Page 13 of 54 FirstFirst ... 3111213141523 ... LastLast
Results 241 to 260 of 1064

Thread: The UK in Afghanistan

  1. #241
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    What type of patrols are carried out? Must be fighting patrols because they can't be anything else when platoons and companies go walk about. Are these patrols based on good intelligence (or any intelligence at all?) What are the chances that they will 'bump' into armed Taliban moving around in a group?
    Sorry, are you asking because you do not know or you have some specific opinion at to Patrol conduct.
    a.) Patrols aim to reduce the enemies freedom of action.
    b.) Of course intelligence informs planning. I'm not sure how much info on the "Light EW Detachments" is open source, but I see few dropped balls in this area.

    The wheel is being reinvented here. I and thousands (maybe millions) of soldiers like me spent days, weeks, months, years of our lives on walk abouts in the hope of a chance contact with the enemy. We wasted millions of man hours and it seems each new generation knows better and will do the same.
    Some armies do patrolling well, some badly. Patrolling is like washing or eating. You cannot not do it. Every single operational patrol in the British Army has a specific, clear and stated purpose. No one is simply bumbling around trolling for contact.
    I'm not sure that given the shortage of helicopters available to Brit forces whether the potential use for helicopters has been fully explored.
    Believe me, it has and is constantly debate and examined.
    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    That comparison is cold comfort to the soldiers killed, maimed and mutilated by the remaining 25%

    When it comes to life and death situation 75/100 is surely not a pass.
    Really? Are you serious? Are you really comfortable with the reasoning that statement implies? Actually based on those I talk to, the boys in theatre are pretty pleased drills and skills substantially mitigate the risk? No one in theatre expects Air line levels of safety.

    Who is better trained? I don't know, we are talking about the Brits. What are the US stats? I don't know but it really doesn't matter as we are talking about the Brits here.
    I am flat out asking you, what is it you think is lacking? I cannot see you point, apart from casting aspersions on operational conduct, you fully admit that you are not well versed in. What is your point?
    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

  2. #242
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    That's the difference between the potential and the remaining repertoire. Sure, they could man lines, dig their own outposts, set up guns at valley entries, man permanent checkpoints, siege and storm cities - but all this has already been diminished due to their inferiority.

    The IED capability is also mitigated by about 50-95% by intelligence, detection, jamming, passive protection and medical services.

    What's left is an enemy with inferior numbers of fighters and a ridiculously small repertoire, incapable of doing (and getting away with doing) almost everything in the modern conventional war playbook.

    I'd like to stress that imposing further restrictions will most likely require ever larger effort for ever smaller gains. All cheap answers have most likely already been given.


    Let's say we get starship Enterprise-D in orbit and they detect and disarm every IED in Afghanistan.

    At that point, the TB would likely divert their efforts away from IEDs and either attempt to enlarge their repertoire or to spend more effort on other parts of their repertoire.
    They could buy and smuggle some 12.7 or 14.5mm rifles or produce some, add a cheap 4x optic (used PSO-1, for example) and let men with good eyesight snipe.

    They could also increase sabotage effort - or focus on actions against the civilian populace (which would mean that solving the IED problem would have been contrary to the ISAF mission of providing security).
    They could as well turn almost completely to politics and spend money on bribing instead of mercs.

    To squeeze the IED out of their repertoire would most likely not lead to mission success in itself.
    If I were the TB I would be rationalising the military situation in terms of that they and the local people know that they are inflicting more damage on the coalition forces (through IEDs and tying down 1,000s of troops to defend barren, stony terrain) than is being inflicted upon themselves (through direct military action). In other words they see themselves as winning.

    From the coalition forces point of view the emphasis seems to be more on neutralising or defeating the IED threat than tracking down and killing the TB. a victory is going out on a patrol and returning without being hit by an IED. Whether we like it or not the coalition forces have been psychologically pushed off balance by the IED tactic.

    The TB would be crazy to try and hold ground. I don't expect them to behave suicidally. So the more the IED threat is reduced (and 75% is better than a kick in the pants) the less effective the TB will be. Of course the trick will be to hand over to Afghan forces and see whether there is a TB resurgence or not.

