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

Monday, November 27, 2006


This is coolbert:

[this blog entry was originally intended to be Part I of a three part series. Posted the first time on 2/3/2005. Other two installments did not follow the first time. This time they will.]

Wars and Rumors of War I:

In recent decades, there have been fought three wars that went more or less unreported by the international media and unheralded by the combatants themselves. For good reason. None of the parties involved wanted to ruffle the feathers of the international community. It was felt better to allow combat to go on without making a scene and stirring things up. Again for a variety of reasons.

One such war [1988] was fought in the Persian Gulf between the bog-hammers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the U.S. Navy/U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation [SOAR].

This war began when the Iranians, employing putt-putt type speed boats [bog-hammers], powered by outboard motors, with a rocket-propelled-grenade [RPG] wielding gunner standing on the bow, started to attack commercial shipping transitting the Strait of Hormuz, the "choke-point" leading from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. Oil tankers carrying oil from Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia were the target of choice.

[It should be kept in mind that Iran had been fighting an intense war with Iraq for almost eight years at this point. And was not doing well. Iran was seeking ways to gain an advantage by widening the war to include parties that hitherto had gone unscathed in it's conflict with Iraq.].

It should be understood that the goal of the bog-hammers was not to sink or even severely damage such oil tanker shipping. The goal was to damage, even if only in a minor and peripheral way, these ships. In doing so, insurance rates for such shipping would become prohibitive. Oil shipments from this area of the world would more or less cease, and Iran would be able to dictate policy and terms to all involved. This was the concept the Iranians were operating under.

And this tactic of using the bog-hammers was successful. Attacking at night, rocketing vessels sailing without protective escort, damage was caused that greatly alarmed governments and insurers all over the world.

And in response to treaty obligations, the U.S. Navy began to escort KUWAITI vessels as they transitted the Gulf and the Strait enroute to the Indian Ocean.

This however, represented only a defensive measure. It was realized that to further mitigate or even eliminate the threat of the bog-hammers, OFFENSIVE action had to be taken. In part this calculation was made with the realization that the bog-hammers could proliferate much as insects, very cheaply and in prodigious numbers if the Iranians so intended. OFFENSIVE action was needed.

And was done. Very successfully too.

The weapon of choice in this OFFENSIVE action was the stealth helicopters of the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment [SOAR}. Operating off the decks of U.S. Navy ships, using a variety of target acquisition devices [moving target indicator radar, infra-red detectors, night vision] and employing an abundance of firepower [grenades, missiles, mini-guns, rockets, cannon], in the words of one commentator:

"the water was swept clean of the bog-hammers".

Because of the offensive of SOAR, shipping transitting the Strait of Hormuz became secure. The governments of the world smiled, the ship's captains smiled, the oil producers smiled. All smiled. The Iranians did NOT smile.

Shortly after this period of bog-hammer "shooting ducks in the barrel", a negotiated settlement to the Iraq-Iran war was concluded. Relative peace once again reigned.



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