These hand signals combined with the Combat Survival and Combat Effective signals will enable the operator to convey most any message without the need to speak, though they may not be used very often. For a multimedia presentation of all NATO hand signals, refer to the hand and arm signal article at ODJournal.com.
I Don’t Understand
This signal is given by showing a flattened palm and moving it back and forth horizontally.
The disregard signal is given by holding them hands above the head with your palms facing forward. The arms cross at the wrists. It is given to tell someone to disregard your last signal.
The wait signal is given by touching the finger tips together with the palm facing up. It is used to tell someone to wait.
This signal is given by making a gun shape with the hand and holding the hand so that the thumb touches the chin. The Index finger is fluttered.
This is asked by pointing a finger up and rotating another finger around it as if an analog clock is sitting on the first finger facing up and the second is pointing at the numbers.
The where signal is given by pointing at a location at your left and right repeatedly.
This signal is given by holding two closed fists in front of you and opening them into open hands as you raise them.
This signal is given by tapping the back of one’s own head. It is very similar to the “Cover Me” signal but is used to request a head count of the unit.
The request for a pace count is given by tapping the boot repeatedly.
This signal is given by extending your arm behind you with flattened palm facing down and lowering it repeatedly.
This signal is the opposite of the “decrease speed”signal. It is given by extending your arm behind you with flattened palm facing up and raising it repeatedly.
The danger areas signal is given by making a motion as if you are cutting your throat. This is usually passed from the point man to the Patrol Leader as a request for how to deal with the danger area.
This signal is given by forming the thumb, index finger and middle finger into an upper case “L”. This is most often followed by the “Prepare for Action” signal. Members will seek the closest possible concealment and remain motionless.
Often mistook for the “I See” signal, this signal is given by pointing at one’s eyes with the index and middle finger of one hand.
This signal is given to designate a specific squad and is done by holding the arm out to the side and bending the hand up and down. The hand then shows the number of the squad without moving the arm.
This signal is given by tapping the chest and then showing the number of the squad. It is used as a request for a specific squad leader to come to your position.
Fire Team Leader
This signal is given by tapping the belt buckle and showing the number of the fire team. It is used as a request for a specific fire team leader to your position.
Numbers one through five are shown by holding the hand up and showing the correct number of fingers.
Numbers one through five are shown by holding the hand down and showing five less than the correct number of fingers.