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"Preparing General Purpose Forces for Combat in Megacities" Topic

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406 hits since 16 May 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 11:43 a.m. PST

"Team live fires in a shoot-house normally represent a basic task that is one of the key building blocks of the Army's room-clearing battle drill. For the paratroopers of 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), this basic task became complex when the battalion executed its most recent live fires and dense urban area training by employing innovative mission command technology in a chemical environment while wearing gas masks and protective suits. While 1-508th PIR is surely not the first organization to conduct live fires or train for operations in a chemically contaminated environment, our training serves as a clear example of how conventional forces can prepare themselves to operate and win in megacities under extreme environmental conditions.

Some urban warfare scholars are clamoring for the Army to establish urban specific fighting formations. MAJ John Spencer, Deputy Director of the Modern War Institute at West Point, outlines in several opinion pieces the need for a 5,000 soldier unit consisting of cyber warriors, aviators, mechanized and airborne infantry, engineers, and a myriad other enablers. These units would focus on indirect fires, information operations, and combat service support that is committed to rapidly deploying, innovating on a grand scale, and employing advanced technologies not normally fielded to conventional forces. Major Spencer identifies megacities as a future battlefield the US military would be foolish to ignore, and he is also absolutely right "that megacities will require major changes to today's fighting vehicles, weapons, and equipment. Every aspect of the "shoot, move, and communicate" framework is challenged by the urban environment. Current systems will have to be modified, new capabilities and technologies implemented." Additionally, he recognizes that the lack of dense urban training facilities limits the Army's ability to train for megacity warfare. His detractors that argue these three points either ignore general trends in migration and economic development or fail to truly appreciate the complexity of dense urban terrain and what it means to the warfighter. While I concur with MAJ Spencer's holistic diagnosis of the problem, I fear his cure, centered on the establishment of an entirely new unit, is impractical and in some ways fails to appreciate the bureaucratic challenges associated with creating, and perhaps more importantly, maintaining such a specialized unit. Further, I think the energy and effort aimed at trying to build such a particular solution reduces readiness in other combat formations and could serve to reduce grassroots-level creativity at the lowest tactical levels…"
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Cacique Caribe Inactive Member17 May 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

So are these units like a military version of SWAT?


Lion in the Stars17 May 2018 4:02 p.m. PST

Someone forgets that the natural environment of the foot soldier is in the city.

Mechanized and armor bypass cities.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 7:03 p.m. PST

No, they should not function as SWAT. SWAT tries to capture people. The military should be to close and kill the enemy. Specialized vehicles are a must. Look at Stalingrad and Chechnya.
The Germans used the SturmTiger with a 300mm rocket on it to blast out whole buildings.
The Russians developed specialized APCs on tank chassis with lots of close in, heavy firepower machine guns and machine cannons.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

PMC31718 May 2018 5:37 a.m. PST

Does the fighting force wish to take the city (relatively) intact? Then its victory will depend on brutal room-to-room infantry war supported by specialist armoured vehicles and pinpoint air support (c.f. Ramadi, Raqqa, Fallujah, Kobane).

Does the fighting force wish to destroy its enemy and the city? Then its victory will depend on relentless artillery and air bombardment followed by slow and rigid advance with specialist armoured bulldozers and support units to destroy the place block by block, dealing with surviving enemy units with point-blank direct-fire HE or burying them alive depending on resistance.

In either case, there's not much room for civilians…

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