Infantry: Wake Up Call

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May 26, 2010: Since France and Germany loosened up their ROE (Rules of Engagement) in the last year, and allowed their troops to more readily engage Taliban gunmen, there has been a lot more combat for them. Before the ROE change, the Taliban generally ignored the German and French troops, knowing that these foreigners would not interfere with Taliban terrorism operations, and would not even fire unless the Taliban fired on the foreign troops first. But now that the French and Germans can go after any Taliban they spot (or suspect they've spotted), the Taliban have become much more aggressive against the French and Germans.

This led to the Germans and French discovering that they were not really equipped or trained to deal with the Taliban. The Americans, British, Canadians, Dutch and Australians made it all look so easy. But it isn't, so now the French and Germans are hustling new equipment (especially armored vehicles, UAVs and sensors like night sights and thermals) to their troops in Afghanistan. But another shortcoming was training, and that was solved by borrowing training manuals (and some trainers) from their combat experienced allies, and starting to train troops back home, before sending them to Afghanistan. This meant having MRAPs back home, as well as realistic training exercises to get the troops ready.

While German and French special operations troops were ready for Afghanistan operations, the regular army troops tended to follow a more relaxed training program. No more. After a few nasty ambushes in Afghanistan, the French and Germans are now focused on doing it right. This means drills on how to automatically respond during an ambush, how to quickly call in air or artillery support, and treat battlefield wounds. French and German casualties are down, Taliban casualties are up. Still, over 70 percent of the action is still in two southern provinces (Helmand and Kandahar).

 

 


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