ALLEGORIES ON THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY

«When Prince Wenhui’s butcher was carving up an ox, he seized the animal with his hands, forced it to its knees and his knife, upon being sunk into the animal, produced a pure musical sound.

Seeing his butcher working one day, Prince Wenhui said: –Ah!, Excellent! How have you reached such perfection with your art?

Una lectura del Zhuangzi | Diletante
MASTER CHUANG

Leaving aside his knife, the butcher answered, «At first, when I, your servant, began butchering oxen, I only saw the ox before me; after three years I still did not see the ox itself. Now I use my spirit to truly know the ox, not my eyes to merely see it. Once the senses are restrained, it is the spirit that acts.

Following the natural lines of the ox, I cut between the joints until I reach the bones between the bones and the tendons. In this way, the knife accommodates the natural lines of the ox and, in this way, encounters not even the merest hindrance from the veins or tendons, much less from the animal’s big bones!

A good butcher changes knife once a year, since that it is used to cut the meat; a common butcher changes it once a month, as he uses to cut bones. Nineteen years has passed that I, your servant, have used the same knife. With it I have butchered thousands of oxen, yet it remains as sharp as if it had recently been forged at the millstone. The joints of the ox have hollows and the blade of the knife is not thick. Sinking the blade of the knife into the softness of the ox is done comfortably and easily. Because of this, even after so many years my knife appears as new as when it was just came off the millstone.

When I sometimes run across a knot, I probe the difficulty and proceed with the greatest care. I regard the ox intently, move slowly, handle the knife very carefully and, there!, the ox is quartered and reduced to flesh. At that time I stand up, knife in hand, and look around feeling pleased. I clean the knife and put it away.

Excellent!–exclaimed Prince Wenhui. Hearing your reasoning I have come to understand the work necessary to nurture life.

However it is true, Sir, remarked the butcher, this virtue is acquired neither from erudition nor from books. It is the fruit of observation and reflection and, because of that, it cannot be passed on if not learned first-hand. (1)

The effect of a torrent of water in his way (2):

«If we observe a torrent descending on successive banks of land or dams that lie in its way, we see that it first thrusts against the obstacle, probing and testing all its surfaces.

Opportunely, once finding a small break or weakness, the water gathers and its first trickles begin to rush over the obstacle.

Basil Liddell Hart - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
CAPTAIN BASIL HENRY LIDDEL HART

Contained on all sides, the water rushes through the gap and, by eroding the earth it comes into contact with, widens the gap. Whirling through and around the edges of the gap, the water washes away soil and expands the gap.

As this happens, a current of water flows directly through the gap; on each side of the current, whirlpools of water continue to circulate. Having crossed the gap, the water gathers and expands, to become once again a torrential onslaught. As it flows, the water increases constantly its volume until the torrent has reached again its original proportions, leaving in ruins all obstacles that it encountered.”

Commentary.

The butcher, his knife and his art, non-reflective in action, represent the specific aim of the operative strategy in war: disorganize the enemy with the least possible cost to one’s own means (combat capacity, operational mobility and supplies).

The work of the butcher is to cut up beast; to convert it from a beinginto a set of pieces and wreckage that is ready to be prepared for consumption. To prepare the pieces of the ox for later consumption, further work of cutting, portioning and reducing is required by other butchers and cooks at the palace. This work is equivalent to battles of encirclement and annihilation, where the overwhelming superiority of a local operative strips its enemies of resources and strength.

File:FallGelb Manstein.svg - Wikimedia Commons
DIVISION GENERAL VON MANSTEIN GENIUS’: BEGIUM AND FRANCE, MAY 1940

The metaphor of flowing water is akin to the flexibility and adjustments necessary to tactical actions carried out by units and small combined arms units against an enemy.

But the breach in an obstacle encountered by water is neither enlarged, nor does it expand without erosion. Not even water, the embodiment of docility and smoothness, vanquishes, per se, soil.

Each drop of water that flows through the breach, erodes soil through its “minimal gravitational force”, especially during the turbulent movement of the liquid, whose force is tangential to the obstacle.

The water in a torrent or river flows continuously, seemingly inexhaustibly, due to the gravitational energy of the Earth, which pulls it to the lowest level in a riverbed.

The waters of the sea and of the rivers win over gravity and the forces of Van der Waals, which join by covalent bonds its molecules, thanks to thermal solar energy that provides to them the «specific heat of evaporation«. Water is condensed into drops by superficial tension, giving them their size and shape. They are then gathered into clouds, from which water falls as droplets again to the Earth, feeding the «constant torrent «.

(1) Master Chuang. Barcelona, 1996. Pages 54, 55, 146 and 147.

(2) B. H. Liddell Hart. “The man in the dark” Theory of Infantry Tactics and the “Expanding Torrent System of Attack”. Journal of the R.U.S.I. February, 1921. Page 13.

The Combat and the Operational Movement as the Essential and Complementary Opposites of War

Combat and operative movements are not antagonistic forces. Rather, they are necessary and complementary forces. That move harmonically and opportunely our military resources in the effort to achieve the objectives that an enemy would violently denies us. Combat is the utilization of combat capacity, while operational movement refers to the employment of the operational movement capacity of a military system.

Introduction.

Both form a unit of action, so that one without the other can not exist from conceptual and practical points of view in the machine of war. One force may sometimes be predominant, such as when it is being employment, and during that period it is more visible to observers and in its effects.

UNED - Literatura Inglesa de la Primera Guerra Mundial: Poetas en las  trincheras (I) - 25/07/14 - RTVE.es
The trenches covered soldiers from enemy machine guns deadly fire.

The combat without opportunity and operational transcendence ultimately falls, in unbearable human and material losses and brutal and successive shocks. That enervate and degrade participants. Effects that could get in «the chaos born from itself». An example are the battles on the Western Front during World War I. Which originated the tactic of slow, prolonged, stabile and undecided fighting, whose results and personal and economic costs were terrible.

Maurici de Saxònia - Wikiwand
THE MARSHAL OF SAXE.

Operational movement that systematically avoids combat also fails due to the lack of decision and transcendence. It becomes superfluous and useless, a spendthrift arabesque that depletes logistics and results finally in paralysis. This is illustrated during the epoch of Marlborough and Marshall of Saxe. As Beaufré claims, this war that began in the 17th century lasted through much of the 18th century was characterized by mobile but only slightly decisive operations.

John Churchill, I duque de Marlborough - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
THE FIRST DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH

An example of the synthesis of these factors in an almost perfect system of war is art of war achieved by the Mongolians through their conquests and invasions. As example, its series of sustained attacks that managed to seriously threaten the center of Europe in the middle of 13th century.

The Mongolian Warfare: an harmonic synthesis of the combat and the operational movement.

On one hand, the Mongolians possessed an incredible capacity for consistent movement. Their minimal needs were met by pillaging the land and each rider possessed several mounts. These provided both meat and transport for their rapid tactical and operational actions. One Mongol horse could supply enough meat for more than 100 men’s daily rations in campaign. Their success was enhanced by a few polished, simple and forceful tactics. Based on discipline and that made use of their hunting experience with the compound bow, their expertise in managing herds and their knowledge of the human feelings that combat intensifies. The know-how of the Mongolians with the compound bow –a skill that takes much time to acquire and that must be maintained by frequent training– came from their productive activities as nomadic shepherds, who had a great deal of free time.

What was the operational zone of the Mongols?

They did not have it, nor did they need it. Their optimal level of enlistment was both simple, effective and quick to achieve. They start from «their» strategic zone, defined by the advance and the location of their nomadic hamlets, never observed or suspected by their enemies, to the tactical zone with it. No need for the transition or adaptation imposed by the complexity of manufacturing technology and the combined arms groups and their deployments and the entire logistics chain of an army. Their operations do not require the physical support of the operational zone.

In front of the discontinuous front of the positions of their enemies, there is a wide, unprotected and empty area, controlled by no one, that the Mongols use to the fullest for their strategic approach.

There is nothing, on the part of its enemies, that reminds advanced detachments or reconnaissance groups. Although the Marshal of Saxony in a similar war context, because there was not yet mechanization of armies or long-range fire, warns that they can be relatively safe, in their operations independent of the forces advancing behind them.

This double character, punctual of the combats and independent of them in the operations, favors to the maximum the art of the Mongol war, which is always operationally offensive.

En busca de la tumba de Gengis Khan
GENGIS KHAN

The Mongol preoccupation with the enemy is generally strategic, thinking of its exposed flanks at the level of the occupied countries. Somehow, it is originated in its ever-small number for their objectives and in the tactical non invincibility of their forces. If they find an organized, skilled and, above all, serene enemy. Genghis Khan, in 1221, after the conquest of the Muslim empire of Samarkand, located in Turkestan, Persia and Afghanistan, systematically sacked Afghanistan. His son Tului killed most of the inhabitants of northern Persia (Khorasan). With this they protected the southern flank of the empire.

