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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 11/6/2001 4:44:45 AM EST
Special forces and the reality of military operations in Afghanistan We have heard a lot about Special Forces since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, and the media is full of briefings and diagrams detailing just how the US and UK Special Forces are going to win the ‘War on Terrorism’. The brutal truth is that there are nothing like enough Special Forces to do the job on their own. By their very nature Special Forces come in extremely small numbers. Real Special Forces soldiers are hard to find. For example, a soldier in the UK Special Forces generally serves for at least three years before being considered for the Special Air Service (SAS) selection course. Military sources say that for every 100 soldiers that volunteer for selection, only about 15 are accepted for training; of this 15, probably 10 actually complete the training. These soldiers are different: they have to be intelligent, lateral thinkers, superbly fit and have the mindset that keeps them going when others would give up. For all of the credible armies in the world, their small number of Special Forces soldiers are the ‘ace up their sleeve’. They have to be used sparingly and only when there is no other option. The loss of Special Forces soldiers is a disaster for any army. Replacing them quickly is impossible and, even in the longer term, finding replacements of the right calibre is never easy. Even these highly trained Special Forces soldiers are not the supermen of the Hollywood movies. They can carry out tasks that the normal soldier would find almost impossible and they remain operational in the field for much longer than anyone else. However, even they get tired, they wear out during prolonged operations and above all they have morale just like everyone else. These soldiers are not Kamikaze pilots. They need to know that they have a high chance of survival and that the politicians and the generals are mindful of their concerns. Even the toughest operators in the SAS worry about who will look after their wives and children if anything should happen to them. To expect Special Forces to carry out raid after raid against targets in Afghanistan – targets that are stoutly defended by a well trained and resolute enemy – over an indefinite period is unrealistic. Within a very short space of time there could be very little of the Special Forces left. There is confusion over what constitutes a Special Forces soldier and a real problem is the way in which different countries classify their Special Forces. In general terms, real Special Forces include the US Delta Force, Green Berets and Navy Seals, plus the UK SAS and SBS (Special Boat Service). Other highly trained soldiers such as the US Rangers and the UK's Royal Marine Commandos do not really fall into this category, although they do have soldiers who have special skills and can undertake more difficult and arduous operations than other soldiers. This is not for one second to downgrade the superb skills and specialist military operations that some of these formations are capable of. However, their selection process is different from that of the Special Forces and in general terms they are organised and equipped for much larger-scale operations. These types of troops fall into the category of ‘Raiders’, as do the US 82nd Airborne Division and the UK's 16 Air Assault Brigade.
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 4:45:17 AM EST
While the US and the UK have a small number of Special Forces, they have much larger numbers of Raiders, and it probable that the main effort of the land campaign in Afghanistan will have to be the responsibility of Raider troops. Special Forces will undertake the identification and close reconnaissance of likely targets, and the targets will then be attacked by Raider units – probably in at least company strength of between 100-150 soldiers. In some cases, an assault might be made by Raiders in much larger numbers. However, others are going to have to be involved. At some stage the allies are going to have to establish some forward operating bases inside Afghanistan; there is no other credible military option if the allies are serious about closing with and destroying their enemy. These forward operating bases will have to be in either Northern Alliance-controlled areas or in inaccessible areas in the south of the country. Forward operating bases, from which Special Forces and Raiders may have to operate, will require some serious defences. This will generate a requirement for conventional light infantry to man the defensive perimeter and if necessary to provide defence in depth by patrolling out into the surrounding countryside (possibly out to 10 km). A long campaign will require considerable manpower. Troops operating in this environment could tire quickly and units will have to be rotated between operations and rest. If the Taliban fail to ‘crack’ under the pressure of the air campaign and the overall campaign continues through the winter and into next summer, the allies may well need every soldier that they have: Special Forces, Raiders and light infantry. It is now almost inevitable that there will be a land campaign, once the weather improves during the spring of next year. In the meantime, expect a series of harassing attacks by allied forces against targets in Afghanistan throughout the winter. Once the fighting starts, what the politicians have described as ‘a different war’ will almost certainly follow one of the golden rules of military operations: ‘Always attack in overwhelming strength, since the more you use, the less you lose.’
