2017/07/17

Election platforms on the federal election in Germany

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I compiled summaries of the election platforms of the relevant German parties for the federal elections 2017. The whole work was done in German language and can be accessed on the German language twin blog:


 S O
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2017/07/16

Link collection June/July 2017

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"Based on my experience at JMRC and by talking to company commanders who come here to train, I believe  U.S. Army tactical proficiency at company level and below is lower than  many of our multinational partners due to a lack of emphasis on collective training and tactical proficiency at home station prior to training at combat - training  centers (CTCs)."
(from U.S.Army's own eArmor journal)

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The Russians are paying attention to non-radar detection of artillery firing positions and impacts. That's the old way to which there are few technical countermeasures.

http://defence-blog.com/army/russian-state-owned-media-unveils-new-penicillin-counter-battery-system.html

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Old (1998) interview, still worth some attention:

Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski,
President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser

Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
 (copied from here)


P.S. I found this in the list of my draft articles as a June 2017 link list. My apologies if I had published it in June before and accidentally reverted to draft. I truly cannot remember if I had published it or not.

S O
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2017/07/15

Proposal for a (partial) nuclear disarmament treaty

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... that eliminates the near-term possibility of mankind destroying civilisation through thermonuclear war.

As of today, only the United States of America and the Russian Federation possess enough nuclear munitions to ruin mankind. They couldn't wipe out mankind even if they tried, but they could crash civilisation world-wide.
  • The United Kingdom, French Republic, People's Republic of China, Republic of India, Pakistan and Israel possess enough thermonuclear munitions to ruin a single large country, though some of them couldn't do so beyond their region.
  • The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has few nuclear munitions, likely those are at most 30 kt TNTeq yield munitions.
  • The Republic of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Republic of South Africa once possessed nuclear warheads and gave them up peacefully.
There's a stark difference between the very large American and Russian arsenals and the obviously sufficient smaller arsenals, which provide nuclear deterrence at much lower cost and despite the consequences of failure of deterrence would be much less catastrophic. The two very large arsenals are remnants of the Cold War, and their very size makes certain cost-saving methods of nuclear deterrence impractical because the wealth in warheads would enable a disarming first strike. Smaller inventories would not be able to take out all ballistic missile submarines in the Great Lakes or Caspian Sea for want of power, and would thus make disarming first strikes practically impossible.


My proposal is thus to turn develop and pass a nuclear munitions limitation and cooperation treaty:

A uniform warhead design of relatively modest and variable yield would be developed and tested once (with UNGC approval) and all existing nuclear powers except North Korea would be limited to a certain quantity of warheads, preferably USA and Russia each 200 and all others at most 100, but no more than they have now. Only North Korea would be excluded from the entire treaty and be stuck with its even smaller arsenal.

A warhead of 100 kt TNTeq or more yield is what people commonly think of when they think of the great power's nuclear weapons. Most people would be surprised at how small the lethal radius of a 10-20 kt warhead is against troops in typical dispersion or how small the effects would be on a city. You can do your own calculations here if you doubt me on this.

The strategic deterrence could thus be achieved by a ~100 kt TNTeq warhead, which could have a variable yield, allowing for an alternative 5-10 kt yield for "tactical employment" at a short distance from friendly troops or to knock out air power on an international airport without massacring most people in a city right next to it.

The risks associated with handling and transportation (accidents) would be reduced by using a uranium 235-only pit for the first (implosion) stage. U-235 is somewhat less hellish than Pu-239.

The fallout could be limited by using a two-stage thermonuclear warhead design with 95% or more fusion share of output. The first stage might be boosted to reduce the fallout further. A doctrine of employment at altitude (with fireball not touching the ground) would also reduce the fallout while retaining if not improving the ability to destroy the target compared to a low altitude or ground level detonation.

Every warhead would be "locked" by a suitably long and real passcode, which would need to be stored at a distance and be part of the launch code (launch code = encrypted target coordinates and passcode). The codes would only be known at highest levels, but encrypted files would be stored at many lower commands, requiring the combination of any three such files to create one file with the real passcode list so a decapitation strike would be discouraged.

Said warhead would be suitable for many forms of delivery
  • free-falling bomb
  • cruise missile (air/sea/ground launch)
  • ballistic missile (air/sea/ground launch)
Finally, to further discourage an attempt at a disarming first strike, both a warhead storage container and a decoy container would be developed that could not possibly distinguished without opening (breaking a seal & raising an alarm system). Thus thousands of decoys could be stored along 100 real things in hundreds of locations and nobody would know which is which until an order to open the containers in war or crisis. No list would need to exist that enables to determine where the real warheads are. A disarming strike would need to be able to destroy hundreds of dispersed locations (mostly military bases) with less than 200 warheads - which would be impossible.

An exception may be the standoff between India and Pakistan: The unified warhead design might actually equal an increase in capabilities if Pakistan's and India's nuclear warheads are actually less monstrous than the proposed unified warhead. In this case the quantity could be reduced or these two countries could be exempt from the unified warhead design. The 'cleanliness' of the unified warhead design means that a simple kiloton rating comparison would not suffice in this case, though.

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Russia and the United States could deploy each 100 warheads in conventionally-powered submarines*
  • in the Great Lakes (Trident IID-5 missile with one warhead + 7 decoy MIRVs) and 
  • in the Caspian Sea. (R-39RMU missile with one warhead + 7 decoy MIRVs).
Both would keep 100 warheads in dispersed storage containers for use in various delivery munitions, along with 1,000+ decoy containers.

The other nuclear powers (save for North Korea) would store essentially swap out their existing warhead inventories with the new 100 kt warheads and discourage first strikes as without the treaty. The UK and France would mount each one warhead on each one of their SLBMs, for example (France: 4 Triomphant SSBN with 16 SLBM each and UK: 4 Vanguard SSBN with 16 SLBM each, other warheads stored on land for free-falling bombs and in France's case also in ASMP-A).

