The Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army was victorious in the Civil War over the Russian White Armies. These were supported to a greater or lesser extent in it by the European Powers, the United States and Japan. Already then, the Soviet Politburo set its eyes on Europe, in order to spread the World Revolution. In this, the internationalist ideas of Leon Trotsky had a decisive role.
To do this, General Mikhail Tukhachevsky would attack the recent Republic of Poland with his armed Eurasian Hordes. And he would win over the bourgeois Republic. Thanks to the fact that the Polish peasants would «fervently» join the socialist liberation offered by the Red Armies.
The imperialist attack on Poland.
The Reds reached the Warsaw Front, trying to overwhelm it from the nort.
There, Marshal Josef Pilsudski, hero of the Liberation of Poland in World War I, toured his brigades and divisions. Raising and consolidating the combat morale of its forces and the identity of the Polish Nation, against communist Russian Imperialism.
And, he prepared with his General Staff and the commanders of his large units an in-depth mobile defense. Against the frontal and massive attacks of the enemy.
From Kyiv, about 500 km from the Front, Tukhachevsky encouraged his own, treating their hordes as despots, aided by their political commissars. And he directed his military operations on the maps of the situation of the war in his Command Post. That it was updated by unverified information from his large units at the Front.
The Operational Caedes.
Tukhachevsky had also tightened his Logistic Lines to the maximum. He was engulfed, touching in his imagination the triumph at hand.
Although they ate from looting the ground they walked on. From their distant rear they needed weapons, ammunition, equipment, clothes, shoes, medicines, troops replacement, pack mules and the essential Russian «cars of the country».
And, as a Miracle emerged from the concentration of the attacker’s Errors and the defender’s Effective Parameters, the attacker found himself without friendly ground under his feet. Without the essential operational rear area. To rest, maneuver, fight and consolidate after specific fights. And, he had to back off miserably.
The Soviets in arms, not effective military, retreated to the borders of the USSR.
And, the revolutionary dream of crossing the Polish plains and invading Germany. And free Europe from the capitalist or imperialist system, this as the culmination of capitalist development. It dissipated like the smoke of the tobacco that the Soviet troops smoked.
This idiosyncrasy of the Slavic military of the West of the Urals continues to influence the operations, needs and mental characteristics of the military of the Russian Federation.
The discipline of the troops in the barracks is deplorable. Free time, laziness, inane or risqué talks abounds.
Heavy equipment maintenance is poor. Some writer calculated that, from his military experience, half the tanks in battle would soon stop working and would be short of fuel and spare parts.
The Russian army lacks in its essential structure the framework of a corps of non-commissioned officers specifically formed for the immediate direction of the troops and the satisfaction of their needs. That they know them as well as their mothers. And with extensive military knowing and training, empathy and leadership skills. Respected by the soldiers and which recognize that without them and without obeying them, their chances of survival on the battlefield are much less.
Consequences for immediate operations.
This may be an insurmountable obstacle to Putin‘s plans, which Gerasimov is trying to fulfill.
And it could not be surpassed by the mere concentration of the mediocrity of equipment and men in the Fronts.
A minor issue arises, but of great importance due to the disagreements it creates in Moscow and with the troops in the campaign. It is the growing presence of the Wagner Group as a Russian fire extinguisher in the war in Ukraine.
It includes convicted criminals, Syrian and Libyan mercenaries «among other elements of bad living» and Russian volunteers. In general, they enjoy disparate salaries, depending on their experience, origin and life path; a convict is basically paid with his freedom, more or less garnished with a clean record.
Their boss is Prigozhin, a Russian plutocrat and Putin henchman. This man is in conflict with part of the Kremlin and with senior military leaders over the permanence of his «private mercenary armed group» in the Russian ranks in the campaign.
The implicit tolerance of the Russian military commands in Ukraine with the men of the Wagner Group generates enormous discomfort among the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers stationed there. And it greatly lowers their combat morale and their «esprit de corps«.
If Gerasimov comes with full powers as commander of the campaign and considers the previous arguments, in relation to the motivation and combative disposition of his Russian regular forces, he has to recompose the situation of the forces, in relation to the presence of the Wagner Group in the Russian ranks.
Unity of Action and Concentration of Efforts in the Campaign.
Another of the capital problems that Gerasimov will have to solve is the strategic and operational Integration of all the active Fronts of the Russian forces in presence.
To establish a strategic «Superior Effort Unit» that is coordinated, proportional and synergistic. To optimize in «effective times«, according to the «superior universal saving means» principle and the «military principle of the Objective», the distribution and coordinated use over time of the human and material capacities assigned to the different Fronts.
Thus, the Russians have several Fronts with different importance and presenting different opportunities.
The Kiev Northern Front is inactive. Lukashenko is Putin‘s due ally and with his bravado and maneuvers he causes uncertainty in Kiev. It offers an opportunity to drain mobile Ukrainian troops, to fix and protect the Front from possible Russian rapid raids.
Here the presence in Belarus of a mechanized Russian “task force” would suffice. Counting on tanks and infantry combat and transport vehicles, with support from artillery, engineers, defense against aircraft and ground support aviation and its escort. And integrating a couple of divisions. That moved around the south of Belarus, prowling.
The Crimean Front is active towards Kherson, Mariupol and Zaporiya and creates uncertainty towards Odessa. It allows the defense of the 4 territories annexed by Putin.
The Donbass Front, in southeastern Ukraine, is active in the oblasts or provinces of Lugansk, to the north, along the border with Russia, and Donetz, to the south. The Northeast Front, towards Kharkov is in hibernation. Both hold promise in theory in this new phase of the war.
The joint and coordinated action from both Russian Fronts, of «breaking shock forces» of the Ukrainian Tactical defense. Followed, after the irruption, by «armored mobile groups» with air support, advancing in the Ukrainian operational rear towards a town or small area. Forming a wide and double enveloping movement around the enemy. It can create a “pocket” of it or, at least, a serious threat of cutting off communications for the most active Ukrainian forces, and therefore equipped with heavy equipment, deployed in the east of the country. Russia has more than enough regular mobile forces for this.
The Ukrainian Counterattack.
The Ukrainians can counterattack by employing armored forces with sufficient punch, such as the more modern Main Battle Tanks. The “heavy” tanks that Zelensky claims from the US and Europe now. The Challengers (with their Chobham armor); Leopards 2 A5, of German engineering; Leclercs, the first type built of this new generation of tanks and the Americans Abrams.
Advancing rapidly from the depth of the Ukrainian deployment, on one flank of the Russian advancing points. Let’s remember that this territory is favorable ground for armored vehicles.
For this, Ukraine will need to have several battalions of such tanks. Distributed by their most important concentrations, each with about 50 tanks. Distributing or employing it by isolated companies is to waste its special and unique off-road forward speed, shock and firepower, protected by effective armor. Which is completely decisive in modern combat.
In all this theoretical filigree of maneuvers and combats, the most capable, equipped, motivated and prepared will win.
The denatured current Russian air front.
The goal of the current Russian air front is the weakening of Ukrainian morale. Through the successive attack on civilian facilities (energy, water and communications) and urban centers of some importance in Ukraine.
It should be noted that this rather criminal objective does not target the enemy military forces, but their unarmed rearguard populations. For more INRI, it began to be used shamelessly when Putin and his Kremlin bosses and henchmen realized that his “special military action” in Ukraine was a “bluff”. And that the Ukraine was a tough nut to crack for the Russian forces employed in it.
Almost 2,500 years ago, Master Sun (Sun Tzu), in the Warring States Era, already warned that «when the general is already appointed by the sovereign, he should not interfere in his affairs» and «when the courtiers and ministers interfere in his command, they bring misfortune to the Kingdom”.
In addition, this objective has already been used in other cases and with zero effectiveness, by the way.
Japan was mercilessly bombarded by the US, when it had already managed to occupy the Japanese islands (e.g., Okinawa) close enough to insular Japan. The Japanese were already preparing their civilian population for a Numantine resistance to the invader. Creating an immense natural fortress on its islands, where each one was a fortified redoubt of it.
They were the two atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which represented an «ascent to the upper limits» in the fight against civilian rearguards. Because they were much more than a very large cannon shot. The ones that forced Japan to surrender unconditionally to the Americans. Because they threatened (although they didn’t have any more artifacts at the time), to destroy the essence and Japanese national identity.
In general, the use of the «indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian rearguards», what it achieves is to galvanize them around their government and their armed forces. Because they perceive from the enemy a demonic, fierce hatred towards them, which would seek the destruction of their identity, culture and idiosyncrasy.
Modernly, such bombing type was used by the US in North Vietnam. They left South Vietnam in 1973 and in 1975 the communist forces occupied it, almost without resistance.
Russia’s Air Support to its Ground Forces.
The Russian air front in Ukraine must be directed against enemy troop concentrations (reserves, attack preparations, marching forces), their ground communications and logistics network, command posts and communications centers, attack points of their forces, artillery and rocket and drones launch positions.
The opportunity arises from the play of dialectical actions between the opposing units. Opportunity is the tactical, even operational, weakness that arises in an enemy sector or is about to do so. We can act on it and even precipitate it with our combined weapons system in an «action interface» especially favorable to us. In opportunity always underlies an enemy error. If this was insurmountable for him, it would be due to the unforeseen, surprising circumstances that concurred. Opportunities are a useful and advantageous feature provided by the dialectic of actions in the chaos of war.
The intermediate objectives foreseen in the plans are not opportunities. They are forecasts derived from the planning and the well-founded resolution of the command. When contacts with the enemy begin, its achievement begins to be tested, as Moltke said, in the dialectics play.
Of this play in a chaotic environment, independently of the greater or smaller deviations from plans, will arise the opportunities and the dangers. The dangers would be the enemy opportunities on us. Both are unexpected, but accessible and exploitable during a certain time. The reason of the unpredictably of the opportunities in the time is in the number almost infinite of variables and individual and collective actions that concur to define a “situation” and the successive cycles of action in which it develops.
The opportunity arises when the enemy fails to use his forces and means of support. It can originate in differences in the qualities of enemy forces and in the transitability of a given terrain, that debilitates a defense or the momentum of an attack. It also appears in the negligence of the enemy in presenting an exposed flank, that is, an interface of action real or potential favorable with us, not properly taken care of by him to face our available combined arms system. The opportunity is an emptiness in combat capacity that arises in a cycle of action for a unit, or a sector, that is unprotected and neglected for long enough allowing it to be detected and exploited by the enemy.
It is necessary to take advantage of opportunities quickly. The dynamics of interaction ina chaotic environment makes opportunities unattainable after a short time. The succession of cycles of action continually modify circumstances.
To detect opportunities at any level of military activity, intelligence is necessary (elaborated the exploration and reconnaissance and converted into useful, continuous, sufficient knowledge) and the sufficient presence of the corresponding command. To take advantage of them, simple and vertical communication is necessary, supported by implicit communication between subordinate leaders and mobility, flexibility and combat capacity available in the units and commands involved. If the opportunity is transcendental, the tactical or operational center of gravity of the military means is transferred to it by the command. If it is important, their use must contribute concentrically to its creation and development.
The same characteristics just mentioned, but focused on ourselves, are the ones that, in turn, will protect us from enemy dangers or opportunities. This will prevent its appearance, compensate for the danger or mitigate its presence and reduce our time of vulnerability. If despite foresight and care, surprising or unexpected circumstances concur in its appearance, even due to a mistake on our part, the means to be used are the last two actions mentioned for its detection and use.
What is that sufficient presence of the commander? The one that allows him to take advantage of the opportunities that arise at his level of activity. All of this is directly related to the two different command styles or forms for carrying out the tasks of the different levels of command.
Tactical command must be exercised bySensing the “action interface” with the enemy, exchanging actions with him on the ground. The limit of tactical command is clearly in the brigade. And, in large operations or in the attack or in the armored forces, it probably reaches in greater or lesser degree to the division, whose commander must drive forward the march or the attack behind the first important marching force of the bulk of the unit.
The command of the army corps is clearly an corps’ operational management and must have a broader perspective of the whole. As well as a greater distance from direct contact with the enemy, which overcomes the interface of action and its immediate rear. This gives the command breadth, vision, serenity and security.
In the immense chaos that is created in a combat, the foresight of the command can impose and outline its evolution in a direction and sense.
Like the effective command, is capable of «searching» and «feeling» the enemy’s signs of weakness and discouragement. And then he prepares the forces that he will use in the persecution and the support that he will give them. Putting them under the command of an energetic, spirited, leading and lucid commander.
The command must prepare «rapidly available forces» in the units under its command. For example, a mixed company in the battalion; a combined arms battalion in the brigade. In such a way that the appearance of the opportunity, close and surprising, allows him to take advantage of it. Since the surprise will help the opportunity to be seized at first by a relatively small force of their own. And that may soon be reinforced by the bulk.
Example of the effective, non-physical presence of a High Command.
Erich von Manstein directed the counterattack operation of the German Armies Group Don, mainly against the Soviet Southwestern Front of General Vatutin, from his headquarters in Zaporiya. By mid-March1943, the Germans had eliminated six tank corps in the order of battle of Vatutin, recovered Kharkov and settled a resistant defense front from Tangarov to Belgorod, supported in the Mius and the Donetz. They also had enough mobile reserves in the south of Russia to reject possible soviet operational ruptures in the zone. And, after the setback of Stalingrad, they had recovered the strategic initiative, at least in the southern theater of operations.
An attack against the Kursk salient, completed its formation by von Manstein‘s advance on Belgorod, which would have begun in April, then had a chance of success due to the lack of Soviet preparation.
This same offensive, which began in July 1943, determined that no more mistakes by the German High Command (Hitler) were of any importance: then, the subjet of total strategy or state strategy was no longer who would win the war, but how long it would take to do so.
A Failure in the effective presence of command.
Let’s see an example of an inadequate presence of the commander, in relation to the echelon that he is supposed to command. It starred Rommel in North Africa in November 1941.
Mistakenly believing that the British armor was dispersed after some fighting, Rommel ordered to concentrate his Panzers on the Libyan-Egyptian border. Directly dedicated to it, acting as a regimental commander, he was involved in the repulse of a British attack. He was even isolated with his command vehicle, due to a mechanical problem, for half a day at the front.
This temporarily deprived him of control of operations in Tobruk. This was Rommel’s main operational objective, while resisting the German siege was the main objective of the English. Due to this unjustified distraction, Rommel had to abandon the attempt to take that fortified port, located in his operational rear, which he could have consolidated for his defense of his won territory.
In less than a month, the advances of the English tanks and infantry forced him into a long retreat towards Tunisia. He had to give up almost all the ground he had gained since March, when he arrived in Africa, until he recovered and was able to fight back, as British pressure lightened.
Missiles carrier ships, corvette, frigate, destroyer, light cruiser type, of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, sunk from the ground by Ukrainian guided missiles.
Groups of Russian tanks, interspersed with fuel or ammunition logistics vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles, (where is their marching column or attack deployment or their security against the enemy?), that roam the combat zone erratically and disjointed.
And that are destroyed by the Ukrainians, using personal anti-tank rocket launchers and artillery with very modern fire direction, of American or European manufacture. German 155mm self-propelled guns are especially good. Their entire direction of fire is automatic and the Ukrainians did not get used to it well.
Russian planes and helicopters are shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft positions on the ground, fixed or mobile, including personal manned.
Putin continuously threatens his potential enemies, in short, the liberal West, with intercontinental ballistic missiles of hypersonic speeds and each carrying several warheads. They separate in the last phase of flight towards the target area, from the carrier missile.
They are the MIRV or multiple independent reentry vehicles.
With all the hilarious and ineffective «destructive defensive potential» (DDP) of its weapons of ultramodern technology and extremely poor results. Why doesn’t Putin establish a modern, effective, Motivated and smaller army? Following the fashion of the Israeli army, as example, and of dimensions according to Russia’s own needs.
And, he abandons his echelons and his massive advance and attack tips. Where its deployment hinders itself. To move and to attack or retreat with agility, precision and effectiveness.
to a summary of prestigious
Economist, Forbes, The Washington Post)
and the newspaper El
in this conflict by August 24 would be:
Aircraft and helicopters
Ships of all kinds
That number of Russian tanks would be the equipment of four tank divisions or five or six mechanized or motorized divisions, according to nomenclature, with their full order of battle. Also, in its war in Afghanistan, the USSR lost 147 tanks. And, furthermore, the number of Russian tanks lost so far is higher than the active tanks of Germany, France and the United Kingdom, combined.
If Russia cannot deal with Ukraine, which is much weaker militarily, how is it going to deal with a certain probability of success with the USA or the UK or France?
Russia, formerly the USSR, was in the years 22 to 37 of the last century, an advanced power in military philosophy or «modern theory of military art and science«. Marshal Mikhail Tujachevski, Lieutenant General Vladimir R. Triandafillov and Brigadier Georgy S. Isserson shone there with their own light… with their teams of auxiliaries and collaborators. All scholars and advanced in the theory of the Deep Maneuver in the enemy tactical, operational and, even, strategic rearguard of modern armies.
I believe was more solidly reasoned and argued than the
German mechanized warfare theory. Which was more like “practical”.
with excellent commanders and officers, cadres (unparalleled in the
world) and soldiers, some of the best in the world; and, for the
moment, in 1939, all highly trained and motivated.
By the way, they call Blitzkrieg the German way of fighting. Name given by a journalist. And people think it’s because of the speed of their maneuvers.
the specialists called it blitzkrieg, because of the continuous
changes of direction of the tactical movements of the main forces.
Following the weakest or least protected points or positions of the
enemy. Changes tracing the paths of the beam on the surface of the
Only Triandafillov died peacefully and recognized, in 1931. Isserson was in jail when the Great Purge and his merits or contributions were not recognized. Tukhachevsky was shot in the 1937 great purge of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. To eliminate the military cadres that could overshadow the power of the Party, the excuse (or Stalin).
This sterilized the creativity and freshness of the surviving military commanders. Surveillance and denunciation among peers increased. The military ideas and concepts of those purged acquired their infamy and vituperation; this was fatal for the USSR and its military forces 4 years later in a foreign invasion. The commands and officers only cared about carrying out the orders without errors; so as not to be victims of purges or dismissals or transfers; which leads in war to not doing anything effective, forceful or decisive.
And it led the Army to assume the old doctrines of the Russian Civil War against the White armies. When the mechanization of the forces was still a desideratum, the Red army logistics used to survive the dispossession of the trodden territory, the sole command of the military chief was shared with the political commissar in the unit and the Red armies were hordes.
this is how the USSR faced the German invasion of June
22, 1941, without able and trained senior officers, officers and
non-commissioned officers and without adequate doctrine.
Are we now in a similar Stage or Phase of Decline in Putin‘s Russian Army, which has more than a million people enrolled at arms?
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.
Consulters with Mc Kinsey’s prestige were praising for more than two decades, the need to create internal «competitions» between the different areas or business branches of a great size company. Thinking that, of this competition of the «dialectics of the rivals», benefits would arise for the company and spurs and motivations for the areas of the company and the employees. But, this «social process» is more proper of the scientific materialism, being based on the evidences of the historical materialism. And, in the practice, the intensity of this competition ascends to the limits, because this theory does not put limits or brakes to the dialectics that is used. Except the implicit one of the good education, which allows to say many and hards things with good manners. The inevitable small mistakes and imperfections that were arising in the actions and executions from all, were praised and used by his rivals to justify theirs and to overvalue the efficiency of his own acts. And, instead of using an operating system of «combined arms» (departments and functions integrated to collaboration) to convergently use on the gravit center, for use a military resemblance, the counselors were creating a great horses team. Where each animal was following his indvidual direction. Managing to hinder and to jam this way the work of the «advised» companies. The internal tears in the companies, provoked between those who should be companions in the culture and the complete accomplishment of the company, were the principal lasting result of this autodestructive practical. Since, unlike the facts of the historical materialism, here were not remaining «victors» and «exclude conquered».
Other times, as part of this «capitalist enterprise culture», the external consultants of firms of recognized solvency, as Arthur Andersen (liquidated during the crisis of Lehman Brothers, victim of his own internal contradictions and heterodox practices), were used by the high management of the companies to slim his stable and trained personnel. The implicit contracting was usually done by the executive managing director in a «casual» contact (promoted by a high commercial directive of the consulting firm), during a banquet or a high standing meeting. The brainy advisers, who were diving free by the company, were finally facilitating the obligatory report to the management of the firm. That was using it to support the dismissal or the movement of employees, before these and the unions. The basic premise was that the fixed cost (of personnel) was malignant «per se» and had to be replaced by the variable cost, depending on the activity or the sales of the companies. As corollary and natural consequence, almost all kinds of functions were moving out of the company. And they were submitting to carry out them to services or outsourcing companies. But these not always had not even the means, nor the qualified personnel that had the dismembered company. The degree of the outsourcing that was suffering the original company was a function of the saving cost wished by his management and agreed with the consultants’ international firm.
YOUNG GEORGE PATTON…
There really can be relocated almost always the works of maintenance and of cleaning; the caretaking and the security; the distribution transport to the client and the long distance transport by complete loads, etc. But there can not to be handed over to third parties the essential activities of a company, nor those which could debilitate it in his strategic functions and the flowchart. And it is necessary, in addition, to have the own means to monitor and to control perfectly the fulfillment of his obligations, by the part of the third collaborators. The service to the clients, as for his satisfaction in time, place, quantity and quality of the received, is a strategic activity. That is easily ill-treated by a submitting to third parties of the functions related to it (orders reception, service or delivery time, etc.). In the practice, a «enterprise culture» had been created for the relocation. But there were not established the means and the functions necessary for his vigilance and control. That could be formwith the parts literally uprooted from the companies, to save fixed costs…
The arms is a special profession, often forgotten by the modern societies or, at least, neglected. Especially when the «opportunity» of his employment is not glimpsed in an immediate future. It is not possible to govern this institution with the parameters of internal competition and tension, downsizing and outsourcing of secondary functions, business management and management by objectives, typical of the big and medium modern corporations. This was tried by the genius (high IC) of Robert McNamara, ex-president of Ford Motor Company, as JFK’s secretary of Defense, in his military reform of 1960. The result was seen a few years later, in the middle of the war of Vietnam. Many combat units could not trust in his natural chiefs and under the enemy fire, literally collapsed and refused to fight. This institutional rot led that at least 1000 officials and subofficials of small units were murdered by his men. Though the real number might be major. The number of officials died in Vietnam was of the order of 4500. The military modern history does not offer another example of this magnitude and transcendency.
The Motivation of the Men in Arms.
It is not easy, for not saying that it is almost impossible, to create an armed forces effective and motivated in a weak, fractured nation, without autoesteem, defeated herself inside. Because the armed forces are not more than the part of the nation specialized in his active defense. And civilians or nationals in uniform integrate them. And, this way, it is not possible to defend what is not known, does not exist or is perceived as not deserving of the selflessness and of the own effort.
