"Doug Carlton" Re: Ghillie Suits, Camouflage Ponchos, Protective Masks, and Night Vision Gear

Saturday, Oct 15, 2005

Here's my views on some of your more recent e-mail. Grandpa R. brought up some interesting things. First of all on the Ghillie suit, I don't recommend a poncho for the stereotypical work a Ghillie suit is used for. A Ghillie suit is a task and terrain specific uniform that's employed by specially trained folks. If you already have the training and field craft to use a ghillie suit correctly and effectively, then you already know the answer to the question. That answer isn't the poncho, it's the same one or two piece suit that every sniper from every nation uses. There's a reason they ALL use the same thing, and that's because it's the only thing that will does the job at that level of expertise. Jim's recommendation on the poncho is dead on for the survivalists who aren't graduates of a service branch's sniper qualification course. The poncho is a multi-use item, and that's always a plus. A great example of one is the German Zeltban. The Zelt can be used as a poncho, breaking up the outline of the human figure, as a "shelter quarter" to make a four-man tent, as a tarp to make an individual shelter, as a poncho for rain, etc. as an outer garment including various ways to configure it for walking, riding on horses/bicycles, etc. Many European countries used them right up until recently. Most are canvas, so they are quiet, though they are heavy. many are designed with summer foliage camouflage on one side, and winter on the other, though I've seen some that are just green and you can dye them whatever you want for your area. If I was going to use one in the desert, I'd make a copy of the Zelt in canvas with one side day desert and the other side night desert, and update the buttons, etc. If I was in the north, then woodland on one side, and a winter/fall on the other would be a better choice. You get the idea. A liner made from a GI poncho liner would also create a sleeping bag, and a field jacket. It's a phenomenal piece of kit. I can provide specs to anyone, just e-mail Jim and he'll let me know if it's something worth pursuing in the future for an installment on the Blog.
On gas masks and NBC, you have to remember not to equate Army NBC training and procedures with your's as a survivalist. You don't have the
logistics tail to make fighting and operating in contaminated environments a viable option. The best you can do is provide a limited amount of NBC protection that will allow you to egress a contaminated area. Changing filters when "in the soup" is not high on my list of things to do. High on that list is getting out of that area. Don't think "Army", think "survivalist". It's two different things. In a practical sense, you simply don't need a "dirty environment change" capability. You need a capability to protect yourself long enough to get to a clean environment. The mask filters will give you plenty of time to do that. Military operations in an NBC environment and survival operations in an NBC environment are two very different things. Equipment, individual tasks, et cetera are the same or similar, but they are conducted differently. That doesn't mean you're doomed if a gas bomb hits. You're never doomed if you prepare. But your actions as a survivalist will be different than your actions as a soldier on the battlefield would be.
On the subject of NVG/NODs. Older generation devices will exhibit what's called "bloom" effect. So a tritium night-sight would present a big softball sized glow on the end of your weapon. The later gen units greatly reduce the bloom effect, so what the effect is will greatly depend on the generation of the systems in use. Electrical tape will pretty much cure any noise and light problems at night.- "Doug Carlton"

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