Cold Weather Survival
5-16. Man Hauled Sleds
a. Sled, Scow-Type 200-Pound Capacity.
(Ahkio). Man-hauled sleds are necessarily light. They can carry a load of
200 pounds over difficult terrain and are used for carrying tents, stoves, fuel,
rations, and other necessary items of each tent group. They are also used for
carrying weapons and ammunition. They may be used as a firing platform for machine-guns
in deep snow and are particularly useful in the evacuation of casualties. Sleds
are seldom used by small reconnaissance patrols because of the decreased speed
of the individuals. Strong combat patrols, however, frequently use them for carrying
their equipment or for evacuation in cases when faster means are not available.
Sleds are provided with white canvas covers for camouflage, to hold the contents
in place and protect them from the elements (figs. 4-36, 4-37, 5-13).
sled has an approximate weight of 38 pounds, is 223.5 cm (88") long, 61.0
cm (24") wide, and has a depth of 20.3 cm (8"). It is towed by a team
of four men. For the purpose of towing, a harness, sled, single trace, is provided.
It consists of a loose-fitting web belt which is fastened at the side by a quick
release buckle, an adjustable shoulder strap which supports the belt at the desired
position on the hips, and a 2.75 meter (9') towing rope with snap
each end. Metal D-rings are positioned at the front and rear of the belt.
Normally, sleds are towed by manpower only for short distances over prepared trails
during an approach march or a similar type movement. Usually, the sled and equipment
is transported on cargo sleds or by tracked vehicles. A number of loaded sleds,
can be placed in cargo sleds (1 ton or heavier) or, in an emergency, can be hooked
on improvised tow bars and towed behind the tracked vehicles. A triangle made
of green poles and attached to the rear
of the vehicle or cargo sled provides
an excellent “tow-bar.” Four small sleds can be towed by each vehicle when sleds
are tied in tandem to allow two sleds to follow each vehicle track.
sled, because of its boatlike shape, is easily maneuverable under a variety of
snow and terrain conditions. It is superior to flat surfaced toboggans in maneuvering
over difficult terrain, especially in deep snow and in heavily wooded areas.
It is important to distribute the load of the sled properly (fig. 5-13). In loading,
place heavy equipment on the bottom and slightly to the rear and lighter equipment
toward the top, in order to prevent the loaded sled from being top heavy. After
the sled has been loaded, the canvas covers of the sled should be folded over
the load. To keep snow from getting under the canvas and to keep the load from
shifting, lash the load tightly by crisscrossing the lashing rope from the lashing
ring on one side of the sled to the other. Place tools such as shovels, axes,
and saws on top of the load outside the canvas so that they are readily available
for trailbreaking and similar purposes during the movement.
Sleds. Different types of sleds can be improvised from skis, plywood, lumber,
or metal sheeting.
a. For military purposes sleds are classified light
or heavy. Lightsleds are under 5-ton payload capacity, and sleds with payload
capacity of 5 tons or over are considered heavy.
b. Light sleds presently
in use are designed to carry 1- or 2-ton payloads. The 1-ton cargo sled (fig.
5-14) is normally used with a light tracked vehicle as a prime mover; and 2-ton
sleds (available in limited quantities but not a standard item) with the squad
carrier or tractor as a prime mover. Care must be exercised, when towing these
sleds with tracked vehicles, to avoid snapping the sled tongues in quick starting,
Light sleds are suitable for use when rapid travel is involved and in areas where
the freezing season has mean temperatures which do not form more than moderate
thicknesses of ice on rivers and lakes.
c. Heavy sleds (of a commercial
type) which may be used are of 10- to 20-ton payload capacity. It is anticipated
that the bulk of supply will be transported on heavy sleds as opposed to light
sleds. The operating radius of sleds is restricted only by the terrain and capability
of the prime mover. The heavy sled is best suited for use over flat or gently
rolling terrain and in areas where rivers and lakes are frozen to sufficient depths
to permit use as “highway.” In some cases specially constructed “iced roads” are
required to operate motorized sled trains with heavy sleds.
The lack of ground communication routes
in the northern latitudes causes an extensive use of air transportation. Both
fixed-wing and rotary-wing type aircraft are used. Troops and supplies may be
transported from one existing or improvised airfield to another. In some situations
both supply and evacuation by air may be the only feasible method. Bad weather
may limit air operations for short periods of time.
a. Fixed-Wing. The
vast stretches of the northern regions can be reconnoitered with a minimum time
and effort by liaison fixed-wing aircraft. The ability of the ski-equipped aircraft
to land on frozen lakes, streams, and in open fields in winter affords advantages
and opportunities to supplement the ground reconnaissance. In addition to reconnaissance,
fixed-wing aircraft are used to supplement the overland movement of troops and
supplies, evacuation, and many other purposes.
b. Rotary-Wing. The dominant
characteristics of this type craft, such as vertical ascent and descent and requirement
for short landing areas, make it valuable for reconnaissance, evacuation, troop
movements, command control, resupply, and many other types of missions. Aviators
must exercise caution when hovering over loose snow as it may swirl up and cause
loss of visual reference.
There are many potential landing sites in the area of northern
operations. Runways can be constructed by grading and compacting snow. In general,
airplanes equipped with skis require about 15 percent more landing and takeoff
space than those equipped with wheels. Aircraft can use airfields constructed
on frozen lakes and rivers, after a suitable ice reconnaissance has been made
(FM 31-71 ). Design criteria for Pioneer, Hasty, and Deliberate
and heliports are listed in TM 6330. As a rule of thumb for planning purposes,
the airfield for liaison type aircraft (0-1 and U-6) should be a minimum of 30
meters (30 yards) wide and 400 meters (400 yards) long. Refer to the Flight Handbook
for exact landing and takeoff distances of various
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