Because of it, the first thing is to cultivate and to reinforce the internal links of the nation. That are seated always in his idiosyncratics virtues. That is to say, his constitutive, distinctive and permanent values. For the pashtuns, artificially divided by the line Durand, established by the colonialist Britishs, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, many of these virtues are gathered in his Pashtunwalli or honor code. For many African tribes, his assabiya or identity reflects his essential values and the mutual duties and rights between the individual and his immediate collectivity or social group. The existence of a threat to the nation, to his territorial or social integrity, to his survival, allows to accelerate these internal processes of vertebración and galvanization of a society. Creating, as consequence, a natural and stout defense.
The soldiers in general must be participants, in certain form, of his destinations. But, this is not a question to create a «popular army». Where the criterion of the «amorphous groups» of the soldiers, substitutes the military wisdom of the commands and the guide of the doctrine and the regulations. Where, in the practice, is the «guide» of the political commissioner of the unit the one that was dictating the procedure and his application. Whose examples and precedents were unlucky in the so called «popular democracies». The communists had to rapidly return to the estruture of only one command for the military units. If they wanted to recover efficiency. And the political commissioner, directly dependent of the Political General Administrative Office of the Armed Forces, was at the time called the “substitute of the chief of the unit for the political work”, depending hierarchically of him.
But, the soldiers take part feeling attended, trained, equipped, ordered and compromised with his missions. Feeling integrated with the facts and his destiny. Forming a part of a well designed (clear, effective and modern doctrine), which is well led (involved, effective, human and respectable commands) and built machinery: endowed with the human and materials means adapted to the missions to fulfill. Though their punctual and relative shortage is usually chronic.
In general, the victorious and/or resiliences armies of all the epochs have possessed an officials and commands corps educated and short, of not more than 7 or 8% of the men. With the men, trained, qualified and mental motivated by religious, ethnic or social reasons. And all endowed of a common «corps spirit», of belonging to a select social group and estimated by the nation. Which gives them entirety, cohesion, sacrifice spirit and obedience to the duty, transmitted by his commands. That is above, sometimes, of the normal requirements of the performance of his arms profession. It is not a question of fanfares and harangues, of parades and of «missions» in the allied or depressed countries. It is a question of conviction, belonging, of healthy pride and disposition of themselves, fulfilling a mandate of the nation.
sanctuary for jihadist gangs in West Africa. Their danger to southern
of the reasons for the attraction of this «sanctuary
the semi-nomadic jihadist groups, uprooted from the peoples of these
countries, is the endemic weakness of the Central
the Niger armies.
Only the Algerian armies, in part those
of Chad and Nigeria, are now able to
carry out an effective «irregular war»
against groups of individuals motivated, trained and willing to carry
out their Jihad.
it is also necessary for the sanctuary to offer them sufficient
geographic security, to protect them from a mechanized advance from
the depths of the areas in the hands of the military enemy, native or
foreign. In the area we are dealing with, there are no large forests,
nor any major towns, that can give nomadic terrorists the necessary
refuge so as not to become «wandering insurgents«.
And thus, to exhaust themselves in superfluous and continuous
movements, through the enormous available expanses of inhospitable
and free grounds, feeling the breath of the enemy in their napes.
And lead them to desire the kindness of the dispersion of their bands, the abandonment of weapons and the peace. This geographical protection is provided by the mountainous massifs of the area, which extend without interruption, covering almost all countries threatened by Afro-Western jihadism. Massifs that are adapted to the hiding place and shelter of small isolated bands. And so, we have the Djado Plateau in the north of Niger, reaching the border with Libya; the heights of Air (Azbine) located in the inner center of Niger; the Adrar of the Iforas or Kidal mountains that extend in the northwest of Mali, as the last refuge of the jihadists in the Azawad; and, approaching from the north to the other three, the elongated massif of Tass Oua-n-Ahaggar (or Hoggar) of south-central Algeria.
It is easy to disregard the effective capacity of these ochre heights with rocky outcrops and studded with very low, almost desert bushes, as bases of active guerrilla bands. But it must be remembered that in similar geographic models fought the Apache wars of the southwest of the US and northern Mexico. For a long time, between 1860 and 1872, the Apache bands, sometimes of only a few dozen warriors, sometimes carrying with them the impedimenta of their families and their scarce indispensable belongings. They kept frustrated entire brigades of American cavalry and infantry. Who were unable to locate, encircle, and hunt them down. Directed the few Apaches (the hardness of the territory did not support large populations) by war chiefs or spirituals men as Ulzana, Cochise, Mangas Coloradas, Victorio, Nana y Jerónimo, this with Nache as war chief, they kept their enemies in check until the end of 1872. Then, in the second part of that ethnic war of colonization, until 1886, the tactical changes introduced in the US Army, especially by General Crook, who adapted their large regular units to a war against guerrillas, almost against «banditry«, allowed them to cornered, worn out, despaired and finally subdued the apaches.
this immense supranational area, the nomadic clans of merchants,
drivers from sub-Saharan Africa to the Mediterranean countries and
shepherds moving slowly through the desert, relying on oases to carry
on safely, they are also «temporary refuge»
islands for jihadist gangs. That can be incorporated during some
stages to the desert marches of the native groups. The jihadists
overlap and camouflage themselves with the rest of the inhabitants of
the tiny villages, many of them black, and of the walkers, who
sometimes form organized groups of sub-Saharians, who go to the
Islamic countries of the Mediterranean, in this vast territory
problem for the United Europe.
This scattered «jihadist sanctuary» places its bands near the lower belly of Mediterranean Europe, at the distance of only one of the Mediterranean Islamic countries. But, after the ill-fated «Arab Spring» of early 2011, all Islamic countries were upset, when they have not been seriously shocked. There are four Muslim countries that surround at the north that geographical area of refuge for irretrievable radicals. Tunisia is yet to find its socio-political path, which forks dangerously between radicalism and an imperfect democracy. Morocco has a high potential danger of radicalisation or Islamist subversion, by failing to satisfy the King’s concessions to the growing aspirations of its masses, more or less driven by Islamic groups and political. Algeria is for the moment the most stable and resilient society in this geostrategic area in the face of radical Muslim danger; that threatens it, either through the ballot box or through grafted and subsidized subversion. Mauritania, which lacks strong institutions and a good army and its territory is vast and sparsely populated; is the first candidate to suffer a deliberate jihadist assault, out of its current imprecise hinterland.
a limited-objective incursion
never seeks, nor can it achieve, a lasting permanence in its physical
goal. Although Westerners are alarmed by these demonstrations of
Lacking a consistent operational capability, to achieve and defend a
strategic goal, the true significance of their isolated tactical
actions is limited. They can destabilize weak Central African
regimes, as they did in January 2013 with Mali. Through
numerous mobile spot actions in a territory beyond the reach of
regular forces. Motivated, trained, determined and
committed with the task of eradicating them or from countries where
their Army is just a project or a remnant of it.
But the quick, courageous, solitary and decisive strategic action of the French armed forces, led them to face in regular battles with a modern army and suffering a very bad correlation of forces. To defend their fixed and alternative positions in villages in the territory where they had supposedly settled: the Azawad. And from where they dared to advance at several spears of attack towards Bamako: a failed operational performance.
jihadist groups in north-west Africa (their names are
repeatedly in the media) have a great operational decentralization.
That prevents them from achieving consistent strategic objectives.
Even if their specific actions are important, painful, and fearsome.
So, these intransigent radicals revolutionaries in North-West
Africa have failed to actively and firmly join a broad
social group that gives coverage and permanent momentum to
their «imperialist socio-religious movement«.
The most alienated activists, and those in north-west Africa
are, are gradually isolating themselves from the society in which
they «live» (at least, emotionally and ideologically). And
they do it for the sake of their violent methods, to those they
sacrifice everything, to achieve effectiveness in action.
containment action in this African geostrategic area.
to data provided by the ACLED project for the location
and dating of armed incidents in the area, between November 2018 and
the end of March the following year, more than 2150 people were
killed in the Sahel, as a result of more than 700 jihadists attacks.
About half of the victims occurred in the Central African Republic and Mali. The main jihadist groups present in the area are the Islamic State of the Sahel, a franchise of today’s decrepit and disbanded Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and the so-called Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslim, a kind of conglomerate of gangs and groups of Salafists jihadist, reaching as far as Algeria and southern Tunisia.
There are four «action and security» initiatives deployed in the area under the auspices and legality of the UN and the EU. There is the French operation Barkhane, launched in 2014, which has 4500 troops deployed. There are several tasks of training and adaptation sent by the European Union, for the training of the national armed forces.
And then there is the joint and regional G-5 force, created by the African Union in 2017 with the countries of the area, supported by the EU, especially by France, with 5000 men deployed. Other countries, such as Morocco, Algeria, the US and Saudi Arabia, are also involved in combat and patrolling tasks. Although the hopes for success are great, the different operational visions in this range of participants and stakeholders in the JF-G5 bring problems to its deployment and activation.
an area of the Sahara and the Sahel
that is continuous, diffuse, extensive and of plastic geopolitical
contours, comprising eastern Mauritania, northern Mali
and Central African Republic, western Niger
and the mountainous areas of southern Algeria, extends
the natural habitat of West African jihadists. The vast
transition zone of the Sahel occupies the African
territories between the Sahara and the humid tropical
regions, located south of it. The Sahel is plagued by
persistent droughts, which are its main geographical determinant and
which progressively extend the desert to the south and drive its
sedentary inhabitants away to the neighbouring Central African
countries. The Sahel is no more that Central
Africa’s wet and green terrains, which are in
process of being overwhelmed and deserted by the uncontained advance
of the Sahara and which continues eastward across Chad
and South Sudan to the shores of the Red Sea of
Eritrea and Ethiopia.
and the Land of the Tuaregs.
The Berber country is formed by the hinterland of the countries of the central and western African Mediterranean, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania (western Libya). These white-skinned individuals, to distinguish them clearly from the Arabs or brown (Moors) constitute a characteristic majority in regions such as the Kabila, the Rif and the Aures. Although since the end of the seventh century they embraced Islam, the Berbers have always maintained a strenuous and discontinuous resistance against the invasion of the Arabs from the East, for the maintenance of their idiosyncrasy and regional power in their lands. Berbers were old Christians before Islamic rule. For example, in the Maghreb there were 47 bishoprics functioning in the 5th century AD.
At the south of Bereberia, being part of their ethnic groups and extending with the desert towards the interior of Africa, live the Tuareg or al-Tawarik. This is the plural of «tarqui«, «tarka«, which are a defined racial group within the Sanhadja of Western Sahara. The name could come from the Arabic verb «taraka«, which means to abandon, for example, religion, to become «renegades«. And it would refer to the difficult Islamization of this Berber group. Other researchers derive the name from the Arabic tharik, camino. To designate them as «road robbers«, by the total control they got during centuries over the great trans-Saharan routes and their usual looting of the black populations of the Sahel. Its organized and independent origin arises with Queen Tin Hinan, who would move from the western desert to the Hoggar Mountains. And from there they subsequently spread to the southern regions of the Sahara and the northern Sahel. There are very rich burials of women, who come from this time more or less idealized. This matriarchal origin is supported by its Christian tradition and establishes a sonship and maternal heritage in the Tuareg clans. And it gives Tarqui women freedom, esteem and prerogatives, which are unknown in the Muslim world. Forming a nation without a state of their own, the Tuareg are divided into eight tribal federations. These are geographically grouped into the northern Tuareg, the Tassili N-Ajjer, Hoggar and Adrar and the southern, the Awelimid and Kel Wi of the Air.
