Incompetence-R-US-MC in Hue City in 1968
This horrific video from Vietnam's 1968 Battle for Hue City ("We had to destroy the city in order to save it") shows typical, sloppy American marines sitting on their asses, riding in unarmored wheeled trucks along easily ambushed roads, bunching up together ("clusterfucking"), poorly camouflaged, showing non-existent and at best piss-poor urban techniques...has ANYTHING changed from then to today?
Is it a surprise the dumb U.S. marines took HEAVY CASUALTIES rooting out a mere 400 enemy men with AKMs and RPGs? And this only took place at all because we had 106mm recoilless rifles on jeeps and Ontos light tanks....
...things we don't even have today....is it a surprise that we make I-love-me videos firing ineffective bullets going into thick walls of empty cities like Fallujah, Iraq? Notice NO ONE is in these buildings firing back! Some "combat", huh?
U.S. Army Fallujah Ineffective Urban Firepower Video
Stupid marine Ineffective Urban Firepower Video
The non-linear enemy has done his homework (doesn't spend time in gym or in formation runs in sports attire PT in a "From Here to Eternity" garrison racket) and adapted to urban warfare; we are still unable to master basic individual Soldier field-craft and light mechanized force structure with the proper high explosive (HE) weapons to penetrate buildings!
The dumbass braggert marines retired their M50 Ontos light tankettes with 106mm recoilless rifles as soon as they were yanked out of Vietnam due to incompetence-created heavy casualties....they bothered the weak foot-slogger rifleman's ego....
...only the U.S. Army today have thousands of M113 Gavin light tanks able to be upgraded to be small, agile urban war troop carriers and fire support tankettes---WHAT RIGHT LOOKS LIKE is still a possibility--in America's Army; the USMC is hopelessly in love with bloated amtracks and wheeled trucks for inept foot-sloggers to die in.
The real "spirit of the age" we live in is not juvenile wonderment over the "information highway" for the vast majority of the people alive today, its despair. (9) The world-wide media village we live in has shown us all in real-time that "death is around the corner". Car wrecks. Floods. Famines. Earthquakes. Why parachute from a real plane and risk life and limb when you can do it safe from a computer game? Not only has computers offered us vicarious stimulation they've offered us the power to build bigger cities so more people can earn higher wages and live more comfortably. As these rising expectations meet larger, more inefficient bureaucracies bogged down by computers (think the U.S. Army's ATRRS system) people living in concentrated areas will lash out by increased stress with family neglect-abuse, alcoholism, drug use, car accidents, crime (10) and WAR against factions within countries.
While people may be less willing to "Dolce decorum est" for a patriotic national war, the levels of internal sub-national conflicts may be so great that the differences will be irrelevant. Downtown Beirut or Sarajevo, Bosnia looks as bad as any WWII bombed city ever did. People start wars, and people live in cities. Martin Van Crevald is closer to the truth when he calls this "4th Generation War"-or non-trinitarean war: which has nothing to do with nation-states fighting for Clausewitzian-style decisive battle victories. 4th Generation war is between sub-national ethnic, religious and political groups, and plain old crime enterprises. Real 4th Generation war is a battle directly to win the hearts and minds of today's jaded citizen who only wants to "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow he must die". Modern war is closer to Sun Tzu's model than Clausewitz's. More on this later.
"WE'LL RIDE IN A BIG ARMORED VEHICLE AND FIGHT MECHANIZED WAR USING ALL OUR HIGH TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY"
Complicating the matter is the U.S. military's embrace of Tofflerian thinking which basically digitalizes WWII type maneuver forces over rural, open battlefields when each day the room to conduct an armored fighting vehicle "stampede" decreases more and more. By not realizing that there isn't open maneuver room and fixed "front" and "rear" areas we have hordes of vehicles and men that are road bound or move at a pedestrian pace that think they are safe when they can be made into "mobility kills" by a mere burst of small arms-RPG fire. This is also assuming we can get 33-ton and 70-ton AFVs to the battlefield before the enemy, already in place and in position-- gobbles up his neighbor.
