Tactics & military craft

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 04 Jan 2018 10:50

Thanks Sir,

How is the transition at the offr level. Command is I believe all arms? I can imagine it is a bit of a challenge for a Armd or Arty Col to take over RR command?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 04 Jan 2018 10:56

Also when we look at engagement casualities (not due to IED's etc) has there been any analysis done on this based on the parent arm? For example if we were to analyse 11RR or 40RR casualities based on the above parameter would I see a higher incidence with the non Infantry bayonet strength?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Bishwa » 04 Jan 2018 11:32

Atleast in 2000 timeframe OC or 2OC was from the parent infantry regiment. It was done to maintain regimental spirit.

I am not sure now. But likely continues

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 04 Jan 2018 11:56

Continues I think. But if the RR Co is non Inf what kind of mindshift change is it?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 04 Jan 2018 14:15

ks_sachin wrote:Continues I think. But if the RR Co is non Inf what kind of mindshift change is it?


Don’t worry KS other arms are soldiers too and all troops go through Corps Battle School before RR induction. Sappers have a very strong regimental spirit similar to inf and are closest to inf in op ethos and a lot of ENGR regts have excellent CI Ops experience. They don’t have heavy weapon experience but that’s not needed in CI Ops. In war they often assault with inf in war. in fact there is an instructive incident when a GR unit was supported by a Bombay Sappers (Marathas and Mazhabi Sikhs) platoon. They joined them in assaults after the engr task - minefiled breaching - and enemy thought whole brigade was attaching as there were three war cries - Ayo Gorkhali, Sat Sri Akal and Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai. The enemy ran away.

The Sappers infact have seniority to inf and the linkages are closely preserved. For example Sikh LI was in a bad shape because of various reasons and Gen PS Bhagat VC (Bombay Sappers ) through out this career as a Gen Officer did a lot to bring them up.

Sappers also used to be the first marching contingent in RD parade and on an all arms parade.

I hope I have answered your questions. Now pls stick to what I said in my previous post - read up , think things through and ask very specific operational questions linked to tactics on this thread. Do read the discussion on this thread in detail and visualise it.

On this note I am going to ask a quiz question on the Indian Army thread later today. Watch that.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Vidur » 06 Jan 2018 15:55

Good effort and an interesting high quality discussion. This is what I came to this forum for. Look forward to more.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Aditya G » 07 Jan 2018 19:05

Akshay ji,

Please see the video in the link below. What is the objective of the fire that the jawan is laying down? Is INSAS LMG the best bet for such fire - me thinks a belt fed weapon would have been appropriate here.

https://twitter.com/Aditya_G_Social/sta ... 5418796032


Akshay Kapoor wrote:Section : Smallest building block of the Indian Army. This description pertains to a standard infantry rifle section . Other arms will be discussed next.

Composition : 10 men comprised of a fire/LMG/support group with 3/4 men and a rifle/ assault group of 6/7 men. Commanded by a Havildar / Havildar Major. Historical note - Some say this configuration has its genesis in WW1 when the machine gun was coming on to the battlefield and the Germans created tactics to exploit it. They created small groups of men who could 'fire and move' on the battlefield which gave them huge mobility advantage against the allies who were resorting to tactics reminiscent of an earlier era of musket warfare - they would form up in long lines abreast and advance under advancing arty fire straight into german machine gun fire.

Fire and Move : The infantry often has to close in with the enemy and take ground. Section structure and tactics are designed for this objective. The support group lays cover/suppressive fire so that the assault group can move closer to the enemy. For this purpose naturally at least two LMGs are needed - consistency of fire has to be maintained while one LMG is reloaded, volume of fire must be sufficient to keep the enemy head down and the range of their weapons must be enough to give cover when the assault group is a few meters up ahead. Therefore they need 2 LMGs and these days often carry a Rocket launcher as well - this gives more flexibility to give cover. Personal weapons are also carried - INSAS or AK in the valley in CI OPs but those are different tactics. Ammunition must also be carried for the LMGs and RL so there is a lot of weight to carry so at least 3/4 men are needed for the task. The assault group needs to keep moving toward the enemy and finally closes in and storms them. So they cannot carry too much load (though they are increasingly being forced to do so).They carry their personal weapons and their bayonets (and khukris and dahs as applicable). Atleast 6/7 men are needed to storm a position so that's the bare minimum of the assault group. Assault group is really the 'bayonet strength' of a an infantry battalion. You can see why.

Offensive tactics : In offensive role the section as a part of the platoon will usually have to close in with the enemy. A part of the platoon's task will be given to the section - for example section 1 will advance on right flank, section 2 on left and section 3 will pin the enemy down in the center.

There is an enemy bunker on a vantage point protected by two machine gun emplacements on left and right. Lets take Section 1. It has been given the task to destroy an enemy MMG emplacement on the right which is guarding a vantage point which the platoon has been ordered to take. The terrain is semi arid and bushy and the MMG emplacement is 400 mts away.Section one commander decides to advance taking advantage of the natural cover available. The first cover is 150 mts from the section position. The whole section advances as one crawling because the section commander does not want to alert the enemy of his intentions by firing unless absolutely necessary. They reach the first cover without incident. There are two covers next - one is 150 meters and another is 100 meters. Section commander designates one for the assault group and one for support group respectively . He also decides to wait 30 mins for sun to go down a bit and cast long shadows to before the assault group moves. 30 mins later, the support group opens up with both LMGs and assault group takes off on a serpentine route towards their cover. The enemy is caught by surprise and initially don't where the fire is coming from. The assault group takes a risk during this window and moves very fast sacrificing some cover for covering distance. Soon assault group is at cover and then they lay covering fire for support group to reach their cover. Support group reaches their new position and opens up with their LMGs while assault group crawls towards the MMG emplacment. Close to it they split into 2 groups and attack the emplacement from both flanks. First using grenades and then bayonet to the cries of 'Bol Badri Vishal Laal ki jai'. The position is captured and support group marries up with assault group.

Main points to note - main takeaway - fire and move, terrain plays a vital role in deciding the assault plan, the section operation is just one part of the platoon's operation. The other sections are taking the other machine gun emplacement and the bunker. Attack has to be co-ordinated so that all positions are engaged and enemy cannot support one form the other. He has sighted his MMGs exactly for that purpose - to support each other.

Command, control & ethos - Section is the smallest 'unit' of the army and is supposed to be very close. Camaraderie must be very high and all must behave as close brothers. They live, eat, sleep, pray together. In effect they are close family. Regimental spirit and ethos keeps this bond. I would recommend reading Gen VS Raghavan's book - Infantry in India to understand how this evolved.

Defensive tactics : Main objective is to concentrate the firepower where its most needed - this changes from minute to minute. A section can typically hold a trench or a position against superior numbers say 2-3 times. Main command and control challenge is to keep morale up as there will be repeated attacks by the enemy. The enemy will seem numerous and it is easy to forget that you are part of a huge army because all the troops will see is the enemy in bigger number in front of them. Tactics will depend upon existing weapons, cover, how long you have to hold for. Is it a delaying action or a defend to last man and bullet.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 07 Jan 2018 21:14

Aditya , in the situation in the video the objective could be many - Either Pak is firing and we are retaliating , or we have spotted some movement or vulnerability and we are firing for effect , or we are just plastering their post either single or part of a coordinated action to establish ‘moral ascendency’ ie dominate them by fire. Let them know who the boss is, disrupt their life and sleep, sap their morale and of course do some damage.

What it is probably not is cover fire for an assault.

Pls see my post re belt fed LMG in small arms thread.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 07 Jan 2018 22:20

Akshay, Now that nitty gritty organization of platoon to company level has been discussed can we look at company level offendive and defensive attacks with examples from Indian Army ops in 1962 thru 1971?
Sachin font mind lekin most of your questions should be in Indian Army thread.

You can x-post the relevant post and ask your question there.

However questions like AdityaG asked above are germane to this thread.

Just keeping focus in early days of this thread..

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Karthik S » 08 Jan 2018 20:09

Hope this is the right thread.

Looks who has re-tweeted it.

Image

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 08 Jan 2018 20:40

ramana wrote:Akshay, Now that nitty gritty organization of platoon to company level has been discussed can we look at company level offendive and defensive attacks with examples from Indian Army ops in 1962 thru 1971?



Yes will start that but need some time to study,refresh and do justice to these great actions. We have set a high bar for ourselves !

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 08 Jan 2018 20:41

Thanks Kartik, we will pick up cold start etc later in the thread after working through a thorough study of company and battalion offensive and defensive actions.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 08 Jan 2018 22:20

Thanks. We want folks like Vidur to come back!!!

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 09 Jan 2018 02:24

Akshay Sir could you also start a quiz thread and keep asking questions. Prompts research and personally was good to revisit all those regimental histories.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 02:03

Okay, so company tactics :

Let’s start with defence. The defensive company battle is fought in many ways – both from prepared defences and while mobile. For now let’s look at classic defensive battle from prepared defences. This basically means that a site has been selected or (often) has been thrust upon the defending company (due to the exigencies of the battalion plans and the ongoing battle) and defences like trenches, bunkers are dug/prepared. And the company will fight from this position.

