SOF 2000: ANALYSIS OF THE FLOTILLA 13 IDF NAVAL COMMANDO RAID IN LEBANON...
By Mike Sparks
James Bond is For Real
This web page will discuss how free world dismounted infantry that is bureaucratic is fatally inept and constantly suffering casualties on Non-Linear Battlefields (NLBs). It will also scrutinize the professional infantries of elite units and their tendancy to over-estimate their ability to infiltrate and exfiltrate on foot and to offer solutions to both mission sets.
BIG ARMY MENTALITY
The main body of a nation-state's army has to win the entire war; be it against other nation-states (s) or sun-national conflict groups. In linear war, the enemy is cleared out and pushed in front of friendly forces creating a "front line" that can be pierced by focus of main effort force that can grab terrain creating a "bulge" that the units on the left and right have to push forward to straighten the line or else it could be cut-off by the enemy as we did to the Germans in the famous "Battle of the Bulge" in WW2. If done well, the maneuver force can race all the way to the nation-state's capital city and take it, collapsing the enemy government as Airborne/Light/Light mechanized forces did skillfully in Panama in 1989 and brilliantly by the mechanized U.S. Army in Iraq in 2003 but betrayed by the ineptitude of the foot-slogging USMC who still thinks we are fighting linear WW2. Or we can not focus our forces and push everywhere in a broad front --which is no strategy or tactics at all--like General Eisenhower did in ETO in WW2 which prolonged the war for the Rockefeller Illuminati military-industrial complex (MILINDCOMP) that wanted to maximize their war materiel' profits and give their creation, the 3rd Reich Nazis the maximum time to escape and start the 4th Reich here in North and South America.
Opinions differ as to how to look at infantry on foot. One way is to view them as "dismounted" which implies they should be mounted in motor vehicles at some point. While I agree that ALL infantry should have mechanical advantage devices to "mount", there are idiots out there that want to foot-slog everywhere on our still very large Planet Earth so to be accurate on foot they can be viewed as "foot-mobile" or "foot sloggers" if they are either speedy or overburdened. I agree with U.S. Army Paratrooper pioneer LTG James Gavin that regardless of whether one is on foot or not, infantry is a MANEUVER FORCE--not a clean-out and sit-on-its-ass "seize & hold" POSITIONAL force that creates lines and bases that the Army and USMC bureaucracies want from their lemmings. To get inspired MANEUVER it requires inspired leaders and empowered men as seen in Army Paratroopers, British Commandos or WW2 German infantry that was given mission orders and organized itself around the personality of their battlegroup leaders which carried the day many times like on Crete.
You may ask WHY BE ON FOOT, EVER?
That's a good question and the answer is that there are about 10% of the Earth's surface that even light tracked tanks cannot EASILY traverse and men on foot need to fight there if enemy resistance cannot be defeated by bypass. However, of that 10% only 1% is really "NO-GO" terrain that light tracked tanks cannot traverse AT ALL; the other 9% can be crossed with difficulty and need of close-in infantry protection from Saving Private Ryan-style attacks.
We need self-contained MANEUVER units with their own combined-arms elements together to fight non-linear wars to seize key objectives and not get bogged down creating lines on the ground. We do not have the entire nation mobilized in a draft to fight linear wars. The Russian VDV Airborne is an example of the light mechanized infantry maneuver forces we need to become in order to prevail on the NLB as they proved recently in Georgia in 2006. Light mechanized infantry is a defacto CAVALRY by another name--we lack due to our bureaucratic weak egos that want lemming homogenization that resist an "extraordinary" force that compliments the "ordinary" force. We need a 3D maneuver force that maneuvers over and through closed terrain and makes first contact with the enemy that compliments 2D maneuver forces maneuvering over open terrain. We call it "Air-Mech-Strike" (AMS) the egotistical and disrespectful-to-innovators Army staff in order to not have to admit we are right, calls it "Mounted Vertical Maneuver" (MVM). A rose is a rose.
