Two on Conventional and Unconventional Warfare

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    • #96267
      Max
      Keymaster

        Two links here, from Bill Buppert. Bill is an anarchist, and thus not palatable to many, but his writing is interesting and informed. I have also noticed from comments that he has made, that he is a fan of what I will refer to as the ‘Jaeger-Style’ light infantry tactics that we specialize in at MVT. I post these links as follow-ons to the recent posts on 4GW warfare.

        I think much potential discussion on the reality of tactics is hamstrung by two things, which i admit are generalizations:

        1) The cult of the ‘Special-Operator’ – or the mythology of ‘door-kicking.’ This is seen everywhere, in the ‘tacticool’ and in the prevalence of schools teaching classic CQB.

        2) The confusion over Patriotism and the reality that many brave men have dies or been mutilated in the current wars. Discussing relevance of training and employment of such troops does not denigrate their sacrifice.

        The Other Fight: Understanding Conventional Warfare by Bill Buppert

        The COIN Racket and Government Supremacism by Bill Buppert

        Please discuss.

      • #96268
        lysander6
        Participant

          Thanks, Max for posting these 2x essays, I have written a fair amount of other things on this topic and I am indeed a champion of the Jaeger concept and Auftragstaktik (mission-type tactics & orders). The Ranger Regiment is the sole US element that even gives a nod to light infantry tactics that approach the vaunted German model of effectiveness.

          You can replace every gigantic army infantry tome with a 3×5 card right now that simply reads Call for Fire.

          I have just returned from AFG where I conducted TAA of ANASOC Commandos and ODAs and it is 2001 everyday in-country.

          Of the five major disciplines in Army SF, Direct Action (DA) is the only craft being practiced b/c all the young lads come to get their war on. A complete waste of the primary usefulness of the Quiet Professionals.

          Per my anarchism, indeed, I have arrived at abolitionism as the only viable moral concourse to practice. I drank the Constitutional Koolaid most of my career in the Legions.

          We have a gentleman’s disagreement on philosophy but I hold your TTP and awakening efforts in the highest esteem.

          Cordially,

          Bill Buppert

        • #96269
          rommel
          Participant

            Wow, to be the next in line to reply to these two great commentators is a privilege. Bill, I have read a few of your articles and have passed over others only to learn that those others are more valuable than those I had read previously. You two continue to open my eyes and I thank you for that.

          • #96270
            First Sergeant
            Moderator

              Bill,

              I have read your stuff for a while and enjoy it and agree with just about everything. Especially the stuff you have written about German tactics during WW2. Most “professionals” can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to talking about. I saw that during my time in.

              The one thing that I would disagree with you on is you assertion on the Ranger Regiment that you wrote above. From my experience with having some of them in my AO during my last tour and talking with guys from the Regiment, their focus was all on DA and exactly none on light infantry tactics. To the point that a lot of us started calling them baby delta. Can you expand on that?

              Thanks,
              Scott

              FILO
              Signal Out, Can You Identify
              Je ne regrette rien
              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

            • #96271
              lysander6
              Participant

                Top,

                My experience was the same and part of that is in the fact their priority mission is to provide a perimeter force for CAG. Light infantry in the classic sense demands a level of fitness for the line companies that one simply sees in no other unit in the army. I am an alumnus of the 101st and the Rakkasans came close (ancient history now, we used FM 7-8).

                This is why in the entire history of the conflict in the Hindu Kush, you are hard pressed to find any narratives of company level foot pursuit of “rebels” esp in the high altitude areas. Hell, when my friend, Les Grau sent me several cases of his books he included Mountain Warfare and Other Lofty Problems which he edited. Take a look at the contributors. Arty and comms are the only material contributions by Americans. This speaks to my notion of the 3×5 card. Absent US technological prowess, elegant maneuver on foot in a fluid combat encounter is simply not practiced absent combined arms support. First reflex for US forces when up against a hard target is hunker down and wait for inbound munitions.

                http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/MOUNTAIN.PDF

                Short answer to your question: I would amend my prognosis of the RR as the only unit right now capable of conducting light infantry if tasked and trained to do so. This is also an homage to Max’s splendid description of the encounter in his novel with the Ranger H-K companies. You’ll note that 7th ID is gone. I suspect the Army simply hates formations that are so “cheap” to run plus the physical demands are an affront to the emerging estrogen nation in all the Imperium’s armed forces.

