Friday, July 30, 2010

Preppers, Survivalists, and Military Publications

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

The Military has a lot to offer the prepper. They have developed rugged useful gear, written detailed "how-to" manuals, developed appropriate training, and offer relevant experiences.


The Military also has a lot of inappropriate (experiences, information, and techniques) for the prepper such as moving towards the battle instead of away, expensive specialized equipment, lack of improvisation experiences, outdated technology, reliance on a team, and willing to sacrifice a few for the many.

Now, don't take what I just said as an attack on the United States' Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, or Airmen. Because it isn't, it's about the limitations the military has for preppers.


Each branch of the military, Army, Navy and the Air Force, has its own publications. (This has changed in recent decades as each branch tries to integrate with the other branches. It's called "jointness")

The U.S. Army has publications called Field Manuals (FM), Technical Manuals (TM) Soldier Training Publications (STP) Graphic Training Aids (GTA), and the Army Correspondence Course Program (ACCP) to name a few. They have many more.

FMs deal with how to do something. STPs are military job specific information. TMs deal with how to repair things. GTAs are picture (graphics) based mini-instructions, and ACCPs are, just like the name says, correspondence course over a variety of subjects.

The U.S. Marine Corps has publications called Marine Corps Warfighting Publications (MCWP), Marine Corps Reference Publications (MCRP), and Marine Corps Doctrinal Publications (MCDP) to name a few for the Marines

MCWPs provides the Marine Corps' "doctrine and supporting tactics" for a subject, similar to field manuals. MCRP are basically a references "on tactics, techniques, and procedures" of a subject. Lastly, MCDPs describes "the theory and philosophy" of a subject by the U.S.M.C, the "Big" picture.

I have limited experience with the United States Navy and the U.S. Air Force publication systems. I do know some things.

The United States Navy has Naval Education and Training (NAVEDTRA) publications. These are similar to correspondence courses. The booklets, some are over 300 pages, cover "the subject matter that reflects day-to-day requirements and experiences of personnel in the rating or skill area."

The United States Air Force has Air Force Handbooks (AFH), Air Force Regulations (AFR), and Air Force Manuals (AFM). To me, all three seem to be interchangeable, so the survivalist must read each publication to see if it provides relevant information for you and your family.

Now, you can buy the printed manuals from a military surplus store, order a compact disk (CD), or you can download them for free, excluding the federal taxes you have already paid, from various places.

U.S. Army
click on "Public Access to Reimer Digital Library (RDL):

This will take you to
click "Official Departmental Publications" the page will reload
then select what you want.

If you leave Type: and School: on "Any," it will list every publication available. There is a lot of them. To narrow the search, select "Field Manual" or "Training Circular" under Type: and "Any" under school.

To find the manuals I have listed later on in this article, you will need to select "Medical," "Engineer," and "Infantry" under School:, so you don't have to wade through all of the publications.

Note: Some publications are classified. You can't get them unless you're in the military.

U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps
The Navy formerly allowed civilians to download the NAVEDTRAs, not any more; however, I downloaded my copies to Scribd. Here is a direct link to my page on Scribd Someone You Know on Scribd. You can also do a search for "NAVEDTRA" on Scribd.

The Marines, being part of the Navy, no longer allow civilians to download their manuals, either.

Oops, I made a mistake because I just found a link for the Marine Corps Publications Electronic Library at Their electronic library has a few links to the different services, but the real juicy Marine Corps manuals are at this link

Note: The Army and the Marine Corp are probably the most integrated of all the services when it come to publications, but they still have their differences.

U.S. Air Force
scroll, not very far, down to "Product Index" and click on the tool bar and links will appear in the box.

As I said, I am unfamiliar with the the Air Force's publications, so you will have to explore their publication system to find relevant manuals for you and your family.

Now, these military publications are a two-edged sword.

Some of them are fantastic references on how to conduct combat operations such as patrols, attacks and ambushes; repair weapons, properly use equipment, and maintain vehicles; and other survival skills such as map reading, first aid, and survival.

But they also suck.

These manual assume access to a multi-billion dollar budget, a high level of physical fitness, access to a knowledge person when the reader has questions, and there may be incomplete information on a subject because the info is supplemented during a military school.

