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

Monday, January 15, 2007

Asymmetric Warfare.

This is coolbert:

To be able to talk about asymmetric warfare with a certain degree of knowledge is essential for "experts" in the military realm.

"Experts" who do not always seem to be as knowledgeable as they like to think they are. Or so it seems to me.

Asymmetric warfare is:

"a term that describes a military situation in which two belligerents of unequal power or capacity of action, interact and take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and their enemies."

* Unequal power or capacity of action.

* Interact.

* Take advantage - - strengths and weaknesses.

"Typically at least one of the parties involved may be referred to as partisans. Partisan comes from the Tuscan word, "partigiano", meaning a member of a party of light or irregular troops engaged in harassing an enemy, esp. a member of a guerrilla band engaged in fighting or sabotage against an occupying army."

Such as is occurring in the current jihadi war in Iraq or as is fought by Al Qaeda world-wide. Small insurgents/guerillas/partisans/terrorists fighting against a conventional military force [U.S.].

Typically, but not always so. Conventional forces too can use asymmetry.

[my perception is that the modern-day pundits and "experts" see asymmetry as being solely within the realm of unconventional warfare practitioners such as Al Qaeda. This is not so!]

Such was the case with the Long Lance torpedo. A force somewhat weaker in number and kind [Japanese Navy] saw the Long Lance as a potential war winner. As I have said. The Long Lance, combined with other slight advantages, added up to a big plus for the Japanese in surface warfare. A Japanese destroyer force of eight ships could take on and BEAT DECISIVELY a U.S. Navy task force of four cruisers.

The tactical success of the Japanese at Tassafaronga using asymmetric warfare was based upon:

* "One side can have a technological advantage which outweighs the numerical advantage of the enemy."

The superiority of the Long Lance in range and explosive force gave a decisive edge to the inferior [inferior naval gunfire capability] Japanese destroyer force.

* "Training and tactics as well as technology can prove decisive and allow a smaller force to overcome forces much larger than they are."

Superior night fighting tactics, rehearsed, and the use of spotters with superior vision and equipped with superior optics gave an advantage over EVEN RADAR!!

Asymmetric warfare is not limited to the fourth generation warfare practitioner or Al Qaeda. Is also practiced by conventional forces too.

See an interesting article that deals with the Long Lance and it's appreciation as a weapon of asymmetric warfare.

"The Japanese Navy developed the Type 93 Long Lance torpedo that carried a large warhead and could travel 20,000 yards or more at speeds of up to 45 knots . . ."

"In consequence, the Japanese trained to fight at night, with radically maneuvering destroy-ers and cruisers that fired torpedoes. For more than 2 years after the U.S. Navy en-countered the Long Lance in early 1942, it did not appreciate the weapon’s capabilities. The two navies had proceeded down different asymmetric paths
. . ."

"Eventually, U.S. air power, radar-directed gunfire, and other tactical adaptations restored some balance, but throughout the war, the Japanese tor-pedo baffled Navy planners. The U.S. Navy suf-fered an asymmetric technological and tactical surprise . . we had no easy answers."





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