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There Will Be Blood: Modern Wars Are More than Pushing Buttons


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For some reason there is an impression out there that modern combat is all about high-tech gizmos, button pushing, leveling entire blocs with guided munitions and so on. I guess that the defense contractors have made a very good job convincing the tax-payers that what they charge for is worth every penny.

When it comes to fighting insurgencies, there is also a tendency to regard significant casualties of the conventional forces as a rare event, something like a deviation from the norm. I subscribed to this popular wisdom and in the only CMSF scenario featuring insurgents I ever made I punished the Blue player with significant point losses if the player had more than 30% casualties.

In "We Were One", Patrick O'Donnell has a very detailed account of the actions of a Plt. of Marines during the Battle of Fallujah. These Marines entered Fallujah after the armored formations, with the purpose of cleaning up the insurgents who on purpose remained hidden during the first hours of the assault. These Marines fought block to block with their meager organic weapons, even using bangalores sometimes. To my astonishment, during some peaks of fight they lost one or two guys (injured or killed) every other block.

I'm totally floored by this book.

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Any detailed book about the Battle for Hue City is another good source for reading about Marines in Urban Combat. I wish I could remember one in particular that I checked out at the library I work at.

Incidentally, the Vietnam SF Paratroopers fought like tigers in that engagement, at least to some extent dispelling the myth that all South Vietnam troops were mediocre to worthless.

P.S. They talk quite a bit about the "Ontos" vehicle in this book. I'm sure anyone who is familiar with Vietnam era warfare on this board knows about that particular beast.

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I can also recommend "House to House" and "Hard Corps." Very intense, particularly the first, with scenes of climbing through pipes filled with raw sewage to sneak up on insurgents, hand-to-hand combat with foreign fighters and a very frank view of combat.

Hi Apocal,

I read "House to House". Really a very good read. As for "Hard Corps", it sounds like a great book. I'm gonna get it this weekend. Thanks!

Any detailed book about the Battle for Hue City is another good source for reading about Marines in Urban Combat. I wish I could remember one in particular that I checked out at the library I work at.

Hi Slap,

If you could recommend me a good title on the Battle for Hue City, I will appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

And speaking of books, shameless plug to my blog, with a list of titles that may be worth checking out if you are enjoying CMSF-Marines.

Cheers,

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during some peaks of fight they lost one or two guys (injured or killed) every other block

During said peak fighting, how many casualties did the Marines estimate they inflicted on the insurgents? In other words, what was the kill-to-loss ratio?

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During said peak fighting, how many casualties did the Marines estimate they inflicted on the insurgents? In other words, what was the kill-to-loss ratio?

Hi Dietrich,

That's a good point. I'll have to double check, but for sure the insurgents were having heavy losses.

Slap, thanks for the titles. I will check both out. Cheers.

Chelco,

Wikileaks has the actual Fallujah report.

https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Fallujah

Regards,

John Kettler

John:

That's an interesting document! Reading it right now.

Thanks,

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Incidentally, the Vietnam SF Paratroopers fought like tigers in that engagement, at least to some extent dispelling the myth that all South Vietnam troops were mediocre to worthless.

Read, "Battle Ready", by Tony Zinni. His tenure as an advisor with South Vietnamese Marines is impressive to say the least. SV Marines even grudged with, and (in worst cases) fired upon ARVN troops, because of incompetence.

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Hi Dietrich,

That's a good point. I'll have to double check, but for sure the insurgents were having heavy losses.

Little something i know about subject.

Marines learned that enemy tries to flee. So they tried to encircle them (whole blocks) and cut all possible routes of escape. That alone is pretty bad for opponent. They are isolated. I'm not sure but maybe each block held by insurgents consisted usually platoon sized insurgent element.

Marines probably took casualities from enemy ambushes (=opening fire). After that they took their time, possibly blew up the house with explosives or waited to insurgents to fall back (two types of opponent guarillas and martys, other falls back top fight another day, other doesn't). If encirclement worked insrugents are going to get stucked anyways.

Wiki seems to state that estimations are 1500 casualities (+1500 prisoners) to insurgents against little less than 700 coalition's troops (mostly wounded). So my conclusion would be that insurgents were able to open fire, cause few casualities and after that usually fall back from building or block to another (when they were not they were screwed). Otherwise they should have had alot more casualities compared to Coalition troops. No? Encircled opponents tends to have alot more casualities than those who encircle them. I believe it's pretty commmon to have 10 times more causlities if encirclement holds. I wonder how active insurgents were in grand scale (how much they were led), did they try to relieve their encircled brothers. Or were they mostly unaware/ignorant what is happening outside their block?

MOUT is indeed seems to be harsh thing for attacker who is superiour in technology and training. Not in man power, which is said to be equal in combat troops.

I have had ability to read just few sources, so my point-of-view can be put into question :cool:

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With the price of books being what they are, remember to take advantage of your local circulating library!

Use the link below to locate your books of interest and then have them sent to your library from a myriad of sources. It's called inter-library loan and it's the coolest thing going! Just print out your searches and bring them to the reference desk at the library.

www.worldcat.org

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