THE ART OF WAR OF GENGHIS KHAN

Introduction.

The conquest by the Mongols between 1219 and 1220 of the Islamic Empire of Kharizm (or Khuarezm), in Turkestan, will serve as a model to present its operational and tactical characteristics. The rapid defeat of the Muslims at the hands of Genghis Khan and his men is an example of the synergistic use of the operational movement capability and combat capability of a highly efficient military system.

Frictions between neighbors.

The Kharizm empire was very recent. While Genghis Khan conquered Central Asia, up to his borders, Shah Mohamed II extended his domain to the south and east. He had inherited the territory of modern Iran (Persia), but had also added Afghanistan, almost to the Indus River, and had reached the Sir Darya, occupying all of Transoxiana.

Large Equestrian Statue of Genghis Khan near Dadal, his birthplace, Mongolia

The entire confrontation between the two empires began when Inalchik, the governor of the city of Otrar, on the Sir Daria river, about 200 km from the Aral Sea, stopped a caravan of merchants sponsored by the Great Khan and executed their chiefs, accusing them of spies. And possibly he was right, but that was very undiplomatic and damaged a very sensitive issue in the usual customs between states and hierarchs. Genghis Khan sent an embassy to the Shah, made up of a Kharizmi and 2 Mongols, requesting a punishment for Inalchik. Muhammad executed the Kharizmi and returned the 2 Mongols to Genghis, their heads completely shaved, a serious personal insult to those warriors. War was already inevitable.

Force preparations.

Genghis Khan prepared his army for a march of more than 1,500 km, from his Tien San mountains to the borders of Transoxiana.

The Mongolian army at the time numbered just over 100,000 men. His basic tactical-operational unit was the tuman or division, with about 10,000 men, divided into 10 mingans or regiments. The great army was divided into three parts: the army on the left or the east, the one on the right or the west, and the one in the center. The first two had a highly variable number of men, depending on operational and tactical needs; for example, one could have double the number of men than another. The army in the center was much smaller, made up of elite units and the guards of the Khan and the various Mongol princes; in them their basic unit was the mingan. A Mongol army corps consisted of one or two tumans.

Dead of Mohamed II of Kharizm

Mohamed II assembled a large, well-armed and equipped army, totaling between 200 and 300,000 men (some authors speak of up to 400,000 men, clearly exaggerating), to defend his empire from the expected Mongol invasion from the east. Many of his men were also horsemen from the Turkestan steppes, who were equipped and fought in a similar way to the Mongols. The Shah was sure that his soldiers could stop and repel the invader.

To this end he deployed most of the troops along the Sir Darya, his great natural barrier to the east, and established a fortified line of communications from his army’s deployment to his capital at Samarkand. Lastly, to the north of the empire and protecting it, between the Aral Sea and the Sir Darya stretched the formidable natural obstacle of the Kizil Kum desert, in the Turanian depression, hard and dry where they exist.

Thus, reassured with a good plan, he defensively hoped that he could defeat the Mongols in a major battle, by sheer numerical strength of his army. But, it was von Moltke, the old man, head of the German HHQQ. in the late 19th century, who said that «plans used to last until first contact with the enemy.»

Development of operations.

During the spring and summer of 1219 a Mongol army corps under Jochi, the eldest of Genghis’s sons, ravaged the land west of the great Lake Balkhash, near Otrar, leaving a landscape so devastated that it it was incapable of supporting an army without its own supplies.

Jebe Noyan.

According to the campaign plan drawn up by the orlok or lieutenant of the Khan, Subidai Bahadur, a Mongol army corps headed in the early 1220s towards the valley of the Fergana River, south of the Sir Darya, on the exposed flank of the Turkmen deployment, to carry out a force reconnaissance. It was commanded by Jebe Noyan, one of the Khan’s best orloks.

Part of the Turkish forces, under the command of Mohamed and Prince Jalal-ad-Din, advanced slowly to the east, over the valley. When the vanguards met, Mohamed vastly outnumbered the Mongols and ordered to form up for combat. Caught in narrow terrain, which did not favor his cavalry force, Jebe decided to attack anyway. The Mongols charged the Turks ferociously, inflicting heavy casualties on them. They counterattacked, trying to involve them up and almost succeeded. But the Mongols managed to break contact and escaped to the east.

Most decisive operations for success.

