Book Review: The Soldier and Squad in Night Combat

While the technology of warfare marches on, there are some tactics that will always be important, regardless of the gizmos and gadgets that are available to modern warriors. Squad level infantry strategy and maneuvers at night are basic, if challenging, skills.

Presented for us by Boris Karpa is a faithful translation of a 1942 Soviet Army manual on that subject.  Originally written by K. I. Ogloblin (an Army supernumerary for whom a Google search reveals nothing), it is a fairly dry book, with little more than basic information presented without much fanfare.  This is in contrast to Karpa’s previous translation of the Soviet Army manual Destroy the Enemy in Hand-to-Hand Combat, which was far richer in patriotic tone and had a certain historical humor and charm to it.

Still, the entertainment value of these manuals is obviously not the main reason to read them.  They are a fascinating look into classic military tactics, and as a member of the infantry for several years, I feel they offer a critical perspective into the development of fighting skills over the decades.  Indeed, most if not all of the information in The Soldier and Squad in Night Combat will still be of use to the modern infantryman, night vision goggles and GPS devices notwithstanding.  I have spent more than my fair share of time trying to move as a squad or platoon in complete darkness, with only hand signals and whispers to communicate, so I can relate to the difficulties of such maneuvers.

As a companion to such other manuals as US Army FM 7-8, it is well worth checking out and I recommend it to any soldier or student of military history.

About David Kantrowitz

I am the author of Reckless Faith, The Tarantula Nebula, and Bitter Arrow, a science fiction adventure trilogy, as well as The Fox and the Eagle and Dun Ringill, stand-alone sci-fi adventures. This blog will feature new fiction as I create it.
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