Old 03-12-2019, 11:08   #1
AspiringWarrior
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Is land nav training alone effective?

Hey guys, I'm pretty green at map/compass/terrain association land nav. I'm extremely proficient with GPS but have minimal experience with low-tech methods. I need to hammer on this weakness.

From my very limited previous training, the basic land nav training format seemed to go something like this: get first grid, plot grid, verify with an instructor, plot azimuth and distance, proceed to grid, get next grid, rinse, repeat. There seemed to be pretty extensive prior set-up work on the course by the instructors before the students showed up.

This brings me to a critical question: is training significantly more effective if *someone else* sets up the course before I run it, or could I set up my own courses and still train just as effectively? How important is it that I have no prior idea where the points are?

I want to be a land nav monster by the time I show up to selection. Is training on my own every weekend the right path towards that outcome (supplemented by out-of-pocket-funded civilian classes when available), or is there a better way?
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:15   #2
Pete
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If you set up your own course you know where all the points are - unless you have the memory of a rock.

No mater how hard you try when you get near one your memory will start spotting familiar terrain.
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:28   #3
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Originally Posted by AspiringWarrior View Post
Hey guys, I'm pretty green at map/compass/terrain association land nav. I'm extremely proficient with GPS but have minimal experience with low-tech methods. I need to hammer on this weakness.

From my very limited previous training, the basic land nav training format seemed to go something like this: get first grid, plot grid, verify with an instructor, plot azimuth and distance, proceed to grid, get next grid, rinse, repeat. There seemed to be pretty extensive prior set-up work on the course by the instructors before the students showed up.

This brings me to a critical question: is training significantly more effective if *someone else* sets up the course before I run it, or could I set up my own courses and still train just as effectively? How important is it that I have no prior idea where the points are?

I want to be a land nav monster by the time I show up to selection. Is training on my own every weekend the right path towards that outcome (supplemented by out-of-pocket-funded civilian classes when available), or is there a better way?
If memory serves there are orienteering clubs in your AO. I would recommend you seek out an experienced partner that is willing to mentor you and participate in club events as much as possible. That shouldn't cost much, it will provide great experience and is fun.
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Old 03-12-2019, 16:39   #4
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Land Navigation.

FM 21-26 is the Department of The Army Field Manual. Map Reading. Obtain a map for the area you intend to navigate. For example, if you were stationed at FT.BRAGG, NC. you would use a Transverse Mercator Projection Sheet Map 5224 lll series v742 Fayetteville, North Carolina 1: 50,000. Maps can be obtained from Army Map Service, Corps of Engineers. The other items you will need are A Lensatic Military Compass and The round military protractor.
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Old 03-12-2019, 22:48   #5
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I want to be a land nav monster by the time I show up to selection. Is training on my own every weekend the right path towards that outcome (supplemented by out-of-pocket-funded civilian classes when available), or is there a better way?
If your still in Colorado Springs, getting the theory down on how to do land nav will be the first step but it will be had to practice in Colorado compared to North Carolina. and what I mean by that is the terrain is so different, wide open and all landmarks look the same not many trees, vs defined terrain and thick vegetation.
practice hand rails, backstops and your pace count with a load on your back.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:31   #6
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I'm pretty green at map/compass/terrain association land nav. I'm extremely proficient with GPS but have minimal experience with low-tech methods.
Just for shits and giggles, I'd like you to consider one of the SOF Truths (even though most everyone has just sort of written them off as silly and antiquated)

"Humans are more important than hardware"



GPS signals can be scrambled - batteries will die.
The north seeking arrow will almost never let you down.
You will never truly master the art of being alone and unafraid if you place all of your trust in hardware.
"YOU" are more important than GPS hardware - trust yourself not Garmin

So - good luck
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:48   #7
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Learning to navigate is the most important skill you can learn. Your mission can never be accomplished if you can't get there. I agree with Trapper John, join an orienteering club in your area.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:16   #8
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Originally Posted by Box View Post
Just for shits and giggles, I'd like you to consider one of the SOF Truths (even though most everyone has just sort of written them off as silly and antiquated)

"Humans are more important than hardware"



GPS signals can be scrambled - batteries will die.
The north seeking arrow will almost never let you down.
You will never truly master the art of being alone and unafraid if you place all of your trust in hardware.
"YOU" are more important than GPS hardware - trust yourself not Garmin

So - good luck
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:50   #9
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That brings to mind this book I found some years ago:
https://www.amazon.com/Green-Berets-.../dp/0938263005

Is this one y'all are familiar with?

Are the techniques in this book practical and effective?
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Old 03-13-2019, 14:21   #10
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That brings to mind this book I found some years ago:
https://www.amazon.com/Green-Berets-.../dp/0938263005

Is this one y'all are familiar with?

Are the techniques in this book practical and effective?
Not read the book and don't think I've used any of the techniques - because I haven't read if.

Back to the original poster. Take up orienteering, get comfortable being in the woods alone and in the dark, learn how to look at a map and see it on the ground, see the ground and be able to transfer what you see to a map. Learn how to follow an azimuth and get your pace count down - over different ground and with light and heavy loads.

