Zuerst holten sie die Kommunisten;
ich schwieg, denn ich war kein Kommunist.
Dann holten sie die Juden;
ich schwieg, denn ich war kein Jude.
Dann holten sie die Gewerkschaftsmitglieder unter den Arbeitern;
ich schwieg, denn ich war kein Gewerkschafter.
Danach holten sie die Katholiken;
ich schwieg, denn ich war Protestant.
Schließlich holten sie mich,
und da war keiner mehr, der für mich hätte sprechen können.
Flight International quotes the Thai army’s rationale: “We are buying three Mi-17 helicopters for the price of one Black Hawk. The Mi-17 can also carry more than 30 troops, while the Black Hawk could carry only 13 soldiers. These were the key factors behind the decision.”
I'm again commuting by train (not exactly a quick ride). This means that I'm again thinking about mil topics and making notes for about five hours per week. This will likely yield a small flood of new ideas, judging by the experience from last autumn. Some of these ideas will certainly make it into the blog. The supply of blog topics should be good in the next months.
Normal traffic isn't much different. In some places it's chaotic and full of "friction" and crashes while elsewhere it's an orderly flow. Sometimes I'm sitting in a café and watch the street. Everything works neatly, no collisions, no arguments, no electricity blackout - many rules are at work to keep the complex action on street in the precinct and on the nearby street going. I could hardly count the rules that all those people - and electronic hardware! - obey all the time, without exception. Well, until some drunkard comes along and violates the limit on how loud he's supposed to be at most.
"Wir wollen mehr Demokratie wagen."
"Wir stehen nicht am Ende unserer Demokratie, wir fangen erst richtig an"
"We want to dare more democracy."
It's difficult to improve something that you declare "great" in it defence against critics whom you dislike.
Art 20...(2) Alle Staatsgewalt geht vom Volke aus. Sie wird vom Volke in Wahlen und Abstimmungen und durch besondere Organe der Gesetzgebung, der vollziehenden Gewalt und der Rechtsprechung ausgeübt....
A standard maxim is convenient for training, but such a dumbed-down training won't cut it against a competent enemy. A simplistic maxim is not the way to go any more.
We could of course deny the need for the elimination of mistakes and risks and stick to a "1980's + skirmishes against ragtag AK+RPG teams" level in the tactical art of war. That would be a dereliction of duty and ethically unacceptable in face of the taxpayers and subordinates, of course.
We need to at adapt to the extremely high effectiveness of modern sensors and firepower. The Western infantry branches need to ditch many WW2-leftovers.
Infantry is vulnerable. It's soft with only partial very light armour and it's slow. The infantry's great strengths are its unmatched ability to negotiate difficult terrain (at very slow speed) and the small size/low noise of individual soldiers. Its survivability needs to be based on being undetected for 99.999% of the time.
Forget about the practices of peacekeeping and small wars where infantry is being tasked with showing presence. A high-end enemy would massacre such "demonstrating" forces, no matter how much passive protection they have. All trends, lessons, experiences, hardware that stem from such "presence" activities is dangerous to insane in regard to conventional warfare against competent opponents.
Discovered infantry needs to begin to break contact soon.
Suppressive fires are fine - if there's no acceptable alternative left. A competent enemy is dispersed and well-sited enough to prevent his total suppression - and anything short of total suppression invites a massacre due to the extreme lethality of modern weapons.
Suppressive fires also consume much ammunition that weighs much. Heavy weight impairs the soldier's battlefield agility.
"Wirkung vor Deckung!" is still partially right - but it's also misleading. Being suppressed is bad, really bad. Being suppressed and behind (of course incomplete) cover in a compromised position is an almost sure ticket to afterlife against a strong enemy. An emphasis on firing yourself doesn't cut it either, though.
A maxim for the future - if we really have to use such simplistic phrases for training - should be very different than "Wirkung vor Deckung!". A rule of thumb or slogan could be used, for example: "Nur tote Feinde wissen, wo wir sind!" ("Only dead enemies know our whereabouts!")
That's way too distasteful for actual adoption by the Bundeswehr, but it fits high end combat much better than "Wirkung vor Deckung!".
There IS of course a demand for classic assaults in a relatively high force density (a company assault on a small village, for example) even against 1st grade opposition. Infantry is still tasked with seizing and controlling terrain.
Such risky, highly exposing actions need to be exceptions, though. These exceptions require a short burst of strong support to mitigate the problems. Such exposing actions must not be allowed to coin the infantry - neither in ethos nor in TO&E. The British Army asserts in an infantry field manual that
The Infantry Mission is - ‘to defeat the enemy through close combat.’
Very much exposing infantry tactics should be confined to "mopping up" ops; if possible clearing ops against enemies who were already defeated as a major formation or vastly degraded in their abilities (as for example suppressed fire support, jammed radio comm, impaired morale). Doctrine should strive for tactics that turn the infantry assault more often than not into a mere prisoner-taking action with very little combat.
The 'performance' of tools and weapons on the battlefield and modern training methods deserves huge respect. An ill-prepared infantry branch could bleed white in a few weeks of combat before it can properly adapt. We need to adapt to modern battlefield threats up to the state of the art and far beyond.
We must not underestimate our potential enemies, no matter whether we can anticipate them or not. The performance of the Finns in 1939/40, Greeks in 1940, Germans in 1940-1941, Japanese in 1941/42, Soviets in 1939 (Nomonhan) and 1942/43, North Koreans in 1950, Red Chinese in 1951 and Israelis in 1956 all came as a surprise to overconfident opponents. Military history is full of fools who sealed their fate by underestimating their enemy.
