Tactics & military craft

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Ardeshir » 16 Jan 2018 22:09

Akshay Kapoor wrote:
Now who will tell me of some Indian battles where reverse slopes were used.

I couldn't find anything involving the Indian Army using the reverse slope in a defensive role, but it appears that in the Battle of Imphal and the Battle of Kohima, the Japanese bunker positions were on the reverse slope.

Also, the Pakis in Kargil had set up a reverse slope defense, but these turned out inadequate after supply routes were destroyed in IAF bombing, the observation posts on the crest of the mountains came under direct artillery fire, in addition to the successive waves of infantry action.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 16 Jan 2018 22:25

Thanks for researching Ardeshir.

For us attacking a reverse slope defence read this (page 466) - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hci ... my&f=false

and how reverse slopes help in staff college also (page 146) https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vHg ... my&f=false

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Ardeshir » 17 Jan 2018 00:06

Thank you, fascinating reads!
Assuming the defensive army has excellent supply lines and well fortified bunkers, would it be correct to say that the attacking force would need strong numerical superiority to overcome it? And is the thought process more of 'delay the inevitable', or is it to raise the cost of the attack (in terms of men and numbers)?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 17 Jan 2018 02:49

Ardeshir, Over history the attacking force on the average has to have 3:1 superiority over the defending force.

A British mathematician F.W. Lanchester has developed differential equations during WWI and shown that there are two type of combat: linear or attrition and non-linear combat.

However terrain, generalship all matter above all else when the numbers are close.

Chinese in some areas had 5:1 in 1962.

My study of Siegfried line defeat shows a determined attacker can get the fortified defender as the latter has given up space or volume which matters the most in war.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Jan 2018 12:50

In hills it can be as much as 1:10 and 1:6.

Quiz - why is a 3:1 superiority recommended in normal circumstances ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Aditya_V » 17 Jan 2018 12:53

ramana wrote:Ardeshir, Over history the attacking force on the average has to have 3:1 superiority over the defending force.

A British mathematician F.W. Lanchester has developed differential equations during WWI and shown that there are two type of combat: linear or attrition and non-linear combat.

However terrain, generalship all matter above all else when the numbers are close.

Chinese in some areas had 5:1 in 1962.

My study of Siegfried line defeat shows a determined attacker can get the fortified defender as the latter has given up space or volume which matters the most in war.


Overall it was 8:1 with thier being years old. IN rezang La and Walong it was more like 10:1 and 15:1, plus none of our formations had been familiar with the terrain

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Ardeshir » 17 Jan 2018 15:14

Akshay Kapoor wrote:
Quiz - why is a 3:1 superiority recommended in normal circumstances ?

Is that to do with Clausewitz' guideline of having soldiers for the front, flank and reserve?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Jan 2018 15:44

The classic reason is - one to fight, one to hold and one to break through and carry on to next objective. But what you said also hold true.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Jan 2018 15:45

Aditya_V wrote:
ramana wrote:Ardeshir, Over history the attacking force on the average has to have 3:1 superiority over the defending force.

A British mathematician F.W. Lanchester has developed differential equations during WWI and shown that there are two type of combat: linear or attrition and non-linear combat.

However terrain, generalship all matter above all else when the numbers are close.

Chinese in some areas had 5:1 in 1962.

My study of Siegfried line defeat shows a determined attacker can get the fortified defender as the latter has given up space or volume which matters the most in war.


Overall it was 8:1 with thier being years old. IN rezang La and Walong it was more like 10:1 and 15:1, plus none of our formations had been familiar with the terrain


Aditya, since you mention Rezang La and Walong here is an easy quiz for you - which 2 battalions of the same infantry regt fought these actions.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Jan 2018 16:13

Ardeshir wrote:Thank you, fascinating reads!
Assuming the defensive army has excellent supply lines and well fortified bunkers, would it be correct to say that the attacking force would need strong numerical superiority to overcome it? And is the thought process more of 'delay the inevitable', or is it to raise the cost of the attack (in terms of men and numbers)?


