--SLA Marshall; Men Against Fire, page 128
"Complexity (technical, organizational, operational, etc.) caused
commanders and subordinates alike to be captured by their own internal dynamics or interactions--hence they cannot adapt to rapidly changing external (or even internal ) circumstances.."
-A Discourse on Winning and Losing, by USAF COL. John Boyd
"Strength will multiply and decisive action will become possible at the rate which information flows to all concerned"
--SLA Marshall; Men Against Fire, page 128
"Complexity (technical, organizational, operational, etc.) caused commanders and subordinates alike to be captured by their own internal dynamics or interactions--hence they cannot adapt to rapidly changing external (or even internal ) circumstances.."
-A Discourse on Winning and Losing, by USAF COL. John Boyd
"The more mechanical become the weapons with which we fight, the less mechanical must be the spirit which controls them....
How many generals work out their own appreciations, dictate the gist of their orders, or in peace time work out their own training exercises? I have been a general staff officer for over fifteen years, and my experience suggests the answer: 'Very few.' When I took over command of a brigade, my brigade major was astonished because I insisted upon doing what he considered to be his work, but which in fact was essentially mine, making out the brigade training exercises, which under former brigadiers he had always done."
We don't want to make it sound as if we're against technology. We're for simplicity, to bring advantage to our forces through adaptation with technological means. To adapt beneficially you have to UNDERSTAND what's going on. This explains why Hitler hurt the German Army with the technically more complicated but less mobile Tiger heavy, defensive tanks that had circles run around them by simpler but more mobile Sherman medium, offensive tanks.
Colonel Dan Bolger in his superb book, The Battle for Hunger Hill writes about the need for every Soldier to have a "Coup d'oeil" which means a COMPLETE understanding of the battlefield at the same time. Napoloeon and JFC fuller advocated this. One of the reasons why we are not employing a decisive ground maneuver force that can win closed-terrain fights like Kosovo is because we are not thinking about war in a coherent, holistic way. Most Soldiers think of war at the rote-memorization-of-equipment-usage TECHNICAL level of war and barely get to TACTICS. As rank increases our RHIP snobby mentality means higher ranking officers and SNCOs lose what little grasp they had on technotactics. This is how they get lost, get HMMWVs stuck and then get captured by Serbs. Maybe with a GPS and better map reading, they don't get lost. Maybe a HMMWV with belly wheels doesn't get stuck. What we really need is Soldiers who can see ALL levels of war at the same time; Technical, Tactical, Operational, Strategic; Coup d'oeil. We should begin by merging the first two levels together into the "TechnoTactical" level of war and force leaders to pay attention to it by making it a planning step in the 5-paragraph operations order (OPORD). More on this later. First how narrow thinking hurts us.
WARS LEAD BY ONLY A FEW WHO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
We want open warfare because we can then fight with centralized control by officers who see the "big picture", the coup d'oeil. We don't want to do "jungles or mountains" as a Pentagon officer said years ago because it would require a higher level of training and empowering junior officers/NCOs when the whole U.S. military is a power/ego trip for those with rank being the only ones allowed to THINK and have a coup d'oeil. What they do in peacetime (careerism) mitigates against wartime excellence.
If we had truly TechnoTactically superior Soldiers/equipment we wouldn't be afraid of having them snagged by Serbs and made into POWs, and wouldn't be afraid of rolling into closed terrain like Kosovo and fighting. The riddle of Vietnam would be solved. So what the brass does out of fear of their Vietnam ghosts is seek to avoid "Vietnams", which is an abrogation of their responsibility. They want to pick/chose fights that can be won without our small unit mettle being relied on, they want Austerlitzes where good (Strategy) Generalship and (Operational) OP ART vicariously wins the fight. This is not a bad thing at all, except when their choices for a "silver bullet" perfect, no-risk solution are limited, cannot get to the scene quickly to be relevant and some hard fighting is inevitable, then they do not have answers. So to make up for tactical weaknesses and a lack of imagination, they want technically superior weapons like Apache, MLRS, BFVs etc. so by virtue of their technical strength they can win despite tactical goofs derived from faulty battlefield doctrinal thinking like not having a CAVALRY branch; a sort of "Tiger tank syndrome" as pointed out by Albert Speer in our web page on light tanks.
Last night I saw a PBS documentary on the early '60s part of the war. Every time you saw the NVA/VC, they were always hustling like ants. Every time we saw the U.S. we were in straight lines in formations, shaking hands etc. The bottom line is the U.S. military is too rigid in everything it does because without a common way of thinking (not what to think, there is a differance) and a HIGH LEVEL of individual commitment the organization would collapse. We are basically amateurs thrown into a draftee Army and forced into fighting still ala WWII. So the enemy is out-OODA looping us (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act- Boyd's decision making cycle) because they are more egalitarean, informal and communicate more freely amongst themselves. They can NETWORK amongst themselves. We can do this today by using computers and the www to digitize the Soldier and his unit so we can NETWORK now and get a technotactical understanding of war.
"The Mongols, a classic example of an ancient force that fought according to cyberwar principles, were organized more like a network than a hierarchy. More recently, a relatively minor military power that defeated a great modern power--the combined forces of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong--operated in many respects more like a network than an institution; it even extended political- support networks abroad. In both cases, the Mongols and the Vietnamese, their defeated opponents were large institutions whose forces were designed to fight set-piece attritional battles."Cyberwar is coming" by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, International Policy Department RAND
To this may be added a further set of observations drawn from current events. Most adversaries that the United States and its allies face in the realm of low-intensity conflict, such as international terrorists, guerrilla insurgents, drug smuggling cartels, ethnic factions, as well as racial and tribal gangs, are all organized like networks (although their leadership may be quite hierarchical). Perhaps a reason that military (and police) institutions have difficulty engaging in low-intensity conflicts is because they are not meant to be fought by institutions. The lesson: Institutions can be defeated by networks, and it may take networks to counter networks. The future may belong to whoever masters the network form."
These guys are right-on-target at the source of our temporary loss in Vietnam 1975-1991?. However, war is not just a lethal sporting contest among combatants, its about whose IDEAS will dominate, in the case of FREEDOM, in the end the truth has won out over communism. But at what cost? Had we used networking and "out guerrillaed the guerrilla" we could have won sooner on the battlefield and in the hearts/minds of the people.
In a recent interview published in The Wall Street Journal, former Colonel Bui Tin who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese Army and received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975 confirmed the American Tet 1968 military victory:
"Our loses were staggering and a complete surprise. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for reelection.
The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to reestablish our presence but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely.
