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Orientation on the ground

Ориентирование на местности

Orientation (Latin ascending, meaning the rising sun and the east in general) is the definition of its location relative to the elements of the surrounding space. Targeting on the terrain includes determining its location relative to the sides of the horizon and the outstanding objects of the terrain (landmarks), maintaining the given or selected direction of movement and understanding the position of the landmarks, boundaries, and other objects.

Essence and methods of orientation

In the performance of many combat missions, the actions of commanders are inevitably connected with orientation on the terrain. The ability to navigate is necessary, for example, on the march, in battle, in reconnaissance to withstand the direction of movement, target designation, mapping of landmarks, targets and other objects, control of the unit and fire. Experienced knowledge and skills in orientation help to more confidently and successfully perform combat missions in different conditions of combat situation and in unfamiliar terrain.

To orientate on the terrain is to determine your location and directions to the sides of the horizon relative to surrounding local objects and forms of relief, to find the indicated direction of movement and precisely to withstand it on the way. When orienting in a combat situation, the location of the unit relative to its troops and enemy troops, the location of the landmarks, the direction and depth of the actions are also determined.

The essence of orientation - orientation on the terrain can be general and detailed.

The general orientation consists in approximate definition of the site, a direction of movement and time necessary for achievement of a final point of movement. Such orientation is most often used on the march, when the crew of the car does not have a map, but uses only a pre-compiled scheme or a list of settlements and other landmarks along the route. To maintain the direction of motion in this case, it is necessary to constantly monitor the travel time, traversed by the distance determined by the speedometer of the machine, and monitor the flow of settlements and other landmarks according to the scheme (list).

Detailed orientation is to accurately determine your location and direction of movement. It is used when navigating through maps, aerial photographs, ground navigation devices, while moving along azimuth, drawing on a map or chart of reconnaissance objects and targets, in determining the reached boundaries, and in other cases.

When orienting on the terrain, the simplest methods of orienting are widely used: by compass, celestial lights and signs of local objects, and also, a more complex way - orienting on the map.

Orientation on the ground

Orient on the terrain, this means finding directions to the sides of the world (north, south, east and west) and to determine your location. To find the direction along the sides of the world, the north-south direction is first determined; then, facing north, the determining one will have a right-east direction, a left-west direction. The sides of the world are usually found by the compass, and in the absence of it - by the Sun, Moon, stars and by some signs of local objects.

By the Sun and the clock

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Determination of the sides of the horizon by the Sun and the hours, up to 13 hours and after 13 hours

In a horizontal position, the clock is set so that the hour hand is pointing towards the Sun. The angle between the clockwise direction and the direction to the number 1 on the clock face is divided in half by a straight line that indicates the direction to the south. Until noon, the arc (angle) should be divided in half, which the shooter should pass until 13.00, and in the afternoon - the arc that she passed after 13.00.

By the Polar Star

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Determining the sides of the horizon along the Polaris

The polar star is always in the north. To find the Polar Star, you must first find the constellation Ursa Major, resembling a bucket made up of seven pretty bright stars, then through the two extreme right-hand stars of the Ursa Major mentally draw a line on which to set five times the distance between these extreme stars, and then at the end of this line we find the Polar star, which, in turn, is in the tail of another constellation, called the Little Bear. Having faced the North Star, we will get a direction to the north.

By the Moon

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Determining the sides of the horizon by the moon and the clock.

For an approximate orientation, you need to know that in the summer in the first quarter the moon is at 19 o'clock in the south, at 1 o'clock in the night - in the west, in the last quarter - in the east, at 7 o'clock in the morning - in the south.

By the full moon

At full moon at night, the sides of the horizon are defined in the same way as in the Sun and the clock, and the Moon is taken for the Sun. The full moon resists the Sun in the sky, so in the south it can be exactly at midnight. The difference in the dial at 12 o'clock is not visible, and the definition of the sides of the horizon can be carried out in the same way as in the case of the Sun. The full moon appears in the firmament infrequently, but the incomplete Moon can help determine the sides of the horizon, although this is difficult. To begin with, you need to notice the time on the clock. Then mentally divide the diameter of the moon into 12 parts and estimate how many such pieces are contained in the diameter of the visible crescent of the Moon. If it arrives (the right half of the disc is visible), then the obtained number must be subtracted from the hour of observation. If the Moon decreases (the left half of the disk is visible), then add. The sum or difference will show the hour when the Sun will be in the direction of the Moon. We point to the crescent of the Moon that place on the dial, which corresponds to the newly acquired time, and, replacing mentally the Moon on the Sun, we find the direction north-south. So you can determine by the sunrises and sunset. In the mid-latitudes in summer, the Sun rises in the northeast and sets in the south-west. Only on March 21 and September 23 - in the days of the equinoxes, the sun just ascends to the east and sets in the west.