  3. #243
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Sorry, are you asking because you do not know or you have some specific opinion at to Patrol conduct.
    a.) Patrols aim to reduce the enemies freedom of action.
    b.) Of course intelligence informs planning. I'm not sure how much info on the "Light EW Detachments" is open source, but I see few dropped balls in this area.
    I was trying to get you (or someone) to respond by saying that these much vaunted "presence patrols" are not meant to result in contact with the enemy (unless the enemy so desire). Its all about walking around, chatting to the locals, smiling, showing off the tough looking well equipped soldiers straight out of the UK. Not really designed for a war zone, these presence patrols, more for peacekeeping and policing.

    Actually patrols also try to locate, contact and kill the enemy.

    I quote RTK: "We called "presence patrols" more appropriately "trolling for RPGs." It seemed more akin to chumming when you're fishing for sharks."

    Well said sir!

    Some armies do patrolling well, some badly. Patrolling is like washing or eating. You cannot not do it. Every single operational patrol in the British Army has a specific, clear and stated purpose. No one is simply bumbling around trolling for contact.
    When you are merely patrolling to dominate ground you can't possibly have specific enemy targeted missions for each patrol. They become routine, they become meaningless because they see you coming and when you exit out the front door the TB come slip back in through the back door. This dominance is a temporary thing, it is an illusion, you are only kidding yourself.

    Bumbling around they certainly are (after all its a presence patrol) and they are certainly not looking for a contact (as that is not the aim of the presence patrol).

    Believe me, it has and is constantly debate and examined.
    Yes, I had a quick look at the "Presence patrols" thread and my take after a quick scan of the entries is that as this is the hand that has been dealt people are trying to make the best of it.

    These presence patrols to a trained soldier are like kissing your sister, a poor substitute for the spice of the real thing (a patrol that leads to a contact on your terms)... and in the main a waste of time. Leave them to the Afghans to do.

    But all this maybe informs us that there no real intelligence on the location of the TB so we stroll around handing out sweets and trinkets half expecting the village elder to say "my son is a TB he lives in the 3rd house on the left."

    In this sort of environment you dominate the ground only for as long as you physically occupy it. Sad but true.

    Really? Are you serious? Are you really comfortable with the reasoning that statement implies? Actually based on those I talk to, the boys in theatre are pretty pleased drills and skills substantially mitigate the risk? No one in theatre expects Air line levels of safety.
    A 75% success rate is a giant step in the right direction but we need more progress and quickly. In the past 48 hours 3 Brits have died in Afghanistan, 2 from IEDs and 1 from a vehicle accident.

    Now please take the time to read the list of dead with causes and remember to add probably twice that as maimed or mutilated and figure the psychological effect all this is having on the troops and the British public at large. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8579889.stm

    We need to remember what Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said: "I think that we were a bit too complacent about our experiences in Northern Ireland and certainly, on occasion, we were a bit too smug about those experiences. You are only as good as your next success, not your last one. You can never rest on your laurels and I think we may have done that." Wise words of caution.

    There is a tendency to try and rationalise situations when we run out of ideas. I get the sense that the current IED casualty rate has reached that point and we are starting to hear that "well it not too bad for a war zone" or worse still "at least its less than the yanks."

    I suggest we have now reached the hard part with respect to IEDs where the law of diminishing returns comes into play. To make any further improvements will require greater effort and we should go for it rather than just say we have done enough.

    I am flat out asking you, what is it you think is lacking? I cannot see you point, apart from casting aspersions on operational conduct, you fully admit that you are not well versed in. What is your point?
    My point is simple and that is that the Taliban have found the Achilles heel of the coalition forces in the use of IEDs and while significant progress has and continues to be made in terms of dealing with IEDs through location and disarming of these devices not enough effort has been made to alter/adapt/change the tactical modus operandi to just simply avoid IEDs. Here meaning the reduction of vehicle movement and changes to the all too predictable and routine patrolling.

    Then of course there is this gem:

    Slapout9 said: "IMO part of the problem is that in most Military patrols you want to detect the presence of the enemy but not reveal your presence until the time of the attack. COIN/Police patrolling is the exact opposite you want to be highly visible for the deterrent effect.....you will get caught so don't commit the crime. Problem is you become a great big target if you are facing a ruthless enemy as opposed to a run of the mill criminal."

    How on earth can it be said that COIN patrolling must be "highly visible"?

    It seems obvious that no one knows where the Taliban are or they would go and get them. Intelligence gathering must become the priority together with IED disruption. And my guess is that the intelligence is not coming from the local population.
    Last edited by JMA; 05-05-2010 at 09:38 AM.

