Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Civilians in Modern Wargames

As I am waiting for the weather to change so I can do some priming outside I was looking for additional 15mm figures to base. I had picked up this pack of Arab Civilians from QRF for a market that I wanted to buy from a vendor that unfortunately disappeared. So I now have eight male civilians for my village and not sure how to use them. They can be used as background like terrain but I would like something more. The problem is I do not want them to turn into target. How do other gamers use, or don’t use civilians?

Friday, December 24, 2010

For the Want of a Ship (LCT)

It seemed like an easy request. Who makes a 15mm or 1/100 scale Landing Craft Tank (LCT)? I did not need an Ashdod Class Landing Craft. An American LCT from World War II would even have worked.

For the landing I know I do not need the LCT (or three of them) but one would look good for the table. The other problem is information on them. I may have a couple of photographs from 1982. Since they are not missile boats not a lot is written about them. The Ashkelon Class LCT was built post war and could hold at least three tanks. It was available for use from the War of Attrition through Operation Peace for Galilee.

So for now the IDF will go without. I wonder how hard it is to build it from scratch?

Merry Christmas

As we all are in the final stretch to get ready for Christmas I remember a Christmas 27 years ago. I was a junior member of the weapons department on the USS Hammerhead on patrol in the eastern-Mediterranean. It was 1983 and the conflict in Lebanon had heated up after the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport. Our boat was tasked with protecting the battlegroup off of Lebanon and watching unfriendly ports in the eastern-med. We were also the only US submarine in the Mediterranean at the time. (Now you may understand my interest in Lebanon.)

So while I knew my family was getting ready to eat themselves silly and open too many presents that my Mom bought, I was helping to write a small page in history by being there. I would not want to trade that patrol for anything in the world or the Christmas celebration we had on board.

So while we open presents tomorrow remember not only the troops that are in Afghanistan and Iraq but all of our troops were every they are stationed, American, NATO and all of the others that defend us.

Merry Christmas.
Jonathan Yuengling TM2/SS

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Egyptian T-55s for Operation Raviv

Here we have a platoon of Egyptian T-55s heading south towards the reported IDF landings on the west side of the Gulf of Suez. What will they find?

The tanks were done in Dark Sand (Vallejo) and washed with Games Workshop Devlan Mud.  My references for the period have Egyptian tanks done in a solid pattern but a recent parade picture shows darker brown stripes. I may end up doing my next platoon in those alternate colors.

Tanks are from QRF, bought through Scale Creep.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Egyptian Tanks for Raviv

The Egyptians are about to receive three T55s and a ZPU-1 to add to the forces for Operation Raviv. (Something does not seem right here.) From a couple of news sites I found the following images showing off Egypt's new additions.

Before. I do love a parade.

After. Your results may differ.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Operation Raviv

My most recent addition to my library is Osprey's Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat by Sholomo Aloni. This work covers the history of the aircraft as part of the IDF. With my recent interest in operation Raviv I was pleased to see this paragraph.

From page 22 we have,
“The IDF/IA launched its campaign on 9 September 1969, and that same day the Skyhawk community suffered its second combat loss. No 109 Sqn was tasked with supporting a mechanized assault across the Gulf of Suez, and two four-ship formations duly departed Ramat David that morning. The first was tasked with suppressing an SA-2 battery and the second to fly close air support (CAS) for Israeli troops. Although the SAM site was successfully attacked, the CAS Skyhawks (each loaded with six 500-lb bombs and two rocket pods) were forced to loiter over the designated sector waiting to be allocated a target. With the assault proceeding to plan and their patrol time coming to an end, the pilots decided to target a radar station instead. During this attack the four-ship leader Hagai Ronen became separated from the formation. He was last seen hanging beneath the canopy of his parachute over the Gulf of Suez.”

The Arab Victory Forum (I will not vouch for their facts)has his A-4 being shot down by Egyptian AAA 7,000ft from a position at Zafarana. There was no report of any Egyptian fighter in the area and no reports given to the Egyptian command of the raid until after they let the area. It would appear that the best reason for the loss was from a S-60 or a ZSU.

This will mean the invasion force has a dedicated CAS of at least four A-4s. It is looking even more difficult for the Egyptians. So far the Egyptian Army has three T-55s and a ZSU-1 base coated. Looks like they need more assistance from the Soviet Union.

A-4 painted by Mark

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SU-100 Part II

After painting up my SU-100 in Soviet colors, I find this video on how to do it. While it is to late for me, I wanted to share it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


These have been my latest additions to the force of the United Arab Republic from QRF and Scale Creep. This assault gun can be added to my Sinai forces for 1967 or on the Suez Canal during the War of Attrition. Syria had these on the Golan through most of the period.

The SU-100 has the punch of the 100mm D-10 making it a major asset into the 1970s. The gun itself was installed on new T-55s up until 1979.
These assault guns are done in two different tones of Russian military green so they can be used by any of the Soviets allies in the Middle East or Africa. It is available for a Bay of Pig invasion on the south Cuban coast or North Korea today. Some countries never throw away anything.

Operation Raviv

Back in the 1980s I picked up a copy of The Arab-Israeli Wars by Chaim Herzog. In the section on the War of Attrition are a map and a short write up on what is now known as Operation Raviv. While I had read the Born in Battle Magazine back than (before my newsstand stop carrying it, said no one wanted it) I was unaware of this raid to the far side of the Gulf of Suez. This was amazing for nine hours this company-sized unit using captured kit, was traveling down the coast of Egypt. While the IDF had air superiority it is hard to believe that the Israelis were able to do this.

So my project for 2011 is doing an operational campaign of the nine hours for this raid. As you can see I have the IDF forces ready. I am still debating if I need (want) a landing craft or three. Santa will be bring me the rest of the Egyptians after the new year.

Building the bases at Abu Darag and Ras Saafrana should not be difficult as they are radar site and not strengthened fortifications. Plus without any good photographs of the operation I am free to interpret the look and feel.

Keep watching for updates on this. The rules will be from the TOOFATLardies using Charlie Don’t Surf.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review - Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat

Recently, I purchased a MiG-19 on a whim. It was a good price and the arms race going on in Lebanon 1982 was heating up as Mark was showing off his A-4. So in defense the pro-Syrian side purchased the MiG-19. My total knowledge of this MiG came from the Internet. And while much of the information on Wikipedia is good (better than nothing) I was looking for even more. Osprey having in general good monographs, I purchased Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat by David Nicolle and Tom Cooper.

On first reading through this short work I was disappointed. As I was trying to put this post together I reread many of the sections and my opinion improved.

I find the book to have two key strengths. The book is a rare find as it is coming from the Arab/Egyptian point of view. As little is written about either the Egyptian or Syrian air forces this book is an asset to anyone interested in the Arab Israeli Wars from 1967 to the present. I assume that if I read Arabic I may have a better chance finding sources on their militaries. While many of the reported air-to-air battles are sketchy in the book they do allow a gamer to set up historical battles to game. I look forward to using these for a Bag the Hun meets Bag the MiG.

Unfortunately the books weaknesses were more academic. There are no maps so figuring were the airfields are located is a problem. There are also no notes on sources. While this is common for many of the Osprey publications I find that this subject is so unique that they really need to be there.

