We call a “system” to a harmonic (with correspondence between them) and synergistic (acting together) set of different elements, but related in nature. That produce or generate a complex and essential function of the broader military activity. Its definition aims for systems to globally understand the variables or elements of their nature that intervene in operations. This would allow us to more easily and precisely focus our attention on them, in order to achieve control and direction of the entire complex phenomenon of war.
“Combat capacities” are the set of military means (men, installations, weapons and all supports) that a “closed military system” (in the case of an operation or campaign) or a society or state possess for its defense.
Its more complete expression is found in combined or inter arms groups which, even at the small units level, multiply and adapt the possibilities of military struggle in the interfaces of action with the enemy. Combined arms groups seek to accelerate the pace (tempo) or the speed of the elementary “cycles of action” against him. In fact, the incorporation of infantry heavy weapons as organic support elements in small units, forms, qualitatively, an inter arms system.
Combat capacities are that allow a force to achieve a favorable decision and, therefore, operational efficiency in the determined, sought after and transcendent combats, with the enemy. They also give credibility to group movement capacities in maneuvers through the real threat that they pose for the enemy. Simple movement is an empty decoration or an impotent sigh, if it is not paired with the capacity to damage the enemy and the will to do so.
Combat capacity and the capacity of operational movement form complementary and synergic «opposing but not antagonist couples» within the operational systems. Neither of them transcends without the other. Moreover, one of the two is only frustrated and fails without the other. Both systems procure and invigorate tactical actions and execute and fertilize operational maneuvers.
Trevor N. Dupuy has tried to work out a way of quantifying combat capacities (which will always vary according to different units and weapons and countries). (1) Dupuy’s work quantifies units depending on their type and adds a factor depending on which army, war and campaign are under consideration, to obtain values of relative military power for each case.
These «powers» are a relative quantification (remember that there is a multiplier factor, which introduces the efficiency of army in the face of a concrete enemy in a given situation) of the combat capacities of land armies in different epochs or theatres of operations.
Simpkin proposes a similar, more qualitative formula that factors in the equipment of units (this formula is only suitable for mechanized armies). Being the extremes of the classification, an infantry unit and a tank unit of equal level. (2)
The applications, and possibilities of combat capacities are extensively discusses throughout our works.
(1) Trevor N. Dupuy. The Comprehension of the War. Study and Theory of the Combat. Madrid, 1990. Pages 123 to 172.
(2) Richard Simpkin. Race to the Swift. London, 1994. Pages 79 to 85.
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.
With all the accumulated defeats suffered by the Army of the Russian Federation in its «special military operation» in Ukraine from February 24, 2022 until now, Vladimir Putin does not rest, he is irritated and has no peace.
The latest «ace up his sleeve» is Army General Valery Gerasimov, born in the Russian city of Kazan, 67 years ago and Chief of the General Staff since 2012.
An almost ideal age for the work that is coming up. Defined by organization, structural changes, discipline, sufficient flow of means and a strong hand.
Almost as USSR Marshal Georgi Zhukov had it. When he went to important battle places to preside, on behalf of STAVKA, the General Staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, the main offensives of his Front Groups against the Germans, A Front was the Western equivalent of Army Group, although the Red Armies were smaller in men and means than the Western ones.
When Putin appears with his senior military commanders in the photos, his Defense Minister Shoigu is to his right and Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of all the Armed Forces, is to his left.
As Assistants at his Main Command Post, probably in Crimea, Gerasimov will have the Chief of the Land Forces of the Russian Federation, to which the vast majority of the troops present in that theater of operations belong, and the current deputy chief of his General Staff (his G-1, in our nomenclature).
At first there was talk that the appointment of Gerasimov was a maneuver by the top Russian military commanders. To see how an intellectual general, a modern hybrid warfare theorist, performed in the field. But, it is not true that he has no combat experience. He has enough of her.
Gerasimov already participated in his day in the two «anti-banditry wars» or counterinsurgency (Russian name) in Chechnya. That was fighting hard for his independence from Russia, as the heir of the USSR, the former imperialist oppressor. In the second, in 1999, he was the deputy head of the Russian armed forces in the campaign. He is accused of war crimes against Chechen populations for his direct action.
He also acted, already as Chief of the General Staff of the Russian forces, during Russia’s campaign in direct support for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, since 2015, making frequent trips to the Syrian theater of operations.
Based on his direct experiences and his ability to analyze and synthesize the issues of his profession, Valery Gerasimov developed his Theory of Military Doctrine, currently in force in Russia. It’s his Hybrid War Theory.
Although it is nothing more than a Compilation of diplomatic, heterodox foreign, economic and military action policies and their trends. In short, what Gerasimov advocates is to use against the enemy all the means of a modern State in a great centripetous and synergistic action: diplomats, heterodox exteriors (various support for internal enemy dissidents, including armed forces, boycotts, promotion of popular discontent), economic, military
Thus, Putin decided with his military leadership to replace the «butcher of Syria» Colonel General Surovikin, as military chief of the Ukrainian campaign, appointed just a few months ago. He was the fourth replacement for the Russian campaign manager in Ukraine.
The general of ideas and methods with a strong and intransigent hand and centralized orders, which were given from top to bottom, by a general with more flexible and fresh training and ideas.
Based on his direct experiences and his capacity for analysis and synthesis of the issues of his profession, Valery Gerasimov developed his Theory of Military Doctrine, currently in force in Russia. It’s his Hybrid War Theory.
Although it is nothing more than a Compilation of diplomatic, heterodox foreign issues, economic and military action policies and their trends. In short, what Gerasimov advocates is to use against the enemy all the means of a modern State in a great centripetous and synergistic action: diplomats, heterodox exteriors (various support for internal enemy dissidents, including armed forces, boycotts, promotion of popular discontent), economic, military
Thus, Putin decided with his military leadership to replace the «butcher of Syria» Colonel General Surovikin, as military commander of the Ukrainian campaign, appointed just a few months ago. It was the fourth replacement of the Russian campaign commander in Ukraine.
The general of ideas and methods with a strong and intransigent hand and centralized orders, which were given from top to bottom, by a general with more flexible and fresh training and ideas.
That adapted the stagnant and heavy working of the Russian Army to a war of IV (guerrillas) and V (hybrid) generations.
Fighting against a very well equipped enemy (with better equipment and materials than theirs, for a conventional war, in general), committed and determined in their fight, with highly trained officers and cadres, tremendously motivated.
And, educated, trained and mentalized for a modern war, both of «operational movement and combat» and of «guerrillas and counterguerrillas».
Some Problems for Gerasimov.
