Arctic1's big winter gear thread

You have no idea how insanely jealous I am of that multi fuel heater. We use what looks like a very similar tent, and very similar doctine... but we heat it with a coleman Lamp and two burner stove, it works but it's less then ideal.

I like those overboots, but have you looked into Neos? Absolute life savers in -20 and below.

RIP Cpl Mike Starker 06 May 2008 Op Athena

 

Location: Edmonton, Alberta  Joined5/31/05

quote:
Originally posted by 8th:

I would like to hear more about your snowshoes/skis/bindings (size, shape, type of bindings, etc...). Also do you guys ever use pulks, and if so how do you integrate the (2 guys per pulk or?) and what is your attachement system for pulling them.


Cable bindings, of Huitfeldt origins, complete with toestrap for the skis, fully adjustable width on the front, so that you may regulate for bare boots or overboots.

The same backcable are used for the snowshoes but they have an intergrated front binding.

Skis are either wood or glassfibre from the Aasnes ski factory, last time I had skis it was the glassfibre type, but whats current for the moment I`m not to sure of, much rumors and I havent been in a Infantry unit for a while.
For unit use, I actually prefer the wood skis, not as fast as the glassfibre and much more silent.

Snowshoes: aluminium paddles that sucks snow if its wet. Very good for tying onto the bipod on the MG-3 so that the MG dont nosedive into the snow.

Pulks: The large ruck Arctic mentions earlier have intergrated drags in the belt for pulling the pulk. Depending on terrain, you can strap in additional pullers or use push points at the back of the pulk for giving the fellow pulling the pulk some added boost. The pulk also have a braking rope in the back, that either is layed under the pulk or have some squaddie hanging onto it for braking efforts going downhill.

Falling on a decent and then being run over by that 130 kilos pulk you`re pulling and preferably the fellow in on braking duty, are one of the habitual wonders of winter warfare. Big Grin

Best regards Harry

Actually I'm a bit curious, is it one pulk per section / squad? We call it a toboggan, but it's the same, two guys pulling in traces and one on a tiller bar pushing / braking. One toboggan per section.

RIP Cpl Mike Starker 06 May 2008 Op Athena

 

Location: Edmonton, Alberta  Joined5/31/05

quote:
Originally posted by Arctic1:

"Knappetelt":
It basically made by buttoning together a set amount of old german diamond shaped shelter halves, usually 5 or 7 (as pictured), but can be configured with 4, 8, 10 or 16.

This tent is heated by using a kerosene stove. The tent is carried either pre-buttoned, in a pack or on the pulk during winter, or each soldier can carry his own shelter half and the tent can be assembled as needed. Easy to bring for dismounts. A well drilled squad can put up a pre-buttoned tent in about 10 minutes.

It is a bit old fashioned, very heavy when wet but provides good shelter for most weather. Will leak water if the insides of the tent is touched. Does not allow light to shine through.


I used those several times at the US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. We called them Norwegian tent sheets. My experience with them appears to have mirrored yours. I have to say that I like modern nylon designs better.

I greatly enjoyed my two trips to Norway. It is a truly beautiful land.

"Takke" for your posts.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Stay safe?"  If you stay safe, you're doing it wrong.  When you can't be safe, be sharp.

I've been rocking the black Mickey Mouse boots for twenty years and while heavy the have always worked great for me. My current pair is on its last legs, how do the over boots compare?

I've always had a water bottle pocket in my mid layer to keep my water from icing over. I never liked the string around the neck.

Cotton is the devil, just as bad as wet down. Wool or synthetics is the only way to roll.

Great posts guys!

Remember your caloric intake needs to ramp up in cold weather ops too, your body burns a lot more fuel keeping you warm.

Regional Field Operations Manager, Team Rubicon R5(MI, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN).

cortney.beard@teamrubiconusa.org

Ottawa County Search and Rescue SARTECH III

 

This is good stuff for my notebook. I always hated winter operations. I grew up in Georgia where is is cold and wet. I never got comfortable. I was never properly trained, either and had the wrong equipment.

"The Complete Walker" by Colin Fletcher, changed that. I highly recommend the book as a primer and reference for fieldcraft and learning how to drive your equipment. The author was also known as Corporal of Infantry Fletcher, British Army, during that unpleasant event in the 1940's.

@Mark J - The tent sheets were originally called Zeltbahn and the German Army used them extensively in WW2. There are a number of web entries on Zeltbahn. Most were made of tightly woven cotton, which does a fairly good job of keeping the rain out unless there is a driving rain. It bears further research.

@SNDT1319 - The "cotton kills" crap came about because a lot of people who died from exposure were not properly equipped or trained and were often wearing only cotton. The trick is to stay dry when you have to do manual labor. That means dressing in layers and working slowly enough so that you don't break a heavy sweat, often no a choice in military operations. I have been successful wearing long underwear, a cotton shirt with a wooly-pully and a cotton windbreaker or an M65 field jacket at temperatures as low as 25*F. Keeping my hands and head warm were key and if it was raining I needed the net underwear that Arctic1 mentioned.