Objective : the enemy has to assault the position to take it so the objective is to kill him before he can reach the position thereby sapping his will to fight. For this the following principles need to be kept in mind :

1. Field of view – you should be able to see the route from which the enemy will approach so that you can position your weapons to create a killing ground. These are also called approaches. So selection of the position is imp
2. Field of fire – you need to position your weapons in such a way that a crossfire can be achieved - ideally for the widest possible field in front of the defences. For example if your position has a 100 yds frontage , there is no point in having all your LMGs and MMGs in the middle of the position, they should be sited at the extremities so that they can create the widest possible crossfire and hence killing field in front of the company position. This is a very important principle. The weapons should also be positioned so that they can be mutually reinforced and also easily moved to areas of the defences where needed during the battle.
3. Oblique fire – if you have the luxury to chose the position and you have a good idea from where the enemy will approach, the defences can be positioned such that they are be made oblique to expected approach. This basically means that your defensive line is at an angle (say 45 degs) to the approach axis of the enemy. This allows you to use all your weapons and troops and hit the enemy across his entire column rather just the front. This can be quite deadly to the enemy.
4. Obstacles – Its important to place obstacles in front of the positon so that the enemy will have to stop to negotiate them and you can fire on them during this period. By itself the obstacle only serves to reduce the momentum of advance but that gives your troops slower moving targets that you can fire on. Common obstacles are barbed wire and mines. In fact this is the bare minimum necessary.
5. Protection/defensive position – The main objective of the defensive position is to give protection while you fight the enemy – it is not to hide away and save yourself. Nevertheless the longer you and your troops live the longer they will hold off the enemy and the higher the chance that the overall objective of the operation (we will discuss this in tactics of higher formations) will be met. So it’s important that defences offer good protection while keeping principles 1 and 2 in mind. The best cover is in the ground (dharti maa) and under natural cover like hill side (again dharti maa). Well dug trenches with overhead protection give a lot of cover. Studies have shown that under massed arty attacks of the soviet ‘god of war’ style, infantry will suffer the following casulaties - in the open 100% casulaties, in trenches without overhead protection 30% and in trenches with overhead protection will suffer only 10%. So the first task of the troops in a defensive battle is to DIG. Creating good defensive positions is very hard physical work and it is not often that a company will take over ready made positions.
6. Flank protection – the enemy will try to attack you on your flanks. A flank is nothing but a non defended or weakly defended side of the position. So if you are in a long trench naturally everyone is facing outwards and if the enemy attacks from the sides (at 90 degrees to your position) your entire line is very vulnerable. This is called attacking enfilade – the attack of enemy comes along your longest axis. Or if the enemy is firing at you enfilade this means the enemy fire is coming across your longest axis – the example I gave above. This has to be avoided at all costs. So flank protection is critical. In the air force straffing is usually done this way - enfilade.
7. Terrain – I mentioned how important terrain appreciation was in the section and platoon fire and move tactics but its even more important in the defensive company battle. A good company commander will site his defensives to take maximum advantage of the terrain. In fact I would say that’s half the battle won.
8. Fighting the battle – Once the above principles have been correctly applied you have to fight the battle when the enemy attacks. And here is where marksmanship, judicious use of ammo, leadership and the sheer grit of the Indian soldier comes into play.

It is very very difficult to successfully assault a well prepared defensive position ably manned by determined troops especially if it is in the mountains. And that’s why it is important to remember again what incredible feats the Indian army accomplished in Kargil. There is literally no parallel of this in the world.

I would now like serious posters to show us how all of these principles were followed in that classic prepared defenses company battle – xxxx

Quiz - which battle am I talking about ? Hint - it was a huge victory for us against very heavy combined arms attack.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 02:18

DeeJay what are your comments ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Mihir » 10 Jan 2018 02:35

Akshay Kapoor wrote:I would now like serious posters to show us how all of these principles were followed in that classic prepared defenses company battle – xxxx

The Battle of Longewala

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 02:44

Correct.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 10 Jan 2018 06:12

2. Field of fire – you need to position your weapons in such a way that a crossfire can be achieved - ideally for the widest possible field in front of the defences. For example if your position has a 100 yds frontage , there is no point in having all your LMGs and MMGs in the middle of the position, they should be sited at the extremities so that they can create the widest possible crossfire and hence killing field in front of the company position. This is a very important principle. The weapons should also be positioned so that they can be mutually reinforced and also easily moved to areas of the defences where needed during the battle.

This actually brings back memories from the fire power demos I saw at College of Combat as well as at the bn. The positioning of the MMGs was very illustrative of the point you make - especially at night the tracers allowed one to get a idea of the crossfire and how devastating that could be.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 10 Jan 2018 09:46

You were at MHOW!

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby deejay » 10 Jan 2018 10:19

Akshay Kapoor wrote:DeeJay what are your comments ?


Just soaking it in sir. Its been so long since I attended field classes in NDA. Little bit of camp experience.

I have questions - Do we have an OP (Observation Post) - look out for defensive positions? Do we have set traps on possible approach route apart from mines?

