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U.S. Army Field Manuals
are published by the United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...
's Army Publishing Directorate. As of 27 July 2007, some 542 field manuals were in use. They contain detailed information and how-to
A how-to or a how to is an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish some specific task. A how-to is usually meant to help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic...
s for procedures important to soldiers serving in the field. They are usually available to the public at low cost or free electronically. Many websites have begun collecting PDF versions of Army Field Manuals, Technical Manuals and Weapon Manuals.
Use of the US Field Manuals
At least one field manual is in the public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...
. Especially for people training survival skills
Survival skills are techniques a person may use in a dangerous situation to save themselves or others...
(e.g., survivalists, adventurous travellers
Backpacking is a term that has historically been used to denote a form of low-cost, independent international travel. Terms such as independent travel and/or budget travel are often used...
and tourists, poor people, e.g., subsistence farmers in the third world), the US Field Manuals may be a valuable resource.
Wikifying the Field Manuals
According to The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...
(14 August 2009), the Army has started to "wikify" certain field manuals – allowing any authorized user to update the manuals. See the Times
List of selected field manuals
- FM 1 – "establishes the fundamental principles for employing landpower." Together, it and FM 3-0 are considered by the U.S. Army to be the "two capstone doctrinal
Military doctrine is the concise expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military...
- FM 3-0 Operations – The operations guide "lays out the fundamentals of war fighting for future and current generations of recruits."
- FM 3-0.5.130 Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare. Establishes keystone doctrine for Army special operations forces (ARSOF) operations in unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare is the opposite of conventional warfare. Where conventional warfare is used to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing...
- FM 5–31 Boobytraps – Describes how regular demolition charges and materials can be used for victim-initiated explosive devices
A booby trap is a device designed to harm or surprise a person, unknowingly triggered by the presence or actions of the victim. As the word trap implies, they often have some form of bait designed to lure the victim towards it. However, in other cases the device is placed on busy roads or is...
. This manual is no longer active, but is still frequently referenced.
- FM 3–21.8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad
- FM 3–24 Counterinsurgency – Published December 2006.
- FM 21–76 US Army Survival Manual – Used to train survival techniques.
- FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation
The US Army Field Manual on Interrogation, sometimes known by the military nomenclature FM 34-52, is a 177-page manual describing to military interrogators how to conduct effective interrogations while conforming with US and international law...
– Used to train interrogators in conducting effective interrogations while conforming with US and international law. Updated in December 2005 to include a 10-page classified
Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...
section as a result of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
Beginning in 2004, human rights violations in the form of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq came to public attention...
scandal. Replaced in September 2006 by FM 2-22.3 Human Intelligence Collector Operations
Army Field Manual 2 22.3, or FM 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations, was issued by the Department of the Army on September 6, 2006. The manual gives instructions on a range of issues, such as the structure, planning and management of human intelligence operations, the debriefing of...
- FM 3-21.20 – covers the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)
- FM 27-10 (2005) – Cornerstone of rules of war for the US Military.
- FM 3–25.150 (Combatives
Combatives is a United States Army term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques.-History:Militaries have long taught unarmed combat, both as physical conditioning and as a supplement to armed combat. Among the samurai of Japan, such combatives were known as Bujutsu...
- FM 3–21.5 (Drill and Ceremony)
- Army Publishing Directorate homepage at army.mil -Free Field Manuals and other publications in .pdf format.
- Inventory of Field Manuals available at the US Army Heritage & Education Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
- 500 Field Manuals online at survivalebooks.com
- Incomplete list of active field manuals at army.mil
- Field Manuals online at globalsecurity.org
- What's an Army field manual? by Slate
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...
- The U.S. Army Stability Operations Field Manual The U.S. Army, with forewords by Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, Michèle Flournoy, and Shawn Brimley and a New Introduction by Janine Davidson. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press
The University of Michigan Press is part of the University of Michigan Library and serves as a primary publishing unit of the University of Michigan, with special responsibility for the creation and promotion of scholarly, educational, and regional books and other materials in digital and print...