A high-end conventional land warfare doctrine (III)

Now let's imagine the *evil* Russians launch the Great Patriotic War 2nd Edition for Re-unification of the motherland and invade the Baltics. There's little or no other justification for Western European land forces spending at high levels, so it's my go-to scenario
The invaders would have an initial advantage of surprise and quickly overrun the Baltics and the Polish garrisons close to Kaliningrad Oblast, but the militias would activate largely unscathed. The Polish would panic and mass remaining regular army troops close to their capital Warsaw plus a delaying force between Warsaw and Belarus. 
The German army could respond in force the quickest (if prepared!) due to geography. Pontoon bridging would bridge the Oder and Vistula, bypassing busted bridges. Six German brigades would deploy near full strength within few days together with one raider regiment, one Fernspäher regiment, a few brigades from the Czech Republic, Hungary, the U.S. and some all-wheeled French formations. The German corps would at first set up its forward support group part North of Warsaw and its rear one inside or Southwest of it. The battalion battlegroups would establish something of a line to check the invader advance, and the heavy skirmishing would commence where infiltrations could be executed at reasonable risks. The raiders would dash forward through further gaps they had to find themselves while Fernspäher teams peel off from their convoys east of the Baltic allies' territories to go into observation posts. Kaliningrad Oblast would be cut off for capture by later reinforcements. Raiders would set afire airbases, petrochemical and chemical industries and airports as far away as Moscow, and raid many high value targets including long-range jammers that target NATO electronic support aircraft and satellites. They would also become an integral part of the air war effort of dismantling Russian fighter and area air defence capabilities enough for the arriving NATO air power to intervene with almost full power aqnd without a lengthy DEAD (destruction of enemy air defences) campaign. 
Russian formations in the Baltics have to face destruction in very lopsided clashes or withdraw once disadvantaged by their moving pocket status, encircled by light and heavy skirmishers. Their air defences and reconnaissance assets wither away under the skirmishers' harassment and progressing constriction. 

Yes, Russia could threaten with tactical nukes in an attempt to deter a liberation of the Baltics, but there would be hardly any targets as even the corps-level support group clusters are dispersed in a 20x20 km area. It would take multiple 100+ kt TNTeq thermonuclear warheads to explode close to or over Warsaw to destroy it. That wouldn't be a tactical strike any more, it would risk escalation to major thermonuclear war. Even such a strike would not necessarily matter much, as the German corps support groups would soon be dwarfed anyway by what other allied forces arrive to take over.

The militias and the actions of the heavy skirmishers show that the invaders never really accomplished a total occupation of the Baltics . The spectacular actions of the raiders signalled to the Russian public that the conflict isn't under control of the Russian high command at all, and reinforcements from the Southern Military district necessarily get diverted to combat the raiders together with Russian Air Force's ground attack assets.
The German brigades can progressively switch all their manoeuvre elements to the heavy skirmishing role as more and more allied conventional brigades arrive to take over the more traditional non-skirmishing tasks.
There's no need to extend heavy skirmishing beyond the Baltic and Polish allies' territories, as the objective is to expel the invaders. The brigades would occasionally go a few kilometres past those territories, but their support groups would stay within, limiting the incursions into actual Russian territory to 40 km save for Fernspäher and the (quickly waning) Raider activities that constitute no gain of ground at all.

Finally, the German heavy skirmisher and raider units as well as the exhausted Fernspäher can be recalled and recover in theatre reserve as the area becomes so flooded with allied brigades that very different and rather brute force-ish operational art with emphasis on superior firepower including air support takes over till the expulsion of almost all invaders. The German brigades' support groups would switch to support allied ground combat units of less well-funded NATO/EU armies. Finally, there's a cease-fire that NATO can live with (Baltics 90+% liberated, including the Eastern borders). The occupied Kaliningrad Oblast gets traded back in exchange for still-occupied Iceland and Svalbard as by political decision.



A high end conventional land warfare doctrine (II)

To recollect, part I divided the theatre of land warfare into four successive areas:
  1. "rear" (blue) areas (say, Western Poland)
  2. militia-monitored areas with more or less harassment of invaders (say, Northeastern/Eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)
  3. "red" areas with Fernspäher surveillance at least at points of interest
  4. "red" areas with only satellite surveillance
Now it's about time to present the role for the heavier forces.
The "rear" areas would see supplies being moved by civilian logistics contractors with civilian vehicles. Civilian police would police the roads to manage refugee streams and try to keep the military traffic flowing. Rail bridges are certainly useless, and road bridges might be busted and replaced by pontoon bridging. Those pontoon bridges would have prioritization of traffic according to the needs of the war effort and would be defended by classic air defences and anti-ballistic missile point defences.