The long underwear pulls sweat from the body, through the cotton to the wool sweater where it is evaporated or sublimated by the wind. Most people wear their winter clothing too tight and the sweat cannot evaporate. Below 25*, I won't wear cotton if I can help it.

When GoreTex came along, I got that and it helped keep me dry in the driving rain. The silk weight PolarTech stuff I got issued works well. Two pair of lightweights work better than one and pack lighter, too. I haven't needed fleece or down jackets until it got below 20*F or I was stationary and a blanket or shelter half worked well enough then.

Leggings, or gaiters, are effective at keeping snow and slush out of your boots. I would wear them when I donned overpants. I like the cotton sateen type. Suspenders really helped out here and kept me from getting saddle sores.

McBride's "A Rifleman Went to War" describes in detail how he was able to stay warm and dry in the trenches of WW1. He had wool and cotton and apparently did not suffer a weather related injury.

Sleeping was another matter and I think Arctic1 covered it well. I stopped using a sleeping bag in the field after an M113 rolled up to my position and I couldn't get out of my sleeping bag.

New materials come about because people are always trying to make things better. Sometimes this works (Kevlar and GoreTex), sometimes it doesn't. You have to use the equipment properly. I have never been comfortable in GoreTex lined boots. Thick wool socks and jump boots. If I was out in colder weather, I would get some overboots like Arctic1 displays. Or mukluks.

The sauna and heated tent are also called "warming stations". As far as I can tell, the last time the US Army used them was in the Korea n War. This is a SOP and leadership issue that needs to be planned for.

Where would I find the citation(s) for wearing body armor under the parka and cold weather gear?

@DoctorRich, are you planning for an "EPIC ARCTIC CARE 2013 AAR"? Smile

@Arctic1, have you used sunflower seed oil for cold weather lubrication?

@essel. Do you have a preferred source for net underwear? Choices in America are limited.

Now if someone can help me keep my sweaty feet warm, I would appreciate it.

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

“Was it a bad day or was it a bad ten minutes that you milked all day?"

A LTC to a very pissed of Chief Warrant Officer in 2005 who then ripped his head off and rammed it down his throat sideways.  The LTC then agreed is was a bad day.

@BC520: Pens freeze if it's really cold. I keep mine in a simple ziplock bag along with my notepad in my right thigh pocket. I also keep a pencil handy, as they do not freeze, and don't bleed as bad when writing on wet paper.

@Trajan Aurelius: I only have issued mesh. I don't know who made it, but I do know that Brynje of Norway and Aclima produce quality baselayer mesh. Aclima has a distributor in Canada, and I'm not sure about Brynje. Arctic1 might know a bit more.
I prefer the Helly Hansen Dry/Warm (depending on temperature), since it's a thin mesh/wool combo.
quote:
Originally posted by 8th:
Thank you for the run down, and confirming something I have long thought about gore-tex boots. Unfortuantely, finding a good pair of all leather boots that aren't gore-tex is a pain. It used to be easy to find my preferred boot in the non-gore-tex version. I am going to have to try out some overboots.

I would like to hear more about your snowshoes/skis/bindings (size, shape, type of bindings, etc...). Also do you guys ever use pulks, and if so how do you integrate the (2 guys per pulk or?) and what is your attachement system for pulling them.


When it comes to pulks, how many per squad depends on the TO&E. There are three types in use:

-Old version made of wood
-Newer version of wood pulk made from glass fiber
-New version, smaller, made from from glass fiber

If you have the newer version, the normal ratio is 2 per squad. With the others it is one per squad.

The large pulks attach via hooks to metal D rings or normal metal rings on the hip belt of the issued ruck. The newer pulks have their own harness.

The guy pulling the pulk has the option of securing his ruck on the pulk if there is room. Much better balance for him when skiing. He can have one guy in front to help pulling the pulk uphill, and one guy in the rear to controll downhill speed. These guys hold ropes dedicated to this purpose.

You can see a picture of the old snowshoes in essals picture. An overview pic here:



The new ones issued are from Tubbs:

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

quote:
Originally posted by BC520:
Stupid question, but how do you guys keep your pens from freezing when on the outside layers?

Also, what type of zippered case is that you're putting them in?


That's why I have 4 Wink

No, there is a shortened pencil in there too. But pens sometimes work.

The cover is a Rite in the Rain cover.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

quote:
Originally posted by SNDT1319:
I'm curious about the reference to wool and cotton clothes. The wool I'm tracking but the cotton has me confused. Why would you use cotton in a cold and wet area?


I should probably expound on this.

In my original post, I stated "cotton-based", as in not hard shell-based. The uniforms I use are normally NYCO or something similar. I would never use a 100% cotton uniform, oruse cotton next to the skin.

