Night operations call for disciplined, cool, self-reliant troops. The mental strain involved in night combat is severe; it is easier to endure in periods of activity than during long spells of inactivity. This is why at night—even more so than by day—he who takes the initiative has the advantage. However, since orientation and co-ordination will become increasingly difficult, this initial advantage diminishes as the attack progresses.
Darkness is helpful in achieving surprise, and the attacker will derive additional advantages from the defender's inability to aim his fire effectively. To maintain control and intraunit contact and communication is difficult during the hours of darkness, and unit commanders must therefore prepare every detail of the operation plan with meticulous care. Any contingency, however farfetched, must be taken into consideration. Success of a night attack also depends on the resourcefulness and initiative of subordinate leaders and their ability to make independent decisions in line with the over-all plan. Furthermore, since frequent and accurate reporting is of great importance, the existence of a smoothly operating communication system is essential.
Every possible method of deception, camouflage, and concealment must be employed in night operations.
II. Physical and Psychological Factors
The effect of events taking place at night increases or decreases in proportion to the degree of darkness. Operations taking place during moonlight and starlit nights, especially across snow-covered terrain, may approximate daytime conditions. Very hazy, rainy, foggy, or overcast weather calls for reliance on the auditory rather than on the visual sense and makes increased demands upon physical stamina and mental balance.
The reaction pattern to night operations is not uniform. In general, men originating from rural areas adjust quickly and easily, whereas former city dwellers take a long time and encounter many difficulties in getting used to the peculiarities of night conditions. Darkness acts as a strong stimulus to the imagination and thus burdens the nervous system; a feeling of insecurity, which might eventually lead to panic, may be the
outcome. The sensitivity of eyes and ears differs between night and day, with the result that in darkness objects seem bigger and distances greater. The ears exaggerate sounds that would hardly be perceptible during the day.
Nights are normally used for resting, and for this reason fatigue and symptoms of exhaustion afflict those who have to stay awake. Unit commanders must bear in mind that uninterrupted night duty is more strenuous than similar daytime activities. Young men are not necessarily better equipped to overcome night fatigue than men belonging to older age groups. To a certain degree, however, everyone can readjust his senses and habits through continuous practice.
III. Exercise of Command
In a situation in which a daytime operation promises success, a resolute and bold commander will continue the action into the night. Determined pursuit of a weakened enemy may result in a major victory. Although mobile units are generally most suitable for launching a pursuit, foot infantry may be employed to great advantage, especially when the terrain and weather conditions reduce the mobility of motorized forces. A well-planned airborne operation, either independent of or in conjunction with ground operations, may be particularly effective in such a situation.
A commander whose air and armored power is manifestly inferior to the enemy's may score at night if his infantry is tough and has sufficient élam. In general, tactical movements in the proximity of enemy lines can be undertaken only under cover of darkness. In some instances it may be advisible to engage the enemy only at night, if daytime fighting would lead to heavy casualties.
Success of night operations depends primarily on careful planning, detailed preparation, simplicity of the operation order and tactical procedure, achievement of surprise, and the leaders' calmness and circumspection. Every officer who is to participate in a night operation must be initiated into the plan. The more thorough the daytime preparations, the more certain the success. Tactical maneuvers and the mechanical handling and servicing of weapons and equipment are slowed down and complicated by darkness. Proper condition and meticulous care of weapons and equipment are essential.
At night the example of leaders exercises a strong influence on the troops. It is imperative that the leaders share danger with their men and inspire them by their own courage and
determination. A reverse or defeat suffered at night has a more lasting effect on the troops' morale than one suffered during the day.
Night orientation is based on careful daytime reconnaissance, thorough study of maps—including captured ones—and the knowledge of prominent landmarks and celestial bodies. To facilitate orientation one may use the prismatic compass, radio beam apparatus, line-of-site [i.e., line of sight] fire by mortars, illumination of enemy terrain, by artillery fire on inflammable targets, fires lighted behind one's own MLR, Very lights, parachute flares, searchlights, machine gun tracer fire, mortar salvos at prearranged orienting points, and specific night fire orientation tables.
