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

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


This is coolbert:

It seems that Hamas is preparing for future military adventures against the Israeli. Taking a cue from Hezbollah and digging tunnel complexes ala' Viet Cong [VC] style.

Digging of tunnels is NOT something new to Hamas. A number of tunnels have been dug and utilized by Hamas in the past. Tunnels under the Egyptian-Israeli border. Used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Dozens [?] of such tunnels have been found over the years by Israeli forces.

What is occurring now apparently is just magnitudes beyond that. Tunnels and fighting positions. A labyrinth [?] being put in place for combat in the near future. Tunnels, dugouts, and fighting positions that will allow Hamas forces to confront and fight the much more powerful Israeli military. Pop-up and shoot and then hide type of guerrilla warfare. As was done by Hezbollah in the recent Lebanon escapade. And was done way before that in the Vietnam War by VC forces to the Americans.

"The composition of the earth in the Strip makes digging easy, and allows for relatively stable tunnels. These tunnels give Hamas a real strategic advantage."

[dig just a meter a day, and you do that every day for a year, and you have a tunnel complex a kilometer long. Do that for years and you have a whole city underground!!]

The Israeli presumably will be better prepared than they were just a few months ago. Will have the procedures and the personnel [tunnel rats] to deal with these tunnels and the Hamas "fighters". The type of close quarters cave [literally so in some instances] man type warfare that negates the Israeli technological advantage.

Israeli tunnel rats will have to be one element of Israeli counter-tunnel warfare doctrine. Men of small stature but long on courage. Specially equipped to deal with the almost impossible conditions that are present in this type of combat. Goggles, night-vision or infra-red equipment. Flashlights, small-caliber handguns, flash-bang grenades. Ear protection, knee-pads and gloves, gas mask. All will be needed. And a LOT of courage, as I have said.

I find some of the talkbacks at the bottom of the web site to be interesting. I have selected these: [My comments in bold]

"They are digging the graves for the future Shahidin [martyr]."

Kill the Shahidin in their own sandboxes. This would require to know where the tunnels are. Place a shaped charge at ground level above the tunnel, and let fly. Will kill all inside and create only a small crater. This was done in Vietnam.

"The IDF should drop a 500lb pie on each of them to shake the hell out of these tunnels."

Might not do any good unless the bomb hits directly above the tunnel and then penetrates somewhat before detonating.

"Israel should put up poles or tethered solar-powered blimps all along the Gaza border with web cams that transmit encrypted videos."

"Look for loads of dirt being trucked out or piled up."

"Also, use thermal imaging. The dirt from underground will either be colder from being deep or will be hotter from being handled so much. One way or the other, you will have them."

All of the above three quotes are worthwhile ideas. A thinking person!

"Wouldn't it just be delicious to drop some Polonium 210 down in there?
'Why, habibi... you're positively glowing this evening!'"

NO, NOT a good idea. The stuff will be around afterwards and clean-up will be an impossible nightmare. Habibi = "my beloved one!!"

"And biological weapons such as a recombivant viral infection will clear up the Gaza Strip. Lets get ready for this and damn world public opinion!"

NO, NOT a good idea. The infection will be impossible to contain to the tunnels and will spread to the general populace and even to the Israeli. Your OWN stuff will bite you!!

"Why can't you put poison gas in the interconnected tunnels?"

The German SS reputedly used poison gas during the suppression of the Warsaw Jewish ghetto. Jewish ZOB fighters that had taken refuge in the sewers under the ghetto were gassed and killed.

"Do they have to send in the whole IDF to deal with Hamas? Why can't they send in small groups of specially trained soldiers to take out the tunnel infrastructure and destroy Hamas' weapons caches?"

Tunnel rats!! Another thinking person!

"Digging tunnels like rats suits them a lot."

This person obviously does not like Hamas.

"I was watching a doco about WW2 recently and it seems like the best option might be the good old flamethrower. That or robotic spider bombs with video feeds."

Well, who still has the old-fashioned flamethrowers? But not a bad idea. Bulky contraption may be too big for inside the tunnels? Robots with video feeds? A good idea too. Folks are really thinking.

Tunnel warfare. Wanna join in? Just like a paintball hunt? NO!!




Blogger Joseph Moroco said...

In the next battle, low crawling will probably be a lot more useful than all the money spent on the Merkavas.

11:16 PM

Anonymous JSBolton said...

In Vietnam flooding of VC tunnels was sometimes used.
Israel has the high ground, and could flood the plains of the Gaza strip with brackish or salt water.
Perhaps they would need to have some reservoirs built beforehand, though.
Selective flushing out in more than one sense, one might say.

2:18 AM

Blogger Joseph Moroco said...

An interesting book on this subject is John Poole's Phantom Soldier.

Per your post and the comments, I think the Israelis are going to come up with a lot of solutions faster than we would because

1. They live next to the problem and being stupid about it could prove fatal.

2. They learned a lot in Lebanon about what does not work.

3. Compared to us they are quick studies.

Still, it is not going to be as easy as shooting Syrian migs out of the sky.

7:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gaza's water table is very high. In winter - the rainy season - low areas are flooded. So tunnel warfare is limited to the southern relatively dry and sandy area. Which can be easily flooded - the underground stream flows from Israel to the Mediterranean. It is a question of water engineering (and we are rather competent in that) and resources (brackish water). If the enemy tries to pump out the flooded tunnels, it will be visible for days. There is no way of dispose water but surface pumping and wetting the soil. Very visible from the air.

And then, tunnels built in sandy soil tend to collapse. Sand is very heavy - specific weight 4 - 6 times water. In Gaza it is easy to dig, difficult to avoid collapse. Not recommended for amateurs.

8:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this is impractical, but what not dump fire ants or some such bug down there? At the very least, it will make life quite uncomfortable for Hamas. Can anybody from Texas help out on this one?
In Vietnam, I read that the US would pump acetylene gas into the tunnels, then ignite. Does anyone know if this was effective?

I bet that the Israelis have hired some Vietnamese consultants who probably have some kind of experience in this area. Might as well learn from the best.

1:00 PM


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