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View Full Version : NAV: back-bearing technique...a new technique??


Desert Fox
02-08-2004, 10:25
Hi,

from a while I am using a special technique of navigation, very useful for a patrol.I would like to know if it exists.I did not see this technique in any book or technical manual.

I called this technique the <<back-bearing technique>>:

To use this technique you need 2 persons or more.
1 person stays behind.The other(nav) aim and pick a general direction.He goes the farther he can, just before he losts contact with the first person.At that point, he aim, but not with the north in north, but with the south in north.The result is a back bearing aiming.
After that he take note of the side displacement (let say 7 meters to the left).Now he just compensates this displacement.He can take another aim to make sure.When align, he gives a sign or any other signal to the 1st person.This 1st person joins the 2nd(nav).
Now the process made again.

A good thing with this is that you dont have to send a person on the front, who dont sees the aiming.

That's it.
there is another technique with 3 persons.Very useful in a situation you dont have a compass, and you start your aim with some clock or shadow technique.
The technique is simple: This is like a scale.1st and 2nd persons stay behind.The 3rd person goes the farther he can.When the 1st and 2nd persons are aligned, the 1st person (the most behind) goes on the front, the farther he cans.He does again the same thing.
I guess with a pair of binoc you can aim very accurately.Only one binoc is needed.When the 1st(behind) goes on the front, he picks the binoc from the last front guy.
With painted sticks it would be very accurate.

That's it for the 2nd technique.

I made a special drill for a patrol, with the back-bearing technique:

The main body stay behind.The nav and another guy,go on the front, the farther they can.The nav do the back-bearing technique.The purpose of the other guy is to watch and act as security.He just follows the general direction of the nav and watch, enable the nav to do his job.


The only bad thing of the back-bearing technique is that it's slow.The other bad thing is that this is useless with GPS.But this is ,,another'' trick in case of...

TF Kilo
02-08-2004, 23:07
I'm confused. Your point is....?

Desert Fox
02-09-2004, 12:28
Originally posted by TF Kilo
I'm confused. Your point is....?

Hi,

I just want to know if it exists elsewhere, because that's a good technique.

And I LOVE nav, and I love to learn more on that.

Team Sergeant
02-09-2004, 13:20
DF,

I've never heard of it and I've got 20+ years in the US military. It sounds like it would work just fine, but Special Forces soldiers are trained to be self sufficient and this method of land nav does not work with one soldier.

The Team Sergeant

CSB
02-09-2004, 14:34
Here's a drawing I made to illustrate the technique our Canadian friend is talking about:

http://members.aol.com/cbjpegs/Backazi.jpg

STEP ONE - One man stays in place, while another walks as far forward as possible, generally along the desired azimuth, but only as far as will allow him to look back and see the first man.

STEP TWO - Instead of the near man attempting to steer the distant man onto the desired azimuth by looking forward and signaling ("left, left, right, hold it") ...

STEP THREE - The distant man shoots a back azimuth to the man at the starting position. From this, the distant man determines his miss distance (offset) from his current position to a line from the starting position along the desired azimuth.

STEP 4 - The distant man side steps the offset, bringing himself back into alignment with the starting man. When the man at the starting point is at the back azimuth of the man at the distant point, then the man at the starting point walks forward and joins the man at the distant point, thus traveling along the desired (forward) azimuth.

Will it work? Sure.
What's the advantage? It avoids the technique we have all seen of the man at the starting position yelling at a distant target man "Left, I mean your left, no no, my right, over here!, stop, now wait for me."

By using the back azumuth the man at the starting point need only stand clearly visible and let the distant man do the cross track corrections.

Why wouldn't SOF forces use the technique? Read the opening line: "One man stays in place, while another walks away as far as possible... ". That puts one soldier way out in front, alone.

Reminds me of the military cartoon:

(Sergeant to squad): "Now I want one man who doesn't owe me no money to walk out in front as far as you can...".

Desert Fox
02-09-2004, 17:31
Originally posted by CSB
Here's a drawing I made to illustrate the technique our Canadian friend is talking about:

http://members.aol.com/cbjpegs/Backazi.jpg

STEP ONE - One man stays in place, while another walks as far forward as possible, generally along the desired azimuth, but only as far as will allow him to look back and see the first man.

STEP TWO - Instead of the near man attempting to steer the distant man onto the desired azimuth by looking forward and signaling ("left, left, right, hold it") ...

STEP THREE - The distant man shoots a back azimuth to the man at the starting position. From this, the distant man determines his miss distance (offset) from his current position to a line from the starting position along the desired azimuth.

STEP 4 - The distant man side steps the offset, bringing himself back into alignment with the starting man. When the man at the starting point is at the back azimuth of the man at the distant point, then the man at the starting point walks forward and joins the man at the distant point, thus traveling along the desired (forward) azimuth.