Many are the problems accumulated by the Army of the Russian Federation and not all of them are solvable in the short term. Probably because they are already structural.
Continuous, effective and sufficient military logistics.
One of the star, creaking, problems of the Russian military is to establish a modern and effective comprehensive military logistics. Even defining it is quite simple for a professional.
But, in the USSR and now in the Russian Federation, they have not been able to or did not know how to do it well.
In the USSR it was a classic that the potatoes collected in a kolkhoz or sovkhoz rotted in the field. Meanwhile, a few tens of km away, the urban people suffered from hunger or a nearby alcohol manufacturing industry did not receive the potatoes to produce it, from the starch of them.
Probably, the seminal error comes from the Marxist-Leninist economic doctrines, far from reality even in theory. In this case, the economy.
Where logistics is not considered, nor is «added value» attributed to it in the economy. Therefore, in the Budgets and the theoretical Soviet Five-Year Plans it was not taken into account.
The “total value” of a good comes from the “labor of the workers” and, later, of the peasants as well. And, amen.
As all the value of the good is attributed to the producers, the difference between the sale price and the production cost of the workers, the famous surplus value, is accused of being Appropriated (Stealed) by the bloody capitalists.
This is one more theoretical fallacy of communism, with disastrous economic and military consequences for the country.
Although communism has already disappeared from Russia as a theoretical ruling force, many of its styles, ideas and methods, applied for 70 years, have penetrated and endured in the idiosyncrasies of society and its culture.
Another characteristic of the social organization of these frontier semi independent tribes is that they stimulate a relative endogamy. With it they seek to isolate, to protect, to support or to increase their idiosyncrasy, influence and patrimony. But, without been biological harmful its use. As it would be between the members of the same family or small or nearby clan. In effect, the marriages not only suppose and carry individuals exchanges between the families of the married. They also produce exchanges and flows of gifts, visits, relations and power plots. In a few little evolved societies, living in a difficult way and, sometimes surrounded temporarily by hostile, the matrimonial relations produce a «revenue», an increases of social positions, influences and goods, which are very estimated by the families.
highland villages are numerous, small and spread for both sides of
the common border. In them can be camouflaged a small group of
«regulars» Taliban, waiting that the jerky military flood
passes away. Apart, the Taliban enjoy a complicated system of natural
caves, reinforced by communication tunnels,
endowed with extended zones for waiting and the storage of all
classes of goods. This system is used to facilitate the traffic
between both countries, without having to use the frontier passages
or the most habitual and known gorges, as «parts»
of the complete journey. And as temporary refuge, when
the Allies carry out reprisal or rebels searching operations, on
Pashtun zones where they have been more active. Taliban are Pashtuns.
Only are distinguished from the local tribes by their major
religious proselytism and military activity.
Some of the villagers whom the soldiers meet in their patrols and
searches, could be «part-time» Taliban or
sympathizers. Two or three men of a native group that pass along a
rural way, can be a Taliban team moving across.
operational key of the
Taliban resides in their innumerable local chiefs, with
their small guerrillas bands. They are the persons in charge of
intimidating, teaching, scaring, attacking and occupying more or less
temporarily some of the numerous settlements and hamlets. According
to the pressure degree that they should exercise on the villagers in
order that they inform them, hide them and support them. Evidently
its elementary degree of operational
development keeps the movement at the defensive. Without
being able to dispute to any of the present foreign Armies
in these areas, any territory or village. Without being able to
realize other attack actions beyond ambushes, assaults to very small
enemy isolated units, harassment by medium range fire, kidnapping,
short duration isolated incursions and the mined of ways and paths.
Ideologically concentrated in the conversion to their movement, to
their semi nomadic cells, of the most related or nearby Pashtuns.
Though they are willing to die for their ideals, with the promise of stay in one of the Seven Heavens of Islam, in the first of which resides Abraham, visited daily by 50,000 angels, the Taliban do not hesitate to retreat in the face of a decided attack or the determined and tenacious resistance of their military enemy.
Their usual procedure to assault a weak defended or without spirit position is this: at dawn they bombard with the fixed rocket launchers heavy fire, then they approach to use mortars, finally, the assault is realized by several independent squads, that converging advance in a broken line shooting AK and RPD or PK machine gun bursts and their RPG and RL grenade-launchers. Heavy weapons are fired from the sides of the sections and fire is directed from top to bottom or bottom to top or on verify target. To avoid own casualties by friend fire.
struggle for the minds and wills.
Taliban managed to implant their «global radical
theocratic» regime by fighting the regional warlords and
unifying Afghanistan. They established a lax and weak
socio-political structure, but enough, to give
the country some preence. Regionally and locally, they controlled the
tribal organs of power and, at the same time, possessed small
garrisons of irregulars and militia. That were enough to control and
govern that state structure.
from power 20 years ago, their tenuous and sufficient religious
political structure remains and their guerrillas and semi-regular
forces operationally advance and retreat. Adapting
plasticly to the fight against a national
regular army of shoddy. That was supported by air and ground heavy
fire from the forces of the NATO countries deployed in the country.
And with the elite forces of those, for punctual actions of “search
and destruction” of the Islamist guerrillas. Operations
that were generally of mediocre effectiveness, below
what was planned at headquarters.
There are no real academies of officers and non-commissioned officers in Afghanistan. In its Army, it thrives by adapting to the immediate commands. The salaries of the troops are squandered by their superiors. There his short pay and role as a uniformed soldier is a sign of prosperity and social power among his clans.
officers and non-commissioned officers lack a «national
morale» that impels them to full defense of Afghanistan
against the Black Death of the Taliban. There is no
professional honor, a «corps spirit» that galvanizes them
with their fellow unit members in a quest for victory.
short, there is not in the entire administration an exemplary,
honorable and suffered behavior (paradoxically, although the country
is ruled by misery) on the part of the superior chiefs and the civil
authorities. To urge them to fulfil all their professional and social
duties towards their distant compatriots or towards the democratic
Afghanistan. That today it is the shell of an empty,
exhausted and sterile socio-political structure.
The Civil, Ideological and Military Campaign against the Bands.
the enemy is evasive, dispersed, worse armed than military, bad
trained, unruly. But, he is native, is tough and scanty, hides and
disguises easily. He is a born predator, with an atavistic cunning
and usually does not defend his positions. He uses
them to wear down the regular enemy and will
leave them at the
least perceived danger; in the form of flanking movement,
deliberate frontal or on
the rear attacks.
operations of the military great units and units let escape the
guerrilla teams through the infinity tactical «interstices».
