Page 4 of 10 FirstFirst ... 23456 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 80 of 189

Thread: FOB Keating attack repulsed

  1. #61
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    Interview with Soldiers involved in the fight: http://www.youtube.com/ISAFMEDIA#p/f/4/movYzOxeKso

  2. #62

  3. #63
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Did I mention...

    We've also forgotten, unbelievably, that installations and that's what we're building -- installations in a COIN fight, fer chissakes, -- are static and invite attack and that if they are located in a Valley, the bad guys will simply occupy the high ground and nail you while you cannot see them. We should've figured that out at Ticonderoga 232 years ago (among other places ...).

    We are playing to the strengths of our opponents.

    Ooops, Think I did mention that. 'Scuse the redundancy...

    I have it on pretty good authority that several months ago, the question was surfaced upstream "Why does this COP exist, this is a dumb thing in a dumb place."

    Let me add today that at Ricks site, the picture shows a 'watch tower' thingy built atop a Hesco barrier. In the former and late unlamented SE Asia War Games those were called "RPG Magnets." I can't think why...

    Not to mention that one at COP Keating is about 200 meters from a blinding turn in a brushy cliff, a virtual invitation to disaster. There are those that like to think we are a well trained Army -- that picture alone puts the lie to that myth...

    I have also been told that since patrolling is dangerous (AMAZING NEW MILITARY DISCOVERY. Who knew?) some decided that the smart way to 'get the Taliban' was to place these COPs out and about and draw the Talibs to attack and thus do them in with 'fires.' That's not dangerous? If that's true, it is beyond abysmally stupid. Many including some who were supposed to know better at the direction of some others who obviously did not know better also tried that in Viet Nam -- how did that work out for us?

    This is basic stuff. Good SPCs know better than this...

    Is this the only Army in the world that insists on revisiting its mistakes to see if they can do worse this time...

  4. #64
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,346

    Default Revisiting mistakes

    From Ken: Is this the only Army in the world that insists on revisiting its mistakes to see if they can do worse this time...
    No, it appears to be a fault in many armies. British military history has many examples from the colonial e.g. Boer Wars to full scale wars, notably WW1. In a hierachical and professional structure - you know far better than I - that lessons can be identified, not learnt and few want to listen "upstairs".

    davidbfpo

  5. #65
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Clarify

    I have it on pretty good authority that several months ago, the question was surfaced upstream "Why does this COP exist, this is a dumb thing in a dumb place."
    I agree with the dumb place comment based on what I have read, but why is it a dumb thing in your opinion? I think COPs are essential in COIN; however, like in any conflict location is everything. Key terrain is not an empty term, it actually means something, and in this case it appears the COP was surrounded by key terrain.

    Just because this particular COP was poorly designed, doesn't mean we shouldn't establish COPs. How business is executed at COPs is how your force protection issues are addressed. In theory if you saturate the area with patrols with patrols 24/7, then the COP is not overly vulnerable. It is just a locaton that patrols on occassion and not all at once go back to refit, take their casualties etc. It should be the C2 and log node basically, not a Ft. Apache where the bad guys have free reign outside the walls. Of course that means we'll have less COPs, because they need adequate manning to maintain this 24/7 presence outside the wire. Where does that take us? IMO back to the oil spot strategy. Start relatively small, consolidate your gains and then expand. If you expand contiguously you won't allow the enemy any space between the seams to undermine your previous gains.

    I don't think COPs in themselves are a flawed concept, I just think we're executing them incorrectly. We're pushing them into the middle of enemy terrority, instead of expanding out from neutralized zones, so in effect as stated they're not focused on protecting the populace, they're focused on protecting themselves (out of necessity). That doesn't achieve much from an operational and strategic view.

    Perhaps instead of rushing, we need to slow the train down, consolidate and gradually push out with the main forces that are securing the population. We have forces that can execute deep patrols (much like the SAS did during Malaysia) to disrupt the enemy in the outlying areas. No new ideas here, just haven't seen them discussed yet.

  6. #66
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Clarity is my muddle name...

    I think COPs are dumb mostly because I've never seen them accomplish the goals usually stated for their existence (with the exception below) and due to the fact I spent a lot of time in 1966 as a member of the USARV Fire Brigade running about all over I, II and II Corps Tactical Zones rescuing ODAs in strange places (ably assisted by the far more productrive Mike Forces, I might add).

