Aah! Memories. talking about IR and binos reminds me of an incident in Germany in 1966. I was with the NBC/Int Section of 7 Armd Bde, at Soltau. Apprently two defectors, either from the East German Army or the Soviets divulged that they had been warned of some new 'Night Vision' equipment being tested in an area to North or Northeast of the River Elbe in the Dannzigger (?) area. The brass got all of a twitter and laid on some teams to watch what was going on. We did not know if it was IR or what. At the time we had very little IR detecting euipment in BAOR so all we were armed with were binos. I was in a team from the NBC/Int section. The team consisted of an Int Corps WO, a Tankie Sgt and me.
We were to go in after last light and withdraw before first light. No vehicle lights and it was stressed very covert. We went to a place just to the NW of a small village called Tiesmesland, where there was a Gravel Pit and Barge loading facility. We arrived and walked the last couple of hundred yards to the facility. When we got there we could see 2 Guard Towers on the other side, one about 200 yds to the E and another to the W at about the same distance. There was a bank of trees slightly obliquely across the river from where we were. It wasn't the best view so I climbed to the top of 20 or 30 foot gantry which carried a conveyor belt for the gravel. There was a magnificent view of a fair amount of real estate in East Germany.
In what I thought was whisper (stage) I called down to the others, "Hey! it's a great view up here". The words were hardly out of my mouth when a search-light came on in the Guards Tower directly opposite from where I was. We hadn't been able to see it as it was directly in front of the bank of trees, thereby providing no silhouette of the guard Tower. I was sitting on the top of the gantry with my legs dangling over the edge, so the spotlight was directly on me.
I felt like I was on stage and crept sheepishly down the gantry and we left. We did not report this incident to the higher- ups.
When Bill mentioned IR it brought back the memories and I looked up on Google Earth. The place is still there and the small bank of trees is still there 'sans' Guard tower.