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Thread: Urban / City Warfare (merged thread)

  1. #81
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    I wouldn't assume that the defenders going underground makes much of a difference...it might even make things worse...for them.

  2. #82
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I imagine the Troops that went into Sadr City had a great deal to do with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Massengale View Post
    Sadr City 08 was a result of having plentiful and accurate ISR. Not exactly a one-off since if you can get the assets in those numbers (and even more importantly, the people who know how to use them), you can do it again...to the extent you have the resources. That's the rub.
    Perhaps even a great deal more.

    As I often found out in earlier times, I'm also sure the plentiful and accurate ISR only told them of some of the problems they might face. Regrettably, that knowledge does not help much in dealing with those who object to your presence...

    Nor does it help in digging out the large number who survive the fire and other support poured upon them -- above or below ground.

  3. #83
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    Default Breaking the Paradigm, but mostly questions....

    I'm not surprised kids got mentioned early in this thread. I'm not sure what role kids played in Iraq other than being light mules, Intel and spotters. Did they engage like the Palestinian kids did? If not, why not? What are the protocols for young teens engaging in non-lethal contact? If I were an enemy commander, I certainly would be exploiting kids more than they are.

    Opinion: IDF empowered a whole new generation of Palestinian fighters by using rubber bullets and tear gas. The young teen Palis were psychologically blooded IMO. What rock chucker didn't go home and brag to his sisters and neighbors and mother that he had taken out an eye of an IDF trooper or knocked one down, when in truth he was probably hiding a bruise from a rubber bullet. Said kids after their first 'fight' fully realized that but in a few short years, they would have an AK in their hands and not some rocks. Can the unconventional take this edge way on the ground in real time and stay within the limits of Law? How do you identify personnel who have the knack for bending the unconventional to the upper limits? My hunch is that the Military is more open to this than they have been in a long time.

  4. #84
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    Default Interesting questions to me ....

    goesh
    Can the unconventional take this edge way [away?] on the ground in real time and stay within the limits of Law? How do you identify personnel who have the knack for bending the unconventional to the upper limits? My hunch is that the Military is more open to this than they have been in a long time.
    I'd be interested in the view of the "Military" here (most of the folks here) on these questions, because the answers would inform my thoughts on the LOAC and ROE/RUFs, etc.

  5. #85
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I think Goesh is correct. I'm picking up some of the most favorable vibes

    toward innovation and a more free flowing, less structured but still well disciplined bunch of units that need to have a common operating methodology and goal set but are not only allowed but encouraged to pursue various approaches and to allow subordinates to make decisions. Haven't been able to say that for over 35 years...

    My personal belief is that it is great that is occurring and that not only the Armed Forces but the nation can benefit.

    As I understand your question and the basis therefor, I think the answer is that there will be efforts to identify personnel who have the knack for bending the unconventional to the upper limits and staying legal in the process. The down side of that is that there will be errors as people overshoot.

    The reaction of the leadership, the media, the politicians and yes, the lawyers, to such errors will determine whether or not the willingness to allow some sensible freedom of action continues -- and real lasting benefit accrues.

  6. #86
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    Opinion: IDF empowered a whole new generation of Palestinian fighters by using rubber bullets and tear gas. The young teen Palis were psychologically blooded IMO. What rock chucker didn't go home and brag to his sisters and neighbors and mother that he had taken out an eye of an IDF trooper or knocked one down, when in truth he was probably hiding a bruise from a rubber bullet.
    ... but rubber bullets and tear gas get used by police and military all over the world. Those weapons don't have that effect on other populations. The other option is 5.56mm ball. That causes a lot more upset.
    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

  7. #87
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    Default A Real Time Dissection of the Paradigm

    Action Specific: A crowd of teens throwing rocks at a check point manned by a squad, they are close enough to inflilct personal damage, 30-40 in number and they've got a dozen 4-5 yr olds out in front of them as human shields, a small crowd of adults has gathered cheering and laughing.