How different would an ambush set up be from a defensive set up or am I jumping ahead?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 10 Jan 2018 10:23

ramana wrote:You were at MHOW!

Ramana Sir,
Dad was an SI, College of Combat.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 11:00

deejay wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:DeeJay what are your comments ?


Just soaking it in sir. Its been so long since I attended field classes in NDA. Little bit of camp experience.

I have questions - Do we have an OP (Observation Post) - look out for defensive positions? Do we have set traps on possible approach route apart from mines?

How different would an ambush set up be from a defensive set up or am I jumping ahead?


OP - if the situation allows yes absolutely it is good practice to have OPs forward of the main position and an arty OP officer could be three as well. It could also be a mobile patrol like in Longewala. There could also be arty forward OP officer at the main defensive position.

Traps - if the situation allows ieds, mines set off by trip wires could be used. This would work quite well in jungle and high altitude where approaches could be narrow. What other traps were you thinking of ?

Ambush - ambush is generally more mobile and not done form prepared defences. Where the situation allows ambushes can be set up forward of the main defences to keep sapping the enemies strength and also acting as an OP. Generally an element of mobility like patrols and ambushes are useful to support the main defences. Of course if you have laid minefields in front of your defensive position then you need to be careful in sending your patrols and ambushes. You might also give away surprise and make enemy think there are no minefields (opposite of what happened at Longewala). All depends on the situation - terrian, relative strength of enemy etc.

The main principles of ambush are - observation, concealment, waiting for the beginning of the enemy column to come into your field of fire and not springing the ambush till a large part of the column has come in. If possible ambush fire should be made enfilade. And the principles of cross fire apply as well.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 10 Jan 2018 11:23

Akshay Sir,
In a wide frontage I presume the weapons available for support, in any part of any particular company's AOR, will be dictated by the terrain and what the bn commander deems possible by the enemy backed by any kind of intel?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 11:30

ks_sachin wrote:Akshay Sir,
In a wide frontage I presume the weapons available for support, in any part of any particular company's AOR, will be dictated by the terrain and what the bn commander deems possible by the enemy backed by any kind of intel?


Absolutely. For example in Longewala A Coy was reinforced by a MMG platoon and a RCL platoon.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 11:31

I would like posters to analyse Longewala in light of principles mentioned above. See which applied, which did not and why.

Just for refreshing here is Wiki link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Longewala
Last edited by ramana on 11 Jan 2018 01:44, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added Wiki link to the battle. ramana

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 10 Jan 2018 16:21

Akshay Here Goes:
So the tenets of company defensive tactics are;
1. Field of view – you should be able to see the route from which the enemy will approach so that you can position your weapons to create a killing ground. These are also called approaches. So selection of the position is imp
- the Alpha company position was on high ground and hence approaches were easily observable.

2. Field of fire – you need to position your weapons in such a way that a crossfire can be achieved - ideally for the widest possible field in front of the defences. For example if your position has a 100 yds frontage , there is no point in having all your LMGs and MMGs in the middle of the position, they should be sited at the extremities so that they can create the widest possible crossfire and hence killing field in front of the company position. This is a very important principle. The weapons should also be positioned so that they can be mutually reinforced and also easily moved to areas of the defences where needed during the battle.
- high group and desert / open ground meant that there was unrestricted field of fire. that said the fact that tanks had been detected meant that the approach position of anti tank weapons would have been where arms approach was thought to be most feasible. I would assume that there was an appreciation of the soft sand areas which potentially bog down enemy armr

3. Oblique fire – if you have the luxury to chose the position and you have a good idea from where the enemy will approach, the defences can be positioned such that they are be made oblique to expected approach. This basically means that your defensive line is at an angle (say 45 degs) to the approach axis of the enemy. This allows you to use all your weapons and troops and hit the enemy across his entire column rather just the front. This can be quite deadly to the enemy.
- not sure about from the literature I have seen but considering that this was open ground and the fact that there was limited resources available meant that Maj Chandpuri perhaps did not have the luxury of placing men to provide oblique fire. In any case with one RCL gun and perhaps defined approaches it was better to create a bottleneck by a allowing the enemy arms to come to them through a narrow approach

4. Obstacles – Its important to place obstacles in front of the positon so that the enemy will have to stop to negotiate them and you can fire on them during this period. By itself the obstacle only serves to reduce the momentum of advance but that gives your troops slower moving targets that you can fire on. Common obstacles are barbed wire and mines. In fact this is the bare minimum necessary.
- the barbed wire fence while not an obstacle in itself created a level of deception that bought time for the defenders. The Pakistanis throughout this was a mine field. Their attempt to clear this bought time which allowed the IAF to be a factor in day light.

