Infantry Drills

H-119: Indications and Detections

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H-119. Detection depends on two things: being aware of what might be trapped and why, and being able to recognize the evidence of setting. The first requirement demands a well-developed sense of intuition; the second, a keen eye. Intuition is gained through experience and an understanding of the enemy’s techniques and habits. A keen eye is the result of training and practice in the recognition of things indicating the presence of a trap.

H-120. Detection methods depend on the nature of the environment. In open areas, methods used to detect mines can usually detect IEDs. Look for trip wires and other signs suggesting the presence of an actuating mechanism. In urban areas, mine detectors are probably of little use. The platoon and squad will have to rely on manual search techniques and, if available, special equipment. The presence of IEDs or nuisance mines is indicated by—

  • Disturbance of ground surface or scattered, loose soil.
  • Wrappers, seals, loose shell caps, safety pins, nails, and pieces of wire or cord.
  • Improvised methods of marking traps, such as piles of stones or marks on walls or trees.
  • Evidence of camouflage, such as withered vegetation or signs of cutting.
  • Breaks in the continuity of dust, paint, or vegetation.
  • Trampled earth or vegetation; foot marks.
  • Lumps or bulges under carpet or in furniture.

Next: H-121: Reduction Methods

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad