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 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.




The author realizes a methodical and deep critique of the different fighting forms in each of the historical epochs.

It is specially hard and mordant with the form of fight of the Germans during the World War II. His aim is to degrade and minimize it, to reduce it importance and validity in the history of the ground operations. Depriving this way the evolution of the American theory on the those operations, of any intellectual influence or debt with the doctrine of the German war.

The one that the author considers to be more opportunist and tactics, that complete and scientific. And he thinks that it was favored in its results by the lacks and the mistakes of its enemies. It is possible that an academic analysis of the form of German fight, approaches to give this verdict.

But, the evidence is the touchstone of the reality without appearances. And the case is that the Germans triumphed widely and extensively with that one, during the first stage of the World War II in Europe: 1939 1942. During which, his enemies could learn of the tactics, technologies and the German operational strategy. Since it extended too much in the time, on having multiplied the theatres of the war.

Imagen relacionada

And that, in the last phase of the war: 1943-1945, the Germans were exceeded, overwhelmed and, finally, defeated. To what contributed the qualitative and quantitative differences in the logistic flows, which supported both armed rivals; the enormous bleeding of the German commands and cadres, which turned out to be irrecoverable and reduced the qualities of his units; and the quantitative demography of the Allies.

Naveh grants wide quality and esteem to the military doctrine of the Soviets. That he considers to be scientific, because it was following a linear process of arguments, logic and results (that for a long time, were only longed for or foreseen). And that was adapting and guiding specifically and really, to an army of slightly educated masses and nourished by a resounding demography. That always had an insufficient logistic support, when it was not precarious. The mechanization of the infantry to collaborate with the tanks, was always a longing and a hope, more than an average real capacity.

Resultado de imagen de germany military power ww2

At the first times after the Bolshevik revolution, even directed by the young theorist of the deep maneuver, general Mikhail Tujachevski, the Russian armies remembered «slow and exhausting hordes» in their marches. That were living for the sustenance from the own or strangly territory where they were advancing. The men more relatively educated, always scanty, were enlisted in the technical weapons: artillery, engineers, aviation. Or in the most effective and necessary branches for the penetration and the exploitation of the enemy operational rear: tanks, Guard infantry.

Finally, Shimon Naveh concentrates his efforts, summary and praises in the long process of development of the American AirLand Battle doctrine and his following updates. Whose kindness and efficiency got reality in the air and ground offensive against the Iraqi regime in the War of the Gulf of 1991, looking for the liberation of Kuwait from the power of Saddam Hussein. War that was the touchstone of that doctrine supposedly culminada.

Initiated the ground offensive, the American forces and his allies rapidity faced to practically all the Iraqi forces that were occupying and defending Kuwait. From the Persian Gulf operated the naval forces, that threatening with an amphibious disembarkation on the narrow coasts of the emirate. From the south, the American marines took charge in fixing the Iraqi forces of the south flank of the defense. Confirming this way, for the Iraqis, that the assault front of the allies would be the south and east.

Resultado de imagen de soviet polish war THE SOVIET POLISH WAR OF 1920.

But, at the south of Iraq / Kuwait, the bulk of the Allies mechanized forces penetrated in whirlwind along the western front of the Iraqi deployment, blind and static. Immediately afterwards to be divided this allied deployment in several advance spears, over all the Iraqi units of this flank.

The campaign was a great atrition operation: of the strongest against the strong, for the major technological means and capacities of the Allies. Where a simultaneous assault was looked, to the Soviet style, to all the steps of the enemy order of battle and in the depth of his defensive rigid deployment. In the south of this one there existed armored or motorized Iraqi divisions, ready to counter-attack any allied penetration. Towards the center and north, there was the thickness of the Republican Guard, ready to counter-attack any operational Allied action.

Where a simultaneous attack was looked for, of the Soviet style, to all the levels of the enemy order of battle and in the depth of his defensive rigid deployment. In the south of this existed armored or motorized Iraqi divisions, ready to counter-attack any Allied penetration. Towards the center and north, was the bulk of the Republican Guard, ready to counter-attack any Allied operational action.

The concentrations, maneuvers and actions neither were searching, nor had, a gravity center of the efforts. That was successively defined and applied as the campaign was developing. But, using the already mentioned advantages, the allied forces were seeking to fix and crush the enemy units at their range, by a direct and almost joint form. Creating really this way, a battle of encircle and annihilation, of the family of Cannas and Tannenberg, where the liquidation of the siege was done by parts and was uniformly accelerated in the time.

Resultado de imagen de soviet polish war SWEEPING THE RUSSIAN HORDES.

The Iraqi divisions at the east were submitted to the central and direct control of Saddam Hussein and his Central Staff. That depriving them of initiative, flexibility and freedom of action. If not, some Allies’s corps or divisions could have been put in difficulties by the action of some great Iraqi unit. After the beginning of the ground attack and having the Allies the air supremacy in the campaign, the Iraqis were deprived of the operational exploration. So, the surrounding maneuver of the Allies by the east and towards their rearward, was concealed to them.



The operational Strategy in the Irregular War.

Naveh, nevertheless, does not approach, far from it penetrates and analyzes, a type of war that already existed from a lot of time ago. Before the genesis and ripeness of the American operational strategy. And that is the guerrilla warfare, word taken from the Spanish by all the languages. The one that, pompously, the Anglo-Saxons called war of IVth generation. Though it is almost as ancient as the human conflict. The modern technological armies find difficulties to face this form of fight. Using the means, the doctrine and his regulations, the order of battle and the trainings with which they are provided.

The guerrilla war is synonymous of long and deeply rooted conflict in the civil society, where it appears and develops. It is of low military intensity, except in its last stage (if she reaches it) and of great ideological politicization and polarization of the rivals. These characteristics do that inevitably the civilians are involved in her and that the military conflict is arbitrary, hard and cruel. There face positions and antagonistic interests, which, in the use of the violence, derive towards her limits and that of the suffering of whom involve her.

The author might speak about the application of the operational strategy in the guerrilla warfare. Or used in the direction and the operations of the elite units (marines, rangers, SEALs, etc.), that realize counterinsurgency missions. Here, the gravit centers of the efforts, globally coordinated, include the economic, military, political and social areas. And will exist in these fields and will be applied in a harmonic, joint and coordinated way. Working for a common and convergent effort, using different combinations of means in the different cases that appear.

A central counterinsurgency command will exist, that must bring together and direct the efforts, means and actions. In agreement with the specialization of the means that act and the actions and the aims that are looked for in each of the mentioned levels or fields of action. A characteristic of the acts and their effects is that they must be convergent. Looking for the multiplication and increase of these and the synergy of the first ones. This way, in any action, from a level of forces, budget or looked for results, will act the Counterinsurgency Command.

As examples, in the military area will be gravity centers the semipermanent bases, the communications between the bands and with the countrymen, including the logistics, and the movements of the rebels groups. The static defense will be kept in the centers and means necessary for the effort of war. Others will have to defend by a system of garrisons for the defense of the territory. That will be supported by a military system of mobile patrols and of reconnaissance and of ground attack aviation. The special units will realize deep incursions of attack, exploration and harassment in the areas in dispute with the guerrillas or in power of these.

The Ambushes against military Patrols and Units.


One of the principal tasks of the military men of the International Forces in Support of the Security, deployed in the Southwest of Asia, in the countries menaced by the islamist terrorism, is the motorized patrolling by the dusty ways that interlace the zone of influence of their barracks. These areas almost lacks Tarmac roads. When there exist they are not a great thing. The caps of asphalt have between one and two fingers of thickness; and the heats soften them and pot-holes and bubbles are easily formed. Usually, this is not an aggressive patrol. It is an exhibition, routine and of visual and logistic link patrolling, between their principal and secondary positions and with the nearby population centers.

When the military men think that there can be problems, they receive the support of the air observation. They are reconnaissance not manned planes (the UAV, in his initials in English), whose use spreads in these asymmetric conflicts. They can detect (in ideal conditions) at 5 thousand meters if a person is armed. The Americans use the Predator model (which is armed also) and the the Searcher (without attack capacity), being able both to operate up to 350 km from his base.

