Tactics & military craft

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Akshay Kapoor
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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 30 Jan 2018 13:49

Anoop wrote: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,


thanks for the above link to Capt Raghuraman’s talk. Everybody should see it - Sasure sham ko ham Kahan honge - Dograi, Dograi. Agar CO Sahab to goli Lagi to Kya Karega - we will take you on our shoulders to Dograi.

Maj Chandpuri also said ‘if I see anyone running Inwill shoot him and if you see me running you shoot me’. While dying Capt Manoj Pandey said ‘ Chodnu Na’. Don’t leave them. 1/11 GR ravaged them. Like Ma Kaali and with ma kaali on their lips.

Spirit is everything. Tactics are the channel to channelise this spirit. Training , leadership , ethos.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 30 Jan 2018 13:50

In fact my next battle to be analysed was to be Dograi. So since you have brought it up. Go ahead and lead the analysis.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 30 Jan 2018 20:13

Sir, i will post something in a couple of days.. Need to do some rsearch.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Lalmohan » 31 Jan 2018 23:49

so... whilst this discussion is quite interesting, I think it would be important to consider some other factors about future warfare/battle management and therefore tactics

1. increased likelihood of urban battle - multiple small unit engagements
2. swarm recon and weapons
3. AI decision making
4. autonomous weapons platforms
5. [and a whole bunch of strategic weapons issues we don't need to dig into here]
6. hybrid and non-linear warfare - down to the engagement level

etc.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Feb 2018 00:29

Sure we will address some of these at a later stage. It’s quite important to first get a good grounding in the basics to be able to appreciate the context and use of these new technologies. If you don’t know the basics of field craft, fire and move, interlocking arcs of fire, concealment from fire and concealment from enemey and the basic principles of attack and defence at various levels you will never be able to have an informed discussion - why , when and how to use these technologies.

Now that some people understand these aspects we can slowly add these issues one by one. I’m sorry if this is turning out to be more like a course but it I think BR has eneougj threads for general discussion. We need some high quality tactics discussions.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Feb 2018 00:31

I will start with small unit Battle in urban scenarios soon. In fact feel free to start a discussion on that but only with current weapons and in context of how the tactics are different. One example is that in conventional battle in attack the troops will fan out but in urban operations (storming a room ) exactly the opposite is done. If you can link some videos on this (very common in SF thread) and juxtapose with fan out attack videos (movies and documentaries) it will be quite useful to see the difference. But let’s keep it in the Indian context.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 01 Feb 2018 11:09

Photo of the area:
http://viralsection.com/battle-dograi-3 ... a-1965-wa/

The Battle of Dograi took place in 2 stages.

https://idsa.in/system/files/jds/jds_9_ ... tion_0.pdf

In the first stage, 3 JAT advanced at 4 AM on 6 Sep and captured the village of Gosal Dial by 9.30 AM. It then took on the task assigned to 15 Dogra which had got bogged down and crossed the bridge on the Icchogil Canal by 11.30 AM and captured Batapore. Although the bridge was destroyed by Pak, Lt. Col Hayde led 2 Coys across it on foot to the west. However, PAF raids knocked out the anti-tank weapons of the Bn, munitions replacement and administrative vehicles in the rear echelons and made the 2 Coys that had crossed over the Canal, defenceless against the attack by Pak tanks. No replenishments could be obtained due to lack of radio communication and confusion at Bde HQ who weren’t prepared for the swiftness of the success and 3 JAT had to vacate Batapore by 5 PM and return to Gosal Dial where they dug in. Lt. Col. Hayde was awarded the MVC for this phase of the battle.

My comments: The speed of the initial advance showed that the PA hadn’t expected an attack on this axis and resistance was light. At that time, the DCB weren’t in place, but by 1971, they had come up on both sides of the border.

Expert comments:
https://idsa.in/system/files/jds/jds_9_ ... tion_0.pdf

The inability of 3 Jat to hold on to the gains made in the first phase of Dograi on the Ichhogil Canal and at Batapore could be attributed to lack of organised all arms combat teams to meet the challenge. This includes inadequacies in anti-tank weapons at the company and platoon level.
While infantry tank cooperation and other limited maneuvres were practiced, close integration of infantry, artillery and tank troops in the plains was lacking.