Subuday-Bagatur.Mongolia | Монголия, Скульптура, Доспехи
MONGOL GENERAL SUBUDAI

In 1241 100 thousand Mongols, under the command of the crown prince Batu and general Subudai, crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border to attack Hungary. Around 20000 men, two Tumans or divisions, under the command of Prince Baidar and Prince Kadan, are charged with ensuring that the Hungarians will not receive reinforcements from Poland, Germany or Bohemia.

To this aim, they defeat the concentrations of the forces of these nations in Chmielnik (attracting the enemy in their pursuit, without a previous fight, to an ambush, appearing as a incursion group that was retiring to its base), at 18 Kms of Krakow, and in Liegnitz (by means of a “mangudai”), at 60 Kms to the west of Breslau. With this last victory and a feint to penetrate in Germany, they drive away, until more than 400 Kms of Hungary, the King Wenceslau of Bohemia, who goes back to defend his lands. In less than a month, the Mongol detachment had travelled 650 Kms and fought two decisive battles for its plans. Poland was stunned and prostrated after their passage and the Germans, at west of the Oder, were preparing to defend their lands. This action also protected the Mongol’s land communications with Ukraine, their base of departure, where their nomadic hamlets remained. Which were unable to follow or logistically support so spectacular advances.

Its large units, divisions or tumans always advance covertly, disguised and informed by what was an operational reconnaissance with combat capacity. It was based on squadrons of light cavalry (archers protected with a silken wadding that enveloped, isolated and allowed to remove very easily the points of enemy arrows) from 50 to 100 men. Their exploratory tests and rapid movement also contributed directly to misleading and intimidating an enemy who was unaware of the role of these units. And many times he took them for the vanguard of the armies. Also, this way, the enemy saw Mongols everywhere…

Guerra abierta: Sd.Kfz 232
SdKfz 232 reconnoissance vehicle. It had a 20 mm. gun to do it «in force».

This function of operational reconnaissance has not always been recognized by modern armies. The Germans were masters in it, especially in theaters like the African and the Soviet, where discontinuous fronts and the vacuum of enemy operational areas allowed very well it.

Independent of this reconnaissance of their immediate area of operations, the Mongols maintained another strategic exploratory activity, as a generator of intelligence for immediate use: espionage and the use of agents at their service, inside enemy countries. They sought to understand the characteristics of those nations and the alliances and divisions among them. The Mongols, in turn, were virtually impervious to their knowledge by their enemies. Even in tactical details that, when they found the Mongols, had to be more obvious to them.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

THE MILITARY SURPRISE: concepts, effects, realization and types. 2nd. Part.

(CONTINUATION)

The three cavalry regiments of the brigade had a total of 27 officers, 228 N.C.O.s and 1,740 soldiers mounted on German horses. All those who could, carried sub-machine guns –either the MP-38 or MP-40- instead of the 7.92 mm K98 carbines. They were supported by 30 heavy machine guns (MG-34 on tripods) and 72 light machine guns (MG-34 with bipods). Their heavy support fire was provided by a battery of 6 light howitzers of 75 mm for each of three hippomobile regiments. As external support they would have artillery fire, either centralized or from the divisions placed in its flanks, for the attached observers and officers were accompanying it.

Resultado de imagen de carretas del país soviéticos Country wagons moving forward in a huge Russian plain…

They were also supported by an engineers company (pioneers) and a sanitary company. By means of a park of Russian country wagons, each dragged by a pair of native horses, the supplies, replacements, ammunitions, medical forces, etc. of the brigade would be carried to them. They also had a motorized supply column.

The nature, the structure of the brigade and its support were perfectly adapted to the mission and contributed to its simplicity. It even received the support of a tanks company (14 tanks) for the attack, when the reconnaissance saw the possibility for use it.

Another key aspect of the mission was intelligence, acting already before the conception of the operation. This provided the most complete knowledge of the enemy and operations zone. Intelligence was a combination of information acquired by all the units, that was continually updated. It allowed better definition of the mission, assignment of the means and units, and training preparation. It also allowed for more appropriate adjustments or changes in plans, etc.

Another indispensable factor in this extraordinary or heterodox operation was the training and trial of the mission. The brigade trained for 4 to 6 weeks before its activation, in areas similar to the future operations zone; this fulfilled the security factor.

The training with tanks was not done, because its employment was not foreseen. And one of the problems that arose during the operation was that communication between the cavalry and tanks was poor. In the thick wild forests the wireless radios did not work well and it was necessary to use the existing wire telephony. But these were not enough for adequate communications between all the small units.

Resultado de imagen de frente del este 1942

A characteristic of the training in these special missions is that that it must be as complete as possible, in agreement to its peculiarities. And a full trial, including the total foreseen time, is always necessary. For example, to verify the resistance of certain equipments and not only its good functioning, as would happen in a partial or incomplete test.

The brigade and 5th panzer division were in their departure positions 10 days before the start of the march towards the contact. The Soviets were not capable of detecting the activation of this unit, so the security factor remained fulfilled.

Immediately, the brigade, with the help of the tanks troops, carried out an intense reconnaisance of the intermediate area and the enemy positions (advanced combat troops and the forward limit of the defense). It was deduced that the tanks’ support in the attack was possible (in a narrow sector), if a necessary adaptation was effected in the tracks accessing the area. This innovation would add an important shock capacity and heavy direct fire to the assault, especially in the irruption, in the struggle for enemy fighting positions and in the interior of the defense zone (artillery, units in disorder or in retreat, transport, supplies, etc.)

The factor surprise was going to be achieved by the tactical innovation and the unexpected action in «field of action» chosen for the attack. It is important to remember that the Soviets were prepared and fortified against an attack that they knew was coming. In addition, since the beginning of the war the Soviets had shown themselves to be masters of defense and in disguising positions. Still, the Germans hoped that a strong attack on an unexpected place would dislocate the enemy’s combat capacity and means of defense. The German plan allowed no practical reaction time to the enemy.

Resultado de imagen de frente del este 1942

With this, the speed of action factor is obtained by the attacker. This allowed the Germans to overcome rapidly their principal vulnerability: the initial contact with the enemy in the decided «interface of action«, in which always can be produced unexpected setbacks in the face of potentially bigger forces, until the law of the action is imposed on the enemy.

As the mission begins, there is uncertainty or friction, due to the enormous number of individuals and units involved; mistakes, that are a function of the small failures that happen inevitably in all the human actions that comprise a mission; enemy action, until the fire supremacy and maneuver deprive him of initiative; opportunities, in the shape of favorable situations not foreseen by the Germans and which the commands of the small units must exploit in order to fulfill the mission.

To be able to act this way, the extraordinary or special troops must possess the commitment factor, which involves the acceptance and recognition of the entrusted mission, its important consequences and its real possibilities of success in these conditions.

A couple of days before the assault, the engineers were making progress through the forest boundaries with mechanical saws. They constructed a reinforced path and carpeted it with middle logs cut up “in situ” and arranged about a meter apart. This was to give sufficient firmness to a route up to the Soviet minefields which would support the tanks added to the hippomobile brigade in tactical subordination, which slowly initiated its advance a little later. The noise of the saws and the engines of the vehicles was drowned by the flight of reconnaisance planes at low level and sporadic harassment fire.

The joint assault began on July 2, 1942.

The hippomobile brigade had to cross 15 kilometers of forests and marshes to reach the Soviet positions. At its right was the 5th panzer division attacking, which acted as the normal force or mass of support for the assault. Its left flank was supported on this area of difficult ongoing, covered by weak infantry forces (about a company). Until, on the 3rd day, a German infantry division began its assault through this sector.

At 3 a.m. the tanks advanced close to the cavalry troops, taking advantage of the general artillery preparations. They were accompanied by engineers’ troops. The minefields were immediately detected and the engineers cleaned the area around the passing paths to extend its width. Suddenly, the forwards tanks and cavalry reached the limit of the Soviet position of defense in this decided «field of action» over them.

Resultado de imagen de 9º ejército alemán Rzhev Model saves the day for the 9th German Army.  Column of Soviet military prisioners.

In a single thrust they burst in, breaking the Soviets’ first lines of defense. After this, the tanks were kept in reserve, since the enemy position stretched through an unknown wooded area. That morning the cavalry managed to penetrate 6.5 kilometers inside the Soviet position.

The whole time the train of country wagons was capable of advancing supplies, replacements and munitions to the tired men.

For its part, the 5th panzer division could not advance despite its superior capacity of shock and means, and suffered heavy losses by very well camouflaged Soviet forces in depth.

Around midday, a hippomobile regiment turned to attack the principal enemy positions from the east. To reach them, it had to cross a swampy forests zone where the water was knee-high. At dusk, the brigade had control of a sector of the principal road inside the Soviet position, breaking the Soviets’ tactical cohesion and turned it untenable.

Just after midnight on the 4th, Soviet resistance was collapsing in the area of assault of the 5th panzer division and hippomobile brigade. This crossed another swampy forest area of 10 kilometers depth and emerged at the operational enemy rear. Here was a scene of chaos filled with abandoned vehicles and stroked columns and groups of troops and soldiers. Arrival of the panzer forces accelerated the decline of the 39th Soviet infantry army as an organized and effective force.