Parties of the world First quarter (visible, right half of the Moon's disk) Full Moon (the entire disk of the Moon is visible) The last quarter (the left half of the Moon's disc is visible)
In the east - 19 hours 01 hour (night)
On South 19 hours 01 hour (night) 07 hours (am)
In the West 01 hour (night) 07 hours (am)

The definition of directions on the sides of the horizon according to the features of local subjects

By the Sun

Places of sunrise and sunset by the seasons are different: in the winter the sun rises in the southeast, and sets in the south-west; in summer the sun rises in the northeast, and sets in the north-west; in the spring and autumn the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west. At noon the Sun is always in the direction of the south. The shortest shadow from local objects happens at 13 o'clock, and the direction of the shadow from the vertically placed local objects at this time will point to the north.

By stump

The annual rings are wider on the south side.

According to the anthill

The southern slope of the anthill is more flat.

By a stand-alone tree

Such a tree on the north side of the branch is shorter, and on the trunk there may be a lichen.

By the constellations of the Great and Little Dipper

In the constellation of the Little Bear lies the bright Polar Star. It can be seen only in the Northern Hemisphere. It always points to the north.

On the trunk of pines

After the rain, the trunks of the pines usually turn black on the north side, since a thin secondary crust, blackening from water, begins to develop there. In dry and hot weather, more resin is released from the southern side of the trunks of the pines. These signs should be used cautiously. It would be good if the direction was confirmed by other signs.

By vegetation

In the northern outskirts of the glades the grass is more dense in spring than on the southern ones. The vegetation, characteristic of the southern latitudes, will meet on the southern slopes of ravines.

By the glades in the forest

They are usually cut in the direction of north-south or west-east.

By cult buildings

Altars and chapels of Orthodox and Lutheran churches are facing east, and the bell towers to the west. The altars of the Catholic are facing west. Buddhist pagodas and monasteries are facing south.

By sound

If you get lost, then you need to stop and listen. Some sounds will help you: the noise of a car, the movement of an electric train, the whistle of a motor ship. Audibility can deteriorate in hot sunny weather, especially in a headwind, 1 in the forest, on sand, on loose freshly fallen snow. Many sounds are inaudible behind the obstacle: behind a mountain, a hill.

By melting snow

It is known that the southern side of objects is heated more than the northern side, respectively, and melting snow from this side is faster. This is clearly seen in early spring and during thaws in winter on the slopes of ravines, the holes near trees, the snow adhering to the rocks.

By Shadow

At noon, the direction of the shadow (it will be the shortest) points to the north. Without waiting for the shortest shadow, you can navigate in the following way. Stick a stick about 1 meter long into the ground. Note the end of the shadow. Wait 10-15 minutes and repeat the procedure. Draw a line from the first position of the shadow to the second and extend a step beyond the second mark. Become the toe of the left foot opposite the first mark, and the right one - at the end of the line you drew. Now you are facing north.

By local subjects

Ориентирование на местности
Determining the sides of the horizon by the features of local objects.

It is known that the resin appears more in the southern half of the trunk of a coniferous tree, the ants arrange their dwellings on the southern side of a tree or bush and make the southern slope of the anthill more flat than the northern one. The bark of the birch and pine on the north side is darker than on the southern side, and tree trunks, rocks, rock outcrops are thickly covered with moss and lichen. In large massifs of the cultural forest, it is possible to determine the sides of the horizon along the glades, which, as a rule, are severely cut through the north-south and east-west lines, and also by the inscriptions of the block numbers on poles set at intersections of glades. On each such pillar, in the upper part and on each of the four faces, figures are placed - the numbering of the opposite quarters of the forest; the edge between the two faces with the smallest digits shows the direction to the north (the numbering of the blocks of forest tracts in the CIS goes from west to east and further to the south).

For buildings

To the buildings, which are quite strictly oriented along the sides of the horizon, are churches, mosques, synagogues. Altars and chapels of Christian and Lutheran churches are facing east, the bell tower to the west. The dropped edge of the lower crossbar of the cross on the dome of the Orthodox church faces south, elevated to the north. The altars of Catholic churches are located on the west side. The doors of the Jewish synagogues and Moslem mosques are facing to the north, their opposite sides are directed: mosques - to Mecca in Arabia, lying on the meridian of Voronezh, and synagogues - to Jerusalem in Palestine, lying on the meridian of Dnipropetrovsk. Kumirni, pagodas, Buddhist monasteries facing the south. The exit from the yurt is usually done to the south. In rural houses, more windows in the living areas are cut from the south side, and the paint on the walls of the buildings on the south side fades more and has a rotten color.