An important deficiency during Dograi One was lack of adequate radio communications with 3 JAT to transmit success achieved to the formation, which in turn led to a degree of alarm in the rear. Responsibility of provision of communications to the battalion, which should have been duplicated, was that of the brigade given importance of the task allocated to the unit.


The next phase of the battle occurred on 21/22 Sep. Until then, 3 JAT had been dug in around Gosal Dial. Pak had reinforced Dograi with 16 (Pak) Punjab and elements of 8 (Pak) Punjab, 3 Baluch and 18 Baluch along two 2 tank Troops. Fortified pillboxes were built and each section had 2 LMGs instead of one.

However, 3 JAT used the intervening time to do exhaustive recce.

http://www.claws.in/images/journals_doc ... 3_chap.pdf

The book ‘Battle of Dograi’ detail what he ordered to be done to get his intelligence about enemy and defences; terrain and enemy order of battle plotted with damning accuracy before he made his plans for capturing the reinforced Dograi whenever he was ordered to retake Dograi. Clinical recce, plotting of bunkers, pill boxes, tank hides, company defended localities, he got the intelligence picture clear, making the Pakistani defences and intent transparent to his now amazingly empowered officers and men who thought, spoke, and dreamt victory; letting their spirits soar in anticipation of runaway.


The attack was launched on 22 Sep at 0130 hrs. The operation involved clearance and fighting through a built-up area which was divided into four sectors, with one sector each allotted to a company. The plan of the battalion entailed infiltration from the North, that is, from the Ichhogil Canal direction, thus achieving a degree of surprise. The attack proceeded as planned with D Company capturing the north-east portion of the town while C Company captured the northwest portion as well as the east bank of the Ichhogil Canal which was held by 18 Baluch, which interfered in the operation. Subsequent attacks by A and B Company led to some fierce fighting but the battalion secured the objective by 0530 hours on 22 September.


The battle in the words of Lt. Col. Hayde:

It was from 400 metres short that we really started getting it. A whole machine gun complex, along the eastern bank of the Ichhogil Canal opened up. They must have been in the area in which I, my IO and a few others were. We must have been under the fire of at least eight machine-guns at every step we took. We had a lot of fresh young troops. But we had made it very clear to them, that there was only one aim, and that aim was to close the gap from the FUP, on the objective from where the enemy was firing, as quickly as possible, whether it be in the open, whether it be through cover, whether it be at the run, whether it be on your belly. There was to be no stop until they had made the built up area on the northeastern and northern edge of Dograi. This, I am really proud so say, my young Jat jawans did with full valour; with full vigor, under the terrific and dynamic leadership of my company commanders, platoon commanders and junior leaders. Once my boys closed in with the enemy on the objective, very intense and severe hand-to hand fighting had to take place, because it was difficult to get the enemy out of their trenches. The enemy for obvious reasons was not very keen to leave their trenches and we for very obvious reasons had to get in there and push them out.


An idea of the Pak fortifications come from correspondent Melville D Mello, AIR reporting from the front:

http://sainiksamachar.nic.in/englisharc ... 9/h61.html

First came the battle of pillboxes, formidable concrete fortresses, impervious to bombs and shells, which poured death from concealed automatic weapons through steel slits.
Then came the bunkers, all sighted for mutual support and all raining down devastating fire in enfilade.
Reconstructing in my mind the “arcs of fire” and the dispositions of our advancing troops and the enemy pillbox and bunker complex, it appeared to me, that not even a field mouse could have survived much less get through the enemy barrage.
But our men not only got through, but stormed Dograi and swept-on over the Ichhogil Canal. Each pillbox had to be taken literally by hand, the grenade tossed through the window-slits after a long crawl through shell-fire.
Some Jawans were killed while in the act of tossing their grenades, their bodies falling across part of the window slit. This created a blind spot for the enemy which was utilized by other jawans to surge forward and finish the job.
We are going to capture Dograi or die there” said Lt Col Desmond Hayde (now an MVC) to his men, on the night of the attack.
“Look for me in Dograi”, he went on. “You will find me there alive or dead.”
That is the grand tradition in which these Jats went to battle.
After the pillboxes and bunkers, came the house-to-house in fighting. Dograi had to be taken street by street, and gulley by gulley, and it was defended inch-by-inch.
But by dawn the Pak defenders were on the run. The rest lay lead, in heaps, on housetops … in narrow alleyways and in the fields around Dograi.
If Dograi proved anything it was that the man finally had the last word, in spite of the numerical superiority of sophisticated weaponry.
I will give you just two examples of the spirit of these men who captured Dograi.
There was Pale Ram, a Subedar who had just had seven bullets removed from his stomach. He had been grievously wounded during the capture of a bunker and four machine-guns.
“It was nothing much”, he said, “I had stormed and captured a bunker and was going for another one when I suddenly blacked out. My colleagues picked me up and brought me to the rear. I had not realized I had so many bullets in me.”
And there was the Naik who had his right arm blown off by shell-fire.
He turned to me in his hospital bed and in a confidential whisper said, “Sir, Please tell the Doctor Sahib to let me back to the front. I still have one arm left to fight with.”