Hard shell-based uniforms have a few positives:

-Very good water and wind resistance
-Lightweight
-Dries quickly

In my view, the negatives outweigh the positives:

-Cold
-Not very durable
-Poor breathing properties
-Loses wind and water resistance with use

For a hard shell uniform to work properly, ie. for moisture to pass through the membrane, there needs to be higher pressure inside than outside. That means that the uniform needs to be sealed up, which in turn means no using all of the fancy pit zips and other ventilation options. This leads to a lot of moisture being trapped inside the uniform and inside the membrane, leading to your clothing becoming wet, and your uniform freezing. When the membrane is frozen, no moisture will escape at all, further compounding the issue.

The same issue happens when the membrane becomes polluted from sweat and grime, no moisture is able to escape.

You can use all the ventilating features, but moisture will still be trapped inside the uniform, because you are wearing all your gear preventing the "chimney" principle from working.

Lastly, the outer layer of the uniform is not extremely abrasion resistant, and wears out quickly when wearing all the gear and doing infantry stuff, resulting in reduced water resistance and reduced wind resistance.

I'm not saying that for certain climates/weather types that it isn't a good option, it is very good when it is from +10*C to -10*C. Colder or warmer, I'm not touching shell uniforms.

In my experience, a NYCO type uniform is the best overall uniform, when combined with a light weight rainsuit. During winter our white overalls do that job, for summer we are getting a light weight rain suit.

Weight quickly adds up if you have to carry both your NYCO uniform and your hard shell uniform, to be able to switch based on the climate/weather.

That is why most people use the combination that essal talked about; hard shell jacket and cotton pants.

For me, a well designed NYCO uniform has many positives:

-Lightweight
-Breathes well
-Dries realtively quickly
-Takes a lot of abuse
-Ok wind and water resistance
-Warmer

Negatives:

-Retains some moisture
-Needs more maintenance to retain wind and water resistance

The issue we have with our current cotton uniform is that it is double layered, making it heavy as well as reataining a lot of moisture and doesn't dry very fast. I use a different type.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Arctic 1 have you tried any "soft shell" materials? ( I know you are limited to uniform items, but was wondering if you have any experience with soft shells otherwise) In my locale they are a pretty good compromise (benefits of a synthetic but more breathable than a hard shell). Admittedly my locale is temperate and not too cold (Utah), but I often snowshoe with soft shell pants and a windproof smock (arktis, dropzone, sord, etc.) Thoughts?
I appreciate you guys putting this out there. I have a fair amount of time out in the winter, but it is not in the type of temps you guys are dealing with. It is great to get some no BS from folks who do have that temp experience.

My feet are my biggest battle. I have everything else pretty much dialed in, well with the exception of trying new stuff out, but my feet. My basic issue is my feet sweat a lot so it is a constant battle to deal with mositure and cold. If I am using a pulk then I just thrown in a pair of Sorels and switch out based on what I am doing. I also change and dry socks frequently. The issue has been when I am not using a pulk, and am switching between activity and non-activity. To date I have just changed sock frequently and sucked it up. However, it sounds like the overboot is worth a shot. Basically, planning to put them on whenever I stop for any amount of time, and still rotate socks. Last time I got boots I got lazy and bougth goretex. Not again.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear

"If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston

this thread is something i've always hoped someone from skandnavia would post about. my experiences are not as much as i want in winter warefare and i know those skills are always truly lacking.
do you guys have anything like trigger mittens? mittens that have the index finger free to work the trigger of the rifle? ours are absolute junk and always wonder if anyone else uses them.

We're not the public service of Canada, we're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people. - Jul 2005 - Gen Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff

quote:
Originally posted by Arctic1:
As far as the water goes, yeah it freezes. We are also taught to have our water bottles in a string around our necks. I don't care for that technique at all. Two tips/tricks that might work:

1. Water freezes near the surface, where there is air. Turn your bottle up side down in the pouch to mitigate the issue

2. Always fill bottle with warm water when possible. Refill with snow as you drink.

Water management/hydration is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of winter operations; reduced thirst sensation reduces drinking frequency, cold diuresis increases risk of dehydration. Inexperienced leaders also often mandate emptying canteens; max water uptake is about 150ml every 15 minutes.Empty your canteen and you will just piss out the excess water very quickly, and basically run out of water. Discipline is needed to maintain the water supply for as long as possible.




Ref this point on a note for NCO's

What goes in must come out, you'll note alot of younger guys and heat sluts failing to stop and unload/clear guns when they have the oppurtunity because the feel the inconveiniance of copping a squat in -30 is just too much.

With the added water and caloric intake, Make sure your guys are busting a crunch when they can, otherwise the body is wasting heat on keeping a turd warm.

I know it seems mundane and common sense, but guys stop giving a shit when its ridiculously cold out. a few seconds of suffering makes a world of difference. Unless you crap on your snowpants.


Id also like to nominate this thread for a sticky, as winter ops are something oft overlooked and the knowledge being dropped here is immense.

____________________________________________________________________

Whiskey, Dip, Long Rifles and Short Fuses? Welcome to Alberta son...

