Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 9 – Every Soldier a Sensor

Chapter 9

‘Every Soldier is a Sensor’

Every Soldier, as a part of a small unit, can provide useful information and is an essential component to the commanders achieving situational understanding. This task is critical, because the environment in which Soldiers operate is characterized by violence, uncertainty, complexity, and asymmetric methods by the enemy. The increased situational awareness that you must develop through personal contact and observation is a critical element of the friendly force’s ability to more fully understand the operational environment. Your life and the lives of your fellow Soldiers could depend on reporting what you see, hear, and smell.


9-1. The ‘Every Soldier is a Sensor’ (ES2) concept ensures that Soldiers are trained to actively observe for details for the commander’s critical information requirement (CCIR) while in an AO. It also ensures they can provide concise, accurate reports. Leaders will know how to collect, process, and disseminate information in their unit to generate timely intelligence. They should establish a regular feedback and assessment mechanism for improvement in implementing ES2. Every Soldier develops a special level of exposure to events occurring in the AO and can collect information by observing and interacting with the environment. Intelligence collection and development is everyone’s responsibility. Leaders and Soldiers should fight for knowledge in order to gain and maintain greater situational understanding.


9-2. As Soldiers develop the special level of exposure to the events occurring in their operating environment, they should keep in mind certain potential indicators as shown in Figure 9-1, page 9-2. These indicators are information on the intention or capability of a potential enemy that commanders need to make decisions. You will serve as the commander’s “eyes and ears” when–

  • Performing traditional offensive or defensive missions.
  • Patrolling in a stability and reconstruction or civil support operation.
  • Manning a checkpoint or a roadblock.
  • Occupying an observation post.
  • Passing through areas in convoys.
  • Observing and reporting elements of the environment.
  • Observing and reporting activities of the populace in the area of operations.

Figure 9-1. Potential indicators.

SIGHT Look for– SOUND Listen for– TOUCH Feel for– SMELL Smell for–
• Enemy personnel, vehicles, and aircraft • Sudden or unusual movement • New local inhabitants • Smoke or dust • Unusual movement of farm or wild animals • Unusual activity–or lack of activity–by local inhabitants, especially at times or places that are normally inactive or active • Vehicle or personnel tracks • Movement of local inhabitants along uncleared routes, areas, or paths • Signs that the enemy has occupied the area • Evidence of changing trends in threats • Recently cut foliage • Muzzle flashes, lights, fires, or reflections • Unusual amount (too much or too little) of trash • Running engines or track sounds • Voices • Metallic sounds • Gunfire, by weapon type • Unusual calm or silence • Dismounted movement • Aircraft • Warm coals and other materials in a fire • Fresh tracks • Age of food or trash • Vehicle exhaust • Burning petroleum products • Food cooking • Aged food in trash • Human waste
Armed Elements Locations of factional forces, mine fields, and potential threats. Homes and Buildings Condition of roofs, doors, windows, lights, power lines, water, sanitation, roads, bridges, crops, and livestock. Infrastructure Functioning stores, service stations, and so on. People Numbers, gender, age, residence or DPRE status, apparent health, clothing, daily activities, and leadership. Contrast Has anything changed? For example, are there new locks on buildings? Are windows boarded up or previously boarded up windows now open, indicating a change in how a building is expected to be used? Have buildings been defaced with graffiti?

9-3. Commanders get information from many sources, but you are his best source. You can in turn collect information from the following sources:

  • Enemy prisoners of war (EPWs)/detainees are an immediate source of information. Turn captured Soldiers over to your leader quickly. Also, tell him anything you learn from them.
  • Captured enemy documents (CEDs) may contain valuable information about present or future enemy operations. Give such documents to your leader quickly.
  • Captured enemy equipment (CEEs) eliminates an immediate threat. Give such equipment to your leader quickly.
  • Enemy activity (the things the enemy is doing) often indicates what the enemy plans to do. Report everything you see the enemy do. Some things that may not seem important to you may be important to your commander.
  • Tactical questioning, observation, and interaction with displaced persons, refugees, or evacuees (DPRE), during the conduct of missions, can yield important information.
  • Local civilians, however often have the most information about the enemy, terrain, and weather in a particular area. Report any information gained from civilians. However, you cannot be sure

which side the civilians are trying to help, so be careful when acting on information obtained

from them. If possible, try to confirm the information by some other means.


