Monday, June 23, 2014

somalia swarm


I started a library book, “Out Of The Mountains” by David Kilcullen, about the future of irregular conflict moving from rural mountains to coastal cities ( all the population growth is there as that is where the economic activity is-at least as long as globalization continues- and there is little opportunity elsewhere ). He writes well in a captivating manner, and if the whole book plays out well I’ll be buying my own copy. He talked a bit about Somalia irregulars who are now the regulars and their tactics. The point was that by avoiding the need for communication they are faster and less prone to disruption if/when their C3 went down ( the other solution to this was practiced by the Paki’s attacking Mumbai India by leaving their controllers/communication hub hundreds of miles away back home ). They did this by practicing swarming techniques.


There were five rules practiced by everyone in any formation ( individuals, a dismounted squad, a vehicle or a group of vehicles ). 1, maintain an extended line abreast. 2, keep your neighbor in sight but no closer. 3, move to the sounds of the guns. 4, dismount when you see the enemy and 5, when you come under fire stop and fire back. The Somalis used Technicals, the Toyota civilian trucks with a mounted machinegun in back along with six to eight troopers. Any horse mounted soldier a hundred years ago could practice basically the same thing other than the suppressing fire. The extended line was their tactical formation. You kept your buddy just in sight. This varied by terrain, obviously. In the city you went down parallel streets and at each intersection reformed the line. This allowed you to move dispersed but to fight concentrated. At enemy contact you stop and lay down fire. As the others hear this fire they swing around towards the sounds, keeping formation. This naturally allows a flanking maneuver. As the enemy is seen, the troops dismount and stay ten yards in front of the truck ( the mounted machinegun can now safely fire over their heads ) and both advance. When they too come under fire they stop. Overwhelming fire is brought on the enemy, all without needing a centralized communication. This tactic evolved before the advent of cell phones, which are now quite widespread in Somalia. It solved a problem of lack of communications and relatively untrained soldiers ( on the job training was standard ). See how some folks can fight smart instead of fight the same war regardless of local conditions?


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