You have asked an important question - what is the objective of the defence ?

The objective of defence is always to provide the flexibility for/create the space for offense in the higher formation plans - bn, bde,Div, Corps, Army. There is only one result of a defence for sake of defence - defeat. This true at all levels and this also encompasses higher formation tactics (what Ramanaji and generals call operational art) but also the wider strategy at military and national level.

So always remember defence is creating the space for offense. Lets see how this works at our company level scenario and this will neatly take us into the batallion and higher formation tactics. Please note that I am giving stylsed examples to illustrate important concepts.

Fixing the centre and attacking a flank :

Lets say a battalion is faced with a two company defensive position or even another battalion. So it does not have the requisite 3:1 superiority to launch an attack. So what can it do ? It can create something close to bare minimum superiority in a small frontage and attack there. So they ask one company to spread out and fix the enemy's centre ie come into contact with it but essentially fight a defensive battle to ensure they are occupied and don't move. The other two companies form up on the left flank and achieve local superiority and attack in force. The flank is turned and they swing right and roll up the centre.

Its like a boxer using weak arm to hold opponent in place while strong arm delivers a right hook that incapacitates it.

There are various versions of this - fixing the centre and attacking both flanks for example. The Chinese used it a lot along with reverse slopes in Korea and other actions. And they would in fact do it with numerical superiority.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Ardeshir » 17 Jan 2018 20:38

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Aditya, since you mention Rezang La and Walong here is an easy quiz for you - which 2 battalions of the same infantry regt fought these actions.

13 and 6 Kumaon respectively. Got a history lesson when I had visited Chushul.
Although at least some soldiers in the battles had been in both, since the Ahirs in 6 were sent to 13, and the Kumaonis in 13 were similarly transferred to 6, if I remember correctly.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 17 Jan 2018 21:51


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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 17 Jan 2018 21:58

Akshay Kapoor wrote:In hills it can be as much as 1:10 and 1:6.

Quiz - why is a 3:1 superiority recommended in normal circumstances ?



Lanchester shows that terrain being equal that 2:1 will ensure victory for the attackers due to the exchange ratios suddenly favor the attacker disproportionately after around the third or fourth try.

Please read the actual account of 13 Kumaon at Rezang La and see that its only around the third or fourth attack the defenders are overwhelmed. And the Chinese had more like 10:1 and fire support.


http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/ARMY/hist ... ng-la.html

This article is good for it gives how inadequate the resources for the defenders were.

Moreover Lanchester eqns tell us that the defender has to be resourcefully via technology, terrain etc. in the reverse ratio. In other words the defender should have a 2:1 technique resource advantage.

In 1962 the manpower and the arms were inadequate.

During Normandy, Eisenhower used 580,000 troops against the Nazi Germany troop strength of 150,00 west of Siegfried Line. And disrupted the communications with air bombing the rail lines etc.
It was the follow on troops after establishing the beachhead that helped carry the day till the Battle of Bulge.
Quantity has its own quality.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Jan 2018 23:37

Ardeshir wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:Aditya, since you mention Rezang La and Walong here is an easy quiz for you - which 2 battalions of the same infantry regt fought these actions.

13 and 6 Kumaon respectively. Got a history lesson when I had visited Chushul.
Although at least some soldiers in the battles had been in both, since the Ahirs in 6 were sent to 13, and the Kumaonis in 13 were similarly transferred to 6, if I remember correctly.


Correct. I didn’t know about the swap of Ahirs and Kumanonis. Thanks for the info.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 17 Jan 2018 23:44

ramana wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:In hills it can be as much as 1:10 and 1:6.

Quiz - why is a 3:1 superiority recommended in normal circumstances ?



Lanchester shows that terrain being equal that 2:1 will ensure victory for the attackers due to the exchange ratios suddenly favor the attacker disproportionately after around the third or fourth try.

Please read the actual account of 13 Kumaon at Rezang La and see that its only around the third or fourth attack the defenders are overwhelmed. And the Chinese had more like 10:1 and fire support.


http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/ARMY/hist ... ng-la.html

This article is good for it gives how inadequate the resources for the defenders were.

