Tactics & military craft

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Akshay Kapoor
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Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Dec 2017 17:24

Dear all,

On a suggestion by Ramanaji we have decided to open a tactics and ethos thread.

Why : there is a lot of discussion on technology, equipment, R&D, procurement on BRF. However these are all means to an end - the end being vijayshri in battle to achieve national and civilizational objectives. Vijayshri in battle is achieved by a good mix of strategy, political will, surprise, training, ethos and execution tactics. There is virtually no 'informed' discussion on tactics and the military craft on BRF. Nor is their much on ethos - the man behind the machine. This thread is an attempt to understand these matters.

Objective : Have a very high quality discussion on tactics, military craft and to the extend that they inform this discussion - training and ethos. But primacy is tactics. It is not intended as a discussion thread on exploitation of technology or equipment or any digression into these issues. We will not allow noise to drown out the objective of this thread.

Rules : a) We strongly prefer no discussion to low quality discussion. Please do not post on this thread if you haven't done serious research and seriously applied your mind to analyse the issues, terrain, enemy response and all aspects of making a life and death decision on the battlefield. Very high standards are going to be maintained here and in time we want this thread to be a shining example of good quality discussion. Nothing and no one will be allowed to come in the way of that. Retribution will be swift and ruthless.

b) Only public information will be used and those of us who have domain expertise will ensure that we do not share any remotely sensitive information here.

I will start by linking a few excellent articles some directly on tactics and some have significant pointers on tactics. Digest them, chew them over, visualise the scenarios, the terrain, constraints and enemy action. Put yourself in the shoes of the commander on the ground and think about how you would handle the situation. This will give you some idea on what the most important issues are in a tactical situation and the different types of tactical situations. Then we will give some more pointers and then we can start a discussion.


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Rakesh » 10 Dec 2017 19:31

Very nice thread Akshay-ji!! Looking forward to learning.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 10 Dec 2017 19:38

May I suggest something? It is off topic but relevant. Any thread that invites serious discussion must be strongly moderated. No softness and warning after someone complains. No need to ban as I uses to do. But simply delete the OT post. Period. Sorry. No more from me.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Dec 2017 19:53

shiv wrote:May I suggest something? It is off topic but relevant. Any thread that invites serious discussion must be strongly moderated. No softness and warning after someone complains. No need to ban as I uses to do. But simply delete the OT post. Period. Sorry. No more from me.


I agree. Rest assured sir ,for this thread both measures will be taken.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ParGha » 10 Dec 2017 21:52

Please clarify for this discussion:

1. What are the upper limits of tactical employment -- Is it the Western European definition of up to battalion (and equivalent unit) action? Or is it the Soviet definition of up to division (and equivalent formation) action? Along the same lines, what constitutes a tactical vs. operational objective?

2. Can we identify individual units by name when referring to their training and ethos if the information is public but not well-known? For example, Xth and Yth battalions of the same regiment in IPKF had very different training and ethos, in line with their planned deployment against Pakistan. When they were deployed against the LTTE in Sri Lanka -- same terrain, same enemy, same technology, same overall command, similar missions -- their tactics and results were very different.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Arun.prabhu » 10 Dec 2017 21:54

Akshay Kapoor wrote:http://www.news18.com/blogs/india/lt-gen-syed-ata-hasnain/the-practical-soldier-leave-him-to-find-solutions-14405-1264476.html

https://swarajyamag.com/defence/my-hq-w ... -live-with

http://www.salute.co.in/why-the-fence-o ... f-control/


A successful guerrila campaign needs three things:
1. A supportive/sympathetic population to operate within
2. Secure rear base of operations to rest, train, recuperate
3. A sizeable population to draw cadre from

In Kashmir, before the fence, the enemy had all three. We could have used brutal measures to ensure that the Kashmiri civilians were trained into cooperating with our army, but what that would have done to the character and moral fiber of our armed forces does not bear thinking. We cannot go after the population that the ISI and Pakistani army recruited the terrorists from in pakistan. So what was left was to prevent the terrorists from leaving their bases in Pakistan and mixing freely with the Kashmiris. Our fence is only different from the fences that the English built to defeat the boers in that unlike the boers the terrorists did not have unlimited axis to infiltrate and mingle with the supportive civilians.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Dec 2017 22:40

ParGha wrote:Please clarify for this discussion:

1. What are the upper limits of tactical employment -- Is it the Western European definition of up to battalion (and equivalent unit) action? Or is it the Soviet definition of up to division (and equivalent formation) action? Along the same lines, what constitutes a tactical vs. operational objective?

