The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Digital COIN

An interesting article on a relatively new army simulation at this link.

Has anyone worked with this sim and if so, what were your experiences? Positive, negative, in between? Does it benefit units and leaders preparing to go downrange?

September 30, 2011 Posted by | COIN, military history, Professional Military Education, Urban Warfare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Isolating the Urban Battle Space

Conventional urban operations in World War II and during the Cold War revealed that isolating the urban area was one of the keys for success. It often took significantly more amount of troops to isolate an urban area than to actually conduct decisive operations inside the city. Is this still the case today? Most an area be isolated for the operations inside the city to be effective? Does it still take a large number of troops to accomplish this or can remote vehicles, sensors, and precision fires isolate an urban area much more effectively than what was possible in the past?

April 6, 2011 Posted by | A620, COIN, Current Events, military history | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Review: A Chance In Hell

A short excerpt of my review of the new book that covers the actions of BG MacFarland’s brigade in Iraq:

A Chance in Hell is one of the most important books written thus far on Army operations in Iraq.  The lessons in the book will be obvious and important to lieutenants and captains as well as colonels and generals.  It describes the close relationship between company and platoon tactics, brigade operations, and regional and national strategy.  It clearly describes the tactics, techniques, and procedures  of  the population centric approach to counterinsurgency.  Michaels demonstrates the criticality of cultural understanding to success at all levels of COIN operations. Finally, and most important, the book  highlights the importance of leadership to tactical and operational success.  The tough decision making, and the inspiring example of the leaders of the “Ready First” brigade come through as the critical element in the brigade’s success; a success that was the operational tipping point in the war in Iraq. 

For more information on this book click here for the book website.

August 11, 2010 Posted by | books, COIN, Current Events, Urban Warfare | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Reviews: Urban Warfare Books

The following are short book reviews done by students in A620, The History of Modern Urban Operations:


A Savage War for Peace, by Alstaire Horne.


A Savage War of Peace is an epic story of the history of the final eight years of struggle of the Algerian people for independence. 

After reading the book and then the modern reviews of the book one has to wonder how the press could give such an inaccurate account of the actions of our Soldiers in Iraq.  While there are parallels, likening the Algerian war for independence to the Iraq occupation differs immensely.

MAJ Blaine Wales


The Sling and The Stone – On War in the 21st Century, by T.X. Hammes


COL Hammes shows how we as a military are failing to address the challenge of 4GW (4th Generation Warfare) and that without major political and military reform we are destined to fail.  He uses historical references to show how, through minor adaptations, that small less powerful organizations have systematically defeated large conventional armies.  The book is extremely useful for all levels of command by bringing adaptations of Mao’s principals of insurgency to light in the tactical, operational and strategic environment.

MAJ Dan Kidd


Battle for Hue, by Keith W. Nolan


The Battle for Hue, as captured by Keith Nolan, is an extensive chronology of combat actions fought in an urban environment during the TET Offensive of 1968.  Written predominantly through the eyes of the Marines that fought in and around Hue, the third largest city in South Vietnam, Nolan uses both Marine Corps Archives and firsthand accounts from over 35 Service Members to present a very comprehensive view of one of the longest and fiercest battles during the US participation in combat operations in Vietnam.

MAJ Jason Marquiss


No True Glory, by Bing West


This Book No True Glory is about the American fight against the insurgency in the year of 2004. The Author, Mr. Bing West, wrote this book based on time spent with strategic Leaders and with the Soldiers and Marines in the Infantry Battalions at the final Battle of Fallujah. This book covers the Final Battle of Fallujah in-depth at the Company and Squad leader level.

MAJ Darren Keahtigh


November 7, 2008 Posted by | books, Urban Warfare | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urban Insurgency Model

The basic elements of urban insurgency can be reduced to a model (see below).  This visualization of the dynamic elements of urban insurgency can help identify the elements in play in any given situation and the relative strength of those elements.  In the model the size object indicates the relative influence.

In the above model you have a relatively capable and important government institutions (police, fire, government etc. –dark blue) inside the urban environment (lighter blue).  There is a small but identifiable criminal element (black).  Also there exists a small but viable insurgency (orange) who are pursuing three lines of operations –political, guerrilla, and conventional military.  Their primary focus, at this particular time is military (outlined in blue).  The insurgency is supported by rural support areas (dark dark) as well as by nation states hostile to the city government (red).

In the below model, the insurgency is much more complex.  There are no friendly governmental institutions.  There are multiple insurgencies pursing different strategies.  A large non-state actor is supporting the insurgencies.  In addition, there is a large criminal element operating in the city.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Urban Warfare | , , , , , | 2 Comments

UO Doctrine and FM 3-06

What is the UO Framework?  Is it a useful construct or does it just repeat concepts that are already well described elsewhere in doctrine?   If its useful, how is it useful? 

The Big question:  Do we really need specialized doctrine for UO?

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Urban Warfare | , , | Leave a comment

Dynamics of Urban Control

An interesting discussion in urban operations class today.  It revolved around how do you “control” a city after “seizing” it.  Part of the discussion revolved around what is meant by “control.”  Doest that mean physically control terrain, or does it have a broader meaning which includes the voluntary cooperation of the population.  A similar concept to that of “seizing” and “holding”  as discussed by a recent guest speaker.  The below diagram resulted from the discussion and may illustrate the dynamics of “controlling” an urban area. 


September 24, 2008 Posted by | Urban Warfare | , , , , , | Leave a comment