Question regarding battle field tactics




 
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December 27th, 2005  
phoenix80
 
 

Topic: Question regarding battle field tactics


I need to know some thing

Have battle field tactic been changed since the early days of WWII?

Exclude the technology such as Electronic communications or optic fibre stuff and satellites and UAVs

Just in terms of infantry, has any thing changed?
December 27th, 2005  
Dean
 
 
Yes and no. The German Blitzkreig remains used by many armies, and in fact it is the Blitzkrieg that the Soviet Army modified and adopted as its doctrine. Since that time, other armies, including the US Army, have modified the tactic to fit their force structures. The major change is in numbers. Nobody today can afford a frontal war as occurred during WW II. The Eastern Front went all the way from the Arctic Ocean to Sebastopol, and no army existing today can attack on or defend that kind of a front. So, today's tactics are more objective based, which is to say that an army will mount a high speed armoured thrust incorporating air and artillery assets (a blitzkreig) with the goal of taking one or more objectives in a far more limited area. An example are the two gulf wars. The objective of Gulf War 1 was the destruction of Iraqi Army units inside Kuwait along with certain units that were just inside the Iraqi border. For Gulf War 2, the objective was Baghdad. There was no front in either war.

Hope this helps.

Dean.
December 27th, 2005  
phoenix80
 
 
Thanks a lot !

But I have a question, were the Iraqis not entrenched during the 1991 Persian Gulf war?

And that some sort of traditional tactics used to root them out and retake Kuwait?
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December 28th, 2005  
Chief Bones
 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix80
I need to know some thing.
Have battle field tactic been changed since the early days of WWII?
Exclude the technology such as Electronic communications or optic fibre stuff and satellites and UAVs

Just in terms of infantry, has any thing changed?
AND
Quote:
Thanks a lot !
But I have a question, were the Iraqis not entrenched during the 1991 Persian Gulf war?

And that some sort of traditional tactics used to root them out and retake Kuwait?
In terms of tactics, fire and maneuver tactics of today bear very little similarity to the tactics of the "early" days of WWII. During the first days of Germany's Blitzkrieg, an overpowering amount of "heavy assets" were used to smash through any resistance by the application of vastly greater numerical strength and overpowering munitions (smash and grab).

Today's tactics rely on vastly superior weapons systems to accomplish the very same thing with vastly lighter forces (surgical precision with selective targeting).

Where WWII would have required 100,000 troops and massive tanks, planes and so on - today's forces would only require something in the neighborhood of 20,000-30,000 personnel with more rapidly deployable vehicles, more accurate systems and more powerful munitions.

Iraq's trench system was limited in nature but you were correct that it was used in a limited way during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Makeshift "pillboxes" were scattered around and along likely approaches and "sniper/bomb/rocket" teams hunkered down to wait for allied troops to come along. The tactics to root out these viper pits during WWII were personnel intensive. Nowadays, our shoulder launched arsenal is varied enough that we can "standoff" launch rockets from the ground as well as from the air that are capable of punching through light to medium armor and small pillbox installations. The "foot sloggers" of today are armed with superior weapons and access to weapons systems of such superior deadliness and accuracy that it is almost impossible to make a real comparison between Germany's ground troops and our mobile infantry.

The initial question/situation postulated no electronic "magic" toys or modern appurtenances.

For an accurate comparison though, you can not get a clear picture of the differences between WWII tactics and today's "all environment" tactics without taking electronics, etc into account.

This is like comparing a caveman with his club (stand and swing) and a soldier from the French Revolution with his firearms (standoff destruction at 50 yards). No real comparison possible.
December 28th, 2005  
deerslayer
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean
Yes and no. The German Blitzkreig remains used by many armies, and in fact it is the Blitzkrieg that the Soviet Army modified and adopted as its doctrine. Since that time, other armies, including the US Army, have modified the tactic to fit their force structures. The major change is in numbers. Nobody today can afford a frontal war as occurred during WW II. The Eastern Front went all the way from the Arctic Ocean to Sebastopol, and no army existing today can attack on or defend that kind of a front. So, today's tactics are more objective based, which is to say that an army will mount a high speed armoured thrust incorporating air and artillery assets (a blitzkreig) with the goal of taking one or more objectives in a far more limited area. An example are the two gulf wars. The objective of Gulf War 1 was the destruction of Iraqi Army units inside Kuwait along with certain units that were just inside the Iraqi border. For Gulf War 2, the objective was Baghdad. There was no front in either war.

Hope this helps.

Dean.
Yes and no. It's possible, but there are societal and political limiting factors to it. Otherwise (the following is for illustrative purposes only) reinstate the draft, start building Higgins boats, and let's gear up for WWIII!

All kidding aside, Iraq is essentially now fought in and around "hotspots" e.g. roads, major cities, ethnic trouble spots, and it's possible to say that those are in and of themselves fronts. However, a less concrete front would be, for example, the aforementioned societal and political limiting factors to total war I just discussed. Take it all metaphorically.
December 28th, 2005  
Chief Bones
 
 
Deerslayer
You still haven't addressed the original question.

Just in terms of infantry, has any thing changed?
December 28th, 2005  
deerslayer
 
 
sorry, Chief. Went off on a "limiting factors" tangent Technically, our view of grand strategy is based upon the Clausewitzian system, which has been in place for 200 years, at least for the Army. This is what new-age Pentagonese speakers refer to as "Second Generation Warfare".
The Marine Corps uses "Third Generation Warfare", or what is more commonly called maneuver conflict.

But doctrine aside, the purpose of the infantryman has always been the same- to assault and hold a landbased objective. Barring weapons and technology, very little has changed in the way of maneuvers and tactics
December 28th, 2005  
Chief Bones
 
 
10 Roger.
December 28th, 2005  
deerslayer
 
 
Ok, does that clear anything up? like I said, the purpose of infantry hasn't changed.
December 28th, 2005  
Forrest_Gump
 
"Base of Fire" is still the core of squad level infantry tactics. Part of the squad lays down as heavy fire as possible to supress the enemy position, the rest move up and exploits the flanks or other weak points as they present themselves.

As far as trench's in '91, the US employed a tactic that made the "can't we all just get along" crew howl. It went something like this: Bradley's and M1's would approach a trench complex. The Bradley's would lay down heavy fire to pin the infantry down inside the trench. The M1's would move up, destroying hard points with direct fire. When all the bunkers were destroyed, they would drop their dozer blades and run down the trench filling it in. Since trench systems are several trenches deep, the guys in the next trench would see what was going on, and either surrender or die.