The plutonium and uranium from disassembled nuclear munitions that wouldn't be needed to create the unified warheads would be diluted and be turned into nuclear fuel.

A proper surveillance and verification regime would be set up and executed by the IAEA.

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The steps forward from the status quo would be
  • no threat of global civilisation-breaking thermonuclear war
  • much reduced expenses particularly in the U.S. and Russia
  • much reduced nuclear fallout in the event of thermonuclear war
  • reduced risks from accidents with nuclear munitions

Meanwhile, nuclear munitions would still
  • act as deterrence through their ability to destroy a society (for example by de facto destruction of all cities of any great power if the attacker has that long reach at all as of today)
  • act as a deterrence against attempts at "conventional-only" wars of aggression by retaining the ability to destroy entire formations of land forces as well as entire airbases
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This kind of treaty would meet the NPT's requirement of working towards a nuclear disarmament. It would not eliminate nuclear arms entirely, but greatly reduce the damage possible in worst case thermonuclear wars. 

The time to  commence talks for (partial) nuclear disarmament is now. We should not wait till conflicts heat up to another Cold War for real and  one or two near-thermonuclear war crisis situations convince the politicians to work towards (partial) disarmament again, as happened in the 80's after the Able Archer 83 near-disaster.

A second step after this treaty could be to move towards total nuclear disarmament, but that's a MUCH larger leap because of the in my opinion well-justified (though not necessarily correct) fear that we NEED nuclear deterrence to keep the peace between the great powers.

related:


S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

P.S.: I know this is a distasteful topic; no pacifist wants to look like a proponent of nuclear arms, an the proposal would require a development, production and testing of a new warhead. Some might even argue that such a "cleaner" warhead would lower the threshold for its use (though a 100 kt TNTeq explosion is still terrible). Radical pacifists will think that partial disarmament is not orthodox enough. Yet some distasteful activities - such as sewage cleaning - simply have to be done for the society's good, and I think new proposals for a partial nuclear disarmament are overdue. The more such proposals pop up and the more public discourse there is on this topic the more politicians will sense that the time is ripe for getting rid of thousands of nuclear warheads - even if hundreds will remain.

*: It's possible to store the missiles in silos extending into the fin as shown in this speculative article. A row of 10 such silos in a long fin should be possible. The submarines need to be shock-hardened with a tough pressure hull and have robust radio message reception abilities, but they need no normal combat system or any silencing in those inland waters. The quick launch procedure could be done after surfacing. Submersibles (with some cheap long endurance air independent propulsion such as closed cycle diesel engines) are preferable to surface craft because of the possibility to track & identify surface craft with satellites. Cheap snorkeling could be used regularly, with all-AIP operation used in crisis or wartime. A slow cruise speed of about 4 kts and resting on the bottom of the sea for days or weeks would eliminate the wave patterns and other signatures that could be discernible by satellites.
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2017/07/12

One annoying NATO myth

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I'll do my part fighting a stupid myth:

France never left NATO.
It merely withdrew its forces from NATO's command structure, period.



I've read this annoying myth about France supposedly having left NATO in 1966 (and returned in 2009) so often, I have really no excuse for not pushing against it here a decade earlier already.


S O
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2017/07/11

Somaliland and Puntland

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I meant to write about the two unrecognised states in Northern Somalia (that appear to be somewhat more functional than the recognised government of Somalia) for a while.



Or to be honest; I meant to do a proper literature research on them for a long time.
No, that's still not honest. To be REALLY honest; I learned only recently that there is not one but two kinda functional proto-states at the Horn of Africa.
It's a quite embarrassing state of affairs on my part, but not just for myself: It's also embarrassing for the news media in general. I'm not a news junkie, but I sure would be better informed if Northeast Africa would rank a little higher on the priority list of German or anglophone news media. 

Their low priority in regard to reporting seems to be proportional to their low priority in foreign policy and foreign aid. I keep having a hunch that we could have done a lot good if we had helped those proto-states instead of pretending that Somalia is still one country.

One example; the EU could have given them most favourable trade terms for copper and tin (the region really hasn't much else that could be exported). We could also have helped equip and supply the Puntland coast guard instead of doing those stupid Atalanta patrols ourselves. Maybe we could have had enough influence with both proto-states to avoid the stupid border conflict of 2016 and could have served as a respected arbiter?

Instead, countries like Saudi-Arabia and UAE have gained influence in the area. No doubt nothing bad will come from that, right?

S O
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2017/07/09

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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It'll take some time for me to understand the international law consequences of this, and time will tell if and how courts rule concerning the (largely symbolic) storage of nuclear munitions in Germany.

I only found a draft version, not the final full text, so far. Article 1 says in there

1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to:
(...)
(g) Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.


S O
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Day and night

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It sounds utterly trivial, but one should keep day and night in mind.

For example, I did an intellectual pastime about how to secure Iceland in times of crisis (a NATO member without permanent military presence). My default assumption is that a U.S. airborne brigade would need to be flown in from CONUS because European paras would not have airlift available and/or be needed in Northern Norway and Lithuania.

(This is where some people think "Yeah, science!" and I think "No, this should be general knowledge already!").

There's no need for non- far IR ("thermal") night vision until September there.

The ideal planning for crisis and wartime should thus probably plan with different forces in summertime and wintertime; U.S. airborne and Canadians in wintertime (Americans have above average night vision equipment, Canadians have above average cold weather preparation & they mostly understand each other's language) and South European airborne/para forces in summertime (using C-17s on otherwise empty return flights).

The cargo aircraft logistics may suggest to plan with Europeans year-round because Iceland is along the trip back to North America anyway, but I don't think there's much wisdom in sending troops who are accustomed to +25°C into a -5°C environment as a strategic quick reaction force. (Iceland has in its most important areas an oceanic climate and is warmed year-round by the North Atlantic current, so it's even in wintertime nowhere near as cold as the humid continental East European climate.)

