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Old 07-01-2010   #81
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LINK. They look less far away from the Apache in some parts of the video than they actually are due to the magnification of the stabilized sight.
A six step process before they could open fire?

Yes indeed, can't use a fire force under those conditions.

...then again if the gunship is that effective maybe you don't need a fire force anyway. Wow, we could have done with a couple of those.
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Old 07-01-2010   #82
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So by 1978, were the insurgent zones of control expanding or fading? Sure, perhaps they could not or did not contest RLI or Fire Force incursions, but since the RLI did not bother to contest control of the population, what did it matter?
Well the RLI fire force wasn't the only game in town. The areas fell under various Brigade HQs and they had other troops at their disposal. They no doubt did what they could with the resources available to them. Wasn't my area of the war.

But to deal with your question.

When we were there it was ours, after we left it was theirs... sound familiar? Just like in Helmand.

Last edited by JMA; 07-01-2010 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 07-01-2010   #83
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True enough, but you also need to consider which ratio you're looking at.
I use word "ratio" when comparing the number of own forces KIA with those of the insurgents.

I use the term "kill rate" to explain the % of those insurgents killed against those contacted. (contact 20, kill 16 and you have a 80% "kill rate".)

Note: You needed to verify a kill with a body and a weapon. A body without a weapon even with bits and pieces of uniform doesn't cut it. (added as an edit for clarity)

Last edited by JMA; 07-01-2010 at 08:54 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-01-2010   #84
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Got ya. My comment was more directed at the Vietnam mindset of just comparing piles of bodies versus weapons or other indicators that the bodies were actually insurgents and not folks caught in the middle. There was a great deal of discussion centered around the 9th ID's practice of just shooting and piling up bodies without any real distinction. Other units used a ratio of weapons captured against friendly losses to judge a mission's actual success.

It was a different matter up close to the DMZ or in parts of the Central Highlands where there weren't many innocent bystanders (either due to resettlement projects or people simply leaving the area). But down in the Delta it did (to quote the general from Apocalypse Now) "get confused out there." And when commanders found themselves pressured by higher to produce bigger piles of bodies, some did so.
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Old 07-01-2010   #85
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Default Three comments and two questions

I shall refrain from commenting on Rhodesian UDI, a "pet" subject of mine.

Anyway this thread has rapidly grown, in posts and views. Some posts have strayed a distance from the Fire Force theme and one day I will move them to the main Rhodesian COIN thread.

Now back to 'Fire Force' which from my "armchair" appears unlikely to be adaptable for Afghanistan now - for all manner of reasons and I exclude political and military will.

Would the 'Fire Force' concept fit an earlier stage or period in an insurgency and staying with the Afghan context - when the Taliban were returning. Even in those northern provinces now where they have taken hold.
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Old 07-01-2010   #86
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I shall refrain from commenting on Rhodesian UDI, a "pet" subject of mine.

Anyway this thread has rapidly grown, in posts and views. Some posts have strayed a distance from the Fire Force theme and one day I will move them to the main Rhodesian COIN thread.

Now back to 'Fire Force' which from my "armchair" appears unlikely to be adaptable for Afghanistan now - for all manner of reasons and I exclude political and military will.

Would the 'Fire Force' concept fit an earlier stage or period in an insurgency and staying with the Afghan context - when the Taliban were returning. Even in those northern provinces now where they have taken hold.
I guess you follow the ROE and then the restrictions on air support. But here's a group that good work on flat dessert like terrain.

