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LongLeftFlank

MOUT and urban counterinsurgency (and CM)

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Jeez...  Even the official admission of 44% is terrible. 

Since the main reason for western intervention in Afghanistan over the centuries has been to stop the Russians (and now Chinese) outflanking Pakistan to acquire ports on the gulf, and to get access to oilfields in Central Asia, and given the west's history of success in this endeavor, maybe just let the Chinese in with our blessing and let them sort it out (heh).  

There is nothing like overstretching an empire that is more likely to degrade and implode it.  

Edited by Erwin

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@LongLeftFlank That would make an interesting overlay with the LWJ maps, looks like Resolute Force are holding the major population centres, but the countryside is firmly in the hands of the insurgents.....There's a very familiar pattern, eh?  :rolleyes:

3 hours ago, Erwin said:

maybe just let the Chinese in with our blessing and let them sort it out (heh).

There's a big difference, the Chinese are invited guests, NATO not so much.....In Afghanistan that's a very big deal.  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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19 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

There's a big difference, the Chinese are invited guests, NATO not so much.....In Afghanistan that's a very big deal.  ;)

Huh? The Chinese are invited by the same government that invited the NATO forces (which is to day was setup after NATO took out the Taliban government). How is that any different? Clearly the politics of the two are different - I'm not trying to say they are the same. But the status as invited is just the same. The Chinese are just as invited or not as anyone else to the Taliban.

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So let's parse this Week article which encapsulates the current conventional (defeatist) wisdom:

https://theweek.com/articles/794399/afghanistan-endless-war

US goals:  
- They must renounce violence 
- break ties with al Qaeda
- Accept the protections of women's rights in the Afghan constitution, and 
- Negotiate directly with (accept authority of) the Afghan government

Talib goals:
- Taliban-ruled medieval society, and al Qaeda 
- ISIS would have free rein there to plan and carry out attacks on the U.S. 

US resources:
- 15,000 US troops
- armed drones and airstrikes
- Afghan forces number about 300,000
- The population of Kabul has shot up from 1.5 million (2001) to almost 6 million

Talib resources:
- 20,000 to 40,000 fierce and committed fighters
- annual budget of an estimated $2 billion (foreign funding)
- lucrative international opium and hashish trades, which employ nearly 600,000 Afghans
- Taliban now rule more territory than they have at any time since 2001
- Pakistani military also allows the Afghan Tal­i­ban to retreat into its territory

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3 hours ago, IanL said:

Huh? The Chinese are invited by the same government that invited the NATO forces (which is to day was setup after NATO took out the Taliban government). How is that any different? Clearly the politics of the two are different - I'm not trying to say they are the same. But the status as invited is just the same. The Chinese are just as invited or not as anyone else to the Taliban.

I think you'll find the Chinese have been talking directly with the Taliban in Qatar.  :ph34r:

3 hours ago, Erwin said:

Have complete confidence that "welcome guests" will turn into hated enemy when they realize Chinese intentions to stay and exploit...

Nope that will suit the Taliban fine.....So long as the Chinese don't start trying to run the place and they pay all their 'taxes', all will be well.  ;)

Building pipelines.....Fine just pay the necessary taxes.

Building roads.....See above.

Building schools and demanding girls can go to them.....You figure it out!  :rolleyes:

Building nations - See Afghanistan, History 2001-2018

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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53 minutes ago, LongLeftFlank said:

US goals:  
- They must renounce violence - Forget it, these are Afghans.
- break ties with al Qaeda - Not going to happen, the two are too tightly enmeshed in Afghanistan.
- Accept the protections of women's rights in the Afghan constitution, and - Forget it, these are Afghans.
- Negotiate directly with (accept authority of) the Afghan government - Not going to happen, the Afghan government is viewed as a puppet by Taliban, direct US-Taliban talks are already underway.

Talib goals:
- Taliban-ruled medieval society, and al Qaeda - Yup, that appears to be the way the cookie crumbles, but the US seems to be able to live with Al Qaeda just fine elsewhere.
- ISIS would have free rein there to plan and carry out attacks on the U.S. - Nope.  Taliban appear to hate ISIS slightly more than the US, they are a rival to the Islamic authority of the Emirate of Afghanistan.

Just my thoughts.  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

So long as the Chinese don't start trying to run the place

AFAIK Pakistan is already upset with the Chinese as the Paks realized that the huge expensive projects the Chinese sucked them into put the Paks too deep in debt/are unaffordable and the Paks have to sign over rights to ports etc.  The Chinese are basically using the same predatory lending methods of unscrupulous money lenders throughout history.  (Probably learned from us.)

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I tend to have the same view regarding China. As long as they pay the appropriate bribes I doubt the Taliban will care who invited them or not. As to Pakistan, they will go with whomever continues to sell them arms and with US deals in jeopardy......

the US problem is there is no leaving and there is no staying.  Al Qaeda forced us to intervene and the continued threat forces us to stay. There is and won’t be any stable regime. Just finished reading Katanga 1960-1963. Some interesting parallels when you have a “nation” that is fundamentally a patchwork of tribal loyalties and foreign powers expecting something more united.  

The US relationship to the Saudis defines our role via a vis the Shiite Sunni conflict and unfortunately our allies are also our worst enemies. Talk about one convoluted messed up situation.  You can’t make up s**t this f**ked up. 

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6 hours ago, Erwin said:

AFAIK Pakistan is already upset with the Chinese as the Paks realized that the huge expensive projects the Chinese sucked them into put the Paks too deep in debt/are unaffordable and the Paks have to sign over rights to ports etc.  The Chinese are basically using the same predatory lending methods of unscrupulous money lenders throughout history.  (Probably learned from us.)

Nope, whitey had nothing whatsoever to teach the Middle Kingdom when it came to usury or the extortion of tributaries and satrapies.

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Trying to get this thread back on MOUT as opposed to general current events:

"Battle of Algiers" is available on YouTube, in the original French with subtitles. It makes many Top 10 / most realistic war flick lists, although it is not one in a conventional sense, and is used in counterinsurgency training. 

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

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7 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

Trying to get this thread back on MOUT as opposed to general current events:

Fair comment.....Thread took a bit of a swing after the battle of Ghazni, but we don't seem to have a thread for the Afghan war and it's a very viable setting for CM:SF2 scenarios, especially if we can persuade Steve & Co. to give us some CM:BS type toys (Predator/Reaper) a little way down the road.

For lack of anywhere else to post it, SWJ have some information on the content of US/Taliban discussions:  http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/afghanistan-peace-talks-stick-us-bases-united-states-wants-2-taliban-none

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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11 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

Trying to get this thread back on MOUT as opposed to general current events:

"Battle of Algiers" is available on YouTube, in the original French with subtitles. It makes many Top 10 / most realistic war flick lists, although it is not one in a conventional sense, and is used in counterinsurgency training. 

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

Yeah I watched that just before going to Algiers a couple years back while also reading A Savage War of Peace.  There were a few historical sites to see, but I wasn't allowed to wander much (company policy not gov't restriction).  Great movie and very accurate historically.

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Here's the highlight reel:

While the AFoP had access to enabling technologies and supporting arms such as indirect fire, close air support and armoured fighting vehicles, the battle was ultimately won by room-to-room, house-to-house fighting. No amount of firepower can substitute this intimate, discriminate, and precise application of force. Combat shooting, battlefield fitness, small team TTPs and battle craft are more important than any other skill. 
 
INGENIOUS AFP TACTICS
Both the AFoP and the enemy used drones extensively. Both forces employed inexpensive, off-the-shelf varieties, as each side would prioritise shooting down one-another’s aerial surveillance assets. The AFoP used a rudimentary marking system to identify friendly UAVs. 

In Marawi the enemy used covered withdrawal routes, or ‘ratlines’ (holes dug through walls or floors, or concealed passageways through basements etc), to enable movement to and from battle positions, or to move to depth if a battle position was at risk of being overrun.  

When these were discovered, the AFoP would either have combat engineers collapse the tunnels on top of the enemy, or use smoke to flush the lines out. If using smoke, they would concurrently send a drone above the entrance, as they could often find the other end of the ratline by watching for the smoke escaping from the far end. [This expedient] mitigates risky and time-consuming subterranean, or ‘tunnel rat,’ clearances.