That's something I did not think about when I wrote this. Though I suppose to maintain a single air-lift capable brigade with towed 155 mm howitzers for alliance (Iceland) defence in summertime might be an even more appropriate thing to do for Spain and Portugal, as their land forces would have the longest marches to Eastern Europe. They could even have this brigade in a 12 month cycle of 6-7 months training and 5-6 months real readiness for 48 hrs deployment to Iceland (at 90% personnel strength, 90% equipment readiness, with munitions for 3 days intense combat and terrain-appropriate camouflages).

S O
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2017/07/08

Just a reminder about the North Atlantic Treaty

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This is an excerpt from the treaty text:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all (...)

Article 6 

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:
  1. on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  2. on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.
The Article 5 part is unmodified from the original treaty, Article 6 is as modified by the accession protocol for the accession of Greece and Turkey. We can ignore the obsolete part about the "Algerian Departments of France". You can look those texts up here.


NATO is no Pacific alliance.
Hawaii could be nuked by North Korea, PRC or Russia and article 5 would not be relevant.
The same applies to any attack on Puerto Rico, U.S. or Canadian warships in the Pacific Ocean, Guam, New Caledonia or, as history has already shown, the Falklands.

This is of great importance!
There is no reason for Europeans to get involved in any Pacific arms race between the U.S./Japan/Taiwan/Australia on the one side and the PR China on the other side. 
The only European concerns about the PR China should be about the (still distant) scenario of a Sino-Russian alliance. This would then be first and foremost about air power, secondarily about land power (the capacity of transsiberian traffic lanes is still small) and arctic maritime sea lanes may be open now, but Russian arctic harbours are either small or well in range of land-based NATO tactical combat aviation. The PRC would find it difficult to sustain an army at war in Eastern Europe.
Chinese naval warfare against Europeans would likely be limited to few commerce raiders or commando actions such as blocking the Suez Canal with sunk ships. The only relevant Russian harbour for basing a Chinese expeditionary fleet is Murmansk. Again, it's well in range of NATO air and missile strikes and hardly useful as a main base for a PLAN expeditionary fleet. The distance between the PRC and Europe is simply too great for the PRC to be a major naval threat to Europeans.

There might be conflicts of interest about African resources between Europeans and Chinese, but such conflicts haven't even only reached the stage of great diplomatic efforts. A war in Africa would likely depend more on political allegiances, maritime (for Europeans: coastal) lines of communication and land-based air power than on modern battlefleets.

Long story short:
I don't see any need for Europeans to orient their naval forces for a fight against the PLAN, not even partially. There's no treaty obligation to fight in a Pacific War and there's nothing to be gained by joining any war in East Asia / the Pacific, ever.
There's little to no reason for the Chinese to go to war against European NATO (or EU) countries unless they go to war with China first.

I did make one assumption here that should be self-evident: Alliances serve a country's interests (security), not its ego. A violent clash of civilisations just for the sake of the clash in itself or a war just for the entertainment of people who want to see the world burn makes no sense.

S O
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2017/07/05

Innovative infantry defence concepts

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A simple non-comprehensive list, meant for orientation if you want to look into the topic some more:

Innovative infantry defence concepts

(late 19th century till 1914 state of the art)
single shoulder-to-shoulder line in simple trench

1915
interlocking machine gun fire with elaborate trenches, rifle fire is secondary

1916-1918 German elastic defence
forward trenches weak, if possible two better-manned rear trenches in up to several kilometres depth (out of range of most hostile field artillery)

1920's
elastic defence with weak VRV (FLOT), strong HKL (main line of resistance) at up to 10 km depth, some concerns about use of terrain and mines for AT purposes

1939/1940
Finnish motti tactics and first dominant use of ski troops in war

1941
hedgehog defence (company strongpoints) on overstretched front-line (due to inability to man it in depth), if possible one continuous patrol trench at VRV (FLOT), dependence on indirect fire support for domination of gaps between strongpoints

early 1950's (1st West German Heer structure)
network of platoon strongpoints and squad or quasi fire team resistance nests in between

early 1960's (2nd West German Heer structure)
network of platoon strongpoints

1960's U.S. heliborne infantry
extreme mobility in permissive AD environment, allows for truly quick reaction forces to help troops in a crisis, but they were nothing special once on the ground
mid 1960's Austrian (later also German) Jagdkampf/Jagdkommandos
(similar terminology to offensive WW2 counter guerilla patrols, but different concept) reinforced infantry platoon-sized Jagdkommandos as forward, stay-behind or even infiltrated skirmishers
1968 till 1989 Austrian "Raumverteidigung" by infantry militia (Emil Spannocchi)
defence of key locations to slow down passage of invaders (very much related to Jagdkommandos)
(the Swiss were similar, but emphasised fortifications much more)

1975 "Non-battle" (Guy Brossolet)
infantry defends assigned areas, mechanised forces and attack helicopters as mobile reserves - the concept was meant to enable defence against superior mechanised Warsaw Pact forces
mid-1970's "Techno Kommandos" (Horst Afheld)
Small infantry platoons with high tech armament (supported by small squads with ATGMs or ManPADS) cover the entirety of the FRG as local defenders instead of a conventional army. Massively improved tooth:tail ratio compared to a mechanised army.
1980 guerilla-like Jäger (Franz Uhle-Wettler's concept)
Elusive infantry does not stubbornly hold terrain, but persists as a threat. Very little high tech, very cheap equipment. Largely meant to secure easily defended areas that mechanised forces cannot cover (woodland, settlements). High degree of autonomy, extreme tooth:tail ratio in favour of teeth.

1980's Simpkin's network of Uhle-Wettler's concept
expansion in depth of the concept in order to threaten entire regions (Uhle-Wettler was more concerned about how easily difficult terrain can be exploited for flanking movements in mobile warfare if not guarded, see Ardennes 1940)

1990's distributed operations
This concept of dispersed infantry small units morphed over time into a mere buzzword.

2004-today GWOT actual combat
Infantry small arms fires fix the enemy, non-organic supporting fires get tasked with destruction. Deliberate defences = fortified military camps (and platoon outposts) with protection against mortars and suicide bombers.