Koevoet Tactics

Koevoet operations were devoted to tracking groups of SWAPO fighters who were on foot. Their tracks were picked up in various ways, but most often from:
Patrols of areas favoured for crossing by SWAPO fighters.
Information from local inhabitants.
From areas surrounding a recent attack.
Once a suspicious track was found, a vehicle would leap-frog ahead a few kilometres to check for the same tracks, and once found, the other vehicles would race up to join them. Using this technique they could make quickly catch up with the guerillas who were travelling on foot. The technique borrows strongly from experience gained during the Rhodesian Bush War.
The trackers were so skilled at their art that they could provide very accurate estimates on the distance to the enemy, the speed at which they were travelling and their states of mind. They were able to do this by "reading" factors such as abandoned equipment, changes from walking to running speed, reduced attempts at anti-tracking or splintering into smaller groups taking different directions ("bomb shelling").
Once the trackers sensed that the SWAPO fighters were close, they would often retreat to the safety of the Casspir armoured personnel carriers to face an enemy typically armed with RPG-7 rocket launchers, rifle grenades, AK-47s, SKS carbines and RPK and PKM machine guns.
Koevoet members were financially rewarded through bounty system, which paid them for kills, prisoners and equipment they captured. This practice allowed many of the members to earn significantly more than their normal salary, and resulted in competition between units.[6]
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Old 07-02-2010   #87
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Talking Which came first, the 337 or the O-2?

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I suggest what I am saying is how close the CAS target actually was. Not necessarily narrow escapes from off target ordinance.
So was I, no off target about it. Well trained and experienced troops did, can, will and do today put that stuff right on top of themselves (not a good plan for 8" / 203mm Arty).
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The Cessna 337 was good for us in that it carried light ordinance that allowed effective delivery at very close safety tolerances.
Really?

LINK
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Old 07-02-2010   #88
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Default Oh, and just for grins

Here are the predecessor (the O-1, LINK), the successor (the OV-10, LINK) and the current replacement (the OA-10 CLINK) for that O-2 / 337.

Just as point of interest, that current jobby, serving in Afghanistan, is almost as maneuverable down low as the two Cessnas thanks to those huge wings and the big fans, is capable of carrying a far larger and more diverse weapon load and has all the mod cons including a titanium armor tub for the pilot and about twice the speed and range or endurance...

The Troops love it -- I mean the grunts, the infantry. It is the favored CAS bird, followed by the Apache, followed by the Harriers of the UK and USMC, then by all others.

Last edited by Ken White; 10-27-2011 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 07-02-2010   #89
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Default You are missing the most vital point..

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I guess you follow the ROE and then the restrictions on air support. But here's a group that good work on flat dessert like terrain.

Koevoet Tactics

Koevoet operations were devoted to tracking groups of SWAPO fighters who were on foot. Their tracks were picked up in various ways, but most often from:
Patrols of areas favoured for crossing by SWAPO fighters.
Information from local inhabitants.
From areas surrounding a recent attack.
Once a suspicious track was found, a vehicle would leap-frog ahead a few kilometres to check for the same tracks, and once found, the other vehicles would race up to join them. Using this technique they could make quickly catch up with the guerillas who were travelling on foot. The technique borrows strongly from experience gained during the Rhodesian Bush War.
The trackers were so skilled at their art that they could provide very accurate estimates on the distance to the enemy, the speed at which they were travelling and their states of mind. They were able to do this by "reading" factors such as abandoned equipment, changes from walking to running speed, reduced attempts at anti-tracking or splintering into smaller groups taking different directions ("bomb shelling").
Once the trackers sensed that the SWAPO fighters were close, they would often retreat to the safety of the Casspir armoured personnel carriers to face an enemy typically armed with RPG-7 rocket launchers, rifle grenades, AK-47s, SKS carbines and RPK and PKM machine guns.
Koevoet members were financially rewarded through bounty system, which paid them for kills, prisoners and equipment they captured. This practice allowed many of the members to earn significantly more than their normal salary, and resulted in competition between units.[6]
Whilst Koevoet were a SAP unit, the trackers, and a lot of the troops, were not White South African. They were either indigenous SW Africans recruited directly, or captured and turned terrorists / insurgents. For this 'idea' to ahve any utility for AFG one needs to explain :

1. What 'police force' ISAF are to use; and'
2. How and why indigenous people will join and be effective in this initiative, given ISAF is having enough difficulties getting them to participate effectively as 'normal' police.

I am reminded of Sir Michael Howard's description of the use of military history without context as being akin to pornography... I believe that selective cherry picking of 'examples' is just as gratuitous and possibly even less useful.
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Old 07-02-2010   #90
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So was I, no off target about it. Well trained and experienced troops did, can, will and do today put that stuff right on top of themselves (not a good plan for 8" / 203mm Arty). Really?

LINK
Thanks for the clarification. Which of the fixed wing were able to provide the closest CAS?

