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Thread: Grass Roots Mechanized Warfare

  1. #1 Grass Roots Mechanized Warfare 
    Time Lord
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    Looking back at Iraq #1 "Desert Shield", we get a clear image of how mechanized warfare can demoralize an enemy to the point of surrender. After a few weeks of heavy bombing, whole divisions of Iraqi soldiers started showing up on the coalition's doorstep offering themselves as prisoners. That's thousands of people we didn't have to kill. Only one problem: it demoralized our own soldiers as well. After all the training and desert maneuvers practice, most of our ground forces never even got the chance to fire their rifles. A few even died in friendly fire accidents.

    I think what this teaches us is that one important aspect of morale is feeling you get to "make a difference".

    So, we enter Iraq #2 (And Afghanistan). Now we've given our ground soldiers an active role, one where they know their efforts mean something, and its clear the war couldn't proceed very well without them, but the enemy has learned the other lesson. They're engaging us with mechanized tools (IED's) that don't require them to expose themselves directly to retaliation. This definitely hurts morale on our side. US soldiers can end up spending hours defusing, or setting off IED's at great personal risk and exposure, and at the end of the day not even one actual enemy insurgent has been neutralized, just his bombs. However, the enemy version of mechanized warfare has one advantage our version of it never had: it doesn't negatively impact their own morale. Why is that?

    The best reason I can work out is that their efforts are occurring at a "grass roots" level. Every soldier in their army has a role, or could potentially participate in placing, spotting for, or activating an IED, which makes them all feel like they're making a difference, like their efforts matter. So, they know they'll be remembered for having participated even if they die (which is very likely to happen.)

    So....the main question is: how could the USA take ownership of this strategy for ourselves?


    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  3. #2  
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    War is only in US, if you take a look outside your box you'll see a different picture... US is invader thru whole history, they picture it to you like foreign countries are enemy, but they arent, they never were... Its US who spends the most on this planet for military but has nothing to do with it, except making wars. Start spending your military budget in some better,usefull way, like space exploration or industrialization.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Waveman28's Avatar
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    The USA should use and design mechanised units purely for countering the enemies mechanised units, allowing its ground troops to focus on the enemy soldiers, bringing the state of warfare back to its classical roots.
    "Doubt is the origin of Wisdom" - Rene Descartes
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  5. #4  
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    You mean anti-IED robots? If you have any good ideas how that could be implemented, I'd be curious to hear them. I'm really coming up empty in that area myself.

    I was thinking of small scale attack robots. For examples:

    1) - Solar powered camera robots set up on hill sides to over-watch roadways which appear to be used for trafficking arms. Certainly a UAV can overwatch larger areas, but UAV's are expensive and require specialized pilots. A solar camera is cheap, and if we route the communications right, so is the manpower to watch it. Computer software could determine whether there are any people moving in front of the camera, so time isn't wasted watching an empty road.

    2) - Possibly some cameras could be accompanied by remotely activated weapons as well, located nearby. Maybe some small, short range, guided missile batteries? Located out of sight, perhaps walled off by terrain, but firing straight upwards into the air before coming down on the target (to further mask their location), and rigged to explode if anyone finds them and attempts to tamper with them (so the enemy can't easily recover them and use them to make IED's)? The operator simply puts their mouse cursor over the target on their screen that they want to hit, and clicks. (Presumably the cameras and weapons would be controlled using a standard laptop computer with the appropriate software installed.)

    3) - Perhaps actual rovers, methanol powered, which drive around at night looking for signs of activity? Maybe teams of rover operators could head into the mountains with a few barrels of fuel and scout from their laptops? The other disadvantage of a UAV is concealment. A rover looking for heat signatures is harder to avoid because the enemy can't see it coming as easily. If you send one down into a cave and it doesn't come back, then it's safe to conclude that someone was down there.
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  6. #5  
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    First, the term "mechanized" in military usage refers to mobile troops. IED's are well, IEDs. The morale of the troops is a factor that can be destroyed by so many things it's hard to put one factor into it. Having everybody surrender and never having to fire your weapon is not as demoralizing as say, having the media and have you're political leaders call you a loser when you're clearly winning.

    Feeling hated, being treated poorly by your own leadership or having poor conditions in general are tougher on a soldier than not getting shot at. you must also take into account that the insurgents are fighting for their home land.

    To Science Division. Please inform this poor old veteran soldier how the US initiated WWI,II, Korea, the Gulf War and Afghanistan. Add some substance because I intend to make you cry if you say something silly.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumb Truck Driver View Post
    First, the term "mechanized" in military usage refers to mobile troops. IED's are well, IEDs. The morale of the troops is a factor that can be destroyed by so many things it's hard to put one factor into it. Having everybody surrender and never having to fire your weapon is not as demoralizing as say, having the media and have you're political leaders call you a loser when you're clearly winning.
    Where do you classify predator drones? I was thinking "mechanized" ...... but now that I think about it, I guess "unmanned" is the right term, huh?. I'd go back and change it, but it doesn't appear to be allowed.

    Feeling hated, being treated poorly by your own leadership or having poor conditions in general are tougher on a soldier than not getting shot at. you must also take into account that the insurgents are fighting for their home land.
    It's another issue slightly off topic, but I wonder sometimes if the amount of equipment we have our soldiers carry around is perhaps a bit excessive. Sure, it can be the difference between life and death to have, or not have, the right gear for a situation on you, but it's got to cut into morale to be carrying that much sheer weight with you everywhere you walk. I would imagine that a soldier's body must be constantly in pain.

    Soldier's Load and Combat Readiness

    Local News | Weight of War: Military struggles to lighten soldiers' load | Seattle Times Newspaper


    To Science Division. Please inform this poor old veteran soldier how the US initiated WWI,II, Korea, the Gulf War and Afghanistan. Add some substance because I intend to make you cry if you say something silly.
    You know the objections to the war are mostly aimed at Iraq, and the idiotic command decision by GWB (motivated in no small part by the tenacious insistence of Donald Rumsfeld) to divide our forces between two targets when we could have been bringing all of it to bear on just one. I'm not even willing to go with the "hindsight 20/20" thing when discussing that. Foresight really ought to have been sufficient.

    Everyone at the time knew Afghanistan needed to catch some bombs and bullets. The administration didn't need to fabricate WMD's from whole cloth to get us into that one.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    The ultimate in mechanization is automation. Technological superiority did not carry the day in Vietnam, though.

    PW Singer on military robots and the future of war | Video on TED.com
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  9. #8  
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    I think you're wresting with the idea of autonomy. Our drones have some autopilot capabilities but can't release their ordnance without a remote human command for example.
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