Their social structure divides them into classes that are not very permeable, by virtue of their origins and the trades they do. The Tuareg of the upper classes have the privilege of wearing a veil colored with indigo, which gives the whole ethnic group its popularized name, the «blue men«. The chiefs or amenokales are here «primus inter pares«, elected by the noble classes and warriors in their sovereign assemblies, who make or ratify all decisions important to the clan. These local chiefs are privileged negotiators with the various Governments or authorities, who enjoy personal rather than institutional authority, and whose agreements can be ignored by adult males, if they are not revalidated by those assemblies. Today, the Tuareg are spread over a vast territory, without borders or well-defined lands, seeking a sedentarization that is the basis of a minimum social and economic development from the pure nomadism. This actual geographic space coincides with the «subversive habitat«, which is superimposed on it, where the various active jihadist groups in north-west Africa desert settle.
immemorial time, the Tuareg have
been engaged in nomadic herding of camels, sheep and goats. Although
its main wealth, power and status came from the «control»
of the caravan routes that crossed its vast territory. This control
was exercised with an eclectic combination
of “customs”, robberies and as drivers and auxiliaries of
caravans. This domination of the trade and supply routes, undisturbed
by the European colonizers, gave them an important influence on the
markets of origin and destination of those. They also ravaged the
Black populations affordable from their territories, stealing their
goods and capturing slaves for service and sale. The rather abrupt
appearance of the new independent African states after the Second
World War, definitively broke this economic power and the influence
on the isolated populations in these routes. By restricting their
free movement, while losing the exclusivity of the transports by its
land with the progressive motorization in those.
Their transhumance and ability to adapt to periods of drought were also strangled. Droughts in the 1970s and 1980s forced families and small clans to settle alongside nearby urban centres in Algeria, Libya and Nigeria. Currently, the total population of the Tuareg ethnic group living in their natural and historical habitat and their geographical surroundings ranges from 1.2 million to 1.5 million people. And in these territories of so many countries, the population density is repetitively 1.5 people per square kilometre.
The Tuareg always opposed the formation of central states, which would project their action within their territory. They did so by force against the black empires of Mali and Songhay, which also elevated Timbuktu to the status of Magreb’s cultural capital in the Late Middle Ages. Timbuktu was founded by the Tuareg at the beginning of the 12th century, who always considered it their property and, over the centuries, reconquered it several times, the last in the period 1863-1893. The Tuareg are Muslims from the periphery of Islam, where orthodox or radical doctrines do not arrive with full power and interest. The natural and political conditions of his land have always been hard. They have developed a human resilience to survive and endure in their perennial lands. So, not only is their sui generis religion a virtue of their ethnicity. The mutual play of rights and duties, which derive from the relations between individuals and family groups, clans and tribes, are also virtues for them. Whence they derive the personal identity, referred to and compared with their peers, and the mutual protection of individuals and their primitive societies.
So, it is not surprising that in the moments of maximum weakness of the Malian state, the Tuareg took over northern Mali and made Timbuktu their political capital. Coexisting by mutual advantage and reluctantly with the seat of internationalist jihadist groups in cities like Gao, Kital and the capital itself, in the interior of its Azawad Republic. The Republic of Mali became a yielding state. The Army tried to impose itself on the Tuaregs and the Islamist green shoots in the north. But, it lacked motivation, body spirit, training and equipment and professional will. Generals led from Bamako the spasmodic attacks against the most obvious and permanent rebel settlements. And the officers and non-commissioned officers, among whom the capabilities were similar, tried to encourage and propel their men. So that, overcoming the natural tactical laziness of fighting, the small units fulfilled their missions. For this reason, the coup d’état of 22 March 2012 was staged by the Malian captains, who, in a gesture of survival Bonapartism, were fed up with the misuse to which they were subjected.
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 Signs of Tactical or Operational Success related to the Physical and Environmental Support:
Land transitability will be neutral or favorable to the operation.
Transitability is the geographical (superficial or spatial) dimension where military actions take place. It is principally framed by the superficial capacity of an area to support certain means or military capacities and their movements. It is completed today in a spatial dimension, by the range of heavy fire and aircrafts.
It has independentandabsolute functions, as are the passing of specific points during a period of time, the time it takes to travel the distance between them and the not superficial simultaneity of military means. These refer on the transitability, related to how the Nature and obstacles interact with operations. Transitability also has relative functions that are generally dependent on geography. These are more concretely determined by the availability and quality of roads, railways and fluvial nets (urbanized geography), the climate, the hydrology, the orography, the season and meteorology and the hour of the day (physical geography). These functions change with different national and regional surfaces.
Transitability determines the facility or physical difficulty for rapidly maneuvering and, in consequence, determines the total time of an operation, in the phases of execution through the successive «cycles of action«. Roads and railroad networks are the most suitable physical support to obtain low times of execution in operations or high «tempos». Their transitability characteristics will be their availability in the operations zone, the road surface resistance, the traffic saturation conditions and the “narrow or critical” points existing in the ways networks and their “continuity traveling cuts”.
Roads that support a good advance pace are problematic, as outside of developed countries pave roads are uncommon. More often it is the case that a terrain is untransitable as an operational element and will require units to physically struggle in order to going on. The channels, the rivers, as continuity cuts, constitute another relative conditioner of the transitability of a zone. On one hand, they constitute an almost inevitable restraint of the impulse of maneuver. In effect, in almost any direction that follows an operational route during sufficient Kilometers, it ended up confronting the crossing of a natural or artificial water obstacle. The bridges that surpass them, as part of a road network, not always will exist or be at hand. Given the present amphibious means, the main obstacle to the transit will be offered by the water flows banks. It will be necessary to consider the slope of both banks and the characteristics of resistance, adherence, consistency, etc. of them and of their immediate approach grounds.
One can try to use the superficial dimension, or even the spatial one, to improve transitability in different cases when good conditions do not exist. The first leads to employ a cross country mechanized formation, supported logistically. This was the imagined ideal of strategists and tacticians in the 1930s. On one hand, the best all-field or tracked vehicle moves better along a highway than across a field. For a given useful load weight, all-field or tracked vehicles have more tare than wheels vehicles. For total given weights, vehicles on tracks and on wheels that advance cross country have greater wears, more breakdowns and more fuel consumption than those that travel on highways.
This raises a double economic and logistic inconvenience, whose solution is very difficult. For this reason, it is ideal to operate along steady surfaces and using the railroad up to a bit more than one hundred kilometers to the front or the enemy. And to fight cross-country, taking advantage of shooting cover sectors, concealment and so on. Using the tactical characteristics of the field. Specially, rolling grounds that favor the mechanized fighting.
The spatial dimension also encompasses the impossibility, like that of saturated ground roads, of the simultaneous arrival of numerous aircraft at a given point. Or the airships fly in row, arriving at the same time, but laterally extended or they go in line to unload or arrive successively in a «single» operations point. The helicopters give more concentrated results than those of the airplanes, but these have more lifting and ordnance capacity.
The effects of climate, season, hour, and hemisphere are superposed on these conditions, worsening or mitigating them. Orography affects transitability when it make difficult the construction of a road layout and when it increases the slope that military marches must cross. The cross-sectional passing of “height lines” can become impassable, except by defiles or mountain ports. Which create bottlenecks that collapse the maneuver impulse and prevent the deployments of the units that cross them. Fights at heights have a generic “gravity center” in order to control these passages.
A RESOLUTE ENEMY IS STILL WAITING YOU OVERTHERE…
When “height gradient” diminishes there exists a less evident, but more frequent and very important factor, which is the «drop». “Drop» refers to height variations of a few meters up to dozens of meters in relation to the surroundings. It appears in cross-country running, in areas of more or less waviness, in broken areas and even in roadways sections. It has also an expression in urban zones, both residential and industrial. As well as buildings, houses and facilities form «relativeconcealingheights«. These generate protection and danger, opportunities and risks. And are the urban expression of the «drop». The forest is a special variant of this case, with obstacles and shorts views for both enemy forces.
Urbanized or industrial zones shape numerous parallel, transverse and interweaving «drop» lines. They channel all military effort in the mentioned zones, generating innumerable «interfaces of action» with the enemy. That are frequently determined under surprise conditions. These zones definitively paralyze the impulse of the units and generate attrition (in military means) and wear (in logistical terms) disproportionate to the results obtainable by their occupation.
An Historical Application of the Principle of the Aim in the War.
A clear and simple example of the application of this principle in the operational strategy, we have in the campaign of Ulm. In May, 1805 broke out the war between France and the Third Coalition, formed by Russia, Austria and England, its promoter. The main body of the French army was deployed along the coast of the English Channel, preparing itself to invade England. But the threat for the French army in campaign, which was the real strategic aim in the Napoleonic wars (let’s remember that the occupations of Madrid, Vienna, Moscow, were not decisive), was arising in the East Europe, from the armies of the Russian and Austrian empires. In September, 1805 Napoleon moved his «Army of England» to the Rhine, deploying it between Mainz and Strasbourg and renamed the «Great Army». The Great Armée was formed by 145.000 infantrymen and 38.000 riders, joined 7 army corps. Each one at the orders of a French marshall, a great cavalry reserve, at the orders of the marshall Prince Murat, and the Imperial Guard, directly under Napoleon. To them 25.000 Bavarian allies were added.
Taking the initiative, as was habitual with him, Napoleon decides to give the first strategic blow against the army of 72.000 Austrians, which, at the orders of the general Mack and the archduke Fernand, son of the emperor Francis II, was advancing towards Ulm, without waiting for the arrival of the Russian help. Napoleon maneuvered his army corps in a centripetal spiral over Ulm. It supposes the joint action of all the means in his “lines of action”. Of the «branched out» activity of all the units and the services, not necessarily coincidental in the time, but convergent and resultant in his efficiency and in the result. By means of the different and coordinated,lines of advance or action, the uncertainty and insecurity is induced in a prepared enemy. And always his rejection capacity is dispersed and is disturbed his plan of defense and its systematic conduction.
The general Mack went out at the doors of Ulm, to surrender to Napoleon, at the foothills of mounts Michelsberg.
In a wide advance of his independent army corps, the great Armée quickly crossed the center of Germany, from the Rhine to the Danube, between septiembre, 25 and October, 6. With this he operationally intervened between the Austrians and the Russian allied forces, still distant.
The Austrians did not understand the need of the rapidity of these movements. They were thinking only about the battle, as the only instrument of the decision. Their operational strategy did not exist. And they waited his enemies, centred on Ulm and expectant. The Frenchmen initiated the crossing of the Danube on the 7th. And, during the whole week, Napoleon made converge, on an enormous constrictive maneuver, the majority of his forces on Ulm. While, an army corp was monitoring the possible arrival of the general Kutuzov from the East. The trap was remaining closed in irresistible force.
The general Mack uselessly realized several attempts of breakthrough, with the major efforts in Haslach and Elchingen. Both Austrian commanders fought between them. And the archduke Fernand separated from the main body with his 6.000 riders and tried to escape in North-East direction. But, near Trochtelfingen, his forces were surrounded and defeated by the Murat’s corps cavalry. Other 12.000 Austrians gave up themselves in Neustadt. The general Mack and the rest of his men (around 27.000, after the combats and mentioned incidents), with Napoleon in scandalous majority at the doors of Ulm from October, 14, went out to surrender their weapon at the foothills of mounts Michelsberg. The general Mack signed the capitulation of the army on the 20th. The campaign, without battles in strict sense, cost to Austria more than 50.000 men, almost 70 % of his initial troops.
The Current Process of Definition and Follow-up of the Aim.
The retreat of the USA of Vietnam produced a readjustment and another appreciation of the principle of the aim. The later evaluations of the politicians and military men led to proclaiming the imperious need to give always to their armed forces in any future conflict: the support without fissures of the people; a few clear and expressly defined operational and strategic aims and the necessary means for its achievement. This «check list» of supports of the national strategy to the military strategy, appears today as a good summary of the moral and material commitment that the peoples and the controls have with their military men, when they send them to the war for reasons of «national interest».
