I. Determine the direction using natural features
In the absence of topographic maps and compasses, military personnel should master some methods of determining direction using natural features.
Using the sun to determine direction is very simple. You can use a stick to create a perpendicular shadow on the ground. Place a stone at point A where the shadow of the stick is. After about 10 minutes, when the shadow moves to point B, place another stone. Connect points A and B to find the east-west direction. The direction perpendicular to line AB is the north-south direction, and the end facing the sun is the south.
Using a wristwatch with hands to determine the direction of the sun. The method is to place the watch horizontally and point the position half of the indicated time (24-hour system) of the hour hand towards the sun. The direction indicated by the 12 o'clock mark on the dial is roughly the north. If the time is 16:00, then the 8 o'clock mark of the watch points to the sun, and the 12 o'clock mark indicates the north.
On clear nights, you can use the North Star to determine the direction. Find the Big Dipper constellation first. It consists of seven stars and looks like a ladle. Along the line between stars A and B of the ladle, about 5 times the distance between A and B in the direction of the ladle's mouth, you can find the North Star. The direction indicated by the North Star is the north. You can also use the Cassiopeia constellation, which is opposite the Big Dipper, to find the North Star. Cassiopeia consists of 5 stars with similar brightness, forming a W shape. In the middle of the W gap, about twice the width of the entire gap forward, you can find the North Star.
Using terrain features to determine direction is a complementary method. It should be used flexibly according to different situations. Independent trees usually have lush branches on the south side and smooth bark. The annual rings on tree stumps are usually sparse on the south side and dense on the north side. Rural house windows and temple main doors usually face south. Buildings, mounds, field ridges, and high ground snow usually melt faster on the south side and slower on the north side. Large rocks, mounds, and large trees have dense vegetation on the south side, while moss grows easily on the north side.
When lost in the wilderness, do not panic but stop immediately. Calmly recall the path taken and try to reorient using all possible signs before looking for the path again. The most reliable method is to "turn back when lost" and return to the original starting point.
When lost in the mountains, first climb to a high point to determine which direction to go. Generally, it is advisable to walk towards lower terrain, as it is easier to encounter water sources and following rivers is safer, especially in forests, as roads and settlements are often built along riversides.
If you encounter a fork in the road with multiple paths and are unsure which way to go, first determine the direction you want to go, and then choose the correct path. If several paths have similar directions and cannot be determined, you should choose the middle path. This way, you can cover both sides, and even if you choose the wrong path, you won't deviate too far.
II. Techniques for navigating complex terrain
When traveling in mountainous areas, to avoid getting lost, save energy, and increase travel speed, you should strive to travel along paths that do not cut through forests and mountains and avoid taking small paths when there are larger roads available. If there are no roads, you can choose to travel along longitudinal ridges, hillsides, riverbanks, and terrain with tall trees, sparse gaps, and low shrubs. Strive to move along ridges rather than valleys and move vertically rather than horizontally.
When traveling, take large steps instead of small ones. This can save many steps over tens of kilometers. When tired, use relaxed and slow steps to rest rather than stopping completely. When climbing rocks, carefully observe the rocks, identify their quality and weathering, and determine the direction and route of the climb.
The basic method for climbing rocks is the "three-point fixation" method, which involves fixing two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand and then moving the remaining hand or foot to shift the body's center of gravity upward. Coordinate hands and feet well, avoid moving two points simultaneously, and ensure stability and lightness. Choose the most suitable distance and the most stable fulcrum according to your situation, and do not take too long steps or reach too far with your hands and feet.
Climbing slopes below 30 degrees can be done in a straight line. During the climb, slightly lean forward, land with the entire foot, bend both knees, and keep the feet in a slightly outward "eight" shape. When the slope is greater than 30 degrees, generally take a "Z" shaped climbing route. During the climb, keep your legs slightly bent, lean forward, turn the inside toe forward, land with the entire foot, and slightly turn the outside toe outward. If you accidentally slip, immediately face the slope, open both arms but keep your legs straight, lift your toes, and try to move upward to reduce the sliding speed. This way, you can look for climbing and support points while sliding. Never sit facing outward as it will not only increase the speed of sliding but also increase the risk of rolling on steeper slopes.
