Israeli training for urban combat.

Particularly interesting how that report touched on at least 3 major evolutions in IDF tactical doctrine in the period since we went into Iraq.
 
Whereas we (Nato) can choose to go to war or not, the IDF has no choice, the war comes to them. Therefore staying ahead of the game is vital, vital to survival of the nation.
 
Whereas we (Nato) can choose to go to war or not, the IDF has no choice, the war comes to them. Therefore staying ahead of the game is vital, vital to survival of the nation.
Can we?

Always?

And WTF happens when we choose to go to a fight when we aren't ahead of the game . . . .

err . . . . sorry . . I don't even know why I asked the question . . . we just did that, twice, and look how well that has worked out for everybody concerned . . .
 
I was reading a piece about the Merkeva IV, as excellent as it is it appears unsuitable to OBUA, but then what MBT's are?

It surprises me that Israel don't have more OBUA hardware.
 
I was reading a piece about the Merkeva IV, as excellent as it is it appears unsuitable to OBUA, but then what MBT's are?

It surprises me that Israel don't have more OBUA hardware.
My instinctive response was 'such as?'

Then I stopped and thunk, a bit, and found I still want an answer to the same question.
 
The Russians and Germans already had this down in Stalingrad:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1848325657/?tag=armrumser-20
The weird thing about the Germans is that despite having had advisors observing and in many cases planning urban warfare in Spain and China, they went into WW2 with extremely limited doctrine for fighting in urban areas. They don't seem to have learned anything from their own people's experience.
 
My instinctive response was 'such as?'

Then I stopped and thunk, a bit, and found I still want an answer to the same question.
It's a bit of a tough one but in relation to the Merkeva how about a mobile close-support artillery platform? An infantry support tank has a different balance of mobility, firepower and protection from a cavalry vehicle.
 
My instinctive response was 'such as?'

Then I stopped and thunk, a bit, and found I still want an answer to the same question.
I don't know, I'll leave that open to the floor.
 

Dwarf

LE
The weird thing about the Germans is that despite having had advisors observing and in many cases planning urban warfare in Spain and China, they went into WW2 with extremely limited doctrine for fighting in urban areas. They don't seem to have learned anything from their own people's experience.
But as always happens you plan for a war that you assume will happen, and then stuff happens. They planned for a drive through France and then long drives across the Steppes avoiding the BUAs. Stalingrad as such wasn't on the menu and if it hadn't been for Adolph's insistance they would have pulled out and in all probability given the Russians a twatting. So what do you train for?

Interestingly a comment from a mate also a Cold War Warrior which sheds light on how the Boxheads think; " Leopard tank, as told to me by ex Wehrmacht tank commander at OffizierSchulendesHeeres in Hanover. M60, too big, too slow, poor gun; Chieftain, good armour, good gun, good defensive tank; Leopard, light armour gun okay, fast but excellent on marshy ground. We asked why marshy ground as not much in Europe. His reply "not Europe, Russia" Mmm, cannot quite get out of the system."
 

Dwarf

LE
I don't know, I'll leave that open to the floor.
I know tanks are not really urban warfare beasts but doesn't the Merkava have a compartment to carry a section of infantry, or have I read wrong? Certainly on the approach I could see the advantages, especially if they have to cover the open desert ground in that video clip, and as fire support in the initial entries.

Thinking about it in general terms, because I am not exactly up to date and fully aware of it. Does any country have vehicles that would not be vulnerable in streets, especially the close-in houses found in the Mediteranean?
What about armoured bull-dozers as a tool?
Living in the Med, though in the up till now peaceful part, I see the BUAs as a nightmare to fight through with houses close together, limited fields of fire. Vehicles would be vulnerable though A/T weapons also have limited fields of fire. Old city centres have stone built houses with thick walls which are difficult to mousehole. I have often thought that the best way would be roof to roof and work downwards. Can't see vehicles helping much there.
I think there is a need for more infantry in the mix. As Israel seems to have put aside the idea of going country to country for the moment it will be interesting to see if they make changes in their orbats.
 