The authors also start out with the thesis that the Arab/Egyptian forces did better than what was reported in the West. Their lack of documentation and possible charts make it difficult to determine if they proved their point. I do understand they Arab/Egyptian units were very brave as it takes courage to take off in a jet while your airfield is under attack. The Arab/Egyptian were also not help in many ways by their Soviet allies.

While they labor the points that Israel claims of losses to AAA were really lost to Syrian or Egyptian fighters, it does not reverse the fact that the losses were weighed heavily towards the Arab/Egyptian forces. Also the US in Vietnam had similar problems with reports on reasons for losses.

Over all I am happy with the purchase as it fits a hole in my collection. I hope when the authors release their book on MiG-15 and MiG-17 units that there will be improvements.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold War 2011

Wanted to let everyone know that the Northern Lancaster Wargamers club will be running several wargames based on the Lebanon conflict. These two will be part of the official games at the con, but I am sure there will be pick up games as well. Other members will be running games using 28mm USMC and militia. Looking forward to a great convention.

Title: Lebanon 1982 - Fight at Ishiya
Host: Jonathan Yuengling
Scale: 15mm
Rules: Lebanon 1982 Rules Supplement
Day: Saturday
Time: 9:00 AM
Time Length: 4 Hours
Description:  After a couple of relatively quiet days our armored column in the Beqaa is taking fire from a Lebanese village that was reported as being friendly. Secure the cross roads in the town and remove any unfriendly militias. Be concerned about taking excessive casualties and causing any civilian casualties. While you should not run into any Syrians at this time, be cautious as the IDF is still restricted from using force against the Syrian Army.

Title: Lebanon 1982 - Clearing the Orange Grove
Host: Mark Kinsey
Scale: 15mm
Rules: Lebanon 1982 Rules Supplement
Day: Saturday
Time: 2:00 PM
Time Length: 4 Hours
Description: The IDF column on one of the flanking roads in the Bekaa has been stopped by a possible combination of Fatah militia and Syrian commandos. The infantry is called on to clear out an orange grove on the far side of the village. Our tanks have been taking sagger fire and the grove must be cleared so the brigade can advance. You must hurry so the brigade can advance and clear the next village by night fall.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dear Santa

Yes I am getting a little old for a letter to Santa, but than again I have been a good boy and my friends at QRF (through Scale Creep), Old Glory 15s, Peter Pig and The TOOFATLardies would like to help out Santa’s Elves. So here goes.

  • A lot of 15mm T55s. Looking to finish building a company for my Egyptians (and maybe my Syrians). It is a useful tank as it was used by everybody in the Middle East.
    Two 15mm T62 to finish out a second platoon.
  • A ISU-152 to use on the canal. Boy it is big.
  • Buildings and terrain for the desert.
  • And a T-10M.

I know, one of these things is not like the others and you have every reason to ask why. The T-10M (Obyekt 730) was the last of the JS/IS heavy tanks. While the IS-3M was used by Egypt it was no T-10M. For starters the look was different. The T-10 was longer and had an extra road wheel.

So why my interest? Well it is a cool looking tank. A definite favorite and until the model of the Obyekt 279 is released in 15mm, it is one of the best tanks out there for “what ifs” and science fiction gaming. Plus think of the reaction when the Israelis run into one during the War of Attrition.

  Image from my newest favorite blog spot.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wargames Illustrated Issue 278

Here is something for those looking to add more terrain to our Middle Eastern campaigns. In the new Wargames Illustrated issue Bob Murch scratch builds a North African village. I look forward to seeing this in my mail box soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Projects

Well we are into December and as a gamer I dislike this month almost as much as the Germans did in 1941. December brings holidays, more family and less time to game with friends. While I do enjoy the food it does make getting together with friends to play a little difficult. With that said, I use December as a clean up month getting ready for next year.  So this month I will work towards:

  • Posting my Charlie Don’t Surf weapons chart for the Arab Israeli Wars.
  • Getting the Lebanon 1982 Campaign set up.
  • Finish my write up on my 2011 Campaign.
  • Get my scenario around for Cold Wars. 
  • Get in at least two games with pictures for the blog.

This should keep me busy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Is there a Problem With History?

While this blog was by design a communication tool for our gaming community I am surprised at the lack of traction from within the area of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. While I do not know how prevalent the Internet is in Lebanon and Syria, I do know that Israel is on par with the United States.

From what I have read, 16% of the population of Syria has Internet access; the issue is the lack of content. While I know the government is not blocking my blog directly (at least I hope so) blogs and social media are often targeted.

So if the region is able to get to my blog, and they understand English, why am I not seeing higher numbers for the region? Any guesses? My guess is they have the same problem we have in the west, a lack of interest in history.

Have other bloggers found similar dismal numbers?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Work Bench 11/28/2010

OK, I was informed that the image could of been better. As I am getting ready to wash the nine tanks here I thought I would take another picture of my soon to be intrepid warriors. Any idea were they are heading?

Richard, I hope you like the tank riders.

The SUV (and the riders) will not be going on this trip.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Airpower in Lebanon - Lardies Style

I have played around with the jet supplements to TOOFATLardies Bag the Hun and so far they seem to work well for my Lebanon 1982 project.  I like the miniatures from PicoArmor, the distributor for Oddzial Osmy (O8). These 3mm gems look good and allow for some really nice fur-balls. Right now I am only missing one type of aircraft and have access to two versions of the MiG-21.

Here is my list of what is needed for an air battle over Lebanon and the Bekaa. Valley. 
F4-E Phantom II       
MiG-21 Version Used - MF, PFMA, MS, SMT, bis (Pico has the MF & F-13)
A-4 (Not Available by Pico)
MiG-23 Version Used - MS, MF   
Su-22 (Using the Su-17 from Pico)
RF4-E (Using the F4-E from Pico)

So am I missing anything (other than SAMs)?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Work Bench 11/24/2010

Now that I have most of my 28mm figures off of my worktable (does not mean they are all painted) I can get back to more of my 15mm Arab Israeli War miniatures. As you can see from this picture I have twelve armored vehicles primed and ready to be painted. Any guesses on what they are for?

Centurions are from Peter Pig. The rest are from Old Glory 15.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Problem with Syrian Airpower

Found an interesting problem with Syria using their newest toy. The HOT missile used by Syria had a range of over 4,000 meters. That means the Gazelle can be, in game scale, over to 32 meters away from their targets. This makes the picture clearer to me, as when they were used against the armored columns in Lebanon the IDF assumed the missile strikes were coming from Sagger positions as they never saw the helicopters. It also appears the neither did the IAF. Often the column would send out patrols to find troops that were not there.

While it was reported that Syria was using the HOT missile, they also had the AS-12 when they received their first batch of Gazelles. They had even a longer range of 8,000 meters.

So in our next game Mark I will set up my Gazelle across the street from your house, and at Cold Wars, it will be set up in the restaurant next to the breakfast bar.

