Urban Warfare Christmas Wish List

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Yard Dart, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    There are no urban warfare units in the US Army—not a single unit designed, organized, or equipped specifically for the challenges of operating in cities. There are no research centers dedicated solely to the study of military operations in cities. There are no schools or training sites where Army units can experience, experiment, or train for the challenges of operating in places like Mosul, Aleppo, or Raqqa, where we have seen US and Iraqi forces engaged in high-intensity combat. Without a specialized unit, research center, school, or training site, taking steps to develop new ways or tools of approaching military operations in cities is nearly impossible.


    In 2008, I conducted offense, defense, and stability operations in the dense urban environments of Sadr City and Adhamiyah, Iraq. For the past few years I have had the opportunity to study the history of urban warfare, conduct research on the challenges of future operations in dense urban environments, and—most importantly—creatively think through the tactical challenges of fighting in cities.

    Having had that opportunity to develop a better understanding of the unique challenges posed by dense urban environments, if I was sent back into a city to conduct military operations today, I would do things differently. Below is a list of tools that general-purpose Army units do not have, but I would want. In the spirt of the holiday season I limited my list to items that can fit under a combat Christmas tree.

    1. Industrial foam thrower

    Tunnels, subway entrances, and sewer manholes are major problems for soldiers. I personally would not want to go down (or send soldiers down) into any of these urban subterranean environments. But in high-intensity combat, each opening has to be addressed. Each one poses a means for enemy forces to escape or come up behind soldiers as they clear building to building. Instead of going into the tunnels or holes, I want an industrial foam-throwing gun that will seal each opening as I find and move past them. Foam is already used to lift concrete house foundations, streets, and sidewalks in the private sector. Adapting this tool to the needs of the urban warrior would pay huge dividends.

    2. Speaker drones

    A megaphone attached to a quadcopter drone could give soldiers the ability to do a tactical callout to direct people within a building to exit before a search of it—or, depending on the situation, an attack on it—begins. A speaker drone could also tell displaced personnel where to go to get aid or to avoid combat areas.

    3. Keys to a mining robot

    Something I regret from my urban combat experience is not considering going through buildings rather than exposing myself and my troops approaching by street or alleys. The practice of boring holes, commonly referred to as “mouse holing” has appeared in almost every major urban battle I have studied. In Nablus in 2002 , the Israel Defense Forces planned a majority of their movement through holes in walls, ceilings, and courtyards. I would want a mining robot that could drill or punch holes in walls in advance of my movements. The robot would have the software, data, and sensing capability to know where to go through walls most easily and with the least amount of damage.

    4. Rapid barrier emplacement wheels

    The use of concrete walls in urban combat was one of the most effective weapons used in urban operations during the last twenty years. We used them extensively to reduce violence in the Battle of Sadr City in 2008. Despite the wide use of concrete in Iraq, no new methods for their employment were developed. Concrete had to be placed on flatbed trucks and lifted by commercial cranes one at a time. I’d like to see a wheel system (think Egyptians moving stones to build the pyramids) that allows concrete walls to roll directly off of a flatbed truck into position. This might have changed the maximum number of barriers we averaged a night from sixty to hundreds. A properly planned mission might be able to effectively siege enemy forces overnight.

    5. Grenade launcher–deployed curtains

    When soldiers stand on the street in urban operations they can be seen or shot at from great distances. A curtain between two buildings would help prevent them from being seen. Local civilians in Aleppo used this technique by hanging giant curtains across buildings so they could walk from building to building without being targeted by snipers. In the past, I’ve written about the possibility of doing this using an anchoring system that is shot out of a grenade launcher, designed by West Point cadets in 2012, and some durable curtains.

    6. Tear gas

    Tear gas was used heavily in past urban battles such as the WWII Battle of Aachen or the Battle of Hue in Vietnam. It worked well to chase enemy troops from within buildings and ambush spots in the urban environments. This would require a policy change, since in 1997 the United States signed an international treaty banning wartime use of chemical weapons, which includes tear gas. But including it in a unit’s urban combat kit bag could save both soldiers’ and civilians’ lives.