Depending on whether professionals or bureaucrats are calling the shots, determining operations, infantry can either be maneuvering or holding. HOW it does this; the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP) is the subject of this web page.
"BIG ARMY" foot movement fighting TTP is criminally negligent in the USMC and outstandsing in the U.S. Army. The USMC has a 13-man rifle squad that has 3 fireteams of 4 men that together is an unwieldy mob that crashes into the terrain and enemy suffering needless casualties. It's based on WW2 where after debarking from landing craft and spread apart as far possible so one Japanese mortar or artillery burst doesn't kill them all, many of the men would be killed as cannon fodder. Out of 13 maybe 50% would survive to hold a beach head LINE. The 3 fireteams each have a FireTeam Leader (FTL) that is not positioned on point like in the Army 9-man squad, but absurdly BACK one level such that he is constantly looking BACK at the Squad Leader (SL) who is steering the herd in his INTERNALLY desired direction. After getting his cues from the SL, the 3 FTLs then relay signals and cues to THEIR 3 rifleman/scout pointmen who are constantly having to look BACK when they should be only focused ahead on the terrain and enemy. This means that 6 men out of 13 are FOCUSED INTERNALLY and BACK at what the bureaucracy dictates; REALITY BE DAMNED. If you doubt this, get-off-your-ass (GOYA) and find 12 other buddies and go into the field and try the USMC 13-man squad clusterfuck. You will be spending all your time and energy maintaining pretty formations and struggling to retain control than skillfully maneuvering on anyone. That this 13-man clusterfuck was used in places like Korea and Vietnam where skilled and precision movement was required explains why the USMC could not defeat the VC/NVA in maneuver battle but had to go-to-ground and call for artillery or air strikes to avoid being annihilated. Of course when confronted with these field craft FACTS, the dishonest HQMC bureaucracy will not reorganize into more tactically sensible Army-style 9-man squads that can fire & maneuver with skill, because they think Congress will cut their man-slots and budget. This selfish bureaucratic bullshit is disgusting. Take the excess 3rd fireteam out of each squad and assemble together into a WEAPONS SQUAD that actually has some High Explosive (HE) shock action with Amerikanski RPGs and operates high-technology, M113 AmphiGavins that can be C-130 and CH-53E/K flown OVER sea mines the USN refuses to clear to be their cross-country mobile maneuver means inland.
However, the rifleman egotistical, malignant narcissist USMC wants to continue to foot-slog in huge WW2-style clusterfucks and keep on suffering casualties in places like Iraq/Afghanistan due to their stupidity which they can con the American poublic and congress that they are somehow "heroic" to keep their incompetent war racket going. This is why the USMC should be disbanded and a real Naval Maneuver Force (NMF) be formed from within the U.S. Army so we have seamlerss and competent Airborne-Amphibious warfare.
In contrast is the fantastic U.S. Army 9-man infantry squad that has two FIGHTING FTLs who are on POINT, focused on both the terrain and enemy that the other 3 men in their teams follow-by-example. The FTLs only need to look back at the SL for land navigation steering and tactical decisions; only 2 men out of 9 so distracted; the other 7 men are ALERT and READY. If the enemy is encountered, they don't have to sit and WAIT FOR ORDERS; each Army Soldier has Individual Movement Techniques (IMT) built into them so they can advance in the face of enemy fire if cover is nearby or if concealment is made by smokescreen.
The Army Squad Leader because he actually has CONTROL over his men can employ TTP like fire & maneuver or fire & movement that the USMC herd only TALKS about doing. TTP like overwatch and bounding overwatch are absent from the USMC playbook due to the impractical size of having 3 fireteam in the latter's squad. The 9-man Army squad is excellent and sound for either Nation-State Wars (NSWs) or Sub-National Conflicts (SNCs) maximizing individual initiative and small unit team work.