Syrian Airpower

IDF intelligence reports the presence of Syrian airpower not in the Bekaa Valley. Exact numbers are difficult to obtain but in the European arms market, there is a strong request for Syrian decals. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Media for Wargaming

While doing my under-grad work in history, I spent a get deal of time in the stacks going through old newspapers, magazines and the ever-present microfiche. These were great secondary sources for the events occurring since the mid-19th century. I was wondering what were historians and gamers going to use to research modern day conflicts. While the Vietnam War and Falklands both have a lot of books out there remembering their platoon, squadron or ship, how will we find out about the more secretive parts of the world. There is not much that comes out of the Middle East dealing with military matters unless it pertains to the United States. So while I can find some materials about Lebanon 1982 in English, it is mostly from the Israeli point of view. I have found one book with a chapter on Syria and their air force. It added a total of three pages and no notes on sources (OK the sources are only a problem for the academic in me).

So what can a gamer do? Since I limited myself from the start of the invasion to the attempts to close the Beirut to Damascus Highway we are only looking at less than three weeks (6 June 1982 to 24 June 1982). This leaves the monthly and even the weekly publications out. As for the daily newspapers other than the New York Times and The Jerusalem Post I am not certain what to use. Any suggestions?

A view of the film crew reporting on a Syrian advance on a Lebanese position.

A view of the crew and Syrians advancing taken from the mosque. Figures from Peter Pig and buildings from Fieldworks. Jon Yuengling did the painting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fieldworks Part II

Below are what I currently have as a block of buildings for my Lebanon 1982 game. I was very pleased with the results of the dry brushing and the washes.

The last image has members of a militia faction holding up with a sniper on the second floor and a machine gun across the street. (Figures from Peter Pig.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

5,000 Page Views Latter

Lebanon 1982 started out as a simple project that would allow my partner in crime Mr. Kinsey and I do gaming using our pulled resources and game a similar period. This simple project grew quickly, as they always do. At this point my blog has a life of its own.

The intention was to create a campaign setting to run games in both 15mm and 3mm. What has occurred is a general history for gaming in Lebanon with promotions and reviews of products from companies that produce the miniatures, terrain and published materials.

Learning the history is great. (I never thought I would be researching the Communist Party of Lebanon and their militia Hizbu-sh-shuy‘uī-l-lubnānī). I also enjoy the interaction with the vendors, players and my friends. I have started many gaming friendships through this blog.

So what will the next 5,000 page views bring? I hope (through TooFatLardies) to post Lebanon 1982 rule additions and enhancements, set up weapon tables to work with Charlie Don’t Surf for this period, and plan and game a campaign following a unit through Lebanon to Beirut and the Beirut–Damascus Highway.

Thank you and please let me know what you think.
Jonathan Yuengling

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pictures from the Third Battle in Lebanon

Our Saturday battle was a good time as we got our friend Doc Mercury over to play. He now has a large force of PLO/Militia to paint up and got his first taste of Lebanon 1982 with Mark and myself.

This battle changed many times as we were setting it up and at times as the referee I was not sure what the players wanted to try out. (I need to remember to always make the IABSM/CDS cards and the sides set before I get to the gaming venue.) Mark wanted Syrians, Doc did not care and I was planning on using PLO (that is what I had cards for).

The action was very fast as the two platoons headed across the town looking for PLO and a way to exit to the north.

Here is the long road with the referee in the distance.

The PLO was found by the IAF (or was it a drone) running towards one of the major buildings.

After a couple of inefficient shots by the PLO the IDF found this relic on the battlefield and fired on it. The IDF player was a little miffed that it was all caught on camera and the T34/85 was not operational. Always remember to not fire on anything near a mosque.

The tank as a decoy allowed the PLO to assault the tanks. Luck was not with the PLO today as none were damaged and the infantry cleaned out the building.

As the Merkavas went past the market a group of Syrian commandos attacked the column. They had as little luck as the PLO.  They held the market only a turn before being forced out by the infantry.

Here we have the infantry holding the market.

While all of this was happening the Syrians brought on three T55s. There only success was against an empty M113.

A good game and a great learning experience for me the referee. I look forward to our next game.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pictures from the Second Battle in Lebanon

These are the images for the battle we fought on Thursday evening. It was an action between Mark and myself.

Looking over the expanded town. We have to remember to remove the beer bottle next time.

The remains of a Syrian tank taken out by the IAF greet the IDF.

Here is the column working its way into town.

Here we see a command M113 with an officer directed the column to a new objective. Finding an IAF pilot.

Here the led Magach is taken out by fire from this building. Fire came from all four floors. There were four RPG shoots and a recoilless rifle.

Unfortunately (for my militia) the IDF cleared the building floor by floor. While the IDF lost an entire tank crew, the infantry was able to clear the entire building with only losing three soldiers. The militia was less luckily, losing sixteen men, one of which was their Big Man.

While the IDF did recover the pilot (working on a figure for that) the losses were heavy. We are still working through using Charlie Don't Surf. While I like the rules Mark and Doc Mercury point out the need for sooooooo many dice. I will work on the AAR from our Saturday game tomorrow. 

Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Second Battle in Lebanon

Thursday night Mark and I played a great game for Lebanon 1982 using Charlie Don’t Surf. Yes Charlie Don’t Surf is a Vietnam system but many of the weapons are the same (or similar) and the terrain is similar. Yes triple canopy jungle and multi-storied urban building do have a lot in common.

Hidden blinds are similar in both environments as well as the concealment of the local troops. Fire-teams and squads have tremendous firepower as shown in the CDS combat table. While the smaller teams may have fewer dice than in IABSM or TWT the firepower easily makes up for this.

Things that needed to be added were additional weapon systems and changes to existing tanks. We also worked on revised rules for reactive armor and discussed rules on smoke and smoke dischargers. I will offer these to on this blog when we are done as well as the TooFatLardies Yahoo group.

One of the strengths of CDS is the victory conditions [although I do like the press rules as well J]. In our game both sides were able to claim victory.

It was a great table. Mark outdid himself. El Ishiya grew recently. Mark added buildings to the point we need another table. It does not help that I recently bought four additional buildings from Fieldworks.

The sides were a force of PLO troops in the town against a reinforced platoon of Israeli Magach 6 with an attached squad of infantry. Orders were simple. The IDF was to advance through the town. The PLO, well the PLO acting like the PLO.

The advance went well. There was little resistance and the main crossroads were secured efficiently if not quickly. And than a command  M113 approached the armor column with a change of orders. A pilot was down on the far side of the town and the column was to check two areas. Unfortunately the two areas were on separate corners of the table and the IDF had only three tanks and a M113 to search the two wooded areas.  

Shortly the lead Magach was hit by multiple RPGs from a multi storied building. The first one destroyed the tank and the other hits only added to the explosion. The entire crew was lost.  The infantry were called in to clear out the building were the PLO was set up. After several close assaults over multiple turns the building was cleared. The IDF lost one soldier to the loss of the entire PLO unit.

The IDF went on to search the two areas were the pilot was thought to be and found the downed airman as the Syrians came on the board.

I give both sides a victory. The IDF did save the pilot, but lost a tank and crew. I look at it as a minor victory. The PLO received a significant victory for destroying the Magach.

In the future I will want to have press figures on the board to record the actions of the IDF.

Our next game is tonight so I look forward to using the revised fire rules for reactive armor. As the IDF will have a M-109 in this game they may use different tactics in clearing buildings.

I will post pictures as soon as I get them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Today I received my order from Fieldworks and all I can say is WOW! First off a large box arrived Fieldworks. It was a big box and I found out why once it was open. The must be close to a barrel of oil used to make the bubble wrap John Shuker used on packing the order. These four plastic buildings arrived in great shape. Below are image I took of my unpainted village.

