2021/06/19

The army air (non-)defence scandal

An interview is causing some waves, for it starts with the observation that German armed forces would have stood no chance to Azerbaijan's because of their inability to defend against drones. This may be an exaggeration*, but the issue is indeed severe, and I'm happy that the public takes note.

I've been on this for years; the lack of army air defence (let's neglect the two irrelevant bullshit pet projects and their miniscule procurement quantities) is a serious and fairly obvious flaw.

/2015/11/the-overlap-between-artillery.html

/2015/11/future-air-target-id.html

/2015/11/an-army-corps-for-germany.html

/2016/09/heavy-spaags-for-2020s.html

/2017/08/very-low-level-air-defence-against.html

/2017/09/the-changing-battlefield-air-defence-i.html

/2017/09/the-changing-battlefield-air-defence-ii.html

/2017/03/air-superiority-in-european-war-in-next_17.html

/2018/05/summary-modern-air-defences-for-europe.html

It's not just me, of course. Many former army air defence soldiers and also many fanbois have publicly regretted the demise of German army air defences. We should absolutely avoid nostalgia for the gone Gepard and Roland systems, though. Neither one would be of use today.

Cold War nostalgia: Self-propelled anti-air gun Gepard. Small, simple drones could easily defeat it unless it was upgraded so much that we could just as well buy a new vehicle. Small prop-driven kamikaze drones could simply shut down their engine and glide at bird speed to the target. This would defeat the 1970's doppler filter. Terrain-following killed drones could pop up and engage in fewer seconds than the reaction time of a Gepard. And then there's the issue of reduced radar cross section drones. Gepard is also quite useless against aircraft, which can accurately attack (with dumb bombs and rockets) from well above its effective ceiling. Even Stinger's greater ceiling was insufficient in mountainous Afghanistan. The Stinger myth claims many kills over Afghanistan's sky in the 80's, but the Soviets lost hardly any of the simplistic Su-25s.

My last link summed up what I consider advisable instead: Expensive area air defence missiles to force high cost aircraft (platforms) into cautious behaviour, cheaper missiles to hard kill the most dangerous munitions, some multi purpose firepower (such as against helicopters and high value ground targets) and last but not least thousands of remotely-controlled weapon stations on thousands of motor vehicles, rigged with the detection & identification gear needed to be effective even against below-treetop bird-sized drones.

I still hope we can avoid flying "fighter" drones for drone air-air combat, for those would need to be quite autonomous and that's a Pandora's box that mankind can hopefully kept shut.

Last but not least; the army air non-defence scandal is another good reason for German civilians to NOT respect the top brass and the BMVg, as it's one of their many gross failures to make proper use of public funds. We need some clean-up politician to head the BMVg, not career politicians who are expert at rising through the ranks of the internally rotten CDU only.

related (external links):

https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/01/aftermath-lessons-of-nagorno-karabakh.html

https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/07/drone-era-warfare-shows-the-operational-limits-of-air.html

S O

defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

*: By the same logic the Wehrmacht stood no chance against the Red Army of 1941 because it had no good guns against the T-34 and KV tanks. Land warfare is much more than a mere comparison of hardware quantities and qualities.

P.S.:  I doubt that ANY army in NATO would be able to cope with the drone campaign used in the recent conflict. The only sliver of hope would be stand-off radio jamming, as even those army air defences that are in use would likely have failed just as much as Armenia's. Stand-off radio jamming is only going to be helpful until drones become autonomous hunter-killer systems, though.

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2021/06/12

German naval power analysis for 1923...1939

Germany exited the First World War with a very much reduced navy. Its three most powerful ships were already obsolete by 1906, faced superior French equivalents (still in service for inexplicable reasons) and completely superior French and British battleships (and British battlecruisers). It was not allowed to have submarines, but the British, French and Soviets had or built plenty submarines The only slivers of hope for the German naval position were the Soviet neglect of the Baltic fleet (and other Soviet fleets, a consequence of some anti-Soviet mutinies in the navy) and the hope that the French would not dare entering the Baltic waters with battleships.

Blank_map_of_Europe.svg: maix¿?derivative work: Alphathon /'æl.f'æ.ðɒn/, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The German navy of the 1920's and most of the 1930's was basically only good for a naval blockade of Poland, and that was rather pointless considering the strategic situation on land and the possibility that Polish arms imports by sea might be escorted by a foreign great power navy. 

flag of the Reichsmarine 1921-1935

I suppose the ships and boats of Germany in the 20's and 30's can be divided into groups, with very distinct utility and justifications.

Group A: Coastal forces

image linked from kbismarck.com

(1) minesweepers (the German approach to it was also usable as a coastal escort of little capability)

(2) coastal minesweepers (smaller and cheaper boats mostly useful for sweeping marked lanes in front of a port over and over again)

(3) torpedo recovery boats (for training, could also be done by the minesweepers)

(4) net layers (to close and open net barriers near and in ports, could be improvised with very small civilian ships)

(5) defensive minelayers (could be done by modified coastal cargo ships in wartime as done during WW2, so the peacetime navy only needed some testing & training opportunities. Many non-specialised craft had mine laying rails for this.

Vorpostenboot / picket boat, image linked from german-navy.de

(6) picket boats (most of these would be wartime production or modification, technically similar to coastal fishing trawlers)

(7) motor torpedo boats (which make close port blockades too dangerous with potential nighttime surprise torpedo attacks and also make passing the Danish straits between North Sea and Baltic Sea very dangerous)

(8) minebreakers / hull-mounted influence minesweepers (sweeping mines by triggering them itself, preferably at a survivable distance ahead)

(9) 15 cm coastal artillery Most German coastal cities are quite inaccessible to accurate coastal bombardment by geography, unless one assumes undisturbed operation of an aerial forward observer. 15 cm was and is a sufficient calibre to defeat smaller units that might come close enough to such coastal cities for line-of-sight fires, or dare to enter rivers.

15 cm C/28, photo linked from weaponsandwarfare.com, hat tip to Mitch

Group A is mostly what you could even have in law enforcement or civilian institutions. Minesweepers evidently were civilian in the immediate post-WW2 years, for example. Motor torpedo boats (and coastal minesweepers) would have been great for customs, police and maybe even civilian search and rescue, and easily converted in a few days for military use. The coastal artillery could have been under army control*, as was later partially done during WW2.

The ships and boats of group A were relatively cheap and dual purpose. They could be justified due to their low cost.

Group B: Blockaderunning enablers

Blockaderunning would be feasible in a conflict with France (albeit this would have been a quick decisive defeat on land until about 1936) in three ways:

(1) Blockaderunning cargo ships could exploit Norwegian territorial waters for safety and then sprint just the final section from Oslo to German Baltic Sea ports.