                No insurgency has ever been defeated by airpower and firebase arty, the application on a mass scale simply stiffening the spine of resistance forces.

                Bill

              • #96272
                First Sergeant
                Moderator

                  Bill,

                  Thanks for the response. Although I will forgive you for being a Rakkasan, I was a Bastogne Bulldog a long time ago.

                  Agreed on the RR. I knew what their mission was, just wanted to hear your insights about it. They are probably the only ones right now who could pull it off, but it would take some time for them to refocus. The problem with that is they don’t have the institutional knowledge that they once had in reference to light infantry tactics. Nor do any of the other Infantry divisions. Most with that knowledge, like me, are long gone never to return. With the GWOT being 15 years on now, most of their personnel know nothing but DA.

                  What you talk about was something that drove me nuts while I was still in. You are dead on with the 3×5 card analogy. All of the commanders wanted to sit tight and wait for CAS. What they didn’t understand was that the Taliban learned how we did things. Once a firefight started, they would not stick around for longer than 15 minutes. They knew how long it took for CAS to respond and would disappear before it got on station.

                  The other part of that is the weight we had to carry. Even in good shape, there was no way you were gonna run down guys in sandals carrying an AK, a few mags and ICOM radio and grew up in that environment.

                  With the loss of the true LID’s, field craft and knowing how to do real light infantry tactics started to take a nose dive. My observations tell me that it was after Somalia that it all started to change.

                  Is it just institutional arrogance or stupidity that keeps the Army from doing what needs to be done? I have my own opinions about it but would like to hear yours.

                  And thanks for the link. I have “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” and “The Other Side Of the Mountain” and read both before I did my first tour in Afghanistan. This is one I haven’t been able to get my hands on in hard copy.

                  And one more thing, I don’t spin on my head for your enjoyment, so don’t call me “Top”. ;-)

                  Thanks,
                  Scott

                  FILO
                  Signal Out, Can You Identify
                  Je ne regrette rien
                  In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                • #96273
                  lysander6
                  Participant

                    Scott,

                    All true and there is no fixing it b/c the Army is so addicted to technology versus adaptive TTP, LIDs are dead forever. With the institutional engineering for female pax creep into combat MOS’s, the fate is sealed.

                    USMC played with an idea of forward H_K elements in light footprints that would be used to “ground guide” OTH munitions but drones have obviated even that need.

                    This is all good news for FREEFOR b/c SLAVFOR will embrace tech fixes instead of the long-haul investments to generational LI. The German machine relied on a model whose origins were in 1806 and came to fruition in WWI and full flowering in the War to Save Josef Stalin. It also relied a leadership model that eschewed education and IQ in favor of excellent character.

                    I managed to get both of Grau’s books in Dari and distributed them to the GS at MOD in Kabul.

                    All the indig fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan had the code on CAS long before the coalition forces figured out what was happening.

                    Per weight, has not changed much since the Roman mules legions. Be sure to pay close attention to Figure 1.

                    See: http://www.army.gov.au/Our-future/LWSC/Our-publications/Australian-Army-Journal/Past-issues/~/media/Files/Our future/LWSC Publications/AAJ/2010Winter/07-TheHistoryOfTheSoldiers.pdf

                    Bill

                  • #96274
                    Brian from Georgia
                    Participant

                      DoD certainly loves to us the technology. Could it also be that they are risk averse?

                    • #96275
                      Max
                      Keymaster

                        This is a very useful discussion going on, in particular between Bill and 1SG. I have been concerned both by observation and conversation with members of RR: Ranger School is dedicated to SUT, but I have heard it dismissed in favor of SOPs at Ranger Batt, being ‘re-taught’ – which is basically saying that RS is irrelevant and that DA Techniques are all that matter nowadays.