LITTLE ARMY MENTALITY
Special Operations Forces (SOF) have missions where they AVOID enemy strengths and refuse battle employing STEALTH in order to reach important targets that the main body couldn't reach by overt struggle. The SOF paradigm of infiltrating IN to kill/capture/destroy by placing HE charges onto targets is a WW2 TTP that in modern times has been proven unrealistic. High Value targets (HVTs) are going to be HEAVILY DEFENDED by rings of security forces. MAYBE a SOF can get IN to kill/capture/destroy but it's unwise and unrealistic to expect to SNEAK OUT. Once the battle begins, enemy forces could converge on and surround SOF as what befell the tank-less Army Rangers and Delta Force in Mogadishu in 1993. The answer is for SOF being able to FIGHT ITS WAY OUT by going in with their own stealthy, light tracked tanks.
The disastous Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Naval Commando raid in Lebanon on September 5, 1997 is yet another warning to free world SOF how fragile surprise is and that the time has come to mend our ways. Our own amphibious commandos ran into the same difficulties at Punta Paitilla Airport in Panama years ago, suffering also a dozen casualties. How often must history repeat itself before we learn? The negative experiences of British Commandos at St. Nazaire and at Dieppe contrasted to the positive success of Sapper Tanks AKA "Hobart's Funnies" on D-Day should have warned us to light mechanize our SOF long ago.
The infiltration paradigm...
Flotilla 13 has been able to operate clandestinely for years off the Lebanese coast without combat losses. This is not unlike our own naval SOF operating for years off world coasts in intense training exercises that can seem to validate your tactics; as long as noone shoots back at you. If you can sneak in, do your recon or place your charges without being detected, then your force structure is not tested and seems ok. This is exactly what the IDF Naval Commandos intended to do since it was reported that demolition charges they were carrying went off when they were hit by enemy gunfire.
The SOF infiltration attack is not working for a number of reasons; first off is that National Command Authorities (NCA) are seeing SOF infiltration attacks as low-risk, politically deniable means to attack a desirable target. Desirable targets, like terrorist leaders will be heavily defended. Like USN SEALs and Noriega's escape plane in Panama, the IDF Commandos ran into a "hornets nest"-enemy security troops hugging the ground or behind barricades resistant to small arms fire in ambush--security positions waiting for a threat. This is exactly what befell U.S. Army Rangers in Mogadishu, Somalia when they snuck in by helicopter fast rope, but were unable to exfiltrate out. Previous helicopter rooftop assaults helped prepare the Somalis to mass small arms-rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire onto the hovering helicopters on attempt #6.
For Somalia details click the downed Blackhawk picture
IDF Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) flew for several days before the raid, alerting terrorists that IDF military action was being planned. The enemy is not stupid.
A SOF infiltration attack force sent in alone, detected, EVERY ENEMY UNIT in the area can converge and gang-up on the now detected SOF unit. Even a SOF infiltration attack as part of a larger invasion, as the SEAL TEAM platoon that went into Punta Paitilla, enemy forces weren't tied down to give at least local superiority on the ground to fight their way out.
The point is---for SF direct action attacks to be launched the targets have to be important enough to be destroyed--which means they are likely to be heaviliy defended. If they are defended in 360 degree concentric rings of security, its going to take more than infiltration means to even get at the target; adding more shooters---even an entire Ranger Battalion as was tried in 1993 Somalia or 1943 Cisterna in WWII is not going to overcome this enemy resistance, either. The problem is not the QUANTITY of the SOF force its the QUALITY of the SOF force, not the men's toughness or biceps size, but their approach to the battlefield problem, hubris aside. Its a FORCE STRUCTURE and MENTALITY problem, in another words a paradigm must be changed. Heavily defended targets require SHOCK ACTION just to be reached, then destroyed. We do not create SHOCK ACTION when our men become pinned down, bleeding casualties asking for extraction. As sensors and night vision devices proliferate, the ability of SOF to infiltrate becomes ever questionable; prudent force planning would demand that means to fight in and out are already on the scene to still complete the mission WITH FORCE if and WHEN stealth fails. The IDF Naval Commandos were not ready to complete the mission by force if their stealth failed and they paid for it in 12 lives lost.