(2) The blockaderunners would have to run roughly the double distance in case France does not respect neutral Norwegian territorial waters, and could be intercepted by cruisers, auxiliary cruisers and destroyers between Norway and Scotland. The blockaderunning would thus likely happen in severe weather (and new moon nights) or during wintertime (long, preferably new moon nights) with possibly still bad weather (especially rain).

(3) Wartime production unarmed trade submarines (as done in WWI, suitable only for cargo of great value relative to its volume and for natural rubber import).

Blockaderunning enablers would be destroyers (escort mostly against the dozens of French submarines, though for lack of a sonar until the mid-1930's mostly by spotting rather than by engaging them) which would not fare well in severe weather, light cruisers (good against destroyers, auxiliary cruisers, and at most against light cruisers or at night heavy cruisers, but still not promising for severe weather) and heavy cruisers (basically only useful against cruisers and against destroyers in daytime).

The French fleet had no fast capital ships until the mid-30's and could not have maintained more than 50% of its capital ship, cruiser and destroyer strength on blockade patrol. Blockaderunners of 21+ kts speed would have been able to slip by the battleships in good visibility if enabled by good scouting. Light cruisers were still considered to be the best scouts, as aircraft were not very capable until the mid-1930's, and Germany could only have used modified passenger aircraft for naval scouting till the mid-1930's anyway. Destroyers were faster and cheaper than light cruisers, but slower in rough seas and generally much weaker in a gun duel.

The few German heavy cruisers with 20.3 cm guns built in the mid-late 1930's might be considered suitable for the blockaderunning-enabler (escort) task.

The only really reliable approach against a French naval blockade would have been to do some clandestine overseas trading through the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and for clearly German export goods with wartime-built trade submarines. The blockaderunning enablers were thus not a 100% necessity.

Group C: Diversion for blockaderunning-enabling

German 28 cm SK C/28 triple turret. The first triple turret munition transportation issues solved for a rate of fire about equal to twin turrets. image linked from navweaps
 

Three heavy cruisers with unusually large primary artillery calibre of 28 cm (actual calibre 28.3 cm) were a subject of great political debate in the late Weimar Republic and meant as treaty-legal replacement orders for the three pre-Dreadnoughts. Their 28 cm triple turrets were spectacular for cruisers, but more spectacular (and less obvious to the public) was their diesel engine-enabled range, which permitted mid-Atlantic operations from German ports even without refuelling at sea. The actual impact on French maritime shipping could not possibly be considered important to a war effort, so the only flimsy excuse for their existence would be a diversion; drawing battlecruisers and heavy cruisers away from the far blockade task in the North Sea. The problem with this was that the only French cruiser with the speed and range for hunting them was the Algérie, a rather inferior contemporary heavy cruiser that would not have been sent out to chase such a German ship alone. It would rather have been sent after an auxiliary cruiser. The only French ships with the speed, range and combat ability to hunt these German raider cruisers were the two battlecruisers built in response to them. These two battlecruisers were also incredibly useful for a more capable North Sea blockade patrol and might not have existed if Germany hadn't built these three heavy 28 cm gun cruisers.

Diversion only works if the opponent doesn't understand that not being distracted is more advantageous for him or if the diversion is extremely cost-efficient. This and the inherent illogic of the three 28 cm cruisers rendered them unnecessary.

Group D:  Coastal submarines

Coastal submarines (type II) eventually mostly served as training boats, but they could be considered a complement to the motor torpedo boats in that they would deter entering the Baltic Sea in force and deter close blockades. They were not needed for either role when they were commissioned, for at that time non-dedicated aircraft were able to deter such French naval actions.

Redundant to air power and motor torpedo boats, the coastal submarines were an unnecessary, avoidable and dangerous irritation of the UK.

edit: In case you're confused as I previously mentioned they were not allowed by Versailles Treaty to have submarines: Here's the background story.

Group E:  Lots of prestige ships and boats

These ships were supposedly useful for commerce raiding and submarine blockade in the Atlantic.

This group includes the four battleships, which were near-irrelevant for commerce raiding and unnecessary for blockaderunning-enabling against the French navy due to the availability of air power by the time of their commissioning.

This group also includes the oceanic submarines, all of which were only pushing the British into thinking of Germany as primary antagonist (which was not as self-evident as one would think today, for there was still the Soviet Union and Italy was the European troublemaker #1 in 1936-1938, which is nowadays largely forgotten).

None of these made sense. A war against France without war against the UK could not possibly be influenced much with commerce raiding or submarine efforts, as France could trade through the UK (easily secured English Channel) and the Mediterranean. A war against both France and the UK looked hopeless during the entire 1920's and 1930's. The French collapse in 1940 was contrary to any justifiable expectations and contrary to the strategic imbalance, which greatly favoured the Western powers. A naval blockade against the UK after a defeat of France could much better be done by air power (see Mitsubishi G3M abilities, first flight 1935) than by submarines, as Germany could more quickly produce thousands of long range bombers than hundreds of oceanic submarines. Furthermore, the effect of ASDIC (sonar) was unpredictable, making any bet on submarines at least as risky as a bet on the much more versatile air power.

Furthermore, Germany would first have needed to defeat and occupy France before it could hope to defeat the UK with a naval blockade, so using versatile air power that's both useful for defeating France and defeating the UK made more sense. Submarines were not very capable at shelling French land forces.

I consider any opinion that there was a near-success of the submarine blockade during WWI to be delusional. The UK was at no time even close to the import restrictions that Germany suffered from throughout the war. Germany had a famine in the winter of 1916/1917 before Ukrainian agricultural resources were captured. The UK didn't even come close to the scarcities faced by Germany outside of this famine. A naval blockade against the UK could not possibly be decisive as long as the easily-secured Portsmouth-Le Havre route was available for trade, enabling even distant overseas trade through the French Mediterranean port of Marseilles. A successful naval blockade of the UK would thus have had hostile control of Northern France as a necessary condition.

The expensive and provocative group E seemed to lack sufficient justifications.

Group F: Armed merchantmen/auxiliary cruisers

The French had very little ocean patrolling ability, so even the North Atlantic would have been a promising area of operations for such raiders if the UK stayed neutral. The French ability to hunt and stop auxiliary cruisers on other oceans was negligible.

anatomy of most successful German WWI raider SMS Wolf (with aircraft "Wölfchen"), image linked from squadronshop

It didn't take much to create an effective auxiliary cruiser for commerce raiding. You needed a preferably fast (17+ kts) ship with very good endurance at sea, some holding cells for prisoners, cranes, at least one 10.5 cm or bigger gun. Luxury features would be extra crew quarters for prize crews (and prisoners), surplus guns to turn prize ships into additional auxiliary cruisers, strong gun or torpedo armaments capable of surprise-killing a cruiser, beyond-the-horizon passive sonar or a scouting aircraft** with associated equipment (especially a catapult). Such auxiliary cruisers did thus not require much expense in peacetime. Even the crew could mostly be drawn from conscripted merchant marine personnel and would not require much if any expense in peacetime.