                        RR makes a big thing about being it’s own DA focused SOF force nowadays, borne out by operational history as it has evolved in the GWOT. This is sad because one would hope that RR would remain a temple dedicated to the art of SUT.

                        If the role of Ranger School is being minimized, with it being characterized more for its value as a leadership school, with the infantry tactics merely a ‘vehicle’ to teach leadership rather than a goal themselves, then we are losing.

                      • #96276
                        DiznNC
                        Participant

                          Wow this is the most informative fucking thread I’ve read in years.

                          On Ranger School. Me thinks it is heading the way of Airborne School, with standards being diluted for political agenda. So in a few years, what will it look like? G/NUT. Gender/Normed Unit Tactics.

                          On infantry performance in the GWOT. The vast majority of anecdotal evidence, on youtube or wherever, suggests that the “T,T,P” widely used was to hunker down against cover, turn on your Go-Pro, and unload in the general direction of the enemy. Then stand up and cheer when tacair unloads.

                          Left to our own devices, I think this is a very human response to danger. Added to that is the over-reliance on technology and supporting arms, and the casualty adverse atmosphere. The perfect storm.

                          That our enemies recognized this, and adapted to it, is not a surprise. It’s that we haven’t learned from it yet, after 15 years of warfare. But maybe that shouldn’t be any surprise either.

                          The military-industrial complex keeps cranking out the high-priced toys, while SUT goes GNUT. Same as it ever was.

                        • #96277
                          Max
                          Keymaster

                            What the fuck happened to the no cussing policy?

                            Yeah, and with ‘GNUT’ you win the forum for the day.

                            :good:

                          • #96278
                            Wild Bill
                            Participant

                              The military-industrial complex keeps cranking out the high-priced toys, while SUT goes GNUT. Same as it ever was.

                              When the companies that produce the big high tech toys spread their manufacturing plants to multiple states it is for the sole purpose of gaining votes from Congressman and Senators and the politicians like it because they can brag they brought the bacon home.

                              How many times has the military been saddled with a weapon system they didn’t need or one that was a Swiss army knife with extra crap added on to it. Politics of money and power inside and outside of the military is driving the decision making process.

                              SUT do not make anyone rich.

                            • #96279
                              DiznNC
                              Participant

                                But we are learning it. So fook ’em.

                              • #96280
                                tango
                                Participant

                                  The military-industrial complex keeps cranking out the high-priced toys

                                  Politics of money and power inside and outside of the military is driving the decision making process….SUT do not make anyone rich.

                                  But we are learning it. So fook ’em.

                                  One of the most important things we can learn from our foes in this case is their organizational structure.

                                  No insurgency has ever been defeated by airpower and firebase arty, the application on a mass scale simply stiffening the spine of resistance forces.

                                  Bill

                                  In the case of our foes, they use this idea very effectively.

                                  Edit: removed a lot of text to not distract from the OP.

                                • #96281
                                  First Sergeant
                                  Moderator

                                    Bill,

                                    Again, great insight. Thanks for the validation that my thinking wasn’t completely out of whack. Sometimes it felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall.

                                    Is the aversion to the German method based on, as I heard several times, that they lost so therefore it has no validity? Or is more of “not invented here syndrome”?

                                    Did you ever get any feedback from the Afghans on Grau’s books?

                                    Thanks for the link on weight. I have read that in the past, but others here have probably never seen it.

                                    Check your PM’s.

                                    Scott

                                    FILO
                                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                    Je ne regrette rien
                                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                  • #96282
                                    Corvette
                                    Participant

                                      Total amateur here but may I ask this question? I have read of german army stormtroop development in World War 1. This sounds a lot like the light infantry tactics you’re teaching. I believe the germans even used their Jaeger batllions for this. If so does the current Bundeswehr still practice this or have they been corrupted by NATO/US influence?

                                    • #96283
                                      lysander6
                                      Participant

                                        Indeed, the stormtrooper concept in WWI was a German attempt to break out of the 2nd Gen stalemate with 3rd Gen tactical/operational art. Only the Germans could do it b/c they had the experiential database and formal training in adaptive precepts and AAR habits at the field level.

