quick glance and intuition must be
developed so that, following a series of accepted techniques,
they help those in command to control and direct the operations.
Studiousness and reasoning are used to know the best techniques and how to apply them. Once learned by experience and reflection, these must open the way to governance by intuition. This prevails in a global, holistic sense – in an internal processing of the spirit – that settles down a pace and gives proportion and adjustment to the given situation. Which is much more rapid and effective, that the continuous resource to the analysis, the feedback and the check list of things to do.
The possibilities, advice and techniques that follow one from another in a given and changing situation, grow in exponential form. Knowing all of them at any given moment is impossible. And it can be source of errors, since that stance does not allow readily for feedback, verification, and adaptation. That stance is not very useful either, because it slows deliberation and because possibilities, techniques, and advice are sometimes contradictory, in light of all the conditions that define a situation.
Thus, once formed, an officer must trust his military sense, that is, the specific intuition on how to act in all occasions. Excessive emotion, especially fear and hatred (negative ones), block the intuitive management and the agility of the mind, reducing its effectiveness to that of fallible reasoning. Serenity and discipline are the best assistants of intuition.
An anonymous sage said that «reasoning was a way to err with conviction». The cause or reason of this is nothing more than «we do not have at hand all the conditions or parameters that define a complex situation».
The search for a solution for an operational or tactical mission happens through a mental process of investigation, information and deliberation. The results of intelligence and exploration must also inform and be rooted in the command’s mind. According to the western psychology, these mental processes give rise to intuition.
In this process it is not absolutely clear the nexus between deliberation and solution, since these cases have numerous “variants” and diverse possibilities for reality or certainty. The solution does not arise by accumulating data and its ruminating,
But by a “qualitative leap”, after which the essential concept of the situation or its total conceptual apprehension is clearly contemplated.
These “leaps” take place in unconscious mental elaboration by a mind trained to discern these essential concepts. That can be absolute or referred to the mind in itself, or relative, referred to situations or external facts to it, as parcels of the knowledge. After information is considered, the analytical mind verifies it and validates the correctness of one or two “special” solutions (better than “ideals”) available.
This apparent incoherence between the Solution which we postulated, and the branched solution that is obtained, arises as a result of the natural indetermination that exists in defining and considering all the variables in any given phenomenon or situation. Mental courage is the best aid of wisdom, enabling one to overcome doubt in a situation and take hold of creative opportunities.
is even more important in a military
as they are by the “smoke
or fog of
war”, and being
affected by friction
and the errors
ofoperatingmen and units.
Part of that “smoke”
is generated by our own
knowledge, that is
erroneous, and only partially
correct, about the “enemy
at the other side of the hill”.
practitioners of theory.
All the examples we present are characterized by having repeatedly overcome their enemies in their confrontations. And, maintaining a striking creativity and freshness in their use of the «art science of war».
at times, an operational strategy of hammering, on the
part of an enemy with more means and resources, has finally deprived
some of the victory.
Now, closing the “historical and definer cicle”, the wars of V generation are called hybrid or multi functional wars, which, really, always have existed. With the major or minor participation of each one of the available “means of intervention» (Foreign Relations, regular and irregular Armed Forces, Economy, Cybernetics, etc) in the social group, to obtain the searched «functions of intervention» on the enemy. Forming a “means” mix, adapted to all situations and confrontation theaters.
for nominating nowadays with an exotic and new word, preferably
foreign, one makes
this way a «mean
or a function of intervention»
fresh and promising. The problem is that the ignorance of the
history, still the recent one, impoverishes the new concepts, ideas
and situations of conflict.
Without winning in application,
efficiency and cognitive capacity
with it. With
this, only it
falls or repeats
the previous history, returning
to learn it. And that, as
in a spiral screw,
only changes the phenomenon temporal
«plane of execution«.
Where are kept safe
and now partly secret, the different «essential
parameters» of the phenomena
of the conflicts and fights.
Almost all the «means of intervention» of the State, used to obtain his national aims, already were present in the panoply of means at his disposition, a long before this new name of the Hybrid War. The «functions of intervention» were developed by «means» adapted to the real possibilities of his epoch. And they were obtaining the looked aims, though they were very specific. There we have the actions of the SAS (Special Air Service) as «special forces of punctual intervention with limited objectives” in the enemy rearguard. Fighting against this one and to support and help the local «forces of resistance to the occupant». In the USA we have to the SEALs, the Rangers, the Delta force and the Special Forces, among others. In Germany is the GSG 9 group. In Australia and New Zealand they have the same name that the British corps.
strategic and tactical needs of the war and the functions of the
«means of intervention» are slightly
variable. And his variability is a function
of the improvements in general training, scope, speed,
capacity of shock and fire on the enemy, communications between
«means», protection of these, etc. That offer the
successive technologies applicable to the «means».
One of the «means of intervention» of a world or regional power to obtain his «national and strategic aims» are the «Foreign Relations«. That has a concept qualitatively more extensive than the Diplomacy. This refers to the State or government affairs, that treat two or more nations (alliances). And the diplomatic «function» is to negotiate by the political way what communicates to him his State, department or secretary. Asking and receiving successive instructions, if it was necessary, to support and continue the negotiation. And being kept or not in his execution and protocol relations, within the qualities of discretion, prudence and tact that characterize his trade.
The Foreign Relations also include other relations and more heterodox actions. That is necessary to look for, to keep and to support in the exterior to obtain our National aims. This way, a function of the foreign relations is to appear for it, new opportunities and more secondary ways or routes and «means of intervention«. The Foreign Relations collaborate directly, since always it has been done, using the means and the in force national strategy, with the Intelligence, the Economy and the national Armed Forces. That is to say, acting together in a «mix» of functions and means of intervention, the war always has been Hybrid from the Prehistory. Creating new opportunities and ways, to apply and use the whole creative and potential capacity of the State, to achieve his strategic and operational aims.
A succinct example between thousands of situations. The «Central Strategic Command of Combined War» can request to Foreign Relations the search of dissident or domestic enemy in a potential enemy country. Located one o more of these, there are valued his capacities, circumstances, implantation and operational possibilities. This way, FF. RR. would present a report to the Central Command in the shape of a «founded resolution”, involving in it. That is, valuing schematically the existing cases and being decided for one or two, depending on his qualities and our general or punctual convenience.
These dissidents or enemies will be politicians or also armed rebels. In the first case, our nation might grant to them asylum, scholarships, economic support and advice to his groups. In the second one, in a phase of major confrontation, we could also send supply and armaments, advisers and trainers and «special operations» or units of «foreign volunteers», to support and/or reinforce them in his insurgents activities.
At the beginning of the 16th century the «reformists and heretical» ideas of the priest Martin Luther propagated in the center and north of Europe, with the help of the press. The origin of the word propaganda arises during the Counter Reformation. It is a reference to the spread of the catholic faith. With the Jesuits in the forefront of this task of catechizing. Facing to the deviations from the preexisting orthodoxy, taught by the Lutherans, Huguenots, Calvinists, Erasmists, etc.
always handles basic,
essential information, that are easy
and simple by
definition. This is due to the fact that his «aim» (the
is always large
and numerous: the
a certain country or region, or a religious, economic, racial or
socially different extensive group.
They are those that it is necessary to inform, convince and,
the cases, to protect.
«mean of intervention» against
the enemies or to change or to influence wills, which was not known,
for unthinkable, until a few years ago, is the Cybernetic War.
The cybernetic attacks can go to the software or the hardware of the personal IT, managerial or institutional systems. The software is the «logical support» of an IT system, which makes possible the accomplishment of the different tasks. This «logical support» includes the operating system and the applications or IT programs that those realize. The hardware is the machinery or the set of physical components of the computer. This way, summarizing, the software generates instructions that are executed by the hardware or physical support of the system.
In general, the attacks are realized to the software of a system, looking for a «weakness» of this one. And using the malicious codes, the back entrances, etc. A penetration or attack to the software is prevented in general with an antivirus adapted to the received virus. To attack the hardware is necessary to act on the «physical component» of the computer. And his detection, with the nowadays existing miniaturization, turns out to be very improbable and long in the time, until the devastation is detected. The best way of acceding to the hardware is realizing the intrusion in the factories of components and of assemblies. But these are protected by control measures of components and external equipment, based on the nationality and the producer of them. Unless the attacker and the manufacturer undesirably match…
The Economy is an important and classic “mean of intervention» of the State and of the Nation. It means and involves in the effort of war the capacity of obtaining and producing all kinds of goods and services, intermediates and finals, that the technologies and processes in effect in each stage are capable of get and obtain.
The Economy is tied directly with the applied, specific education, of the skilled workforce, who is needed and could be achieved in a nation. The own aptitude to obtain goods or services (even with tourism, raw materials, trade) appetizing to other nations or social groups, will serve for the direct exchange or for barter of the goods and services in which a society is showing a deficit. As an example, energy or specifically qualified workforce.
Also, in cases of need and usefulness, a nation can decide to assign more productive resources to the production of a certain good. But, all more it is required specialization in the production, the performances, both neat and economic (as cost of them) will be minor. By virtue of the laws of the diminishing performance and of the increasing costs that suffer these «specialized reconverted productive processes«.
