I am reading Matterhorn and don't understand how the Marines moved through the tall elephant grass with Vancouver in the front, while Mellas navigated behind him. It reads like they could not see much in front or behind each other.
How would Mellas guide Vancouver through the tall grass being behind him without making noise that would give away their position?
As an infantry (grunt) in Vietnam it was not uncommon to get into thick grass and bamboo while on point. The slack man (second person in file) would concentrate on direction (compass headings) while the point worked or hacked through the growth. Most often the squad or platoon leader would be a little behind point (around 4th or 5th in line) and give direction (compass bearings) by hand signal or sending word "up the line". Point was dangerous and spooky. In most situations point took the area to the front, slack to one side (front) and 3rd man opposite side) while walking in column. The column would take alternating sides along the route (covering all sides) and rear security would watch the back trail. As for making noise...there was always some noise made but experienced grunts watched foot placement and also took care in moving brush etc. It was slow and tedious and exhausting movement....always adreneline pumping by being hyper alert. That very adreneline flow, over a years tour of duty, is why many vets experienced such a drive for excitement and or crazy behaviour when they returned. Hard to turn off the adrenneline rush....it takes time to re-acclimate the nervous system ---hence PTSD...Many people think it is all psychological..and much is ...but a lot is physiological affects of the constant adrenneline over long periods of time.