The floors of the buildings are removable so work great for skirmish games with plenty of places for my militias to hide. Here is my new Charioteer trying to hide in the rubble of a building.

John and Fieldworks have excellent customer service skills in emailing me when it was shipped and asked to be told once it was received.

I look forward to painting these up and getting them into use. If you have any question ask me or John at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A New Month

Well we are into a new month and I have made a couple of long-term goals that involve my Lebanon 1982 project. By putting them in writing I believe I will have a better chance of completing them. First up I started a Hebrew class last night. I understand this is a hard language to learn but there are to many books written in Hebrew that I wish to read. This is probably my longest of long-term projects. Second is I need to finish up a scenario I have been working on for Richard at TooFatLardies for their Christmas Special. Right now I am waiting on the miniatures for the play test.

Speaking of play tests, I need to commit to at least two games a month. That may not sound like a lot but between my job, family and other commitments it can be difficult. I am sure my gaming buddies will be glad to hear this (and remember I said at least two).

So this should be enough until the end of the year when I can make a resolution to paint all of my figures before buying more. No honestly I mean that.

Now what can I do with six of these? (Wink, wink, nod, nod)

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Work Bench 10/29/2010

There is a new addition to my workbench. Yesterday my QRF Charioteer arrived. Been cleaned up and based. The gun barrel was also strengthened as it was bent back on itself.

This is a great tank for Lebanon. Twenty-four were sold to Jordan in 1954. When Jordan upgraded to the Centurion they were sold to Lebanon. With the start of the Civil War different factions including the PLO, Tigers Militia under Chamoun, and the Lebanese Forces under Gemayel claimed them. The 20 pounder will be a great equalizer in any battle, I am less certain how mobile they were.

I first learned of this gem of a tank in an Osprey. Was only a drawing and a paragraph but it got me interested. Not that it has not happened to anyone else reading this.

Also on the bench shown here are three Centurions needing to be base coated and a T34/85 that needs to be washed. The Germans in the back are for a long delayed VBCW faction.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It is even less safe now.

While it appears it will be difficult (or very expensive) to find or build a SA-2 there are still a great deal of assets that Syria and its proxies can use. Some of which I already have (or could get). 

From QRF is the ZU23-2 a towed twin 23mm anti-aircraft gun. This piece of firepower has been around since the early 1960s and is still in production.
Peter Pig has the ZPU-1 with is a 14.5mm machine gun that is still seen in Middle East conflicts today.

The ZPU-4 (also by Peter Pig) is a four barrel version with 14.5mm machine guns. With an effective altitude of over 4,500 feet both of these guns can cause havoc on low flying aircraft and helicopters (not to mention troops and buildings).

What troops want to be without some protection. Not everyone has an air force like the IAF. For those troops traveling light there is always the SA-7.  Here is the SA-7 by QRF. Used since the War of Attrition while not always lethal it is effective at protecting targets by reducing  the pilot's accuracy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just when you thought it was safe... fly over Lebanon.
While I am looking for the SA-2 I started this discussion on TMP.

While I have not found the SA-2 (yet) there are plenty on air defense assets to use in Lebanon. From QRF.

Just watch out Mark.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Urban Lessons Learned

I found this article recently and found it very interesting. Here are 51 lessons learned in Operation  Peace for Galilee 1982 that were to be applied in the Second Gulf War if and when the US troops entered Baghdad.  While these were not needed when the troops entered Baghdad, they were needed in the conflict that came afterwards.

I believe these originally came from Marine Corps Community for Marine Veterans. I do not claim these as my own. I do think these will be of use to anyone interested in Operation  Peace for Galilee or similar operations.

The Urban Operations Journal
Urban Lessons Learned:Operation Peace for Galilee
Israel’s intervention into Lebanon in 1982 was in response to a series of events over the previous decade in which Lebanon disintegrated politically and fell increasingly under the influence of Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) prepared three options for the Israeli response: (1) a shallow penetration into Lebanon to clear out PLO camps near the border, (2) a deeper operation to the Alawi river or to the outskirts of Beirut to eliminate PLO strongholds in Tyre and Sidon, but avoiding a clash with the Syrians or entry into PLO dominated Beirut, and (3) the “Big Pines Plan” which envisioned a confrontation with Syria and intervention into Beirut with the objective of breaking Syrian influence in Lebanon and to drive the PLO completely out of the country.

The Israeli Government rejected the “Big Pines Plan”, approving the second, more limited option which was expected to drive 40km into Lebanon and be completed within three days. Instead, the Defense Minister deliberately manipulated events to ensure that the “Big Pines Plan” was carried out. As a result, the IDF was entangled in a situation where it planned to carry out a relatively limited, short-term operation but had to fight a much longer campaign which eventually lasted three months plus an additional year’s occupation of Lebanon due to senior Ministry of Defense contravention of Government authorization.

The fighting began on June 5, 1982 when the Israeli Air Force began a bombing campaign after an assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador in London. Following this, the IDF crossed the border on June 6th to commence Operation Peace for Galilee. This operation consisted of a three-pronged assault with the Western Force advancing towards Beirut along the Mediterranean coast, a Central Force advancing through the Lebanese mountains to seize the western heights over the Bekaa Valley, and the Bekaa Forces group whose aim was to destroy Syrian forces in the Bekaa Valley in northeastern Lebanon. In terms of urban warfare, only the Western Force saw extensive fighting in cities and it is the focus of this case study.

A. Strategic Lessons:
Lesson 1: Military action did not solve the political problems that underlay Israel’s difficulties in Southern Lebanon. Operation Peace for Galilee, which began on June 6, 1982 when Israeli military forces invaded southern Lebanon, was publicly portrayed as a limited operation to drive the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) away from Israel’s northern border and secure a 40km buffer zone. Privately, Israel’s Defense Minister saw this as an opportunity to eliminate the terrorist threat from Lebanon completely; e.g., destroy the PLO’s military strength , eliminate their infrastructure, and drive them out of Lebanon. The Defense Minister also hoped to reduce Syria’s influence in southern Lebanon as well. These private objectives broadened the political and strategic objectives of the war (without the apparent knowledge or concurrence of the Government) and gradually transformed its character into a war against Syria and a war for control of Lebanon. The Israeli military achieved its tactical military objectives, but Israel ultimately lost the wider political battle. Operation Peace for Galilee ended with Lebanon more hostile to Israel than when it began, the substitution of one set of terrorists for another, Syrian influence substantially greater than before, and Israel’s international standing sullied.

Lesson 2: It was difficult for Israeli military commanders to get well-defined policy objectives to which they could work steadily and logically. Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon’s hidden agenda, and his consequent need to conceal the true purpose of the war from the Israeli Cabinet, deprived his military commanders of their ability to plan and execute decisive operations. Secrecy, in turn, bred confusion and lack of commitment among lower levels of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The mismatch between stated political and military objectives, predictably, led to major operational errors because Israel’s key thrusts against the Syrians and Beirut never received the overt priority needed for success. Thus, operations against Syrian forces came late and indecisively with the consequence that the IDF faced prepared and well dug-in Syrian forces. The IDF’s slow advance to Beirut, and the consequent difficulty in taking the city after pausing on the outskirts, was due to confusion about operational objectives in the minds of field commanders.