    Having said that, I agree that COPs in the right places are a net benefit in a COIN support operation -- my gripe is they are frequently put in dumb places where there is no one is going to win the first heart or mind and are there to simply draw flies and be RPG Magnets -- the exception I mentioned. That works. It worked in Viet Nam more often than not and I suspect it's worked in Afghanistan more often that not. For that matter, it worked at Wanat last year and at Keating last month real small friendly casualty count and massive bad guy killed count. Yay!

    For what?

    Didn't change a thing. It works but it is operationally a waste of time and effort. In COIN ops, killing bad guys doesn't do you that much good -- so why bother?

    Then let's address your poor design issue. Yep, it was. If I had the money, I'd hire a team to go take Hesco out of business -- they are making it too easy to learn some really bad habits -- and we are doing that. You say:
    I don't think COPs in themselves are a flawed concept, I just think we're executing them incorrectly. We're pushing them into the middle of enemy terrority, instead of expanding out from neutralized zones, so in effect as stated they're not focused on protecting the populace, they're focused on protecting themselves (out of necessity). That doesn't achieve much from an operational and strategic view.
    Exactly. Add to that tactically inept design, really poor tactical placement and you have a recipe for screwups...

    You also say:
    We have forces that can execute deep patrols (much like the SAS did during Malaysia) to disrupt the enemy in the outlying areas. No new ideas here, just haven't seen them discussed yet.
    I totally agree -- but I betcha we differ on who ought to be doing those patrols while the Cadillacs do Cadillac things...

  7. #67
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Video of an attack on a U.S. COP

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuZd5X11Ow8

    Allegedly this is a video of an attack on a U.S. COP in N. Afghanistan. In my opinion it supports Ken's comments about the Hesko mentality. It "appears" that our guys were basically being hammered by mortar and rocket fire (then a large VBIED), while being forced to wait on air support to hopefully locate and neutralize their attackers, so from my armchair watching a video it seems like a terrrible way to fight, thus I can understand the frustration that the troops expressed.

    It doesn't mean it wasn't there, but I didn't see any artillery or mortars returning fire from our camp?

    No secret to anyone this terrain is very advantageous to the guerrilla fighter. I'm not sure what a perfect COP would look like in Afghanistan.

    I totally agree -- but I betcha we differ on who ought to be doing those patrols while the Cadillacs do Cadillac things
    Ken, not so sure we would disagree, the best trained for the unilateral disruption patrols are probably Marine Recon and good U.S. Army light units. For the more serious deep targets (deliberate raids) the more specialized SOF. For the combined disruption activities I would push for SF, as you suggested indirectly there are some good lessons from the Vietnam era on what SF could do (Mike Forces being one of them).

    The larger percentage of SF Cadillacs could be well suited to work the consolidation operations after larger forces cleared the area of larger enemy combat units. SF would then work with local security forces to root out the underground and provide security to development efforts as combat forces extend the oil spot. This would be the decisive phase. The younger studs would (this is missing 'not' I think) like it, but years later looking back on it with grayer hair they would realize their role was critical.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-11-2009 at 11:52 AM. Reason: Comment on a missing word in penultimate paragraph

  8. #68
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default I can agree with all that, Bill

    Noting that you had to specify Marine recon and 'good' US Army light units. I'd only suggest that Marine Rifle Companies and average or even poor US Army Light Units ought to be able to do that mission, they did it really pretty well only 40 years ago -- with a few draftees to boot. That you had to specify is an indicator of just how poor our current training regimen in a supposedly professional force happens to be.

    Further, the fact that many turf battles intrude on too many things added to your comments on the front page re: the personnel system are also adverse factors that need to be changed...

  9. #69
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    I have 1 observation and two questions from reading this thread.

    I read a book by Andrew Skeen and he suggested that the Pathans were at their absolutely most dangerous when you were retreating from a position. I guess this action shows that.

    My first question is prompted by the photos of the base in question. It looks to be at the bottom of a very narrow, steep and close valley. How much more difficult does that kind of terrain make it to effectively deliver supporting fires, fixed wing, rotary wing and artillery? I figure it must hinder it some but I don't how much.

    Secondly, does anybody know what percentage of infantry fights in Afghanistan are initiated by our side and what percentage are initiated by the other side?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  10. #70
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,346

    Default Imperial lessons

    Carl cited Skeen's book and this is the short items on the "What Are you Reading' thread:
    'Lessons in Imperial Rule: Instructions for British Infantrymen on the Indian Frontier' by General Sir Andrew Skeen (Re-published in 2008 by Frontline Books, part of Pen and Sword Books; originally published in 1932 and the fouth edition in 1939).