  • the bark of most trees is coarser and darker on the northern side, thinner and more elastic (the birch is lighter) - on the southern side;
  • in the pine, the secondary (brown, cracked) crust on the north side of the trunk rises higher than on the southern side;
  • in coniferous trees, the resin is more abundantly accumulated from the south;
  • annual rings on fresh tree stumps are thicker on the north side;
  • On the northern side, trees, stones, wooden, tiled and slate roofs are covered with lichens and fungi earlier and more abundantly;
  • anthills are located on the southern side of trees, stumps and bushes, in addition, the southern slope of the anthill is flat, the northern - steep;
  • berries and fruits used to turn red (yellow) on the southern side;
  • in the summer the soil around large stones, buildings, trees and bushes is drier on the south side, which can be determined by touch;
  • in separate trees, the crowns are lush and thicker on the south side;
  • snow melts faster on the southern slopes, as a result of thawing in the snow formed jagged (thorns) directed to the south;
  • altars of Orthodox churches, chapels and Lutheran picks are facing east, and the main entrances are located on the west side;
  • The raised end of the lower crossbar of the cross of the churches faces north

Determination of the horizon sides, magnetic azimuths, horizontal angles and direction of compass movement

Determination of directions on the horizon side by compass

Ориентирование на местности
Determining the sides of the horizon by compass

With the help of a compass, it is most convenient and quick to determine the north, south, west and east. To do this, the compass should be given a horizontal position, release the clamp from the clamp, let it calm down. Then the arrow-shaped end of the arrow will point north.

To determine the accuracy of the deviation of the direction of travel from the direction to the north or to determine the location of the points of the terrain in relation to the direction to the north and to count them, the division is marked on the compass, of which the lower ones are indicated in degree measures (the price is 3 °), and the upper divisions of the goniometer in dozens of "thousandth". Degrees are counted in the clockwise direction from 0 to 360 °, and the fission of the goniometer is counterclockwise from 0 to 600 °. Zero division is located near the letter "C" (north), there is also a triangle that glows in the dark, replacing the letter "C" in some compasses.

The letters "B" (east), "Yu" (south), "3" (west) are marked with glowing dots. On the movable cover of the compass there is a sighting device (sight and fly), against which luminous indexes are fixed, indicating the direction of traffic at night. In the army, the compass of the Andrianov system and the artillery compass are the most common.

When working with a compass, it should always be remembered that strong electromagnetic fields or closely spaced metal objects deflect the arrow from its correct position. Therefore, when determining the direction of the compass, it is necessary to move 40-50 meters from power lines, railroad tracks, combat vehicles and other large metal objects.

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Mutual position of the sides of the horizon.

Determination of directions on the sides of the horizon along the compass is performed as follows. The fly of the sighting device is set to zero division of the scale, and the compass to the horizontal position. Then release the brake of the magnetic needle and turn the compass so that its northern end coincides with the zero count. After that, without changing the position of the compass, sighting through the target and the front sight of the remote landmark, which is used to indicate the direction to the north.

The directions to the sides of the horizon are interrelated, and if at least one of them is known, the others can be determined.

In the opposite direction to the north will be the south, the right-east, and the left - the west.

Determination of the magnetic azimuth by compass

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Determination of the magnetic bearing azimuth on a free-standing tree

The magnetic direction azimuth is determined with the help of a compass.

At this, release the brake of the magnetic needle and rotate the compass in a horizontal plane until the north end of the arrow is set against the zero scale division.

Then, without changing the position of the compass, set the sighting device so that the line of sight through the target and the fly coincides with the direction to the object. The scale reading against the fly corresponds to the value of the magnetic azimuth of the direction to the local object.

The azimuth of the direction from the point of standing to the local object is called the direct magnetic azimuth. In some cases, for example, to find the return path, the reverse magnetic azimuth is used, which differs from the direct one by 180 °. To determine the reverse azimuth, you must add 180 ° to the direct azimuth if it is less than 180 °, or subtract 180 ° if it is greater than 180 °.

Determination of horizontal compass angles

First, the fly of the sighting device of the compass is set to zero scale reading. Then, by turning the compass in the horizontal plane, the line of sight with the direction to the left object (landmark) is aligned through the sight and fly.

After this, without changing the position of the compass, the sighting device is moved in the direction to the right object and a reading is taken on the scale, which will correspond to the value of the measured angle in degrees.

When measuring the angle in thousandths, the line of sight is first combined with the direction to the right object (landmark), since the account of the thousandths increases against the clockwise direction.

