42 Grunt Tips & Tactics for Your Toolbox when the SHTF
by The ITS Crew on December 8, 2010
In the event that things go bad, skills that are considered on-the-job training in Infantry and Spec Ops units are handy to know.
Today we’re going to go over 42 of them that you should commit to memory. While this was a collaboration with Doc from RSKTKR, none of us can take credit for this list, but felt it was important enough to share.
These are tips we’ve collected over the years from various sources including Gunnys, Chiefs, our lessons learned in the service and comments made around the net.
1. Unpredictability is paramount, never use the same NDP (Night Defensive Perimeter) twice; never use the same ambush site twice and don’t travel in straight lines. Becoming predictable could be your last mistake. No matter how careful you’ve been, it’s always possible you’ve been compromised and don’t know it. If the enemy can’t predict where you’ll be, he can’t ambush you.
2. When you conduct reconnaissance do not go directly in the direction you’re headed. It’s a good idea to travel in another direction and then perform a zigzag with many changes of direction. Make the enemy track you and not be able to run in a straight line to your team. Even crossing your own tracks allows your team to see whether they are being tracked. Another extremely important tip is to never go back the way you came. The consequences could be deadly.
3. Trust your instincts but do not engage in a competition on tactics. Follow all basic rules. The last man should try to repair your trail whenever possible. Make the enemy have to search harder to find you.
4. Just because a spot looks good for a hide or an NDP, doesn’t mean you should use it. Analyze the area from an enemy’s point of view; where would you look for an enemy’s hide?
5. Never hide near or in any man-made structures or features. They attract attention and are the first places your enemy will look when they’re trying to find you.
6. When filling or filtering water from streams, be aware that any silt you stir up will travel downstream, alerting others of your presence.
7. When taking a dump in the woods, always bring your weapon. The enemy may approach while you’re unarmed and defenseless. Bring along a small plastic bag for your used paper rather than burying it. You can bury the dump, but without paper remaining how can the enemy decide whose crap it is; his or his enemy’s?
8. It’s better to have multiple canteens/Nalgenes than one and a five gallon bag in your ruck to fill from. It’s easier to exchange an empty one with a full one. A 5 gallon bag also causes loud sloshing and shifting of weight which may cause your pack to shimmer enough for the enemy to see you. Remember Murphy’s Law – If you can see the enemy, he can see you too.
9. Watch for trip wires, booby traps and try not to step on twigs. Hearing a twig breaking can travel farther than you think.
10. Other than health reasons, don’t smoke; the exhale of your cigarette smoke can be seen and smelled by your enemy.
11. Don’t keep looking in one spot for too long, close your eyes or move them away from area you wish to focus on and then look again. Staring at one spot too long makes it seem as if that spot is moving.
12. Look for anything that looks out of place. Straight line items may be a comms wire for a land line, but whose? Yours or your enemy’s?
13. Be observant and know your surroundings. Know what sounds are natural and what changes in them can mean. Silence can also be deadly.
14. Stay alert, it’s easy to let your mind wander and become complacent.
15. Don’t leave tracks in the snow that your enemy can follow.
16. Don’t let the enemy smell you coming. Use odorless laundry detergent, don’t use cologne/aftershave, don’t smoke (see above), don’t dip, don’t eat foods with heavy garlic or other ingredients that allow scent to permeate from your skin. As a last resort grab dirt and rub it all over your clothes to remove as much of the smell as possible.
17. Use your peripheral vision and practice using it, especially at night.
18. Back-lighting will give away your position, even during the day. Hard shadows are unnatural, so plan your routes accordingly; even in urban environments.
19. Don’t build fires, this one should go without saying if you’re trying not to be noticed.
20. Don’t use the old ALICE clips to secure your gear, use MALICE Clips if you have PALS Webbing or even Zip Ties.
21. Never walk parallel to the objective; It’s much more difficult to see someone coming to or away from you than it is side to side.
22. Use dead reckoning and terrain association as much as possible.
23. Dummy cord your gear. Canteen/Nalgene, Night Vision, GPS, multitool and pocket knives. Type 1 Paracord is great for this purpose, cut it long enough to make the equipment easy to get to, but not long enough to hit the ground or get wrapped around something.
24. Save the safety pins that come on the 5.56 bandoliers. They come in handy.
25. Always carry good snivel gear. (layers, balaclava/watchcap and a straw to suck it up.)
26. Carry a quality roll of toilet paper in a Ziploc. Use the MRE paper for cleaning patches.
27. Learn to waterproof your gear, especially comms. Riggers tape works great on the outside of Ziplocs to make them more durable.
28. Tuck your headlamp in your blouse in case it accidentally comes on. Same goes for those keychain Photon lights.
29. When drinking from a canteen/nalgene, pass it around to kill it and preven sloshing.
30. Field Strip your MREs.
31. Carry pruning shears for cutting vegetation and creating camouflage.
32. Have a good Escape and Evasion plan.
33. Run IADs (Immediate Action Drills) religiously.
34. Practice moving quietly in every environment. Get a pair of sound enhancing shooting ear pro and listen to yourself. Take your time and plan your next move.
35. When you need to move with a purpose, stop and listen often. Move a few paces and stop briefly to listen for noise.
36. Learn your Pace Count. In case you didn’t know, your Pace Count is counting every time your left foot hits the ground for 100 meters. This helps with judging the distance you’ve walked. It helps alot with a map,compass, and protractor.
37. When you find a spot to set up in for the night or make a hide, go into the thick stuff. It’s harder to see you, and anybody wanting to snoop around looking for you will make a lot of noise coming up on you.
38. Even if you’re carrying MRE’s, when practical, always supplement them with small game and things you may find to eat in the field. This will make your rations last longer.
39. Tape up everything that’s loose on your pack or anything else you’re carrying, it will help prevent snags.
40. Before you move out, have a buddy listen as you jump up and down to ensure you aren’t rattling and potentially giving away your position.
41. Tuck your boot laces into the tops of you boots after you tie them. You are using square-knotted Paracord laces right?
42. Learn to use hand signals if you’re with a group or even one other guy. Make sure each man knows the signals and use whatever works for everyone. Silent communication is paramount and the more you’re around your guys the more you won’t have to do anything other than look at each other to communicate.