At $45m the town would have cost more than a real Arab town.
Just like Sennelager's "Killymurphy".
But why is "mouseholing" such a strange concept to them? They already have US advisors.

Good on them, if thats what it takes.
Just today Israels opposition parties were supporting a ground offensive if needs be.

When will the Rags learn, Israel will do whatever it takes to ensure it survival.
 
The weird thing about the Germans is that despite having had advisors observing and in many cases planning urban warfare in Spain and China, they went into WW2 with extremely limited doctrine for fighting in urban areas. They don't seem to have learned anything from their own people's experience.
Many, many years ago I did FIBUA training with the Bundeswehr, one of their instructors told me that Stalingrad amongst others was a steep learning curve. The problem at the time had at least 2 causes, one the German General Staff had not originally reckoned on a war starting before the early 40s, they simply weren't equipped or prepared in 39. Barbarossa was something of a surprise and it was initially thought that German forces would simply roll up the Soviet forces and end it all quite quickly. Getting bogged down in the cities just wasn't part of the plan. Still that's what comes of having an Obergefreiter* running the show.

* That's not even Cpl.
 
. We asked why marshy ground as not much in Europe. His reply "not Europe, Russia" Mmm, cannot quite get out of the system."
Don't forget that up until 1990 The Russians were on their doorstep.
He wasn't alone in his style of thinking, in 1980 my boss was a German Lt Col, he used to say " next time we go all the way to Moscow". Er without me!
 
Note the Tavor-equipped soldiers in that clip. The Tavor is designed for what they think they'll need. Not much range, but neat and handy in a confined space.

One of the urban drills they do is to give a young soldier a route out of an urban area, take his mags off him, and tell him he has become separated from his squad, has run out of ammo, and has to E&E out of the area.

I can't think of anything more frightening. It basically revolves around the use of the empty weapon as a close-combat blunt instrument against people who are trying to capture you alive. Like most other IDF drills, it has come from some poor sucker having had to try it for real.
 

ACAB

LE
Living in the Med, though in the up till now peaceful part, I see the BUAs as a nightmare to fight through with houses close together, limited fields of fire. Vehicles would be vulnerable though A/T weapons also have limited fields of fire. Old city centres have stone built houses with thick walls which are difficult to mousehole. I have often thought that the best way would be roof to roof and work downwards. Can't see vehicles helping much there.
I think there is a need for more infantry in the mix.
But isn't that how we used to do FIBUA (or OBUA) in the good old days training for the Soviet Hordes?

As far as TELIC and HERRICK go it seems BANNER was the bible. It wasn't, BANNER was simply an exercise in allowing your soldiers to act as mobile Figure 11s for a terrorist organisation when the real work, involving the SF went on behind the lines. How the fuck that was allowed to become a template for TELIC at least, is beyond me.
 
IIRC Beevor's Stalingrad mentioned a specialist German urban fighting unit which came to Stalingrad especially to capture the city and they used the technique of blowing holes in the walls to manoeuvre and avoided the main streets - hence the term the War of the Rats coming about.



Beevor, Antony. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege. Penguin Putnam Inc. NY 1998.


Fighting in Stalingrad itself could not have been more different. It represented a new form of warfare, concentrated in the ruins of civilian life. The detritus of war - burnt-out tanks, shell cases, signal wire and grenade boxes - was mixed with the wreckage of family homes - iron bedsteads, lamps and household utensils. Vasily Grossman wrote of the ‘fighting in the brick-stewn, half-demolished rooms and corridors’ of apartment blocks, where there might still be a vase of withered flowers, or a boy’s homework open on the table. In an observation post, high in a ruined building, an artillery spotter with a periscope might watch for targets through a convenient shellhole in the wall, seated on a kitchen chair.

German infantrymen loathed house-to-house fighting. They found such close-quarter combat, which broke conventional military boundaries and dimensions, psychologically disorientating. During the last phase of the September battles, both sides had struggled to take a large brick warehouse on the Volga bank, near the mouth of the Tsaritsa, which had four floors on the river side and three on the landward. At one point, it was ‘like a layered cake’ with German on the top floor, Russians below them, and more Germans underneath them. Often an enemy was unrecognizable, with every uniform impregnated by the same dun-coloured dust.

