Note: The following review is comprised of the my own perceptions based on what I have read. It in no way to be taken as an indictment against the US Army or other branches of service that may use similar methods. The book was written by an individual, not the US Army.
In my never ending quest to find more useful information on skills necessary for conducting NPT operations, I came across the above booklet (114 pages) on Amazon. It wasn’t cheap at $23.95, but the product description was enticing, so I ordered it.
The owning web site, http://www.mentormilitary.com, boasts that many times they’re less expensive than Amazon. In this case, they’re correct: .45 cents less expensive but with free shipping. To be fair, shipping on Amazon without Prime is $3.99, so they’re correct.
Contents wise, this is basically a chest pocket reference. The good tips:
- All of Chapters 1, 2 & 3, however, a bit more detail on reading grid coordinates, like an example (as this is a ‘basic’ reference as well as advanced) to be used as a refresher on how to ‘read right and up’ for the novice or the person who hasn’t done grid work in a good while.
- Chapters 4 & 5 are good information, but should be reversed in order for reading. One should learn about using a compass prior to trying to locate one’s position with the aid of a compass. Additionally, as more and more people (both in the military and civilian life) are using the base-plate type compass, such as the SUUNTO MC-2, information on that compass would be a value add. The adjustable declination capability on the SUUNTO makes map work a lot faster because azimuth conversion is no longer necessary for navigation.
- Chapters 7 through 9 are also very good – a lot of great information, some of which cannot be found in ‘the manual.’
- Chapter 10 has some great information on pace count and drift compensation, as well as practical instruction for shooting accurate azimuths. The best tips, however are the conversion charts provided.
- Chapter 11 is where the book loses me, not because of the information presented, but the implications that students attending Ranger and SF training can cut corners to meet class requirements – the author documents how to do it, what not to do, and what instructors do during land nav training. Examples
Page 110 describes how to follow previous student trails to the correct point in Ranger School.
Page 111 describes how to cross roads because SF cadre will be observing with NV.
Page 112 describes how ‘point sitters’ get to their points, and how to follow them in, as well as an admonishment that some ‘point sitters’ are ‘crafty’.
Page 114 tells candidates which points should be ‘known’ (ie, marked on your map) and to note any stakes with a dog tag and grid coordinate on them (basically getting more information than one might have on a test).
I’m sure it’s well within the rules; it basically erodes confidence the standards our Ranger and SF troops are provided to earn their credentials. Disappointing.
Other than that, the booklet is well worth the money based on the information provided that can be taken along with the navigator for use on the trail.