Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Changing the Way We Think – It’s a Matter of Survival


Someone threw this over my electronic transom. My thanks to Dr. Enigma.


Changing the Way We Think – It’s a Matter of Survival

by Dr. Enigma

Attrition Warfare is so ingrained into the American psyche (through experience in the military, media indoctrination (war films, shows, etc), and even children’s games (playing ‘war’, cowboys & Indians, cops & robbers, etc)), that if those who consider themselves to be “militia” ever hope to survive, let alone win against an aggressor, they must change the way they think and gain a mindset embracing Maneuver Warfare.

Many folks have asked, “What exactly is Attrition Warfare?”

It has been described as the time honored tradition of drawing a line in the dirt and daring an opponent to cross it so that the commander involved (at whatever level) can kill large numbers of the enemy by employing massive firepower while attacking with overwhelming ground forces.

This doesn’t sound too bad if you happen to the one of the lucky few either in command of the assaulting forces or better still, a troop who’s “in the rear with the gear”. But to the troop out in front, the one who’s depended upon to keep the wolves at bay, this type of warfare plainly stacks the odds against him coming home, let alone winning his small war (the area all around him out to about 50 meters) which helps to win the larger battle.

Some of the practices of an AW mindset are “suppression fire”, which has become the norm in any situation, even in training for “militia” groups. While suppression fire can be used very well by an astute leader and his team, in most cases, it’s degenerated into “spray and pray” which uses up an ungodly amount of ammunition while returning less and less in terms of enemy casualties per round fired (think: The “law of diminishing returns”). But, to a modern military force, even this can be explained away because of the veritable cornucopia of re-supply in men, ammunition and ordnance.

Another favorite, which has caused more real-world casualties than can likely be counted, is the practice of assaulting through what a leader believes is a “close ambush” (50 meters or closer) but many times is a prepared enemy position where most, if not all, areas are covered by fire of one sort or another.

Yet another is the penchant for more and more “protective” equipment and gadgetry (all battery dependent of course) to make even the least skilled warrior more lethal. All one has to do to see the wisdom of this mindset is to watch young Americans try to move quickly and quietly with the extra 90 plus pounds of equipment he doesn’t need!

Examples abound, and some will argue AW over Maneuver Warfare all day long, but the long and short of it is that we must re-educate ourselves to learn battle tactics that minimize casualties, are not equipment dependent, do not require massive re-supply after one engagement, and training that teaches our warriors to be self-sufficient while in the field.

The foundation for MW must also be supported by a cornerstone of ideals held by the individual. What exactly are you training to fight for? Ask any ‘militia’ group today and you’re bound to get different answers. There is no apparent unity of purpose other than sometimes disjointed epithets regarding ‘taking the country back’ or ‘returning the Constitution to it’s rightful place’, both of which make great sound bytes, but do not establish the necessary unity of purpose.

This must be accomplished! Note I did not say unity of command, i.e., a national command structure or organization or even an infrastructure. Unity of purpose, across the board, will be achieved from knowing the ideals for which we will stand and not retreat.

To achieve this level of unity, group leaders must help their members learn and understand not only the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but what led up to the drafting of those documents and what the signers agreed to when they executed the documents! Just this task, in and of itself, will require quite a bit of “re-education” as unvarnished non-revisionist history is getting harder and harder to find these days.

Here are a few examples of the ideals that, if universally held by all “militia” groups and members, might help achieve unity of purpose:

 Establishing a tradition of integrity – In other words, doing what’s constitutionally right even when there’s no gain, even a loss to the actor. Sacrifice can be a good thing when done to preserve Constitutional practices.

 Preserving Human Life – In terms of tactics and field operations, executing only those methods which save the most life (both friendly and enemy) and still meet the goal of winning the day.