3 JAT withstood four determined counter-attacks with close quarter fighting between 0130 and 1200 hours on 22 September till hostilities ceased on 23 September 1965. 3 JAT paid a heavy price of five officers and 59 men killed, while the wounded included six officers, five JCOs, and 142 men. This figure does not include one officer, one JCO and 23 men killed, and three officers including the CO, three JCO’s and 72 men wounded between 6 and 20 September. Thus, in total, 3 JAT had 322 all ranks killed and wounded against the 552 all ranks that took part; a huge sacrifice for sustaining the Battalion and the Indian Army’s ethic of Naam, Namak, Nishan. The enemy dead (just the second time around) were 305 with many more wounded; their overall casualties easily being double of 3 JAT. Besides, 3 JAT captured 108 officers, JCO’s, and men including CO 16 (Pak) PUNJAB, Colonel GF Golewala; the key opposing Unit that had faced the Jats. There were six enemy tanks of 30 TDU/23 CAV that were also destroyed and six captured by the 3 JAT group including their supporting armor, Scinde Horse.


An idea of the kind of leader that Lt. Col. Hayde was can be got from his answer to the question of why soldiers fight such wars:

http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.com ... ograi.html

'The colonel pointed to his second in command, Major Shekhawat and said: "Major Shekhawat fights because he holds nothing dearer than the respect and standing he enjoys in the eyes of his men, family, and community back home. His fear of losing that standing overcomes his fear of death."

"The men, of course, fight because Major Shekhawat fights."
Last edited by Anoop on 01 Feb 2018 11:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 01 Feb 2018 11:14

From my reading of the Battle of Dograi, the key factors to its success was inspired leadership from the CO on down and gritty troops. The Bn displayed a flair for quick advance in Phase 1, battle endurance from 7 to 20 Sep and tremendous courage in Phase 2 to close in and achieve the objective in what would today be called urban warfare. Not only achieve the objective, but hold on to it by repulsing 4 counterattacks.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Feb 2018 16:34

Nice one Anoop. Notice that fog of war was more between bn and brigade. Here is where the reliable communication links, data links etc are most crucial. Also notice that recce and clear planning played a big role. But most important was closing and contact, braving machine gun fire and the sheer spirit. Notice that a 3:1 superiority was not available nor needed for the attack because the sheer will of the troops did it. The CO of the opposing unit was captured along with 108 officers/JCOs/ORs. Think about it - a battalion atatcks another battalion which is holed up in a urban, well prepared and well defended locality and takes it. Wow ! But you needed more forces to hold and to push through for this hard fought victory to become a pivot to transform the campaign. 3 Jat was badly let down by the Brigade and Div not once but twice and then they were let down at the negotiating table. Gen Hooda said in a recent interview 'battles are won in the minds of commanders'. This was in context of his statement that there was panic in Pak after surgical strikes.

Our units do brilliant job but weaknesses in previous wars have been on brigade level and higher (except 71 eastern front). Later we will analyse the battle of Comilla 71 and see how because of the offensive spirit of the entire formation under Gen Sagat Singh. Some lessons were learnt by atleast some commanders and formations from 65. See how the entire offensive spirit of the corps itself strikes fear into the enemy.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Feb 2018 16:36

May I also say Anoop that it is a rewarding experience engaging with you and other serious posters. You keep me on my toes and help to dust away the cobwebs but you do serious research, thinking and visualization. Thank you.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 01 Feb 2018 18:22

Sir, thank you for kind words. But much more thanks for your time and guidance on these threads that give us the luxury of a framework to base our thoughts on. And most of all, for your service to our nation.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 01 Feb 2018 19:34

Excellent analysis Anoop! Love seeing posts like this :)

As per Melville's report, it seems to me that the defensive structures were assaulted straight up; doesn't seem to have any flanking maneuvers. I can think of 2 reasons:

1. Terrain - Urban terrain with the canal feature may not have been conducive for a flanking
2. Lack of manpower - It seems there were no reserves, Lt Col Hayde had committed troops one-on-one.