    Conventional: Up comes a Hummer with teargas and rubber bulletts are issued, an Iraqi response team is delayed, their Commander is on the phone because his wife is sick and may need a doctor, but nobody is going to gas some 4 yr olds or allow them to get hit with rubber bullets. The rocks are flying, 2-3 men have been ordered to drop any teen that pulls a gun, some barrels are leveled, tunnel vision and adrenalin our side, fun and aggression on their side and the teens are winning and sending a powerful message to mom and pop back home, cell phones are documenting it all.

    Unconventional: Up comes the oldest and ugliest beater of pickup truck obtainable manned by several GIs. This is coming at them at their level, no superior high techery shock and awe, which is what the teens expect and must have to win the psychological battle. They want to fight the Hummer. The GIs have an improvised, giant sling shot and water balloons filled with feminine colored, non-toxic dye to splatter the punks with, including the human shields and they cut loose and splatter them rapid fire with pink and orange dye. About then the Iraqi cops show up and thump a few on the legs with night sticks and its over. Young Ahmed goes home colored like a woman and his bravado is gone, he is shamed and not hurt and Mom and Pop are glad they are not burying him or taking him to the hospital. They might even tell him to quit messing with the Americans.
    This is no different than the GIs at Normandy who improvided those gouging shields on tanks to get through the hedgerows with - it just happened, out of box, jumping a dimension, a technical break in the chain of command set things in motion.

    What are the risks associated with this example of out of the box thinking, specifically, could there be internal repercussions for some LT or Senior NCO for so ordering this action?

  8. #88
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    Default Ramifications...

    For this specific instance, the ramification for using an unauthorized and unarmored vehicle, contrary to force protection standards (possibly the biggest obstacle when it comes to U.S. forces and their innovation and effectiveness) may be a really loud counseling by the unit commander to the PL, if the CO had not been previously briefed on the plan.

    In general, a lawyer and safety officer might want to weigh in on the potential for blinding a child with the balloon, the toxicity and environmental impact of the balloon dye, and where balloons fit within the escalation of force and the ROE. Big Army weapon managers would want to evaluate the rate of fire and reliability in arctic conditions, establish the maximum and effective range, and determine if the Lighthouse for the Blind could build a knockoff for .50 cents less than the regular commercial manufacturer. And the division commander would want to ensure the color of the dye is standardized across the AO, and the pink and orange color are not the same shade as our pink and orange VS-17 panels, used to mark friendly troops.

    While I am being slightly cynical, this was the result of only about 5 minutes of brainstorming to come up with the typical U.S. Army bureaucratic response. I think the idea of shame and embarrassment employed would be effective and the troops who do the timeless 'ask for forgiveness, not permission' get a lot further with initially employing these kind of techniques.

    I always encouraged my troops to improvise with different ideas, mainly with modifying current equipment or techniques. We used the long-range voice-mitters with MP3 players to stop traffic at highway overwatch positions to allow U.S. convoys to cross with less risk. We also modified smoke grenade launchers to fit on the gun shields to provide directional obscuration. One technique worked, the other needed refinement, and the decentralized nature of the AO prevented any higher from ever taking notice. Note that I didn't come up with either idea, my junior NCOs did.

    Tankersteve

  9. #89
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good post, TankerSteve...

    Too true in some respects...

  10. #90
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    Default Cities and the New Wars conference

    September 25, 2009
    Cities and the New Wars

    Time Friday, 1:00 pm
    Type Conference
    Location Avery Hall, Wood Auditorium, Columbia University


    The conference addresses two major subjects:

    The multiple meanings of the new urban wars: asymmetric armed conflict, US Army training for the "urban enemy," forms of economic violence that kill, cities and urban space as a technology for war, reapropriating the city of fear, civil war refugees and their flight from and to cities, measuring human rights violations during war.

