Several posts in the III community and links have inspired this piece. Our enemy will have tremendous resources, operate from home territory, have a population base dependent on them, and will have a life-or-death need to exterminate their opposition... that being Americans who still desire to be free. Two Americas.
America Goes Jousting
Our splendid military is all for show.
By William S. Lind • July 31, 2012
U.S. Air Force Photo
U.S. Air Force Photo
If the whole United States active-duty military, excepting strategic nuclear weapons, disappeared tomorrow in a puff of smoke, would Americans be less secure, more secure, or about the same? That the answer is not self-evident points to the biggest military secret of our time: conventional armed forces are following the knight’s road.
Knights in shining armor lasted for several centuries after they had become militarily obsolete. In fact, the armor got ever more splendid (and expensive). What was it for? Show. It was worn for tournaments, which remained a popular form of entertainment at court. It was donned for portraits of kings and noblemen well into the 17th century. To the public, nothing said “military might” quite so loudly as a parade of men in beautifully engraved and ornamented suits of armor.
My city of Cleveland, Ohio was honored by just such a grand entertainment in early June in the form of “Marine Week.” Each year, the Marine Corps picks a lucky city to host it. Uniformed Marines, all looking good, paraded about the town. Public Square was full of tanks, artillery pieces, and Light Armored Vehicles. Fighter planes screamed overhead, and for the grand finale the Marines did a full amphibious assault on Burke Lakefront Airport. Cleveland enjoyed the Marines, and to judge by those I talked to, the Marines enjoyed Cleveland.
But against non-state opponents, those Marines are 0-4. They, along with the rest of our armed services, lost in Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, a war that is decided if not yet over.
Real wars with important outcomes are now fought and won by ragtag militias, gangs, and tribes. They fight not for raison d’état but for God, honor, loot, tribal pride, women—war’s age-old, pre-state causes. They define the Fourth Generation of modern war.
In a fair fight, the U.S. Marines would beat any of them, except perhaps Hezbollah. But what we think of as fair fights are jousting contests, tank against tank, fighter plane against fighter plane, preferably staged where we get it on video for the folks back home. Of course we want jousting contests: we’re knights. Not being knights, nor possessing suits of armor, the forces of the Fourth Generation avoid them. We are left to tilt at windmills—or Burke Lakefront Airport.
Military theorists began to perceive this change in the conduct of war, the greatest since the state asserted a monopoly over conflict in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, sometime in the late 1980s and early ’90s. As usual, Washington didn’t get it—and still won’t talk about it. But subtle signs suggest that the Establishment is slowly coming to recognize reality.
One such sign, a phenomenon for which we should all give thanks, is a growing reluctance to commit the U.S. military to overseas conflicts. (This applies more to the Army and Marine Corps than the Navy and Air Force, but the latter are irrelevant to Fourth Generation war.) Reasons include cost and fear of casualties, but the biggest reason may be the one that is never spoken: the Establishment knows we will almost certainly lose.
Another sign is the push to open all positions in the military to women. The Army recently decided to allow women to serve in some jobs in infantry battalions, though not the infantry itself—yet. The Marine Corps now lets women attend Infantry Officers School, even though there are no infantry billets for them when they graduate—yet. No state that took its military seriously as a fighting force, as opposed to an “equal opportunity” jobs program, would put women in combat units. Not only does their presence damage unit cohesion, which is vital for military effectiveness, but in combat the men will abandon the mission to protect the women. Of course, if the armed forces are really just for putting on displays, why not have women?
The almost total orientation of U.S. defense policy toward equipment also points to an unconscious acceptance of military irrelevance. As the first slide from the briefing of the congressional Military Reform Caucus in the 1980s said, “For winning in combat, people are most important, ideas come second, and hardware is only third.” That reflects the lessons of history. But on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in the Pentagon, equipment comes first, people are a long way second, and ideas about war aren’t even on the list. That is one reason why we keep doing the same things over and over, even though they never work.
That fact points in turn to what may be the clearest sign that our armed services are following the knight’s road: a failure to reform. The Military Reform Caucus said its goal was reform without defeat. Left unspoken was the assumption that defeat would bring reform. But we have suffered one defeat after another, and within the Establishment there is not so much as a whisper about military reform. What could say more clearly that our armed forces no longer exist to fight and win wars?
And so Cleveland and other fortunate cities enjoy Marine Week. The tournament was splendid. It left all the gawkers well entertained. But I couldn’t help thinking about the time the commander of the Strategic Air Command invited me to lunch in his Pentagon office. He was the rarest of birds in jobs like his, a realist. He asked me, “What the hell am I supposed to do with 18 B-2 bombers?” I replied, “Tow them around to county fairs and charge admission.” Have we reached the point where that is all our active-duty forces, except the nukes that keep the peace, are good for?