Resultado de imagen de Guerrillas sunníes JAISHALADL SUNNIS IRAQIS GUERRILLA POSING…

In some cases the rebels and bandits have dared to attack some of the military marching columns. Fighting from fixed and spread, hasty fortified positions, forming a fringe like a half moon or crescent, which was embracing the march way. Their problem was that the rebel weapon were of tense fire and so their fighting positions were in the forward slope. So, the armed light armoured vehicles with foreign infantry, could combat profitably with the guerrillas in their reinforced fox holes, small trenches and folds of the ground. In effect, their targets acquisition and machine-guns fire control systems, were allowing them the selection and the precision of their fires against the punctual targets of the irregular rebels. And were forcing them to move back and to hiding in the near hamlets.

There are more others cases in which the rebels use the explosive handcrafted artifices (in English, «improvised explosive devices») in the ways crossed by the military men in patrol. They usually place them setting off from the villages, as their improvised forward base, and taking advantage of the concealment and the protection of the nights. There is a high afraid to these artifices, already famous from the postwar period of Iraq. Because they are unexpected, unpredictable and hard to detect. Also, are enervating (the mental perspective of a possible, though improbable explosion, burdens much more than the real probability of the hurts in the attack) and they put the men in the passive defense and in the wait, knowing that active measurements to avoid them are not taken.

Resultado de imagen de improvised explosive devices

The explosive hollow charges that form the majority of these artifices, attack the “low guts” of the military foreign vehicles, their most vulnerable and less protected part. Down there, they cannot carry the reactive charges of repulsion or a multiple layers “shield” with ceramics, like the hulls of the main battle tanks. It is calculated that the Afghan Taliban and the members of the ISIL rebels can place and activate during a year, more 10 thousands of these handcrafted mines. Some correspondents call the artifices, the most effective weapon of the insurgency. Though they are, in their operational set, like an immense minefield; but that are not simultaneously placed and super widespread, improbable and without being covered by the enemy fire.

The Technologies and Tactics to eliminate the Danger of the Ambushes and Explosive Traps in the Tracks.

There are several, the passive or reactives and the actives, assuming that the initiative and the aggressiveness, against worse prepared and trained rebels, is with the military men. They all are «defensive». Since the Department of the War passed to be named long ago of the Defense, everything is “defense”.

Between the passive ones can be to increase the visual recognition of the tracks, observing protuberances and changes of color that should not correspond, in the soils of those. The «travel times» of the columns would diminish a lot. It is necessary to cross those more slow, looking at the soil and looking over the horizon, searching also for careless observers, not very distant. They do not use too much cable activators. These are expensive and weigh, and the rebels are in isolated zones and their logistics is weak and complicated.

The devices are activated generally by the pressure of the vehicle or by a transmitter of a given frequency and range; it can serve an opening doors device. With their frequency inhibitors, the military men try to offset the radio waves of the probable frequencies in the zone. Being the most expensive and complicated transmitters, that with more range, power and frequencies range of use. It is the game of the cat and the mouse. The problem arises when the guerrillas of an area receive a transmitter activator that uses an unforeseen frequency.

Also the columns might be harassed by registered mortar fire during the stops that they were doing to confirm or to eliminate some possible artifice, as some of them might be simulated.


Another way would be to move out of the tracks, cross-country running. For the wheel vehicles, this not always is possible. And, in addition, their wear of the pieces and the consumption of fuel increase very much, as also the march schedules. At the same time, it diminishes the comfort and increases the weariness of the travelers in missions of long range and routine patrolling.

That it is not said that it is impossible or very difficult to do. Since this was what the general Valeriano Weyler did, to frighten the Cuban mambises of the surroundings of the ways and tropical paths. On February 10, 1896, the general was taking charge of the government of Cuba and of the headquarters of the Spanish army deployed in her. The president of the Cabinet, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, restorer of the Bourbon monarchy, was supporting the politics of keeping the colonial domination in Cuba, up to «sacrificing the last man and the last peseta». And named Weyler for the mentioned positions, in substitution of the general Arsenio Martínez Campos, the peacemaker of the war from 1968 to 1978. Which this time failed in bringing positions over with the armed rebels.


