Monday, April 30, 2018

Basic References -

T-1, Hour Zero.
Happy Monday. Welcome to the Knowledge Issue Point.
I don't care if you can stand at the position of attention, walk in a straight line, shine your boots, or salute. (It's nice, in some settings, moderately helpful with gaggles of dazed newbs for getting them from Point A to Point B without getting run over by traffic, and it does teach maggots discipline and attention to detail, but intrinsically, it's window dressing. If you can't pay attention without someone screaming in your ear, wear clean clothes, feed yourself, and wash your nasty @$$ without someone making you do it, nothing I write here will help you. Ever.)

Neither do I, at this moment, care to impart one single whit of martial history, customs of the service, military ranks, or other arcana. Nor cover a host of PC SJW happy horseshit we currently drop around our current services' recruits' necks, like a boat anchor to a drowning man.

Because the best discipline, the kind that matters, is self-discipline.

If you can master that, grab a bucket, or a thumb drive, proceed to the Issue Point, and draw your Knowledge ration for the next phase of training.

Books are our friends. I know this because someone told me that when I was about three years old, and it's stuck like glue to me to good effect ever since. The books below will get you through tough times, and may very well save your life, and not by stopping a bullet when you carry one of them in your shirt pocket. Until you manage to move The Knowledge below from your computer to your brain housing group, and then become able to muster it to your feet and fingertips like a frickin' Jedi master, it's just random electrons.

It's up to you to make it transition from thumb drive to brains to fingers.

These will not teach you everything (though it may feel like it sometimes), and in many cases they'll give you tons more than you need to know, including about a lot of stuff you don't need to know, strictly speaking.
But they contain most of what you do need, and give you room to grow, should you choose (or be forced to by necessity), beyond the bare basics.

Additional references, from a variety of sources, will follow as necessary, but this basic ration contains 99% of everything to be covered in the notional two-week period I outlined yesterday, and in fact contains about the same percentage (and much more beyond that) of what every recruit gets in the Army or Marine Corps in several weeks to months of Basic training.

People who get to some level of Jedi mastery of it are what the military calls sergeants, chief petty officers, and officers, which is not anything to ever be ashamed of.

Using these below, I'll point to specific chapters, sections, pages, etc. as I break it down into bite-sized chunks.
All of these links are active as of today, and since they only cost electrons, you'd be a fool not to download them, and put them on flash drives, at a minimum. Some/most of them can be purchased in dead-tree format from the GPO, many have been bootlegged as-is and sold by other companies over the counter at brick-and-mortar bookstores, and on Amazon, and you can also take your flash drive stick to Fed-Ex/Kinko's to burn your own copies, and it's completely legal. Hell, you paid for this stuff with your taxes.
But for one example, the current survival manual below is over 600 pages. That's $24 or more at the copy center, by itself. (But if I could take just one book into the wilderness with me in a gallon-sized ziplok baggie...)
If you find current copies of any of these at gun shows and swap meets, and for a reasonable price, I'd grab them.
Older versions, anything from about 1980 onwards, are generally worth the trouble as well.

But with this link list, you can get your hands on them for mouseclicks, plus the bandwidth and time.

And you should.

Someone forward-thinking might want to put the lot of them on flash drives, to have them handy to hand out to like-minded individuals, if they thought they might need others to have them in hand on some future day.

And yet again, getting the book, or even memorizing it, won't make you an expert. You need real-world application. But this is where you get the knowledge to apply in the first place.

FM 21-20 Physical Fitness Training (1998)

You can also use the following for the most current manual, but the download was horrendously slow:
FM 7-22 Army Physical Readiness Training (October 2012)

FM 21-18 Foot Marches (April 2017)

FM 4-25.11 First Aid (December 2002)

Tactical Combat Casualty Care (December 2017)

DD Form 1380 - TCCC casualty card (June 2014)

FM 23-9 Rifle Marksmanship M-16A1/2/3/4/M4 (April 2003)
MCRP 3-01A USMC Rifle Marksmanship (October 2012) - thanks Badger!

MCRP 8-10.3 Pistol Marksmanship M9 (January 2016)

FM 3-25.26 Map Reading and Land Navigation (January 2005)

FM 21-75 Soldier Combat Skills (January 2008)

FM 21-76 Survival (May 2002)

Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks Level 1 (June 2009)
Every single task for every soldier Army-wide, broken down to the individual steps.

