Observation

Observation in mountains varies because of weather and ground cover. The dominating height of mountainous terrain permits excellent long-range observation. However, rapidly changing weather with frequent periods of high winds, rain, snow, sleet, hail, and fog can limit visibility. The rugged nature of the terrain often produces dead space at midranges.

a. Low cloud cover at higher elevations may neutralize the effectiveness of OPs established on peaks or mountaintops. High wind speeds and sound often mask the noises of troop movement. Several OPs may need to be established laterally, in depth, and at varying altitudes to provide visual coverage of the battle area.

b. Conversely, the nature of the terrain can be used to provide concealment from observation. This concealment can be obtained in the dead space. Mountainous regions are subject to intense shadowing effects when the sun is low in relatively clear skies. The contrast from lighted to shaded areas causes visual acuity in the shaded regions to be considerably reduced. These shadowed areas can provide increased concealment when combined with other camouflage and should be considered in maneuver plans.

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