The Cuban guerrillas, in this new war, were taking advantage of the concealment of the “manigua” (tropical jungle) and his nearness to the ways, to harass with rifle fire the Spanish columns and to cause them some falls, without getting involved in a fight. Weyler prompt designed the tactic of rejection the enemy. A reconnaissance with combat capacity was going suitably forward to the Spanish columns in march. It was moving by the jungles (autochthonous bushes) that were surrounding the routes of march, without moving away too much from the paths. The “mambises” or Cuban armed rebels, forming variable and scanty harassment forces, were this way raised from their ambushing positions and drove away from the principal Spanish forces.

Particularities of the mountainous zones and their inhabitants.

The mountainous areas of the geopolitical region of the Southwest of Asia are specially dangerous for the foreign military units of any size in maneuver. The spurs of the heights are frequently crossed by wadis or seasonally dry riverbeds of brooks and springs. In them it can conceal a group of men. That will not become visible until his opportunity of harassment by the fire arises, from rapidly reinforced and camouflaged positions, of the military units. Or have an encounter skirmish with some military group that comes out to the hollow without precautions.

Also it is easy to approach some rocky outcrop, adorned or not by a small thorny bushes, without detecting any enemies patiently crouched down behind it. That will attack the carelessness soldiers, using their knives or cutlasses. Even, when the men return to the principal way, after establishing and keeping a defense position to secure the march of the principal column, giving them the back.

The tribes who live there have as characteristics in their identity and customs, the belligerence and the intertribal brawls. The most important and widespread are the etnia pashtun and the baluchis.

The surprise, which is an effective multiplier of the «specific combat capacity» of a given unit, is constantly and systematicly employ by the irregular fighters. This way, it happens that, «in this wide, ocher and arid valley, they have never attacked us», because the mountains that frame it are at 300 or 400 m. in the horizon. Well, today they are going to attack you with short bursts (2 to 6 shots) of machine gun with bipod, when you advance gullible and spread in that dull and known valley. Without bothering for establishing the march security with pickets, which protect the principal column. And offering multiple small targets to the tenacious, thoughened and poisonous enemy.

Military Tactics in the counterinsurgency fighting.

Finally, some specific tactics and techniques exist for the fight against irregular rebels, that can be used here. It looks to keep the initiative, the creativity and the law of the action in our side. It is a question of the independent employment of light infantry small units (at first, type plattoon or section) in reconnaissance and attacks tasks of the enemy bands.

For the defense of the own communications, they can be used aggressively against the bands that scourge or that hinder them (the artifices are like more spread and selective mines). For example, they can advance and conceal in a sector where the terrorists or local bandits bands are active. In the night, when those are usually placing in the tracks their explosive artifices, they will attack thoughtlessness them (with the maxim surprise and for the major effect). This demands of all the men of the patrols and units: formation, motivation, commitment with the mission, specific training, initiative, creativity, self-sufficiency, sobriety, patience, serenity, alert of the senses, silence and quietude.

An advantage that will multiply the combat capacity of the military patrols, resides in that these bands usually neglect their security in what they think that it is their rear. As soon as a combat has taken place with the rebels, the patrol must be extracted or return to his barracks. To rest, report or brief, return to train, to be equipped and to move to another sector, when it be appropriated, in another mission.


Any ambush that turns out to be effective involves a failure, a deficiency, a carelessness in the security of the attacked. The routine of the actions; the softness of the men; the sufficiency and conceitedness of the direct and top commands; the scanty formation of the soldiers; the insufficient motivation of all the military men and his lack of commitment with the tasks or missions. They constitute serious departure faults to the creation and the maintenance of an effective march security. In the reconnaissance and of combat patrols and in the movements of the units and small units.

And, though the security does not appear frequently in the «lists» of the principles of the war, specially in the most short, the security has come to remain. And the failure to keep this principle will concern in major or minor degree and extension the efficiency of other «companions or partners principles». Since the whole of the principles forms a holistic, synergic, concurrent and convergent group, on the military actions. Defining all simultaneously the «what to do» in the war or in the armed conflict.


Almost all the technologies, tactics and operations directed to obtaining the tactical or operational surprise over the enemy, can be benevolent considered at the edge of the regulations and existing procedure. That are practised in the different countries and groups of them or supranational alliances.

Between other reasons, to fight only according to the «book» is usually too much acquaintance and predictable. In addition, many of the general «knowledge» gathered in them are shared by different blocs and nations, even antagonistic. And it is necessary, to respect the regulations and ordinances and to look for the aim indicated by the command, as the goal to obtaining.

