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Thread: What is CQB?

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    Default What is CQB?

    I raised this question on another forum (to remain nameless) and was slammed. I cautiously raise it again here confident that the level of discourse is able to cope with such a question....

    CQB = "Close Quarter Battle"

    The issue, with my raising and questioning of the definition, seemed to be that since 9/11 certain high Tier CT units have been training extensively in urban CQB, as a sub-unit tactical activity of the larger MOUT/FIBUA picture, which has concentrated on a lot of kill/capture missions into urban or structure environments. This has spread into the wider army and civilian culture and it seemed to me that a lot of people out there think that warfare is just about room clearing (I exaggerate).

    I asked the question of whether CQB is purely synonymous with urban operations, or whether CQB can be "close combat" in other environments. This is where the controversy was. Yes, urban CQB involves specific drills for room entry and clearance and all the rest, that is a given, but does that mean that is all CQB is? It is a semantics question, I know. I remember doing "CQB" on Jungle lanes.

    Yes, you will not use urban CQB drill in, for instance, the Jungle. But you may be doing another type of CQB. Or is it just "close combat". It appears that CQB has become, in the eyes of the primary CT practitioners, simply urban tactical operations.

    The other side to this was my observation that due to current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, where a lot of raid type search/capture/clear missions have gone on, including by conventional troops, that I felt we may be losing our way a little on what high intensity urban/MOUT is about. I felt that we have been applying techniques that are more suited for "permissive" environments or "semi-permissive" ones, which then carries over to kinetic completely non-permissive battlefields.

    What do I mean by this? Primarily entry drills. Even the US Army small unit tactics smart book, when discussing urban entry drills, describes it as I originnally learned it in the British Army; splitting the breach fire team into two man teams and moving to the breach site under cover of ground/fire before breaching and securing the entry point with two man teams, to be rapidly exploited into the building. What do we see all the time? "SWAT" style stacking at the breach, which isn usually a door.

    High intensity MOUT/FIBUA involves avoiding breaching and entering via the doors if at all possible. Without going into all of it here, the basics are that a higher level entry is preferred, and via another route such as a mousehole etc.

    So, to recap: There are two strands here:

    1. Is "CQB" simply an urban activity, involving entry and room clearance?
    2. Have we become "too SWAT" with our building entry drills and have we forgotten how to conduct ourselves in high intensity urban operations.

    An observation that I have as a British American is that a lot of the training is very "stylised" in the US. This includes room entry, where it is all about practising specific drills for entering and clearing the corners, dominating positions etc. The way I remember it, entering a room is a highly violent activity that is likely to result in a close encounter or just as well a full pile into the floor after tripping over an item of furntiture. I am wary of "stylizing" the training too much. I hope my point comes across as intended. I think you have to have good basic practised drills, go left, go right, cover the room etc, but real rooms are full of stuff, and it can rapidly become a clustee in there. You have to be flexible and ready to adapt. Just sayin'....
    Last edited by max velocity; 08-06-2012 at 08:38 PM.

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