Looking through the comments to the post ‘Call Out: Avoiding Ego in the Gear Advice Game‘ I have to say “Well done Folks.” You did a better job of expressing what I was driving at in comments that I did in the main article. For those that didn’t get it, here’s a clue: “It wasn’t about gear, specific gear.” For those that wanted/hoped for some sort of flame war between Mosby and I, you won’t get it. Mosby is bigger than that. I would like to think of it as a process more like a team room ‘Chinese parliament,’ where ideas are hashed out and big boys don’t get upset.
Sometimes it is necessary to tear shit up, then take another look at it. I hope to follow that up today, based on the excellent comments on the post. Now, for this discussion, I hope to not be too long winded in this post, and I hope to be able to turn the discussion over to you guys. For that, you can certainly comment below, but I will also post this on the forum (this article linked HERE) and you are welcome to go there, where you can have a free discussion, without me having to moderate all comments, which makes for a less interactive process.
Perioikoi commented: “Finally in the analysis of insurgent operations someone has brought up the distinct difference between light infantry, with the backing of The Military Industrial Complex, and those who lack such support systems. Diz brings up the example of the fighter who has little more than enough gear to execute an ambush, do damage, and get the fuck out. Now certainly such forces would gain flexibility and effectiveness if able to train and equip for SUT, but this type of approach is worthy of learning from. With the recent conflicts in The Middle East one of the tactics that really denied coalition forces meaningful victories were fighters that would engage than abandon the fight once coalition forces were pressing the assault. By the time coalition forces had taken the insurgent fighting positions they would find piles of weapons and clothing, the fighters themselves seemed to have vanished. But of courses we all know they did not vanish, but had melded into the greater population.”
Diz commented: “I think Perioikio hits the nail on the head here. Re-orienting our focus on what to carry, based on successful insurgent models. There’s a story here, and one I did not fully take up on……You have a stronger, heavier opponent, who you force to chase you, instead of standing and fighting. Your main defense is mobility not armor or weapons. You melt back into the general population instead of “exfiling” to wherever….These are tactics that fought 3 superpowers to a stand-still in Afghanistan, in over a century of conflict. Great Britain, Russia, and the US. As a well-known trainer says: “In police work, that’s what we call a clue”.”
The purpose of this website is the tactical preparation of the armed citizen for SHTF, or collapse, or WROL, or whatever you want to call it. That will follow a sliding scale, from some sort of natural disaster with accompanying looting and lawlessness, all the way to some sort to of foreign invasion. In the former situation(s), Unconventional Warfare (UW) is probably not the answer, at least in the doctrinal sense. Some sort of basic light infantry (which is unconventional because you are civvies!) patrol and defensive plan, perhaps with the odd raid thrown in, would be more appropriate. METT-TC will dictate, as everyone always likes to say.
The other purpose of my writings and training is to convert doctrine and TTPs from a strictly military usage, to that of the armed civilian in some sort of SHTF situation. To do that, for example as I did in ‘Contact!,’ it is not enough to simply roll out FMs. They need to be adapted. That is what I intend to do today with a quick look at UW doctrine.
Let’s assume a fictional scenario in which to set this train of thought running:
It is 2015. The unthinkable has happened, the fall of the United States of America. That great nation, that shining light on the hill, had been weakened over time by creeping tyranny, lawlessness, Soviet-style inept bureaucracy, and creeping indoctrination. Rent-taking by elites had left the economy crippled, hand in hand with failing socialist redistributionist policies. The masses had been occupied by fringe social issues and red herring news issues, lulled by a lying media, while the collapse had been kept at bay by inflationary money printing.
Finally, the petro-dollar had fallen.
The Chinese, sensing opportunity, had carried out a cyber attack, collapsing the American electrical grid. The lights went out. Allied Chinese and Russian forces had invaded, aided by collaborating American Regime elements.
This is not a civil war. This is a Resistance operation by fractured Patriot Citizen insurgent groups, across the FUSA.
Now, we will take a look at some simplified UW doctrine. Remember, UW doctrine is carried out abroad, as a multinational effort. If it happens here, you will not be in an SF team deployed to another country, humping your gear off the LZ to find the Guerrilla leader. You will be in it, part of it. In reality, in this scenario, UW would be foreign SF teams coming to train up US Citizens. US SF members, active and retired, will be in the collapse just like everyone else. That is why I want to examine this, and adapt it to a domestic situation.
In United States doctrine, unconventional warfare (abbreviated UW) is the term for guerrilla warfare that is conducted or supported by units in the United States Special Operations Command. Guerrilla warfare is one aspect of the broader term insurgency. The American definition of UW is:
Unconventional Warfare consists of activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary and guerrilla force in a denied area.”
