Marines Field Guide

Marines Field Guide

Cover, Concealment and Camouflage

1. Each Marine must use terrain to give himself cover and concealment. He must supplement natural cover and concealment with camouflage.

2. Cover is protection from the fire of enemy weapons. It may be natural or manmade.

a. Natural cover includes logs, trees, stumps, ravines, hollows, reverse slopes, and so forth. Manmade cover includes fighting holes, trenches, walls, rubble, abandoned equipment, and craters. Even the smallest depression or fold in the ground gives some cover. Marines must look for and use every bit of cover the terrain offers.

b. When the enemy approaches a fighting position and brings it under direct and indirect fire, there must be cover to protect the troops. Natural cover is best as it is the most difficult for the enemy to spot.

c. Marines dig fighting holes to increase the protection afforded by natural cover against enemy direct and indirect fires. The type and extent of preparation will depend on the mission and the length of stay.

d. First, the Marine prepares a simple prone shelter. Then, as time allows, he prepares a more fully developed position, up to a complete fighting hole with overhead cover and trenches connecting it with other positions.

e. When moving, Marines use routes which put cover between them and places where the enemy is known or thought to be. They use ravines, gullies, hills, wooded areas, and other natural cover to keep the enemy from seeing and shooting at them. They avoid open fields. Units avoid skylining on hills and ridges. In a desert, rock formations and depressions are cover.

3. Concealment is anything that hides a Marine, his position, unit, or equipment from enemy observation. Small-unit leaders must enforce light and noise discipline, control movement, and supervise the use of camouflage. Well hidden fighting holes help conceal a unit's location from the enemy. The best way to use natural concealment is to refrain from disturbing it when moving into an area. Darkness alone does not hide a unit from an enemy who has night vision and other detection devices.

4. Camouflage makes use of natural and manmade material. Used well, it reduces the chance of detection by the enemy. If camouflage material is needed, it should be brought from outside the fighting position. If used well, branches, bushes, leaves, and grass provide the best camouflage. Foliage used as camouflage must blend with that of the surrounding area. An open, exposed position can be concealed from enemy observation by using the right materials and procedures.

5. Some things the enemy will look for in trying to find friendly positions:

a. Movement draws attention. An observer will catch movement in his field of view. Moves, such as arm-and-hand signals, can be seen by the naked eye at long ranges.

b. Shadows draw attention. Camouflage should be used to break up shadows of fighting positions and equipment. Shaded areas offer concealment. This is particularly true of shadows of buildings in cities.

c. Fighting positions should not be where the enemy expects to find them. They should be on the side of a hill, away from road junctions or lone buildings, and in covered and concealed locations.

d. Shape is the outline of something. The shape of the helmet is easily recognized, as is the undisguised shape of a man's body. Both camouflage and concealment should be used to make familiar shapes blend with their surroundings.

e. Shine may be a light source such as a flashlight glowing in the dark, or reflected light from smooth, polished surfaces such as a worn metal surface, a windshield, binoculars, eyeglasses, a watch crystal, or exposed skin not toned down with face paint. The use of lights or the reflection of light may help the enemy detect friendly positions. Equipment that shines should be concealed, or covered with mud or paint.

f. Contrasting colors are more easily detected; for example, against the dark green of jungle foliage, white skin shows up better than does black. Camouflage should match the surrounding area, rather than offer a contrast. Bright colors should not be used in camouflage.

g. Dispersion is the distance between men, vehicles, and equipment. If a squad is not dispersed, it is easier to detect and easier to hit. Distances between men, teams, and squads must be prescribed and enforced.

6. How to Camouflage

a. Before camouflaging, Marines study the terrain and vegetation of the area they are in and the area to which they are going. Grass, leaves, brush, and other natural materials must be arranged to conform to the area Tree branches stuck into the ground in an open field will not fool anyone. Vegetation changes from area to area. As units move from one area to another, camouflage must be changed to blend with the vegetation.

b. Marines should camouflage or hide dirt from fighting holes and heads. If necessary, they take it away from the positions and camouflage it.

c. Marines should use only that material which is needed. Too much camouflage (natural or manmade) may call attention to a position as easily as will too little. Camouflage materials should be gathered from a wide area. An area stripped of all its foliage will draw attention.

d. After camouflage is complete, the fighting position should be inspected from the enemy's point of view. Camouflage should be checked often to see that it stays natural looking and conceals the position. If it looks like a camouflaged position to the Marine inspecting, it is almost certain that it will look like a camouflaged position to the enemy.

e. When operating in snow-covered terrain, Marines should wear overwhites and, where possible, they should color equipment white. If overwhites are not issued, sheets or other white cloth can be used for camouflage.

f. Exposed skin reflects light and draws the enemy's attention. Even very dark skin, because of its natural oil, will reflect light. Camouflage face paint sticks are issued in three standard two-tone sticks.

1. When applying camouflage face paint, men work with one another. They check each other. They apply a two-color combination in an irregular pattern. Shine areas (forehead, cheekbones, nose, ears, and chin) are painted with a dark color. Shadow areas (around the eyes, under the nose, and under the chin) are painted with a light color. Exposed skin on the back of the neck, ears, arms, and hands should be painted.

2. When face paint sticks are not issued, mud or charcoal can be used to tone down exposed skin.

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