Murphy's Law: January 17, 2001


Although the U.S. Army has spent millions to build a realistic (complete with Hollywood grade special effects) training centers for urban warfare, few commanders are in a hurry to send a lot of time at the new facilities. This is consistent with long held attitudes towards fighting in towns and cities. Avoid it as much as possible. Urban fighting is the slowest, bloodiest and most nerve wracking form of combat. A recent U.S. Marine Corps urban exercise yielded a 45 percent casualty rate. This was the same rate seen in Vietnam, Korea and World War II. While new technology has long been promised to take the sting out of street fighting, the life saving gadgets have not shown up yet. Currently, the only nation to come up with any new wrinkles in urban fighting are the Russians. Based on their bloody experience in Chechnya, the Russians developed new a unit organization and tactics to increase their urban warfare effectiveness. But everyone else prefers to talk about it, rather than act on it. Which just makes the experience that much more painful when an urban battle cannot be avoided. 


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