So what's a prepper to do?

I would suggest the following manuals be downloaded, read, thought about, then the appropriate information practiced by you and your family

From the United States Army


FM 4-25.11 - First Aid

FM 21-10 - Field Hygiene And Sanitation

FM 4-25.12 - Unit Field Sanitation Team

FM 6-22.5 - Combat and Operational Stress Control Manual for Leaders and Soldiers


FM 5-125 - Rigging Techniques, Procedures, and Applications

FM 5-103 - Survivability

FM 20-3 - Camouflage, Concealment, and Decoys

FM 5-102 - Countermobility


FM 21-20 - Physical Fitness Training

TC 21-21 - Water Survival Training

TC 21-3 - Soldier's Handbook for Individual Operations and Survival in Cold-Weather Areas

FM 3-25.26 - Map Reading and Land Navigation

FM 3-21.8 - The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad

FM 21-18 - Foot Marches

FM 3-21.75 - The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills


FM 6-22 - Army Leadership: Competent, Confident, and Agile

From the United States Marine Corps

Doctrine Pubs

MCRP 4-11.1D - Field Hygiene and Sanitation

MCWP 3-11.3 - Scouting and Patrolling

MCWP 3-11.2 - Marine Rifle Squad

MCWP 3-1 - Ground Combat Operations

MCRP 3-40.3B - Radio Operator's Handbook

MCWP 4-11 - Tactical-Level Logistics

FMFRP 12-15 - Small Wars Manual

MCRP 6-11A - A Book on Books

MCRP 4-11.8B - War Crimes

FM 20-32 with Changes 1-4

Note: As you can see, I did not create direct links to the publications listed. You will have to go to the various sites and download them yourself. I also tried to put them in a priority list from most important to least important.

The NAVEDTRAs are different because there is such a wide range of information, so you will have to go to Someone You Know on Scribd and look through the 92 courses to see which one you want. Be warned, you have to register to download from Scribd. A good reason to have a burn e-mail address.

Remember, you have to watch those opinions because, I assume, you are seeking general knowledge, about a wide range of subject like first-aid, sanitation, camouflauge, scouting, and basic military defensive skills, to protect you, your family, and your neighbors.


There are some publications I did not list. Some of these are the weapon's manuals, TMs and FMs. Some folks would disagree with me. Oh well, they can find them on their own.

There is a reason for that statement.

If they truly need the FM and TM for say the M240, M2, or M60 machine gun, because you have acquired one with a whole lot of ammo, this country is facing some serious problems that are beyond the scope of this blog.

I also didn't list, probably, the best manuals for dismounted Infantry. (Soldiers with guns that walk everywhere; yes, everywhere.) They are FM 7-70 - Light Infantry Squad/Platoon and FM 7-71 - Light Infantry Company. The reason, they're not on any of these sites. The only way to get these manuals is to buy them from a book store. Don't buy them because FM 3-21.8 is a good substitute.

I also didn't list five other manuals for various reasons. The manuals are Student Handout (SH) 21-76 - Ranger Handbook, Soldier Training Publication (STP) 21-1-SMCT - Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks, Skill Level 1, STP 21-24-SMCT - Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks, Skill Level 2-4, and Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet (TRADOC Pamphlet) 600-4 volume 1 and 2 - Initial Entry Training Soldier's Handbook

The reason I didn't list the TRADOC Pamphlet 600-4 volume 1 and 2 was because these two manuals have been updated and combined into one manual, TRADOC Pamphlet 600-4. I also didn't list STP 21-1-SMCT - Skill Level 1 and STP 21-24-SMCT - Skill Level 2-4 because they are both from none military websites. Lastly, I didn't list the Ranger Handbook because I couldn't find a copy, anywhere.

OK, I lied, sort of.

The real reason is I wanted to get your attention to three manuals  that provide a wide range of basic military knowledge and two manuals (Ranger Handbook and STP 21-24-SMCT) that provide basic military leadership skills.

Now, a lot of the information in 600-4 is worthless to a prepper, but it has some gems; additionally, SH 21-76 can be ah ... "advance."

OK. I have to stop because I am starting to ramble.

Really, I going to stop, right now!