 

"You get the boys into the corolla and go downtown for some shwarmas and titties." - GoFaster775

 

Joined: 25/05/10  Location: The Oil Patch of Canada 

 

Great thread, and really good information here. I live on the wet coast, and rarely use my Gore-tex. Cold rain + limited activity is about the only situation I use it. There is a reason much of the dead bird's LEAF clothing systems are designed to fit over armor.

Sweaty feet will soak any boot, overboots are not likely to solve the problem. They will move the dew point (point at which vapour freezes) away from your skin, however you could end up with damp inner boots and frozen overboots. Many folks have had success with them, worth a try. Sock changing and boot drying discipline very important.

I now use vapour barrier when in the Arctic. Takes getting used to, and VB is not majic, but it works for me. So much so that I dress head to toe in vapour barrier during my annual arctic winter trips. Trying VB socks is easy, and free. plastic bags (bread bags work well) ove top of baselayer socks. Change baselayer socks daily, every twelve hours is best. Dry damp socks deep within your clothing system. VB socks keep the boot leather/insulation dry.
quote:
Originally posted by Yeoman:
do you guys have anything like trigger mittens? mittens that have the index finger free to work the trigger of the rifle? ours are absolute junk and always wonder if anyone else uses them.
I have the old ones. It's a 2 piece system of a inner wool mitten (with tumb and trigger finger), and an shell of NY/CO or Goretex. If the NY/CO version becomes wet, the trigger finger might freeze, unless you pull the trigger finger into the actual mitten.

I've heard about a new 3 piece system, they might be the ones posted by Arctic1 (carried in his jacket).

I don't use them a lot these days, since I've "perfected" my glove/mitten system. I did use them a lot during my conscription, when I was a supply guy (working with fuel cans). They require training for you to be able to be efficient at weapons manipulation, just as it would without gloves or anything else.
quote:
do you guys have anything like trigger mittens? mittens that have the index finger free to work the trigger of the rifle? ours are absolute junk and always wonder if anyone else uses them.


We don´t have trigger mittens; Our mittens are two part: outer shell is some kind of nylon, and the inner shell is wool (i suppose)

But then we have white wool liner gloves which are usually worn under the mittens. I guess those liner gloves were originally meant to be used with the plastic gloves that come with our gas masks.. And it was forbidden to use them for any other purpose. However, everyone still used them the way i described, so the army gave up and started issuing an extra pair, so that people wouldn´t use the ones that come with the gas mask.
Artic 1,

Great thread.

The locals here just picked up the MSR Snow shoes, NSN 8465-01-558-9958, they were type classified by the USMC as the USMC Snowshoe, Assalt MSR. Got to see some in use today.

Is the Bamse pad = to the commercial Mammut Alpine Mat? We used to issue a thin black sleeping pad which was very tacky. You could fold it up small and it didn't have the same tendancy to slide off as we did with the Thermarests and the regular sleeping mats. they quite issuing them here in the mid 90's.

Can you go into some of your likes and dislikes about your over whites? I was recently going to import a set from GARM, but got involved in a larger product and reviewed the three Berry compliant overwhites that launched recently. The GARM version still seemed to have the best technical features, but then again I have not had hands on with any of the above yet, just photos.

On the boot front interesting comments on the Gortex boots. I never realy processed it the way you have, but I agree. We had issues here with the terrian leading to our boots getting wet alot. Because the tempatures fluxuate enough, we would go from above freezing to below often during a training event, and once wet from sweat or going in the water they would never realy dry out.

PEO Soldiers new Equipment Portfolio lists a Modular Boot System:



The MBs looks like it has been a long term project with contracts going back to 2006 for Wellco and another company. In the linked breif they had an objective of getting these in the field this year.

Footwear, Advance Planning Brief to Industry 12 May, 2012
quote:
OBJECTIVE:Provide a multifunctional, multi-theater footwear system for the Soldier to be worn in operational environments with ambient temperatures ranging from -60°to 120 °F.
BOI:One (1) system per Soldier (Temperature Zones V-VIII)
NSN: TBD
SYSTEM DESCRIPTION:
Flame-Resistant Hot Weather Base Boot
Shock Attenuating, slip resistant soling system
Non-insulated waterproof booties (2 pair)
Insulated Cold Weather Overboot

STATUS:
PM-SCIE anticipates:
Anticipate approved CPD December 2011
Solicitation for the MBS during FY12
Initial fielding during FY13


And they also show what looks like the Neos, Alternative Footwear System (AFS):


I've never seen either, but am now more interested in them. We used to use the "New" Leg boos with the Jeep tread soles and green overboots in a similure fashion to what you describe. Of course the overboots were cheap as hell and always ended up tearing, but they worked.
The pad is sold in Norway as Mammut/Ajungilak Bamse Extreme. It retails for about $35 (200 Kr) and up. I've never seen them labeled as something else, and I've never seen the cut outs as posted in your link.

And First-Spear might help you with a set of overwhites, as they and NFM (GARM) do a bit of cooperation.
I have reservations about the overboot in the MBS in the snow. I can see it filling up and packing full of snow through the bottom openings, but would have to see it in action first. HOPEFULY testing would address any such problems IF this is truely a program that is going to deliever product.
Awesome thread, thanks for taking the time to write it up.

