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Thread: Lessons were learned—or relearned—the hard way, and now being forgotten

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lessons were learned—or relearned—the hard way, and now being forgotten

    The title is adapted from a short article by a British Army officer, centering around the lessons of fighting in Basra in 2007 onwards (27 February - 3 September 2007), and appears on the MWI website (part of West Point). It will join the main thread later:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...merged-thread)

    So a couple of "tasters":
    In Basra, many lessons were learned—or relearned—the hard way, and they are at risk of being forgotten....Basra offers a useful lens through which to explore them. To warfare futurists looking for low-risk, low-cost, silver-bullet answers to the conundrums of urban warfare, Basra’s lessons are inconvenient but necessary truths.
    Being British this is an understatement and reflects in 2019 IMHO a reluctance to admit some truths:
    The activities of other actors, not least the Iraqi Security Forces in their various guises, and unilateral action by various nations further added to the complexity.
    Then this:
    The experiences of British and coalition forces in Basra in 2007 demonstrated that urban operations, by their very nature, are as they are, and not as we would like them to be.
    Link:https://mwi.usma.edu/inescapable-tru...ns-basra-2007/

    I am curious whether the Danes are of the same opinion; they deployed an armoured infantry battalion group and Wiki indicates:
    Denmark withdraw and exit the war due to the high loss in soldiers (seven or eight deaths).
    Link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_...bases_in_Basra and:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancon/Irak
    davidbfpo

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    The article listed some lessons relearnt, but it didn't make a case for why the British Army is at risk of being forgotten? It would insightful to see if the British military education and training systems have deliberately opted to stop teaching these lessons.

    Furthermore, this comment, is true for all conflicts in all environments.

    The experiences of British and coalition forces in Basra in 2007 demonstrated that urban operations, by their very nature, are as they are, and not as we would like them to be.
    Amateurs will follow their doctrine until it leads to their defeat, while professionals may start with a doctrinal approach, they then adapt to the realities on the ground. It is impossible to educate, man, and equip a military for all potential scenarios. No one is comfortable when the fight turns into a fight you didn't train for, but if you can escapte the constraints of bureaucratic processes, soldiers will adapt. I'm not a fan of a Secretary Rumfeld, but he was absolutely correct when he said you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want (training, force structure, equipment). Left unsaid, after you go to war you adapt your doctrine, force, and equipping to the problem at hand.

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