William S. Lind is director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation.
This is why thousands of MRAPS and drones are being distributed to the US paramilitary forces, but armored cars and remote controlled airplanes-will they be enough?
Ol' Remus likes airplanes, likes to watch 'em and listen to 'em. He even went to air shows for a while, until he tired of listening to over amplified '40s tunes and multi-echoed small talk instead of engine music. Sadly, YouTube videos have gone the same way, irreplaceable footage vandalized with music-over of the poster's choice. That said, he cares not at all for actually riding in airplanes, a lifetime of traveling for the company beat that out of him. Insurrections are like airplanes—They are? Where did that come from?—well, because a civil uprising is best witnessed from a distance, which is one reason Remus doesn't waste your time with polemics about decorating lampposts with miscreants du jour.
"Stay away from crowds and exploding manure piles" is Rule One. Howsomever, unlike manure piles, the crowd may seek you out personally, and said crowd may be a state-sanctioned police or military force with all the resources this implies, or self-styled partisan fighters living off the land, which is to say living off you. It's impossible for peaceable folks to avoid this kind of crowd because battlefields have gotten larger over time until they're aren't any non-battlefields left. Consider: the Medieval Battle of Poitiers took place on a literal field near the village of Poitiers, involving fewer than 20,000 combatants total and resulting in about 3,000 casualties. The term battle field meant what it said until the last days of Napoleonic warfare. We can say Gettysburg was one of the last battlefields per se, of main forces in a claustrophobic set-piece engagement where we can almost imagine grandstands and souvenir programs.
The term 'battlefield' was an honorific by World War I when the active front was hundreds of miles long. For instance, the Battle of the Somme, named after a river valley rather than a field, began with an attack some twenty-plus miles long, involving two and a half million combatants and resulting in nearly half a million casualties. On the map it was a little squiggle, like an errant thumbprint. Germany's invasion of Russia in 1941 began with an attack on an 1,800 mile front. The Russians alone suffered over seven million casualties. As time went on, the battlefield, or more correctly the field of battle in the sense of a magnetic field, included whole nations, then whole regions. The term used in the mid-twentieth century was this-or-that "theatre" of war, which in the Pacific meant the whole hemisphere. The word "noncombatants" took on a new meaning too, it's what they called civilians who became inconvenient but conveniently couldn't defend themselves. They died by the tens of millions under one pretense or another.
In an actual insurrection—not the small scale urban riots headline writers pumped up as such for political reasons—there are battles but no front and, more importantly, no rear. In such a scenario both the regime and the "resistance" would see the same region as occupied by the other, creating a near free-fire zone in effect, where martial law presents one set of rules, its opponents another. The price for being caught out by either is the same. This isn't conjecture, it's recent history in many parts of the world.
Like Washington's army, a resistance doesn't have to win, it just has to not lose and keep on not losing. There's a notion going around among the determinedly self-deluded that small arms would be of no use, that armed drones and night-vision equipped helicopters and all the rest would annihilate any home-grown opponent. This misses the point. A resistance by definition sees itself as living in occupied territory, and sabotage is the tactic of choice, not armed confrontation. This doesn't just mean Hollywood-ready spectaculars, a daring moonlight attack on some photogenic bridge, say, it also means a gas pipeline quietly reprogrammed to blow itself up, or spoofed GPS signals making destruction by friendly fire a constant hazard. Competent sabotage is low risk, low cost, high return. Armed confrontation is its opposite. Ongoing degradation of basic infrastructure would affect survivalists more than combat operations.
Unlike partisan derring-do so beloved of novelists, widely dispersed sabotage and tactical hit and run means the regime may deploy massive firepower but have no target remotely worthy of it. As a business model it's a loser. Worse, the regime can never be sure who is or isn't working for the other side. Who better to take down a communications net than an anonymous laborer in the electronic vineyards, for instance? Eventually there would be no permanent distribution hubs, field headquarters, marshalling yards or anything else dependent on power transmission nodes and water mains. When the field of battle is everywhere, it means never knowing if a supply convoy will reach its intended destination, or if a real-time situation map is displaying fanciful information, or if the second shift at a maintenance depot is dumping sugar into the fuel tanks. Actual acts of sabotage may be only a little more debilitating than its prevention so the survivalist will, like everybody else, be under constant suspicion, unjustly accused and punished, and may even be included in indiscriminent retaliation.