Unconventional warfare is a form of insurgency, which exploits grievances to influence or overthrow a government believed repressive by the supporters of the UW force. US doctrine assumes there will usually be a government in exile with which the UW plan can be developed. UW leaders must never forget that they are extending politics with military means, and that, in a guerrilla situation, their military means are limited. Successful UW always recognizes that its essence is political, not simply military. No warfare should ignore Carl von Clausewitz’s dictum that “war is the extension of national politics by military means”. Subversion,psychological operations and other nonviolent means may be as potent as an ambush, in advancing the political goals of the UW force
The U.S. doctrine for special operations emphasizes that commanders cannot dominate a politicomilitary environment in the same way in which a conventional force can exert “battlefield dominance.” UW is conceptually at a strategic level, and its commanders must constantly remain aware of political goals such as “military successor defeat, a change in hostile strategy or tactics, or fluctuating levels of US support. They must know who the friendly and hostile decision makers are, what their objectives and strategies are, and how they interact. They must influence friendly decision makers to ensure they understand the implications of SO mission requirements and the consequences of not adequately supporting them.”
SF units are force multipliers. While SF have missions other than UW, UW can more impact when they can create a much larger force of guerrillas rather than trying to do everything themselves. An effective SF commander had the attitude, “Hey, we’re all in this together with our Kurdish counterparts,” … Our commander and his counterpart… were very close and like-minded, to the point that they would show up together for JSOTF coordination and planning meetings… In fact, I would say that what they were seeing was genuine rapport and a real camaraderie. In our sector, the Kurds had a standing order not to allow any Americans to get killed, and thus they surrounded our ODAs during combat.”
A SF UW campaign is now defined to have seven steps, ending in combat and demobilization. Changing concepts in UW, however, may change the model so that the UW force avoids entering the main combat phase, but carries out critical support operations with the steps before it.
Much of the early steps may take place in a safe area outside the AO, where SF, as well as psychological operations personnel from USSOCOM, the United States Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other organizations establish contacts with sympathizers in the target country. A wide range of psychological operations techniques are used to increase the likelihood that citizens of the target country will be sympathetic. Such operations can range from overt (i.e., “white propaganda”) radio and television broadcasts, to clandestine material purporting to be issued by the opposition (i.e., “black propaganda”).
Small units or individuals, typically from SF or CIA, make clandestine contact with leaders in the AO, and gain agreement that SF teams will be welcomed. For example, in Afghanistan in 2001, CIA paramilitary personnel made the initial contact with leaders of the Northern Alliance, who agreed to accept SF teams that would train and fight with the Afghan resistance. CIA personnel had been in Afghanistan, in noncombat roles, certainly as early as 1999, and had created relationships that could not have been established under the military roles and missions of the time.
SF operational detachments enter the AO, by clandestine means, such as parachuting at night (especially using HAHO or HALO techniques), delivery by naval special operations vessels or from submarines, by out-of-uniform infiltration from a neighboring country, etc.
If the infiltrating party is to be met by local supporters, there must be pre-agreed recognition signals. Should the infiltrators not be able to find their local contacts, they should have a variety of backup plans, ranging from establishing a clandestine base and waiting for contact, or to be recovered by their own side.
Early in an insurgency, electronic communications should be avoided, as enemy SIGINT might learn of activities simply by detecting an unexpected radio signal. Couriers and personal meetings are resistant to SIGINT, but also have problems of maintaining physical security.
Citizen soldiers of the guerrilla force, underground and auxiliary are trained and equipped for their intended roles. SF personnel, possibly supplemented with communications and security experts in the AO, as well as support organizations outside the country, create the clandestine cell system to be used by hidden units. In this phase and later phases, SF medical personnel often work to improve the health of their sympathizers.
The operation increases recruiting, and may begin clandestine intelligence collection and subversion, and possibly some hit-and-run raids and ambushes that have a high probability of success and a low risk of compromising security.
Another covert operational technique, which may be used during this phase, is placing improvised explosive devices (i.e., mines and boobytraps). Sabotage, such as placing an explosive charge under a railroad track, is easier to hide than a raid on the train. If there is aerial bombing of targets, it can be used as a cover for sabotage activities.
Forces that have reached this level have significant intelligence collection, sabotage and subversion, and fire direction capabilities.
In the combat phase, the guerrilla force increases the tempo of operations, in a manner consistent with its own safety and security, until the government falls or the guerrilla force links up with conventional forces. See raids and ambushes for the classic guerrilla combat operations, which may not be appropriate for the changing operational environment.
A stable country will no longer have autonomous guerrillas. The guerrilla force may form the nucleus of a new military, come under the control of the new national government, or go back to civilian life. It is essential that these experienced soldiers support, not oppose, the new government.
UW is asymmetric warfare, which attempts to meet a conventional force under conditions that optimize the UW force’s strengths; UW forces avoid combat when conditions are unfavorable to them.
