View Full Version : Limitations of Standoff Firepower-Based Operations

04-30-2007, 02:25 PM
Interesting Israeli writeup (http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/memoranda/memo89.en.pdf)of problems in the Second Lebanon War. Written by a reserve IAF officer.

Tom Odom
04-30-2007, 05:39 PM
Operation Anaconda shows that often the ground theater is not easy to decipher with intelligence and does not supply ready targets, and that a clever, learning, adaptive, and tenacious rival can act successfully against the sensor, against aerial fire,and against light and unarmoredground forces. In fact, al-Qaeda's assumption of concealed positions and its taking local and unexpected initiatives created battle fog, despite all the sensors hovering above. It should be noted that one of the basic ideas behind SFO is “to see first, understand first,decide first,andshoot first”(in American parlance,Quality of Firsts);however,despite the availability of an enormous arsenal of sensors and armed systems, the Americans failed in Operation Anaconda in each of these four imperatives. At the end of the day, the Americans won the battle but this was due to their fighting spirit,aggression,and dedication to the task in hand, and by virtue of a combination of precision weapons and classic and “outdated” activities of combing the area, search, and direct assault (most of which were not planned in advance).

Interesting paper and one that will make military classicists smile with, "I told you so," grins plastered ear to ear. Reading his description of Lebanon and the IDF's collection efforts as matched againt US efforts in Anaconda, two cases in which the overmatched foe still managed to hit with surprise really reminded me of Iwo Jima. I am thinking of that lag between the intitial landings when the Marines began to move inland, seemingly unopposed.

But in a larger sense I also see much of the Israeli Catch 22 in this piece. he goes to great length to tear apart SFO (EBO) asessentially a waste of time, bombs, and shells without occupying ground. In doing so he holds up what he calls "The First Lebanon War," meaning 1982 to show that only decisive maneuver creates the decisive shift in reality needed to stimulate a cognitive collapse in the enemy. He also uses the '73 War with the encriclement of 3rd Army in the Sinai and the drive on the road to Damascus as examples of how tactical and operational maneuver was necessary to get the job done. Where I see the Israeli Catch 22 in this line of argument is that these operational maneuvers also failed to achieve the strategic goals of their originators. The First Lebanese War lasted nearly two decades. The 73 War was in many ways a strategic victory for the Egyptians; without it, Sadat never could have flown to Israel.