    The new introduction by Dr Robert Johnson, Oxford University sets the context and the contemporary relevance.
    From my reading of Imperial "policing" in NWFP and FATA fixed posts were along strategic highways and at keypoints only. Having visited the Khyber Pass, Peshawar and the Swat Valley it was easy to see where Imperial era fixed posts were - many still in use by the Pakistanis. The Imperial army knew mountain warfare well and in campaigning went for the higher ground - even after the RAF had the capability to observe and attack.

    Even larger fixed bases let alone smaller, guard posts would be sniped at night and there are superb stories of these attacks in other NWFP books.

    I would speculate that a post in a similar place to the Nuristan COP would have been temporary, only used in a punitive campaign and piquetted on the surrounding terrain.

    Gaining local co-operation and "fixing" the enemy was done by very different methods, not by such a COP.

    davidbfpo

    http://www.amazon.com/LESSONS-IMPERI...5298034&sr=8-1
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 10-11-2009 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Wanted to add link to the book, Bill

  11. #71
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    I am perplexed why the Army would set up a staged interview about the incident in basically a clean room, with those Soldiers providing their perspective. They handled themselves well, but what is the Army getting at? That we can take some licks, go back to the FOB for a shower, pop the top on an O'Douls, and get a nice haircut before recounting the chain of events?

    I know we are in a new media age and all, so maybe I am just having a hard time understanding the intent, but those clips on the ISAF youtube page about the COP fight pretty much de-motivated me as I watched.

    I'm really, really perplexed.

    ETA: I think I get it now. This is indeed IO, akin to the "Buy More War Bonds" campaigns of the last world war, and more focused on support back home than anything else.
    Last edited by jcustis; 10-12-2009 at 05:11 PM.

  12. #72
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    The interviews were handled pretty well by the soldiers and the interviewer. Of course both sides belonged to the same team and of course it was prepared accordingly. It could provide insight for the western media, sadly it all comes a bit late.


    That insurgents can launch concentrated and coordinated attacks under certain regional and local circumstances comes not as a big surprise. This has happened time and time again, in Spain's guerilla struggle against the French or in Vietnam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clausewitz
    According to our idea of a people's war, it should, like a kind of nebulous vapoury essence, never condense into a solid body; otherwise the enemy sends an adequate force against this core, crushes it, and makes a great many prisoners; their courage sinks; every one thinks the main question is decided, any further effort useless, and the arms fall from the hands of the people.

    Still, however, on the other hand, it is necessary that this mist should collect at some points into denser masses, and form threatening clouds from which now and again a formidable flash of lightning may burst forth.
    Understanding this danger of a small war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult to execute. The will to keep a strong presence in Nuristan too is perfectly understandable, but with the way things are there and the amount of moral and tangible force available it is not possible to sustain it in the current way.

    A very bitter truth is that trying to have the troops physically close to the CoG aka populance pushed them in the specific situation more and more away from it. The soldiers were seemingly put in the hand of the enemy like a small hedgehog. Stingy enough to avoid the crushing, but unable to move and act and with the terms dictated by the enemy.


    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 10-12-2009 at 08:20 PM.

  13. #73
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    The interview didn't strike me as having any target audience. How many people - other than us - are really going to sit down and watch 30 to 40 minutes of this stuff and have any idea what they are talking about?

  14. #74
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    I would modify my comments in the face of what you wrote schmedlap. Good point, and you're right...outside of trooping survivors out in front of the camera, there runs the risk of zero context unless you are an observer and looking to hear/see something specific.

  15. #75
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,346

    Default Can we learn from the Faqir of Ipi?

    Yet again an Imperial (British Empire in India) lesson to be read and hat tip to the UK blogsite (again): http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.co...re-before.html

    There are links to other sources within. maybe worthy of a new thread, but for once left here - as the current Afghan thread.

    I do wonder whether the Pakistani military remember this too? Imperial history is still part of the tradition and army units have kept their old Imperial names, head dress and more (not the consumption of alcohol).

    Moved to a new thread for discussion: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8665

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-13-2009 at 10:02 PM.

  16. #76
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,665

    Default

    IMO the Pak Army retains far too much of the British attitude towards the FATA. The system for "controlling" FATA remained much the same as during British times (political agents = political agents, Waziristan Scouts = Frontier Corps), and the level of development roughly similar. Small wonder that the problems remain the same.

  17. #77
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,665

    Default

    If it's not posted yet, Tom Ricks has posted some third-hand scoop on the battle of COP Keating.