The neos are pretty good, I know a few people who have them. They like them, and use them a lot. It seems to bridge a gap between combat boot and mukluck.

Ill throw down a couple things I've found handy in a bit when I collect my thoughts. It'll pale in comparison to what is already here though.

---------------
"Roger Wilco Over and Out"

 

Joined: 5 Sep 06  Location: Canadian LO Desk in the LF TOC.

quote:
Originally posted by Desert01:


PEO Soldiers new Equipment Portfolio lists a Modular Boot System:





The overboot portion of this are somewhat similiar to what I started out with when I started in 87, with the exeption of being one piece to the two pieces of shit we where issued back then.

You will get snow build up around the sole and being the pesky substance snow are, it will push further up between the proper boot and overboot and melting.

Suede skin as it looks like the base boot are made of will also be a proper snow magnet. :-)

Best regards Harry

quote:
Originally posted by HPFlashman:

The overboot portion of this are somewhat similiar to what I started out with when I started in 87, with the exeption of being one piece to the two pieces of shit we where issued back then.

You will get snow build up around the sole and being the pesky substance snow are, it will push further up between the proper boot and overboot and melting.

Suede skin as it looks like the base boot are made of will also be a proper snow magnet. :-)


Arge, don't say that. Failure to do good research on a propOsed requirement drives me crazy. Maybe the final product will replace the outer boot/shell with a proper over boot.
In Northern Idaho, LEMOS hosts a winter law enforcement tactical operations class. It is EXCELLENT training and I would highly recommend going, if you can get in. Class was about 65 hours Sun - Sat. Steve Tomson (contact info at end of article) is a helluva guya and cop's cop. Here is a PoliceOne article on it:


http://www.policeone.com/Offic...ned-officer-survive/

Under fire in snow and cold: Could you help a downed officer survive?

Rescuing a downed officer from a hostile scene is tough enough under the best of weather conditions, let alone near-zero temperatures, three feet of snow, and with a hell-bent gunman still hiding in the thick woods around you.

That’s just a few of the challenges confronting U.S. and Canadian officers who train in unique field exercises in winter tactics, conducted twice a year in the remote and rugged Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho. What they learn about their ability to perform critical tasks in cold and snow may help you survive a life-threatening ordeal if you serve in areas that are now heading toward the year’s most miserable weather, especially isolated rural or wilderness jurisdictions.

“In winter, you not only have to worry about human adversaries, but the environment itself is your enemy,” says Steven Tomson, who directs the training program, called the Law Enforcement Mountain Operations School (LEMOS). “If they’re not managed right, either one can injure or kill you very quickly — or even worse, kill you very slowly.”

Related Articles:

Could you survive "wilderness conditions"?
Gear up for winter survival
Time to winterize yourself

Tomson, a former sheriff and municipal officer who works as the law enforcement coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Spokane, Wash., described some aspects of the mountain school in a session on survival strategies at the recent IACP conference in Denver. Later, in an exclusive interview with PoliceOne, he elaborated particularly on the dangers and lessons learned inherent in officer rescues under extreme conditions.

The school was conceived about five years ago by a consortium of agencies that operate in the border regions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia, after a near tragedy involving three Canadian officers whose snowmobiles became nearly buried in deep powder as they tried to track drug smugglers across forbidding mountain terrain.

Their cell phones wouldn’t work. Hiking out was impossible. They spent a harrowing 12 hours trapped, fighting to survive through a howling, bitter night before they were finally found by rescuers.

“Being unprepared for anything, anywhere is not acceptable,” declared one of the stranded officers, Cst. Kim Bloy, in the wake of the ordeal. Unfortunately, says Tomson, agencies “routinely send personnel into extreme winter environments without sufficient knowledge, training, equipment, or experience to operate safely.”

In the apparent absence of other comprehensive training for winter conditions, LEMOS was created to address “specialized tactical and cold-weather operations,” with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for eastern Washington as point agency. Bloy, now a corporal, became deputy chief of the organization.

Tomson says that since its founding, about 200 “average” line officers have enhanced their winter survival skills through the six-day, 60-hour course, from an alphabet soup of federal agencies (DEA, ICE, ATF, BP, NPS, USMS, etc.), sheriff’s departments, state police, wildlife services, the RCMP, the Canadian Border Services Agency, and others with investigative or patrol-level enforcement responsibilities in snowy, mountainous territory far removed from population centers.

Operating out of base camp at the Priest Lake Ranger Station in the Kaniksu National Forest, teams of trainees don snowshoes and, coping typically with snow 3-6 feet deep and temps well below freezing, learn to traverse some five kilometers of tortuous terrain at a stretch, build a “field-expedient” shelter, start a fire using a metal match — “extremely difficult for most,” says Tomson — practice cover and concealment, detect booby traps, conduct day and night navigation, deal with avalanche dangers, and “basically take care of themselves for up to 72 hours.”