In February 1220, the 3 Mongol armies, under the command of Genghis, Jochi and Ogedei and Chagatai, two of his other sons, crossed the area previously devastated by Jochi and unexpectedly converged on Otrar, on the left flank of the defensive line of Sir Daria. After the assault on the city, the Mongols captured the governor Inalchik and executed him very cruelly.

The two armies commanded by Jochi and the other 2 brothers then headed south, following the Sir Daria, and began to harass during their march the fortified positions of the Turks along their planned great defensive line. Simultaneously, the army corps of the orlok Jebe Noyan, turned north, took the city of Kokand, in the upper Sir Daria, and headed to meet the 2 Mongol armies.

All these offensive operations helped to fix Mohamed’s attention on his fortified defensive line of Sir Daria. In the south, he had won the battle and repelled the invader, and in the north, although the Mongols had taken Otrar, they had not penetrated Transoxiana. The Turkish army maintained its boast of invincibility. Mohamed brought all of his operational reserves closer to Sir Daria. However, although in both cases the Mongols had suffered heavy casualties, their ratio to them was of great concern to the Turks.

For its part, after the capture of Otrar, the army under the command of Genghis Khan, with Subidai as his chief of staff, and made up of 4 tumans, headed north. There he took the Turkmen city of Zarnuk, with the sole purpose of capturing a man who, according to his informants, knew of a practicable path through the Kizyl Kum, following a chain of oases.

Then the Mongols delivered their decisive blow.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

The Opportunity as Command’s Instrument for Victory

Introduction.

The opportunity arises from the play of dialectical actions between the opposing units. Opportunity is the tactical, even operational, weakness that arises in an enemy sector or is about to do so. We can act on it and even precipitate it with our combined weapons system in an «action interface» especially favorable to us. In opportunity always underlies an enemy error. If this was insurmountable for him, it would be due to the unforeseen, surprising circumstances that concurred. Opportunities are a useful and advantageous feature provided by the dialectic of actions in the chaos of war.

The intermediate objectives foreseen in the plans are not opportunities. They are forecasts derived from the planning and the well-founded resolution of the command. When contacts with the enemy begin, its achievement begins to be tested, as Moltke said, in the dialectics play.

Functioning.

Of this play in a chaotic environment, independently of the greater or smaller deviations from plans, will arise the opportunities and the dangers. The dangers would be the enemy opportunities on us. Both are unexpected, but accessible and exploitable during a certain time. The reason of the unpredictably of the opportunities in the time is in the number almost infinite of variables and individual and collective actions that concur to define asituation” and the successive cycles of action in which it develops.

The opportunity arises when the enemy fails to use his forces and means of support. It can originate in differences in the qualities of enemy forces and in the transitability of a given terrain, that debilitates a defense or the momentum of an attack. It also appears in the negligence of the enemy in presenting an exposed flank, that is, an interface of action real or potential favorable with us, not properly taken care of by him to face our available combined arms system. The opportunity is an emptiness in combat capacity that arises in a cycle of action for a unit, or a sector, that is unprotected and neglected for long enough allowing it to be detected and exploited by the enemy.

It is necessary to take advantage of opportunities quickly. The dynamics of interaction in a chaotic environment makes opportunities unattainable after a short time. The succession of cycles of action continually modify circumstances.

Developing.

To detect opportunities at any level of military activity, intelligence is necessary (elaborated the exploration and reconnaissance and converted into useful, continuous, sufficient knowledge) and the sufficient presence of the corresponding command. To take advantage of them, simple and vertical communication is necessary, supported by implicit communication between subordinate leaders and mobility, flexibility and combat capacity available in the units and commands involved. If the opportunity is transcendental, the tactical or operational center of gravity of the military means is transferred to it by the command. If it is important, their use must contribute concentrically to its creation and development.

The same characteristics just mentioned, but focused on ourselves, are the ones that, in turn, will protect us from enemy dangers or opportunities. This will prevent its appearance, compensate for the danger or mitigate its presence and reduce our time of vulnerability. If despite foresight and care, surprising or unexpected circumstances concur in its appearance, even due to a mistake on our part, the means to be used are the last two actions mentioned for its detection and use.

What is that sufficient presence of the commander? The one that allows him to take advantage of the opportunities that arise at his level of activity. All of this is directly related to the two different command styles or forms for carrying out the tasks of the different levels of command.

Tactical command must be exercised bySensing the “action interface” with the enemy, exchanging actions with him on the ground. The limit of tactical command is clearly in the brigade. And, in large operations or in the attack or in the armored forces, it probably reaches in greater or lesser degree to the division, whose commander must drive forward the march or the attack behind the first important marching force of the bulk of the unit.