That same day the whole sector of this army collapsed and the German infantry divisions of Walter Model’s 9th army converged on its interior by all its assault sectors.

In the 11 days that the operation lasted, the Germans captured 50,000 Soviet prisoners, and around 230 tanks and 760 artillery pieces.

THE CREATION OF THE TACTICAL AND OPERATIONAL SURPRISES.

Prolegomenon.

Military surprise is more a part of the art of war and its creation, than of military science, the doctrine, its regulations and the principles or «good-doing» rules of war. Of course, its scope and instruments are taken from military science. Military science has its logic and practice oriented towards applied theory.

Military doctrine forms the framework, the structure, the heart of all development and the wisdom that military science has been developing so far. The military doctrine of each state incorporates the idiosyncracy, history and civilization of the corresponding nation. The permanent virtues and the more temporary values of the former are also reflected in its military doctrine. All this channels it in one direction and one sense.

War art has in its conception and execution the characteristics of: variability; the unusual and singular conception; the different, unexpected and novel application and the relative ingenuity (naturalness and freshness) and freedom in its facts.

Resultado de imagen de general hermann balck General Hermann Balck, one of the finest German armored tactical Command.

If we are guided mainly by military science, which the enemy also knows, the results of the war dialectic will be obtained by maintaining a superiority in men and means, marches and maneuvers. And the cost will be the attrition of means and human wear in a greater proportion, and always undue, than with the use of surprise.

Thus, a defence deployed in depth and with sufficient reserves, probably deprives us of many opportunities for effective surprise. But, almost always, acting in the microfield, as using a tactical zoom, we can apply the tactical or operational surprise, unusual and unexpected.

Development.

The surprise becomes specify and materializes in an unexpected action on the enemy by fire and/or shock. That, taking advantage of the enemy’s habitual lack of combat availability, makes him the victim of an attack that he is not in a position to successfully reject.

Obviously, the units in charge of surprise must avoid enemy’s reconnaissance, advanced combat units and security. In charge of giving the units that detached them, enough time to get the combative disposition that allows the rejection of their attacker.

But, the mental surprise must not only be unexpected for the enemy. But, in order to be able to take full advantage of its potential and effects, it must also be unusual, special, infrequent. With an unquestionable tendency to be «unusual», as never seen. This unusual character, never occurred, extraordinarily reinforces the quality of unexpected and sudden use of surprise.

Imagen relacionada Soviet  T-34 /76 tank.

We don’t always have the unusual at hand. And surprise often favors, by employing the law of action, the most mobile and even only active rival.

Then, the use and manipulation of the “appearances”, the appreciated characteristics of the events and their circumstance, will allow us to establish and develop a new tactical or operational situation. Which will be surprising and unusual for the enemy. And it will give us an unexpected victory, at the beginning of the faced dialectic situation.

A Tactical example with Operational Trascendence.

Here is an example of an extraordinary force acting as a normal force and, in so doing, completely deceiving the enemy by manipulating appearances of the events.

In January 1943, with the Soviet advance threatening Rostov, the 4th Panzer Army of colonel general Hoth moved back from its positions on the banks of the Sal and established a defensive line south of the river Manich. Passing through that area were the supply and retreat routes of the 1st Panzer Army. Routes that had been kept open, if a disaster like that of Stalingrad was to be avoid. In Stalingrad, the Sixth German Army, the Army unit more powerful of the Wehrmatch, was caught. The 4th Panzer Army was assigned to protect this bottle neck in the communications of the Armies Groups Don.

Soon the Soviets reached the confluence of the Manich and Don rivers, took control of the small city of Manutchskaya that was only 30 kilometers from the mouth of the Don on the south bank, and sent advanced detachments in this direction. On January 23, the 11th panzer division and 16th infantry division counterattacked the Soviet advance spears and pushed them back to Manutchskaya.

Then, it was vital to restore the south front of the Don and Manich and to expel the Soviets from the city. Which was one of their bridgeheads (which, with much skill, could be rapidly reinforces once constituted).

The Germans made a direct assault from the southwest on the 24th, seeking to surprise the Soviets with the operation continuity. Instead, they found that the Soviets had created an antitank front in this entry to the city. Using tanks with their hulls partly buried and distributed between the buildings, along the streets, and in other difficult to see locations.

The 11th panzer division, a crack division with a magnificent tactician as chief, quickly stopped the assault when it detected the importance of defenses.

Imagen relacionada A Panther from the 11th panzer division circa summer 1943

On the 25th, the general Hermann Balck initiated an assault on the northeast sector of the city, which the Soviets identified as a main assault, similar to the previous one and following the orthodox criterion of «not insist on unsuccessful or frontal assaults» (not profitable). For it, they moved rapidly theirs antitank means (tanks are the most mobile) to the new threatened sector.

To make credible this assault (manipulation of the appearances), at the beginning the whole divisional artillery was used in its support. It was also the more dangerous direction of assault for the Soviets. Since that part of the city was nearest to the principal bridge over the Manich and its occupation would isolate the Soviet bridgehead on the south bank. These factors constituted the «primary evidences«.

The assault on the north-east sector was probably already considered by the Soviet defense as a German probably alternative assault and, because of this, they reacted rapidly to what happened.

Infantry half-track vehicles and reconnaissance light tanks executed the principal «virtual» assault, simulating the march of mechanized vehicles, concealed by smoke curtains. And seeking more to hide them from the enemy than to protect their advance. This gave a «secondary evidence» to the credibility of the «appearances«.

When the Soviet’s determination in the new defense was estimated, which confirmed the alteration of its original deployment and the attraction made by the normal «apparent» attack. The bulk of the divisional artillery threw a powerful fire blow on a sector of the southwest zone of the town. A single battery continued to support the ongoing false principal assault.

Most of the tanks of 15th panzer regiment immediately attacked the forward limit of the defense, entering the town and advancing on its interior. To attack from the rear the new defensive Soviet deployment, especially its tanks. The mechanized German infantry then closed in behind them.

The Soviet resistance crumbled. Its infantry ran to the bridge over the Manich river. But was chased by the 61th motorists battalion.

German casualties in liquidating Manutchskaya’s stronghold were, according to its own sources, one man dead and fourteen injured men. The Soviets had between 500 and 600 casualties and 20 destroyed tanks.

I believe, it is all clear and simple. Which are the characteristics of the practical and real ways to do.

THE HUNT FOR ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI.

Introduction.

The small units attacking with limited aim (a deep incursion, the capture of a critical position, the rescue of a personality, an ambush) constitute a military closed «system«. This condition imposes a some specific characteristics in his «interfaces of action» with the enemy. That not always are identical to those in the fighting of units and great units, especially in the limitation of the available means and of the time of action.

The units so committed must impose rapidly and keep a combative superiority on the enemy. To be able to obtain the local and temporary supremacy, which allows them to obtain the above mentioned limited aims.

Resultado de imagen de abu bakr al-baghdadi IN THE EARLY DAYS OF HIS JIHADIST ACTIVITY, AFTER THE U.S. INVASION OF IRAQ.

The characteristic or the factor of the conception of his mission is the simplicity. The characteristics of their preparation are the intelligence, the security and the training. The characteristics of their action are the surprise, the speed of action and the commitment of the participants in the mission.

«The Hunt for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi» is publicly treated by enough profusion and diffusion, as for his advertising, political, legal, human and technical characteristics. Now we will analyze the tactical and operational particularities that characterized it.

How was the presence of Abu Baker and his relatives detected at that location? Evidently, once the Sunni caliphate’s bases of support and refuge in Iraq and Syria, were destroyed and liberated, the U.S. and the other countries present in the war zone were interested in al-Baghdadi and sought his capture. A repentant member of the Islamic State, who knew the Abu Baker’s messenger network, reportedly joined the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition opposing al-Assad, controlled by the Kurds of the Y.P.G. and supported by the U.S. This «repentant» became a double agent of that coalition. And because of his background, he gained access to al-Baghdadi’s inner circle and stole an intimate garment from him (apparently, a underwear).

Which served to identify him with almost 100% surely. Other US intelligence means confirmed or did not deny the DNA identification. This confirmed the investigation and established the target.

Since May, 2019, al-Baghdadi has been in Barisha. And, he was about to move to another hiding location, since every 6 months he used to move to a different shelter. He was already a fugitive, a wandering insurrect, with no stable bases of refuge, from which indoctrinate and expand his territory. And unable to make a coherent defense of his hiding places. Its only available defensive technique was concealment, seeking to be effective and impervious to enemy human and electronic detection.

The Development of the Hunting Operation for Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi.

The military unit chosen to carry out the «Operation Kayla Mueller» was the US Navy Seal. This is the unit of the Navy in charge of the punctual special actions by (sea), air (a), and land (l). The Seals were created at the end of the decade of the 50 of the 20th century. On having appreciated the need to possess polyvalent military men, extremely prepared and capable of acting in any area in demanding conditions.