We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was." And on strategy: "If Johnson had granted Wetmoreland's requests to enter Laos and block the Ho Chi Minh trail, Hanoi could not have won the war.... it was the only way to bring sufficient military power to bear on the fighting in the South.
Building and maintaining the trail was a huge effort involving tens of thousands of soldiers, drivers, repair teams, medical stations, communication units .... our operations were never compromised by attacks on the trail. At times, accurate B-52 strikes would cause real damage, but we put so much in at the top of the trail that enough men and weapons to prolong the war always came out the bottom .... if all the bombing had been concentrated at one time, it would have hurt our efforts. But the bombing was expanded in slow stages under Johnson and it didn't worry us. We had plenty of time to prepare alternative routes and facilities. We always had stockpiles of rice ready to feed the people for months if a harvest was damaged. The Soviets bought rice from Thailand for us. And the left: "Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable.
Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9AM to follow the growth of the antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.
We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and would struggle along with us .... those people represented the conscience of America .... part of it's war- making capability, and we turning that power in our favor."
Bui Tin went on to serve as the editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Disillusioned with the reality of Vietnamese communism Bui Tin now lives in Paris.
The F-86 Sabre with its bubble canopy allowed USAF pilots to see the enemy first and out-think him, resulting in a 13-to-1 kill ratio.. With Such decision making cycles--Col John Boyd's "Observe-Orient-Decide-Act or OODA-loop", smaller forces can defeat larger, less agile ones like this F-86 taking on a flight of MIGs
General Fuller writes:
"Quite clearly does our system realize, that will is a unknown quantity, for our regulations are never tired of reminding us that the supreme object in war is to impose our will upon our enemy; but in peace time this imposition is the perquisite of the few to the utter detriment of the many, and again very largely because of the canonization of the regulations. If what is written is holy writ, then it stands outside criticism and cannot be questioned. Those in control will not be asked awkward questions, and those under control, having to follow the regulations, do so automatically with the minimum appeal to their brains, 'How comforting,' they all instinctively cry, 'here is a book which spares us the trouble of thinking!' Thus are brains ossified and thus are battles lost, for only in the Spartan theory of war can a general know with any certainty what his opponent is going to do. 'This is why military thought always tends to get back to the 'push of pike' idea - it is as simple its pushing a 'pram' or a wheelbarrow -- the tactics of the nursery and of a primitive agricultural age.
What does imposition of will demand? Reason; for in war each of the opposing wills is attempting to express a reason in order to gain an end. 'There must be a reason for each action carried out during a war, and ... it must be a good reason or a bad reason; and if we have no reason at all, which has frequently happened in war, we reduce ourselves to the position of lunatics.
'If we understand the true reason for any single event, then we shall be able to work out the chain of cause and effect, and, if we can do this, we shall foresee 'events and so be in a position to prepare ourselves to meet them. Our reason is the director of our actions and also the spirit of our plan.... We must analyse its motive and discover where it has failed us; thus we shall turn errors to our advantage by compelling them to teach us.'"
Operational: for example, during Operation Junction City, we had a good plan to hammer/anvil the VC/NVA in war zone "C" using airdropped 173d Airborne Brigade Paratroopers. But Giap added to Mao's principles, the principle when "they attack, we withdraw". OK, fine. What we should have done is keep the hammer/anvil forces on call and then PRETEND to build a large firebase in the middle of war zone "c" as a "magnet". Then Giap's principle would be, "if they stop, we attack". As soon as Giap bites, THEN throw down your hammer/anvil. And STAY THERE WHEN YOU ARE DONE. Strategy: If GEN Westmoreland didn't get the 15-1 force ratio needed to defeat an insurgency by miscalculating the enemy as a conventional foe needing only 3-1 then we needed to come up with other forces to HOLD the terrain once we seized it. I bet John Paul Vann would have found a way to do this! But he was not kept in the Army. When fighting to win a war, you put all personal jealousies aside and put the BEST, most creative people into positions to work their magic.
Tactical/technical: Now when they did sweep for tunnels, our men got killed by snipers and booby-traps. I'd say put Aircrew armor plate body armor on the men to defeat sniper bullets. Don't have men lead on foot, have vehicles clear out jungle vegetation etc. Put a gunshield on the end of their weapons. THEN, DO NOT LEAVE THE AREA so the enemy cannot re-occupy their tunnels again. If we did Kosovo right this wouldn't be a problem as its only 50 miles deep compared to the vastness of Vietnam. As Patton said, don't pay for the same real estate twice.
But the U.S. Army was not in Vietnam for 10 years, it was in Vietnam 1 year 10 TIMES; in other words it did not learn from combat by a stable set of leaders part of units that stayed on the scene until the mission/war was won, and in touch with reality by direct, personal leadership-by-example. Senior officers tried to lead by radio from rear bases and from helicopters instead of setting foot on the ground like Colonel Hal Moore did at LZ X-Ray. General Fuller writes about how industrial age means has spoiled generalship:
"Thus we see how surely the physical is the foundation of the moral, and how these physical defects, for defects they are in war, react upon a generals moral sense by subordinating it to intellectual achievements. More and more do strategical, administrative and tactical details occupy his mind and pinch out the moral side of his nature. Should he be a man of ability, he becomes a thinker rather than a doer, a planner rather than a leader, until morally he is as far removed from his men as a chess player is from the chessmen on his board. The more be is thrown back upon the intellectual side of war, the more sedentary he becomes, until a kind of military scholasticism enwarps his whole life.
The repercussion of such generalship on subordinate command has always been lamentable, because whatever a general may be, he is always the example which the bulk of his subordinate commanders will follow. It be becomes an office soldier, they become office Soldiers; not only because his work makes their work, but because his morale makes their morale: how can he order them into danger if he remains in safety! If the general-in-chief does not face discomfort and danger neither will they; if they do not, neither will their subordinates, until the repercussion exhausts itself in a devitalized firing line.
The years which followed the Franco-Prussian war saw many changes. Germany rapidly became industrialized, and the spirit of industry, which is essentially material and mercenary, surreptitiously crept into her army, which for forty years dominated military thought. Bulk weight of numbers, in the footsteps of bulk weight of commodities, became the prevailing doctrine of war. In France there arose what has been called the moral school of war, which in fact was not so much a moral school as an intellectual one. There was much talk of the offensive, of the will to conquer, of la gloire and ą la baļonnette, of urging the men on; but there was little talk of urging the generals forward. It was in truth a demoralizing school, because, whilst the men were exhorted to die for their country, the generals were not encouraged to die for their men. In England we maintained the old idea, anyhow in its greater part, and were despised by foreign Soldiers for so doing. As late as the South African War, personal contact between general and firing line was normally maintained; but when the World War broke out, so intellectually unprepared were our higher commanders, that they were at once sucked into the vortex of impersonal command which had been rotting generalship on the Continent for forty years.