Insurgent marksmen or sharpshooters engaging at short- to medium-ranges exacted a heavy toll on friendly forces and often imposed significant delay on manoeuvre. Most of the enemy sniper weapons utilised iron sights. Many snipers were local to the city. Their hides and firing positions were well  planned, often using tall buildings to dominate all approaches. Enemy snipers utilized loophole shooting (often called ‘murder holes’) to a deadly effect. The insurgents would also utilize hostages as human shields. 

PMC scout snipers would enter counter-sniping battles with insurgent snipers across roads, city blocks and bridges with the average engagement distance being 150 to 200m. Often one team would act as a ‘tethered goat’ to draw enemy sniper fire, whilst a separate team waited in a concealed hide waiting to engage.  The PMC normally work as pairs with mutual support from a regular infantry platoon, however at Marawi they deployed as a sniper platoon to support major clearance tasks. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals personally killed dozens of insurgents, to the point where some were psychologically unfit to continue fighting.

Marines of the PMC had little to no access to smoke grenades. This posed a significant problem for mobility, primarily due to the sniper threat down firelanes (streets and alleys in particular). To conduct crossings, the marines of MBLT10 would carry a long piece of fabric, the height of a marine. They attached one end of the fabric to one side of the obstacle, and had a runner sprint across the fire lane, trailing the sheet behind him. He would then tie it off, taut, to the other side of the obstacle. This then enabled the entire platoon team or combat team to cross with relative impunity, especially as the resource-poor enemy wouldn’t risk wasting ammunition by ‘drake-shooting’ at the sheet.

For the AFoP, the most valuable equipment were related to individuals (body armour, load carriage equipment etc), personal protective equipment (helmets, ballistic eye protection and fire retardant clothing etc) and night fighting equipment, weapon ancillaries such as thermal sights and enhanced optics. 

HOUSE TO HOUSE
During Marawi there was an extraordinary requirement for explosive breaching to support infantry platoon movement. IEDs were incorporated into rubble obstacles along AFoP Avenues of Approach (AoA), and covered with sniper fire in order to deny access without sustaining casualties. The AFoP response was to generate new AoAs through buildings. 

Many of the buildings within the city were constructed of thick, heavily reinforced concrete. As such, breaches were often required to be conducted in two stages; the first stage was an explosive breach to strip away concrete, leaving thick reinforcement bars to be reduced in a second stage. Hydraulic cutters were then used. 

In Marawi, structural integrity varied greatly from building to building. Where in one building a given charge type would produce a mouse hole, in another it could cause significant damage or completely level the structure. Charge selection was described as a dark art due to the unpredictable nature of the structures. 

In the classic ‘hugging the belt’ technique used by many insurgents, the enemy continually pushed forward [so AFP heavy weapons could not be used without putting friendlies at risk]. 

AFP Role 2 and Role 3 equivalent medical facilities were not accustomed to the very high volume of casualties  during urban fighting—a significant number of which were non-battle injuries which rapidly became infected.  

COMBINED ARMS TACTICS 
The Marawi experience suggests that in such a contested, formidable and lethal environment, armour saves lives. Wherever possible, infantry platoons would advance with armour in intimate support; bounding forward to clear the way and allowing the AFV to move forward to a support by fire (SBF) position. Engineers would breach with armour in close support wherever possible, and the AFVs were also used to support casualty extraction.

[But] even in undamaged areas, the narrow, labyrinthine streets found in most Indo-Pacific cities pose significant limitations for AFV employment. Particularly given the overwhelming destruction in Marawi, there was limited option to employ AFVs in many areas until bulldozers could clear corridors and fire positions for them. The enemy placed obstacles in streets, such as parked cars, rubble and of course IEDs.

Combat engineers adopted a mounted clearance technique where an M113 would move to the FLOT and occupy an overwatch position. An up-armoured bulldozer and guide would then move up and clear a bound of 10 – 50 metres dependant on terrain. The bulldozer would then reverse out and allow the M113 to move forward into the newly cleared area and adopt overwatch for the next bound. This method was described as leap frogging.

One Company from the 2nd Infantry Division employed over 10,000 mortar rounds in three months. 

