American Mercenary had “a criminally brief introduction to the shaping operation known as military deception” the other day, and it reminded me of an old show on the Discovery Network’s Military Channel called Battleplan. In each episode they describe two battles in modern military history that employed the topic of the episode. Naturally, one of the topics is deception. For each episode, the battle plan is described as an ordered set of (mostly) sequential steps, and as the hour passes each step is described in detail. As a complement to AmMerc’s post, consider this summary of the Deception episode, which examined Operation Bodyguard (the deception around D-Day) and Desert Storm (where Gen. Schwartzkopf wanted to draw Iraqi forces towards the east while he attacked in the west).
Each Deception operation consists of five components:
- Enemy Assumptions
- Method Selection and Operational Options
As with actual military operations, false military operations must have a clear objective. What are you trying to get the enemy to believe? What do you want him to not believe? Do you intend to draw his forces away? The more detail that goes into planning and understanding the objective, the easier the implementation will be.
People are hungry for information, especially war planners. Feed them a careful diet. You must be careful to understand what they already believe and feed those prejudices. If, for example, your enemy believes you will conduct a blitzkrieg assault across the narrowest part of the English Channel, create a force located in Dover and make its commander your general best known for that tactic: George S. Patton, III. For extra flair points, the Allies could have made the First US Army Group a real force with real men, instead of an entirely fictional force, and used that as the reserve force for Normandy. Let the enemy believe what they want to believe.
Method Selection and Operational Options
AmMerc does a quick job of covering the basics of this, and I won’t repeat those here. Instead I’ll make two observations. First, a deception operation is generally more successful if there is more evidence (read: more methods utilized) to convince the enemy of what you want him to believe. To that end, don’t focus on using just one method; instead use several. Second, whatever method you choose must be accessible to the enemy. The cadaver loaded with false plans would have done the allies no good if the Germans hadn’t found it. Likewise, the press reports in 1991 detailing Marine rehearsals for an amphibious landing would have done no good if Saddam Hussein had no TV tuned to CNN.
This is where the rubber hits the road, or the metal meets the meat. Execution of the deception operation must be believable in order to be believed. For example, suppose your enemy sees your deception force assembling to his right. If he observes that there is no logistics train supporting it, he could correctly conclude that you’re trying to deceive him. Likewise, if a deception force is too obviously exposed, with no effort at camouflage, it is not likely to be believed.
The ne plus ultra of deception operations is to get the enemy to continue believing in the deception even after you’ve launched your actual operation. This is difficult, since it requires everything to break your way, including the enemy’s stupidity. But if it can be achieved, it becomes a force multiplier for you, since you now have two things working on the enemy’s OODA loop – your actual operation and your deception operation.
The difficult trick in running a deception operation is detecting the enemy’s own deception operations. If you can’t tell when the enemy is deceiving you, you can’t really tell if your deception operation is working or not, because you can’t tell if he sees your deception and is playing along or is actually being deceived.
Walter Scott was right: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!” The right metaphor from nature for a deception operation is a web, but it is the web of a black widow – tangled, without order, confusing, with no definite center, as contrasted with the orderly spirals most people think of. You must remember that deceptions are equal parts psychology and salesmanship: know your customer and know what will make him come around to your point of view. A deception is only a supporting operation, but a critical one, for it plays to the fears the enemy manifests while the actual operation works towards his vulnerabilities. Neglect neither and you will master both.
Now back to the massive task of raising a child.
Take notes, class:
(Hat tip: The Firearm Blog)
This is the quality of marksmanship you will be fighting alongside if push comes to shove here in the good ol’ US of A. Get yourself to an Appleseed to learn the basics, then followup with a class at a professional marksmanship school. Questions:
- At any point, can the OpFor be seen when the camera is pointed downrange?
- What advantages could be gained against the rebels by an OpFor trained in fire discipline?
- What cover and concealment can be seen in use?
Oh, and note the use of the handheld video camera at about 50 seconds. Might be good to get a hold of a few of those, especially as they become the “obsolete” technology, eclipsed by smart phones. The applications work well for both propaganda and training purposes. Just make sure to hold it steady while you’re being shot at.
Last week Mike V. posted a gentle reminder that your Load Bearing Equipment is too heavy, and that you needed to re-weigh it and cut the fat. One point he made while captioning a picture of the M1956 web gear was this:
Lose the E-Tool, it only slows a maneuver warfare militiaman down. If you REALLY think you’ll need to dig in, permit no more than one E-Tool per two-man buddy team.
I agree in part, and disagree in part. The principle is correct, but the utility of a shovel when constructing fighting positions should not be disregarded.
Consider this little lesson from a group unaffiliated with the 2-5 Marines (lots of interesting reading material, bookmark that one if you haven’t run across it before). The basic idea: carry 7 sandbags and a shovel. Fill the bags when you need to construct your defensive position. Arrange 3 bags in a triangle pointed towards you, then stack 2 bags on each side at an angle so that the sides of the bags are on a line that delineates your sector of fire.
Seven sandbags should not weigh down your gear, unless you forgot to empty them (in which case I can’t help you). But what about that shovel? Every folding shovel I’ve seen weighs several pounds, and no one wants to carry around one that heavy. The solution can be found in your neighborhood backpacking store – a simple, small plastic shovel that weighs (usually) less than 8 ounces and doesn’t even need its own carrying case. Yes, it is usually made of plastic, and yes, it is not usable as a club or as durable as the standard folding shovel, but it will get the job of filling sandbags done. There’s one available on Amazon as I write this for $2.98, plus shipping.
But why carry shovel and sandbags in the first place? They are flat-out perfect for setting up a defensive position, but useless for offensive operations (unless you have a heavy machine gunner somewhere that you’ve decided to make stationary). Anyone who has been under hostile fire knows they’re worth their weight in gold when the lead starts flying. Fortunately you don’t need to have that experience to learn their use. Next time you go to the range, fill and shoot some bags with various calibers and at various ranges. This will give you an idea of what they can and cannot do to protect you, and what it takes to defeat them.
That’s just my $1.98, for those tracking recent developments and propagating likely enemy vectors.