4th Generation Warfare

View Latest Activity

Home Forums Tactics & Leadership 4th Generation Warfare

Viewing 13 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #75978
      Weber
      Participant

        I’ve been reading through the “4th Generation Warfare Handbook” written by William S. Lind and LtCol Gregory A Thiele. Anyone else out there read this?

        Reading this got me thinking about a lot of things that Max teaches and I thought this was an excellent and insightful read about 4GW. At the heart of things, this is a light infantry manual. But it is also provides an interesting background on 4th gen warfare.

        If you have read this book and you are paying attention and have been to any classes at the VTC, you will notice that a lot of the concepts about light infantry outlined in this book are exactly what Max teaches/preaches. Training objectives listed in the manual (not all inclusive) are: patience, speed, self-discipline, and physical fitness. Sound familiar to anyone?

        Max,
        If you have anything to share regarding this book or it’s concepts about 4GW, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • #75979
        wildbill
        Participant

          If you have read this book and you are paying attention and have been to any classes at the VTC, you will notice that a lot of the concepts about light infantry outlined in this book are exactly what Max teaches/preaches. Training objectives listed in the manual (not all inclusive) are: patience, speed, self-discipline, and physical fitness. Sound familiar to anyone?

          Yes it is an excellent book you might checkout his other writings and lectures, light infantry tactics is what he preaches.

          As an aside I watched an episode of My Fighting Season “The Charkh Tank” last night. It seemed that on several occasions the U.S. platoon and squad seemed out of it not returning fire in some cases just standing around while the Taliban seemed far more organized. Was this a display of 2nd GW vs 4th GW or was I completely missing what was going on?

        • #75980
          DiznNC
          Participant

            Well, while I think Lind and company have contributed much to the overall bank of knowledge, they also have a parochial attitude concerning how this affects the Marine Corps mission vis-à-vis the Army (and Spec Ops) and it’s mission(s). In other words, to maintain and justify the Marine corps existence. This kind of crap has been going on since forever. Write cutting edge concepts to appear up-to-date and relevant. It makes the MC look like it’s on the cutting edge, lean and mean, while making the army look stodgy, traditional, and out of date (not that big army needs any help). So yeah good writings, just realize the story behind it.

            Also, think chicken and egg. The Brits were doing this “Light Infantry” stuff WAY before Mr. Lind pontificated about it. So in effect, Lind is copying what Max is doing here, not the other way around. No one has said as much, but don’t want to give the impression that Max is following any new trend here. It’s the other way around.

            Some would argue that 4th Gen Warfare is a misnomer. It has always been this kind of warfare in tribal and clan conflict for centuries. Way before Nation-States started “1st Gen” Warfare. It is only the final acknowledgment of this fact that it comes to be erroneously label as such.

            So all these gurus that want to talk about all these new concepts of 4th Gen Warfare; yeah these things have been discussed around camp fires for centuries. The fact that you want to “discover” it, and give it fancy names instead of just admitting it’s been there all along- OK, whatever.

          • #75981
            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
            Moderator
            • #75982
              Weber
              Participant

                Well, while I think Lind and company have contributed much to the overall bank of knowledge, they also have a parochial attitude concerning how this affects the Marine Corps mission vis-à-vis the Army (and Spec Ops) and it’s mission(s). In other words, to maintain and justify the Marine corps existence. This kind of crap has been going on since forever. Write cutting edge concepts to appear up-to-date and relevant. It makes the MC look like it’s on the cutting edge, lean and mean, while making the army look stodgy, traditional, and out of date (not that big army needs any help). So yeah good writings, just realize the story behind it.

                Also, think chicken and egg. The Brits were doing this “Light Infantry” stuff WAY before Mr. Lind pontificated about it. So in effect, Lind is copying what Max is doing here, not the other way around. No one has said as much, but don’t want to give the impression that Max is following any new trend here. It’s the other way around.

                Some would argue that 4th Gen Warfare is a misnomer. It has always been this kind of warfare in tribal and clan conflict for centuries. Way before Nation-States started “1st Gen” Warfare. It is only the final acknowledgment of this fact that it comes to be erroneously label as such.

                So all these gurus that want to talk about all these new concepts of 4th Gen Warfare; yeah these things have been discussed around camp fires for centuries. The fact that you want to “discover” it, and give it fancy names instead of just admitting it’s been there all along- OK, whatever.

                Good follow up Diz. Hopefully my post wasn’t out of line or too ignorant sounding. I didn’t want to imply that Max had copied any of this stuff. I just found it incredibly interesting and I’m hoping to see some more posts from the better educated core on the forum or experiences some of the combat vets have had with 4GW.

