Land Nav at MVT

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    • #62942

        After my tour of Romney today, I jocked up and headed back out to the training area. I did a little land nav to brush up my skills. First of all, get the Silva, like Max recommends. Don’t be a dumbass like me and get the Suunto. The Suunto doesn’t have the grid reader in 1:25000 like the Silva so you have to do this stuff manually. Silva on order for the nav class. Next, get a good topo of your AO from They can custom make a map centered on any point you give them, giving you a nice map sheet with equal distance all around your location. Then sign up for Max’s land nav class. I’ll be at the June 8,9 class. Read Max’s primer here on site. Good distilled info for learning this stuff.

        Anyways, I based out of the TOC and did several patrol azimuths from there, retracing my back azimuth to see how close I could get to the start point. The stuff is starting to come back to me.

        Pace count is damn near useless on this terrain, except for short final assaults on the target points. You gotta read the terrain out here. If the map says you gotta hump two fingers and draws, then stop after that, and figure out where you are. Pace count or time on route are unreliable on these steep hills, unless you got that way dialed in. In that case, DR on.

        You have to base steer marks on what you can see (duh), meaning you can’t sight on some distant ridgeline and relax. The terrain shortens it down to the next finger. Get to the military crest and take another sighting.

        Reading the contour, handrailing objects, offsets to terrain features, trails, etc. are all gonna come in handy around here. Also don’t forget a bailout azimuth, and prominent terrain feature to hit if all else fails.

        Will do some more tomorrow and see what happens.

        Diz sends form Romney, by God, West Virginia.

      • #62943

          Its easy to get paranoid and not trust your pace count.
          But during the night recce I found my pace count was on within 15% even though I had disregarded it by that point as unreliable and “off”.

          I also use 2 pacecounts there.. One for the “bad ” terrain and one for paths.

        • #62944
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

            I also use 2 pacecounts there.. One for the “bad ” terrain and one for paths.

            Developing pace counts for different types of terrain is very helpful. Down here I have different ones for woods, dense brush, and swamp.

          • #62945

              I have literally only used a military type lensatic compass for nearly 30 years now. What’s a good Silva model? I guess an old dog finally has to learn a new trick LOL.

            • #62946

                Robert…. Silva Ranger or Silva Ranger CLQ. I use the Ranger CLQ


              • #62947

                  I have one of these.
         CL HI-VIS

                  I also went with Ivans recommendation of the protractor but when it came I realized I need another piece of kit to go with both of them. Reading glasses. :cry: Age is taking a toll on the eyes.

                • #62948
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                    Reading glasses. 😥 Age is taking a toll on the eyes.

                    Excellent reminder!

                    Don’t forget a spare set and I also keep a very small magnifying glass, just in case.

                  • #62949
                    • #62950

                        OK to update this post after Land Nav class. If you do, get the 1:25,000 or 1:12,500 scale maps, with UTM grid. For a good compass, get the Silva Ranger 75, or the Suunto MC-2G, or MC-3G. These will all have a 1:25,000 grid reader and distance scale. This is important so you can navigate with just the compass and map, with no separate grid reader or protractor required.

                        Here’s how it works. You figure out where you are at, as a starting point. It may be your present pos, or it may be the insertion point for your patrol. If you are dropped off by any insertion vehicle, make sure and verify this. You may or may not have a pre-planned patrol route. But in any case, let’s say you decide to make a change on the fly, and contour the land instead of following a straight azimuth. Once you get to a recognizable “attack point”, then you can shoot a new azimuth to your destination, another check point/rally point, or maybe even the objective rally point (ORP). With a good orienteering compass, like those above, you have a clear base plate, where you can determine the azimuth to your next point, and measure the distance to get there. No fiddling around drawing a line and reading it with a separate protractor, then measuring the distance. It’s all done with the compass itself.

                        Until you have tried this, you really have no idea of how much simpler it is, compared to the traditional military method of using the lensatic compass and the separate grid reader/protractor. The only real advantage the GI compass has over the orienteering one is the tritium dots. But if you get one of the better models, you can have at least luminous dots.

                        When combined with a good 1:25,000 or 1:12,500 UTM-marked map, you now have a really good system that reads in METERS, rather than miles, which is important for us, since we’re navigating in 1,000m grid squares, not mileage. The international or global compass supports this with read outs in meters not miles.

                        The next point is terrain association. While dead reckoning is important, and definitely has it’s place, learning how to read the terrain and navigate by it is a huge advantage. In hilly terrain with big elevation changes, you can save yourself a of of effort by contouring the terrain features, staying roughly at the same elevation, rather than rolling up and down. This also makes sense tactically by staying on the military crest instead of constantly sky-lining yourself when topping hills.

                        It is an acquired skill, which takes a lot of practice. You have to start really paying attention to the terrain around you, and what it’s doing. Situational awareness, versus just tunnel vision on azimuth, and steer points. Even if you are still doing dead reckoning, you can supplement that with the counting of terrain features as you pass them. For instance, you can note that you have to pass over two fingers and two draws to get to your next point. So if you start heading uphill again, you know you’re going too far. Stop and look around.

                        What this also means is you have to start learning how to read the contour lines on your map. And seeing how they look on the ground. This is also something that just takes a little practice and experience. Like seeing the difference between a spur and a gully, and knowing which direction is uphill.

                        You will get all this and more in the land nav class.

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