The horde army paralysed generalship, not so much because it changed tactics, but because it prevented tactics changing; the one idea being, not to improve the quality of fighting, but to add to the quantity of fighters. New weapons were introduced yearly; but in its essentials the old tactics remained the same, numbers being considered the primary factor, with the result that directly a war was declared, tactics broke down and generalship became ineffective. But more detrimental still, numbers added vastly to administrative difficulties, that is the handling of the rear services; so much so, that generalship was absorbed into quartermaster generalship, until in the World War all commanders superior to a divisional commander were nothing more than commissary generals.
As the general became more and more bound to his office, and, consequently, divorced from his men, he relied for contact not upon the personal factor, but upon the mechanical telegraph and telephone. They could establish contact, but they could accomplish this only by dragging subordinate commanders out of the firing line, or more often persuading them not to go into it, so that they might be at the beck and call of their superiors. In the World War nothing was more dreadful to witness than a chain of men starting with a battalion commander and ending with an army commander sitting in telephone boxes, improvised or actual, talking, talking, talking, in place of leading, leading, leading.
A fallacy, which may be largely traced to the telephone, is that the further a commander is in rear of his men, the more general a view can lie obtain, because he will be less influenced by local considerations. It is a fallacy because, within certain limits, the further he is in rear the further lie will be away from moral actualities, and unless he can sense them he will seldom be able fully to reason things out correctly. It is true that with a large army, once contact is gained and the advanced guards are in action, a general-in-chief should not remain with the van. But supposing him to be a man who cannot control his emotions, and one so influenced by local conditions that they obliterate his intelligence, that is supposing him to be a thoroughly bad general, he will not avoid bird's-eye views by going twenty miles to the rear. For if he does so, on account of his limited self-control he will be as strongly influenced by the rear atmospbere and all it will convey to him, as he would have been by the forward atmosphere had he remained forward to breathe it. For such a man change of position is no cure, the only cure is change of appointment.
Should the general in question happen to be a subordinate, then this fallacy is still more marked; for, unless he cannot resist interfering with platoons, it is local conditions which should monopolize his attention. The more bird's-eye views -the better; the more local sensations -the better; for each is a real picture and a real sensation; that is to say each is moral and physical as well as intellectual. A man who cannot think clearly and act rationally in the bullet zone is more suited for a monastery than the battlefield.
All these many influences are accentuated by age, and drag a general, the older he gets, faster and faster, to the rear. The more cautious a general becomes, the more he likes to think over thing, and the more he thinks things over the more likely is he to seek assistance from others."
The essential problem NOT solved today is the same automatic weapons-swept battlefield tearing up men on foot dilemma that faced General Fuller. The solution is to armor the men with tracked vehicles and with a small gunshield on the end of their weapons, not just act like sponges and accept some being riddled and pinned down as others maneuver to their aid. Yes, that's a technical fix, but if we were more tactical we would demand better technical fixes. The solution is to be TechnoTactical. The Army's lead in pushing digitization that began by clever Vietnam 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment veteran, General Gordon Sullivan is a good one in that networking is being valued. What we have not done yet is change as an Army culture and build the kind of TechnoTactically-proficient Soldier starting from basic training because we are still pre-occupied with Vietnam era whining about the need to be brutal in training and socio-economic whining about Gen-X/Y and feminism. Start training off with a lecture, video and firepower demonstration on a range, and stop all the childish nonsense right then and there. Show the recruit from day one what war is all about. No yelling and screaming, and games, show them what WE are up against. Then, have a charismatic Army leader who knows what the hell war is about explain to them the TechnoTactical nature that war has ALWAYS HAD. Whether it be the LongBow at Agincourt or Gavin's 75mm pack howitzers versus Tiger tanks on Sicily... Make them sit and watch "Saving Private Ryan" and "Thin Red Line", its JUST AS IMPORTANT as an entire week on basic human values that should have been learned at home before joining the Army. Or will we have to wait for another battlefield debacle and have a week of mandantory understanding-the-battlefield training forced on us? Why don't we for once get ahead and be the ones who are ready without the Task Force Smith, Lebanon or Pearl Harbor? Our young people are not stupid, stop treating them like they are stupid and they might surprise you. Then commence with recruit training with a COMBAT focus not a "we-are-going-to-make them-pay-their-dues BS" mindset of harassment like the military is some "ego club" with initiation rites. While we are playing games of who we are going to let into our club house, the enemy has a far more brutal "initiation" planned for us.
As things are progressing Army digitization will further micromanage Soldiers by leaders farther and farther in the safe rear areas, out-of-touch and out of moral empathy with the men, let alone able to influence battles as Rommels, Gavins, Lees and Grants were able to do.
General JFC Fuller warns us in his brilliant book, Generalship: its Diseases and their Cure that commanders must morally influence battles by their on-scene presence not sit far away in the rear in a CP:
"In his first battle at Belmont, a small affair, Grant as a strategist or tactician was nonexistent; still he is the general, the true leader, for he is the last man to leave the field, risking his life to see that none of his men have been left behind. At Fort Donelson, he was not on the battlefield when his army was attacked, and upon returning to it, he found it half-routed; how did he act? General Lewis Wallace, one of his subordinate commanders and the author of that stirring romance, Ben Hur, says:HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING
'In every great man's career there is a crisis exactly similar to that which now overtook General Grant, and it cannot be better described than as a crucial test of his nature. A mediocre person would have accepted the news as an argument for persistence in his resolution to enter upon a siege. Had General Grant done so, it is very probable his history would have been then and there concluded. His admirers and detractors are alike invited to study him at this precise juncture. It cannot be doubted that he saw with painful distinctness the effect of the disaster to his right wing. His face flushed slightly. With a sudden grip he crushed the papers in his hand. But in an instant these signs of disappointment or hesitation--as the reader pleases--cleared away. In his ordinary quiet voice be said addressing himself to both officers (McClernand and Lewis Wallace), "Gentlemen, the position on the right must be retaken"...'[Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol.i, p. 422 (1884-88)].
