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Land Nav Task 14 - Determine Direction without a Compass

Standards: Identified north and east within 15 degrees.

Conditions: During daylight and at night (with a clear view of the Big Dipper), given a wristwatch (not digital), the soldier must determine direction in a field environment with natural vegetation available.

Standards: Identified north and east within 15 degrees.

Note. All of the procedures given in this task give approximate directions. For accurate directions, a compass must be used.

 

Performance Steps

1.   Determine direction using the shadow-tip method.

a. Place a stick or branch into the ground vertically at a fairly level spot where the sun will cast a distinct shadow. Mark the shadow with a stone, twig, or other means (figure C-40).


Figure C-40. First shadow-tip mark


b. Wait 10 or 15 minutes until the shadow tip moves a few inches. Mark the new position of the shadow tip as in step 1a (figure C-41).


Figure C-41. Second shadow-tip mark


c.  Draw a straight line through the two marks you made on the shadow tips. This line is an east-west line (figure C-42).


Figure C-42. East-west line


d. Determine which is the east end of the line and which is the west end.

(1)  The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

(2)  The first shadow tip you mark is always west and the second mark is always east.

(3)  The shadow tip moves in the opposite direction.

e. Determine north and south. Draw a line at a right angle to the east-west line at any point (figure C-43). This is the north-south line.


Figure C-43. North-south line


2.   Determine direction using the watch method without a compass.

a. Point the hour hand at the sun when you are north of the equator. South will be halfway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock (figure C-44).


Figure C-44. Watch method


b. Point 12 o'clock at the sun when you are south of the equator. North will be halfway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock.

3.   Use the North Star method to determine direction at night. At night, you can locate north by finding the North Star (Polaris). First, find the Big Dipper. The last two stars in the cup point directly at Polaris, which is about five times as far out as the distance between those two stars in the cup. Facing Polaris, you are looking north, with east on your right and west on your left (figure C-45).


Figure C-45. North Star method


Note. During the training session, stress these four facts:
1. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
2. When you face north, east is to your right, west is to your left, and south is to your back.
3. The Big Dipper is a pattern of stars that resembles a soup ladle.
4. The Southern Cross is the main constellation used as a guide south of the equator and the above general directions for using north and south stars are reversed.

Evaluation Preparation: 

Setup: Directionally orient yourself to an area that is unfamiliar to the soldier to be tested.

Brief Soldier: Accompany the soldier to the area and tell the soldier to use the field-expedient methods to determine which direction is north and east. Use a compass direction of your choice. Do not tell the soldier how he or she did on performance measure 1 until he or she completes performance measure 2.

Note. Before the soldier is scored a GO for this task, he or she must display proficiency in all three field-expedient methods of determining direction without a compass. However, performance measure 3 must be tested in a different location.

 

Performance Measures

GO

NO GO

1.   Determined direction using the shadow-tip field-expedient method

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a. Placed a stick vertically into the ground at a desired spot.

 

 

b. Marked the tip of the stick's shadow to represent west.

 

 

c.  Waited 10 to 15 minutes.

 

 

d. Marked a new position of the tip of the stick's shadow to represent east.

 

 

e. Drew an east-west line through the two shadow-tip marks.

 

 

f.   Drew a north-south line at a right angle to the east-west line.

 

 

g. Pointed in the required direction within 15 degrees.

 

 

2.   Determined direction using the watch field-expedient method.

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a. In the Northern Hemisphere, pointed the hour hand of the watch at the sun; in the Southern Hemisphere, pointed the 12 o'clock position of the watch at the sun.

 

 

b. Pointed in the required direction within 15 degrees.

 

 

3.   Determined direction using the North Star field-expedient method.

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a. Located the Big Dipper.

 

 

b. Located Polaris, the North Star.

 

 

c.  Pointed in the required direction within 15 degrees.

 

 

Evaluation Guidance:  Score the soldier GO if all performance measures are passed. Score the soldier NO GO if any performance measure is failed. If the soldier scores NO GO, show the soldier what was done wrong and how to do it correctly.

References

 

Required

Related

 

FM 3-25.26