Group F needed no peacetime justification, for it incurred hardly any expenses (if any expenses at all) in peacetime.

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I wrote a rather polemic text about the stupidity and uselessness of German navies before, but this more in-depth look shows that at most some paramilitary coastal forces were ever required and at most a modestly-budgeted navy similar to the Weimar Republic's navy could be justified, albeit not be proved to be necessary.

This lengthy blog post still doesn't come close to a comprehensive and 100% conclusive argument, but I did what the format permits (hopefully) without being too boring for almost all readers. Moreover, naval-interested readers will likely have noticed the completely different approach and narrative of this blog post compared to just about all literature on the subject. Most literature on the ships and navies of the era has an almost fanboi-ish approach by comparison. It doesn't analyse the actual needs, or missions, or budget justifications. Some admiral issued a requirement for a certain ship? That's good enough for just about every author. I like the excellent books of M.J. Whitley in particular, but he, too, doesn't cover non-technical aspects much and only mentioned very briefly what capabilities the men behind the procurement wanted.

S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

*: It could have been under army control, save for the Versailles Treaty restrictions which rendered such an option nonsensical. I'm describing here why capability-wise hardly any naval establishment was needed. The political-legal restrictions enforced another reality.

**: Such floatplanes were incredibly useful not just for scouting. They even tried (and presumably sometimes succeeded) to cut the radio antenna cables of ships so they could not emit an emergency radio message.

P.S.: The German cruiser designs of the Interwar Year were all badly flawed:

light cruiser Emden: unusually good range, but inefficient and poorly protected artillery concept

later light cruisers: unsuitable for severe weather, built more for show than performance, could not withstand battle damage well, too large crew

28 cm heavy cruisers: slower than most new foreign cruisers, cost-inefficient, unsuitable for severe weather, poor secondary and anti-air artillery, armour insufficient as protection against all heavy cruisers, too large crew (albeit the excess could be used to man prize ships on a raiding patrol)

20.3 cm heavy cruisers: unreliable propulsion (due to very high steam pressures), fuel inefficient even by steam propulsion stnadards, poor anti-air artillery (insufficient though better than what the French and British heavy cruisers had), armour could be penetrated by French Algérie at some relevant distances without being able to penetrate Algérie's deck or belt armour as well, too large crew

It's remarkable that these ships were poor at severe weather, even though this would have been ideal weather for blockaderunning. The German navy appeared to have been too centred on pleasant peacetime cruises close to German ports. The  post-Emden light cruisers in particular were built more to look good on paper than to excel in combat, a 180° reversal of German pre-WWI naval design philosophy.

Likewise, the Japanese overloaded their ships to the point of some of them capsizing in storms. The Italians exaggerated (the importance of) the speed of their cruisers. The French had very flawed guns on their early super destroyers. Americans and Italians in particular had heavy cruiser turrets with barrels so close to each other that the horribly large salvo dispersion disarmed the ship for long range duels. Flawed ships were common, but it's striking that the poor seaworthiness of German cruisers was contrary to the least weak justification of their existence.

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2021/06/05

Link drop June 2021

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Commander of Space Force unit fired after accusing the military of pushing an agenda ‘rooted in Marxism’ 

This is by far not the only full blown nutjob among the American flag ranks senior officers. The USAF was reported to be particularly infested, especially by bible humpers. This is a consequence of Strategic Air Command culture from deep in the Cold War times.

I suppose the new administration should identify and remove the nutjobs with priority on command positions in nuclear arms units and on the military bases in the capital. Else, the next January 6th-style attack on the Republic might be mounted with Washington D.C.-based troops and succeed.

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I'm sceptical about this. It will be possible to fool the algorithm into highlighting the contours of irrelevant things and to not highlight the contours of some relevant things. The NVG user will become reliant on the highlighting and thus be more easily fooled than without the highlighting. Moreover, this tech sure is very expensive for likely incremental net gain (and only so at night). 

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cnn.com/travel/article/aerion-supersonic-planemaker-folds/index.html

And again no supersonic business jet as basis for electronic warfare aircraft!

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comandosupremo.com/rome-to-tokyo/

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just a bit tank p0rn:


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www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/media_2021/04/israel_palestine0421_web_0.pdf

theintercept.com/2021/05/29/israel-palestine-mobs-crackdown/

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www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/05/26/emily-wilder-fired-ap-490892

This opinion piece misleading, showing the narrative bias of the author. Israel saying that the building with AP reporters was targeted because Hamas operated from it as well is not an excuse, it's a confession. The Geneva Convention clearly states that you must not target such a building with civilians. The attack was very likely a war crime.

/2009/06/human-shields.html

The possibly legitimate way would have been to inform the AP reporters and other civilians (including Hamas civilians!) that the building may get targeted for paramilitary Hamas presence (if the Hamas presence thing was real and not just an ex post lie and if the war in itself was legitimate, which is another question). The civilians would then have been able to vacate the building in time.[I checked again because of a comment hint and found an AP article confirming that a one-hour warning was indeed given to the owner or the building. I have not found any evidence that legitimate Hamas targets were actually present, though.]

Now Israel did not sign & ratify the Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, but that doesn't matter much for the judgment of its actions. North Korea didn't sign the NPT and nobody posits that all would be fine about Iran and nuclear tech once it left the NPT, right?

Any concerns about military effectiveness are irrelevant for the question of war crime or not. Committing war crimes in pursuit of more firepower effect is still committing war crimes.

The indiscriminate firing of high explosive rockets into villages and cities is just as bad, though this war has no doubt again led to many more civilians killed by the Israeli government than by Palestinians, by an order of magnitude. (I'm not sure how much Hamas could be called a Palestinian government, they only control the Gaza Strip and are more akin to separatists IMO).

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[German] twitter.com/clausvonwagner/status/1390615813825179653


S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

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2021/05/22

Pemanent minorities

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There is an issue with democracies that I touched upon a few times: 

/2017/10/overlapping-territorial-sovereignty.html

/2017/06/middle-east-and-democracy.html

The peaceful transition of power after a change of majority in an election (or even only after different parties forming a different coalition) is at the core of any democracy. The existence of permanent majorities and permanent minorities turns this feature moot.

A minority that's so very separated from the majority that it can never form a coalition with parts of a present majority in order to become part of a future majority has little reason to consider democracy's majority rule concept anything but permanent oppression.

This happens a lot in areas with strong tribal or sectarian divisions such as Africa or the Mid East. 

The most elegant solution is to achieve assimilation by the majority, but there are some tribes that maintained their separation for thousands of years (Samaritans, for example), and other minorities are so visibly different from the majority (Chinese-origin mountain people in Thailand, Whites in South Africa et cetera) that there's little hope of present minority and present majority feeling as one anytime soon short of extraterrestrials landing on earth with hostile intent.

