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Thread: Roadside Bombs & IEDs (catch all)

  1. #141
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    Default Ambush, IEDs and COIN: The French Experience

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    Canadian Army Journal, Spring 08: Ambush, IEDs and COIN: The French Experience
    ....Some may think that because a technical or tactical solution to IEDs would eliminate their strategic threat, all our energies should be directed at finding such a solution. It is, without a doubt, imperative to do everything possible to protect our troops against ambushes and IEDs. However, it is equally imperative to avoid the dangerous illusion that anti-IED techniques constitute a strategic “silver bullet.” In insurgencies and other asymmetric conflicts, beyond the enemy’s resolve, imagination and cleverness are their greatest strength. New measures to defeat our countermeasures will be found, and the cycle of measure and countermeasure will continue.

    This paper proposes to shed strategic light on the issues of ambushes and IEDs in the context of foreign interventions in counter-insurgency missions through a series of short case studies, showing how armed forces have dealt with ambushes, IEDs, mines and booby traps in various eras. The purpose of these case studies is not to conduct a systematic analysis of tactical or even operational level solutions or to provide a full description of the political events surrounding them. It is instead to illustrate that tactical and operational level solution to ambushes and IEDs have contributed to setting the conditions for strategic success in past conflicts, but unfortunately they have not been the determining factor. In other words, tactical and operational level solutions are crucial but not sufficient to deal with such threats.

    Three cases studies are presented below: the 19th and 20th century French operations in Algeria, and the French Indochina War. These are followed by a discussion of the key elements that they have in common with respect to the strategic dimension of ambushes and IEDs. Some concluding remarks complete the study.....
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-10-2012 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Add note

  2. #142
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    Default good read

    This article provides a short but effective study of France in Algeria, Indochina, then again in Algeria, and argues that without a solid strategic plan, operational and tactical victory in COIN are not enough.

    Focuses on insurgents use of IEDs and ambushes as strategic weapons, and how tactical countermeasures are not enough for victory, as the counterinsurgent's home populace will likely eventually tire and lose popular will.

    The last portion discusses the US in Iraq, and how again, tactical and operational countermeasures against IEDs and ambushes may achieve temporary success, without a grander strategic plan, US will ultimately fail.

    Pretty reasonable argument.

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    This is an insightful article, and highlight's an American obsession with the "silver bullet" of the IED fight. I think that's b/c it is intellectually easy to find technological solutions to problems. Time and again, we look for the better vehicle, the better EW solution, the better ISR asset to protect routes and Soldiers who travel on those routes.

    While it is critical to secure our Soldiers and our lines of communication with all the above force protection strategies, we cannot lose focus on the actual solution to the problem. That solution is found off the very roads we commit so much energy to seizing and securing. To maintain momentum and an offensive mindset, we have to consider security of LOCs and Soldiers as access to people, not an end-state. Constant presence and relationships among people prevents IED emplacement, not the latest and greatest magical tech tool.

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    Thanks for posting this. I'm finishing up a piece about IEDs that looks at both the fact that they're here to stay, the genie having been released from the bottle long ago, and then going into a discussion of how the humanitarian community should respond in areas where IEDs pose a much larger threat to civilian populations than landmines/UXO.

    Funny how sexy "new" terms like IED suddenly get everyone oriented toward a new Manhattan project, despite all historical evidence to the contrary. I'm using incidents in my piece that include the attempted assassination of Sultan Abdul Hamid II by car bomb (1905, first recorded such incident), the horse-drawn wagon bomb at the JP Morgan Bank (1920), Bath MIchigan (1927), as well as BATF's own (2000-2003) web site to illustrate that IEDs are nothing new, given we have between 200 and 500 successfully detonated IEDs in the US per anum.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    Just because you haven't been hit yet does NOT mean you're doing it right.

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." President Dwight D. Eisenhower

  5. #145
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    Default not quite the first?...

    Quote Originally Posted by redbullets View Post
    I'm using incidents in my piece that include the attempted assassination of Sultan Abdul Hamid II by car bomb (1905, first recorded such incident)
    What about the 24 December 1800 attempted assassination of Napoleon? Surely wagon-bombs count!

    The First Consul Napoleon was required to be present at a performance in the Paris Grande Opera. When Napoleon's carriage rushed along Saint Nicolas Street, an explosion resounded. Napoleon did not suffer; his carriage was driving too quickly, but the power of the explosion was such that almost 50 people were killed or wounded and 46 neighboring houses were damaged. The source was a barrel of gunpowder laced with shrapnel that was hidden in a harnessed wagon at the roadside.
    "Napoleonic Wars, Espionage During," Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security (2004)

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    Thanks, I'll use this one too. I guess I'm categorizing based on actual automobiles and wagons in what I'm writing, but an attempted hit on another major international historical figure is great fodder for what I'm working on. A bit of shock value is certainly the goal, mainly to try and let readers know that IEDs have been around since gun powder, and that the US has not been an exception.

    Another section I'm including is on the Rains brothers during the American Civil War. In the interest of full disclosure, I've referred to writings about BG Gabriel and COL George Rains by Mike Wright and Peggy Robbins in presentations about landmines, but since Gabriel took friction fuses developed by George and put them on artilery shells, I reckon they will work as another early example of IEDs in the US. Gabriel even managed to kill a 'possum with one while chasing Seminoles in Florida in the 1840's.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    Just because you haven't been hit yet does NOT mean you're doing it right.

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." President Dwight D. Eisenhower

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    Having spoken to many veterans of the war in Algeria, read articles as well as countless books written in french on the subject, I have to say I found the article too light on research and too heavy on assumptions.

    In Algeria, IEDs aren't mentioned as a major threat in books written by veterans of that periods. The trail running along the "Morice line" (a barbed wire control zone separating Algeria from Tunisia) and patrolled day and night by protected vehicles (M3 half-tracks, Scout Cars, M8 Greyhounds and the like) was often mined by the ALN but IEDs as such were a rarity. The main threat was encountering an ALN katiba in transit from Tunisia before it had "bomb shelled" and while it still had all its fire power (including the dreaded MG-42 MGs that were far superior to what most french units used then, either the FM 24/29 or even the BAR LMGs, the AAT-52 LMG arriving only late in the conflict).

    A good friend of mine was a FFL Pn Cdr at the time; he survived dozens of contacts in the Djebel but he never once mentioned to me IEDs.

    The ALN units did not want to be surprized in the open planting complicated devices; mines were used but they were heavy and had to be manpacked all the way from Tunisia; their use was thus more widespread close to the Morice Line.
    Last edited by Wagram; 07-30-2008 at 03:18 PM.

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    16 Sep 08 testimony before the HASC Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Defeating the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and Other Asymmetric Threats: Today’s Efforts and Tomorrow’s Requirements:

    LTG Thomas Metz, Director JIEDDO
    .....in spite of our successes, IEDs remain the enemy’s weapon of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan. We currently see over 1,400 IED events in Iraq and Afghanistan and another 350 elsewhere in the world every month. These numbers have the capacity to go much higher, because the enemy will continue to exploit readily available commercial technology to rapidly produce IEDs in unending cycles of innovation. We must continue to apply pressure to make IEDs too costly to produce and too risky to employ. We will never run this weapon off the battlefield, but we must relentlessly attack the networks that finance, develop, and emplace IEDs. In this Long War, where global terrorism will continue to manifest itself as persistent conflict waged against human targets, we must also further diminish the strategic effects of IEDs, reducing their appeal for global employment by violent extremists. JIEDDO is the organization to combat this critical threat.

    Through its focus on IEDs, JIEDDO has learned a great deal about other domains, such as human networks. In order to further leverage JIEDDO’s unique abilities to support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while meeting the global challenge of prevailing in the Long War, it may be appropriate at a future time to widen JIEDDO’s focus to include other asymmetric threats.....
    William Beasley, Director, Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell

    Tom Matthews, Director, Warfighter Requirements and Evaluations

    MG Jason Kamiya, Director, Joint Training Directorate (J7) USJFCOM
    ....USJFCOM recognizes that the IED is but one of many asymmetric weapons that our enemies can employ. In response to DOD guidance on improving the ability of the joint force to counter irregular threats, USJFCOM is establishing an Irregular Warfare Center (IWC). The IWC’s principle role is to make irregular warfare a core competency for US conventional forces. It will integrate efforts within USJFCOM and act as a bridge to USSOCOM and other organizations to identify the doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership and education, personnel, facility, and policy implications in countering asymmetric threats.