The enemy became aware of the CAS schedule. Once they identified a CAS platform in the air [they hid] and, waited for the asset to retire and refuel. They employed dummy marker panels, smoke, and likely had the benefit of being able to monitor the air-to-ground communication being conducted over un-encrypted Motorola radios. 

The Filipino Gunners used their 105mm guns in a direct fire role to penetrate the thick concrete walls prevalent in Marawi, or used HMG .50 cal to ‘bore’ a point of entry. 

COMMAND AND CONTROL
Because urban fighting was new to the AFoP, rapid operational tempo and simultaneous action were nearly impossible to achieve.

For example, walking suppressive fire up, or across, a building in support of the break-in is much more effective than cutting fire completely.

NIGHT FIGHTING
The majority of forces were static at night, and would occupy urban defensive positions until dawn. Early warning devices would be improvised, by placing tins and cans on lines of string, or by shattering fluorescent globes on likely enemy approaches—the clanging of the tins, or the crunch of the broken glass, would compromise any would-be attacker.

Filipino special forces and scout snipers with access to NFE were extremely effective when operating at night. They were able to cross obstacles considered risky during daylight and could conduct assaults on enemy positions to take advantage of the overwhelming overmatch in night fighting ability. They could then pathfind for conventional forces, who had little to no NFE, to secure new battle positions.  Insurgents often spent much of the night taking drugs such as ‘shabu’ (methamphetamine).

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8 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

they could often find the other end of the ratline by watching for the smoke escaping from the far end. 

PMC scout snipers would enter counter-sniping battles with insurgent snipers across roads, city blocks and bridges with the average engagement distance being 150 to 200m. 

Marines of the PMC had little to no access to smoke grenades. This posed a significant problem for mobility, primarily due to the sniper threat down firelanes (streets and alleys in particular). To conduct crossings, the marines of MBLT10 would carry a long piece of fabric, the height of a marine. They attached one end of the fabric to one side of the obstacle, and had a runner sprint across the fire lane, trailing the sheet behind him. He would then tie it off, taut, to the other side of the obstacle. This then enabled the entire platoon team or combat team to cross with relative impunity, especially as the resource-poor enemy wouldn’t risk wasting ammunition by ‘drake-shooting’ at the sheet.

In Marawi, structural integrity varied greatly from building to building. Where in one building a given charge type would produce a mouse hole, in another it could cause significant damage or completely level the structure. Charge selection was described as a dark art due to the unpredictable nature of the structures. 

infantry platoons would advance with armour in intimate support; bounding forward to clear the way and allowing the AFV to move forward to a support by fire (SBF) position. 

an M113 would move to the FLOT and occupy an overwatch position. An up-armoured bulldozer and guide would then move up and clear a bound of 10 – 50 metres dependant on terrain. The bulldozer would then reverse out and allow the M113 to move forward into the newly cleared area and adopt overwatch for the next bound. This method was described as leap frogging.

Filipino special forces and scout snipers with access to NFE were extremely effective when operating at night. 

Interesting stuff.  The AFoP seem to be a motivated, innovative fighting force.  Using a blanket as a screen because you don't have smoke grenades ...... WOW :o.   

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The Army, Marines and police have been fighting Communist NPA, Moros and bandits pretty much continuously since independence. The Malay peoples are also warlike; you dont pick fights here unless you're ready to bleed.

In general, Pinoys are great tinkerers and improvisers; it's part of that 'resilient' thing (although they find that label condescending). They aren't lazy per se, but their work is often sloppy when they don't have much interest in the outcome. I like to say that when SHTF and we honkies are all dead, Pinoys and Pinays will still be joking singing and fornicating.

Edited by LongLeftFlank

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I have been following modern conflicts for years...started this mod as soon as SF2 came out. It's been sidetracked for several others, but i fully intend to finish it.

(Sorry, not the best pic.)

philippines%20SF.png

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On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 1:42 PM, MOS:96B2P said:

Interesting stuff.  The AFoP seem to be a motivated, innovative fighting force.  Using a blanket as a screen because you don't have smoke grenades ...... WOW :o.   

I was impressed with that too, we've been seeing static screens in Syria since at least Aleppo, but never used as part of an active manoeuvre AFAIK.  B)

Also the eternal reinforcement of the first law of MOUT.....Don't use the streets if there is any other possible alternative.  Demo-charges are king.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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