Military Pace

Yes the military have exact measurements for everything regardless of your height, weight, and stature. They also issue drill instructors with a pace stick to make sure you do it right too!

pacestick1
In this case the length of a military step is 30 inches. Thus the tall step short, the short step long. Weird and a bit sad isn’t it?

So for them not wearing green, what’s in a pace?
Firstly a pace is two steps.
I talked about walking in circles and mentioned I used ranger pace beads to work out the distance I had walked. All sounds pretty scientific doesn’t it only it’s not really.

ranger beadsAnyway if I was still a military man, I’d always walk in 30 inch steps

rotglman(Like I ever managed that!)

Thus to walk a mile should take me 1056 paces.
In reality it takes (on level ground approx 1020 paces)
To walk a kilometer (click or klik) should take me 606 paces.
In reality it takes (on level ground approx 600 paces)

Only there are a lot of things that can affect your pace length both psychological i.e. fear and working without visual references in the dark induces insecure or an “unbalanced” feeling are the common ones, Plus physical things like:-

  1. Walking at night
    ( The inability to see your footing beyond the next few steps )
  2. Walking up or down hills / slopes
  3. Heavy and even low head room vegetation
  4. Inability to walk a constant course (weaving constantly)
  5. Uneven ground
  6. Bad surfaces like mud, sand, water, snow, and especially ice.
  7. Bad weather i.e. too cold, hot, wet, or windy
  8. If you are tired or have been concentrating for too long
  9. If you are carrying too much or carrying for too long
  10. What footwear you are wearing

So what to do about it?
Difficult to answer really.
Experience is the main teacher here BUT if you feel at all stressed aka tired, uncomfortable either physically or mentally, assume your pace is shortened i.e. 1000 paces (2 steps per pace) will cover less ground.

Now the embarrassing bit.
Remember the distance error I had whilst Walking in circles?
Experience isn’t a lot of good without constant practice.
Memo to self, must night walk some more!

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Is math important to the survivor?

Without question it is.
How else are you going to work out how many cans of beans you’ve got. OK, that was silly but all too often people don’t realize that math is important for all sorts of things.

Take water purification.
You’ve got 70 liters of water to purify using iodine.
2% Tincture of iodine, how many drops do you need if the dilution is 8 drops per liter?

Ranging a Target
kneelingman
How far is he?
Height in meters X 1000
Mils Reading

Slope Dope.
Target ranged at ### (Ha Ha, I’m not going to make it easy for you) meters but down a 30 degree slope, what range should you set on the sights?
0000h or 0600h ( Vertical ) the range is zero
0100h or 0500h (  60 deg  ) the range is Visual times 0.5
0130h or 0430h (  45 deg  ) the range is Visual times 0.7
0200h or 0400h (  30 deg  ) the range is Visual times 0.87
0300h or 0300h ( Level ) what you see is what you shoot.

Set sights for ### meters X 0.87 = Range in meters

So there are three basic examples of maths in use.

There are a couple of ways to go for the survivor.
The high-tech PDA (yawn).
Me? I’ve got a little indexed notebook with all the maths, tables, and formula, I’ll ever need covering a really wide range of subjects.

Guess work and memory power is therefore kept to a minimum.
After all SWMBO often remarks I’ve got the memory power of a newt.

As for a calculator?
Apart from a pencil and paper and the maths tables in the little book, I carry a little 6″ slide rule.

Perhaps WAY too much for most things but it’s small and doesn’t need batteries.
(No need for SWMBO here, I know my maths is poor at best)

So what provision have you made for math when the grid goes down, electricity is no more, and your batteries or PDA fade to gray?

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Walking in circles

An experiment for you.
It comes in two parts.
Firstly, do you own a GPS that can track your walking?
If yes, wait for a dark, clear cloud free night and set it going.
Then put it in your pocket or backpack and forget about it.

IMPORTANT:-
Tell someone you are doing this!
There is a safety consideration here i.e. you might get lost!

Now, in an open space i.e. on a moor or in a large wood, anywhere unlit and without a worn path. Start walking in what you think is a straight line for about an hour.