 Safeguarding Liberty – Jealously, as Patrick Henry’s quote indicates. Apathy, sloth, avarice, and insidious Globalism have to be dealt with by each person so that they get off their behinds and do something. Just a quick objective look at the economy and how it got to its present state will provide many examples of the above. If that’s not enough, or is too sensitive of a subject, look at the state of our Nation from its political perspective. Politicians/representatives are not elected for how well they will follow and preserve the Constitution. They are elected based upon how much “pork” they can deliver to those not willing to provide for themselves (often described as “the less fortunate” instead of what they really are: lazy – and as if a free market is about luck, but I digress).

 Fighting Honorably – Total war is never an option in an era where, when once acquired, weapons of mass destruction obliterate an entire people or region. War waged from a constitutionally and morally proper perspective is the only way to “win the hearts and minds” of the local people to support a militia.

 Putting the welfare of the “Country, State, and Others” before ourselves – Especially from a value system perspective. This is imperative as the opposite, also know as “me, me and me first” opens the door to the person espousing such a morally bankrupt belief to be bought and sold like a commodity.

So, let’s say we have unity of purpose. Now the training side can be addressed. (Training will also be conducted with much better results when the group has the same unity of purpose, by the way!) MW training references abound, but the better ones have been authored by H. John Poole and actually serve as field manuals to the astute trainer/leader so that each group can start to employ, “the Way of the Tiger”.

Generally speaking, training should always follow “The Rule of the Threes” which states that each area trained in has at least three supporting areas that support and provide mastery of a particular area. Example: Marksmanship: Accuracy = Weapon, Ammunition & Shooter. Weapon = Barrel, trigger & platform (stock). Ammunition = Projectile, Accelerant & Casing. Shooter = Trigger Depression, Sight Alignment & Sight Picture. Once all the subcategories are mastered to the point of proficiency in knowing their strengths, weaknesses and how to make them work for the trainee (another set of three!), a much higher caliber of marksmanship ability is possessed.)

“The Way of the Tiger” can only be learned by field operations focusing on leadership, marksmanship, edged weapons employment, and primitive adaptation skills. These four areas provide the individual minuteman the ability to think, effectively prosecute an operation, inspire others, gain a superior return in enemy casualties per round fired, provides the ability to fight without verifying locations and numbers for an opponent, and to live off the land as the case may require.

Those groups or individuals who cannot make the transition to this essential way of training and fighting (should the day ever come), will, sadly, neither win nor live.

Remember who really wins a battle or war: The troop on the ground supported by his team leader (the NCO).

Enlightened command structures who really want to win to a very large degree delegate authority to achieve decentralized control and encourage initiative of each individual under his command.

Here are a few comparisons between the AW and MW mindset to get your creative juices flowing:

Attrition Warfare

Killing the enemy is the goal
Depends on firepower
Requires Centralized Control
Focus is on self
Attacks concentrations
Takes and holds ground (usually hill tops)
Requires “group lock step”
Attacks during daylight
Never retreats
Everyone does what they're told only
Unit asks permission to act
Controls troops through orders
Trains only to authorized standards
Trains the same all the time
Complicated and much signaling

Maneuver Warfare

Bypassing and/or demoralizing the enemy is the goal
Depends on surprise
Provides Decentralized Control
Focus is on enemy
Moves through gaps
Takes “centers of gravity”, i.e., strategic objectives
Moves with High Tempo
Allows Recon to “pull” operations
Mostly attacks at night
Retreats to defend
Initiative encouraged
Unit informs command of what’s done
Controls troops through training
After “basic training” trains to be efficient on their own
Trains to the threat
Not much signaling required

Maneuver Warfare Trained Group Potential

Find or disrupt a much larger force before it can attack

Handle a much larger opponent during “chance contact”

Get itself out of an ambush fairly intact

Ambush, with significantly lower risk, an opponent of any size.

Force a gap in enemy lines during daylight or night operations on its own.

Employ the “OODA” loop faster than the opponent and defeat him.

And this is just the beginning. The possibilities are almost endless; the advantages to Maneuver Warfare are the same. So, you may want to think about the advantages of changing the way you think and train, especially in these troubled times.

See you in the field.


GunRights4US said...

Good stuff!