It is necessary to operate with nearness at his microtactical
military and social level. To the
diffuse, tenuous, but omnipresent «swarm» of
the Taliban is necessary to interpose a civic military «swarm«.
Formed by voluntary elements, more qualified,
professional and trained than the guerrillas.
is necessary to create small «action
units«, for combined “social
military” actions. That are
capable of reaching the Taliban habitat and to expel them from it,
progressively and firmly. Interposing between them and the tribes,
his real guerrilla habitat.
Units that, in its basic model,
would be formed by a platoon
of light infantry local loyal trained forces, a squad of professional
foreign infantries and a group of civil technical personnel for tribe
promotion and education with suitable material. Its logistics and
support will be based on ground units and helicopter-borne forces,
centrally controlled from 2 or 3 near regional
bases. And complemented by mobile columns in vehicles or of cavalry,
forming a support patrols’ network
in a region.
made firm these small flexible units, can arrive there major forces
and brigades of work and education, to go garrison the zone and
stimulating its social improvement. It is necessary to possess money
to buy the will of collaborators and sympathizers. This can become
facilitating work and social distinction to them. And to realize the
necessary of development plans.
eradicate the opium crops can be an independent strategic goal.
And it is necessary to value very well its opportunity and
possibility for every small zone. It is necessary to offer the
natives an alternative of peace, progress and well-being, within
their beliefs and ways, in order that they expel the Taliban. That
are really for the Pashtuns, war mercenaries and exploiters of
civilians, clans and tribes; foreign to the Popular
Islam professed by the Pashtuns tribes.
Liberal democratic values, which are supposed to sustain the legal government in Kabul, are «republican ideological convictions«. They are not felt, and they are not lived by almost anyone in Afghanistan. They are foreign to the Afghan people, to whom they bring neither prosperity, nor security, nor more desirable identity.
Americans and their local allies have erected and superimposed a «centralized administrative and political edifice» on the identity and social arena of Afghanistan. And that at the first blow of a serious economic or social setback or of the Taliban military battering ram, it will start to throw out of balance, crack and sink in the eyes of everyone.
the last weeks, the Taliban are occupying border posts in
northern Afghanistan and are conducting a partial,
loose encirclement of some of the country’s largest
populations. This allows them to intimidate the Afghan
armed forces and send a message of determination and power
into and out of the country.
In general, international analysts are pessimistic about the ability of the Kabul government and, more importantly, its military to withstand a determined and prepared onslaught, a flood, by the Taliban. To take political and social power in Afghanistan. The discrepancy between these analysts is only when the Taliban will launch that Unstoppable Flood.
After almost 20 years of US military presence in Afghanistan, its last troops will leave Afghanistan in a few days. Their «war and pacification effort» is condensed into about $800 billion spent in Afghanistan and more than 2400 military personnel killed in acts of service throughout this period. Germany and Italy have also recently withdrawn their last deployments in the country.
of the targets of his attack on this Asian country was
the overthrow of the Salafi jihadist regime of
the Afghan Taliban.
radical ideology was studied in some madrasas or Qur’anic
schools in Pakistan. Young Afghan Pashtun
exiles were studying there. Taliban are the students of these
radicalized madrasas. And in Pakistan there are now
similar political social movements, such as the Terikh e
Taliban Pakistan or the Pakistani Taliban Movement.
Who have fraternal relations with the Afghan Taliban.
in turn, would have given shelter to al-Qaeda headquarters,
in the form of a «safe guerrilla base«, with
various locations in Afghanistan. And, with an
extensive last «position of withdrawal«,
located in the bordering mountains, by the so-called
Line of Durand, among both Islamic
countries. Their defense was based not only on the fighting
form at difficult heights, but also on a
capillary network of tunnels. That served as hiding
places for the terrorists and that allowed them a hidden and
protected communication by their area of deployment.
From the times before the Terrorist Network’s Suicide Attack on the New Yorker Twin Towers Complex to the Pentagon, in Washington, on September 11, 2001. And, in particular, Osama ben Laden and Aymar al-Sawahiri, an Egyptian doctor, who acted as an al-Qaeda’s «executive member«.
The capture and neutralization of these two individuals was another of the main objectives of the US invasion of Afghanistan.
And, having destroyed the weak, limited and poor social political structure created by the Afghan Taliban, the Americans had, as a corollary of their military actions, a third target. Distant, but surely more important and transcendent.
seriously and actively
a «modern Muslim society»
transcending the regime of regional and local tribes and clans. And,
refractory to the radical
spells of the modern jihadits.
finally, with a resilient social tissue
that guarantees the rights, duties and freedoms of all
citizens in this «modern Muslim society«.
Capriciously and unfortunately, the failure of this last mentioned objective will squander all the efforts, in species and blood, dedicated earlier. And it’s going to put all of us at the difficult and unwanted starting point of 2001.
of the Pashtuns tribes.
internal relations of the groups, families and local
families groups and clans, are characterized by incorporating into
them certain rites, rules, attitudes and taboos. These gather, value
and quantify their vital needs, their primary emotions and their
beliefs. The Islam is followed in the wide zone we treat. They are
all of the sunni branch, that accepts the Koran and the Prophet
Sunna. The differences reside in the rigor with which they examine
and accept the sources of the Sunna. This assumption forms a part of
the social inculturation, strengthening and cohesion of
societies agree and are ruled by an authority, more or
less respected and obeyed.
more be perfected and advance towards the exterior the society, the
power of this authority will become strong and grow and will spread
in influence areas. The smaller and isolated is the
group, the authority power will be more moderating and integrating,
acting as the first between the «equal ones».
In these last cases, the meeting of the active members
(men, hunters) of the clan in assemblies,
“jurgas” (in its language), etc., has supreme and
sanctioning value of the deviant or solvent conducts for the group.
Evidently, in these local councils, the prestige and the power of
each individual member count, and in them some are «more «equal»
than others. These local chiefs or Maliks are like
favored negotiators with the different governments, who
enjoy a personal more than institutional authority, and whose
agreements can be ignored by the adult males, if are not
confirmed by the assemblies.
Their code of customs and honor is the Pashtunwali. It establishes to the individual certain rights and demands from him certain social duties towards the family, the clan and the tribe. The basic disputes on women, gold or valid money and lands are in the origin of the durable hatreds in these tribes. And that must be kept up to avenging the perceived affront. The own fragility and weakness of these society demands the appearance of the protective values.