Yes the little Cessna 337G which we called the Lynx was a sweetheart. .303 Browning Guns on top, 37mm SNEB and 18 gal Frantan (napalm) under each wing and we mostly had two of them around was all we really needed.



18 gal Frantan strike
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Old 07-02-2010   #91
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Here are the predecessor (the O-1, LINK), the successor (the OV-10, LINK) and the current replacement (the OA-10 CLINK) for that O-2 / 337.

Just as point of interest, that current jobby, serving in Afghanistan, is almost as maneuverable down low as the two Cessnas thanks to those huge wings and the big fans, is capable of carrying a far larger and more diverse weapon load and has all the mod cons including a titanium armor tub for the pilot and about twice the speed and range or endurance...

The Troops love it -- I mean the grunts, the infantry. It is the favored CAS bird, followed by the Apache, followed by the Harriers of the UK and USMC, then by all others.
With aircraft like that and laser guidance there would have been much less need for a fire force. The recce guys or the pseudo team just sit off on a hill and mark the target and then sit back and watch the fireworks. The greatest improvement over what we had access to was the night flying and fighting ability. We could have done with that.
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Old 07-02-2010   #92
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Whilst Koevoet were a SAP unit, the trackers, and a lot of the troops, were not White South African. They were either indigenous SW Africans recruited directly, or captured and turned terrorists / insurgents. For this 'idea' to ahve any utility for AFG one needs to explain :

1. What 'police force' ISAF are to use; and'
2. How and why indigenous people will join and be effective in this initiative, given ISAF is having enough difficulties getting them to participate effectively as 'normal' police.

I am reminded of Sir Michael Howard's description of the use of military history without context as being akin to pornography... I believe that selective cherry picking of 'examples' is just as gratuitous and possibly even less useful.
Not at all.

The Koevoet style of operation was a classic intelligent application of what Hans Dreyer saw the Portuguese and the Rhodesians were doing. He was operating on largely flat ground so he used vehicles for greater mobility. He needed to track the insurgents so he used the best he could find among the Ovambo and Koi San (Bushmen). And the rest is history. Absolutely outstanding from a military point of view and coming from a policeman too.

Why introduce the race angle?

In Rhodesia 80% of the government troops were black. And the RAR (Rhodesian African Rifles) did well by any standard.

In South West Africa (Namibia) the South Africans raised battalions from each of the ethnic groups and obviously the police recruited locals for their station areas for language, cultural awareness etc etc. Koevoet was about 25% white and together they fought against SWAPO / PLAN. That mix of black and white policemen achieved the best results of all forces in SWA/Namibia.

So if there is anything to take out of the Southern African wars that is worthy of study it is the Rhodesian Fire Force and the South West African Koetvoet operations.

And for either of these concepts to have any potential value for Afghanistan it needs some like a Hans Dreyer (who knows Afghanistan) to study both concepts in detail and come up some hybrid that would be useful in Afghanistan.

Last edited by JMA; 07-02-2010 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 07-02-2010   #93
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Mao was a Clausewitian!
He was? I didn't see anything about fish swimming in the sea in this book. Maybe Fuchs could help me because my German isn't that good.
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Old 07-02-2010   #94
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He was? I didn't see anything about fish swimming in the sea in this book. Maybe Fuchs could help me because my German isn't that good.
Try reading this book. Handel makes some very specific comparisons between old Karl, Sun Tzu, and others, and he finds some very direct links between Clausewitz and Mao. Just because Mao doesn't admit to having read Clausewitz doesn't mean that he didn't (or wasn't familiar with his ideas).
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Old 07-02-2010   #95
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He was? I didn't see anything about fish swimming in the sea in this book. Maybe Fuchs could help me because my German isn't that good.
Well the Fish thing was just an analogy. Mao read Clausewitz in Chinese in 1938, and mirrored Clausewitz's arguments in his own work "On Protracted Warfare." Giap was also a Clausewitian, thus his comment to Harry Summers!
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Old 07-02-2010   #96
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Default The O-1 and O-2 were primarily Forward Air Controller birds