Orientation with map

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On any map at the top - always north, at the bottom - south, on the right - east, on the left - west. To rotate the map to the sides of the world, you need to place a compass with the diameter of CY on the western (eastern) border of the map or on the vertical line of the kilometer grid of the map, with the letter C in the direction of the north border. Then, releasing the compass needle, rotate the map along with the compass until the north end of the arrow is aligned with the letter C.

To orient the map, the following methods are used:

  1. Orient the map along the terrain lines. In this case, you need to get on the road (a clearing, the river bank or another line), find it on the map and then turn the map until the direction of the road (line) on the map coincides with the direction of the road (line) in the terrain, then check , so that the objects located to the right and left of the road (line) on the terrain were on the same sides as on the map.
  2. Orienting the map to the compass is used mainly in terrain, difficult to orient (in the forest, in the desert, in the tundra), as well as in poor visibility. Under these conditions, the compass determines the direction to the north, and then the map is turned (directed) by the upper side of the frame toward the north so that the vertical line of the map's coordinate grid coincides with the longitudinal axis of the magnetic compass needle.
Ориентирование на местности
Mutual position of the sides of the horizon.

The map on the compass can be oriented more accurately, taking into account the declination of the magnetic needle. To do this, you need to rotate it further so that the north end of the magnetic needle deviates from the 0 ° line of the compass scale by the amount of the direction correction indicated in the lower left corner of this map sheet.

It should be remembered that the compass can not be used near iron objects, military equipment and power lines, since they cause a deflection of the magnetic needle. To determine on the map the point of its standing is easier when you are on the terrain next to the landmark (local object) depicted on the map. In this case, the arrangement of the conventional sign will coincide with the standpoint.

If there are no such landmarks at the point of standing on the ground, then it can be determined in one of the following ways:

  1. On nearby local subjects (relief). To do this, you need to orient the map and identify on it 1-2 local subjects on the terrain, determine its location on the ground visually about these objects and also map its point of standing on the map.
  2. The measurement of distances. Moving along the road (along a forest clearing or other line in the area) indicated on the map, measure the distance traveled from the nearest landmark in pairs of steps (along the speedometer of the car). To determine the point of its standing, it is enough to postpone the measured (traversed) distance along the scale in the map in the desired direction.
  3. Serifs. When driving on the road (along the glade, along the telegraph line), your location can be determined by local subjects located on the sides of the road. To do this, orient the map in the direction of the road and identify a landmark on it and on the terrain.

Then attach a ruler or pencil to the selected landmark on the map and, without knocking down the orientation of the map, rotate the ruler around the conventional sign of the landmark until its direction coincides with the direction to the landmark. The place where the ruler crosses the road will be the point of standing.

When driving off-road, when the standpoint is not indicated on the map, it can be determined by a resection in two or three directions. For this, you need to choose 2-3 landmarks on the map and on the terrain. Then orient the map on the compass and, similarly to the previous method, provise and draw along the ruler the directions for each of the selected landmarks. The intersection of the drawn lines will be the point of standing.

Orienting the map to local subjects

Knowing the position of local objects in relation to the countries of the world, it is already easy to determine your location on the ground and mark this point on the map.

To find on the map an object visible on the terrain, you need:

  • to become a face to the specified object;
  • orient the map;
  • find on the map the point of its standing;
  • mentally draw a line from the point of standing to the specified object on the terrain;
  • in the direction of this line, look for a conventional symbol of this object on the map.

To find on the ground an object marked on the map, you need:

  • orient the map and find the point of its standing on it;
  • Attach to the map a ruler to the point of standing and to the conventional sign of the object;
  • not knocking down the orientation of the map and not shifting the ruler, look for an imaginary continuation of the line corresponding object on the ground.

It is necessary to take into account the distance to it, previously determined by the map.

The map is guided by a compass on the ground by poor landmarks: in the forest, in desert-steppe areas, and also if a person does not even know the point of his standing approximately.

Azimuths and azimuth movement

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Azimuth is the angle formed between the direction of an object of the terrain and the direction to the north.

Azimuths are counted from 0 to 360 ° along the clockwise direction.

Determination of azimuth by compass

To determine the azimuth in the terrain, it is necessary:

  • to face in the direction of the subject to which the azimuth is to be determined;
  • orient the compass, that is, bring its zero division (or letter C) to the darkened end of the compass needle;
  • rotating the compass cover, point the sight at the object;
  • against the pointer of the sighting device facing the object, read the magnitude of the azimuth.

To determine on the locality a given azimuth, it is necessary:

  • Set the pointer of the sighting device of the compass by a point above the division corresponding to the value of the given azimuth;
  • turn the compass so that the pointer is in front;
  • Turn yourself along with the compass until the zero point coincides with the northern end of the arrow; the direction of the sighting pointer will be the direction of the given azimuth.

