Light Mechanized COunterINsurgency:Dutch Royal Marines in M113 GavinsSavetheDayinAfghanistan
Insurgency Rising in Afghanistan “Thousands of fresh Western troops have flowed into Afghanistan since last year, seeking to counter the resurgent Taliban before an expected spring offensive. Many American units have been conducting sweeps and raids.” “Dutch Soldiers Stress Restraint in Afghanistan” C.J. Chivers, New York Times, April 6, 2007 www.nytimes.com/2007/04/06/world/asia/06afghan.html?pagewanted=1&fta=y
Dutch Royal Marine Commander Colonel Hans van Griensven
Counter-Insurgency 101:Right Strategy & OperationalArt Chivers on Colonel Hans van Griensven: “He added that he could deploy his units on sweeps, searches and raids, and chase the Taliban away. But each time after his infantry left an area, he said, the Taliban would simply move back in.”
“The Dutch-led force of about 2,000 Soldiershas adopted what counter-insurgencytheorists call the ‘oil spot’ approach... ifforeign military forces show restraint andrespect, and help the local government togovern, then these areas will expand, slowlybut persistently, like an oil stain across ashirt. As they grow, the theory says, theTaliban’s standing will decline...constructionprojects and consistent political and socialsupport will lure the population from theTaliban, allowing the central and provincialgovernments to expand their authority overthe long term.”
“Dutch commanders say they also drawfrom their army’s experiences in southernIraq from 2003 through 2005, wheresimilar tactics were used. They say theirunits had better relations with Iraqis, andfaced less fighting, than did Americanunits. Civilian deaths and propertydamage caused by American tactics inIraq and Afghanistan, they said, havehardened villagers’ attitudes, which helpsthe insurgents with recruiting, intelligenceand protection.”
“Such counterinsurgency tactics are notnew; they are only back in vogue, with anew generation of officers drawinglessons from past military operations inIndonesia, Malaysia, Borneo, Vietnam andelsewhere. Similar tactics have reappearedin American units in Iraq, as both the Armyand the marine corps have been rewritingdoctrine along the same lines.”Colonel van Griensven: “The only thing webelieve is that using too much fighting iscounterproductive”
“The Dutch, aided by American Soldiers andcontractors who train Afghan police officers andSoldiers, have helped Afghan units to coordinatesecurity and build police posts. Simultaneously,they have sent teams of specialists and Australianengineers to choose development projects and planthem with village leaders. They have built or repairedschools, mosques, police garrisons, courtrooms anda hospital inside the more secure areas. A bridgeand a police training center are under constructionor in design. They also have opened a trade schoolthat teaches Afghan laborers basic job skills,including carpentry and generator repair.”Colonel van Griensven: “We’re here to make theTaliban irrelevant.”
ounter-Insurgency 102: Rightquipment to Stay in Area and Light Trackermored Vehicles to enable restraint “But the Dutch have embraced the theory more fully than most, to the point that most Dutch units now take extraordinary steps to avoid military escalation and risks of damage to property or harm to civilians.” ENTER THEIR “BATTLEBOXes” and M113 GAVINS!
Dutch Troops Live in Armored ISOshipping container “BATTLEBOXes” onFOBs in contested areas
M113 GAVINS: LIGHT TRACKED, GO-ANYWHEREMOBILITY & SPACE INSIDE FOR MAXIMUMAMMUNITION, FOOD, WATER UNDER ARMOR FORINDEPENDENT COIN COMBAT ACTIONS!
M113 GAVINS AIFV Left & Right Side TC25mm FIREPOWER 2 x Firing ports7.62mm Dcoax MMG DismountSpaced Laminate Armor Leader Poz
“To encourage expansion of the government’sinfluence, the Dutch infantry conducts patrolsaround the secure zones, and reconstructionteams try to identify future projects and allies whocan extend the ring of influence. ‘Inside the innerring, we try to do a lot of long-lasting developmentprojects,’ said Lt. Col. Gert-Jan Kooij, the taskforce’s operations officer. ‘It’s not like it is 100percent safe there. It never is. But it’s permissiveat least. And by showing that we have projects inthe permissive areas, we hope the people in otherareas will see that it gets better when they workwith their government.’”
