tent, Frame-Type, Sectional (Jamesway). This
16 by 16 frame-type tent (fig. 3-3) is a lightweight unit that offers protection
for one squad. It has wooden floor units, a frame, a rounded roof, and comfortable
head clearances along the centerline of the shelter. The roof and ends of the
tent are fabricated from insulated, coated, fabric blankets. The structure is
fastened to the ground with tent pins or snow with improvised devices. An optional
vestibule may be erected at one or both ends. Additional floor sections may be
added to each other lengthwise for creating larger buildings. Extra end sections
may be installed along any rib as interior partitions. It weighs approximately
2,250 pounds and is heated by one tent stove M1941. The heavier
weight of this
tent restricts its normal use to permanent or semipermanent base camps. It could
be used for forward elements under stabilized conditions.
Tent, General purpose, Small (fig. 3-4). This tent is a six-sided pyramidal
tent fabricated of cotton duck cloth. A liner is available to insulate the tent
furing cold weather. The tent is equipped with slide fastener doors, screened
doors, screened ventilators, and stovepipe opening. It has a front and rear entrance,
each with a lacing flap arrangement to permit attachment of the vestibule or erection
of tents in tandem. The tent is supported by eight adjustable aluminum poles around
the eave line and a standard telescopic magnesium pole at the peak. The tent is
used for command posts, fire direction centers, battalion aid stations, or for
any general purpose use. Although similar in appearance to the Tent, Arctic, 10-man,
the tent has an eave height of 152.40 cm (60”) compared to 91.44 cm (36”) for
the 10-man tent. The complete tent, with liner, pins and poles weighs 186 pounds.
Pitching and Striking Cold Weather Tents
a. With proper training,
small troop units will be able to pitch tents in 15 to 30 minutes. Additional
time will be required to complete the camouflage of the tent. Pitching and striking
of the tents are performed in a routine drill manner in accordance with instructions
contained in FM 20-15.
b. The following must be considered when pitching
or striking the tents in snow or on frozen ground:
(1) Whenever possible snow
should be cleared to the ground surface to obtain a lower silhouette and gain
advantage of ground temperatures which are generally warmer than air temperatures.
Coniferous boughs or similar material should then be placed on the ground for
insulation and comfort. When it is impractical to remove snow to ground level,
an adequate tent site may be made by packing the snow with skis or snowshoes until
a firm base is provided
for pitching. In this case, the tent pole is placed
on a log or other suitable support to keep the pole from sinking into the snow.
Support is also needed for the stove under similar conditions.
(2) In open
terrain, with a strong wind, it may become necessary to build a snow wall on the
windward side of the tent to protect it from the wind. The snow wall also makes
it easier to heat the tent and less likely that the tent will blow down. The tent
is pitched with the entrance 45° down-wind (fig. 3-5). Variable winds may
require construction of a windbreak at the entrance. High winds in certain cold
areas necessitate anchoring the tent securely. When the tent is set up, the snow
cloth should be flat on the ground outside the tent. Stones, logs, or other heavy
objects should be placed on the snow cloth in
addition to the snow to assist
in anchoring the tent. If this is not done, the tent will be drafty and very difficult
to keep warm.
(3) Tents may be pitched rapidly and anchored securely by attaching
the tent lines to trees, branches, logs or stumps whenever possible. If these
natural anchors are not available, suitable holes are dug into the snow for the
purpose of using “deadmen.” This is accomplished by digging a hole into the snow
large enough to insert a pole or log approximately one meter (3') long with the
tent line attached. The hole is then filled with snow, well packed, and in a short
period of time the packed snow freezes and the tent will be securely anchored
(a, fig. 3-6). Driving metal pins into frozen or rocky ground should be
when excessive force is required. On rocky ground, tent lines may be tied around
heavy rocks and then weighted down with other stones (b, fig. 3-6).
are also occasionally pitched on ice. When the thickness of the ice is not excessive,
a small hole is chopped through the ice. A short stick or pole
with a piece
of rope or wire tied in the middle of it is pushed through and then turned across
the hole underneath the ice (c, fig. 3-6). If the ice is very thick a hole 30
to 60 cm (1' to 2') deep is cut in it, the “deadman” inserted and the hole filled
with slush or water (d, fig, 3-6). When the slush or water is frozen, an excellent
anchor point is provided. When the “deadman” is placed underneath or into the
ice, a piece of rope or wire should be fastened to the rope or wire after the
“deadman” is secure. This may prevent the tent line from being accidentally cut
or damaged when being removed from the ice.