In the practice, the development of the operational strategy will be defining new operational and tactical aims. That are the surveyor’s poles of the sinuous way that leads to obtaining the strategic aims raised to the military men. That can be so precise and so general as: the occupation of an enemy territory, the recovery of a some provinces pillaged by that one, his effective military defeat or his surrender with or without conditions. Let’s remember that Moltke the Old was saying that the own initial plans only were resisting or were viable up to the first contact in force with the enemy.
The western democracies are provided with extensive, direct and deep communications through all their social tissue. Everything appears easily at first sight. And all the persons take the right or the obligation to debate about everything. But, in the «political military area» that is great more unstable, insecure and opaque. This does not want to say that the operational requirements should not exist. And that the need to prescribe and keep the discretion and the security necessarily limit the «universal exhibition» to the mass media in the area of the national safety.
The Senate of the United States controls the evolution of the wars objectives.
It is necessary to define and to give clear aims to the military men. It implies the need of that the politicians study and compromise themselves with the high or national strategy. And, as necessary and inevitable corollary, that they give the sufficient operational autonomy to his military men. In order that they do not waste lives, efforts and a material means. In order that they neither get entangled, do not even be distracting in unproductive or secondary actions. In order that they do not lose the respect and the support of his people and gain the scorn of the neutrals and potential enemies.
But, closing an ideological and practical «curl», the age of the communications also offers advantages of rapidity and constant, reasonably trustworthy and sufficient intelligence using the military information and his management. Even in the fleeting and delicate cases, with the wireless communications of several levels and accesses, it is possible to obtain a «virtual presence» of the military chiefs and of certain politicians, in the operational distant field. This would facilitate to these controls, a successive approximation and the graduation of the actions of the military means in presence, towards the operational action. And it would facilitate the dilution in the space and the time of the need to fix the successive secondary aims, already from the beginning of a “cycle of military operations”. Keeping always a constant acceleration of the «cycles of action» on the enemy, to dislocate his rejection capacity and to seek and to act on his operational weaknesses. Already those must seek to go successively forward to the enemy, progressively turning ineffective his actions and induce in his men the abandonment of not being capable of offsetting nor overcome our tactical actions guided by our “in real time” operational strategy.
The three cavalry regiments of the brigade had a total of 27 officers, 228 N.C.O.s and 1,740 soldiers mounted on German horses. All those who could, carried sub-machine guns –either the MP-38 or MP-40- instead of the 7.92 mm K98 carbines. They were supported by 30 heavy machine guns (MG-34 on tripods) and 72 light machine guns (MG-34 with bipods). Their heavy support fire was provided by a battery of 6 light howitzers of 75 mm for each of three hippomobile regiments. As external support they would have artillery fire, either centralized or from the divisions placed in its flanks, for the attached observers and officers were accompanying it.
Country wagons moving forward in a huge Russian plain…
They were also supported by an engineers company (pioneers) and a sanitary company. By means of a park of Russian countrywagons, each dragged by a pair of native horses, the supplies, replacements, ammunitions, medical forces, etc. of the brigade would be carried to them. They also had a motorized supply column.
The nature, the structure of the brigade and its support were perfectly adapted to the mission and contributed to its simplicity. It even received the support of a tanks company (14 tanks) for the attack, when the reconnaissance saw the possibility for use it.
Another key aspect of the mission was intelligence, acting already before the conception of the operation. This provided the most complete knowledge of the enemy and operations zone. Intelligence was a combination of information acquired by all the units, that was continually updated. It allowed better definition of the mission, assignment of the means and units, and training preparation. It also allowed for more appropriate adjustments or changes in plans, etc.
Another indispensable factor in this extraordinary or heterodox operation was the trainingand trialof the mission. The brigade trained for 4 to 6 weeks before its activation, in areas similar to the future operations zone; this fulfilled the security factor.
The training with tanks was not done, because its employment was not foreseen. And one of the problems that arose during the operation was that communication between the cavalry and tanks was poor. In the thick wild forests the wirelessradios did not work well and it was necessary to use the existing wiretelephony. But these were not enough for adequate communications between all the small units.
A characteristic of the training in these special missions is that that it must be as complete as possible, in agreement to its peculiarities. And a full trial, including the total foreseen time, is always necessary. For example, to verify the resistance of certain equipments and not only its good functioning, as would happen in a partial or incomplete test.
The brigade and 5th panzer division were in their departure positions 10 days before the start of the march towards the contact. The Soviets were not capable of detecting the activation of this unit, so the security factor remained fulfilled.
Immediately, the brigade, with the help of the tanks troops, carried out an intense reconnaisance of the intermediate area and the enemy positions (advanced combat troops and the forward limit of the defense). It was deduced that the tanks’ support in the attack was possible (in a narrow sector), if a necessary adaptation was effected in the tracks accessing the area. This innovationwould add an important shock capacity and heavy direct fire to the assault, especially in the irruption, in the struggle for enemy fighting positions and in the interiorofthe defense zone (artillery, units in disorder or in retreat, transport, supplies, etc.)
The factor surprisewas going to be achieved by the tactical innovation and the unexpected action in «field of action» chosen for the attack. It is important to remember that the Soviets were prepared and fortified against an attack that they knew was coming. In addition, since the beginning of the war the Soviets had shown themselves to be masters of defense and in disguising positions. Still, the Germans hoped that a strong attack on an unexpected place would dislocate the enemy’s combat capacity and means of defense. The German plan allowed nopracticalreactiontime to the enemy.
With this, the speedofaction factor is obtained by the attacker. This allowed the Germans to overcome rapidly their principal vulnerability: the initial contact with the enemy in the decided «interfaceofaction«, in which always can be produced unexpected setbacks in the face of potentially bigger forces, until the lawoftheaction is imposed on the enemy.
As the mission begins, there is uncertaintyorfriction, due to the enormous number of individuals and units involved; mistakes, that are a function of the small failures that happen inevitably in all the human actions that comprise a mission; enemyaction, until the fire supremacy and maneuver deprive him of initiative; opportunities, in the shape of favorable situations not foreseen by the Germans and which the commands of the small units must exploit in order to fulfill the mission.
To be able to act this way, the extraordinary or special troops must possess the commitmentfactor, which involves the acceptanceandrecognition of the entrusted mission, its important consequences and its realpossibilitiesofsuccess in these conditions.
A couple of days before the assault, the engineers were making progress through the forest boundaries with mechanical saws. They constructed a reinforced path and carpeted it with middle logs cut up “in situ” and arranged about a meter apart. This was to give sufficient firmness to a route up to the Soviet minefields which would support the tanks added to the hippomobile brigade in tactical subordination, which slowly initiated its advance a little later. The noise of the saws and the engines of the vehicles was drowned by the flight of reconnaisance planes at low level and sporadic harassment fire.
The joint assault began on July 2, 1942.
The hippomobile brigade had to cross 15 kilometers of forests and marshes to reach the Soviet positions. At its right was the 5th panzer division attacking, which acted as the normalforceormassofsupport for the assault. Its left flank was supported on this area of difficult ongoing, covered by weak infantry forces (about a company). Until, on the 3rd day, a German infantry division began its assault through this sector.
At 3 a.m. the tanks advanced close to the cavalry troops, taking advantage of the general artillery preparations. They were accompanied by engineers’ troops. The minefields were immediately detected and the engineers cleaned the area around the passing paths to extend its width. Suddenly, the forwards tanks and cavalry reached the limit of the Soviet position of defense in this decided «field of action» over them.
Model saves the day for the 9th German Army. Column of Soviet military prisioners.
In a single thrust they burst in, breaking the Soviets’ first lines of defense. After this, the tanks were kept in reserve, since the enemy position stretched through an unknown wooded area. That morning the cavalry managed to penetrate 6.5 kilometers inside the Soviet position.
The whole time the train of country wagons was capable of advancing supplies, replacements and munitions to the tired men.
For its part, the 5th panzer division could not advance despite its superior capacity of shock and means, and suffered heavy losses by very well camouflaged Soviet forces in depth.
Around midday, a hippomobile regiment turned to attack the principal enemy positions from the east. To reach them, it had to cross a swampy forests zone where the water was knee-high. At dusk, the brigade had control of a sector of the principal road inside the Soviet position, breaking the Soviets’ tactical cohesion and turned it untenable.
Just after midnight on the 4th, Soviet resistance was collapsing in the area of assault of the 5th panzer division and hippomobile brigade. This crossed another swampy forest area of 10 kilometers depth and emerged at the operationalenemyrear. Here was a scene of chaos filled with abandoned vehicles and stroked columns and groups of troops and soldiers. Arrival of the panzer forces accelerated the decline of the 39th Soviet infantry army as an organized and effective force.
That same day the whole sector of this army collapsed and the German infantry divisions of Walter Model’s 9th army converged on its interior by all its assault sectors.
In the 11 days that the operation lasted, the Germans captured 50,000 Soviet prisoners, and around 230 tanks and 760 artillery pieces.
The 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.
It is not a question of defining how to act, thing that already we try to do in other published articles or that they will be in a future. But that, perceiving in the operations development certain facts, guidelines or behaviors of the conflicting parts and of the objective conditions (of the ground, etc.), we will be able to diagnose a very probable forecast for the culmination of those operations.
This way, we will be able to trust in and to rest on these favorable forecasts. And to reinforce mental and physically our signs of the Tactical and Operational Military Success. To control better the fears, worries, assignments of the scanty forces, uncertainties, endless lacks, unexpected bad understanding, recoverable frustrations and the partial crises. Which will arise inevitably during the operations development.
The main Signs of the Tactical or Operational Military Success to look for:
The Signs of Tactical or Operational Success about Us:
The operational military plans will be simple, flexible and with capacities of alternative developments. They must be capable of adjusting to the unforeseen and the contingencies. And endlessly incorporating intelligence updates about the intentions and possibilities of the enemy and ground reconnaissance. This is specially important in maneuver operations.
There will exist an operational own initiative, that will allow us to develop our plans. Always using us the activity, even in the defense. And keeping endlessly the action freedom and given priority to its recovery, in case of its loss.
The own exploration and intelligence are fundamental, the more creative and risky is the operation to realizing. Reciprocally, the enemy exploration and his perceptions will be pushed back and/or be disturbed systematically. Will be included in this repulse and mixtify, the security of the units, false positions, advanced detachments and combat patrols, fogs and smokes, the combat for the wireless communications, etc.
The knowledge of the enemy and his actions will be always incomplete and imperfect. And will be extended with the evolution of the situation in relation to him. They will not be known temporarily, even positions, movements, combat readiness, deployments or fundamental units. But not those that affect us direct and tactically in our operation under way. On those we will place the gravity center of our exploration. That will be even “in force” against certain enemy hard objectives.
Theowncombatcapacityfortheproposeoperationwillbesufficientandwillbeequipped,distributedandprotected.Consideringthefrictionandinevitableminorerrors,derivativesofourown military activityinthehyperfunctionalchaoticenvironment,andthenecessaryreserves. Our securitywillinexorably be kept duringtheoperationandintheconsolidationofoccupiedterrain. And specially defending, with combat detachments, the advance sectorsof our “mobilegroups” operating in the enemy operational rear.
Decisions on which tactical battle areas will be engaged, will consider: accessibility (whether they offer neutral or favorable transitability); vulnerability, whether one’s forces can apply sufficient combat capacity against an enemy, in an area that had not attracted much of his attention; transcendent, the action will produce the decision or will contribute decisively to her and the tactical result will have operational efficiency.