The Western countries typically have ideological divisions rather than religious or ethnic ones, so I was very surprised to find an example of such a permanent minority problem undermining the perception of democracy's legitimacy in a (supposedly) Western country:

boingboing.net/2021/05/20/seven-rural-counties-in-oregon-have-voted-in-favor-of-seceding-to-idaho.html

My first reaction was to think of those wannabe separatists as immature crybabies who should learn that as an adult you can't always have your way. Then I realized that they believe that others will always have their way over them.

There's no doubt that the rural people there would be just fine permanently dominating the urban people, as can be observed in more rural American states without the cityfolk turning into separatist crybabies, but this doesn't change that this is a very, very dangerous undermining of democracy's legitimacy.

A deviation from plain majority vote towards a constitution with proportional governance (some offices reserved for rural people, de facto veto powers for both factions) might help, but this is a different case from religious or ethnic separations. Religious divisions in a proportional governance would arrive at a minimum consensus on religion-affected topics and ethnic divisions would arrive at a proportional allocation of resources or no gifts to either group as policy. The rural/urban divide in the U.S. is rather a divide between people who live in fear&hate fantasyland and social democrats. Almost nothing can get done if both had veto powers over the other all the time. Government would be paralyzed, on autopilot, completely incapable of rising to any challenge.

So ideological divisions may be able to become so bad that they create even worse dysfunctionality than ethnic or religious divisions, with subsequent worse delegitimization of a republic. 
 
The worst about this is that a common external enemy is a simple fix to cover up internal divisions. Wars might be risked or even waged to fight the national disunity. This worked a couple times in history (at least for short periods), and failed spectacularly in others (see Austria-Hungary).

2021/05/15

Kant's categorical imperatve and defence policy

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A simple (not flawless) way of checking whether one's policy is ethical is to apply the categorical imperative; would the outcome be a good one if everyone behaved like this?

I have repeatedly argued on this blog (and elsewhere) that small powers should not create or maintain well-rounded miniature military forces, as such armed forces are near-useless for deterrence and defence. Or did you hear any good of the deterrence and defence values of the armed forces of Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania during the Second World War? The only small power that resisted a great power successfully was Finland, and it did only so for a short time under uniquely favourable circumstances.

Likewise, I argued repeatedly that even some of the bigger NATO members such as Germany should orient their armed forces towards a specific threat scenario, complementing their alliance rather with contributions tailored to their situation rather than well-rounded armed forces in ignorance of any threat scenario. Germany could disband its navy with absolutely no harm to its or its allies' security, for example.

Moreover, military budgets should be set in the context of the military overspending of allies (that is, one should spend less due to others overspending rather than to emulate their silliness).

This doesn't seem to be an ethical course of action at first look and certain not very deep thinkers mis-use the word "freeriding" a lot even in the current real world situation.

To think so requires a static look at the world. My advice would change if the overspending by allies would end, for example. To devise a budget in context of allied budgeting may just as well lead to an increase of own spending when allied overspending ends.

A deterioration of air power or sea power or the primary threat scenario becoming unrealistic would lead to different conclusions, a different optimum, a different advice.

So what really drives my thinking about force structures is not a simplistic preference for less, but an appreciation of real world circumstances; the size of threats, the capabilities of allies, the own economic and fiscal capabilities and the own geographical position.

 

I do assert that much of the advice regarding more military spending, more warships, more combat aircraft, more tanks, more brigades is not driven by an appreciation of threat capabilities, allied capabilities and geography. Most calls for "more" rather seem to be driven by money interests, officer self-interests or very much subjective power fantasies. This ranges from millionaire CEOs and lobbyists to flag ranks who put their service before their country to simple fanbois.

 
related:
 
 
 
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2021/05/08

Navies' obsession with peacetime hull quantities

 

Navies tend to seek to have many (and powerful = prestigious) warship hulls in peacetime. The more ships there are, the more jobs for junior officers, the more jobs for senior officers. The bigger the navy and the more central it is to the country's policies and self-image, the more prestige do the naval officers enjoy.

The principal-agent problem clearly leads to navy officers wishing for more naval expenditures than optimal for the nation's overall best interests.

There is a particular obsession of navies (and their fanbois*) with peacetime warship hull quantities. The U.S. navy outright obsesses over made-up hull quantity requirements that are supposedly necessary. Those quantities haven't been met in decades (if ever), but neither the U.S. nor its allies were blockaded, bombed or invaded by another country. There's also an anecdote about a German inspector of the navy (highest-ranking naval officer) who publicly regretted that he couldn't commission a single new ship during his time leading the German navy. The fact that Germany wasn't blockaded, bombed or invaded and commissioning an additional ship was thus proved to be nothing but a waste of resources didn't seem to have crossed his mind.

The obsession with peacetime warship quantities goes on despite the obvious fact that air power rules the surface of the seas. The U.S. Navy itself spent more money on buying aircraft than on buying warships a few years back, but the obsession was still about ship hulls, not about aircraft fuselages or naval aircraft fuselages. Land-based aviation can wipe out surface fleets at much lesser costs than any warship or submarine fleet could, and naval aviation is clearly technically disadvantaged to already dispersed land-based aviation (land-based aviation has more capable support aircraft, potential access to OTH radar data, isn't burdened by tailhooks or strengthening for stressful landings).

The overemphasis on warships leads to a neglect of other items that could be of great importance, similar to how Western air forces neglect ballistic missiles of the Iskander-ish class and air defences. 

Another analogy is modern armies neglecting preparations for dealing with prisoners of war (too few infantrymen or other temporarily detachable troops to handle them).

I'm writing about ships that can meet the traditional cruiser role of enforcing a distant naval blockade. Submarines have marginal target inspection abilities. They can try to enforce a naval blockade close to hostile ports, but a American-Sino war might see ships slipping through Indonesian and Philippine waters. What asset would inspect, identify and possibly board or (more risky in case of error) sink them? Traditionally, this would have been the job of cruisers. The USN has no high endurance frigate fleet for the job, and cannot spare its destroyers.

A simple answer could be auxiliary cruisers equipped with a relatively simple medium helicopter for boarding actions and another medium helicopter for sinking of ships. Those helicopters would also need to have decent thermal cameras, but that's not much of a cost driver nowadays if you are willing to improvise instead of gold-plating.

It would be very easy to modify a small container ship for auxiliary cruiser tasks, including armament with 106 mm recoilless guns and ManPADS. You would need containers for electricity generators, kerosene supply, helicopter hangar, helipad, extra galley, extra mess, bunks, a control centre, radio, washing rooms/showers, munitions storage, food (cold) storage, a medical container, containers for POWs/detainees, tools+maintenance machinery+spare parts, extra firefighting capability. 

