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Rough ‘N’ Ready Challenge: The No Man’s Land ½ Mile by Mark Hatmaker

Combat movement over open ground pre-projectile warfare was often a matter of movement in formation, melee, or breaking off into serial one-on-one or two-on-one engagements.

Projectile warfare [archers and early firearms] ushered in a bit of care and cover and/or movement behind shields became more common. This was not the rule as we still see movement in formation under-fire for over a century of warfare. It is amazing how long a very bad idea can live. It outlived many a human.

As British troops facing Indians in the early era of this nation can attest, skulking warfare [ambuscade, cover, concealment] began making colonials early-adopters of this successful tactic that was rendering superior numbers and overwhelming firepower less effective.

Skulking is dependent on utilizing the terrain to maximum cover and concealment effectiveness whether it be natural or urban terrain.

But…open ground engagement where cover and concealment are at a premium was and is a different story altogether.

These areas of open ground were manna to snipers and sharpshooters armed with either firearm or bow. We will loosely call these areas No Man’s Land, the term often used to describe the “between trenches stretches of hell” in the First World War.

If/when covering open ground is a must or a tactical gambit it is wise to implement an Individual Movement Technique [IMT]. [My military cadre are probably way ahead of me here.]

Moving target acquisition at a distance can be ballparked in the 3-5 seconds range. With that in mind, those moving across open ground/No Man’s Land should write 3-5 seconds on their inner-eyelids.

IMT for moving across No Man’s Land is 3-5 seconds of balls-to-the-wall sprinting or quadrupedal movement. Skip the serpentine go for speed and covering as much ground as possible.

Then…Hitting the dirt at the end of the 3-5 second range.

To set this range, rather than count 1 thru 4, a copious number of mnemonic phrases have been offered in place of numerals. These phrases repeated over and over provide the approximate time-cadence.

Full—Metal—Jacket” Hit the dirt.

I’m up! He sees me! I’m down!” Hit the dirt.

Or this Plains Indian variant…

“Nukhiti tabo! Tucati!” [“Run rabbit! Down!”]

With this bit of tactical wisdom in mind I offer

The No Mans’ Land Half-Mile

·        Mark out your distance.

·        Start from prone.

·        Pop-up and repeat your phrase of choice, audibly if it helps.

·        Hit the ground at the end of your phrase.

·        Once you’re down—repeat the phrase [you’re still a target on the ground.]

·        Pop-up and do it all over again.

·        Repeat until your distance is covered.

A half-mile run is not a big deal but…add the No Man’s Land Protocol and be strict about the up and down times and I wager you’ll be sucking wind before 200 yards is covered.

EXTRA CREDIT: Invest this Challenge with the emotional resonance of moving under fire and you’re cooking with gas!

[Excerpted from our book ROUGH & READY: Old World Strength & Conditioning for Modern Warriors. See here for more Old School Tactics and Evil historically accurate and viciously verified.]


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