5. Protection/defensive position – The main objective of the defensive position is to give protection while you fight the enemy – it is not to hide away and save yourself. Nevertheless the longer you and your troops live the longer they will hold off the enemy and the higher the chance that the overall objective of the operation (we will discuss this in tactics of higher formations) will be met. So it’s important that defences offer good protection while keeping principles 1 and 2 in mind. The best cover is in the ground (dharti maa) and under natural cover like hill side (again dharti maa). Well dug trenches with overhead protection give a lot of cover. Studies have shown that under massed arty attacks of the soviet ‘god of war’ style, infantry will suffer the following casulaties - in the open 100% casulaties, in trenches without overhead protection 30% and in trenches with overhead protection will suffer only 10%. So the first task of the troops in a defensive battle is to DIG. Creating good defensive positions is very hard physical work and it is not often that a company will take over ready made positions.
-field of fire / field of view provided a good defensive position. I presume that the fact that fence formed a perimeter of sorts meant that the troops were drilled to prepare for defence and would have trenches. There was a war on and they were not on a picnic!

6. Flank protection – the enemy will try to attack you on your flanks. A flank is nothing but a non defended or weakly defended side of the position. So if you are in a long trench naturally everyone is facing outwards and if the enemy attacks from the sides (at 90 degrees to your position) your entire line is very vulnerable. This is called attacking enfilade – the attack of enemy comes along your longest axis. Or if the enemy is firing at you enfilade this means the enemy fire is coming across your longest axis – the example I gave above. This has to be avoided at all costs. So flank protection is critical. In the air force straffing is usually done this way - enfilade.
-not sure of this but the lay of the land and the fact that the the company was on higher ground meant and the fact that the Pakistanis used armour with defined approaches meant that this could be less of an issue in this defensive set piece

7. Terrain – I mentioned how important terrain appreciation was in the section and platoon fire and move tactics but its even more important in the defensive company battle. A good company commander will site his defensives to take maximum advantage of the terrain. In fact I would say that’s half the battle won.
- high ground / good field of view / appreciation of desert conditions to maximise these to own advantage (tanks getting bogged down in soft sand

8. Fighting the battle – Once the above principles have been correctly applied you have to fight the battle when the enemy attacks. And here is where marksmanship, judicious use of ammo, leadership and the sheer grit of the Indian soldier comes into play.
-fire discipline (holding fire till the enemy was really close which bought time but also allowed for concerted effective fire and higher kill probability of the RCL and small arms. the fire discipline and the fact that Maj Chandpuri sent out a recce party and detected the enemy armr signifies a leader with his wits about him. Although a defensive battle the engagement in many ways happened on own terms as we forced them to deal with the fog of war which they didn't to do so well

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 10 Jan 2018 20:00

Good comments Sachin !

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 11 Jan 2018 02:41

Akshay Sir when we look at Bn level tactics can we revisit Longewala?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 11 Jan 2018 02:53

But Longewala was a company level action.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 11 Jan 2018 03:43

ramana wrote:But Longewala was a company level action.

Yes indeed and successful one at that. But Alpha company's being there in reasonable tank country without adequate support also begs some questions that are of interest from a Bn tactics point of view.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 11 Jan 2018 04:42

Some articles on Longewala

Tribune 2001

An assessment of the battle of Longewala
By Thakur K. S. Ludra


Colonel Hattar’s piece on December 16, commemorates Brigadier (then Major) Kuldip Singh Chandpuri’s gallant action whereby he, with an undersized company of just 84 men along with just two 106 mm recoilless guns, held the Pakistani attack on the night of December 4/5. He held on against one complete infantry brigade and one complete armoured regiment. His action permitted the Indian Air Force to go in for a partridge shoot the next morning, in which they bagged 36 of the pick of the Pakistani armour. A superb and an inspiring action if there was any. Major Chandpuri was deservedly awarded one of the highest gallantry award that the country could give him — the Maha Vir Chakra. Though personally, I feel he should have been given a Param Vir Chakra, for but for him, Pakistan would have not lost a complete regiment worth of tanks. Tactically speaking, this was the sort of operation which makes traditions and history....




IAF Point of View

Saga of Longewala by Air Marshal (retd.) M.S. Bawa, PVSM, AVSM, VM


When the first two Hunters of the IAF arrived on the scene, the enemy was still shelling the post but was yet to hit any worthwhile target. The Hunters came low, scanning the road from Ramgarh; Flt. Lt. D.K. Dass and Fg. Off. R.C. Gosain with eyes peeled, guided by an Air Observation Post aircraft, found the enemy's T-59 tanks. The fight between the IAF and the Pakistani armour began.

They called up and picked on a tank which was closest to the area, not even 50 metres from Chandpuri’s besieged post. "01 Alpha" entered the dive, put his aiming index on the tank and fired half his rockets. The tank lumbered a few meters in the sand, spit and ignited. "Bravo" yelled with joy. "You have got him Alpha! He is burning, the ********!" He himself was getting into the firing range. He had picked on a tank near the helipad which was quite close to the post. He pressed the trigger for a short time and behold....that tank was shattering into splinters!

