Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Time to bring back the Airborne Regiment

Everyone is an arm chair general these days, and why not?  The generals of World War 1 proved that military strategy can and should be up for debate outside of the opinion of "experts."    Politicians and pundits opine weather our contribution against ISIS is too much, too little or just a token.  Everyone is sure the war will be long and it will require boots on the ground to finally end it.

I don't approach these questions from the point of ignorance, but that hasn't stopped some of the most ridiculous suggestions from the weakest minds.  The idea that hugs and care packages would cause ISIS to spontaneously erupt in civility is popular in some circles on the left.  The mockery and laughter outside those circles is even more popular.

The way to hasten the end of ISIS and inflict maximum casualties on the worst of them is to open a Fire Base.  A Fire Base or Fire Support Base is a small encampment deep in enemy territory.  It was used in the early days of the war in Afghanistan to great effect.  A strategically placed Fire Base could cut ISIS forces in two.  It would enhance the allied advantage of overwhelming firepower and draw out ISIS forces.

Nothing short of a nuclear blast could destroy this proposed Fire Base.  Nothing indicates that they have such a device but if they did one could argue that the loss of a little Fire Base is preferable to any other use of a nuclear weapon by ISIS.  The Islamic Statists could really do no worse than ignore the irritating Fire Base.  That would not be a hardship at all since they would still cede control of the immediate area instead of losing it.  Special forces could also launch expeditions from an unopposed Fire Base.    In either case the Fire Base would eventually be unopposed. 

Ideally I would place a Fire Base on a hill overlooking a major ISIS stronghold.  The hills south of Ar-Raqqah on the Euphrates River seem like a good candidate.  From there the Fire Base could dominate highways and canals, engage in psychological warfare, launch short range drones, and direct unlimited fire on despicable ISIS heads.

Of course Canada is not operating inside Syria for the time being.  This suits me just fine since under no circumstances would I trust Obama to lead a ground war of any kind in Iraq or elsewhere.  The guy can't build a bloody website in 3 years with unlimited money, there is no way I'd trust him with our troops.  This is part of the reason everyone thinks this war will last a very long time.  The allies political problems start with Obama and continue in all directions. 

We have some time then before we can expect to play a role in the actual defeat of ISIS rather than its containment.  I believe that re-commissioning the Airborne Regiment for the specific purpose of operating a Fire Base is a great idea. 

The original Airborne was unfairly disbanded by Jean Chretien amid the controversies of alleged torture in Somalia and some poorly timed hazing videos.  Chretien used the videos as the last straw with the public to make a huge cut to the military.

Now we find ourselves in need of the exact skills the Airborne was created for.  The Airborne Regiment would have been extremely useful in this conflict.  We have the opportunity not only to justify the re-commissioning of the Airborne Regiment but to rebuild and repurpose it from the ground up. 

Call it the 1st Canadian Mechanized Airborne Regiment.  Fit it with light weight artillery and compact reconnaissance drones.  Specialize in integrating with allied fire control and drop it all on a hill in the enemy's choke points.

Asymmetrical warfare is here for the foreseeable future.  Evil armies like ISIS might only vanish into mist if an old fashioned invasion took place to e3radicate them.  ISIS under a different flag in a different region but with the same people and the same evil ideology.  A unit that was specifically designed, not to seize territory, but to kill the enemy wherever they are is called for. 

That's my arm chair analysis.  I'd urge the various experts, generals and ministers to at least consider the ideas.  That expertise was acquired at great cost to taxpayers and yet isn't being put to use in a proactive way.  What we are doing right now doesn't seem to be working.  The rubble pile formerly known as Kobani, despite total air superiority and highly motivated local troops, is not the example I would hold up to be repeated in every town across the region.    

1 comment:

newcenturion said...

As a former member of the CAR (87-90) I'd love to see the regiment be re-instated. Even when it was in existence though a lot of people in NDHQ hated the airborne. It was replaced by the Canadian Special Operations Regiment.

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