These might be the hospitality, the loyalty, the friendship, the scorn of the strange as unknwon, the revenge of affronts and damages, the individual and collective honor. Each of them protects and enlarges in some measure or shade the small human group. As we will see, the relations are interpersonal, in the areas of the family, the clan and the region. They are projected by the opportunity, the nearness, the exchange of goods and the relation. And become strong with the loyalty, the respect of the accepted procedures and the treatment time. And depending on the accumulation of these elementary successive acts. A stranger can aspire this way to his integration, in a personal manner. And not for the quality or importance of his category or institutional position.
hospitality takes implicit the reciprocity, when one travels, is
alone and is not aggressive. This sometimes is perfected by the
endowment of an escort to the traveler through insecure zones. The
violation of this «escort» by an assault supposes a serious
affront for the clan that provided it. The loyalty between the
members of the group, sometimes very unstable, cohesion
it. The honor inflates the self esteem and appearance before
everybody. The revenge, in absence of a real justice,
search to punish and then to repair the damages and affronts real or
perceived. The scorn of strange, not adorned with good qualities or
menacing the group, seeks to prevent a priori their
integration in it, as a passive defense form. The friendship embraces
the ties with the equals and within the group. If someone joins these
elementary groups, he is object of loyalty and friendship in a
personal way. These values would increase by his performance, ways
and personal behavior. It would be the case of a native forces chief,
accepted by them for the pays, the honor and the status that they
offer and project on the regional clans. The acceptance is not with
the position, but with the person.
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.
Military surprise is more a part of the art of war and its creation, than of military science, the doctrine, its regulations and the principles or «good-doing» rules of war. Of course, its scope and instruments are taken from military science. Military science has its logic and practice oriented towards applied theory.
Military doctrine forms the framework, the structure, the heart of all development and the wisdom that military science has been developing so far. The military doctrine of each state incorporates the idiosyncracy, history and civilization of the corresponding nation. The permanent virtues and the more temporary values of the former are also reflected in its military doctrine. All this channels it in one direction and one sense.
War art has in its conception and execution the characteristics of: variability; the unusual and singular conception; the different, unexpected and novel application and the relative ingenuity (naturalness and freshness) and freedom in its facts.
General Hermann Balck, one of the finest German armored tactical Command.
If we are guided mainly by military science, which the enemy also knows, the results of the war dialectic will be obtained by maintaining a superiority in men and means, marches and maneuvers. And the cost will be the attrition of means and human wear in a greater proportion, and always undue, than with the use of surprise.
Thus, a defence deployed in depth and with sufficient reserves, probably deprives us of many opportunities for effective surprise. But, almost always, acting in the microfield, as using a tactical zoom, we can apply the tactical or operational surprise, unusual and unexpected.
The surprise becomes specify and materializes in an unexpected action on the enemy by fire and/or shock. That, taking advantage of the enemy’s habitual lack of combat availability, makes him the victim of an attack that he is not in a position to successfully reject.
Obviously, the units in charge of surprise must avoid enemy’s reconnaissance, advanced combat units and security. In charge of giving the units that detached them, enough time to get the combative disposition that allows the rejection of their attacker.
But, the mental surprise must not only be unexpected for the enemy. But, in order to be able to take full advantage of its potential and effects, it must also be unusual, special, infrequent. With an unquestionable tendency to be «unusual», as never seen. This unusual character, never occurred, extraordinarily reinforces the quality of unexpected and sudden use of surprise.
Soviet T-34 /76 tank.
We don’t always have the unusual at hand. And surprise often favors, by employing the law of action, the most mobile and even only active rival.
Then, the use and manipulation of the “appearances”, the appreciated characteristics of the events and their circumstance, will allow us to establish and develop a new tactical or operational situation. Which will be surprising and unusual for the enemy. And it will give us an unexpected victory, at the beginning of the faced dialectic situation.
A Tactical example with Operational Trascendence.
Here is an example of an extraordinary force acting as a normal force and, in so doing, completely deceiving the enemy by manipulating appearances of the events.
In January 1943, with the Soviet advance threatening Rostov, the 4th Panzer Army of colonel general Hoth moved back from its positions on the banks of the Sal and established a defensive line south of the river Manich. Passing through that area were the supply and retreat routes of the 1st Panzer Army. Routes that had been kept open, if a disaster like that of Stalingrad was to be avoid. In Stalingrad, the Sixth German Army, the Army unit more powerful of the Wehrmatch, was caught. The 4th Panzer Army was assigned to protect this bottle neck in the communications of the Armies Groups Don.
Soon the Soviets reached the confluence of the Manich and Don rivers, took control of the small city of Manutchskaya that was only 30 kilometers from the mouth of the Don on the south bank, and sent advanced detachments in this direction. On January 23, the 11th panzer division and 16th infantry division counterattacked the Soviet advance spears and pushed them back to Manutchskaya.
Then, it was vital to restore the south front of the Don and Manich and to expel the Soviets from the city. Which was one of their bridgeheads (which, with much skill, could be rapidly reinforces once constituted).
The Germans made a direct assault from the southwest on the 24th, seeking to surprise the Soviets with the operation continuity. Instead, they found that the Soviets had created an antitank front in this entry to the city. Using tanks with their hulls partly buried and distributed between the buildings, along the streets, and in other difficult to see locations.
The 11th panzer division, a crack division with a magnificent tactician as chief, quickly stopped the assault when it detected the importance of defenses.
A Panther from the 11th panzer division circa summer 1943
On the 25th, the general Hermann Balck initiated an assault on the northeast sector of the city, which the Soviets identified as a main assault, similar to the previous one and following the orthodox criterion of «not insist on unsuccessful or frontal assaults» (not profitable). For it, they moved rapidly theirs antitank means (tanks are the most mobile) to the new threatened sector.
To make credible this assault (manipulation of the appearances), at the beginning the whole divisional artillery was used in its support. It was also the more dangerous direction of assault for the Soviets. Since that part of the city was nearest to the principal bridge over the Manich and its occupation would isolate the Soviet bridgehead on the south bank. These factors constituted the «primary evidences«.
The assault on the north-east sector was probably already considered by the Soviet defense as a German probably alternative assault and, because of this, they reacted rapidly to what happened.
Infantry half-track vehicles and reconnaissance light tanks executed the principal «virtual» assault, simulating the march of mechanized vehicles, concealed by smoke curtains. And seeking more to hide them from the enemy than to protect their advance. This gave a «secondary evidence» to the credibility of the «appearances«.
When the Soviet’s determination in the new defense was estimated, which confirmed the alteration of its original deployment and the attractionmade by the normal «apparent» attack. The bulk of the divisional artillery threw a powerful fire blow on a sector of the southwest zone of the town. A single battery continued to support the ongoing false principal assault.