Moreover Lanchester eqns tell us that the defender has to be resourcefully via technology, terrain etc. in the reverse ratio. In other words the defender should have a 2:1 technique resource advantage.

In 1962 the manpower and the arms were inadequate.

During Normandy, Eisenhower used 580,000 troops against the Nazi Germany troop strength of 150,00 west of Siegfried Line. And disrupted the communications with air bombing the rail lines etc.
It was the follow on troops after establishing the beachhead that helped carry the day till the Battle of Bulge.
Quantity has its own quality.


Yes the other 3rd is meant to follow through to next objective. One or two to fight , one to hold and one to follow through.

Speaking of equations I was exposing tactics to my wife yesterday and she came up sign a bright idea - make some algorithm software that will use various inputs and then attacking force can decide whether to attack or not and how to. I stared at her for a while and then said you are taking the soul and ethos out of this. Let machines work on algorithm but soldiers fight with their training and heart. She was suitably chastised.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 18 Jan 2018 04:03

Well she is partly right for know the math the soldier can change the equation variables.

Eg. Asal Uttar was a non linear fight with that double crescent formation with Paki armor in linear formation.

British attrition is a linear fight.
Operational Art by Germans, Russians and US was non-linear by way of maneuver.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 19 Jan 2018 03:23

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... ry_tactics

Now that we have started looking at BN tactics we can turn to wiki and other resources. Pls note these are all done better at higher formation level but at BN level you can just about do them.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 19 Jan 2018 03:27

quiz - what are the the ways to defend against flanking

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 19 Jan 2018 04:22

Akshay Kapoor wrote:quiz - what are the the ways to defend against flanking


Sir

1. Use of natural obstacles in the terrain i.e. site defences so that approaches are covered by overlapping arcs of fire. For example, defences with cliffs for flanks or DCB along large river banks.

2. Use of minefields.

3. Scout parties along flanks.

4. Keep reserve company to reinforce flanks if enemy attempts to turn the flank. Reserve company must have mobility to reach flank in time.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 19 Jan 2018 12:39

Good answer. The first is called anchoring the flanks. So like in zojila you could have one or both flanks anchored in a natural obstacle like caves inside a mountain for example.

The patrol is not going to be very effective in holding the attack off because the flank attack will be in strength. But it will give early warning to deploy your reserve company as you mention in point 4.

Also one thing you didn’t mention is deception. If the emu doesn’t know where your flank is then they can’t ten it. So if your positions are completely concealed and you maintain very strong fire disciple (don’t react to enemy probing fire ) they might not know where your flank is.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 19 Jan 2018 14:31

Sachin, you wanted to revisit Longewala wrt to the overall 23 Punjab battalion tactics and deployment. Floor is yours.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 20 Jan 2018 01:10

Ardeshir wrote: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


Under Field Marshal Slim, Indian army became very adept in busting Japanese bunkers in Burma. These bunkers were very fortified with deep earthen walls and stories of super concrete.
Early on they took lots of casualties and soon developed new tactics. Its all described in Indian army 1939-1947 by Patrick Rose and Alan Jeffreys. In end they would bring a tank or a 5.5 " gun in direct fire mode and bust the defenses.

US troops did same in Siegfried Line bunkers. They would get near and throw explosive charges and blow them up. After breaching the bunker would set off demolition charges. I hope IA did that in Ichogil Canal bunkers.


akshay later do read up German experience in Desert Warfare as thought could be of some use to understand Thar.

Eg. Title is "Desert Warfare: German Experiences" by Alfred Toppe. Pdf is easily available.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 01:02

One of the most important aspects of a well defended position is mutual support and a coherent plan that integrates all the defences for a larger - always offensive - goal.

If defensive positions are not mutually supported then they can be neutralised more easily.