2. Can we identify individual units by name when referring to their training and ethos if the information is public but not well-known? For example, Xth and Yth battalions of the same regiment in IPKF had very different training and ethos, in line with their planned deployment against Pakistan. When they were deployed against the LTTE in Sri Lanka -- same terrain, same enemy, same technology, same overall command, similar missions -- their tactics and results were very different.


1. Scope is all four dimensions - air, land, sea and underwater. Formation level - all levels if you have something useful to add. Test is whether the post is thought out and researched and shows serious effort or not.

2. Depends upon the sensitivity of information and its possible use to adversary. Caution should be the watch word. Re your examples of old operations and public though well known information I think it would be fine. In fact I am very intrigued by your suggested example. Please post.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Dec 2017 22:43

Arun.prabhu wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:http://www.news18.com/blogs/india/lt-gen-syed-ata-hasnain/the-practical-soldier-leave-him-to-find-solutions-14405-1264476.html

https://swarajyamag.com/defence/my-hq-w ... -live-with

http://www.salute.co.in/why-the-fence-o ... f-control/


A successful guerrila campaign needs three things:
1. A supportive/sympathetic population to operate within
2. Secure rear base of operations to rest, train, recuperate
3. A sizeable population to draw cadre from

In Kashmir, before the fence, the enemy had all three. We could have used brutal measures to ensure that the Kashmiri civilians were trained into cooperating with our army, but what that would have done to the character and moral fiber of our armed forces does not bear thinking. We cannot go after the population that the ISI and Pakistani army recruited the terrorists from in pakistan. So what was left was to prevent the terrorists from leaving their bases in Pakistan and mixing freely with the Kashmiris. Our fence is only different from the fences that the English built to defeat the boers in that unlike the boers the terrorists did not have unlimited axis to infiltrate and mingle with the supportive civilians.


Too general, doesn't show an application of effort or research. Doesn't add to knowledge. Statement about fence shows article has not been properly imbibed. Please read objectives and rules for this thread.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 01:22

For an understanding of the main tactical issues, different terrain, regions and the differences between the LC, rural hinterland and urban hinterland in J&K please see this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJQ3M2BwLN8.

You will see that all 3 of the above assumptions for 'guerilla warfare' are incorrect re Kashmir. Kashmir is a hybrid war - basically a state sponsored subcoventional war where Jihad is used as an important pillar of state policy. The video also shows that a variant of this strategy was used in Afhganistan - regular Pak brigagde dressed as jehadis's to give the impression of a local uprising. This is a very crucial point.

The above video is also very important one to understand Pak pysche, the evloution of tanzeems in Kashmir and the differences in Pahari (still muslim) population and the people from the valley.

This video should be required reading for other threads also like CI Ops, J&K etc.I would strongly recommend all members watch this video in full at aleast twice initially and then coming back to it as good reference material.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 01:30

Tactics are defined in large measure by the terrain and the kind of warfare - conventional, sub conventional, islamic jehad, hybrid. Here is a primer on some issues on conventional amroured warfare in deserts.

https://improveacrati.wordpress.com/201 ... e-soldier/

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 11 Dec 2017 12:26

Here is an article that should fit right in with the ethos of this thread
Pete Wilson's War

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 15:34

shiv wrote:Here is an article that should fit right in with the ethos of this thread
Pete Wilson's War


Thanks very interesting.
Would you like to distill some learnings from this. One thing I have always heard from old timers is gunnery gunnery gunnery across all services. In army this is ek goli ek dushman.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 11 Dec 2017 15:46

^Similar emphasis in IAF towards Rocketry and front Gun firing. Also bombing runs etc. Though per capita firing is on a lesser scale than IA with most of the training being dummy runs as ranges and allotment of ammo is lesser in IAF.

Coming to the thread, IN's Op Trident was a great tactical move. Surprise across all elements. Maybe, TSarkar could elaborate more on how IN is developing on tactics.

I was also hoping to get Atri mahashay in here (if possible) to learn on Maratha wars and tactics used by them.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 17:47

deejay wrote:^Similar emphasis in IAF towards Rocketry and front Gun firing. Also bombing runs etc. Though per capita firing is on a lesser scale than IA with most of the training being dummy runs as ranges and allotment of ammo is lesser in IAF.

Coming to the thread, IN's Op Trident was a great tactical move. Surprise across all elements. Maybe, TSarkar could elaborate more on how IN is developing on tactics.

I was also hoping to get Atri mahashay in here (if possible) to learn on Maratha wars and tactics used by them.