9-4. Questioning may be achieved by tactical or direct methods. The following paragraphs detail both methods:

Tactical Questioning–Tactical questioning is the initial questioning for information of immediate value. When the term applies to the interaction with the local population, it is not really questioning but is more conversational in nature. The task can be designed to build rapport as much, and collect information and understand the environment. You will conduct tactical questioning based on your unit is SOPs, ROE, and the order for that mission. Your leaders must include specific guidance for tactical questioning in the operation order (OPORD) for appropriate missions. Information reported because of tactical questioning is passed up through your chain of command to the battalion/brigade intelligence officers (S-2) and assistant chief of staff for intelligence (G-2), which forms a vital part of future planning and operations. Additionally, you are not allowed to attempt any interrogation approach techniques in the course of tactical questioning.

Direct Questioning–Direct questioning is an efficient method of asking precise questions according to a standard pattern. The goal is to obtain the maximum amount of intelligence information in the least amount of time. Direct questions must clearly indicate the topic being questioned as they require an effective narrative response (i.e., be brief, simple, but specific). Clearly define each subject using a logical sequence. Basic questions are used to discourage “yes” or “no” answers. Direct questioning is the only technique authorized for ES2 tactical questioning. Soldiers who are not trained and certified interrogators are forbidden to attempt to apply any interrogation approach techniques. When it is clear that the person being questioned has no further information, or does not wish to cooperate further, tactical questioning must stop.

9-5. Various AOs will have different social and regional considerations that can affect communications and the conduct of operations (i.e., social behaviors, customs, and courtesies). You must also be aware of the following safety and cultural considerations:

  • Know the threat level and force protection (FP) measures in your AO.
  • Know local customs and courtesies.
  • Avoid using body language that locals might find rude.
  • Approach people in normal surroundings to avoid suspicion.
  • Behave in a friendly and polite manner.
  • Remove sunglasses when speaking to those people with whom you are trying to create a favorable impression.
  • Know as much as possible about the local culture, including a few phrases in the local language.
  • If security conditions permit, position your weapon in the least intimidating position as possible.


9-6. All information collected by patrols, or via other contact with the local population, is reported through your chain of command to the unit S-2. The S-2 is responsible for transmitting the information through intelligence channels to the supported military intelligence elements, according to unit intelligence tasks and the OPORD for the current mission. Therefore, if everyone is involved in the collection of combat information, then everyone must be aware of the priority intelligence requirements (PIR). All Soldiers who have contact with the local population and routinely travel within the area must know the CCIR, and their responsibility to observe and report. The four levels of mission reports follow:


9-7. Information of critical tactical value is reported immediately to the S-2 section, while you are still out on patrol. These reports are sent via channels prescribed in the unit SOP. The size, activity, location, uniform, time, equipment (SALUTE) format is an example of Level I reporting.


9-8. Immediately upon return to base, the patrol will conduct an after-action review (AAR) and write a patrol report. The format may be modified to more thoroughly capture mission-specific information. This report is passed along to the S-2 section prior to a formal debriefing. Your leaders must report as completely and accurately as possible since this report will form the basis of the debriefing by the S-2 section.


9-9. After receiving the initial patrol report, the S-2 section will debrief your patrol for further details and address PIR and CCIR not already covered in the patrol report.


9-10. Follow-up reporting is submitted as needed after the unit S-2 section performs the debriefing.

Note: Any patrols or activities should be preceded by a prebriefing, which is a consolidated summary of the AOs historical activities.


9-11. These four levels help the unit S-2 section record and disseminate both important and subtle details of for use in all-source analysis, future planning, and passing on to higher S-2/G-2. This information helps them analyze a broad range of information and disseminate it back to your level and higher. Report all information about the enemy to your leader quickly, accurately, and completely. Such reports should answer the questions who, what, and where after when. Use the SALUTE format when reporting. Make notes and draw sketches to help you remember details. Table 9-1 shows how to use the SALUTE format.