All this, while preventing accidents and remaining healthy and uninjured in the adverse environment.

Most revealing of the serial exercises is usually the downed officer rescue. It is here that the potentially deadly threats of cold-weather operations tend to evidence themselves in sobering profusion, along with some tactical shortcomings that could — and often do — surface even in more favorable settings.

In this scenario, an officer working alone (role-played by an instructor) is missing and possibly has been shot and is down, deep in forested terrain. Trainees, assembled in six-officer teams and with only sketchy information, are sent to locate him, provide emergency medical aid, and extract him and his equipment to a point where he can be transferred to a medical facility. The assailant (another instructor) is still at large among the trees.

Despite classroom discussion of tactics and team planning in advance, “a tactical breach tends to occur as soon as the trainees spot the downed officer,” Tomson says.

Usually, he’s slumped in a “tree well,” a crater in deep snow at the base of a tree that is kept largely clear of accumulation by low-hanging branches. Ideally, his rescuers would remain behind the cover of other trees or boulders to make an initial assessment, calling to the downed officer, for instance, to see if he is capable of moving toward them. If not, a single officer would advance to apply some immediate relief to his injuries, perhaps accompanied by a cover officer to supply suppression fire if necessary.

“Instead,” says Tomson, “the trainees all tend to hurry up to him when they see a downed colleague. In focusing on the patient, they forget about deploying good perimeter protection and neutralizing the threat. So the ‘gunman’ will then fire a round or two from the woods to remind them how vulnerable they are. There’s chaos for a few minutes, and the problem gets more difficult. Responding en masse under fire almost always results in additional ‘casualties.’ ”

Failing to establish initial contact from behind cover and at a distance carries another risk, too, Tomson points out. Caught by surprise, “the downed officer won’t know who’s out there and may shoot at members of the rescue team, mistakenly thinking they’re allies of the bad guy.”

The biggest culprit, however, inevitably proves to be Nature’s hostile forces, which is the point of this exercise. A small sampling of issues that typically arise:

Clothing
Officers are told to wear their normal, approved on-duty winter garb, which usually includes a prescribed uniform that is inadequate for the weather they’re up against.

“Uniforms are not anywhere close to state-of-the-art in fabric and design for this environment,” Tomson asserts. “The biggest problem is too high a percentage of cotton. In winter, cotton kills. Unlike wool it loses its insulating quality when it gets wet from sweat or snow.” Even a 60/40 blend of polyester and cotton is safer than cotton alone, he says.

Wearing too much clothing can exacerbate the problem. “Start out light, feeling a little cold. You’ll warm up as you move. If you dress too warm, you’ll get too hot almost immediately and start sweating. If you’re wearing cotton underwear, once it gets soaked you can become dangerously chilled and there’s no way you’ll get warm again.”

Your fitness level, too, will affect your volume of perspiration, of course. Too often, Tomson says, trainees discover that their fitness is “average or below” as they tackle the elements on snowshoes. Without the shoes, of course, they’d quickly sink up to the waist or beyond in snow in many spots.

Patient Aid
In the scenario, there are no hidden injuries. What the rescuers find in checking the downed officer are prominent “gunshot wounds,” realistically depicted via moulage. Evaluation and treatment are relentlessly affected by the snow and cold.

“Cutting away the downed officer’s clothing for better access and treatment is dangerous because of the exposure,” Tomson explains. “Patient assessment becomes very difficult as your hands get cold. With your cold hands against his body, he gets colder, colder, colder.

“The trainees are typically unfamiliar with tactical combat casualty care, which is often different from the kind of first aid some are accustomed to administering at traffic accidents. They may need to know something about treating frostbite, snow blindness, knee injuries, and severe blisters. Tourniquets, which are often discouraged in conventional first aid, are considered an essential element of wilderness care, either self-applied or used by rescuers.

“Speed can be important to prevent bleeding out, but in the cold and snow even the simplest task is harder to do. Moving quickly and facilely is tough.”

Hypothermia
The drop of the downed officer’s body temperature to a dangerously low level is an omnipresent threat. “Some kind of insulation needs to go under the downed officer as soon as possible,” Tomson says, “or he may die from hypothermia even if you treat his wounds successfully.”

The trainees carry with them as part of their recommended survival gear insulation pads that the patient can be wrapped in and then enclosed in a tarp — “ ‘the burrito,’ we call it,” Tomson says. Jackets or tree boughs shaken free of snow may be passable substitutes — “something between the patient and cold ground, or he won’t be able to stay warm, no matter how much clothing he’s wearing.”

Equipment Problems
Even gear that officers think they’re familiar with can offer nasty surprises in a cold environment. “Batteries go down fast,” Tomson warns, “so you may unexpectedly lose the benefit of your flashlight. If snow gets into the spring-release mechanisms in some security holsters, they may not function reliably, so you can’t draw your gun. If you end up wrestling in the snow with a suspect and you have a holster with an open bottom, snow may get packed into your barrel and you’ll risk the gun blowing up when you fire.” (To prevent that possibility, he suggests capping your muzzle with a piece of Saran Wrap when you holster your gun, to keep the barrel clear.)

