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Thread: Rhodesian COIN (consolidated thread, inc original RLI)

  1. #121
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default RLI closure: comments by ex-CO's & RSMs

    Just came across this, via a link from a BSAP History email, a fascinating site itself: http://www.ourstory.com/archive.html...2#recent_y2007 but the comments on the RLI closure in 1980 and the comments in their regimental magazine 'The Cheetah' I'd not heard of or seen: http://www.ourstory.com/thread.html?t=357313

    davidbfpo

  2. #122
    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Default Check this out

    Just back from RSA, interviewing folks and giving a few presentations to the SANDF, ISS and the Uni of KZN about COIN. Two sundays ago had a great lunch and chat with Prof Richard Wood in Kwa-Zulu Natal. He has a great book out on Fireforce ops. You can check it out and order it here:

    http://http://www.jrtwood.com/bio_publications.asp

    Richard also holds a lot of Ian Smith's private papers. He has published several historical works derived from these that are first rate. You can check these out and order via the website (above).

    Cheers

    Mark

  3. #123
    Council Member Rhodesian's Avatar
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    Default The Cheetah Magazine

    Sirs

    A PDF file of this particular issue of the Cheetah is available on the web at the following address, together with other material which may also be of interest:

    http://www.rhodesia.nl/onbook.htm

    Cheers
    I.R.

  4. #124
    Council Member Rhodesian's Avatar
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    Default

    PS Somewhat inflamatory that web page, apologies for any offence caused. I.R

  5. #125
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Peter Godwin on COIN

    Just in case the SWJ item is lost for Rhodesia observers and from a BSAP viewpoint by a journalist: http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/jou...306-noonan.pdf

    davidbfpo

  6. #126
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Important point from the paper about the balance of terror and how to handle it. Hadn't seen the paper thanks for posting davidbfpo.


    Because on a balance of terror, they will always tend to win. We arrest people and put them in jail, the insurgents take much more ferocious action. It's the western paradox, but also it’s inherent in asymmetrical conflict. If you are going to lose in the balance of terror, then you have to be able to promise protection in return for support
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-21-2009 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Replace bold with quote marks

  7. #127
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Yep and my Mom always told me

    NEVER to promise anything I couldn't deliver...

  8. #128
    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Default OK, so I'm just now getting to something from 3 years ago....

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I will be sending two documents to sgmgrumpy. One is a visualization of Fireforce tactics given to me by Chuck Melsom (another Rhodesian military follower) of the History and Museums division. The second is a copy of an external operation OPORD. It is similar to the basic SMEAC format, but the coordinating instructions are a gem because there is insight into how the
    Rhodies thought and planned.

    I only have them hardcopy now, but intend to scan and build into a .pdf. PM me if you'd like a copy.
    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    If there are no copyright restrictions I will post the docs to the SWJ Library.
    Did these ever make it into the library? I was trying to find them, to no avail...
    Brant
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  9. #129
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    The fireforce tactics piece can actually be easily found on the 'net with a little bit of searching, but no, it never made it here. As for the opord, it never made it either, but should you PM me an email address, I could get it to you once I get back off my current trip to the field.

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    Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

    Im still here. You all have alot more experience in debating this issue that I do. My question came as a result of studying wars in southern africa and the measures they took to overcome the landmine issue. I think that terrain, strategy and even a landmine vs an IED demand differences in employment of troops. It is just a sick feeling to watch our casualties from IED's knowing that they werent even the result of a contact just some kid with a remote control. Keep going. I look at this board everyday and consider it an education.

    I find the above posts about landing patrols away from the target and walking to a target very interesting and in though the terrain in afghanistan might prohibit some of this, The issue still remains are we using the choppers to their fullest and are there enough ?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2010 at 07:56 AM. Reason: Add Mods note

  11. #131
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Zealot - you learnt what?

    Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

    Zealot66,

    I know a few here will interested in the end product of:
    My question came as a result of studying wars in southern africa and the measures they took to overcome the landmine issue.
    I recall some Rhodesian annoyance - after 1980 - to find that the South Africans (SADF) had developed their anti-mining equipment and had not shared this with them. The SADF deployed their kit in Angola and SWAfrica - where I expect ex-Rhodesians, now in the SADF noticed. IIRC Peter Stiff authored a book on the Rhodesian counter-IED programme.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2010 at 07:56 AM. Reason: Mods note
    davidbfpo

  12. #132
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

    The objective area vs. Walk in issue was the exact issueI looked at in a MC Gazette article a ways back that analysed Fire Force. We can technically do it, BUT I don't think we are doctrinally organized to do it.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2010 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Mods note

  13. #133
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

    Wait a minute, Mr. Custis, you wrote that article on the Rhodesian Fire Force concept in Marine Corps Gazette. Was the reluctance to walk to the objective mainly to enhance the speed of execution?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2010 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Mods note

  14. #134
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    Moderators note - copied here from another thread for continuity

    If by THAT article you mean the one circa 2000, yes, that was mine.

