Monday, October 31, 2005

The return of the tethered goat 
The Christian Science Monitor has a useful analysis of U.S. tactics in Afghanistan.

It's nothing new, though. There's no innovation here, really, that I can see. It is simply the application of the same movement to contact doctrine I learned about in ROTC and the Infantry Officer Basic Course, and which we've been drilling my entire career.

One of the tenets of MTC is to make your initial contact with the smallest element you can. That way, you maintain freedom of maneuver, because you are only going to get a small element pinned down. If you do things right, the main part of your force is free to deploy to the enemy's flanks and rear, and in so doing, be in a position to strike a decisive blow.

More commonly, though, when fighting good troops, your sudden appearance on his flank forces him to withdraw. Skilled commanders will not pursue a fight from a position of disadvantage. But that's good, too, because it leaves you in possession of the field of battle. You get to reap a lot of intel benefits that way.

The best, though, is when your initial contact draws the enemy forward, and he leaves his rear uncovered.

There are two commonly recognized techniques of conducting a movement to contact. The first is the "approach march" technique.

Think of the Union and Confederate Armies groping blindly at each other at Gettysburg. The invasion of Iraq itself was one giant approach march technique.

The other is the "search and attack" technique. It's this technique (scroll down in the global security link) which is being used in the actions in the CS Monitor article.

Splash, out


I read that article and I found it very interesting. This is the sort of thing we should be reading more of in the news. On tactics we still learn that stuff in ROTC. Mainly out of FM 7-8 Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad. Pin and Flank. Nice to read about it in action.
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