The battlefield of old with its massed artillery and neat ranks of infantry maneuvering to the flag in mappish ways, its codes of honor and acts of valor, its pennants and pipes and drums, this is the strata of military legacy supporting its present dark reality. These are the official stories told around official campfires because even the basest nastiness yearns to present itself in better form and little else can be presented in mitigation. And nastiness it is. War's dirty secret is this: siege and starvation is its past and its future. In the Unpleasantness of the '40s the Green Folder and U-Boats and the Marshall Plan showed calories to be the equal of armaments. Eating when others don't is the modern measure of victory. It's why home gardens and deep pantries and non industrialized milk and heritage seeds are increasingly treated as prohibited munitions, and why provisioning for the future—a common sense private matter encouraged in times past from Aesop to Civil Defense—now makes the practitioner a "person of interest" to authorities.
The battlefield, the former field of honor, has devolved into a weft and woof of war and not-war, every man a combatant and noncombatant, sporadically and by turns, in short, we've come down from the mount into bush country where war isn't an event with a name, it's endless ambushes set by herdsmen for whatever strangers may walk into them, where death is proof of perfidy, where indiscriminate crossfire constitutes a battle and only fatigue declares the matter closed. If we stay down here long enough, one day we may again eat the enemy's liver. Such is the real nature of civil breakdown, martial law and insurgency and why they're best witnessed from a distance.
Know this beast is going to be directed at us... at you, so what will you do?
The Revolutionary Dilemma
In a democratic nation a revolution by force of arms needs a few things to succeed. One, enough stratification of society to create a populace of malcontents who will support the revolutionaries. Two, enough fighters, leaders, and propaganda assets to win the war of public opinion with the rest of the population. Three, enough outside support that they can stay in the fight long enough for the legitimate government to quit the fight and cede the field. Fourth, a shadow government that can take hold. These don't exist in sequential order, they must all exist at the same time.
Our American Revolution had all these elements. The grievances against the Crown (real and imaginary) created a population with enough discontent to actively or passively support the fight for independence. The fighters themselves were passionate enough to give it the old college try. And our propaganda efforts in Europe brought support from France and gave legitimacy to the fledgling Colonial government. Our Continental Congress stood ready to take over.
My previous post about the "Tea Party" taking over Darlington, South Carolina, and the potential of an active military response to the such has struck a bit of a nerve with those who agree with the hypothetical revolutionaries. Wil even went so far as to quote the "Declaration of Independence" back to me. Over at the Small Wars Journal one of the responses was even to quote the British saying that they could rapidly put down the little insurrection once the arms were seized at Lexington.... Look folks, I don't disagree with you that the FedGov is a bloated hydra desperately needing to be pruned back, so keep that in mind.
The truth is that the Declaration of Independence is not the founding act of this nation, the surrender of Cornwallis is the founding act of this nation. Everything leading up to that point meant NOTHING without winning on the field of battle. And we couldn't have won on the field of battle without all the requisites of a successful revolution.
So, the real reason that the Tea Party won't seize the government of Darlington is that they can't win by doing so. You can't say "we uphold the Republic and the Constitution" by denying the legitimacy of a democratically elected local government. That is something that Communists or Fascists do, not Patriots.
No, if it came to a "revolution" in the US it will be a war of sniping, assassinations, retribution, night raids, and reprisal actions from both sides that will more resemble Northern Ireland than anything else. The FedGov will avoid using military assets for as long as possible in order to maintain a sense of legitimacy. The "Revolutionaries" will try to correct the political process by eliminating the threat by less legal means (through legitimate political action and quite likely the assassination/kidnapping very similar to the low level civil war in Iraq that we see).
The fact that long range sniping assassinations, car bombs, and political kidnapping isn't happening tells me that the "Tea Party" won't be seizing any local governments any time soon (although the SPLC will probably claim otherwise to try to con more money out of idiots). Matt Bracken has put more thought into this than most people, so his vision for the fall of America is probably a tad closer to how the future may play out.
...and here are some more suggestions on how to do it: http://mountainguerrilla.blogspot.com/2012/08/uw-small-unit-tactics-part-one-ambush.html
UW Small-Unit Tactics, Part One: The Ambush
(In UW operations, ambushes may be directed against foot-mobile infantry elements or vehicle-mounted elements, in rural or built-up areas. Ambushes may be used against a specific enemy element, based on intelligence information that indicates when they will be in a specific location, against aggressor forces discovered in the infiltration phase by reconnaissance security patrols, or as a route interdiction method along probably or likely movement routes. Knowledge of how to plan, initiate, and execute a proper, effective ambush is a basic critical skill for any UW element (and no, it's really not as simple as, "let's hide in the bushes in a line, and shoot the fuck out of anyone who goes past!"). It will, in all likelihood, be the single most used combat patrol operation used by local defense forces in the coming troubles. --J.M.)
