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Doug Macgregor's "Remember the Blitzkrieg before it's too late"

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  • Doug Macgregor's "Remember the Blitzkrieg before it's too late"

    Col. Macgregor has an article on the Washington Times website called Remember the Blitzkrieg before it's too late. I could have posted this on a couple of other threads, but since I couldn't decide which one, I posted it here instead. Here are some snips:

    ... For any great victory to occur, the winning side must get most things right while the losing side gets most things wrong.

    The Germans got most things right. They integrated new technology into new organizations - radio communications, tanks, armored infantry and air power - under vastly superior battlefield commanders, commanders who led Germany's superbly educated, physically fit and trained soldiers from the front, not the rear. But it's what the British and French got wrong that should command America's attention.

    In the 1920s, Britain's top generals focused the British army on organizing, training and equipping its troops to police the declining British Empire. British military leaders decided the only enemy Britain would fight for at least 10 years would be a colonial enemy, a hostile tribesman or insurgent. The long-term results of this thinking were nearly fatal to Britain.
    and

    But armies are what they do, and, for the moment, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are light constabulary forces designed to police Muslim Arabs and Afghans with AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mines. This conversion to light forces designed to operate from fixed bases while depending heavily on timely and accurate air strikes for effectiveness and survival has left American ground forces in a weakened, vulnerable state.

    For the United States, the critical military lesson of May 10, 1940, means avoiding Britain's mistake of optimizing its forces to fight weak insurgents, especially when Muslim rebellions against unwanted American military occupations are easily avoided. It also means understanding that future conflicts will involve wars among nations and alliances of nations waged by powerful armed forces for regional power and influence; fights for energy, water, food, mineral resources and the wealth they create. Otherwise, the generals' current obsession with counterinsurgency will leave the American armed forces as unprepared for a real war in 10 years as the British and French forces were for their confrontation with Germany in 1940.
    The entire article is linked above. It contains plenty of fodder for discussion.

  • #2
    Resources don't create wealth, people create wealth. Sometimes with resources but sometimes with very few of them.

    While I see his point about what the Army has become acting like policemen and this may be a concern, I don't see his arguements about regional wars against regional enemies as convincing at all.

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    • #3
      I served under COL Mac for two years following Desert Storm. He is nothing if not intelligent and astute as to the ways of war.

      I think he is completely correct in his view that the military has swung almost completely towards small wars, ad it is degrading our capability to fight a large-scale war. Some think that MCO (Major Combat Operations) are a thing of the past. Not so for me. I see military officers here in school that have almost no idea how to lead a squad or company in tactical situations that involve high-intensity warfare. They are used to having permanent Battle Command systems in place and leading from there, with an absurd amount of information at their fingertips. If they had to fight from the turret of a tank or a Stryker, they'd be useless, especially after an EMP strike or some other data system malfunction.

      Our military is dependent on GPS technology and digital maps. So much so that if you were to hand a senior NCO or Officer a map, a compass, and a protractor, they would be hard-pressed to use the proper techniques to find their exact location on said map.

      These things are all coming together to produce an institution that is woefully unprepared to engage a large-scale force, here or abroad. It is evident in the shift in our curriculum. The basic tactical expertise required of senior leaders to fight and win has been leaving the service over the last ten years. They are mostly retired now, leaving us a slowly but steadily decreasing pool of able tactical leaders to draw from when/if the major sh!t hits the fan.

      This certainly is NOT uncommon in our military bureaucracy, of course, and history shows that the military is a behemoth of a ship, requiring years to make even a 45-degree turn.

      COL Mac's observations are astute, but something that may be missing that he didn't address...there are STILL leaders who realize the same thing, and they are NOT going to be caught flat-footed. Much of our materiel is slowly being refitted, select leaders are being trained in new systems, and I fully believe that, though initially un-prepared for MCO at this time, as the ops in Iraq & Afghanistan wind-down, there are plenty of people in the right positions to pull the trigger on ramping-up the force with the skills necessary to fight and win the next major war.

      But then, that might just be the optimist in me...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
        Col. Macgregor has an article on the Washington Times website called Remember the Blitzkrieg before it's too late. I could have posted this on a couple of other threads, but since I couldn't decide which one, I posted it here instead. Here are some snips:



        and



        The entire article is linked above. It contains plenty of fodder for discussion.
        He's right, especially when you throw in the spending cutbacks on defense research and weapons.

        By far the best quote comes from a source I cannot recall, but states that generals are always preparing to fight the last war, not the next one. It's the Maginot Line mentality.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Miss Saigon View Post
          Resources don't create wealth, people create wealth. Sometimes with resources but sometimes with very few of them.

          While I see his point about what the Army has become acting like policemen and this may be a concern, I don't see his arguements about regional wars against regional enemies as convincing at all.
          No one can make money without a resource to sell, even if it is only their labor. There is a reason why Third World nations live in poverty.

