Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ArmA 2 BAF - Are Grenades the Modern Bayonets?

I'm in a strange tactical land, folks. I'm reading Paddy Griffith's Forward into Battle and it's quite a journey of critical reading. Griffith gets very controversial in this book. His main point is about how virtually every major decisive victory in military history can be attributed to shock action. Napoleonic massed volley fire? Just to wear down the enemy and then deliver the (only thing decisive) bayonet charge.

I'm not of the intellectual stature to challenge anything that I'm reading, but it looks to me that close combat is the last option in modern combat. Killing the enemy from the distance with superior firepower looks like an SOP nowadays.

Enough digression. Griffith mentions in several parts of the book that the cold steel of the bayonet has been replaced by the hand grenade. I confess that when I am in virtual combat, grenades are the least thing in my mind. So here is this entry, to reinforce the habit of safe close combat.

A British infantry section on a dismounted patrol. No vehicles near, no indirect fire support, just the organic weapons of the section. Walking down the patrol route the section comes under insurgent fire from its left flank.

Well drilled reactions pay off. The shooter is quickly dispatched, but more insurgents are suspected  to be in the walled  campground ahead. 
A fire support element (marksman and two LMGs) is left behind while the assault team (all the rest of the section) advances ahead.
The assault team reaches the walls of the nearest campground. Buddy teams cover two intersecting walls.

Every effort is made to determine if there are insurgents inside the campground. In this image, an infantryman steps on a dirt mound to peek inside the walls. No contact, though.
Finding out if the insurgents are within the walls had to be done the old way. From a healthy distance, a British soldier slowly moves away from the wall, keeping a close eye in the opening. Contact!

The assault team then proceeds to toss grenades inside the campground.  A total of 8 grenades are aimed at the middle, nearby the walls and to wall breaks/entrances. It's more or less blind fragging.

A last peek before storming in. One insurgent dead confirmed.

Aftermath: three insurgents taken out from the campground. 
It all turned out better than what I thought. The blind tossing worked so well that I wonder about the kill radius of the hand grenades used. In real life, one would have been very concerned about civilians.

But I don't think that what is shown above is what actually Griffith was writing about. There was no shock, just a mini-indirect fire of sorts. Next time, I should try the grenade tossing followed by the storming ... Like a SWAT team! :)



Moyletra said...

See H John Poole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._John_Poole) - Phantom Soldier (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phantom-Soldier-Enemys-Answer-Firepower/dp/0963869558/) and his various other titles. His view is the use of local indirect fire (grenades) is an eastern way of war. He references use by Japanese in the Pacific and WW1 German stormtrooper tactics.

We Brits spent a lot of time in section attacks dropping off points of fire in order to get close enough to post grenades and the final assault.

JC said...

Hi Moyletra,

Thanks for your comment.

Poole! Thanks for pointing that out. I've missed that part in the book.

How do you rate the British Army's emphasis in close attack? In the US, I can only see the USMC having some interest in it.


Ryan said...

The British Army themselves used the bayonet attack during the First Gulf War, and I believe that was the last official entry of one used in combat. It was successful.

You have to be willing to get in, down and dirty. Unfortunately the mindset of today lacks that aggression and competitiveness. The US, even with their creed 'ready to fight in close combat', find it hard to imagine the idea of being that close to the enemy and having to resort to such a contingency as a bayonet or knife. Fortunately we have some soldier's, no matter the background or country they fight for, who are willing to do such an act.