Afghanistan – are we fighting intelligently enough?

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by WildGoose, Mar 3, 2009.

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  1. Gentlemen,

    Whilst we are getting ourselves into a fair few ding dongs with Jonny Taliban, are we using our brains enough? Whilst our campaign planning has improved immensely with a good emphasis on reconstruction and development, are we getting it right at the sharp end? My own criticisms would include:

    Over reliance on FOBs – secure and easy for admin, but fixes us to a location and allows Jonny Taliban to easily track our movements.

    Over reliance on OS – makes us feel great, but we would have never have JDAM’d an IRA ambush in South Armagh so why do we do it against 2/3 firing points in Afghanistan?

    Winning the fire fight with weight of fire not finesse – instead of blatting off from obvious firing points with all our MGs, would we not be better using sharp shooters from concealed firing points?

    Poor use of the night – there is a tendency to hunker down at night. Yes it is shit scary, but we have better capabilities than them and should use this to take the initiative.

    Your thoughts?

    WG
     
  2. I'm clearly not an Infanteer, but a few questions.

    How do you plan on keeping a footprint on the ground and therefore attempt to dominate an area?

    Is it an over reliance, or an aid to battle? If it prevents friendly casualties whats the problem?

    I don't understand how you can compare NI and Afghanistan.

    I thought that winning the firefight was about putting down a massive weight of fire. Can an Infanteer please enlighten me.

    Also if the Taliban know they are going to walk into a Maelstrom then they are more reluctant to do it in future and hence the reason why there are less contacts and the taliban have shifted tactics to use more IEDs.

    The problem is the Taliban are not an easily identifiable enemy, when they are not firing at you they become another one of the population, therefore if they are not playing at night then there is not much you can do to take them on.

    As I said at the top, I am not an Infanteer and not had the luxury of Afghan.
     
  3. Having fed the 2 posts on the topic so far, I have to agree with some of the comments that Dingerr has made. Afghanistan is not a conventional war but an insurgency. Previous reporting has shown that the Taleban will not enage with ISAF/CF when they know that they don't have the upper hand and all this from an enemy whose main fighting troops are $10 Taleban (those who fancy a change from their normal daily existence and fancy getting some rounds off).

    In a country with a porous border and where difficulty arises from seperating Mr TB from Mr Farmer, there is no easy 'war fighting' solution.

    For an insurgency to work, it needs the support of the people. Maybe that should be the focus and maybe ISAF should adopt a robust 'hearts and minds' programme.

    By posting this, I may have left myself open for criticism but hopefully, it will be constructive.
     
  4. Gentlemen,

    in response:

    FOBs - yes we need them, but we don't need to keep scurrying back to them. We need to extend the duration of our patrols to successfully dominate the ground. We need to make sure the Taliban are uncertain as to where we are and in what in what strength. This we rarely do.

    OS - my point about South Armagh was proportionality. Every time we drop a huge bomb we destroy a lot more than the 2/3 firing points targeted. Casualty rates in South Armagh were just as a high as in Afghanistan, yet by reacting propotionally we successfully defeated the insurgency without resorting to destroying the country.

    Firefight - inaccurate heavy fire whilst of comfort to the soldier is a waste of ammo and ineffective in winning the firefight.

    Night - the Taliban work extensively at night. When do you think they plant most of their IEDs?

    WG
     
  5. Not comparing NI to Afghan, but have wondered about the use of 'speculative' ambush's we put in every night in South armagh, be it one of the major rail bridges there, Kilnasagart, Grant , Ardavoyle etc, border crossing roads, come-on ambushs on a set up basha position. For hours expended, results were very low, but we dominated key areas and kept the local ASU's on their toes. Cousin has recently returned from Afghan and these sort of ops are not carried out, almost seems like patrol-to-contact.
    For extended ops on foot in a hot dusty place, see OP Storm in the Oman in the 1970's.
     