Shiv sir, great read. One question DJ and Shiv sir. Wasn’t Groupie Wilson’s objective that in the absence of low level radar , to seduce Pak bombers into a path and bombing run of his choice so that he could ambush them. If you don’t have radar then get the enemy to come to you. So why didn’t he ambush them ? Because they only attacked at night and even though you had some idea of their path you didn’t know when ? His migs couldn’t be on CAP at night all the time ? Wouldn’t the same problem exist in day - could you sight the bombers in time to scramble and intercept.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 11 Dec 2017 17:50

From an Air Force perspective, understanding tactics and strategy have always been difficult. A 2 v 2 or 2 v 1 may be tactics but beyond that the use of air power itself maybe strategic. Here is an article from ACM Naik (Retired) on this. It is detailed and interesting. Admittedly it talks more about Strategy than tactics. Yet some crucial aspects are discussed. I am sure this article must have been linked elsewhere on BRF earlier.

http://www.bharatdefencekavach.com/news/indian-air-force/59133.html

Tactics and Strategy: Two words that have confused me since my Pilot Officer days. Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) had just been formed and every fighter jock whoever did a barrel reversal(sic) in a 2 v 1 was talking Tactics.


Things have become pretty mixed up. The easiest way is to remember that Tactics deals with forces in the battlefield and strategy deals with getting them there. The same interchangeability applies to whether an Air Force is tactical or strategic.



I think, instead of getting into strategic side of the IAF, on this thread let us look at individual events, the men behind these events and the effect they had on the outcome of the event to discuss IAF tactics. The Cope India 04 comes into mind when discussing IAFs tactics and we can focus on many more such events to discuss this aspect.

A good write up on Cope India 04 is from here (and I am sure even this would have been linked elsewhere). Written by Rakesh Krishnan Simha, it talks of tactics and capabilities of IAF viz other Air Force.

https://www.rbth.com/blogs/2014/02/16/cope_india_how_the_iaf_rewrote_the_rules_of_air_combat_33111

The Cope India 2004 air exercise was a landmark in combat aviation, as it highlighted the innovativeness of Indian fighter pilots, the impact of Russian jets and the potentially fatal limitations in USAF pilot training.


Cope India 2004 showed the quality of the men in uniform matters more than the jets they fly.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 17:53

Op Trident and Op Python done by the Killer Squdron was a great tactical success that had a massive strategic impact. Probably the finest offensive action by Indian armed forces ever in terms of its impact. Just knocked the Pak navy out of action. And what a brilliant conception, daring thought , daring exectution. Please see the video linked earlier in the thread. Gen Patankar says pakis are great at planning terrible in execution. We are good in planning and excellent in execution. Trident and Python were excellent in planning and excellent in execution.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 11 Dec 2017 17:59

Akshay Kapoor wrote:...

Shiv sir, great read. One question DJ and Shiv sir. Wasn’t Groupie Wilson’s objective that in the absence of low level radar , to seduce Pak bombers into a path and bombing run of his choice so that he could ambush them. If you don’t have radar then get the enemy to come to you. So why didn’t he ambush them ? Because they only attacked at night and even though you had some idea of their path you didn’t know when ? His migs couldn’t be on CAP at night all the time ? Wouldn’t the same problem exist in day - could you sight the bombers in time to scramble and intercept.


I think a Night Cap or capability to hit the adversary was ruled out when he asked about the night capability of the airborne R2L radars against low flying targets.

He judged without that any meaningful engagement of adversary would not be feasible and hence he made concerted efforts to mislead the bomber into wasting its bombs on non targets.

Airborne night ops and location of enemy target moving in air visually is wishing for luck since one does not even hear the enemy aircraft while sitting in the cockpit. One may locate civil airliners with their anti collision lights and windows lit up but if someone is coming in dark than it will not be possible. Moonlit nights could be helpful though I am not sure since all my night flying has happened in moonlit nights and I still remained visually challenged.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 17:59

deejay wrote:From an Air Force perspective, understanding tactics and strategy have always been difficult. A 2 v 2 or 2 v 1 may be tactics but beyond that the use of air power itself maybe strategic. Here is an article from ACM Naik (Retired) on this. It is detailed and interesting. Admittedly it talks more about Strategy than tactics. Yet some crucial aspects are discussed. I am sure this article must have been linked elsewhere on BRF earlier.

http://www.bharatdefencekavach.com/news/indian-air-force/59133.html




I think, instead of getting into strategic side of the IAF, on this thread let us look at individual events, the men behind these events and the effect they had on the outcome of the event to discuss IAF tactics. The Cope India 04 comes into mind when discussing IAFs tactics and we can focus on many more such events to discuss this aspect.