But the creative and decisive action must follow the one that we call the «way of the surprise«. As guide, compass, of our decisions and actions. Looking for that fleeting and juicy opportunity that arises in the development of the mutual actions between the armed rivals; those careless or vulnerable enemy weaknesses, in conditions that we can create sometimes, equally more unforeseen and unusual. To obtain our goals with more forcefulness, efficiency, elegance and rapidity. Achieving it with fewer loss of time, of men and of means. Let’s remember the basic and universal principle of the economy of the means.

Sure that following always the «book» they will be able to approach and to take to good term the common operations. But, apart from the fact that the enemy has an essentially equal doctrine and regulations, a way of fighting will be first known and then learned or dominated and, probably, up to overcome finally by the enemy. The triumphant Germans in the first period 1939-1941, with the extension of the war, allowed the knowledge and the learning of his war of combined weapon by his enemies. That finally overcame them in technologies, tactics and operations and drove them to their thunderous defeat in 1945.

And this «guide» is of special need and affection in the bureaucratized and crystallized armies. Where the unforseeable, not guilty failures, are not only a contingency to be overcame by the set. But they can be also an administrative or political weapon against the persons in charge. And where the follow-up of the «book» and the superiors orders to the letter, armour and protect the low commands of the responsibility of their acts and results.

Martin Van Creveld said that was the anteroom, before the final unworkability and prostration, of «the military organizations that were not getting up-to-date and renewing». Martin Van Creveld was expelled as lecturer, many years ago, from Israel’s Military High College.

Then, the results will be obtained increasingly at the cost of the wear and the men means and materials losses. Tending to triumph then the rival that more demographic and economic capacity has.

There arises then a corollary of this way of thinking the military thing. The zeal to avoid human falls, extended to all the modern armies or of IIIrd generation, will lead to the preventive, protective and therapeutic employment of the own heavy fire. Looking that the own forces do not have to fight at close ranges. This is called military modern technology and is highly regarded by the national armament industries. This is not more than the perversion and trick of the heavy fire. Whose functions or tasks, in increasing order of action and efficiency, are: to blind, to disturb, to neutralize or cover and to destroy the enemy in the different fighting forms and situations.

And the action over the aim will tend to the physical destruction, as guarantee of the security of the men. In the actual civil wars in Iraq and Syria, we have the examples in the exagerate and methodical bombardments on the enemies. Armed and civilians; real and suspects.

The Military surprise, looking for the enemy dislocation and shock

During his operations, the enemy deployment is conforming in the direction and with the intention that he has decided and determined, for his military echeloned means and for his logistic routes. This way, he is showing his «cards» to his rival, depending on his action tempo and he is commiting, according to those.

Our surprise can create «per se» a new «exposed flank«, another more or less critical «vulnerability» in the enemy. That he was not considering yet, that he was not waiting, nor was prepared to defend her by some of the fighting forms. That are the attack and the defense, in their varieties and combinations.

Our surprise penetrates in the enemy deployment, seeking to shock and dislocate functionally or positionally it. And, at least, to cause him losses, to occupy profitable positions for our operational development, to diminish his tempo or operational pace and to confuse, delay and disturb him in his plans and deployments. Using for it, by our part, the minimal means expense and seeking to achieve the maximum possible effect on the enemy. With which we optimize the effort of our actions, following the general principle of the economy of the available means.

When the enemy reacts, to offset and overcome the effect of our surprising action, he is adapting necessarily to our intention. And, if that one is serious, he moves away more or less from his interests and plans. With his reacting movements for the rejection and the attack to our forces, the enemy is disregarding his intention and his mission. In relation to these, the enemy is removed from them and also unbalanced. This way, a right conceived, planned and realized surprise can «prepare» the enemy for us. So, he face in disadvantage, with fewer available resources and a worse deployment, our offensive principal action. That would be already more direct, massive and orthodox.

In such a way that exist a whole range of possible effects to obtaining over the enemy with our surprising actions. That will change also according to the means destined to obtain our surprise, the conception, the preparation and the accomplishment of it and the available time, considering also the set of our operations.