Most of the tanks of 15th panzer regiment immediately attacked the forward limit of the defense, entering the town and advancing on its interior. To attack from the rear the new defensive Soviet deployment, especially its tanks. The mechanized German infantry then closed in behind them.
The Soviet resistance crumbled. Its infantry ran to the bridge over the Manich river. But was chased by the 61th motorists battalion.
German casualties in liquidating Manutchskaya’s stronghold were, according to its own sources, one man dead and fourteen injured men. The Soviets had between 500 and 600 casualties and 20 destroyed tanks.
I believe, it is all clear and simple. Which are the characteristics of the practical and real ways to do.
The 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.
Major tactical reconnaissance weapons, tanks and low level flying aircraft tend to be vulnerable to modern infantry antiaircraft and antitank missiles. They appeared on the battlefield in the 1970s and have become more effective since then. Since the mid 1990s, these rockets have been incorporating various technologies such as double active heads, multiple search engines, which allow them to discriminate against enemy decoys and secure the target, and those that allow them to use variable flying heights. For example, upcoming infantry tank rockets will be able to locate, define and confirm their target by magnetic distortions of the environment (generated by the relatively large metal mass of the tank), acoustic signals, heat emissions (human and motor and weapons) and short wave emissions. Their way to the target will oscillate to circumvent possible weapons deployed against them.
NEW ZEALAND’S LONG RANGE RECON PATROL.
All this will tend to give greater importance in the reconnaissance of to the deep range combat and/or reconnaissance patrols. They are inserted by air or river means, as close as possible to its operations area and designed to stay longer in it.
Combat reconnaissance: The immediate and continuous contact with the enemy and determination of the capabilities of the fighting ground.
Combat reconnaissance conducts ground reconnaissance, the relation of his own army’s adjacent units in established contact points and the location of the enemy to help determine the enemy’s intentions and characteristics. This latter mission is subordinate to the goal of obtaining intelligence. Every unit must establish it always, without need for specific orders. It is important to advance the subunits as rapidly as possible; if only is conducted by infantry, it may be necessary use vehicles to transport troops, who can then continue on foot.
In open flanks and exposed wings, its range must be adequately extensive. By means of anticipated patrols, combat reconnaissance constitutes in its actuation a real security for units in the front.
Its organs are armored reconnaissance companies and platoons, reconnaissance patrols of units in the different sectors, observatories and forward platoons of artillery, etc. The platoon at disposal of the H. Q. and services company can be useful in the battalion area for rapid action.
Combat reconnaissance has a basic function to detect resistances and weaknesses in the enemy deployment and weapons, and in the “interfaces of action” created on him. It needs to use tested skill, sufficiently intense and never superficial, that is knowledge about the weaknesses of tactical units and the fortresses of opposing deployments, as well as its efforts to present the illusion of such deployments. It is important to act according to the mission and the gravity center of the effort ordered by the high command. Colonel Tor made this point in his book “Infantry” (page 31 Madrid, 1943), “…advance through the enemy weak points and fight from one’s own strong points».
Information collected from various sources, becomes available intelligence and is transmitted to those interested.
The reconnaissance generates information on the different action levels and the ground, which it also recognizes. That must be converted into intelligence. This is the reasonably reliable and sufficient knowledge (never excessive or intoxicating) of the enemy, of his intentions and possibilities and of the terrain, in its possibilities of struggle, transitability (more than ground ongoing), etc. Received updated and without continuity solution.
The elaborating organs of intelligence are different for operational and combat reconnaissances, since also they both generate different types of information. The principal difference are their qualitatively different levels of actuation, in which they must give the set vision: enemy, area and possibilities. And that the need for combat intelligence is urgent and more continuous, and its transcendence, very fleeting, so it is much less elaborate and more direct to fighting units, from its reconnaissance.
Once intelligence is created, it is integrated by the superior command, G-2. It will then be transmitted to units and interested commanders. Transmission must be protected by all existing means, guaranteeing secrecy and its arrival to the addresses by means of double couriers, coding, etc.
Transmitted intelligence must assemble the suitable characteristics of the moment and ensure reliability, continuity, transmission security, and the wealth of content and its sufficiency. It must also be opportune and continuous. The security of transmission of intelligence affects plans and decisions that based on it. It must be sufficient, rich and trustworthy enough to give command, within a reasonable amount of time, as complete idea as possible of a situation and to plan for its possible evolution and factors that will affect that evolution. Sufficiency drastically limits the excesses of unnecessary information which disorients and tires those in command that try to use them.
G-2 is converted this way into the penetrating and lucid eyes of the operative command.
The security as “opposed complementary” of the reconnaissance.
The reverse of the own reconnaissance is the fight against the enemy reconnaissance and the intelligence. She has as purpose to blind the enemy aboutour intentions and deployments, depriving him of operational information on us or misleading them. Security is the “opposite” (complementary, not antagonistic) of our reconnaissance.
COVERING A SECTOR…
One of the active ways of fighting enemy reconnaissance is employing ouroperations security. Other is to employ advanced detachments, type reinforced platoons, to push back the enemy’s reconnaissance by means of mobile fighting with its “center of gravity” focused on where his reconnaissance have to operate. A pushed back reconnaissance can give erroneous information to its intelligence on the actual possibilities of possible axes of advance towards us, our real capacities or our defensive intentions.
One purpose of security is the immediate protection of units against surprises and the unforeseen, by keeping a sufficient “combat readiness” for such situations. Units must also keep necessary forces alert as part of maintaining a practical reaction time. The tasks of security are to protect units from direct fire of infantry heavy weapons, to detect and avoid surprises, ambushes and enemy incursions and to detect and reject enemy reconnaissance. Every unit establishes at all times the security sector, zone (brigade or regiment) and area (division), according to its size. Between 1/3 and 1/6 of the unit, according to the situation, carry out security functions; the organs of which are the different sub units of the branches employed.
For camping units or in assembly areas of different classes, a safety line is established to delimit the protected units and at suitable points (accesses, etc.) double sentries are placed. At difficult to secure places (gorges, etc.) rapid mine barriers are placed. From this line, security units advance fixed and mobile patrols. Fixed patrols monitor critical security points (dominating points, enemy possible observatories, inevitable passing points, etc), relying on the mobile units to achieve always an active security.
And, thisso useful and simple, is always done? No, sir, notalways.