Table 9-1. SALUTE format line by line.

Line No. Type Info Description
1 (S)ize/Who Expressed as a quantity and echelon or size. For example, report “10 enemy Infantrymen” (not “a rifle squad”).
If multiple units are involved in the activity you are reporting, you can make multiple entries.
2 (A)ctivity/What Relate this line to the PIR being reported. Make it a concise bullet statement. Report what you saw the enemy doing, for example, “emplacing mines in the road.”
3 (L)ocation/Where This is generally a grid coordinate, and should include the 100,000-meter grid zone designator. The entry can also be an address, if appropriate, but still should include an eight-digit grid coordinate. If the reported activity involves movement, for example, advance or withdrawal, then the entry for location will include “from” and “to” entries. The route used goes under “Equipment/How.”
4 (U)nit/Who Identify who is performing the activity described in the “Activity/What” entry. Include the complete designation of a military unit, and give the name and other identifying information or features of civilians or insurgent groups.
5 (T)ime/When For future events, give the DTG for when the activity will initiate. Report ongoing events as such. Report the time you saw the enemy activity, not the time you report it. Always report local or Zulu (Z) time.
6 (E)quipment/How Clarify, complete, and expand on previous entries. Include information about equipment involved, tactics used, and any other essential elements of information (EEI) not already reported in the previous lines.


9-12. The following paragraphs detail adequate protocol for handling enemy documents, EPWs, and equipment:


9-13. A CED is defined as any piece of recorded information obtained from the threat. CEDs are generally created by the enemy, but they can also be US or multinational forces documents that were once in the hands of the enemy. CEDs can provide crucial information related to answering the commander’s PIR or even be exploited to put together smaller pieces of an overall situation.

9-14. Every confiscated or impounded CED must be tagged and logged before being transferred through the appropriate channels. The tag contains the specifics of the item, and the log is a simple transmittal document used to track the transfer of CEDs between elements. Your leaders are responsible for creating the initial CED log.

9-15. While the information required is formatted, any durable field-expedient material can be used as a CED tag if an official tag is unavailable. Ensure that the writing is protected from the elements by covering it with plastic or transparent tape. The importance of the tag is that it is complete and attached to the CED it represents. The following information, at a minimum, should be recorded on a CED tag. Instructions for filling out the tag follow (Figure 9-2):

Nationality–Detail the country of origin of the unit that captured the enemy document.
Date-Time Group–Include date and time of capture.
Place–Include a six-to eight-digit grid coordinate and describe the location where the document

was captured. Identity–Define where the CED came from, its owner, and so on. Circumstances–Describe how the CED was obtained. Description–Briefly describe the CED. Enough information should be annotated for quick



9-16. EPWs/detainees are a good source of information. They must be handled without breaking international law and without losing a chance to gain intelligence. Treat EPWs humanely. Do not harm them, either physically or mentally. The senior Soldier present is responsible for their care. If EPWs cannot be evacuated in a reasonable time, give them food, water, and first aid. Do not give them cigarettes, candy, or other comfort items. EPWs who receive favors or are mistreated are poor interrogation subjects. In handling EPWs/detainees, follow the procedure of search, segregate, silence, speed, safeguard, and tag (the 5 Ss and T). It implies the legal obligation that each Soldier has to treat an individual in custody of, or under the protection of, US Soldiers humanely. The 5 Ss and T are conducted as follows:

Search–This indicates a thorough search of the person for weapons and documents. You must search and record the EPWs/detainees equipment and documents separately. Record the description of weapons, special equipment, documents, identification cards, and personal affects on the capture tag.

Silence–Do not allow the EPWs/detainees to communicate with one another, either verbally or with gestures. Keep an eye open for potential troublemakers, both talkers or quiet types, and be prepared to separate them.

Segregate–Keep civilians and military separate, and then further divide them by rank, gender, nationality, ethnicity, and religion. This technique helps keep them quiet.