At the beginning of the 60 and for desire of president Kennedy, they began to act in Vietnam. The general formation of a Seal extends during years of hard work. The Seal receives between 42 thousand and more than 65 thousand dollars a year. His meticulous, precise, hard and dangerous work is not compensated economically. To satisfy his love to the military, his vocation of service (this one is taught to him), his love to the mother land and his commitment with his colleagues and the unit are his principal pay. The «unit 6» of the Seals, a group of elite with a score of men, took part in this mission, taking charge of the principal aims. It is said that the admiral in chief directed the operation, but there is no official confirmation. The nature of the Seals, the structure of the airborne subunits participants and of the transport and supports, were elements that contributing to the simplicity of the mission, as they were adapted perfectly to it.

Resultado de imagen de abu bakr al-baghdadi IN MOSUL, AT THE END OF JUNE 2014, HE PROCLAIMED HIMSELF CALIPH OF ALL MUSLIMS.

The training and the trial of the mission were not neglected, in spite of the enormous general experience of the men. Before the activation of the unit in the al-Asad Base, in Iraq, this was trained in a «model«, which was reproducing faithfully the facilities, the extension and the characteristics of al-Baghdadi‘s urban complex and its bordering areas. This was in the outskirts of Barisha, a little town in the north of the Syrian province of Idlib, al 4 miles from the Turquey’s border. The «essay model» was raised probably in one of the training bases of the Seals. And this extended for approximately 6 weeks, with intervals. During this phase the factor security of the mission was kept, because the trials and practices that the Seals realize are varied and changeable.

The attacking unit, with a hundred of men, deployed in her principal departure operational base at least 10 days before, to not increase her stress and to facilitate the final adjustment. The security factor was kept unscathed during the great preparation phase of of the mission.

In the early morning of Sunday, 27 October 2019, the flight chief of the “transport force” took command of the operation and ordered the helicopters to take off from their al-Assad forward base. The transport force came from one of the US Army airborne divisions 82 or 101. The flight to the target was made following up to 3 or 4 different directions, so to not attract the attention of observers or onlookers on the ground. The trajectories were oriented to the west-northwest, avoiding the nearby axis of populations bunched in the great basin of the Euphrates. This protected the mission’s security and surprise factors during the approach phase.

The operations force used between 6 and 8 helicopters. Between 4 and 6 were Chinook CH-47, twin-engined, heavy-duty load, that carried the Seals, the equipment and the canine unit in support. And the others were his escort: 2 Apache AH-64 for attack and protection. Those aircraft were enough to transport back all the men and dogs, with their intelligence information booty, prisoners and Abu Bakr’s body.

When the air expedition arrived in the vicinity of the jihadist complex, a group of armed men left the complex. And they set out to get their planned positions around the buildings. There were no more than twenty. The helicopters in flight opened fire on them. And the area of their deployment was saturated with bullets and shells from the heavy weapons on board.

Already at the target, the commanding colonel of the attacking force took command of the operation. Before the assault, the helicopter loudspeakers called on al-Baghdadi to surrender. But, he ran to hide. Instead, two adults and 11 children came out.

Resultado de imagen de abu bakr al-baghdadi  DEFEATED, HIDDEN AND PERSECUTED.

The helicopter crews, equipped with heavy firepower means, sealed the outer housing complex. Assaulting Seals moved on that one from two sides. A fraction of them formed an outer defensive ring, to isolate the complex from the area. The entrance to the interior of the main house was through an opening on a side wall. For fear of booby traps in doors and windows. Most of the men were responsible for neutralizing the few remaining jihadi escorts and capturing civilians (women and children) from the houses. All the Seals were in touch between themselves by a sophisticated intranet.

A task force, the “hunting group”, led by the colonel, went for Abu Bakr. The canine unit of detection, neutralization and attack was integrated in it. The identification team was also part of this mini group of combined arms. Another group, the “inteligence collect group” was in charge of collecting all the sensitive information existing in the various facilities or shacks. Both “mission groups” were divided into subgroups, to quickly complete their missions around the complex. All the men within the perimeter were also involved in the above-mentioned detections.

Struck by heavy fire, the whole family was stunned and shocked. Al-Baghdadi escaped with two or three of his sons following a maze of tunnels dug under the house. That would allow him, after a journey of a few hundred ms., to reach the surface by a disguised and protected exit far away.

At a moment of the advance of the “hunting groupin the labyrinth, the colonel gave orders to bring forward the SEAL canine unit. His idea was to preserve the lives of his elite men in so intricate situation. One of the members of the unit, a Belgian Malinois shepherd bitch with an encrypted identity, belonging to a classified unit, overtook the other canine teams or groups and approached Abu Bakr. His name would be K-9, which corresponds to the nomenclature used on other occasions in special operations. However, the profusion of dubious news, filtered drop by drop, gives it the name of Conan, published in Newsweek magazine.

When Abu Bakr was trapped, already with broken nerves and defeated, his explosive vest exploded. Killing him and his children and injuring the bitch. The identification team went ahead, searched the scattered remains of the body for DNA and 100% confirmed al-Baghdadi’s identity.

The operation ended in about 60 minutes, but the men were about two more hours in the area. Then, they occupied their helicopters and these left back. The body of the head of the IS was deposited in the sea, within 24 hs. following the Islamic rite.

Next, United States’ ground attack aircraft launched six HE missiles, probably of the Maverick type, into the vacated area of operations, converting it into a «destruction zone». The last shelter of Abu Bakr was turned into a light grey area, laminated to ashes and crushed rubble.

THE MILITARY SURPRISE: concepts, effects, realization and types.

The common or general tactical surprise is that which is normally or frequently used and that is known and expected. There is one case we take as example, which is to ambush or hostilize enemy forces who come to help or rescue a group of their own immobilized and/or besieged by us. This attack is logical to do so, because the forces in march, and especially when the urgency drives them, are especially vulnerable: because of the weakness of their flanks, for their scant reconnaisance and greater ignorance of their marching grund to combat, and for their deployment or marching column more or less frayed.

The attack is to be made using sequential or simultaneously different techniques: ambushes, even employing small units; free shooters lines; shutts of the advance routes and his wings with mines; bombardments of the artillery and the unit’s organic mortars, using registered fire on the routes or its singular points; attacks of the own or allied aviation; appearances and assaults by an our «combat group» (of combined arms?) in his immediate rear or covering it in a flank of the itinerary that is favorable for our protection (heights line, edge of forests, industrial and urban areas).

It is necessary to use necessarily this common surprise. But, the attacker must not repeat his set of tactics and military technics during short periods of time. In order that our attack is not so predictable, also in the details and manners, which facilitates his rejection to the enemy. Since with our routine, we are announcing the enemy which is our game, showing him the cards. And, let’s know that, even with these precautions, we are teaching him to fight.

With the mentioned variety, his combinations and the opportunity of use, the enemy will not be able to take sufficient measurements for the rejection. Since the variants of action that we can use are sufficiently different and numerous.

This is a tactical surprise, in the same level in which we are unrolling ourselves. That will allow us to increase the attrition (on the means) and the wear (of the men) of the enemy. And, even, to place and move more favorably with regard to him. But the total results will depend on the development of the set of the raised operations. Based on the forms of fight, the movements and the involved men and means.

Resultado de imagen de walther model Colonel General Walther Model.

This way, this surprise less elaborated conceptually produces fewer fruits that have operational or decisive transcendency. Everything indicates that, in order that it should take place and increases qualitatively the transcendent efficiency in our actions, it is necessary that the quality of the surprise reaches another dimension in his action.

It is necessary, so, in the operational level of the surprise, that this would be an «ungrateful surprise» for the enemy. That has catastrophic effects, though they are local, on him, at the beginning. And that the «commotion waves» in the area or the affected sections, propagate for the enemy military system attacked. Damaging his capacities, his general and grupal moral (a section, the fighters of a weapon) and his intentions and perspectives. It would be equivalent, in the raised scene, to an «exploitation of the success» of our actions. That are encouraged and perfected by the operational surprise obtained.

The following battle during World War II illustrates the use of unexpected «field of action» on the enemy, and the use of ordinary and heterodox forces. That allowed General Walther Model to take the initiative and destroy a Soviet army inserted in his operational rear.

During the winter counter-offensive of 1941-1942, the Soviet Union military had penetrated the operational rear of the 9th German army of Colonel General Model. It was integrated in the Central Armies Group, under the command of Fieldmarshal von Kluge. The Germans withdrew to positions near populated areas, tacked between them by its artillery fire and keeping open a few, precarious communications lines between the units. Thus helping maintain the operational stability of the army’s defensive area.

The Soviets had crossed the lines of the semi-continuous front, crushing weak German positions and setting up in the german rearwarsd the 39th infantry army and the XI cavalry corps (mobile forces for areas of difficult ongoing), a total of 60,000 men. Their deployment was protected in the semi wild forests and marshes between Boly and Rzhev, the principal regional city, and was supplied by a route that edged by Boly and continued to Nelidovo at the north of the zone. These Soviet forces were also in operational hibernation, waiting for the late thaw of the Russian spring.