It is very easy to use the cement in producing military goods of static defense (bunkers, defensive armed lines) and not to raise buildings with it; it is relatively easy to convert the industrial vehicles factories of into armored vehicles plants. And it is very difficult to obtain great performances from a dairy changed in an arms plant.
All of these «means of intervention» require been necessarily and sufficiently harmonized and coordinated by a «centre of gravity» of the Central Strategic Command in each theatre of operations. That, in a centripetal and convergent effort, simultaneously or successively, it would direct and apply the specific means at its disposal.
The center of gravity is not an own physical unit, nor is its mission, neither a point in space or one with a predominant physical characteristic or an enemy unit.
The center of gravity is a coordinated flow of ideas of variable application, that generate original actions for fulfilling the mission and objectives. Originality, flexibility, variability, consistency, difficulty to predict by the enemy and effectiveness are essential to its establishment. Actually, the center of gravity is the instrument of direction, distribution and concentration, impulse and work. That the command has to focus on and unify, with the goal of accomplishing objectives and missions, and employing the efforts of his subordinate units and supports.
The chief is centered in his objectives and missions by means of the created center of gravity and follows a methodology for applying the operational systems.
As far as concentration goes, the so called “principal effort” expresses an effect of penetration in a given direction and a sense of being able to arrive at the rupture and exploit it. The combined-arms and aerial efforts of the units are concentrated on this.
The center of gravity has a more spatial and temporal sense, looking for an “operational convergence” of “related efforts” towards an objective. Those are not necessarily contiguous, simultaneous or sequential, but are synergic and result in outcomes based on consideration of the optimal form (means economic) of action of each weapon and service.
The center of gravity is more global or holistic; the main effort is more adding and cumulative. The main effort is exemplified by the hammering strategy of French Marshal Foch on the European western front beginning in the summer of 1918. This strategy was used to overcome the Germans purely by eroding their battle capacity in the theater of operations. And only shifting its direction when German resistance was excessive.
The effects of the main effort are more direct, predictable and evident. Those of the center of gravity are more subtle and unexpected, at least in the first phases of a military action.
The main effort is an instrument of the tactical level and is not necessarily generalized to the other levels. The center of gravity can be used in all dialectical activity where several means (either in number or in nature, near or distant) can be used. Within each level of military activity, beginning with the superior one, the center of gravity brings together and harmonizes all activities to obtain the most important effect or objective of that level.
At the strategic level, these would be the critical vulnerabilities of the enemy within the theater of operations. The nature of these would be informed by an important political component. At operational level the center of gravity would be created over the critical vulnerabilities of the campaign. At tactical level it would be the objective that would make operational transcendental the battle. If this was correctly addressed, as necessary for the operational direction, the objective would be that which would be decisive in the battle and get the exploitation of victory.
The center of gravity supposes a centripetal action of all the lines of performance, of the ramified activity of all the units and the services, not necessarily coincident, but convergent in their efficiency and result.
Following the communications ramified lines, we take advantage of the departure situation of each force and the transitability of the land, looking for the optimal use of the combined-arms set, reserves and logistics. By means of the different lines of attack or action we induce uncertainty in the enemy, we disperse his defensive capacity and disturb his plans for, and execution of, defense.
The ramified lines, in a final centripetal action, are peculiar to the center of gravity. The accumulation of forces in a sector, reiterating (inserted or successive units) or strengthening (adding tanks, narrowing the sector or providing greater fire support) the effort, is peculiar to the concept of the main effort.
An example of the use of the center of gravity following those ramified lines at the strategic level, is found in Napoleon’s operations to secure the surrender of Ulm held by the Austrian army of General Mack and Archduke Ferdinand.
In an ample advance of its independent army corps, the Great Armée (about 210,000 men) crossed the center of Germany, from the Rhein to the Danube. With this it operationally interposed between the Austrians (about 40,000 men) and the allied Russian forces that went to help them. The French initiated the crossing of the Danube on October 7, 1805 and, during the following week, Napoleon converge most of his army corps in an enormous spiral on Ulm. While a sufficient force watched the arrival from the east of Russian General Kutuzov.
General Mack made, in vain, several attempts at rupturing through Napoleon’s forces, applying his greatest efforts in Haslach and Elchingen. Both Austrian commanders quarreled among themselves and Archduke Ferdinand, with his 6,000 riders, separated from the main force and tried to escape to the northeast.
On the other hand, General Mack and the rest of his men (about 27,000, after the mentioned battles) met Napoleon’s overwhelming numbers at the doors to the city of Ulm since October, 14 and laid down their weapons at the feet of the Michelsberg mount. The capitulation was signed by General Mack on the 20th. The forces of Archduke Fernando were surrounded and won by the cavalry corps of Murat near Trochtelfingen. Another 12,000 Austrians surrendered in Neustadt. The campaign, without properly battles, cost Austria more than 50,000 men of her initial forces of about 70,000 troops.
The center of gravity directs, canalizes, gathers and orients the creation and the direction of the strike of different units and supports in each case. Its shift by the command allows the continuous adaptation to circumstances and the maintenance of focus on intermediate aims.
The center of gravity has as effective factors the speed of operations and logistics. The first allows optimal actuation of the combat capacity of forces and the second diminishes or compensates for the inevitable wearing down of the mobility capacity of troops and posible combat capacity during operations.
Its negative factors are poor transitability, including caused by obstacles, cuts and minefields, and battles command did not wish to engage in. The first “wears away” the operational mobility of the troops and the second “exhausts” their potential combat capacity.
Without those capacities, the fluidity, synergy and the ramified activity of thecenter of gravity tends to revert in a main effort in an operational direction that is quickly known by the enemy. So, the “stunning waves” that are generated on the enemy, cross-sectional to our advance in his operational zone, diminish with it in intensity and frequency, perhaps in the end, even disappear.
The direct elements of performance in the center of gravity are the combined-arms sets, the own and superior level of reserves (even including those in the mass of support or operational rearguard) and logistics. Once the center of gravity is conceived, it is applied and developed by means of the operational systems.
and the Future.
Hybrid War, a scolium?
but this concept for command can be useful for the wars of I, II, III
and IV generation (according to the US denomination, widely
«accepted»). But, now we approach the era of the war
of V generation: the
hybrid or miltifacetic or multifunctional war.
Employing, in addition, digital, computer methods, using the precision and discrimination that allow mathematical algorithms and the technology of radiations and electromagnetic pulses.
But it is just that this model of dialectical confrontation with its variable component of physical strength, needs a harmonious and holistic integration of the available multidisciplinary means. By focusing them on achieving different objectives simultaneously or successively, that we want to achieve. And preserving the universal principle of optimization and saving means.
A favorite tactic of the Mongols, especially effective when their enemy was willing to meet or was more confident in its exit, for reasons of pure initial numerical superiority, was the «mangudai». It was that a Mongol «army» corps, inferior to the enemy, was seriously engaged in fighting. Its size was large enough for the Mongol effort to be considered important. With it he would mentally attract the enemy and remove him from any other thought or possibility. After a hard battle, the sheer weight of the enemy forced the Mongol corps to retreat. What was a tactical retreat, never really disorderly, was taken by the enemy as an exploitable defeat. His total and permanent ignorance of the Mongols made him suspect nothing. And his desire for victory, augmented by the true effort made in the combat, did not let him to see beyond.
The yearning persecution ended up scattering the tight, solid formations of the enemy riders. At a moment of pursuit, always far from the rest of the enemy forces waiting, the bulk of the Mongol heavy cavalry emerged, hidden, fresh and thrown to the clash. That ended by undoing the disjointed cavalry groups, in which the persecutors had dispersed. After a real hunt, the enemy forces that remained in their initial positions in battle, either dispersed or were in turn attacked by the whole of the Mongol forces.
The modern working of the combat and operational movement binomial.
putting into practice with a «correct sense» these things,
the combats and the operational movements are continuously and
cyclically renewed in their possibilities. Giving each one mutual
impulses, opportunities and reasons for action. In this intimate
collaboration, decisions are outlined and consolidated until
objectives are achieved.
operational movement of units in military operations, returning to
the physical force simile, is not an applied force, but a potential
one, that has not yet produced work. It is like free gas or a stream
of water. Its potential character, which is perceived by the enemy,
is a threat that can cause disorganization and dislocation on its
operational advance. Combat is like a concentrated, regular and
kinetic force, capable of immediately performing the service asked of
it. It springs into action as steam exits a boiler and as water moves
the turbine paddles of a dam.
Another pair of better-known complementary «opposites» exist between interarms groups and it is the factor of efficacy that they possess.
refers to cooperation between mechanized infantries and tanks, which
is derived from the nearby combat capacity of the first and the
protection and direct fire power of the second, that are united in
comparable tactical and operations speeds. Both forces maintain the
impulse and the shock of the armored corp, according to opportunities
that are offered to it and framed by its intentions and resources,
the terrain, and the intentions and means of the enemy.
We have to remember that at the end of 1980s and the beginning of 1990s, proponents of a war of maneuvers in America argued that combat (bad) harmed movement (good).
But, without combat there is no decision and without operational movement there is no exploitation of the operational and strategic enemy zones, nor there are high profitable combats against enemies whose deployments have been dislocated. A mobile corp «influences» the enemy by damaging him through combat or by the timely interruption of vital parts of his deployment. Nuclear dissuasion worked because its destructive capacity was real and intolerable and because the possibility of its employment was credible.
Operational movement and combat are necessary, complementary, cooperative and mutually transcendent instruments of the operational strategy. Problems and contradictions arise when, deprived of freedom of action, it is necessary to use or substitute one in the detriment of the other, in order to generate a new impulse for continued military action. When forced to do this, the effects are grave, as they harm «total time» required to planning, preparation and accomplishment of combat or movement operations. It is for this reason that, for example, to engage in an unexpected combat during a march, is inadvisable, as it wreaks havoc on operation «time» and squanders the combat capacity of the units.
the movement phase, combat is secondary and should be used against
opportunistic objectives, to secure the sector of advance, and,
especially, to thwart enemy efforts when possible. In the combat
phase, combat capacity should be used according to tactical
established procedures and looking in its conception to ensure that
decisions have transcendence in operational strategy. Doing this
results in each element stimulating and strengthening the other in
their respective operations, something that often has a multiplier
effect in causing final results that were unexpected «a priori».
The feeling that a special «pace» or tempo has been
achieved is a sure enough sign that one’s forces have freedom of
action and are operating correctly with the nature of war in its
The relative characteristics of combat are:
Its great intensity in a tactically «dense» environment, with heavy operational actions; the depletion of combat capacity, with a corresponding loss of «influence» on the enemy, that comes from not being able to further damage him; and the maintenance of movement capacity to carry out an operational exploitation.
allows one to gain operational «impulse» by
breaking through and penetrating, enveloping and pursuing the enemy.
Including a delayed defense when forces are obliged to stop their
advance, and, in general, to take advantage of tactical
The relative characteristics of operational movements are:
Operational lightness that allows for a high speed of march; the depletion of its movement capacity with the corresponding loss of «influence» on the enemy, that comes from not being able to reach him; and the maintenance of combat capacity in a system where combined arms are balanced.
Operational movement becomes obstructed when mobility is impeded. This can be caused by: the enemy (mine fields, reinforced and/or covered by fire obstacles); the necessity of responding to enemy fire or tactical movement; the lack of supplies or the dislocation of mobile groups from their «mass of support«; deployment changes, the force reorganizations, the uncertainties caused by the lack of intelligence, and the undecisions or doubts within the command.
Finally, when logistics are well-organized and communication lines are secure and adequate, the capacities of combat and operational movement can be recovered. Even if they have been depleted by the mobile corps and by its support mass in the different operations, in order to move forward on objectives ordered by the command.
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?
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.
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!
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
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.
Prince Wenhui. Hearing your reasoning I have come to understand the
work necessary to nurture life.
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):
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 «.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mongolian Warfare: an harmonic synthesis of the combat and the
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.
was the operational zone of the Mongols?
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.
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
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.
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.
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…
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.
is possible to bring «coherent
to the tactical microterrain,
giving specific missions and orders at battalion or company level.
The units used will be light
reinforced with material and experts (engineers, mines, mortars,
anti-tank, anti-aircraft). The lower tactical unit will be the
with 2 or 3 squads of 3 to 5 men and their supports. She will receive
a direct and simple mission, however dangerous, difficult and
laborious. The operating time and available equipment will
necessarily be short and light, unless the equipment can be bring
a protected . From the time of departure or crossing our
own lines until their extraction or disengagement
should not pass
more than 40 hours. And, it would be preferable not more than 24
hours for an individual mission.
The combatant’s means are: the terrain, with which he must melt and blend for his basic operations: march, attack and defense; the grenades are a part of his organic «heavy fire». Completing or replacing the 60 mm mortar, when the combatant is at the distance of subreptitious penetration or infiltration.
the mode or manner of actions must be guided by harmony
in the system «friend, enemy and ground»
serenity and silence
of the combatants. Thus, for example, harmony
requires that in the infiltration of an enemy position the effect of
camouflage on the advance of the fighter
be respected. A shrub or bush
cannot move forward or change position in
such a way
that it is shocking to one of the elements of the enemy’s security
or combat advanced.
Rather than attacking from afar, favoring the use of enemy heavy fire (artillery, mortars, aviation), the combatant must subreptitiously slide to more or less depth in the enemy’s tactical rear. To attack there operational or tactical targets: command and communications centers; warehouses, trucks parks and vehicles and general logistics equipment; barracks, heavy weapons and observatories of all branches. Depending on the type and the entity of the enemy unit attacked.
a major attack, the section
can advance 2 or 3 teams or raid squads. And, for a thorough
reconnaissance of the enemy position, it
can send 1 or 2 groups
or scouting squads. The advancing
or band of the section
can reach 150 ms.
The enemy, in this subreptitious attack, can defend itself by changing the structure of its security zone. By increasing surveillance positions, it will further strengthen it. But, its security will not have improved qualitatively. Effective protection will come from superimposing that network of sniper pits and defense nests, a network of patrols without a fixed route. To hinder or detect and prevent the work of concealed, patient and silent penetration of the attacking groups.
In defense, the fighter will do the same, but almost the other way around. It will melt and blend with the surrounding micro-terrain. Hiding as much as possible their battle positions and fortifications to the more numerous and/or technological enemy. Dissipating the tactical trail of their strong positions, both for combat or support.
If fortified redoubts are used, they must be camouflaged and covered and partially excavated in the ground. Around them, there will be a swarm of shooters or pairs of them, covering its approaches at the appropriate distances. It is good to be able to maintain a crossfire, which distracts the attention of the enemy on the origin of it.
In urban areas, the light infantry will create a series of defense positions articulated in defense zones. The use of sewers and tunnels shall be continuous for concealment, protection and subreptitious maneuvres. The positions of direct heavy fire (anti-tanks, machine guns, light guns) will be embedded inside the buildings, controlling the rebuffs.
a block, some buildings will be defended by pairs of fighters
and others by sections.
The movement of the fighters between and across the floors for
tactical opportunity will be decided by the defenders. Access to the
lower floors from the streets shall be obstructed and protected by
booby traps and/or fire from other positions. The courtyards and lots
can be suitable for the deployment of anti-aircraft and indirect
heavy fire positions.
The mines, barricades, cuts and obstacles will be «interruptions covered by fire«, which break the enemy impulse. The «relative hidden heights» of any urbanized area and the twists and turns of the streets and tracks hide us and break enemy units. Our indirect artillery can register approaching routes and parks and squares, to disrupt enemy advances, concentrations and deposits.
Our tactical actions will seek to: override the enemy impulse; prevent it from encircling and surpassing our units; erode their advances from various sides; destroy their armored and transport vehicles; block their entrances to buildings from terraces and top and bottom floors; and advantageously anticipate their intentions and attempts.
All our efforts seek to make that the enemy, with our defense deployment and with the technics and tactics we use to make it work, lose all its numerical, technological, and fire and tactical motion capabilities advantages over us.
If we can have a «detached mobile group» outside the urban perimeter, that is not located by enemy reconnaissance or its air or ground units. It could harass, ambush, erode or attack, as the case may be, the enemy in its tactical rearguard. Their offensive actions must have the operational objective of weakening and disrupting enemy tactical capability. And with this task in mind, the various opportunities to fight against small enemy units and their supports of all kinds will arise. Another premise of their action is that our «detached group» must keep its security, always avoiding an unwanted encounter with the enemy, its premature detection and being surrounded by it.
There is a third category of actions that are marches. These would be to the combat, between our own near or far positions and retrograde, with enemy persecution or not. The march to the combat, especially at the near and medium distances, aims to reach the combat positions of each branch with the enemy. Protecting and maintaining the combat and tactical movement capabilities of all units. To make the enemy feel, without any reduction, all our fighting capacity: fire, shock, infiltration.
it is also necessary to get melt
and blend with
terrain. It can be different according to the sections of the route.
is the primary condition of our march, as we have not yet begun
combat with the enemy. And, without it, we
will have squandered and thrown away
our opportunities and scarce military means.
Every march with the possibility of an unwanted encounter with the enemy is a march to the combat. And that possibility will define the security and concealment needs of our «marching groups«.
of our routes must be sufficiently advanced, depending on our
knowledge of the route and the enemy and their characteristics. That
will be supported by a
And considering always that its
mission includes avoiding the fight with the enemy, except our
rejection in a suffered ambush. The hidden and silent features of our
Protection is a necessary element of surprise. Which is a cheap and effective multiplier of the combat capabilities of our light and lean units. Since the enemy tends to not «combat readiness» for most of the time. But this is a desirable and natural thing: lions rest more than 2/3 of their daily available time. And since the enemy needs a «time of detection and alert» to prepare to fight, he has to maintain an advanced security in an effective deployment. That guarantees him to count on such «essential time«, so as not to be surprised by our attack incursion.
technological weakness of our deployment will be amply compensated,
with the concealment, the longer running time, the security
of this, the careful and necessary reconnaissance
and use of the ground,
which gives us that desired fusion with it.
Employing the most favorable terrain to advance: its folds, unevenness and concealment; and dragging to cross over waterlogged lands or near to the enemy and difficult to cross terrain; and the creative and varied camouflage; and making use of the concealment that gives us the night, as a natural reinforcement of our actions. To leave as little tactical footprint as possible for the enemy.
the cities, there are
means of concealment, which gives us their layout, their elements and
their construction, the parks, the ditches and the sidewalks. Along
with the metropolitan railroad system, the general sewer system and
the tunnels of circumstances that we can excavate or reinforce.
To advance through the slopes, it is important to use our side or slope of the relative military crests. Considering that, the enemy will deploy on its side. And, whether or not advance some security, branches observers or forces near them. The distance to the ridge is important and different for the types of fighting. If the defender is somewhat separated, he could be attacked with grenades. And if it is very separately, this means leaving the attacker the domain of the subreptitious approach. Somewhat close, may allow you to detect the assailant and beat and reject him with grenades.
conduction of these units must include and then inspire and reflect
the complementary and continuous character of their «essential
polarity«. And that it acts in its conception,
development, doctrine, implementation, equipment and training,
logistics and support, marches and execution of missions and tasks.
Let us remember, now, that they are regular or semi-regular units, which protect themselves and fight, in a characteristic and singular way, with a greater or better equipped technologically enemy. And, employing in its dialectic war any form of fight (attack, rejection, retardant defense) or maneuvers. And acting partially and to the appropriate degree, as an irregular unit, confusing and merging with the tactical terrain.
Whereas, if we insist too much on a form, conception and implementation, the dynamics of the processes underway can end up moving us away from good doing and even from success. All this has to do with quantum mechanics, Heissenberg’s indeterminacy principle and Hobber’s principle, as natural and ultimate regulators of processes.
the direction, mode and realization of our means and objectives must
be guided as the pilot of a small boat guides it. With the objective
on the horizon and employing small course corrections to resume the
initial and successive intentions.
Flowgram and Balance processes, actions and facts in the fight of light units in an different or extraordinary way.
Centralization // Coordination // Delegation
Authority // Information
Terrain // Terrain and Micro terrain
Strategy and Operations // Implementation
Intentions // Contingencies
Means // Chances
Organization // Error’s correction and prevention
Reinforcements // Carrying out
Intelligence // Reconnaissance and Intelligence application
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.
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.
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.
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 forAbu 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 group” in 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 ofAbu Bakr was turned into a light grey area, laminated to ashes and crushed rubble.
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.
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 «fieldofaction» on the enemy, and the use of ordinaryandheterodoxforces. Thatallowed 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 hippomobilebrigade with the reconnaisssance forces (a reduced battalion) of each eight divisions of infantry of 9th army, all of which had all ground transit capacity.
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 defensenucleus positions. The German aim was to severely unsettle the Soviets’ deployment and the conduction of their defenseplan.
By using its forces in the unexpected «fieldofaction«, 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 mustbe the German’s principaleffort 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 mobileunits of maneuver to use in this battle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 TACTICAL FACTORS METT-TC OF THE RECEIVED MISSION FROM THE DIRECT COMMAND.
The Mission (M) determines the employ of the surprise, because it defines the «tactical environment«, over the merely spatial component, in which this one can apply and where it will be developed. The fulfillment of the received mission will determine decisively the possibilities of conception and application of the surprise. On having defined and express that one, the goal of the multiple and convergent actions of the efforts and means assigned by the superior command to a tactical chief. The detection by the exploration or the advanced “units of action” of a possible «interface of action»favorable over the enemy, does not authorize “per se” to a command to separate from the fulfillment of the mission of the top command.
The Enemy (E) is the essential and principal aim of a command. And the surprise is a multiplier essential factor of his potentials and means, to fulfill the received mission and to contribute to it. Surprise must then to look for: the spatial or functional dislocation of the enemy; or the economic wastage of his capacities; or a more rapid and effective fulfillment of the entrusted mission; or a positional advantage for the own deployment, for own immediate maneuvers; or the decisive assault or the counterattack to the critical or secondary vulnerabilities of the enemy, according to the plan of the top command.
The Terrain (T) and, for extension, the space is the essential support of the «tactical area» of the military action. This must use it always in its own profit, both in the assault and in the defense. In the rapid maneuvers, typical of the surprises, one will prefer using the favorable area for the employed weapon, in order that it favors the pace or tempo and the impulse or moment of them.
This way, the tanks (which fighting way is the attack) will use favorably in lightly wavy grounds and with great domain by the sights, without perpendicular cuts or water currents or rocky important outcrops. Nevertheless, the complete surprise can need the employment of tanks in difficult, not impossible ground, for them, so they are not waited by the enemy. Even, using in the spear of advance fewer armored units than the usual ones, which, with the surprise, would make feel with his presence equal fire power and shock.
The grounds provided with covers and/or concealments and the night and the atmospheric phenomena or meteors (rain, snow, hail), that reduce visibility and combative disposition in the defenders, favor the movement to the combat of the units and means of the surprise. Also, they allow their temporal concealment in the decided rest and departure zones. The inconvinient and/or disagreeable grounds facilitate the final approximation of the means of the surprise: gutters, edges of the streets close to the sidewalks, vertical walls that are practicable, cultivated fields, bushes, wetlands. In exchange for inconveniences and of time in the advance, we will win in the effective employ of the surprise.
In the defense, we will use the broken ground, with concealment relative heights (CRH) and covers for the small units (urban and industrial zones); partly resting on the rear slope and in natural obstacles (rivers, trees spots, etc.) that run parallel to the tracing of the defensive position; that impede or reveal the enemy movements, breaking his impulse, and facilitate the rejection from our own favorable positions. The counterattack from the depth of our tactical zone on the reverse or the flank of the enemy spears of advance, preferably after his determination, will be a very effective employ of the surprise. The fire traps (fire bags), the dispersed and small minefields, the fire blows from the defense points and resistance nests, retained up to the close distances with the enemy, are defensive surprises, but more waited by the enemy.
Being based on the ground characteristics and paying attention to the particularities of some part of the tactical area (enemy, mission, area, opportunity) the surprise will be planned and decided. And it will implement his assembly, deployment, support and unfolding, following a sufficient, protected and constant flow.
The Troops (T) necessary to execute and fulfill the conceived and decided surprise, must be adapted for the mission by his characteristics. The surprise is an offensive action over the enemy, developed unexpected, rapid and thougtlessly, in general. The equipment of the men and the air and artillery support must be the necessary and sufficient, in conformity with the determined plan. Besides his general training, the men must receive the specific training, depending on the characteristics of the mission and the actions to develop. The characteristics of obedience and initiative, patience, resistance and sobriety, physical qualities, enthusiasm and spirit of group, commitment with the mission, must be the best in the men. As they will be an important part of the actions. And they will act as chiefs and persons in charge of themselves and of his mission companions, in certain moments.
It is important a complete real time training of the mission. There are devices that fail at the X hours of use. The tension on the men and his sustained efforts affect their comfort and their efficiency and rapidity of action. With repercussions in his combative disposition, his alert and the precision of answers.
Often the heavy fire will be used to conceal the enemy from our surprise. The coordination of different weapon in the same mission or sector, is a critical point of it. For example, units of infantry, reinforced by some squads of engineers and supported by a few tanks sections, crossing a thick forest to surprisingly reach an enemy important position in the depth of his deployment. Acting in the same sector of advance or assault, the coordination between the small units must be tested and confirmed.
The Time (T) of the mission is a decisive factor of his success. On one hand, it must be the opportune one. For other part, the time must be enough and accelerated uniformly in the «successive cycles of action» of the development of the mission. In order that the concentration, the sequence or the simultaneity of employs and the forcefulness of our actions demolish the enemy human aim at which they are applied, once gotten the surprise.
It is necessary to consider always that all the actions need to happen an estimated planned time plus a complementary corrector time. This will depend on the degree of complexity of the mission: units, logistic support, demonstrative helping actions, crossing distances, passage difficulties, presence and intention of the enemy, simultaneity or sequence of employs, coordination. And it originates in the failures that arise in all the human activities and in the small and medium mistakes that are committed by the commands and men. Some call these the tactical friction of war. A serious mistake would suppose that the surprise was badly calculated or executed and it is an operational serious mistake.
The civilians (C) must not be damaged in a surprising mission. Even when the enemy mixes and protects in a civil area, it is possible to define and to make concrete a purely military aim. To isolate, attack and extirpate it with military accurate and mopping-up. Here is necessary the employ of the organic weapon of the ground attacking unit, which limit the not wished hurts and make concrete his effects in the selected targets.
The heavy indiscriminate air and artillery fire is a weapon of merciless and spread results for the employ in urban areas. His aim is not to blind, to disturb or to neutralize the enemy. The excessive and insistent heavy fire seek to destroy it. That is the more uncertain and less economic goal of all. Both the Soviets and the western allieds have used it with profusion in the civil wars of the Southwest of Asia. His use has as goal to destroy from far off and before to the assault, the enemy positions in the villages. Avoiding as much as possible that the own ground forces fight at close distances with the islamist rebels.
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.