                                        I would urge you to take a look at my reading recommendations in the conventional fight essay I did, esp the GEN Balkh interview by Battelle.

                                        I also recommend Berger‘s citations for the Knight’s Cross (Close Combat Clasp) in numerous volumes for a dry but detailed overview of just how lethal the individual German soldier could be.

                                        Remember, the Germans put tremendous value in commander’s intent and all leaders knew intent three levels up not the traditional two levels up in Western forces.

                                        The Jaeger Regiment is being disbanded and reduced to a battalion in the present Bw. Unfortunately, its attachment to the 21st armored BDE obviated the LI concept.

                                        If you invest the time in studying the German BN and company manuals used to the Wehrmacht, you get a great appreciation for the sheer professionalism and effort put into developing the best formations on Earth.

                                        Taktik in Rahmen des verstärkten Infanterie Bataillons

                                        Per, why the West has not adopted it. The answer is that the auftragstaktik is too devolved and decentralized for the Sovietized and sclerotic command methodologies of the large western mechanized armies and formations.

                                        Bill

                                      • #96284
                                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                        Moderator

                                          This is all good news for FREEFOR b/c SLAVFOR will embrace tech fixes instead of the long-haul investments to generational LI.

                                          :good:

                                          All the indig fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan had the code on CAS long before the coalition forces figured out what was happening.

                                          Doesn’t take much of that; to see the light, for survival.

                                          Per weight, has not changed much since the Roman mules legions. Be sure to pay close attention to Figure 1.

                                          What drives me nuts is the number of Armed Citizens who seem so determined to copy our western military example!

                                          Could it also be that they are risk averse?

                                          It is obvious this is part of the problem IMHO.

                                          what will it look like? G/NUT. Gender/Normed Unit Tactics.

                                          :-)

                                          The answer is that the auftragstaktik is too centralized for the Sovietized and sclerotic command methodologies of the large western mechanized armies and formations.

                                          This inflexibility and need to micromanage is painful to see, but an accurate depiction and a point of exploitation.

                                        • #96285
                                          Andrew
                                          Participant

                                            How much of the micromanage thing is CYA, actually cover MY azz, so my ladder climbing doesn’t get interupted? If the stories about Col. A. West are true, then there was a leader, doing the right thing, for his troops, and paying a heavy price for it.

                                            Gonna be interesting to watch it all play out.

                                          • #96286
                                            Corvette
                                            Participant

                                              All this makes me think of the final scene in the movie Dirty Dozen, where the two survivors are being schmoozed by a phony general. One survivor says”boy, killing generals could get to be a habit”>Makes one wonder why it has not happened. Especially with all the CYA being done.

                                            • #96287
                                              First Sergeant
                                              Moderator

                                                As per Bill’s recommendation in the first link that Max posted in the first post, check the Gear and Book Review Forum for a list the books that I have read by Franz Kurowski and my take on them. I recommend them for anyone wanting to get a better understanding of what Bill is talking about.

                                                FILO
                                                Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                Je ne regrette rien
                                                In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                              • #96288
                                                Max
                                                Keymaster

                                                  Although I understand and am a fan of the Auftragstaktik, in regards to the somewhat myth of the German Stormtrooper in 1918, I have the following in over the transom, from a trusted source:

                                                  I will dig out some facts.

                                                  In summary, the Germans had been on the defensive in the West throughout the War from 1914 onwards. The bulk of their Army was in the East fighting the Russians. The Russian Revolution caused the Russians to conclude a Peace Treaty with the Germans; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1917. The Germans began the redeployment of their Army to the West with the aim of concluding the War before the might, and arriving manpower, of the USA could prove decisive.