We still defend from forward slopes in order to mass fire on the enemy as if its "a gunfight in the open streets of Dodge City" when sensors are increasingly covering the battlefield and the key is to avoid detection at all costs, then to ambush with surprise fire from reverse slope or minimum defilade positions. We forget that "Blitzkrieg" died in the streets of Stalingrad in WWII. Placing men in (Armored Fighting Vehicles) AFVs is part of the answer but not the complete answer-we haven't yet figured out the "2d Wave" industrial age battlefield swept by automatic weapons and we are already trying to tackle "information warfare". This also as perilous a mistake as trying to carry everything in your rucksack and fight on foot. Cities and closed terrain are the death for AFV-only maneuver as Chechnya shows. We need to develop a coherent formula for mechanical advantage in these increasingly urban battle areas at the same time that we improve intellectual means. General Tucker called it the "traditional siege train" all good armies had them; Alexander, the Roman Legions, how about us? The Germans didn't have a well-thought-through siege capability and look what Tobruk, Stalingrad, and Bostogne did to them...they lost the war at these battle sites. Combining distant supporting arms (air and artillery) didn't save the day for the Wermacht and didn't extricate Task Force Ranger in the Bakara market. The solution begins at ground level not "passing the buck" to another combat arm or service to solve immediate battlefield problems.
"The lack of integration and cooperation between our Infantry and Armor led to our eventual downfall"-GEN Von Toma, 1945
The world's most respected expert On Infantry, in his book by the same name, John English said the Blitzkrieg's individual parts were not that good-if not brought together by terrain limitations-then it all fell on the infantryman with bolt-action Mauser rifles and no winter clothes was unready for the bitter Russian winter and the fortress cities of Leningrad and Stalingrad. Is it a wonder our Airland Battle Soldiers were unready for Somalia? "A Chain is only as strong as its weakest link". Its time we made all links strong.
THE "ICAREAN" WORLD WE LIVE IN
Another insight of General Tucker's book is its description that our world runs by AIR-this is even more so than in 1945. Despite marine corps wishful thinking and desperation to buy a tilt-rotor airplane which admits this truth, America is an AIR power not a sea power.
usmc has placed all its institutional hopes on the Osprey---a mechanical gadget to be a quasi-AIRborne force instead of empowering its men to be resourceful, self-reliant warriors: Paratroopers
(11) Study of the last 2 decades of conflict have shown that U.S. AIRborne-not seaborne forces have dominated and decided the battlefield to the chagrin of the mcEgotists and why General Tucker's book is not widely discussed and quoted within the mc! The world today moves by thoughts-images sent by satellite signals-instantaneous to the entire world. If policy makers see a potential threat they want it erased within hours not days, weeks and months by a "slow boat to China". This means Airborne forces which General Tucker explains must mean ALL forces not just a 82nd Airborne Division that seizes the initial air-beachhead. The "All Americans" have proven time and time again they can do much more.
True Airborne warfare attacks directly at the interior of a nation at its critical center of gravity, not at predictable borders/coasts. We neglect the Airborne of our country when we relegate it to seizing airfields instead of insuring it remains a complete combined arms team with air-droppable AFVs with shock-producing assault guns to overcome buildings and bunkers as well as that "export model T-72 tank". The Airborne force maneuvers deep into a capital city, avoids battle with security forces, minimizes civilian damage and destroy the enemy's center of gravity: often the ruling junta and palace guard hiding behind the citizenry. The invasion of Panama is a vivid blueprint of how all forces of the U.S. Army could be "Airborne" and is proof we can do it right. We must be "light enough to get there", and once there "heavy enough to win" actually doing what former McCommandant, Alfred M. Gray bragged about.
If South Korea's ports/airfields are over-run by North Korean light infantry-Special Forces then we must be able to move within hours to a rural setting, then probably maneuver into an urban area and fight from there as a strongpoint to buy time and eventually throw-out an invader already positioned and massed for a run to the southern end of the peninsula within a few day's march.
THE FIX: BEGINS WITH AIRBORNE WARFARE
The entire world is reachable by AIR: there is no place to hide from air "attack". We begin fighting the enemies of peace pyschologically with cultural attacks. The greatest strategist, Sun Tzu said; "the epitome of war fighting is to win without fighting a battle" (11) He instructs us that even in victorious fighting there is a loss of material and men. Therefore we should attack the violent foundations of Islam with the truth that their own religion preaches in spots non-violence, before they buy a nuclear surface-to-surface ballistic missile capability. Attack the despair of modern man with the truth that we are all made in God's image, though fallen, have unconditional self-worth. Return to Judaeo-Christian foundations that taught us to study the creation for technological insights and use what we know to live in peace with God and fellow men by striving to build earth-friendly cities habited by people not bent on selfish egotism or consumerism.
