“When The Moon Sets, Watch Out…”

Thanks to the reader who sent this Michael Yon essay on ground truth in Afghanistan.

Or anywhere else where 21st-century technology is placed against implacable will.

Got your sun/moon tables?

Hard copy is preferred, of course.

6 responses to ““When The Moon Sets, Watch Out…”

  1. A key realization: the enemy uses cheap night vision gear in the form of cameras that have night functions. When our IR lasers, our IR strobes, our IR illumination or our IR spotlights are radiating, they can easily be seen using cheap digital cameras. I recently told this to some Norwegian soldiers, who were as surprised as our soldiers to learn it. I learned this from the enemy, not from our guys. The Taliban even use smart phone cameras to watch for invisible lasers. The enemy in Afghanistan has been caught using cameras for night vision. It is just a stroke of common sense: I have been doing it for eight years since I noticed an IR laser one night in Iraq.


  2. The enemy fooled all of our high-tech gadgetry with training, observation, intelligence, terrain, planning, rehearsal, and audacity, using basic military tactics that were perfected long before anyone reading this was born… The Taliban only have to be lucky once. We have to be lucky all of the time.

  3. Good site for all manner of “improvisation”;

  4. Another source of celestial data is “The Nautical Almanac” published for each year by U.S. and U.K. govts. You will not only get sun and moon but the 53 (if I recall correctly) celstial bodies used for navigation. Amazon’s got them cheap.

  5. I know a lot of the guys who’ve been in my classes are regular readers here, so if one of them reads this, maybe they’ll be cool enough to mention how critically “difficult” it is to outperform NOD-equipped personnel…….(Yes, that was sarcasm….).


    • The thing about NODs is they are just like any piece of kit: if you don’t train on it, it’s next to useless. IR discipline is just as critical as white light discipline, noise discipline, etc. The kit is only as good as the Joe who operates it. In the past when training my platoon I had to constantly hammer my guys to operate them correctly. If I had a nickel for every time I had to correct a guy with his PVS-14 flipped up during movement, or for every PEQ-15 “negligent discharge” I’d be well to achieving Rawles’ nickel stockpile.

      A truly disciplined, well-trained rifle platoon with NODs, PEQs, and PAS-13s is deadly as hell to a non-NVS equipped force, but, in all honesty, there are few units that achieve that level of proficiency. And fewer who can maintain it over time.

      One of the most basic ways the opposition counters US forces’ night fighting capability is to simply not operate at night unless conditions are favorable to them.