German generals do not seem to have imagined that awaited their divisions in the ruined city. They lost their great Blitzkrieg advantages and were in many ways thrown back to First World War techniques, even though their military theorists had argued that trench warfare had been ‘an aberration in the art of war’. The Sixth Army, for example, found itself having to respond to Soviet tactics by reinventing the ‘storm-wedges’ introduced in January 1918: assault groups of ten men armed with a machine-gun, light mortar and flame-throwers for clearing bunkers , cellars and sewers.

In its way, the fighting in Stalingrad was even more terrifying than the impersonal slaughter at Verdun. The close-quarter combat in ruined buildings, bunkers, cellars and sewers was soon dubbed ‘Rattenkrieg’ by German soldiers. It possessed a savage intimacy which appalled their generals, who felt that they were rapidly losing control over events. ‘The enemy is invisible,’ wrote General Strecker to a friend. ‘Ambushes out of basements, wall remnants, hidden bunkers and factory ruins produce heavy casualties among our troops.’

German commanders openly admitted the Russian expertise at camouflage, but few acknowledged that it was their aircraft which had produced the ideal conditions for the defenders. ‘Not a house is left standing,’ a lieutenant wrote home, ‘there is only a burnt-out wasteland, a wilderness of rubble and ruins which is well-nigh impassable.’ At the southern end of the city, the Luftwaffe liaison officer with 24th Panzer Division wrote: ‘The defenders have concentrated and fortified themselves in the sections of the town facing our attacks. In parkland, there are tanks or just tank turrets dug-in, and anti-tank guns concealed in the cellars make it very hard going for our advancing tanks.’

Chuikov’s plan was to funnel and fragment German mass assaults with ‘breakwaters’. Strengthened buildings, manned by infantry with anti-tank rifles and machine-guns, would deflect the attackers into channels where camouflaged T-34 tanks and anti-tank guns waited, half-buried in the rubble behind. When German tanks attacked with infantry, the defenders’ main priority was to separate them. The Russians used trench mortars, aiming to drop their bombs just behind the tanks to scare off the infantry while the anti-tank gunners went for the tanks themselves. The channeled approaches would also be mined in advance by sappers, whose casualty rate was the highest of any specialization. ‘Make a mistake and no more dinners’ was their unofficial motto. Wearing camouflage suits, once the snow came, they crawled out at night to lay anti-tank mines and conceal them. An experiences sapper could lay up to thirty a night. They were also renowned for running out form cover to drop a mine in front of a German tank as it advanced.

Much of the fighting consisted not of major attacks, but of relentless, lethal little conflicts. The battle was fought by assault squads, generally six or eight strong, form ‘the Stalingrad Academy of Street Fighting’. They armed themselves with knives and sharpened spades for silent killing, as well as sub-machine-guns and grenades. (Spades were in such short suply, that men carved their names in the handle and slept with their head on the blade to make that nobody stole it.) The assault squads sent into the sewers were strengthened with flame-throwers and sappers brining explosive charges. Six sappers from Rodimtsev’s guards division even managed to find a shaft under a German stronghold and blew it up, using 300 pounds of explosive.

A more general tactic evolved, based on the realization that the German armies were short of reserves. Chuikov ordered an emphasis on night attacks, mainly for the practical reason that the Luftwaffe could not rect to them, but also because he was convinced that the Germans were more frightened during the hours of darkness, and would become exhausted. The German Landser came to harbour a special fear of the Siberians from Colonel Batyuk’s 284th Rifle Division, who were considered to be natural hunters of any sort of prey. ‘If only you could understand what terror is,’ a German soldier wrote in a letter captured by the Russians. ‘At the slightest rustle, I pull the trigger and fire off tracer bullets in bursts from the machine-gun.’ The compulsion to shoot at anything that moved at night, often setting off fusillades from equally nervous sentries down a whole sector, undoubtedly contributed to the German expenditure of over 25 million rounds during the month of September alone. The Russians also kept up the tension by firing flares into the night sky from time to time to give the impression of an imminent attack. Red Army aviation, partly to avoid the Messerschmitts by day, kept up a relentless series of raids every night on German positions. It also served as another part of the wearing-down process to exhaust the Germans and stretch their nerves. (pp 148-150)

