Raj Malhotra wrote:
While US quote is relevant to the extent but they are now rapidly re-focusing at their infantry when it started doing heavy lifting in Iraq. In any case, two wrongs do not make a right. Further they can afford to make mistakes, as they are not sandwiched between China and Pakistan. The media also makes their equipment problem seem bigger then it is.
The US strategy during the Cold War was single focus i.e. USSR. Today, they have changed to "multi focus" and the threat does not warrant a "heavy" because the armies they will face are not high tech. Therefore, they are midst a permutation and combination mode. It does not mean that just because the US sneezes, we must catch a cold.
We should tailor our coat as per our need.
Since you talk of the Infantry, indeed they are the force of decision and import.
Let me amplify lest I am misunderstood. Any area captured beyond the IB has to be eventually returned, but not so on, and across the LC. And we are basically fighting for Kashmir. Therefore, whatever is captured in Kashmir is material to our cause for which the wars are started by Pakistan. Thus, infantry is the arm of decision and import in my opinion, if indeed one is keen on making such distinction, though I think there is no need to do so.
Night fighting equipment etc are "force multipliers". They obviously help. However, they are not the "be all and end all" of warfighting.
I started my career with 57mm RCL for mountain - a heavy and cumbersome weapon. It was augmented with 3.5 Rocket Launcher. Upgraded to 84mm Carl Gustaf and better still is the Missiles! So it goes on. Some stuff has come in because of the Counter Insurgency operations and has been forced fit to be useful for normal operations for the conduct of war - at least that is what I think!
As far as tactics go, the echelons in the battalion know their job and any equipment that is given is fitted into the scheme of things. Tactics has not changed much, but some innovative drills and manoeuvres have come into being owing to peculiar requirements of the terrain and the enemy.
As I understand, that the issue we (you and I) agree upon is that some improvement is required.
On a larger canvas, the Army brass cannot ask the politicians to create the right Geo-political situation for them and remove the time and space constraints to mobilise, they have equip themselves to fight in a given situation.
I agree that the Army cannot demand that the govt create the right geopolitical situation. But then the Army does expect that dumb people are not their political bosses who do not understand that the geopolitical situation requires nurturing so as to make things easier for the country and the Army is but just another cog in the machinery!
This basically rules out corp level or even brigade level "initiative". They can only "react" at that level. The biggest “initiated” action I think will be fought at company level or even lower. Now in mountains, COIN etc this type of action is in any case the norm.
To take your example, we can conventionally attack an enemy post with artillery cover-illuminating flares etc and take it at the tip of the bayonet. Or we can side step, go behind it and set up our own flag.
The who is behind whom will depend on night fight capacity & Comms. Our post will find it difficult to get easy support of our artillery (if it is deep or in difficult terrain) and logistics will be tough.
I have not understood what you mean by "initiative". Initiative is the essence in all walks of life and in all echelons of the army.
Attack by Infilitration is a part of the teaching and has been practiced. It must be remembered that while infiltration can be done, the link up is paramount. If there is no link up, the force infiltrating is but isolated and the enemy will decimate it in detail. The conduct of war is very easy on paper with huge arrows streaking down impressively. But the conduct on ground is another kettle of fish. The mismatch of Corps exercises, sand model exercises, war games with the results of the various wars fought should indicate that daydreams on such formats are bogus posturing for impressing seniors because in war (as has been observed), the same fancyfoot characters come a cropper. That is one of the reason why you thought I was being 'careful'. It is not that I am "careful', it is just that I am pragmatic and English does not impress me since I have seen that on ground English is not much of a weapon of war that I was made to believe it was!
I like your words "take it on the tip of the bayonet". Ah, I wish it was so. Many dead bodies would also be strewn before the bayonet did penetrate the enemy! Therefore, while those words do rally me to greater heights, yet the next minute reality strikes and the beauty of your word vanishes. I would have also used such words before an attack, but then the men would be so charged up that they would not have had the time to reflect as I have been able to do in front of my computer in placid circumstances!
Compare the make belief that one sees on the forums of "scenarios" that are created and fought. If they were really feasible, the world would have been a different place! Take the US in Iraq. What they expected has not happened and they have all the wherewithal that any Army would love to have!
I have not understood as to why the force that has infiltrated cannot guide artillery fire. They can.
To make each bullet count and to maintain limited re-supply without running into enemy we need good comms, optics and night sights. On China border or even say with some of our minor truant neighbors, various little games will have to be played to make it effective. But the given reality is that we still find it difficult to even do effective night time COIN, a lot of time.
You seem to be obsessed with night vision devices. They help but they are not the end of the world! It never replaces the vision as by day that would make a person comfortable with the happenings taking place.
As an analogy, it is easier for even USA to send a UAV to fire a missile in Pak. Can it send a manned aircraft with support and protection which means a package of 20 aircraft to loiter for hours inside Pak for a strike?
Any reason why they cannot?
The modern theme would be to apply pin point strikes even at infantry level. Something like replacing suppressive fire with sniper fire (again within reason).
The US is thinking of TV guided ammunition in the next 30 years!
We have not adopted the concept of modern soldier in our mind and soul. Like we knew about LGB and UAV but did not adopt them with conviction. They were just fancy toys. Navy did not want to adopt Anti-ship missiles in sixties. Why did it take IA forty years to go in for AKs etc etc?
Good question. One day someone will also ask why we are not thinking of TV guided ammuntion. These are questions that cannot be answered since there are so many reasons for some equipment though thought of is not procured. UAV was thought of in the 70s in the India or maybe even before. The DRDO was at it. We are at many things too like the MBT. The rifle and allied systems too. It seems that for the DRDO domani never comes! Yet, let me tell you that I would be the first person to be proud of India developing its own stuff. The DRDO scientists are great chaps, but then they realise it is greater fun to be a bureaucrat. The same is applicable to the Army too!
Will Army even consider seriously unmanned ground vehicles or small toy type robots to breach mine fields? (I am talking about just a basic remote control toy type machine)
They should and I am sure the DRDO are at it and we should expect it in another 30 years.
The point is that lot of tools that are not very expensive and should be easily available for general issue are given in ad-hoc half hearted manner with dis-interested initiative.
I totally agree. The DRDO must be at much of the experiments that are required and well I do hope they materialise in my life time.
You rightly ask what is SF or Para? I ask you what is it ? In a voluntary army like India with all soldiers having long service (training periods)?