But even as these two aircraft were picking up and making their kills, the enemy on the ground was advancing. A few tanks had already reached the helipad, situated at the base of Longewala post. Mission 01 was running short of fuel and ammunition. If the small, but tactically important post at Longewala was to be held, the killing would have to continue. The kill could only be made from the air. For, our armour was nowhere at the scene, and Chandpuri had only one RCL shell! The race has now begun against time.

Back at base, every available skilled man was released from all other duties to help and turn the aircraft around in the shortest time possible. This was the only course of action open to the IAF in the area. As many tanks as possible had to be destroyed during the daylight hours, because if the enemy thrust was not completely foiled during the day time, the threat could assume menacing proportions at night and perhaps even threaten the airfield, as there were no anti-tank defences provided to this airbase.

Even as Mission 01 was turning towards home, yet another pair of aircraft flown by Bali and Yadav was on its way to the target area. The first pair claimed two tanks destroyed and five others damaged. The second mission engaged those menacing monsters on ground and continued till it had exhausted all its war loads. The pilots claimed two tanks destroyed and six damaged.

Any tanks set ablaze were claimed as destroyed and those crippled as damaged. The tanks were moving around in circles on the ground trying mainly to offer a moving target to the enemy air and secondly to find protection in the cloud of dust that their movement raised. The effort was futile since the Indian fighter bombers had complete and unchallenged freedom of air.

Every pilot had to wait for his turn. This was the only sore point among the aircrew at Jaisalmer. So by the time Tully and Suresh got their turn, they were angry. When they ultimately went to attack, it was like attacking injured snakes. The tanks went writhing in circles and yet trying to sting with their anti-aircraft guns whenever the Hunters got near them.

In one, Suresh met the tank head on. Both the tank's and the aircraft's guns fired simultaneously. The aircraft, however won when its rockets hit and blew up the tank. The big flash that followed blinded Suresh for a moment. The pullout from the dive was momentarily delayed with the result that the aircraft scraped the ground with its tail but it continued to fly and was brought back safely to base. The mission claimed 3 tanks destroyed and 7 disabled.

When Tully and Gosain landed at 1400 hrs, they reported that after they had attacked three tanks that they spotted, they had to shift their attacks on to vehicles. This was the first indication that the panzer offensive had been successfully foiled. Only half a day had gone past.

Just then the Indian side, at the Longewala sector on 05 December 1971, intercepted a Pakistani message. An English translation of the message read,

"The enemy air force has been creating havoc - One aircraft leaves and another comes and stays overhead for twenty minutes. 40% troops and tanks have been destroyed, injured or damaged. Further advance has become very difficult. Send air force for help as soon as possible otherwise even a safe withdrawal would be difficult."

......




A Pak view

The Western Theatre in 1971 — A Strategic and Operational Analysis by A.H. Amin

Desert Sector-Rahimyarkhan-Sindh

18 Division plan to capture Longanewala was brilliant in conception. It failed because of poor logistic planning and lack of air cover. There was hardly anything in front of the 18 Division attacking force heading for Longanewala and Jaisalmer, however, since there was no air support just two Indian Hunters neutralised Pakistani armour!



Lots of rhetoric.....

ramana
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 11 Jan 2018 04:51

Wiki on Maj Chandpuri

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuldip_Singh_Chandpuri

In his own words:

https://web.archive.org/web/20131020094 ... chandpuri/


Q. How did you come to know of the move of the enemy forces on the night of 4-5th Dec 1971?
A. During the 1971 war I was commanding ‘Alfa’ Company of 23rd Battalion, The Punjab Regiment occupying a defended locality, at ‘‘Laungewala’ ’ in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. We moved to ‘Laungewala’ in September 1971. At the time, I was a Major with merely 8 years of service and took over the post from the Border Security Force (BSF). ‘Laungewala’ is an isolated post and strategically very important, it is approximately 14 kms away from the international border with Pakistan and an important communication centre with sufficient water resources. Availability of drinking water in desert warfare dictates planning and deployment of troops. The nearest army unit was approximately 10 to 12 kms away. After taking over the post from the BSF we developed this post and made it fit, to withstand any attack of the enemy. The company at Laungewala comprised of only 120 men with full complements of supporting arms including the RCL guns and rocket launchers which are very potent anti-tank weapons. I did not have any tanks nor did I have any dedicated artillery support. The war broke out in the evening of 3rd December 1971 and the forces in the sector were assigned an offensive task across the border. The operation was to be undertaken on the night of 4/5th December. The plan however did not materialise due to certain unavoidable circumstances and was postponed. On the night of 4/5th December a platoon consisting of 30 men under the command of Lt. Dharam Vir was sent to the international border for patrolling and monitoring the movement of the enemy, if any. I was thus left with only 92 men to hold the post at ‘Laungewala’. At about 2300 hrs on 4th December, the patrol leader reported to me on the wireless, that he could hear a lot of noise of tanks and vehicles across the border. He could make out that they were heading towards ‘Laungewala’. 4/5th December being full moonlit night with good visibility and dust raised in the desert by the moving tank columns, it was not very difficult for Dharam Vir to discern that the advancing force was heading towards India with a mission.