“So much equipment can become rapidly dysfunctional in a cold, wet environment. Yet that’s a problem that many officers have never considered,” Tomson says. Some during the exercise also discover for the first time that with gloves on their trigger finger won’t fit into their trigger guard.

Extraction
Ultimately, there’s the challenge of safely removing a wounded officer who isn’t ambulatory. “That’s a lot harder than most officers think it’s going to be,” Tomson says.

LEMOS teaches a technique for placing the officer onto a poncho or tarp and dragging him out, with four rescuers pulling while two maintain security in a “bounding over-watch in reverse” formation. “It requires good coordination,” Tomson says, “because pulling a 210-pound wounded officer and all his gear through heavy snow while you’re on snowshoes is not easy.”

Small but important points to remember: Take the downed officer’s own snowshoes off before you start, or they’ll hang up…provide eye protection for him so he’s not damaged by low branches or brambles.

Before starting the training, students are tested with “very basic questions” regarding mountain and cold-weather operations. The average score generally is in the 50 percentile, “well below passing and a clear indication that they are not adequately trained to safely operate in remote or cold environments,” even though all are currently assigned to such areas and most have “considerable” law enforcement experience. At the end of the training, they’re retested. By then, the average score typically has jumped to about 85 percent.

Tomson concludes, “LEMOS is fundamentally an officer survival course that emphasizes good decision-making, risk management, self-defense, and familiarization with multiple-use gear in rural and austere environments. We focus on casualty prevention, situational awareness, and a winning attitude. We learn new things with every course we teach, and we adapt the training accordingly. But our motto always stays the same: ‘Go Far, Go Safe, Go Home.’ ”




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LEMOS courses are planned for this coming winter, in January and February. For information, contact Steve Tomson at: steven.tomson@usdoj.gov or (509) 353-2767.

"To be born free is an accident; to live free is a privilege; to die free is a responsibility." - Richard Secord

Joined 08/25/2008.   Location: Northest WI

quote:
Originally posted by Yeoman:
this thread is something i've always hoped someone from skandnavia would post about. my experiences are not as much as i want in winter warefare and i know those skills are always truly lacking.
do you guys have anything like trigger mittens? mittens that have the index finger free to work the trigger of the rifle? ours are absolute junk and always wonder if anyone else uses them.


You can see my trigger mittens in the photo of my smock with contents. I guess the trigger finger didn't show on the photo.

It's a two piece system, with a white wool inner mitten.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

@Desert01:

Thanks!

The Bamse pad is the same as the Mammut, yes.

As for the overwhites, they are the GARM as you can see. My thoughts:

Positives:
-Lightweight
-Compact when stufed into integral compression sack
-Main fabric blends in well with snow
-Water and wind resistant
-Nice fit, not too baggy
-Allows easy access to gear in uniform
-Ability to be worn over load bearing gear
-Easy to put on without removing any gear

Negatives:
-A tad clammy when it is warmer (-5* or warmer)
-Reinforced areas have too much of a contrast, appear blue'ish compared to snow and rest of uniform

As for the Modular Boot System, I wouldn't be so quick to write it off as HPFlashman. I don't think it resembles the old cold weather protective footwear we had at all. It is more like the Berghaus Yeti Gaiters.

If the rubber part of the overboots fits as tightly as the Yeti Gaiters, and they are made to conform to the shape of the boot, there should be no issues with snow packing through the openings. I have used the Yeti Gaiters, and like them. They are not insulated though.

I do believe that they should have combined the insulating and waterproof liner as a one piece item though, or reversed the system. Have a cold weather liner, and a waterproof overboot.That way you protect the base boot in wet weather.

And I agree with r031.button that going with a design that does not insulate the bott at all from the ground might not mitigate heat loss through conduction optimally.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

quote:
Originally posted by Arctic1:

As for the Modular Boot System, I wouldn't be so quick to write it off as HPFlashman.


But then you`re not former President of The Association for Bitter Old LTs (2003-09) either... Big Grin

The Yetis I`m told are good stuff, never been able to try them myself due to a combination of shoesize, length and diameter of my calfs.

I do like the idea of gaiters for 3 season use but having donned them (Østerdalsokk og tåladd) for some years in winter, I`m leery of them for that particular season.

If you look at the picture there's a hole in the overlap just in front of the understrap, snow is bound to enter there, combined with what looks like air vents in the boots at the same posistion as well as the look of the strap, I`m thinking elastic as the material of choice, I see some possibilities for snow entering and wetness.

But, hopefully you are right and I`m wrong. Smile

Best regards Harry

Damn, that modular boot system still isn't in service?

We got those at to test out at Drum some time during the spring or summer in 2008. Had to fill out a damn report every single day for a few months on how the boots performed and what conditions we wore them in that day. I will say the base boot was the most comfortable issue boot I've ever had without need for a real break in period. Never really used the Gortex or overboots other than trying them on.