«On June 10, 1944, soon after the midnight, the second battalion of the 29th division of infantry of U.S.A. was prepared to pass the night. The men had traveled approximately 25 kilometers over the last 20 hours. The official in charge of the battalion, Commander Maurice Clift, chose a zone of two meadows so that the troops were to spend the night in the open. The men entered the zone and set themselves up for sleep along terraced hedges. They were so tired that no one bothered to untie their rucksacks and personal equipment. The majority fell asleep at once. Some heard the noise of approaching engines but thought they were American vehicles.
However, the vehicles were actually German tanks and trucks belonging to the 352nd infantry division. Unknown to each side, the Germans had been withdrawing along the same route that the American battalion followed in its advance. When they stopped, the German explorers detected the North American movements encamped in the meadows. They quietly advanced and surrounded the meadows.
Suddenly, the Germans threw flares. Under the sinister light, almost as brilliant as the midday light, its assault cannons opened fire on the hedges against the Americans. Along one of the hedges a platoon got up and was cut down by the German machine guns. Many Americans, scared and disoriented, were running in search of a way out of the meadow while the German infantries continued knocking them down them with repetitive fire. The shells of the German mortars were falling all over the meadows. The Americans responded with weak rifle fire, directed at the opposite hedges, which ran the risk of hitting either the Germans or their own men.
«It was terrible”, a survivor told General Cota. «We crawled more than 90 meters out of the field when we heard from behind the shouts of our men. I thought that the Germans were launching a bayonet charge against them».
The commander of second battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Warfield had his command post in a farm close to the highway. Warfield tried in vain to establish a defense. Those officials who ran from the house towards the field were brought down rapidly. A German shouted in English to the command group: «Give up, give up!». «We will certainly not give up!”, roared Warfield. He tried to lead a small group towards meadow where the rest of his men were, but was killed instantly.
The battle lasted around 20 minutes. The battalion had 150 casualties with some 50 dead, slightly more than one third of its effective force. Just before dawn a gravely injured young lieutenant who was reporting to his division commander, General Charles Gerhardt, fell down suddenly on his knees and struck the soil with his fists, sobbing that he was sorry that all his men were dead and that he had left them where they had fallen.
General Gerhardt was angry. “Without regard for safety, he shouted, The battalion simply came to the field to fall asleep».
The reconnaissance generates information of the different operational levels of military action. This must be turned into intelligence. That is the reasonably trustworthy and sufficient knowledge of the enemy, his intentions and capacities and the fighting possibilities and transitability of fields, etc. To enable us to take a “founded resolution”, based on the use of our means and fighting forms, in accordance with our objectives.
Concepts y Principles of the Reconnaissance.
Reconnaissance is one of the most important functions to be fulfilled by units during operations. The information it provides, how it is elaborated and transmitted and to whom is a fundamental part of intelligence. This, finally, is one of the key factors of decisive command.
Reconnaissance can be divided into strategic, operationalor tactical and combat, according to its mission and the area it encompasses. The strategic one seeks to uncover key information about the enemy in the operations deep theater: his concentrations of forces, his great movements, his important defensive lines and possible surface targets, etc. A surface target becomes a “destruction zone” by the effective action of heavy weapons of destruction, for example, reactive artillery or tactical nuclear devices.
The operational or tactical reconnaissance tries to define the situation and the intentions of the enemy in the operations area of the great units, type division, corps or army. It determines the movements of the enemy in the border zone between forces, his formations and deployments, his defense lines and possible surface targets. This reconnaissance is carried out by aviation, drones, specific reconnaissance units and the reinforced reconnaissance armored battalion of the corps. In this respect, a total connection and complement must exist in the missions of aviation and ground reconnaissance and keeping in mind that its task is never of fighting.
The reinforced reconnaissance battalion operates in a sector of up to 60 kilometers wide and 100 kilometers deep. Its advance over the parent unit must be at least 6 hours in order to utilize gathered information. On the basis of its reconnaissance order, battalion commander, keeping his companies always under control, can send up to 16 patrols of 3 vehicles to covering his sector, looking always for a gravitational center of the deployment. Having done this, he can send on the concentric center of the effort up to 2 patrols’ echelons, being relieved or being inserted, according to the used method. Finally, if the area to reconnoiter is occupied by the enemy, he can advance his companies as attack spears, under the screen of advance patrols. The battalion must not infiltrate very deeply inside the enemy deployment, if there exists a serious risk of being isolated.
PANHARD AML 245.
Not all Armies have given or given sufficient value to this last reconnaissance type, which depends on their military doctrine.
All the operational principles of reconnaissance could be summarized as follows: Always focus on the objective received from the command (its mission is to generate information, the combat will be done by others), seeking the maximum use of time and its means, getting and maintaining contact with the enemy and never losing the freedom of action. It will allow him to perform and to escape, without being caught by ever higher forces.
The tactical reconnaissance is also needed in the urban combats. Not always the tactical reconnaissance penetrates too much in the disputed or enemy area. The industrial or populated zones, full of «concealing relative heights» and staggered in depth, which offer protection from the enemy sights, even nearby, and covers against the light and heavy fire, «thicken» considerably the tactical maneuver of the contenders. Reducing this way, the depth of the fighting zone of the infantry. So, masses of the artillery, as batteries and medium groups of it, are deployed at very short distance to his enemy. In a artillery fighting zone then very next to the forward limit of the own defense position.
“On October 9, 1942 a patrol of Soviet reconnaissance entered behind the German lines in Stalingrad, seeking to detect the enemy movements in his rear. The 4 men sheltered in an auxiliary railroad coach, torn and left, placed in a railroad between the workshops of the Red October factory (where before were made metallic pieces and small weapon), at North-East of the city. And the disputed Mamaiev hill, towards the geographical center of Stalingrad, which was offering grand sights on most of the city.
ENGESA EE-9 CASCAVEL.
During almost the whole day they remained in that hiding place, communicating by radio to his lines the German activity. They had located several dozens of German mortars and howitzers, accompanied by the trucks which were moving his ammunition, by the rear roads to some emplacements placed in the suburbs of Stalingrad’s west. Also they located numerous mortars and pieces placed in a glen at the north of the Mamaiev hill, doing fire against the Soviet positions in the city.
On having got dark, the explorers broke a telephonic cable of the fixed enemy network of communications and hoped that the Germans were coming to repair it. Very soon they observed the light of a lantern and when the soldier came closer, killed him to shots. One of the Soviets disguised himself with his uniform and placed close to the route of the railroad, hoping that another German came closer the cut cable. Soon another lantern started approaching by the way. The soldier fell in the ambush and the explorers made it unconscious. On having recovered, he met 4 Soviets of foot together near him. Pulled down the soldier Willy Brandt gave his name, range and unit of belonging. Psychologically they had already gained the hand on him.