The command of the army corps is clearly an corps’ operational management and must have a broader perspective of the whole. As well as a greater distance from direct contact with the enemy, which overcomes the interface of action and its immediate rear. This gives the command breadth, vision, serenity and security.

In the immense chaos that is created in a combat, the foresight of the command can impose and outline its evolution in a direction and sense.

Like the effective command, is capable of «searching» and «feeling» the enemy’s signs of weakness and discouragement. And then he prepares the forces that he will use in the persecution and the support that he will give them. Putting them under the command of an energetic, spirited, leading and lucid commander.

The command must prepare «rapidly available forces» in the units under its command. For example, a mixed company in the battalion; a combined arms battalion in the brigade. In such a way that the appearance of the opportunity, close and surprising, allows him to take advantage of it. Since the surprise will help the opportunity to be seized at first by a relatively small force of their own. And that may soon be reinforced by the bulk.

Example of the effective, non-physical presence of a High Command.

Erich von Manstein directed the counterattack operation of the German Armies Group Don, mainly against the Soviet Southwestern Front of General Vatutin, from his headquarters in Zaporiya. By mid-March1943, the Germans had eliminated six tank corps in the order of battle of Vatutin, recovered Kharkov and settled a resistant defense front from Tangarov to Belgorod, supported in the Mius and the Donetz. They also had enough mobile reserves in the south of Russia to reject possible soviet operational ruptures in the zone. And, after the setback of Stalingrad, they had recovered the strategic initiative, at least in the southern theater of operations.

HITLER, WORRIED, VISIT MARSHAL VON MANSTEIN AT ZAPORIYA, UKRAINE.

An attack against the Kursk salient, completed its formation by von Manstein‘s advance on Belgorod, which would have begun in April, then had a chance of success due to the lack of Soviet preparation.

This same offensive, which began in July 1943, determined that no more mistakes by the German High Command (Hitler) were of any importance: then, the subjet of total strategy or state strategy was no longer who would win the war, but how long it would take to do so.

A Failure in the effective presence of command.

Let’s see an example of an inadequate presence of the commander, in relation to the echelon that he is supposed to command. It starred Rommel in North Africa in November 1941.

Rommel’s advanced command post in the desert.

Mistakenly believing that the British armor was dispersed after some fighting, Rommel ordered to concentrate his Panzers on the Libyan-Egyptian border. Directly dedicated to it, acting as a regimental commander, he was involved in the repulse of a British attack. He was even isolated with his command vehicle, due to a mechanical problem, for half a day at the front.

This temporarily deprived him of control of operations in Tobruk. This was Rommel’s main operational objective, while resisting the German siege was the main objective of the English. Due to this unjustified distraction, Rommel had to abandon the attempt to take that fortified port, located in his operational rear, which he could have consolidated for his defense of his won territory.

In less than a month, the advances of the English tanks and infantry forced him into a long retreat towards Tunisia. He had to give up almost all the ground he had gained since March, when he arrived in Africa, until he recovered and was able to fight back, as British pressure lightened.

US HIMARS rockets, latest evolution of reactive artillery.

Introduction.

Reactive artillery has changed a lot since the Soviet times of World War II. That the so-called Soviet Katiuskas rockets scattered fear among their enemies. For its persistence, simultaneity and its fire wake and noise when flying. Its range was 4 to 5 km. and the carrier truck weighed about 5 tm.

It consisted of a military truck on which was placed a battery of 10 or 12 tubes rocket launchers of caliber of the order of 80 to 122 mm. The battery was fixed in the direction of the front of the truck and it was oriented towards the target. Several rocket trucks formed the smallest tactical support unit.

Lanzacohetes Katiusha

«No matter how long a man is exposed to bombing. He will never be immune to fear of it. Machine gun or rifle fire can be frightening, but it cannot be compared to the sensations that fill the throbbing hearts of men, when the sounds and whistles of aerial and terrestrial bombs are perceived approaching». F. Mowat. The Regiment. Toronto, 1955. pp. 162-163.