(5) When striking the tent in winter it normally will be covered with snow
and ice which must be removed or the tent may double in weight. Snow and ice can
be removed easily by shaking the tent or by beating it with a mitten or a stick.
If the snow cloth is frozen to the ground, the snow and ice around it must be
carefully removed by chopping or shoveling in order to avoid damage to the material.
One method of accomplishing this is to ease the shovel between the cloth and the
ground and gently pry the cloth away from the ice.
c. The vestibule
attached to the basic frame-type tent (Jamesway) helps reduce heat loss when the
door is frequently used. The main door of the tent opens inward, and thus cannot
be blocked by drifting snow if the occupants are equipped with a shovel or improvised
digging equipment. However, the vestibule door opens outward and can be blocked
by drifting snow during a violent storm. A safe practice is to install the vestibule
only at one end facing the prevailing wind and to use no vestibule on the more
leeward end where drift will probably accumulate. Rapid exit in case of fire or
other emergency is then assured. Where severe winds are expected the tent should
be sited crosswise to the anticipated wind direction since the curved roof tolerates
the wind load better than the flat ends, and buffeting is reduced. A vestibule
should not be used on a tent intended for aid station use, since a standard litter
cannot negotiate the right angle turn required in the short vestibule.
a. Tents are pitched to protect-occupants from the
elements and to provide necessary warmth and comfort. When the bottom of the arctic
tent is properly sealed and the doors are zipped shut, moisture will form on the
inside of the tent and accumulate on clothing and equipment, thereby causing dampness
and hoarfrost. In addition, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and fumes from the
stoves may soon accumulate to a dangerous degree. To offset these factors, the
built-in ventilators near the peak of the tent must be kept open.
To improve ventilation, a draft channel may be constructed by forming a pipe with
green logs(fig. 3-7). The channel is buried in the floor and has an opening under
the stove. The draft of the stove draws fresh air from outside the tent into the
Heating Tents with Stove, Yukon, M1950, 60,000 BTU
The Yukon stove (1, fig. 3-8) is used to heat the 10-man, 5-man, and GP Small
tents. In addition to providing heat, the top surface of the stove and, to a small
degree, the area beneath the stove, may be used to cook rations or heat water.
The Yukon stove utilizes standard leaded motor fuel as its normal fuel, but may
also be operated with white gasoline, kerosene, light fuel oil, naphtha, or JP-4
fuel, without modification (2, fig. 3-8). During low
temperatures the stove
will burn five gallons of gasoline every 8 to 12 hours. When solid fuels (wood,
coal, etc.) are used, the stove must be modified by removing the oil burner from
the top of the stove, closing the opening where the burner was installed, and
turning over the wire grate so that there is space below the grate for draft and
ashes. A piece of plywood slightly larger than the base of the stove should be
carried as part of the tent group equipment. The plywood is covered with aluminum
foil and is used to provide a firm base for the stove and to prevent it from melting
down into the snow.
b. Operating Procedures. The compact, lightly constructed,
33-pound Yukon stove permits all accessory parts to be packed within the stove
body for convenient portability in a sled or on a packboard. A draft diverter
is issued as a component part of the stove. It shields the top of the stovepipe
from the wind and prevents a backdraft from forcing smoke or gases into the stove
and tent. Three, 4.5 meter (15') guylines tied to the draft diverter serve to
the stovepipe in strong winds. These guylines must be anchored to the tent or
tent ropes, not to the ground or nearby trees. A simple method of erecting a tripod
for the fuel can is to obtain three poles about 2 meters (6') in length; the poles
are tied about two-thirds of the way up using wire from ration cases, string,
rope, or emergency thong, and then spread out to form a tripod. The fuel can should
be at least one meter (3') higher than the stove. The lowest part of the inverted
gasoline can should be a minimum of 30 cm (1') above the level of the needle valve
of the Yukon stove. It should not be higher than 1.50 meters (5') if the valve
is to operate smoothly. If the fuel can is wobbly or if there is some wind the
can must be tied to the tripod for additional protection. Make certain that the
can is tilted so that air is trapped in the uppermost corner. The stove is assembled,
operated, and maintained in accordance with TM 10- 735.
