Tips from an Old Top Kick
From the Ordinance Soldiers Guide
Perhaps your duty will carry you to England. If so, you’ll be given a book when you get on the boat - a book designed to help you get along with our Allies. We can give you a few tips now, though.
Remember that when you’re in England, you’ll be a guest. Don’t be impolite.
Don’t tell the English we won the last war for them. We didn’t. We helped to win it, and so did they — but they lost 16 times as many men as we did. You’ll probably find England a bit different than what you expected. You’ll find many of the houses unpainted, because the British have things to make which are more important than paint. You’ll find many buildings grimy - because Englishmen have been a little too busy to wash them.
And speaking of Englishmen, they’ll seem a bit reserved, judging by American standards. A typical Briton won’t speak to you unless you speak to him first. That doesn’t mean he isn’t interested; it’s a British custom of respecting the other fellow’s privacy.
You’re in the best—paid Army in the world, but don’t flaunt your roll. The British Tommies don’t like to be constantly reminded that they’re not as well paid has we are.
Don’t make a play for a Tommy’s girl. She may like it but he won’t. You may become involved in a physical discussion and get thrown in the pokey. Of course, if you can find a single, unattached girl, more power to you. You’ll probably acquire some English slang, too. Just remember when and where to use it. "Bloody", for example, should never be used in front of a girl - it’s a low-down cussword. In Brooklyn, a "bum" is a Dodger. ln England, it means somebody’s back side.
You’ll learn as you go along. just remember, it’s impolite to criticize your hosts. lt’s militarily stupid to criticize your Allies.
Guardsman Patrick Tivey of the British Coldstream Guards passes a word to the wise from his station in Libya. Writing for the American Magazine, he says that water’s scarce in the desert, so if you want hot water for shaving, drain some from a truck radiator. lt’s a little rusty, but you’re not going to drink it. And when you’ve finished, pour it back into the radiator again.
You can heat your canned emergency rations with a truck. Just wire the can around the exhaust manifold. Then, when you stop for chow, dinner’s hot. Don’t make a cooking fire unless you have to - but if you must, take a 5-gallon gasoline can, shovel in 6 or 8 inches of sand and about a quart of gasoline, and light it. The sand acts like a wick.
Plenty of men in Libya died because they were too lazy to dig a slit trench. Look at page 2 5 to see how it’s done. Remember, not too deep, or it might cave in. just get below ground level.
ln addition to what Guardsman Tivey says, here are a few extra tips. In the desert, you must discipline yourself in the use of water. Get the habit of drinking very little during the day. It’s especially tough to do this if you smoke a great deal, so you’d better cut down on cigarettes, too.
At all times you should wear a woolen "belly band" to prevent stomach chills. This is necessary even on the hottest days. If your girl likes to knit sweaters, there’s your answer.
lf you wind up in jungle country, get yourself a pocket knife before you go into the interior. It’s apt to be your most valued possession. Carry your matches in a special waterproof container. Otherwise, perspiration alone will ruin them. Always sleep under a mosquito net. In the rainy season, and at other times if possible, sleep off the ground; You and your buddy, if using a pup tent, can build a little platform of forked twigs and branches, at least a foot off the ground, l‘&S1'1lI’l‘g' the parts together with vines. Pitch shelter tent and mosquito netting on the platform.
Avoid brushing against trees and bushes wherever possible, since many are poisonous.
lf you’re unlucky enough to be bitten by a jungle snake, don’t run. Kill the snake if possible, as identification is an aid to medical treatment. Apply a tourniquet, if you’re bitten on an arm or leg, and send your buddy y for a medical officer immediately.
If you should get lost, remember these points. Streams and water courses are usually found if you go downhill, and these sooner or later will lead to inhabited regions. A light improvised spear with barbed points will enable you to kill fish. Edible fruits can usually be identified by signs of animals having eaten them. Avoid eating unknown fruits except in an extreme emergency.
Remember that if you keep relaxed and use your head, you can live and travel alone for weeks in the jungle.
When you’re on duty in cold climates, one of the dangers you’ll face will be freezing and frostbite. Freezing is not always accompanied by pain. It is indicated by a grayish or whitish appearance of the skin. It’s a good idea to wrinkle the face from time to time to discover any stiffness caused by freezing. If a part of your face seems stiff, you can thaw it by placing your bare hand over the area until circulation is restored.
Don’t wear a beard. Frost from the breath accumulates on the whiskers, and you’ll wind up with a frozen pan. Either shave frequently, using an oily shaving cream, or keep the beard closely trimmed with clippers.
You’ll have to wear snow glasses during the daytime to prevent snow—blindness. In an emergency, you can blacken the skin around your eyes, just like an . outfielder on a ball club.
If you have to wade across shallow streams or overflows in regions of extreme cold with shoes that are not waterproof, try this: Dip the shoes into the water and withdraw them quickly. A thin coating of ice will form. Then you can wade quickly across, and after a few minutes, the ice will crack off your shoes. It’s an old Eskimo trick.
Speaking of shoes, it’s a good idea. to stuff dried grass around your feet, inside the shoes. The grass should be changed daily. Also, a handful of dried. grass held in the hands will help to retain heat.
No matter where you go in the service of your country, you’re a part of the best=clothed, best-equipped and best-paid. army in the world. That doesn’t` make it the best army in the world - because only you can do that. From now on it’s up to you.