The trend was clearly towards more dispersion once artillery became to dominate the battlefield. Decisionmaking moved to platoon and squad level (battles as the sum of infantry platoon engagements).

Most concepts involved the incorporation of new technologies.

Most concepts included some mobile quick reaction/strike force or an emphasis on counterattacks (even if I didn't mention it here).

S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

edit: There's a huge discussion on a translated, illustrated and commented version of this at
rostislavddd.livejournal.com/291387.html
apparently. On Russian. I did not expect this.
An explanation to them: I wrote "quasi fire team" because there were no fire teams in the doctrine. There were merely fireteam-sized elements to be detached to those positions; a half or third of a squad.
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2017/07/02

Attack helicopter survivability

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I do criticize the survivability of even gold-plated battlefield helicopters on a modern battlefield from time to time, and thus also their poor cost-efficiency.

What I consider relevant under this topic

Attack helicopters had simple origins ...
The title here is "Defence and freedom", and by "defence" I mean "defence", not "how to attack some country on a distant continent with few own casualties".
"defence" requires that the own nation or its defensive alliance are under attack. "under attack" means to me blockaded, bombarded or invaded by military or paramilitary forces.
Save for very, very few outright idiotic exceptions the only power that would possibly launch such an attack would be a power that has an idea for how to get away with it. How to "win", or in the case of a preventive war "how to lose less badly than by waiting to be attacked".
The bar is thus very high; only very capable military powers would attack a very capable alliance. Only powers which have nuclear munitions can dare to attack a nuclear-armed alliance.

The only possible attackers are thus powerful armed forces, backed by nuclear munitions. "Bothnians", a.k.a. Russians + Belorussians or at most Russians + PR Chinese + Belorussians fit the bill. No-one else does.

The threats

Russia has no perfect battlefield air defences, but they do almost certainly have the most powerful ones. The primary threat to a Western battlefield helicopter would be Russian fighters (MiG-29, Su-27 and derivatives) and the 2K22 Tunguska self-propelled (V)ShoRAD system.

The implausibly short published effective ceiling of Tunguska's missiles is almost certainly wrong in all but the most challenging scenarios, but I still don't have a good opinion of it because it's apparently radio command guided (though a beam riding guidance would be possible as well) and thus vulnerable to radio link jamming.

The 30 mm guns are more interesting; they can be considered to be very dangerous to any helicopter out to 3 or 4 km. No helicopter is armoured against this calibre and the combination of rate of fire, dispersion and helicopter's slowness makes hits very likely if the fire control got a proper lock on it.

Most man-portable air defence missiles appear to be mostly countered by infrared countermeasures. It's reasonable to expect that the most modern types of thermal seekers would be effective unless very elaborate IR countermeasures are employed, but the bigger challenge is another one anyway; such missiles are expensive, thus few - and helicopters that hover but a few metres above buildings or treelines could and would get away if engaged at any but rather short (under 2 km) distances with such missiles. Laser beamrider missiles are likely very effective against helicopters because very few countermeasures are effective against this guidance approach, but Russians and Chinese have no such ManPADS.

A substantial threat to helicopters are the low tech fully automatic and even bolt action weapons; machineguns, machinecannons, rifles. Overland powerlines are quite a threat, too.

Mines have been devised against helicopters as well. I remember a proposal for a barrage balloon "mine"; a balloon lifts up a kevlar cable and any helicopter flying into the cable would (supposedly) wind it up on its rotorhead and crash.
Here are some examples of anti.-helicopter mines, not all of them Russian or Chinese:
High survivability approaches
  • Battlefield helicopters are partially armoured. Armoured seats, armoured fuel lines and protected fuel tanks are common. Armoured windscreens are common on attack helicopters.
  • Some essential systems are redundant (the twin engine layout has become standard with battlefield helicopters, for example)
  • matte camouflage paints (sometimes with limited IR camo properties), flat windows to minimise glare
  • efforts to hide the hottest parts of the gas turbines from view of IR sensors, mixing of hot exhaust air with cool environmental air
  • The NOTAR system was never adopted for battlefield helicopters because it would be quickly rendered ineffective when perforated.
  • Rotor blades have (supposedly) been hardened enough to resist a 23 mm HEI hit.
  • infrared countermeasures have been employed
  • missile warners (UV and IR spectrum) have been employed
  • datalinks have been introduced so helicopter crews are more aware of threats
  • ManPADS have been carried by some helicopters as deterrent against other helicopters and maybe even fighters
  • laser scanners that provide collision warning regarding powerlines have been developed
Helicopters can often make a crash landing with all engines out (autorotation, crash protection seats), while very, very few battlefield helicopters have ejection seats.

The RAH-66 project was the most radical published project for helicopter survivability (we still don't know much about the spec ops helo that crashed in the UBL raid). The RAH-66 was meant to go beyond the then-typical IR stealth measures and it was an attempt to achieve a much-reduced radar cross section. It did not include the full suite of IR countermeasures (examples here), though. I never quite figured out the idea behind trying radar stealth in a helicopter, but maybe the low observability was expected to be much better and much more capable of delaying a lock-on by a Tunguska fire control radar than I thought. That would still leave the helicopter very vulnerable to horizon-scanning IR-based sensors, though.