Anything I am missing?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 01 Feb 2018 19:52

Thank you, Atreya. But I am just quoting existing analysis!

The CLAWS article has a map of the lines of attack. In a limited sense, 3 JAT movement from the north was a flanking movement with a detour of around 6 km, with another unit tasked with an attack on 3 Mile position to provide a firm base. That was only partially successful, but 3 JAT pushed on regardless. The Icchogil Canal was a natural barrier which limited large scale maneuver.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 01 Feb 2018 20:53

Agreed, I saw the map. On a larger scale, I believe it was a flanking movement; 3 Jat, at the battalion level couldn't do the same, perhaps due to the aforementioned factors.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 01 Feb 2018 23:07

Anoop, Thanks for the Melville De Mellow quotes. Brought back memories on AIR 9:30 pm program where he would talk about the day's updates.

Akshay, During the Burma campaign BIA became very good at bunker busting. The tactics was to creep up close and direct fire 5.5" gun.
Here they had to use a hand grenade on the pill box. Am sure that accounted for the large casualties.

In the Siegfried Line defenses, US troops would blow up the bunker after it was defeated with a satchel charge to ensure it could not be used again.


In Belgium, Germans used shaped charges to destroy the Fortress of Eben Emael

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Eben-Emael

However Dograi shows 3:1 was not needed to defeat the Pakis. It was a great victory of sheer courage.

Yes the brigade failed the 3 Jat battalion often.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Feb 2018 00:26

Atreya, the couldn't do outflanking at subunit level for a very good reason. Visualise the situation of a built up area and defended village and you will get the answer.

Think what is the most effective formation against a flank attack

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 02 Feb 2018 02:36

Sir,

That would be squares, wouldnt it? Traditionally used as mobile pieces which closes gaps where they arise. But in this urban context, a built up location would give the same effect with houses facing different directions. And in turn, give enfilade position against the attacker on multiple directions, particularly from rooftops. Easy to switch defensive fire from one direction to another, easy observation of attackers, with one house supporting the other. The more one thinks about it, the more astounding it gets that 3 JAT cleared it in less than half a day!!

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Feb 2018 16:22

Anoop...you are quick on the draw !

You see now what flanks really means and what enfilade means :) Once you know some of these basics it becomes easier to appreciate battles doesn't it ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Feb 2018 16:26

Lets discuss battle of Komilla now shall we ? Or would you prefer small unit tactics in urban environments like lalmohan wanted.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ks_sachin » 02 Feb 2018 17:50

Sir,

One thing nags me and I cannot find an answer to this.

Why was 'Alpha' Company under Maj Chandpuri so far away from the many battalion considering this Longewala sector provided such a good app for the Pakistani armour to motor towards Jaisalmer.

The more I think about it the more I have questions....

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Feb 2018 21:23

I think they had a very broad frontage to cover and did not expect a concentrated armored thrust in the entire area. Otherwise we would have had an armored regt and arty and RCLs lying in ambush. Or perhaps we would have thrust. Find a map and the some info about the brigade and div deployments and we can get an idea.

So given a broad frontage the CO decided to have one reinforced coy hold longewala

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 02 Feb 2018 23:36

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Lets discuss battle of Komilla now shall we ? Or would you prefer small unit tactics in urban environments like lalmohan wanted.


I suggest small unit tactics in urban environments, since we have already discussed Dograi, which in part was urban warfare.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 03 Feb 2018 00:11

ks_sachin wrote:Sir,

One thing nags me and I cannot find an answer to this.

Why was 'Alpha' Company under Maj Chandpuri so far away from the many battalion considering this Longewala sector provided such a good app for the Pakistani armour to motor towards Jaisalmer.

The more I think about it the more I have questions....



I had posted this a few pages back:

viewtopic.php?p=2244107#p2244107

Read maj Chandpuri's in his own words

...
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.
...