FM 24-19 Radio Operators Handbook (May 1991)

FM 7-8 Infantry Platoon and Squad (April 2016)

Two additional recommendations that are always worth the getting are
1) The Guidebook For Marines, which is privately published, not available anywhere as a pdf, and distills yards of Army field manuals down to the quick-and-dirty essentials.

2) TC 3-21.76 Ranger Handbook (April 2017) which, being an official DA pub, is available at the link as a free pdf, and does a great distillation of things for the Army's best infantry experts.

Note that recently the Army, in its institutional wisdom, elected to change the field manual (FM) numbering system that had sufficed from about 1920-2010 or so, just to make things more complicated. I've used the older version for most of the above, but as the references are all recent, most if not all of them have the current numbering system on the first page. I also provided dates, because that's how they change editions.

For instance, I have multiple copies of FM 5-15, Field Fortification, dating from roughly 1920, 1940, 1955, 1968, and 1980. Why? Because, for instance, the 1920 edition was chock full of detailed drawings on how to construct a chemical-war-proof subterranean field battalion HQ and hospital capable of sustaining prolonged shelling from anything up to the size shell of German railroad artillery, using nothing more complex than sandbags and timbers up to 8"x8". Like they built along 400 miles of WWI trenches.

But after nuclear weapons became a thing, and trench warfare went away, that wasn't seen as quite as important, so it's not in the 1968 or 1980 editions.

So what? Well, imagine you're in Bosnia next year, and the Serbs don't have nukes, but they damned sure might want to shell the shit out of your town or village all day long with conventional artillery, and suddenly, those 90-year-old underground casualty station/field hospital drawings might come in pretty damned handy.

By the same token, you aren't likely to ever need to field-strip an M2 Browning MG, and you aren't likely to use a grenade launcher or Claymore mine. But you damned sure may be faced by someone who has them, and it would be a good idea to be able to recognize them, and know how far they're effective, and how much of what building material you'd need to build something of in order to be safe from the effects of one. That's the kind of extra info in many of the above references on which it would be a good idea to have a nodding familiarity, at some point.

Real-life cases in point: The Mexican military deploys the G3 rifle; the near world-standard FN MAG GPMG (that's the M240 to us), and the same M2 .50 BMG we've used since WWI. So, when one of them falls into your hands someday, or one is mounted atop an HMMWV or cartel "technical" at the border (by which I mean anywhere between, say, two miles south of the dotted line of the actual border all the way north to US I-8, which could actually be 50-100 miles north of the dotted line), it's a little late to wonder whether you're in range, what you need to hide behind to be safe from it/them, or how to utilize (or disable) one that...somehow...comes into your possession, and crack the book open and freshen up on the details on the spot. (Ask me how I know this.)

Any knowledge is better than no knowledge, but there will always be another thing to learn.
And what's in your library may someday be all the reference collection you're ever going to have, for either short- or long-term.

Plan. Ahead.


Badger said...

1. Well done & thanks for this ongoing effort. Have many of these, but fortuitous #1 kid dropped off a fresh 1-TB drive yesterday as a trinket.

2. For those instances listed (2, I think) where the source site is the Army Pubs center, some may get a security warning/error that the certificate is out of date & stop the trip there. To those experiencing that, it's 95% chance it's NOT your browser; it's the fact that the site certificate at the Army Pubs site is out of date, not you. Army web-master substances are notoriously behind in keeping that stuff updated. The site is OK, but you 'may' have to tell your browser to allow a temporary exception to continue to the site.

3. As companion to the Army version of Rifle Marksmanship I strongly suggest the USMC version, MCRP 3-01A from 2012. It is available here:

Don't get me wrong, both are valuable & the Army one covers theory, records, range layout/setup well, etc. But (said as ex-Army) the USMC has it going on in terms of a bit less of that & more on practical use of aimed rifle fire (scanning an area for targets, box drill on multiple knuckleheads, etc.).

Anecdotally, one of the ways I use this information is during periodic camping trips during visits by some close friends I served with who come to escape their occupied zone. In the midst of the other "fun" stuff (like campfires & making brass the old fashioned way) each picks a subject & conducts a "class" (with 'stuff') as a refresher - something that can then be taken home & taught to progeny/friends. Nothing wrong with busted up war-horses keeping their hand in.

