Mounted Land Navigation
The principles of land navigation while mounted are basically the same as while dismounted. The major difference is the speed of travel. Walking between two points may take one hour, but riding the same distance may only take 15 minutes. To be effective at mounted land navigation, the travel speed must be considered.
The duties of a navigator are so important and exacting that he should not be given any other duties. The leader should never try to be the navigator, since his normal responsibilities are heavy, and one or the other job would suffer.
a. Assembling Equipment. Before the mission starts, the navigator must gather all the equipment that will help him perform his job (maps, pencils, and so forth).
b. Servicing Equipment. The navigator is responsible for making sure that all the equipment he may use or require is working.
c. Recording Data for Precise Locations. During movement, the navigator must make sure that the correct direction and distance are recorded and followed. Grid coordinates of locations must be recorded and plotted.
d. Supplying Data to Subordinate Leaders. During movement, any change in direction or distance must be given to the subordinate leaders in sufficient time to allow them to react.
e. Maintaining Liaison with the Commander. The commander normally selects the route that he wants to use. The navigator is responsible for following that route; however, there may be times when the route must be changed during a tactical operation. For this reason, the navigator must maintain constant communication with the commander. The navigator must inform the commander when checkpoints are reached, when a change in direction of movement is required, and how much distance is traveled.
When preparing to move, the effects of terrain on navigating mounted vehicles must be determined. You will cover great distances very quickly, and you must develop the ability to estimate the distance you have traveled. Remember that 0.1 mile is roughly 160 meters, and 1 mile is about 1,600 meters or 1.6 kilometers. Having a mobility advantage helps while navigating. If you get disoriented, mobility makes it much easier to move to a point where you can reorient yourself.
NOTE: To convert kilometers per hour to miles per hour, multiply by 0.62 (for example, 9 kilometers per hour x 0.62 = 5.58 miles per hour). To convert miles per hour to kilometers per hour, divide miles per hour by 0.62 (for example, 10 miles per hour ÷ 0.62 = 16.12 kilometers per hour).
Consider Vehicle Capabilities. When determining a route to be used when mounted, consider the capabilities of the vehicles to be used. Most military vehicles are limited in the degree of slope they can climb and the type of terrain they can negotiate. Swamps, thickly wooded areas, or deep streams may present no problems to dismounted Soldiers, but the same terrain may completely stop mounted Soldiers. The navigator must consider this when selecting a route.
(1) Most vehicles can knock down a tree. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the tree it can knock down. Vehicles cannot knock down several trees at once. It is best to find paths between trees that are wide enough for your vehicle. Military vehicles are designed to climb 60-percent slopes on a dry, firm surface.
(2) You can easily determine approximate slope by looking at the route you have selected on a map. A contour line in any 100 meters of map distance on that route indicates a 10-percent slope, two contour lines indicate 20-percent slope, and so forth. If there are four contour lines in any 100 meters, look for another route.
(3) Side slope is even more important than the slope you can climb. Normally, a 30-percent slope is the maximum in good weather. When traversing a side slope, progress slowly and without turns. Rocks, stumps, or sharp turns can cause you to throw the downhill track under the vehicle, which would mean a big recovery task.
(4) For tactical reasons, you will often want to move in draws or valleys because they provide cover. However, side slopes force you to move slowly.
NOTE: The above figures are true for a 10-meter or a 20-foot contour interval. If the map has a different contour interval, just adjust the arithmetic. For instance, with one contour line in 100 meters, a 20-meter interval would give a 20-percent slope.
Know the Effects of Weather on Vehicle Movement. Weather can halt mounted movement. Snow and ice are obvious dangers, but more significant is the effect of rain and snow on the load-bearing ability of soil. Cross-country vehicles may be restricted to road movement in heavy rain. If it has rained recently, adjust your route to avoid flooded or muddy areas. A mired vehicle only hinders combat capability.
Prepare Before Movement. Locate the start point and finish point on the map. Determine the map’s grid azimuth from start point to finish point and convert it to a magnetic azimuth. Determine the distance between the start point and finish point or any intermediate points on the map and make a thorough map reconnaissance of that area.
Tracked Vehicle Capabilities