Archive for category Tactical Thought Process

Strategy: Suicide Assaulters, Swarming, And Toyotas–The Taliban And The New Rules Of War

Rule 1: “Many and Small” Beats “Few and Large.”

Rule 2: Finding Matters More Than Flanking.

Rule 3: Swarming Is the New Surging.


   This latest suicide assaulter attack in Afghanistan is important to look at and study, and this post is dedicated to ‘knowing your enemy’.  Tim over at Free Range International just posted an excellent run down of this latest attack in Nimroz at the governor’s compound, and Bill Roggio over at Long Wars Journal has some excellent stuff on this incident as well. I highly advise reading Tim’s post, because it comes with pictures and diagrams of the assault, along with Tim’s commentary on the whole thing.

   As you can see, these guys are following a path that John Arquilla and others have laid out with the ‘new rules of war’. They are continuing to use this same type of attack, just because it is so hard to defend against and it causes so much chaos and confusion.  The only thing working against the enemy is their ability to be organized and plan this stuff better.  But some attacks have been successful, and they are learning. What I wanted to do in this post is match up what the enemy is doing with these three new rules I listed up top, and discuss their effectiveness.

     Multiple assaulters armed with AK’s and suicide vests, are the many and small.  Plus, with the suicide vest and AK, the assaulter has multiple options for killing.  They can fight their way into concentrations of enemies, and blow up when close enough (finding). The human bomb can also identify specific targets, and detonate just close enough to kill them. They can also use their suicide vest to clear obstacles so other assaulters can punch in and shoot at people or detonate(swarming).  But as Tim has pointed out in his post about the subject, these latest assaulters were not that organized or effective.  My guess is that they were poorly trained and prepared for the mission at hand, which is a good thing for us. And of course they are poor shots, as Tim and others have pointed out, which is also a good thing.

   But the next angle of this attack is the idea of using Toyota pickups and swarming, in order to arrive on target and overwhelm the defenders.  This is exactly how the Taliban was operating and it deserves closer inspection.  Tim mentioned in his write up that large vehicles really cannot move around in Nimroz, just because of the small streets and power lines all over the place.  You either have to have a small truck, motorcycle, or be walking in order to get around in places like this.  And as the Toyota Horde paper pointed out, small pickups can be a tactical advantage for attackers who are swarming or preparing a battlefield for the defense. They are cheap, you can use many of them, and they are great for all types of utilitarian activities for hybrid warfare.  The Taliban continue to use these small pickup in places that MRAPs cannot go, and they can also use those pickups or motorcycles to outrun our large lumbering vehicles and forces.  They can also blend in with the local population, because they all use pickups.

   Further more, small pickups are essential for swarming operations.  If you want to get a truck load of assaulters into position, and not cause too much attention, the pickup is perfect because it is low profile (meaning there are many of these in the attack area).  Or they could use taxis, cop cars and ambulances as delivery vehicles.  The key here is just getting into position so the assaulters can pour out and attack the target from multiple angles.  Small vehicles that blend in are the perfect tool for delivery in this case.

   What further adds to the attack, chaos, and blending in factor, is assaulters wearing police or soldier uniforms.  These types of attacks can be extremely confusing, and they work great for the assaulter.  They can also do secondary attacks as the real police and military show up, and it is all about blending into that chaotic environment to create as much chaos as possible.  That is another reason why it is essential for defenders to get to know the local police and army stations really well, so they can recognize who should be on scene and shouldn’t.  Still, this is very tough to defend against, and the enemy knows this.  ‘Finding’ in this case, is extremely critical if we want to succeed in the defense, because combatants that look like cops or soldiers could be causing a whole slew of problems.

   The swarming attack, coupled with the population camouflage I mentioned, is one of those deals that works well because it confuses the defender and brings a whole lot of chaos in a short period of time.  And with assaulters that double as human breachers that blow apart gates (with their bodies strapped with bombs), the swarming attack becomes even more feasible and more lethal.  It just takes really good planning and rehearsal for the enemy to accomplish the mission.