Next to the fundamental use of reconnaissance patrols for local area security, one of the most common applications of the patrol for UW elements is, and will be, the use of the ambush. An ambush can specifically be defined as a "surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target."
Ambushes are one of two primary reasons for a small-unit element to conduct a combat patrol. While raids, contrary to the theorization of many "experts" will have limited application in a true grid-down, TSHTF scenario (note I said limited application, not NO application. That's the subject of another article), the ambush, an action conducted as a surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target, has numerous applications. Ambushes are conventionally classified by category (hasty or deliberate), type (point or area), and formation (conventionally, these are limited to linear and l-shaped ambushes. Unconventionally, there are a LOT of different variations). UW leaders should use a combination of these three classifications to shape his planning. Fundamental considerations include:
the entire kill zone MUST be covered by effective, aimed fire.
the use of existing or reinforcing obstacles, including IEDs, should be maximized to keep the enemy in the kill zone of the ambush.
Security elements MUST be utilized to prevent the assault element from being surprised, as well as to isolate the kill zone.
Assault through the kill zone, when applicable.
Time the actions of all elements of the patrol to preclude the loss of surprise. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Categories of Ambushes
The Hasty Ambush. This is probably the most likely type of ambush to be utilized by future UW direct-action elements. Hasty ambushes are are conducted when the element makes visual contact with hostiles, and has time and space to establish the ambush without being compromised. The actions for a hasty ambush MUST be rehearsed so that shooters know what to do on the PL's signal. They must also know how to react to being compromised while getting into their ambush positions (it becomes a react-to-contact battle drill). Effectively, the hasty ambush should become a well-developed battle drill in itself.
Task Standards: The patrol moves quickly to concealed positions. The ambush must not be initiated until the majority of the hostile force is in the kill zone. The patrol MUST surprise the hostiles through effective application of camouflage and concealment, and must avoid becoming decisively engaged by overwhelming the enemy with extreme violence of action and superior marksmanship. The patrol should focus on killing, or capturing the enemy, with forcing their withdrawal as a secondary, acceptable result (killing or capturing the enemy force will, or course, greatly facilitate the irregular force necessity of battlefield recovery of weapons, equipment, and other classes of resupply). On command from the PL, the patrol withdraws from the ambush position, with all personnel and equipment, until they are no longer subject to enemy observation or fires. The patrol must utilize the principle that "speed and stealth are security" to move quickly away from the ambush site, to avoid becoming decisively engaged by enemy QRF.
Actions on the Objective for the Hasty Ambush:
a) Using visual signaling methods (hand and arm signals), and patrol member alerts the patrol that hostile forces are in sight. The patrol member continues to monitor the location and activity of the hostile element until the PL relieves him and directs him to move to his position within the ambush.
b) The patrol halts instantly on the appropriate hand and arm signal from the patrol member (clenched fist held up is the signal for "freeze"). The patrol remains absolutely motionless until directed otherwise by the PL.
c) the PL moves to the initiating patrol member and receives guidance on the location of the enemy from the reporting patrol member, until he has identified them visually. The PL gives the signal for "hasty ambush," either visually or through radio contact with the rest of the patrol.
d) the PL determines the best nearby location for the hasty ambush. The PL directs subordinate leaders and/or the rest of the patrol to move into covered/concealed positions, in accordance with the unit SOP/battle drill.
e) the PL designates the location and limits of the kill zone (KZ).
f) subordinate elements of the patrol move silently and quickly to covered and concealed positions, ensuring that said positions are not detected from the KZ, and have adequate fields of observation and fields of fire into the KZ.
g) assigned security elements move out to the flanks and rear of the patrol's ambush position (third principle of patrolling). The PL, or unit SOP direct the security elements to move out a prescribed distance, set-up, and return to the main element either on command, or when the firing ceases, IAW unit SOP. At small-unit levels, the security elements may be as small as a buddy team. At larger unit levels, these may be as large as fire team or rifle squad-sized elements.
h) the PL assigns sectors of fire and issues any other commands necessary as control (fourth principle of patrolling) measures.
