Friday, July 28, 2017
As it is in Syria today as it was in Algeria over fifty years ago!
From the Remy Mauduit Internet web site we have a description of effective counter-insurgency [COIN] tactics, means and methods as formulated and put to good use by the French military in their war with the Algerian rebels.
This was Plan Challe!
"AIRPOWER IN THE ALGERIAN COUNTER-INSURGENCY – THE « PLAN CHALLE »"
From that Remy Mauduit article portions of which extracted in entirety:
"Challe was a French Air Force general whose greatest military success was in the realm of counter-insurgency operations during the Algerian War. His offensive, begun in March 1959, succeeded in substantially weakening the ALN [the armed element of the Algerian liberation movement]. Through the use of speed and concentration of force, Challe kept the ALN insurgents in constant retreat and disorder. His innovative tactics would be studied and emulated by others - notably Syrian government forces in the Syrian Civil War seeking to keep insurgency at bay and off balance. The Challe Plan was only partially completed before he was reassigned to France."
COIN TACTICS, MEANS AND METHODS HEAVILY RELIANT ON AIR POWER!!
"The Plan Challe was named after Air Force General Maurice Challe, commander-in-chief of French forces in Algeria from 1958 to1960. The Plan Challe was an offensive plan that took the war to the insurgents. The French relegated reserve and conscript units to static defense roles, e.g., protecting roads, quadrillage, etc, in order to free up regular units to conduct mobile 'search and destroy' missions in the mountains where guerrilla bands had taken refuge. Employing helicopters, the French inserted special mobile units composed of elite troops such as Foreign Legionnaires, paratroopers, marines, special commandos units, and air mobile regulars. These elite forces never exceeded 20,000 troopers. Operationally, the Plan Challe comprised a series of sweeps against known insurgent spots. Releasing troops from static quadrillage duties, Challe broke down large formations into small units, many of which were mixed Franco-Algerian in make-up, that could move quickly and bring the guerrillas to battle in rough country."
"The highly sophisticated operational and tactical scenario was virtually the same. Utilizing primarily air-gathered intelligence and without warning, the elite units and the air force move at tremendous speed on enemy territory. The strike usually takes place at dawn. First, the target area is bombed out of existence and showered with cluster bombs from fighter jets and bombers. Within few minutes, the paratroopers land in the heart of the insurgent territory, close air support provided by armed helicopters. The elite force engages immediately the insurgents while fighters, bombers, armed helicopters patrolled the battle space and strafe or bomb any insurgents leaving the area. Additional troops are brought in by helicopters to close the immediate net around the insurgents. A larger contingent of regular troops and Commandos de chasse [hunter class troops] are convoyed to several spots around the battle space to ambush and pursue the survivors. The aircraft are relieved when the area is under control by the elite troops and when the regular contingent is in place. The command and control post (Joint Operations Command) is always shared by Air Force and Army commanders. The operation is dismantled at sundown and the elite troops are withdrawn leaving the local (secteur) regular troop to finish the job and keep the area clean. It was devastating to the F.L.N., in terms of lives and moral[e]".
Again, those tactics, means and methods of the Plan Challe being used with success by the Syrian army loyal to Assad, aided and abetted by Russian air power.
Prodigious force used ruthlessly!
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Remy Mauduit's book covering his time as an FLN insurgent and later as a French officer fighting that insurgency was originally published in France. It is now available on Amazon in English under the title "The Insurgent Among Us." It is both a compelling personal story and a primer on the mindset of an insurgent. (See https://www.amazon.com/Insurgent-Among-Us-Officer-Desertor/dp/1727573293/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1546732003&sr=8-2&keywords=an+insurgent+among+us) Highly recommend for both the narrative and the education.
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