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Tacked Navigating Deep Woods (Page 4 of 4)
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Link Posted: 11/1/2021 10:54:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Mach] [#1]
My limited experience is movement into and out of hunting areas in the dark without the use of white light and not on trails, but basically bushwaking using reflective tacks on trees to know which way to go.

Without IR light, depth perception is better than with IR light, but without IR you can't see the shit about to hit you in the face. With IR you can't see distance much, just the stuff up close.

I have been moving with constant on and off IR to intermittently see far and then near and repeat. Reducing and dispersing the amount of IR gives a sweet spot, but I am still emitting.

I don't have an answer to not emit. Stopping down the aperture to get a large focus field only results in much less light and makes it much darker and harder to see,

I am using thin filmed WP Gen 3 autogated. with Omni 7 average specs.

High gain tubes would probably make a difference

Adjusting focus to max visual range in the thicket seems to help a lot, but does not cure the basic problem.
VP
Link Posted: 11/1/2021 1:20:43 PM EDT
[#2]
Hey good thread to bring back up.  Since I posted here I had a chance to play with my buddy's BNVD's, and now have my own set on order (Robert, you da man).  When there is enough moon, the binos are phenomenal.

Also had a good buddy back from a deployment, where they cross-trained with several other nation SF's.  One of the things that came out of that was taking a hard look at the glint of our clothing, weapons, and equipment these days.  We sorta got a little lax on some things in the past few years, and now a lot of folks are busting out the old school T,T,P's.  He was impressed by other units and their attention to detail (ha bet you ain't heard that in a long time, candidate) especially concerning glint under NV.  Everything was painted, taped, or otherwise covered up.  It's been a LONG time since we paid much attention to all that stuff.  So just word to wise; everything you see them wearing/carrying on SEAL Team isn't necessarily what YOU need.

Do this simple test.  Have your buddy set up with NV and then back up 100m or so and patrol in to him.  See what glints on your kit.  Do the same for him.  It's a real eye-opener for some.  Anything that is shiny has the potential to glint.  Some things: Rifles, magazines, PTT's, NV gear, helmets, velcro, shiny details on boots/other clothing, uncovered watches/gps's, hands, faces, etc.  

Rifles:  Easiest is to paint.  Cloth covers,  burlap, etc.  Even camo stick, mud, or charcoal in a pinch.  They don't call it the black liqurice stick for nuthin'.
Plastic shit, i.e. PTT's, NVD's, etc:  Paint is easiest, cloth/burlap, tape in a pinch.
Helmets: need cloth covers, mesh, burlap, etc.  Or good 'ol mud.
Velcro: uncovered patches of fuzzy velcro GLINTS like a mofo.  Cover these up when not in use.  Get "blank" material covers like the Brits use if you're not sporting any patches there.  
Shiny details:  Lots of boots and clothing have these things; paint it up, camo creme, mud.
Hands n face:  Cover it or camo it.  
Watch/GPS: Put a cover on that thing.  

Other Stuff:

DO NOT wash cammies/field clothes in regular detergents with optical brighteners; even Ray Charles can see that shit.  Get the hunter's detergent.
Don't shine those boots.  Some kind of boot dressing is cool, but no spit shine on your Cochrans, troop.
If tread pattern might be a thing, consider an extra pair of XL socks over you boots.  Will wear out, and possibly leave strands a good tracker can find.

Pre-Combat Checks (as pertains to this here topic):

Inspect each member of the patrol.  Look for any unpainted, shiny surface that might glint.  Jump up and down (I told you this was old school), see if anything makes a racket.  Fix any discrepancies right now.
Keep a little can of flat enamel hobby paint to touch up your gear before a patrol.  Tape will also work but is more of a PITA.  And mud always works.  
And speaking of mud, if you pre-splatter your ass with a good mottling of mud, it is surprising effective under NV.  Just sayin'.
If you got time, have each man troop by and inspect under NV.  Or better yet, line up whole patrol and have each member "stroll the lane" so everybody can see and learn.
You did put fresh batts in everything right?
And
Don't forgit nuthin'.
Link Posted: 11/1/2021 2:00:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: fsjdw2] [#3]
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Originally Posted By SnazSleepWalker:


Can you expand on these two points?
.
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Originally Posted By SnazSleepWalker:
Originally Posted By 18B30:
...attack points, hand rails.... are the keys to success....