i) the PL initiates the ambush, IAW unit SOP (doctrinally, this is accomplished with the most casualty-producing weapon, such as a M249SAW or M240. For irregular force elements, this may simply be rapid-fire, aimed semi-automatic rifle fire, or the use of expedient hand grenade devices), when the largest percentage of the hostile force is in the KZ. Through training and direct control, the PL controls the rate and distribution of fires, IAW unit SOP, utilizes any indirect-fire weapons available and appropriate (knee mortars, grenade launchers, hand grenades, etc...), orders the cease-fire when appropriate, orders the assault element to assault through the KZ.
j) the PL directs the assigned personnel to conduct a hasty search of enemy casualties and to process any EPWs, IAW unit SOP (don't bother posting any nonsense stupid shit in the comments about, "We're not taking prisoners; we can't deal with them," or any other remotely fucking stupid, war crime bullshit. I don't give two shits. I teach shit the way I KNOW is right, tactically and morally. If you don't like it, quit reading and go give your 1911 a blowjob--J.M.).
k) the PL directs subordinate leaders to conduct consolidation procedures within the patrol, including LACE reports (liquids, ammunition, casualties, and equipment) and re-organization, care of casualties, etc.
l) the PL directs the patrol to withdraw from the ambush site along a covered and concealed route
m) once at least one major terrain feature away from the ambush site, in a suitably covered and concealed position (or a suitable distance to preclude compromise from enemy QRF and/or air support elements), the PL halts the patrol to further consolidate and reorganize, including the tactical field-care phase of casualty care, dispersion of captured enemy equipment across the patrol, and reports the situation to higher, as is appropriate to the situation.
The Deliberate Ambush. A deliberate ambush is a planned, intentional combat operation against an expected hostile element. A deliberate ambush may behe conducted based on intelligence information that indicates the presence of a specific hostile element, or it may be utilized as a route interdiction method. In order to effectively plan a deliberate ambush, a PL should receive intelligence regarding the size and composition of the enemy force, as well as the arms and equipment of the enemy patrol (a far ambush will be far more effective against a squad-sized element that is not augmented with mortars or other indirect-fire weapons, whereas, an ambush of an element reinforced with a sniper element and 60mm mortars will be most effective as a close-ambush).
Task Standards: The ambush should be emplaced no later than (NLT) the time specified in the operations order, developed during the planning stages. The patrol leverages surprise and violence of action to overwhelm the hostile element's main body. The patrol kills or captures all hostile personnel and destroys or recovers all enemy equipment, IAW the commander's intent, or mission purpose. The patrol obtains all PIR (Priority Intelligence Requirements) from the ambush and continues directed follow-on operations.
Actions on the Objective for the Deliberate Ambush: The PL conducts final planning considerations, IAW doctrinal TLPs (troop-leading procedures), utilizing planning information derived from his leader's reconnaissance of the objective, from the ORP (Objective Rally Point), located one terrain feature away from the objective (this covers the first and second principles of patrolling). Every great military leader has recognized that reconnaissance conducted from afar is not reconnaissance. You MUST put eyes on the objective in order to fully complete effective planning. In order to conduct an appropriate leader's reconnaissance, the PL must designate the members of the recon element (typically must include himself, the assault team leader, security element leader, and a surveillance element that will be left in a hide site, with eyes on the objective until the patrol moves forward into the ambush position), issues a five-point contingency plan to the APL (assistant PL) or whomever will be left in command of the ORP during the leader's reconnaissance.
a) the PL conducts his leader's reconnaissance. In doing so, he:
- ensures the reconnaissance party moves undetected, using stealth as security.
- confirms the objective location and suitability for the ambush.
- selects and identifies the KZ.
- posts the surveillance team at the objective, in a covered, concealed observation position, and issues a five-point contingency plan.
- confirms the suitability of assault and support positions, and identifies movement routes from the ORP to them, including secondary egress routes.
- Identifies all offensive control measures to be used.
b) Upon return to the ORP, the PL adjusts his original plan based on information gathered during his leader's reconnaissance. He assigns positions within the ambush position, and designates the patrol's withdrawal routes from the objective.
c) the PL confirms the ambush formation (linear, L-shaped, circular, parallel, etc), based on the specific terrain of the objective.
d) the PL disseminates the revised plan of action to the rest of the patrol, ensuring that every member of the patrol understands the overall plan, as well as his specific role and the role of his immediate leader.
e) the security elements for the ambush occupy their positions first, securing the flanks of the ambush objective and providing early warning of approaching hostile forces. The security element can also be trusted with the responsibility of canceling the ambush before the hostiles are in the KZ, if they are able to determine that the actual hostile element is too large for the ambush patrol to effectively destroy. The security elements must be in position before the assault element of the ambush moves forward. A security element should also be left in the ORP to secure the patrol's third-line gear (and the rear). In the event of a successful react-to-ambush by the hostile element, the ORP becomes the emergency rally point for escaping/evading patrol members.
f) the assault element moves to the objective. The PL and/or subordinate leaders guide patrol members into their assigned sectors, leaving the specific positioning of individuals to the individual or team leaders, based on their personal analysis of micro-terrain, IAW training and unit SOP.