Safeguard–Provide security for and protect the EPWs/detainees. Get them out of immediate danger and allow them to keep their personal chemical protective gear, if they have any, and their identification cards.

Speed–Information is time sensitive. It is very important to move personnel to the rear as quickly as possible. The other thing to consider is that an EPW/detainee’s resistance to questioning grows as time goes on. The initial shock of being captured or detained wears off and they begin to think of escape.

Note: Exercising speed, in this instance, is critical because the value of information erodes in a few hours. Human intelligence (HUMINT) Soldiers who are trained and who have the appropriate time and means will be waiting to screen and interrogate these individuals.


9-17. Use wire, string, or other durable material to attach Part A, DD Form 2745, Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) Capture Tag, or a field-expedient alternative, to the detainee’s clothing. Tell him not to remove or alter the tag. Attach another tag to any confiscated property. On each tag, write the following, making sure that your notes clearly link the property with the person from whom you confiscated it:

  • Date and time of capture.
  • Location of the capture (grid coordinates).
  • Capturing unit.
  • Circumstances of capture (why person was detained).
    — Who?
    — What?
    — Where?
    — Why?
    — Witnesses?


9-18. Operations security (OPSEC) is the process your leaders follow to identify and protect essential elements of friendly information (EEFI). The Army defines EEFI as critical aspects of a friendly operation that, if known by the enemy, would subsequently compromise, lead to failure, or limits success of the operation and therefore must be protected from detection. All Soldiers execute OPSEC measures as part of FP. Effective OPSEC involves telling Soldiers exactly why OPSEC measures are important, and what they are supposed to accomplish. You must understand that the cost of failing to maintain effective OPSEC can result in the loss of lives. Understanding why you are doing something and what your actions are supposed to accomplish, allows you and your fellow Soldiers to execute tasks more effectively. However, this means that you and your fellow Soldiers must–

  • Avoid taking personal letters or pictures into combat areas.
  • Avoid keeping diaries in combat areas.
  • Practice camouflage principles and techniques.
  • Practice noise and light discipline.
  • Practice field sanitation.
  • Use proper radiotelephone procedure.
  • Use the challenge and password properly.
  • Abide by the Code of Conduct (if captured).
  • Report any Soldier or civilian who is believed to be serving with or sympathetic to the enemy.
  • Report anyone who tries to get information about US operations.
  • Destroy all maps or important documents if capture is imminent.
  • Avoid discussing military operations in public areas.
  • Discuss military operations only with those persons having a need to know the information.
  • Remind fellow Soldiers of their OPSEC responsibilities.


9-19. During all types of operations, you will be looking for the enemy. However, there will be times when you will be posted in an OP to watch for enemy activity. An OP is a position from which you watch an assigned sector of observation and report all activity seen or heard in your sector.


9-20. In daylight, use the visual search technique to search terrain. You must visually locate and distinguish enemy activity from the surrounding terrain features by using the following scanning techniques:

Rapid Scan–This is used to detect obvious signs of enemy activity. It is usually the first method you will use (Figure 9-3). To conduct a rapid scan–

  • Search a strip of terrain about 100 meters deep, from left-to-right, pausing at short intervals.
  • Search another 100-meter strip farther out, from right-to-left, overlapping the first strip scanned, pausing at short intervals.
  • Continue this method until the entire sector of fire has been searched.

Slow Scan–The slow scan search technique uses the same process as the rapid scan but much more deliberately, which means a slower, side-to-side movement and more frequent pauses (Figure 9-5).

Detailed Search–If you find no targets using either the rapid or slow scan techniques, make a careful, detailed search of the target area using M22 binoculars. The detailed search is like the slow scan, but searching smaller areas with frequent pauses and almost incremental movement. The detailed search, even more than the rapid or slow scan, depends on breaking a larger sector into smaller sectors to ensure everything is covered in detail and no possible enemy positions are overlooked (Figure 9-4). You must pay attention to the following: –Likely enemy positions and suspected vehicle/dismounted avenues of approach. –Target signatures, such as road junctions, hills, and lone buildings, located near prominent terrain features. –Areas with cover and concealment, such as tree lines and draws.