This powerful enemy nucleus, in coordinated action with Soviet forces at the front, could compromise the German summer offensive (1942) by cutting the supply lines of the 9th army. For this reason, it was necessary to liquidate it before tackling a new campaign.

Under the instructions of General Model, a movil force was put together. This formed a hippomobile brigade with the reconnaisssance forces (a reduced battalion) of each eight divisions of infantry of 9th army, all of which had all ground transit capacity.

Resultado de imagen de batalla Rzhev The Rzhev’s projection was formed after the Soviet counter-offensive in defense of Moscow.

The mission of this brigade was to slip through enemy flanking sectors not covered by the security and principal positions of the enemy. Once in enemy territory, they were to wait for a principal important attack, to begin fighting in the enemy’s interior with the hope of occupying defense nucleus positions. The German aim was to severely unsettle the Soviets’ deployment and the conduction of their defense plan.

By using its forces in the unexpected «field of action«, the Germans hoped to recover the freedom of action to impose on the enemy the law of the action. The objective was simple, but its attainment was difficult.

The brigade, which was to penetrate the Soviet zone, was led by the 5th panzer division of Major General Gustav Fehn. That were the principal interarms forces and the mass of support or normal forces. They were to proceed following the principal reinforced surface road of the zone. Which passed from Olenino in the north and followed the western slope of the Luchesa river.

Soviet troops (39th infantry army), inside its defense zone clung to this road and had an antitank deployment (obstacles and guns). The Soviet flanks were thin but protected on each side by extensive minefields. Its right flank rested on the inhospitable and impassable woods and swamp lands of the deep valley of the Luchesa which, in the Soviets’ thinking, protected them against serious attack. The Soviet command foresaw what must be the German’s principal effort against them and deployed their forces with creativity and inventiveness.

Only healthy, strong, veteran soldiers who worked well together and whose units had cohesion could be used in this mission. It was not work for garrison troops brought from the German rear or the occupied countries. Because of this, Walther Model did not hesitate to deprive his infantry divisions of its only mobile units of maneuver to use in this battle.

THE RECONNAISSANCE AND THE INTELLIGENCE: A MILITARY OPERATIONAL SYSTEM. 2nd Part.

(FINAL)

The near future of tactical reconnaissance.

Major tactical reconnaissance weapons, tanks and low level flying aircraft tend to be vulnerable to modern infantry antiaircraft and antitank missiles. They appeared on the battlefield in the 1970s and have become more effective since then. Since the mid 1990s, these rockets have been incorporating various technologies such as double active heads, multiple search engines, which allow them to discriminate against enemy decoys and secure the target, and those that allow them to use variable flying heights. For example, upcoming infantry tank rockets will be able to locate, define and confirm their target by magnetic distortions of the environment (generated by the relatively large metal mass of the tank), acoustic signals, heat emissions (human and motor and weapons) and short wave emissions. Their way to the target will oscillate to circumvent possible weapons deployed against them.

Resultado de imagen de deep range combat and reconnaissance patrols NEW ZEALAND’S LONG RANGE RECON PATROL.

All this will tend to give greater importance in the reconnaissance of to the deep range combat and/or reconnaissance patrols. They are inserted by air or river means, as close as possible to its operations area and designed to stay longer in it.

Combat reconnaissance: The immediate and continuous contact with the enemy and determination of the capabilities of the fighting ground.

Combat reconnaissance conducts ground reconnaissance, the relation of his own army’s adjacent units in established contact points and the location of the enemy to help determine the enemy’s intentions and characteristics. This latter mission is subordinate to the goal of obtaining intelligence. Every unit must establish it always, without need for specific orders. It is important to advance the subunits as rapidly as possible; if only is conducted by infantry, it may be necessary use vehicles to transport troops, who can then continue on foot.

In open flanks and exposed wings, its range must be adequately extensive. By means of anticipated patrols, combat reconnaissance constitutes in its actuation a real security for units in the front.

 Its organs are armored reconnaissance companies and platoons, reconnaissance patrols of units in the different sectors, observatories and forward platoons of artillery, etc. The platoon at disposal of the H. Q. and services company can be useful in the battalion area for rapid action.

Combat reconnaissance has a basic function to detect resistances and weaknesses in the enemy deployment and weapons, and in the “interfaces of action” created on him. It needs to use tested skill, sufficiently intense and never superficial, that is knowledge about the weaknesses of tactical units and the fortresses of opposing deployments, as well as its efforts to present the illusion of such deployments. It is important to act according to the mission and the gravity center of the effort ordered by the high command. Colonel Tor made this point in his book “Infantry” (page 31 Madrid, 1943), “…advance through the enemy weak points and fight from one’s own strong points».

Resultado de imagen de soldiers on patrol  A PATROL…

Information collected from various sources, becomes available intelligence and is transmitted to those interested.

The reconnaissance generates information on the different action levels and the ground, which it also recognizes. That must be converted into intelligence. This is the reasonably reliable and sufficient knowledge (never excessive or intoxicating) of the enemy, of his intentions and possibilities and of the terrain, in its possibilities of struggle, transitability (more than ground ongoing), etc. Received updated and without continuity solution.

The elaborating organs of intelligence are different for operational and combat reconnaissances, since also they both generate different types of information. The principal difference are their qualitatively different levels of actuation, in which they must give the set vision: enemy, area and possibilities. And that the need for combat intelligence is urgent and more continuous, and its transcendence, very fleeting, so it is much less elaborate and more direct to fighting units, from its reconnaissance.

Once intelligence is created, it is integrated by the superior command, G-2. It will then be transmitted to units and interested commanders. Transmission must be protected by all existing means, guaranteeing secrecy and its arrival to the addresses by means of double couriers, coding, etc.

Transmitted intelligence must assemble the suitable characteristics of the moment and ensure reliability, continuity, transmission security, and the wealth of content and its sufficiency. It must also be opportune and continuous. The security of transmission of intelligence affects plans and decisions that based on it. It must be sufficient, rich and trustworthy enough to give command, within a reasonable amount of time, as complete idea as possible of a situation and to plan for its possible evolution and factors that will affect that evolution. Sufficiency drastically limits the excesses of unnecessary information which disorients and tires those in command that try to use them.

G-2 is converted this way into the penetrating and lucid eyes of the operative command.

The security as “opposed complementary” of the reconnaissance.

The reverse of the own reconnaissance is the fight against the enemy reconnaissance and the intelligence. She has as purpose to blind the enemy about our intentions and deployments, depriving him of operational information on us or misleading them. Security is the “opposite” (complementary, not antagonistic) of our reconnaissance.

Resultado de imagen de soldiers on patrol   COVERING A SECTOR…

One of the active ways of fighting enemy reconnaissance is employing our operations security. Other is to employ advanced detachments, type reinforced platoons, to push back the enemy’s reconnaissance by means of mobile fighting with its center of gravity” focused on where his reconnaissance have to operate. A pushed back reconnaissance can give erroneous information to its intelligence on the actual possibilities of possible axes of advance towards us, our real capacities or our defensive intentions.

One purpose of security is the immediate protection of units against surprises and the unforeseen, by keeping a sufficient “combat readiness” for such situations. Units must also keep necessary forces alert as part of maintaining a practical reaction time. The tasks of security are to protect units from direct fire of infantry heavy weapons, to detect and avoid surprises, ambushes and enemy incursions and to detect and reject enemy reconnaissance. Every unit establishes at all times the security sector, zone (brigade or regiment) and area (division), according to its size. Between 1/3 and 1/6 of the unit, according to the situation, carry out security functions; the organs of which are the different sub units of the branches employed.

For camping units or in assembly areas of different classes, a safety line is established to delimit the protected units and at suitable points (accesses, etc.) double sentries are placed. At difficult to secure places (gorges, etc.) rapid mine barriers are placed. From this line, security units advance fixed and mobile patrols. Fixed patrols monitor critical security points (dominating points, enemy possible observatories, inevitable passing points, etc), relying on the mobile units to achieve always an active security.

Resultado de imagen de campos de minas militares  MINES BARRIER.

And, this so useful and simple, is always done? No, sir, not always.

«On June 10, 1944, soon after the midnight, the second battalion of the 29th division of infantry of U.S.A. was prepared to pass the night. The men had traveled approximately 25 kilometers over the last 20 hours. The official in charge of the battalion, Commander Maurice Clift, chose a zone of two meadows so that the troops were to spend the night in the open. The men entered the zone and set themselves up for sleep along terraced hedges. They were so tired that no one bothered to untie their rucksacks and personal equipment. The majority fell asleep at once. Some heard the noise of approaching engines but thought they were American vehicles.

However, the vehicles were actually German tanks and trucks belonging to the 352nd infantry division. Unknown to each side, the Germans had been withdrawing along the same route that the American battalion followed in its advance. When they stopped, the German explorers detected the North American movements encamped in the meadows. They quietly advanced and surrounded the meadows.