A good write up on Cope India 04 is from here (and I am sure even this would have been linked elsewhere). Written by Rakesh Krishnan Simha, it talks of tactics and capabilities of IAF viz other Air Force.

https://www.rbth.com/blogs/2014/02/16/cope_india_how_the_iaf_rewrote_the_rules_of_air_combat_33111

The Cope India 2004 air exercise was a landmark in combat aviation, as it highlighted the innovativeness of Indian fighter pilots, the impact of Russian jets and the potentially fatal limitations in USAF pilot training.


Cope India 2004 showed the quality of the men in uniform matters more than the jets they fly.


Sure but that’s what we are doing here aren’t we ? Shiv’s article was about excellent tactics by station commander in absence of night capabilty against of the Mig radar against low level targets. My question was also in the same vein.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 18:00

Thanks for the answer DJ. Understood.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 11 Dec 2017 18:52

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Thanks very interesting.
Would you like to distill some learnings from this. One thing I have always heard from old timers is gunnery gunnery gunnery across all services. In army this is ek goli ek dushman.

For me - two things stand out from this story.

The first is to think like the adversary and guess what he might want to do,
The second is practice practice practice flying and navigation. This is something I have said before. Fighter flying in the absence of war is not like Delhi Mumbai Vistara flight where you can put your feet on front seat and fiddle with Dangal actress's bottom. Taking off and landing in adverse circumstances as well as navigation without nav aids other than eyeball, paper/pencil and watch. Coming back in the dark, low on fuel and with a malfunctioning aircraft requires constant practice so the pilot does not even have to think as he comes in for an approach in low light with bust radio.

I don't know if the Pakistani Starfighters had night flying capability, but it is possible that they might have been lurking overhead while B-57s attacked - waiting to pounce on Indian CAP aircraft. So Pete Wilson denied CAP at night. But he also put up an elaborate charade to make Pakis think that Indian fighters were operating out of Bhuj. And while B-57s were hitting Bhuj- Hunters were busy hitting Badin (radar) and other targets and the attacks kept coming even after the Pakis bombed out all those well lit fake runways.

Eventually the Pakistanis did what was expected - that is to risk a daylight raid because night raids were not working and that is when the MiGs went up and the F-104s came down.

The article briefly mentions Longewala. In another story I have read how the pilots who took part in the Longewala battle (some of whom can be seen in the photo) knew the sand dunes like the "palms of their hands". they were totally familiar with the terrain.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 11 Dec 2017 19:10

I want to pick up on two of your points. One about practice in realistic battle conditions. In war you cannot control a million things - terrain, enemy response, your own politicians (India), luck. But you can control your professional competence. That’s training - flying, dusk landings . Navigation, gunnery, knowing the terrain is so important. And that’s one thing Indian armed forces excel at. I do have some concerns here as we are rapidly loosing training ranges and facilities due to rapid ‘development’ and ‘urbanisation’.

Second - thinking like the enemy.

Another thing is ethos. The morale of the men behind the machine to make do with sub optimal conditions and give their best. Taking orders , trusting your colleagues with your life , putting the cause above you. DJ mentioned it in his post as well.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Arun.prabhu » 11 Dec 2017 21:29

Akshay Kapoor wrote:
Arun.prabhu wrote:
A successful guerrila campaign needs three things:
1. A supportive/sympathetic population to operate within
2. Secure rear base of operations to rest, train, recuperate
3. A sizeable population to draw cadre from

In Kashmir, before the fence, the enemy had all three. We could have used brutal measures to ensure that the Kashmiri civilians were trained into cooperating with our army, but what that would have done to the character and moral fiber of our armed forces does not bear thinking. We cannot go after the population that the ISI and Pakistani army recruited the terrorists from in pakistan. So what was left was to prevent the terrorists from leaving their bases in Pakistan and mixing freely with the Kashmiris. Our fence is only different from the fences that the English built to defeat the boers in that unlike the boers the terrorists did not have unlimited axis to infiltrate and mingle with the supportive civilians.


Too general, doesn't show an application of effort or research. Doesn't add to knowledge. Statement about fence shows article has not been properly imbibed. Please read objectives and rules for this thread.


I noted that the army’s choice was the only thing that has been historically proven to work and that analysis is to general, not enough research, doesn’t add value... lol all right. I know when to quit. Lol

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 12 Dec 2017 01:25

Akshay and Deejay, You are jumping to a discussion without a framework of where all this fits in.