Reconnaissance must be an uninterrupted effort; frequently the most useful information is gathered through night reconnaissance. During the hours of darkness friendly patrols are able to penetrate deep into enemy territory to points from which they can observe enemy movements during daytime.
In darkness reconnaissance patrols can usually determine only whether or not a specific area is occupied by the enemy. To gather more detailed information about the strength, composition, and weapons of the enemy forces, reconnaissance in force must be carried out by patrols that should return with prisoners of war.
As in daytime, patrols advance by bounds. During very dark nights, when the enemy is within close proximity of the friendly lines, reconnaissance and security activities may coincide.
Every effort should be made to carry out reconnaissance during daytime in order to obtain essential information for launching a night attack. The reconnaissance elements will then be able to guide the attack forces across the intermediate terrain at night.
Motorized patrols are generally unsuitable for battlefield reconnaissance because of the noise they make. If, however, motorized elements must be employed, they should be sufficiently strong to be capable of fighting their way back to friendly lines. Engineer detachments should accompany them on such missions.
Collecting information for use by the artillery at night is especially important and is the responsibility of the observation battalion. Evaluation of the elements of information should be performed at an evaluation center located near the artillery command post. When operations progress at a rapid pace, it will
rarely be possible to employ the entire observation battalion in properly surveyed positions.
Short-range communication intelligence operations performed by radio intercept and direction finding teams may be effective, particularly in a defensive situation or during a retrograde movement.
The closer the co-operation between all ground and air reconnaissance elements, the more accurate will be the commanders' estimate of the enemy situation.
At night, when troops are at rest, in combat, or on the move, security is closely related to reconnaissance. Precautions must be taken against surprise ground and air attacks, and against observation by the enemy. All units, even those in rear areas, must be highly security conscious.
A strong infantry point, marching 300 to 400 yards ahead of a reinforced combined arms battalion, will usually provide adequate security for a night movement. The distance between this advance guard and the main body depends primarily upon the degree of darkness and should in general not exceed 1,000 yards. Flank security elements should remain close to the moving column; their strength depends on the nature of the terrain. Motorized units should be preceded by advance detachments or picked advance guard units to which engineers should always be attached.
In a defensive situation the security elements should be as close to the enemy as possible so that approaching enemy forces can be detected at an early moment and appropriate measures to intercept them can be taken. The security detachments should be alert and observe the roads as well as the intermediate terrain. They must carry ample signal equipment. Patrols should be sent out to maintain contact between the security elements if the terrain is close and the enemy situation obscure. Securing communication centers and traffic arteries in rear areas is particularly important if there is danger of infiltration by enemy ground forces, paratroops, or partisans.
In darkness, movements can be far better concealed from enemy ground and air observation than in daylight. The smooth execution of a movement depends upon careful road reconnaissance, easily identifiable road markings, efficient traffic regulation, and proper employment of engineer units.
If a movement that should be concealed from the enemy cannot possibly be completed during the hours of darkness, the responsible commander must decide whether it should start before dark and end before daybreak or begin after dusk and terminate in daylight. The decision will depend primarily upon the over-all plan.
During the night the average unit can march one and a quarter to two and a half miles an hour. Under favorable conditions infantry forces can cover greater distances at night than during the day, but night marches and movements are more strenuous. Marches along a wide front with full utilization of the entire road net are often more advantageous than marches in great depth along only a few roads. The best results are obtained if march schedules are rigidly adhered to and phase lines reached at the designated time. Since night movements require particularly careful supervision, light aircraft may be used for this purpose. Even in rear areas strict march discipline should be enforced. Headlights should either be removed or given a coating of blue paint.
If the road net and time permit, night movements should be carried out in dispersed formation in depth so that only a few march elements ran be discovered and identified if the terrain is illuminated by enemy night reconnaissance planes.