In short; you'd want to have the containers developed, prototyped, tested and improved before a hot conflict.

About the same kind of auxiliary cruiser might also be effective in use by an underdog navy, but I lack the means and knowledge to determine whether modern satellite ocean surveillance including satellite AIS snooping might suffice to make the tasks of a merchant raider too hazardous if opposing forces have land-based air power or other assets in range to strike at it.

I have not seen any navy building up such a capability even though the East Africa piracy thing would have been a perfect excuse to get it funded. This is but one of many reasons why I doubt that Western navies are serious about deterring major war or being able to win major wars. The interventionist Western countries developed their navies into bullying/land attack forces with parallel and separate nuclear strike submarines. Even the U.S: navy, which had reason to pay attention much attention to PR China for well over two decades, is not all that serious about these parts of its job.

S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

*: Many of which appear to believe that parroting calls for more warships mixed with calls for minor changes especially regarding long-obvious failure programs turns them into impressive thinkers.

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2021/05/01

Link dump May 2021

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 https://9gag.com/gag/a5EVrer

 https://9gag.com/gag/a8EAKdZ

 https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2021/04/op-ed-is-it-time-for-the-u-s-navy-to-build-the-drone-carrier-warship/

A large navy should occasionally have experimental ships, but the article's emphasis on the XQ-58 is ill-advised. Such drones have little ability to penetrate defended airspace on their own, little ability to find and identify semi-stationary or mobile land targets, and its payload is really small. Furthermore, outranging those land-based anti-ship missiles by a bit only puts targets close to some strips of coastline in range. An air war against China would either be about attacks on its sea and air power or in a more ambitious scenario a campaign against its electrical power network (particularly powerplant turbines) might also be worthwhile. This requires much deeper strikes. The vastly better alternative would be to focus on a distant naval blockade and defence of Japan/Taiwan, of course.

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https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/04/24/forgotten-precedent-unprecedented-politics-age-of-acrimony-484072

This is very similar to Germany in the 1880-1914 and 1920-1932 period and also very similar to modern sub-Saharan African politics.

S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

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2021/04/29

No security policy consequences from burps (serious text)

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https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/1386340800884269056


 

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/29/politics/fact-check-kevin-mccarthy-biden-red-meat-limit-four-pounds/index.html

The degeneration and reality disconnect of the right wing particularly in the U.S. is tragic-comedic, but the issue is an interesting one.

I suppose that cultured meat is going to be superior in price AND quality (different flavours) to meat from complete live animals within 10...20 years and the pork industry will collapse, while the cattle industry will likely prevail with a some shrinking due to less incomes from meat (higher income share from milk than today).

This means that indeed the methane burps (burps mostly, hardly any of the methane emissions are by farts) of cattle are an issue. Methane is a greenhouse gas (more potent, shorter-lived than carbon dioxide) and thus of concern. The extreme methane emissions of first and foremost cattle (not nearly as much other animals) stem from fodder that they have no evolutionary optimization for. The answer is not necessarily a reduction of meat consumption; it's to add few per cent (1...3%) food additives (such as seaweeds) that multiple studies found to be effective at suppressing 80% to almost all methane emissions (example) by changing the digestion processes. The challenge is to make this transition; the food additives production capacities first need to be created, and this requires incentive mechanisms by government becuase the benefits to society do not get internalized to the business decisionmakers by the market so far.

(Compare the obscene kindergarten-level of discourse chosen by right wing propagandists in the U.S. with this science-based summary! That's a fear and hate propaganda vs. reality contrast. I've known all of this stuff for about two years without being a industry insider, there's no excuse for media professionals to relay any of the nonsense on the topic.)

Is this about defence and freedom? It's peripheral. This topic and the prospect of water-saving greenhouses and hydrocultural production of food signal a likely coming revolution in our food supply. The challenges seem manageable and food production can very likely happen domestically. I don't see any need for security policy efforts aimed at securing food supply from other countries any more than so far.

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2021/04/17

Ten options when facing a threat of specific geographic origin (II)

.continuing from part I

(warning; long wall of text)

Let's remember the ten options* first:
  1. Economic attack
  2. Base strike
  3. Cordoning
  4. Mobile warfare
  5. Hunting patrols
  6. Convoying
  7. Secured zones
  8. Shadowing
  9. Infrastructure attack 
  10. Enduring the problem
Military history knows many examples, but they were not always used in the same mix, or with the same success. Inferior powers had to use or emphasize different options than superior ones. Terrain was very influential, as was technology and industrial support.
 
- - - - -
 
I'm concerned that we in the West are in part wasting resources by following obsolete paths, using an obsolete mix and structure of options to counter threats.

The expected shortness of WW3 led to an underappreciation of #1, economic attack. The one big exception is the campaign to keep small powers from acquiring or adding to a nuclear arsenal. The Western or American economic sanctions likely do just about nothing against Russia or PRC that would be important in a future hot conflict. Economic warfare against the opposing forces did not play much of a role in the years-long and even decades-long wars of occupation beyond mere interception of arms and munitions deliveries. Much more could have been done by targeting the economics of the warlords who had to pay at least the mobile part of their forces and for some arms buys.

Base strike is widely appreciated, but it won't help against threats without a clear geographic origin. An army of a million quadcopter kamikaze drones launched from shipping containers is not going to be countered by strikes on airbases or barracks. NATO paid much attention to cratering airbase runways until precision-guided bombs finally made direct hits on hardened aircraft shelters more promising. The transition wasn't rapid, though. Munitions and aircraft meant for runway cratering kept soldiering on for many years after the approach became the inferior one.

Cordoning is a very interesting approach. I wrote a lot and already long ago about the fact that there aren't enough troops to form a proper front-line that makes infiltration very dangerous. Modern inter-state land warfare can be very mobile or take the shape of a hedgehog defence as seen in Eastern Ukraine. A defended front-line fulfilled many functions, and this ten options model offers a partial guidance to alternatives to a fairly static front-line. #4 to #9 all have something to offer in this regard, and I found great depth in this specific topic. The Cold War's cordoning approach to land-based air defences in Central Europe was given up during the 90's in favour of superficially more promising clustering (which was still pointless with the available hardware given technological developments, but NATO air forces preferred to ignore that their air defences had become useless and kept pretending**). Cordoning at sea appears to have two revivals; the "island chains" talk regarding the West Pacific Ocean and a couple years ago there was talk about a revival of the GIUK gap defence line scheme against Russian submarines (which are mostly ex-Soviet submarines). Cordoning requires great strength, for the defender needs to make with a part of the cordon while the attacker can focus his main effort on this section, hence the success of breakthrough battles in late WW1 and in WW2. Mobile reserves to back this cordon up can help (such as ASW aircraft rushing to the area where submarine activity was detected), but this is prone to deception (such as feint offensives against land war front-lines).