  18. #78
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default

    Probe finds Afghan outpost left vulnerable to attack

    By Joshua Partlow
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, February 5, 2010; 9:35 AM

    KABUL -- Delays in closing a remote U.S. military outpost in eastern Afghanistan increased the vulnerability of the base, where eight American soldiers were killed during a prolonged siege by 300 insurgents last October, according to a summary of a military investigation released Friday.

    The attack on Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh district of Nurestan province was one of the worst insurgent attacks against American troops in Afghanistan. It came to symbolize the dangers of posting small groups of soldiers in sparsely populated areas of the country, something commanders have moved away from under a new strategy to protect more populous areas.

    The investigation into the attack, led by Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swan III, drew on interviews from about 140 people either at the outpost or who had information about the attack. The inquiry found that the roughly 60 soldiers stationed there fought courageously, killing about 150 insurgents as they defended their base.

    But the report also said those soldiers were stationed in a place of "no tactical or strategic value" and said critical intelligence and surveillance capabilities that could have helped them prevent such an onslaught had been diverted to other missions.

    With limited manpower and located in a ravine surrounded by steep hillsides, the mission for Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry had devolved into protecting their base, Swan concluded. During their five months at the outpost they were attacked about 47 times, three times as often as the unit that came before them, the report found.

    "As a result, the chain of command decided to close the remote outpost as soon as it could," the report said.

    But a scheduled closure between July and August 2009 was delayed because the equipment needed to haul away base supplies, and to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence, was sent to another operation in Barg-e-Matal and to search for a missing soldier in southern Afghanistan, the report said.

    "The delayed closing of COP Keating is important as it contributed to a mindset of imminent closure that served to impede improvements in force protection on the COP," the report said. "There were inadequate measures taken by the chain of command, resulting in an attractive target for enemy fighters."

    The report said commanders should have done more to improve the base's defenses and to analyze intelligence reports that the enemy was planning a major assault. It recommended that the squadron commander overseeing the outpost receive a letter of reprimand. Military officials said the brigade commander was given a letter of admonishment, a less severe punishment.

    The letters are part of a new push by top military brass to hold commanders accountable for major incidents in which troops are killed or wounded.

    The attack on Oct. 3 began at 5:58 a.m. with a deluge of insurgent gunfire and mortars from all sides and a simultaneous attack on another nearby American outpost that limited the U.S. soldier's ability to fire mortars in return. Afghan soldiers helping to guard the outpost couldn't hold their positions and insurgents entered the base in three locations, the report said. U.S. soldiers eventually regained the momentum with the help of fighter jets and Apache helicopters. In addition to the eight soldiers killed, 22 were wounded.

    "Members of B Troop upheld the highest standards of warrior ethics and professionalism and distinguished themselves with conspicuous gallantry, courage, and bravery under the heavy enemy fire that surrounded them," said a statement from the U.S. military that accompanied the summary report.

    After the U.S. soldiers had regained control of their outpost, they began withdrawing from Combat Outpost Keating. By Oct. 6, three days after the attack, they destroyed what was left of the base to prevent insurgents from taking it over.
    Note: The Washington Post website requires users to register and because of that a link to the story would not have worked for most people on this forum.

  19. #79
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    156

    Default Report Public Summary from USFOR-A PubAff

    All releaseable COP Keating report material, obtained straight from from USFOR-A Public Affairs, downloadable here (HONKIN' 2.63 MB .zip file containing 16 PDFs). Feel free to share as well.

  20. #80
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Mountain, West Virginia
    Posts
    990

    Default Training on Field Fortification

    Do infantry lieutenants get any training on on the basic principles of the design of field fortifications during their Basic Course? How about infantry NCOs during their NCOES? I don't remember any training on the subject in my field artillery schools, except for how to dig the DePuy fighting position when I was enlisted. I doubt that engineers or contractors will always be there when these positions need to be constructed. The most recent version of Field Manual 5-103, Survivability, that I've been able to find is from 1985, and I doubt it has anything about Hesco barriers or some of the other prefabricated stuff now in use. It may be one of the manuals that few people read. Field fortification used to be quite an art during the Vauban days of the 19th century and earlier.
    Last edited by Pete; 02-06-2010 at 04:35 AM.

Similar Threads

  1. The Rules - Engaging HVTs & OBL
    By jmm99 in forum Military - Other
    Replies: 166
    Last Post: 07-28-2013, 06:41 PM
  2. Remember the USS Liberty
    By Granite_State in forum Historians
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 10-05-2007, 06:38 PM

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
  •