Night Operations

When you are moving at night, certain rules apply. Carry out detailed rehearsals of the mission and immediate actions to be taken in the event of an attack. Always pass orders and messages in a whisper from man to man. Arrange a simple system of signals such as a finger click or tap on a weapon to alert the troops. Always take particular care when crossing open spaces, gaps in vegetation, roads, or tracks where the unit may be skylined. Always check the direction of the unit at regular intervals. One method is to leapfrog one man ahead with a light and a radio and direct him to stand at a precise location using a compass bearing, then march to the man and repeat the exercise. Halt at regular intervals to listen for the sounds of enemy activity, pursuit, or other noises that will give you information.

The main differences members will face when operating at night are:

1. It is difficult for the enemy to fire aimed shots at the unit.
2. Hearing replaces sight as the primary sense. Silent drill must be observed.
3. Objects are generally only visible in skylines or with light at their
back. Avoid silhouettes and lighted areas.
4. Maintaining direction is more difficult.
5. Control of the unit is more difficult.

Ten Points for a Night Attack
1. Minimize noise: tape down anything that rattles (ie those orange connecters between the strap and the gun)
2. Keep weapons ready to fire with plenty of water.
3. Make sure you can see the man to your right and left.
4. Watch for signals and make sure to pass them on.
5. Tell your skirmishing partner when you have to refil.
6. Carry only that needed for the night operations.
7. Always keep your weapon fully loaded.
8. Do not bunch up on the objective or while marching.
9. Keep your equipment in close touch.
10. Rely on hearing over sight

While working and performing tasks in daylight, the exposure to light directly affects night vision. Ideally units that are to be involved in night assaults or recons should remain in a tent or low light area throughout the preperations to the night battle. A members hearing becomes more acute at night. This is physically due to the increased moisture in the air. In addition, as sight deteriorates, members will concentrate more on their hearing. It is imperative that troops learn the importance of hearing and use it to its full advantage.

Night Operation Tips and Techniques
1. Routes may be marked with chemical sticks, flashlights, or other small light sources. Bright soakers should be shielded from sight of the enemy.
2. Glow in the dark tape can be used to identify vehicles. Patterns can be arranged to designate particular units or items.
3. Commanders should depend on scouts who are familiar with the terrain and have traveled it in daylight.
4. Readily identifiable terrain features such as dominating hills, unusual terrain formations, or man made structures should be used for orientation to facilitate night movement or maneuver.
5. Identifiable stars, such as the North Star and the Big and Little Dippers, can be used to maintain correct direction and heading.
6. When moving, the 12 O’clock position should always be the direction of travel (this goes for daylight travel as well).
7. Target detection can be improved by offset illumination as it produces a better three-dimensional effect than direct illumination.
8. Interlocking defensive fires at night are crucial.
9. Every troop should be assigned a particular fire zone. Defensively by stakes or marks and offensively by the clock method. This prevents troops from shooting each other in the confusion of the night battle.
10. Night Vision (if available) should not be used by every position. The other senses should be used by at least every other night defense or sentry position.
11. Reduce noise signature of each member’s equipment.
12. Use motion sensors or rock filled cans as early warning systems.
13. Blue/Green light should be used at night instead of red light because red light shows up at several hundred yards away

Maneuvers at night
1. Keep all maneuvers simple.
2. Be aware of animals. Do not blow your ambush on a rabbit.
3. Consider moving defensive positions after dark so enemy daylight reconnaissance will be ineffective.
4. Reserve units should be moved to different positions.
5. All men should maintain visual contact with their squadmates.

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