                                                  The British and French had been on the offensive in the West since 1914. The Germans assembled a study group of officers of all ranks to see what lessons could be learnt from those offensives. Those lessons were put into effect in the “Kaisers Battle” attack on 21 March 18.
                                                  Its worth noting that the Germans led the attack with specially trained “stormtroopers”. The attack was mainly directed against the British and the Germans had great success giving rise to the “legend of the German stormtroopers”. But, there’s more too it. The British had been seriously weakened. Lloyd George , appalled by the casualties at Paschendaele the previous autumn had refused to send reinforcements to France so the British had to reduce their Brigades from four battalions to three. At the same time, Lloyd George had insisted that the British take over long sectors of the front from the French. British, and French, defences were almost non-existant in 1917. Both armies had spent years attacking. As the Germans had copied the British so, in the Winter of 17/18 the British set about copying the German defence systems but there weren’t enough men, the front was now too long and there wasn’t time.

                                                  The Germans particularly copied all the best elements of the British artillery plan; unregistered targets to achieve surprise, mixing gas with HE to make our gunners wear respirators, concentrations of fire on communication centres and HQ, rolling barrages……they were also assisted because on the morning of the attack there was thick fog.…

                                                  But the stormtrooper concept backfired. They had deliberately concentrated their best NCOs and leaders in the stormtrooper battalions and, inevitably, these battalions took the heaviest casualties. The British retreated in good order, trading ground, and continuing to cause heavy German casualties. The Germans had great difficulty bringing forward their artillery over the cratered ground. The stormtroopers had to keep going forward without support; more casualties. As the Germans advanced they became more exhausted and the “normal” battalions began to lose heart. Their natural leaders had been combed out to send to the stormtrooper battalions. The Germans also left behind them the massive fortifications that they had spent four years constructing. At the Battle of Amiens the British counter-attacked. The Germans were now “in the open”. Tired, disheartened and weakened. Remember the British were the expert attackers. The British attack went in employing tanks and ground attack aircraft plus all the lessons of four years. The Germans crumbled. Tanks roamed their rear areas. The Germans described this as the Black Day of the German Army. German morale was broken. The “leaderless” soldiers jeered the upcoming reinforcements. Ludendorf advised the Kaiser to negotiate an armistice.

                                                  So, the ten men in every hundred had gone as had the natural warriors. The consequence was defeat.

                                                  The lesson of the stormtroopers is that its madness to comb out your best leaders and produce a plan that gets them all killed!

                                                  It appears that, to simplify, with the Germans being the experts at defense, and the Brits at attack, the two sides in effect ‘swapped’ manuals, with the Brits learning the German art of defense, and the Germans taking the British infantry field manuals of the time, to develop their ‘stormtrooper tactics.’

                                                • #96289
                                                  Corvette
                                                  Participant

                                                    Isn’t this the complaint the big army uses about special forces, “they take our best guys”. So what’s the answer? There is need for both. Should there be a forced rotation between both or more of an amalgamation of the two types by training or whatever. Do the british colonels complain about the SAS also, Max?

                                                  • #96290
                                                    First Sergeant
                                                    Moderator

                                                      Max,

                                                      I agree with the summary that you received. The flip side of that is this, the Germans proved the concept could work. The problem they ran into, as did all of the Allies by 1917, a manpower drain. Just as your source talked about the British cutting their brigade strength, the French had their mutinies(part of the reason the British took over more of the line from the French), and the Germans were scrapping the bottom of the barrel for manpower also. The Kaiserschlacht was the last roll of the dice, to try and finish the war before the bulk of the U.S. troops could be brought to bear.

                                                      If the tactics were used earlier in the war, who knows what would have happened.

                                                      joem, the conventional side of the Army has complained about that since the beginning. The leadership thought that the concept of SF was a drain of mid to senior level NCO’s on the rest of the Army and wanted them busted up at spread through out the Army.

                                                      With the GWOT, they changed tactics, they decided that anybody could do the basic SF mission and that SF Soldiers could be made overnight. That’s why you had conventional forces being sent over as advisers and trainers to Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn’t work very well. I know, my last tour was as an adviser to the ANA and ANP.

                                                      FILO
                                                      Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                      Je ne regrette rien
                                                      In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                    • #96291
                                                      Max
                                                      Keymaster

                                                        The green berets sold a part of their soul there in favor of hitting the “DA crackpipe” seems like they too fell victim to emulation, rather embracing a mission that they were extremely well suited for!

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