Over-relying on physical fitness: the foot-slog paradigm...
Moving on its feet, heavily burdened with heavy rucksacks filled with plastic explosives to be placed directly against the target requires the SOF unit to get very close to a target when it is at best moving at 1-4 mph. Getting through that last 300 meters (effective small arms fire range) to reach the target is suicidal if you cannot quietly take out all the enemy sentries and security forces along the way: why are we doing it? The British SAS patrol, Bravo Two-Zero in the Gulf War was helicoptered into the desert and from their OP saw SCUD missiles a couple miles away that they were going to the next morning launch a foot infiltration attack against: across the open desert? Detected by civilians before, if they hadn't the likely result would have been them caught in the open fighting to get close to emplace their demolition charges onto typical SCUD Transport Erector Launchers (TELs) which can be have Nuclear, Biological, Chemical warheads and then considered weapons of mass destruction (MWD) are strategic targets that must be knocked out.
Foot-slogging, SOF is at a disadvantage to more mobile enemies equipped with armored vehicles trying to close to hand emplace demolition charges, exposing them to at least effective small-arms fire that can cut them to pieces. This low foot mobility also causes their motor-driven delivery craft to have to place them close to if not on the objective, further risking the men by the enemy detecting the former's noise, heat and dust signatures. To create a stealthful stand-off, the men end up marching all night from insertion point, leaving them little nighttime concealment to dig in a well camouflaged hide site and rest up before launching a foot-mobile attack before daylight arrives and the area is teeming with enemies, and civilians.
SOF needs better transportation means than just its feet if it wants to be successful on the 21st Century battlefield. It will need to realize that targets need to be able to be destroyed from a safe stand-off using longer range weapons than just hand-emplaced demolitions charges. That ground can be controlled by fire---from a distance if need be----that you don't have to physically be sitting on a piece of terrain to control it. Men against fire: the "bullet-sponge" paradigm....Look around. When special operations infantry (men on their feet) gets into a firefight.... when we are shooting at an enemy and he at us, we take casualties. The recent IDF Naval Commando raid where 12 men were wiped out, our 18 dead Rangers and Delta operators in Somalia, even our 4 SEALs killed, 8 wounded on the tar mac at Punta Paitilla airport trying to push a light plane to block a runway and hand emplace demolitions charges onto Noriega's Learjet during Operation JUST CAUSE show that we just do not get it, even all these years after Vietnam. That exposed men moving against enemy fire will become casualties.... Our weary response is to increase the SIZE of the SOF force to keep on with the mission with hopefully enough surviving shooters by having one part of the squad use its FIRE to act as a sort of "shield" for another fragment to regain maneuver, get into a decisive killing position on the enemy and if we are lucky, prevail. Our luck has been running out more and more, each year, as weapons lethality increases. This is a recipe for disaster. My associates and I call this the SLAM "Bullet-sponge" paradigm. For this is nothing more than S.L.A. Marshall's, Men against Fire approach to the battlefield in 1990s form; a stopgap to get by and win WWII, and Korea but with immense casualties-----just one solution, certainly not the best one. Today, in the 21st Century, It simply is not working, gentlemen. Not if we want to keep casualties down, so the National Command Authorities will be willing to launch such attacks.
The "Bullet-sponge" paradigm is no solution unless we are a marching Army of more than one echelon gobbling up terrain from an enemy; eventually the terrain will run out, the enemy will be cornered, fight or surrender. My father fought on Okinawa in WWII; he told me that if a man fell, there was a "second echelon" coming alongside to patch him up and save him, another echelon to recover his weapons, "TA-44" (or whatever they called it then); today there is only the face-the-enemy Soldier; the SOF Soldier fights alone in enemy territory. He has to carry everything he needs to fight. He has lost his mobility. Every Soldier that is hit, anywhere other than a plate of Hard Body Armor like Interceptor or RBA (Ranger Body Armor) becomes a bleeding casualty....a serious wound requires a nearby CLS (Combat Life Saver) to patch, start an IV in him.