First, there are Objective or goals.
Second, there is the strategy to accomplish the goals in a time-bound manner.
Third is who will implement this strategy.
Fourth is tactics or operational art to implement the strategy.

We are discussing the fourth level so everyone is clear.

Since most of the publications of Indian military are not available in pdf form will post a few links to understand operations from the US at battalion, brigade and division level.

I know folks will rage. But one needs something to go by or its a discussion at the barbershop.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 12 Dec 2017 01:26

Akshay Need to tell Arun Prabhu subject is not germane. We are discussing military ops and not guerilla ops.
Maybe later not now. It is hijacking in the first page itself.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby shiv » 12 Dec 2017 10:30

I am a little pushed for time now but I will post some quotes/examples from Sushant Singhs book that deals with Maldives, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone ops. Some interesting things - there. Unfortunately no e book

But meanwhile a thought occurred to me about the Pete Wilson article I posted above. While much of the article deals with the tactical preparations and responses to the situation given resource limitations, there is a "strategic dimension"

By this I mean Intelligence information on what assets Pakistan could have brought to bear. Of course everybody knew that Pakis had F-104s. But suppose that fact had been unknown? Then India aircraft could have been shot out of the air as the F-104 threat went unrecognised.

I believe that "strategic ignorance" of enemy assets due to either excellent enemy preparations or Intel failure can lead to tactical losses. I think the latter happened on two occasions.

In the early days of the 1965 war - Vampires were for close air support to our armoured columns. I am not sure why that happened - but Gnats had not been moved to forward air bases. we lost 4 in a day to the Superior Sabres after which Vampires never took part in the conflict.

Again, in Kargil two points stand out. The first is the lack of intelligence information that the so called "jihadis" were actually Pakistan army men armed with Manpads

The second point is (according to what I have read from Air Force articles) a lack of understanding between army and air force about what sorts of air assets should be applicable. I may be mistaken here (and I apologise in advance if I have misstated facts). The army wanted the assistance of combat helicopters - but the Air Force pointed out that Mi 35s would not get to those altitudes. The use of Mi-8s led to instant losses from manpads. Eventually the Air Force figured out that it was not easy to either identify or hit mountaintop targets using jets - and these facts deprived the army of direct suppressive air support as men were climbing up slopes. Eventually that fire support came from artillery in direct fire mode. The Air force shifted to doing what is excels at - which is identifying and hitting the rear echelons, logistics and storage using quickly developed methods to do that.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 12 Dec 2017 12:40

ramana wrote:Akshay Need to tell Arun Prabhu subject is not germane. We are discussing military ops and not guerilla ops.
Maybe later not now. It is hijacking in the first page itself.


Terrorism in Kashmir is military ops from both sides. From Pak it is sub conventional warfare using a mix of own troops in disguise (like they did in Afghanistan - see Gen Patankar speech I linked) and people from the valley. Second there isn’t uniform support by any stretch of imagination to them - Paharis (shepherds etc) who are also Muslims openly say that they support India and IA, Ladhakis and Jammu also. Lastly in girerilla warfare you don’t attack civilians. But there have been massive attacks against civilians and also against terroists by terrorists. And of course there was genocide against Hindus and Sikhs. There is a massive Sunni religion based angle sponsored by Pak as well. Again see Gen Patankar’s speech to see how ISI kept creating and then going against its own creations.

There are 3 different but highly linked battles going on. One on the LC - regular forces give cover as terrorist (mix of own troops and jihadis) infiltrate and also regular troops and jihadis directly attack our troops. So this is a battle to prevent infiltration , dominate the LC and also gain tactically by realigning LC locally. This is done by regular infantry battalions. Second - hinterland dominate the rural hinterland so that the infiltrators who have come through are eliminated. This is done by mix of regular infantry bns and RR and lastly urban - to eliminate terrorists in habitations. RR supported by JKP SOG, BSF etc do this. Tactics in each of these situations are different because the terrain and objective is different.

Arun’s post did not demonstrate any attempt to undertsnand this. He listed 3 ‘tests of guerilla warfare but didn’t realise that Kashmir fails all 3. So categorisation was wrong to start. The articles listed give a lot of information on these issues. He mentioned the ‘fence’ (and one article was exclusively about the ‘fence’) but his post did not discuss any important points or learnings from the articles - objective , structure (it’s not just one line of barbed wire fence but has eve moved into a integrated obstacle system ie AIOS anti infiltration obstacle system) , its exploitation and tactical use, the effort required and how it has changed the situation. Basically there was no information in the post. How could the discussion move forward.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 12 Dec 2017 12:57

ramana wrote:Akshay and Deejay, You are jumping to a discussion without a framework of where all this fits in.

