Night Skills
Special thanks to Zerodark30

This episode of "Skills" will offer several drills to practice, in addition to a substantial number of hints, tips, and important information.

We begin with a few factors used to gain combat advantage. These will be addressed to a team or unit leader.

1. Visit the men; "One for all, and all for one." Make prompt decisions. Use "buddy teams" in positions.
2. Keep automatic fire quiet when not necessary. It draws attention (and return fire!) and reduces the surprise of later sudden auto fire.
3. During night battle, each man needs a specific objective to counter indecision and lack of confidence.
4. In the dead of night, sound carries better than at dawn or dusk. Thus, attack at dawn or just past sundown to take advantage of muffled sound.
5. Don't forget the call of nature! Empty bowels before night operations.

Now, some hints about night movement:
1. Don't let your men comment when they fall.
2. Don't run at night, if possible. If you must, lift the feet extra high.
3. Keep men informed about reasons for halts. They tend to ignore their sectors as they wonder about they reason they've stopped...
4. Have the men jump up and down before leaving, so you can detect rattles.
5. Don't let your men bury their heads while under fire. They need to watch the tracer paths to locate enemy positions.
6. Try to step in the footsteps of the person in front of you. That space has been "cleared"(no twigs, rocks, or mines).
7. Bushes and branches should be carefully pushed aside-not broken off. Broken branches leave white spots that are very visible at night. Firing at Night by Pointing

To fire, shoulder your weapon and with your dominant eye about 2 inches directly over your rifle, concentrate on the BASE of the target. There is always a tendency to fire high in the dark. Shoot as soon as the rifle is pointed with a sharp pull on the trigger, not with a steady squeeze!


A. Night Walking
Participants: 1 or more.
Gear: Rifle, blindfold.
Go to a remote wooded area. Put on the blindfold. Carrying your rifle at-the-ready, slowly lift your left foot nearly knee high, balancing on your right, and then ease it forward, feeling for twigs and tripwires Put your toe down about 6 inches in front of you, feeling for loose stones.

Settle on your toe, then your heel, QUIETLY! When you have solid footing, shift your weight forward and slowly lift your right foot. Practice until you get into a slow rhythm.

B. Prone Positioning
Requirements: same as above.
Move into a prone firing position by tucking your rifle under one arm and feeling the space in front of you with your other hand, while you slowly squat. Move slowly, so you can freeze in place, to avoid breaking twigs or tugging on tripwires. Slowly feel for the ground with your free hand. Support your weight on that hand and the opposite knee and extend your free leg toward the rear. Roll quietly onto your extended leg. Extend the other leg and roll back into position without a sound! If you feel a noisemaker, stop and remove it, then continue rolling into place. Do this as a part of exercise A.

C. Pointing Practice
Requirements: same as above.
Go on a hike with your rifle, day or night. Don't just carry it, gesture and point with it!! Spend 30 minutes of every hour you hike doing this. Point at birds, noises, windblown debris, sounds, etc. The tendency is to shoot high at night, so point at the base of your targets.

D. Hand Grenades
Hand grenades are often the weapon of choice at night. They don't give away your position and are effective even if they miss because they can still stun and surprise your opponents!

Equipment: Dummy grenades, dayglo tape or paint, flashlight.
Go to your remote location at night. Have your dummy grenades taped or painted for easy finding. Place the flashlight in a fixed position on the ground. Go back from it about 40 yards. Then, slowly approach it as you practiced, above. when you are 15-20 yards from it, take a prone position. Be particularly CAREFUL about overhead obstacles! You don't want to bounce a grenade back into your position. Lob your dayglo grenades at the flashlight. Retrieve them and give them to the next man, who should be in position by that time.

Note: You may want to consider underhand delivery in a heavy overgrowth area.