Finally, download notwithstanding, for those who really want a Ranger Handbook, I suggest hardcopy purchase of the size commonly available that fits in an old field-jacket pocket.

Thanks again for your effort.

Aesop said...

1) Inore the security warning from the Army website. They are, as Badger noted, a relic of Big Green doing a shitty job of updating web certs, compared to computer-geek sites. The manuals are safe, and download just fine.
2) The USMC marksmanship notes are also spot-on, which is why I recommended the Guidebook For Marines, which covers everything you were taught in boot camp by your PMI, in a dozen or so pages. I'll add the link to the MCRP on Rifle marksmanship in the OP. Thanks.
3) Practicing skills is paramount. Teaching something to others is the best way to learn it yourself.
4) At last count, I've got something like nine or ten dead-tree iterations of the Ranger Handbook in pocket-size form, dating back to a 1980ish edition that I beat the crap out of hauling it from duty station to duty station, and on frequent visits to the field.
When I am either King-/SecDef-For-A-Day, it and the Guidebook will be published on either on Write-In-the-Rain paper, and or the vinyl plastic pages that Nat Geo makes their better hiking maps out of, as a policy decision.

RandyB said...

I'd add both versions of the Ranger Handbook and both versions of the Field Sanitation Manual. As well as the 1980's versions of staff manuals.

Aesop said...

I'm getting people started for the bare basics, Randy, not passing out a comprehensive list.
As noted, additional useful source material will be distributed as necessary, down the road.
Don't get ahead of the class. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I had some of these already. Now I have a bigger library.


Cable guy said...

Thanks for the book list. I have tried to get publications that might be helpful, but I have no way to know just where to look or what would be helpful.
Your blog is on my daily reading list.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Armed security on the Mexican border?
Were you BP?

Aesop said...

Nope. Don't need to be BP to be armed on the border.
You also do a lot better if you're not riding in bright white Barbie Jeeps.

Anonymous said...

"Because the best discipline, the kind that matters, is self-discipline. "


Now I've gotta find my "Guidebook"
While I'm looking for it, I know I'll come across at lest one copy of an NSW "Patrol Leaders Handbook" - I'll see if I can get a Nav Pubs number (or at least ascertain that it does/does not have one)
Boat Guy

RandyB said...

My bad. I still say Field Sanitation is the best short school I ever attended. My kid was a Ranger, sniper section leader, and now works contracts as a designated marksman. He laughed when I told him to go. He...admitted I might be right after he finished. Might.

Good thing I didn't mention the 50-60s vintage SF manuals, eh?

Aesop said...

@Boat Guy:
Did you mean this one?

It has it's moments, but IMHO, it's got a different focus and starting point than most folks will, come the Sportiness.

Field Sanitation should be better named "Civilization".
It's the difference between Imperial Rome, and Germania, and was so for over 1400 years.

Anonymous said...

+1 on "Field Sanitation should be better named 'Civilization'. "

Not exactly; being Lesser Mortals (tm) ours was significantly less "involved" than this one which appears to be a later and more comprehensive edition. Everything that mine has is in there and much more besides (we didn't have Appendix B for obvious reasons). The thing I would commend from these books (dunno if they are in some of the other references) would be the phase diagramming and contingency-planning portions which made significant improvements to how we planned, briefed and executed our ops. Agree ref focus.

Anonymous said...

Here are some links listing various manuals - some of which you might like, some not but they are worth a click, if nothing else! >};o)

One I would definitely recommend for its usefulness in a grid down situation is the US Army Riggers manual:

Why, yes. As a matter of fact, I AM a boring anorak and need to get out a bit more at night. Why do you ask? >};o)

And any you do download PRINT THEM OUT!!!!!! I don't know anyone in a situation where there is no power that can look at a USB drive, a hard disc or whatever and read the information on them without a suitable computer or similar. Odd, that ...

Phil B

Aesop said...

Just passing on the basics for the moment, Phil.

I've already got a few hundred dead-tree and pdf manuals on hand, some of which will make appearances as and when required in the near future, but the basics come from far less than what I put in the OP.