- the SBF leader assigns sectors of fire to the SBF element. He emplaces any obstacles and/or IED devices. He identifies specific sectors of fire to individuals within the SBF element, and oversees the placement of sector stakes to prevent fratricide. Overwatches the movement of the assault element into position (for UW elements, most SBF support will, at least initially, be in the form of precision rifle fire from designated marksmen, armed with magazine-fed, semi-automatic weapons using deliberate, aimed-fire methods. Firing battlefield recovery of heavier weapons, this MAY be reinforced--but never REPLACED--with belt-fed automatic weapons in the form of individual and crew-served machine guns).
- Once the SBF element is in place, the assault element moves forward and into position. The assault element leader positions his personnel and assigns sectors of fire, including the emplacing of sector stakes to prevent fratricide on the objective. The individual patrol members that comprise the assault element camouflage their personal temporary fighting positions to prevent premature compromise of the ambush.
g) the security element identifies the approaching hostile element and communicates a SALUTE report to the PL, using radio, visual, or verbal communications methods (if a buddy-team sized element is the security element, verbal communications are precluded by the necessity of maintaining buddy-team integrity. If radio communications are used, the use of low-power FRS/GMRS-type radios may help reduce or prevent the risk of signals intercept, due to their low power and extremely limited transmission power. Visual signaling methods, from semaphore-type methods, and hand-and-arm signals, to signal mirror flashes, MUST be developed into an unit SOP prior to needing them on any particular mission. They MUST be practiced and rehearsed!)The PL alerts the assault and SBF elements, as necessary, of the information from the security elements.
h) the PL initiates the ambush.
i) the PL utilizes his control measures to ensure that the assault element and the SBF element deliver fire onto the KZ with the heaviest, ACCURATE volume of fire possible. In limited visibility, key leaders may (MUST!) use IR lasers and/or tracer fire to direct subordinate fire into appropriate targets, based on the availability and use of NVGs by the patrol. All patrol members MUST be trained to aim lower than perceived necessary at night. Studies throughout the last century, including ample anecdotal evidence, indicate that war-fighter not specifically trained in night-firing methods tend to shoot high at night, limiting the effectiveness of fires.
j) Before releasing the assault element, the PL signals the SBF element to lift fires. In UW environments, this may means simply reducing the SBF element to one or two firing riflemen, specifically targeting hostile personnel only if they present a threat to the assault element AS THEY APPROACH THE KZ (shooting at bad guys on the objective, while friendlies are on the objective, is a great way to end up with blue-on-blue, regardless of how well-trained your designated marksmen are, and how many cool-guy sniper movies you've watched). Once the assault element is ON the objective, the SBF element may only engage hostiles NOT in the KZ.
k) the assault element assaults through the objective before any surviving hostile personnel can recover their OODA loop enough to respond effectively. Kills or captures (METT-TC dependent....Is the mission to capture a HVT for intelligence exploitation?) surviving hostile personnel on the objective (never, NEVER, NEVER turn back to put "one more, just in case" into a dead or wounded enemy personnel you have already passed on the objective. If you passed him by, that means he was/is not a threat. Shooting him is murder. If you feel the need to "make sure"--which I heartily suggest--tap him with a few rounds as you initially approach his body on the objective). Uses individual movement techniques, buddy-team bounds, and bounds by fire team, to move across the objective. Upon reaching the LOA (limit of advance), stops and establishes a security position, as necessary. All patrol members should reload, by buddy teams, and key leaders perform LACE reports to provide the patrol leader during re-consolidation. Wounded patrol members will perform self-aid, or buddy-aid, if necessary, upon direction of key leaders, and include their status in their LACE report to the key leader.
l) the PL directs special teams (aid and litter teams, EPW search teams, and equipment recovery teams/demolitions, etc) to perform their assigned tasks, once the assault element reaches it's LOA.