The hope that our law giver will return and to be good stewards in the meantime is the true foundation of Western Civilization not the vain democracies of pagan Greece and Rome. Our greatness began at the Reformation with the elevation of the law as king, not the "king as law". We'll end up like our pagan predecessors if we keep trying to emulate them instead of returning to a constitutionally-based Republic of citizens in self-control. Each one of us is simultaneously a fallen being in need of a close relationship with Jesus Christ the "C" in our world-view. We cannot build a utopia on the earth, we can have a significant peace and perform significant explorations of the world around us to include colonizing into space; let this quest replace war to try to take more from a neighbor. Build more, find more.
Failing this, America must be the "world's policeman" for to "whom much is given, much is required". We have no right to self-indulgently consume 1/2 the world's resources as the rest of the world dies/starves. "Well those ragheads have only themselves to blame". Those "ragheads" defeated some of Americas best Soldiers not too long ago when they forgot that nylon-cotton battle dress uniform (BDU) clothing doesn't stop bullets.
Even our enemies are to be respected as cunning human beings who can defeat even the mighty U.S. Army if the latter isn't humbler and harder working. True leadership and LOVE turns our enemies into our friends. We have better things to do than to kill each other, explore space or the underseas. Build cities and homes resistant to the coming natural forces of nature. We did it in Panama by not annihilating the PDF, in Haiti by seeking a surrender by massed Airborne forces en route, and are doing the same in Bosnia. A lot of people whined selfishly about going to Bosnia but it was and still is the right thing to do. We just have to get better at doing it. America is great because she is GOOD. The minute she stops being good, watch out.
THE NEW "PHALANX" TO OVERCOME THE ANARCHY IN CITIES
"Armored forces really work well in MOUT. Use them. In all three rotations, the city fight turned when the armor showed up in Shughart-Gordon Village"
Failing this, we need an Airborne Army like Generals Stiner and Thurman's Operation Just Cause that can rapidly deploy to the enemy's center of gravity and defeat his Army, capture his antagonistic leaders or both- and nip conflict in the "bud" by coup de main not battles of annihilation. This force must have protection- a new "Phalanx" of Soldiers who move from Assault zones (any area of farm land used to grow food crops that troops can parachute into, land by helicopter or fixed-wing STOL aircraft) to cities in light armored vehicles (M113A3s) with auto-cannon and large-caliber building/obstacle/bunker reducing recoilless rifles and RPG-resistant applique armor. (12)
The M113A3 force maneuvers via unpredictable directions over swamps, marshes, obstacle, glass, rubble, helicopter sling-load transport maximizing the 11-ton vehicle's (weighs same as 22,000 lbs. trucks so "not enough airlift" excuse will not wash) amazing all-purpose mobility to get into leveraging positions. A full squad of 9-13 troops in the M113A3 stand and face outward with gunshield mounted weapons for situational awareness and return fire capability unlike the M2A2 Bradley IFV's puny 6-man infantry "squad" that is closed in with only 2 firing ports to the rear. The U.S. Army has 1,600 up-engined M113A3s that have a greater power-to-weight ratio than the Bradley yet the 82d Airborne Division ready to jump into battle in 18 hours has none.
More info on the M113A3
Other forces move quickly, silently by parachute and stealth-modified, silenced helicopters to small insertion points, then converge into road block positions to snare fleeing enemy leaders using air-droppable 10-inch wide fat-tire Extreme Terrain Mountain Bikes (ETBs).
More info on Parachute Light Bicycle Infantry
(13) Dismounted troops move rapidly on foot (4-7 mph) by speed march training created by a 6 mile full TA-50 test being added to the Army APFT.
Heavy supplies, ammunition, 120mm, 81mm mortars, 7.62mm Medium Machine Guns are TOWED in UT 2000 All-Terrain All-purpose Carts (ATACs) which are two backpack frames that join to make a stokes-type litter for medical evacuation with all-terrain wheels for ground transport. Terrain unpassable by rolling conveyance has the UT 2000's load broken into manpack frames for foot march. The UT 2000 can be towed hands-free or by small AT vehicles.Click here for info on the ATAC
The Israeli Defense Force uses the "Speed March" to converge on enemies from a stand-off where their insertion helicopter's signature doesn't spoil the chances for surprise. IDF Paratroops can go 100 kilometers in 24 hours. WWII U.S. Army Darby's Rangers could go 10 miles in 87 mutes; almost 7 mph on foot. (14) This multi-faceted mobility reduces exposure to enemy mortar/artillery fire.