Can you expand on these two points?
.


@SnazSleepWalker
not sure if it got answered. My NVG experience is limited to try these on in the blacked out room over there, "you had familiarization"(how do you test NVG's in Alaska in the summer??? you cant) , and a CHEAP gen 1 monocle with a laser /light combo on my AR.  I'm sure there are people here with worlds more experience than me.

Attack points are "known" points near your objective that are hard/impossiable to screw up then back track to your objective. so instead of cutting brush 1200 yards at a compass bearing of 323, you would cut brush 300 to an impossible to miss radio tower(flashing lights, 400 foot tall, in a giant clearing with road) that is 200ish yards from your objective and then go from there on a compass bearing of say 25 degrees for 240 yards, with the smaller distance your chances of error are MUCH less. Things like "edge of wood line" and "stream bend" are much less "known" and can cause issues but can be viable as well, unless you have a recent satalite map, the woodline wil have changed, and streams might have as well.
 Road intersections/buildings are awesome for this on military non tactical navigation courses as roads are MUCH faster than cutting brush so you can simply jog down the road to XYZ intersection, then back track XYZ yards and go at a right angle tot the road  for XYZ yards.  I've never gotten to do a "tactical" course where you gotta stay hidden and this strategy would be BAD for that.

if someone could define "hand rails" id be appreciative.
Link Posted: 11/1/2021 4:55:11 PM EDT
[#4]
Hey man that's a pretty good explanation of attack points, and you're already half-way describing "hand-railing".  Hand-railing is nothing more than running parallel to any linear feature, but inside the treeline or cover.  Could be a trail, powerline right of way, a long clearing/open area/danger area of similar type, a creek or stream, etc.  Most often referred to in conjunction with trails or roads. You are using the trail as a "handrail" so to speak, to guide you along, without actually walking on it.  

Just to add.  On long nav legs, you will wear your ass out on a compass azimuth and pace count.  Especially if that shit is over hill and dale.  So ideally you "handrail" known features, which gets you there quick (and easy), to within an "attack" distance, meaning you are now ready to dial it in and work a finer course.  Even then, a couple of things.  As a right-hander, you will drift right, so aim off to the left of any feature, so if there is any question, you know you are to the left of it.  Also when hitting steer marks, always break left twice as many times as you break right around it.  Sounds goofy but it works.

Of course this is all complicated by whatever "threat level" you're operating under, which dictates the level of alertness on your part, not to mention your movement technique and pace.  And doing it at night in deep woods really kicks it up a notch or two.  Also realize one thing about what you've read here.  Some guys have been in no-shit, triple-canopy jungles, so when they relate their experiences, it sounds impossible to navigate at night.  And it is.  But in different woodland areas, with single canopies, there is much less brush underneath, so night movement is possible.  Not easy but possible.  Then you have all sorts of forests in between.  And the different seasons present different challenges to moving at night.  Depending on what kind of trees you have, when the leaves are down, it sounds like walking on broken glass out there.  So yeah trying to do it quietly, and see, not be seen, adds another layer of complexity to it, vs just "orienteering" during the day.

So to OP's original intent, yeah if you can navigate your forest at night, it does give you a leg up and well whoever.  Start marking your trees and waypoints out there, and memorizing azimuths and approx pace counts/times on march.  Where to fill your canteens when you typically run dry.  Nice natural shelter areas in a pinch.  And well never mind.
Link Posted: 11/2/2021 2:26:15 PM EDT
[#5]
I love this thread.  
I haven't posted anything here in a while, and I have spent a lot more time out in the forest with my gear.  I got a thermal monocular/scope that I run in dual band with my pvs14 now.  The thermal is invaluable in the forest.  As many posters mention, noise become critical at night.  
The thermal really allows you to scan an area to decide if you want to move more quickly through it.  Areas with very thick brush cover, ridge lines, and of course buildings, you will not necessarily get a clean read with the thermal, something could be hiding behind the tree or window and you must assume the worst and move slowly and carefully.  Open areas with little to fully conceal a living body can be scanned and then hustled through.  I find the dual band is really masterclass in the woods and I have become extremely comfortable having both units strapped to my head.  