Quiz - you are the attacking commander and come up against 3/4 bunkers which are very well entrenched (embedded in rock faces) but they are very thinly spread. What questions will you ask yourself first ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 26 Jan 2018 17:21

Akshay Kapoor wrote:One of the most important aspects of a well defended position is mutual support and a coherent plan that integrates all the defences for a larger - always offensive - goal.

If defensive positions are not mutually supported then they can be neutralised more easily.

Quiz - you are the attacking commander and come up against 3/4 bunkers which are very well entrenched (embedded in rock faces) but they are very thinly spread. What questions will you ask yourself first ?


Some concerns I will have are:

1. How much manpower and firepower per bunker? If they are thinly spread out, they may compensate for this by putting more men and firepower in each bunker, thereby covering up the 'group' weakness through individual strengths.

2. Do they have a second line of defence plugging in the gaps? I recently read a fiction novel describing a short and intense battle between two forces. Attacking force was superior in all respects, defending force was weak but well-led. They established a set of 3 positions -
a. a 'borderline' trench directly facing the river from where the attacking force was to disembark and attack
b. a 'horseshoe' trench behind this, enveloping an important building for them
c. last line of defence in the building itself

The horseshoe trench proved to be crucial, as the defending force here jumped in to rescue the borderline trench when they were getting overwhelmed in the first wave of attack. Subsequent waves destroyed them though.

Coming back to the point, perhaps a similar second set of hidden bunkers or trenches will surprise me when I attack this thinly-spread set of bunkers?

3. Are these thinly spread bunkers shielded by heavy minefields or booby traps?

4. If none of this is a concern, are they in a position to assist each other with overlapping arcs of fire if one of them is overwhelmed?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 17:57

atreya wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:One of the most important aspects of a well defended position is mutual support and a coherent plan that integrates all the defences for a larger - always offensive - goal.

If defensive positions are not mutually supported then they can be neutralised more easily.

Quiz - you are the attacking commander and come up against 3/4 bunkers which are very well entrenched (embedded in rock faces) but they are very thinly spread. What questions will you ask yourself first ?


Some concerns I will have are:

1. How much manpower and firepower per bunker? If they are thinly spread out, they may compensate for this by putting more men and firepower in each bunker, thereby covering up the 'group' weakness through individual strengths.

2. Do they have a second line of defence plugging in the gaps? I recently read a fiction novel describing a short and intense battle between two forces. Attacking force was superior in all respects, defending force was weak but well-led. They established a set of 3 positions -
a. a 'borderline' trench directly facing the river from where the attacking force was to disembark and attack
b. a 'horseshoe' trench behind this, enveloping an important building for them
c. last line of defence in the building itself

The horseshoe trench proved to be crucial, as the defending force here jumped in to rescue the borderline trench when they were getting overwhelmed in the first wave of attack. Subsequent waves destroyed them though.

Coming back to the point, perhaps a similar second set of hidden bunkers or trenches will surprise me when I attack this thinly-spread set of bunkers?

3. Are these thinly spread bunkers shielded by heavy minefields or booby traps?

4. If none of this is a concern, are they in a position to assist each other with overlapping arcs of fire if one of them is overwhelmed?


Good points and well done for thinking this through.

The first thing I will think of is 'can these positions be bypassed'. Remember defences should only be engaged if necessary. It takes time and lives. A good commander will always try to bypass if he can. This also helps maintain the momentum of attack. For knowing whether positions can be bypassed you will have to do a recce. In a batallion's case, I will charge a platoon with this task.

You make a good point about minefields and booby traps. Sometimes if minefields and booby traps are expected or suspected a bn will have an ENGR platoon in support (every DIV has an integral ENGR regt. Its companies will support the constituent brigades). This platoon will do the recce for minefileds and booby traps and defuse them. In a brigade and above attack you should never attack without proper ENGR recce. In fact that's one of the mistakes the Pakis made at Longewala. They were attacking in force and did not do an ENGR recce. In fact in conventional operations ENGRS are the first in and last out. Thats why in marching contingents they always march ahead of the infantry.

