Commanders want to have intimate knowledge of the terrain, including where their own forces are or will be, where their enemy is and may be going, and what their intentions are (such as they can be gleaned). Urban warfare is very different from conventional combat in the open. Although most Russian bases, like American and British ones, usually include just a few buildings, occasionally ruins, in which small units practice urban combat drills, Russia is investing substantially in new facilities.75 At the Mulino base near Nizhny Novgorod, for instance, the new 333rd Combat Training Center operates a range of sophisticated training simulators and a “battle town,” which is said to be large enough to accommodate a full battalion on exercise.76 Additionally, the Chechen provincial government operates on behalf of the federal Russian army an impressively large and thoughtfully planned facility that is nearly 400 hectares in size and includes a range of building sizes. The key to fighting in the morass of the urban environment is not necessarily using divisional-level maneuvering to shatter an enemy general’s plan, but successfully overwhelming the adversary’s cognitive abilities at the team and individual level — all in an effort to achieve a given policy aim. At the end of the day, however, these are changes in form rather than substance. Israel, for instance, has repeatedly been successful in determining the tactics in its fights with entrenched Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza at various times since the high point of violence of the Second Intifada in the early to mid-2000s. And yet, in each, the attacking side prevailed, at less cost to itself than the defender, and (with the partial exception of Aachen) without massive damage to the civilian infrastructure, let alone the kind of wanton slaughter of noncombatants that was seen in Stalingrad.61. Aleppo. This would, of course, require enough soldiers to achieve multiple, simultaneous actions and in so doing create a situation complex enough to overwhelm the enemy’s ability to comprehend it. Enemies might booby-trap stairwells or rip out the stairs completely and instead rely on retractable rope ladders. In the Irgun Museum in Tel Aviv, the battle is portrayed as a triumph. Urban terrain poses a number of challenges for combat operations. The Jews, constantly increasing in numbers, and possessing many advantages in their knowledge of the streets, wounded many of the enemy, and drove them before them by repeated charges; while the Romans continued to resist mainly from sheer necessity, as they could not escape in mass owing to the narrowness of the breach; and had not Titus brought up fresh succours, all who had entered would probably have been cut down. 67 Project Metropolis: Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain, Battalion Level Experiments, Experiment After Action Report, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, May 7, 2001. Advanced CQB Part 1: What is "Advanced" CQB. It provides any amount of fresh water, and unlimited cover for friend as well as foe—an armed neutrality, if you like, but neutrality nevertheless. It is not always possible to foresee everything, and the urban guerrilla cannot let himself become confused, or wait for instructions. However, if the attacking force overwhelms the defending force’s ability to make decisions at the lowest level through speed, aggression, and simultaneous action in as many places as possible at the same time, then the defender will be unable to choose the tactics. 2, trans. This is one of the questions that our new Squad-Level Military Urban Combat manual intends to answer. 18 Gregory J. Ashworth, War and the City (New York: Routledge, 1991), 121. Urban warfare tactics. Alison J. Williams et al. This is why,a few years ago, I decided to start studying urban warfare. 87 Our interlocutors at the British Army Infantry Battle School’s Urban Warfare Instructor’s Course half-joked that a good number of private soldiers brought to the table extensive burglary and other relevant skills from their civilian lives. In the first section, we seek to establish the fundamental characteristics of urban warfare, making reference to canonical works on the history of the city; specifically, works on war and the city. So, past you require the book swiftly, you can straight get it. In sporting terminology, it is easier to create the “one-on-ones” that afford the team’s best players the opportunities to use their skills to the team’s advantage. The soldier is taught to fear the threats of a fast tempo — isolation, outflanking, a reduction in the fire support that can be brought to bear — but not taught to embrace these things as opportunities that can work in his or her favor. Clearly neither city held particular symbolic importance for the United States or United Kingdom. Senior commanders must become comfortable with formulating a plan and then trusting in the skill of their most junior subordinates to see that plan succeed. The fourth section shifts focus from diagnosis to prescription. You have to favor to in this announce The Literature Network: This site is organized alphabetically by author. Technology may have some useful answers here also, which are worth discussing in a bit more detail. Rarely are the potential advantages of operating in an urban environment considered. 10 Christopher Duffy, Fire and Stone: The Science of Fortress Warfare, 1660-1860 (London: Greenhill Books, 1975), 188. Indeed, Alice Hills, author of perhaps the most significant academic study on the challenges of urban warfare, describes the intractability of the problem as moral and normative in nature and therefore a particular concern for liberal states.19 On the one hand, history suggests that there are conceivably many political, humanitarian, and legal reasons for even pacific liberal states to intervene in foreign cities, such as to conduct a strategic raid on specific facilities (e.g., weapons laboratories), to evacuate noncombatants, or to forestall genocide. In a short, decisive battle lasting a few hours, much of it hand-to-hand, in which tanks blasted holes through the walls of structures through which the Gurkhas advanced, 100 Germans were killed, while the British lost only seven men.60, Each of these instances featured unorthodox tactics; aggressive, rapid combined-arms action; and close-quarter fighting in which the allied troops had to guard against civilian casualties. One of the major problems with using Stalingrad as a benchmark is that it was extremely unusual in the strength of its political symbolism. 1 F. Spencer Chapman, The Jungle Is Neutral (London: Chatto and Windus, 1950), 125. 5 talking about this. We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through, and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. Robert Traill (London: Houlston and Stoneman, 1851), 143. 