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Jedburgh 01-31-2007 04:56 PM

A Case Against Battle Drill Six
Infantry, Nov-Dec 06 (AKO Log-in Required): A Case Against Battle Drill Six

An overemphasis on training for close quarter combat (CQC), or close quarter battle (CQB), in recent years has resulted in its overuse in combat, often in situations where more appropriate options exist.

Platoon by platoon, the Army is learning the hard way how hazardous it is to fight room to room against a well prepared and often suicidal opponent. We can no longer afford to learn the lesson individually. It is time for a candid discussion on this subject, and to address the problem as a responsive, learning, and adaptive Army....

bismark17 01-31-2007 05:30 PM

I still subscribe to the print edition of Infantry magazine. Is this a regular article in the latest edition or a supplement to it?

jcustis 01-31-2007 05:34 PM

Valid points all around
A few years ago, when I was a lieutenant, the Regimental commander was out and about at MOUT town as we conducted company-level training.

After watching a few dry runs, he made a point of addressing the entire company during a noon chow. He was very adamant that we must not become enamored with SWAT TTPs that are designed to handle a particular threat, and one which we certainly would not encounter in a high-intensity environment.

The biggest sticking point with him was our "secure a foothold" rehearsals that had squads stacked up in neat lines, preparing to make entry from the street or alleyway. "What are you going to do when you have a machine gun aimed in on a principle direction of fire down the street?" was one of his rhetorical questions. It was sage wisdom that put the platoon commanders back in the box of tackling the problem by utilizing stand-off and heavier (SMAW) weapons.

bismark17 01-31-2007 05:54 PM

I was kind of shocked during MOUT training back in '92 that the instruction was all about using SWAT tactics and not relying on any lessons learned from WW2 or the more modern Beirut ops. The whole stack concept is for barricaded subjects in a controlled area and in which the bad guys are contained. It doesn't appear that we have that luxury very often in Iraq.

slapout9 01-31-2007 06:52 PM

Bismarck17, Agree 100% This is a real sore point with me for some time. Not only that but the SWAT TTP's they are using are obsolete. most entry teams today go through the door with a full shield (called a body bunker) capable of stopping 7.62 ammo. Why don't they do this in Iraq. Granted they are heavy about 28 pounds or so. You switch off or you will wear the no 1 man out. But they work. You can flash and crash perfectly and still get killed.

Stan 01-31-2007 08:20 PM

Flash and Crash
Well put Slapout,
My anti-terrorism courses in West Point, Va were designed around that very basic function, but a one-man team.
28 pounds vs your life, my instructor would ask. No question.

I agree, the (real) situations that our fine soldiers meet each day are different and perhaps 28 pounds ends up a big deal at the end of a hot day.

The entire side of our vehicle is lined with aluminum plates and old, well used police vests that would have merely been thrown away. Only years later did we understand how significant those vests were when a F1 grenade went off less than 10 centimeters from our broad side, where our robot operator sat.

We no longer care about extra things along.

Maximus 02-01-2007 04:20 AM

Stormtroop Tactics and Cordon and Knock
Great discussion. Couldn't agree more--we must be very careful training Marines/Soldiers for CQB using SWAT TTPs when the enemy is often hunkered down in what would have been considered pillboxes in WWII. Then 1stLt Elliot Ackerman, USMC, wrote a great Gazette article in the Sept 2006 issue titled "Relearning Stormtroop Tactics: The Battle for Fallujah" that provides insight into his experiences leading a rifle platoon in Fallujah. I tried to attach the PDF file but it's too big. Not sure if you've all had a chance to read it.

In the article Ackerman initially describes how he felt unprepared to attack a highly determined irregular foe in a fortified urban defense commenting that he didn't think we'd "cracked the code" just yet on urban combat. He proceeds to describe all Marine units at first relying too heavily on CQB tactics only to realize very quickly that doing so equates to suicide. He then demonstrates how infantry squads/platoons quickly learned to first identify enemy positions and then moved to isolate/overwatch while calling in tanks, air, D-9s, CAAT, LAR, Bradleys, etc. to reduce before Marines moved into clear. It's in the latter clearing process that CQB skills should be emphasized and employed. In sum: CQB TTPs are fine, but the conditions must be set to employ them before entering the objective.

Another and possibly even more important point brought on in the article is the importance of U.S. units using infiltration tactics when fighting irregular foes in Block III urban combat instead of strictly relying on on-line assaults that are currently recommended in our doctrine and the standard in most of our training exercises. Ackerman argues that using on-line tactics makes the enemy's job easy and falls right into his preferred strategy: attrit U.S. forces at range and then fall back through pre-made tunnels, jumping from roof-to-roof or over gates, etc as U.S. forces close and then to continue this pattern until you run out of room, at which point you execute your pre-determined E&E plan and live to fight another day. His argument in this respect is supported strongly by Poole's analysis in Phantom Soldier and Tactics of the Crescent Moon. Ackerman's experiences demonstrate the validity of urban night infiltration tactics as his platoon successfully infiltrated roughly 300 meters behind enemy lines and proceeded to wreak havoc on the enemy at first light when the enemy attempted to expolit what they perceived to be our predictable on-line attack preference shortly after the sun comes up in the morning.