One of my biggest issues has been the weight of the the whole unit when I need to crouch and bend over to get through thickets and brush for prolonged periods.  An hour or two of that sort of intense crawling and bushwhacking really works out my neck and spinal column.  Additionally, when you have to bend over to avoid brush, you completely lose visual focus and essentially need to feel your way through the spot.  I fucking hate thorns sometimes.
Link Posted: 11/2/2021 5:15:47 PM EDT
[#6]
Yeah this is also an issue with me; I love the added capability but I hate the added weight.  I used to patrol the woods with a 7 lb rifle and nothing but a booney hat on my head.  Now I have a 10 lb rifle and 5 lbs of shit on my head.  It is phenomenal but fuck me.

I think when you get in really thick shit, you'd be better off to scan first, then stow all that shit to make it through, especially when you have head movement like you're describing.  If you have a team, the point could move through first, set security, while you stow gear and work your way through.  Like a traveling overwatch.  Or as I found out, sometimes it's better to just by-pass all that shit!  Unless that's a technique you are leveraging because most guys WOULD say ah fuck that.  SOG teams in denied areas would often hole up in the shittiest terrain they could find just for that reason.  

If you don't need ballistic pro, consider a bump helmet, or even a modified Night Cap.  The Night Cap is a lot easier to worm through bush in.  Sometimes you just gotta take the NVD's off though.
Link Posted: 11/2/2021 5:20:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: vtmarine] [#7]
Practice.

ETA: Sorry. Was replying to the original question without realizing how old the thread was.
Link Posted: 11/3/2021 10:20:32 AM EDT
[#8]
Ha ha jarhead, but pretty close to the bone anyways.  As in hey man, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?

But pretty close to what we've been sayin' here for a few pages.  All this gee-whiz stuff is amazing but it still doesn't replace solid fieldcraft.  Lots of folks are getting back into that these days.  A quote from Heinlein comes to mind, something about the troop fiddlin' with his Vernier scale, when a caveman sneaks up and bashes his skull in with club.  Replace 50's tech with the latest for word to the wise.
Link Posted: 9/11/2023 8:38:58 AM EDT
[#9]
Link Posted: 9/11/2023 1:59:39 PM EDT
[#10]
That's a good point about articulating binos. I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice about going with RNVGs as my primary set of NODs. So far, I haven't really felt lacking in that regards. Now, I have a really good Mod3b set up with manual gain control and Omni-VII contract tubes. I could probably set aside the RNVGs to back up and use the Mod3b primarily. If I need a monocular, I can always detach one of the pods.

Moving at night through heavily wooded areas have always sucked no matter the amount of training one has. It's always slow going and you'll just have to accept that hard reality. There is no substitute for fieldcraft, night vision in some cases can either hinder you or help. I've had lots of time in the woods without NODs and have gotten very comfortable moving in complete darkness. During my active duty days, I felt like I lost a good bit of situational awareness and get focused on the view through the NODs. I used to just use NODs when I took a knee to plan out the next few meters of movement.
Link Posted: 9/12/2023 2:21:21 PM EDT
[#11]
Link Posted: 9/12/2023 3:46:23 PM EDT
[#12]
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Originally Posted By Diz:
Man I am seriously with you on that one.  If you've spent any amount of time doing this, without them, then it becomes a choice.  Sometimes I'm the same way; makes more sense to stop, take a knee, and look around with your wizard eyes, and then move on.  And/or, you could have select members of the patrol on NODs, and some without.  Best of both worlds, and the way it was done, before every swing dick was issued these things.
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I remember when I was a lowly Private and didn't rate high enough on the food chain to be issued wizard eyes. Lots of deep dark patrols in the woods on Ft. Bragg, Ft Stewart, Panama, Ft. Polk and other god-forsaken places. Ft Polk and Panama were the worst as far as no illumination and night, the dark was oppressive. It is seriously concerning when you cannot see your hand in front of your face, AT ALL.

Funny thing is, even then, our squad leader it was the same, move a bit, take a knee, scan with the PVS-7a. The 7a may or may not be able to work in the woods, depending on if there was stars/ moon or a cloudy night. If the moon was out more than a half, then I could see just fine as long as I was night adapted. When I did move up in rank and got issued NODs, I did pretty much what my squad leader did. Just used them for scanning and planning my route. When I was still new to night vision, I felt they were more of a hinderance than anything else because I lost so much of my peripheral vision and situational awareness. It took a lot of training to effectively use them
Link Posted: 9/12/2023 4:01:39 PM EDT
[#13]
Link Posted: 9/12/2023 4:47:10 PM EDT
[#14]
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Originally Posted By Diz:
I have seen that kind of dark on Oki and the PI.  And sometimes even here (NC/SC) in the proper conditions.  