What did he then do? Did he sit down and write an operation order? No! He galloped down the line shouting to his men: 'Fill your cartridge boxes quick, and get into line; the enemy is trying to escape, and he must not be permitted to do so, ...' 'This', as be says himself, 'acted like a charm. The men only wanted someone to give them a command.'1 It was his presence and selfcontrol which established order. The presence of the general-in-chief, in the face of danger, at once creates confidence, for his personality is fused into the impersonal crowd, and the higher his self-control the higher does this confidence grow, it magnetizes his men and morally re-unifies them. No operation order could have accomplished this, and without this change in moral feeling, which the personality of the general-in-chief could alone effect, no operation order would have been of much use. [Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant, vol. i, pp. 307-308 (1885)]
At the opening of the battle of Shiloh, Grant was faced by a similar though still more desperate situation, and one more difficult for him personally, for having injured his leg a day or two before he hobbled off the boat at Pittsburgh, landing on crutches. Met by 5,000 panic-stricken stragglers and every possible rumour of disaster, what does he do? He mounts his horse and gallops towards the battle front, and is here, there and everywhere. His personality at once seizes upon his men and morally shakes them out of chaos into order. Once again the general-in-chief wins the battle with that supreme weapon - the personal factor.
It is always the same with this great man, or any other great Soldier. At the opening of the Wilderness Campaign, as usual, his headquarters were pitched close to the battle front. During the fighting on May 6th, 1864, the Federal line was driven back and a panic resuited, in which an excited officer rushed up to where Grant was Sitting and shouted; 'General, wouldn't it be prudent to move headquarters to the other side of the Germanna road?' To which came the answer: 'It strikes me it would be better to order up some artillery and defend the present location.' [Campaigning with Grant, General Horace Porter, p. 59 (1897)]
With Grant, there was no turning away from danger, he always faced it. On another occasion, when Fort Harrison was captured, on September 29th, as usual Grant was well forward and came under heavy fire, one shell bursting immediately over him as he was writing a dispatch. 'The handwriting of the dispatch when finished', writes one of his staff officers, 'did not bear the slightest evidence of the uncomfortable circumstances under which it was indited.'1 On yet another occasion when supervising an attack, he dismounted and sat down on a fallen tree to write a message. 'While thus engaged a shell exploded directly in front of him. He looked up from his paper an instant, and then, without the slightest change of countenance, went on writing the message. Some of the Fifth Wisconsin wounded were being carried past him at the time, and Major E. R. Jones of that regiment says ... that one of his men made the remark: "Ulysses don't scare worth a d--n."'2 It is such generals who can lead men, who can win victories and not merely machine them out."
A 1st TSG (A) member writes:
"We're big on hands on training because it creates muscle memory. In tactical training I think the worse thing you can do is use the classroom. You don't want to spend more then ten minutes on a concept. Notice I use the word 'concept' not concepts. If you try to teach too much, your young studs just get overloaded. Bob Moore the offensive line coach at Notre Dame told me something to the effect that you have to keep the minds of horny young studs from wandering to the place that God intended. The classroom isn't the place to keep their minds from wandering. Get them outside and freezing or sweating as soon as possible. Five minutes of classroom is about two minutes longer than you can keep their attention anyway. With my football players I tried to create tension. You can't do it everyday but most days you can. You should review for a set period each week that you teach a concept and use the day that you review to keep it light. Usually you can go straight to a drill if you are doing review so their muscle memory should be in tune from previous training sessions. This means they will already be somewhat tense from past training exercises.
That's another important lesson I learned in the Army and had to relearn when I started coaching. The intensity of your approach is the most important tool that an individual has for learning or teaching. This is going to sound like heresy but the older NCOs I had in the Army were much better than the Viet Nam-era NCOs. The VN NCOs hated teaching anything, as if you would either die or learn when the shooting started. I will deny I ever said any of this and destroy my hard drive if they come for it but this is why Hack loves that brutality $%^&. He has mistaken intensity and it's training effects for bad treatment. You can create intensity without degradation but it takes a uniform training technique. By this I mean you have to keep the intensity up constantly. You can't pick and choose what topics to give your all on. You have to do it every time. The problem comes when you have to teach the UCMJ or a topic like that. The way around it is you have that class taught by someone like a lawyer and forget having Platoon leaders and COs doing it."
A lesson from history from historian/tactician Emery Nelson:
Read Steven Ambrose's books on the great WWII Generation; Citizen Soldiers, is by far my favorite. Great stories about the men and Leaders who pulled off the campaign in Europe.
I just had to relate this story of the Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the 29th ID, Brig. Gen. Norman "Dutch" Cota of the 29th (The man who cleared Omaha Beach, depicted by Robert Mitchum in the film, The Longest Day). This is the kind of thing that never fails to amaze me. I keep shouting to everyone I know that people do well when they are trained but falter if it's not what they expect. This is another story about muscle memory and it's training affect. No story I've ever read or seen so clearly illustrates this. I will quote it in total.
Big. Gen. Norman Cota, came on a group of infantry pinned down by some Germans in a farmhouse. He asked the Captain in command why his men were making no effort to take the building.
"Sir, the Germans are in there, shooting at us," the captain replied.THAT'S GENERALSHIP: LEADING BY EXAMPLE WHEN ITS NEEDED!
"Well, I'll tell you what, Captain," said Cota, unbuckling two grenades from his jacket. "You and your men start shooting at them. I'll take a squad of men and you and your men watch carefully. I'll show you how to take a house with Germans in it."
Cota led his squad around a hedge to get as close as possible to the house. Suddenly, he gave a whoop and raced forward, the squad following, yelling like wild men. As they tossed grenades into the windows, Cota and another man kicked in the front door, tossed a couple of grenades inside, waited for the explosions, them dashed into the house. The surviving Germans inside were streaming out of the back door, running for their lives.
Cota returned to the Captain. "You've seen how to take a house," said the General, still out of breath. "Do you understand?"
"Well, I won't be around to do it for you again," Cota said. "I can't do it for everybody."
A little later on Ambrose points this interesting detail out about the training of Soldiers for Normandy.
"Where had that Captain been for the last six months? He had been in training to fight the German Army. He had been committed to offensive action, trained to it, inspired to it. But no one had thought to show him how to take an occupied house. He knew all about getting ashore from an LCVP [Higgins boat], about beach obstacles, about paths up the bluffs, about ravines, about amphibious assault techniques. But no one had shown him how to take a house, because there were no standing houses on Omaha Beach, so that wasn't one of his problems."To me that showed excellent leadership on Cota's part but some serious problems with overall training. It's probably not possible to cover all aspects of Infantry training in a short time but this should be covered in an advanced (infantry branch) officer course. It also occurs to me that your idea of a master infantry tactician would help solve some of these kinds of problems. The only way to compensate for lack of training is with leadership. Gen. Cota had it. Problem solved, lesson learned."
TACTICS AND TECHNICAL DETAILS MUST BE UNIFIED
Here is the problem, from experience. You take a bone-headed, unimaginative marine stuck to blindly obeying rigid regulations as "gospel" and order him to lead an infiltration and attack the enemy with a raid after a small rubber boat insertion.