9-21. Although operating at night has definite advantages, it is also difficult. Your eyes do not work as well as during the day, yet they are crucial to your performance. You need to be aware of constraints your eyes place upon you at night, because 80 percent of your sensory input comes through them. Your ability to see crisp and clear images is significantly reduced.

Dark Adaptation

9-22. Dark adaptation is the process by which the human body increases the eye’s sensitivity to low levels of light. Adaptation to darkness occurs at varying degrees and rates. During the first 30 minutes in the dark, eye sensitivity increases about 10,000 times. Dark adaptation is affected by exposure to bright light such as matches, flashlights, flares, or vehicle headlights. Full recovery from these exposures can take up to 45 minutes. Your color perception decreases at night. You may be able to distinguish light and dark colors depending on the intensity of reflected light. At night, bright warm colors such as reds and oranges are hard to see and will appear dark. In fact, reds are nearly invisible at night. Unless a dark color is bordered by two lighter colors, it is invisible. On the other hand, greens and blues will appear brighter, although you may not be able to determine their color. Since visual sharpness at night is one-seventh of what it is during the day, you can see only large, bulky objects, so you must recognize objects by their general shape or outline. Knowing the design of structures common in the AO will help you determine shape or silhouette. Darkness also reduces depth perception.

Normal Blind Spots–The normal blind spot is always present, day and night. It is caused by the lack of light receptors where the optic nerve inserts into the back of the eye. The normal blind spot occurs when you use just one eye. When you close the other eye, objects about 12 to 15 degrees away from where you are looking will disappear. When you uncover your eye, the objects will reappear.

Night Blind Spots–When you stare at an object at night, under starlight or lower levels of illumination, it can disappear or fade away. This is a result of the night blind spot. It affects both eyes at the same time and occurs when using the central vision of both eyes. Consequently, larger and larger objects are missed as the distances increase. In order to avoid the night blind spots, look to all sides of objects you are trying to find or follow. Do not stare. This is the only way to maximize your night vision.

Night Observation Techniques

9-23. The following paragraphs detail night observation techniques:

Dark Adaptation Technique–First, let your eyes become adjusted to the darkness. Do so by staying either in a dark area for about 30 minutes, or in a red-light area for about 20 minutes followed by about 10 minutes in a dark area. The red-light method may save time by allowing you to get orders, check equipment, or do some other job before moving into darkness.

Night Vision Scans–Dark adaptation is only the first step toward making the greatest use of night vision. Scanning enables you to overcome many of the physiological limitations of your eyes (Figure 9-5). It can also reduce confusing visual illusions or your eyes playing tricks on you. This technique involves looking from right to left or left to right using a slow, regular scanning movement. At night, it is essential to avoid looking directly at a faintly visible object when trying to confirm its presence.

Off-Center Vision–The technique of viewing an object using central vision is ineffective at night. Again, this is due to the night blind spot that exists during low illumination (Figure 9-6). You must learn to use off-center vision. This technique requires viewing an object by looking 10 degrees above, below, or to either side of it rather than directly at it. Additionally, diamond viewing is very similar in that you move your eyes just slightly, a few degrees, in a diamond pattern around the object you wish to see. However, the image of an object bleaches out and becomes a solid tone when viewed longer than 2 or 3 seconds. You do not have to move your head to use your peripheral vision. By shifting your eyes from one off-center point to another, you can continue to pick-up the object in your peripheral field of vision.


9-24. The three devices used to increase lethality at night include night vision devices (NVDs), thermal weapon sights, and aiming lasers. Each provides different views of the infrared (IR) spectrum, which is simple energy. The electromagnetic spectrum is simply energy (light). Before you can fully operate these devices, you must know how they work in the IR range, and you must know the electromagnetic (light) spectrum. You should also know the advantages and disadvantages of each piece of equipment. This is the only way to know when to employ which.