The militia-observed areas would be the terrain for mechanised brigade combat as NATO usually envisages it, but with an important distinction: Mechanised manoeuvre elements of about company size might operate both within and beyond the effective radius of the brigade support umbrella. 
The company-sized mechanised manoeuvre elements outside (too far forward of) the brigade support umbrella would be called "heavy skirmishers" and have a very much changed (skirmishing) mindset and repertoire. They would focus on the line of sight fight and act more as encircling, harassing, delaying and armoured recce force; Americans and military historians might term them "light cavalry". Their historical precedents do indeed reach back almost 2,000 years to Romano-Parthian wars, when light Parthian horse-archers caused great trouble to the by comparison sluggish Romans. The firefights of such heavy skirmishers would preferably hit non-combat troops hard, and the contacts with combat troops would be short but fierce in the best of NATO's ambushing delaying action tactic tradition.

These heavy skirmishers would turn opposing forces' battalion battlegroups and larger formations into constricted moving pockets. They're shaping the battlefield BEFORE our forces would be committed into decisive action in brigade(s) vs. brigade clashes. The intent is to disadvantage the invading opposing force to the point that its defeat in an eventual clash (preferably our pincer attack) with our formations of equal level is ensured before it happens. 

You're mistaken if this sounds defensive to you. The zone in which heavy skirmishers operate could be pushed forward, the heavy skirmisher forces would engulf then "defending" hostile brigades (or battlegroups) and turn them into (moving) pockets. This is possible becuase of an assumption that there's no defended front-line due to a low forces to area ratio.
The brigade-level support groups and their support umbrella could be pushed forward likewise. Opposing forces subjected to this treatment risk destruction if they advance too far or persist for too long, and their superiors would be tempted to order their withdrawal. 
At this point the land campaign could resemble the early 18th century manoeuvre of professional European armies which attempted to outmanoeuvre each other and capture ground (even fortresses) without decisive battle. You always need to still be capable of succeeding in pitched battle, and never fully trust the compelling effect of manoeuvre, of course.
You need much depth for such a doctrine, and "must-defend" locations within this depth (say, Warsaw) need to have rather stiff local defences to make this doctrine politically feasible.

The heavy skirmishers and some even farther forward operating raiders (previously described as armoured recce-ish) would also affect the air war. Helicopter forward operating bases and even air force airbases would not be safe from them, and the organic high effective ceiling air defence of the raider companies (or rather their support group) would endanger opposing airpower in areas it would otherwise deem safe (such as close to its airbases, or within their own area air defence range). 
The raiders would be a diversion and raiding/sabotaging, rarely ambushing force. Historical precedents include the Long Range Desert Group. It would use 14.5 mm B-32 bullet-proofed 6x6 motor vehicles with non-conspicuous tire profiles. The French wheeled AFV concepts come the closest to what I envisage. The main gun on most vehicles should be somewhat air target-capable, ranging from 40 mm CT up to 76 mm with 30+ rpm. The latter would render a dedicated self-propelled howitzer at raider company level unnecessary, as it could double as indirect fires weapon (it would rather lack multispectral smoke munitions, though). The raider platoons need some dismount strength to inspect bridges, clear buildings and so on, and these dismounts should be able to dismount quickly and get back into the vehicles quickly as well. Dismounting the AFV gunners or commanders does not suffice.

Finally, the support umbrella radius particularly of the brigade needs to be pointed out as an important input variable: These support umbrellas provide the light and heavy skirmishers with support (including artillery fires), and to a small degree also the Fernspäher and raiders (quasi-ballistic PGM range ~ 500 km). The ratio of forces to theatre of war area and the effective radius of the support umbrella (it would be about 40...80 km regardless of whether we use brigades or divisions) leads to my preference for brigades over divisions. We (NATO, EU) wouldn't have enough divisional-level umbrellas in the war zone in the first 14 days of a surprising war, but we could have enough equally-large brigade-level umbrellas in place.

