40 Quoted in James Holland, Together We Stand: Turning the Tide in the West: North Africa, 1942-1943 (London: HarperCollins, 2005), 24. In choosing the examples noted above, we focused only on cases that took place prior to World War I and are well-documented. Why should the urban environment be any different?87. Urban warfare is not intrinsically more difficult than other forms of warfare. In colloquial Spanish, a phrase probably brought by Sephardic Jews and their descendants fleeing the massacre, “mas malo que Tito” (worse than Titus), survives in common use to this day. “I happen to believe that this is a revolution coming in aviation,” were the words of one of the NASA officials involved — a revolution that has significant military impact too.100. The key to fighting in the morass of the urban environment is not necessarily using divisional-level maneuvering to shatter an enemy general’s plan, but successfully overwhelming the adversary’s cognitive abilities at the team and individual level — all in an effort to achieve a given policy aim. It is perhaps truer to say that the urban environment is more difficult to fight in for a commander who is not down at the small-team level. The urban environment is a challenging setting in which to fight — as are all environments. However, in the urban environment, they are discouraged from aggressively pursuing an enemy who is almost certainly less well trained and equipped. For instance, in the recent fighting with Islamic State forces in Mosul, Iraq, it was discovered that a single hospital complex had been laced with approximately 1,500 IEDs.39 In this context, maintaining operational tempo could allow the attacking commander to continue to make military gains and deny the enemy time to place such devices, so long as the political situation is amenable. It is wrong — there is a different way. The wider political complexity of the campaign and its distinct and immediate connections to politics in the Roman capital over 2,300 miles away are equally noteworthy.30 At the time of the battle, Vespasian had been emperor for just one year and the defeat of a Roman army, especially one commanded by his son, would have greatly undermined his power. 96 These are discussed in greater detail in, David Betz, “World of Wallcraft: The Contemporary Resurgence of Fortification Strategies,” Infinity Journal 6, no. The advantages afforded to the better trained, equipped, supported, and mentally prepared soldier are magnified by this environment, which rewards tactical skill. It is, rather, that strategists today will be better able to deal with such challenges if they are clear-eyed about what is new and what is not, and what lessons can be generalized — so long as they do not sever themselves entirely from the experience and knowledge of the past. In addition, the presence of the media need not be seen as a bad thing, as it could allow commanders to focus world attention for information operations or deception purposes. The solution is to ruthlessly and efficiently apply the maneuvrist approach at the tactical level. 45 For further elaboration on this, see, David Betz and Anthony Cormack, “Iraq, Afghanistan and British Strategy,” Orbis 53, no. LASHAB in the IDF includes large-scale tactics (such as utilization of heavy armoured personnel carriers , armoured bulldozers , UAVs for intelligence, etc. How can commanders maximize their forces’ military effectiveness, which is necessary given the high costs of keeping personnel and equipment in the field, while maintaining domestic and international support in a media-saturated environment, where that support is dependent in large part on keeping casualties and collateral damage below an indeterminate threshold of public acceptability?20 The 1992–93 American-led U.N. intervention in Somalia remains a textbook example of this problem: It was a humanitarian operation initially that ended ignominiously as a small war following a vicious battle in the streets of Mogadishu in which two American helicopters were shot down, 18 American soldiers were killed, 72 were wounded, and a pilot was captured.21. But ministers in London, once they learned of the event, thought he had vastly exceeded his authority. But it does not pretend to approximate the conditions of a city.70. The reasons why are not terribly mysterious: As the junior partner in the expeditionary campaigns of the “War on Terror,” Britain’s political and military leadership has perceived that it has less skin in the game and less responsibility for the ultimate outcome.45 The best example of this lack of will is the British occupation of Basra, Iraq, which is described frankly in a vignette in the most recent British Army doctrine. Urban combat differs from combat in the open at both the operational and the tactical levels. For years now, there has been growing skepticism of the utility of the concept of “levels of war,” in which tactics nest hierarchically within operations, which nests within strategy, all of which are superseded by politics. In a recent keynote speech on the past, present, and future of urban warfare, the British military historian Antony Beevor, author of numerous works on World War II, including the classic Stalingrad, detailed a number of lessons that can be gleaned from that battle. There is no reason why professional, regular armed forces, such as predominate in the West, ought not to be the best prepared to fight in this domain. The instant and often uncomfortable result of using modified personal service weapons firing paint pellets accurate up to at least 100 feet sharpens the mind. Caesar held his ground, plying his arrows incessantly, and checking the advance of the Jews, until the last of the soldiers had retired.29. Good militaries increase in competence as they fight. 