... and they ended up in a gold plating dead end.*

What I think how an attack helicopter force could be optimised for survival in Eastern Europe

  • No use of emitting radar, not even millimetre wavelength radars
  • Mast-mounted infrared sensors capable of a quick horizon scan (panorama) with automatic detection of probable targets. This would allow a quick scan, with data being interpreted by machine and weapon systems operator while the pilot flies behind concealment and cover to a new vantage point.
  • Datalink (with AESA antennas) that allows for one helicopter to launch semi-active laser guided missiles, while another helicopter maintains the target designation after the launcher platform had to break contact. Same datalink would also allow sharing of target and threat info in general and triangulation of targets
  • Use of lock on after launch or at least very quick missiles against tanks.
  • A mast-mounted radar warning receiver with good direction finding
  • A data downlink (LINK 16) that informs the pilot about the air situation; any hostile fighters' location and movement within 300 km radius should be known to him. The air force wouldn't know about ALL such hostile fighters, of course.
  • VERY COMPREHENSIVE infrared countermeasures suite (DIRCM if possible)
  • 360° IR/UV missile approach warners that also warn about and categorise large muzzle flashes.
  • Radio command guidance and radio beam rider jamming.
  • Mast-mounted laser rangefinder/target designator should double as cable (powerline or tethered balloons) warning scanner.
  • Bulletproofing (level about as common today)
  • acoustic signature either minimised with Fenestron and blue edge rotor blades or mimicking lower value and lower threat helicopters (common utility helicopters) by using the same main rotor, tail rotor and engines
  • radar jammer module (optimised against Tunguska search radar to delay a lock-on and offer more safe time in line of sight)
  • access to aerial drone feeds that show the location of battlefield air defences and if possible the direction that Tunguska turrets are facing
  • laser warning receiver with direction finding (against laser rangefinders, laser target designators and laser beamriders that are already pointed at the helicopter)
  • sound sensors to detect (and possibly identify) hostile helicopters without line of sight (infrasound), also to detect and categorise gunfires
  • possibly large stub wings to increase the top speed (ability to avoid hostile helicopters)
Tactics and freedom of action

Such attack helicopters (all this effort would in no way be justified for utility helicopters) would hide on the ground (motionless, ideally with covers thrown over the turbines to hide the IR signature) whenever hostile fighters come too close (and too close is nowadays 100 km or so).

The threat of dedicated battlefield air defences would be minimised by avoiding line of sight most of the time. An attack helicopter would operate like an early Cold War submariner who rarely pierced the waves with a periscope, and only did so for a short duration. The helicopter would hide most of the time, change locations often and limit the time of LOS exposure to a few seconds that intelligence and operational research found to be safe enough.
Fire & forget infrared missiles that cannot be defeated by simple means would be defeated by concealing the helicopter behind an entire wall of flares and their smoke and thus breaking the lock-on.

The threat of improvised battlefield air defences (rifles up to IFV autocannons) would be minimised by staying at 2+ km horizontal distance, and preferably hovering above and amidst friendly ground forces. This in combination with ground-launched lock on after launch (and man in the loop) missiles and aerial drones means the gold-plated helicopter I'm writing about would be a substitute for two 3 ton lorries with rather cheap missiles and rather cheap aerial drones.

Only at night - when much less low end threats can see the helicopter - could attacks without protection by friendly ground forces be dared at moderate risk. Again, it would need to stay in placed where few threats can reach it. One example would be to hover over a large lake.

Stragglers, infiltrators and airborne forces that had landed days ago (and thus ran out of batteries) could be engaged from above, particularly if there is a suitable look-down chin IIR/+LRF sensor ball and an autocannon that can engage targets below (more like AH-64's gun than AH-1's, Tigre's or RAH-66's guns).

The threat of hostile attack helicopters would be countered by early (acoustic) warning and either withdrawal, luring the threat helicopter into an air defence trap or ambushing the threat helicopter with missiles and gun.

Some more problems**

There is extremely little that could be done for such a helicopter's survival if hostile land forces launched lock-on after launch missiles such as MICA VL with a good firing solution. The Russians do not appear to have such missiles in use as ShoRAD, but they are perfectly capable of developing and fielding such missiles within a few years.

Furthermore, battlefield helicopters require airspace deconfliction with high angle fires and drones in the area under current Western doctrines and regulations.They might get hit by friendly artillery otherwise, while observing deconfliction rules impedes their mobility.


And that's why I don't think that more than a handful attack helicopters make sense for alliance defence. The first few dozen force an aggressor to spend much more on battlefield air defences that a re suitable against attack helicopters. Any more attack helicopters NEED gold plating to survive at least when used with great caution. The damage they can do to intact hostile peer forces is small compared to the damage they do to the funding of friendly non-battlefield helicopter forces. Moreover, we have substitutes by now.


related:

S O
defence_and_freedom@gmx.de


*: I know it was supposed to be a scout and attack helicopter, but let's be honest; its base model would have had inferior sensor abilities to an updated Apache with Longbow radar and  the Comanche's firepower would have been on par with Cobra or Mangusta firepower. It was a light attack helicopter with low observability ambitions. A tempting, yet most gold-plated military helicopter ever.
**: There are more problems; fuel logistics, operating expenses et cetera, but this time I focused on survivability with some remarks on how this impairs lethality. 
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2017/06/29

Tiny camera quadcopter

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(This isn't meant as an advertisement; the other colour is sold out already and I suppose the red one will be sold out soon anyway.)

A decade or two ago these things were called micro or nano UAVs (before the DoD invented the acronym UAS) and were considered to be sci fi. Now they're for sale for 25 bucks. Sure, they lack radio encryption and jamming would be a piece of cake. Then again, even Predator and Reaper drones didn't have encryption for a long time.

It's practically for certain that a peacetime development and purchase program for such pieces of equipment would take 5+ years until some pieces are available for use. Then add 2-6 more years till field manuals and training caught up with it. The commercial sector is well ahead of the military sector in this area.

Soldiers have purchased commercial equipment to fix shortcomings of officially issued individual equipment for generations, and maybe we should begin to understand such unofficial equipment as normal, and adapt in doctrine and training accordingly. After all, it's not only our troops who do this - it's the opposing forces as well. Doctrine cannot presuppose that our troops are equipped with certain individually sourced equipment, but it can and maybe should presuppose that opposing forces troops do so. 
Let's stop assuming that they will use some well-documented ancient 1980's radios - expect Motorola radios with 256 bit encryption instead, for example. Camo, decoys, ballistic protection, (commandeered) commercial 4x4 motor vehicles, DIY GPS jammers, commercial 800 m laser rangefinders et cetera should be expected as well.