2 shooters gone from even a bloated, blundering herd like the marine corps 13-man squad; which is no answer, either. I've dealt first hand with that contraption in my past military life, that basically surrenders the first fireteam to enemy contact, and any possibility of surprise by dictacting maximum (hopefully 15-meter dispersion), a WWII technique of again gobbling up terrain and controlling it as we go, being ready to absorb enemy artillery and mortar fire without being completely wiped out...I remember a 44-man Infantry Officers Course (USMC IOC= Army IOBC) Zodiac F470 Boat raid moving at night on foot in a half-mile long single-file "snake" because some young LT wasn't willing to close his men up more than 5 meters in between and face the wrath of an instructor and ridicule from his peers. There was no stealth by us that night.... The OPFOR spotted us about 100 meters from the shore and we got "waxed". He got the wrath and the peer rejection, as well as his men killed--in training simulation. Had it been real----in a SOF mission the enemy is all around us----- there is no "second echelon" to treat and move wounded Soldiers; our carry-everything by itself SOF force soon stops moving once casualties mount. The SOF force must stop, because to do otherwise surrenders its comrades to certain death by an enemy all around. Why do you think Delta operators Gordon and Shughart had to fast rope in from a helicopter to protect WO Durant?
The SOF Squad, Section, Platoon, Company, Battalion etc. once it has taken enough casualties to become combat ineffective, circles into a defensive perimeter looking for cover from enemy fire, then digs in frantically and calls for help from supporting arms, whoever will come to their aid. This is exactly what has taken place, time and time again. How many more men must die before we wake up and fix this problem? It is all the result of our wishful thinking that it will not happen to my elite SOF force, we are too stealthy etc. and failing that the SLAM "bullet-sponge" paradigm: that we'll somehow accept some casualties and those not under fire will free us with their fire-maneuver. What if no part of our force is free from enemy fire? The encircled force uses its rapidly dwindling supply of bullets as a sort of "shield" to keep the enemy physically away and its own aimed fire from hitting them. The rest is a race against time to see who gives in first. On September 5, the 16-man IDF naval commando force were detected by a motorist when crossing a road, which brought the enemy to fire on them. Cut off from the coast, they called in a helicopter extraction, but as helicopter troops secured a landing zone, it was too late other than to pull out 10 bodies and fly away.
The time has come to examine the entire issue of enemy fire and damn it, come up with AN ANSWER not a wimpy acceptance that "some will be hit" and others will have to move on... SOF cannot operate behind enemy lines like this. My solution to the Men-against-Fire in the 21st Century dilemma: meet the 21st Century U.S. Army SOF Force.....
We first must realize is that surprise is almost everything on the sensor-swept 21st Century battlefield; making the SOF force into an unmanageable "herd" and having an extra 3-4 more shooters will not matter; they'll end up dragging bodies and/or being slaughtered with the others when the stumble into an enemy trap. We need the most combat power we can pack into the most agile infantry units possible before turning into the Marine Corps mob. My studies indicate 4 men are the ideal compromise; 2 is the most stealthiest, 6-7 the limit before becoming noisy. 2 X 4-man fireteams = 8 men with one squad leader and radiotelephone operator= 11 men to do the SLAM thing.. The IDF Naval Commando force used on September 5 was 16-men in size, did this harm its ability to cross a linear danger undetected? It certainly didn't help. The point here is to get shooters into killing positions WITHOUT being detected. This means superior camouflage by a thellie suit that folds ino a buttpack that masks them from thermal (passive infared) and optical detection. Camouflage on the level of a sniper team in ghillie suits.