Each Soldier wears a "Thellie" camouflage suit that provides optical camouflage and passive infared ("thermal" sights) invisibility from enemy detection. More on THELLIE camo
These shock troops wear a rifle-caliber resistant body armor backed by a Rifleman's Gun Shield (RGS) on the end of shoulder weapons so projectiles are deflected away BEFORE reaching the body. RGS gives enough frontal cover so troops can fire & maneuver on the enemy even in the open and facilitate aimed fire to regain fire superiority if pinned down. He carries several compact M72 E-series LAW rockets to blast stubborn building targets with volley fire; this tactic used by British Paras in the Falklands War and continually against us by our enemies using RPGs. The "rocket raid" effect proposed by LTC Michael Harris in the November-December 1996 Infantry magazine is made possible by a pyrotechnic that simulates rocket firings in training so empty LAW, AT4, SMAW-D tubes get taken seriously; are practiced being aimed/fired by individual Soldiers whose fires are factored into leader's tactical concepts and not just stay strapped to the rucksack. Each man is also a Grenadier with a pouch full of rifle-grenadesblast a vehicle, shoot flechettes at swarming enemies, air-burst in a room etc. OSHA regulations have kept the U.S. Army from adopting the bullet-trap/thru rifle grenades.
Each Soldier carries only a minimum of life support materials: he has organic Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) skills via a basic training with the obsolete 19th Century parade ground Drill & Ceremony removed and a hand-pump operated ROWPU (Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit) so he can "live off the land" if need be. The mindless harassment that ridicules the individual Soldier is replaced by tough, realistic training that builds a thinking, seeing obedience so he is a resilient young lion who can "take charge" and gain the initiative on the 21st Century battlefield not a usmc-type "compliant sheep" lost without someone telling what to do every second of the day. He sleeps in a lightweight sleeping bag (NSN 8405-01-H77-9567) that has a head hole and unzips so he can man a weapon or surveillance device, react quickly to enemy attack without being stuck inside that weighs just 2.5 pounds and into his buttpack. His Meals Ready to-Eat (MRE) have a "Micro-hygiene" capability built in; his plastic spoon has a toothbrush end for oral hygiene after each meal to deter against biological agent and diseases from killing/weakening him and reducing combat power. The opposite handle end has rails so a shaving cartridge can be slipped on for eliminating facial hair for an air-tight seal of the protective mask to protect against NBC attack. A small packette of multi-use soap comes inside for use as toothpaste, shaving cream, hand soap, shampoo and body soap. His rucksack is a "logpack" carrying only extra ammo, food (MREs), clothing, water not his "mobile home" full of comfort items wed to his back like a "turtle shell" and robbing him of his mobility to where at less than 1-2 mph the Third World Country irregular infantryman "run circles" around him attacking and running away at will. Empty rucksacks are collected and taken en masse back to the logistical points for refilling of vital supplies and airdropped back to the men without regard to individual ownership/time delay.
Barricades-road blocks must be breached by shock action. M113A3s mount plentiful M40A2 106mm Recoilless Rifles in-stock, awaiting a use, towed howitzers all have gunshields to blast enemies hiding in urban terrain pinpointed by forward scouts, LRSU, Special Forces Special Reconnaissance Teams and/or agile unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly quietly within cities. HUMINT (HUMan INTelligence) will be vital in order to determine who are the "bad guys".
While the future of war is "Airborne", even forward deployed amphibious units of the marine corps could contribute by:
Buying 90mm or 105mm Assault Gun turrets and mounting them on LAVs as a strategic asset of the U.S. to airdrop with the 82nd Airborne Division for forced entries and to be on air-contingency alert for Special Operations Command in addition to MEU-SOC rotations. Or U.S. Army MP ASVs could mount 90mm guns for building and bunker-busting shock action in a rapidly urbanizing world on a vehicle chassis that can be air-delivered to the fight, not wait for a port or airfield to become available for 33-ton IFVs, or 70-ton MBTs. Even a surplus M40A2 106mm Recoilless Rifle mounted on a LAV, armored HMMWV or Para-Gator vehicle. For the money the usmc burns up each year in crashed aircraft that are useless in a close-in city fight, we could buy a battalion of M8 Armored Gun Systems that would last for decades like the M551 Sheridans they would replace and give us 105mm main gun, direct fire SHOCK ACTION.