S O
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2017/06/27

Wartime challenges not related to "winning"

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  • guarding, processing, transporting and supporting prisoners of war
  • managing refugee traffic on roads
  • marking buildings (with red crosses etc), visible not only in visual spectrum but also on imaging infrared and radar imagery - and communicating the locations to the opposing forces
  • transporting, processing, housing and generally supporting refugees
  • repair of electrical networks and powerplants
  • repair of railway signals and actual rail networks
  • repair or replacement of bridges
  • salvaging ships and boats that were sunk or grounded in ports, in rivers, in canals and generally in maritime traffic lanes
  • clearing of minefields and unexploded ordnance in general (and confirming that suspected areas are safe)
  • rearranging trade (natural gas supply, food products, electrical power trade and direction etc.)
  • evacuating nationals from countries that suddenly became too risky (because more or less allied with the "enemy")
  • emptying or disabling gas stations in our "rear area" to deprive hostile raiding and deep reconnaissance forces of free fuel supply
  • inspecting possibly sabotaged infrastructure and fuel stocks
...and many more. The above list as what I came up with at the speed of my typing (6 finger system).

I have a hunch that we aren't really prepared for all of the above, that we neglected these things albeit no doubt the German Bundeswehr, Rotes Kreuz and THW have some obscure and likely not up-to-dated plans to do at least some of these things.

S O
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2017/06/26

More on tank warfare in Syria

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Daesh tanks, including some with most unusual, and possibly quite effective, camouflage:
One should keep in mind that the running gear gets very hot by friction, and is the key giveaway of a tracked AFV on a thermal imaging sensor. They didn't cover that so well.*

Syrian active (soft kill) protection system series "SARAB", introduced since early 2016:
This is similar to the famous Russian "Shtora", apparently effective against SACLOS guided ATGMs. An important difference is that the individual radiators are smaller and the sum of all radiators covers a much greater angle - SARAB-3 appears to cover 360°, and we can expect about 80-90% effectiveness against SACLOS guided missiles. The crippled Syrian regime was able to build this, imagine what a peer threat to NATO could do!
Such quite cheap devices could be stored in the thousands in depots, together with 360° IR/UV missile approach sensors and IR-opaque smoke munitions.
This would be devastating to almost all anti-tank guided missiles' effectiveness against vehicles with such protection.


S O

*: Don't worry, I have practically no Middle Eastern readers. :-)
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2017/06/25

The Qatar ultimatum

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So Saudi Arabia et al issued an ultimatum to the sovereign country of Qatar (another dictatorial kleptocracy, like the others). I wanted to read those "13 points" the news media was reporting about, and got seriously annoyed that all those "I have failed in my choice of job" so-called "reporters" failed to tell their readers/viewers/listeners those 13 points. 
Seriously, sometimes we want facts raw, not watered-down as if journalism was homeopathy!

So I looked up one source that finally showed the list (in a properly summarised form), The Guardian. This should be self-evident - it's their job, so no extra thanks for that. Instead, shame on the others.

The 13 demands in full

  1. Curb diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. Expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Only trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US and international sanctions will be permitted.
  2. Sever all ties to “terrorist organisations”, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al-Qaida and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare those entities as terrorist groups.
  3. Shut down al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
  4. Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.
  5. Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatar.
  6. Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and other countries.
  7. Hand over “terrorist figures” and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
  8. End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
  9. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.
  10. Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
  11. Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.
  12. Align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.
  13. Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.
My suspicion when I heard the news was this: "I think they're using terrorism as a pretense for a shakedown of a smaller sovereign country, similar to 1914 and 2002/2003."

Now let's look at the list:

(1) Not about terrorism, but about an inter-Gulf pissing contest, or if you prefer that framework for interpretation, a struggle for regional (or clerical) hegemony.
(2) This is about the supposed ties with terrorism, more about that later.
(3) Outright attack on freedom of press / freedom of speech.
(4) Outright attack on freedom of press / freedom of speech as far as I can tell (I don't know those outlets).
(5) Hostile to a NATO country.
(6) Redundant with (2)
(7) The parentheses are in there for a reason. This demand appears to be primarily about apprehension of political dissidents; the Saudis et al want to incarcerate political opponents which includes but does not exclusively affect MB people. The demand - as wide as it is - is utterly against Western values since they did not demand  the hand over of obvious terrorists only.
(8) Every sovereign country can hand out citizenship to anyone, period. There's no legitimacy and no IL legality to such a demand. Saudi-Arabia is interfering in other countries' internal affairs, in part by bombing them. The hypocrisy is at level "U.S." here.
(9) Again, zero legitimacy or legality in hat demand. A sovereign country has the right to be in contact with foreign political factions.
(10) Sounds like utter B.S..
(11) Saudi Arabia et al have zero authority on such matters, and demanding such a one-sided surveillance regime is B.S.. The UNSC could fulfill such a role.
(12) This is essentially a demand to accept Saudi Arabian hegemony, an obvious attack of Qatari sovereignty.
(13) As written by a child, at best. At worst it shows this is an intentionally poison pilled list of demands that's meant as a prelude for invasion.


Now about the terrorism links: It appears that -publicly known since 2014- Qatar is indeed a safe haven for terrorism figures and terrorism-linked figures, as well as Qatar having funded a couple groups that some countries consider to be terrorist organisations. So that's not a complete fabrication.
The same could be said about the United States and certainly so about Saudi-Arabia, of course.

The proper way to go for Saudi Arabia concerning the terrorism link was to call the UNSC, argue, convince, get global sanctions enacted (there's little reason why any veto power should block them after they had flattered and cuddled with Trump). The sanctions could have escalated from financial to trade (not including food and medical supplies, of course).


So this list is a load of illegitimate and illegal demands that violate Qatari sovereignty.
The UNSC should be called to intervene and protect Qatari sovereignty ... wait, Trump already sold Qatari sovereignty for a PR stunt, and would block any useful UNSC resolution by the U.S.' UNSC veto power.