  4. #244
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    When you are merely patrolling to dominate ground you can't possibly have specific enemy targeted missions for each patrol. They become routine, they become meaningless because they see you coming and when you exit out the front door the TB come slip back in through the back door.
    Utterly wrong. You have a patrol planning and patrolling plans. Nothing routine about it, in fact the object of the entire exercise is not to set routine - which is why you also have deception plans written into the patrol plan.
    Bumbling around they certainly are (after all its a presence patrol) and they are certainly not looking for a contact (as that is not the aim of the presence patrol).
    Why do you assume this? How many folks either in, or recently back from theatre do you talk to?
    Now please take the time to read the list of dead with causes and remember to add probably twice that as maimed or mutilated and figure the psychological effect all this is having on the troops and the British public at large. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8579889.stm
    Sorry, but I'll treat that suggestion and it's patronising intent, with the contempt it deserves.
    We need to remember what Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said: "I think that we were a bit too complacent about our experiences in Northern Ireland and certainly, on occasion, we were a bit too smug about those experiences. You are only as good as your next success, not your last one. You can never rest on your laurels and I think we may have done that." Wise words of caution.
    Some were too complacent about the NI experience, except it has to be realised that 90% of men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, had never served a tour in Northern Ireland and most who had, served after the cease fire. BUT - what does read across and has paid huge dividends, is the operational learning process and the counter-IED skill set.
    ...... not enough effort has been made to alter/adapt/change the tactical modus operandi to just simply avoid IEDs. Here meaning the reduction of vehicle movement and changes to the all too predictable and routine patrolling.
    ...and your basing this opinion on what?
    How on earth can it be said that COIN patrolling must be "highly visible"?
    I do not, nor should it be, unless you are seeking to generate that effect for a purpose.
    Intelligence gathering must become the priority together with IED disruption. And my guess is that the intelligence is not coming from the local population.
    .....and? So we should do what? - that we are not already?
    JMA. Sorry to say this, but your comments here are not those I would expect from someone of your experience. You are clearly asserting that UK tactical conduct is verging on the moronic, but do not seem familiar with in-theatre TPPs.
    Moreover I still cannot fathom your bizarre perception of the IED threat.
    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

  5. #245
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Utterly wrong. You have a patrol planning and patrolling plans. Nothing routine about it, in fact the object of the entire exercise is not to set routine - which is why you also have deception plans written into the patrol plan.
    So each and every patrol is based on hot intel relating to the presence or intended presence of TB? You can't plan that far in advance. When it comes in you react.

    But... if you are talking about presence patrols (aka wandering around or as member RTK says "trolling for RPGs.") then I guess you could plan far ahead. Even use throws into a dart board to generate the days and the times when each local village will be visited.

    Deception plans for what? To drop off a 4-man to lie up and do the business at night somewhere based on hard intel or to try to confuse the intentions and destination of a presence patrol?

    Why do you assume this? How many folks either in, or recently back from theatre do you talk to?
    I'm not talking about the work the "supers" and para support are doing but that being carried out by the "crap hats".

    They live in a patrol base so they must patrol. Intel or not they must patrol... they call it dominating the ground. Whats the point as soon as the go around the next bend out come the TB again and its as if the patrol was never there.

    So the outcome of this random bumbling around is that the TB don't walk around openly displaying arms. That's no train smash for them as they only need to carry weapons when they are going to do the business.

    Presence patrols are a mere irritation to the TB. No more.

    Sorry, but I'll treat that suggestion and it's patronising intent, with the contempt it deserves.
    The truth is not going to go away.

    Read the following list of the British dead in Afghanistan and see if you can fail to see where the real problem lies: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8579889.stm

    That IEDs encountered by British forces are 25% effective should be giving everyone sleepless nights especially seeing that the number of deaths and mutilations so caused are not minor.

    I am not saying that the Brits and the US forces are doing nothing about IEDs, I am saying that even the 25% effectiveness remains totally unacceptable and unsustainable. The ways to avoid IEDs needs more attention.

    Some were too complacent about the NI experience, except it has to be realised that 90% of men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, had never served a tour in Northern Ireland and most who had, served after the cease fire. BUT - what does read across and has paid huge dividends, is the operational learning process and the counter-IED skill set.
    Some also say that the reducing the effect of IEDs to 25% is acceptable and the British people should accept the current casualty rate.

    Dividends from NI? I don't know. With the Iraq experience the US forces seem to be caught on fast. What could be the carry over from NI that could not have been learned in Iraq?