So you see his unit was deployed to take over the border post from BSF in anticipation of forward movement which did not come.

I also urge people to read Maj. Gen. Sukhwant Singh" Indian Wars since Independence" I think this operation is described in Vol 2.

I am referring to the old 3 vol edition which I read many years ago.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby ramana » 03 Feb 2018 00:13

Maj Gen Khambatta was a very pusillanimous leader.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 03 Feb 2018 01:08

As Gen Hooda says ‘Battles are won in the minds of commanders’. It is quite fair to say that many breakthroughs were not exploited. My pet peeve against Gen Vaidya is that as bde commander he did not exploit the breakthrough given by Poona Horse (Co and later Gen Hanut Singh) at Basantar in 71. We will discuss this later. We need good histories and maps to make useful conclusions. Otherwise we will fall into the trap opinions rather than fact. So lots of marks to anyone who can source battle histories with maps and dispositions.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 03 Feb 2018 01:14

atreya wrote:
Akshay Kapoor wrote:Lets discuss battle of Komilla now shall we ? Or would you prefer small unit tactics in urban environments like lalmohan wanted.


I suggest small unit tactics in urban environments, since we have already discussed Dograi, which in part was urban warfare.


Okay. Done. You want to lead ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 03 Feb 2018 12:02

Sure, it's a vast topic, so I will start with some basic thoughts. Two sets of factors are - conventional vs unconventional enemy forces and enemy territory vs home territory. These influence the tactics, manpower and amount of firepower used. Based on these factors, we can have the following types:

1. Conventional enemy/enemy territory: E.g. Battle of Dograi. This is when we attack an urban center during a conventional war. Some points of interest:
- We attempt to keep civilian casualties at minimum but rescue and rehabilitation is not our priority.
- Depending on the surprise factor, defensive positions are very strong.
- Enemy troops have an advantage with respect to knowledge of area, that we can only surpass after extensive recce (the kind done by Col Hayde)
- Use of heavy weaponry - RCLs, RPGs, IFVs, etc does not have to be restricted in most cases.

2. Unconventional enemy/enemy territory: E.g. Iraq war, Israel Palestine conflict, etc. This is when we attack an urban center and are drawn into a long battle against guerrilla forces. Inevitably, if a Type 1 stretches too long, it will slowly convert to Type 2
- Hard to distinguish between civilians and combatants, so casualties mount up and in some cases, rescue and rehab becomes the attacker's duty.
- Defensive positions maybe more thinly spread than in Type 1
- Enemy troop's advantage with respect to knowledge of area becomes stronger
- Tanks, IFVs, etc have to be used judiciously

3. Conventional enemy/home territory: Can't think of any examples, except for PA in Battle of Dograi? This is when we are attacked during a conventional war in an urban center
- Rescue and rehab become major priorities for defenders, thereby limiting our usage of heavy weaponry
- Rest of the points are reverse of Type 1

4. Unconventional enemy/home territory: E.g. Kashmir. This is when our own territory is attacked by guerrilla forces.
- Rescue and rehab continue to be priorities, along with 'hearts and minds'
- Limited usage of heavy weaponry
- Defensive positions are of limited use, own troops are extremely mobile
- Boots on ground, extensive intelligence network and psyops can lead to success

Note: I have made a few generic assumptions, feel to correct them.

ADDED LATER: Interesting resource I have just found - https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... _MG210.pdf
Will study this today and post notes later.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 03 Feb 2018 15:35

Nice, Interesting and useful way of looking at it - territory and enemy type. I'll read carefully and comment later.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 04 Feb 2018 04:34

Atreya

Thanks for the outline and the link to the RAND report. I came across another report on the 2008 Battle for Sadr City, which has a lot of operational detail.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR160.html

I like this because it is a much shorter engagement (2 months) compared to fighting a long counter insurgency, it used modern technology (UAV) to neutralize rocket attacks and it had a very nice example of restricting the insurgents maneuver by the construction of a a 12 ft wall. The report says that this last tactic caused the insurgents to lose a lot of personnel because they fought very hard to prevent it - in other words, they were drawn to a fixed location for battle against odds that goes very counter to what they would normally like to do viz. fight and disperse.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 04 Feb 2018 04:49

Also, in the context of a conventional war (not COIN), wouldnt we prefer to avoid urban combat like the plague if we can? So can we outline possible reasons why we would have to?

