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Thread: Leading infantry tactics theoreticians/experts today

  1. #21
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Get Tom to dig into the CALL archives -- not the current stuff, the old stuff; there should be tons there. Lord knows it was all over Bragg in the late 60s; li'l white books, li'l green books from the brand new C.A.L.L. and blue ones from Benning, too...

    We did it then -- but I suspect most of it got tossed in the 70s and 80s so we could relearn lessons the hard way; to do less would be un-American.
    Not just CALL; yes we have some but remember CALL stood up in 1985. The Military History Institute has a good bit and some of what the Center for Military History offers gets down in the weeds. But the reality is that prior to 1985, efforts to retain and archive records amd lessons were uneven, depending on unit leaders and interest in what they were doing.

    And you must always consider who did the archiving and what they were seeking to do. As an example, according to official records for Op Support Hope, Stan and I were not at Goma in 1994. Some in JTF-A did not like admitting they needed our help. Big surprise....

    Bottom line, Ken, I fear you are correct on lessons being tossed.

    Best

    Tom

  2. #22
    Council Member Randy Brown's Avatar
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    Default Looking for the Big Guns, too?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    The language barrier must be terribly powerful.

    Every time I ask in English-language forums for expert names, I get minimum 90% US/UK/CAN/Israel replies as if there was no innovation in other languages.

    Come on, we're in an alliance. There should be lots of innovators in other countries as well. Doesn't NATO have some institution to distribute new ideas?
    Merci! Great question and point! We Yanks remain quite indebted, of course, to the work and writings of Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben. It can't have been all downhill from there, could it?

    I notice the thread is trending toward identifying sources for "lessons" vs. your original question of who might be out there capturing/generating infantry theory. While I'm sure these are interlocking fields of fire, I got the feeling you were originally looking for sources who might one day gun for the title of "21st century infantry intellectual grand-daddy," someone along the lines of Heinz Guderian ("Achtung-Panzer!") for armor, or Billy Mitchell ("Winged Defense") for air power. Am I wrong?
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  3. #23
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    The language barrier must be terribly powerful.

    Every time I ask in English-language forums for expert names, I get minimum 90% US/UK/CAN/Israel replies as if there was no innovation in other languages.
    LOLOL - well, it IS a major barrier since very few native English speakers speak (or read) other languages. I'm certain that he innovations are there, but they aren't accessible to most English-only speakers. BTW, the problem isn't limited to the military by any means - it's pandemic across all disciplines.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Maybe I should refresh my French and look there as well.

    But even more interesting might be the Russians. A feeling of defeat and very low budget should sponsor creativity amongst their officers since the early 90's.
    I bet they had a new Tuchashevsky in these years and I don't know about him...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Maybe I should refresh my French and look there as well.

    But even more interesting might be the Russians. A feeling of defeat and very low budget should sponsor creativity amongst their officers since the early 90's.
    I bet they had a new Tuchashevsky in these years and I don't know about him...
    Fuchs, you can pretty much forget about any Russian material - it's practically a given that so much as an aide memoire would be considered a state secret; similarly, no Russian officer or soldier would be permitted to publish even their own work on the matter. If you haven't seen this already, the Soviets were very close to the Bundeswehr's organization for infantry (though I expect that you are more than well aware of this).

    I'll e-mail you re the French stuff.

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    Default Minor theorists

    Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel

    On Infantry by John English

    Bear Went over the Mountain

    Numerous Chechnya combat articles by Russian officers with excellent insights on boots on the ground tactics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel

    On Infantry by John English

    Bear Went over the Mountain

    Numerous Chechnya combat articles by Russian officers with excellent insights on boots on the ground tactics.
    My mistake. Forgot about those; FMSO (especially) has many of them.

  8. #28
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    Fuchs, you can pretty much forget about any Russian material - it's practically a given that so much as an aide memoire would be considered a state secret; similarly, no Russian officer or soldier would be permitted to publish even their own work on the matter.
    Not quite
    http://www.amazon.com/If-War-Comes-T...4666644&sr=8-1
    It's somewhere in the internet in e-book form, but I lost the link.

    @Bill:

    "Infanterie greift an!" is about World War One, not modern.

    "On infantry" has almost no innovative content, it's a kind of military history overview on infantry since the Boer wars.

    Lester W. Grau's works on WW2 till late 20th are valuable, but not much about infantry iirc.

  9. #29
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Fuchs, what are your ideas and recommendations of books and infantry thinkers from other counties?

  10. #30
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Hi Fuchs, what are your ideas and recommendations of books and infantry thinkers from other counties?
    That's the problem. I believe I missed too much.
    It's in the nature of the problem that many great thinkers keep their ideas reserved for their own army and secret.
    Most innovations are certainly incremental changes made by many different persons that add up to big changes.
    Other ideas are easily found in many thousands of master's thesis done at military-related colleges.
    The only convenient sources are the public domain books (and FMs), with everything compressed into just a couple volumes.

    I remember MG Franz Uhle-Wettler as an infantry innovator, but he was active 20+ years ago and his works were about how to slow down or stop the Red army with decentralized territorial infantry battalions that fight guerrilla-like without fronts (not much unlike the Jagdkampf concept).

    Few innovators seem to really become famous.

    edit:
    Wilf once sent me a paper of "Yedidia Groll-Yaari, Vice Admiral (Ret.) and Haim Assa". They were certainly not advocating traditional infantry, but instead they were too much on the extreme of DO/RMA. Their focus was on employing sensors and killing.
    I wouldn't rate their paper as a good contribution to military art.
    ("Diffused Warfare - The Concept of Virtual Mass", 2007)

    I personally consider the Finnish infantry as excellent since at least the 30's. I wonder whether they had major innovations on their own since WW2.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 06-28-2008 at 04:45 PM.

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    Default How about Major E. James Land?

    As far as influencing TTPs for small wars, COIN, LIC, etc. goes.....

    Major E. James Land: I believe the standard of sniper training today in both the USMC and the Army is due to Maj. Land's efforts to establish a permanent Scout/Sniper instructor school at Quantico after Vietnam.

    Colonel James N. Rowe: What Maj. Land did for sniping Col. Rowe did for SERE.

    David Scott-Donelan: The importance of combat tracking (and likely some other lessons from the Rhodesian bush wars) is starting to make it's way into certain segments of the US Military through the efforts of David Scott-Donelan.

    And least we forget.....The US Army's Ranger Department and 75th Ranger Regiment has raised the standard of light infantry throughout the US Army.

    Arguments? Rebuttals?
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  12. #32
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    . Besides them, there's Wilf of course, and Wigram, whom some of Wilf's work derived from.
    I can't even hide in Wigrams shadow. It is a great shame that so little of his work survives in it's original form. A true, troubled and also flawed genius. The BAR published my article on him and Tim Harrison Places book on WW2 Infantry training in the UK is good, as is "To Reason Why" by Foreman.

    Liddell-Hart did some good infantry work, (The 1919 Infantry manual) as did Ivor Maxse. I think you could also look Carlson as a good thinker and practioner.

    I know H. John Poole and we used to talk a lot, but some of his stuff is just too off base. "The Last Hundered Yards" is however, excellent.

    On the down side, I think SLA Marshall did more harm than good, and I don't have much time for Rommel's Infantry Attacks. I think it's over rated.

    ...but by and large, infantry doctrine is massively neglected, compared to other areas. Strange, because you can have an army without tanks or arty, but not without infantry.
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  13. #33
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    "Infanterie greift an" by Rommel was more about extremely disciplined and high morale troops being led by an extremely lucky junior officer who was a master at exploiting weak spots of the enemy and to demoralize the enemy with surprise and superior positioning.

    It was nice (I still don't believe that he really moved several companies at night through a gap only 50 m wide), but no theoretical masterpiece.
    It certainly offered the promise of successful offense under certain circumstances to depressed infantry officers in the inter-war years.

  14. #34
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    "Infanterie greift an" by Rommel was more about extremely disciplined and high morale troops being led by an extremely lucky junior officer who was a master at exploiting weak spots of the enemy and to demoralize the enemy with surprise and superior positioning.

    It was nice (I still don't believe that he really moved several companies at night through a gap only 50 m wide), but no theoretical masterpiece.
    It certainly offered the promise of successful offense under certain circumstances to depressed infantry officers in the inter-war years.
    Exactly! I cannot understand why people think the book important. "Storm of Steel," by Ernst Junger is actually a better book, and has more useful things to say.

    "Infanterie greift an" should have been called "Aren't I clever! Make me a General."

    - acid test. Having read the book, how would you change, training, doctrine, or equipment?
    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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    Council Member Randy Brown's Avatar
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    Default Expeditionary law enforcement as possible research direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I'm curious about who is being considered being one of let's say 20 top infantry tactics experts/theoreticians in the open domain (=some chance to find articles or books to read his/her ideas).
    I am specifically interested in the kinetic aspects when I wrote infantry, else I'd have written "PsyOps" or "MP expert".

    Any suggestions?
    My earlier musings as to whether the civilian tactical law enforcement community might have anything to offer in this area--despite your stipulations against "MP experts"--was based on two assumptions/suspicions. The first was that tactical LE TTP might have some (limited) application for infantry-work within a population, particularly if that population was limited in scale, such as a building, a complex, a block, etc. ... Can't say that line of inquiry or thought worked out, but it was an idea.

    The second was that there might be some gendarme/peacekeeper theorists out there, which would blend infantry and police (small "p") thought and practice. An SWJ article on "expeditionary law enforcement" this morning captures the spirit of latter possible research direction, in my opinion. I offer it here for your consideration.
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  16. #36
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Brown View Post
    My earlier musings as to whether the civilian tactical law enforcement community might have anything to offer in this area--despite your stipulations against "MP experts"--was based on two assumptions/suspicions. The first was that tactical LE TTP might have some (limited) application for infantry-work within a population, particularly if that population was limited in scale, such as a building, a complex, a block, etc. ... Can't say that line of inquiry or thought worked out, but it was an idea.