Precautions. The following precautions must be observed when the Yukon stove
(1) Burning liquid fuels.
(a) All stovepipe connections
must be tight and necessary tent shields adjusted properly.
must be level to insure that the burner assembly will spread an even flame within
(c) The fuel hose must be protected so it cannot be pulled
loose accidentally. If necessary, a small trench may be dug and the hose imbedded
where it crosses the tent floor.
(d) The fuel line must not be allowed
to touch the hot stove.
(e) When adjusting the fuel flow, the drip valve
lever must be turned carefully to prevent damage to the threads.
Rate of fuel flow must be checked at regular intervals. The rate of flow will
change as fuel supply level drops and will require some adjustment. The stove
should never be left unattended. Maintaining a hotter fire than necessary may
cause the stove body to become overheated and warp.
(g) If the flame
is accidentally extinguished, or if the fuel can is being changed, the drip valve
must be closed. When the stove has cooled, any excess fuel inside the stove must
be wiped up and 2 or 3 minutes allowed for gas fumes to escape before relighting
the burner. The burner must be cool before relighting stove. If stove lit before
burner is cool, the fuel will vaporize prior to ignition, causing an explosion.
All fuel supplies must be kept outside the tent. Spare cans of gasoline or other
fuel should never be stored inside the tent. Fuels used in combat areas in the
north are normally low temperature fuels which will flow freely.
(a) Fuel should be fed a small amount at a time until
the bed of coals is burning brightly.
(b) Stove should not be allowed
(c) Oil or gasoline should not be poured on the fire.
Ashes should not be allowed to accumulate below the grate.
should be removed to prevent grate from becoming blocked.
Heating of Semipermanent Tents with Tent Stove, M1941
Stoves of this type
normally are used to provide heat for the semipermanent, frame-type, sectional
tent. The stove may be operated with wood or coal or with various types of oil
and gasoline. This stove has the same general characteristics and safety features
outlined for the Yukon stove in paragraph 3–8.
The minimum daily fuel consumption per Yukon stove approximates
five gallons of gasoline per 8 to 12 hours of operation. The M1941 Tent Stove
will burn five gallons in 3 to 4 hours. Prior planning must be accomplished to
reduce the number of stoves required, especially for operations that are some
distance from a road net. Wood should be used as fuel whenever possible. Cooking
and heating are combined and, when extra heat is required to dry clothes, all
individuals should dry clothes at the same time, when possible.
Candles will provide light in forward areas. In rear areas,
gasoline lanterns or lighting equipment sets may be used.
a. Handtools are needed by small units for several purposes
such as erection and striking the tent, building ski and weapon racks, building
field latrines, chopping firewood, etc. Tools are also needed for trailbreaking,
preparation of positions, and similar tasks. Because entrenching tools are lightly
constructed, they are of little value for work in heavy timber or frozen ground.
The following tools are needed by squad sized units to accomplish routine
in cold regions, regardless of the season of the year:
(1) One axe, chopping.
One saw (Buck or Swede).
(3) Two machetes with sheaths.
(4) One shovel,
b. Tools must be kept sharp, clean, oiled and in good
condition. Care must be taken to preclude small tools and items of equipment from
being left in the snow or thrown aside where they may become buried and lost in
the snow. Particular care must be exercised while wearing gloves because ice or
frost may form on the gloves and cause the tools to slip from the users hands,
resulting in injury to nearby personnel and/or loss of equipment.
to Improvised Shelters