Interdiction is the basic UW combat activity, which uses a variety of tactics to “drain the hostile power’s morale and resources, disrupt its administration, and maintain the civilian population’s morale and will to resist.” UW attacks should be unpredictable, but widely dispersed and occasionally against a target previously struck, so the enemy must disperse his forces. Even in a guerrilla context, the dispersion of hostile forces may become so great that the guerrillas can temporarily gain a local superiority of force.
No target should be attacked without a specific reason for doing so; the selected targets should be part of neutralizing a system of targets. For example, if it is known that the enemy has limited supplies of fuel, attacks against tanker trucks, pipelines, refineries, and storage farms all contribute to damaging his petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) system. If POL is deemed the critical target system, other attacks support the attacks on POL. If an attack on a barracks will draw away soldiers that otherwise might guard POL resources, such an attack is both diversionary and supportive of the main attack on a critical resource.
In SF doctrine, an operational UW force, made up of U.S. and local personnel, has three general components, although they may not all be part of a specific mission:
Detailed targeting may be conducted by separate special reconnaissance or other special operations intelligence resources. The UW unit, however, will almost certainly identify and prioritize targets on its own. One relevant U.S. doctrine is identified by the CARVER mnemonic, although CARVER tends to emphasize air, artillery, direct action raids rather than UW:
Major target systems vulnerable to UW interdiction operations include railway, highway, waterway, airway, communication, power, water supply, fuel supply, and air defense systems.
To interdict enemy operations, the resistance can use direct combat means such as raids and ambushes. They can also use methods less risky to their security, such as mining or long-range sniping.
Raids are short-duration attacks on objectives, with the specific understanding that the attacking force will withdraw quickly after achieving the mission objective, or finding they are confronting forces too strong to handle. UW raids can be simply to disrupt an enemy force, to capture usable equipment, for taking prisoners for intelligence exploitation, and destroying installations. Both for attacking strong points at a distance, and for destroying reinforced structures, SF may use missiles, typically derived from antitank weapons. When the raiding force can access the key target, they often use explosives, manually placed so that a small amount can do maximum damage.
Certain targets, such as bridges, historically could be attacked only by manually placed explosives. With the advent of precision-guided munitions, the destructive part of the raid may involve the SF unit controlling air strikes. Air strikes, however, are practical only when U.S. involvement is not hidden.
Where a raid goes to the enemy and attacks, an ambush waits for enemy forces to come to it, and then engages in combat. A well-planned ambush can have the element of surprise, possibly achieve temporary local superiority, fight from cover, and have preplanned withdrawal routes to avoid being encircled.
Mining and sniping support both raids and ambushes. In a raid, mines may be laid near the enemy reaction force barracks. Snipers can take out critical equipment (e.g., floodlights, radars, artillery) or commanders as the raid begins. Both methods can discourage pursuit while the raid or ambush force withdraws
In guerrilla warfare, a great number of casualties are caused by mines and other destructive devices that are triggered by some mechanical interaction between a person and the detonation mechanism of the device. Since such devices rarely have a means of distinguishing between a combatant and a noncombatant, there is a very real risk to civilians, and continues to be in areas of the world where there has been much guerrilla warfare. The United States has not ratified the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, known informally as the Ottawa Treaty. It does promulgate policies and Rules of Engagement for their use.
When an explosive device is triggered only by the action of a member of the guerrilla force after identifying a legal target, as with the command-detonated mode of the M18A1 Claymore Antipersonnel Mine, the device is not considered a mine within the context of the Ottawa Treaty. Such devices often are used to initiate combat in an ambush, combining surprise with an intense burst of fragments. U.S. policy states that a directional mine of this type may be emplaced if:
A common use of mines in guerrilla warfare, however, would be to emplace them behind a retreating guerrilla force, so the pursuit force would trigger them. Modern mines disarm themselves after a period of time, but the majority of both purpose-built and improvised mines do not and present the chief humanitarian concern. U.S. policy commits to stop using manufactured mines, which do not automatically disarm, by 2010 “with exception for use for mine action/demining training and research purposes. The US no longer uses non-detectable land mines of any type”, although these restrictions all apply to mines manufactured by the United States. The use of improvised mines and boobytraps, however, is a continuing issue.
Since a guerrilla force expects to have the population become increasingly loyal to it, there is an obvious psychological problem with leaving an area with active explosive devices. Especially when a guerrilla force has limited supplies, there is tactical utility to improvising devices, which could be as simple as a hand grenade, fastened next to a trail, and with a taut wire attached to the activating lever of the grenade. Stepping on the wire would pull out the safety ring and start the detonation sequence of the grenade. SF policy does not clearly address this type of device, or those made completely from local materials and having no automatic disarming features. The U.S. Rules of Engagement might ban such devices, but, especially in urban or jungle areas where the guerrillas are not constantly observed, the ban might not be enforced.