1. It is a critical vulnerability of the enemy, the loss of which will lead to an end of the war. But when fighting a nuclear armed neighbour, is that the likely reaponse od the enemy?

2. The city/town has main lines of communication (rail, road, airstrip) to another objective. So the question then becomes - how long do we have to hold it, if the war itself will be a few weeks at most? That might decide what the targets are and whether we seek to engage in urban combat in the usual sense of the term.

3. Urbanization is ncreasing all along the border areas, with even south of Ganganagar being built up now. Essentially, this forces a fight in semi urban (built up) areas even from a fixing forces' point of view, while armor engagements happen further south. But that also leads me to wonder if our attacking forces have to be infantry heavy or artillery heavy.

Would appreciate insight from the experts.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 05 Feb 2018 19:09

atreya wrote:Sure, it's a vast topic, so I will start with some basic thoughts. Two sets of factors are - conventional vs unconventional enemy forces and enemy territory vs home territory. These influence the tactics, manpower and amount of firepower used. Based on these factors, we can have the following types:

1. Conventional enemy/enemy territory: E.g. Battle of Dograi. This is when we attack an urban center during a conventional war. Some points of interest:
- We attempt to keep civilian casualties at minimum but rescue and rehabilitation is not our priority.
- Depending on the surprise factor, defensive positions are very strong.
- Enemy troops have an advantage with respect to knowledge of area, that we can only surpass after extensive recce (the kind done by Col Hayde)
- Use of heavy weaponry - RCLs, RPGs, IFVs, etc does not have to be restricted in most cases.

2. Unconventional enemy/enemy territory: E.g. Iraq war, Israel Palestine conflict, etc. This is when we attack an urban center and are drawn into a long battle against guerrilla forces. Inevitably, if a Type 1 stretches too long, it will slowly convert to Type 2
- Hard to distinguish between civilians and combatants, so casualties mount up and in some cases, rescue and rehab becomes the attacker's duty.
- Defensive positions maybe more thinly spread than in Type 1
- Enemy troop's advantage with respect to knowledge of area becomes stronger
- Tanks, IFVs, etc have to be used judiciously

3. Conventional enemy/home territory: Can't think of any examples, except for PA in Battle of Dograi? This is when we are attacked during a conventional war in an urban center
- Rescue and rehab become major priorities for defenders, thereby limiting our usage of heavy weaponry
- Rest of the points are reverse of Type 1

4. Unconventional enemy/home territory: E.g. Kashmir. This is when our own territory is attacked by guerrilla forces.
- Rescue and rehab continue to be priorities, along with 'hearts and minds'
- Limited usage of heavy weaponry
- Defensive positions are of limited use, own troops are extremely mobile
- Boots on ground, extensive intelligence network and psyops can lead to success

Note: I have made a few generic assumptions, feel to correct them.

ADDED LATER: Interesting resource I have just found - https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... _MG210.pdf
Will study this today and post notes later.


I'll comment first on Conventional Enemy in Enemy territory. Firstly this situation will usually arise when an important rail or road head or a an important line of communication target needs to be taken and held. Otherwise urban centres will be bypassed. So by nature this will be a small urban centre or village.

Enemy if he has some degree of moral fibre left will have cleared this area of civilians. So we should assume that anyone is hostile and the enemy. There should be no question of rescue and certainly not of rehabilitation. That's the enemy's responsibility. But in Pak's case their so called regular army can be relied upon to use human shields. This is their 'tactical brilliance'. We should ignore it and treat them as combatants.

There might be extensive defence works and ambush sites to the approaches of the villages (pill boxes, zig zag trenches, bunkers). Approaches should be mined as well. IED's in the urban areas. Outflanking might not be possible due to grid layout of the houses. We don't know where the machine guns will be. As Col Hayde did the a good option could be to attack the entire area simultaneously - split the village into 3/4 and allocate each to a coy. This will pin them down and not allow them to support each other.

You are quite right RLs and Missiles should be used liberally.