5. But reports from practitioners at the tactical level and in training establishments, coupled with examples from military history, falsify this thesis. Boldness, simultaneity, coordinated action, and the like are principles of combat that have long been taught and applauded in every other tactical environment. The characteristics of an average city include tall buildings, narrow alleys, sewage tunnels and possibly a subway system. These included: various enhancements to C2ISR (command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance), improving the ability of friendly forces to see and understand the operational environment in real time in complex detail; a range of autonomous weapons and logistics systems to reduce the exposure of soldiers to the highest risks; several measures to improve mobility and force protection; and some concepts for helping commanders to better influence the information environment.89 Many, if not all, of these technologies and ideas could prove useful and will soon be or are already available. Unlike Aachen, where the Americans made decisive use of heavy artillery, the Canadian commander forbade the use of indirect-fire artillery and aerial bombing in order to mitigate collateral damage. In just six days of intense fighting beginning on April 26, 1948, a lightly armed, 600-strong force of Irgun — a Jewish paramilitary-cum-terrorist group headed by Menachem Begin, who later became prime minister — dislodged an entrenched and well-armed Arab military force more than twice its size from the city of Jaffa. British urban warfare doctrine specifically notes Smith’s paradigm of “war amongst the people” as a key driver of the need of the aforementioned concept of “integrated action.” See, Operations in the Urban Environment, 59. Our upcoming Squad-Level Military Urban Combat manual should take a first step in the right direction, since it addresses both low-intensity precision tactics and high-intensity conventional tactics. The character of operations, however, has still been typified by the attack and defense of fortified locations, or urban areas that can be rapidly fortified (whether deliberately or as a by-product of combat), and operations that unfold over weeks and months, not hours and days. What the above illustrates is that changes in civilian technologies — including robotics and microelectronics, miniaturization of batteries, and communications — enabled a nonstate actor, the Islamic State, to acquire one of the primary advantages of airpower (i.e., aerial reconnaissance) at a fraction of the cost of an air force. Strategically, it is complex because tactical actions are amplified and the speed at which local and international audiences are informed has never been faster. For example, in some ways, technological developments in this field have seriously benefited irregular forces. But tactical and operational victories are made up of small-team successes. Using buildings that have long fields of fire, allow for good concealment, and a fast egress can greatly enhance the effectiveness and lifespan of a guerrilla team. On the other hand, such intervention risks becoming bogged down in a form of warfare that can exact a great toll on civilians and civilian infrastructure. In this approach, the commander would have to effectively wash his hands of the ability to affect the outcome once the soldier has made contact with the enemy. This goal was achieved, moreover, without the evacuation, voluntary or otherwise, of the civilian population.64 Military force can create the minimum conditions to allow normal civilian life to continue, by killing, capturing, demoralizing, or deterring insurgents65 — but the effect is temporary. Ramadi is four times larger than Fallujah, where a year earlier heavy operations by the U.S. Marine Corps consumed far more than the resources of one brigade in two major battles. However, it is beyond our remit and ken to solve the problem of a highly risk-averse political context, as we described it earlier. While many tactics and general principles will remain the same, there are some very important differences between high-intensity conventional urban combat and the sort of precision Close Quarters Battle (CQB) that the U.S. military has grown accustomed to practicing over the past seventeen years. It depends on many factors — military necessity and justness of cause, in particular — and the answer may vary even within the same conflict. ; Fire attacks – reconnaissance by fire is used by apprehensive soldiers when they suspect the enemy is nearby. (ret.) It was not a strategically planned gambit. Certainly, the British soldiers and commanders with whom we have spoken who have trained there are very positive about the experience. Franklin D. Margiotta (London: Brassey’s, 2000), 1099. How the actual training is done depends on the commander organizing it. More Jews died of the starvation brought on by the zealots than were killed by the Romans in the collective punishment that followed the defeat of the revolt. 63 Louis A. DiMarco, Concrete Hell: Urban Warfare from Stalingrad to Iraq (Oxford: Osprey, 2012), 162. Why not the city? Unfortunately, by the time that these treasures had arrived in Britain and reinforcements had been dispatched, events had already turned decidedly for the worse. The object of the attacking force ought to be to put the defending force into a state of material surprise, a condition in which, even if it is aware of the presence of the attacker, it will be unable to prepare accordingly for contact.56 The deliberate approach is expensive in materiel if not manpower and can kill many civilians and heavily damage infrastructure. I knew that the political problems for NATO would be insuperable.22. …The best care of troops is founded in good training, as this reduces casualties.88. Fundamentally, the tactic’s main principle is to get as many guns into the room and in as little time as possible to rapidly overwhelm the opponents inside. The lessons of Iraq notwithstanding, Krulak is still fundamentally right that warfare is likely to be even more centered on urban environments in the future. The six points above are only a few of the many new urban warfare challenges that will emerge in the event of a high-intensity conventional conflict. At an individual level, regular soldiers are more lethal than their irregular adversaries, are in better physical condition, shoot straighter, and are from a military culture that (in theory) regards initiative as a key criterion for professional advancement. Tactical decisions in the local contest between Spanish colonial rulers, indigenous people, and their British liberators-cum-conquerors resonated very quickly in the distant capitals of London, Madrid, and Paris. In a world containing urban clusters of up to 150 million people, saturating a city with soldiers cannot be the answer — as was prescribed by old field manuals and doctrine.90 The numbers simply will not add up. Other major battles of the war, however, would point to an opposite, or at any rate more nuanced, conclusion. The urban environment has a tendency to amplify the negative effects of viewing the relationship between politics and tactics as hierarchical, discrete, and unidirectional. 27 Rupert Smith, The Utility Of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 2005). This paper proceeds in five sections. This paper is the joint effort of an academic and a professional soldier with 18 years of experience in infantry command, including multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thus, neither could contemplate retreat or surrender, causing both men to hurl division after division into the cauldron of fire. 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