It is remarkable how closely and cynically Saudi Arabia applied the Austro-Hungarian and Neocon playbook of using terrorism as pretence to go after a sovereign and much weaker power.

Back in 1992-2002 we had an international order in which peaceful relations between countries had become the norm and aggressions had largely been frowned upon.
The end of the ideological Cold War conflict, the end of most colonialism (the South African Apartheid regime had given up), the example of 1990 in which a broad international coalition was formed to oppose a war of aggression with subsequent annexation of a sovereign country and the example of 1991 in which the aggression and annexation were reversed had built this international order. The pre-existing United Nations and international courts had finally become the central spot for addressing international disputes.

This order was damaged a couple times, but most importantly it was trashed by one of its key builders in 2003 with the war of aggression against Iraq. That was a grand strategic folly of global proportions. Afterwards, the recovered Russia(n Empire) became more audacious as well and disrespected the sovereignty of countries (and even its own guarantees) at will, pointing at the Western hypocrisy and using similarly obvious lies as pretenses and excuses.
This current crisis around Qatar shows that this aggressive behaviour has trickled down to regional powers. I expected Turkey to do such a thing next, but the Saudis were quicker.

Well, what should Europe do (we know the U.S. is pretty useless in this affair at this point)?
I personally think one could hardly be too harsh in the reaction. We should airlift supplies into Qatar through the airspace of Iran. We should call for the UNSC to discuss the crisis on its meeting on 27 June, to expose the uselessness of the U.S. in today's world if nothing else. Western (that is, European and Canadian) leaders should use strong words that clarify the nature of this extortion and reaffirm the sovereignty of Qatar. Western countries should also drop all reservations about hitting Saudi Arabia et al with sanctions for their sponsoring and tolerance of terrorism and terrorists.

On top of that, it would be welcome if the Turks airlifted a respectable army strength into Qatar, and European countries should help out with airlift capacities (both military and civilian). It's better to have a Turkish brigade equivalent in Qatar than an Iranian one.


Last, but not least:
To all countries who thought hosting U.S. troops or military installations would protect you against superior potential aggressors: 
You are fools!


S O

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2017/06/20

Weird aspects about AFVs in the Syrian Civil War

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1) Low intensity

The war has been going on, but tank losses are below 2 tanks per day. This is a very low rate of losses in my opinion. Other Middle East Wars (the conventional ones) have seen hundreds of tanks destroyed. It seems that the civil war is mostly in a standstill, with regime forces having difficulty amassing strength for local superiority that suffices for offensive actions. This seems to be first and foremost about personnel affairs, particularly motivations.

2) Tanks on overwatch / surveillance duty

Several videos show tanks getting hit by guided missiles while they are motionless on overwatch duty, hatches closed and not moving the turret.
This seems to be a generally underappreciated role of tanks. The first German post-WW2 firefight involved a check point where a Leopard 2 tank was standing, but entirely unmanned. Doctrine and training had not stressed the necessity to have at least one man in the turret at all times for security.
I think it was Ralph Zumbro who wrote about the employment of tanks in Vietnam and recounted how a single tank oversaw and dominated a valley. The main security challenge were the nights; supposedly the random occasional shooting of nearby bushes with a 40 mm gun sufficed to deter any attempts to sneak up to the tank with a satchel charge or RPG-2/B-40.

source: FM 17-98
The ideal overwatch would likely be a turret down position with the ability to move up to a hull down position in seconds. meanwhile, only turret roof-mounted (if not mast-mounted) sensors would be used for all-round search. Maybe these sensors could even be in constant rotation with automated detection of suspicious things or movements. Detached unattended ground senors around the tank could help, with their readings displayed on the tank's screens. So a combination of great (prepared) position and technical equipment for the surveillance mission could achieve a lot.

Of course, being attentive at all times and backing up into a turret down position in time would help a lot as well.

Instead, many comments on the tanks hit (and some of them destroyed) appeared to pay undue attention to turret all-round passive protection (armour).

3) Tracked self-propelled artillery and mortars

The import of 2S9 self-propelled (tracked) mortars made me wonder "why?!?". What's the point? 

The armour is barely bulletproof against rifle calibres (good 7.62x51 NATO might penetrate at 100 m), so that's no vehicle for line of sight support fires except at ranges where doing NLOS support fires with an observer who has LOS in shouting distance would work as well.

There is no need to shoot & scoot in indirect fires for want of rebel counterfires to regime arty and mortars (unless they're in line of sight, of course), so a towed 120 mm mortar would work just as well.

The mobility of a tracked platform is actually quite crappy for mobile operations around the roads through rather arid areas. A wheeled vehicle (particularly new commercial vehicles which can be expected to be fine for the next 30,000 -50,000 km) would be much more mobile.

Finally, Russian AFVs are not known for having fantastic air conditioning.

So why do they import 2S9 self-propelled tracked mortars instead of importing cheap 120 mm towed mortars and employ them with a pair of Toyota Hilux with a 0.5 ton box trailer?

The vehicles aren't new (hence likely worn out a lot), and one might think that Russia simply dumps unnecessary old matériel into Syria, but that doesn't excuse the maintenance and thus readiness issues of an old tracked platform used in a role where pickups suffice. The 2S9's above-average range (for a 120 mm mortar weapon) is no good reason either. Normal 120 mm mortar ranges suffice in that conflict; arty can deal with anything that's farther out.

It's weird. They have very little ability to afford imports, but they waste money on hardly suitable equipment.

S O
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2017/06/19

Self discipline and light weight

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I have argued a bit in favour of light weight equipment lately, which goes back to a need for high dismounted mobility for survivability which goes back to quick lethal indirect fires which go back to digitised artillery fire control with quick positionfinding which is really a problem because counterfires to arty have become really difficult because of deployment of individual shoot & scoot SPGs instead of batteries because of eased accurate navigation and of course there's the general improvement of accuracy due to said navigation improvements which eliminates the ranging shots so arty fires can proceed with lethal fires with first shot, and autoloaders improved MRSI so you need fewer SPGs for extremely lethal surprise fires ... it's a long rad tail of innovations and their higher order effects. In the end, my conclusion is that infantry needs to relocate by much more than 100 m within 2 minutes (at most 4 minutes) of being detected in order to survive.
Yet infantrymen aren't going to crawl & run by 200-500 m every few minutes or so if burdened by an average of about 30 kg and up to about 37 kg of equipment. That's not what humans do, period.