    ...and your basing this opinion on what?
    The simple and unpleasant statistics. That 80% of British casualties are through IEDs. So let us try to understand where we are going with this. Are the presence patrols actually mine (IED) clearing patrols? Are these patrols absolutely necessary in terms of the military aim? Is the current amount of road movement absolutely necessary? Why spend zillions on blast/mine protecting vehicle when you could just fly right over the area? etc etc

    I do not, nor should it be, unless you are seeking to generate that effect for a purpose.
    COIN patrolling cover the full gambit of patrol types and most of these are clandestine in nature. So I ask you what is the point of the troops forming up and walking across large open areas? What id being achieved othe than as member RTK says "trolling for RPGs."?

    .....and? So we should do what? - that we are not already?
    JMA. Sorry to say this, but your comments here are not those I would expect from someone of your experience. You are clearly asserting that UK tactical conduct is verging on the moronic, but do not seem familiar with in-theatre TPPs.
    Moreover I still cannot fathom your bizarre perception of the IED threat.
    Of course you are entitled to your own opinion as I am mine.

    Lets agree that you use your words to describe your position or opinion and I mine. Lets not assign words to each other.

    My perception of the IED threat (as I have stated) is that 80% of Brit casualties are caused by IEDs. Despite 75% of IEDs either being detected or otherwise failing to function fully 25% remain the single cause of 100s of deaths and even more mutilations of British forces in Afghanistan. This carnage is both militarily, socially and politically unsustainable. The praiseworthy progress in IED training and location needs to be pushed further to strive to lower the effective % of IEDs while the obvious movement risks of vehicle movement and predictable patrol patterns should be equally addressed.

  6. #246
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    So each and every patrol is based on hot intel relating to the presence or intended presence of TB? You can't plan that far in advance. When it comes in you react.
    No. Your patrol plan insures there are men available for tasks that are either planned or ongoing. So things like Base Plate checks, OP Support and yes, even the QRF. If intelligence comes in that requires a response, then hopefully you have the men available for it.
    But... if you are talking about presence patrols (aka wandering around or as member RTK says "trolling for RPGs.") then I guess you could plan far ahead. Even use throws into a dart board to generate the days and the times when each local village will be visited.
    Some may troll for RPGs. It is not a practice I see as useful, and nor does anyone with an opinion I value, nor does it reflect the experience of those I talk to.
    Deception plans for what? To drop off a 4-man to lie up and do the business at night somewhere based on hard intel or to try to confuse the intentions and destination of a presence patrol?
    Again no. Deception plans cover a whole range of tasks to ensure the enemy are mostly unable to predict what it is you are doing - or even not doing. So actually it is more likely doing a drop off, when no one is in fact dropped off.

    Now I'm going to leave it there, because I am having increasing difficulty in understanding, why I am having to explain this stuff to an Officer of your experience.
    Yes, you are entitled to your opinions, but I suggest commenting on the conduct of operations that you do not appear to be well informed on, is getting everyone nowhere.
    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. #247
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Wilf (and others) I think you will find this thread on ARRSE regarding soldier's load, training and tactics in Helmand very interesting. About 17 pages so far:

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewto...sc/start=0.htm

    Especially these posts from "MrBane" who has recently returned from deployment:

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewto...8.html#3320118

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewto...7.html#3320687

  8. #248
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by baboon6 View Post
    Wilf (and others) I think you will find this thread on ARRSE regarding soldier's load, training and tactics in Helmand very interesting. About 17 pages so far:
    Yup, noted. I monitor it when I time.
    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

  9. #249
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by baboon6 View Post
    Wilf (and others) I think you will find this thread on ARRSE regarding soldier's load, training and tactics in Helmand very interesting. About 17 pages so far:

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewto...sc/start=0.htm

    Especially these posts from "MrBane" who has recently returned from deployment:

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewto...8.html#3320118

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewto...7.html#3320687
    Thanks for this stuff. The first link does not open for me.

    The other two links confirm exactly what I have been saying. Lets take a look.

    "Almost every single time we came under contact, you could class it as an ambush."
    The initiative with the TB... the result of wandering around instead of patrolling.

    "So every contact we ever had bar a few, were ambushes."
    That's what my understanding is. Then again maybe someone could apply some spin to that situation by saying "we cornered them, they had no option but to open fire."

    "... basically meant that you threw yourself face down whilst trying to figure out where the f**k those rounds came from. "
    Crack and thump?