   Finally, I want to give solutions to countering these types of attacks.  The one thing that really screws up planning for these attacks, is the unexpected.  Being random and doing things that no one expected, is definitely one way to counter these types of attacks.  Also having excellent SOP’s to cover these types of swarming attacks is highly advisable, along with drilling over and over again to get proficient.  To also war game all and any scenarios in your head, and talking it up with your fellow guards is another way to keep sharp.  You should have answers in your head for all types of scenarios.  Red teams are great tools to find out how an enemy might attack a facility, and those red teams should do all they can to mimic what the enemy is doing today.

    For simmunitions developers out there, maybe building a paintball suicide vest for red teams would be a good product to sell? (it could already be out there for sale?)  Red teams could simulate fighting their way into your position, and detonate the suicide vest as part of the assault.  We have to start thinking about enemy assaulters as dual weapon systems–they shoot, fight their way in, and are seeking human pockets or obstacles to blow up. We also have to expect that suicide vests will also have plates in them, in order to make the assaulter tougher to kill.  The plates also help to focus the blast outward, and further turn the assaulter into a human claymore. Stuff to think about, and our enemy’s tactics and strategy are definitely evolving–Joker eat your heart out. –Matt


Taliban hits government compound

May 05, 2010

At least eight attempted suicide bombers have been killed during a gun battle with police in southwestern Afghanistan, the interior ministry said.

Ministry officials said at least two Afghan policemen were also killed and five others wounded before the fighting ended in Nimroz province on Wednesday.

One witness said a female local council member was also killed in the attack.

Musa Rasooli, a senior police official in Nimroz, said the fighters were targeting the provincial governor’s compound and had entered the governor’s office.

He said two suicide bombers had blown themselves up outside the compound.

‘Taliban responsible’

The interior ministry said the fighters had also targeted civilian buildings in Zaranj, the provincial capital.

“A group of terrorists attacked some civilian and government buildings this morning in Zaranj,” Zemarai Bashary, an interior ministry spokesman, said.

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Law Enforcement: Four Washington State Officers Killed in Ambush, Police Seek Ex-con Maurice Clemmons

   Rest in peace to the fallen. The thing I am hearing on all the forums, is the reinforcement of the idea of always face the entrance, when sitting in a public establishment. And if you can get all the way to the back, with a wall and an exit near you, that would be pretty cool too.  That way you have nothing to worry about behind you, and you have a means to maneuver on this guy through the exit door if need be. You want to be in a position were you can see everyone coming in, and you have options for movement, so you can be prepared for any kind of attack.  Sad deal, and especially during the holidays. –Matt

Edit: 12/1/2009- Sheriff’s spokesman says Seattle police have fatally shot suspect in officer shooting

Authorities believed the man sought in the slaying of four police officers had been aided by a network of friends and family, a police spokesman said Monday night.

Edit#2: 12/1/2009- From Blackfive:

Lakewood Police Independent Guild accepting donations

The Lakewood Police Independent Guild is accepting donations for the families of the slain officers.

Every penny will go to the families; if you want to donate to a specific officer you can write his or her name in the memo section.

Please make the check out to the LPIG Benevolent Fund and mail to: P.O. Box 99579 Lakewood, WA 98499. Visit their web site for more information: The Lakewood Police Guild.

 Forza sets up donation boxes

Forza has set up donation boxes inside their stores for the families of the fallen Lakewood officers.  The coffee company’s web site also is accepting donations. Go to their web site: Forza Coffee Company.


Police Seek Ex-Con in Ambush on Wash. Officers

Sunday , November 29, 2009

A man with an extensive criminal past — including a lengthy prison sentence commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nearly a decade ago — was being sought Sunday in a deadly ambush on four police officers who were gunned down inside a coffee shop.

Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told reporters that Maurice Clemmons, 37, was believed to have been in the area around the time of the shooting, but declined to say what evidence might link him to the shooting.