The mobility and endurance of the vehicles used in the heavy skirmisher units as well as corps command's opinion on how much they'd need to move around would define the maximum reach of the heavy skirmishing forward of the brigade support groups and their supply drop-off points. The depth might be disappointing with today's AFVs. We might have 30...40 km ordinary under-umbrella manoeuvring plus maybe only 20...60 km of additional heavy skirmishing depth while rather 100...200 km of the latter would be desirable for full effect. Tanks with more compact main weapon munitions* and much more fuel for greater de facto endurance (enough for four days) would be preferable. An alternative is to use multicopter drones for resupply (120...150 kg payload), which would be another support umbrella capability. Their mission radius would likely be limited to dozens of km, so they wouldn't extend the skirmishing depth very much. This also shows why the heavy skirmishers need much anti-drone day & night ability even without autonomous killer drones coming into play; it could be essential for the encirclement effect.




*: I don't think going for 130 mm tank guns is a good idea. It's single-mindedly focused on APFSDS power. The aforementioned versatile 76 mm quick fire option would suffice for most purposes, and could be complemented by rocket launch tubes compatible with both HVM (a CKEM-like 130 mm APFSDS substitute) and powerful blast rockets (not FAE/thermobaric, for these would cover the minimum range of the HVM for AT purposes and FAE/thermobaric is unsuitable for this). 75 mm was understood to be the smallest highly effective HE calibre in WW2, and today's HE shells and fuzes are better. This is not just about hardware; it's about one's idea about what tanks are meant for.


Fall of Kabul imminent


Now with the Fall of Kabul imminent I'd like to explain it so far as I can (and there's always a chance that I'm wrong). I can simply quote a comment I wrote here a month ago to answer a question:

"The Taleban collapsed in 2001 not because of bombs but because of a cascade of desertions, local groups changing sides. The expectation was that at the very least the foreigners would take over the cities and the ring road like the Soviets did.
This is very likely what's happening now. The previously West-supported central government (basically the non-Pashtu factions) is likely collapsing without giving much of a fight because local allegiances switch again. Their troops were motivated by the foreign money, not by patriotism, faith or ideology.

This local allegiance thing is the whole reason for all that[junior officer]-level diplomacy that was done for decades with the elders of villages and such. The foreigners were trying to have such local factions on their side, and this effort has ended with obvious consequences.

Those few anti-Taleban forces that won't collapse (basically some narco warlord armies) will probably withdraw to some defensible section (IIRC they held a Northeastern valley by 2001) or to neighbouring countries other than Pakistan.

The mobile Taleban troops are very, very few compared to the astonishingly large population, but the very much armed population doesn't fight for its freedom from pseudo-theocrats, so they will lose it."

Was it wrong to withdraw? No. It's not our job to fight and pay for their freedom. The Taleban number about 0.1% of the Afghan population. It was easy-peazy to fight them off, if only the Afghans had attempted to. The Afghan society is dysfunctional and unable to maintain freedom, thus it's not going to live in freedom. (And "freedom" is really a loaded and perspective-dependent word anyway.)

You care about people being oppressed? Fine, tell me how many hours of the year you are exasperated about the hellhole dictatorship otherwise known as Eritrea!


The West sent troops into Afghanistan because there were some Pashtu-nationalist/pseudo-theocrats in power who maintained hospitality for a guy (died a decade ago) who paid and motivated some dudes (mostly Saudis) to kill Americans.

By all historical normal standards nothing more than a punitive expedition was inevitable. Toppling the Pashtu-nationalist/pseudo-theocrat regime was still within the range of normal. Establishing a government that was more friendly before leaving was also within the range of normalcy in the post-colonialism era. 

Staying there and declaring that nothing but the total elimination of the former hospitality-granters would suffice was deranged.

To keep doing it for two decades was total batshit crazy.

And now remember; elimination of the Taleban was impossible all along because they also existed in Pakistan, and Pakistan wasn't even put under serious pressure, ever. How could it be? It's de facto allied with the PRC (a UNSC veto power) and a nuclear-armed power itself.


So the sane thing would have been to leave Afghanistan by summer 2002 at the latest, and leaving the defence of the government to the warlord militias (which were worth a lot more than this 20-years-Western-trained Western-subsidised piece of shit racket known as Afghan National Army).

Now there's at least hope that Afghanistan will find peace after four decades of civil wars, albeit under the rules of Pashto tribal customs. So let's welcome the rapid fall of Kabul. The longer it takes to fall, the more the people of Kabul will suffer.

related (I consistently opposed the Afghanistan occupation bullshit):











A high end conventional land warfare doctrine (I)


I wrote before about the support group fractal, and I did so before writing this post because it provides an important quantitative foundation for this new series (evident in part II).