    "So with the new emphasis on no warning shots"
    WTF?

    "Most times you just ran for cover, and kept running until you got some."
    What were you doing right out in the open in the first place sunshine?

    "The biggest problem was the short burst ambushes. You'd get a spray of fire in your direction, you'd get as far as STA (s*** yourself, take cover, 'ave a peek) but couldn't S(hoot back) as you couldn't identify the firing point, and didn't want to risk an innocent casualty."
    Lets measure this comment against the battle drill "Reaction to EFFECTIVE enemy fire".

    "Plus, snatch shots to return fire immediately, are also ill-advised, as if there are civilians around, then you might, just might, due to reflex, shoot one of them, if your eyes see things that aren't there, or your mind just doesn't focus sharply enough."
    What a bizarre situation for a soldier to find himself in.

    "As for holding the ground, well. We cleared a lot of areas but inevitably moved on, and sure enough, the would always come back."
    Exactly. Strange that anyone thinks otherwise.

    " Plus there are a fair few units sitting with thumbs up arses not doing anything, sending out a GDA once a day to cover a few hundred metres. "
    Oh yes, its those damn 'crap hats' again ;-)

    It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that OEF is in real trouble.
    Last edited by JMA; 05-06-2010 at 09:48 PM.

  10. #250
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    T








    Oh yes, its those damn 'crap hats' again ;-)

    It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that OEF is in real trouble.
    I don't think this guy is a Para or Marine.

  11. #251
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by baboon6 View Post
    I don't think this guy is a Para or Marine.
    I don't know but I do know that as suspected there are serious operational problems out there. The main cause I believe is that they just keep rotating any and all troops through regardless of their competence and suitability for operational deployment in the Afghanistan theater.

    We need to revisit the options that are available to raise semi-permanent volunteer units to specialise in the Afghan environment.

    Did you notice the comment that this guy claimed to understand exactly what kind of psychological 'head games' work on the local Afghans? Oh boy... it is a desperate situation out there.

  12. #252
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default UK in Afghanistan

    Not to take this discussion in the wrong direction but....I'm trying to understand the decision making process into how exactly the UK was given responsibility for the Helmand Province. I understand this decision was made long ago but I think it speaks to some of our current troubles in Afghanistan. Any information on the inner workings of this decision would be appreciated.....

    Also for those discussing the Sarah Chayes book "The Punishment of Virtue," please look at the inserted picture on page 191 entitled "Settling a dispute before the district council, Khakrez." Does the person in the background look strikingly similar to the pictures of Mullah Dadullah Long?

  13. #253
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,346

    Default Open source answer

    3XWT,

    The UK decision back in 2006 is probably not documented here, but IIRC NATO decided to expand its role beyond Kabul and a number of PRTs (the UK PRT was in the north). GIRofA wanted Helmand Province to be brought under control and the UK volunteered. Till then the only presence was a small US SOF contingent. The decision was opposed by a number of Afghan specialists, but I expect not in the public domain. 'Insider knowledge' you may have to wait a long time for that to emerge. John Reid, the Secretary for Defence, made an amazing statement akin to 'We will not fire a shot' and development with security motivated the decision.
    davidbfpo

  14. #254
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    JMA:

    We need to revisit the options that are available to raise semi-permanent volunteer units to specialise in the Afghan environment.
    Where did you come up with that earth-shattering idea?

    Don't you understand that its the rotational nature of random assignments that keeps everything moving forward?

    How can we do ten years in Afghanistan one year at a time if you keep the same volunteered core consistency and competency throughout?

  15. #255
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 3XWT View Post
    Not to take this discussion in the wrong direction but....I'm trying to understand the decision making process into how exactly the UK was given responsibility for the Helmand Province. I understand this decision was made long ago but I think it speaks to some of our current troubles in Afghanistan. Any information on the inner workings of this decision would be appreciated.....

    Also for those discussing the Sarah Chayes book "The Punishment of Virtue," please look at the inserted picture on page 191 entitled "Settling a dispute before the district council, Khakrez." Does the person in the background look strikingly similar to the pictures of Mullah Dadullah Long?
    The aim at the time was to put a NATO force in place to keep the peace and deal with the opium trade. The Brits with their 'soft hats' approach and their historical knowledge of the opium trade were the ideal candidates for the job. Since their arrival however its been all downhill.

