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Survival in the Field



The Survival in the Field section of the Stormwind Army Field Manual covers how soldiers of the Stormwind Army are to act so as to survive when out in the wilderness. The information here concerns relatively short-term situations - one in which a soldier may be forced to endure while awaiting rescue or escaping enemy territory. Though the circumstances of wilderness survival may vary, the essentials necessary to be successful in preserving one’s life and health is the same. The following guide will cover these basic essentials and include supplemental information information to help with the process of survivability.

Note: This page was last updated on 9/17/2017.




In order to understand and remember the necessary actions of survival, a soldier need only look towards the word itself. Each letter is an essential action that must be taken by anyone in a survival situation. Study and remember what each letter signifies in order to increase chances of coming out of a survival situation in the best condition possible.

S - Size Up The Situation
Soldiers should size up their surroundings and determine the pattern of the area to get a feel for what is going on around them. Wounds should be checked, and if found, be treated with first aid. Necessary steps should be taken to prevent any adverse conditions from worsening. Equipment must be inventoried and the components assessed for damage or loss.

U - Use All Your Senses
A common mistake to make when in survival mode is to react quickly without thinking or planning. Soldiers should not move just for the sake of taking action; this move may result in capture or death. The situation should first be considered, then a decision made, and then it is time for action. Acting in haste opens up the possibility of forgetting or leaving equipment and for the soldier to become disoriented. Planning the next move is essential, as is the readiness to move quickly without the soldier endangering themselves if the enemy is nearby. All senses must be utilized to evaluate the situation and to remain observant.

R - Remember Where You Are
If a map is available, a soldier must spot their location and relate it to surrounding terrain. If there are other soldiers or persons in a group, make sure they too know their location. Pay close attention to the current location and the intended location. Soldier should not rely strictly on others in a group to keep track of the route and should constantly orient themselves.

Always try to determine, as a minimum, how the location relates to:
  • The location of enemy units and controlled areas.
  • The location of friendly units and controlled areas.
  • The location of water sources.
  • Areas that will provide good cover and concealment from the enemy.

V - Vanquish Fear and Panic
The greatest enemies in any survival situation are fear and panic because they can destroy a soldier’s ability to make an intelligent decision. They may cause a person to react emotionally rather than to their actual situation, and they can drain energy and cause additional stress. Training and self-confidence are imperative to vanquishing fear and panic, and thus enabling a soldier to survive.

I - Improvise
Soldiers must learn to use natural objects and supplies for different needs. A rock can become a hammer, for example. Imagination must take over when survival gear wears out or is lost in the field. The more uses a soldier can make of the things around them, the less they will have to carry as well. This allows for quick travel and ease in movement.

V - Value Living
One of the most important aspects of survival is finding the will to keep on kicking and fighting. Mental fortitude will help combat stress, inconveniences, and discomforts. Stubbornness, a refusal to give into the problems and obstacles that faces a solder, will offer the mental and physical strength to endure.

A - Act Like the Natives
The natives and animals of a region have adapted to their environment and as such, and can be a great resource to a soldier.. Get a feel of the area by watching how locals go about their daily routine. Animal life can also help a soldier to survive, as they too require food, water, and shelter. By watching them, soldiers can find sources for these essentials.

L - Live by Your Wits, But Learn Basic Skills
Training in basic survival skills will, obviously, increase a soldier’s chances of making it out of a difficult survival situation both on the battlefield and in the wilds. Learn these basic skills by attending training, researching the area in which the regiment will deploy, and practicing what is taught. By learning these basic survival skills, fear will be reduced and confidence raised, allowing soldiers to live by their wits.




The Three Essentials are baseline requirements for survival in the wilderness. Without food, water, or shelter, one will surely perish within days away from camp. How to effectively obtain these things will be outlined in the sections below.




After water, the most urgent requirement is food. A soldier must remember that the three essentials of survival - water, food, and shelter - are prioritized according to the estimate of the actual situation. The estimate must be timely and accurate as some situations may dictate that shelter proceeds both food and water.

Animals for Food
It is best to concentrate efforts on smaller animals due to their abundance compared to larger game. The smaller animal species are also easier to prepare.

Most anything that crawls, swims, walks, or flies can be eaten with relatively few exceptions. The first obstacle a solder must overcome is their natural aversion to a particular food source. A soldier who ignores an otherwise healthy food source due to personal bias or because they feel it unappetizing is risking their own survival. It is necessary to eat what is available to maintain health.

Traps and Snares
Trapping and snaring wild game has the potential to catch more game than a soldier with a weapon. To be effective with any trap or snare, it is important to be familiar with the animal that is meant to be caught and to not alarm the prey by leaving any signs of the soldier's presence.

Traps should be set along runs and trails, tracks, near chewed or rubbed vegetation, nesting or roosting sites, and feeding and watering areas. A snare haphazardly placed in the woods will not catch anything.

In a hostile environment, trap and snare concealment is important. It is equally important not to create a disturbance that will alarm the animal and cause it to avoid the trap. Traps and snares should be prepared away from the catch site, carried in, and set up. This is make it easier to avoid disturbing the local vegetation, which would alert the prey.

The slightest non-animal scent on a trap will alarm prey and cause it to avoid the area. Removing the scent from a trap is difficult but masking it is relatively easy. Mud is effective to use and should coat the hands when the trap is being handled and to coat the trap itself.




Water is an urgent need in a survival situation. A person requires a minimum of 2 liters of water each day to maintain efficiency. The body loses fluid as a result of heat, cold, stress, and exertion and must be replaced as it is lost. One of a soldier’s first goals should be to obtain an adequate water supply.

Water Sources:

  • In Frigid Areas, the sources of water are Snow and Ice. Do not eat without melting as eating snow and ice can reduce body temperature that will lead to more dehydration.
  • At Sea, the only viable sources of water are Rain and Boiled Sewater. Catch rain in water-holding materials or containers. Do not drink seawater straight from the ocean, as it only hastens dehydration. Boil seawater to produce steam, hold cloth over the container to absorb steam, and then wring drinkable water from the cloth.
  • At the Beach, one can find water in the Ground. Dig a hole deep enough for water to seep in. Drop heated rocks into water and then hold cloth over hole to absorb rising steam. Wring drinkable water from cloth.
  • In a Desert, one can find water deep in the Ground or squeezed from Cactuses. Cut off the top of a cactus and mash or squeeze the pulp. Do not eat the pulp. Water may also be found in depressions or fissures in rock.

Unsafe Substitutions:

  • Alcoholic Beverages will dehydrate the body and reduce judgement.
  • Urine contains harmful body wastes and contains about two percent salt.
  • Blood is salty and requires additional body fluids to digest. May also transmit disease.
  • Seawater is about four percent salt and takes about two liters of body fluids to remove the waste from one liter of seawater. Drinking seawater depletes the body’s water supply, which will cause death.

Other Water Tips:

  • Heavy dew can provide water. Tying rags around the ankles and walking through dew-covered grass before sunrise may yield as much as a liter an hour this way.
  • Purify water before drinking it through boiling or other methods.
  • Some tropical vines can give water by cutting a notch high and then cutting the vine off close to the ground. The liquid may then be caught in the mouth or a container.
  • Do not keep sap from plants longer than 24 hours. It will ferment and become dangerous as a water source.
  • If water is muddy, stagnant, and foul-smelling, place in a container and let it stand for 12 hours. This will make the water clearer but it still must be purified.



When planning for shelter, a soldier needs to consider long-term and short-term options. Even if the intention is to build a permanent base camp and shelter, there might still be the need to travel for a night or two to hunt, trap, or fish. Because of this, a soldier’s sheltering kit should include a system that takes them easily from permanent shelter to the woods with supplies that can be used in either situation or location.

The Three Ws:

  • Wind: The direction and intensity of wind has an impact on safely keeping a fire going and on the ability to heat the shelter. Middle-ground areas where wind is present but not too strong are ideal.
  • Water: Locating the camp nearby areas such as creek beds provide a steady source of water.
  • Wood: Building fires, shelters, and other resources require a lot of wood. A great source of firewood can come from large fallen trees, and trees can provide a steady supply of fat wood.

Establishing a Base Camp
Setting up a base came allows a soldier to save themselves from having to carry all their supplies on their back all the time. Building a permanent shelter is a large task, and probably will take a few days of work - longer if there is no help. With that in mind, the first thing to do when arriving at the intended base camp location is to build a temporary shelter. Just remember to finish the permanent shelter before the weather demands one!

For a permanent shelter, build a larger version of the temporary base camp from natural materials. It should have at least three sides for protection from weather. A raised bed is a must in colder weather, but a hammock is usually enough in fair weather.

Permanent Shelter Options
The best type of permanent shelter will depend on the environment, season, resources, available equipment, and the skill level of the woodsman. There are a few simple designs that can be utilized; anything too difficult or complicated to build is likely to be left unfinished!

  • Just like animals, a woodsman can construct his own shelter by adopting existing elements in nature. Caves and Stone Shelters endure in nature, though it does take some effort to make them comfortable. There are some downsides to caves, which are worth noting. If in an area with high humidity of a lot annual rainfall, caves are not the best choice. A wet cave is a miserable place to sleep, and the moisture can create dangerous bacteria growth, mold, weak stone integrity, and a dampness that will leave a soldier almost perpetually cold. A cave might also be home to insects or other mammals.
  • A Raised Platform Shelter is constructed by attacking wood pieces with lashings and cross members to create a platform. Just remember: the more complex the shelter, the more resources and tools a soldier will need! The raised platform should be about 3’-5’ above the ground - but this will depend on factors such as wildlife, resources, and environment. Make the platform about 2’ wider than the inside dimension of the shelter that is to be put on top of it and at least 6’ longer to leave room for open work areas.
  • Building a small Log Cabin with a single pitched roof is simple from a design perspective. It is, however, very labor-intensive and requires a lot of timber. An 8’ x 10’ cabin is sufficient for a single person, with anything larger being difficult to heat.

Camp Amenities
No matter how big a base camp is, or what purpose it may serve, these are a few amenities to include for comfort and convenience.

  • Lighting Sources: A soldier needs to think first about lighting sources to use when their fire dies down or before their fire is built. Candles work the best, proving light and having an open flame to aid in emergency or late-night fire starting. The beeswax can also be melted and used for other purposes - such as rubbing it on tools to prevent rusting!
    • Lanterns: A simple lantern can be made from empty cans to protect the candle from going out in the wind. Fat from animals can also be used to make lamp oil. A concave container can make an easy lamp. A wick is needed, which can be made from cotton rope or natural cordage. A ball of cattail fluff or corded cedar bark can also be used for a quick, temporary wick.
    • Candles: To make candles, dip the wick of natural cord in a pan of melted tallow, then let it cool before dipping it again. The thickness increases each time the cord is dip into the tallow. Allow the layers to cool. The difference between tallow and lard is tallow will harden at room temperature while lard will stay soft. Torches can be made by dipping dead plant tops into fat and letting them dry.
  • Soap: Many plants have natural saponins, which are created when making soaps. This substance occur naturally in many plants and creates a nice lather to be used as a soap. Bracken ferns and yuccas are two examples of plants that are high in saponins.
  • Latrine: For short-term outings, it’s easy enough to walk away from camp and dig a small hole for a latrine. For longer-term outings, a pit latrine will most likely be necessary. It should be a comfortable distance from camp but well away from any groundwater source. A good practice is to add ashes from the campfire into the pit latrine daily. This will cover the smell, break down the waste material, and detract flies. When the pit is within a foot from the top, cover it with debris and dig a new pit in a different location.
  • Ridge Lines: Ridge Lines are the best place to hang lanterns, keep clothing off the ground, or to hold a bag. Drying lines should always be used to ensure a place to air bedding material and clothing during the day or when wet.



In survival situations, a fire can fulfill many needs. It provides warmth and comfort, cooks and preserves food, purifies water, sterilizes bandages, signals for rescue, and provides protection from animal. Fire can cause problems a well, allowing the enemy to detect the smoke and light it produces. Weigh the needs for fire against the need to avoid enemy detection before starting one.

When selecting a site to build a fire, a soldier must consider the area (terrain and climate), the materials and tools available, time available, the required needs of a fire, and how close they are to the enemy. A fire should be built in a dry area that is protected from the wind. It should be suitably placed in relation to the shelter area and be able to concentrate heat in the desired direction. Ensure that a supply of wood or other fuel is available.

Common Materials to Make a Fire:

  • Tinder: bark, fine wood shavings, dead grass, dry moss and fungi, straw, sawdust, dead evergreen needles, punk (the rotten portions of dead logs or trees), bird feathers, dried vegetable fiber, dead palm leaves, lint from pockets, charred cloth, gunpowder, cotton.
  • Kindling: small twigs, small strips of wood, split wood, wood that has been doused with flammable materials such as gas, oil, or wax.
  • Fuel: Dry, standing wood and dry, dead branches. Dry inside of fallen tree trunks and large branches. Greenwood that is finely split. Dried grasses twisted into bunches. Peat dry enough to burn. Dried animal dung. Animal fats. Coal.

Tips for Firemaking:

  • In a wooded or brush-covered area, clear the brush and scrape the surface soil from the desired spot. Clear a circle at least 1 meter in diameter to prevent fire from spreading.
  • Construct a fire wall using logs or rocks if time allows. This will reflect direct heat in the direction needed and reduce sparks and cut down on wind blowing into the fire.
  • Fire requires air to burn, so ensure there is enough available.
  • Do not use wet or porous rocks, which will explode when heated.



In a survival situation, cleanliness is an important factor in preventing infection and disease and will improve chances of survival.

A daily bath with hot water and soap is ideal, but a cloth and soapy water may be a possible alternative method. Special attention should be made to the feet, armpits, crotch, hands, and hair as these are prime areas for infestation and infection. If water is scarce, an “air bath” may be taken by removing as much clothing as practical and exposing the body to the sun and air for one hour.

A certain amount of rest is needed to keep going. Plan for regular rest periods of at least 10 minutes per hour during daily activities.





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