Tactics 101: 024 – The Attack of a Built Up Area
Mogadishu was a bewilderingly complex web of interlocking family and kin. It was protected not by any formal army or battlements, but by hordes of gunmen. Its warriors were kids with automatic rifles and grenade launchers who hung around the villages looking for trouble. If they saw someone identified as an enemy of the clan, they rounded up a few of their pals and staged a competent urban ambush. The shooting would draw more of them, then more. So anyone who came in after Aidid would pay an awful price. The general could vanish deep into the thorny hollows of this nest for a lifetime.”
Mark Bowden – Blackhawk Down
A REVIEW OF LAST MONTH
Last month, we focused on the defense of a built-up area. As we discussed, the defender definitely has some major advantages when fighting in urban terrain. These include: the opportunity to occupy defensive positions before the fighting begins, the ability to fortify fighting positions, the confidence of knowing the terrain you are fighting on, having time to rehearse your potential operations, and the time to prepare obstacles and then tie in your direct and indirect fires with them.
These advantages, if utilized correctly, can make it extremely difficult for an attacker to achieve success on the urban battlefield. However, all is not lost for the attacker. As we have seen time and time again; attackers can more than make up for these advantages and achieve his objectives. In this month’s article, we will set the foundation in achieving success in attacking a built-up area.
THIS MONTH’S FOCUS
It would be impossible to do any justice to this topic in one single article. There is simply too much to cover and we would leave too many areas uncovered. Consequently, we have decided to break our treatment of this subject into smaller pieces for you to digest. This month, we will provide a general view of offensive urban operations. As is our practice, we want to set the conditions before we delve more into the weeds. The subjects we will tackle this month are:
• The Decision to Attack
• Types of Urban Operations
• Types of Urban Operations Missions
• Forms of Maneuver in Urban Operations
• Phases of an Urban Attack
Let’s get started!
[continued on next page]