Will it work? Sure.
What's the advantage? It avoids the technique we have all seen of the man at the starting position yelling at a distant target man "Left, I mean your left, no no, my right, over here!, stop, now wait for me."

By using the back azumuth the man at the starting point need only stand clearly visible and let the distant man do the cross track corrections.

Why wouldn't SOF forces use the technique? Read the opening line: "One man stays in place, while another walks away as far as possible... ". That puts one soldier way out in front, alone.

Reminds me of the military cartoon:

(Sergeant to squad): "Now I want one man who doesn't owe me no money to walk out in front as far as you can...".


Hi CSB,

thank you for your drawing.Sincerely very nice and sharp.
I already used this technique with a squad, during a night mouvement.
I did the same thing, but at a closer distance (depends on the darkness).To signal my squad to advance, I flashed a bip with my flashlight.I puted a paper arround my flashlight, to reduce the side diffusion.It worked perfectly and in silent (noise and radio).
The only bad thing with this is that you are emitting light, and we know that very little light can be seen with NVG.So in a certain way it wasnt so ,,silent''.

I though about another technique, but for sure it is to much difficult in rough terrain, because of obstacles.
A good thing is that you can do it alone.
The technique:
you take a rope and attach it to the hole we can find on any SILVA compass.
You attach the other end of the rope on a stick you put in the ground.A tent pike with fishing line would be ideal.
You take your general direction and go away.
Then you take your back-bearing.When back-bearing aligned, the rope must pass perfectly in the middle of the compass and trough the bearing index.If not, compensate.
When it's done, you pull the rope and the pike to you.
You do the process again.
But this technique I guess is only viable in easy terrain without too much obstacles.And generally when you have a compass you dont need to do that. That's would be good in an arid and flat country without any points to aim.
I think the fishing line and the stick would be useful if you found your bearing with some <<shadow technique>>.


That's was another ,,brain storming''. I try... ;)

Surgicalcric
02-09-2004, 17:41
Desert Fox:

While I am not a Land Nav expert I think you may be making things harder on yourself then need be.

If moving long distances between legs this method is going to cost you alot of time. I have found, in my limited experience at land nav, the ability to terrain associate cannot be substituted but then again I am a beginner at this.


JD

Desert Fox
02-09-2004, 17:58
Originally posted by Surgicalcric
Desert Fox:

While I am not a Land Nav expert I think you may be making things harder on yourself then need be.

If moving long distances between legs this method is going to cost you alot of time. I have found, in my limited experience at land nav, the ability to terrain associate cannot be substituted but then again I am a beginner at this.


JD

Hi Surgicalcric,

you right, a big part of land nav is intuitive.Myself when I do land nav I dont take an accurate aim, but only a general one.And it is still very accurate.Sometime I dont take any aim, but I just "easy'' looking at my compass.
I'm just trying to find some accurate and 'field expedient' ways to navigate, especially when you dont have a compass, or, per example, you are in a flat desert with no compass, no map, and no aiming point.

May be this is my ARTY heritage... :D

The Reaper
02-09-2004, 18:38
That will work for short distances or easily recognizable targets.

TR

Desert Fox
02-09-2004, 19:05
Originally posted by The Reaper
That will work for short distances or easily recognizable targets.

TR

Hi TR,

what I like to do is to general aiming, and find a spot where I can update my position.I tried to do the same thing with a small obj ("Y river") and a leg of just a little more than 1 km.When I hited the river, my plan was to do 100m on both sides.A good thing with this is that it's fast.But it's also less accurate than a good aiming.Another thing I like to do is play with the little open areas, and, of course, the contours.Per example I do 700m in the forest, and I make sure I hit the open with a particular shape.In that way I can find my position very accuratly.If the obj is alone and 'lost', I try to update my position with the nearest 'big' spot of this obj..

Well, you already know that, I just write it down because I love so much the navigation! :D
But I have still many many things to learn only in nav.

The Reaper
02-09-2004, 19:21
Try a 30km movement alone, at night, in bad weather, with a 65 lb. ruck in relatively featureless but heavily vegetated, broken terrain.

TR

Desert Fox
02-09-2004, 19:36
Originally posted by The Reaper
Try a 30km movement alone, at night, in bad weather, with a 65 lb. ruck in relatively featureless but heavily vegetated, broken terrain.

TR

METT-T : D


What you are describing to me is what I would like to be able to do in few years.I tried many terrains and weathers that were not fun at all! One time I made 100m in maybe 20 min. :-/
You often have a list of ,,tricks''.Do you have some this time?
I am listening...

The Reaper
02-09-2004, 20:05
Originally posted by Desert Fox
METT-T : D


What you are describing to me is what I would like to be able to do in few years.I tried many terrains and weathers that were not fun at all! One time I made 100m in maybe 20 min. :-/
You often have a list of ,,tricks''.Do you have some this time?
I am listening...