Lesson 3: Overall Israeli command throughout the campaign suffered from a lack of continuity. Deployment of IDF forces during the overall campaign was marked by a frequent shifting of units from the operational control of one command to another, moving field commanders in and out of positions of command, and by the formation of small, task-oriented operations. Brigades would begin under the command of one officer only to end up under the command of someone else after having passed through one or two interim commands along the way. In one case, a command switched no fewer than four times in less than 30 kilometers. Operational confusion also resulted when chains of command were disrupted by the practice of continuously forming and disbanding special military task forces.

Lesson 5: Contrary to initial Government expectations, Operation Peace for Galilee was neither of short duration nor low cost. The Israeli Cabinet authorized a limited incursion into Lebanon which was suppose to last just three days and produce few casualties. What it got was three months of fighting and a long-running, large-scale occupation. During the three months of fighting and the following year of occupation, the IDF suffered 3,316 casualties. While not large in absolute terms, these losses were staggering for a small country like Israel which was inordinately sensitive to casualty rates. Indeed, if one were to adjust these casualty figures to make them demographically equivalent to the United States, they would have equated to the U.S. taking 195,840 casualties for the same period. A large portion of the Israeli losses came from urban operations; e.g., Israeli casualties for the siege of Beirut equaled or were greater than those taken against the PLO in the entire war in the South. Indeed, losses in besieging Beirut cost the IDF almost 24% of its dead and 32% of its wounded for the entire war.

Lesson 6: Distinct advantage accrues to the side with less concern for the safety of the civilian population. Realizing that the IDF wished to minimize civilian casualties for political reasons, the PLO sought to exploit that reticence during the battle for Beirut. Thus, the PLO located many of its military resources like artillery and ammunition dumps inside civilian areas, especially within the densely populated districts like the refugee camps and Fakahani. The PLO also chose to site weapons firing positions near or within non-combatant structures (e.g., hospitals, schools, embassies) believed to be immune to Israeli attack for political reasons. These tactics had mixed results. The IDF was very restrained in attacking parts of Beirut which contained few Palestinians, but were much less cautious about sections of the city and refugee camps where Palestinian civilians predominated .

Lesson 7: Wishful thinking and intellectual predisposition prevented leaders and commanders from believing accurate intelligence assessments. Senior PLO leaders had an excellent understanding of Israeli intentions before the incursion, even to the point of Arafat having obtained a copy of an attack plan which was remarkably close to actual Israeli plan for Operation Peace in Galilee. For at least five months before the invasion, Arafat was both publicly and privately warning that Israel was preparing a major attack, possibly even extending to Beirut itself. Timely and accurate intelligence warning of Israel intentions went unheeded by the PLO command system, in part, because PLO commanders could no longer distinguish real warnings from political gestures, particularly when there had been so many false warning issued in the past.

B. Operational Lessons:
Lesson 8: The IDF had a well-developed military doctrine for urban warfare which influenced its tactics, but not its overall force structure. The IDF began developing doctrine for military operations in urban terrain in 1973 as a result of its experiences in fighting for Jerusalem in 1967 as well as in Suez City and Qantara in 1973. This doctrine envisioned two types of urban offensive, one in which armor leads and the other in which armor supports infantry as it opens and secures an area. Traditional IDFIDF lacked sufficient quantities of infantry necessary for urban operations in Lebanon. reliance on armor usually favored them using the former technique until an area proved too difficult to take with armor. Israel’s relative lack of significant urban warfare experience to date, plus a decided bias toward armored warfare, meant that Israeli doctrine for urban warfare had little impact on its overall force structure. Thus, the

Lesson 9: Training in urban operations greatly benefited those Israeli soldiers who received it. Unfortunately, not all soldiers were afforded that opportunity. Israeli combat training in military operations in urban terrain was extensive prior to the invasion of Lebanon and was judged very valuable in the aftermath of the battle for Beirut. Units with such training better understood the hazards of fighting in a city and appeared to be more confident than units which got no such training. Additionally, coordination of combat and combat support elements, as exercised in pre-invasion Israeli urban training, was afterwards judged more effective because of pre-invasion training. Part of that training included small tactical training exercises in captured Syrian towns in the Golan Heights and villages in southern Lebanon. Although the environment of these small towns differed significantly from the situation later encountered in heavily built-up Beirut, the training seems to have served the IDF well. Unfortunately, only the regular army units received training in urban warfare. This was a serious problem since the IDF maintains only a small cadre force which is fleshed out by large numbers of reservists -- none of whom received adequate training in urban operations because of the limited annual training time available to reservists. Consequently, reservists performed less well and experienced more casualties in urban fighting.

Lesson 10: Israeli rules of engagement were difficult to operationalize. The IDF was given clear, but conflicting, rules of engagement. Initial rules of engagement stressed the need to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage in cities. These same rules also mandated that Israeli commanders minimize their own casualties and adhere to a fast-paced operational timetable. The Israelis soon learned in the slow house-to-house fighting in the battle of Tyre that it was impossible to accommodate these conflicting instructions.

Lesson 11: Rules of engagement are sometimes difficult to enforce. Every effort was made in the initial phase of the campaign to enforce the rules about limiting injuries among non-combatants. Nevertheless, ground force personnel often sought ways around such restrictions upon the use of heavy weapons and target selection in cities. One such way was to call for an air strike when the ground forces met stiff resistance. In this way, responsibility for civilian casualties and collateral damage could be displaced to that more anonymous platform, the airplane, and to the difficulties of carrying out precision bombing in urban environments. In this way, the ground forces had strictly observed the letter of the restrictions against firing into civilian areas while successfully evading the spirit of those rules.

Lesson 12: Concern about civilian casualties and property damage declined as IDF casualties rose. The Israelis soon realized that heavy firepower was the only way to minimize their own casualties and maintain an adequate operational tempo. Consequently, the Israelis began to bring artillery fire to bear on Palestinian strong points with the consequence that collateral damage rose sharply. They also increasingly employed close air support, even in refugee camps. By the battle of Beirut, the IDF was engaging in “intensive bombardment” of Syrian and PLO targets in Palestinian sections of the city.

Lesson 13: Overwhelming firepower can make up for organizational and tactical deficiencies in the short-run if one is willing to disregard collateral damage. Early in the campaign, the Israelis realized that large numbers of infantry would be necessary to clear built-up areas; something that IDF lacked because of its traditional emphasis on maneuver warfare. Lacking enough infantry, the IDF resorted to heavy weapons. Firepower over infantry was probably the preferred (and preordained) solution in Lebanon since the IDF had earlier increased its reliance on mobile artillery to suppress enemy infantry rather than expand its own infantry forces in the wake of lessons learned from the 1973 War. Indeed, infantry forces proportionately declined as a percentage of the total IDF force mix between 1973 and 1982 as artillery forces were built-up.

Lesson 14: The tempo of urban operations is so intense that soldiers tend to “burn out”. After-action assessments of IDF performance during urban operations point out the difficulty the IDF had sustaining combat operations because of the high stress level it imposed on individual soldiers. This observation is borne out by Israeli casualty figures: i.e., 10-24% of Israeli soldiers serving in Lebanon experienced psychological problems as a result of their battle experience. This compared with a psychological casualty rate of only 3.5% to 5% in the 1973 war means that battle shock casualties suffered in Lebanon were two to five times more serious. The number of soldiers able to return to their units after treatment was also much lower than should have been expected.