    Working with the Combatant Commands and the Services, USJFCOM continually examines how asymmetric threats should be integrated into the joint training environment. One of the major areas of concern is the joint force’s ability to counter cyberspace attacks on friendly networks and operate in a degraded state. This is an area that will see added emphasis in our training and exercise programs. KnIFE has also begun to widen its focus to other asymmetric threats besides IED’s. For example, they recently unveiled a site on their portal with information on countering enemy use of snipers. KnIFE intends to leverage the USJFCOM IWC as a source for demand signals from the field on other specific asymmetric threats that should be addressed by KnIFE’s information services.....
    Bradley Berkson, Director, Programs, Analysis and Evaluation

    Unfortunately, the transcript for the Q&A isn't currently available.

  9. #149
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Default Oldest Vehicle borne IED?

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    Thread closed as there is new, main thread 'IEDs: the home-made bombs that changed modern war': http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16303

    Can anyone cite the use of a VBIED prior to 7 August 1588?

    The oldest VBIED I've been able to track down is the "hell burners", the massive charges of gunpowder loaded on ships and pointed at the Spanish fleet by English Lord Admiral Charles Howard (and an effective weapon they were).

    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-10-2012 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Add Note & close thread.

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    Van,

    A possible candidate:

    - 1363: Battle of Lake Poyang; Chinese used a similar technique to the one you described.

    The main action of that day (31 August) would involve the creation and launching of fire ships by the Ming. Small rafts and fishing boats were loaded up with bales of straw and gunpowder, set aflame, and launched toward the enemy fleet. Dummies with armor and weapons were placed on the fireships as well, to aid in confusing and tricking the enemy. Due to a favorable wind, and the tight formation of the Han fleet, the fire ships were very successful, and many Han ships were either destroyed or suffered extensive damage.
    There might be an earlier Chinese example because the Chinese introduced gunpowder to the battlefield in the 10th century. And though not 'explosive', there are of course many historical examples of setting fire to some kind of vehicle (wheels, wagons, ships, animals, etc) and employing them against the enemy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Can anyone cite the use of a VBIED prior to 7 August 1588?

    The oldest VBIED I've been able to track down is the "hell burners", the massive charges of gunpowder loaded on ships and pointed at the Spanish fleet by English Lord Admiral Charles Howard (and an effective weapon they were).

    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.

    Thanks!
    I'm almost sure you've seen it, but on the off chance you haven't, I've got a book called Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb that came out about a year ago. Think he starts in the 19th century though, haven't gotten around to it yet.

  12. #152
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    AP - 1363? Sweet! That's another two centuries older!

    Granite - Thanks for the book recommendation, I've heard of Buda's Wagon, and was in the process of checking it out.

    I've looked at some of the old Roman and Chinese flame throwers and Greek fire, but despite the DoD definition I'm passing on incendiaries. Gunpowder, however, makes the cut.

    [The DoD definition: Improvised Explosive Device. A device placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. It may incorporate military stores, but is normally devised from nonmilitary components.
    (Department of Defense DIRECTIVE; NUMBER 2000.19E February 14, 2006, SUBJECT: Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO))
    I usually interpret this as any weapon not professionally purpose built as a weapon or any weapon used by someone other than a professional soldier, an insanely broad definition.]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van
    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.
    No offense, Van, but I think you're just letting your frustration with simpletons set you off on a tangent. The tactic of one Navy sending flaming ships into their opponents certainly predates what you'll find in the historical record. The same goes for armies sending flaming carts into the wooden gates of fortresses. But both bear limited resemblence to the various permutations of the tactical use of IEDs today.

    For educating the idiots who believe that the IED is a new innovation that arose post-9/11, I feel its best to keep rooted in relatively modern warfare. An easy example is simply to state how elements of various allied special operations units during WWII trained and advised partisan forces on the use of IEDs against the axis - both purely military and civil infrastructure targets. There is a tremendous amount of material from that period that is directly applicable to the COE. And, of course, during the Cold War there is a broad spectrum of conflicts to draw upon where IEDs of all types were used against a dazzling array of target sets.

    (As an aside, its also usually surprising to some when they are informed that much of Hezbollah's skill in using roadside bombs was not gained from Iran, but from South Africa. For members of the ANC with a great depth of experience in IED tactics against the apartheid-era South African army, sharing that knowledge with Hezbollah was getting a little payback against Israel, which was heavily engaged in military collaboration with South Africa in the '70s & '80s.)

    Dealing more specifically with VBIEDs, and just looking at post-WWII, the Stern Gang really was the first to use a VBIED - targeting a Brit police station in Haifa on 12 Jan 47. But despite occasional usage after that - including a few particularly nasty examples - VBIEDs didn't really gain traction among terrorists until March '72, when the PIRA initiated two ANFO VBIEDs in Belfast. From that point on, the history is pretty damn clear, and anyone who still believes that it is a unique development of the GWOT is an idiot, plain and simple.

    Ultimately, I think you'd make your point better when you demonstrate what little understanding they have of relatively recent military history rather than catching them out on obscure historical examples.

    ....just another retiree's biased opinion...

  14. #154
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default VBIEDs were popular...

    in Vietnam both during the French war and ours. A particularly effective use of bicycles was made since they were everywhere and very easily just left in a crowded bistro or market.

    A subset of VBIEDs would be to classify those used expressly as a suicide vehicle and those not.
    Last edited by Umar Al-Mokhtār; 01-11-2009 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Grammer
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    Default Yep on the bikes,

    Quote Originally Posted by Umar Al-Mokhtār View Post
    in Vietnam both during the French war and ours. A particularly effective use of bicycles was made since they were everywhere and very easily just left in a crowded bistro or market.

    A subset of VBIEDs would be to classify those used expressly as a suicide vehicle and those not.
    Vespas not so much; the Viet Namese were a thrifty lot.

    Grenades in the Baskets atop the heads of little old ladies probably don't count as VBIEDs. Particularly as the White Mice thought most were not aware of their added cargo.

    Then there's the question on today's suicide variations; those with the driver strapped in and those where he or she is not...

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    As far as the oldest fire ship attack, I remember that a Roman Fleet was destroyed by fire ships and even Darius had a problem with the Greeks who attacked his vast armada with fire ships shortly after the Spartans were blocking a pass from the beach.

    The IRA used bicycles to quickly move their tactical units from place to place. They referred to them as "Flying Columns"! Ah the Irish, always the ones with a flair for the enemys language.

    Digging deep enough, I suppose that some young Irish bomb thrower could have used his bike to deliver a few Mills Grenades to British staff cars. I'm sure they thought of that delivery system and the English passed it on the the Marquis.

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    Hey Van,
    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Can anyone cite the use of a VBIED prior to 7 August 1588?

    The oldest VBIED I've been able to track down is the "hell burners", the massive charges of gunpowder loaded on ships and pointed at the Spanish fleet by English Lord Admiral Charles Howard (and an effective weapon they were).

    If someone's got an older example, I'd like to push this date further back. Candidly, I'm frustrated and annoyed by the folks who talk as if IEDs are innovative and new.

    Thanks!
    I'll be attending a Bomb Data Center conference in February with more than 50 countries in attendance. This will definitely be something to generate bar-stool discussions

    I'll take notes and get back to you.

    Regards, Stan
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    Default Bicycle bombs

    Quote Originally Posted by RJ View Post
    The IRA used bicycles..... I'm sure they thought of that delivery system and the English passed it on the the Marquis.
    RJ,

    IIRC the IRA used bicycle bombs in a mainland UK campaign before 1939 and one went off in Coventry. THis is a summary: Nine days before the outbreak of World War II, on 25 August 1939, Coventry was the scene of an early mainland bicycle bomb attack by the IRA. At 2:30 in the afternoon, a bomb exploded inside the satchel of a tradesman's bicycle that had been left outside a shop on Broadgate. The explosion killed five people, injured 100 more and caused extensive damage to shops in the area. Five IRA members were put on trial for murder and two were hanged in February 1940, although the identity of the man who rode the bicycle to Broadgate and planted the bomb was never discovered. Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Coventry

    Yes, we probably handed the tactic, via SOE, to the French and other resistance movements in WW2.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-14-2009 at 11:17 PM. Reason: Add detail re IRA bombing

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    Default 'No not the Vespa...'

    cried the distraught Viet Minh 'It's all the style we've got to pick up cute girls in áo dài down at the milk bar near by the Majestic...'
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

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    Talking That too...

    Quote Originally Posted by Umar Al-Mokhtār View Post
    No, not the Vespa cried the distraught Viet Minh 'It's all the style we've got to pick up cute girls in áo dài down at the milk bar near by the Majestic...'
    Plus its use to haul fifteen stacked high and tottering crates of Chickens to market...

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