On receipt of the information of enemy advancing towards ‘Laungewala’, I immediately informed my higher headquarters and the Commanding Officer who was also away on another mission. Realising the sudden and unexpected development, I collected all my men and apprised them about the latest move of the enemy tanks and infantry towards our post of ‘Laungewala’. Initially, in higher headquarters, some senior officer did not believe me and felt that I being a young officer was creating a flap and perhaps suffering from the ‘war fever’. However, the GOC of the Division, Maj Gen RF Khambatta and the Commander of the infantry brigade Brig RO Kharbanda, encouraged and assured that they will provide me all possible help and support. They repeatedly reminded me of the significance of the ‘Laungewala’ post and its strategic importance. While encouraging me they repeatedly told me that ‘Laungewala’ post must be held at any cost, a task assigned to me in the operational order.

Q. Were you able to motivate your men to face the much superior and large force head on?
A. A few minutes past midnight, the enemy with a squadron of tanks and mounted infantry, surrounded the post from all directions. Motivating anyone when death is imminent is not an easy job. Every man in this world is scared of death, and so am I. My face to face interaction with my troops at night and narrating the shining example of valour & sacrifices of the Sikhs during various wars paid rich dividends. Incidentally the company at ‘Laungewala’ consisted of Sikhs all hailing from Punjab. There were some dogra troops also with the company as supporting elements. I narrated examples of the unparalleled sacrifices of the great saint-soldier, Guru Gobind Singh ji and the supreme sacrifices of his entire family in their fight against suppression. This had a huge impact on the morale of the troops and created in them a spirit of self-sacrifice. They pledged to withstand with me and fight the enemy at all cost.During the hurried conversation that I had with soldiers, it was decided, that if I run away from the post, all the 92 men present on the post will be at liberty to shoot at me and if I found anyone deserting the post, I shall shoot him. This decision was unanimously accepted with cries of ‘Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal’. The outcome of the motivational talk an hour before the enemy surrounded the post had an everlasting morale boosting affect on the ‘jawans’.

Q. What tactics did you adopt to ensure that the ‘Laungewala’ post was not lost to the enemy outnumbering you in men and weaponry?
A. The Pakistan infantry (38 Baloch Regiment) and a squadron of Chinese made T-59 tanks, repeatedly attempted to attack the post from different directions, but the gallant men of the 23 Punjab Regiment fought with great grit and determination. The enemy artillery guns fired relentlessly, on the ‘Laungewala’ post from across the border and set it blaze. The smoke and the flames assisted the Pakistani forces to bring down accurate fire on the post, apart from that it became easy for them to locate the post. Knowing the limited resources available with me, I ensured strict fire discipline. We did not react to the enemy till the tanks and the infantry came within our effective firing range. Our RCL guns and Rocket launchers took a heavy toll of the Pakistani tanks and vehicles. The battle continued the whole night. The Indian Air Force joined the battle at 0730 hrs on 5th December and destroyed many enemy tanks and vehicles which had taken positions behind the sand dunes and were continuously firing on the post. The performance of the Indian Air Force pilots was outstanding and their hits were precise and accurate.
The air support provided to us is an unique example of the army-air force co-operation in a battle. The Indian army men fought with extreme valour and exhibited unprecedented courage in the face of the enemy. The enemy suffered heavy casualties both in men and tanks. I also suffered casualties in my company though, much lesser, than the enemy. The documents recovered from the enemy revealed that it was an infantry brigade with four infantry units consisting of approximately 3000 men and 60 tanks which had crossed into the Indian territory. After having suffered heavy losses during the day of 5th December, the enemy had again planned to attack ‘Laungewala’ on the night of 5/6th December, as by then their remaining forces had also joined the advancing column by the evening. By then, the post at ‘Laungewala’ had been reinforced by a battalion strength of 17 Rajputana Rifles. The Indian army mounted operations on 7th December to push back the enemy form the Indian territory. During the battle, ‘Alfa’ company of 23 Punjab Regiment destroyed 12 enemy tanks, whereas the Indian Air Force accounted for 25 tanks and many vehicles to their credit. Eight to ten tanks (Shermans) are reported to have fled back to Pakistan. After the war, I was awarded with the nation’s second highest gallantry award of Maha Vir Chakra whereas other soldiers who fought the ‘Laungewala’ battle got, two Vir Chakra, two Sena Medal, One Mentioned-in-Despatches and one COAS Commendation card. The lone BSF man Naik Bhairon Singh was awarded the Sena Medal. The Division Commander and the Brigade Commander were honoured with the distinguished service award of PVSM and AVSM respectively. Six pilots of the Air Force were awarded the Vir Chakra; eight Airmen were awarded the Chief of the Air Force Staff Commendation Card and Mentioned-in-Despatches. The station Commander of the airbase was honoured with the AVSM. 23rd Battalion The Punjab Regiment also had the proud distinction of having been awarded with the ‘Battle Honour’ of ‘Laungewala’ and Theatre Honour ‘Sind’.

