Military Survival – Travel Guidelines for the Soldier in Distress

While traveling in a survival situation brings myriad challenges for just any person, the military survivor probably has it hardest of all. In addition to the challenges of navigation, signaling, danger from animals, and health problems, the soldier has to cope with the additional – and considerable – difficulty of avoiding capture by the enemy. Traveling in the wild is hard enough as it is, but with the constant worry of keeping yourself well hidden and safe, it becomes twice as challenging.

Camouflage techniques are very important.

Camouflage techniques are important.

The first thing to worry about is keeping yourself well hidden should you accidentally or intentionally come across an enemy site. Camouflage techniques are immensely important here. You must ensure that you blend in with the background as completely as possible. Camouflage uniforms are a great tool for such a situation, and there are other options such as camouflage paint and natural material such as mud and vegetation to make your body blend in with the surroundings. In case your skin is too shiny, or you have any shiny materials with you, smear them with dust to ensure that reflections do not give you away. You must, in addition, know how to camouflage your scent so as not to cause a disturbance among animals or birds that will attract enemy attention. Some smells are distinctly human, for example toothpaste, soap, tobacco and candy, and can be recognized even by other humans. Avoid all objects that can leave such scents on you, and try not to disturb any wildlife that will give you away.

Secondly, you must avoid being spotted even from a distance. Disguise your human shape by tying shrubs, grass, twigs and vines across your body, in a way that you do not stand out from the environment. Be very careful traveling across high mountains or hills, because you may silhouette yourself against the horizon very clearly for the enemy. Crawl or creep over places where being upright can give away your position. When you are in a forest or any area with a lot of vegetation, use that to your advantage by keeping as much of it as possible between you and enemy areas. They will have difficulty detecting you among all the shadows caused by trees and shrubs. Be careful about your shadow; at certain times of day, the sun lengthens shadows, so make sure your shadow does not extend so far out ahead of you that it is spotted before you can hide. Also, if you are in a populated area and moving between buildings keep to the center of their shadows, where the darkness is deepest, and again make sure that your shadow does not extend out beyond the building.

Apart from being spotted, noise can also give you away. Avoid making sharp, repetitive noises in a natural environment. Rhythmic rustle of leaves or cracking of twigs in a forest, for example, will alert an enemy to your presence. Moving too fast will create noise that you cannot control, so make slow, calculated movements. If the enemy is nearby, try to avoid moving completely. If you walk, make sure your arms do not swing about and hit surrounding trees or bushes. A crouch is the best position to move through a forest, and helps you avoid too much noise.

The thing to remember when traveling is to keep as close to potential hidey-holes as possible. Even if you are seen, you should be able to hide fast enough that the enemy cannot hunt you down and capture you, and move away from enemy areas as soon as possible to save your life.

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