One example is the operational counterattack of the German Armies Group Don of Marshal Von Manstein. That was carried out between February and March of 1943 in the Donbass river basin and around the city of Kharkov. Let us remember the development of this counterattack, its tactical combats and their effect on the “sui generis” Tanks Army of General Lieutenant Popov (Group Popov), the Infantry Armies and both Tank Corps as the mobile reserve of the Southwest Front of General Vatutin and, apart and also, the 3rd Tanks Army of Lieutenant General Ribalko.
The logistics is an essential piece of the victory. When the armies are modern, mechanized and technical. And they are, this way, highly dependent on the fuels, the spares, the supplies of all kinds and on the rotation or reinstatement of units. It is supposed tactic and operationally that the means of all kinds are available and more or less nearby. To support the impulse, the fire and the operative efficiency of all the “units of action”, it is necessary to guarantee them a constant and sufficient flow of the mentioned means. Therefore, the commands must take the actions to defend the «physical support» of the logistic structure. Specially against assaults from the enemy depth or in sensitive and critical points or in the routes most far from our units. Constituted by all the “supplying routes”, from the units up to our operational rear. And that are still more important that the so called “retreat routes”. Though they could coincide in some sections. Among other things, because the modern forces must count with remaining isolated for a certain time. And keeping in this period their tasks, in agreement with the entrusted missions.
The Signs of our Tactical or Operational Military Success about the Enemy:
There will be a passiveness or operational delay in the enemy. Generally he will act with an intention that is not convergent with our own. And, at least, not harmful for our operation, especially in the first stages of the process. When she develops her impetus or push or movement quantity (combat capacity X average sustainable speed, in every stage). This sign of the tactical or operative success is a «pear in sweet», that not always will give itself so clearly, as in the following example.
It is worth to remember the development of the Blitzkrieg in the West and invasion of France by Germany in the spring of 1940. The main part of the French maneuver troops, their three more modern armies, and the British Expeditionary Force rushed toward Holland and Belgium to stop the German scythe-like advance. That was supposed directed at the interior of France and the rear of her Maginot line. The Allied High Commands, whose doctrine had not evolved, were thinking that in May 1940 Germany would repeat their “Schlieffen modified plan” of 1914 in their new invasion of France.
THE OPERATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
In agreement with the new plan of General Erich Von Manstein, really the “blow of scythe” was given by the Armies Group A of colonel general Von Rundstedt. Which was possessing as spear lance the Panzer Group of general Von Kleist. His five Panzer and five Motorized divisions, integrated in three Panzer Corps, were going to cross the Ardennes and to carry on a wide break in the French line around Sedan. Turning then rapidly towards the west and pressing finally on the flank and the rear of the Allied forces in Belgium. Which would find operationally isolated, with their line of communications, support of their logistics of supply, cut off.
Thetacticalenemyactivityisinevitable.Itwillbepermanent,harmfulandevenitwill be unexpected and will partiallyaffectus.Butitwillnotbefundamentalforourplans. Remember that we are looking for signs of our success, not those of the enemy. Thebestsignofmaturitywillbethatitdoesnotworryexcessivelyto our tactical or operationalcommands.Ifthisactivitydidnotexist,itwouldbebecausetheenemywasnotthere.Toovercomeandtogetusedtothesetactical accessory crisesandnotbelefttodragbythem,harmingourprincipaloperation,isthetouchstoneoftheserenityofthecommands. Always we must bear in mind the possibility that the enemy appears tactically in «the moment and in the zone» more inconvenient and difficult for us. If it does it operatively it is that we have incurred a mistake of intelligence or of the valuation of the correlation of forces and of the enemy capacities or intentions.
Napoleon, without getting to exhaust the reserves, but without they were exceeding, attended to the different localtacticalcrises that appeared in Austerlitz’s battle. After the occupation of Pratzen’s heights by two infantry divisions of the Army Corp of marshal Soult. This sealed the destruction of the joint Russian Austrian army and his Austerlitz’s victory.
CREATED THE CONDITIONS FOR THE MILITARY DECISION: AUSTERLITZ.
Let’s see the process of development of the tactical containment of the Allied enemy. With the enemy forces concentration attacking the supposed tactical and operative (without protecting the line of retreat towards Vienna) Frenchmen deployment weakness. The grenadiers of Oudinot were sent from the Zurland hill to support the south flank, where the principal battle was getting away. Bernadotte advanced up to Blaswitz village, to cover the Soult’s north flank. The Murat’s cavalry reserve, in the Santon hill, the left flank (at north) of the French deployment, had to fight against Liechtenstein’s cavalry, to support the novices of Lannes’s Corp who were defending it. Kutusov managed to bring towards Pratzen part of the forces of his left wing (at south). And Soult, attacked by three sides, had to employ part of the general artillery reserve to contain the enemy with its wearing fire. Around 1 p. m. Constantine and the imperial Russian Guard counter-attacked the already tired Frenchmen in Pratzen. Their first line yielded. The cavalry of the French Imperial Guard, who had been advanced by Napoleon, supervised by marshal Béssiers and general Rapp, attacked the Russians and put them in escape. And Bernadotte, from Blauswitz, sent a division in support of the center of the punished French deployment.
This doctrine spreads and concerns, across the NATO, the strategic aims of his allies and the assigned and specific means to reach them. The training with IT programs is an example of the new practices of military training. Instead of moving soldiers in the Boot Camps or the vehicles of the mechanized or motorized units in the maneuvers areas, the NATO is developing new artifices in the Network (online) to instruct the personnel. And, though it could not be the norm of formation or training, the project is illustrative of that the Alliance adapts to the new times of «financial global restrictions» for the Armies. But this goes against and impedes, almost for definition, the adjustment of the light infantries to the war against the regular and irregular “broken-down” enemies. And it goes against and prevents the use and the employment of the «maneuvers war» at the levels of the small units and men groups, entrusted to realize it in the fight zone of the infantry. Because the demanding and constant training of the men is here essential and is a condition necessary for his success in the combat.
Peculiarities of the modern Fight in the Infantry Zone.
Any assault aim of the small unit or group of action always will present a route of covered, defilade or secret approximation. That can be exploited to approach up to the close fight distance. This without losses of his combat capacity and without having an engineers’ high formation. So, the “routes” like that might be the curbs of the sidewalks or the sewers in the urban or industrial zones. For the distant or air (drones and crewed planes) observation these singularities do not exist and this way, the enemy does not detect the potential vulnerability of his positions.
In the rejection the same thing happens, but the other way round. A deployed company in his platoons for the usual circular defense, presents several tens of small exposed careless or not attended flanks. And these can be used by the trained enemy in the use of the microarea to approach and to slip between his combat positions, patrols and fox holes. And to be positioned to attack her by reverse a little later. Or to destroy some important assets (hangar, fuel deposits, vehicles parkings, artillery, aircrafts, arsenals, command positions). And these vulnerabilities and deficiencies are kept and, even, they increase almost unfailingly with the confidence and the carelessness that arise in the routine and current activities.
However much there exist protocols, regulations and theoretical advices that affect in the alert and the keeping of the vigilance and security. Because the permanent «combat availability» neither is kept, even does not exist. And it is not a question, as it is in the habit of doing, of creating any more procedure or of hardening those who exist. Because the bureaucracy and his evils will kill the initiative and the inventiveness of the bureaucratized soldiers. It is a question of carrying out those with interest, commitment with the missions and, the most difficult thing, banishing the mental stupor of the routine. Nor, and this is a deficiency derived from the most panoramic vision that is looked, these elementary “microunits” are trained for correctly and temporarily defend itself. If they are surrounded or overcome in number by the regular or irregular enemy, who exploits the “microarea” and knows the field. And, consistently, they also lack enough organic weapon, as to avoid to be surrounded by an enemy major unit.
In West this specific formation is tended to give to his elite units, whereas his «poor» enemies form in her all his infantry: elite, regular, light and irregular. These «bare» armies have to use more the human resources, on having lacked so many modern and sophisticated means. His men are educated in the control (physical and mental) of the risk and of the fear, to survive. And in the discovery and the development of his warlike potentials, turning one with his environment, to overcome the obstacles, to triumph in the mission and to continue living. Some of the personal characteristics that must be more developed in the western «small units», to obtain a «bonus», a complement, of security, surprise and efficiency in his «interfaces of action» on the enemy in the fight in the infantry zone are: motivation, formation and constant training; mobility, concealment and knowledge of the enviroment; safety, surprise and creativity; resistance, patience, quietude, silence, sobriety, calmness, alert of the senses (dulled by the withdrawal from the nature and the plethora of information that is received at all the levels) and self-sufficiency; freedom of action, initiative and decision at the level of his behavior and mission.
It is evident that, if the men fullly develop these military characteristics and tasks, we will be forming units of elite. But the certain thing is that the added ones or «adendum» of these qualities that they acquire, will give them major autoconfidence. And will qualify them to carry out better the infantry fight against «broken down» enemies armies, that have incorporated them into his usual form of combat.
During enough time still the air and spatial American means, as spy satellites, not crewed planes and planes of the system Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), will have serious limitations for the detection and the check of small ground, even regular, forces, in the areas of difficult ongoing and with possibilities of concealment, as mountains, jungles and forests, marshes and urbanized zones (industrial, of storage and distribution, and of housings). Those also offer covered to the fire up to the close combat distances. It is paradoxical that the western armies, who try to take care and to protect his members, do not sufficiently form them in the fight that his «ragged» enemies realize. These «modern infantry» units would fight by means of the infiltration or the slide; the cover and the concealment; the rapid or imperceptible movements for the enemy observer, according to the case; and always silent; the dispersed and/or camouflaged of circumstances positions and in the later slope; the constant surprises; the countershocks and the ambushes; in both forms of fight: defense and attack.
As for the guerrilla war against the irregular enemies, we will treat the «wide zone» where the rebels do not dominate, but they keep the pulse with the military men and try to go snatching them the people and the areas. This is the zone where would have clearer and direct application the modern western infantry units, to fight against the irregular orientals. The only effective way of defending from these rebel groups is obtaining the initiative, dislocating his movements between positions and towards their aims, exhausting his operatonal rear, taking from them the freedom of action and demonstrating the people whom have the means and the determination to gain the war, supporting his government and authorities. To defend himself is not to be left to reduce or to corner in the garrisons, by the action and the extension of the bands. Garrisons that turn in enormous and costly «protected warehouses» of materials and men without using. This is to be left to oxidize, to demoralize and to enervate by the mobil, active and very asymmetric enemy. And was the “main way” used by the high commands in Afghanistan and Iraq. The “patrols and small military positions” network of in this «critical zone», it has as operational task to deny the initiative and the mobility to the guerrillas, cutting his communications with his bases, with his collaborators’ network and between them, and raise off them, like in the hunt, from his protective bases of civil character and from his isolated redoubts. The «official network», which covers operationally a wide extension, is also capable of catching sensitive information. The knowledge of the rebels, of the zone and of the neighborhood can be one of his major assets. The conviction of impunity of the rebels will disappear.
A necessary and forgotten complement of the regular network to fight against the guerrilla are the rebels «false bands». These would be destined to operate in zones inclined to the insurgency, from where several of his members come. And his action and concealment would be favored by the decentralized character of the rebel groups. His missions would be to obtain information, to prove the loyalty of the civilians and to annihilate enemy small groups or suicides. They should not be major of a reinforced squad, except in the special occasions of combat. This can seem to be imaginary or, at least, theoretically, and unrealizably. But the case is that in the definitive defeats of the Apaches bands in the southwest of the USA, between 1872 and 1886, after the changes effected in the deployments, the tactics and technics and the doctrine by the general Crook, was decisive the incorporation of numerous Apaches explorers in the US Army Cavalry. Not only to locate the hostiles bands, but to attack them specially and hardly. And the taciturn, distant, slightly nice and haughty or indifferent character of these Indians towards other Americans, that can be observed in an attentive visit to a reservation, was not making them precisely inclined to be «collaborationists» of the whites men.