Another point - answers to some of these questions you raise will only be known after contact with enemy. So flexibility , command, training and ethos are critical aspects of battalion tactics and action.

Lastly I have mentioned many times - defence for sake of defence is eventually doomed to failure. Defence must have a specific objective for the higher formation battle - delaying the enemy, trading land for time, funelling enemy where you want them, fixing the centre and attacking the flanks etc etc. Your example demonstrates this - ultimately the positions were overrun. But whether this achieved a higher objective I don't know.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 18:04

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

One example of fixing the centre and attacking a flank.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 26 Jan 2018 20:18

The first thing I will think of is 'can these positions be bypassed'.


You are right. This is a point I thought of too, albeit crudely. If they are spread, can I risk 'running through' them by just keeping their heads down with covering fire? That brought me to point #2 about a second line of defense behind them.

Another point - answers to some of these questions you raise will only be known after contact with enemy.


Very important, thank you. By nature, I am cautious and data-driven. As an armchair tactician, all these questions + what you have elaborated upon will go through my mind and I would delay action until I have all information and data in hand. Thankfully, our commanders are made of smarter and sterner stuff and as you said, they may make contact and obtain answers, instead of succumbing to 'paralysis by analysis'.

But whether this achieved a higher objective I don't know.


It is a fiction novel involving time-travel and such fancy stuff. From the objective examples you have mentioned, I believe theirs was 'delaying the enemy' to let the time-travel agents do their job; they never expected to win in the conventional sense, they just fought to give the agents more time to complete their task.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 26 Jan 2018 20:35

Akshay Kapoor wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_order

One example of fixing the centre and attacking a flank.


Sir

I can't understand this part of the description in the article:

They would then create an angled or oblique formation, refuse the weakened flank and attack the strongest flank of the enemy with a concentration of force.
.

In the GIF, the defending force (green) does not have a weaker or a stronger flank per se; however relative to the attacking force (blue), one flank became weaker due to concentration of the attacking. And the attacking force did not refuse that weakened flank, it pushed through it and turned 90 to get behind the defending force.

Can you please explain how the article is correct in its description?

Thank you.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 20:49

atreya wrote:
The first thing I will think of is 'can these positions be bypassed'.


You are right. This is a point I thought of too, albeit crudely. If they are spread, can I risk 'running through' them by just keeping their heads down with covering fire? That brought me to point #2 about a second line of defense behind them.

Another point - answers to some of these questions you raise will only be known after contact with enemy.


Very important, thank you. By nature, I am cautious and data-driven. As an armchair tactician, all these questions + what you have elaborated upon will go through my mind and I would delay action until I have all information and data in hand. Thankfully, our commanders are made of smarter and sterner stuff and as you said, they may make contact and obtain answers, instead of succumbing to 'paralysis by analysis'.

But whether this achieved a higher objective I don't know.


It is a fiction novel involving time-travel and such fancy stuff. From the objective examples you have mentioned, I believe theirs was 'delaying the enemy' to let the time-travel agents do their job; they never expected to win in the conventional sense, they just fought to give the agents more time to complete their task.


You have analysed things well, visualized and adapted. This is the reason for this thread.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 20:54

Anoop wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_order

One example of fixing the centre and attacking a flank.


Sir

I can't understand this part of the description in the article:

They would then create an angled or oblique formation, refuse the weakened flank and attack the strongest flank of the enemy with a concentration of force.
.

In the GIF, the defending force (green) does not have a weaker or a stronger flank per se; however relative to the attacking force (blue), one flank became weaker due to concentration of the attacking. And the attacking force did not refuse that weakened flank, it pushed through it and turned 90 to get behind the defending force.

Can you please explain how the article is correct in its description?

Thank you.


The idea of fixing the centre while attacking the flank is the following - you are facing an enemy with roughly equal forces so you don't have the 3:1 strrength needed for conventional tactics. So you thin out a large part of your line, contact the enemy across the line but keep defensive so that his forces are engaged and attack with superiority at one flank. You attack, hopefully win and swing 90 degrees to roll up the enemy. In this position you are now enfilade - ie you attack along the longest axis of the enemy ie his weakest point.