Another example of a weapon designed both to demoralize with this said effect, and to cause damage and casualties, was the Junkers-87, known as the Stuka. Their sirens were placed to produce a terrifying high-frequency screech as they dive over the target at high speed. A British officer described the effect of the weapon during a dive bombardment received by his men in the spring of 1940, which caused only ten injuries and destroyed three trucks: «The boys were completely broken. After the bombardment, the officers and some sergeants got up and tried to restart the activities. But, the men were lying or sitting in complete daze. And it was necessary to push or drag them to wake them up.” L. Deighton. Blitzkrieg: From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of Dunkirk. London, 1979. Page 247.

Well, but what you are telling us happened a long time ago, with normal forces.

Well, let us point to the repeated case of a battalion-type or multi-company infantry unit, dismounted, deployed, and advancing to the attack. That, in several cases, they were units such as the Guards or the Highlanders, considered among the best in the world. As soon as it was subjected to effective fire from the enemy and suffered some casualties, especially if they were some officers and non comissioned officers, it would freeze on the ground and stick to it. It immediately transmitted that it had been pinned down and requested reinforcements to get out of trouble, unable to react on its own. General Richard Simpkin. Race to the Swift. London, 1994. Page 214.

Tactical utilities.

The advantage with conventional artillery is that its barrels have to withstand the tremendous explosion of smokeless powder. This initial push along the barrel is what propels the bullet throughout its mileage travel up to target. Those rifled barrels require advanced metalworking and the explosions and bullet paths coming out of the barrels wear them down quickly and need to be replaced.

In reactive artillery, the cannon is replaced by the launcher or rail that directs the rocket towards its target. This is impelled by propellant at the rear, behind the warhead. The fiery trail of the booster is perfectly visible during launch and part of the flight.

Sistema BM-21

This flight was governed by ballistic physical laws. There was no direction of flight, once the rocket was flying off the ramp.

These reactive artillery fires were not very precise. They were really designed to neutralize the enemy located on a surface target, which generally became a zone of destruction. The fires were directed at open, non-urban land.

Soldiers placed in individual or group positions with adequate cover or fortifications survived well.

Evolution.

The Soviets liked this artillery, which was part of their doctrine of using abundant and overwhelming heavy fire in breakout operations of the enemy fronts.

The Katiuskas were replaced by the Soviets with the BM-24 reactive launchers, first, with about 7 km. range, and BM-21, from 1964, with a range of 15 km. The configurations were the same, a bank or batteries of free-flight rocket launchers loaded in the back or gondola of a truck.

HIMARS system.

Other nations began to be interested in this type of weapon. Looking for more precision and combat readiness of vectors. To obtain a plus of efficiency and utility against the Russian armament.

We see that in the name they mention its improved mobility and they do not do it with its precision. When it is what stands out to crush very sensitive enemy targets and, above all, specific ones, such as parts of the logistics system, communications, command posts and concentrations of enemy offensive means.

The HIMARS launcher of high mobility

The secrets of success are multiple and act in synergy to achieve their effectiveness. One is that the rockets have a modern and sophisticated MILITARY GPS system. That allows the rockets to be directed precisely to the indicated target, in a directed flight. The effective range of simple multiple rockets is about 90 km.

Then there is the suspension system of the all-terrain trucks, with less than 11 tms of weight, which allows the rapid movements of the truck on not very rough terrain. And the handling is clean and fast. The reloading of the 6 rockets of a mobile platform is completed in 10 minutes.

The Russians in the Ukraine try, usually in vain or too late, to locate the Ukrainian HIMARS batteries using drones. To annoy the Russians, the Ukrainians use fake HIMARS launchers and continually change the location of the real ones.

The Russian Campaign for the Donbass’ Basin.

Introduction.

When the Russians have attacked the vast area of the Donbass, as the Center of Gravity of their military efforts in eastern Ukraine, they have done so by employing other, more primitive tactics, if possible.

Russian attempts to employ their modern combined weapons units, the Mobile Battalion Groups, a kind of demi mobile brigades or light brigades, against the ecumens of Kyiv, in western Ukraine, or Kharkov, in eastern Ukraine, were met with unexpected defeats. Thanks to the effective rejection tactics of the Ukrainian units, employing a mobile defense with cession of space and a favorable terrain for defense, almost always.

After the capture of Mariupol, with its port to the Sea of Azov and its gigantic steel industry Azovstal, the time came to attend and occupy the Donbass’ basin, with the oblast (province) of Lugansk, to the north, next to the Russian border and the oblast of Donetz, to the south, towards the peninsula of Crimea, occupied already in 2014.