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          • #6
            Israel suffered this problem 1990-2006 when it became mainly a COIN army from its experience in the Intifadas. 2006 awoke them to the reality and since then they've shifted gears to much larger scale military operations again. I think the US military needs a reawakening to this reality as inevitably future enemies, even little bands of guerrillas, are going to become armed with increasingly advanced counter weapons.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CPangracs View Post

              Our military is dependent on GPS technology and digital maps. So much so that if you were to hand a senior NCO or Officer a map, a compass, and a protractor, they would be hard-pressed to use the proper techniques to find their exact location on said map.


              ...
              I agree CP.As a former Cavalry Scout,I hope they still learn basic land navigation with a map and compass.GPS is a fine tool,but what happens if an enemy knocks out the satellites or your batteries go dead?
              If you Ain't Cav,You Ain't S---

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              • #8
                While I greatly respect Mcgregor, ever since he published "Breaking the Phalanx" and generally agree with his concerns, I am now old enough to have seen the "too much armor and too little infantry in too large of formations" vs. "too much infantry in small unit tactics and not enough armor and big gun punch" based on the threat or war we had to fight at the time.

                In large part, he was responsible for much of the reorganization of the military into its brigade sized units for more flexibility as well as accepting that limited resources had to be realistically accepted by the armed forces.
                "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                George Mason
                Co-author of the Second Amendment
                during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                  No one can make money without a resource to sell, even if it is only their labor. There is a reason why Third World nations live in poverty.
                  No, third world countries are poverty stricken because they have corrupt (generally socialist and/or militaristic) governments. Only free markets which protect private property can grow an economy. All nations need capital to grow, and who wants to invest in an unstable country whose government is liable to nationalize any given industry at a moments notice? Venezuela is a textbook example of this trait. All that unused labor, oil, and valuable minerals and they're undergoing a total economic meltdown.
                  Go is to chess as philosophy is to double-entry bookkeeping. - Nicholaï Hel in Shibumi

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                  • #10
                    I like the points this man put forward and would like to put in some insight of my own.

                    Our (as in NATO's) current potential enemy list includes Iran, North Korea, and somalia, the first has the most modern military, the second has nuclear weapons, and the third got it's rear end handed to it by freaking Ethiopia (Fighting T-55's and fighter bombers with pickup trucks that have machine guns slapped on their beds in a pitched battle is not the mark of a credible military threat.) If we continue downsize to only face pissant insurgents, we could face an embarassing defeat at the hands of Iran or NK, but unless we try to fight the Somalian Islamists with water guns and nerf darts, I don't see how we can lose to them.
                    Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                    But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                    When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                    That violence breeds violence.
                    But in the end it has to be this way.

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                    • #11
                      We need to rethink our military thought competely. Manned aircraft are steadily becoming outdated, the utility of aircraft carriers are declining as our enemies develop anti-ship missiles with longer ranges, we are no longer capable of fighting wars of attrition anymore, much of our military equipment is purchased as a result of lobbying efforts, our allies are steadily becoming isolationist........

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Czin View Post

                        Our (as in NATO's) current potential enemy list includes Iran, North Korea, and somalia,
                        So, does nobody in Europe consider Russia a threat in the near future... or do they just plan to throw them a few ex-satellites and hope that appeases them?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                          So, does nobody in Europe consider Russia a threat in the near future... or do they just plan to throw them a few ex-satellites and hope that appeases them?
                          Russia is a crock. Except for the nukes they do not have the strenghth to threaten Europe and this is before the worst birthdate in Eurasia. Russia will collapse into ethnic war in two decades tops. Bluntly, without the Ukraine and Belorussia, Russia is nothing. Even then it wasn't much.
                          How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                          275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                            Russia is a crock. Except for the nukes they do not have the strenghth to threaten Europe and this is before the worst birthdate in Eurasia. Russia will collapse into ethnic war in two decades tops. Bluntly, without the Ukraine and Belorussia, Russia is nothing. Even then it wasn't much.

                            Those pesky little things couldn't possibly be a game-changer....

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                            • #15
                              The Colonel strikes again.

                              I don't know if the Colonel picked up on it, but the worst thing about the 10 year plan is the British politicians liked it so much they re-newed it until what, 1935 or 6? That is one reason the British were so under armed in 1939.

                              Now that the good Colonel has given the Bush administration and the present guys an excuse to cut troops, maybe he is trying to make up for it?

                              The Louisiana National Guard first went to Iraq as a Mechanized Brigade. When they got home, they were converted to Light Infantry. This type of unit has no vehicles like the heavy guys have. The other day, I was driving the Interstate into Lake Charles and saw one of the "surplus" big trucks hauling a water tank for a construction crew. Remember this the next major hurricane to hit Louisiana. We don't have the vehicles to handle one.

                              Pruitt
                              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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