DRONE AQM-34 Ryan Firebee, IN VIETNAM.
Immediately afterwards, the German told to the explorers that 94th German infantry division had come to the factories zone from the south of the city, that 24th panzer division was going towards there and that the Fuehrer had ordered that Stalingrad should be totally takenby October, 15. This confirmed to them the reason of the extensive movements estimated by them in the German operational zone.
For the small reconnaissance patrol, to take with it after his lines, a prisoner already interrogated, was more a nuisance and a danger that a minimal success. And, in spite of the hardness, even the brutality, of the combats in the city, they neither killed, nor mutilated him. The Soviets reported to Brandt that had revealed military secrets, took him to the railroad line and indicated the direction that he had to continue to reach his comrades and left him free”.
But, what is this of speaking about operational reconnaissance in the age of the electronics, the robotics and the computer science?
Almost 50 years ago, the North Americans had developed an arsenal of electronic devices, directed to the vigilance (surveillance) of his enemies in Vietnam. Already they had reconnaissance drones to monitor «from above» their guerrilla slippery enemy. That transmitted his images by television to the planes of detection and transmission, placed at dozens of km from the observed zone.
ADSID SENSORS .
The principal sensor used in the remote vigilance was the ADSID (Air Delivered Seismic Intruder Device). It was thrown principally from the F-4 Phantom, following guidelines of navigation by radar, in order to cover adequately the observing zone, as a traffic route of men and vehicles, a parking or store. The device measured 91 cm. of length and 15 cm. of diameter. And on having fallen down was remaining almost buried, opening then a transmitting aerial of 120 cm. height, camouflaged as if it was a defoliated bush. His battery allowed it to issue during a month and half.
With these sophisticated artifices they were trying to observe the traffic of goods and men by the Ho Chi Minh Route, the route of supplies of the Popular Army of North Vietnam and the Vietcong in South Vietnam. It was a highly branched out and protected route that, departing from North Vietnam penetrated in Laos and crossed it. And then, detached diverse routes towards the different communist operations zones in South Vietnam.
The program «White Igloo» destined 1,7 thousands of million dollars between 1966 and 1971, for these tasks of compilation of information with the ADSID. With the information gathered from the traffic in the routes, the Americans were deciding the interdiction bombardment actions, using his different air devices, including the invisible and inaudible (with his cruise height) B-52 strategic bombardiers. At the beginning of 1971, the information of the aerial photos after the bombardments, taken by planes that were flying after the assault formations, allowed the analysts to suppose that the «war of trucks» was causing a very severe effort to the industrial capacity of the suppliers of North Vietnam (the USSR and China).
A BOEING OF THE JSTARS SYSTEM.
But, if it was true that were destroying so many trucks and equipment, how was possible that the communists were keeping the tactical initiative in South Vietnam? On the other hand, where were the tens of thousands of remains of trucks that literally had to cover many of the ways and parks of the Route? Who were bothering to remove them? The response was given soon by the American junior officers: they were ate by a monster called the «Great Laotian Truck Eater»; a horrible rotten that was getting up towards the dawn and was devouring the vehicles destroyed by the aviation during the night, after the photography for «wreck count». Because the Americans are very scrupulous with the statistics and consider the lie an almost inexcusable social sin for his civil servants.
Up to today, almost 50 years later, the electronics, the robotics and the computer science have continued improving. But it does not seem that they are useful in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, to detect a “donkey bomb”; to avoid that group of cruel fanatics without God («as Allah does the Good, make you also the Good and do not promote the corruption (the “evil», the Noble Koran orders them), destroys great part of one of the principal mosques sanctuaries of the chiism in Samarra; to know if in an Iraqi or Syrian house are terrorists or only a terrified Arabic family, before demolishing her with heavy fire from a distance and extremely, according to his military operational doctrine.
In addition, during enough time still the air and spatial American means, as spy satellites, drones or not crewed planes and planes of the system Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), will have serious limitations for the detection and check of small ground, even regular, forces. In the areas of difficult transitability and with possibilities of concealment, as mountains, jungles and forests, marshes and urbanized zones (industrial, of logistics, and of housings). Those not only offer concealment, but also coverings from the fire up to the near combat distances.
The Americans do not use the tactical reconnaissance, which demands some tactical characteristics of semi independent elite forces and a specific moral courage. And that is one of the most difficult tasks of the infantry. They use the combat reconnaissance and call her, expressively, reconnaissance.
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 last tens of meters up to reaching a determined enemy or gullible in his positions, form the fighting zone of the infantry. And she has yet major validity and importance in the actual wars. With the approximation to the combat from the brigade, the last global direct human possible vision of the units and resources, and the division, the western doctrines tend to be fixed in the dominant characteristics of the area and of his transitability or ground ongoing throughout the day and of the years seasons and according to the climate, to realize his plans.
But they neglect the use of the microarea at the levels of squads, teams, companions pairs and weapon servants. In the microarea, by means of the cover, the patience, the secrecy and the concealment, those «combats groups» might use against the enemy, his capacities of resistance (to the surprise), of mobility or concealed tactical «activity» (in the defense), of initiative and of freedom of action. Operating over him in minuscule «action interphases» (or microsectors). This is specially actual and necessary in the fight against regular and irregular «nobody» enemy, which lack the modern military technological advances and the economic resources to provide them. And that search for need and/or idiosyncrasy, to compensate his asymmetries with the domain of this infantry fight, seeking to see this way the white of the eyes of the enemy.
The military American Doctrine for the modern Wars.
The news that are received since years from the war operations zones in the countries in conflict, proceeding from the journalists inserted in the fighting forces, of the correspondents detached in the different populations of those (Kabul, Baghdad, Saigon, Hue) and those that the armies in presence issue, are revealing a series of characteristics that are common to the forces of the different western modern armies. They all are following the trend initiated by the Americans of having the enemy less nearby, more seen and observed and more beaten by the heavy air and artillery fire. It is not looked with this, in increasing effects order, to blind it, to disturb it, or to neutralize it, but to destroy it. That is the costliest and improbabliest of his effects and that demands an increased and deficient expense of the resources. And the worse thing is that does not always exist his direct connection with the offensive maneuvers of the ground forces. That often do not come to beating the broken enemy after the fires blows. The ground deployments are «secondary» and, therefore, also are his movements, dispersions and concentrations. The heavy fire has turned into a «economic and industrial» substitute (it changes military effort into dollars) of the maneuvers and the assaults of the ground forces. And the reason of all that is known by the poor and asymmetric enemies of West: the horror to the risk in combat and to assuming falls.