During the approach to the enemy lines strict sound discipline must be observed. Phase lines must be designated for motorized vehicles, beyond which they are not allowed to proceed until ordered to do so. Harassing and interdictory fire from artillery, antiaircraft, and infantry weapons, as well as low-flying aircraft, can be employed to conceal the noise of motorized vehicles and thus deceive the enemy.
In the immediate proximity of the enemy all movements will have to be carried out in complete silence. Orders must be transmitted in a whisper; no other talking should be permitted. Weapons and equipment must be carried in such a way that they do not clatter. Wherever necessary, manpower will replace motor traction. The striking of matches, smoking, or any other use of light must be avoided. If contact with the enemy is expected, exposed parts of the soldier's body should be blackened. During the winter a white outer garment should be worn over the uniform.
Proper assembly preparations must be made before launching a night attack against well-established enemy positions. If a major
offensive operation is planned, several nights will generally be needed for the approach, assembly, and execution of the attack, especially during summer when nights are short.
Assembly areas must be protected. If the attack is to be launched by fresh troops, units manning the MLR will be responsible for security during the assembly period. Tactical air support units, in particular fighter forces operating in conjunction with ground troops, will have to clear and secure the air over the approach routes and assembly areas. Antiaircraft defense must be organized before the start of night movements and before the ground troops arrive in the assembly areas.
In order not to reveal one's intentions prematurely, it is best to wait until the night immediately preceding the attack before moving the assault forces, the artillery, and the armored and motorized elements to their jump-off positions. Headquarters staffs, reconnaissance teams of the individual arms, and battery details should be moved up ahead of the main body of troops so that they can obtain in advance the data needed for the planning and execution of the attack.
The movement of large numbers of troops into an assembly area during a single night requires meticulous timing and rigid traffic regulation. It is advisable to control these movements by a special staff having the authority to regulate the traffic and sufficient traffic control personnel at its disposal.
A dense communications network, including fully operational control points, should be established along the approach routes to guarantee the smooth flow of movements. Approach routes should be marked with luminous signs. Delays caused by broken down vehicles will be avoided if POL dumps and recovery elements are placed along the approach routes and if detour routes are designated in advance. Units that are not included in the first attack wave should be held in rear areas to prevent traffic congestion.
Assembly at night is inherently difficult and is not worth undertaking unless every means of camouflage and deception is used to prevent detection by enemy reconnaissance.
Attempts to exploit a daytime success often lead to continuation of an attack at night. Surprise is especially effective in conducting limited-objective attacks in darkness. During a night attack the individual soldier's moral stamina is of particular importance. In many instances he will be engaged in hand-to-hand fighting.
The success of a night operation will depend upon meticulous and detailed preparations, including proper evaluation of reconnaissance reports; study of maps, including captured ones; terrain reconnaissance; familiarizing all officers and the maximum number of NCO's with terrain features in daytime and during the night-; reconnoitering and marking roads; carrying out road repairs and improvements with the assistance of engineer troops; preparing a fire plan for all supporting weapons; preparing a plan of maneuver; and establishing a communication network.
Surprise can be achieved by unexpected intervention of friendly forces at a point where there has been no previous contact, or by a variation in the direction and timing of the night attack if contact with the enemy has previously been established. In an effort to produce surprise the enemy should be lulled into a false sense of security by staging concentrations, by conducting deceptive movements behind the front accompanied by the noise of motor vehicles, etc. Other means of confusing the enemy before the start of an attack include unexpected variations in combat methods, deceptive and diversionary maneuvers, radio deception, and sudden concentrations fired by all weapons.
The timing of an attack depends on the over-all plan, strength and disposition of the attack forces, delays that may be encountered while assembling them and preparing all weapons for action, the strength of the enemy forces and their alertness, and, finally, visibility and weather conditions.