First, there are Objective or goals.
Second, there is the strategy to accomplish the goals in a time-bound manner.
Third is who will implement this strategy.
Fourth is tactics or operational art to implement the strategy.

We are discussing the fourth level so everyone is clear.

Since most of the publications of Indian military are not available in pdf form will post a few links to understand operations from the US at battalion, brigade and division level.

I know folks will rage. But one needs something to go by or its a discussion at the barbershop.


I don’t think the US situation, ethos and tactics are relevant in our situation. Let me give you an example. We have several roles and configurations for an infantry unit. There is the standard configuration of 4 companies plus HQ and then there is the RR configuration which has 6 companies. RR does not have any heavy weapons but an infantry battalion has. Also our terrain is so varied that there are different roles - plains , high altitude , Counter Insurgency ,desert. Different orientation is required for all of them. Leadership , structure , equipment , philosophy are all different. An article about the RR. Must read.
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/swarajya ... experiment


May I suggest the following - why don’t we do this as a dialogue. You ask some questions and we will try to answer with examples. This will make it interesting for the readers. I want them to visualise situations and explore them and see what is the most logical course. That’s really what tactics are. In the post the Shiv sir posted Pete sir understood the situation very well and then responded in a most innovative and logical manner.

We can start by understanding small units tactics and engagement and move up to larger formations. We must also remember that all dimensions need to be covered - ground , air , surface and sub surface.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 12 Dec 2017 13:05

shiv wrote:I am a little pushed for time now but I will post some quotes/examples from Sushant Singhs book that deals with Maldives, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone ops. Some interesting things - there. Unfortunately no e book

But meanwhile a thought occurred to me about the Pete Wilson article I posted above. While much of the article deals with the tactical preparations and responses to the situation given resource limitations, there is a "strategic dimension"

By this I mean Intelligence information on what assets Pakistan could have brought to bear. Of course everybody knew that Pakis had F-104s. But suppose that fact had been unknown? Then India aircraft could have been shot out of the air as the F-104 threat went unrecognised.

I believe that "strategic ignorance" of enemy assets due to either excellent enemy preparations or Intel failure can lead to tactical losses. I think the latter happened on two occasions.

In the early days of the 1965 war - Vampires were for close air support to our armoured columns. I am not sure why that happened - but Gnats had not been moved to forward air bases. we lost 4 in a day to the Superior Sabres after which Vampires never took part in the conflict.

Again, in Kargil two points stand out. The first is the lack of intelligence information that the so called "jihadis" were actually Pakistan army men armed with Manpads

The second point is (according to what I have read from Air Force articles) a lack of understanding between army and air force about what sorts of air assets should be applicable. I may be mistaken here (and I apologise in advance if I have misstated facts). The army wanted the assistance of combat helicopters - but the Air Force pointed out that Mi 35s would not get to those altitudes. The use of Mi-8s led to instant losses from manpads. Eventually the Air Force figured out that it was not easy to either identify or hit mountaintop targets using jets - and these facts deprived the army of direct suppressive air support as men were climbing up slopes. Eventually that fire support came from artillery in direct fire mode. The Air force shifted to doing what is excels at - which is identifying and hitting the rear echelons, logistics and storage using quickly developed methods to do that.


Yes the line between strategy and tactics can be blurry. To me tactics are operational craft. They can have massive strategic impact like in Op Trident. The objective was strategic but towing the killer squadron , achieving surprise, planning and excision are all tactics. Another way of putting is - strategy is why you do something and tactics is how you do it. But there is over lap there as well. ACM Naik says ‘strategy is getting forces into battle and tactics is what you do there. Maybe but again I can find counters. So I won’t get into definitions. As long as there is operational craft I will call it tactocs.

Thanks for the examples. Informative. Re Kargil much has been written on this issue. I think the army naturally did not have an appreciation of how Mi 8 would work in the situation and there were heated debates. But at the end of the day war fighting is taking risks and IAF did not want to let their brothers in arms down so took the risk. Risk perceptions in different forces are different depending upon their training and operational experience and ethos. But at the end of the day all warriors take risk in peace and in war. Part of the game. Important thing is that lessons are learnt quick and tactics are adapted. DJ can comment on the specifics of Kargil better. No one more qualified here to do so.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 12 Dec 2017 14:56