Perhaps the language in the article is confusing - I only briefly looked at it but I liked the GIF so posted it. Let me read it again.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 21:17

Okay, I read it. 'Refuse the weakened flank' just means that you form the L shaped formation instead of the line. Don't worry too much about it. Its just terminology. It describes exactly what you see on the GIF and what I described. Fixing the centre and attacking the flank is clearer terminology.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 21:27

Anoop, you also had some other questions early in the thread. Now that we have reached batallion level we can answer them. Feel free to ask any that you are still unlcear on. But do try to answer them yourself first using the principles we have studied on this thread.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 26 Jan 2018 22:15

To give simple analogy go back and see Bahubali 1 where Kattappa holds the center and the two princes attack the flank of a much larger force. 8)

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 26 Jan 2018 22:52

ramana wrote:To give simple analogy go back and see Bahubali 1 where Kattappa holds the center and the two princes attack the flank of a much larger force. 8)


I must see it. This is a classic and ever green maneouver.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 28 Jan 2018 12:08

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Anoop, you also had some other questions early in the thread. Now that we have reached batallion level we can answer them. Feel free to ask any that you are still unlcear on. But do try to answer them yourself first using the principles we have studied on this thread.


Sir,

Thank you. I'd like to rephrase my questions with some context. I started with the assumption that one common reason a battle is lost or an objective is not achieved even with equally matching forces is due to the fog of war i.e. incorrect information about the enemy's strength or even of own forces' disposition. The purpose of those questions was to get a mental picture of what a Coy or a Bn commander can "see" during battle. To reduce the concealment effect of terrain, let us consider an Inf Bn operating in the plains, facing DCB fortifications along a major river. Taking your advice, I am trying to answer my own questions.

1. Line of sight would be limited to around 2000 m with binoculars.
2. Max range of Coy Support Weapon would be 1800 m (7.62 mm MMG, 30 mm AGL) and Bn level weapon would be 5200 m (81 mm Mortar) with 2500 m for ATGM. Assuming that the forward Platoons are being engaged by enemy Coy Support Weapons, their direct assessment would be limited to around 2 km range. Similarly, their effective fire would be in the 2 km range (ATGM and AGL), assuming that their own 81 mm mortar fire would be ineffective against fortified DCB defences. However, being in the open, they are susceptible to the enemy’s 81 mm Mortar which can reduce their range of observation/influence by nearly another 2 km.
3. Under enemy fire, tendency is to keep the head down, preventing a correct appraisal of opposing force. Also, shock of battle may result in an over-assessment of enemy strength by the Platoon or Coy in contact with the enemy.
4. Conflicting reports from platoon HQ to Company HQ and from Coy HQ to Bn HQ requiring command decisions on what to prioritize for reinforcements/exploitation.
5. Whereas a Coy Cdr needs to focus on the immediate objective, the Bn Cdr must also focus on what lies behind the objective i.e. how would the enemy bring his reserves to bear and how resupply must be accomplished to retain any positions captured. So his field of view must be deeper, but the limit of “observation/influence” is shorter unless he has access to Bde level assets e.g. Arty, aerial recce etc.

Are these assumptions even in the ball park?

The followup question is - What can modern technology do to reduce this fog of war? How effective will this be? Some options could be:

1. Use of satellite imagery and GIS in peace-time to augment maps of enemy territory, particularly of fixed fortifications, roads and railway lines, ammunition depots and minefields.
2. Use of UAV for real time intelligence gathering.
3. Use of BMS to share image/GPS/GIS data between echelons to reduce confusion.

Anoop
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 28 Jan 2018 12:15

I am reading a book called 'On Tactics - A Theory of Victory in Battle' by Capt. Friedman of the USMC. It is a very easy book to read. He lists the following tenets

A. Physical: Maneuver, Mass, Firepower, Tempo
B. Mental: Deception, Surprise, Confusion, Shock
C. Moral: Moral Cohesion.

He says that the tactician should arrange the physical tenets to work on the mental tenets of the enemy, resulting in a loss of moral cohesion. He lists examples from ancient Greece to modern day, of how each of these factors have created victory (or one defeated by the use of the other). In a later post, I will list the examples he gives.

ramana
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 29 Jan 2018 07:37

Very nice.