Suddenly, the Germans threw flares. Under the sinister light, almost as brilliant as the midday light, its assault cannons opened fire on the hedges against the Americans. Along one of the hedges a platoon got up and was cut down by the German machine guns. Many Americans, scared and disoriented, were running in search of a way out of the meadow while the German infantries continued knocking them down them with repetitive fire. The shells of the German mortars were falling all over the meadows. The Americans responded with weak rifle fire, directed at the opposite hedges, which ran the risk of hitting either the Germans or their own men.

«It was terrible”, a survivor told General Cota. «We crawled more than 90 meters out of the field when we heard from behind the shouts of our men. I thought that the Germans were launching a bayonet charge against them».

The commander of second battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Warfield had his command post in a farm close to the highway. Warfield tried in vain to establish a defense. Those officials who ran from the house towards the field were brought down rapidly. A German shouted in English to the command group: «Give up, give up!». «We will certainly not give up!”, roared Warfield. He tried to lead a small group towards meadow where the rest of his men were, but was killed instantly.

The battle lasted around 20 minutes. The battalion had 150 casualties with some 50 dead, slightly more than one third of its effective force. Just before dawn a gravely injured young lieutenant who was reporting to his division commander, General Charles Gerhardt, fell down suddenly on his knees and struck the soil with his fists, sobbing that he was sorry that all his men were dead and that he had left them where they had fallen.

General Gerhardt was angry. “Without regard for safety, he shouted, The battalion simply came to the field to fall asleep».

THE RECONNAISSANCE AND THE INTELLIGENCE: A MILITARY OPERATIONAL SYSTEM.

The reconnaissance generates information of the different operational levels of military action. This must be turned into intelligence. That is the reasonably trustworthy and sufficient knowledge of the enemy, his intentions and capacities and the fighting possibilities and transitability of fields, etc. To enable us to take a “founded resolution”, based on the use of our means and fighting forms, in accordance with our objectives.

Concepts y Principles of the Reconnaissance.

Reconnaissance is one of the most important functions to be fulfilled by units during operations. The information it provides, how it is elaborated and transmitted and to whom is a fundamental part of intelligence. This, finally, is one of the key factors of decisive command.

Resultado de imagen de SDKFZ 263.    SDKFZ 263.

Reconnaissance can be divided into strategic, operational or tactical and combat, according to its mission and the area it encompasses. The strategic one seeks to uncover key information about the enemy in the operations deep theater: his concentrations of forces, his great movements, his important defensive lines and possible surface targets, etc. A surface target becomes a “destruction zone” by the effective action of heavy weapons of destruction, for example, reactive artillery or tactical nuclear devices.

The operational or tactical reconnaissance tries to define the situation and the intentions of the enemy in the operations area of the great units, type division, corps or army. It determines the movements of the enemy in the border zone between forces, his formations and deployments, his defense lines and possible surface targets. This reconnaissance is carried out by aviation, drones, specific reconnaissance units and the reinforced reconnaissance armored battalion of the corps. In this respect, a total connection and complement must exist in the missions of aviation and ground reconnaissance and keeping in mind that its task is never of fighting.  

The reinforced reconnaissance battalion operates in a sector of up to 60 kilometers wide and 100 kilometers deep. Its advance over the parent unit must be at least 6 hours in order to utilize gathered information. On the basis of its reconnaissance order, battalion commander, keeping his companies always under control, can send up to 16 patrols of 3 vehicles to covering his sector, looking always for a gravitational center of the deployment. Having done this, he can send on the concentric center of the effort up to 2 patrols’ echelons, being relieved or being inserted, according to the used method. Finally, if the area to reconnoiter is occupied by the enemy, he can advance his companies as attack spears, under the screen of advance patrols. The battalion must not infiltrate very deeply inside the enemy deployment, if there exists a serious risk of being isolated.

Resultado de imagen de Panhard AML-245    PANHARD AML 245.

Not all Armies have given or given sufficient value to this last reconnaissance type, which depends on their military doctrine.

All the operational principles of reconnaissance could be summarized as follows: Always focus on the objective received from the command (its mission is to generate information, the combat will be done by others), seeking the maximum use of time and its means, getting and maintaining contact with the enemy and never losing the freedom of action. It will allow him to perform and to escape, without being caught by ever higher forces.

The tactical reconnaissance is also needed in the urban combats. Not always the tactical reconnaissance penetrates too much in the disputed or enemy area. The industrial or populated zones, full of «concealing relative heights» and staggered in depth, which offer protection from the enemy sights, even nearby, and covers against the light and heavy fire, «thicken» considerably the tactical maneuver of the contenders. Reducing this way, the depth of the fighting zone of the infantry. So, masses of the artillery, as batteries and medium groups of it, are deployed at very short distance to his enemy. In a artillery fighting zone then very next to the forward limit of the own defense position.

On October 9, 1942 a patrol of Soviet reconnaissance entered behind the German lines in Stalingrad, seeking to detect the enemy movements in his rear. The 4 men sheltered in an auxiliary railroad coach, torn and left, placed in a railroad between the workshops of the Red October factory (where before were made metallic pieces and small weapon), at North-East of the city. And the disputed Mamaiev hill, towards the geographical center of Stalingrad, which was offering grand sights on most of the city.

Resultado de imagen de Engesa EE-9 Cascavel brasileño. ENGESA EE-9 CASCAVEL.

During almost the whole day they remained in that hiding place, communicating by radio to his lines the German activity. They had located several dozens of German mortars and howitzers, accompanied by the trucks which were moving his ammunition, by the rear roads to some emplacements placed in the suburbs of Stalingrad’s west. Also they located numerous mortars and pieces placed in a glen at the north of the Mamaiev hill, doing fire against the Soviet positions in the city.

On having got dark, the explorers broke a telephonic cable of the fixed enemy network of communications and hoped that the Germans were coming to repair it. Very soon they observed the light of a lantern and when the soldier came closer, killed him to shots. One of the Soviets disguised himself with his uniform and placed close to the route of the railroad, hoping that another German came closer the cut cable. Soon another lantern started approaching by the way. The soldier fell in the ambush and the explorers made it unconscious. On having recovered, he met 4 Soviets of foot together near him. Pulled down the soldier Willy Brandt gave his name, range and unit of belonging. Psychologically they had already gained the hand on him.

Resultado de imagen de drones guerra Vietnam   DRONE AQM-34 Ryan Firebee, IN VIETNAM.

Immediately afterwards, the German told to the explorers that 94th German infantry division had come to the factories zone from the south of the city, that 24th panzer division was going towards there and that the Fuehrer had ordered that Stalingrad should be totally taken by October, 15. This confirmed to them the reason of the extensive movements estimated by them in the German operational zone.

For the small reconnaissance patrol, to take with it after his lines, a prisoner already interrogated, was more a nuisance and a danger that a minimal success. And, in spite of the hardness, even the brutality, of the combats in the city, they neither killed, nor mutilated him. The Soviets reported to Brandt that had revealed military secrets, took him to the railroad line and indicated the direction that he had to continue to reach his comrades and left him free”.

But, what is this of speaking about operational reconnaissance in the age of the electronics, the robotics and the computer science?

Almost 50 years ago, the North Americans had developed an arsenal of electronic devices, directed to the vigilance (surveillance) of his enemies in Vietnam. Already they had reconnaissance drones to monitor «from above» their guerrilla slippery enemy. That transmitted his images by television to the planes of detection and transmission, placed at dozens of km from the observed zone.

Resultado de imagen de sensor ADSID   ADSID SENSORS .

The principal sensor used in the remote vigilance was the ADSID (Air Delivered Seismic Intruder Device). It was thrown principally from the F-4 Phantom, following guidelines of navigation by radar, in order to cover adequately the observing zone, as a traffic route of men and vehicles, a parking or store. The device measured 91 cm. of length and 15 cm. of diameter. And on having fallen down was remaining almost buried, opening then a transmitting aerial of 120 cm. height, camouflaged as if it was a defoliated bush. His battery allowed it to issue during a month and half.

With these sophisticated artifices they were trying to observe the traffic of goods and men by the Ho Chi Minh Route, the route of supplies of the Popular Army of North Vietnam and the Vietcong in South Vietnam. It was a highly branched out and protected route that, departing from North Vietnam penetrated in Laos and crossed it. And then, detached diverse routes towards the different communist operations zones in South Vietnam.

The program «White Igloo» destined 1,7 thousands of million dollars between 1966 and 1971, for these tasks of compilation of information with the ADSID. With the information gathered from the traffic in the routes, the Americans were deciding the interdiction bombardment actions, using his different air devices, including the invisible and inaudible (with his cruise height) B-52 strategic bombardiers. At the beginning of 1971, the information of the aerial photos after the bombardments, taken by planes that were flying after the assault formations, allowed the analysts to suppose that the «war of trucks» was causing a very severe effort to the industrial capacity of the suppliers of North Vietnam (the USSR and China).

Resultado de imagen de Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System  A BOEING OF THE JSTARS SYSTEM.