The comments to my utterances about lightweight equipment - here and through other channels - have often shown one typical answer, paraphrased it was
'but I have this pet toy that I'd like to be used, and those few more kilograms are totally OK, don't make much of a difference in themselves'.

That's exactly how one gets overburdened infantry that instinctively gives up on high agility, high mobility tactics.

The challenge is not to develop lightweight equipment. The challenge is to resist adding weight. Any weight. There is a famous and ingenious Bundeswehr cutlery set that I personally use for camping - it weighs 205 grams. I point at a titanium cutlery set instead. The 40 gram type, not the 42 gram type. Because weight.

One has to do this across the board, muster self-discipline at all times. Forget the Pareto analysis (optimising the biggest items  that make up 80% of the weight, for supposedly optimising the rest isn't worth the effort). I think we're at a time where infantry has to be lightly equipped first and foremost, in order to have the necessary agility (better freedom of movement by more choice of feasible routes) and mobility. Infantry doctrine should emphasize
  1. stealth (fieldcraft, to avoid detection most of the time and particularly in the approach)
  2. agility & mobility + smoke (all for breaking contact in time)
  3. burst small arms firepower at up to 300 m distance for up to 2 minutes duration (not necessarily a "mad minute", but rather surprise salvoes; hit & (over)run)
  4. ability to call for support fires quickly and accurately under ECM influence (primarily brigade-level artillery)
This would be largely the same for mechanised infantry, though with an additional emphasis on the ability to call for/direct line of sight fire support by the tanks.
_ _ _ _ _

All of this is to some degree already part of infantry doctrines, just as assault on trenches was not unknown prior to the First World War. The change that I advocate is about focus; it's about what to favour when you have to make a trade-off. I favour the four points above, and much falls aside for this
  1. long range small arms fires (past 300 m), including medium/universal 7.62 mm machineguns and the fashionable DMRs
  2. anti-MBT firepower in an infantry squad at all times (instead, merely issue anti-MBT equipment when there's an anti-MBT mission)
  3. bulletproofing against rifle calibre carbine's bullets
  4. cartridge provisioning for undisciplined fires, mad minutes, psychological relief shots or extended suppressive fires etc.
  5. storage space on the chest; big silhouettes are incompatible with stealth
I did over the years change (gradually) on some points
  1. no more advocacy of the always fashionable intermediate cartridge for dismounted troops (though I still favour something like .338 for mounted use instead of 7.62 and .50cal)
  2. largely gave up on light frag protection for legs and arms
  3. largely gave up on infantry anti-MBT munitions, which I considered as self-evident because that's the mainstream if not consensus thinking
  4. gave up on some pet items of my own because they were too heavy to advocate for

So I did some mental sacrifices myself in pursuit of self-discipline and focus.

Now the question is whether any major Western army will actually revise its infantry doctrine (the field manuals still look largely as in the 80's, save for additions about GPS, peacekeeping missions,  wars of occupation and such) and then consequently change its ways of equipping, organising, training and handling infantry small units.

The alternative is in my opinion that they would get a terribly bloody nose in the next peer conflict and would need to improvise such changes on the quick, with what's left of the infantry NCO force in order to train raw recruits in the new ways.

The (paraphrased) 'find the enemy, fix him from behind cover, wait till fire support kills the enemy' approach of one-sided clashes of Western resources-rich forces with bare bones paramiliary opposition sure did not force such changes on us. It forced such changes on them. Have you seen any insurgents with 28 kg of equipment carried lately? I kid you not - such heavily burdened insurgents weren't uncommon in earlier centuries.


S O
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2017/06/15

The Middle East and democracy

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I was a lazy blogger this month so far, but for today I found a lazy method of blogging: I pull an excerpt from an e-mail conversation and simply publish it, mostly unmodified:

The Vietnam War was a tricky issue. On the one hand it may have been necessary to make a great stand against export of Bolshevism somewhere even after it was done in Korea, but on the other hand one confused a war of national unification with a step towards Bolshevist world revolution. The errors made in Africa and Latin America were similar; all-too often the real motives were ignored in favour of the simple "they're communists!" explanation (though this ultimately failed to defend apartheid in Rhodesia and South Africa).
We're doing this again. All this attention on radical Islam in regard to daesh is bollocks.
The real conflict in Syria and Iraq is a different one. They have group loyalties that are more powerful than ideologies. Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds vote for their groups' parties, not for left-right parties. This leads to predictable subjugation / foreign rule of majority factions over minority factions. The Sunni Arabs may get a perfect Western style democracy and they will still feel foreign-ruled because Shiites and Kurds rule over them. There's again and again a rallying of Sunni Arabs in Iraq towards Sunni paramilitary efforts - which end up trending towards radical Islamic policies because radicals tend to dominate over moderates in civil wars.
The old answer was to have tyrannies that oppress one major faction, but these regimes crumbled.
The new answer should be proportional governance as it worked in Lebanon until war was imported to Lebanon after the PLO was kicked out of Jordan. Proportional rule like head of state is always a Shiite, head of government is always a Sunni, head of parliament is always a Kurd et cetera - and then promote programmatic ideological parties that transcend ethnic/religious factions.
They need no Western style democracy; they need old school Levant republicanism. The conflicts will cook up again and again (or be suppressed by tyrannic regimes) until they get proportional republicanism.
Now what do Europeans stare at instead? They freak out about some group of asswipes who pretend to follow the word of their imaginary friend and are world record aspirants in regard to making enemies.
"Islamofascism", the new "Communism".

S O
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