Graphic Video: Terrorist Camp Attack + Analysis

The video below appeared on YouTube. It provides an opportunity for some battle inoculation and also analysis/comment.

The following happens in the video, which is apparently of Al-Qaeda wiping out a rival militant encampment in Yemen:

  • They have the rival camp under observation from the high ground, and are filming with a video camera.
  • They conduct rehearsals on a simulated objective.
  • They are able to approach the encampment without causing their enemy to react. The assault force is about 10 guys packed into the back of a pick-up truck, using a barrel cut in half for some concealment in the truck bed.
  • Once they reach the objective, they dismount into a rapid assault roughly on line through the position.
  • They use speed, aggression and surprise to rapidly overwhelm the enemy camp.
  • They fight through, even grenading the mud huts.
  • They use aimed fire with their AKs in the shoulder.
  • They fight mainly as individuals in a rough ‘on line’ formation.
  • They are physically fit and ‘fight light’ in order to run through the objective at a fast pace.
  • Once they have secured the objective, they exploit it to gather information.
  • I’m not sure if it is one of their guys who is hit, but they appear to have a TC3 and casevac plan.


The following is some analysis:

  • The tactics used were atrocious, with the exception of the absolute surprise they achieved. I have no idea how they were able to get so close without being challenged, other than perhaps it was double cross or an expected supply run?
  • Although the tactics were atrocious, they worked, due to the utter complacency and inaction of the defending force.
  • There was no reaction from those in the camp until the assault force opened fire, and then it was overwhelming and too late.
  • There were sandbagged fighting positions around the small settlement. They were not manned (the other issue is the poor siting of the place itself, but that is another matter).

Consider this:

  • If you were a small prepper group without adequate security, without anyone on sentry, without a way of stopping/checking approaching vehicles, how would you stop a similar thing happening to you?
  • Even a poorly trained force trained in ‘tacticool’ stand up tactics can rapidly overwhelm an unprepared defense if they hit with speed, aggression and surprise.

If you are the attacking force, and the enemy is even half able to defend itself, consider this:

Support by Fire Position:

  • Use the overwatch position where the camera was filming from, or a similar place, as a support by fire position. Use a mix, if you can get the weapons, of support machine guns and designated marksmen.
  • If you can get close like the assault truck did, then consider not having the support by fire position open up until the attack starts. However, if you are compromised on the approach and lose surprise, you have the support by fire position to open up and cover the rest of your route in.
  • If you know you cannot approach close without being sussed, start the attack with the support by fire position opening up to suppress the position, then move in, whether by foot or by vehicle, on the best covered approach.

Assault Group:

  • If you go for a simple on line style attack like these guys did, you should at least fire and move, even if that is ‘pepper potting’ in your buddy pairs within the overall skirmish line. This will allow for better suppression as you move through the objective, more accurate support fire, and will reduce some of the almost fratricide moments that happen in the video (muzzle awareness!)
  • In the video, they got away with it due to the almost non existent resistance. You have to expect more from the enemy. Have a better plan, where you will fight up to a specific objective and grenade the buildings. This attack only worked because there was no defense, it was a simple slaughter.
  • Utilize a good angle, ninety degrees, between your support by fire and your assault groups. Even if you just took two designated marksmen and put them on top of the hill, that would be a good way to take out any stubborn defenders. Then, assuming we had 10 men total in the force, not including the driver, we now have two 4 man fire teams. You can maneuver those groups onto specific objectives/assault the buildings, or simply fight through as 4 buddy pairs on line.

If you think about it, if you assault from the truck, or you creep up a nearby wadi, if you suddenly emerge in a skirmish line, supported by an overwatch support by fire position, then you are best not to immediately run through the objective. Particularly if it is in any way defended. Get as close as you can then go static in your on line assault formation. Then, using accurate fire from a prone position, in conjunction with the overwatch position, light up the objective to suppress it and kill as many as are in the open. Then, commence maneuver onto and fight through the objective, in whatever way you consider best for the situation.

If you skirmish through on line in buddy pairs, then you still need coordination to halt the line while objective buildings are grenaded.

The principles of attack are as follows:

  • Seek surprise.
  • Maintain security.
  • Seize key terrain or targets vital to influencing perceptions.
  • Achieve superiority of fires and other effects.
  • Exploit maneuver.
  • Concentrate the effects of force or the threat of force.
  • Plan to exploit success.
  • Keep it simple.

If I think of anything else, I’ll update it. That seems a pretty rapid summary.

Live Hard.

Die Free.