-Once the KZ has been cleared, collect and secure all EPWs IAW unit SOP, and move them out of the KZ before searching bodies. Search from one side or the other of the KZ, IAW pre-established SOPs, and mark bodies that have already been searched, to ensure that the entire objective is thoroughly searched. Key leaders should firmly prevent "trophy collection" by search teams, instead focusing them on their duties. As bodies are searched, and equipment and PIR requirements are collected, they should be deposited in a central location for the collection teams to bag for transport.
- search teams should be trained and rehearse the two-man search method. As the search team approaches a dead body, one man guards while the other searches. First, he kicks the enemy weapon away (don't bend over to grab it. Keep your muzzle in his face, and KICK the weapon away. If you need to, you can shoot the motherfucker in the face if he tries to use the weapon). Second, he rolls the body over (if lying on its stomach), by laying on top of it, and when given the okay by the security partner, rolling the body over on top of himself (this is done in case the enemy pulled the pin on a grenade and pinned it under his body before he died). The searchers then conduct a systematic search of the dead hostile from head to toe, removing all papers, weapons, load-bearing equipment, technological equipment, such as NODs and thermal imaging devices, etc. If necessary for re-supply or tactical exploitation, the uniform of the enemy soldier may be removed and secured (if this is done, the bodies should be covered before withdrawing from the objective). Every body on the objective should be searched, rapidly but thoroughly, using this method.
- identify, collect, and prepare all movement to be carried, or to be destroyed on the objective.
- Evacuate all friendly wounded first, return them to the ORP for the tactical field-care phase of treatment. If enemy wounded are remain in custody, or are to be left on the objective for recovery by enemy forces, treat their wounds to the TFC level, as time and tactical considerations permit (again, don't bother with dumbshit statements about how you are so bad-ass you won't bother providing aid to the enemy. It's the right thing to do, once they are no longer a threat). Use only the wounded individual's personal aid gear to provide aid.
If the decision is made to destroy any collected equipment on the objective, the demo team should consolidate and pile the equipment, and use thermite or other appropriate incendiary devices to destroy it. This should be the absolute last action taken as the assault element withdraws from the objective, and can be used as a signal to the security elements to withdraw to the ORP.
If an enemy QRF attempts to close with the ambush force, the security elements must engage with precision rifle fire to halt the QRF advance and prevent compromise of the assault element. In this case, whatever remaining actions on the objective remain for the assault element must be abandoned, in the interest of immediate withdrawal, to prevent decisive engagement by the QRF.
The PL directs the withdrawal of all elements from the ambush site, in reverse order of the establishment of emplacement. Elements should return directly to the ORP, and immediately begin actions to abandon the ORP.
The security element must remain alert and assist the returning elements to quickly return to the ORP, counting personnel from each element in, with the key leader of that element. The security element maintains security while the returning elements consolidate and prepare to abandon the ORP.
The PL and APL direct actions in the ORP, to include accountability of all personnel and equipment and recovery of third-line gear and equipment that were left in the ORP during the ambush.
The PL moves the patrol to a safe location, at least one key terrain feature or a suitable distance, before disseminating information to the patrol. The APL counts all personnel out of the ORP, and performs a final search of the ORP to ensure that no equipment or other items were left behind. The UW element must ALWAYS consider the counter-tracking implications of their actions.
Types of Ambushes
The Point Ambush. Shooters deploy to attack a hostile force in a single kill zone.
The Area Ambush. Shooters deploy to attack hostile forces in two or more related point ambushes.
Formations of Ambushes
Conventionally, the only two types of ambushes acceptable by doctrinal standards are the linear ambush and the L-Shaped ambush. This is due, in large part, to piss-poor training on the part of conventional-force infantry elements. For irregular, civic defense groups, these may be the most efficient methods to use, due to limited training opportunities. These formations reduce the chance of fratricide, and are idiot simple to implement. With better, more expert training, and in close terrain, such as urban environments and alpine terrain, other formations may be viable, such as firing positions on both sides of the kill zone using plunging fire downward, circular ambushes, and more. Both the linear ambush and the L-shaped ambush are more than adequately covered in doctrinal publications that I have already emphasized the importance of for small-unit combatants, including SH21-75 The Ranger Handbook, and FM7-8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad, 1992. Other ambush formations may be determined by specific environmental, terrain, and training standards factors.
Planning Considerations for Deliberate Ambush Missions
While hasty ambushes are, in essence, a "battle drill" type of training priority, deliberate ambushes are conducted based on specific intelligence. For irregular forces, the following considerations should be considered when planning deliberate ambushes.