All this said it's still extremely important for U.S. forces to train for urban ops at the other end of the spectrum of conflict as well. This afternoon I spent an hour conducting an AAR interview w/ an infantry Lt recently back from Ramadi. Many of his comments emphasized the importance of Marines toning down their actions and being much less aggressive when conducting cordon and search operations and even raids. As his company's primary raid force he found after a few months that his unit was much more successful when knocking and talking vs. explosive breaching/kicking down doors--even when conducting raids. He argued that even when we think we have solid intel, we're still wrong or too late in acting very often, therefore, our SWAT hard hit tactics only serve to increase the pool of POIs (pissed off Iraqis). Besides, he said he'd always isolate the objective area first and then move to enter the house with more Marines and firepower than the enemy had. Many interesting points were made throughout the discussion. His company's experience in Ramadi only goes to show that a unit can succeed when doing everything possible to de-escalate as much as possible.

bismark17 02-01-2007 06:19 AM

Amazing. I will have to read that. Since reading Poole's books I have been highly interested in a more modern or less modern? approach to small unit combat. This bizarre hybrid of mixing police tactics with what our guys are going through over there is just crazy. As slapout mentioned SWAT/HRT/SPU/SRT is going into a uncontrolled environment from a highly controlled environment. They are picking the time and place to strike. They are forcing a dynamic entry without having to worry about their 6. Snipers are overwatching and there is a ton of perimeter security both near side and far side by uniformed officers. They are usually doing the hit after a long period of attempted talking and after a CS deployment plan. The cards are stacked very heavily in our favor. None of this equates to what is going on over there.

I was pretty impressed with the earlier thread in what would be the ideal Infantry squad and wish we would explore that further along with better TTPs. I suppose most of the discussion is better left off the net but it does make me wonder. I grew up as a 3rd generation infantryman/paratrooper and I have heard enough stories that span from WW2-Korea and then with my dad in Vietnam to know the dangers of massing people, even in a temporary situation, for a stack prior to a room entry. I am looking forward to getting my hands on that Marine Officers' AAR.

slapout9 02-01-2007 11:54 AM

Everybody knows what SWAT stands for don't they? Sit-Wait-And-Talk;)

Stan 02-01-2007 01:20 PM

Hey Slapout,
My brother-in-law is a DC bomb squad dog handler, going on 17 years.
SWAT teams, in his opinion, perform swift and heartless maneuvers with little compassion. Do we need these folks ? You bet !

slapout9 02-01-2007 01:47 PM

Stan, Yep some people will always cross the line. That is when put out the STOP sign. I actually saw this put on a ballistic shield. The higher powers made him take it off of course but it looked cool for awhile.

Steve Blair 02-01-2007 01:58 PM

Sure, we will always need SWAT-style units, and in some cases their tactics may be useful for military ops. But, as seems the case in far too many things, the powers that be want a one-size-fits-all theory for things. "If this works for LAPD SWAT/Delta snatch teams/Chuck Norris, it MUST work for the line grunts as well." You need to retain those capabilities for situations where they are appropriate, but they will not always work.

Stan 02-01-2007 03:21 PM

SWAT and Chuck Norris
Hello Steve,
I not only agree, but think we have somehow forgotten our grunts. We have a good laugh using them as the brunt of a joke (they were afterall in the early 70's those with the lowest GT scores).

Often however, we worry a tad too much. That was the case with Operation Support Hope. The General posted a two-man gate guard with a SAW out front, but no ammo ?

Yes, Africans are slow to learn, but it doesn't take much to figure out the weapon is empty and the grunt holding it like a sack of potatoes didn't help much either.

Somewhere between SWAT man Chuck and an empty weapon with common sense.

Regards, Stan

Steve Blair 02-01-2007 03:50 PM

Stan, I agree completely. In the whole rush for fancy stuff the ol' Snuffie has been forgotten. And that is a major problem.

Tom Odom 02-01-2007 04:00 PM

Small Units Smaller Intelligence Operating Teams
I have written much on this subject, some of which has been discussed here.

Nothing happens until Joe puts his boot on the ground and that gets lost in the swirl of techie thinking whether you are talking close combat or intelligence operators out there looking.

I really liked Billl Meara's book. My review of it makes that clear. One thing that jumped off the pages at me was his practice of getting out and looking. Stan and I made that a practice and it served us and the greater intel community well. It can be a very lonely feeling...then again the first man through the door, stacked or not, is about as alone as one can get.



Maximus 02-01-2007 04:53 PM

I have a bunch of notes from the AAR with the Lt. I'll post shortly. I can also send Ackerman's article over e-mail. Just let me know.

slapout9 02-01-2007 05:04 PM

Tom, in the old days the first man did not go through the door! he would lie on the ground OUTSIDE! the door and look first. If he fired nobody else went through the door until he yelled go, if he didn't fire, he yelled go and the rest of the team would enter and clear their sector. Not perfect but better than going through blind and low tech and cheap to.

Stan 02-01-2007 05:16 PM

the first man did not go through the door!
Good evening Folks !
Slapout, God I love the way you pen this Sierra :D
You could've been a grunt ! Errr, naw forget that one :wry:

I love the movies, cops and EOD. One low, the other high and guns a blazen.
Later, is it the white wire, or the blue one ? WHO CARES ?

We alway just blow the flippin thing with a water canon and go home.

check out "Kaur's" link RE culture for the Army. Sierrra ! I think someone actually listened to you in the end. Don't let that go to your (bald) head :D

Regards, Stan

slapout9 02-01-2007 05:26 PM

Stan, what do you mean could have been???? My primary was 11B4P, secondary was 11C4P.:p I got more time in a T-10 than YO mama Got in A T-Shirt:wry:

Stan 02-01-2007 05:34 PM

Your Mama !
Hey Bubba,
I towed you buds out with my M88 (GED, not the BS diesels).

Darn, I knew you were a gun bunny !

I hung out with 4P1 two clicks south of North Korea (DMZ). Then, the only live fire battery in the US Army (well, can't say that any more). Gotta love an M110. Bad news on the other side of the fence (line).

Slapout, yea, I already knew that :D

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