Do all that and you should do well.
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Old 03-13-2019, 22:23   #11
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REPRINTED FROM 14 YEARS AGO!

Pace counts are still useful, remember, a navigator seeks every piece of available information to determine his position. Here's the procedure I used/taught:

First, start with at least 400 meters of flat level terrain, preferably in a square (To equalize slope). Walk the perimeter, counting your steps. Divide by 4. That is your base pace count for 100 meters. (Let's assume it's 135 steps per 100 meters). Write that number in the little green memorandum book in your shirt pocket.

That is the LOWEST pace count you will ever have. Why? Because it was daylight, you are fresh, with no load, on level ground, in good weather, etc. From then on everything else will increase your pace count.

Night - You will take shorter steps, and will wander more. That means more steps to travel 100 meters.

Loaded/Tired - Your steps will shorten and you will tend to look down. You won't follow an azimuth as accurately. Result: even more steps per 100 meters.

Uphill - You will take shorter steps, and you will be traveling a greater distance than what a point to point measurement on a map would indicate. (The hypotenuse of a right triangle is always the longest side). On a 30 degree slope, moving 100 meters as shown on the map requires you to march 115 meters over the ground. Also, you will tend to "cut the contours" (zig-zag) and that will increase travel distance. For the same reason, even traveling downhill will not usually result in a lower pace count than your base count, and may even be greater than your base pace count.

Rain/Snow/Soft soil - All will cause you to shorten your step, and than means more steps per 100 meters.

So, based on experience, you will begin to keep a list of pace counts in the back of your memo book. It might look something like this:

Base = 137
Ruck/LBE = 145
Night = 150
Tired/Ruck/Rain = 155
Uphill (shallow) = 160
Uphill (steep) = 175
Max (Night/Ruck/Tired/Uphill) = 200

You will adjust as you go. For example, assume the first leg of a rucksack march causes you to cross a road after 400 meters. You start with a estimate of 145 steps per 100 meters. After traveling 400 meters (4 knots in the pace cord), you have not come to the road, but you see it in front of you. Continue to count steps as you cross the road. Let's say that was 20 extra steps. Hmm, must be a little more tired than you thought. 20 steps, divided by 4 = 5 extra steps per 100 meters. Next leg, use a pace count of 150 per 100 meters. After a while, you will get surprisingly accurate in measuring distance in all kinds of conditions. Your notes will help you, and your men will trust you.

If you are keeping pace for sport navigation (orienteering), the same rules apply, but you will find it useful to count every other step (such as when your left foot strikes the ground). That way, you can add a Running pace count for cross country jaunts from control to control at a jog. The numbers will be about half that of counting every step, but again you will want a base count, followed with adjustments for weather, exhaustion, slope, etc.

There are several ways to keep track of pace, but my favorite is the simple ranger technique of a boot lace cut off and tied through the top buttonhole of the shirt, allowing the end with the little plastic thing at the tip to hang down about belt level. After traveling 100 meters, tie an overhand knot near the top of the string. Next 100 meters, tie another knot. In between knot-tying, curl up the string and stuff it in a top pocket. Day or night, slide your fingers down the string to count the knots/100 meter segments. When you get to the destination, untie the knots.

==============================================

Do a search for "pace counts" on this site and go from there.

==============================================

While the actual navigation from a point on Planet Earth to another point on Planet Earth has immense practical value (I will defer to other posts reflecting "when the batteries die, when the satellites are inoperative due to jamming or meakoning" -- meakoning: yeah, look that up or ask your MI officer)...


the ability to depart into the darkness, with only a map (maybe) and a compass (maybe) and nothing else but your wits, intelligence and courage;
with confidence in your own body (pace count) and skill in reading the ground under your feet and evidenced to your eyes ...

well, that is something that a Special Forces Soldier should possess.

===============================================

Why? Because it represents the classic definition of intelligence:

1 - A basic sense of facts, plus cause and effects;

2 - The ability to use that sense to proceed from the known to the unknown.

I don't know if MENSA uses that definition, but it is good enough for this site.

The skill and ability to proceed from the know to the unknown.

And it takes balls. Really. Balls.

https://lateralthinkingdepartment.co...le-navigators/

https://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/friends/T...of_Oceania.pdf
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Old 03-16-2019, 16:51   #12
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Pace counts are still useful, remember, a navigator seeks every piece of available information to determine his position. Here's the procedure I used/taught:

First, start with at least 400 meters of flat level terrain, preferably in a square (To equalize slope). Walk the perimeter, counting your steps. Divide by 4. That is your base pace count for 100 meters. (Let's assume it's 135 steps per 100 meters). Write that number in the little green memorandum book in your shirt pocket.

That is the LOWEST pace count you will ever have. Why? Because it was daylight, you are fresh, with no load, on level ground, in good weather, etc. From then on everything else will increase your pace count.

Night - You will take shorter steps, and will wander more. That means more steps to travel 100 meters.