The by-the-book, cookie-cutter mentality leader takes 44 men and puts them 5 meters apart in a single file along a trail and tries to sneak up on an OPFOR with night vision devices. The raid force gets detected and blamo! is wiped out.
Technically sound Tactics: My point is we need to not marginalize tactics to the realm of anti-technology, but speak of both at the same time. I do this all the time if you notice and I'm sure people are overwhemed. Well...they need to get their head out of their $%^& and into the game. For example in another unit we had superb AN/PVS-7B night vision goggles, but the head harness was uncomfortable, so some wore it on a cord around their neck like opera glasses, so what good was it? The patrol ended up stumbling around in the dark on a trail. In real war we would have been killed. But since it was NTC and peacetime we got away with it and everyone thinks its hunky-dory.
I found I can wear the head harness without too much discomfort because I actually try, see the need for it and give a damn. However, there is a helmet mount for $100-200 that can be used that solves everyones complaints, IF the unit has the sense of urgency to get them.
So I would not speak Suvorov-like or Boydesque and say "you are in a tank". If you are in an old tank without shoot-on-the-move or night vision you will fight differently than if you did..or at least you should. I'd say you are a foot mobile patrol with image intensifier vision. Proceed to the military crest of hill 351 and surveill with night vision devices for the enemy. Use space blankets to cover your hide positions to prevent enemy detection by FLIR. Keep those not on OP/LP duty off the forward slope in a resting position on the reverse slope at the ORP (Objective Rally Point).
Otherwise, you are not maximizing aspects of your technical superiority because the rank/file Soldier is a lazy amateur who has an anti-technology/anti-enthusiasm bent about him thanks to our dehumanizing recruit training where thinking professional study is not welcome. We create these dullards by not explaining to them the modern battlefield and by turning them into a spirit-less robots. Or we turn him into an arrogant, spirited anti-technology luddite robot, who can't be sent into battle because he'll fill up body bags and flag-draped coffins quickly so we lose public support for the war, and lose by default: what the North Vietnamese did to us in the Second Indo-China war. We have no option: we MUST become professionals!
Lets say Col Boyd was made Generalissimo of Iraq right after the invasion of Kuwait. Saddam would not have let him invade Saudi Arabia, and even if he was a brilliant Rommel-type, and he was able to out-position our tank forces, we still would have at the technical level of war clobbered him, because his tanks would have to stop to shoot, ours could shoot/kill on the move and survive their hits anyway. Our technical superiority was so one-sided in Desert Storm, that total tactical ineptitude wouldn't be disastrous. However, this is a fleeting thing! Top-attack, fire/forget missiles fired by light AFVs are going to dominate the armor fight in the open, soon. We also no longer "own" the night; the enemy has night vision devices, too.
Now then---even the odds in a closed terrain fight, get a more capable enemy--and the Pentagon backs off (Kurdistan/Kosovo). Its all about asymmetry, the Pentagon Generals understand this. They never want to fight any enemy "even" and have to count on American wherewithal and training to carry the day, because they know the American is less fanatical than the enemy likely to be and some will die even if he's a Ranger-stud and we can't have casualties and expect to keep public opinion on our side. The enemy can train hard and be clever, too. That option is open to him. What they want is to maximize something we can do and the enemy can't--and that's employ high technology. They want an asymetrical, one-sided fight, usually with technology or if they can't fight on the ground with this superiority, they forfeit the match and hope air power can do it.
My beef is that we CAN field a decisive ground maneuver force that can win with low casualties, but to do it we have to have BOTH technical and tactical smarts embodied in a smart, thinking warrior ethos.
If we cut out the BS cutting grass, standing at retirement ceremonies, doing sports PT, playing golf and all the other time wasters, we'd have time to get on top of our complex weapon systems and then move on to a higher plane of use of them at the TechnoTactical level of war. A good place to start would be the 5 paragraph operations order. In the Mission analysis section, there should be a sub-paragraph added called "TechnoTactical considerations". Under "Concept of the Operation" place a subparagraph underneath called "TechnoTactical exploitation". Make the leader think about what we have and what the enemy has and how we will exploit the situation. If we have night vision goggles, we can stay off the roads where he can lay mines and ambushes by moving stealthfully through vegetation. It may be that we have 120mm mortars on call that can reach 7 kms and the enemy has close-range RPGs.
Both tactical and technical have to be taught but there has to be some priorities. The reason I went through that little diatribe on training is I think there is time to teach both but we waste too much and usually tactical training is done in large unit exercises. During Desert Storm I used to grit my teeth as I watched us train on a "pool table" and think we were doing tactical training. I used to tell everyone I could we had natural advantages in this terrain and it was going to teach us bad habits. I think many officers believe they can have complete control over their machines and the people inside the machines will only have to load and shoot as if a mouse click is all that's needed. We created an army that essentially believes if you can drive on the "pool table" (open terrain of a desert or Europe) you can drive anywhere. We have forgotten we still live in the physical dimension where mechanicaladvantage is still needed. So weapons systems like the Apache, M1, M2/M3 Bradley and MLRS looked very successful. Each one would have failed in Vietnam if used Desert-Storm style. So the answer to people like me who question the effectiveness of these systems is don't fight in Vietnam. Now in Kosovo we have an Army with it's top leadership shaking in its oxfords about the very idea of the terrain. That's because you can't use centralized control to orchestrate your units. You have to have a clear goal and a flexible plan implemented by Jr. officers. This assumes a certain level of training which is probably not there at the present. It's ironic to me that the stated reason for continuing our purchase of high-tech weapons was because of the small size of our Army. Now our Army has a need for low tech weapons like the M8 Armored Gun System and heavy mortars employed with clever light infantry tactics and as I've heard somebody say, "Smaller isn't better, it's just smaller. My question is if tactical proficiency is good for this war why is it not good for any war?
One of the problems we saw with Desert Storm is the units were so big the courtiers couldn't tell them all what to do. So a lot of them didn't do anything except play "follow-the-leader". The pictures of the marines were always in column so as not to hit mines. Something isn't right in those pictures. It tells us the war was already over. In Kosovo we can't fight like we did in Desert Storm. The terrain won't permit it. The reason we mention this is to point out our technology seems to be improper for the terrain and the technology seems to be inter-twined with the tactics. The limits of our tactical doctrine are exposed. Now we know what to do in these situations but somehow our senior leadership is hesitant and defensive about getting involved and we believe it's because they don't know how to fight it. They don't have the proper historical background and their training has been for fighting on the "pool table".