Chuikov soon recognized that the key infantry weapons in Stalingrad would be the sub-machine-gun, the grenade and the sniper’s rifle. After the Winter War, following the devastating attacks of Finnish ski troops, shooting on the move, the Red Army accepted the idea of sub-machine-gun squads of eight men, designed to be carried into battle if necessary on the back of a T-34. In Stalingrad street-fighting, this size of squad proved ideal for close-quarter fighting. During house- and bunker-clearing, the hand grenade proved essential. Red Army soldiers called it their ‘pocket artillery’. It was also effective in defence. On Chuikov’s orders, grenades were stocked ready to hand in recesses dug into the side of every trench. Not surprisingly, there were many accidents caused by untrained soldiers. The second-in-command of a company was killed and several men were badly wounded when a newly arrived recruit mishandled a grenade. Others were killed when soldiers, mainly from Central Asia, tried to fit captured German detonators in their own grenades. ‘Further weapon training is needed,’ the chief of the political department reported to the military council of Stalingrad Front.

Another weapon, often as dangerous to the user as to its intended victims, was the flame-thrower, which was effectively terrifying when clearing sewer tunnels, cellars and inaccessible hiding places. The operator knew that as soon as the enemy sighted him, he would be the first target for their bullets.

Red Army soldiers enjoyed inventing gadgets to kill Germans. New booby traps were dreamed up, each seemingly more ingenious and unpredictable in its results than the last. Angered at their inability to fight back against the Stuka attacks, Captain Ilgachkin, a battalion commander, decided with one of his soldiers, Private Repa, to construct their own form of anti-aircraft gun. They fastened an anti-tank rifle to the spokes of a cartwheel which in turn was mounted on a tall stake driven into the ground. Ilgachkin made complicated calculations on the basis of the gun’s muzzle velocity, and the estimated speed of a diving aircraft, but whether ‘the gaunt and melancholy’ Repa paid much attention to these figures is another matter. In any case their contraption achieved a certain success, with Repa managing to bring down three Stukas.

The real anti-aircraft batteries also amended their tactics. The Stukas came over at an altitude of between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, then half-rolled to drop into a dive at an angle of about seventy degrees, their siren screaming. They came out of the dive at just under 2,000 feet. Anti-aircraft gunners learned to put up a curtain of fire to hit them either at the point of going into the dive, or at the point of coming out. Shooting at them on the way down was a waste of ammunition.
 
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I know tanks are not really urban warfare beasts but doesn't the Merkava have a compartment to carry a section of infantry, or have I read wrong? Certainly on the approach I could see the advantages, especially if they have to cover the open desert ground in that video clip, and as fire support in the initial entries.
It's not big enough for an infantry section (at least, not without stripping out all the ammo). They've got a Heavy APC (I.e. Tank levels of protection, based on the Merkava chassis) called Namer for that, although they've used other vehicles in the past - captured T-55 in one case.

AIUI one of the design drivers for Merkava was the need to replen and evacuate the tank safely. Getting casualties out, and ammo in, without having to lift it all through holes on the top of the wagon, possibly while under fire. It also meant they could carry the crew of another (disabled) tank.

Another was the difficulty of getting A1 Ech forward in the middle of a battle; if you read up on the fighting against the Syrians for the Golan Heights, they couldn't afford to pull the tanks back. So, they wanted the volume to cram in as much main armament ammo as possible, below the turret ring.
 
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Did read somewhere that the Izzies were awfully keen on the Chieftan at one stage after getting v.good use out of their Centurions but were told to piss off by HMG at the time and then went on to develop the Merkava.
 

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