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|A test of snow fortifications
|Farrell, Dennis R.
|Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
|Special report (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)) ; 79-33.
Abstract: Afield study was conducted to 1) more accurately define the degree of protection offered by simple snow fortifications and 2) evaluate the effort required by infantry troops to build such fortifications when only basic tools are available. A seven-man infantry squad equipped with standard issue snow shovels and an arctic sled (Akhio) constructed several simple snow structures. Construction was made more difficult by the imposition of a camouflage discipline requirement. When completed, three positions were subjected to M16A1 rifle fire while the infantry squad executed a simulated tactical assault. A fourth and much larger position was tested with simulated covering fire from an M2HB 50-caliber machine gun. None of the 5.56-mm bullets fired by the squad from ranges of 200 m to as close as 10 mmanaged to penetrate the 1.8-m-thick snow embankments. The 12.7-mm-diameter bullets fired from the M2HB at a range of 250m were all stopped by 3.0 m of packed snow. The camouflage considerations and the shallow snow conditions increased the construction time for the three small emplacements by almost a factor of four, and for the larger emplacement by almost a factor of three. But the squad still handled a volume of packed snow that was equal to 3-7 times the volume of unfrozen soil that could be handled with the same amount of effort, according to field manual estimates. Under frozen soil conditions the advantages of using snow would be significantly greater.
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