JFC Fuller writes:
"Lastly, to turn to the moral sphere. Here the problem, or the main problem, is a dual one, namely, to imbue a general with a sense of responsibility, which is the mainspring of decision, determination and resolution, and to free him from the trammels of his headquarters and so enable him to mix with his men, to show himself to them, to speak to them, and advertise that he is a live, a human, and a personal factor.The question of how to do BOTH the tactical and the technical gets to the heart of most of the things we talk about in the 1st TSG (A). I would rather have simple weapons and strong tactical training. That idea may call for a huge shift in the way the Army does things because digitizing Soldiers/units with computers automatically makes things more complicated. We need to simplify! simplify! our equipment so we are not prisoners to it. The current parachute and SINCGARS radios are good places to start.
The first of these two problems depends upon a remodelling of our system of discipline, which is still largely eighteenth - century. In war, as in peace, individuality Is far more important than uniformity; personality than congruity, and originality than conventionality. 'War', writes Clausewitz, 'is the province of chance. In no sphere of human activity is such a margin to be left for this intruder.' As this is largely true, no regulations and no rules can cover the art of generalship. Like the great artist the general should possess genius, and if he does not, then no effort should be spared to develop his natural abilities, in place of suppressing them. Our existing system is, so I think, based on suppression, suppression to a large extent of an unconscious order. The old are often suspicious of the young and do not welcome criticism, yet without criticism, both destructive and constructive, there can be no progress. As I have already mentioned, the easiest course to adopt is to lay down rules and regulations which must be implicitly obeyed; yet chance knows no compulsion, and such rules and regulations are apt to cramp intelligence and originality. This is seen clearly from the frequent use with which 'Bolshevik' is applied to anyone who dares to think independently; yet if this 'vice' will teach us how to rely upon our common sense and how to speak frankly and without fear, what matters a name if common sense and self-reliance will help us win the next war. In place, so it seems to me, our present system of discipline, which is so truly Prussian and so untruly English, is responsible for creating what I will call the 'Cringe-viki', those knock-kneed persuasive tact-ticians who gut an army not with a knife but with a honeyed word."
3D MANEUVER REQUIRES Technotactical OPERATIONAL THINKING!
General Fuller writes about the need for innovative tactics:
"Originality, not conventionality, is one of the main pillars of generalship. To do something that the enemy does not expect, is not prepared for, something which will surprise him and disarm him morally. To be always thinking ahead and to be always peeping round corners. To spy out the soul of one's adversary, and to act in a manner which will astonish and bewilder him, this is generalship. To render the enemy's general ridiculous in the eyes of his men, this is the foundation of success. And what is the dryrot of generalship? The Archduke Albert puts his finger on it when he says:Its not that we have certain sacred cows we want to defend, its 3-Dimensional maneuver. Its the same for Airborne as it is for Amphibious--we have to have a means to attack the enemy other than in 2-Dimensions. There is always a struggle for unimaginative type people to through conservatism to limit our options to 2D or even less and the result is best shown in WWI's bloodbath of the trenches. This kind of stalemate can happen today--in fact I predict it in cities. I detest it when people snipe at 3D operations on the technotactical level (can be fixed) as an excuse to try to wage no-risk war while ignoring the operational benefits they gained which are easily lost in a flurry of victory and self-serving "spin" to exalt the conventional.
'There are plenty of small-minded men who, in time of peace, excel in detail, are inexorable in matters of equipment and drill, and perpetually interfere with the work of their subordinates.
'They thus acquire an unmerited reputation, and render the service a burden, but they above all do mischief in preventing development of individuality, and in retarding the advancement of independent and capable spirits.
'When war arises the small minds, worn out by attention to trifles, are incapable of effort, and fail miserably. So goes the world.'
Frederick the Great, as may be expected, is more sarcastic. Before a gathering of generals he said:
'The great mistake in inspections is that you officers amuse yourselves with God knows what buffooneries and never dream in the least of serious service. This is a source of stupidity which would become most dangerous in case of a serious conflict. Take shoemakers and tailors and make generals of them and they will not commit worse follies!'"
It takes COURAGE to be 3D---to take risks to get that positional advantage, to get at the enemy through the indirect approach---the pay-off is in a maneuver battle we can collapse the enemy quickly instead of trying to annihilate him by killing every enemy Soldier in every battle. It will take this same kind of risk taking to field siege engines to defeat enemies hiding in cities to win and regain maneuver, a serious failing we have today.
The Paratroops holding Hill 107 over Maleme airfield saved the day at Crete. The airlanding of the 10th Mountain Division reinforcements won the battle/campaign, but at the cost of lots of destroyed Ju-52s--which resulted in Hitler's abandonment of Airborne not realizing we cheated---the Ultra secret told us exactly where the Germans were jumping. Despite secrecy lost, the German Paras still won.
Had the 10th Mountain been able to jump into Maleme, the Germans would not have lost all those JU-52s. It was the QUANTITY of Paratroopers available not the technotactical QUALITY of method that was lacking.
On D-DAY---the Airborne landed the night before. It was the Airborne that physically blocked German infantry from attacking the Utah beachhead and the left flank Orne River canals----TacAir primarily stopped German tanks, but don't tell the British who had to meet the Panzer Lehr Division this!
Ok---extrapolate to the present. The air-delivery problems of WWII are solved today with GPS, SKE, INS etc.. Look at Grenada and Panama, not the whining about imperfections; compare and contrast. The Paratroops were delivered EXACTLY where they needed to be. The threshold of today's whiner (we were dropped in the elephant grass on the edge of the runway) is nothing compared to yesterday's REAL problems (we are dozens of miles away from where we need to be).
Read The German Appraisal of Airborne operations! Patton wanted an Airborne Regiment in each Division in order to execute Airborne 3D movements faster.
AGAIN--the central point is missed.
THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A VICTORY WITHOUT 3D POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE GAINED FIRST. All too often we think after the fact we could somehow "economize", well try it. Look at Anzio and Salerno--no 3D positional advantage gained first and soon the Germans were shelling the beaches!!! We learned the operational art the hard way. Then forgot about it when the war was over.
You ALWAYS need a forced-entry to get into a theater (war area) if you do not have a nearby base, and you always want to approach the enemy from an unexpected angle. We must not confuse WWII firepower-attrition trying to annihilate the Germans by numbers with maneuver warfare seeking a collapse by destroying the enemy's center (s) of gravity.
Now then Airborne and Amphibious warfare suffer both from their practitioners stopping with the forced-entry as the sole reason to exist. Look at Panama, Grenada and Afghanistan/Czechoslavakia----Airborne 3D movements unhinged the enemy and collapsed him quickly--that's the essence we need...and to do it you need light armored fighting vehicles (armor) to maneuver operationally after seizing the forced-entry.