The American and European troops are prepared to fight against a regular military enemy provided with a masses army. Or even more modern, of the IIIrd generation, with more elaborated technologically means and better trained men, to support the lonelinesses and tensions of the awaited current battlefields. Definitively, his «way», his action space, is the direct and opened clash in presence of a great profusion of probable enemy targets. His instrument is the attrition, the destruction of the aims that the enemy presents and could be detected and acquired in all the depth of his march or assault deployment. The last two enemy echelons, nowadays increasingly remote or deep, are reached by the longe range support aviation or with the ballistic or autonomous missiles of medium range.
Which is here the role of the man? To detect and confirm the enemy targets, to try to fix them, if it is about a patrol or a small combat unit and to call his «ordnance» in order that it devastates them. Only his elite units, always scanty and, therefore, exceptional and precious, are formed in the nearby infantry fight using only his organic means.
In Iraq and in Syria the islamist bases are always in the cities and populations more favorable for the activity of his different bands. And they are surrounded or permeated by military local and foreign forces. Already initiated the war, the North American intelligence intercepted a memorandum of 17 pages written by Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, former chief of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, to Osama bin Laden. In it he was expressing his worry for his survival: «In Iraq there are not mountains where we could shelter, nor forests in whose thickness we could hide. There are spies eyes everywhere. Our backs are exposed and our movements are realized in view of all». And this geographical military space is similar in Syria.
The Action of the military Forces against the current Insurgency.
In the books on the guerrilla warfare, it is discused of the tactics of the siege to the military fixed or semipermanent positions. The guerrillas, deprived in the first phases of an ideological armed revolution (communists, of fight against the foreign occupant) of enough military capacity, have their guidelines to attack the mentioned military positions.
RUSSIAN REACTIVE ARTILLERY IN SYRIA
In the zones not dominated by the guerrillas, but bordering the areas under his control, it is where develops the fight of those for removing the military enemy. Seeking to also control these areas and to realize in them his ideological indoctrination of the populations. The guerrilla bases only can grow in space or increase his number, when the military enemy moves back. Or when his positions (advanced positions, barracks) are submitted to a more or less nearby and ferreous siege. That must be continuous in his effects: that is to say, controlling the approximation and exit routes of those. To threaten, harass, check and to attack in its moment the surrounded forces. And the reinforcement and supply columns of that come to help. Using limited attacks, ambushes and traps and registered fire bags.
In the regions infected by the guerrillas, not necessarily occupied by them, the military positions are protective, extensive and few fortress. His garrison is high. The military set evokes there a blind, awkward and low mobile bunker. The military men realize from them special forces operations of reconaissance and against guerrilla positions and of march to the combat on targets of zone, at charge of strong columns. To occupy and then defend them, according to the capacities of the military forces. In this, the commitment and moral of them is decisive.
GOVERNMENT CARPET BOMBING IN SYRIA.
In the irregular war against the bands of the Islamic State, the armed forces and his auxiliary ones use in his operational strategy, some of Mao Ze Dong’s 10 military principles to direct the tactics of the Chinese guerrillas and semi regulars. Those were enunciated by Mao on December 25, 1947 in his speech before the Central Committee of the PCC. Let’s see, in not necessarily original order: 1) To attack first the isolated and spread enemies and later the stronger enemy forces. 2) To take first the small villages and, finally, the big populations. 3) Not to fight combats, if you are little prepared for, nor present combats in which the victory is not sure. 4) To concentrate always for each combat forces absolutely superior to those of the enemy. 5) To destroy the enemy while it moves and is more vulnerable. 6) To use the intervals between campaigns to rest and to regroup and to train the troops…but not allow that the enemy have a pause, not even a breather. 7) Take first the populations low defended. And, when the conditions are favorable to us, those with medium defenses. And wait to increase our advantages, to assault the better defended cities.
This operational strategy outlined by Mao, using simple, didactic and efective procedure, is of a low military level. As corresponds to an insurrection that had to grow, to develop and to spread. And that was employing rural uncultured forces and was arming itself principally with the enemy captured weapon. Mao said that he «had a call option in the weapon of the British arsenals».
IRAQI TANK WITH SHIA BANNER…
But this same orthodox operational strategy of the weak rebel against the strong military, is that are going to use the Allied forces, agglutinate and supported by the USA and Russia (in Syria), to attack an islamist insurgency, entrenched in his urban bases. And keeping the massive, repeated and overwhelming employment of the modern air and ground heavy fire on the rebels. So much in the battles and combats that appear, as for the wear and interdiction of the islamist positions, his facilities and movements.
Seeking as strategic aims to defeat the rebels and to occupy his bases or positions. That would be finally select for a policeman’s labor. Bases that are the only hard, definite and static aims, which the guerrillas have. With a qualitative difference with the diffuse, evasive, fleeting and slippery aims that the guerrillas offer in movement. Bases that are directly attacked, using the military forces (to those that is supposed better trained and equipped and, at least, equally motivated, that the rebels) and his enormous power of direct and indirect fire.
The military and social problem that exists here is that the Allied rebel Arabic groups, the Kurdish peshmergas and the Iraqi military men and his loyal militias, lack the military virtues of the National complete armies. And they have acquired not military habits on the preservation of his men in combat. Avoiding them at any price the mutilation and the death. In It have influenced decisively the religious and social origins of the different «allied» soldiers groups and his interests and divergent aims, at times even antagonistic, within these two civil wars. Social elements and parameters contaminated, spurious and, even strange, before the concept of the Umma or community of faithfuls of the same god, Allah.
IRAQI SHIA MECHANIZED ARTILLERY AGAINST ISIS
They follow for it this operational strategy of going very little by little, first occupying the weakest islamist positions that surround and defend the biggest. Devastating with the heavy fire from the distance the islamist disclosed positions, which are intermingled with with the houses and refuges of the civilians. Because the war they do, so much the Americans as the Russians and all his allies, in the urban fighting areas that are the islamist occupied populations of Iraq and Syria. And the prolongation of the war, the major time that they will use to obtain his military aims, preserving his men in the combat, the civilians will pay it. With his blood, with the destruction of his material means and buildings and with his massive displacements, seeking to save already only the life and without knowing who will receive and help them.
Let’s see a historical example of the action of counterinsurgents forces, in high unfavorable conditions for them. The German forces antipartisans in the USSR always tried not to be forced by the guerrillas to the passiveness of the garrison or the escort. In his manual of «War against the Bands» they were establishing that “the initiative must be always ours. Even if the commander only has a small force at his disposition, he must not show failures in his resolution. If it is possible, every action of the bands must be answered».
The Germans not only were prevented in his operations against guerrillas by a men’s habitual inferiority. But, also, for the heterogeneous quality that they were having. His antipartisans troops were consisting always of variable combination of forces of diverse origins and qualities: borders troops and German troops of security and policemen; security troops of his Allies in the front of the East, specially Italians and Rumanians; and a high-colored mixture of Allied «Russian» forces of security and of self-defense, sometimes, insafe. The hard core of the units were the Germans. The posts did not have homogeneous troops. In them, the men’s qualities were intermingled, in order that mop or novice was encouraging by the presence of the strong, and in him was removed the thoughts of weakness or desertion.
LIGHT ARMORED VEHICLES GIVING SUPPORT TO AN ANTIPARTISAN OPERATION IN RUSSIA.
Before the inability to provide troops and security to his rearguard in the whole territory conquered to the USSR, at the west of an imaginary laid out between Leningrad and Stalingrado, the Germans had to select very well the points of garrison. These rarely had more than one platoon of counterguerrilla forces. In addition, it was thinking that with 4 or 5 men, the post could be defended for a time. While, others, in 1 or 2 patrols, were going out to chase the partisans in the nearby villages, to monitor the vital line of communications or to support other positions. When new units were created or if there was a temporary «surplus» of antipartisans forces, there were formed reconnaissance and combat patrols. Something like reconnaissance in force patrols, to locate and harass the guerrillas. When it was necessary to realize an offensive major action, against a guerrilla threat or the location of an important bands concentration, even there were temporarily brought troops from the forward line (of the operational zone), for the assault and destruction of that one, generally looking for his siege and annihilation.
It is true that the German results were limited. And also it is true that the principal operational aim of his antipartisans forces was fulfilled. The lines of supplies were kept reasonably opened from Germany, Poland and Romania up to the rears of the German forces and his allies in the East. And the flow of men, armaments, equipments, supplies and goods that received was constant. To allow the gigantic effort of war against the almost inexhaustible resources of the USSR. Millions Soviet prisoners were sent to the Reich and towards there there came back countless units and men of the Wehrmatch, in his continuous rotations.
One of the principal tasks of the military men of the International Forces in Support of the Security, deployed in the Southwest of Asia, in the countries menaced by the islamist terrorism, is the motorized patrolling by the dusty ways that interlace the zone of influence of their barracks. These areas almost lacks Tarmac roads. When there exist they are not a great thing. The caps of asphalt have between one and two fingers of thickness; and the heats soften them and pot-holes and bubbles are easily formed. Usually, this is not an aggressive patrol. It is an exhibition, routine and of visual and logistic link patrolling, between their principal and secondary positions and with the nearby population centers.
When the military men think that there can be problems, they receive the support of the air observation. They are reconnaissance not manned planes (the UAV, in his initials in English), whose use spreads in these asymmetric conflicts. They can detect (in ideal conditions) at 5 thousand meters if a person is armed. The Americans use the Predator model (which is armed also) and the the Searcher (without attack capacity), being able both to operate up to 350 km from his base.
JAISHALADL SUNNIS IRAQIS GUERRILLA POSING…
In some cases the rebels and bandits have dared to attack some of the military marching columns. Fighting from fixed and spread, hasty fortified positions, forming a fringe like a half moon or crescent, which was embracing the march way. Their problem was that the rebel weapon were of tense fire and so their fighting positions were in the forward slope. So, the armed light armoured vehicles with foreign infantry, could combat profitably with the guerrillas in their reinforced fox holes, small trenches and folds of the ground. In effect, their targets acquisition and machine-guns fire control systems, were allowing them the selection and the precision of their fires against the punctual targets of the irregular rebels. And were forcing them to move back and to hiding in the near hamlets.
There are more others cases in which the rebels use the explosive handcrafted artifices (in English, «improvised explosive devices») in the ways crossed by the military men in patrol. They usually place them setting off from the villages, as their improvised forward base, and taking advantage of the concealment and the protection of the nights. There is a high afraid to these artifices, already famous from the postwar period of Iraq. Because they are unexpected, unpredictable and hard to detect. Also, are enervating (the mental perspective of a possible, though improbable explosion, burdens much more than the real probability of the hurts in the attack) and they put the men in the passive defense and in the wait, knowing that active measurements to avoid them are not taken.
The explosive hollow charges that form the majority of these artifices, attack the “low guts” of the military foreign vehicles, their most vulnerable and less protected part. Down there, they cannot carry the reactive charges of repulsion or a multiple layers “shield” with ceramics, like the hulls of the main battle tanks. It is calculated that the Afghan Taliban and the members of the ISIL rebels can place and activate during a year, more 10 thousands of these handcrafted mines. Some correspondents call the artifices, the most effective weapon of the insurgency. Though they are, in their operational set, like an immense minefield; but that are not simultaneously placed and super widespread, improbable and without being covered by the enemy fire.