95 Interview by authors with a British Army officer who was part of an advisory team in Iraq during Mosul operations, Brecon, Wales, March 2018. 69 John Spencer, “The Army Needs an Urban Warfare School and It Needs It Soon,” Modern War Institute, April 5, 2017, https://mwi.usma.edu/army-needs-urban-warfare-school-needs-soon/. 3) Effects of Building Damage and Rubble: The intense employment of machineguns, artillery and explosives will greatly change the urban landscape. To prepare a soldier for urban warfare, he or she also needs to conceive of moving through the city quite differently than most civilians — to think like an urban explorer, the sort of person who is as happy moving through service tunnels and across rooftops as on sidewalks and roads. 44 Duncan Lewis, “Lessons from East Timor,” in, Future Armies, Future Challenges: Land Warfare in the Information Age, ed. 27 Rupert Smith, The Utility Of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 2005). This was unfortunate because it obscured what otherwise was solid advice to commanders thinking about urban operations.53 The fact is that no army that has fought in an urban environment for much time interprets space in a “traditional” manner. There is a mock Afghan village in the Stanford Training Area in Norfolk, U.K., run by the Operational Training Advisory Group, which is an up-to-date and generally convincing portrayal of operating conditions in Helmand province. Guerrilla warfare is ‘irregular,’ it involves small groups of armed personnel (often not official soldiers, though soldiers can fight as guerrillas) who utilize tactics such as ambushes, booby-traps, hit-and-runs, assassinations, and more to maximize damage with … Urban warfare is, however, likely to be more prevalent in coming years, which is why it is important that Western armies learn to do it confidently. The fragmenting tendencies of the city require everyone to be comfortable operating in the pursuit of a well-articulated goal while not requiring minute-by-minute direction. 25 165 government troops, 45 civilians, and practically all of the Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed. guerrilla tactics to confront Americans as they approached Baghdad along with some foreign . The continuous high-level alertness required for close action, combined with extreme physical discomfort, is thought to hasten the onset of battle fatigue.18 Command and control is bedeviled by communications problems caused by buildings that block both vision and radio signals. 11 The cases considered were: Jerusalem 70, Rome 410, Constantinople 1453, Londonderry 1689, Gibraltar 1779–83, Acre 1799, Sevastopol 1854, Lucknow 1857, Paris 1870–71, Plevna 1877, Mafeking 1899–1900, and Port Arthur 1904–05. 97 Technical data and a video of the Balpro system may be seen on the company’s website: “Force Protection Balpro Protector – Fast Fortification System,” Kenno, http://www.kenno-shield.com/balpro/force-protection-balpro-products/. Tactical decisions in the local contest between Spanish colonial rulers, indigenous people, and their British liberators-cum-conquerors resonated very quickly in the distant capitals of London, Madrid, and Paris. American and British environmental doctrine emphasizes the significant operational challenges that this environment presents.2 In truth, however, the urban setting is neutral. For that to occur, however, Western armies must first stop deploying and re-deploying the same hoary old scare stories about what seems likely to be the normal operating environment for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the presence of civilians in the urban environment adds a complicating element of friction that pervades every level, from tactics through strategy to policy. The then vast sum of $1,086,000 was sent back to Britain by frigate along with six wagon-loads of other booty — primarily Jesuit’s bark (a valuable antimalarial) and mercury. One of the main conclusions of important scholars like Hills is that, although tactics of urban warfare have changed little, the strategic context has evolved considerably as a result of globalization, demography, and urbanization. 