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Thanks for the clarification. Which of the fixed wing were able to provide the closest CAS?
and only did CAS in an emergency. Of the two, the 0-1 was slower and thus able to do closer strikes. The OV-10 was a super aircraft, was also assigned as a FAC bird but had a useful load, was really maneuverable and was able to take care of many tasks with out calling in the big guys. Depending on the type rocket they had available, they could and would put some 2.75" warheads about 5 meters out.
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Yes the little Cessna 337G which we called the Lynx was a sweetheart. .303 Browning Guns on top, 37mm SNEB and 18 gal Frantan (napalm) under each wing and we mostly had two of them around was all we really needed.
Was a good bird, yours were made by Reims in France under Cessna license. A few years later, when the US would not sell the Shah of Iran some O-2s for some obscure reason, he went to Reims and bought a dozen Lynx copies...
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Old 07-03-2010   #97
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Modern QRFs might consist of a platoon on alert with some UH-60s and AH-64s for fire support--not at all unlike the RLI's concept. Indeed, it appears we have a very similar set of TTPS, at least superficially.
FWIW, it's also not at all unlike the Viet Nam era air cavalry. When I say air cavalry, I don't mean airmobile infantry battalions but the cavalry squadrons made famous (infamous?) by Apocolype Now's portrayal of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry (1/9 Headhunters) of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Supposedly 1/9 was responsble for more kills than all the airmoble infantry battalions in the 1st Cavalry Division?

The squadron had three troops with each troop having a red, white, and blue platoon. I think red was aero-guns, white was aero-scouts, and blue was aero-rifles?

Does the Army still use that particular organization?
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Old 07-03-2010   #98
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FWIW, it's also not at all unlike the Viet Nam era air cavalry. When I say air cavalry, I don't mean airmobile infantry battalions but the cavalry squadrons made famous (infamous?) by Apocolype Now's portrayal of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry (1/9 Headhunters) of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Supposedly 1/9 was responsble for more kills than all the airmoble infantry battalions in the 1st Cavalry Division?

The squadron had three troops with each troop having a red, white, and blue platoon. I think red was aero-guns, white was aero-scouts, and blue was aero-rifles?

Does the Army still use that particular organization?

You got it man and what is that book I can never remember the correct name of? "Brannon'sWar???? or something like that"
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Old 07-03-2010   #99
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You got it man and what is that book I can never remember the correct name of? "Brannon'sWar???? or something like that"
Brennan's War by Matthew Brennan, there is also an anthology of other personal stories from 1/9 edited by him entitled Headhunters.

The "Blue" (aero-rifle) platoons don't exist anymore, haven't since sometime in the 1980s. AFAIK divisional Air Cav squadrons today are equipped only with OH-58s; other battalions within the aviation brigade have AH-64s and UH-60s. However the 3rd ACR's aviation squadron has all three types of helicopter.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...rmy/4-3acr.htm

http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...my/2-17cav.htm

Last edited by baboon6; 07-03-2010 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 07-03-2010   #100
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FWIW, it's also not at all unlike the Viet Nam era air cavalry. When I say air cavalry, I don't mean airmobile infantry battalions but the cavalry squadrons made famous (infamous?) by Apocolype Now's portrayal of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry (1/9 Headhunters) of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Supposedly 1/9 was responsble for more kills than all the airmoble infantry battalions in the 1st Cavalry Division?

The squadron had three troops with each troop having a red, white, and blue platoon. I think red was aero-guns, white was aero-scouts, and blue was aero-rifles?

Does the Army still use that particular organization?
Air Cavalry squadrons in Vietnam also had a fourth troop which was a ground troop mounted in jeeps and 3/4 ton trucks. As regarding the three other troops you are correct, the "Blues" also included its own lift element of Hueys. Each of the divsional armoured cavalry sqns also had an air cav troop organised the same as the ones in air cav sqns. Today as I wrote above most air cav sqns have several troops of Kiowas and nothing else; 3rdACRs sqn has Apaches, Blackhawks and Kiowas in separate troops. None have an infantry element. Here are a few good sites on Air Cav in Vietnam:

http://northwestvets.com/spurs/spurs.htm

http://www.ruthlessriders.net/

http://www.eleven-bravo.co.uk/the-wa...-cav-troop.php
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