    There is a good power point slide show which traces the sad story from 2006:

    http://kingsofwar.org.uk/wp-content/...Op-HERRICK.ppt

    I quote from a particular slide:

    "Characteristics of British approach
     Slow learner
     Cracking-on: make do attitude
     Discontinuity of command"

    You can just see the Brits in their next 'war theater' forcing the lessons learned from Afghanistan into that context probably in some jungle environment.

    The second item is displayed by the mindless "patrolling for the sake of patrolling" mindset that has been developed as a cracking-on mechanism and in the absence of air transport they have come to accept IED casualties as an acceptable fact of life.

    Operational tours by '6 month wonders' does nothing for continuity. Its not only "discontinuity of command" but discontinuity of everything. But then that's obvious.

    The British army faces another humiliation in Helmand, like they faced after the withdrawal from Basra, when the US Marines take over in Helmand and the Brits are assigned 'other duties'. This is sadly not only as a result of politician incompetence but also due to extraordinarily poor leadership from the General Staff, in particular, and the officer corps in general.

    The rank and file of the British army do not deserve another humiliation.

    I do see though that the 'out' that is developing is to blame the original basis for the deployment for all the subsequent woes. Its not going to be that easy.

    ... and surprise, surprise the opium production in Helmand is flourishing
    Last edited by JMA; 05-11-2010 at 03:28 AM.

  16. #256
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Given the burn out factor, you'd be lucky to get

    three good years out of long term volunteers. Only a very exceptional few would make it for six or ten -- and they'd be worthless for much of anything else afterward. Tours of duty in the US were developed based on WW II experience; long term service in the same jobs and theaters tended to create automatons and maximum risk avoidance, thus the rotation system that was being developed at the end of that war and that reached full swing in Korea and Viet Nam. At least we now rotate units instead of individuals...

    Of course, we've been defending Korea for 60 years on that year at a time basis. It is inefficient and it is not totally effective -- but it has been good enough. *

    Based on Viet Nam, the number of 'volunteers' for long term stays in the form of multiple and extended tours for the US Army was IIRC about one half of one percent. Not conducive to a major force. Plus most -- not all -- of those folks were not good for much else when they finally did return to the land of the big PX.

    The flaw is not in how the force in Afghanistan is established and maintained (nor the current politically induced as opposed to combat fatigue induced risk avoidance syndrome) -- it is in what they have been told to do. When ever one is told to do something that cannot be done, it's problematic. We are not going to reform Afghanistan (or the ME), never were going to do so...

    * The difference in Korea is that we were generally smart enough to let the Koreans do their own governing the way they wished,. Amazing the difference in attitude that brings...

    Why, Steve, you might even still be in I-rack if that long term volunteer concept were really a good idea...

  17. #257
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    Ken:

    I think the flaw is, perhaps, in the concept of "deployment" for any "leadership" and decision-making positions.

    We have a string of folks who are really good and experienced at doing what we have been doing for the last few years (SF, military), but very little thought leadership by folks with deep experience and/or continuing interest in Afghanistan and its surrounds.

    Troops can come and go as needed and tolerable, but thought leadership requires consistency of engagement (not deployment).

    I was just reading some of William Dalrymple's book on the last Muhgal Emperor in Delhi without realizing I was about to read about the roots of the Taliban, and the madrasas as a regressive response to late British Colonial efforts to enforce Christianity. Complex tales that seem to repeat over and over again. Almost like we (US/UK) are, by post 2007 Mission Creep, trying to re-play the British Colonial experience of 1850-1949. Ghosts replaying our roles in a long-dead past.

    I found a short version of Dalrymple's story on the New Statesman:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/200610160035

  18. #258
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    No. Your patrol plan insures there are men available for tasks that are either planned or ongoing. So things like Base Plate checks, OP Support and yes, even the QRF. If intelligence comes in that requires a response, then hopefully you have the men available for it.

    Some may troll for RPGs. It is not a practice I see as useful, and nor does anyone with an opinion I value, nor does it reflect the experience of those I talk to.

    Again no. Deception plans cover a whole range of tasks to ensure the enemy are mostly unable to predict what it is you are doing - or even not doing. So actually it is more likely doing a drop off, when no one is in fact dropped off.

    Now I'm going to leave it there, because I am having increasing difficulty in understanding, why I am having to explain this stuff to an Officer of your experience.
    Yes, you are entitled to your opinions, but I suggest commenting on the conduct of operations that you do not appear to be well informed on, is getting everyone nowhere.
    Yes agreed, you and I are going nowhere with this.