    Was the reluctance to walk to the objective mainly to enhance the speed of execution?
    With this question, are you asking about the Rhodesians? If you are, I think the actions of the various elements (RLI, RAR, etc.) that provided Fire Forces were founded on the mobility that the helicopters provided first and foremost, but you have to remember the factors someone else already described.

    The Rhodesian Sec Forces were very small, considering the land mass they were responsible for. With that in mind, and considering the fact that multiple sightings of terrorist "gangs" could be made in a single day and in a single ops area, the Rhodesians generally could not afford to walk to the objective. It just took too much time. That's not to say that they never walked about...it's just that in order to reset the Fire Force, the techniques employed worked best when they were dropped straight in. Please note that the Selous Scouts and C Sqdrn SAS boys did plenty of long range inserts to gain observation over enemy infiltration routes, encampments, etc.

    Of note is the fact that the terrorists would often split up into very small groups (either on purpose or plain lack of discipline) and "bombshell" out for some distance before trying to go to ground. In order to assess the avenues of escape that they might try to use, the command helicopter usually pulled right into an orbit over the target area, so it makes sense that the maneuver sticks that were dropped in followed the same route and went straight to the area. Fire Force was the classic employment of counter-terrorist techniques that we hear argued for by some with regard to Afghanistan. It was conducted in a COIN campaign for sure, but the techniques only solved a single problem set.

    I disagree with Wilf that Fire Force was borne out of the lack of helicopters. The use of old CH-47 Dakotas for parachuting sticks in was a result of the lack of aircraft, but the Fire Force was born out of precisely the mobility that the Alouettes and later Bell Hueys (only dispatched for FF work infrequently if I remember correctly) provided.

    I also disagree that the concept would have had problems if pitted up against a more determine foe that employed more MANPADS. Although they didn't employ active anti-SAM measures in the way of IR decoys, the flight profiles employed and exhaust manifolds bolted on did work to an effect. It's also important to remember that the FF did not just stumble into a target area based off of some fleeting spot report. An OP was typically in position with a view of the tgt area, and knew the terrorist composition, strength, and armament, and had fed the information via radio retransmission to the ops center responsible for the FF strike.

    If the terrs had decided to stand and fight, all the better targets for the 20mm Hispano autocannon and the .303 quad guns. They would have had a success here and there for sure, but I'm not certain it would have been operationally significant unless they brought down more than 10 helicopters. I cannot remember the numbers of aircraft actually shot down, but I think there were more incidents of combat accidents than anything else. And if the SAMs had become an issue, I suspect that the Rhodesians would have simply started attaching snipers to the OP teams so that those threats could be addressed.

    We could achieve similar effects for sure with unmanned aerial systems in overwatch of a terrorist encampment, but we just employ Hellfire and JDAM to resolve those matters if the collateral damage factors don't give cause for concern, but I am convinced that there is no better ISR sensor than the Mark I, Mod I eyeball. In the Afghanistan context, we have to remember that the bad guys over there have a background in baiting and setting traps for heliborne forces employed by the Soviets, and the terrain in much of the country supports that sort of defense. I don't have a crystal ball view on what they might do against a force organized and employed like a Fire Force, but that goes back to my earlier point about the doctrinal issue. We simply do not keep the ground force commander aloft anymore, like the FF commanders did, and that prevents us from being able to effectively assess just what is going on relative to the threat's actions.

    ETA: I think a great resource for training to this standard would be to start with FF vets, and supplement that with time spent talking shop with police chopper pilots from the large metropolitan depts.

    If we were to put heliborne forces into an area to go up against some knuckleheads laying over on their way to say, Kandahar, methinks that we would need lots of them, and about five times the size of Fire Force elements in order to cover the various ratlines involved. There is a certain mobility luxury that the enemy might enjoy in the way of a brace of mopeds and red racing stripe Toyota pickups.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2010 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Mods note

  15. #135
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default USMC gazette article

    The cited article on Fire Force tactics by Jon Custis, in the USMC Gazette March 2000, is alas behind a pay wall: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/mca-mari...&Submit=Search

    I suspect Jon has placed much of the article on SWC already in his posts on Fire Force.
    davidbfpo

  16. #136
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    I suspect Jon has placed much of the article on SWC already in his posts on Fire Force.
    Aye, and much of that in turn came from JRT Wood's writings.