About 13 years ago I was thinking about how to replace the functions of the defended front-line that we saw during the world wars and the Korean War. I wrote about this issue here a couple times as well (see at bottom).

My first attempt to replace the front-line with a different concept replaced the front-line with a narrow (few dozen km) skirmishing corridor. This corridor would consist of few layers of areas assigned to individual platoons for surveillance and harassment (skirmishing). The stiff trench frontline of 1914/1915 had been replaced by an elastic defence by 1918 already, and this elastic defence that permitted an enemy advance by a few kilometres until the push reached a main line of (then stiff) resistance was already official German defence by the 1920's. I basically gave up on the stiff backbone, mechanised formations would instead manoeuvre against penetrations of the narrow skirmishing corridor. It's basically today's state of the doctrine in NATO plus this stability-giving narrow skirmishing corridor in the front. The all-mechanised forces seem too inefficient, too fragile, too quickly exhausted and too unreliable to me when they're not enjoying the functions of a front-line at all. It's like fencing without protection and parrying.

Infiltration and exfiltration through this narrow corridor were supposed to be observed, reported, costly and slowed-down by caution. The troops that would form this (movable) skirmishing corridor would be motorised infantry platoons, and these platoons ended up being conceptually so similar to the German-Austrian Jagdkommando/Jagdkampf concept that it seemed utterly non-original to me even though I had a different operational level* concept in mind. I called these "light skirmishers" and moved on to think about how skirmishing could be done with mechanised forces. I wrote about that here as well even before 2010, but more about that later.

My "light skirmisher" concept has long since been fused with the alternative non-nuclear, non-mechanised defence doctrines developed during the 1970's and early 1980's by Spanocchi, Simpkin and others. This means it's no more meant to be a narrow corridor manned by professional troops, but a few hundreds of kilometres wide skirmishing corridor manned by reservists. Again, they didn't seem all that original, but my intent was still a different one.

Imagine a militia in a country that's actually thinking of defending itself on its own soil, not just of defending its alliance away from home soil. Think Poland, Baltics, Romania (not so much Finland, its geography is too special). This militia would consist of territorially-specialised battalions of varying sizes (depending much on how many volunteers can be found in the region). The battalion would have little combat support, but a large quantity of light skirmisher platoons with a high degree of autonomy including quality long-range radios (beyond-the-horizon HF and satellite). This militia would serve as point security and river line surveillance forces until they become stay-behind forces that were bypassed by superior opposing forces. 

These stay-behind militia forces would not fight combat troops much, but they would harass support troops, raid forward bases (supply dumps, forward helicopter bases and so on), HQs, demolish bridges and so on. They might cause some direct damage and create a substantial diversion effect, but most of all they would maintain surveillance of the area and report changes to corps HQ. The last point alone would already shape the battlefield extremely in favour of the militia's side, as the invader would be at a grave disadvantage on the invaded soil.

A similar effect could be had with long range scouts / LRRP / Fernspäher beyond the friendly territory or in very low population density areas and in forward areas where they militia fails to maintain satisfactory surveillance. The surveillance of less stressful locations can even be used in a rotation so the Fernspäher specialists (NOT gold-plated special forces-ish B.S.**) aren't in the most stressful locations for weeks.

So this is the first basic way to divide the theatre of land warfare:

  1. "rear" areas (say, Western Poland)
  2. indigenous militia-monitored areas with more or less harassment of invaders (say, Northeastern/Eastern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)
    • militia acting as security&surveillance forces
    • militia acting as guerilla&surveillance forces when bypassed by OPFOR
  3. "red" areas with Fernspäher surveillance at least at points of interest
  4. "red" areas with only satellite surveillance

Part II will cover the manoeuvre, heavy skirmishing and raiding forces and how the support groups particularly at brigade and corps level influence geographic deployment.






*:  For the purpose of this blog post think "thinking at the corps level".

**: No adventure vacation bullshit like helicopters, kayaks or parachuting. Movement by rather civilian-looking 4x4 vehicle to within few km of the objective, hiding the car, nighttime movement to establish observation and hiding posts, surveillance for days, then everything backwards. Most movement in car would be done together with a relatively combat-worthy armoured recce-ish unit that's infiltrating or exfiltrating itself. The surveillance teams would peel off from an infiltrating armoured recce convoy, later join an exfiltrating one. These surveillance teams would be active duty troops, but not special forces.