The alignment of the sighting line with the direction to the object (goal) is achieved by repeatedly translating the sight from the sight line to the target and back. It is not recommended to lift the compass to eye level, the accuracy of measurement is reduced. The accuracy of measuring the azimuths with the aid of Andrianov's compass is plus or minus 2-3 °.

Motion along azimuth

To move along a given azimuth, you need:

  • To study on the map the terrain between the source and final points of traffic and to plan a route easily recognizable by local subjects;
  • draw a selected route on the map and determine the azimuths of all links in the route;
  • determine on the map the length of each link of the route in steps (a pair of steps is 1.5 m on average);
  • All the data for the motion should be recorded in the field book in the form of a table or a schematic drawing.

Arriving at the starting point, it should be:

  • navigate the compass;
  • set the pointer of the compass's moving ring against the count equal to the azimuth of the first link of the route;
  • smoothly rotate the compass until the zero divide coincides with the northern end of the arrow;
  • in this direction choose an object and go for it. Going to the object, you need to check the orientation of the compass and continue the path to the first turning point;
  • at the first turning point, you need to set the azimuth on the compass to the next turning point and move to it the same way as from the starting point.

Determination of magnetic azimuths

The magnetic declination can be either the east with the sign "+" or the western with the sign "-". Knowing the magnitude and sign of the deviation, it is not difficult to combine the direction of one of the sides of the border of the map sheet (west or east) with the direction of the true meridian. When the sides of the map frame coincide with the direction of the true meridian, the map will be oriented precisely.

Practically it is done like this:

  • To set the compass to one side of the map so that the north-south line of the compass scale coincides with the direction of this side of the frame, and zero (C) on the scale was directed to the north side of the map frame;
  • release the compass needle's brake and, when the arrow is calm, turn the map until the arrow becomes its north end against the zero division (C) of the compass scale;
  • Rotate the map without moving the compass so that the north end of the arrow stands up against dividing the corresponding value and the declination sign for the given map sheet;
  • the card so oriented is fixed;
  • Connect straight lines to landmarks;
  • Set the compass on the drawn line between the landmark so that the north-south line of the scale coincides with this direction, and the zero division (C) is directed towards the direction;
  • When the arrow is calmed, make a countdown on the scale against the northern end of the arrow;
  • subtract the resulting reading from 360 °, this difference will be the magnetic azimuth.

Determination of coordinates and target designation

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To indicate the approximate location of an object on the map, it is sufficient to specify the grid square in which it is located.

The square is always indicated by the figures of kilometer lines, the intersection of which forms the south-western (lower left) corner. When you specify the square of the map, the rules are followed: first two numbers are signed, signed on the horizontal line (on the west side), that is, the "X" coordinate, and then two digits at the vertical line (the south side of the sheet), that is, the "Y" coordinate. At the same time, "X" and "U" are not spoken.

For example, enemy tanks are marked. When transmitting the report by radiotelephone, the number of the square is pronounced: "eighty eight zero two".

If the position of the point (object) needs to be determined more accurately, then use full or shortened coordinates.

Working with full coordinates

It is required to determine the coordinates of the road sign in the "8803" square on a map with a scale of 1:50 000. Б.

First determine what is the distance from the bottom horizontal side of the square to the road sign (600 m on the ground).

In the same way measure the distance from the left vertical side of the square (500 m).

Now, by digitizing kilometer lines, we determine the total coordinates of the object.

The horizontal line has the signature "5988" (X), adding the distance from this line to the road sign we get: X = 5988 600.

Similarly, we define the vertical line and get 2403 500.

The full coordinates of the road sign are the following: X = 5988 600 m, Y = 2403 500 m.

Abbreviated coordinates: X = 88,600 m, Y = 03,500 m.

Another variant

The data of the Point (ZKP) are known: X = 90 850, Y = 02 550.

We calculate:

  1. First, we determine the square in which the object is located.
  2. We plot on a vertical line 850 m, from this point we draw a horizontal line.
  3. Now, from the horizontal line, lay 550 m down and draw a vertical line.

A special coordinate meter is produced: a square with two mutually perpendicular scales.

The signatures on the scales indicate the number of hundred meters in the map scale. This square is also used to determine the coordinates on the map and when drawing objects on the map.

The position of the goal in the square is specified in two ways:

  • on the "snail" - the square is divided into 9 parts, which are indicated by numbers, the figure specifying the location of the object inside the square is added when referring to the designation of the square, for example: ZKP - 5015 and 7;
  • by letters - the square is divided into 4 parts, which are denoted by letters, for example, a mortar battery - 4016-B.

Applying a detected object to a map

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This is one of the most important moments in the work. The accuracy of determining its coordinates depends on how accurately the object (target) is plotted on the map. An error will cause the fire of the means of destruction in an empty space.