Lesson 15: Non-combatants do not behave sensibly. Many Israeli military planners presumed that civilians in urban combat zones would follow “common sense” and abandon areas where fighting was taking place. In many cases, this did not occur. Civilians would instead try to stay in their homes. There were many reasons for this; some based on experiences in the earlier Lebanese civil war. Some families were convinced by PLO propaganda that if they left their homes during an IDF truce, they would be killed by the Israelis. Some probably underestimated the likely duration and intensity of the fighting and felt they could withstand the effects of Israeli/PLO/Syrian combat. Others simply feared that soldiers would loot their possessions if the rightful owners were not there to protect them. (A very reasonable fear given the prevalence of looting during the earlier Lebanese civil war.)

Lesson 16: The large-scale movement of urban non-combatants can significantly affect military operations. In excess of 30,000 non-combatants fled the city of Tyre for the beaches southwest of the city at the urging of Israeli psychological warfare units. Later, half of these people returned to the city in the midst of the fighting. Such a massive exodus clogged roads and delayed IDF attacks on PLO strongpoints. Similarly, the need to impose cease-fires and open lanes for civilians to escape the fighting in Beirut slowed IDF operations in the city.

Lesson 17: Psychological operations were a major element of Israeli strategy. Psychological warfare played a vital role in the Israeli seizure of Tyre and Sidon as well as during the siege of Beirut. Throughout the campaign, the IDF widely employed leaflets, pamphlets, and loudspeakers to get its message across. While Israeli psychological operations were often successful in achieving tactical goals like encouraging large numbers of civilians to abandon urban areas to facilitate combat operations, they were not successful at the campaign level nor at a strategic level in getting PLO fighters to lay down their arms nor in convincing the Lebanese Sunni Muslim population to pressure the PLO into leaving.

Lesson 18: Urban operations in Lebanon stressed the IDF’s logistics system because of unusual requirements and abnormally high consumption rates. The IDF took a number of modest, but important steps to supplement the standard equipment suites of units prior to deploying them in cities. Hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, light anti-tank weapons, and illumination rounds for mortars were issued to infantry platoons in larger numbers than normal. The number of short-range tactical radios, especially hand-held radios, were also increased beyond the usual unit allotments.

Lesson 19: Standard Israeli military unit configurations were inappropriate for urban combat. During the battle for Beirut, the IDF adopted a task-oriented form of tactical organization which cross-attached tanks and self-propelled artillery to infantry units. In such cases, the armor and artillery generally remained under the infantry’s command for the duration of the tactical action.

Lesson 20: Failure to understand the importance of civil affairs cost Israeli commanders dearly. Local IDF commanders did not understand the vital importance of civil affairs for on-going urban combat operations. Thus, civil affairs efforts were ineffectual. Commanders failed to grasp the immediate combat implications or the larger political implications of poor population management. Israeli psychological operations convinced 30,000 non-combatants to flee Tyre and head for beaches outside the city. The subsequent inability of the IDF to provide food, water, clothing, shelter, and sanitation for these people produced predictable consequences. Many tried to return to the city; a process which complicated the northward movement of Israeli troops and the delivery of ordnance on selected targets in Tyre. IDF commanders compounded these oversights by interfering with the efforts of outside relief agencies to aid the displaced population of Tyre lest the PLO is some way benefit. This second civil affairs failure created an adverse situation with was quickly exploited by PLO psychological warfare specialists. The IDF also failed to educate its troops in dealing with Lebanese civilians. Although the Shi’a Muslim population of southern Lebanon either initially welcomed or was neutral to Israeli presence, it soon became hostile because of the behavior of IDF personnel and other factors.

Lesson 21: Aircraft played several important roles in urban operations, especially at the battle of Sidon. The Israeli Air Force carried out seven major missions in the attack on Sidon: (1) providing air cover for an amphibious landing, (2) bombing of selected targets prior to the IDF entering Sidon both to take out strong points and to psychologically demoralize PLO defenders in the refugee camps outside the city, (3) close air support during difficult battles for the city, (4) flying air cover over the city against the threat from Syrian fighters, (5) transporting of troops and equipment via helicopter around bottlenecks which developed on the ground in Sidon, (6) remove wounded via helicopter, and (7) dropping psychological warfare leaflets over the city.

Lesson 22: Amphibious operations have a role in urban warfare. Israel conducted two amphibious landings; a small one in support of operations in Tyre and a much larger one in about brigade strength during the campaign to capture Sidon.

Lesson 23: Special forces played a limited, but significant, role in Israeli operations. Israeli naval commandos made the initial landings during amphibious operations just north of Sidon and secured the beachhead for follow-on landing forces. This was the first major amphibious operation carried out by the Israeli Navy.

Lesson 24: Naval forces can play an important supporting role in urban operations. Israeli naval forces were used to conduct amphibious operations to achieve tactical surprise and to isolate Tyre and SidonSidon and Israel. At Sidon, the Navy also took the ancient port under fire. Due to Beirut’s coastal location, the Israeli Navy also played an important part in isolating the PLO and other hostile forces in West Beirut near the coast. Additionally, the Navy provided modest fire support using its 76mm guns, but its main activities involved coastal patrols to prevent reinforcement of PLO positions or the seaborne delivery of supplies. Other tactical missions included preventing opposition forces from mining the beach or preparing defensive position.
at the outset of the campaign. These were technically difficult to conduct due to a shortage of landing craft. Indeed, the Israel Navy had to keep shuttling the landing craft back and forth the 55 kilometers between the beaches north of

C. Tactical Lessons:
Lesson 25: The shock value of artillery fire diminishes with time. The IDF discovered shock value of indirect artillery fire in urban warfare depending upon the frequency of its use. In urban areas like Tyre which were already accustomed to seeing and hearing artillery fire because of the Lebanese civil war, Israeli artillery fire had much less psychological shock value than Israeli commanders expected. Likewise in Beirut, its value continued to diminish as combatants (and civilians) became increasingly aware of its shortcomings when used in moderation against built-up areas.

Lesson 26: Forces operating in cities need special equipment not found in standard Israeli tables of organization and equipment. Beyond beefing up the quantities of standard TO&E equipment, the IDF
also issued loudspeakers and snipping equipment which were not normally part of an infantry unit’s kit. Also supplemental armor was added to the sides and fronts of many tanks because of the heightened risk from anti-tank weapons in cities.

Lesson 27: Urban civilian structures (e.g., hospitals, churches, banks, embassies) are cited in tactically useful locations, command key intersections, and/or are built of especially solid construction and therefore afford defenders good protection. As mentioned earlier weapons emplacements in “off-limits” structures like hospitals, churches, schools, banks, and embassies afford the defender “political” protection if the attackers wishes to minimize civilian casualties and politically unacceptable collateral damage to the urban infrastructure. Such facilities also offer significant tactical military value since they are located at key intersections, command the high ground in an areas, and/or are so well built that their construction affords defenders an unusually high degree of protection. Thus, the decision to place weapons in “off limits” facilities may be dictated as much, or on some occasions more, by tactical military necessity as by political considerations.