Snipers, when the term is used properly, are highly skilled riflemen that use specialized weapons and tactics to attack specific personnel and equipment far outside normal rifle range.
Both sabotage and subversion are means to reduce the military, political, economic, or morale strengths of an opponent. They differ in that sabotage involves physical damage or damage to information systems, while subversion relies more on changing the behavior of personnel trusted by the opponent. Before the act of sabotage or subversion is executed, preparations for the act must be kept under tight security control. Only a small information leak could defeat the attack.
When sabotage takes place, it may be covert rather than clandestine, in that the enemy knows he has been hurt, but may not know who hurt him. In the more subtle examples of sabotage, however, the enemy may not suspect deliberate action caused an aircraft to crash.
Where the saboteur might contaminate aircraft fuel, the aircraft could be put out of service by a clerk committing subversion, by delaying or losing maintenance orders, resupply of fuel or munitions, or “misrouting” an order for the aircraft to attack
The U.S. defines sabotage as “an act or acts with intent to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the national defense of a country by willfully injuring or destroying, or attempting to injure or destroy, any national defense or war materiel, premises, or utilities, to include human and natural resources.
In a more modern context, sabotage may be one of many ways to attack a given enemy target system. If, for example, the POL target system is targeted, tank farms and refineries could be raided, or pipelines and tanker trucks ambushed or attacked with mines. These will be very evident to the enemy, and the resistance could be damaged if some of their combat teams are captured and interrogated.
If a saboteur were able to gain access to that tank farm, or fuel tanks of vehicles and aircraft, and add a chemical that slowly damaged engines, that agent could be far away by the time the enemy determines what had happened. Carefully planned sabotage can be one of the safest tactics for an UW force.
Sabotage is usually carried out clandestinely by the underground or auxiliary, but it can be carried out by the guerrilla force, under the cover of a combat operation. For example, while a raid on an airfield was in progress, and all available guards were fighting the main raid, guerrillas might infiltrate to the fuel tank farm and introduce contaminants into some of the tanks.
SF teams must take great care, especially in failed or failing states with crumbling infrastructure, not to enable dissidents to create hardship for the general population. An excellent example, which reflects societal characteristics that might not be obvious to Americans, is sabotaging an airfield that provides a widely used commodity that must be fresh, such as khat in Somalia.
Subversion is formally defined as “action designed to undermine the military, economic, psychological, or political strength or morale of a regime. In an insurgency, it will almost certainly be carried out by members of the underground or auxiliary, who have gained the trust of the enemy.
I have written a novelized account of the tactics in ‘Contact!’ and adapted it to a civil war/insurgency model very similar to the scenario at the top of this post, in my novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises.’ In the novel, I have attempted to show how classic light infantry tactics can be adapted to a UW situation. My term for the underground/auxiliary in the book is simply ‘the network.’ The Resistance Company in the book is pretty high speed and shows a high-end option of what could go on, and involves them training up in G bases before going operational.
What I had the Resistance Company do was train up so that they could conduct harassing IED operations all the way up to concentrating force, temporarily, for company level raids. The basic building block was a four man team, consisting of two IED specialists and two sharpshooters. These groups would be sent out to conduct small team interdiction operations. These four man teams could then be built up to 8 or 12 man squads (2 or 3 teams) and then up to platoon and company level as necessary for larger operations (think raid) where concentrating force was appropriate.
But remember, the group in the book were deliberately high speed in order to provide a ‘manual’ element to the novel, where tactics were demonstrated. What I want comments on this post to take on are the realities of this, if you find yourself in an invasion/tyranny situation, running resistance operations, based on what you will actually have. What happens if this goes down tomorrow?
Will SF/training teams teams get together in order to conduct domestic UW operations, adapted from doctrine to fit the actual situation?
If we bring it back to the Afghanistan situation, we can see that many out there will fill the role of local fighters. Others may be able to operate at a higher level, more like groups of foreign fighters, who are able to deploy to areas and conduct something better than simple harassment. Insurgent Special Ops, if you like.
I am often harping on about the following:
In a Citizen insurgency context, in addition to this, without a support network (auxiliary/underground) and without targeting Intel, you have nothing. You are back to being ‘preppers’ guarding your family and mountain house supplies in your remote log cabin. That goes back to something I often say: I rail against the ‘selfish prepper’, but on the flip side I say we will all have no choice but to be that selfish prepper, if there is no one to support us, and no where to stash your loved ones. Selfish prepper is the default setting, without team and network.
Rugged individuals will die as rugged individuals.
So, how do we fix this? Discuss!
This article on the FORUM HERE, for open discussion.