- Determine what roads, trails, and routes, enemy personnel are likely to follow, based on their doctrine and witnessed habits in local areas. Do they stop in the same RON/laager positions? Do they tend to patrol the same routes? Especially in urban/built-up areas, are they channelized into certain routes by the daily activities of the local civilian populace?
- A suitable covered and concealed route of egress must be present to facilitate rapid withdrawal from the ambush site as well as the immediate area.
Firing positions must allow instant, lethal fire to be brought to bear on the enemy. - If prior enemy compromise can be prevented, it is worthwhile for the patrol to reinforce and further conceal their firing positions to provide adequate protection from return fire, as they enemy performs a react-to-ambush drill.
- The SBF element should be in a separate position than the assault element, and it should provide adequate firing lanes to allow the SBF element to provide suppressive fire as they assault element moves forward towards the KZ.
- Do enemy patrols move on foot, or are they vehicle-borne?
- What are the typical size of these patrols? How many vehicles? Do they fight mounted in their vehicles, or as dismounts? How are they typically armed? Small arms only, or do they have supporting arms? Do they have counter-IED technology available? How commonly is it deployed?
- At what time of day/night do they typically patrol your sector of responsibility? Will you need to utilize NVGs, or will star cluster flares be more effective?
- How refined are their patrolling techniques? Do they tortoise up in en bloc, or do they utilize security elements forward, behind, and on the flanks?
- How do they summon QRF? Where is the nearest QRF located, and how long is their response time?
- What typical equipment do these patrols carry that your forces can utilize? If you cannot utilize them, for whatever reason (lack of training/familiarity, inaccessible munitions, too large a signature, etc), how difficult are they to destroy, removing the enemy's ability to recover/repair them?
-Are they main force security force troops, or local force? How well-trained are they? How disciplined? Will they stand and fight, when confronted, or will they attempt to escape?
Some Additional Notes:
Anti-vehicle ambushes will HAVE to be initiated with something more decisive than small-arms rifle fire. Whether that is anti-material rifle, "requisitioned," command-detonated Claymores, IEDs, or simply impassible obstacles, is irrelevant. Some considerations: a round penetrating an engine block, even a .50BMG API round, may not immediately stop a vehicle, allowing it to escape the KZ. Shoot the driver first, or simultaneous to the engine block. Contrary to some "expert" opinions, a .308 round will NOT instantly disable a vehicle, through penetration of the engine block.
If you use emplaced obstacles to initiate an anti-vehicle ambush, don't use the same ones, and use "dummy" obstacle emplacements without concurrent ambushes to confuse the enemy. If you utilize an ambush with every obstacle placed, pretty soon, that will become a cue for a "react-to-ambush" drill, greatly reducing your element of surprise.
Common historical reasons for ambushes being compromised include:
- the sound of safety selector switches being moved from safe to fire. This can be done silently, even with the God-awful 'klacking" safety selector on AK-variants, if it is practiced and rehearsed. It should go without saying that chambering a round while on the objective is beyond fucking stupid. Prepare your weapons to fight BEFORE you get into position, and switch the safety selector as you target the enemy to shoot his ass.
- the tendency to shoot too high, especially at night. Train to shoot low. It's far better to shoot a foot in front of the enemy than a foot over his head; even ricochets can kill.
- poor counter-tracking practices moving into ambush positions can leave footprints and other indicators that signal your presence before the main body is in the KZ.
- initiating the ambush when forward security elements are in the kill zone, rather than the main body. This is a really stupid mistake, and a result of poor communication with the security elements. PLs who lose their patrols due to counterattack by the main body of an enemy element they were trying to ambush, should be thoroughly embarrassed at their stupidity, assuming they survive.
- lack of fire discipline and fire control. Individual fighters MUST be expert marksmen, and must understand how to properly control their rate-of-fire. Further, key leaders MUST guide the rate-of-fire of their subordinates to prevent loss of control due to excitement and/or fear.
- Leaders must be centrally located where they can provide guidance and control to all elements under their control.
- Lack of all-around security and observation, including overhead.
- Lack of a clearly defined drill for withdrawal from the objective can lead to compromise by hostile QRF, leaving critical equipment behind, or worst of all, leaving behind personnel on the objective. Determine your SOPs, practice and master them, then live by them.
Locate ambushes at natural constriction points whenever feasible, that force the enemy to slow his rate of advance. On the other hand, these are likely positions, so don't be afraid to set ambushes in other places, such as open, flat stretches of road, as long as you have a way to STOP the enemy's movement, and reduce his opportunity to escape the KZ (i.e. IEDs to stop lead and rear vehicle, leaving the rest in the KZ).
Somewhere in the Mountains