Akshay Kapoor
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 29 Jan 2018 20:19

Anoop wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:Anoop, you also had some other questions early in the thread. Now that we have reached batallion level we can answer them. Feel free to ask any that you are still unlcear on. But do try to answer them yourself first using the principles we have studied on this thread.


Sir,

Thank you. I'd like to rephrase my questions with some context. I started with the assumption that one common reason a battle is lost or an objective is not achieved even with equally matching forces is due to the fog of war i.e. incorrect information about the enemy's strength or even of own forces' disposition. The purpose of those questions was to get a mental picture of what a Coy or a Bn commander can "see" during battle. To reduce the concealment effect of terrain, let us consider an Inf Bn operating in the plains, facing DCB fortifications along a major river. Taking your advice, I am trying to answer my own questions.

1. Line of sight would be limited to around 2000 m with binoculars.
2. Max range of Coy Support Weapon would be 1800 m (7.62 mm MMG, 30 mm AGL) and Bn level weapon would be 5200 m (81 mm Mortar) with 2500 m for ATGM. Assuming that the forward Platoons are being engaged by enemy Coy Support Weapons, their direct assessment would be limited to around 2 km range. Similarly, their effective fire would be in the 2 km range (ATGM and AGL), assuming that their own 81 mm mortar fire would be ineffective against fortified DCB defences. However, being in the open, they are susceptible to the enemy’s 81 mm Mortar which can reduce their range of observation/influence by nearly another 2 km.
3. Under enemy fire, tendency is to keep the head down, preventing a correct appraisal of opposing force. Also, shock of battle may result in an over-assessment of enemy strength by the Platoon or Coy in contact with the enemy.
4. Conflicting reports from platoon HQ to Company HQ and from Coy HQ to Bn HQ requiring command decisions on what to prioritize for reinforcements/exploitation.
5. Whereas a Coy Cdr needs to focus on the immediate objective, the Bn Cdr must also focus on what lies behind the objective i.e. how would the enemy bring his reserves to bear and how resupply must be accomplished to retain any positions captured. So his field of view must be deeper, but the limit of “observation/influence” is shorter unless he has access to Bde level assets e.g. Arty, aerial recce etc.

Are these assumptions even in the ball park?

The followup question is - What can modern technology do to reduce this fog of war? How effective will this be? Some options could be:

1. Use of satellite imagery and GIS in peace-time to augment maps of enemy territory, particularly of fixed fortifications, roads and railway lines, ammunition depots and minefields.
2. Use of UAV for real time intelligence gathering.
3. Use of BMS to share image/GPS/GIS data between echelons to reduce confusion.


Company would not necessarily have MMG in support. The MMG platoon is part of support coy and will be deployed at CO's discretion. But a question - what is this battalion doing attacking a DCB by itself. If a DCB is being attacked this battalion will be part of a larger force say a brigade or even a div. There objective could be to close in and secure one bank of the DCB while ENGRS bridge it so that armor can assault it. Arty will be available in plenty.

But you have thought this out well. Fog of war is indeed important and in fact I will bring up two instances of this later. But the big issue fog of war usually comes more at higher than bn operations.

CO will indeed be getting reports from his companies but if his officers are well trained and motivated there won't be much panic and problems will be met with determination and gusto. A bn/regt is a close knit family and a well functioning one will usually not have problems of cohesion under any circumstances. Coy Cmdrs will be well forward and a good CO will not be too far behind. Its co-coordinating all arms actions and higher actions (bde, div etc) that this issue becomes more relevant.

But you are right that as clear a picture as possible should be available before the battle - UAVs, other intelligence is very useful as you point out. But never forget that ultimately its only after contact that a lot of the questions are answered. Fog of war will exist and that's why training and ethos and leadership matter.