    The limits of power and of war: the role of the civic, war and law, the growing global web of interdependencies -- all can contest the most powerful states and all can undermine the idea of victory in war. Conditions under which powerlessness becomes complex and transcends mere victimhood.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  11. #91
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    Default Urban Operations RFI

    Need some help and expertise here in regards to urban military operations. While much work has been done over the last decade (as well as a whole lot of operational experience) to improve our capabilities to operate in an urban environment I need to get a handle on what still needs to be done and what we really need to be examining in future concept and doctrinal work as well as in experimentation. I know it is tough to separate urban into tactical and operational bins Ė but my request is to focus on operational / joint capabilities. But donít that limit the discussion. Thanks in advance. Dave D.

  12. #92
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    Interestingly the Chinese are wrestling with this very thing at the moment. They are in awe of US joint operational capability to hit targets using manned fixed and rotary wing aircraft and helicopters, UAS (or whatever UAV/RPVs are called this week), attacking with precision guided munitions (especially ones that create less collateral damage), and most importantly the speed in which US forces can get it brought in. I'm reading Chinese material on it at the moment. I can help that way but am writing a paper which I have to keep closed until late October.

    The Chinese initiated a series of trials in the early years of the this century on high altitude and urban warfare. The two things of note in their force structure were:

    a. The increase from three to four infantry veehicles in the mechanized infantry platoon. A dedicated HQ vehicle allowed for a smal engineer or fire control team to included in the platoon; and
    b. an armoured comand vehicle at the company level to handle all the information and data expected on the modern battlefield.

    The only thing I am concerned about, is a shortage/lack of armoured engineer vehicles, and bridge layers in many countries which become vital in urban warfare. The old Centurion AVRE and M728 had a lot going for them. The USMC Assault Breacher Vehicles based on the Abrahms may be too big for many streets and the infrastructure in developing countries.

    Also in Vietnam, the 84mm/20pdr on the Centurion (and by association the 90mm on the M48) was found to be able to deal with most targets in villages and towns and still have a sizeable ammunition load. An M1, Challenger etc may not have sufficient onboard ammunition load and is too big for many urban infrasrtructures in the developing world. Is an AEV based on a medium tank chassis survivable in modern warfare?

  13. #93
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    Default Scenarios

    It is my recommendation that experimentation consider adopting a failed (mega-)city scenario for future research rather than the current concentration on failed and failing states. It is my personal intuition that sees a large failed city as a higher potential threat and required national response which would invlove greater military requirements and capabilities, including whole of governement responses than most current concept development and emphasis.

    These failures could arise from several causes such as natural (Haiti, New Orleans), resource based (oil, water, food), conflict (war, ethnic cleansing, religion, tribal), crime (Mexican border disputes), financial or demographic etc.

    Such analyses may also go a long way towards informing pop-centric COIN strategies for more localized action and tailoring in places such as Afghanistan and Pakistan to deal with these insurgencies which have demanding local variances.

    Fianally, a failed mega-city scenario would likely impell governments to act more directly and immediately than a potential failed or failing state scenario.

  14. #94
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    Default Charter Cities

    This is a different idea....evacuate to a new city and let the old one die as opposed to fighting over it. The author thinks the idea is new but Buckminster Fuller talked about it years ago. It is sometimes easier and cheaper just to build a new city as opposed to fixing the old one.

    H/T to Zenpundit for finding this.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/paul_romer.html
    Last edited by slapout9; 07-06-2010 at 06:27 PM. Reason: stuff

  15. #95
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    Default Urban Black Holes

    Urban Black Holes

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  16. #96
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    Default Sadr City 2008: a new model for urban combat?

    Sadr City 2008: a new model for urban combat?

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  17. #97
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    Default Command of the Cities: Towards a Theory of Urban Strategy

    Command of the Cities: Towards a Theory of Urban Strategy

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  18. #98
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    Default Urban Land Use by Illegal Armed Groups in Medellin

    Urban Land Use by Illegal Armed Groups in Medellin

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  19. #99
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    Default Rural versus Urban Insurgency: How We Missed the Enemy's Center of Gravity in Iraq an

    Rural versus Urban Insurgency: How We Missed the Enemy's Center of Gravity in Iraq and Why It's Important

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  20. #100
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    Default Meet An Urban Planner For Cities That Don't Yet Exist

    Meet An Urban Planner For Cities That Don't Yet Exist

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