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 5:04:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/6/2001 4:58:15 AM EST by 11H1P]
Absolutely correct. Expect Rangers and light Infantry to become intimate with Taliban/Al-Quaida forces. No commander in his right mind would use SF/SOF forces as the front-line troops. They are force-multipliers. SAS and Rangers could mount up to Battalion-sized raids. 101st, 82d, 10th MTN, and 25th ID would be best suited for securing bases and force-on-force actions. [b][size=1]Don Out[/size=1][/b] [b][size=4][red]AIRBORNE! 2/505 PIR H-MINUS[/red][/size=4][/b]
[i]You might be Airborne if... you have ever demonstrated a PLF in front of the company coffee pot. - John "Doc" Horton[/i]
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Link Posted: 11/6/2001 5:33:26 AM EST
AR , they are getting ready and that is the best analysis I have seen to date about any sort of operational plan. Good Job. The truth is the Northern Alliance are very inept soldiers it appearrs. And not willing to risk much it seems. I don't know if they country is worth taking over and putting in the hands NA. However one thing is true, if you want to lead these people away from Terrorism and the wrong religion a good form of government must be established. I would not be oppossed to Nation Building. It is good in the long run. Benjamin
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 6:59:26 AM EST
Am I the only one who's never heard the term "raiders" used to describe elite light infantry like the Rangers? It sounds like a misnomer. A raid is a hit and run type of operation, but one of the Rangers' specialties is [b]siezing[/b] airfields, which means securing the objective against counter-attacks.
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 7:14:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By Renamed: Am I the only one who's never heard the term "raiders" used to describe elite light infantry like the Rangers? It sounds like a misnomer. A raid is a hit and run type of operation, but one of the Rangers' specialties is [b]siezing[/b] airfields, which means securing the objective against counter-attacks.
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I've heard it, too, but I [i]think[/i] that Army has shifted that mission priority more to the 82d... Any Rangers out there speak up?? [b][size=1]Don Out[/size=1][/b] [b][size=4][red]AIRBORNE! 2/505 PIR H-MINUS[/red][/size=4][/b]
[i]You might be Airborne if... you Stand up and Yell "Sound off for equipment check" after the stewardess finishes giving seat belt operating instructions on a commercial flight. - Michael A. Andrascik III[/i]
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Link Posted: 11/6/2001 10:33:32 AM EST
I heard Rumsfeld this morning mention that there were several Marine Corps units on the ground in Afganistan. He wouldn't specify any other info but the special forces are not working alone without support. Being that the Marines are light infantry, they are probably clearing the way for the heavy stuff to come later.
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 10:43:10 AM EST
wanna get a buttload of guys?/ (bad mental picture) just have us and canada recall the draft. i'd go in a second if called. i've been waiting around to be called. a twisted, deep, dark, part of my brain wants there to be draft. that part wants to go to war. that part wants to experience the whole experience that is war. that part wants to kill. nomex in place
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 11:06:23 AM EST
Then there are your regular no guts, no glory guuys like me who pay you on payday. Without us, those SF guys would not get laid on their R&R in Bankok, Patayaa, Ko Phan Gan, and other ports of call. They would not have any cash-ol-a plain and simple... Mess with me and I'll send your pay records to Juno or fairbanks.
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 11:07:34 AM EST
I was only kidding.[:)]
Link Posted: 11/6/2001 1:49:28 PM EST
AR Rifle You left out Marine Recon as Special Forces. By the why I feel that Special Forces should be reserved for Army Special Forces, the Green Berets, all other units should be called Special Operations, or something similar. Renamed, 11H1P As to Raider, there were Marine Raiders during the Second World War and during the Korean War. One of my friends was a Marine Raider in Korea. They were similar to the Present day Marine Recon, being transported by Sub and then using rubber boats to get to shore. VINCE AUT MORIRE (Conquer or Die)
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