Buy Wiesel lightweight Armored Fighting Vehicles to use with the CV-22 Osprey not an unarmored "dune buggy", even a "stealthy" electric one years away from fielding. We must break the "foot slog" and "hand-weapons" only paradigm that is assumed to be inevitable with air mobile forces. The Germans and Russians have "broke the mold", why not us? The Wiesel is just small enough to fit into the Osprey or can be made to fit with cooperation from the manufacturer, Mak in Germany. Wiesels can fit 20-30mm auto-cannon, TOW II ATGMs, 120mm mortars and long versions 4 infantrymen.
More on the Future Tank
Helicopters and cities do not mix well: the Russians know this, we dont. Air Supremacy-not just superiority of the low-level airspace (Under 500 feet) will be a key to the urban battlefield. This airspace must be cleared for Airborne operations using ultra low-altitude parachutes like the Irvin LLP used by the British Airborne down to 250 feet; these parachutes should have the reserve integral to the back so only rucksack/weapons case clutters the jumper exiting the plane. A reduced volume parachute increases the jumpers that can be carried per plane; 80 in the C-130 instead of 64. Having deployment bags detach with the canopy frees the plane of dozens of d-bags dragging behind, so they can be pulled in by just the USAF loadmasters, so the 2 Army jump safeties can also jump in for 2 extra shooters per plane on the ground for the battle below. More on the T-21 parachute
Armored Assault Helicopters like the UH-60 Blackhawk must have smoke grenade launchers to mask themselves from enemy fire as they land or stay hovering for fast rope-rappel troop insertions. Specially modified Blackhawks with fog oil that is added to their turbine engines should lay down smoke screens on the flanks of incoming helicopter formations for protection while operating over cities. Its former Soviet doctrine taught throughout the Third World to position automatic weapons, RPGs, AAA, SAMs on rooftops in anticipation of Western helicopter troop assaults. (18) Clearly another choice is needed.
At ground-level, troops are taught to take buildings "from the top down". With helicopter transport to the rooftop an "iffy" proposition that can become untenable after surprise has worn off, they need to be able to use grapnels, etriers and jumar mechanical ascenders to reach the top or specific floors in between. Lead climbers must be coded positions within every infantry unit and sent to ARNG Mountain Warfare School in Vermont to acquire these skills. Since over 42% of the world has mountain/cold weather regions that populations are moving into to inhabit, lets encourage our Soldiers to go to MWS by rewarding graduates with a "Mountain" tab and/or "Ram's Head" badge. Caving and "spelunking" skills will be vital to ferret out enemies fighting underground in subways, tunnels etc. All troops must wear fire-resistant nomex BDUs riding in air/ground vehicles and assaulting built-up areas.
Before this "surgical" siege/assault force attacks, friendly civilians are encouraged to leave by U.S. Army PYSOP unit leaflet drops to collect at a nearby Displaced Civilian (DC) camp airdropped by Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles into the outskirts of the city that is built and manned by U.S. Army Civil Affairs Paratroops. The DC camp would be built near a water source on defendable terrain as key civilian individuals with skills to rebuild their city after the fighting stops are identified/protected with their families. DC movement can clog the streets to deny the enemy forces maneuver keeping innocents out of "harm's way" and on our side.
An extremely important lesson is to bring fire fighting equipment to prevent destruction of urban areas from structure fires. Ever since Julius Caeser's Roman legions burned down the library at Alexandria, Egypt, forces attacking cities invariably burn down what they sought to capture. Fire must be a key "environmental" factor included in our tactical, operational and strategic planning; and included in manuals like FM 100-5 Operations. Think of the tragedy at Waco, the city blocks burned in Panama City, the SLA shoot-out in LA, or the disastrous assault on MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia which started a fire that burned down an entire city block. Its time we study fire fighting with urban warfighting. This task and rapidly deployable fire fighting equipment should be developed by U.S. Army Combat Engineers for war and natural-man-made disasters due to unpredictable changes in weather/population patterns.
Many of the Third World's urbanization is out of control with highly flammable, unsafe "shanty towns" going up on the edges of cities. Mexico City is an example of a large 7 million+ population at risk. (19) Use pump modules that fit on 5-ton trucks used for fire fighting on Navy ships.
Go to Part III of the Pattern of War
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