Having discovered the object (goal), a person must first accurately determine by various signs what is detected. Then, without stopping the observation of the object and not finding yourself, put the object on the map.

There are several ways to apply an object to a map:

  • Ocularly;
  • direct resection.


The object is plotted on the map if it is near a known landmark.

In the direction and distance: orient the map, find the point of its standing on it, swipe the direction to the detected object on the map and draw a line, determine the distance to the object, put this distance on the map from the standpoint. The resulting point will be the position of the object on the map. If it is thus impossible to solve the problem graphically in this manner (the enemy, the poor visibility, etc.), then it is necessary to accurately measure the azimuth on the object, then transfer it to the control angle and draw a direction on the map from the point of standing, on which to set the distance to the object. In order to obtain a directional angle, we must add to the magnetic azimuth the magnetic declination of this map (direction correction).

Straight serif

In this way, the object is placed on a map from 2 to 3 points, from which you can monitor it. To do this, from each selected point, the direction to the object is drawn on the oriented map, then the intersection of the lines determines the location of the object.

Measuring the distance between landmarks

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Measurement of the distance between the landmarks is as follows:

  • determine the length of the segments on the map by a compass or ruler;
  • using the scale of the map, find out to what distance the line segments correspond;

For example, on a 1: 25,000 scale map, the measured distance between two landmarks is 6.4 cm. The scale value is 250 m in 1 cm. The distance will be 250 x 6.4 = 1600 m . The data necessary for traffic is drawn up in a specially designed route scheme, or in the form of a table.

The motion begins with finding the right azimuth of the direction of motion. In the direction of motion, it is advisable to select and remember as possible a more remote reference point. In motion, the distance traveled (usually in pairs of steps) is counted.

If the landmark is not at a given point, a sign is left at the exit point, or one or two fighters, and the landmark is searched in a radius equal to 0.1 of the distance traveled from the previous landmark.

In motion, additional landmarks are used: power lines, rivers, roads, etc.

Determination of distances on the ground

Very often it is required to determine the distances to various objects on the terrain, and also to estimate their sizes.

The most accurate and fastest distances are determined by means of special instruments (range finders) and range scales of binoculars, a stereotube, and sights.

But because of the lack of instruments, distances are often determined using improvised means and by eye.

Among the simplest ways to determine the range (distances) to objects on the terrain are the following:

  • Ocularly;
  • linear dimensions of objects;
  • visibility (discernibility) of objects;
  • by the angular size of known objects;
  • by sound.


This is the easiest and fastest way.

Under the link An example of using the eye measurement method for determining distances in pictures .

The main thing in it is the training of visual memory and the ability to mentally set aside on the terrain a well-represented permanent measure (50, 100, 200, 500 meters).

Having fixed in memory these standards, it is easy to compare with them and estimate distances on the terrain.

When measuring distance by sequentially mentally delaying a well-studied measure constant, it must be remembered that the terrain and local objects seem to be reduced in accordance with their removal, that is, by removing twice and the object will appear to be half as small.

Therefore, when measuring distances, the mentally deferred segments (terrain measures) will decrease according to the distance.

In this case, it is necessary to consider the following:

  • The closer the distance, the clearer and sharper it seems to us the visible object;
  • the closer the object, the more it seems;
  • larger objects appear closer to small objects located at the same distance;
  • the object of a brighter coloring seems closer than the object of a dark color;
  • brightly lit objects seem closer to the poorly lit, located at the same distance;
  • during fog, rain, at dusk, cloudy days, when the air is saturated with dust, the observed objects seem farther than on clear and sunny days;
  • the sharper the difference in the color of the object and the background on which it is visible, the more diminished the distances seem; so, for example, in winter, the snow field as it approximates dark objects on it;
  • objects on an even terrain appear closer than on a hilly, especially distances, which are determined through vast water spaces;
  • folds of terrain (river valleys, hollows, ravines), invisible or not completely visible by the observer, conceal distance;
  • when observing a prone, the objects appear closer than when they are standing;
  • when viewed from the bottom upwards - from the sole of the mountain to the top, objects appear closer, and when viewed from top to bottom - further;
  • When the sun is behind us, the distance is concealed, shining in the eyes - it seems larger than in reality;
  • the fewer objects on the site under consideration (when viewed through water, smooth meadow, steppe, arable land), the distances seem less.

The accuracy of the eye is dependent on the person's training.

For a distance of 1000 m, the usual error varies between 10-20%.

According to linear dimensions

To determine the distance in this way, you need:

  • keep the ruler in front of you at arm's length (50-60 cm from the eye) and measure in millimeters the apparent width or height of the object to which you want to determine the distance;
  • The actual height (width) of the object, expressed in centimeters, divided by the apparent height (width) in millimeters, and the result multiplied by 6 (a constant number), we get the distance.