Lesson 28: Rigorous communications security is essential. Overall IDF communications security was generally good, although a few lapses did occur. In part this was due to the way-spread use of encrypted communications equipment and employment of a double-cipher system. Additionally, the IDF changed codes daily and prearranged changes in radio frequency. Conversely, the IDF regularly monitored Syrian and PLO communications because neither practiced rigorous communications security because the PLO and Syrians made extensive use of commercial telephones throughout the urban areas of Lebanon. Commercial facilities provided instant communications for those forces, but also enabled the IDF to identify PLO locations and plan responses to orders intercepted over commercial phone lines.

Lesson 29: Snipers were very cost effective. The PLO actively employed snipers, even though its people received little formal training and were not equipped with specialized equipment. Nevertheless, PLO snipers delayed IDF operations in Sidon out of proportion to the resources they had invested in such operations. Similarly, the Syrians used snipers very effectively to block Israeli advances in the southeastern suburbs of Beirut. The IDF came to view snipers as being extremely valuable for psychological reasons as well. Even if they did not kill large numbers of the enemy, their presence forced Israeli opponents to keep their heads down and put a higher level of psychological stress on enemy personnel. In addition, the Israelis believe that sniper teams were a valuable source of intelligence, since for much of their time, they are patiently observing enemy actions.

Lesson 30: Explosive ordnance disposal teams are essential in urban areas. Israeli explosive ordnance disposal teams inspected captured weapons caches, either destroying them or recommending their evacuation. They also performed their traditional function of neutralizing “dud” munitions (such as unexploded sub-munitions) and clearing bobby traps.

Lesson 31: Armored forces cannot operate in cities without extensive dismounted infantry support. The IDF, because of its traditional bias in favor of armor, often tried to use armor without proper infantry support. It soon discovered, however, that unaccompanied armor strikes were almost always more costly in lives and equipment than operations in which armor was supported by dismounted infantry. Thus, by the siege of Beirut, Israeli tanks almost always entered battle with infantry support to suppress man-portable anti-tank weapons.

Lesson 32: Direct-fire artillery can be a valuable tool in urban combat provided one does not care about collateral damage. The IDF made extensive use of point-blank, direct-fire artillery, especially 155mm self-propelled howitzers, during the fighting in Beirut in a technique called “sniping”. The much heavier 155mm high explosive projectiles were found especially effective in reducing strong-points and reinforced buildings; in some cases, causing the entire building to collapse. The need to employ self-propelled artillery in a direct-fire mode was partly due to the inability of available HEAT and APFDS tank rounds to penetrate concrete structures and to an absence of suitable HE-fragmentation rounds for tank guns.

Lesson 33: Small unit leadership was critical to Israeli tactical success. IDF doctrine endows small units like companies with the authority to operate with substantial independence throughout the battle zone. Thus junior officers were trained to exercise discretion and to adapt to operational circumstances without involving superior officers. These were important attributes since urban conflict, by its very nature, places a considerable premium on small units operating independently in a tactically fluid situation.

Lesson 34: Tanks are central to Israeli urban warfare doctrine. The centrality of the tank in Israeli tactical doctrine led the IDF to examine how tanks could best be employed in cities while at the same time guarding against their recognized vulnerabilities. IDF doctrine also emphasized that the shock value of tanks in cities could sometimes compensate for a lack of dismounted infantry support. Despite this predisposition for using unsupported tanks in cities, the IDF moved to using combined arms tactics during the siege of Beirut where the tank was judged the single most valuable weapons for suppressing enemy fire. It should also be noted that the Israelis lost few tanks in urban fighting. It is unclear whether this modest loss rate was due to extensive use of infantry support to suppress anti-tank fire, superior design characteristics, or poor PLO anti-tank tactics.

Lesson 35: Night operations are very difficult in urban terrain. The Israeli inventory included a variety of passive and active night-observation devices, light-enhancement devices, and tank-mounted searchlights. Nevertheless, night operations were very limited due to a shortage of night vision devices. (This shortage may explain why the Israelis used the headlights of armored personnel carriers and illumination rounds to capture Beaufort Castle in a rare night operation.) The relative absence of night operations was also due, in part, to the need for troops to rest in highly stressful urban battle conditions. Israeli commanders did, however, use the cover of night to move toward a target undetected, but waited until daylight to attack PLO positions.

D. Technical Lessons:
Lesson 36: Small arms, although not decisive, played a disproportionate role in the outcome of urban battles. Fifth-five percent of IDF casualties were attributed to small arms fire.

Lesson 37: Individual flak jackets significantly reduced Israeli casualties. Israeli forces were equipped with flak jackets that were light, easy to close, and higher than most standard military protective vests. Israeli after-action surveys of the number of hits on flak jackets (hits that otherwise would have penetrated the body of the wearers) indicates that casualties would have been 20% higher without the use of protective vests.

Lesson 38: Smoke enhances survivability in urban situations, but carries significant operational drawbacks. Israeli forces found smoke very effective in the battle for Sidon in reducing losses. The Israelis came to believe that smoke was effective between 100-300 meters in preventing PLO use of RPGs and light weapons against advancing forces. On the downside, smoke often caused as many problems as it solved. That is, smoke was found to impede visual communication among attacking Israeli forces, taxed the driving skills of vehicle operators, and slowed the overall rate of advance. Perhaps these drawbacks to using smoke were why the IDF made relatively little use of smoke during the siege of Beirut.

Lesson 39: Mortars were highly regarded by all sides, but had limited effectiveness. Many participants placed a great emphasis on the value of mortars, especially as a psychological weapon. Also, some believed that mortars were particularly useful in urban situations because their high angle of fire. Despite these perceptions of the participants, it appears that the Israeli 60mm and the 81mm small infantry mortars were largely ineffective since their high explosive projectiles could not, in most cases, penetrate roofs. The heavier Soviet 120mm mortar was much better since it often penetrated roofs. Additionally, the Syrians found the Soviet 240mm towed mortar highly effective for cratering roads as well as for gutting the top 1 to 3 stories of buildings. Finally, mortars were extensively used to fire smoke and illumination rounds.

Lesson 40: Machine-guns may be more valuable than assault rifles for urban combat. Syrian experience in urban warfare in Lebanon suggests that machine-guns, especially heavy machine-guns (12.7mm) were far more useful than assault rifles. Aside from their greater rate of fire, rounds from heavy machine-guns were better at penetrating many concrete and cinder block structures than rifle ammunition -- a very important consideration in built-up areas.

Lesson 41: Air defense guns are valuable for suppressing ground targets. The IDF found that M163 Vulcan 20mm anti-aircraft guns were very useful in urban settings because the Vulcan has sufficiently high elevation to target the upper stories of buildings. Secondly, the Vulcan offered a high rate of fire which was very effective in suppressing snipers and intimidating opponents. These views of anti-aircraft weapons were shared by Israel’s opponents as well. As a result of earlier experiences in the Lebanese civil war, standard Syrian tactical doctrine called for employing an anti-aircraft section of ZU-23 23mm cannons with a tank battalion when operating in an urban environment. The Syrians concluded that ZU-23s have a “devastating effect” when employed against the outside walls because they “denude structures with their high rates of fire.” Similarly, the PLO also employed anti-aircraft guns in a ground-support role.