An Ambush in the Taliban HeartlandC.J. Chivers, Photos by Tyler Hicks, New York Times, April 10, 2007www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/world/asia/10afghan.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=thSURKH-MURGHAB, Afghanistan“Captain Abdul Rakhman peered over a chest-highmud wall as gunfire and shouts rose. Beside himwere two Afghan Army Soldiers and a Dutch marine.A few yards away another Afghan Soldier knelt in thedirt, reloading a rocket-propelled grenade. The patrolwas stuck, enveloped in a poppy field in a Talibanambush. Automatic rifle fire came toward them froma tree line about 175 yards to the west and from arow of mud-walled Afghan houses to the east andnorth.”
“The patrol, an Afghan squad supported by aDutch mechanized infantry platoon, had setout about an hour earlier from a small forwardbase in Poentjak, in Uruzgan Province, anisolated region of arid mountains and cultivatedvalleys that is one of the areas where theTaliban originated. ...the Afghan patrol plannedto walk to the edge of Surkh-Murghab, a pro-Taliban village beside the base. SergeantLeendert hoped that Captain Abdul Rakhman,an Afghan intelligence officer, could arrange ameeting between the village’s elders and areconstruction specialist.”
“The Afghans stopped their three pickuptrucks about 900 yards from the village andbegan to walk, crossing fields and groves offruit and nut trees. A Dutch armoredvehicle crawled forward, shadowing severalDutch engineers, who swept the road formines. A forward observer watchedfrom the base, prepared to provide mortarfire.”
“The captain directed the patrol toward adirt road, hoping to walk on the village’sedge and avoid a trap between buildings.They were crossing open ground whenthe Taliban attacked. The first shot was a107-millimeter rocket, which flewoverhead and exploded on the oppositeside of the road. The captain and themarine bounded to the wall. The ambushbegan. Taliban fighters opened fire fromthe west, north and northeast.”
“The patrol was exposed on threesides, caught in a kill zone. But burstafter burst flew wide. Stray shotsbuzzed past or thudded in the mud.About 300 yards back, the Dutchplatoon commander, First Lt. Marcel,directed fire from the vehicles’machine guns and 25-millimetercannons. The patrol began to makeits escape.”
“Lieutenant Marcel gave the order towithdraw. A Dutch Soldier near him fell,struck near the neck. Medics began treatinghim on the grass. The 81-millimeter mortarsection opened fire, trying to drop explosiverounds into a compound with several Talibanfighters. After finding the range, it began tofire shot after shot into the same place, 18rounds in all.
“With their heavier weapons, the Dutch had afirepower advantage. They suppressed theinsurgents to the west. But the Taliban’sfighters were local men; they knew theground. They moved through vegetation andditches along the eastern flank and openedanother angle of fire, giving themselves clearshots across the only withdrawal route.For a few minutes there was a lull in theTaliban’s firing. But soon their shootingintensified, forcing the Soldiers to run besidearmored vehicles, using the armor as rollingshields.”
“The platoon made a wall of vehiclesaround the downed Dutch Soldier,Private First Class Rob, until medicsbandaged him and loaded him into anarmored ambulance.”
“A BlackHawk helicopter landed, tookon the wounded Dutch Soldier and liftedaway. The patrol was over. The Dutchand Afghan Soldiers drove back to theirbunkers while smoke rose and driftedover Surkh-Murghab.Word of the wounded Dutch Soldierpassed among the troops. He had beenstruck by the casing of a round firedfrom a Dutch 25-millimeter cannon,Lieutenant Marcel said. His wound wasnot severe.”
“The captain still had questions hewanted answered. Later, neardarkness, he slipped off base incivilian clothes, to talk withshepherds passing through thefields. When he returned, he told hissquad more news: two of theTaliban had been wounded, he said,and four had been killed.”
Colonel van Griensven also said the taskforce had developed underground contactsin Taliban-controlled regions.Since the task force began operationslast August, it has not suffered a combatfatality.