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KG_Norad
04 Nov 03, 11:10
While this is some what unrelated to ATF as a game, it does relate to the tactics of modern warfare, and maybe we can swing this around as to how it might apply to tactics in the game. A good guerilla fight might be fun to try in ATF!

What did the US do in Afghanistan, that the Russians didn't? While we did not get Bin Laden, it would seem that we took control of the country very quickly.

Was the CIA that effective in fomenting armed resistance?

Did the lack of OPFOR clandestine operations to support the Taliban make a difference.

Was it our Technological Superiority,(as we know this is not always key) Our warfighting doctrine?

Were the people so sick of the Taliban, there was no will to resist?

Michael

Scully
04 Nov 03, 13:26
There are actually some good papers and books on what happened with Russia in Afganistan. I have not read much, but from what I can tell the big mistake (at least from a strategic point of view) Russia made was thinking if they took over the cities, they'd win the war. Guerrilla wars don't work that way -- at least not in Afghanistan or Vietnam for that matter.

I think in terms of the U.S. success, all the reasons you mentioned are good ones -- technological advantage, special ops, etc. -- but I think our ability to hunt these guys down and kill them made a big differnce. We weren't afraid to go looking for them in the mountains and dig them out of their tunnels. All of our advantages helped us win, but it was our willingness to "fight dirty" that was the key. At least that's my opinion. :)

Take care,
Brian

Deltapooh
04 Nov 03, 13:27
What did the US do in Afghanistan, that the Russians didn't? While we did not get Bin Laden, it would seem that we took control of the country very quickly.

We already owned the country. Our forces just needed to occupy and clear it out. :D

The Taliban did not retain the kind of control that Saddam had over Iraq. There were many areas "the government" dared not go, less get their butts kicked. Their greatest strength was organization and purpose. The Taliban had a clear chain of command, which was respected by all members. It had a court and government system. Most importantly, the Taliban system was respected in part because of it's strict religious foundation. These elements, not the number of tanks, troops, etc it had, is why they seized power in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union, and Americans left.

When the US and her allies came to clean house, the Taliban was faced with an organization better prepared, capable, and popular than itself. It had little choice, but to confront it militarily, which of course was comparable to suicide.


Was the CIA that effective in fomenting armed resistance?

Armed resistance to the Taliban existed long before the US arrived. The CIA had a role, but it was Coalition special forces that really turned the disorganized, and at times, feuding, resistance forces into an intergrated army. They tied in communications, intelligence, etc. This allowed for coordinated attacks that broke years of stalemate on many fronts.


Did the lack of OPFOR clandestine operations to support the Taliban make a difference.

For whatever reason, the Taliban seemed concerned more with saving their own butts than winning the war. Pulling back into the caves of Afghanistan has thus far proven to be a bad ideal. Unlike the Russian Army, the Coalition employs maneuverability, with other elements of Battle Dynamics to surround and destroy the enemy. They can't mass for attacks because we'll likely hear about it, and show up with 2,000lbs party favors. They can't plan and execute ambush attacks because units usually travel in small groups. During the war, SOF teams didn't make alot of use of cars. They rode horses, and used donkeys. This gave them flexibility a mechanized army would lack in such terrain.

Even if the Taliban wanted to use clandestine ops to counter the Coalition offensive, it would have failed. Success still depends on finding, and fixing the enemy. As it turned out, the terrain that they expected to save their butts, became more of our friend than theirs. They had trouble finding Coalition troops. And when they did, killing them proved more difficult than they could have imagined.

Case in point was a battle with an Australian SASR team. More than 100 Taliban troops engaged this four man team. However, they were able to play hide-n-seek. The only time the troops stopped was to call in air support. The team escaped, and was replaced by hundreds of British troops. The Taliban by then were so tired, they elected to run, rather than fight.


Was it our Technological Superiority,(as we know this is not always key) Our warfighting doctrine?

Light doctrine worked well. I thought we should have committed more troops though. Relying on partisans to do so much can be counter-productive. As it turned out, Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces slipped away because they could bribe local forces. Those they couldn't let the enemy escape out of sympathy.


Were the people so sick of the Taliban, there was no will to resist?

The Afghani people were sick of more than just the Taliban. They were also sick of war. One reason we are running into so much trouble in Iraq is because the people are eager to achieve self-rule, likely under Islamic law. The same was true during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. However, the Afghani people saw the other end of the rainbow, and realize the pot of gold is a myth.