  6. WildGoose, speaking from experience of actually being out on the ground in Helmand, I feel I can add a bit of counterweight to your points. I agree with what you are saying in the most part, however....First off, Ive done more ground dominating patrols and related operations than I can remember and in the most part they do achieve the aim, but as is ALWAYS the case, we don't have enough troops to keep up the ammount of patrols required to have a lasting effect and reassure the locals in the area that we are there to stay, we may dominate a certain area for a few weeks, then be tasked to carry out some other objective, 5ks in the opposite direction. In the interim, the enemy moves back into the ground that we had been patrolling, intimidates the sh*t out of the locals and plants IED all over the show. So what has been achieved? Also bear in mind the logistics of these 'longer' patrols, think about water, batteries, re-supply, very difficult to execute, the further you are from a FOB or friendly callsign, With regards to deception etc, the Taliban will know your whereabouts wherever you may be, regardless if you leave at night etc, all it takes is one kid to spot you and then the whole village and therefore the enemy is in the know. I could ramble on about weight of fire etc but its not really going to prove or disprove anything, we must continue to adapt and overcome where we can, we learn valuable lessons on the ground every single day out there. I believe there is reason for optimism, but that's my own personal feeling on the matter! :)
     

  7. Not sure this is entirely true. 5 to 10 (or more) KIA in six months is pretty typical for a Bn deploying to AFG, probably unusual for South Armagh, even during the worst times?

    As to whether we really "defeated the insurgency", perhaps that's a subject for another thread...
     
  8. Maybe.. But I reckon the Yanks will show us how to fight intelligently soon enough :D

    Not technically destroying the country, as it has been in ruins for over a hundred years. We and the taliban are just preventing the rebuilding efforts...
     
  9. Let us not let time dull the reality of what hapend in NI

    In the 38-year Operation Banner, which ended in 2007, 763 servicemen and women were killed as a direct result of terrorism. It is estimated that the true total, including car crashes, suicides and friendly fire, stands at more than 1,300. More than 6,000 were wounded, some of them permanently disabled.

    At the height of the Troubles in 1972 there were 27,000 British troops based in Ulster compared to 8,000 in Afghanistan and 4,000 in Iraq today. It was also the worst year for casualties with 102 soldiers killed.

    No requirement for speculative ambushes if you can advance to contact and win the fir fight on a regular baisis.

    Dave
     
  10. There has been much comment about requiring more troops on the ground.

    One of the problems is that each formation in theatre (BG or Bde) is only permitted a limited number of people. Of course a Bde Comd would love this to be all bayonets, but this simply is not possible. It does appear though that the tail is starting to wag the dog.

    Areas should be looked at to reduce the number of support personnel in order to increase the amount of bayonets.

    Example: Wedge CMD teams consist of 4 personnel, by their own admittance two don't really do anything and are not required. If they are called to deal with a munition and discover it is an IED, then they have to call in ATO, who could have dealt with any munitions in the first place.

    The mission suffers because of the arrogance of some of the RE in the EOD role.

    Even better would be that the C/S on the ground could deal with any munitions that they come across. The added bonus being that the C/S on the ground are not tied down waiting for assistance.
     
  11. not being conversant with types of EOD in afghanistan and obviously not wanting to discuss them here, is it beyond the capability of assault pioneers to deal with them when they are discovered ?, or without sounding derogatory is it beyond their ability ?
     
  12. Anyone who uses ammunition on the ranges must have someone suitably qualified to dispose of blinds.

    With regard to principles of disposal, there is no difference with disposing of single munitions in theatre, they are just munitions that the Infanteer might not be conversant with.

    When a munition or suspicious item is found a level of confirmation has to be done before the relevant agency is called in. Providing that the level of confirmation ensures that the munition is not part of an IED I can see no reason why the callsign on the ground cannot deal with it.
     
  13. :D And I ain't biting dingerr ;P
     
  14. It wasn't there for you to bite. Nothing I have mentioned is untrue and inaccurate.

    Most RE provide invaluable support. Someone just needs to get a grip of the RE EOD clowns.
     
  15. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    I would be interested to know if we have enough tactical mobility in theatre both ground and air, are we a bit predictable?

    Ref RE v RLC EOD isn't it about time we sorted out who did what because this smacks of pointless turf war