Image-Intensification Devices–An image intensifier captures ambient light, and then amplifies it thousands of times electronically, allowing you to see the battlefield through night vision goggles (NVGs). Ambient light comes from the stars, moon, or sky glow from distant man-made sources such as cities. Humans can only see part of this spectrum of light with the naked eye. Just beyond red visible light is infrared (IR) light, which is broken down into three ranges–near, middle, and far infrared. Leaders can conduct combat missions with no active illumination sources, just image intensifiers. However, the main advantages of image intensifiers as NVDs are their small sizes, light weights, and low power requirements. Image intensifiers increase vision into the IR range. They rely on ambient light and energy in the near IR range. This energy emits from natural and artificial sources such as moonlight, starlight, and city lights. Image intensifiers include the following (Figure 9-7):

— AN/PVS-7A/B/C/D.

— AN/PVS-14.

Thermal Imaging Devices

9-25. The second type of device that uses IR light is the thermal imaging device (Figure 9-8). This type of device detects electromagnetic radiation (heat) from humans and man-made objects, and translates that heat into an electronic image. Thermal imagers operate the same regardless of the level of ambient light. Thermal weapon sights (TWSs) operate in the middle to far IR ranges. These sights detect IR light emitted from friction, from combustion, or from any objects that are radiating natural thermal energy. Since the TWS and other thermal devices operate within the middle/far IR range, they cannot be used with image intensifiers. Thermal devices can be mounted on a weapon or handheld. The TWS works well day or night. It has excellent target acquisition capabilities, even through fog, haze, and conventional battlefield smoke.

  • AN/PAS-13(V1) light weapon thermal sight (LWTS).
    –M16- and M4-series rifles and carbines
    –M136 (AT4) light antiarmor weapon
  • AN/PAS-13(V2) medium weapon thermal sight (MWTS)
    –M249 machine gun
    –M240B series medium machine gun
  • AN/PAS-13(V3) heavy weapon thermal sight (HWTS)
    –M24 Sniper rifle
    –M107 Sniper rifle
    –M2 (50 Cal.) HB machine gun
    –MK 19 machine gun

Aiming Lasers

9-26. Aiming lasers–both the AN/PAQ-4-series and the AN/PEQ-2A (Figure 9-9)–also operate in the electromagnetic spectrum, specifically in the near IR range. [These lasers] are seen through image-intensification devices. The aiming lasers cannot be used in conjunction with the TWS, because the latter operates in the middle to far IR spectrum.


9-27. You must make the proper adjustments to the image intensifiers in order to get the best possible picture. The aiming lasers cannot be seen with the unaided eye; they can only be seen with image intensification devices. You must know how these devices work to maximize the quality of what is being viewed by making the proper adjustments to these devices.


9-28. The NVDs have a 40-degree field of view (FOV) leaving the average shooter to miss easy targets of opportunity, more commonly the 50-meter left or right target. You must train to aggressively scan your sector of fire for targets. Target detection at night is only as good as you practice. Regular blinking during scanning, which must be reinforced during training, relieves some of the eyestrain from trying to spot far targets. After you have mastered the art of scanning, you will find that targets are easier to detect by acknowledging the flicker or movement of a target.


9-29. Once a target has been located, you must be aware of the placement of the aiming laser. Laser awareness is necessary. If you activate your laser and it is pointing over the target into the sky, you will waste valuable time trying to locate exactly where your laser is pointing. Also, it increases your chances of being detected and fired upon by the enemy. When engaging a target, aim the laser at the ground just in front of the target, walk the aiming laser along the ground and up the target until you are center mass, and then engage the target. Walking your laser to the target is a quick and operationally secure means of engaging the enemy with your aiming laser.

IR Discipline

9-30. Once a target has been located and engaged with the aiming laser, the laser must be deactivated. On the range, IR discipline means actively scanning with the laser off. Once a target is located, walk the laser to the target and engage. After the target has been engaged, the laser goes off.


9-31. You must often estimate ranges. You must accurately determine distance and prepare topographical sketches or range cards. Your estimates will be easier to make and more accurate if you know various range-estimation techniques.


