Tuesday, 15 Apr 2008

FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual

The FM 21-76 is considered to be one of the ’standard’ survival publications available today. The other ones are Boyscout Handbook, SAS Survival Guide and such. If you are not familiar with US Army’s publishing scheme, I can try and explain it in a few words, based on my own understanding. FM stands for Field Manual; the numbers that follow are for various tasks, skills, and equipment maintenance that may be of use in the field. I beleive the Army uses this system (FM, followed by a series of numbers) for all their field publications. If you do a search on Amazon.com for any of the titles mentioned above, there are plenty of sellers, and links to similar publications. While searching for good survival publications, I found several reviews stating that the Boyscout Handbooks have been revised over the years, and the 1950’s and ‘60 publications are the best.

I like this book because it is compact, and can be put in any backpack or rucksack pocket with ease. There are several concepts covered in the manual. This is not a chapter-by-chapter listing, merely a general summary:

  • Survival Kits
  • Basic Survival Medicine
  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Firecraft
  • Food Procurement
  • Edible, Medicinal and Poisonous plants

My copy was published in 1970, so it is outdated by modern military standards. The most current revision has several additional chapters:

  • Movement in Hostile Areas
  • Camouflage
  • Contact with People
  • Survival in Man-made Hazards

This is not a bad book to have, just in case you get lost in the woods. At worst, if you are bored one day, and have nothing to do at the campsite, this will make for an educational reading. And everyone could always use a good book every once in a while.

LINK to zipped PDF files of Scanned FM-76, and LINK to a much smaller PDF text version.

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