If the intent is to break through a well-established defense system in order to gain freedom of action, the attack should be timed to start a few hours before dawn. Against a well-prepared enemy such an attack will have a chance of success only if a complete penetration is achieved before daybreak, so that it can be exploited during the early morning hours. On the other hand, since limited-objective attacks launched at night ought to be concluded by daybreak, it is best to start them during the early hours of the night. In general, night attacks directed against enemy flanks are particularly effective.
he assault columns should be developed early in the attack, but deployed as late as possible. They should be echeloned in depth along a narrow zone of action. By keeping closed up, the columns will be able to maintain contact. Infantry heavy weapons should be placed in the center of the march columns until the battalions arrive at the jump-off positions. It may be advisable to assign a few guns to the lead battalions; artillery observers should always accompany the forward elements. Self-propelled guns, assault guns, and tanks are more mobile, but make more noise than horse-drawn guns.
Unit commanders should be well forward; reserves and engineer elements ought to be within their reach. Radio silence should be imposed until the start of the attack; if this is not feasible, the assault forces, which must be amply provided with radio sets, must impose strict radio discipline.
There will be no need for artillery preparation if it is expected that the night attack will achieve complete surprise and that the enemy forces will disintegrate after the initial assault. Every effort must be made to move the assault forces as close to the objective as possible without firing a shot, even though this may lead to premature detection of the plan by the enemy. Absolute silence must be maintained during the approach. The preparatory fire will commence upon request by telephone or radio. Light signals betray the presence of troops and may lead to confusion among the friendly forces.
Protected by the preparatory fire, the assault forces will make their way to the jump-off positions. Then, while the artillery shifts to counterbattery fire or to adjacent enemy sectors, the assault forces will advance, supported by their own heavy weapons and guns firing from the line of departure. Forming small attack groups the assault forces will fight their way into the enemy lines, using bayonets and other close-combat weapons. The simultaneous appearance of tanks and assault guns, as well as the use of flame throwers, may have a great psychological impact on the enemy.
Depending on the situation and the scope of their mission, the assault forces must regroup for the continuation of the attack or prepare themselves for defense against counterthrusts immediately after reaching their designated objective. Uninterrupted communication with the heavy weapons and artillery is essential. The direct-support guns attached to the assault forces should remain under the same jurisdiction until daybreak.
The attack should be broken off without any hesitation if it bogs down within the enemy's defense system and if there is no prospect of concluding it successfully by additional fire support, a change in maneuvers, or other means. In that event it may be necessary to move the assault forces back to their jump-off positions. If this should not he feasible, the attack forces will have to organize themselves for defense in the terrain they have seized. To repeat the attack during the same night at the same point is not advisable.
In the event that the assault force is composed exclusively of armored units, then the tanks, armored engineers, and armored infantry must operate as a team and stay close together to lend mutual support. If the armored force is sufficiently strong, it is
advisable to divide it into two waves. The first one should consist of tanks to lead the attack in line formation, their hatches closed, their lights off, and their guns firing; the second should be composed of the main body of armored personnel carriers and antitank weapons, and should be echeloned in depth to facilitate the shifting of forces and the protection of the flanks. The armored engineers should stay close to the assault force commander so that they can remove mine fields and other obstacles in an emergency. By refueling at the last possible moment and assuring the replenishment of ammunition, the forces should be fortified against the moment of weakness that occurs immediately after the initial objective has been seized.
As soon as the assault forces have penetrated the enemy's defense system, strong formations that possess maximum mobility and have been held in readiness in the rear area must advance through the gap without delay. A local penetration achieved at night may easily transform a static situation into a fluid one during which motorized formations can obtain freedom of maneuver. The annihilation of hostile elements capable of offering continued resistance must be left to the reserves backing up the initial assault wave.
If visibility is good, tactical air formations can lend effective support to the ground forces by attacking hostile artillery positions, units on the move, and troop concentrations in rear areas. Since detailed planning and close co-ordination with the ground forces are essential, air liaison detachments equipped with adequate means of communication should be made available for this purpose.