For example, if a column 4 m high (400 cm) is closed along a ruler of 8 mm, then the distance to it will be 400 x 6 = 2400; 2400: 8 = 300 m (actual distance).

To determine distances in this way, you need to know the linear dimensions of various objects well, or have this data at hand (on the tablet, in the notebook). The dimensions of the most frequently encountered objects a person needs to be remembered, since they are also required for the method of measurement with respect to the angular dimension, which is the main one for us.

By appearance (discernibility) of objects

With the naked eye, you can approximately determine the distance to the targets (objects) in terms of their visibility.

For example, if someone saw a pipe on the roof of the house, it means that the house is no more than 3 km, and not exactly 3 km.

When determining the distance visually, it is desirable to use landmarks, the distances to which are already known.

From the angular dimension

To apply this method, you need to know the linear magnitude of the observed object (its height, length or width) and that angle (in thousandths), under which this object is seen.

For example, the height of the railway booth is 4 meters, the face sees it at an angle of 25 thousandths (the thickness of the little finger).

Then the distance to the booth will be 4 x 1000 = 4000, divided by 25, that is 160 meters.

To determine the angular value, it is necessary to know that an interval of 1 mm removed from the eye by 50 cm corresponds to an angle of two thousandths (it is written: 0-02).

Hence it is easy to determine the angular value for any segments. For example, for an interval of 0.5 cm the angular value will be 10 thousandth (0-10), for a segment of 1 cm - 20 thousandth (0-20), etc.

The simplest way is to memorize the standard values ​​of thousandths:
Angular values ​​(in thousandths of a distance)
Item name / Size in thousandths

  • Thickness of Thumb 40
  • Thickness of index finger 33
  • Thickness of middle finger 35
  • Thickness of little finger 25
  • Cartridge on the width of the cartridge collar (7.62 mm) 12
  • Sleeve width 18
  • Pencil simple 10-11
  • Matchbox on length 60
  • Matchbox width 50
  • Matchbox height 30
  • Matching thickness 2

Orientation by sounds

At night, and in the fog, when surveillance is limited or impossible at all (and on severely rugged terrain and in the forest, both at night and in the daytime), hearing is heard.

We must learn to determine the nature of sounds (that is, what they mean), the distance to the sources of sounds and the direction from which they originate.

If you hear different sounds, a person should be able to distinguish them from each other. The development of this ability is achieved by long training (in the same way a professional musician distinguishes the voices of instruments in the orchestra).

Almost all sounds that signify danger are produced by man.

Therefore, if a person hears even the faintest suspicious noise, he must stay still and listen.

It is possible that the enemy was hiding behind him.

If the enemy starts moving first, then giving out his location, he will die first.

Similarly, an inexperienced or impatient hunter betrays his presence to the beast he hunts.

The skilled hunter with his endurance surpasses the animals.

In a quiet summer night, even an ordinary human voice in the open space is audible far away, sometimes half a kilometer.

In a frosty autumn or winter night, all sorts of sounds and noises are audible very far.

This applies to speech, and footsteps, and clinking dishes or weapons.

In foggy weather, sounds can also be heard far away, but their direction is difficult to determine.

On the surface of calm water and in the forest, when there is no wind, the sounds are carried a very long distance.

But the rain is very jarring sounds.

The wind blowing in the direction of a man brings sounds closer, and o removes them.

He also puts the sound aside, creating a distorted view of the whereabouts of his source.

Mountains, forests, buildings, ravines, gorges and deep ravines change the direction of sound, creating an echo.

Echoes and water spaces are generated, contributing to its spread over long distances.

The sound changes when the source moves along a soft, wet or stiff ground, along a street, along a country road or field road, over a pavement or leafy soil.

It should be borne in mind that dry land transmits sounds better than air.

Therefore, listen with your ear to the ground or to the trunks of trees.

At night, sounds are well transmitted through the earth.

There are certain ways to help listen at night, namely:

  • lying: put your ear to the ground;
  • standing: one end of the stick to lean against the ear, the other end to rest in the ground;
  • leaning: standing, leaning forward slightly, moving the center of gravity of the body to one leg, with a half-open mouth, - teeth are the conductor of sound.

A trained person at stealing, if only life is precious to him, lies down on his stomach and listens while lying, trying to determine the direction of sounds.

This is easier to do by turning one ear in the direction from which a suspicious noise is heard.

To improve hearing, it is advisable to attach bent hands, a bowler, a piece of pipe to the auricle.