Holding a large enough area with runway or stretch of road/dirt so we can have a C-17 airland M1s/M2s is madness. Current plans are P+4 hours, more like 8 hours. Too late!!
The Paras will get clobbered in MINUTES if the enemy counter-attacks with armor and if they don't the enemy will be alerted to dig-in and blocking positions to stop us from swooping into his center of gravity and smashing it. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Capture Noriega, destroy his Comandancia HQs building, COLLAPSE the PDF...got it? Don't make the mistake General Lucas made at Anzio!!! Don't lose the initiative by waiting for a slow-build-up of combat power to establish some kind of "comfort zone" of safety. "Fortune favors the bold". "He who dares, wins". Our old, 2D-only senior leaders do not understand or want this.
General JFC Fuller concurs that bold decisions requires younger leaders with flexible minds:
"Other factors were, I believe, more important. I have mentioned size and complexity of organization, and to these I now add age. Old generals have always existed, but in the Napoleonic Wars, the average age of the higher commanders was under forty; at Waterloo, Napoleon was forty-six and so was Wellington. In the American Civil War it was much the same. In my book - The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant - I pointed out that, in 1861, the average age of twenty Federal and Confederate officers who as generals, played leading parts in the war, was thirty-eight and a half years. In the Franco-Prussian War, the age was more advanced, but this war was so brief that little opportunity was offered for the younger men to rise in rank. It was so successful, and its success could so clearly be traced to superior organization, superior tactics and superior strategy, that after the war it was overlooked that colonels still led their battalions into action, and that all but the highest grades of generals were on the battlefield and within the bullet zone. Some years ago now, I visited the battlefield of Rezonville, and a little west of the village I came across a small bench upon which the King of Prussia was seated on the evening of August 18th, 1870, when he received a message from Moltke announcing the victory of Gravelotte. At the time it struck me that for so august a personage it was extraordinarily near to the front. Today, the King would have been at least fifty miles further back, or more likely in Berlin. [The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant,Colonel J.F.C. Fuller, p. 5 (1929).]Thus idea that only Rangers can take airfields, is really sickening and unimaginative. We don't have the friggin time to clear parachutes and hold off enemy armor counter-attacks to have ANYBODY #$%^& airland. We need a combined-arms force that PARACHUTES IMMEDIATELY with the DZ-holding force as it takes the DZ. That force is the 82nd Airborne not anybody airlanding and taking-off aircraft one-at-a-time which is BS.
In war it is almost impossible to exaggerate the evil effects of age upon generalship, and through generalship on the spirit of an army. In peace time it may be otherwise, but in war time the physical, intellectual and moral stresses and strains which are at once set up immediately discover the weak links in a general's harness. First, war is obviously a young man's occupation; secondly, the older a man grows the more cautious he becomes, and thirdly, the more fixed become his ideas. Age may endow a man with experience, but in peacetime there can be no moral experience of war, and little physical experience. Nothing is more dangerous in war than to rely upon peace training; for in modern times, when war is declared, training has always been proved out of date.
Consequently, the more elastic a man's mind is, that is the more it is able to receive and digest new impressions and experiences, the more commonsense will be the actions resulting. Youth, in every way, is not only more elastic than old age, but less cautious and far more energetic. In a moment youth will vault into the saddle of a situation, whilst old age is always looking round for someone to give it a leg up."
Do you understand the following as a consequence if we do not airdrop?
One traffic pattern.
One USAF CCT as traffic controller.
"You are cleared Herk 1".
Herk 1 lands.
Herk 1 taxis to the end of the runway.
Lowers its rear ramp.
MEANWHILE AN ENTIRE FLIGHT OF PLANES IS IN A TRAFFIC PATTERN CIRCLING OVERHEAD.
Read what took place in Grenada!
Herk 1 then turns around and taxis up the runway so it can take-off into the wind!!
More time wasted.
Try this for hours at a time, dudes!!!
In contrast, that same flight of planes flies over the Assault Zone (DZ that becomes a LZ) in SECONDS EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IS ON THE GROUND.
What took place in Grenada made us airdrop for Panama--look at the victories.
Operational art, learn it.
Bottom line: M113A3 Gavins, M8 AGSs and Wiesels for the 82nd Airborne to paradrop from USAF aircraft and the 101st to helicopter Air Assault the Gavins (CH-47Ds) and BV-206Ss (UH-60Ls).
M113A3s, M8 AGS Bufords and BV-206Ss to the USMC---flying in by UH-60Ls (not V-22s) and CH-53Es
Airborne is about 3D maneuver (apples) not a superior one-size-fits-all methodology to 2D maneuver (oranges). Many look at things like its a zero-sum competition ego-wise of who is better than who. So let's play that game for a second if you want.
Take the 82nd Airborne Division full of elastic-minded, self-reliant Paratroopers and give it light tanks and APCs, and you will have the best fighting force on earth, period.
It trumps all.
It defeats a Heavy Division, it defeats Light Divisions. Why?
Because the quality of the men backed by a combined arms array of equipment.
Why do you think HQDA has denied the 82nd Airborne a M551 Sheridan replacement?
Because it would create a 3D force that could win small wars all by itself, and you have to keep the foot-in-the-door for the heavy forces to do something. Panama showed the world this and HQDA and the 2D only heavyists were not asleep. If the Airborne got a light tank with shoot-on-the move like the M8 AGS, there may not be anything left for the M1s/M2s to do. So we airland heavy, defensive M1/M2s now just so they can have some "action" in a small scale contingency. This means for 4 hours the Paratroopers get creamed without AFV fire support just so we can accomodate the ego/careers of heavy Armor officers who don't want to take risks and jump to employ a lighter, offensive tank. This means for 4-8 hours when we could be taking down the enemy's center(s) of cohesion Panama-style we have to wait and this gives the enemy a chance to reinforce, losing our golden opportunity to win by maneuver warfare. All driven by old men afraid of risks and empowerment who think Airborne is just "forced entry" and do not understand operational art and 3D maneuver.
Think about it.
I am not advocating doing away with 2D heavy forces, but let's cut through the crap.
A 3D Soldier who will jump out of a plane (take risks), is not someone I have to brow beat to get him to put camouflage on his face. He is "into" what he is doing or he is DEAD. I mean finis. Not 40 years from now after he has grandchildren, I mean 30 seconds after he exits the airplane. The reward for his knowing he can face death (real death not BS, make-believe drill instructor barracks games like the Mc plays, college soriorities play such games) is that he walks with confidence with a beret. My mech-infantry guys walked like their dicks are cut off. I have to order them to ruck-march. They want to camp out in the BFV and eat MREs all day. When I was in the Mc, I had total stupidity to contend with. The AAV-7 crews were just "taxi drivers" and did their thing and kicked us out the back when and as soon as possible--no tactical acumen that results with the infantry owning and operating the vehicles. Disasters on both counts be it Army or marines.