Loaded/Tired - Your steps will shorten and you will tend to look down. You won't follow an azimuth as accurately. Result: even more steps per 100 meters.

Uphill - You will take shorter steps, and you will be traveling a greater distance than what a point to point measurement on a map would indicate. (The hypotenuse of a right triangle is always the longest side). On a 30 degree slope, moving 100 meters as shown on the map requires you to march 115 meters over the ground. Also, you will tend to "cut the contours" (zig-zag) and that will increase travel distance. For the same reason, even traveling downhill will not usually result in a lower pace count than your base count, and may even be greater than your base pace count.

Rain/Snow/Soft soil - All will cause you to shorten your step, and than means more steps per 100 meters.

So, based on experience, you will begin to keep a list of pace counts in the back of your memo book. It might look something like this:

Base = 137
Ruck/LBE = 145
Night = 150
Tired/Ruck/Rain = 155
Uphill (shallow) = 160
Uphill (steep) = 175
Max (Night/Ruck/Tired/Uphill) = 200

You will adjust as you go. For example, assume the first leg of a rucksack march causes you to cross a road after 400 meters. You start with a estimate of 145 steps per 100 meters. After traveling 400 meters (4 knots in the pace cord), you have not come to the road, but you see it in front of you. Continue to count steps as you cross the road. Let's say that was 20 extra steps. Hmm, must be a little more tired than you thought. 20 steps, divided by 4 = 5 extra steps per 100 meters. Next leg, use a pace count of 150 per 100 meters. After a while, you will get surprisingly accurate in measuring distance in all kinds of conditions. Your notes will help you, and your men will trust you.

If you are keeping pace for sport navigation (orienteering), the same rules apply, but you will find it useful to count every other step (such as when your left foot strikes the ground). That way, you can add a Running pace count for cross country jaunts from control to control at a jog. The numbers will be about half that of counting every step, but again you will want a base count, followed with adjustments for weather, exhaustion, slope, etc.

There are several ways to keep track of pace, but my favorite is the simple ranger technique of a boot lace cut off and tied through the top buttonhole of the shirt, allowing the end with the little plastic thing at the tip to hang down about belt level. After traveling 100 meters, tie an overhand knot near the top of the string. Next 100 meters, tie another knot. In between knot-tying, curl up the string and stuff it in a top pocket. Day or night, slide your fingers down the string to count the knots/100 meter segments. When you get to the destination, untie the knots.

==============================================

Do a search for "pace counts" on this site and go from there.

==============================================

While the actual navigation from a point on Planet Earth to another point on Planet Earth has immense practical value (I will defer to other posts reflecting "when the batteries die, when the satellites are inoperative due to jamming or meakoning" -- meakoning: yeah, look that up or ask your MI officer)...


the ability to depart into the darkness, with only a map (maybe) and a compass (maybe) and nothing else but your wits, intelligence and courage;
with confidence in your own body (pace count) and skill in reading the ground under your feet and evidenced to your eyes ...

well, that is something that a Special Forces Soldier should possess.

===============================================

Why? Because it represents the classic definition of intelligence:

1 - A basic sense of facts, plus cause and effects;

2 - The ability to use that sense to proceed from the known to the unknown.

I don't know if MENSA uses that definition, but it is good enough for this site.

The skill and ability to proceed from the know to the unknown.

And it takes balls. Really. Balls.

https://lateralthinkingdepartment.co...le-navigators/

https://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/friends/T...of_Oceania.pdf
Great info...I am saving this for my son who is on active duty.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:35   #13
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Just fo

"Humans are more important than hardware"


First, what my esteemed Brother said!

The terrain will vary greatly between where you are and the sand hills of NC to the jungles of SWA and South/Central America. If you study the perfect the skills you can use them no matter where you are. An orienteering club would do you well to start.

Bon Chance!

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Old 03-18-2019, 03:58   #14
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I love land nav!

Navigation with a GPS is not land nav.

My base pace count is 65-68 (every left foot), it will never be forgotten and I haven't land nav’d in 15 years!

My dad thought me land nav when I was about 14 or 15, he took me to a local state park that had an orienteering course set up on it. As many have said join a club, if they still exist. Check your local state or federal park to see if they host these clubs.

Excellent advice otherwise.


Oh yeah, trust your compass, even when YOU know you’re right! After crossing through 50m of thickets, I knew I was headed the right way...I pulled out my compass and realized I came out of the thickets where I started facing 180 deg from my direction of travel!
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:26   #15
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I love land nav!

Oh yeah, trust your compass, even when YOU know you’re right! After crossing through 50m of thickets, I knew I was headed the right way...I pulled out my compass and realized I came out of the thickets where I started facing 180 deg from my direction of travel!
After my son finished AIT (13F), he came to AZ and we went Ghost Town hunting. Near here is a well hidden GT (even when you are standing in the middle of it) and we set out to find it. I had a pretty good idea where it was but there was no trail from where we started. Cocksure son immediately took point and led us in the opposite direction. I let him get about 1/2 mile before I pointed out his mistake. Oh, BTW, while there was no trail but there was a river.
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