Beyond the Cusp

January 13, 2019

False Readiness Reports on IDF by the Report Writers

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:54 AM
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IDF Ombudsman Major General Yitzhak Brick recently retired and on his way out the door, he just had to write one more report. Ombudsmen are those people you go to when your normal path, chain of command, has not provided you with the satisfaction you sought. In other words, they are the people you go see when you are truly upset and nobody appeared to care. They get to hear all the whining and complaining and they sooth the wounded minds and hearts, or at least try. But Major General Yitzhak Brick has not been the only one who has complained about IDF readiness, there has been a fair share of paper pushers who had only evils to report about virtually every part of the IDF and specifically the fighting forces. Anybody who has served in the military of any nation knows the problems with getting the needed items through the normal supply chain. Such stories of the nightmares and ridiculous miscues of supply requisitions such as getting Bermuda shorts sent to your unit on its way to perform three months of arctic training, something nobody in the IDF will ever need worry, would be an example. Entire books and plays have been written about the Snafu’s in every branch of the military such as Catch 22, What Did You do in the War Daddy, Operation Petticoat and numerous other comedies. Some would say that many of the John Wayne movies were actually spoofs on the military, as he was refused to join the military because Marion Robert Morrison was exempted from service due to his age (34 at the time of Pearl Harbor). But he never made a film about the IDF though he was in Cast a Giant Shadow, which told the story about David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus. But what about the IDF now?

 

Unfortunately, I cannot make any direct reports about the readiness of the IDF, as nobody would allow me to do an assessment, which is a shame. But I can tell about the inability for judging an army’s ability to fight simply due to reports and the fact that the higher in the military one is, the less they know about the readiness of the troops and have only a continuous barrage of complaints and immediate problems making up their day-to-day operations. I was placed in an infantry company by the infinite wisdom of the United States Army. So, in a way, I am as much an expert, if not more-so, than almost any ombudsman. The proven best war-fighters in my last unit in which I trained before moving to something a little less dangerous, Crash Rescue Firefighter, was a small core of men who had served anywhere from one to three combat tours in Viet Nam. They had come back with a chest full of ribbons and held high NCO ranks only to rapidly become privates once more in an army not fighting a war. Here is the little secret, the troops often who take their training the most seriously are the worst fighters when the actual war breaks out and the worst soldiers become the best fighting force you will have ever seen. There are numerous reasons for such things.

 

First, when infantry units are preparing for wars they find they are performing the same basic field practice for a small part of the time and the rest of their time is spent performing busywork such as cleaning the barracks, policing the grounds for cigarette butts, washing the motor pool vehicles and guarding often empty buildings. When a unit is not in actual field duty, the people who get the promotions are the ones with the most military school training. These are also the people who were sent to these training schools because they were mostly uptight, paper pushing, whiny and worst of all, by-the-book exactly as described, letter-by-letter people. When things are not performed exactly as described in the military manuals, and yes, they have one for the proper way to use a mop, they will write a report and send it on up the chain of command. These become the first people placed in the rear when the fighting starts. Meanwhile, those goofballs who were constantly playing pranks, being as silly as possible, and mostly scoffing at the idiots who were busy writing a report on their horrible lack of ability to follow simple orders will be the greatest fighting force ever seen. When you want to base a report on soldiering, forget the reports and actually go and watch the teams placed as the opposition in a field exercise. These are the people often placed on such duty to punish them and the only excuse they will need to make whatever unit is in the field training against them appear to be unorganized and useless is to be challenged to do so. Units training in the field are often a perfect example of why the last requisition was filled completely wrong, it was amusing and the worst people are in charge.

 

The truth is that almost any army when in training often cannot do a single thing correctly. Everything becomes a monumental task which simply continues to pile screw-up after screw-up upon one another until you need a true paper wizard (read ombudsman) to untangle the whole ball of string the cat just played with. This is what passes for military preparedness. That is what occurs when there are no real bullets firing. That is what you get when soldiers are under the realization that there exist dozens of NGO anti-Zionists, anti-Israeli and anti-Semites who will run to their favorite judge and claim murder took place should a soldier even accidentally point their weapon at a suspect. Should a soldier shoot a terrorist before the terrorist has murdered anyone directly, there will be NGOs screaming for that soldier’s head on a platter and there will be paper pushers who will give them their wish. Why would they do so knowing it will demoralize the troops? They are paper pushers and their actions are noble and for the good of the soldiers and will mold them into thinking people and not just brutes who use force. The problem is in a war what you want are brutes who are very good at applying force. What makes for a great soldier in peacetime makes a lousy and often dead soldier in a war zone.