Rivers are common obstacles in mountainous and plain areas. When encountering rivers, do not hastily wade through but carefully observe the water before determining the location and method of crossing. Mountain rivers usually have fast-flowing, cold water, and rough and uneven riverbeds. When fording, to maintain balance, use a stick upstream or hold a 15-20-kilogram stone. During group fording, three or four people can form a line, hugging each other's shoulders, with the strongest person positioned upstream.
III. Methods for foraging and hunting
There are mainly two ways to obtain food in the wild: hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants. To hunt wild animals, you first need to know the habitat of the animals and their living habits, and then use methods such as trapping, net hunting, snare traps, and shooting. This requires extensive training and practice under expert guidance. Here are some simple ways to identify edible insects and wild plants.
Currently, people around the world consume snails, earthworms, ants, cicadas, cockroaches, crickets, butterflies, locusts, mantises, lake flies, spiders, and mantises. Although people may not be accustomed to eating insects and may even find it disgusting, in extreme situations, for the sake of survival, maintaining combat effectiveness, and completing missions, it is worth a try. However, it should be noted that insects must be thoroughly cooked or roasted to prevent parasites from entering the body, causing poisoning or illness.
Common edible insects include locusts, which can be marinated
, roasted, boiled, or fried. Praying mantises can be roasted or fried after removing the wings, and they can also be boiled. Dragonflies can be eaten after being dried or fried. Cicadas can be eaten raw or deep-fried, and their larvae can also be consumed. Centipedes can be fried, but they do not taste good. Beetles can be eaten raw or roasted, and their larvae can also be eaten raw or roasted. Ants can be stir-fried and have a good taste. Spiders should have their legs removed before roasting. Termites can be eaten raw or stir-fried, and pine caterpillars can be roasted.
Edible wild plants include edible wild fruits, vegetables, algae, lichens, and mushrooms. Identifying edible wild plants is a crucial aspect of wilderness survival knowledge. China's vast territory is suitable for the growth of various plants, and there are about 2,000 edible plants in the country. Common edible wild fruits include mountain grapes, dutch, blackberries, cranberries, sea buckthorn, torch fruit, fire thorn, privet, wild rice, and jujube. Chestnuts, coconuts, and papayas are easier to identify and are excellent emergency foods. Common wild vegetables include bitter vegetables, dandelions, fishy grass, purslane, thorny grass, shepherd's purse, wild amaranth, broomweed, water chestnut, lotus, reed, and moss. Wild vegetables can be eaten raw, fried, boiled, or soaked for consumption.
However, the general public needs to master this knowledge after a certain period of training under expert guidance. Here is a simple method to distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous wild plants for use in emergencies. Usually, cut a small slit in the collected plant, add a pinch of salt, and then carefully observe if the original color changes. Usually, plants that change color should not be consumed.
IV. Obtaining drinking water
There are usually two ways to obtain drinking water: digging underground water and purifying surface water. Here, we will only introduce how to obtain drinking water from surface water.
Generally, rainwater can be consumed directly. During rainfall, you can use raincoats or plastic sheets to collect a large amount of rainwater. You can also use cans, cups, helmets, and other containers to collect rainwater.
When there is no reliable drinking water and no testing equipment, you can roughly judge the water quality based on its color, taste, temperature, and traces. Pure water is colorless and transparent when it is shallow and turns light blue when it is deep. You can observe this by using a glass or white porcelain. Generally, the clearer the water, the better the quality, and the cloudier the water, the more impurities it contains. Generally, clean water is tasteless, while contaminated water often has some odor. The water temperature on the surface is affected by temperature changes, while shallow underground water is less affected by temperature, and deep groundwater has a low and constant temperature. If the sampled water does not follow these patterns, it generally indicates poor water quality. In addition, you can use a piece of white paper, let the water drop on it, and observe the traces after drying. Clean water leaves no marks, while the presence of marks indicates impurities and poor water quality.
