Terrain Association - Night Navigation


Darkness presents its own characteristics for land navigation because of limited or no visibility. However, the techniques and principles are the same that are used for day navigation. The success in nighttime land navigation depends on rehearsals during the planning phase before the movement, such as detailed analysis of the map to determine the type of terrain in which the navigation is going to take place and the predetermination of azimuths and distances. Night vision devices (see Appendix H) can greatly enhance night navigation.

a. The basic technique used for nighttime land navigation is dead reckoning with several compasses recommended. The point man will be in front of the navigator but just a few steps away for easy control of the azimuth. Smaller steps are taken during night navigation, so remember, the pace count will be different. It is recommended that a pace count obtained by using a predetermined 100­meter pace course be used at night.

b. Navigation using the stars is recommended in some areas; however, a thorough knowledge of constellations and location of stars is needed (see paragraph 9­5c). The four cardinal directions can also be obtained at night by using the same technique described for the shadow­tip method. Just use the moon instead of the sun. In this case, the moon has to be bright enough to cast a shadow.