  19. #259
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    three good years out of long term volunteers. Only a very exceptional few would make it for six or ten -- and they'd be worthless for much of anything else afterward. Tours of duty in the US were developed based on WW II experience; long term service in the same jobs and theaters tended to create automatons and maximum risk avoidance, thus the rotation system that was being developed at the end of that war and that reached full swing in Korea and Viet Nam. At least we now rotate units instead of individuals...

    Of course, we've been defending Korea for 60 years on that year at a time basis. It is inefficient and it is not totally effective -- but it has been good enough. *

    Based on Viet Nam, the number of 'volunteers' for long term stays in the form of multiple and extended tours for the US Army was IIRC about one half of one percent. Not conducive to a major force. Plus most -- not all -- of those folks were not good for much else when they finally did return to the land of the big PX.

    The flaw is not in how the force in Afghanistan is established and maintained (nor the current politically induced as opposed to combat fatigue induced risk avoidance syndrome) -- it is in what they have been told to do. When ever one is told to do something that cannot be done, it's problematic. We are not going to reform Afghanistan (or the ME), never were going to do so...

    * The difference in Korea is that we were generally smart enough to let the Koreans do their own governing the way they wished,. Amazing the difference in attitude that brings...

    Why, Steve, you might even still be in I-rack if that long term volunteer concept were really a good idea...
    In Rhodesia we never quite got it right in that we were still trying to run the rest of the army and the School of Infantry as if the hostilities were temporary and that we should maintain the career planning and the flow of such courses. Looking back it is easy to see the folly of it all.

    So when we see the Brit Army approach to Afghanistan being that the 'tour' is a temporary thing and good for the career but not a war that needs to be taken by the scruff of the neck and dealt with. (I understand and identify with this approach because we experienced similar.)

    Certainly deploying whole brigades in and out every 6 months fails to allow any continuity to develop and while it is possibly good for the British Army to 'exercise' their Brigade HQs under operational conditions its not good for the NATO war effort in Afghanistan. I can't see why an "independent brigade HQ" can't be established on a semi-permanent basis in Helmand with officers and staff on three year postings. (How the the US do this in Vietnam and what were the lessons learned?)

    Maybe three years is all you need out of an individual. And those who want to stay on for longer may not want to return to a peacetime army when its all over anyway. In a lot of ways the career guys are really not suited for this type of utilisation anyways.

    The Selous Scouts was formed from scratch for a specific purpose and while in any army the junior soldiers surely don't expect a 25 year career it works for all except a handful of senior NCOs and a percentage of the officers.

    After a good spell in a war environment I had absolutely no interest in returning to a peace time army mentality and when returning to South Africa where the 'border' deployments were much further away the clinging on to peace time garrison life in the face of a war situation was plain ridiculous (where sports took precedent over valuable field training).

    I guess there are many who would stay on in the military if there was action rather than rotate back to peace time. A 3:2 rotation would allow for individuals to continue for years, while those who had a short term commitment could up that rate somewhat to include more operations time.

    I suggest that the key is continuity. In that the turnover of staff within units should be restricted to a churn of 10-15% tops. Continuity can be achieved through a greater commitment to that specific war and the same troops used on a semi-permanent basis. Impossible if great numbers required.

    So yes the Brits were tasked with securing that part of Helmand and disrupting the opium cycle and they have failed spectacularly on both counts. Will the Marines do better? Can't do worse.
    Last edited by JMA; 05-11-2010 at 08:25 AM.

  20. #260
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Currently based in Europe
    Posts
    336

    Default UK AFGHANISTAN HQs

    There are active discussions ongoing within the UK military about how to gain more continuity in COIN campaigns. In N Ireland some units stayed for 2 years on 'residential' tours while others rotated in and out on 6 month 'emergency' tours. HQ, support and specialist staff generally did 2 year tours. In Afghanistan the number of 12 month posts in critical areas (G2, Info Ops, CIMIC) has increased and the UK mil has got much better at conducting a campaign as opposed to a series of ad hoc brigade initiatives
    The UK mil has also recognised that there is still an element of 'being on operations' as opposed to 'being at war' mindset, exemplified at it most stark raving mad by the army being on a 'war footing' for everything except career management, with the inevitable consequences that this entails. This is work in progress and the Chief of the General Staff (General Richards) is actively driving this.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •