Cornerstones of night fighting

The more that darkness is avoided, the better. Daybreak is favourable because you can recognize one another. You do not risk killing your own men. And the cowards, who think they can run away in the shadows, are not able to do it as well when the officers are able to distinguish them.” This was said by Frederick the Great who ruled the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786. Other such notables as Napoleon and Clausewitz have cautioned that night operations should be undertaken only under very unusual circumstances, and then only for limited objectives.

The proliferation of night vision technology on today’s battlefield has essentially turned the night into day. Also, the superior advances have been made in night vision technology. In addition, the tempo of combat may lead to necessitating a review or improve of current night fighting doctrines and tactics. Unlike the tacticians of old, today’s tactician has no choice. Modern armies can and will fight effectively at night, and the force that cannot cope with darkness will lose the battle.

Most likely, when one considers operating at night, psychological and physiological considerations must be considered. Man is not nocturnal by nature. Our instinctive reaction to darkness is to find a secure place, rest, and wait for daylight. Simple tasks take longer to perform at night.  Fatigue seems more debilitating.  An enemy felt but unseen is more sinister than one whose presence and activity can be observed.  Of course, these difficulties of the night apply to the enemy as well. The proliferation of night-vision equipment and modern weaponry has increased the advantages gained from night operations, but it has not substantially reduced the psychological effect of darkness on humans.

Successful night operation depends on the aspects of training and leadership and should include both individual and unit skills. Capable night vision devices will help for the success, but if the skills of soldiers and units are not at a high level, even the best equipment does not guarantee the winning. Night training and constant rehearsals are essential to a unit’s success at night.

For a commander and soldier, it is important to know the adversary’s skills and equipment. Night, darkness, and bad weather conditions enables to surprise the adversary if the unit is well-trained. A detailed reconnaissance of the terrain and an understanding of the enemy situation are essential, especially if units are doing offensive operation. These two requirements are key in any attack but take on even greater importance at night, and if not conducted will lead to failure. In conjunction with this information, the value of preparation time comes to the forefront.

When commander/leader is developing the scheme of offensive manoeuvre, a simple concept, but a detailed plan is required. In night operations the objective must be easily identifiable, limited in size, and singular. The size of the objective and the strength of the enemy should be directly proportionate to the size of the assault echelon. Secrecy in preparation relates directly to the degree of surprise one will achieve in executing a night attack. 

Attacking units must be judicious in the selection of the terrain, maximizing cover and concealment and not relying on the straight-line approach from the line of departure to the objective. A “business as usual” attitude should prevail and nothing out of the ordinary should be done to reveal our intentions. A well-trained and capable unit will benefit the night and bad weather conditions.

In Senop we consider that night fighting gear shall be simple to use, light and robust to stand the stress on military environments. Image performance and energy consumption are also key requirements for our night vision devises. Our mission is to support our end users (soldiers and units) in harsh and extreme conditions, to make them see the unseen.

Senop VVLITE night vision goggles and the most modern Senop NVG M40 Monocular are designed to support the dismounted soldier in his/her main tasks, to move and fight in darkness. NVG M40 Monocular is one of the lightest high-performance NVGs on the market. It is obvious that in close combat a soldier must react fast suddenly occurring combat objects. The weapon mounted laser sight gives advantage in those scenarios. Senop M20 Tactical Laser is a laser sight with a visible laser, an IR-laser, and an IR- illuminator. It’s easy to use and has long operating hours and can be used in both day and night-time.

Our solutions to support reconnaissance, target acquisition and forward observation are Senop LISA and Senop LILLY handheld target acquisition and surveillance systems. Both systems have an uncooled thermal imager, a direct view optical channel, navigation systems, a laser rangefinder, a digital magnetic compass and versatile connectivity.

Effective fire support is essential when conducting night operations. Senop VV3X Night Sight is suitable for a variety of weapons from assault rifles to medium-sized weapons such as machine guns. HUSKY Fire Control Thermal Sight (FCTS) is ideal for a wide range of applications including automatic grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and remote weapon stations. FCTS is a smart and accurate weapon sight with an integrated uncooled thermal imager, an eyesafe laser rangefinder, a global positioning system, an inertial measurement unit, a digital magnetic compass, and a ballistic computer. Senop Advanced Fire Control Device TI (AFCD TI) is an intelligent and accurate weapon sight especially designed for Saab Dynamics Carl Gustaf system. AFCD TI improves the hit probability and capability of that widely used and effective multi-role weapon.

We want our customers to make most of our product’s features, so effective training, ILS issues and after sails services are important for us. Capable night vision devices will help for the success, but well-trained soldiers, high-performance tactics make units fight effectively at night and win.