Link dump August 2021


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My estimate stands at 5...20% dangerous idiots, and this includes more than just psychopaths/sociopaths. There are also narcissists, plain stupid people who don't know about their condition, fearful pussies/hateful people and people who have a totally broken bullshit detector or never had one. 
Societies need to keep dangerous idiots away from extraordinary power. Let them vote, but don't vote for them!
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Yeah, right, that's EXACTLY what we needed. More stupid people
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This makes sense for the export market the way the Gripen made/makes sense, but I suspect that a lack of tail radar and DIRCM will limit its effectiveness greatly compared to Su-57. It's unlikely to match the older F-35 in versatility (no ground attack IIR visible, likely much smaller internal weapons capacity, likely much less investment in development). It might also turn out to be an unmanned wingman drone for Su-57s in Russian service.

Export markets could include CIS countries, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and the smaller Persian Gulf kleptocracies.

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It's not worthy of a separate blog post, but I'd like to point out that the Würzburg knife attack incident was a bit strange. I failed at my quest to find a list of names of people who faced the attacker instead of running, but I found photos and videos. Those photos and videos appear to be sexist, for every single person who faced the "knife"-armed attacker seemed to be superficially identifiable as a man. I read of women running to businesses for safety, and of men arming themselves with everyday items, keeping the (apparently crazy, not religious) attacker in check till the police arrived. The police shot once at his leg. (They did not shoot 17 rounds centre mass - and guess what? Shooting the leg once did work just fine! There's no death penalty in Germany, so killing cannot be the objective or considered appropriate if it's avoidable without further harm to others. Dead people are furthermore poor for interrogations.) I haven't found anything about who shot, but count me sexist-biased for thinking it was a man, too.

The ancient and possibly hard-wired predispositions and behaviour patterns may be a lot more relevant (and at times useful) than the talk about genders of the past 10+ years made believe.

And to the anon reader who keeps insisting that we're all mentally too soft for true soldiering nowadays: This should kick off a re-evaluation.

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 I think they missed the right weight class. Payload should be enough for casualty evacuation (if not moving mountain infantry from ridge line to ridge line at 2,000+ m altitude).

compare /2017/09/combat-resupply.html

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That's even worse, for this way there'd be little hope of return to less idiot-rich times.

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So this is clarified, then. You see zombies, u kill 'em.

The true zombies (also these) are very different and do very real damage, of course.

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[German] vice.com/de/article/4avx83/agentur-fazze-youtuber-lugen-uber-impfung-sputnik-v

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[German] twitter.com/useronline1/status/1414207597608116224

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[German] t-online.de/nachrichten/id_90430104/die-skandale-von-armin-laschet-das-ende-des-teflon-kandidaten.html

Kurz gesagt; die etablierten Medien haben ihn lange davor geschützt, dass mehr CDU-Wähler merken, wie katastrophal er ist. Sie sind aber vor kurzem noch lebhaft auf den Zug der völlig offensichtlichen Springer-Schmierenkampagne gegen Baerbock aufgesprungen.

[German] t-online.de/nachrichten/deutschland/bundestagswahl/id_90576062/die-gruenen-saar-landesverband-bleibt-von-bundestagswahl-ausgeschlossen.html

Unterdessen offenbahren die Grünen sich mal wieder als undemokratische weil sexistisch-diskriminierende Partei. Artikel 21 Grundgesetz verlangt von Parteien, dass sie innerlich demokratisch sind. CDU, CSU, SPD und FDP sind das auch nur teilweise (Abnickvereine, bei denen z.B. die Führungsebene beschließt, wer Spitzenkandidat wird), aber sie sind nicht so plump-blöd-offensichtlich undemokratisch wie die Grünen.

Von den Interna der Linken habe ich keine Ahnung. Die Rechtsradikalen sind immer noch keine wirklich funktionierende Partei, da kann man mit einer Beurteilung wohl nochmal fünf Jahre warten.

Nebenbei, ich hoffe auf eine Ampelkoalition (nicht weil ich die Wirtschaftslobbyistenpartei oder die Verräterpartei oder die andere Verräterpartei mögen würde, sondern weil unbedingt der schwarze Totalstopp-Bremsklotz weg muss). https://www.wahlrecht.de/umfragen/