But, if it was true that were destroying so many trucks and equipment, how was possible that the communists were keeping the tactical initiative in South Vietnam? On the other hand, where were the tens of thousands of remains of trucks that literally had to cover many of the ways and parks of the Route? Who were bothering to remove them? The response was given soon by the American junior officers: they were ate by a monster called the «Great Laotian Truck Eater»; a horrible rotten that was getting up towards the dawn and was devouring the vehicles destroyed by the aviation during the night, after the photography for «wreck count». Because the Americans are very scrupulous with the statistics and consider the lie an almost inexcusable social sin for his civil servants.

Up to today, almost 50 years later, the electronics, the robotics and the computer science have continued improving. But it does not seem that they are useful in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, to detect a “donkey bomb”; to avoid that group of cruel fanatics without God («as Allah does the Good, make you also the Good and do not promote the corruption (the “evil», the Noble Koran orders them), destroys great part of one of the principal mosques sanctuaries of the chiism in Samarra; to know if in an Iraqi or Syrian house are terrorists or only a terrified Arabic family, before demolishing her with heavy fire from a distance and extremely, according to his military operational doctrine.

In addition, during enough time still the air and spatial American means, as spy satellites, drones or not crewed planes and planes of the system Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), will have serious limitations for the detection and check of small ground, even regular, forces. In the areas of difficult transitability and with possibilities of concealment, as mountains, jungles and forests, marshes and urbanized zones (industrial, of logistics, and of housings). Those not only offer concealment, but also coverings from the fire up to the near combat distances.

The Americans do not use the tactical reconnaissance, which demands some tactical characteristics of semi independent elite forces and a specific moral courage. And that is one of the most difficult tasks of the infantry. They use the combat reconnaissance and call her, expressively, reconnaissance.

(TO BE CONTINUED).

Genesis and practice of the Russian strategy of deep incursion. 2nd Part.

Incursion to Tatsinskaya’s airport in the Christmas of 1942

The Deep Incursion to Tatsinskaya.

In the exploitation of the break success, Vatutin threw on December 18, the 24 Corps of Tanks (Badanov) to attack and occupy Tatsinskaya and the 25 Corps of Tanks (Pavlov), against Morozovskaya‘s airport. Behind them, advanced the 1st. Mechanized Corps of the Guard, following their moving directions, to support and stimulate it and to eliminate the resistances of the enemy units remains in his deep rear. Badanov had 5 thousand men, 300 trucks, 90 tanks T-34 and 55 light tanks T-70. These, for his characteristics of fire, armour, mobility and with 2 crew members for the multiple tasks, were not suitable companions of the first ones. The infantry brigade of the Corps had the task of the occupation the aims captured by the tanks.

Resultado de imagen de soviet infantry over tanks Soviet infantry tanks riders.

Resultado de imagen de nikolai vatutinLieutenant General Nikolai Vatutin, chief of the Southwest Front.

The orders were not right and both Corps should go on eliminating the enemy resistances in his advance sectors, distracting from his main goal. Badanov also received orders to facilitate the advance of the I Guard Army, on which he was depending and that followed him at distance, increasing the exploitation. The radio communications with Vatutin and the I Guard Army were insufficient and spasmodic, due to the increasing distance and the characteristics of his only transmitter RSB-F. That, for example, had in march 30 Km of range.

From the second day of march, the support to both mobile groups by the 17º Soviet Air Army was diminishing drastically. In a winter hard environment, with a poor road network, the armoured vehicles and the trucks of troops and supplies were advancing slow and dificultly. This did that the ground support planes of both rivals could attack, without risk, the enemy vehicles and was favoring the Germans.

Resultado de imagen de general Vasily Badanov Major General Vasily Badanov.

Both Corps of Tanks were advancing towards his aims with great effort from the drivers and deployed in brigades, forming 2 or 3 echelons of march. Seeking to save fuel and to keep controlled the almost 500 vehicles of a Corps. Only there was daylight between 7 and 15:30 hours. Though on the paper, Vatutin was waiting for an advance of 50 km per day and calculated 5 days of march to reach both aims, placed at 240-250 Km, the results were of scarcely 25 Km per day.

At 25 Km from Tatsinskaya and 30 Km from Morozovskaya the Bystraya river was traversing. The Germans placed to the south of this natural without reinforcing obstacle, several Kampfgruppen or Task Forces, created ad hoc to prevent the enemy advance and to exhaust it. Von Manstein knew this incursion and wanted to protect, by all means, the airports. This way, he withdrew 6ª Panzer Division from Hoth, to create a mobile reserve for the Group of Armies Don

Resultado de imagen de field marshal von manstein Fieldmarshall Erich von Manstein.

Against 24 Corps faced 4 small Kampfgruppen, which eroded it. The Gruppe Spang designated with the name of his command, faced in a difficult fight the 25 Corps of Tanks. Pavlov thought that it was a German small resistance and, forgetting his strategic aim and instead of flanking it cleanly, he attacked it. The Gruppe received the air support of a dozen of the dive bombers JU-87, that were returning quickly to his base to refuel, and that teared to pieces Pavlov’s unarmed tanks. The arrival of 1er. Mechanized Corps of the Guard allowed Pavlov to get out of the combat and to continue his march to Morozovskaya, though his Corps was exhausted in his combat capacity and with its fuel spoiled.

Pavlov came up to Uryupin, at 25 Km from Morozovskaya. But, the bombers placed in this airport submitted it to hard attacks, that reduced his combat capacity to 25 tanks with scantiest fuel. The Mechanized Corps, after a day of combat with the Gruppe Spang, was also very reduced and was not in conditions to support it. With which, were eliminated the possibilities of an assault to Morozovskaya.

Resultado de imagen de Kampfgruppe Spang 1942 Karl Spang, as German general.

One of the great disadvantages of these operations of deep incursion was also the absence of the logistic support to the operational units. This required them to advance, attack and occupy up to the exhaustion of his available resources. But, they did not have another option.

Tatsinskaya’s Defense.

The commaner of the airport was the lieutenant general Fiebig, commander of the VIII Air Corps of the Luftwaffe. On November, 30 he was nominated Chief of the Air Supply to Stalingrado. And he established his H.Q. in Tatsinskaya, which was occupied by the Germans on July, 21. Fiebig was a good organizer, so his appointment was justified, but he did not rise to the occasion, as tactical commander, neither in the defense, nor in the evacuation of the airport before the Soviet assault.

From the safety of Berlin and already failing the ground rescue, Goering ordered Fiebig that his men should resist in Tatsinskaya. And only will evacuate it when the Soviets already were firing in his runway. This did that Fiebig was late beyond the prudence in giving the evacuation order. And only the fogs, the enemy weariness, and the exiguous Soviet forces, 20 tanks and 55 infantrymen, who assaulted Tatsinskaya, allowed to evacuate the majority of the parked planes.

Resultado de imagen de general Martin Fiebig Luftwaffe Lieutenant General Martin Fiebig

The base force were 1800 men, without counted the crews and mechanics of the planes. They had, at the moment of the assault, 2 88 mm cannons and 4 cannons of rapid shot of 20 mm, since great part of the artillery was tranfered to the Kampgruppen entrusted to block the Soviet advances. The Germans did not organize any defense in Tatsinskaya. When the explorers of 24 Corps approached the airport in the night of 23, observed that the anti-aircraft positions were not occupied and that did not exist ground defenses.

The assault to Tatsinskaya.

Finally, at 8:30 of December 24, tanks of the 130 Brigade of tanks (Nestorov) assaulted Tatsinskaya’s airport from the east and some tanks of 54 Brigade of Tanks (in reserve) penetrated by the northwest at the end of the operation.

Until that evening, Badanov did not give for finished Tatsinskaya’s and his surroundings capture. Near 125 planes of the Luftwaffe escaped and came to other airports of the Axis. The Soviet mediocre gun fire and the impacts between planes at the takeoff destroyed 50 planes. But, the Lufwaffe already had lost 250 airplanes between November and December, 1942 during Stalingrado’s air supply, due to breakdowns, the weather and the enemy action. The Germans had 100 fallen, between dead and wounded, and 350 men were captured.

The 24 Corps still had 39 T-34 and 19 T-70. And each tank had less than 40 rounds for the principal weapon and its remaining fuel allowed it to cover 50 km. Badanov transmitted to Vatutin that he was assuming the defense of his positions.

Resultado de imagen de T-70 light tank T-70 Russian light tank.

Similar to what happened with the VI Army of the Wehrmatch, at 7:30 of the 26th, Badanov received a Vatutin’s message: «His Corps has been transformed into a unit of the Guard. You has granted Suvorov’s Order of 2º degree». But, the happiness never lasts very much in house of the poor man. The situation was indefensible and, four days later, Badanov broke, slipping, the functional, not physical siege. To which he was submitted by the different German units that were coming on the 24 Corps of Tanks of the Guard. At the end of the operation Small Saturn and by indication of Stalin, Badanov was nominated commander of the remains of the three Corps Mechanized and of Tanks that took part in this deep incursion. But, possessing each one less than 20 tanks, they were too weak to carry out a joint operational action.