We all had the same concerns about snow build up in the toe area and the fact that it didn't insulate the sole from the ground. I ETS'd before winter hit so I can't comment on how well the overboots worked. I also happen hate Gortex boots cause all they do is keep my feet wet longer and make me sweat so I never wore the inserts.

quote:
Originally posted by HPFlashman:
If you look at the picture there's a hole in the overlap just in front of the understrap, snow is bound to enter there, combined with what looks like air vents in the boots at the same posistion as well as the look of the strap, I`m thinking elastic as the material of choice, I see some possibilities for snow entering and wetness.


The "toe cup" and strap on the bottom of the overboot are semi-hard rubber of some sort.

Those pictures look exactly like the ones we got so either the overshoe didn't have any issues with getting packed with snow or they didn't listen to feedback and make changes....which is just as likely Big Grin . Sorry I don't have much more to add about them lol. I do still have all that stuff though, maybe I'll break out the overboots and wear them around some if it snows around here again.
------------------------------------------------------------
Don't hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning.

Joined: 8/26/03    Location: US
quote:
What goes in must come out, you'll note alot of younger guys and heat sluts failing to stop and unload/clear guns when they have the oppurtunity because the feel the inconveiniance of copping a squat in -30 is just too much.


ex brave lion[the old cast brigade] in Norway during the late 80's.We were top high for what seemed like an eternity and i finally said,"fucked it I'm pinching one off".

I unzipped my bunny suit and took a nice one . when I was all tucked back in ,I felt something warm in my hood .yup I shit in the hood of my bunny suit.

Eat til you are tired sleep til you are hungry

Regarding gloves/mitts- We are issued special set for extreme cold weather, which consist of 3 layers. Inner fingerless glove, fleece mitt with trigger finger and warm-as-fuck over-mitt with small finger-ish part that you may slide your finger in to manipulate trigger, otherwise all the fingers stay inside. hadn't shot it with yet, but it may suck less than frostbite...

Few pics:
http://imageshack.us/g/341/dsc0007xv.jpg/

Other than that we're issued quite good gore-tex gloves, which I have two size bigger and wear shooting gloves under (mechanix, OR,...).

______________________________ "Anatomy and Physiology is EVERYTHING. It is the difference between being a trained monkey and a medic" -RESQDOC-

quote:
Originally posted by Arctic1:

As far as the water goes, yeah it freezes. We are also taught to have our water bottles in a string around our necks. I don't care for that technique at all. Two tips/tricks that might work:

1. Water freezes near the surface, where there is air. Turn your bottle up side down in the pouch to mitigate the issue

2. Always fill bottle with warm water when possible. Refill with snow as you drink.

Water management/hydration is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of winter operations; reduced thirst sensation reduces drinking frequency, cold diuresis increases risk of dehydration. Inexperienced leaders also often mandate emptying canteens; max water uptake is about 150ml every 15 minutes.Empty your canteen and you will just piss out the excess water very quickly, and basically run out of water. Discipline is needed to maintain the water supply for as long as possible.


I just remembered another trick to prevent your water from freezing, while answering some questions on another board.

It is similar to wearing your water bottle around your neck on a string, except you put it in a sock, with a loop cut out so you can wear it around your neck. I'll try to get a pic of that setup.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

No fucking way am I doing that.

1) snag hazard. I'm not getting hung up with anything around my neck that isn't break free at a point.
2) opening and closing your outer layer everytime you drink sucks, and discourages soldiers from taking on water in the cold.
3)if it freezes and you need to thaw it, putting a block of ice on your core is not going to keep you warm and toasty.
4)should it leak, your entire base layer is soaked, and in Canada kinda cold, that means fucked.
5)should there be any condensation or steam from warm beverages, it's really just ice floating around in the air waiting to freeZe.

I guess if you aren't in a military setting and have kit ready to go, it's no biggie
This is of course just my opinion, and how I do things, ymmv.

If you have the opportunity to use warm water, and fill a proper thermos, and stove discipline in your biv site, water is incredibly easy to come by on winter ops.

One thing I don't recall seeing in here is the use of your stove watch. Not sure how you guys roll, but we greasy Canadians leave one man awake (sometimes 2) in the tents to man the stove and lantern and keep the place heated and shit.

In my experience, if you just sit there and watch a flame and try not to go to sleep, you're fucked. If you establish a tent routine, to keep busy over the night they can do all this shit;

Dry out socks and base layers, gloves, mukluck socks
Get a decent pot of water on the go for morning routines
Refill the stove (outside the tent holy FUCK)
Make breakfast and coffee, and stuff like that.

It's a lot of work at night, but it's great waking up in a warm well lit tent with warm boots coffee breakfast and some warm water to wash with and shave if they make you. Almost makes being an arctic hobo with a gun worthwhile.

---------------
"Roger Wilco Over and Out"

 

Joined: 5 Sep 06  Location: Canadian LO Desk in the LF TOC.

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