Some things that can really help - NVG equipment for every soldier, good tactical radio sets. In defensive roles like the URI brigade HHTIs etc are very useful. Infantry bn does not need data links and no data link will survive actual battle. As a young signals major told me in Dec 'sir, you can have 5 levels of redundancies but in war everything will fail. Ultimately a phone line will have to be laid braving bullets'. Thats reality and thats the ethos of the Indian army. We close in and contact.

Anoop
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 30 Jan 2018 09:29

Quoting from the book 'On Tactics - A Theory of Victory in Battle' by Capt. Friedman of the USMC.
A. Physical: Maneuver, Mass, Firepower, Tempo
B. Mental: Deception, Surprise, Confusion, Shock
C. Moral: Moral Cohesion.

Maneuver: A method of creating an asymmetry, whether spatial, functional or otherwise.
Forms of spatial maneuver:
1. Frontal Attack: An attack to the enemy’s front, usually used to fix the enemy while another another force attacks from a different direction.
2. Flanking Attack: Directed against any portion of the enemy that is not the front e.g. flank or rear. Example: Battle of Chancellorsville in the US Civil War, specifically Stonewall Jackson’s march to Howard’s flank.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... llorsville
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... y_1863.jpg
3. Envelopment: Attacking force bypasses the defender to attack an objective to the rear, typically causing the defender to abandon their defense. Forces involved in frontal attack and flanking attack are close enough to support each other. Example: Battle of Ulm http://www.theartofbattle.com/ulm-campaign-1805/
4. Turning Movement: Similar to envelopment, but attacker attains an objective far deeper to the defender’s rear than in envelopment. Forces involved in frontal attack and flanking attack are too far apart to support each other.
5. Infiltration: Creation or use of weak/undefended spots in the defensive array to advance, avoiding the strong points. Prevents defensive forces from supporting each other by exposing their flanks and rear areas; however, attacking forces’ flanks are also exposed. Examples: 2nd Boer War (essentially guerilla warfare).
Early German offensives in WWII (apparently influenced by their study of Boer Wars) that were combined arms (infantry, armor and air support) action that utilized speed and firepower to achieve surprise.
6. Swarming maneuver: Numerous small units attack from seemingly random directions like a swarm of bees e.g. Use of small boats to defeat a US Naval Task Force in a the Millennium Challenge 2002 war game in the Persian Gulf (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002)
Same concept used by Napoleon of moving his Corps separately into battle, allowing the enemy to form up to defend and then concentrating his Corps to attack, usually with one reserved for the enemy’s flank.
Functional Maneuver: Use of air power against land targets that cause an asymmetry of both firepower and position.

Anoop
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 30 Jan 2018 09:46

Sir,

Thank you for your clarifications. As an example of what you mention below,

Akshay Kapoor wrote: CO will indeed be getting reports from his companies but if his officers are well trained and motivated there won't be much panic and problems will be met with determination and gusto. A bn/regt is a close knit family and a well functioning one will usually not have problems of cohesion under any circumstances. Coy Cmdrs will be well forward and a good CO will not be too far behind.


here is a recounting by Capt. Raghu Ram of Lt. Col. Haydes' address to his troops on the eve of the Battle of Dograi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5XptU6-Vm0

Infantry bn does not need data links and no data link will survive actual battle. As a young signals major told me in Dec 'sir, you can have 5 levels of redundancies but in war everything will fail. Ultimately a phone line will have to be laid braving bullets'.


In light of the above assessment, can you comment on the BMS being planned for:

http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news ... re-are-we/

Once fully developed and proved, the BMS will be able to receive and transmit data, voice and images from multiple sources, including radar, cameras, laser range-finders and ground sensors, allowing the soldier on the battlefield access to real time information simultaneously with the commanders up the chain. It will be a critical element of the Army’s NCW capacity building as part of the Tac C3I.....

The requirement no doubt will be colossal considering it will be fielded pan Amy at the battalion / regiment level,


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