Lesson 42: Commercial off-the-shelf technologies were employed for military purposes. The PLO produced self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery by mounting Soviet ZPU-1/2/4 14.5mm heavy machine-guns and ZU-23 23mm autocannons on light commercial trucks. Additionally, the PLO depended heavily upon commercial UHF hand-held radios made by Motorola, Telefunken and RACAL as well as Japanese-made VHF communications equipment for urban operations.

Lesson 43: Remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) can provide real-time intelligence, but analysts have considerable difficulty interpreting it correctly. The Israelis employed RPVs to gather real-time intelligence on the movement of people within cities, the state of the battlefield, and for immediate attack assessment. On-board TV cameras relayed the pictures to ground stations where they could be analyzed or passed on. Such RPV-generated photos, however, only gave vague and contradictory data on troop movements in built-up areas. Photo interpreters also frequently misinterpreted the purpose of particular facilities and could only make estimates after this function had changed. This was in part because the PLO learned to shelter many of its activities as well as to adopt confusing and covert patterns of movement. All of this led to a significant degree of mistargeting in Beirut as well as the need to use area or multiple strikes. The photos from RPVs were quite good, however, for pinpointing major pieces of equipment like anti-aircraft defenses.

Lesson 44: Helicopters are not suited for urban combat. The Israelis made virtually no use of helicopter gun-ships in cities, apparently fearing that they were too vulnerable to anti-aircraft weapons and ground-fire. Helicopters were only widely used in cities for transporting men and materiel from rear areas to just behind the front lines.

Lesson 45: Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) are omnipresent and very effective weapons in urban combat. The PLO issued RPGs on a wide scale, although training in their use was often poor. PLO forces were equipped with one RPG per every 3-6 fighters. PLO-fired RPGs had little success against the Israeli Merkava tank, but forced the IDF to stop using M113 armored personnel carriers and trucks near the front line. RPGs were more widely used as general purpose weapons for attacking troops in buildings, behind barricades, or for harassing fire. The RPG was particularly useful since it was well suited to urban terrain. Fields of fire were seldom more than 300-500 meters, making such short-range weapons adequate. In addition, the rocket propelled grenade, although not optimized for destruction of concrete or cinder block, was more effective than small arms fire.

Lesson 46: Armored bulldozers are critical assets in urban combat. IDF combat engineers used armored bulldozers to clear barricades (some of which were mined) as well as other obstructions which slowed IDF operational tempo. Bulldozers were also used to smother bunkers, establish firing positions, widen and grade roads, and to create alternative avenues of advance to by-pass the urban infrastructure.

Lesson 47: Lightly protected armored personnel carriers are of limited value in urban terrain. Israeli infantry moved mostly on foot in cities because the lightly protected M113 armored personnel carrier was found wanting in several respects after initial operations in Tyre. PLO ambushes of Israeli columns with RPGs caused extensive casualties, in part because of the tendency of the M113’s aluminum armor to catch on fire after being hit by anti-tank weapons. In some IDF units, men became so frightened at the possibility of RPG induced fire that they simply walked next to them or rode outside rather than risk being burned to death. By the time of the siege of Beirut, armored personnel carriers were only used to carry supplies to advancing troops, always stropping at least 100 meters behind enemy lines. Besides the vulnerability of M113s to RPG fire, the IDF found them unsatisfactory for urban warfare because of their: (1) limited ability to provide suppression fire -- their machine-guns lacked sufficient elevation to use against upper stories of building; (2) extreme vulnerability of crews serving out-side mounted machine-guns to sniper fire; and (3) inability to maneuver in narrow roads and allies of cities and refugee camps.

Lesson 48: Some Israeli equipment was modified while in the field to counter enemy tactics and equipment. Lacking an adequate infantry transport vehicle for urban situations, the IDF fell back on several field-expedient solutions. For example, the unusual configuration of the Merkava tank, with its rear mounted turret, provided one option. This tank had been designed for rapid ammunition resupply through a pair of rear doors. By removing these ammunition racks, about 10 troops could be carried in cramped quarters. The Merkava was also used as an improvised armored ambulance to extract wounded infantry using the same method. The IDF also adapted an armored engineering vehicle called the Nagma-chon. This vehicle had a large compartment in the center to carry engineering troops, but could be used as necessary for moving infantry. It was relatively invulnerable to RPGs because its glacis and superstructure were protected by Blazer reactive armor. Additionally, the Israelis equipped some armored personnel carriers with add-on passive spaced-armor for more protection.

Lesson 49: Dissatisfaction with the survivability of combat infantry vehicles led to significant technological improvements after the war. One of the outcomes of the war in Lebanon was the IDFAchzerit, based on surplus T-55 tank hulls. About 250 Achzerits were build as a supplement to the M113 armored personnel carrier, especially in urban combat situations. The Achzarit weights 43 tons and carries a crew of two plus 10 infantrymen. It is armed with a Rafael OWS remote control machine-gun station plus two 7.62mm manually-operated FN machine-guns. Additionally, the Achzarit carries an internally-mounted 60mm mortar for use against man-portable anti-tank weapons. The M113 also underwent a series of upgrades to improve its survivability to RPGs and to make it more suitable for urban terrain. With about 4,000 M113s in service, the IDF had no choice but to improve the M113 rather than replace the fleet with a more suitable urban assault vehicle. After the war the IDF developed an improved add-on spaced armor based on Rafael’s TOGA applique armor. This was a carbon-steel, lighter-weight, perforated applique mounted to the sides of the M113’s hull and front. Not completely, satisfied with the TOGA’s performance against RPGs, the Israelis developed two more passive armor packages. Finally, in 1996, the IDF fitted their M113s with a reactive armor package.
decision in the early 1990s to build a heavy armored infantry vehicle, the

Lesson 50: Accurate and up-to-date maps are essential for successful urban operations. Recognizing the importance of up-to-date maps, the IDF took great pains to assemble accurate and highly detailed maps for the Beirut operation. Besides conventional surface maps, the IDF also was able to obtain maps of the sewers and underground tunnels from their Lebanese allies. Conventional maps were also supplemented by photo mosaic maps created from aircraft and RPV reconnaissance missions which were highly valued because of their timeliness and detail. In spite of extensive efforts to develop accurate maps, urban navigation still remained difficult as units easily became lost in unfamiliar settings or were prevented from recognizing key landmarks by smoke or dust in the air.

Lesson 51: Cluster munitions are very effective in cities, provided one is not concerned about collateral damage. The Israelis found that cluster munitions, including both air-dropped CBU bombs and artillery-fired DPICMs, were very effective in city fighting. In the case of artillery, conventional ammunition usually struck the upper stories of buildings, causing little damage below whereas DPICMs dropped their payload into the streets below. Conversely, cluster munitions had little impact if the opponent had already reached shelter since DPICMs had little penetration capability against concrete and cinder block. Therefore, cluster munitions were found to be most effective when used in quick, short-duration time-on-target strikes and least useful in prolonged barrages where the defenders could take cover in buildings. Cluster munitions had a significant downside as well. The residue of unexploded sub-munitions posed problems for friendly forces occupying an area and especially for returning civilians.