In the wilderness, it is best not to drink water flowing from weeds but to prefer water flowing from cliffs or rocks. When drinking from rivers or lakes, you can dig a small pit on the sandy ground 1-2 meters away from the water's edge, where the water seeping out is relatively clean.
In the wilderness, you can use water purification tablets, bleach tablets, alum, and other chemicals to purify water. Under expert guidance, you can also use some wild plants with mucilage to purify water. Remember, never drink unclean water, and if necessary, boil the water before drinking.
V. Prevention and treatment of common wilderness injuries and illnesses
Prevention and treatment of insect bites: In the wilderness, to prevent insect bites, personnel should wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, tighten cuffs, and collars. Exposed skin areas should be applied with mosquito repellent. Do not sit or lie down in damp shade and grass. When camping, burning mugwort, artemisia, cypress leaves, wild chrysanthemums, etc., can repel insects. After being bitten by insects, you can use ammonia water, soapy water, salt water, baking soda water, or zinc oxide ointment to relieve itching and disinfect the affected area.
Leeches can be particularly harmful. When encountering leech bites, do not pull them forcefully. You can pat them with your hand or apply soapy water, saltwater, tobacco, or alcohol on the sucker's front part, or burn it with a lit cigarette to make it fall off by itself. Then apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding and use iodine to disinfect the wound to prevent infection. During troop movement, it is necessary to check frequently if leeches have crawled onto your feet. Applying soap or mosquito repellent to the shoe surface can prevent leeches from climbing. The effectiveness of one application usually lasts for 4-8 hours
. Additionally, rubbing garlic juice on shoes, socks, and pants can also help repel leeches.
Fainting: Fainting in the wilderness is often caused by falls, excessive fatigue, or excessive hunger. The main symptoms are sudden paleness, weak and slow pulse, and loss of consciousness. In such a situation, there is no need to panic, and usually, the person will wake up after a while. After waking up, one should drink some hot water and rest.
Poisoning: Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and weak heart. In such a situation, first, induce vomiting by drinking a large amount of water and stimulating the throat with a finger. Then, take laxatives such as castor oil to clear the intestines, and take activated carbon and other detoxification drugs and other sedatives, drink plenty of water to speed up excretion. To ensure the normal beating of the heart, you should drink some sugary water, strong tea, warm your feet, and seek immediate medical treatment.
Heatstroke: Symptoms include sudden dizziness, nausea, coma, no sweat, or cold and wet, dilated pupils, and high fever. Before the onset, people often feel dizzy and weak, and their vision goes dark. At this time, immediately lie flat in a cool and ventilated place, untie your clothes, relax your whole body, and take ten drops of water, rendan, and other medicines. During the fever, you can pour cold water on the head or apply cold compresses to cool down. If the person is unconscious, you can pinch the Renzhong acupoint and the He Yong acupoint to help them wake up.
Frostbite: If you find that the skin is red, white, cold, and hard, you should use your hand or dry fluff to rub the injured area to promote blood circulation and reduce frostbite. Mild frostbite can be relieved by soaking in chili wine. If the person is frozen stiff, do not immediately carry them into a warm room, first rub the limbs, perform artificial respiration, and when the person regains consciousness, move them to a warmer place for rescue.
Stings: Being stung by scorpions, centipedes, hornets, and other venomous insects can cause redness, swelling, pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc. First, squeeze out the venom, and then use soapy water, ammonia water, tobacco, vinegar, or purslane crushed and soaked to apply to the wound. Snail juice is also effective for centipede bites.
Finally, it is essential to carry the essential tool for wilderness survival: Croc lights, which not only provide lighting but also have an SOS alarm function when you encounter danger.