Use stand-off attack: dont to push your luck...
Stop short of the target; destroy it away from lethal small arms range using manpacked disposable rockets, Anti-tank Guided Missiles, and "smart" mortars and fiber-optic missiles. Get close enough to reach the target to destroy it with your fire, don't play "John Wayne" by trying to throw a satchel charge on top of a target. The British SAS and SBS lauched several devastating raids on Argentine Airfields in this manner during the Falklands war. Destroy the SCUD TEL across the open desert with SOF's own precision guided weapons, or even tripod-mounted, traverse and elevating mechanism controlled precision machine gun fire, and laser-aimed recoilless rifles. Sometimes, just wait. Use minimum defilade and reverse slope hiding positions as our British comrades so skillfully used to evade Argentine detection-artillery fire in the Falklands War. Let the enemy come to us, then ambush him with surprise fire. Well-camouflaged "RECONDO" scouts undetectable by the enemy, signal for the main SOF ambush force to rise up from defilade and ambush the enemy when within range of organic weapons, not sit on the forward slope or obvious roadside direct fire positions that the enemy can clear with infantry action, recon by fire or have mined in advance. The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Amnon Shahak reports his IDF Naval Commandos were hit by remote controlled bombs AKA LAND MINES.
Move faster on our feet than a foot-slog: British Commandos & a holistic field-living load bearing system
That allows us to move like NVA-Viet Cong or Israeli Paratroops or our own WWII Darby's Rangers at 4-7 mph on foot. The 2 mile run in the Army APFT is replaced with a 3 mile down and back "speed march" so our entire Army learns to move fast on its feet so it can offload from air/ground/sea vehicles or parachute harnesses, a distance away from detection by enemy sensors and close rapidly into killing positions.19th Century silly parade ground drill & ceremony in basic training replaced by (Survival Evasion, Resistance, Escape) SERE skills taught by Combat-Survival Instructors (no more asshole Drill Sergeants) so our men can live-off-the-land and live-travel light. We get down first into ambush positions; the technical-tactical edge; as General Depuy said: the side that is down and firing has the advantage over the side up and moving...We up and move quickly or quietly to get into the position of fire advantage first. Make speed-marching a priority over how much weight you can carry in SOF training. The IDF has been successful on numerous occasions using the speed march, and perhaps have been over-relying on it, but at least its is available to them.
Heavily Defended Targets require Shock troops that are able to take some hits and keep going....
Its not clear what level of body armor if any the Flotilla 13 force was wearing in Lebanon on September 5, 1997. At least the Point man of a SOF force most likely to be hit first with enemy fire should wear the best armor and be without rucksack to compensate to be able to look for signs of the enemy by sensors built into his helmet and tracking skills in his head gained by a rejuvenated U.S. Army RECONDO School which rewards you with a skill badge. Get rid of U.S. Army bands to pay for this. Send RECONDO cadre to the world's best tracking-counter-tracking units to gain the needed expertise so we can stop blundering ahead in the woods that gets us detected by the enemy.
Point elements: skilled scouts, dont over-rely on UAVs
The trained SOF RECONDO scout helps achieve surprise against the enemy in the first place to achieve a dominant firing situation, by being the point element in a SOF raiding force as well as being the first on the ambush site providing continuous "eyes on" security so the main body of shooters can get into position safely. We keep LRSUs, Pathfinders and SF SR units to perform similar recon & security functions for larger conventional forces and not be seduced by the siren's song of the painless unmanned sensor doing all our recon for us. UAVs may have betrayed the IDF mission in Lebanon and caused the SOF commando's deaths by forewarning the enemy. Napoleon said: "Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted".