HJ Poole's Last Hundred Yards was fantastic. So I went and ordered three more of his books.


Oldsmoblogger said...

The whole blog is a great resource, but articles like this and the logistics piece are beyond praise. Thank you.

LiberTea said...

This brings some historical (& present) results of MA vs. AA actions:

Militia vs. Regulars
Confederacy vs. Union
indians vs. Cavalry
Vietnemese vs. Everybody
Afghans vs. Everybody

Results: MA-3 AA-1 Tie-1

The War to Prevent Southern Independence would have defaulted to AA either way since Lee wanted to fight it like the Union--AA all the way. What he should have done IMHO was listen more to Stonewall Jackson who organized and fielded MA tactics with AA support. Too bad he died when he did...history shows the slide to Appomattox began soon after that time.

Some say it was the Union getting "better organized", my was Johnny Reb losing his best tactician and strategist, The end result...the Republic LOST ALL due to the victorious, energized and nationalized guv'mint AND the resulting forced marriage with "no" possibility of amicable divorce.

The reason I call the indians a tie...they at least negotiated a "peace" with the Great father after forcing a 30-40 year running battle at very heavy expense.

All prove the point...MA vs. AA is the way to go.

Liber-Tea is brewing!! I make mine with III bags..

Kristopher said...

The easiest way to get inside the JBT's OODA loop is to ditch "cold dead hands" thinking.

When they come for your guns, see to it that they raid an empty house.

Don't let them choose the location of the next battle.

Wretched Dog said...

Fundamental Principles of Maneuver Warfare:

Preempt (strike before your opponent is prepared - obviate battle);

Dislocate (render your opponent's strength irrelevant);

Disrupt (attack your opponent's center of gravity - critical vulnerability; not source of strength).

Qi Ji Guang said...

Learn more about attrition warfare from China's most feared night-riding assassin during the Anti-Japanese War: Ling Jienfong.

Once upon a time, in an endless grassland far north in Mongolia, a young boy and his beloved baby sister sat by a creek. Elder brother held in his arms a baby goat and a tiny, fluffy baby chicken. "Ge ge, wao bu xiang li kai mei li de tzao yuan", Baby Sister said to Elder Brother. (Elder brother, I would never like to leave this beautiful prairie) "Mei mei ni bu pa, Da Ge yong yuan bu hui li kai ni" (Little Sister, Elder Brother will always look out for you) Elder brother knew that war was happening somewhere far in the southern country, but he was sure it will never reach them. However, one day, the planes flew right over their beloved home and dropped their accursed bombs all over the place, killing thousands.

Ling Jienfong was a member of the Urlun'tzeng ethnic minority of the northern prairies, a tribe of the Mongols. In 1937, when Ling was still only 15 years old, his entire family was killed when Japanese bombers savagely attacked Inner Mongolia as they flew on towards Shaanxi to the south.

Ling Jienfong and his younger sister were the only ones who escaped the bombings, but upon escaping from Nei Mongol, the two became separated. Elder brother wandered the prairie for weeks, crying the name of his baby sister in vain, until he collapsed at a nearby city.

That city was Er'daokai, located in northern Yunan Province. A city teeming with Japanese occupationist soldiers and filthy, wormy collaborators and Chinese traitors. It seemed that almost everyone worshipped the Japs like gods and were willing to kiss their boots and do anything in exchange for some gold coins.

Ling Jienfong was not about to let such madness continue. One night, he passed a guardhouse where a Jap sentry was taking a nap. With one single blow from his Mongolian long dagger, Ling Jienfong made the sentry's head fly far above the pickets. He continued inside. There was the faint sound of a shamisen record playing in a room down the hall. There was uproarious drunken laughter and obscene jokes coming from the room too. Four officers sat inside, completely drunk on stolen Chinese wine and caring nothing for the world. Ling Jienfong noticed that there were two more guards standing outside the sliding doors. With one stroke of his dagger, he instantly bled one of the guards right through the neck, and thrusted the dagger up to it's hilt in the heart of the second guard. Both sentries collapsed to the floor.