Q. What was the immediate reaction from your family?
A. My family had no knowledge, as to where I was posted during the war. It was nothing new as the family had army background since the last three generations. My two uncles both fighter pilots, were also in the same war and both of them were decorated with the gallantry award of the Vir Chakra. I am proud to be the nephew of my uncles, who are very renowned, highly decorated and distinguished pilots of the Indian Air Force.

Q. Whom do you attribute your success in the epic Battle of ‘Laungewala’?
A. The entire credit of success goes to the men who fought along with me during the battle, my senior officers, who encouraged and supported me. Full credit of the success goes to the Indian Air Force, for providing timely air support and destroying maximum enemy armour and vehicles of the enemy.
..
Q. Would you like to tell us something regarding the gallantry in your whole family?
A. I am not the only awardee in the family. My uncles Sqn Ldr (later Gp Capt) Charanjit Singh and Sqn Ldr (later Air Commodore) Jasjit Singh both IAF pilots, were also decorated with the coveted gallantry awards of Vir Chakra during the 1971 war. Their sister’s son-in-law, Maj Harpal Singh was awarded the Vir Chakra (Posthumous) while leading an attack in the eastern sector in December 1971. My respected father-in-law Sardar Baldev Singh who retired from the Punjab Police, as Supdt. of Police (Vigilance) also received President’s Police and Fire Service Medal for gallantry. By God’s grace, the gallantry and spirit of sacrifice runs in the veins of the entire family.

and....

In 1971, my father S. Baldev Singh was a DSP with Punjab Police. It is a sheer coincidence that on 26 Jan 1972, when my husband was receiving the MVC award from the President of India at New Delhi, my father was receiving President’s Police and Fire Service Medal- the highest honour bestowed on a Police Officer from the Governor of Punjab at the same time in Amritsar.” Sardar. Baldev Singh retired as SSP, Vigilance Punjab and happens to be one of the most decorated police officers in Punjab and was also awarded President’s Police medal for gallantry and for meritorious and distinguished service. “Hence, what was shown in the movie was to add some spectacle in the reel life which had hardly any relevance to the real life,” added Mrs. Surinder Chandpuri.


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 11 Jan 2018 06:17

Sir the attempt was to look at history in light of the specific tactical knowledge that I am gaining.

Akshay Kapoor
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 15 Jan 2018 20:22

There is a very interesting concept in the defensive battle called reverse slope. I want some posters to comment on it. But please read up, visualise and ask yourself critical questions before posting.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Ardeshir » 16 Jan 2018 02:23

I remember reading about the tactical blunder made by the Argentine forces in Falklands, who positioned themselves on the forward slope of ridges. That made them vulnerable to small arms fire as well as artillery fire. The Argentines vacated the posts under heavy fire, which were then occupied by the Paras, who were now in a reverse slope defensive position.
Edit: Found a link on the battle - https://paradata.org.uk/content/wireless-ridge

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Jan 2018 04:34

Correct. Now give some examples of the defening force using reverse slopes effectively

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Ardeshir » 16 Jan 2018 08:50

Just did some reading, and turns out that the Japanese made excellent use of defensive positions towards the end of the second world war.
Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Philippines were three places were they used the terrain, natural and man-made obstacles, and underground/camouflaged machine gun nests to inflict a high casualty count on the advancing GIs.

Edit: Reading up further, here's a very informative link on the topic of Japanese defensive positions. https://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/umrcourse ... 943-45.pdf

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Jan 2018 14:45

And the Chinese in Korea. The main advantages of reverse slopes are - a) enemy longer range weapons can be negated b) enemy can be brought into the field of fire of your shorter range infantry weapons as they have to crest the hill to attack you on reverse slope c) they cannot use high trajectory weapons like mortars and howitzers effectively as they cannot observe your position and hence direct fire d) while assault they don’t know your positions so are at a disadvantage.

Defending force must have some observers on the forward slope and also a good idea to have LMGs on the counter slope - forward slope behind reverse slope - so that when attack comes they can pin it down.

Now who will tell me of some Indian battles where reverse slopes were used.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Jan 2018 14:45

Sachin ‘phone your dad’ is allowed :D


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