In Afghanistan, you have a population who just want peace. Much of the selfish political ideals that fueled the rise of the Taliban are gone now. I wish the same were true for Iraq. Whether America leaves or not, the future for Iraq is gloomy at best. The Afghani people might not be as rich or advanced as Iraqis. However, they have experience. And that, more than anything else, might be our greatest allied there.

John Osborne
04 Nov 03, 15:16
There are actually some good papers and books on what happened with Russia in Afganistan.

I haven't had the time to read "The Hidden War" by Artyom Birivok, a journalist's account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan. I have read "The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan" from the Foreign Military Studies. I think that this book is very good on describing what went wrong with the Soviet forces there.

On fortunately you will have to go and buy the book The Hidden War" however I do have "The Bear Went Over the Mountain” in PDF file. It is over 13MB in size. So if anyone wants to read it let me know and I will send it.

Deltapooh
05 Nov 03, 09:39
You can download it off the Internet. Saves John Osborne the difficult task of finding a way to send it to everyone. :D

The Bear Went Over The Mountain (pdf 13.1mb) (http://www.ndu.edu/inss/books/Books%20-%201996/Bear%20Went%20Over%20Mountain%20-%20Aug%2096/BrOrMn.pdf)

John Osborne
05 Nov 03, 10:01
You can download it off the Internet. Saves John Osborne the difficult task of finding a way to send it to everyone. :D

Thanks Deltapooh :D I couldn't remember where I got it off the internet. It is a good book to read about the Soviet Combat Tactics in Afganistan.

kbluck
05 Nov 03, 14:44
While many good points have been raised, I think the main issue has been overlooked.

We did so well in Afghanistan because we were only fighting the Taliban, alone and unsupported. The Soviets had so much trouble because they weren't really fighting the mujahidin --- they were actually fighting the US, which was merely using the mujahidin as proxies.

The fact is, tall tales about their fighting prowess aside, the mujahidin were getting waxed by the Soviets at the start of the war. They simply couldn't stand up to the overwhelming firepower at the Soviets' disposal. They were limited to very minor bits of guerilla activity, much like the current situation in Iraq. (Hmm...)

Then, the US got involved. We started funneling to the mujahidin massive amounts of direct aid in the form of modern anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons, and more importantly the training to use them effectively. Once that took effect, the Soviets started to feel some real pain. Once the mujahidin got hold of the Stingers and learned how to use them, Soviet air support was neutralized almost completely. I've seen the video of Soviet aircraft continuously dispensing flares as they do carrier-style hurry-up landings or max-throttle climbouts until they were out of the Stinger envelope. The caves filled to overflowing with CIA-supplied RPGs, mines, and explosives, the Soviet armor no longer had free run of the countryside either.

Long story short, the mujahidin wouldn't have stood a chance against the Soviets were it not for the billions of dollars we American taxpayers sent their way in the name of fighting Communism. Of course, once the Soviets were vanquished the Law of Unintended Consequences led in a direct path to 9/11, but that's another topic altogether.

--- Kevin

Deltapooh
05 Nov 03, 18:52
Good points kbluck.

I believe the situation in Iraq is more complicated than problem in Afghanistan. American troops are being attacked because they are a threat to organized crime, and other behavior, which thrive in such environments. It's a mini-scale version of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

As for making a scenario out of Enduring Freedom..........this is difficult. I really would like to make a number of battalion-sized light scenarios. However, everytime I try to build a realistic OOB, the game begins to drag. About the only thing I miss from BCT is the scale. It wasn't very flexible. And the AI weren't so smart. Yet, fighting with a company to battalion is somewhat limiting.

(Then again, my dream is for ProSim to take the concept of games like TOAW and Decisive Action and incorporate them into a team-to-corps sized wargame. That would kick some serious butt. It might also vaccinate the WWII virus.)

KG_Norad
05 Nov 03, 22:42
When I mentioned the CIA in my first post I was thinking in terms of how they helped beat the russians. I had been wondering about how much they had contributed the effort. I suppose the climate and inclination to fight was different then as Delta mentioned, too. Good points Kbluck!

Makes you wonder if we had paid more attention to helping shape that nation after the Russian occupation rather then just arming it, what might have been different.

Michael