Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, March 01, 2004

This is coolbert: More on the hunt for Osama.

I find that there are interesting parallels between the hunt for the Apache "warrior" Geronimo and the current hunt going on for the terrorist bin Laden.

Small group of desperate men [Al Qaeda], in hiding, in a remote mountainous desert area, crossing borders at will, eluding pursuers seemingly at will.

Now, in the old west, the hunt and chase for Geronimo is a thing of legend.

The U.S. Army is portrayed in the movies as a bunch of bumbling stumblebums who just have two left feet.

General Miles, who was in charge of guarding all of Arizona, is usually credited with having run a pathetic and incompetent campaign. With 5,000 troops at his disposal, he took a long time to catch [bring in and force Geronimo to surrender] the Apache band of Geronimo.

This is not a full version of what happened.

And does discredit to the Army and Miles.

Yes, Miles did have 5,000 troops at his disposal. But almost all of those troops were tied down in garrison guard duty. Guarding against attacks out of nowhere by the band of Geronimo.

The Apaches with Geronimo numbered no more than fifteen "warriors" . Geronimo was in his sixties at the time of his last escapade, just before his surrender.

Once again, to hunt and bring to bay this band of Apache, the Army used a small force. Numbering no more than thirty men, and led by civilian trackers, such as Tom Horn.

Keep in mind my previous posts about the size of a unit involved in tracking and hunting a small band of miscreants or a single miscreant. This is what was done with Geronimo. Finally cornered the famous Apache and through negotiation forced him to "surrender". Sending a large contingent of troops would have probably not succeeded at all. Just scared and alerted Geronimo and forced him further into the interior of Mexico.