Friday, May 28, 2010

Praxis: Advice to counterinsurgents -- "Travel light."


From Counterinsurgency by David Kilcullen, Chapter One, "Twenty-eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company Level Counterinsurgency."

5. Travel light and harden your Combat Service Support. You will be weighed down with body armor, rations, extra ammunition, communications gear, and a thousand other things. The enemy will carry a rifle or RPG, a shemagh, and a water bottle if he is lucky. Unless you ruthlessly lighten your load and enforce a culture of speed and mobility, the insurgents will consistently outrun and out maneuver you. But in lightening your load, make sure you can always "reach back" to call for firepower or heavy support if needed. Also, remember to harden your CSS. The enemy will attack your weakest points. Most attacks on Coalition forces in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, outside preplanned combat actions like the two battles of Fallujah or Operation Iron Horse, were against CSS installations and convoys. You do the math. Ensure that your CSS assets are hardened, have communications, and are trained in combat operations. They may do more fighting than your rifle squads.

Minute Man of 1775.

My advice to insurgents: Travel lighter. Nay, indeed, travel lightest.

Modern Minute Man. Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk. Minute Man courtesy of Wisconsin Spartan Academy. 4 pocket Magazine Bandoleer courtesy of Minute Man's Mother and her sewing machine. British 75 round bandoleer of 7.62 NATO on stripper clips courtesy of Radway Green. "China Doll" M14S with M14E2 muzzle brake courtesy of me.


JessicaRanger said...

Dang he's sexy,cute. I would love to have him on my side. Either or!!

Taylor H said...

Everyone MUST have a boonie hat. It's in the rule book.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to say, but the U.S. military learned very little from Viet Nam. The parallels are too obvious to ignore; our heavy, slow troops dominate where ever they go but the enemy is able to disengage at will and so cannot be completely destroyed, the local government is too corrupt and incompetent to govern and the insurgents supply what amounts to local government giving them legitimacy. We are now going to launch a major offensive against Kandahar. We will undoubtedly win this offensive as we did with all major offensives in Viet Nam. But if, after 9 years of war, the Taliban still dominates the second largest city in Afghanistan, the war is lost.

GeekParallax said...

I've got a shemagh. I can never tie the damn thing correctly. Directions don't help.

J. Croft said...

One trick the Taliban use in Afghanistan is to carry 3 magazines and their rifle-that's it. The key for them to sustain combat is to have dozens of mini caches where there are extra ammo, food, water. This works for them as they are essentially waging a defensive war in total depth of their rugged country.

In America you plant mini caches everywhere you think you will be fighting, which should be everywhere as we are defending our country. Stock the cache with several "standard" calibers as who knows what will be used.

7.62 NATO
8mm mauser

Again this will have to be something of a mini ammo buffet as there's really no standard issue with us. All the 6.8 and 6.5 Grendel shooters... well what can I say?

The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit said...

The Militia Act of 1792 provided an interesting and not-bad starting equipment list, if updated for today:

"That every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack."

Shamelessly lifted from PERPICH V. DOD, 496 U. S. 334 (1990)

Anonymous said...

For constant carry I like the water bottle with filter straw in it, a first aid kit with quick-clot, a multi-tool, and most definitely a shemagh. That is the single most useful piece of gear I own, because it is a sunshade, sniper veil, washcloth, towel, bandage, water filter, and face mask. It is extremely effective as a psychological warfare tool, because it gives the wearer an air of menacing mystery.
One secret of the guerrilla insurgent is that he can cache his supplies all over the place and especially in strategic spots where there are already preset ambush positions, so that when he hits the enemy and they chase him, they run straight into boobytrapped kill zone and he is quickly resupplied and on his way before they have a chance to regroup.

Dennis308 said...

What can I say except that the young man has a nice rifle.and that Muzle Brakes realy do work.


Witchwood said...

I'm glad you brought this up, Mike. As far as I'm concerned, loadout and weight are the two most vital aspects of successful insurgency.

In the Chechen Wars guerrillas were consistently able to outmaneuver overloaded Russian troops. Speed is Armor was the Chechen philosophy, and it is mine as well. Headgear, tactical vest, Camelback, and rifle. That's all you need. Unless you can afford ultra lightweight stuff like Dragonskin, body armor is out.

When I was a soldier I remember being weighed down by a bunch of mandatory (superfluous) gear. Never again. Run light, run silent.

Aaron said...

RE: Defending CSS - here is a link to a great story about an Army colonel during the Korean war who anticipated and trained his men to defend their artillery emplacements.

Anonymous said...

In a bit of shameless self-promotion, I'll recommend my new book, RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. It's a primer on armed resistance. Available from Amazon. It covers not only shooting but things like organization, encrypted communications, intelligence gathering, and logistics.

devildog said...

The problem I see wearing a shemagh in this country is--you will probably be seen as a terrorist and engaged. The psychological advantage? None IMHO. Would hate to be identified as an insurgent because of that. Just my .02 and I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

In addition to traveling light, know WHERE to travel. Saving weight allows for a lot of things, among them being your distance to failure - if need be. You can only go so far, no matter how efficiently equipped.

I hope y'all think about where you go first, as wasting time and energy headed the wrong way, or moving when you needn't, is foolish.

Anonymous said...

We must all acquire clothing which will make us look like one of the enemy's own. You know. T-Shirts with Che Quevara, OBAMA Rocks, Democrats are kool and so forth on them and the like.

I don't think this war will be fought in "traditional" tactics. It will be more hit and run tactics and "undercover" operations.

I really like the tactics used in the book, "Unintended Consequences". It allows for specifically punishing those who are the offenders of liberty and minimizes, if not, eliminates collateral damage to innocents.

As additional fodder, many experts say Snipers are the ultimate battlefield weapon. Imagine a half-million sniper teams roaming the country made up of guys who routinely shoot prairie dogs and coyotes etc. at long ranges.

I will NOT be wearing any king of clothing which could be considered "insurgent" type.

We should all look just like the everyday citizen on the street so once we hit them we can immediately disappear into the general population.


Anonymous said...

We have a crafty friend who could MAKE some of these bandoleers if I could find a pattern for her. I always try to remember the maxim: If you want a hole in the wall to hang a picture, you don't have to buy a drill. Recall what you want: a hole in the wall. I.e., you don't have to buy the gear; sometimes you can make it. I'm asking her this month once I find a pattern online (or reverse-engineer a U.S. Army bandonleer).