The carefully planned commitment of parachute units in conjunction with ground operations may lead to decisive results by paralyzing the enemy's will to resist. To find suitable drop zones and establish intraunit contact after landing are the principal difficulties connected with the employment of airborne troops by night. On the other hand, darkness handicaps the defender in determining the scope of landings and in distinguishing between actual airdrops and deceptive measures, such as the dropping of dummies.
Night pursuit may lead to the complete rout of defeated enemy forces because the pursuing troops have a decisive psychological advantage over the badly shaken enemy. When pursuing defeated hostile forces at night, the attacker must not lose contact with
them or permit them to catch their breath. Silence is no longer of any importance.
The pursuing elements may be composed of all arms. Armored units with self-propelled guns and mounted infantry, as well as foot troops with a few artillery batteries or pieces and antitank and assault guns, may be employed for this purpose. Engineers should always accompany the pursuit units to remove obstacles and clear mines without delay.
Night pursuit through unfamiliar terrain will usually confine the attack forces to roads. The speediest and surest way to overcome strong enemy resistance is to turn off the road and envelop the hostile forces. Enveloping maneuvers should be attempted, but the pursuing forces must not be diverted from their far-reaching objective by their efforts to envelop or encircle the enemy elements they have overtaken.
The air force can be of great assistance on the condition that close air-ground co-operation is maintained. Bold, continuous bombing and strafing attacks against retreating hostile forces have a decidedly demoralizing effect on the enemy command and troops. The conduct of night pursuit can be greatly facilitated by illuminating the enemy's route of withdrawal and by indicating by radio the position of the pursuing spearheads.
The strength of the defender's forces usually determines the defensive system he will adopt. Against an enemy who is capable of infiltrating the defender's MLR, a continuous front provides better protection than a system of strong points that save manpower but leave the security of the intermediate terrain to patrols.
The main battle position should be fortified as far back as the division command posts. Headquarters and service troops should be integrated into the defensive system.
The fire plan that governs the co-ordination of artillery with infantry heavy weapons and small arms must be established in conformance with existing fortifications. The plan for artillery fire by night will provide for interdiction fire, delivered automatically upon request of the outpost elements, on the strip of no man's land immediately in front of the forward trenches. The co-ordinates of certain areas within the main battle position must be determined in advance so that interdiction fire can be laid down immediately in the event that enemy forces succeed in penetrating the position. All weapons should deliver interdiction fire, and for this purpose the infantry heavy weapons must be integrated into the plan of artillery fire.
The fire plan will also include concentrations that will be fired by several batteries on specific terrain features which the enemy will have to occupy on his approach to the friendly lines. Moreover, the plan will provide for counterbattery fire based on air reconnaissance and ground observation, surprise fire pinpointed on command posts, approach routes, and localities in the rear areas, as well as harassing fire.
At night, patrol activities must be increased and the troops at the outposts and in the MLR should be reinforced if sufficient manpower is available. The no man's land should be lit by flares and searchlights placed in flanking positions. The meaning of each type of light signal must be clearly established and explained to all concerned.
In an attempt to prevent the enemy from making use of ground and air reconnaissance information obtained during the day, daytime troop dispositions should be changed after dusk. Such preventive measures will also protect friendly forces against hostile artillery preparations preceding a night attack and will prevent the capture of the forward elements by enemy combat patrols and raids. At night a defensive position must present a completely different picture from that shown during daytime. The enemy forces attacking by night will thus be faced by an unexpected situation.
Whenever possible, counterthrusts against enemy penetrations should be carried out during the hours of darkness so that friendly forces can capitalize on familiarity with the positions they formerly occupied. A counterthrust against the enemy's vulnerable flank is usually preferable to a frontal attack.