Unconventional enemy enemy territory. Firstly I would question why should there be a difference between unconventional enemy and conventional enemy if we are in enemy territory. If possible treat them all as one. But lines can blur and this gives the defender an advantage. The political context will matter so difficult to talk too much about tactics without having clarity on that aspect.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 05 Feb 2018 19:21

Quiz : why are many trenches dug in a zig zag manner. Try not to google the answer and use the principles you have learnt. Hint - how does the LMG group of a section place its fire in classic fire and move ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Anoop » 05 Feb 2018 19:57

Sir,

The LMG fire will have to be at an angle to the line of advance of its own troops, otherwise own troops will be hit by friendly fire. So, in a zig zag pattern, the entrenched troops will have the second line still facing the advancing troops even if the first line is overrun and so on. If the trenches were in one line, if one section of the trench is overrun, the defenders would be fighting in a single file in that direction and not be able to bring to bear anything other than personal weapons or bayonets. Is that reasonable?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 05 Feb 2018 21:08

You are on the right track but an important point is missed out. Think enfilade ....

Re assaults - when assaulting LMG fires it is at an angle because that way it can cover more of the enemy line. If it’s firing perpendicular to enemy line it will hit only one person but if it’s almost parallel to the enemy line what will happen ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 06 Feb 2018 23:01

Unconventional enemy enemy territory. Firstly I would question why should there be a difference between unconventional enemy and conventional enemy if we are in enemy territory. If possible treat them all as one. But lines can blur and this gives the defender an advantage. The political context will matter so difficult to talk too much about tactics without having clarity on that aspect.


Will the tactics by attacker not differ as per the enemy? That is why I differentiated - conventional will have equivalents of your weapon systems - tank for tank, IFV for IFV, etc. Unconventional will not, they will instead compensate with hit-and-run tactics, booby traps, disguised as civilians, etc. So as an attacker, our tactics will adapt, will they not?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 07 Feb 2018 13:04

Interesting series by Discovery Channel called Battle Ops (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjoIm2vvhr8). They will examine 4 operations in Season 1 - Operation Meghdoot, Cactus, Raahat and Black Tornado. We might get useful insight into tactics used.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 07 Feb 2018 15:44

atreya wrote:
Unconventional enemy enemy territory. Firstly I would question why should there be a difference between unconventional enemy and conventional enemy if we are in enemy territory. If possible treat them all as one. But lines can blur and this gives the defender an advantage. The political context will matter so difficult to talk too much about tactics without having clarity on that aspect.


Will the tactics by attacker not differ as per the enemy? That is why I differentiated - conventional will have equivalents of your weapon systems - tank for tank, IFV for IFV, etc. Unconventional will not, they will instead compensate with hit-and-run tactics, booby traps, disguised as civilians, etc. So as an attacker, our tactics will adapt, will they not?


I can see the logic of what you did. My point is this : 'conventional', 'un-conventional' can describe the politcial/legal status of the enemy, his tactics and perhaps his equipment. Combining all of this gives us our tactical situation. So yes, Our tactics will differ but as per the tactical situation. I am saying we should use use whichever tactics and weapons give us victory against the enemy in enemy territory. Especially with an enemy like Pak they can switch from conventional to unconventional and back in a blink of an eye. So if I am in their territory I will use all my resources.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 07 Feb 2018 15:46

atreya wrote:Interesting series by Discovery Channel called Battle Ops (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjoIm2vvhr8). They will examine 4 operations in Season 1 - Operation Meghdoot, Cactus, Raahat and Black Tornado. We might get useful insight into tactics used.


excellent. where can I get this ?

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby atreya » 07 Feb 2018 18:51

I saw a few clips from the Meghdoot episode here - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkYgW ... yaO9PD_I5A

But full episodes aren't up yet, it was mentioned somewhere that it will be done this week.

I can see the logic of what you did. My point is this : 'conventional', 'un-conventional' can describe the politcial/legal status of the enemy, his tactics and perhaps his equipment. Combining all of this gives us our tactical situation. So yes, Our tactics will differ but as per the tactical situation. I am saying we should use use whichever tactics and weapons give us victory against the enemy in enemy territory. Especially with an enemy like Pak they can switch from conventional to unconventional and back in a blink of an eye. So if I am in their territory I will use all my resources.


OK, yes, I understand your point now. The difference is there, but the attackers go in prepared for either scenario.

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Re: Tactics & military craft

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 08 Feb 2018 00:21

Atreya just keep my email address for future ref in case it’s needed or in case I don’t have time to come here too much. It’s akshaykapoor at g male.


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