9-32. Three factors affect range estimates:

Nature of the Object

Outline…………………………. An object of regular outline, such as a house, appears closer than one of irregular outline, such as a clump of trees.

Contrast……………………….. A target that contrasts with its background appears to be closer than it actually is.

Exposure ……………………… A partly exposed target appears more distant than it actually is.

Nature of Terrain

Contoured terrain ………….. Looking across contoured terrain makes an object seem farther.

Smooth terrain………………. Looking across smooth terrain, such as sand, water, or snow, makes a distant object seem nearer.

Downhill………………………..Looking downhill at an object makes it seem farther.

Uphill …………………………..Looking uphill at an object makes it seem nearer.

Light Conditions

Sun behind observer ……… A front-lit object seems nearer.

Sun behind object………….. A back-lit object seems farther away.


9-33. Methods of range estimation include–

  • The 100-meter unit-of-measure method.
  • The appearance-of-objects method.
  • The flash-and-sound method.
  • The mil-relation method.
  • A combination of these.

100-Meter-Unit-of-Measure Method

9-34. Picture a distance of 100 meters on the ground. For ranges up to 500 meters, count the number of 100-meter lengths between the two points you want to measure. Beyond 500 meters, pick a point halfway to the target, count the number of 100-meter lengths to the halfway point, and then double that number to get the range to the target. The accuracy of the 100-meter method depends on how much ground is visible. This is most true at long ranges. If a target is at a range of 500 meters or more, and you can only see part of the ground between yourself and the target, it is hard to use this method with accuracy. If you know the apparent size and detail of troops and equipment at known ranges, then you can compare those characteristics to similar objects at unknown ranges. When the characteristics match, the range does also.

Appearance-of-Object Method

9-35. To use the appearance-of-objects method, you must be familiar with characteristic details of objects as they appear at various ranges. As you must be able to see those details to make the method work, anything that limits visibility (such as weather, smoke, or darkness) will limit the effectiveness of this method. If you know the apparent size and detail of troops and equipment at known ranges, then you can compare those characteristics to similar objects at unknown ranges. When the characteristics match, the range does also. Table 9-2 shows what is visible on the human body at specific ranges.

Table 9-2. Appearance of a body using appearance-of-objects method.

RANGE (in meters) WHAT YOU SEE
200 Clear in all detail such as equipment, skin color
300 Clear body outline, face color good, remaining detail blurred
400 Body outline clear, other details blurred
500 Body tapered, head indistinct from body
600 Body a wedge shape, with no head apparent
700 Solid wedge shape (body outline)

Flash-and-Sound Method

9-36. This method is best at night. Sound travels through air at 1,100 feet (300 meters) per second. That makes it possible to estimate distance if you can both see and hear a sound-producing action. When you see the flash or smoke of a weapon, or the dust it raises, immediately start counting. Stop counting when you hear the sound associated with the action. The number at which you stop should be multiplied by three. This gives you the approximate distance to the weapon in hundreds of meters. If you stop at one, the distance is about 300 meters. If you stop at three, the distance is about 900 meters. When you must count higher than nine, start over with one each time you hit nine. Counting higher numbers throws the timing off.

Mil-Relation Formula

9-37. This is the easiest and best way to estimate range. At 1,000 meters, a 1-mil angle equals 1 meter (wide or high). To estimate the range to a target, divide the estimated height of the target in meters (obtained using the reticle in the M22 binoculars) by the size of the target in mils. Multiply by 1,000 to get the range in meters (Figure 9-10).

estimated height (meters)

x 1,000 = estimated range (meters)

size of target in mils

Figure 9-10. Mil-relation formula.

Combination of Methods

9-38. Battlefield conditions are not always ideal for estimating ranges. If the terrain limits the use of the 100-meter unit-of-measure method, and poor visibility limits the use of the appearance-of-objects method, you may have to use a combination of methods. For example, if you cannot see all of the terrain out to the target, you can still estimate distance from the apparent size and detail of the target itself. A haze may obscure the target details, but you may still be able to judge its size or use the 100-meter method. By using either one or both of the methods, you should arrive at a figure close to the true range.

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