  17. #137
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    Default Rhodesia COIN

    Read these in order:
    Fire Force (Ranger type inside and out side of country)
    The Elite (SAS/JSOC outside)
    Pamwe Chete (SF/Advanced Phoenix program, Level III skills utilized in pseudo operations inside and outside of country)
    See You in November (intell/ Level III: outside of country)

    When you get to the last one you will understand how they tied it all together to pull off the terrorist camp raids with only 142 men verses 1000 terrorist. Some of the best COIN tactics for the battle field. Then remember Jan Braytenbach from South Africa who trained with the Scouts and you will understand how those TTP evolved in South Africa with the Recces, Ops K, 32 Bn and their Intell agency to fight their COIN war. Then when you are done remember that it is a political war and the best the military can do is get into the Red Zone only it takes a political solution to get it into the End Zone. Why Rhodesia is no more, South Africa has changed, the IRA has Northern Ireland, and the PLO has been voted into power and Palestine will become a country.

  18. #138
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOMAN View Post
    Some of the best COIN tactics for the battle field. Then remember Jan Braytenbach from South Africa who trained with the Scouts and you will understand how those TTP evolved in South Africa with the Recces, Ops K, 32 Bn and their Intell agency to fight their COIN war.
    Not really COIN, but solid irregular warfare. "ATOPS" - anti-terrorist operations in the parlance of the day.
    Then when you are done remember that it is a political war and the best the military can do is get into the Red Zone only it takes a political solution to get it into the End Zone.
    If you are saying that all wars are political, and it is the setting forth of policy weighed against how the war changes the policy that creates the alteration or not, in the policy. - as Clausewitz did, then I concur.
    Why Rhodesia is no more,
    Rhodesia is no more because of the vast economic harm it's military action did to Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana, which mobilised efforts to end the conflict via Lancaster house, rather than a Soviet/Libyan backed ground invaison
    South Africa has changed,
    - as it had to. The policy was unworkable.
    the IRA has Northern Ireland,
    No they do not. Quite the reverse is true.
    and the PLO has been voted into power and Palestine will become a country.
    - again, not true. Hamas is in power in Gaza, and Fatah control the PA in the West Bank. A Palestinian State (or 2- States) has been a viable solution since 1971 or 1988, depending on your viewpoint. The Israeli use of force has, for 20 years been aimed at defining the nature of that state and the political policies it seeks to set forth.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Default Good post

    My primary research over the last 3 years has been the Rhodesian conflict and the Border War of SA. I think one of the chief errors of the bush administration was prostrating ourselves to an imaginary border in pakistan. Who the hell is pakistan ? Who the hell were the Cambodes or Pathet Lao ? track your prey, follow its spoor and kill it. External operations were the only thing that kept rhodesia alive as long as it did and the only thing that kept Soviets, Cubans and Swapo from kicking down the door of south africa was action on and across the Angolan border. However, the Marxists went in the back door anyway....

    Hopefully the Taliban holds up in Helmand and wants to get their martyrdom in the spring. And we should disregard a two faced Pakistan and track down every insurgent in the valley and get rid of them. There should be no safe place. It sucked the blood from us in Vietnam and its doing it now too.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-06-2010 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Remove non-Rhodesian part of post copied here from IED & Vertical Envelopment

  20. #140
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default External operations: another view

    Zealot66,

    My primary research over the last 3 years has been the Rhodesian conflict and the Border War of SA.... External operations were the only thing that kept rhodesia alive as long as it did ....
    I am aware that some Rhodesians after 1980 concluded 'external operations' did not help in their war.(A bigger topic so I shall stop there).

    "Boots on the ground" raids and drone attacks across the Durand Line have also been criticised, IIRC David Kilcullen is one critic and Bruce Hoffman has commented at the peak of drone attacks in one part of the FATA the training of Zavi, the alleged NYC bomber, was not affected.

    'External operations' appear to be an easy option, with a limited, short-term impact and meet IMHO the agenda of domestic political needs.

    In the Pakistani context this is made even more complex, if not confusing by US drone attacks coming from bases within Pakistan, with an apparent official, if denied, Pakistani input to targeting.
    davidbfpo

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