Mobile warfare is relatively disordered and exhausting. It was normal in air war (where fighter patrols clashed with fighter patrols as long as neither side was clearly inferior and had to become more focused) and can be considered normal in land war and war at sea whenever the warring parties have few forces relative to the relevant area. This is the status quo of today for many land warfare scenarios. Hindukush, Greece vs. Turkey and Malaysia vs. Singapore are some of the exceptions (albeit the Singaporeans have an attacking strategic defence doctrine). We have still much military personnel in Europe (European NATO approx. 1.5 million), but the share of non-combat support troops has grown so large that the few combat and reconnaissance troops could not possibly meet the demands of a stiff cordon defence. The most pressing problem with mobile defence is that it's very much exhausting to move around a lot. Fuel and munitions resupply is an issue, but the exhaustion of the troops is the bigger one. It's doubtful whether we would feed our troops go pills as ruthlessly as done by the Wehrmacht in WW2 (Pervitin), and even that only extends the endurance from days to a few more days till complete exhaustion in a high threat and high mobility scenario. NATO currently seems to believe that it could approach this problem by simply adding fresh troops into the meat grinder. We would either have overwhelming strength if we "counter-concentrated" before the war started or we would feed one brigade (or battalion battlegroup) after another piecemeal to the theatre of war over the course of many weeks. The Russians with their huge geographic depth appear to be forced to do the same. I'm not seeing anyone having a good answer to the exhaustion problem. Navies have another problem with the mobile warfare approach; it's much easier to find (relatively) stealthy targets such as submarines when you focus your sensor assets on straits or a cordon than by hoping to find them in the vast oceans.

This leads to #5, hunting patrols. This seems largely pointless for today's naval warfare except maybe with ASW aircraft or against auxiliary cruiser commerce raiders. Surface task forces would be sunk by superior air power easily nowadays, so there would be only strike, not some hunting. Air forces don't have so much potential in this option either. Land forces on the other hand may be grossly neglecting this approach. The defensive reconnaissance post linked in part I already pointed that out:  A combination of #5 and #8 (shadowing) may be extremely efficient and promising at dealing with forces that infiltrated through a non-existing defensible front-line. The difference to mobile warfare may seem a bit fuzzy, thus a clarification: Hunting patrols are for the 'rear' area where the opposing force has no home advantage, whereas mobile warfare transitions rapidly between favourable terrain, unfavourable terrain and terrain that favours neither side. Shadowing is always done by inferior forces that merely need to possess the mobility and sensory ability to stay in contact and the means to communicate. This lends itself very well to "economy of force", doing the job in an area with as few resources as possible so the saved resources are available for advantageous use elsewhere. Now a bit more specific: Imagine a land war in which the opposing forces have little fortitude with mechanised battlegroups, but keep infiltrating with platoon- to company sized elements. Those (small) units do not get stopped by a defended front-line, and our reconnaissance is so undermanned that it cannot even meet its offensive-supporting tasks, much less provide a theatre-wide surveillance. Now let's add a cheap governmental militia force that reports such intruders, maybe shadows (tracks) them and some hunting patrols engage them once the conditions are favourable. What else could be done? Recalling multiple brigades to deal with minor intrusions? That's about what was done after Iraqi Fedayeen busted a single support small unit in 2003.

#6 Convoying; it's not  much of a thing any more. Sure, the USN convoys for its aircraft carriers and there are protected road convoys in occupation warfare. By definition all army vehicle movements with more than three vehicles are a "convoy". But we don't really protect civilian vehicles with convoys. The USN even stopped pretending that it could or would protect its own nation's strategic airlift ships. The notion that Western navies protect our maritime trade lanes is not about convoying at all (and is quite some nonsense in general). The Allies needed many hundreds of escorts in WW2, and we'd need just as many today if we were to protect maritime trade by convoying. Convoying doesn't really work for civilian aviation, either (except some occasional fighter flight escorting a VIP aircraft). It is highly questionable whether convoying is a sensible approach to secure the supply transportation between land forces 'in the field' and some forward depot. Convoys may actually make it easier to disrupt such transportation, as few convoys are more easily tracked and stalled than a multitude of smaller movements. Maybe - and this is something that requires experimentation - the dispersed seemingly chaotic movement of supply vehicles moving alone or in very, very small groups makes more sense.  Anyway, we don't have the assets to protect even only some main supply route movements with convoying during a major war anyway. All the assets developed and established during occupation wars are exceedingly useless against the very different major war threats. A MRAP stops neither a Su-25 nor does it stop kamikaze drones and it's a mere target to an armoured recce AFV with an autocannon as well.

#7 secured zones. This is in part about using favourable terrain to protect much with few resources, but the more pressing part is to protect high value targets that must not be struck. Let's call it out; Warsaw (and in Korea: Seoul). A major NATO capital that would not be allowed to see Russian armoured vehicles in its centre. How do we protect it? A relatively static defence (forces allocated specifically to the vicinity of Warsaw) would fix multiple NATO/EU brigades, which could tilt the balance where the real action is against them. So far I have not seen much regarding this issue, what I saw about Baltic defence scenarios was not paying much attention to the possibility of deep opposing forces raids. These are still a thing. Shall we bet on #4, #5 or #7 in this regard? We might inadvertently end up using #10.
I mentioned the integrated (area) air defence clustering before. One of my pet peeves is the concept of a 'bastion' where land forces could safely recover, where supply dumps would be safe. This would be a 'secured zones' concept, and it would require much area air defence, but camouflage, deception, concealment and dispersion would still be used. The ground raids threat could be reduced by pickets and defended river crossings. Such an approach was unthinkable during the Cold War when you had to keep in mind that a 100 kt thermonuclear warhead would render all personnel and material in 10 km radius militarily useless. We can think about such a fairly small secured zone nowadays, as the realistic defence scenarios aren't about global thermonuclear war, but rather limited disputes with limited objectives.

#8 shadowing (or 'tracking', but I prefer 'shadowing' because I really mean tracking from nearby, not from afar). Much was already mentioned about this under #5, but it should be noted that civilians may be removable from the theatre of war at sea and in the air, but not on land. Agents may track and report troops movements in conventional war similar to how Taleban motorcyclists shadow Western forces in occupation warfare. Furthermore, think about the man-marking in football, where one player stays with an offensive player of the other team to diminish his offensive dangerousness. The old-fashioned man-marking was largely replaced by a zone defence, where not one man attempts to mark a specific player. Instead, defence players are responsible for a zone and man-mark whatever dangerous offensive player enters this zone. It's one of my operations pet peeves that reconnaissance/scouting as well as counter-recce should be about assets allocated to defined areas with a particular level of ambition. To shadow and report intruders is already part of the lower ambition levels (the highest ambition level would require immediate elimination of all hostile intruders). Shadowing of intruders including reporting their location, strength, state and movement could (should) be a major building block of a land warfare doctrine. I just don't think that the run of the mill talk about information superiority yaddayadda comes close to what I envision. A defending nation (or alliance) should have a near-complete situation picture not because of fancy sensors, but because the 'blue' terrain is covered with militia (if need be "stay-behind) forces capable of moderate combat (mostly against support troops) and of course giving situational awareness reports. This recce should be area-bound, no manoeuvre forces commander would send a recce party ahead of a battlegroup movement. He should simply know what's there by the militia reports, enjoying a distinct advantage over the invaders.

