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SP's LandForces - - UNION BUDGET 2013- 14 -


This ma­noeu­vre is car­ried out in own ter­ri­tory to blunt and limit the of­fen­sive of the at­tacker by di­rectly at­tack­ing and con­fronting his forces from the front and flanks. This ma­noeu­vre, un­like the coun­ter­strike, does not strive to go be­hind the en­emy lines to at­tack his firm base but con­ducts the same op­er­a­tion from own side of the bor­der. This is likely to be costly in terms of own ca­su­al­ties as it at­tempts to hit the en­emy where he is likely to be strong. How­ever, at times, the defender may be forced to un­der­take such an op­er­a­tion. In re­cent times, Kargil op­er­a­tions by In­dia is an ap­pro­pri­ate ex­am­ple of counter-at­tacks in our own ter­ri­tory as the govern­ment had laid the re­stric­tion of not cross­ing the line of con­trol (LoC) into Pak­istan Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir (POK).

Proac­tive Op­er­a­tions

An of­fen­sive could also be em­ployed to launch of­fen­sives into op­po­nents ter­ri­tory be­fore he launches his at­tacks. This means that In­dia must have the “sit­u­a­tional aware- ness” re­gard­ing the op­po­nents move­ments at strate­gic, op­er­a­tional and tac­ti­cal lev­els. In­dia’s in­tel­li­gence and sur­veil­lance means must be in place to be able to fight fu­ture con­flicts. We can­not af­ford to be sur­prised in the fu­ture. How­ever, with limited of­fen­sive forces and dif­fi­cul­ties of lo­gis­tic sup­port across the bor­der in the moun­tains, the most lu­cra­tive op­tion would be to pre-empt the op­po­nents launch off ar­eas, which would per­force have to be close to the bor­der. This would be equiv­a­lent to a cold start doc­trine for the moun­tains. This im­plies proac­tive op­er­a­tions into the op­po­nent’s ter­ri­tory.

Em­ploy­ment of the Moun­tain Strike Corps

A strike corps be­ing an op­er­a­tional level for­ma­tion (as op­posed to the tac­ti­cal level units and for­ma­tions) de­rives its aims and mis­sions from the po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives of war. The po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives are trans­lated into mil­i­tary ob­jec­tives at the level of the Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee (COSC) and th­ese are then passed on through COSC di­rec­tives to the three ser­vice chiefs and the con­cerned op­er­a­tional com­mands of the three ser­vices. A corps be­ing the high­est level of field for­ma­tion in the Army, is ex­pected through its op­er­a­tional con­duct, to achieve the laid down mil­i­tary ob­jec­tives which would in the ul­ti­mate anal­y­sis achieve the po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives of war. At the national strate­gic lev­els, the po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives of the three ser­vices will be the same but when trans­lated into mil­i­tary strate­gic ob­jec­tives, dif­fer­ences will nat­u­rally arise based on the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of each ser­vice.

It is gen­er­ally not ap­pre­ci­ated that a strike corps with all its com­ple­ments can hardly be em­ployed from a sin­gle axis or a sin­gle launch pad (firm base) in the moun­tains due to the vast ar­eas re­quired for its con­cen­tra­tion, mov­ing for­ward and launch­ing across the bor­ders. Moun­tain­ous ar­eas lack ad­e­quate num­ber of roads and tracks and do not pro­vide suf­fi­cient av­enues for launch­ing largescale of­fen­sives. Thus in the moun­tains, lower tac­ti­cal group­ings and for­ma­tions like bri- gade groups and di­vi­sions may be em­ployed through dif­fer­ent sec­tors us­ing firm bases pro­vided by the hold­ing corps. Firm bases/ launch pads are lo­ca­tions from where of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions can be launched and will de­pend upon the avail­abil­ity of suit­able ob­jec­tives across the bor­der, gen­er­ally op­po­site the firm bases. Ob­jec­tives should be such which will pro­vide a mil­i­tary ad­van­tage to pur­sue the of­fen­sive fur­ther and help in achiev­ing the po­lit­i­cal aims of war. A sec­tor which pro­vides mul­ti­ple ob­jec­tives is pre­ferred over other ar­eas as it gives a mil­i­tary com­man­der greater num­ber of op­tions and hence im­parts greater flex­i­bil­ity to op­er­a­tional plans. If a num­ber of of­fen­sives are planned to be launched si­mul­ta­ne­ously through dif­fer­ent sec­tors, they may ei­ther con­verge on to the same ob­jec­tive or may aim at ap­proach­ing dif­fer­ent in­ter­me­di­ate ob­jec­tives from where the Corps of­fen­sive can be pro­gressed deeper into the op­po­nent’s ter­ri­tory.

(To be con­tin­ued)

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