Use only your senses i.e. don’t lock onto a well-lit feature like a TV mast and walk straight to it. Use the force Sky Walker!

OK, hours up, STOP.
Have a brew and review your GPS.
I know you are going to be in for a surprise.

Firstly you’re going to find out you haven’t been walking in a straight line at all. In fact some of you may have almost circled back or at least been walking in a spiral pattern getting tighter the longer you have walked.

The map below was the same experiment run by a scientist (Jan Souman, a research scientist in Germany) exploring why people can’t walk in a straight line without adequate visual references to guide themselves by. It’s a bit worrying isn’t it?

nightwalkingTwo subjects, dense forest, dim day, NOT EVEN AT NIGHT!

So what’s it all about.
We all have a dominant side (like shooting with our dominant eye). Without a visual reference that can be regularly updated, a person will always turn towards that side. You just can’t help doing that and it’s one of the main reasons why people get lost when rough walking (or nipping into the bushes for a pee) in a forest.

OK, not a problem, use either a compass or a star fix.
Perfect answer isn’t it. Well not quite.
Without a visual reference you will “crab” along a track line.
Crab? Drift from side to side of your desired track while still retaining the overall direction.
Here is an example of what I mean and it was using a really good ‘two degree a division’ compass.

Sorry, no really good graphic, I had to sketch it off the GPS screen.

nightwalkdriftAt the end I was 275 feet  (90 yards) off track?
OK, how did I find this out?
By pure maths i.e. using the two lat/long positions.
One being the targets position and the second from the GPS when a friend at the target called out to me as I walked level with him, he watching me using my night vision scope and my luminous sticker on my hat.

For distance measuring I was using ranger beads and I was about 200 yards out of stopping according to them AND I GOT IT WRONG! Why? Because at night your pace will be shorter in length, torch or not. Again, something to take into consideration.

Now I’m pretty good with a compass at night although I do take back fixes where possible and way point fixes along the route. Problem was I was in a wood. No visual points of reference.

Then I got clever and this is your second challenge.
What about taking a star fix i.e. walking towards the polar star.
No compass, just the Mk.1 eyeball.
Off I went on open moorland.
Um, embarrassingly I have to report that my WORSE error on the walk was nearly 580 yards off track.

Yet I was certain that I’d kept my eye firmly on Polaris.

Now consider that carefully.
No visual points of reference and unless you go high-tech i.e. GPS, you will miss your target.

Apply that to a caching scenario.
After all most UK cache lovers favor woodland locations don’t they?

Also apply that to a hostile environment and think about what being 580 yards off a safe track line might bring you. For example, a bog, quicksand, a cliff edge, aka dead!

And finally
Me talking about using high-tech, a GPS even?
(And actually owning a set of night vision too!)
The guy who insists the basic ways are better!
Yep, because when your life depends on accuracy you’d be stupid not to.

p.s. I’m not stupid, just old!

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One Way Traffic

stopshootingThe reason why thinking you can shoot doesn’t quite cut it as your target shoots back.

There is this gap in firearms training that isn’t being filled by many trainers. It’s coming across loud and strong from a lot of the You tube training clips, commercial ads, and (dare I say it) blog sphere shooting “schools”.

Everyone is shooting at something that doesn’t shoot BACK!

Those who also train in the paint ball or “soft air / air soft” arenas KNOW about taking cover and being shot at.

IMHO they are light years ahead of the 5 mags a week paper punchers and probably fitter!

Mostly it’s fast paced, themed (especially in air soft), and using tactics that would serve you well in real life.

OK it aint the same as lead flying towards you.
It ain’t the same as ‘real combat‘ the professionals will say.
Hell it’s ‘playing with toys‘ Mr Macho and the wanna-be Rambo’s will be shouting, BUT it does help shooters to understand the real issues with going up against a person carrying a weapon.

OR are “you” all content to simply stand, crouch, kneel, or lie down, behind blue barrels and wooden frames that simulate doorways and windows?

Get realistic, get firearms trained, and then go up against the many tactically aware teams that train in well run paint ball and air soft venues.

My money is on them for the first few matches.

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