In the event that local reserves are incapable of immediately restoring the situation by a counterthrust or if no forces are readily available for this purpose, it is preferable not to get too involved in fighting but rather to wait until the situation has been clarified and sizable reserves have been moved up. Then, after systematic preparation, the counterattack can be launched at dawn or even later. Too much haste may lead to failure.
Close-combat antitank detachments, positioned at advantageous points, can often inflict severe losses on enemy tanks that have broken through the MLR. Assault guns and tanks, held in readiness by the defender, add impetus to a counterattack by giving mobile support to the foot soldiers. The destruction of enemy tanks that have managed to break through the main battle position will usually have to be delayed until daybreak, when they can be taken care of by antitank and artillery pieces.
Whenever the defender recognizes the imminence of a major enemy offensive, he should adopt appropriate countermeasures for
the hours of darkness. The outpost area should be evacuated to prevent excessive casualties from preparatory fire. However much terrain the defender decides to abandon, he must not forget that his objective is possession of the MLR by the time the engagement is over.
XII. Retrograde Movements
The best time to withdraw from action is after a successful defense. Darkness facilitates disengagement and may conceal a withdrawal from enemy observation and reconnaissance for a relatively long period.
Once a withdrawal is under way, the retiring forces must make every effort to put between themselves and the enemy the maximum distance in the shortest possible time. The hours of darkness must be used not only for the movement proper but also for occupying another position farther to the rear. All measures taken by the superior commander in charge of the withdrawal must facilitate smooth and rapid execution of the night movement.
To conceal the disengagement, a covering force should remain in contact with the enemy until the main body is already well on its way to the rear. The covering force is left in position with the mission of simulating normal night activity of the full garrison. An infantry division would leave a covering force composed of one or two rifle companies with heavy weapons support in each regimental sector. If possible, one roving gun should be left in each battery position. Normal radio traffic should be maintained so long as the covering force remains in contact with the enemy. Radio intelligence produces particularly valuable results during this phase of the fighting.
The covering force within each division sector should be placed under one commander who will also be responsible for the demolition of bridges after the last elements have crossed them.
When large bodies of troops are being withdrawn over long distances, it is advisable to leave only mobile troops in contact with the enemy. Their strength will be in proportion to the supplies available for their use. Ample provision of ammunition and fuel is essential. If tanks are to be included in the covering force, it must be remembered that any minor breakdown caused by mechanical failure may lead to the total loss of the vehicle. Adequate recovery equipment and sufficient engineer troops must be assigned to the covering force.
The following preparations should be made to guarantee the smooth withdrawal of the main body of troops:
a. All elements that can be spared, especially the service units, should be evacuated as early as possible. The ammunition and fuel supplies required for continued operations and for the march movement should be stored along the routes of withdrawal.
b. The withdrawing elements should be grouped into independent combat forces capable of fighting their way to the rear, if forced to do so.
c. Nonessential signal equipment should be dismantled and transferred to the new position in the rear. In any event, a reserve of signal equipment must be set aside before the start of the withdrawal.
d. A number of measures must be taken to avoid delays during the course of the withdrawal; these include traffic regulation, establishment of a recovery service, reconnoitering, and marking roads and detours. All signs must be removed by the last unit passing through the area.
Antiaircraft units must protect the march columns against enemy air attacks. Combat aviation may assist the withdrawing ground forces by attacking the pursuing enemy troops, thus delaying their advance.
Intermediate covering positions should be established in suitable terrain to protect the withdrawing units against unexpected enemy attacks. By defending those positions the covering forces will permit the main body of troops to continue its withdrawal without interference. The covering detachments should be composed of infantry, artillery, antitank, and engineer troops. In some instances antiaircraft batteries may be attached to the covering detachments. Flank protection is essential if the enemy attempts to envelop the withdrawing forces from adjacent sectors or by using side roads, or if he tries to block the route of withdrawal. Reserves should be set aside to cover the flanks.
The superior commander must move to the rear as soon as the withdrawal from action has taken place without major incident. Aside from controlling the retrograde movement of troops and taking precautionary measures to protect the flanks, his principal preoccupation must be to organize the defense of the new position or to regroup his forces for a different assignment.