In this new performance of the Russian Army, «support» heavy fire is no longer such. It has, as an Army Branch, an Own Use, «per se«. That it is surgical and almost total destruction of Ukrainian positions. This guarantees greater survival to their soldiers in the assault on those positions. Operation, on the other hand, that will rarely be important already.

These are not brilliant tactics, nor exemplary ones they use.

SwashVillage | Cómo Ulysses S. Grant ganó el sobrenombre de Subvención de  rendición incondicional
GENERAL ULYSSES GRANT

They are similar to the Attrition and Wear tactics employed by Grant at the end of the American Civil War. He systematically chased Lee and attacked him, not caring too much about the cost. But, he wore him down inexorably. And it led him to his surrender at Appomattox in April 1865.

As he won and as in the war is debatable almost everything, Grant was commended for his perseverance, definition and concentration on a decisive goal and other things…

Or, those used by Foch, Generalissimo of the Allies in the Western European theater in 1918. Who hammered uninterruptedly the German positions in some sectors. Until breaking them, bursting behind their lines and trying a shallow exploitation. That always broke the opportune German operational counterattack. And, that only changed his effort to other sectors, when the German resistance was strong or hardened in them.

Ferdinand Foch, general francés y comandante supr...
GENERALISSIMO FOCH, ALLIED SUPREME COMAND IN 1918

But this unfailingly exhausted the means available to an adversary inferior to the Allies. And, it led Germany to a humiliating surrender before them. And to the dismemberment of the Second Reich and the establishment of the Weimar Republic. That did not direct positively the desires and wishes of the German people.

They are the tactics of the great mace or hammer on the anvil. In contrast with indirect actions and maneuvers of other generals and theaters of operations and epochs. They have the elegance, cleanliness, speed and efficiency of Foil fencing.

These Russian tactics are more costly, long and bloody. And, they are applicable when:

One’s means are far superior to those of the enemy.

The Russian’ Command and Control structure does not respond effectively to the needs of modern warfare. Regarding the complementary use of maneuver and combat, according to the needs of the command and the taking advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Politicians Only ask the military for victory.

Own commands are mediocre and subject to a «zero fault» control by their superiors. Above all, such commands lack imagination and freedom of action.

We will see bad, costly and painful results.

Campaign’s General Development.

Tactical mobile battalions attack in a sector of between one and three km, according to the intensity of the effort that the brigade leaders want to apply in the area. The mobile battalion, which is the effective autonomous tactical unit of the Russian Army, possesses its own organic artillery. But, for certain missions seeking the wear and tear of the enemy, the division can assign them even one more artillery group in direct support, coming from the reserve of it.

Los posibles escenarios militares para una invasión rusa de Ucrania -  Infobae
PARTIAL PHOTO OF A RUSSIAN MOBILE BATTALION IN PARADE

The advance by an attack strip is carried out by a mechanized or motorized infantry company and a tank company, with the corresponding services of the battalion. As fighting takes place on enemy urban terrain, villages and districts, command is exercised by the infantry chief. Which the tanks support from positions further back. Using their powerful cannons with direct fire and HE-type charges, against enemy infantry «support points» and «resistance nests» and anti-tank positions in the infantry zone. In the appearance of Ukrainian tanks and/or Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Russian tanks or a part of them, as decided by the tank command, would quickly switch to anti-tank ammunition and/or smoke charges, if appropriate.

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RUSSIAN SATELLITE

There is no operational exploration by parts of the Russian ground forces here. This function is fulfilled by the many surveillance satellites deployed in space. And, the «unmanned aerial exploration vehicles» or drones launched from the ground by the Army.

It is assumed that all this information collected by several different means and commands, is centralized in a common Intelligence Center.

Guerra en Ucrania: Rusia tiene drones con tecnología española, según  investigadores británicos – FayerWayer
RUSSIAN UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE

Responsible for such reception and its analysis and projection for various times, days, weeks, months. Creating a reasonably reliable, up-to-date, continuous and timely Intelligence. That would facilitate to the ground commanders of brigades or mobile groups, in charge of operations.

The mobile battalions in contact only advance a small combat exploration for their different Weapons. To narrow down and outline the various immediate targets that correspond to them.

If the Artillery, Rockets and Tactical Aviation were used at heart in any of the battles of the Campaign, the Russian ground troops would have as mission in that battle the occupation and consolidation of the objective to «assault». In which there would no longer be enemy soldiers, because they would probably have withdrawn in advance to the attack of the Russian ground force.