Clemmons has an extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft, the sheriff’s office said. He also recently was arrested and charged in Washington state for assaulting a police officer, and second-degree rape of a child. Using a bail bondsman, he posted $150,000 and was released from jail last week.

Still unclear was why a man entered the coffee shop and gunned down Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; and Officers Ronald Owens, 37; Tina Griswold, 40; and Greg Richards 42.

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Weapons Stuff: Rhodesian Cover Shooting or ‘Drake Shooting’

   This is a great read, and I highly recommend checking it out.  Ian has basically broken down the operations of his unit, and the use of this efficient and lethal shooting technique. –Matt


Rhodesian Army


By “Ian Rhodes”, 2 Commando, Rhodesian Light Infantry


Also known as Drake Shooting, Rhodesian Cover Shooting may be defined as the shooting technique employed to quickly kill concealed insurgents through the various phases of close quarter combat in the African savanna and jesse bush. The method did not replace “fire and movement” procedures, but was rather the primary activity of them. Cover shooting has also been described as a “flushing” action, but this is not strictly accurate. While flushing terrorists from their concealment has obvious advantages, particularly when working with close helicopter support, the first objective of cover shooting was to kill the enemy without the need to see him or locate his exact position first. Likewise the method should not be confused with other foreign practises such as walking suppression fire directed “at the jungle.” Cover shooting was not a random spraying of bullets, but a deliberate and methodical routine designed to elicit maximum effect for the least expenditure of ammunition. After the declaration of U.D.I. in 1965, the Rhodesian war continued for another 15 years and tactics changed greatly as lessons were learned during that time. For this reason experiences may well disagree on opinion and detail. This discussion is also somewhat biased towards the practises of the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) and the combat patrols of the Police Anti-Terrorist Unit (PATU). As such, it cannot be held up as either definitive, or complete. In 1964 the Rhodesian Light Infantry changed roles to that of a Commando Battalion. Deployed in rapid reaction “Fire Force” operations designed to vertically envelop insurgent groups, the cover shooting technique played a significant part in the Battalions overall success. In it`s 19 years of existence, most of those fighting at the very forefront of a bush war, the Rhodesian Light Infantry never lost a battle.

PDF for Rhodesian Cover Shooting or Drake Shooting here.

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Law Enforcement: Civilian Response to Active Shooter Situations, From a Police Officer

   This is a great post from New American Truth, and thanks to Matt for sending me this one.  This goes back to the best counter to a super empowered individual wishing to do bad–and that is a super empowered individual who has the mindset and tools for stopping this type of individual.  An active shooter has seconds and minutes to do their damage, and a citizen with a gun could be the one thing that could stop this individual from doing more damage.  Ideally you would want law enforcement to be everywhere and at all times to stop something like this, but that just isn’t going to happen. –Matt


Civilian Response To Active Shooters Situations

In recent weeks, with active shooter events having occurred at a mall, a church and as children got off a school bus, I’ve seen some postings in various online forums from civilians who hold concealed carry permits asking, “How should we react to this?” The question they are asking, in general, is what they should be doing if they’re on the scene and the shooting starts. I was at first conflicted as to how to answer this question. Then, having developed an answer, I strongly prefaced it with “this is just my opinion”. There are far too many “what if”s that come into play when considering a response to an active shooter – even for police officers who are off duty. Those “what if”s multiply ten fold for a civilian who is legally armed and happens to be on hand when a shooting starts. What to do?

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Technology: ‘Morality Moments’ for the Army of Two Video Game

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Law Enforcement: On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

   This is an excellent read, and I want to thank Matt for sending me this.  I love it when readers are inspired by stuff, and send it in for the rest of us to enjoy.

   I put this under ‘law enforcement’, but really, this could apply to military and security contractors.  It is a really good definition of what we are and what drives us.  It also defines the correct mindset to have in order to survive and win the fight.  Enjoy. –Matt


 On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

(From the book, On Combat, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman)

“Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself.

The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?”

– William J. Bennett

  In a lecture to the United States Naval Academy

  November 24, 1997

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep.

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