MONGOLS SOUGHT FOR THE ENEMY DISRUPTION, ATTACKING ITS VULNERABILITIES, PENETRATING ITS EMPTY REARWARDS, MOVING FASTER AND CREATING APPEARANCES FOR THE ENEMY.
The massive employment of the heavy fire is the principal «argument» of the Pentagon. His doctrine (Field Manual of the US Army 100-5, Operations) does not emphasize the initiative and rests in enemy reacts to the «real or potential action» from protected positions in the whole operations zone. The USA has created a ground forces with few capacity and skill in his small units for the combat in the infantry fighting zone, where more risk take the men. The trend of the doctrine looks for a formation (knowledge, education and command) and an intelligence (as elaborated, sufficient and constant information) excellent and abundant for the chiefs and officials. They are the managers of conceptualize the combat and the persons in charge of the fulfillment of the mission of his units and small units. It is supposed that the soldiers will do well and will work well, being able to use his sophisticated equipments and those of his companions of unit and fulfilling the orders of his subofficials and officials. These are supposed elaborated at the sufficient level, to give them perspective and cohesion with the intention of the high controls.
GOOD AGAINST A II GENERATION ARMY AND MORE CENTRALIZED THAT OURS: THAT OF SADAM HUSSEIN.
One of the operation principles that gathers strength in this renewed doctrine is that of the simultaneity. This establishes to beat at the same time, with heavy fire of artillery and aviation, the first and second enemy attack echelons and even his reserve, using against her the aviation and the tactical rocketry. The infantry and tanks forces are designed to attack or to counter-attack this now beaten enemy in all his depth and to assure the battle decision. Here does not exist the detection and the assault to the enemy weak points. Nor the «general saving» (an essential, universal and original principle of the war, according to Fuller) of means and of human lives. Nor the skilful, risky and fruitful maneuvers of functional and/or positional dislocation of the enemy. In opened area, the infantry cannot attack without indirect and/or direct heavy fire support and without concealment (night, fogs, smokes, draggings). But this complementary support has been hypertrophying, up to turning into a «weapon» for itself (as decades ago it was tried to do with the tanks) in the mix of the military resources and in one supposedly «maneuvers warfare». About which speak, but not well applied, the updates of the FM 100-5 from 1985. The such promising, already omnipresent and wished “not driven planes” of exploration and/or bombardment or «drones» are not more than the global projection in scope, safety of employment for the user and game of possibilities of the heavy fire, about which we speak. The marshall von Hindenburg designed the adage: «A battle without Schwerpunkt (the place where or the unit that applies our “principal effort”) is like a man without character». The North American army acts generally evoking a heavy, forceful mace, hammering and excessive. The Afrika Korps, by the contrary, reminded us an elegant, agile, unforseeable, (almost) sufficient and effective foil.
The Employment of a IIIrd Generation Army in the “military asymmetric” Enviroment.
The wars of fourth generation are the counterinsurgency wars or guerrilla wars or irregular wars or armed revolts or national liberation wars or organized banditry, which always have existed, coexisting with the conventional variants where only regular forces combat. They are those that the USA has lost or not won lately: Vietnam, The Lebanon (Marines’ peace disembarkation, then demolished in his barrack), Somalia (the uncontrollable and unforseeable wasp’s nest of «all against all» of the tribal masters of the war and the militias of the Islamic Courts, now of al-Shabab), Iraq and Afghanistan. They are very unequal wars against an enemy of lower technological military level man relative to the own regular forces, taken root almost always in the own or occupied civil population, militarily low intense and extensive or long in the space and the time. With awkward frequency, when the human (own or local agents) or technological Americans «sensors» detect some probable rebel activity of the yellow ones, muhaydins or hostile foreigners, they first devastate the building, the «block», the zone. What for them is really a surface target. And then they are going to wipe off and to do the corpses inventory, the «body count». Sometimes between the rubbles they can meet the corpses of a yellow, blackish or innocent and numerous Muslim family. It abuses of the attrition, when the enemy fuses with the civilians. It is careless the active, unexpected patrolling work, who needs proportionally less material and human means. But that bases In the military trade, the physical and moral courage, the freedom of action and the creativity in the low and intermediate commands and in the men.
OBAMA FIRED CENTCOM GENERAL MATTIS WITHOUT A PHONE CALL.
The western soldiers have exchanged or forgotten the «principles» or rules of the good to do in the war, for the simultaneity and the depth of the distant fire, covering the whole enemy highly probable zone. With it there is neither means economy, nor principal effort, nor the necessary discrimination between soldiers and the potentially enemy civilians. The armies look eagerly for the safety and the confidence in his decisions and missions. Precisely when the environment in which they are and act in the last 5-years periods, the guerrilla or asymmetric wars, is variable, fleeting, without definite limits, confused and hard to grasp. The uncertainty, the chaos, the mistakes, the friction and the failures, the scanty means and the partially fulfilled plans, the weariness and the fear are the «omnipresent demons», that characterize and concern this neutral «magma» of the war. And it is neutral because it leaves being drive and guide largely by the human superior «plans and actions». That are stimulated by the «correct sense» of the commands, the determination, the will, the physical and moral courage, the motivations (ideological, religious, ethnic, social…), the suitable training, the sufficient equipment, the commitment with the tasks and missions and the respectable and respected commands.
SOME DEADLY RECORDS.
George Bush’s strategic national doctrine established, but without being due explained, not tacitly accepted by both American parties, that the «asymmetrical wars» (irregular and with low level of military equipment) were supported and necessary, to remove of the American territories and those of his allies, the threats of the fundamentalist foreign terrorism of any origin, religion or ideology. It justified the ill-fated post war bad oriented occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. But, with a fiscal and exterior deficits ran away and with a Democrat Administration, it is necessary for the USA to save in military resources. To dedicate them «to construct a nation here, at home», as defined Obama. This way, the USA lowered qualitatively the bar of the exterior terror, putting al-Qaeda as almost the only one violent not national enemy. This internationalist salafist terrorist «network», with delirious and impossible ideas, without own territory, with his operational chiefs known, fled and not wished as guests in a normal country, is a more attainable, adaptable and manageable aim for his forces and means of «rapid punctual incursions». This justifies the increase of the use of the drones, spy satellites, own or local agents in the hostile areas, operations of assaults by elite units and small expeditionary forces and of Marines amphibious assault. These transported by «ships of control and transport» of strategic projection with his naval escort. The deployments of tens of thousands of military men and his luggage and specific equipment for several years in an operations theatre, they are indefinitely rejected by the new «doctrine» of the «diminishing defense».
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.