Lessons from True "No Compromise" Resisters
This brief essay illustrates the importance of imagination and determination when facing a superior enemy force:
...Chechen guerillas utilized personal initiative, flexibility and “street smarts” to overwhelm and confuse a superior force. These forces learned and experienced many tactics and lessons about fighting in cities. These include:
1. You need to culturally educate your forces so that you don’t end up being your own worst enemy out of cultural ignorance. Once insulted or mistreated, the Chechens civilians became active fighters or supported the active fighters.
2. Training and discipline are paramount!
3. Know your opponent and his turf.
4. Societies are run by different methods. Some are governed by the rule of law, others by the rule of men. Some are governed by religious or local tradition, and still others by the tradition or customs of the clan.
5. In addition to understanding one’s opponent, an attacker must know the urban terrain over which he will fight.
6. The Chechens not only knew the city’s sewer, metro and tram systems intimately, they also knew the back alleys, buildings, and streets.
7. Russian forces often got lost, finding themselves in Chechen ambushes or exchanging fire with friendly forces. Chechens took down street signs and repositioned them in cleverly misleading positions.
8. An understanding of the city infrastructure offers advantages.
9. Grozny was a three tiered fight (upper floors of buildings, street level and subterranean levels)
10. The Chechens were proficient at booby – trapping doorways, breakthrough areas, entrances to metros and sewers, discarded equipment, and the bodies of dead soldiers.
11. Russian wounded and dead were hung upside down in windows of defended Chechen positions. Russian had to shoot at the bodies to engage the Chechens. Russian prisoners were decapitated and their heads placed on curbs leading into the city, over which Russian replacements and reinforcements had to travel.
12. The Chechens used mobile tactics and let the situation do the organizing.
13. Chechens were not afraid of tanks and BMPs.
14. Sniper teams ruled the city, they could be found in trenches, rooftops, and sewers. Sniper teams would dig beneath concrete slabs. These slabs could be raised with car jacks when Russian forces approached, providing firing positions and then dropped back down. Russian forces struggled to discern what was merely rubble and what was a kill zone.
15. Chechens forces allegedly used chlorine and ammonia bombs, set oil wells on fire to obscure fields of vision and rigged entire building complexes with explosive.
16. Anticipate communication problems. The chief factor in communication breakdown was simply the vertical obstacles posed by urban structures.
17. The Chechens exploited the use of cell phones. Motorola radios, improvised TV stations, light video cameras, and the Internet.
18. Personal hygiene is of paramount importance. In less than a month 20% of the Russian soldiers were suffering from viral infections. Viral hepatitis and cholera were the two major diseases. Lack of clean drinking water was the source. Viral hepatitis fell off during summer months, but was replaced with severe bowel infections.
19. The Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev boldly predictated he could take Grozny with a single Airborne brigade in two hours. The brigade consisted of 1,000 soldiers. By January 3rd the brigade had lost nearly 800 men, 20 of 26 tanks, and 102 of 120 armored vehicles.
20. Perhaps the most important point may be there is no “standard urban combat operation.”
"From my cold dead hands" is a political statement with tactical consequences.
So is "Do it to Julia!".