Any measure that might betray one's intention to withdraw, such as the burning of supplies and stored equipment, premature demolitions in rear areas, or increased vehicular traffic must be avoided.
XIII. Position Warfare
a. Reconnaissance. In position warfare the reconnaissance ele-
ments have the following missions:
(1) To capture prisoners by sending out combat patrols or intercepting enemy patrols;
(2) To obtain information on the intentions of the enemy forces by determining at which points they have cleared mines and cut gaps into the barbed wire obstacles; and
(3) To ascertain the strength and disposition of the enemy forces in the outpost area and their movements behind the lines—this information is needed for launching an attack on the enemy positions.
A reconnaissance in force will constitute the most effective means of clarifying an uncertain situation and obtaining information on the enemy's strength, the disposition of his artillery pieces, and the number of infantry heavy weapons at his disposal. This information will permit the superior commander to draw valid conclusions as to the enemy's intentions. In many instances the same purpose can be achieved by deceptive measures designed to draw enemy fire, such as firing a concentration of all weapons on the enemy positions for only a few minutes.
Air reconnaissance over the enemy positions, battery emplacements, and over localities in the proximity of the front will provide information on changes in the enemy situation. Regular flights should be scheduled before dark and shortly after dawn for the purpose of photographing these areas. The aerial photographs, together with their evaluation, should be made available to the front-line commanders as soon as possible, since the latter can obtain a clear picture of the enemy situation only by collating air and ground reconnaissance information.
b. Security. During the night, outposts beyond the MLR should not be maintained at the same points as during daytime; frequent changes will prevent their becoming an easy prey for enemy patrols. Any kind of routine schedule in posting sentries at night should be avoided.
c. Troop Disposition. Only sentries and patrols equipped with small arms and a few light machine guns should occupy the outpost area. The bulk of the defense forces should be in the battle position. If an impending enemy attack is recognized in time, the outposts should be reinforced unless zone defense tactics are applied. In the event that the enemy makes a surprise attack, he ought to-be stopped at the MLR; contact with adjacent sectors should be re-established and a counterthrust initiated. The reserves are to be assembled near the company CP so that the company commander can lead the counterthrust, which should preferably be conducted against the flank of the enemy penetration.
d. Measures to Prevent Infiltration. Trip wires should be strung along the wire obstacles and at other points of the outpost area. These wires should be connected to an alarm system, including floodlights. Midget radar devices are superior to all others in uncovering infiltration attempts. Patrols must constantly cross the outpost area, and a dense communication network, extending to the outpost area, should be set up.
No listening posts should be positioned beyond the outpost area at night. Double sentries should be stationed at the outposts, and these should be in contact with one another. Machine guns and mortars emplaced in the outpost area should be firmly anchored to prevent the enemy from carrying them off.
e. Combat Patrols. Patrol activity serves the purpose of reconnoitering, capturing prisoners, and seizing strong points. These operations may be carried out in strength with intensive artillery preparation to eliminate resistance in the enemy outpost area or they may be staged without such preparation by weak forces that can be assembled without attracting the enemy's attention. While the combat patrol attempts to penetrate the enemy outpost area, the artillery should deliver counterbattery and interdiction fires, the latter to seal off from the rear that section of the enemy position under attack, thus preventing the arrival of reinforcements or the launching of a counterattack. Once the patrol has crossed the zone of hostile interdiction fire, the enemy artillery will usually have little effect because of its lack of flexibility in darkness.
The members of the patrol must be well acquainted with terrain conditions and with every detail of their mission. The use of deception and diversionary measures may be indicated. Because of their greater effectiveness in close combat, the men should be equipped with light individual weapons and flame throwers rather than heavy weapons.
Patrols should adhere to a fixed timetable. Improper use of light signals usually leads to confusion that might jeopardize the success of the operation.