#9 NATO was a bit desperate back in the 1970's. Its intel told it about huge hordes of Soviet motorized rifle divisions deep in Eastern Europe. The simple-minded conclusion was that this was spelling the doom of unstoppably many waves of divisions attacking the West. It did apparently not cross their mind (nearly enough) that this was a non-aggressive stance, suitable for a defence-in-depth and likely a sign of Soviets preferring quantity on paper over quality.***

(The widely-spaced dot landscape continued to the Urals.)
 
Its answer was mostly technological: Air-Land Battle, in which air power was supposed to bust bridges and massacre marching convoys deep behind the battlefield. Air defences and defending fighters be damned. Very low flying was meant to counter ground-based radars, but pulse-doppler fighter radars with "look down" capability had appeared in MiGs years before the specialised Tornado bombers entered service. It was an awfully technicized and expensive hope against the superior numbers. It was likely also utterly unnecessary and of doubtful deterrence value. NATO could and should have paid more attention to address the shortcomings of its land warfare concept. 

All this "deep strike" that already proved terribly expensive and just as much indecisive in Korea is still lingering strong in NATO air war force designer minds. Decades of bombing brown people and handily defeating their obsolete air defences added to their optimism, but hardly anything was ever gained by the West through those bombings. The biggest success was handing Kuwait back to the hands of some other dictator. The Serbs embarrassed NATO in 1999 when they used obsolete air defences but stubbornly refused to lose most of them and persisted for months. 
We (the West) should think hard about whether we exaggerate the usefulness of air power in depth. It's obvious that a near-peer defence could make very good use of defenders' advantages.
The one thing that I don't doubt about air power is that it handily knocks out rail traffic. Rail bridges in particular are a nightmare.

The fashionable way to think about infrastructure attack is to think about malware, of course. And yes, this could be a major issue for days or weeks. This could happen exactly in the most important phase of a conflict, the first couple of weeks. Nothing of this sort can stop a brigade on a road march, though. You don't need any electronics for that. Most military vehicles are too old to know the meaning of the word "internet" anyway. The two things that could really mess up such a march are fleeing civilians jamming the roads (this could be provoked by propaganda) and busted bridges. Which is why I place such an emphasis on military bridging for Oder and Vistula.

#10 Enduring the problem. This appear to be a most underrated approach. It runs 180° counter to the armed bureaucracies' self-interests (unless the activity required to counter the problem is super-unpopular, like convoying for civilian shipping or naval mine countermeasures), which alone suffices to suspect a systemic neglect of this option.
I'm suspicious of the extreme expenses required for BMD. Ballistic (and soon hypersonic) missiles are so darn hard to intercept that the interceptor is usually more expensive than the hopefully intercepted munition. I'm very much in favour of limiting theatre of war BMD to few small footprints. Feel free to try protect a couple super high value targets against all incoming munitions, but we should just endure the other (quasi)ballistic missiles. American cruise missile strikes and the bomb damage repair experiences of WW2 offer plenty evidence that you can very well live with much more direct hits than the the size of threat arsenals has on offer.
Another thing we should endure is "offensive cyber warfare". Every tracing back of malware attacks to a perpetrator nation is a scam unless evidence was collected in that supposed country of origin itself through multiple sources. There's some Russian comment text in the malware? Oh really? North Koreans never heard of the Russian language? I remind you they share a common border. All that talk of offensive cyber by evil-this and evil-that only serves as cover for the offensive cyber that is publicly attributed the Westerners (and frankly, that's not beyond reasonable doubt, either). The pursuit of offensive cyber abilities in the West leads to an undermining of "cyber security", and thus an undermining of our "cyber defence". In other words; stop the "offensive cyber" BS and stop pretending that we can attribute "cyber attacks". We cannot and offensive cyber is worthless BS. Let's endure the problem and focus on having proper security in our own systems instead of backdoors and encryption weak spots galore.


As long as part II grew, I feel I still couldn't properly convey the core message about how changing circumstances may lead us to stick to an outdated mix (structure) of our defensive posturing, with an improper emphasis on some options and neglect of others. I didn't feel like throwing this away, though. Maybe someday I can make my point succinctly.
 


 
*: To be honest; my model does not cover "Raumverteidigung", and it doesn't because it's an outlier that doesn't seem to fit to all three domains (land and air at most). I'm disappointed that no comment pointed that out before I discovered it by myself.
**: Patriot can only cover a 110° sector well due to its crappy radar design that was meant for a stupid SAM belt. IHAWK batteries were meant to cluster as 360° protection for a Patriot battery. NATO knew since the German reunification that IHAWK was practically useless in face of Russian ECM, so Patriot was still a mere target on a silver plate, just now isolated due to clustering rather than as part of a line.
***: Pre-WWI statistics told about an unstoppably superior mass of Imperial Russian divisions. The  Western powers looked feeble by comparison. The real Russian Empire of WWI proved to be one of the weaker great powers even on land, two leagues behind the German land warfare machine. This wasn't merely about lack of industrial base for heavy artillery and munitions. Officer corps quality, NCO quality, infantry training, morale and techniques were all inferior. The Red Army of WW2 didn't change much of this.

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2021/04/10

Ten options when facing a threat of specific geographic origin (I)

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Today I shall present a model of how armed forces deal with a threat that has a geographic origin. In other words, a model that brings all of warfare into an abstract level and looks at it in a particular way. It's a framework of sorts for looking especially at inter-state war. Be warned; this is going to be long.

- - - - -

Let's use a simple case, the case of a fictional European naval war around 1900. Two navies oppose each other, one is supposed to raid commerce and coastal settlements, the other is supposed to defend against this.

The point of origin of the threat is one particular naval base. The attacker's warships should leave that base, find targets on or at the European waters and the world's oceans, harm or capture them and return. Rinse repeat. We'll see there are stages at which the threat can be countered (or "options with which the threat can be countered") by the defending party:

- - - - -

The first stage is to prevent the attacker's shipyards from building more warships. Air power was not yet capable of that in the scenario, but political and blockade measures to limit the availability of materials was possible. So this is the first stage of defence: Reduce the reinforcements and replenishment to the attacker's base of operations.

