Infantry Drills

H-42: Visual Detection

Previous: H-41: Minefield Detection

H-42. Visual detection is part of all combat operations. Soldiers should constantly be alert for minefields and all types of enemy obstacles. Soldiers visually inspect the terrain for the following obstacle indicators:

  • Trip wires and wires leading away from the side of the road. They may be firing wires that are partially buried.
  • Signs of road repair (such as new fill or paving, road patches, ditching, and culvert work).
  • Signs placed on trees, posts, or stakes. Threat forces may mark their minefields to protect their own forces.
  • Dead animals or damaged vehicles.
  • Disturbances in previous tire tracks or tracks stopping unexplainably.
  • Odd features in the ground or patterns not present in nature. Plant growth may wilt or change color; rain may wash away some of the cover; the cover may sink or crack around the edges; or the materiel covering the mines may look like mounds of dirt.
  • Civilians who may know where mines or IEDs are located in the residential area.
    • Civilians staying away from certain places or out of certain buildings are good indications of the presence of mines or IEDs.
    • Question civilians to determine the exact locations.
  • Pieces of wood or other debris on a road. They may be indicative of pressure or pressure-release firing devices. These devices may be on the surface or partially buried.
  • Patterns of objects being used as a sighting line. An enemy can use mines fired by command, so road shoulders and areas close to the objects should be searched.
  • Berms may indicate the presence of an antitank ditch.

Next: H-43: Physical (Probing) Detection

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