The Basics

From FM 21-75, FM 21-100, FM 5-20A, FM 5-31

"The body is flat. The left cheek is on the ground. The legs are extended and spread. The heels, turned in, touch the ground, If the rifle is carried, it is grasped in the right hand at the balance, muzzle to the front, operating handle up."

Face in the dirt... well, left cheek at least.

This position, in a flat space, gives you the smallest silhouette. It is obviously improved by any concealment or cover. 

The body is as flat as possible against the ground. The cheek is against the ground. The rifle is carried at the balance, or dragged along on the toe of the butt with the thumb and forefinger over the muzzle. Care must be taken to keep the rifle muzzle out of the dirt. The soldier moves forward by pushing his arms forward and one leg. He pulls himself forward with his arms and pushes himself forward with his forward leg. The soldier may move faster by alternating between legs to push forward, but will be more exposed. 

The slowest you can move forward while maintaining a low profile. 

The body is kept free of the ground and the weight of the body rests on the forearms and lower legs. The rifle is cradled in the arms so that the muzzle is kept out of the dirt. Knees must be kept well behind the buttocks. The soldier moves forward by alternatively moving elbows and knees. In creeping the soldier presents a higher silhouette than in crawling, but movement is faster.

aka "the High Crawl"

From Prone to Running
To get from the prone position to running, you tuck your elbows under you, pull your right knee forward. Then, push yourself upright, pull your left foot under you (you should be like you were in a starting block). Then, rise to your feet and move forward.

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From Running to Prone
To go from running to prone, stop and plant both feet. Then drop to your knees and grasp the rifle in the right hand above the butt. Use the butt of your rifle to break your fall. Drop to prone or roll into a firing position. 

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The general idea is to get up, rush forward a few paces, then flop back down again before the enemy can plug you. 

Once you hit the dirt, roll left or right, they probably saw you go down and will start shooting there. Rolling behind cover and/or concealment may just save your life.


These things are done under the assumption that the enemy is near. If the enemy were not near, then they could be done more openly and with lesser caution. 

Going Over Wire
If you're doing this at night, grab the top strand in one hand while feeling for the ground with the other. Check for other strands, debris, or land mines. Then lift your foot over near where your other hand has grasped the wire and place it in the cleared spot. Your rifle is usually slung while doing this at night. Continue on in this way. If you're doing this during the daytime, keep rifle in hand and you may use the butt of your rifle to push wire down. 

Going Under Wire
Move along on your back, rifle either flat on your chest, muzzle forward or held against your body, muzzle on your shoulder. Feel above your head for wire, keeping it clear of your body. Do not tug on the wire anywhere since it may make noise or set off booby traps 

Cutting Wire
Always cut the wire near the picket and only cut as much as you need to pass through. A gaping area in a wire will alert the enemy, thus cut in a diagonal to the enemy's front. The top wire should nearly always be left uncut to keep visual continuity of the wire . Grasp the wire in one hand and wrap gun patches, rolled leaves, or other material around the wire before cutting. This will muffle the sound of the wire being cut. Again, cut between your hand and the picket, your hand holding the wire should help prevent it from flying and making noise. If you are with another, they hold the wire while you cut. 

Crossing a Stream
Any unit or individual should take caution while crossing a stream. One man is sent across at a time, while others are in position and ready to open fire if necessary. The man on the other side should seek immediate cover, ensure that the opposite side is clear, and then signal for the rest of the unit to cross, one at a time. 

Crossing a Stream at/near a Bridge
If the crossing does not look like it's held by the enemy, advance rapidly. Again, if there are two or more, one or two should cross at a time with the others providing cover. Once on the other side, find a position at which you may cover the others (if any) who follow you across. Take note of the crossing for future reference (depth and strength of stream, distance across, bottom type, possible approaches). The best place to cross is under/alongside the bridge itself. Other spots may be picked further up or downstream. If you do cross near the bridge you should also check for demolition charges at the locations circled in Figure 14. 

Crossing a Road
Very much like crossing a steam. One man goes across at best point found along the road. The others would cover (if any) and then follow one by one across. Subsequent men take up positions to cover the others coming across.

Breaching a Minefield
For the regular infantryman there are two general methods of breaching a minefield. Locating them by electrical detector followed by hand removal is the quickest. Prodding for mines is the slowest, but requires the least amount of equipment. Non-metallic mines must be found using the prodding method. Since only engineer units will have electrical detectors, the prodding method will be discussed in detail.

The general objective is to create a 8-yard wide lane initially which is then cleared to a 16-yard wide lane. If you have a mine probe, use it since it is specially designed for this purpose (and will make a noise when striking a foreign object), otherwise use your bayonet. Insert either at a 45 degree angle 2 to 4 inches below the surface.

Unless trained in doing so, do not remove mines! Mines should be clearly marked with mine markers or other easily identifiable objects for lifting and removal. Mines may be booby trapped and thus not removed by anyone not familiar with the type of mine and proper, safe, removal thereof.