78 Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Rommel and His Art of War, ed. Consider first the following scene from Flavius Josephus’ The Jewish War, which recounts a critical battle in the siege of Jerusalem by Roman legions under the command of Titus, son of the emperor Vespasian, in the year 70 AD: Threatening death to any of the populace who would breathe a word about surrender, and butchering all who even spoke casually about peace, they attacked the Romans who had entered. and ground line communications. Sun Tzu advised fighting in cities only if “absolutely necessary, as a last resort.”16 For 2,500 years, generals have happily agreed with the strategic wisdom of this maxim, whether or not they have read ancient Chinese military philosophy. 7, 2017. Clearly, when forces are operating in relatively small numbers in a dispersed manner in a city in upheaval, there will be concerns about the security of supply chains. 7 David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla (London: Hurst, 2013), chap. The urban warfare group in the Modern War Institute at West Point is a more recent initiative but has done excellent work in the public domain. 89 Urbanisation Seminar Game, NATO Defence College, Rome, Sept. 28–Oct. Urban combat opera The army fighting in this context should seek to create a thousand small outflanking maneuvers together to generate the conditions to destroy their enemy’s ability to put together a response. Towns and cities are typically thought to have the potential to absorb enormous numbers of soldiers — even if they are undefended. In practice, technology is too often an impediment when it is employed to reinforce a top-down, positive-control oriented command model that squelches small unit initiative. Or the determined resistance of the Serb population along the way. These include having fewer safe rear areas and fewer heavily protected routes for supply and reinforcement and medical evacuation. Both the American and British armed forces, among others, have shifted the emphasis of physical training away from the high endurance forced march toward developing all around stronger soldiers who are trained in the sort of repeated anaerobic bursts of activity typically required in urban operations, like hauling themselves, their equipment, and perhaps wounded comrades, over walls and through windows.85 Still, more could be done. 74 “Rheinmetall Presented Its Latest Legatus Live Urban Operations Training Systems at Eurosatory 2018,” Army Recognition, June 22, 2018, http://armyrecognition.com/eurosatory_2018_official_news_online/rheinmetall_presented_its_latest_legatus_live_urban_operations_training_systems_at_eurosatory_2018.html. Second, cities are imbued with a symbolic resonance that makes them dangerous objectives for politicians. Maria said: DiMarco uses Stalingrad, Aachen, Hue City, Northern Ireland and Ramadi. But now it is worse than that even — bad policy actively drives bad tactics, while making strategy largely irrelevant. On the Symbolic Importance of Cities. 35 A painting entitled “La Reconquista de Buenos Aires” by the French artist Charles Fouqueray showing the dejected British commander, Gen. Beresford, surrendering to de Liniers hangs proudly in the Argentine National Historical Museum, Buenos Aires. It was not a strategically planned gambit. They ought, though, to try to be “right enough” — to be able to determine the big picture goals, such that they are decisive and incisive enough to be turned into clear orders. John Spencer, chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute, Nov. 16, 2017. One of the major problems with using Stalingrad as a benchmark is that it was extremely unusual in the strength of its political symbolism. There is no equivalent scholarly research on this subject in the civil sphere and we suspect, based on our research, that there is none in military circles either.12. I have by no means neglected urban warfare, or maneuvering on small cramped maps however. They do not impact regular Western soldiers more than irregular, non-Western challengers, who are thought to be unaffected by, or even gain an advantage from, these factors. How the actual training is done depends on the commander organizing it. And the technique for their emplacement is not practiced in training centers.83 Why not change in response to what seems to be a significant lesson of modern warfare?84, One area where the training of soldiers is being adjusted for the urban environment is physical conditioning. British urban warfare doctrine specifically notes Smith’s paradigm of “war amongst the people” as a key driver of the need of the aforementioned concept of “integrated action.” See, Operations in the Urban Environment, 59. Even the challenges that might seem new, such as the prevalence of the media, are only superficially different or, at most, an amplified echo of the past. And yet, while she is cautious not to overemphasize the novelty of the problems she describes, writing that the “characteristics and tactical constraints of urban operations have remained remarkably consistent over the past 60 years,” because she rejects a longer historical approach, she misses that this statement would have been just as true 2,000 years ago.28 The challenges of urban warfare that confront this generation of soldiers and statesmen are, for the most part, not new. The Myth of Intrinsic Difficulty: Is Urban Terrain the Hardest? 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