How to maintain a given course when making a transition in extreme conditions, bypassing obstacles.

A person who does not know how to maintain a given course during transition in extreme conditions is doomed to walk in a circle. This is explained not by his stupidity, but by the fact that the man’s left step is 0.1-0.4 mm longer than the right one, and, walking, in his opinion, directly, the traveler more and more deviates to the right. Sooner or later, returning to the starting point of his route. So he will wander around the perimeter of a circle with a diameter of 3.5 kilometers, not getting anywhere until he learns to maintain a given course and direction. 

How to maintain a given course when making a transition in extreme conditions, bypassing obstacles.

By the way, such “circular” wanderings in nature happen quite often, giving rise to numerous mystical tales and stories that someone once could not get away from one enchanted place. On this occasion, there’s even a saying – “the goblin twists.” But he doesn’t spin, the asymmetry of the lower limbs and the lack of elementary skills of “upright walking” rotate.

. This is achieved as follows. When the direction of movement is determined using a map or an improvised terrain plan, you must bring the horizontal compass closer to your eyes, combine the north end of the arrow with a zero mark on the scale by turning the compass around its axis and, rotating, set the target ring near the numbers on the scale indicating the course. Then, through the combined rear sight and front sight observing the terrain, notice in the direction of movement some landmark – a rock, a separate tree, etc..

A home-made compass, where there is no sighting ring, a front sight and a rear sight can be made by sticking two thin twigs into the bark from opposite sides of the scale. In some cases, to facilitate orientation, the missing degree scale can be replaced by a watch dial. To do this, the number “12” should be taken as 0 degrees. Then every hour will be equal to 30 degrees. In this case, six hours will correspond to the south, three to the east, nine to the west. The distance to the landmark can be different and is dictated by the terrain..

If the landmark is located within the line of sight, then its remoteness can be increased to 2-3 km, and in exceptional cases, even more. If you have to move in the empty space or in conditions of limited visibility, then the distance to the landmark must be reduced to hundreds or even tens of meters. It is believed that even in the most favorable conditions when driving blindly (that is, only by compass) the error can reach 5 degrees. This gives a deviation from the selected direction to 1/10 of the distance traveled. So, if a person walked 1 km, the deviation could be 100 meters.

And then the taken landmark will have to be sought in a radius of 200 meters. 100 meters to each side of the landmark. If we neglect the reference to the landmark and continue to move only according to the compass, then after 10 km the deviation can reach 1 km. And this is only with an ideal five-degree deviation from a given course. In practice, such errors, as a rule, are much more significant. That is why in an emergency it is necessary to strive to choose landmarks that are visible from one another.

To maintain the course more accurately, it is desirable to notice in the direction of movement two landmarks located in the same plane and remote from each other. In motion, you need to constantly keep them in sight, combining, like a rear sight and a front sight. In this case, the course line will be the most direct. If you need to overcome a section of an enclosed area before the landmark, you can use the so-called azimuth anticipation technique, that is, deliberately deviate 8-10 degrees to the right or left and, upon reaching the landmark, turn right if the slope was chosen to the left, and vice versa – to the left if the slope was right.

If the landscape is monotonous, if there are no landmarks (for example, in the steppe, desert, on flat ice fields, etc.), you can maintain a given direction along a chain of walking people, by the prints of their tracks, along the ski track or by “hanging” the path. When the group moves, the movement control is carried out by the person opening the marching column and closing it. The former paves the way along the compass, the latter, again using the compass, corrects it. Since when moving from the back, it is easy to compare the course line with the line of the moving column, it is easy to notice even the most minor deviations and errors.

If the group is small, it is advisable to stretch it slightly in safe areas, increasing the intervals between people. For the same purpose, in small groups you can send the navigator forward with a compass, adjust its path, catch up with it and send it forward again to lay the next section of the track. When skiing, you can check the course using the resection method, controlling the direction along the already traveled path, that is, mentally continuing the straight line of the ski track left behind and comparing it with the compass data.

In the summer, for the same purpose, you can mark your route, leaving behind pegs, branches and other noticeable landmarks driven into the ground, by which, looking back, you can check the course. This method is called “hanging” the path. There are other instrumental methods of maintaining direction described in detail in special tourist literature.

Avoiding obstacles when making a transition in an extreme situation.

Complicating the task of the victims were insurmountable obstacles encountered on the way – lakes, swamps, impassable blockages and thickets. If the terrain is open, then on the opposite side of the obstacle there is a noticeable landmark on the course line. Now it’s enough to reach him bypassing the obstacle and, taking the azimuth to the next landmark, continue on.

or local signs of the side of the world, you need to pay attention to the direction of movement of the clouds or remember which cheek the wind blows, of course, if the weather is stable.

A change in the direction of the wind or the running of the clouds in the sky indicates that the person has strayed off course. To make it easier to comply with the movement, the one walking behind should control the direction of the group. Correcting the “yaw” in one direction or another. For the same purpose, all small obstacles encountered on the way — trees, bushes, rubble, etc. — must be circumvented alternately from the right or from the left. You can control the direction of your movement in the sun, stars, moon. In confirmation, I will give a small dialogue from the book of the writer A. Sosunov.

“- No, really, how do you keep the right path? After all, there are no milestones, no noticeable trees. And you don’t use a compass!
– What about the sun? Remember, when you leave our taiga in the swamp, you should keep the sun between your right ear and nose until noon, and from lunch it should be strictly to the right. Just guess ”.

The easiest way to use a solar or lunar compass. Watching the angle between a given course and the shadow cast by trees, bushes or by the person himself. It should be remembered that celestial bodies (except the North Star) are shifted by 15 degrees every hour. From here every hour you need to change your course by 15 degrees. If this is not done, then, following the sun or moon, you can deviate from the original route by 180 degrees. To determine the amount by which the course should be adjusted, you need to stretch your hand straight in front of you and spread your thumb and forefinger at a right angle. The distance between them will be exactly 15 degrees.

In some cases (in the desert, tundra, on ice), it is possible to withstand the direction of zastrug and dunes. More precisely in the angle between the chosen course and their plane. Dunes and zastrugi are marked by the wind and therefore have a repeatable shape. Their rows are parallel to each other. The same help to victims can be provided by “flag” trees growing in open spaces. Their inclination in one direction or another, the configuration of the crown – on the one hand dense, lush, elongated, on the other hand very meager, sometimes completely absent – is determined by the direction of the prevailing winds. Hence the appearance of the “flag” trees – a constant value, repeating from tree to tree for tens of kilometers.

Based on materials from the School of Survival in Natural Conditions.
Andrey Ilyin.

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