Have PLAN B : If surprise can't be retained PLANS MUST BE IN PLACE TO FIGHT YOUR WAY OUT
U.S. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and IDF Naval Commandos have failed here. Sneak in, yes..thats realistic, but once the shooting starts, no. DIVERSIONS: SOF infiltration attacks should be timed to coincide with conventional attacks to act as diversions to keep enemy forces occupied and away from them in case of detection. The successfully executed Son Tay Raid had naval air drop flares to confuse the enemy while Col. Bull Simons and his Green Berets were on the ground looking for American POWs and killing communist advisers. DOMINANT GROUND REACTION FORCES: Have GROUND reaction forces ready to go offshore or in the air to pounce on any enemy forces trying to converge on the SOF force if detected during the mission. Not just supporting arms from aircraft, ships: ground leverage. Obtain Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) like the German Wiesel that can fit inside helicopters like the MH-47E Chinook, MH-53J Pave Low III, the CV-22 Osprey...A multi-$ Billion-dollar aircraft to carry a mere dozen foot troops...the pathetic size limits of the CV-22 Osprey make it unable to carry even the standard U.S. military mine/bullet resistant Humvee!We don't need to waste $millions on sexy, dune buggies that are easily shot to flaming pieces to fit into an undersized aircraft.... ...that are unarmored Road kill for RPGs..
Today's fire is lethal and we need a REAL SHIELD against it, not the flaky, tenuous effect of our own fire to hopefully keep enemy grazing fire from hitting us
A Weapons Gun Shield (WGS) on the Soldier's shoulder weapon to deflect bullets away from the body BEFORE they reach the body armor (which is almost too late). A lot of people mock former Chairman JCS, General Colin Powell as being a "political" general, you will not think that if you read his book, My American Journey. While advising an ARVN unit on patrol in Vietnam, he realized that point elements were the first hit by enemy fire, and had at least them wear body armor, which saved lives in real combat. SOF must do the same and realize that sacrificing the point element is not an option. The tip of the spear must be sharp and ready for the rough and tumble of battle. The WGS will allow in the worse case scenario, the SOF Soldier to peer out into enemy fire and regain fire dominance by aimed fire; not by sticking his weapon up in the air to fire by remote sensors where it will be shot out of his bloody hands and rendered inoperable as the 21st Century Land Warrior program has devised. The weapon itself is no good if it isn't protected by a shield. In times past, the high velocity threat (usually arrows) was defeated by the shield; we have no counterpart today which explains why we are getting pinned down by automatic weapons fire. The men that are hit must be unharmed and able to move; what the WGS doesn't stop, rifle-caliber resistant body armor and arm/leg panels stops so that he doesnt become a bleeding casualty: a downed Soldier. At the least point elements must be so equipped. Everyone wears fire-resistant clothing. Reports state a forest fire started by friendly AH-1S Cobra helicopter gunships killed the IDF Commandos.
BETTER MEDEVAC: Those that are hit seriously have an IV set on them under the armor, that a CLS buddy renders to him. He is placed into an All-Terrain All-purpose Cart (ATAC) cart formed by two UT 2000 backpacks and towed by a a single SOF Soldier hands-free using a waist belt to a 18D who can be Physician's Assistant (PA) Warrant Officer and still be allowed to be a part of the SFODA. An 18D PA is on the scene to actually clamp bleeding vessels and arteries; not content to let the Soldier slowly bleed to death under mere direct pressure and limb losing tourniquets. The PA can relieve inter-cranial pressure so head injury Soldiers are not "written off as dead" because we are too lazy and too poorly organized to try to save him. The first recorded surgical procedure recorded in mankind's history is the skull pressure release procedure, yet we can't seem to do what ancient primitives could do?.... with all this bally-hooed 21st Century high technology?? Every Soldier in a SOF force fighting for its life behind enemy lines must be saved---MUST BE-----and without loss of combat power. The battlefield's problem's are solved head-on not wished away and written off. SOF Soldiers wear ballistic protective helmets to deter ICP injuries even if it goes against the "SOF image"
What the U.S. Air Force does to make its aircraft stealthy, the U.S. Army must do to its ground vehicles and men: if you are not seen you cannot be hit..
