Monday, May 20, 2019

What ... is Your Quest?

Is fighting in mega-cities really inevitable?

I still believe that urban combat poses some of the most difficult challenges a military can face. Nevertheless, as this current urban combat juggernaut picks up momentum, it is time to ask several fundamental questions: Why would you fight in cities? Who will you fight in cities? Which cities are possible combat sites in the future?

Why, who, and where (which cities) are good questions to answer before we go charging into a meat grinder of urban warfare in a mega-city or anything smaller.

I'd add, after you answer those questions: What objectives do you need to capture in the city to advance the objectives of the overall operation?

But sure, we need to be good at this mission. So it is good that the Marines are training for urban warfare:

Marines are headed to the state of Indiana in August as part of a restart of the Corps’ long-running interest in urban warfare.

A rifle company worth of grunts will prowl the mock-city terrain of the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Indiana, while testing out a new formation, new positions and new technology the Corps is asking to bring to the fight.

Which I've long wanted the Marines to do as part of a transition from amphibious warfare because of the growing threat of precision weapons to large-scale amphibious operations to expeditionary warfare that doesn't assume Marines have to hit the beaches in large numbers as I mentioned in an article in this old Joint Force Quarterly:

The Marine Corps is already light and has more flexibility to adapt to new strategic realities. It must abandon amphibious warfare as a core capability and embrace an expeditionary role based on urban warfare and air mobility to complement the role of the Army to fight heavy forces.

Doesn't urban warfare complement the traditional forcible entry role? Isn't assaulting a defended city an amphibious operation against a defended shore--but without the intervening water barrier?