 

This is why right before deploying into a war zone, many units completely revamp their command structure and place those troops who never did anything the way they were instructed into the new command structure. Not all of them as there are some truly ungifted troops but a smart commander knows who is a peacetime officer and who are their soldiers who operate just fine in the fog of war and does not require orders to advance or take cover. There actually is a military procedure for how to lie down and take cover while with a weapon in hand, and it is cumbersome. Then there is the method used when bullets are whizzing past your ear, this is the method where one throws their body to the ground behind something very solid. There is no five-step maneuver as taught in Basic Training; you just act. We all understand why there exists the correct means of lying down while with a weapon, safety. The proper and taught method for performing this task keeps the barrel of the weapon, the end the bullets are spat out, pointed down-range and not at another soldier. In a war zone it does not matter where the barrel is pointed until you intend to shoot, the emphasis is surviving in order to shoot that weapon. There are no reports required, no by-the-book performance regulations and anyone fool enough to walk up and down their defensive position measuring, actually measuring, your grenade sump to make sure it is exactly half a meter deep will most assuredly be the first person shot by the enemy when they engage.

 

When You Know it is Just Training

When You Know it is Just Training

 

The soldiers who go by the book often find that book torn to shreds and thrown away once the bullets start flying and then it become expediency and staying alive. No sergeant is writing reports other than requisitions for more ammunition. There are few if any reports being written as coming home alive is the best report one can hope for in combat. Doing things the Army way in actual combat will get one killed as the correct way to get things done in a war zone is quickly and quietly as possible while taking minimal risk to you or your fellow soldiers. As written by Lt. General James M. Gavin in his book titled, “War and Peace in the Space Age” and published in 1958, he quoted as follows, “George Patton’s last words to us before we left Africa came home with meaning: ‘No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.’” (citation here) These are true words and probably would be countered by a peacetime leader who will claim that the military manual gives the proper way of performing virtually everything a soldier will ever execute. Pushing such folly to the limit in training simply means more paperwork, more reports of incompetent behavior and not following procedure, and why higher-ranking people who do most of their interaction with the fighting man through such reports have such a low opinion of their readiness for what they have been trained to do, fight.

 

But the training is what will keep them alive. Actually, that is a true statement and often something which occurred while training will make a life-saving act automatic instead of the soldier having to think what to do next. But the idea of what needs to be done and not exactly what is the twelve or twenty-five step military correct means of taking cover and seeking cover and concealment. You just know that behind a fair-sized boulder is far safer than behind some shrubs which is better than being out in the open. There is no need to measure the bolder to make sure it is ample enough or to check the density of the shrubbery, you know what will serve you best of the available options and also do not need the military manual means of taking a prone position with a weapon in hand, you throw your body to the best cover or concealment if there is no cover, but get down at the very least. The good soldier knows these things and checks regularly for such cover. Some soldiers find they have a sixth sense which tells them when to take cover or check the path for mines or booby-traps and so many other things which normally you would claim are impossible. I have known of one troop who could smell vehicles and pretty accurately tell when they were ahead, what numbers and the sizes of the vehicles, and we never figured out how they could do this. The soldier claimed he could small the metal as well as the grease, fuel and any lingering exhaust.

 

While the IDF may not be ready to fight an enemy following the strict application of the manual, from what I have seen as the interplay between soldiers in public, these young men and women are prepared for just about anything except losing a battle. They have the familiarity which is so essential in combat because you need to know how the others are going to act, who is best at which tasks, and you need to know who the go-to person is for plans for victory in the actual combat and not on some sketch sheet. The comraderies of the troops is a big plus and joking is the sign that a combat soldier is prepared. It is one thing to play war in training and completely another task when it is real. Many outfits will equate winning at laser-tag as being a great soldier, as long as the person winning is a by-the-book soldier. Give me your nonconforming and most irreverent troops and we will win the war. Why, because these are most likely the brightest and best trained who understood everything before the lesson was half over. These are the troops who know that field duty is goof-off time where you have fun playing laser-tag and nothing is for real. Then you find yourself in the real world and the other side is throwing everything they have at you and your platoon of soldiers, or so it seems. This is where more than the training comes into play. Now thinking in a nonconformist manner becomes instead of a liability as the means for turning the tide of battle. The troops who played on training missions may now be the individuals who save your platoon and thus the company et al. Just be prepared for the paper pusher to be left behind to write reports and with a good deal of luck and much understanding of the principles of their training, reports and not letters to the loved ones is all you will write. Our conclusion is very simple, No army, no people, no country is prepared or can know what a future with war will bring upon them, they can only hope and be prepared just in case they end up with no other viable choice.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

    Comment by OyiaBrown — January 20, 2019 @ 5:07 AM | Reply


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