THE END

Genesis and practice of the Russian strategy of deep operation.

Incursion to Tatsinskaya’s airport in the Christmas of 1942

Introduction.

After the invasion of the USSR by the 3 Groups of Armies of the Wehrmatch (North, C; Center, B; South, A) on June 22, 1941, remained clear the higher capacity and efficiency of these, opposite to the Soviet armies deployed in the border and in the strategic rear. The disorder was general in the Red Army, as evidence of his demoralization and lack of a military modern doctrine, after Stalin‘s purges of 1937. That was worried that the force and capacity of the Red Army, could turn it into a rival of the Party and of himself in the distribution of the State powers. In addition, the social characteristics of the Soviets were making them more inclined to the obedience, the resistance and the sobriety and less towards the originality, the assumption of responsibilities and the take of decisions of the commands and his men. Then, the Red Army only had some real capacity of fight in the artillery and in the almost inexahustible demography of the Sovíet country.

This prompt did that the strategists and planners of the Red Army realized that, if they wanted to survive, stabilize his nation and the army and begin to gain the war, they had to start gaining all the battles that were turning out to be strategic for this social military effort. This way, on one hand, they began to deepen and develop the operational and strategic defense, connecting her with the operational counter-offensive, establishing fortified in depth zones, areas and regions, and creating mobile reserves in the different steps of fight.

Resultado de imagen de ROTMISTROV Colonel General Pavel Romistrov, commander of the 5º Tank Army of the Guard.

For the great positive actions, of assault or counterattack and victory, of exploitation and consolidation, the high commands of the Stavka or Central High Staff of the Red Army, presided by Stalin, developed throughout several years the Tanks Armies. By 1944, in the order of battle of the Red Army existed up to six of the above mentioned strategic Armies. They were destined to operate independently in the operational (up to 80 Km in the depth) and, even, strategic rear (up to 200-250 Km) of the Wehrmatch and his allies.

His tasks were to attack, occupy, consolidate and defend some area or important city, which was not capable of offering an effective defense; to spread the destruction, the disorganization and the panic in his «zone of advance» in the enemy rear, using also the «tactical influence» that was generating on the enemy, at both flanks of it and in function to his distance to it, measure in time of arrival. Behind this great strategic unit, would advance the «mass of support» of the armies of the Soviet Front at which the Army of Tanks was subordinated. That would initiate his exploitation operations, after concluding the irruption and break of the defensive enemy front by the infantry or shock Armies of the Front or Soviet Group of Armies, due supported by the heavy fire, the engineers and the supporting tanks.

Resultado de imagen de task force baum Telegram of condolence of the General Assistant of the Secretary of the War to the family of one of the «missing persons» of the «Task Force Baum». 

This is theoretically easy and simple. But it is necessary to count for his accomplishment with the almost innumerable collective (small units, units and great units) and personnels actions, that are the source of mistakes, failures and diversions, in relation with the foreseen in the calculations and plans. It is necessary to have, to put it into practice, a military well trained organization, which guarantees the constant and sufficient flow of communications, updated intelligence and logistic. It is needed the appropriate, coordinated and convergent action of the units used in the complex and successive operations. It is necessary to count with the transitability characteristics of the areas of operations, influenced not only by his orography, but also by the network ways, the waterways that should cut more or less perpendicularly the ways, the climate, the seasons, the moments of the day. In March, 1945, the general George Patton arranged a deep incursion, not authorized by his superiors, using the Taskforce Baum (integrated by approximately 314 soldiers and 16 tanks) to 80 Km behind the German lines and at few days of the capitulation of the IIIrd Reich. His mission was to rescue a group of American prisoners, who were in Hammalburg. The result was disillusioning and the action, for painful, was not too much spread to know. The attackers were surrounded by the German forces and destroyed by his counterattacks. Only 11 % of the men returned to the lines of the famous Army III of the U.S. Army.

Antecedents and Introductions.

On November 23, 1942 at 2 p.m., the VI German Army, the most powerful great military unit of the Wehrmatch, got definitively surrounded in Stalingrad by several Soviet Fronts. The Operation Uranus was creating a strategic siege. And the contact of the VI Army and other units of the IIIrd Reich or of his allies, 267.000 soldiers of the Axis, with other units of this one by land, already did not exist. In Stalingrad, the Germans did not have the shuttle of ferries crossing the Volga, to supply the city and to re-equip and re-put the sieged mlitary units, as the Soviets had.

Resultado de imagen de friedrich von paulus Recent Marshal von Paulus surrenders his Staff in Stalingrad.

The nearest airports in hands of the Germans were those of Tatsinskaya and Morozovskaya, at west of Stalingrad. In them, the colonel general Wolfram von Richtofen, command of 4 ª Air Fleet of the Wehrmatch, placed rapidly a tasks group of transport, bombardiers and fighters, with the mission to move the military and material supplies to all the sieged ones. Von Paulus, command of the surrounded forces, was promised to deliver 500 Tm daily of supplies. But, the daily average delivered during the siege was 100 Tm. And only one day, the German aviation could deliver 500 Tm. And, in those moments, the rejection capacity of the besieged to the Soviet assaults, to break by parts the defensive zone or to reduce his area, was depending on the number and the quality of the supplies that were receiving by air.

Resultado de imagen de wolfram von richthofen  Colonel General of the Luftwaffe Wolfram von Richthofen.

On December 10, the IV Panzer Army of the colonel general Hoth initiated from Kotelnikorski, 100 Km at east of the edge of the siege, an attack to establish a ground link corridor with the defense zone of Stalingrad and to relieve the besieged. It was the operation Wintergewitter or Winter Storm. The VI Army would initiate the break of the Soviet ring, towards the helping forces, which was the most predictable direction and which did not possess the surprise factor, when these were at 30 Km of distance. The vanguard of the German forces corresponded to the reduced 57º Panzer Corps. In this operation the Soviets counter-attacked with mastery and continuously and the principal weapon of both sides were the tanks. Finally, on the 26th, this Panzer Corps was depleted and the Wintergewitter was stopping, at 46 Km from the Stalingrad’s siege.

But the Soviets, who had prepared themselves well for his winter offensive, were still keeping another disagreeable surprise to the Germans. In the Stavka, the colonel general Aleksander Vasilievsky, among other Soviet high commands, was thinking and controlling her, seeking to complete in it the German defeat in the south of Russia. Vasilievsky gave, as chief of the Central Staff, rationality and patience to the «interchanges of impressions» with Stalin.

Resultado de imagen de Aleksandr Vasilievsky  The Marshal of the USSR Aleksander Vasilievsky.

On December 16, lieutenant general Vatutin threw a strategic blow with his Front of the Southwest (the Operation Small Saturn) against the VIII Italian Army, deployed in the left flank of the Group of Armies of the Don (marshall von Manstein). In the breaking forces of the Italian front were the 1st. and 3er. Armies of the Guard, who moved forward three Corps of Tanks (one was the 25º, of the major general Pavlov) and a Mechanized Corps (bigger and more balanced in combined arms) and 9 infantry divisions. That already on the 17th had achieved diverse irruptions and breaks in the Italian front.

The crumbling of the Don’s front, at north of Stalingrad, opened several possibilities to the Soviets: a) To consolidate Stalingrad’s siege, being able to operate in the whole deep rear of the Axis, dismantling its defense capacity and pursuing the support units (logistics, aviation and artillery) and the remains and reserves of the Armies who were spreading out in her. b) To make move back the Group of Armies of the Don towards the Donetz, as a new sustainable line of his defensive front, forcing him to a rapid retreat. This forced the forces of von Manstein to shorten his lines, for, in the new front that they presented to the Soviets, to be able to have not only first line forces, but mobile armoured forces, to counter-attack the Soviet onslaughts. c) To force the Germans to keep in Rostov, near the river mouth of the Donetz, an opened corridor with his south rear, to avoid that the Group of Armies of the Caucasus (marshall von Kleist) could get cut off, as it happened with the VI Army. And could go out by it towards the new German rear at the west. d) To facilitate the final push of all the Soviet Fronts towards the Donetz and to consolidate this way all the strategic earnings obtained in his complex and extensive winter offensive of 1942.

The Intellectual Baggage of the Deep Insertions.

The theoretics of the Soviet deep operation (glubokaya operatsiya) in the period between 1928 and 1936 were the lieutenant general Triandafilov, the brigadier Isserson and the marshall Tujachevsky. This one established the Instructions for the Deep Battle (glubokiy boy) in 1935. That then incorporated into the Regulations of the Service of 1936, as military official doctrine, PU-36.

The preexisting concepts were based on the good results of the cavalry operations, singularly Cossak, on high fluid situations of fight and movement, on the operational enemy rear. And acting against small enemy detachments and the communication lines. But, the armies based on the employment of the fuel engine, to develop an operational or strategic penetration the enemy rear, and in the armored moving platforms for direct fire cannons (tanks) and trucks (infantry and artillery), had logistic needs (maintenance, rotation of crews in long marches, supplies) that were not even glimpsed by the ancient commands.

(TO BE CONTINUED)