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Old 01-31-2007   #1
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Default A Case Against Battle Drill Six

Infantry, Nov-Dec 06 (AKO Log-in Required): A Case Against Battle Drill Six
An overemphasis on training for close quarter combat (CQC), or close quarter battle (CQB), in recent years has resulted in its overuse in combat, often in situations where more appropriate options exist.

Platoon by platoon, the Army is learning the hard way how hazardous it is to fight room to room against a well prepared and often suicidal opponent. We can no longer afford to learn the lesson individually. It is time for a candid discussion on this subject, and to address the problem as a responsive, learning, and adaptive Army....
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Old 01-31-2007   #2
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Default Re:

I still subscribe to the print edition of Infantry magazine. Is this a regular article in the latest edition or a supplement to it?
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Old 01-31-2007   #3
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Default Valid points all around

A few years ago, when I was a lieutenant, the Regimental commander was out and about at MOUT town as we conducted company-level training.

After watching a few dry runs, he made a point of addressing the entire company during a noon chow. He was very adamant that we must not become enamored with SWAT TTPs that are designed to handle a particular threat, and one which we certainly would not encounter in a high-intensity environment.

The biggest sticking point with him was our "secure a foothold" rehearsals that had squads stacked up in neat lines, preparing to make entry from the street or alleyway. "What are you going to do when you have a machine gun aimed in on a principle direction of fire down the street?" was one of his rhetorical questions. It was sage wisdom that put the platoon commanders back in the box of tackling the problem by utilizing stand-off and heavier (SMAW) weapons.
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Old 01-31-2007   #4
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Default Re:

I was kind of shocked during MOUT training back in '92 that the instruction was all about using SWAT tactics and not relying on any lessons learned from WW2 or the more modern Beirut ops. The whole stack concept is for barricaded subjects in a controlled area and in which the bad guys are contained. It doesn't appear that we have that luxury very often in Iraq.
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Old 01-31-2007   #5
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Bismarck17, Agree 100% This is a real sore point with me for some time. Not only that but the SWAT TTP's they are using are obsolete. most entry teams today go through the door with a full shield (called a body bunker) capable of stopping 7.62 ammo. Why don't they do this in Iraq. Granted they are heavy about 28 pounds or so. You switch off or you will wear the no 1 man out. But they work. You can flash and crash perfectly and still get killed.
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Old 01-31-2007   #6
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Default Flash and Crash

Well put Slapout,
My anti-terrorism courses in West Point, Va were designed around that very basic function, but a one-man team.
28 pounds vs your life, my instructor would ask. No question.

I agree, the (real) situations that our fine soldiers meet each day are different and perhaps 28 pounds ends up a big deal at the end of a hot day.

The entire side of our vehicle is lined with aluminum plates and old, well used police vests that would have merely been thrown away. Only years later did we understand how significant those vests were when a F1 grenade went off less than 10 centimeters from our broad side, where our robot operator sat.

We no longer care about extra things along.
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Old 02-01-2007   #7
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Default Stormtroop Tactics and Cordon and Knock

Great discussion. Couldn't agree more--we must be very careful training Marines/Soldiers for CQB using SWAT TTPs when the enemy is often hunkered down in what would have been considered pillboxes in WWII. Then 1stLt Elliot Ackerman, USMC, wrote a great Gazette article in the Sept 2006 issue titled "Relearning Stormtroop Tactics: The Battle for Fallujah" that provides insight into his experiences leading a rifle platoon in Fallujah. I tried to attach the PDF file but it's too big. Not sure if you've all had a chance to read it.

In the article Ackerman initially describes how he felt unprepared to attack a highly determined irregular foe in a fortified urban defense commenting that he didn't think we'd "cracked the code" just yet on urban combat. He proceeds to describe all Marine units at first relying too heavily on CQB tactics only to realize very quickly that doing so equates to suicide. He then demonstrates how infantry squads/platoons quickly learned to first identify enemy positions and then moved to isolate/overwatch while calling in tanks, air, D-9s, CAAT, LAR, Bradleys, etc. to reduce before Marines moved into clear. It's in the latter clearing process that CQB skills should be emphasized and employed. In sum: CQB TTPs are fine, but the conditions must be set to employ them before entering the objective.

Another and possibly even more important point brought on in the article is the importance of U.S. units using infiltration tactics when fighting irregular foes in Block III urban combat instead of strictly relying on on-line assaults that are currently recommended in our doctrine and the standard in most of our training exercises. Ackerman argues that using on-line tactics makes the enemy's job easy and falls right into his preferred strategy: attrit U.S. forces at range and then fall back through pre-made tunnels, jumping from roof-to-roof or over gates, etc as U.S. forces close and then to continue this pattern until you run out of room, at which point you execute your pre-determined E&E plan and live to fight another day. His argument in this respect is supported strongly by Poole's analysis in Phantom Soldier and Tactics of the Crescent Moon. Ackerman's experiences demonstrate the validity of urban night infiltration tactics as his platoon successfully infiltrated roughly 300 meters behind enemy lines and proceeded to wreak havoc on the enemy at first light when the enemy attempted to expolit what they perceived to be our predictable on-line attack preference shortly after the sun comes up in the morning.

All this said it's still extremely important for U.S. forces to train for urban ops at the other end of the spectrum of conflict as well. This afternoon I spent an hour conducting an AAR interview w/ an infantry Lt recently back from Ramadi. Many of his comments emphasized the importance of Marines toning down their actions and being much less aggressive when conducting cordon and search operations and even raids. As his company's primary raid force he found after a few months that his unit was much more successful when knocking and talking vs. explosive breaching/kicking down doors--even when conducting raids. He argued that even when we think we have solid intel, we're still wrong or too late in acting very often, therefore, our SWAT hard hit tactics only serve to increase the pool of POIs (pissed off Iraqis). Besides, he said he'd always isolate the objective area first and then move to enter the house with more Marines and firepower than the enemy had. Many interesting points were made throughout the discussion. His company's experience in Ramadi only goes to show that a unit can succeed when doing everything possible to de-escalate as much as possible.

Last edited by Maximus; 02-01-2007 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 02-06-2007   #8
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Default Swat TTP's in Iraq

I agree with most of you on this matter. The swat tactics of old are just that...OLD. we didn't use the "stack" method when we went into a house. We had trucks. If we took fire from a specific building, we drove through the front door. Yes, barbaric, but effective. Discussions can be had on every aspect of this war, but overthinking things sometimes slows progress.
PS i am a new member and just want to say hello to everyone.
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