The Technologies and Tactics to eliminate the Danger of the Ambushes and Explosive Traps in the Tracks.
There are several, the passive or reactives and the actives, assuming that the initiative and the aggressiveness, against worse prepared and trained rebels, is with the military men. They all are «defensive». Since the Department of the War passed to be named long ago of the Defense, everything is “defense”.
Between the passive ones can be to increase the visual recognition of the tracks, observing protuberances and changes of color that should not correspond, in the soils of those. The «travel times» of the columns would diminish a lot. It is necessary to cross those more slow, looking at the soil and looking over the horizon, searching also for careless observers, not very distant. They do not use too much cable activators. These are expensive and weigh, and the rebels are in isolated zones and their logistics is weak and complicated.
The devices are activated generally by the pressure of the vehicle or by a transmitter of a given frequency and range; it can serve an opening doors device. With their frequency inhibitors, the military men try to offset the radio waves of the probable frequencies in the zone. Being the most expensive and complicated transmitters, that with more range, power and frequencies range of use. It is the game of the cat and the mouse. The problem arises when the guerrillas of an area receive a transmitter activator that uses an unforeseen frequency.
Also the columns might be harassed by registered mortar fire during the stops that they were doing to confirm or to eliminate some possible artifice, as some of them might be simulated.
GENERAL VALERIANO WEYLER.
Another way would be to move out of the tracks, cross-country running. For the wheel vehicles, this not always is possible. And, in addition, their wear of the pieces and the consumption of fuel increase very much, as also the march schedules. At the same time, it diminishes the comfort and increases the weariness of the travelers in missions of long range and routine patrolling.
That it is not said that it is impossible or very difficult to do. Since this was what the general Valeriano Weyler did, to frighten the Cuban mambises of the surroundings of the ways and tropical paths. On February 10, 1896, the general was taking charge of the government of Cuba and of the headquarters of the Spanish army deployed in her. The president of the Cabinet, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, restorer of the Bourbon monarchy, was supporting the politics of keeping the colonial domination in Cuba, up to «sacrificing the last man and the last peseta». And named Weyler for the mentioned positions, in substitution of the general Arsenio Martínez Campos, the peacemaker of the war from 1968 to 1978. Which this time failed in bringing positions over with the armed rebels.
GENERAL ARSELIO MARTÍNEZ CAMPOS.
The Cuban guerrillas, in this new war, were taking advantage of the concealment of the “manigua” (tropical jungle) and his nearness to the ways, to harass with rifle fire the Spanish columns and to cause them some falls, without getting involved in a fight. Weyler prompt designed the tactic of rejection the enemy. A reconnaissance with combat capacity was going suitably forward to the Spanish columns in march. It was moving by the jungles (autochthonous bushes) that were surrounding the routes of march, without moving away too much from the paths. The “mambises” or Cuban armed rebels, forming variable and scanty harassment forces, were this way raised from their ambushing positions and drove away from the principal Spanish forces.
Particularities of the mountainous zones and their inhabitants.
The mountainous areas of the geopolitical region of the Southwest of Asia are specially dangerous for the foreign military units of any size in maneuver. The spurs of the heights are frequently crossed by wadis or seasonally dry riverbeds of brooks and springs. In them it can conceal a group of men. That will not become visible until his opportunity of harassment by the fire arises, from rapidly reinforced and camouflaged positions, of the military units. Or have an encounter skirmish with some military group that comes out to the hollow without precautions.
Also it is easy to approach some rocky outcrop, adorned or not by a small thorny bushes, without detecting any enemies patiently crouched down behind it. That will attack the carelessness soldiers, using their knives or cutlasses. Even, when the men return to the principal way, after establishing and keeping a defense position to secure the march of the principal column, giving them the back.
The tribes who live there have as characteristics in their identity and customs, the belligerence and the intertribal brawls. The most important and widespread are the etnia pashtun and the baluchis.
The surprise, which is an effective multiplier of the «specific combat capacity» of a given unit, is constantly and systematicly employ by the irregular fighters. This way, it happens that, «in this wide, ocher and arid valley, they have never attacked us», because the mountains that frame it are at 300 or 400 m. in the horizon. Well, today they are going to attack you with short bursts (2 to 6 shots) of machine gun with bipod, when you advance gullible and spread in that dull and known valley. Without bothering for establishing the march security with pickets, which protect the principal column. And offering multiple small targets to the tenacious, thoughened and poisonous enemy.
Military Tactics in the counterinsurgency fighting.
Finally, some specific tactics and techniques exist for the fight against irregular rebels, that can be used here. It looks to keep the initiative, the creativity and the law of the action in our side. It is a question of the independent employment of light infantry small units (at first, type plattoon or section) in reconnaissance and attacks tasks of the enemy bands.
For the defense of the own communications, they can be used aggressively against the bands that scourge or that hinder them (the artifices are like more spread and selective mines). For example, they can advance and conceal in a sector where the terrorists or local bandits bands are active. In the night, when those are usually placing in the tracks their explosive artifices, they will attack thoughtlessness them (with the maxim surprise and for the major effect). This demands of all the men of the patrols and units: formation, motivation, commitment with the mission, specific training, initiative, creativity, self-sufficiency, sobriety, patience, serenity, alert of the senses, silence and quietude.
An advantage that will multiply the combat capacity of the military patrols, resides in that these bands usually neglect their security in what they think that it is their rear. As soon as a combat has taken place with the rebels, the patrol must be extracted or return to his barracks. To rest, report or brief, return to train, to be equipped and to move to another sector, when it be appropriated, in another mission.
Any ambush that turns out to be effective involves a failure, a deficiency, a carelessness in the security of the attacked. The routine of the actions; the softness of the men; the sufficiency and conceitedness of the direct and top commands; the scanty formation of the soldiers; the insufficient motivation of all the military men and his lack of commitment with the tasks or missions. They constitute serious departure faults to the creation and the maintenance of an effective march security. In the reconnaissance and of combat patrols and in the movements of the units and small units.
And, though the security does not appear frequently in the «lists» of the principles of the war, specially in the most short, the security has come to remain. And the failure to keep this principle will concern in major or minor degree and extension the efficiency of other «companions or partners principles». Since the whole of the principles forms a holistic, synergic, concurrent and convergent group, on the military actions. Defining all simultaneously the «what to do» in the war or in the armed conflict.
The appearance of the IT treatment of the information supposed a revolution in the capture, production and transmission of the existing or caught information. Whose possibilities and transcendency are still far from know, even in his scope and his limits. The information generated in a battlefield or an operations theatre of is enormous, ephemeral in diverse times, almost immeasurably and fluid. The latter quality is fundamental for the production of the intelligence. That is the information caught by the units and sensors of all kinds and that is digested or prepared by the specific organs (G2, S2 and agencies of intelligence), to create a sufficient, effective, opportune and constant intelligence. That is used by the «advanced users» or commands in the different levels of military action (tactical, operative and strategic).
Since it could not be otherwise, in view of the brief exposed scheme, the IT industry soon found an enormous area of activity and possibilities in the military field. And the high military commands, often in «ad hoc» prepared meetings and coctails, received from the manager directors and chairmen of the branch corporations, animated, brief and exciting presentations of the enormous performances that might give to their units of all the branches, the designed, elaborated and installed softwares and hardwares by these vanguard technical companies. The battlefield or the operations zone (the area, the enemy and I), known, conveyed and controlled in real time by my men!!!
The Support of the military Information Systems.
It is not the case that these new technologies allow to elaborate a complex and integrated weapon system. This already existed before the information age and the electronic existing advances allowed his creation. For example, the AEGIS defense system for ships against aircraft, warships, missiles and submarines was designed, created and installed for the first time in 1973. It is equiped by destroyers and even frigates (in a simpler model) of the USA and his allied nations. And this way they are called the «shields or defenders of the Fleet». In effect, every «naval group» centred and escorting an aircraft carrier and every «naval combined force of strategic projection», rely on several ships provided with the AEGIS system. This consists of a powerful radar of several megawatts of power, capable of catching and continuing up around 200 potential targets, placed at distances of up to 350 km to the installed system.
The caught information goes to a computer center that reports to a decision center. Which arranges the launches of missiles depending on the mission of the group or naval force and the estimated danger generated for him by the target. The system is installed in front of the armoured control center of the ship. That gives the final permission for the launch of the missiles. These are arranged in rows of vertical silos (habitually, are four with 4 missiles each one) placed in the front cover, in the part that was occupying the conventional artillery. The silos are re-fed from the interior of the ship with other missiles after the launches. The missiles are propeled by solid fuel, which allows that they should be smaller than the land launched. And the adjustment of the system is studied for the destruction of the enemy ballistic missiles.
The activities that the military men realize in action in front the enemy are numerous, varied and some of them are complex. And all of them demand a sufficient attention from the controls and men. Let us see some of the most significant. Regarding the movement in the ground: to advance, to stop and to move back; so much running as walking, crawling or incorporated, and doing it by jumps or in zig zag. Regarding placing and valueing the environment, hostile or not: to observe, to detect, to process, to decide, to transmit or not the results and to act. Regarding the form of fight (rejection or attack): to hide, to cover and to be protected, to change position, to define well evasive detected targets, to receive the orders of the immediate chief, to attack them with deliberate, rapid, etc. fire, (if it is a question of an infantry). Regarding the communication with his “group” (team, weapon, squad, section): to receive orders and information, to send information and orders, to spread information. And they carry out all this under the uncertainty, the lack of comfort, the tension, the loneliness, even of his companion or buddy, and the fear … The constant and repeated sometimes audio-visual information, that is communicated by the modern digital systems can relieve this physical and psychic load of the soldiers? So to achieve it, would really be of great help for them.
ARE THEY LOOKING, DECIDING OR FIGHTING?
IS IT USEFUL HERE?
To all that, it could join a flood of information, insignificant in this moment for his mission or his immediate action. This can generate an increase of the needs of the attention capacities of the military men. Through the more important senses, the sight and the ear. And to originate a diversion of his effective available attention (if there is), towards external not fundamental or neutral stimuli of the images and the conversations. The system is going to transmit them a clearer and detailed information of the targets, even defining some more ephemeral or veiled. But it will not give them information about the intentions and the mental conditions of the different located enemies and their group. Though the system is served with probabilities, previous experiences, alogarithms and reliable estimations…
A practical Application.
In the new model of fighting, the attacking force would be kept simultaneously dispersed, communicated and informed in real time and looking for and attacking the enemy. It would be the supposed advantages of the swarm and his concentric and simultaneous assault, which would count now with the knowledge of the ground and the enemy, thanks to the multiple sensors and systems and the real, caught and transmitted information (not intelligence) to the units of the force.
Are similar in capacity all the units of the force? Then we are demanding from them that each one acts as a «polyvalent» fraction of the unit, without specializing them. With what they will probably have some specific, quantitatively insufficient capacities. Are specialized the units of the force?Then they will have to rely on the simultaneous concurrence, in the defense and the attack, of several units.That should complement between all the necessary functions of this tasks «group». And if the enemy electromagnetic countermeasures work against the wireless communications and is established a communications «silence»? And if we now do not have the telephony circular network of the unit and do not possess double couriers for the transmission of “parts and orders” to the chief and from the chief?
And if the enemy deploys in the same way as us? So we would come to a general clash of weak individual forces against enemies weak forces individual. As the great units spread out for his fighting form. Clash that would be solved by multiple partial and isolate combats, using the attrition. They would be like the singular combats of champions and leaders, which happened in other times. And would gain those who were finally keeping a major number of valid units. It would be a clash won by pure material wear of means: men, military means and expensive and sophisticated IT material, almost without transcendent application.