The laughter inside the room stopped cold. A voice yelled in harsh Japanese "What the fuck!" Two officers pushed aside the sliding doors, saw the bodies on the floor, and just realized that both bodies were missing their holstered pistols, when--- two pistol shots rang out, dropping both officers dead to the floor. Now the garrison commander was terrified. Just who the fuck is killing off his soldiers like flies? His third subordinate drew his pistol and took aim at what he thought was a silhoutte in the paper windows---until the door slid open violently, a masked man on the other side, and a gleeming ornate dagger flew across the room with a fearsome WHISSSH!, until it struck the subordinate full in his chest, dropping him like a sack of bricks. The door slid shut again before the subordinate breathed his last.

Now the commander was truly petrified. Was this the flying, soul sucking demons that ancient Chinese folklore always talked about, flying in the dark sky, and sucking out the souls of anyone who was wandering the night without a magical talisman to ward the spirits off? Suddenly, he saw a shadow beyong the paper window. He picked up his Nambu 8mm sidearm from the table and emptied the entire magazine into the shadow, but the shadow did not drop, or even flinch! WHAT THE FUCK??? He was terrified almost to madness now. With a cry, he drew his sword and charged the sliding door, hacking down the flimsy beams that held the delicate paper windows. To his utter surprise, he noticed that the "shadow" that he just shot at was the dead body of one of his subordinates, propped up against the door. NO WONDER IT DIDN'T MOVE! From the corner of his eyes, he saw another shadow just beyond the corpses on the floor. He looked up. A masked man, a C-96 automatic pistol in his hand. Without a word, Ling Jienfong raised the C-96 and splattered the officers brains all over the paper windows. "You should never have come to this land", he growled as he vanished into the night once again.

The next day, General San-Tian, the Japanese Imperial Commander of the Shanxi Prefecturate saw that an urgent telegram had been thrown onto his desk. He opened the contents, and roared with mixed fear and anger.

Anonymous said...

My Family has plans to go to a safe haven.
I guess I'll be fighting alone.
Since so many in my area are at a loss. (Their thinking is confused at this time)
There are a few I know that will hook up with me.
We will be the thorn in the enemies side in this area.
Will concentrate on obtaining supplies.
Burying them in well place areas.
As soon as the word is given @ g-mans end and I see it in the news? I'm a ghost.

Johnny said...

This is great stuff. Never fight on your enemy's terms. Switch from the centre-line.

Selection and maintenance of the aim - at all levels, built on the axiom of restoration of a Constitutional Republic of free men that is an exemplar to the entire world.

Let's not forget, though, the need to study all you can about the strategy, operations, tactics and equipment that your opponents are likely to deploy, to better understand the battleground you're fighting on.

Manui dat cognitio vires.

j3maccabee said...

Making no claim to any insights into tactics or strategy, I only say that I have learned what little I know about this topic by studying the losers of battles, wars and skirmishes. And it seems to me that in an amazing number of military encounters over the centuries - regardless of armament, equipment, or manpower / logistics - guerrilla fighters working in small groups or even solo, with dedication and loyalty to cause and mission, very often kick the collective arses of larger forces whose hearts are not really in the battle.

Oh - and hypothetical question for anyone: Both Japanese and NVA soldiers sometimes instructed their grunts to shoot to wound or cripple, not to kill,,, the thought being that it required more manpower, depleted more resources and demoralized more enemies in their having to transport and shelter and care for a wounded soldier, than to ship home a dead combatant. So - in a hypothetical battle between the good guy Smurfs and the Bad Gut Goblins... would the Smurfs do better by wounding, or by terminating the Goblins?

Anonymous said...

Wound or kill is irrelevant.

Shoot to remove the threat. Doesn't matter what the target's state is, as long as it goes down.

You shouldn't be firing more than five rounds before self-extracting, so you won't have a clue if they are dead or wounded or shamming, regardless.

Remember: Five rounds, then disappear.