Survival, Evasion, Resistance, And Escape
FM 21-75 APPENDIX F
Continuous operations and fast-moving battles
increase your chances of becoming temporarily sepa-
rated from your unit. Whether you are separated
from a small patrol or a large unit, your mission after
being separated is to rejoin your unit.
This appendix provides techniques to help you
find your way back to your unit. For a more detailed
discussion, see FM 21-76.
Survival is the action of staying alive in the field with limited resources. You must try to survive when you become separated from your unit, are evading the enemy, or during the time you are a prisoner. Survival requires a knowledge of how to live off the land and take care of yourself.
Evasion is the action you take to stay
out of the hands of the enemy when separated
from your unit and in an enemy area. There are
several courses of action you may take to avoid
capture and rejoin your unit.
You may stay in your current position and
wait for friendly troops to find you. This may
be a good course of action if you are sure that
friendly units will continue to operate in the
area, and if there are a lot of enemy units in
You may break out to a friendly area. This may be a good course of action if you know where a friendly area is, and if the enemy is widely dispersed. You may move farther into enemy territory to temporarily conduct guerrilla-type operations. This is a short-term course of action to be taken only when other courses of action are not feasible. This may be a good course of action when the enemy area is known to be lightly held, or when there is a good chance of linking up with friendly guerrillas.
You may combine two or more of these. For example, you may stay in your current position until the enemy moves out of the area and then break out to a friendly area.
There may be times when you will have to kill, stun, or capture an enemy soldier without alerting other enemy in the area. At such times, a rifle or pistol makes too much noise, and you will use a silent weapon.
Some silent weapons are:
- The bayonet.
- The garotte (a choke wire or cord with handles).
- Improvised clubs.
In day or night, the successful use of silent
weapons requires great skill and stealthy
The Code of Conduct is an expression of
the ideals and principles which traditionally
have guided and strengthened American fighting men and the United States. It prescribes the manner in which every soldier of the United States armed forces must conduct himself when captured or when faced with the possibility of capture.
You should never surrender of your own
free will. Likewise, a leader should never sur-
render the soldiers under his command while
they still have the means to resist.
If captured, you must continue to resist
in every way you can.
Some rules to follow are:
- Make every effort to escape and to help others escape.
- Do not accept special favors from the enemy.
- Do not give your word not to escape.
- Do nothing that will harm a fellow prisoner.
- Give no information except name, rank, social security number, and date of birth.
- Do not answer any questions other than those concerning your name, rank, social security number, and date of birth.
Escape is the action you take to get away from the enemy if you are captured. The best time for you to escape is right after you are captured. You will probably be in your best physical condition at that time. Prison rations are usually barely enough to sustain life, certainly not enough to build up a reserve of energy. The physical treatment, medical care, and rations of prison life quickly cause physical weakness, night blindness, and loss of coordination and reasoning power.
The following are other reasons for making
an early escape:
- Friendly fire or air strikes may cause
- enough confusion and disorder to provide a chance of escape.
- The first guards you have probably
- will not be as well trained in handling
- prisoners as guards farther back.
- Some of the first guards may be walking wounded who are distracted by their own condition.
- You know something about the area where you are captured and may know the locations of nearby friendly units.
- The way you escape depends on what you can think of to fit the situation.
- The only general rules are to escape early and escape when the enemy is distracted.
Once you have escaped, it may not be
easy to contact friendly troops — even when
you know where they are. You should contact a
friendly unit as you would if you were a member
of a lost patrol. You should time your move-
ment so that you pass through enemy units at
night and arrive at a friendly unit at dawn. A
good way to make contact is to find a ditch or
shallow hole to hide in where you have cover
from both friendly and enemy fire. At dawn,
you should attract the attention of the friendly
unit by waving a white cloth, shouting, showing
a panel, or some other way. This should alert
the friendly unit and prepare it to accept you.
After the unit has been alerted, you should
shout who you are, what your situation is, and
ask for permission to move toward the unit.
- Be awake and alert.
- Stay dressed and ready for action.
- Keep your equipment packed when it
- is not being used.
- Keep your equipment and weapon in
- good operating condition.
- Use camouflage.
- Move around only when necessary.
- Stay as quiet as possible.
- Look and listen for enemy activity in
- your sector.
- Use lights only when necessary.
- Do not write information about an
- operation on your map.
- Do not take notes or papers about an
- operation into combat.
- Do not take personal items into
- Do not leave trash lying about.
- Tie or tape down equipment to keep it
- from rattling.
- Use challenge and password.
- Do not give military information to
- Remember the Code of Conduct.