I have elephant-chained it, where you're literally holding onto the ruck of the guy in front of you.

I have used paracord or "engineer" tape as a guide in night assaults/ambushes.  

Something that dark requires recon during daylight hours and marking if at all possible.
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The good old cat eyes on the backs of our helmets was sometimes the oly light available. Everyone holding on to the ruck in front of you and hoping they guy in front of you didn't step off into the abyss. Seems like the darker it got, the more the "wait a minute" vines fucked with you. Sometimes you don't have the luxury of a daytime recon and just have to power through. It seemed like we walked all night and covered several miles, when in reality, we only made it a few hundred meteres, at best.
Link Posted: 9/18/2023 8:43:24 AM EDT
[#15]
Link Posted: 9/18/2023 10:44:12 AM EDT
[#16]
I mentioned this is the DIY tarsier thread, but I have more time with them now, so I’ll throw it in here.

I put a set of variable ND filters on the ocular side of my nods.

With them, I can dim the image coming to my eyes and unlike the tarsiers it doesn’t reduce the overall light entering the nod.

With this in deep woods it acts like a manual brightness and allows you to adjust the image darker and maintain more peripheral vision or retain more of that natural night vision.

Additionally on binos or duals, you can dim one eye more than the other, and in my experience - your brain kinda takes over and prioritizes the brighter eye - if you have things dual focused you can really fine tune the image.

Is it hsld? No. Its fiddly stuff, but for exploring the woods after sundown, it’s worked well for me.

Link Posted: 9/18/2023 11:33:23 AM EDT
[#17]
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Originally Posted By na1lb0hm:
I mentioned this is the DIY tarsier thread, but I have more time with them now, so I’ll throw it in here.

I put a set of variable ND filters on the ocular side of my nods.

With them, I can dim the image coming to my eyes and unlike the tarsiers it doesn’t reduce the overall light entering the nod.

With this in deep woods it acts like a manual brightness and allows you to adjust the image darker and maintain more peripheral vision or retain more of that natural night vision.

Additionally on binos or duals, you can dim one eye more than the other, and in my experience - your brain kinda takes over and prioritizes the brighter eye - if you have things dual focused you can really fine tune the image.

Is it hsld? No. Its fiddly stuff, but for exploring the woods after sundown, it’s worked well for me.

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did you make these ND filters for the ocular side or buy them?
Link Posted: 9/18/2023 11:54:02 AM EDT
[#18]
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Originally Posted By Mach:



did you make these ND filters for the ocular side or buy them?
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So parts list was basically just:

30mm-37mm thread adapter
k&f 2-400 37mm variable nd filter

I wasn’t sure if the 30mm adapter would work on the ocular side even, but they threaded straight in. It seems to limit some focus travel but it hasn’t affected my set up.

Link Posted: 9/18/2023 1:32:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: wjoutlaw] [#19]
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Originally Posted By Diz:
Yeah this is very difficult to explain.  SOG teams maybe covered 100m in a day.  Can you imagine the patience that takes?
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I can feel their pain on those long slow movements. The worst two places I've ever tried to navigate at night was deep in the Ft Polk swamp and Ft Sherman Panama. Ft Bragg has nothing on that place. At least at Bragg we sometimes had glow from nearby Fayetteville, depending on how much tree cover there was. There are some places that you're just effed, no matter what. At least at Ft Sherman Panama, we limited night movement to the bare minimum necessary.
Link Posted: 9/18/2023 10:22:51 PM EDT
[#20]
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Originally Posted By na1lb0hm:



So parts list was basically just:

30mm-37mm thread adapter
k&f 2-400 37mm variable nd filter

I wasn’t sure if the 30mm adapter would work on the ocular side even, but they threaded straight in. It seems to limit some focus travel but it hasn’t affected my set up.

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Originally Posted By na1lb0hm:
Originally Posted By Mach:



did you make these ND filters for the ocular side or buy them?



So parts list was basically just:

30mm-37mm thread adapter
k&f 2-400 37mm variable nd filter

I wasn’t sure if the 30mm adapter would work on the ocular side even, but they threaded straight in. It seems to limit some focus travel but it hasn’t affected my set up.