The task of the modern infantry NCO and officer is the preparation of infantry small units for the most tough, unforgiving battles. Quite the same holds true for other combat and support troops, of course.
Incompetent enemies are not guaranteed in defensive wars - legitimate wars. Incompetent enemies must not be associated with the constitutional task and only justifiable raison d'être of the Bundeswehr: The defence of Germany and NATO in real wars. NATO is powerful - no incompetent, ill-equipped and ill-supplied opponent would challenge us in decisive warfare.
Our future enemies in defence of our country would either be competent foreigners or (heaven forbid!) our present allies.
I'm trying to keep track of my country's formal alliances and this is much more demanding than I'd have expected a few years ago.
7. If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation.
Who should do the strategy thing?
- the NATO general secretary and his staffs?
- (U.S.) CENTCOM ?
- ISAF/OEF-A leadership?
- NATO summit?
- special envoys?
- the relevant parts of the Afghan government?
- some NATO committee?
- the U.S. president with advice by exclusively U.S. advisers?
- the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff and his staff?
The Metropolitan Police used section 44 of the Terrorism Act more than 170,000 times in 2008 to stop people in London.That compares to almost 72,000 anti-terror stop and searches carried out in the previous year.The Met said anti-terror searches had been more widely used since the planting of two car bombs in central London in July 2007.Of all the stops last year, only 65 led to arrests for terror offences, a success rate of just 0.035%.
Note, they don't say that there were 65 convictions, or even 65 sustained charges, just 65 arrests.
The UK police watchdog is finally looking into the widespread use of anti-terrorism stop-and-search powers by cops. The event that spurred them into it? Two plainclothes cops stopped a 43-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter and her six-year-old friend. They took the man's USB sticks, phones, camera and CD, made him stand in front of a CCTV to be photographed, and then they searched and photographed the children.They never told the man where he could go to get his property returned. They never returned it. Where I come from, that's called "being mugged."
Troops fight in war because their leadership attempts to achieve something with violence. The exact mechanism how the effort is supposed to function depends on the specific circumstances and is often unknown in advance. People simply get used to the idea that sometimes you get what you want when you become violent.This organized violence can vary a lot in its extent. Nation states with air, land and sea armed services can have the potential to wage the full range of organized violence. No power has ever been able to maximize its repertoire of organized violence to 100%, though. Judging by guts I'd say no power ever reached a greater capability than 90% of the possible repertoire. The Germans and Soviets of WW2 were unable of carrier warfare while the British and Americans were unable of certain tactics, for example.No power exploits its full repertoire in war. There are always some capabilities in war that are considered to be too inadequate by themselves. Much more interesting is that the opposing power suppresses the use of additional capabilities. The British attempted to bomb Germany at daylight in 1940, but gave the idea up for the next years because losses were catastrophic and the effect marginal. The Germans didn't attempt any major offensives in Russia after Operation Zitadelle because no major offensive was promising any more.The ability of armies to counter each other's capabilities is of greatest importance because it protracts warfare. Both powers' forces could simply advance into each other and come to a quick conclusion of the war as experienced in early Hellenic Polis Warfare. That doesn't happen any more because the option of simply advancing and attacking is in general suicidal in modern warfare; exceptions prove the rule and are called "successful offensives". The capability to simply advance & attack still exists, but it has been countered to such a degree that it's rarely a useful part of the repertoire any more.This suppression of enemy capabilities can extend to defensive capabilities. At some point even a nation state army isn't capable of defending and holding terrain any more and needs to withdraw because it cannot match its opponent's capabilities any more. This happens usually not long before the state's collapse as a warring power.A great geographic distance between battlefield and the homeland can still protract the war, of course.The point of a state military's defeat is remarkably similar to the starting point of guerrillas. Occasionally, both are even historically matched as in the recent case of Iraq. Guerrillas are from the beginning unable to match most of their enemy's capabilities. They survive for a simple and extremely valuable advantage: They are elusive. Guerrillas are almost indistinguishable from civilians, so they can in fact survive without actually controlling any terrain.The suppression of their capabilities is what coins the guerrilla war. Some guerrillas have enough capabilities to take out entire army garrisons or to control remote areas. Others are barely able to plant explosives and assassinate traitors.The suppression of their capabilities has - just as the suppression of an opposing military's capabilities - a declining marginal rate. The addition of the same amount of resources offers ever smaller reductions of the guerrilla's useful repertoire.The usual approach to conventional inter-state warfare - overpower your enemy - doesn't work that well against guerrillas. The latter do not reach the point of collapse so easily - they are already beyond it. They keep surviving thanks to their elusiveness. In worst case they could become sleepers and reduce their activities to a very low level. A level like mere terrorism, for example.Meanwhile their opponent still needs to spend great resources to keep the guerrilla suppressed.A counter-intuitive, yet promising move is to do something that's likely to be associated with failure and weakness. An army could allow the guerrillas to expand their useful repertoire instead of suppressing it as much as possible. The guerrillas might eventually step over a threshold and turn into a rather conventional force. Once beyond that point, it would be possible to push them back beyond that point - exactly what's being done in inter-military warfare to provoke a collapse. The result tends to be quite the same as in inter-military warfare: Collapse.