Shiv - the PAF F104s had a simple air intercept radar, very similar to the Mig21's, so with the benefit of hindsight the night flying and fighting capability would have been similar. it is possible that at the time the americans were uber hyping the capabilities of the Starfighters because it was the new wonder technology. something important to realise about air intercept radars - they have a limited field of view and could not in those days at least conduct wide sweeps of airspace to locate distant targets. the aircraft would have to be vectored by area radar controllers, so that the pilot could get his limited field of view radar onto a target and then use that to close and aim weapons - at that time IR seeking sidewinders only

however think about the following:

if you are flying escort for bombers - you know where they are (supposed to be) and you can fly a course to shadow them. if any enemy fighters close in, then your area radar should pick them up or the bombers call for help. you can then use your air intercept radar to some extent to get you into the zone and maybe find a bogie (assuming you get vectored by your area controller)

if you are defending and you don't have area radar, you really don't know where to put your assets, all you can do is fly CAP and hope for the best

so to improve your chances you have to make the bombers go somewhere predictable

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby arun » 12 Dec 2017 18:32

X Posted from the Indian Navy News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016 thread.

THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER IN INDIAN NAVAL DOCTRINE : Assessing the Likely Usefulness of the Flattop in an Indo-Pakistani War Scenario :

US Naval War College

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 12 Dec 2017 21:34


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 12 Dec 2017 21:56

Arun.prabhu please don’t take this personally. A high standard of critical thinking and well researched posts is being maintained here. For example A very good discussion on air tactics is going on. All posts need to be of similar calibre. So just enjoy reading the discussion and read all the attached materials for now. Visualise the tactical situations , the terrain , enemy response , other constraints. In time you will also start thinking critically and then you can contribute. Remember - information quotient must be very high. For now I have deleted your last post.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 12 Dec 2017 22:25

a better understanding of geography is an essential part of understanding both strategy and tactics. it is no surprise that these factors shape history - there are only so many practical invasion routes and so many mountains, deserts and rivers that form defensive lines and choke points where an enemies strategy can be thwarted

for tactics, flank cover, use of high ground, terrain masking, etc., form critical components. and similarly at sea the use of tides, currents and winds (at least in the older days) would be critical. Also the choice of weapons

for example the English ships during the elizabethean pirate era had light 2 lb canon against the heavier Spanish 5 lb gun armed ships. if the Spanish caught the English at the right angle they could blast them out of the water. the English used to rely on a fast approach to get very close in and use their higher rate of fire to disable the Spanish ship's masts before they could reload and counter fire. this allowed the English to make more effective pirate raids against the big Spanish ships

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 12 Dec 2017 22:44

Thank you sir. Nice post. Did the English have better gunnery drills and training and perhaps discipline to achieve the higher rate of fire or was it that the smaller Calibre cannon lend itself to higher rate of fire. I think they gave a huge importance to gunnery and had better drills.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 12 Dec 2017 22:51

Akshay wrote:
I don’t think the US situation, ethos and tactics are relevant in our situation. Let me give you an example. We have several roles and configurations for an infantry unit. There is the standard configuration of 4 companies plus HQ and then there is the RR configuration which has 6 companies. RR does not have any heavy weapons but an infantry battalion has. Also our terrain is so varied that there are different roles - plains , high altitude , Counter Insurgency ,desert. Different orientation is required for all of them. Leadership , structure , equipment , philosophy are all different. An article about the RR. Must read.



May I suggest the following - why don’t we do this as a dialogue. You ask some questions and we will try to answer with examples. This will make it interesting for the readers. I want them to visualise situations and explore them and see what is the most logical course. That’s really what tactics are. In the post the Shiv sir posted Pete sir understood the situation very well and then responded in a most innovative and logical manner.

We can start by understanding small units tactics and engagement and move up to larger formations. We must also remember that all dimensions need to be covered - ground , air , surface and sub surface.




My suggestion was to give a basic understanding of small unit composition and operations. And Osprey has good pictures!!!

I don't think many of our people know even section, platoon level components and tactics.
Long ago the Subedar from Dogras drilled into our head in NCC about section and platoon level units. For that was good enough then.

I don't know of any good book that covers IA formations.

So lets start with basics.

What is a section? How many soldiers? What type of weapons?
What formations they have? Offensive and defensive?
Next up platoon? Same questions?
Higher up a battalion?

Same with Armored corps units?

And how does Mechanized Infantry differ from regular infantry?

Thanks for the RR article.

And how do all these tactics change with weaponry?

No need to answer in one post..

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 12 Dec 2017 22:57

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Thank you sir. Nice post. Did the English have better gunnery drills and training and perhaps discipline to achieve the higher rate of fire or was it that the smaller Calibre cannon lend itself to higher rate of fire. I think they gave a huge importance to gunnery and had better drills.