Thanks
Link Posted: 9/18/2023 11:01:17 PM EDT
[#21]
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Originally Posted By Mach:


Thanks
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Originally Posted By Mach:
Originally Posted By na1lb0hm:
Originally Posted By Mach:



did you make these ND filters for the ocular side or buy them?



So parts list was basically just:

30mm-37mm thread adapter
k&f 2-400 37mm variable nd filter

I wasn’t sure if the 30mm adapter would work on the ocular side even, but they threaded straight in. It seems to limit some focus travel but it hasn’t affected my set up.



Thanks


just one last item of note, no idea what ocular's/thread pitch you have, so best to check before ordering.
Link Posted: 10/15/2023 8:10:05 PM EDT
[#22]
Was out recently, heading to a new spot with a buddy, trying to explore something we spotted on google earth. Should have brought a compass as we ended up bumbling around a little and not staying on a straight course in the dark. We made it where we wanted to go, but it cost us a lot of time.
Link Posted: 10/16/2023 10:45:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: wjoutlaw] [#23]
And you just learned the necessity and importance of a proper equipment check before stepping off on mission. It also cannot be stated enough that a proper route recon is essential provided that
recon won't jeopardize the mission. Wandering around in the dark is not fun. I have a cheap VS-14 compass with every set of NODs I have. It's not the most accurate but it is close enough to ensure you're at least heading in the right direction.

I can only imagine how much better our training and missions would have been if we had a resource as great as Google Earth. I very used that and dead reckoning before to compete land nav courses, and it was stupid easy.
Link Posted: 12/17/2023 1:46:18 AM EDT
[#24]
Great thread.

I run DTNVS with 2700 FOM L3 Unfilmed tubes, so the low light capability is pretty good already: when my buddies have switched on IR for navigation I’m almost always able to get by without it.

Last month I was out on a dark new moon/cloud covered night and walked down a single track trail with thick forest canopy; my tubes were scintillating to the point that I stopped. I flipped the nods up and observed it was so dark I couldn’t see the trees right next to me- just pitch black.  I found a best practice for me was to turn on my helmet mounted IR MPLS (angled slightly upward), and crank down my apertures until I my depth of focus opened up. This allowed to plenty of light/ the scintillating was gone/ and I could focus both at my feet and all the way up the winding trail.

It’s fun to get out in different lighting conditions.
Link Posted: 12/17/2023 3:35:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Jodan1776] [#25]
I've done it a couple times.   Dense NH woods, summer, AN/PVS-7, passive only.    Fairly rough terrain.   Hard as a motherfucker, and I got turned around really big time taking a shortcut from one road to another in familiar territory.      And I have a very good sense of direction.    No compass, both times, it was supposed to be a brief shortcut less than 100 yards.   First time, I wanted to intersect another road, so I kept veering more and more right to be sure to catch it, or at least hit the road I had been on.   Kept going and going and going far more distance than I should have had to.   Turned out I somehow was hooking strong left and ended up WAY the fuck off.   I'd probably still be out there if I hadn't intersected another trail and recognized it.    Second time, similar, just not as bad or lost for as long or as far off course.
Link Posted: 3/3/2024 10:12:26 AM EDT
[#26]
As an update, I have been trying out thermal in conjunction with NV.  For my purposes, I use a -14 mono in the woods, which I find works better for me than binos.  Yes I know heresy, but for woodsy work I like one eye un-aided and not looking through a tube.  I rigged up a mount with a FLIR Breach (yes I know a POS to serious thermal guys) and use that in conjunction with the -14.  Since I have an articulating set-up, I merely roll one down or the other.  I don't really try and do any "fusion" unless I'm seriously bored.  This gives me the capability to scan while moving, but also to scan deeper on security halts (if you're into that kind of thing).  In general, the I2 is used to move, and the thermal to scan ahead for hotspots.  Pretty much what I'd use mono/binos for in day time.  

This is just my opinion, but for deep woods navigation, I would be looking at a dual spectrum set up, vs an expensive single one.  

Yes, the comments about getting lost are spot on.  I have zero directional sense.  That gene skipped a generation.  I have to refence a small wrist compass continuously.  I have a strong right-hand drift.  How I ever get out of the woods is beyond me.
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