                I did find it interesting but did not point it out, for fear of looking foolish if I was wrong, that there are inconsistencies in the book when it comes to the history of 4GW. The book states that that 4GW is a relatively new form of warfare but it also makes references to the tribal wars prior to the Peace of Westphalia which was in the 17th century. So I see what you are saying about new concepts not being so new.

                Just to put it out there I am a low-information civy with no military experience so when I stumbled upon this book I read it with great interest. I wanted to post about it to get some more discussion flowing on it even though at this point I don’t have any specifics I was hoping to see answered. Maybe just more background info like you are sharing.

              • #75983
                Weber
                Participant

                  He are two Threads regarding 4GW here at MVT.

                  Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)

                  4GW and the reluctant Suburbanite What it means for you and yours A 3 Pt Series

                  Thanks. I will read up on them.

                • #75984
                  DiznNC
                  Participant

                    No Weber, you are totally cool here. I’m just doing some FYI filler info.

                    There is much to be learned from “4th gen Warfare” or whatever you want to call it. “Light Infantry Tactics”. “Asymmetrical Warfare”. “Guerilla Warfare”. Etc.

                    It’s just pretty funny. You have this whole military-industrial complex, cranking out all the latest and greatest hard/soft ware. While some 5th century savage negates it all with timeless counter-measures. And then some folks have the hubris to claim a title to it. Yeah right.

                    But it’s all good info. I’m just being a smartass.

                  • #75985
                    frostysilverback
                    Participant

                      I found the book a good read. The above points are spot on. My super short distillation take away from the book (and human history) is that 2nd and 3rd gen warfare are the oddity. 1st gen (and 4th gen) warfare are how humans actually fight. And once again we learn that good small units tactics is critical to prevail.

                    • #75986
                      DiznNC
                      Participant

                        Yeah good point. The SUT is timeless, regardless of what technology you implement it with. Kind of like Bergmann’s post on those vids from the 90’s. It looked so different compared to today, but a lot of th basic T,T,P’s are the same.

                      • #75987
                        libertycalls
                        Participant

                          Disclaimer: I’m an amateur on this topic. There’s certainly more experienced people than me and no lives or money should be spent on anything I say here.

                          I think an important part of understanding warfare is to start with the reason first gen was fought the way it was. The Peace of Westphalia set the rules for war. Battle fields will be drawn out, so non combatants can’t be attacked. The winner runs the other side off the field.

                          Second gen leads into battle fields where two sides send everything they have until one side runs out of resources. Honor is still kept by both sides. Cutting off the enemy’s supply line can lead to a win, but quick maneuvers aren’t a big part of this generation of war.

                          Third gen is blitzkrieg. Rush your opponent before he expects your attack, from a position he doesn’t know of. You win by taking over a country for as long as you can hold it.

                          Fourth gen seems to be the hardest to describe. My take on this matter is this: you fight a war off attrition where your side takes none or minimal losses. Honor should be ignored. Legitimacy comes from an organic will of people to fight for their own land. It comes down to hatred of an occupying force. They key is that you can’t fight 4GW on land that isn’t your own.

                          I just went back and read Patriot Dawn for a second time, and the battles that aren’t dug in bunker fighting are the ones I would relate to 4GW.

                          Another interesting hypothesis I’m starting to believe is that 4GW is not new. The Peace of Westphalia created 1GW, but 4GW is what existed before established rules for war. It’s a what happened when people were capable of defending themselves and wanted to be left alone. Politics creates the other generations of war.

                          Take it for what isn’t worth.

                        • #75988
                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                          Moderator

                            Check out the previously mentioned link Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) for a more in-depth discussion.

                          • #75989
                            libertycalls
                            Participant

                              Check out the previously mentioned link Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) for a more in-depth discussion.

                              I read both of the previous links but wasn’t sure what one to post in. Should I move this there?

                            • #75990
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                No need, just a friendly reminder for others.

                                Never know when people rediscover these various Threads.

                                We encourage people to add to discussions like these, no such thing as a dead thread.

                              • #75991
                                libertycalls
                                Participant

                                  No need, just a friendly reminder for others.

                                  Never know when people rediscover these various Threads.

                                  We encourage people to add to discussions like these, no such thing as a dead thread.

                                  There’s a lot of good discussion in these forums. Well worth the entrance fee. I have years to catch up on.

                              Viewing 13 reply threads
                              • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.