On how a passive defense is inoperative and shameful in the counter insurgency war!!
The Taliban assault at Friday, 14, September, 2012 against Camp Bastion.
The British base has been attacked in diverse occasions during his years of existence. The most “media” occasion has been this that we treat. In the assault were dead two Marines (of the attached Camp Leatherneck). And other nine persons – eight military men and a civil contractor – were hurt. 6 airplanes McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II of the Marines Corps were destroyed and other two were very damaged. As for the logistic facilities, were destroyed three stations of fuels supply and damaged 6 hangars of aviation not structurally reinforced.
The effective defense of the military barracks, redoubts and camps against the assault and the harassment of irregular armed rebels is founded on three operational qualities: the initiative, the mobility and the offensive action. These, in turn, are directly determined by the mentality and the combative disposition of the military men (which depend fundamentally on them) and by the military available means in the operations zone (that depend fundamentally on the politicians and the public managers). The gravity center of the active defense of the military fixed positions resides in the observation and the control of the approximation routes. That in rural zone can be a semi flooded rice field; in mountainous area, a heights line a little below the military crest; in urban zone, the streets orientated towards them, from certain distance, and in a road, a verge. All this compounded by the climate and the day hour. The observation and fighting military positions can consist from the couple of snipers up to a reinforced platoon, according to the characteristics of the area and the intentions and capacities of the enemy. Those are apart of the perimeter defense and of the patrols who cross it randomly, that constitute a part of the camp static defense. The enemy is in the habit of exploring, at least initially and also in fluid fighting conditions, by observation. It is important to locate and eliminate these reconnaissance positions. The patient observation is the way. Bearing in mind that if the exigency is intense, every 30 minutes the observer must be replaced, because he looks, but already not sees. If additional means exist for it and as complement, it is necessary to use the energetic patrolling against the enemy, moving away the Complex much more, using armed reconnaissances and attacks with limited aims.
A passive defense, limited to rejecting the assaults, with the initiative and the election of the moments in hands of the enemy, is almost the most solvent of the combat morale that can experience a force, leaving apart a defeat. Ask about it to the Frenchmen who were defending multitude of redoubts and positions in Indochina before Dien Bien Fu in 1954 and to the nationalistic Chinese until 1949.
The operational offensive key is the energetic, constant, unpredictable patrolling, eager for the combat with the insurgents or of obtaining information. That constitute a more professional, more active and more lethal «swarm» than the insurgents bands. Integrated by units not usually bigger than a platoon. Whose weapons are the seal, the discretion, the mobility, with the night as collaborator and refuge. The initiative, demonstrated in the irregular war in multitude of small actions, is always habitual and consistently of the winning final side. It is not acceptable to allow that the enemy takes her, uses her or retains her. The initiative is joined to the creative imagination, framed and illuminated by the professional knowledge and the field experience . Together, reinforcing an enterprising character, they can be military decisive and efficient here
The Taliban usual procedure to assault a weak defended or without spirit position enemy is this: at dawn they bombard with the fixed rocket launchers heavy fire, then they approach to use mortars, finally, the assault it is realized by several independent squads, that converging advance shooting AK and RPD or PK machine gun bursts and their RPG and RL hollow charge grenade-launchers. They only fire on verified targets or from above and from below. When they try to keep the surprise, the initiative and the confusion, to lengthen the military reaction time and to obtain a very local and temporary superiority, they act without their meager heavy fire support. A typical characteristic of the Taliban is that they do not get involved in the defense of their positions. Once obtained the harassment of the enemy and extended the hurt, the mutilation and the stupor on the military men, they will move back. They are not so silly to wait intrepid for the heavy, precise and devastate military fire. Nor to presume of courage, in front of enemies with weapons of superior range and characteristics and capable of turning a surface target into a destruction zone. Also there are the time and its corollary, the opportunity. The Taliban handle very well the tactical and operational times. They are masters of the patience, the waiting, the repetition of trainings, simple and easy. For the important attacks they manage to use scale models of the goal. And, to penetrate in a base and attack the heavy and evident war aircrafts, only need to represent part of the perimeter, the directional location of the target and its identification, as well as the rejection fighting positions of the irruption point.
None of the laws of the war defined in the Geneva and The Hague conventions favor the Taliban fighting. The condition of right belligerent is granted by the fulfillment of them. For it, the bands should go uniformed, exhibiting the weapons, commanded by a chief and acting in name of a state that was retaining the sovereignty of, at least, a part of his territory. In the other cases, the national legislations are applied. They are specially hard in the cases of armed sedition. And qualifying of assassins, terrorists or bandits without entrails, to the rebels. Though, it is true that, in general, is suitable to smooth the “manual” treatment given to the partisans, to not irritate the positions and to no re-grow the excesses and the losses.
Enough hours before 12 pm of Thursday, the 13th of September, the Taliban forces began to approach from several directions to the air zone of the Complex. To keep a low tactical trace, they followed dragging techniques in their advance to the security zone of the area. And up to there got, without being detected, 45 to 50 insurgents that, in three convergent spears of advance attacked by midnight, supported by their squad organic weapons. Not to being detected up to the beginning of the assault, also helped them the scanty combative availability of the men. And the tedious and unproductive routine of the guards and patrols, which creates the passive defense of a great protective barrack. Approximately 15 Taliban from two of the groups, managed to get through Camp Bastion’s perimeter and to attack effectively the air zone. Finally the attacking group was wiped out (dead and injured men and prisoners).
It was a «significant» assault, the British Defense Department declared, as the insurgents should never have come so far away. It was, admitted the ISAF, a «good coordinated» attack. Organized in three assault groups, the Taliban managed to get through the defense perimeter of the base. «They were well equipped and trained, dressing USA Army uniforms and armed with automatic rifles, grenade-launcher and explosive jackets», continued the ISAF in his communique. This mission assured that during the assault, the international troops killed 14 insurgents and hurt other one, who is arrested.
The British correspondents in Afghanistan assured that Camp Bastion has an excellent visibility from all parts and is extremely strengthened. The defense correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, who has been for more than twelve times in Camp Bastion, wrote on Sunday, the 14th: «In spite of being in the center of the most dangerous province of Afghanistan, I always felt completely sure, undoubtedly, of an assault of the Taliban. And honestly I believed that there were more possibilities of dying knocked down by a military vehicle that murdered by insurgents». The forces of the coalition, make clear the correspondents, ask themselves how the Taliban were capable of giving this surprise attack a strengthened and isolated complex barrack. And a spokesperson, Adam Wojack, said that the Friday assault «was a sign for the coalition that it is necessary to give many attention to the popular, local and international state of mind about Afghanistan».
On Monday, the 10th of September Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman insurgent, declared to Reuters that the Taliban were trying to use all his resources to kill the prince Henry (also called «Harry the Nude»), third in the succession line to the British throne. After the facts, another Taliban spokesman underlined that they attacked in «revenge» for the American amateur movie which offends Mohammed. And that they choose to commit an attack against Camp Bastion, because the prince Harry was there, acting as co-pilot gunner in the Joint Air Group.