    7. Ballistic shield

    Soldiers call the doorway of a new building or room the “fatal funnel.” It is a single point that the enemy can shoot at and know they can hit someone. Similarly vulnerable are rooftops, where soldiers can be easily targeted by sniper fire. Soldiers are sometimes required to use the low walls found on roofs to pop up to return fire or look out only a few seconds. Some police conducting urban raids in the United States use ballistic shields that can stop 7.62-caliber bullets (the bullet of choice of non-state actors around the world wielding AK-47s). Soldiers will still have to pass through doors and position themselves on rooftops, and I want a shield to protect them.

    8. Car battery recharging cable

    The next revolution in military affairs will be in energy, not weapons. The biggest resupply needs of soldiers in the high pace of urban battle include water, ammo, and food, but also, critically, batteries. Abandoned cars often litter urban battlefields. I would love to have a cable that I could hook to a car battery and charge any system I carry into combat.

    9. Disposable drone swarms

    Drone swarms have the potential to change many of the fundamental challenges of urban warfare. They could be used to distinguish between civilians and the enemy, make it harder to see attacking soldiers by creating a smoke cloud, and possibly form a wall that would protect soldiers from bullets as they move to a target.

    10. A credit card and an amazon prime account

    Some of these tools may work, some may not. The force that is more flexible and can more rapidly adapt to emerging conditions during an urban fight has an immense advantage. I would want the freedom to buy and experiment with tools such as these as problems present themselves on the battlefield.

    I believe strongly that urban battlefields represent the future of warfare. With that in mind, this holiday season I’m wishing for tools that soldiers fighting in urban environments today and those that will fight there tomorrow can use to solve the unique problems cities pose.

    A Soldier’s Urban Warfare Christmas Wish List - Modern War Institute

    Lessons learned in warfare......new ideas and strategies are always important to learn.
    Ganado, Motomom34, tacmotusn and 4 others like this.
  2. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training has been taking place at Camp Lejeune for at least a couple decades, even prior to the current expeditions to the Middle East. For the author to conclude that there are no facilities to train is total bunk...or a matter of misplaced pride.
    I would advise the author to open his eyes to the capabilities already available.
    Airtime, chelloveck and sec_monkey like this.
  3. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    I think MOUT training will have to be elevated to a whole new level based on real combat operations & lessons learned.
    Things are not the same as they used to be....we have learned much in tactical operations in the great sandbox.
    techsar and sec_monkey like this.
  4. sec_monkey

    sec_monkey SM Security Administrator

    several services have been doing that over a long period of time including the [USMC] as @techsar said plus the [US_Army] plus plus plus plus ..
  5. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    While you see this as a positive thing, many civilians see this as a threat to their own security with our own government's instability ,especially during the Obama administration.
    Not saying Trump is questionable ,but the democrats are working hard to get power back and continue their agendas .
    They have already militarized the police force through out much of the country, beginning to look like Nazi Germany .
    Gafarmboy likes this.
  6. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Yep. Plus there is also an urban warfare training facility in south east Indiana run as an adjunct facility to Camp Atterbury that the Rand Corp deemed the premier site in the nation when they were commissioned by DOD in about 2005 or so to assess MOUT facilities nationwide. 1000 acres, dozens of buildings, over a mile of tunnels, big lake, simulated collapsed buildings for SAR training, train cars for derailment, soccer stadium for hostage rescue, simulated jail, pond with flooded houses, etc.
    Really cool place.


    Google Maps
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
    Yard Dart likes this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Add an uparmored D-10 to the wish list. (Armored D-6s were effective in (let's say) Viet Nam.) Not the greatest for snipers on (say) the 10th floor, but hell on tracks for the first three.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  8. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    My plan for dealing with urban warfare is not to be anywhere urban when it gets to that point.
    oil pan 4, Yard Dart, ghrit and 2 others like this.
  9. fmhuff

    fmhuff Monkey+++

    MOUT is a fact of modern times. From an infantry standpoint MOUT truly is hell, as the Germans and Russians learned in WW2. That would go for civilians caught up in the struggle as well.
    sec_monkey and Yard Dart like this.
  10. Oddcaliber

    Oddcaliber Monkey+++

    Classic example of urban warfare is the battle of Stalingrad during WW2.
  11. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    A sawed off shot gun.
    Smoke grenades packed with trioxan.
    Armored dozer.
    Ganado likes this.
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