Equip the Man; Don't Man the Equipment

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    • #59082
      Submariner
      Participant

        In The Citizen Insurgent, Max Velocity wrote the following:

        “The purpose of this website is the tactical preparation of the armed citizen for SHTF, or collapse, or WROL, or whatever you want to call it. That will follow a sliding scale, from some sort of natural disaster with accompanying looting and lawlessness, all the way to some sort to of foreign invasion. In the former situation(s), Unconventional Warfare (UW) is probably not the answer, at least in the doctrinal sense. Some sort of basic light infantry (which is unconventional because you are civvies!) patrol and defensive plan, perhaps with the odd raid thrown in, would be more appropriate. METT-TC will dictate, as everyone always likes to say.”

        I have been reading lately about the Falklands War to learn about historic light infantry operations and came across this. Brigadier Ian Gardiner, RM, wrote The Yompers, an account of his experiences as OC, X Coy, 45 Cdo. in the Falklands. In his earlier book, In the Service of the Sultan, his junior officer experiences in Oman, he wrote the following:

        “When training infantrymen – both officers and soldiers – one should start with the naked man, so to speak. And first teach him how to think and behave. He learns fieldcraft. He learns what gives you away when someone is looking for you: Shine; Shadow; Shape; Silhouette; Spacing; Movement. He learns how to look, observe and listen, even to smell, and how to move without being seen or heard. He learns to look at all things from his adversary’s point of view, both physically and mentally, because only by doing this will he understand how to surprise him, and avoid being surprised himself.

        He learns to survive, to endure and to remain effective in arduous conditions; like a wild animal in a wild environment. He learns to welcome darkness as a friend; a protector and an aid to his movement and his flexibility; to think of bad weather as something which offers possibilities rather than something which must be sheltered from. He learns to look after his “oppo”, his friend, and develops two-way trust in his fellows and in his superiors – teamwork. Then you introduce tools such as maps and compasses, so he can reliably navigate by night and day and you give him binoculars to extend his visual range.

        Somewhere along in this process you introduce weapons and other equipment like radios and vehicles. You give him technical skills, which add to his lethality, and extend his ability to communicate and move. But these technical skills should always be built on the foundation of instinctive attitudes, values and behavior. You equip the man. You don’t man the equipment. [emphasis added] It is centered on the man, his attitudes, his values, and his personal skills because wars are won by his endurance, his fortitude, his courage and his wits.

        Every individual infantryman is a complete stand-alone weapons system. His feet are his mobility; his eyes, nose and ears are his sensors and his surveillance and his target acquisition systems. In his rucksack he has his own logistics in the form of ammunition, food and water. But at the center, serving all these is his computer: his brain. And the defining feature of any computer is the software. Only if the right software has been programmed will he be able to use the hardware and the tools and the weapons to good effect. He operates in a wide framework of course, but ultimately, the individual soldiers must make individual decisions which may effect the course of battles, or even wars.”

        Note that Gardiner uses the weapons system analogy as he served two and a half years commanding 30-man RM detachment aboard an RN frigate and as a watch stander. His approach trains one to, in a word, fight, not just shoot. This gives, in my view, the proper context for gear selection and use.

      • #59083
        Lloyd
        Participant

          After almost 300 hours in square range classes over 7 or 8 years learning to shoot, I had an epiphany at Paul Howe’s “Active Shooter” class last year. I suddenly realized that all these years I have been learning to throw a football, but never learning how to play the game… or learning to hit a punching bag, but never learning how to box. The shooting part is very much the easy part! It’s important, but only one part of the equation.

          Even with static targets, I suddenly understood what the guy meant who said that a half dozen retired SF guys with Mosin-Nagants could be more combat effective than the best SWAT team in the country with all their cutting edge equipment.

        • #59084
          RRS
          Participant

            Max’s posts about Brit mil are very interesting to me. To me the smallish Brit mil looks way more professional and discerning in personal than the American version (as a whole). The latest video he posted concerning some patrol into Taliban held territory it seemed that the enlisted were way older and more mature than their rank would indicate to me an American. There it looked like privates being lead by a L/Cpl and all of them being north of 20 years old.

            Secondly Max some time ago posted a video about Para regiment training where the salty old trainer was giving some stern lessons on cover and its uses and how to move. The American version of training centers on shooting, or it seems from what I can find.

            To swerve into politics, I think at the center of the American mil the quest for egalitarianism and other nonsense is creeping outwards, literally a military being run by or for the permanently aggrieved passive-aggressive lunatics. But then again the stupid right wing in this country uses our military as funding slop, and as long as they got the slop they bargained with the likes of Professor Polly with her doctorate in “micro aggressions.”

            My guess the Brit mil being so small and off the radar in Britain and underfunded makes it unattractive to the Brit loon left.

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