To better listen to sounds, a person can put his ear to a dry plank laid on the ground, which acts as a sound collector, or to a dry log dug into the ground.

If necessary, you can make a homemade water stethoscope.

To do this, use a glass bottle (or a metal jar), filled with water to the neck, which is buried in the ground to the level of water in it. The tube is tightly inserted into the cork (plastic), on which the rubber tube is put. The other end of the rubber tube, provided with a tip, is inserted into the ear.

To test the sensitivity of the device, strike the ground at a distance of 4 m from the finger (the sound from the impact is clearly heard through the rubber tube).

Orientation without map

It consists in determining the sides of the horizon (directions to the north, east, south, west) and its location in the area relative to the designated (selected) landmarks and is usually applied in a limited area.

When determining the sides of the horizon from the compass, it is given a horizontal position, the brake of the arrow is released. After the termination of oscillations, its glowing end will indicate the direction to the north.

Ориентирование на местности
Mutual position of the sides of the horizon.

To determine the sides of the horizon along the Sun and the clock, one must face the Sun. Put a clock that shows the local time so that the hour hand is pointed at the Sun. The line dividing the angle between the clockwise direction and the direction to the digit "1" in winter time or "2" in the summer time (only for the territory of the CIS) in half, will show the direction to the south

The moon and the clock are oriented when the starry sky is poorly visible. In the full moon, the sides of the horizon can be determined by the moon with the help of a clock as well as the sun.

If the moon is incomplete (arrives or falls), then you need:

  • divide the radius of the disc of the Moon into six equal parts of the eye, determine how many such parts are in the diameter of the visible crescent of the moon, and notice the time by the hour;
  • from this time to subtract (if the Moon arrives) or add (if the Moon decreases) as many parts as are contained in the diameter of the visible crescent of the Moon.

The resulting sum or difference will show the hour when the Sun will be in the direction of the Moon.

  • send to the moon the place on the dial, which corresponds to the time after addition or subtraction. The bisector of the angle between the direction to the moon and the hour (in winter time) or two hours (in summer time) will show the direction to the south.

Time Definition

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By the Moon and Compass

At different times of the month, we observe from the Earth certain phases of the Moon in the form of its full disk and individual parts, containing a certain number of fractions of the diameter of the lunar disk. On the new moon the moon disc is not visible, since this is the beginning of the lunar month. From this moment the Moon begins to arrive, being on the way to the full moon. In order to find out whether the Moon is coming or going, we need to look at where its convex part is directed: if it is directed to the right of the central axis, then the Moon is born, and if the Moon is to the left, it arrives.

We orient the compass so that the letter "C" is directed to the moon. Count the degrees from the north end of the magnetic compass needle to this direction and get the azimuth to the moon.

Suppose it is 270 °. We divide them by 15 (15 - twenty-fourth part of the circle - the magnitude of the Earth's rotation around its axis in 1 hour).

270: 15 = 18.

To this number we add 1 hour (the decree time introduced in the USSR by a special decree of the government in all the belts of the country) (see Time Zones):

18 + 1 = 19.

Next, determine the number of shares in the visible part of the moon. Imagine that this part includes five parts of its diameter. A full disc contains 12 shares. By 19 add 5, and it turns out 24 hours. This is the time that interests us. If the amount exceeds 24 hours, then the same amount should be deducted from it.

Full moon

We do the same as in the first case. Imagine that the azimuth for the moon was 90 °.

90: 15 = 6; 6 + 1 = 7.

The disc of the moon is full, so 7 + 12 = 19.

Thus, at that time, the time is 19 hours.

The moon is waning

We proceed in exactly the same way as in the first two cases. Let us imagine that the azimuth to the moon is 165 °. Then 165: 15 = 11; 11 + 1 = 12. In the event of a decrease in the moon, the fractions of its disk are not added, but are subtracted.

12-8 (SHARE OF THE MOON diameter) = 4. The proportion of the lunar diameter is 8.

By the Sun and Compass

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Ориентирование на местности

It is defined as follows. First measure the azimuth on the Sun (exactly as in the case of the Moon). Assume that it is 90 °.

90:15 (magnitude of the Earth's rotation in 1 hour) = 6;

6 + 1 (maternity time) = 7.

It means that it's now 7 o'clock. Let's say the azimuth is 180 °.

180: 15 = 12. 12 + 1 = 13.

This means that the time in this area is 13 hours.

Definition of local time without a clock

If the watch is lost or lost, local time with relative accuracy can be recognized from the compass by measuring the azimuth along the Sun. Having determined the azimuth, its value must be divided by 15 (the value of the rotation of the sun in 1 hour), the resulting number will indicate the local time at the time of counting. For example, the azimuth of the Sun is 180 °, which means that the time will be 12 hours.