SOF higher mobility than its feet: All-Terrain Mountain Bikes, Carts, Wiesel and M113A3 Gavin Light Armored Fighting Vehicles...
"We must foot-slog because we are SOF" is more utter nonsense. Or if we motor around we go in sexy looking gun jeeps-dune buggies that stroke our egos, but can be turned into flaming wrecks by a burst of enemy small arms fire.
Tracked AFVs are shunned because of the stupid image thing SOF suffers by its own egotism/failure to see the battlefield for what it is, not what we wish it to be. SOF protect itself being 4-5 grid squares AWAY from the enemy by moving faster than a foot slog or even a speed march. Folding All-Extreme Terrain Mountain Bikes (A/ETBs) do this for maximum stealth, covering 10-25 kilometers in under an hour so SOF has most of the night to hunker down into a hide site or launch a night attack while its still night. Silenced tracks and electric-engined M113A4 Gavins can do this when we need some stealth, but are likely to end in a fight....close in on foot with M113A3-Wiesels outside of enemy detection range on call to extract and/or provide dominating fire support/armored rescue via the plethora of weapons that can be mounted on it: 106mm, 84mm Recoilless Rifles, 40mm MK-19, .50 cal HMGs, Javelin, Stinger missiles fired from rear troop hatches. With applique' armor, the SOF AFV can dart-in, save the men from auto-cannon and RPG fire--sacrificed if need be to get them back to the RP, DZ-LZ etc. The M113A4 Gavin or AmphiGavin can be offshore to dart in by landing craft or helicopter sling load, or even be parachute airdropped from USAF C-130 transport aircraft alongside Paratroops, Rangers and Special Forces operators. Smaller AFVs like the German Wiesel or a 4-roadwheel "Mini-Gavin" can be carried inside even the C-27J, roll out, dominate the fight with its heavy weapons like the larger 5-roadwheel M113A3 can. One of these AFVs is a fully equipped trauma unit to stabilize seriously injured Soldiers. The UT 2000 ATACs allow heavy weapons like 81mm and 120mm mortars to be employed from helicopters and HMMWVs for greater fire support, to include the family of precision guided munitions (PGMs) now by developed by U.S. Army R & D.
BOTTOM LINE: The world is urbanizing; our SOF close-in demolition, infiltration attack, using foot-slogging and bullet sponging by unarmored troops with low amounts of firepower will no longer work. You cannot carry enough high explosives on your back to reduce what took YEARS OF HEAVY HUMAN AND MACHINE LABOR to produce, certainly not while a more numerous enemy at least as well equipped with hand weapons as you---- awaits in ambush with unlimited supplies of ammunition, concealment and cover! It is going to take ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICULAR force to execute SOF missions in cities and across wide-open expanses of rural terrain; vehicles that can be air-delivered alongside to fight with SOF from the drop zone.....those vehicles are already easily available in U.S. Army service: the M113A3 AFV which should be renamed "Gavin AFVs" after General James M. Gavin who predicted their invention in his visionary book, Airborne Warfare in 1947. When we try undetected infiltration, we move faster than a foot slog using speed marches, holistic field living-load bearing equipment, ATACs and A/ETBs, coupled with sniper team levels of individual camouflage, always backed by dominant ground forces ready to complete the mission by armored force.
We will need to get to the top of buildings other than by helicopter rooftop assaults....The third world has been taught by former Soviet advisors to mount anti-aircraft weapons, and massed small arms, RPGs in order to mass fires there. A telescoping boom to hold a 4-man SOF building clearing team raised by a M113A3 Gavin can get them to whatever floor or wall they want to insert in the building to gain surprise. Other Gavins carry water tanks. & hoses to put out fires before they spread and burn down city blocks. THE FUTURE OF SOF IS BRIGHT IF WE LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES!
Problem and solutions: its your turn to do more than hide behind the status quo------to think original thoughts---to lead.
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