Pace
Azimuth
Terrain association
Reference Points
Intersection
Resection
"Legs"
"Offsets"
"Attack points"
"Handrails"
"Backstops"
"Boxing out"

Desert Fox
02-10-2004, 12:12
Originally posted by The Reaper
Pace
Azimuth
Terrain association
Reference Points
Intersection
Resection
"Legs"
"Offsets"
"Attack points"
"Handrails"
"Backstops"
"Boxing out"

Hi TR,
can you talk more about those points:

Resection, attack points, handrails, backstops, boxing out.

Thank you.

TF Kilo
02-11-2004, 04:50
Originally posted by Desert Fox
Hi TR,
can you talk more about those points:

Resection, attack points, handrails, backstops, boxing out.

Thank you.

Handrail: terrain feature that is blatant, ie the chattahoochie river, a highway, etc. Something you can "handrail" along.

Backstop: easily recognizable terrain feature behind your point you are going to. Example: 8000 ft mountain in an area that has average hilltop elevation of 3000 ft. If you start walking up, and it keeps going up and up, STOP.

I might have these two flipflopped, but you'll at least get the drift of how you can use them:

Resection: You don't know where you are. You see hills, water towers, etc on your map, and around you. Shoot an azimuth, and mark the back azimuth on your map from at least 2 terrain features. The intersection of these is YOUR position.

Intersection: You know where you are. You want to know where this tank you see is. Shoot an azmiuth. Mark it on your map. Move to another known point, and shoot another azimuth to the tank, then mark it on your map. The intersection of these is where the tank is.

if I remember correctly, an attack point is an easily recognizable terrain feature that you can just terrain associate navigate to, and then you can shoot your azimuth off of there. It aids you by being much quicker and simpler to move to versus 14 legs of various azimuths. "We'll move to hilltop 421, then go on a 14 deg azimuth from there"

Surgicalcric
02-11-2004, 06:06
TF Kilo's info the same as I received.


Handrail: Described to me as a feature on the map such as a road, creek, ridgeline, cut, etc that you can walk beside. You are holding onto it visually so hence the name "handrailing."

Backstop: Another terrain feature past the point you are navigating to where if you make it to the 'backstop' you know you have passed your point.

HTH.

CSB
02-11-2004, 07:21
"Backstop" is also called a "catching feature", as in: "If you cross the paved road, you've gone too far."

The paved road would be a "catching feature."

Sacamuelas
02-11-2004, 08:06
Excellent, informative thread...
Can someone define the Reaper's "boxing out" term?

Ghostrider
02-11-2004, 10:39
Originally posted by TF Kilo

Intersection: You know where you are. You want to know where this tank you see is. Shoot an azmiuth. Mark it on your map. Move to another known point, and shoot another azimuth to the tank, then mark it on your map. The intersection of these is where the tank is.



Excellent topic and definitions.

ONE correction, a tanker would never walk so far from his tank that he "lost" it.....besides, tankers aren't that quiet......;) I apologize for the mini hi-jack but it beckoned to me.

On-topic, fwiw, it is also wise not to shoot azimuths while close to large metal objects (like a tank)...it will effect the reading.

Sacamuelas
02-12-2004, 19:32
Reaper is at the Shot Show this weekend so someone else please step up and explain the "boxing out" term. Thanks

NousDefionsDoc
02-12-2004, 20:05
Originally posted by Sacamuelas
Reaper is away so someone else please step up and explain the "boxing out" term. Thanks

Wait 'tll he comes back.

Team Sergeant
02-13-2004, 08:37
I'll take a shot at it NDD. It may not be the "Boxing method" the Reaper is thinking about but it's one of the box methods....

One “box” method used in land navigation is to accurately circumnavigate an obstacle in ones path.

As you approach an obstacle you do not desire to navigate through, say a swamp, you take a 90 degree right or left turn, move a set distance, make another 90 degree turn walk until you’ve passed the obstacle and then make a third 90 degree turn to return to your original path and a last 90 degree turn back on azimuth.



The Team Sergeant

Sacamuelas
02-14-2004, 08:11
Thank you Team Sergeant.

The Reaper
02-16-2004, 16:18
As usual, the Team Sergeant is correct.

That technique is most commonly used at SFAS to avoid water obstacles and the dreaded "draw monster".

TR

NousDefionsDoc
02-16-2004, 17:59
Now why would you want to avoid the draws? That's the whole point of going out there.:D

The Reaper
02-16-2004, 18:25
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
Now why would you want to avoid the draws? That's the whole point of going out there.:D

I see students crawling out every class looking like they have been in a hand to gland class with a leopard.

Many times, they no longer have all of the equipment they went in with.

One of the reasons we teach the technique. As always, the choice is yours.

TR