The English cannon were made from cast brass which was a derivative of the church bell casting technology. the brass had higher capability to with stand pressure which translates to flatter trajectory. Both training(more training better proficiency) and the smaller caliber(needs less powder) lends to quicker firing.

The 2 lbs evolved into the famous 4 pounder* of the 1700s.

And two pounder is a British standard caliber even till WWII!


*The 4 pounder was light and easily maneuvered and contributed to Gen George Washington victory in the colonies.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Arun.prabhu » 12 Dec 2017 23:06

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Arun.prabhu please don’t take this personally. A high standard of critical thinking and well researched posts is being maintained here. For example A very good discussion on air tactics is going on. All posts need to be of similar calibre. So just enjoy reading the discussion and read all the attached materials for now. Visualise the tactical situations , the terrain , enemy response , other constraints. In time you will also start thinking critically and then you can contribute. Remember - information quotient must be very high. For now I have deleted your last post.


I would have private messaged you this, but apparently I cannot. So... No offence, Akshay, but from what I gathered from your earlier post that I responded to, nothing you say can ever offend me. It is funnier still that you should talk of critical thinking when you have demonstrated utter and complete ignorance while parroting jargon. It might help if you understood what those jargon mean before you throw them about but clearly you do not. Remember, a blind man cannot describe an elephant. Neither, apparently, can you.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 12 Dec 2017 23:18

Arun.Prabhu. I think you need to learn how to interact.
I think we wont miss you for a month.
Bye.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 13 Dec 2017 04:28

shiv wrote:I am a little pushed for time now but I will post some quotes/examples from Sushant Singhs book that deals with Maldives, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone ops. Some interesting things - there. Unfortunately no e book

But meanwhile a thought occurred to me about the Pete Wilson article I posted above. While much of the article deals with the tactical preparations and responses to the situation given resource limitations, there is a "strategic dimension"

By this I mean Intelligence information on what assets Pakistan could have brought to bear. Of course everybody knew that Pakis had F-104s. But suppose that fact had been unknown? Then India aircraft could have been shot out of the air as the F-104 threat went unrecognised.

I believe that "strategic ignorance" of enemy assets due to either excellent enemy preparations or Intel failure can lead to tactical losses. I think the latter happened on two occasions.

In the early days of the 1965 war - Vampires were for close air support to our armoured columns. I am not sure why that happened -
but Gnats had not been moved to forward air bases. we lost 4 in a day to the Superior Sabres after which Vampires never took part in the conflict.

{IAF thinking was that Vampires were good enough in Kashmir Valley. The first units sent were Vampires and Mysteres without fighter escorts. Sending them without fighter cover was the mistake. What was not realized is that PAF could send its own fighters to counter the Vampires. In fact ACM Tipnis learnt this lesson in Kargil when he did not approve Helicopter operations as the intruders could have Stingers. The evidence was the PR Canberra that got one engine shot up with a Stinger. The lone helicopter that was shot down did not have IR counter measures and unfortunately became a victim.
Not only the Vampires were grounded but the Orugans. And as these were bulk of the air force quite a large component was essentially taken out of the fight. This is not realized even now.}



Again, in Kargil two points stand out. The first is the lack of intelligence information that the so called "jihadis" were actually Pakistan army men armed with Manpads


{ The realization was not there even when there was evidence. The PR Canberra was shot at with a Stinger and yet the Army refused to believe that the intruders had manpads. Sometimes cognitive dissonance works against you. I think the bigger mistake was thinking the intruders were shalwar clothed miscreants as the Pak military was claiming. And this despite the Capt. Saurabh Kalia patrol going missing and returned with mutilated bodies. My rationale is miscreants wouldn't dare occupy vacated Indian Army bunkers... }

The second point is (according to what I have read from Air Force articles) a lack of understanding between army and air force about what sorts of air assets should be applicable. I may be mistaken here (and I apologise in advance if I have misstated facts). The army wanted the assistance of combat helicopters - but the Air Force pointed out that Mi 35s would not get to those altitudes. The use of Mi-8s led to instant losses from manpads. Eventually the Air Force figured out that it was not easy to either identify or hit mountaintop targets using jets - and these facts deprived the army of direct suppressive air support as men were climbing up slopes. Eventually that fire support came from artillery in direct fire mode. The Air force shifted to doing what is excels at - which is identifying and hitting the rear echelons, logistics and storage using quickly developed methods to do that.

This very true that tactics developed once there was unity of mission.}


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