Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Airborne and Air Assault ARE NOT viable forms of forcible entry!

This post is gonna bring the hate and a bunch of stupid but that's ok.  It's time to get actual and factual with my audience.

Fact.  The Pentagon has stated that their are 3 forms of forcible entry.  Airborne, Air Assault and Amphibious Assault.

My Contention.  I believe that only one form of forcible entry is viable against a near peer foe.  Amphibious Assault.  I also contend that history has proven that the other forms of forcible entry are dead on arrival and only suitable for use against 2nd and 3rd world powers and terrorist groups.

Below I state my case.

Air Assault. 

Quite honestly this is the one that I was a bit jaded about.  The USMC does the heliborne assault thing with gusto but as a form of forcible entry it fails the test.  One incident is seared into my mind.  The Army's AH-64 assault Karbala.  via Wikipedia.
The 31 AH-64 Apaches of the 11th Aviation Group took off from Tactical Assembly Area Vicksburg, which was inside Objective Rams. One Apache crashed immediately after takeoff when its pilot became disoriented. When the Apache crews turned north toward Karbala, signals intelligence picked up over 50 Iraqi cell phone calls alerting the Iraqi forward units of the Apaches. As the helicopters came within range, the Iraqis signaled their troops to open fire by turning off the city's power grid for several seconds. Ground troops then opened up with a barrage of PKM, NSV, 23mm, and 57mm fire.
Lieutenant Jason King, pilot of Apache "Palerider 16", was hit by AKM fire[8] in the neck and suffered a severe hemorrhage, but he never lost consciousness.[3] He was later evacuated to Germany for surgery, but returned to his unit a few weeks later.[8] The Apaches were reluctant to return fire; most enemy fire was coming from houses and the risk of collateral damage was high. The helicopters scattered in search of the Medina Division, but were hampered by poor intelligence.
Apache "Vampire 12", flown by Warrant Officers David S. Williams and Ronald D. Young Jr., was forced down into a marsh after gunfire severed the hydraulics. The air commander's radio was also hit, preventing communication with the other helicopters. Attempting to flee the crash scene, both men swam down a canal, but were captured by armed civilians. The Iraqi government would later show the helicopter on TV and claim that it had been shot down by a farmer with a Brno rifle; however due to the high volume of anti-aircraft fire and the armor of the Apache, it is unlikely that a bolt-action rifle was responsible.[9]
The Apaches turned back for Tactical Assembly Area Vicksburg after a half-hour of combat. Most were without functioning navigation equipment or sights. At least two narrowly avoided a mid-air collision.[3] Post-battle analysis indicated the American gunships were targeted in a deliberately planned ambush[10] with cannon fire, RPGs, and small-arms all combining from multiple camouflaged fire teams.
By rights this should be labeled an "attack helicopter raid" and could arguably be considered outside the realm when we talk about the efficacy of Air Assault.  I disagree.  These were/are the most lethal helicopters that the US Army posses and they were mauled by Primitives in sandals firing AK's, RPG's and PKM's.

Against a higher threat enemy an Air Assault MIGHT be doable but it would take so much preparation that I don't believe it could truly be successful.  Think about it like this.  The enemy forces in this encounter used cell phones to coordinate a successful ambush of heliborne raid force.  I believe that this will be the ultimate result if the 101st were committed to entering a hostile nation.  It wouldn't be a sophisticated anti-air complex that would spell doom for that famed would be a bunch of guys wearing sandals that are hooked up with the latest cell phone from Apple or Samsung.

2.  Airborne Assault.

The storied 82nd Airborne is the Army's premier intervention force (the Rangers belong to SOCOM so they lost that title in my mind).  They are setup (or were...I have kept up) with a Ready Company prepared to execute in 12 hours, a Ready Brigade that can go wheels up in (again I'm doing this from memory) 36 hours and then the Division can be on the go in 72 hours.

That's pretty damn impressive and is why every's ones cock's are out at Bragg.  They're the Army's tip of the spear and they'll make damn sure you know it (take a trip to what they once called Fatal-ville on a Saturday night and go to a bar or strip club...MMA fans would be impressed by the skill of drunk, out of their mind paratroopers).

All joking and stroking of egos aside, the Army is taking steps to make the 82nd more lethal on the ground.  They're procuring a ground transport that is easily air droppable from a C-130, thinking about a role for the JLTV in the airborne force and they're actively looking to procure a light tank.

The problem is simple.

They're fine light infantry, but its their method of employment that is the problem.  C-130, C-17 or God Forbid C-5 delivering a Brigade or more of troops by parachute into a hostile area is tough beyond imagination.  In an age of CNN, and other cable networks the buildup to hostilities would alert any potential target that an assault MIGHT be on the way.  Those aircraft might travel at high subsonic speed but they must slow to a max speed of 150 knots for airborne ops if they're using the T-11 (interesting that the T-10B was good up to 175 knots).

The result?  The 82nd is saddled with the fact that its transports are vulnerable to anti-air guns, man portable anti-air missiles,  complex land based anti-air defenses and even ship based systems (depending on the adversary).

We haven't even gotten around to the difficulties the division will face when its on the ground if they have to go toe to toe against a Mech Infantry or Armored Unit.

To add a bit of misery to all this they're only sustainable for 3 days before they must be relieved.  I don't know how long they could last in a high intensity fight before relief arrived.  Maybe 24 hours if they're conservative with their ammo and they're facing an infantry heavy force?


My readers will take me to task but the facts are clear.  Only Amphibious Assault as conducted by the US Navy and the United States Marine Corps is viable.  The other forms are great against low level opponents but will falter against an even moderately trained force.

Do understand this caveat though.

Amphibious Assault is not to be undertaken lightly.  It will be rough work, will require the full effort of the Navy-Marine Corps Team and should be part of a national strategy with definable goals and a tactical outcome to be achieved by the landing.

But if we must kick in the door, then the only real option that we have is to call the Marines.

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