General Fuller writes about how his Army played "sports" instead of studying war. Change "Cricket" to "Golf" and his description fits the U.S. military today:
"It is fear, not so much conscious or intuitive, that a corporal may, through knowledge, learn to despise his captain, and that a captain may learn to despise his colonel, and so on upwards until the hierarchs are left naked and ashamed, which is the dry-rot of generalship. Intellectual courage is the antiseptic, and though theoretically the training of the general should begin when he is in the cradle, practically it must begin when as a youth he enters his military college or academy. In these centres, of crystallized traditionalism what do we see? The inculcation of the spirit of generalship? - No! But the infiltration of what I will call the 'cricket complex'.If it was up to me, I'd tear out every golf course on every Army post to get everyone's head-out-of-their-ass and focused on warfighting excellence. If we cannot get ready for war and be human and have FUN doing it and need some kind of entertainment to stay sane; then its time we loosen up and start acting like humans and not egotistical assholes and small-minded, anal retentive, petty tyrants worshiping regulations as "gospel" when they are just guidelines and allowing creativity and enthusiasm to play a part in our way of warfighting.
Games and sports have an immense value as physical relaxers and restorers; but in themselves they have no more military value than playing fiddles or painting postcards. All these pastimes and many others have some value, but no one of them has a paramount value in fashioning a general. What games did Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great or Napoleon play? Alexander, the greatest of them all, was willing to run with the sons of kings, but professional sports he considered unkingly if not contemptible. What has this 'cricket complex' inhibited us with? The comfortable theory that to amuse ourselves is the most perfect way of learning how to become soldiers. 'He who plays should be paid by promotion,' such is the unwhispered canon of this cult.
The result of this comfortable theory is mental strangulation. As the cricket ball bounds through the air the cannon ball bounds out of mind. Soldiership losing all stimulus becomes 'shop'. Things military become intensely boring, and every excuse is seized upon to regularize and methodize training and organization so that they will cease to worry us. After the World War we were told that there was not going to be another war for ten years. 'Thank God!' whispered the generals, 'we shall have retired by then; let us amuse ourselves-let us play.' This hypothetical ten years having now run their course, and though the world is flatulent with war, another comfortable theory has been propounded, namely, that our army is a 'police force'. 'Thank God!' say the generals, now quite audibly, 'what does a policeman do? He walks up and down his beat and wears out shoe-leather! Well, then, let us emulate him; our men shall go on marching; in any case they have bayonets, whilst the police bave only truncheons - and in the afternoon we can play a little game.'"
In my Army everyone would be Airborne (willing to take risks to attain 3D maneuver) or they would be out of U.S. Army uniform. The 2D forces would jump if needed to rapidly link up with their M1/M2s offloaded by LCACs from prep sealift ships to deny the enemy anti-access strategies like denying us ports, airfields and laying seamines. Everybody jumps and everybody fights just like in Heinlein's "Starship Troopers".
So in conclusion, we have a 19th century mindset, conscription-mentality volunteer U.S. Army with 20th century weapons already in 21st century conflicts. As always, its the older guys with the rank who are ignorant or in some cases just evil standing in the way, often the military is about power/egotism not war-winning. Right after Panama in 1989, we had a blueprint showing clearly that 3D light forces with light armor in a combined-arms team could be decisive with low casualties. Next came Desert Storm, and the 3D forces opened the door, held the line and it was the "heavies" turn to lead the fight along a 2D axis of advance with the 3D forces guarding a flank and projecting ahead. Then came Haiti, and the light guys did well again. But before that, Somalia turned into a debacle due to "light-itis"; the idea that young egotists with rifles don't need tanks or combined arms help ruining everything, and now we are gun-shy again to lightfight 'ala Vietnam. A handful of M113A3s in the 75th Ranger Regiment could have avoided all of this had the wisdom and adult maturity been there to request them as a permanent part of their TOE force structure. This is where senior, older Army leader mentorship should have helped. Now Senior Army leaders want to go in heavy or "medium" any time there is a capable enemy, not realizing the dismounted infantry in a heavy unit is not nearly as good as those that live on foot all the time. Or maybe realizing it and forfeiting the match to air strikes with precision-guided munitions to hopefully win conflicts from a safe distance to everyone involved. However, unless those munitions are nuclear and wipe the terrain clean of all human life, though its been proven repeatedly that we will never have lasting control unless we put men on the ground. We now have air strike firepower failures in Kosovo and Afghanistan to contend with as alert, cunning sub-national terrorist enemies seek to attack the U.S. with 9/11 type asymmetric means. While we toy with a colonial war with sub-national groups with business-as-usual at the Pentagon (the Brits played Cricket, we play Golf); a nation-state bully, Red China sets up her surveillance strike system to gobble up a U.S. ally (Taiwan) and threaten world freedom. The U.S. military is very close to the bureaucratic mentality of the 1920/30s British military in outlook with their BS colonial air control myths [cheap, easy peacekeeping with rubber tired armored cars with aircraft overhead] and about to replay the same failures this time in a WWIII. The storm is gathering.
Where is our Winston Churchill?
A Paratrooper veteran writes:
"I don't wish to upset the non 3D Airborne mind, but here is a little truth to support Mike.
I spent 4 years in the 82nd, living 3D maneuver. Our constant strategy was as follows:
Push out from DZ to increase the occupied secured AO.
Hitch ride from helos, and start all over again...hoping from LZ to LZ.
That is what we trained to do...all the time.
There was never any such thing as "Alright boys we did our job...lets pack it in and go home".
I spent my time as a 13E. Our favorite thing in life was hitting the deck and banging out rounds. In fact, we had to be fire capable with 6400 mil firing capacity in 25 mikes. Essentially we had to be ready to support all infantry maneuvers before they happend. We would then rig up with UH-60s and either move to a new position and do it all over again, or pick up and do a 4 or 6 gun raid and move again.
This went on for days....not hours....days.
Now we were good, but without infantry that can survive combat (back to the old APC...light tank thing) we would be rolled over in minutes...not hours...minutes.
That is all I got to say.
Lucky for me I guess I ETSed at the same time they decommissioned the Sheridan. But there are a lot of Paratroopers right now who have nothing to fight with. And Tom Clancy's idea of LGOPs is great when its a total Battalion Task Force taking the DZ, not one that if it meets up with a Heavy Armored or Mech force won't be able to keep the DZ long enough for that famed ready company of 3rd ID M1s to stroll in.
P.S. Mike...I like your idea of an Army