    The second was that there might be some gendarme/peacekeeper theorists out there, which would blend infantry and police (small "p") thought and practice. An SWJ article on "expeditionary law enforcement" this morning captures the spirit of latter possible research direction, in my opinion. I offer it here for your consideration.
    I think you are broadly correct and I share your interest in that thought. The challenge is the blend, AND the distinction. There's a time for the LE type TTP and a time to be more aggressive/kinetic approach. You must be able to do both.

    I have spent a great deal of time studying a lot of US LE-SWAT minor tactics, most of which make no sense and promote process over effect. All seem to focus on dancing around in rooms in very complicated ways, so there is still some considerable human, rather then technical or even tactical challenges in this area.
    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

  17. #37
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    Default One must say

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    I have spent a great deal of time studying a lot of US LE-SWAT minor tactics, most of which make no sense and promote process over effect. All seem to focus on dancing around in rooms in very complicated ways, so there is still some considerable human, rather then technical or even tactical challenges in this area.
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  18. #38
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    Default Combined Arms

    I'm not sure if it isn't too limiting to be discussing only infantry. The modern battlefield, and the advances made, are about combined arms, or at least combined arms principles. I would recommend Robert Leonhard's Art of Maneuver and offer his discussion of combined arms theory (complementary principle, dilemma principle and Alcyoneus principle) as a good theoretical lens for discussing tactics (the attached link provides a decent summary: http://www.operations.dns2go.com/ops...ned%20Arms.htm).
    It seems to me that the history of infantry tactics through the 20th century has been to give smaller and smaller infantry units an organic combined arms capability (LMGs, suitcase ATGMs, marrying up with APCs, etc.). The new paradigm, call it distributed or whatever, is to increase those small units combined arms capabilities through greater reachback via networking to firepower and support (UAVs, JTAC training, blue force tracker, etc.). Additionally, the recent emphasis on COIN and Stabilization is about bringing more civil-military skills and tools down to the lower levels. The "strategic corporal" concept merits recognition here, along with Special Forces Unconventional Warfare theory. I would also add VADM McRaven's Spec Ops book as good theory for special operations as they apply to raids and direct action.

  19. #39
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilR View Post
    I'm not sure if it isn't too limiting to be discussing only infantry. The modern battlefield, and the advances made, are about combined arms, or at least combined arms principles. I would recommend Robert Leonhard's Art of Maneuver and offer his discussion of combined arms theory (complementary principle, dilemma principle and Alcyoneus principle) as a good theoretical lens for discussing tactics (the attached link provides a decent summary: http://www.operations.dns2go.com/ops...ned%20Arms.htm).
    I would offer that Combined Arms is only relevant in that it is about supporting the infantry. Infantry remains a critical and mostly under studied area of tactical thought. Correctly trained and equipped infantry is the basis for the vast majority of land combat power. My personal opinion is that Manoeuvre Warfare provides nothing useful to infantry theory and science. I would recommend Robert Leonhards "Principles of War for the Information Age" in that regard.
    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

  20. #40
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quick-firing guns with contact-fuzed shells and machine guns enforced a tactical revolution in infantry tactics early in the 2th century.

    Now we know about comparable changes; extremely scary sensor capabilities approaching to "Star Trek" levels, enormous wireless communication capabilities, artillery shells that can hit a single field observation post from 40 km afar with a single round and small arms so powerful that being seen for a couple of seconds almost equals being dead against a competent foe.

    The tactics generation born in WW1 and updated for APCs, IFVs, anti-tank infantry weapons and assault rifles CANNOT be up to date under these circumstances.

    There NEEDS to be a new infantry tactics generation in use in the next war against competent and well-equipped enemies (the last one ended in 1945) or we'll see disasters as were seen in 1914-1917.

    Old treatises on infantry tactics from WW2 and Vietnam don't help much. They can still tell us about the psychology of combat and some ruses, but not much about tactics.
    Small war experiences like Afghanistan and Iraq highlighted some shortcomings and added some minor capabilities, but many of the lessons are 180 wrong simply because the enemy is not modern and not competent. A soldier can wear a heavy vest and patrol, day after day, and survive for months.
    He'd be dead within minutes if he did that in a high intensity conflict against competent enemies. The whole armour protection rally of the past years is probably 180 off.

    So, that's the problem that I see. I can only hope that those people who work and think behind confidentiality barriers (that I cannot penetrate well) are working hard and well on the challenge. I hope they are not working on just incrementally advanced WW2 tactics.

    I fear that's not the case, as the indicators for this are rare.

    The camouflage efforts that I see in Western armies are like placeholders, signals that camouflage was not forgotten entirely. Electronic combat is in my opinion vastly under-rated, battlefield sensors are not available in the necessary quantities, software-defined radio development is too slow, TO&E are still pretty close to the 50's, hard-kill defenses for heavy combat teams are not widespread yet, experiments in the field are rather rare.

    Our armies should be busy with experiments and professional ideas exchanges even beyond the language barriers.
    We should have tenders for idea development just like we have tenders for hardware development.

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