Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 5-1 – Cover

Cover, made of natural or man-made materials, gives protection from bullets, fragments of exploding rounds, flame, nuclear effects, biological and chemical agents, and enemy observation (Figure 5-1). (Chapter 6 discusses cover for fighting positions.)


5-1. Natural cover includes logs, trees, stumps, rocks, and ravines; whereas, man-made cover includes fighting positions, trenches, walls, rubble, and craters. To get protection from enemy fire in the offense or when moving, use routes that put cover between you and the enemy. For example, use ravines, gullies, hills, wooded areas, walls, and any other cover that will keep the enemy from seeing and firing at you (Figure 5-2). Avoid open areas. Never skyline yourself on a hilltop or ridge. Any cover–even the smallest depression or fold in the ground–can help protect you from direct and indirect enemy fire.


5-2. Man-made cover includes fighting positions and protective equipment.


5-3. See Chapter 6 for a detailed discussion of fighting positions (Figure 5-3).


5-4. Man-made cover can also be an article of protective equipment that can be worn such as body armor and helmet (Figure 5-4). Body armor is protective equipment that works as a form of armor to minimize injury from fragmentation and bullets. The interceptor body armor (IBA) system has an outer tactical vest (OTV) which is lined with finely woven Kevlar that will stop a 9-mm round and other slower moving fragments. It also has removable neck, throat, shoulder, and groin protection. Two small-arms protective inserts may also be added to the front and back of the vest, with each plate designed to stop 7.62-mm rounds. The plates are constructed of boron carbide ceramic with a shield backing that breaks down projectiles and halts their momentum. The vest also meets stringent performance specifications related to flexibility and heat stress requirements. The advanced combat helmet (ACH) provides protection against fragmentation and bullets, as well as heat and flame in a balanced and stable configuration.


5-5. The M20 simplified collective protection equipment (SCPE) is an inflatable shelter that provides cover against chemical/biological warfare agents and radioactive particles (Figure 5-5). The SCPE provides a clean-air environment in a structure where you can perform your duties, without wearing individual protective equipment.

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