The second stage is to attack the base itself, or the attacker's fleet inside the base. This was doable at the time with a naval bombardment or small boats entering the port with explosive munitions.

The third stage is to intercept whatever attacker's forces leave their base of operations within a defined geographic area. This may be an offensive naval minefield, but it could also be an actual cordon of patrolling scout ships and a patrolling or sortieing battle fleet.

The fourth stage is to intercept gradually. It's a bit misleading to count is as fourth, for it could happen in front of the third stage, behind it (against ships that leaked through the cordon) or instead of the third stage. You may thus alternatively think of options instead of stages.

The fifth stage is to patrol the seas and hunt for commerce raiders with hunting groups far away from the attacker's base of operations.

The sixth stage is to protect maritime transportation with a convoying system, providing escorts to convoys.

The seventh stage is to secure certain important yet relatively small areas, for example at straits. This would not intercept the threat in general, just for a small area. Another facet of this stage is to provide coastal defences to coastal settlements.

- - - - -

All of these stages were used in naval warfare, often times many of them in parallel and thus likely wasting resources by lack of focus. Some examples are

(1) Most naval blockades had this effect, also diplomatic efforts to reduce neutral countries' deliveries of essential raw materials.

(2) Battle of Port Arthur 1904, Attack on Mers el Kebir 1940, attack on Alexandria 1941, attack on Pearl Harbour 1941, attack on the Tirpitz 1943

(3) Offensive minefields were used much during WW2, and the NATO maintained an anti-Soviet submarines cordon North of Europe from Greenland to Iceland to United Kingdom (GIUK gap). The Entente also laid an enormous naval minefield barrier between Scotland and Norway in late WWI after already establishing one against submarines in the Strait of Dover. The German minefields between Estonia and Finland in 1942-1944 also fit.


(4) This fits to Royal navy actions in the Eastern Mediterranean 1940/1941, and also to the American submarine campaign against Japan in 1943-1945.

(5) This is exemplified by the Royal Navy hunting groups for German commerce raiders in 1914 and in 1939-1941. The anti-submarine hunting groups in the Bay of Biscay in 1944 do also fit.

(6) Convoys were widely used, examples were the Spanish Silver fleets of the 16th and 17th century and naval convoying in late WWI and WW2.


 (7) coastal defences all around the world, Soviet naval "bastions"

 - - - - -

There are actually at least two more stages (or options). They just don't quite fit into the scenario, but I shall add them as #8 and #9:

The eighth option is to shadow attacker's forces as they leave port and go on a patrol. This is mostly feasible during peacetime (today's SSNs trying to shadow SSBNs, "fishing boats" shadowing surface warships) and becomes important at the start of hostilities, but it also happened to the Bismarck during wartime when inferior but fast enough British cruisers attempted to keep track of its course till battleships or carriers could engage it. The attacker side can also use this, example being the German submarines shadowing a convoy as "Fühlunghalter" in wolfpack tactics.This could be re-interpreted as a possible action of a defender against an invasion fleet

The ninth option is to cause harm to infrastructure so the attacker's forces could not operate well. This would be possible by damaging or blocking canals, but also by going after replenishment ships in addition to countering the raiders themselves directly. This happened to German replenishment ships in 1940-1942, and also to German refuelling submarines in the Atlantic during WW2.

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The ninth option makes it obvious that all of this could just as well be applied to land warfare. Let's look at examples from the land domain:

(1) Allied air attacks on German armament industry in 1943-1945

(2) Artillery strikes on marshalling areas before frontline breakthrough operations. This was a huge thing in WW2 and often caused more casualties than the much shorter duration breakthrough operation itself.

(3) A static frontline with field fortifications, or a siege army besieging a fortress

(4) Counter-reconnaissance ambushes and patrols, mobile land warfare

(5) I mentioned an example of such defensive efforts here

(6) Protected land convoys in Indochina/Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Actually the Romans already lost legions in escort duty for food resupply convoys against the Parthians

(7) Security efforts at important bridges, at airbases, headquarters, mountain passes before they're part of a front line

(8) Mostly done by guerillas

(9) Scorched earth tactics including the burning of Moscow, destruction of rail lines, blowing up bridges or cratering of roads at bottlenecks with explosives during a withdrawal

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I mentioned that the model will be applicable to practically all warfare, so here are examples from the air war domain as well:

(1) Allied air attacks on German and Japanese aviation industry in WW2

(2) Air attacks on airbases; Battle of Britain, Pearl Harbour, Six Days War

(3) Kammhuber Line, British heavy anti-air artillery dispositions in Kent until the V1 attacks, NATO's SAM belt of the mid and late Cold War in Germany

Kammhuber line - German night air defences WW2

(4) combat air patrols

(5) OK, this one is not  a very good case for historical analogies because aircraft have little endurance and extensive patrolling is thus difficult. The Fernnachtjagd of WW2 comes to mind, though. German nightfighters without radar flew offensive combat air patrols over Southeast England around 1941 to shoot down returning British night bombers.This does thus not quite fit into #3 or #4, as they targeted returning bombers. It's not a perfect match because the activity was close to the base.

(6) Civilian aircraft were as far as I know never escorted by fighters, but convoying has very much been used to protect bombers and support aircraft, from escorted photo reconnaissance aircraft of WWI to bombers through most of WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War and Iraq Wars.

(7) Point air defences, such as for airports or capitals (Baghdad, Berlin in WW2 and Moscow in Cold War were extremely well-protected with rings of air defences)

Mosocw air defence rings as of 1965 per CIA
 

(8) Shadowing was used against American bombers in 1943/44 to help track the bomber fleets over Germany.

(9) Attack on support aircraft (tankers, electronic warfare, reconnaissance), energy/physical attack on satellites and their signals

- - - - -

Let's now name the nine options with all three domains and much of history in mind:

  1. Economic attack
  2. Base strike
  3. Cordoning
  4. Mobile warfare
  5. Hunting patrols
  6. Convoying
  7. Secured zones
  8. Shadowing
  9. Infrastructure attack

- - - - - 

One final word before the summary lines: There is a 10th option. This option is to NOT counter the threat ("10. Enduring the problem"), but to endure it as the lesser evil compared to the effort of countering it. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is and always was an option. I mentioned an example here regarding the non-necessity of ASW for the Italian Navy.

One could also come to the conclusion that all the craze post-9/11 did hurt the West A LOT more than the attack itself. Maybe doing nothing in return would have been suboptimal, but the very thought of choosing to NOT do something might have been a helpful thought and kept the West from harming itself in a myriad of ways.

- - - - -

These abstract nine options of countering a threat of specific geographic origin were thus shown to be very much applicable to the warfare domains of sea, air and land. They were observable through much of history.

Part II will cover some lessons that can be easily seen and drawn from this nine options/stages model.

S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

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