Combined arms on Okinawa

Combined arms on Okinawa

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Combined Arms in Battle Since 1939

The village complex of Dien Bien Phu lies in the center of a large valley in northwestern Vietnam approximately 180 miles from Hanoi. This rich, fertile valley is some 12 miles long and 8 miles wide and is completely surrounded by tall, jungly mountains whose peaks rise to over 3,000 feet in many places. By 1953, the village had served as an administrative center for the Vietnamese government for over seventy years, being an important marketplace for two important local cash crops-rice and opium. An important regional crossroads, it sat on Provincial Road 41, the major north-south highway in the area, and controlled Vietnamese access to Laos, only eight miles to the west.

Opposing the French were Vietnamese Communist nationalists under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Ho had organized the Vietminh to oppose Japanese occupation forces during World War II and continued to lead them against France when that country attempted to reestablish colonial rule in 1946. His goal was to create a unified, independent Vietnam under his leadership. The senior Vietminh commander was Vo Nguyen Giap, a former history teacher and long-time supporter of Ho Chi Minh. With the cessation of hostilities in Korea, the Chinese Communists were able to provide increasing military assistance and hardware to their allies to the south. Given this new level of aid, Ho and Giap sought to go on the offensive against the French and drive them from Indochina.

Okinawan Family Crests

  • Okinawan Family Crests / 沖縄の家紋 (JPN version the linked page is a cache crests are visible, but the site itself is no longer maintained as of November 2016.)
    • This database is provided by Okinawa Joho Kyoku / Okinawa 情報局 and contains total 267 Okinawan family crests with explanation.

    • Library Resources
      • 宮里朝光監修、 『 沖縄家紋集 』、Asia/East Reference (Library Use Only) Call number: CS3000.Z9 O583 1998 suppl
      • 神山克明、『沖縄の氏と姓の由来』 Call Number East CS3000 .Z905 1989
      • Okinawa-ken seishi kakei daijiten / 沖縄県姓氏家系大辞典 Call Number East CS3000 .K33 1989 v. 47
      • 田口二州、『稿本琉球紋章譜 』Call Number Hamilton East CR2557.O35 T34 1978

      Combined arms on Okinawa - History

      T he Marine Corps is a combined arms organization, but it has not always been so. After the amphibious advanced base force exercise on Culebra, Puerto Rico, in 1914, it was clear that the institution’s new mission would require it. 1 LtCol Earl “Pete” Ellis, who observed the Culebra experiment, proposed a more balanced combined arms force in Advance Base Operations in Micronesia , his strategic net assessment of potential war in the Pacific. 2 From 1935 to 1941, the Navy and Marine Corps experimented with different ways to employ such a force during amphibious operations. In a series of seven Fleet Landing Exercises (FLEX), the Marine Corps, under Commandant LtGen Thomas Holcomb, refined its force structure and mix of weapon systems. 3 These exercises not only led to advances in naval ship-to-shore capabilities, but also allowed the Marine Corps to refine first its brigades and finally its divisions into combined arms forces. These efforts transformed a Marine Corps built for the Age of Sail into the modernized expeditionary force it remains today.

      The combined arms approach is how the Marine Corps executes maneuver warfare. Rapid, flexible, and opportunistic maneuver can only be accomplished by a combined arms force, and diversity of means maximizes combat power, flexibility, and responsiveness. MCDP 1, Warfighting, describes it simply as, “The full integration of arms in such a way that to counteract one, the enemy must become more vulnerable to another.” 4 Increasingly though, full is the operative word the MAGTF must employ not just direct and indirect fires but all of its assets to achieve combined arms dilemmas. Mastery of combined arms fueled the Marine Corps’ success in the 20th century, but today there exists far more combat arms capabilities. Therefore, our view of combined arms must expand in equal measure with the expanding capabilities of the MAGTF. Indeed, the Marine Corps operating concept states that,

      The 21st Century MAGTF executes maneuver warfare through a combined arms approach that embraces information warfare as indispensable for achieving complementary effects across five domains—air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. 5

      The Marine Corps will have to conduct combined arms across five domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. To do so, our understanding of combined arms must be expanded for the current strategic environment.

      Combined Arms in History

      To understand combined arms warfare, we first have to understand its origins. Although there is evidence that earlier civilians, such as the Assyrians, managed to integrate multiple arms within their military forces, the initial development of an integrated approach is clearest in Ancient Greece. Warfare in ancient Greece was in constant flux, a product of continual tactical competition and the resultant adaptation. In the years after the Trojan War, two major powers dominated Aegean politics: Sparta, which focused on land power, and Athens, which focused on sea power.

      This situation prevailed during the Persian Wars. Despite Hollywood depictions, the Greeks were just barely able to hold off Persian power only because Persia did not have the logistics to support longer efforts. It was the destruction of much of the Persian fleet at Salamis in 480 BC that forced a Persian withdrawal and allowed a combined Greek army to defeat the rear party left in Greece at Plataea the following year.

      In the aftermath of the Persian defeat, Sparta and Athens turned on each other. During the Peloponnesian War, Athens had to confront Sparta on land. To defeat the superior Spartan hoplites, the Athenians combined irregular warfare tactics and its stronger navy during the amphibious Pylos and Sphacteria campaign on the Peloponnesian Coast in 425 BC. Despite this defeat, the Spartans eventually succeeded in winning the war by developing its own navy and defeating the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami.

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      Despite being the now dominant Greek power, the Spartans ran into further trouble when they were defeated by Thebes under a general named Epaminondas. Epaminondas defeated the Spartan army by creating asymmetry of mass at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, the left wing of the Theban phalanx was weighted as a main effort. The best Theban troops were arranged 50 ranks deep instead of the traditional 8 ranks deep. Theban allied troops on the right wing, as a supporting effort, were instructed to withdraw slowly as the Spartans opposite them advanced. The withdrawal drew the Spartans forward, exposing their flank to the weighted Theban main effort. The Spartan Army suffered so many casualties that their supremacy in Greece was broken, and they never recovered.

      This action and reaction of inter-Greek warfare was interrupted by the first regional power to integrate all the arms of warfare rather than just strengthening one arm to defeat another. The Macedonian Army under Philip IV was professionalized, trained, and improved. Rather than just improve one arm, however, Philip improved them all. The Macedonian phalanx was equipped with longer spears (18 feet versus 8 to 10 feet), and their light troops were trained alongside the hoplites and the cavalry. Integrated training of hoplites, peltasts (skirmishers armed with light javelins), and cavalrymen produced a combined arms force that melded the mass of the phalanx, the standoff firepower of the peltasts, and the mobility and shock of the cavalry.

      The result of this revolution is clear in the historical record of Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. Alexander had little trouble conquering both Thebes and Athens. Sparta was so irrelevant after their earlier defeats that Alexander did not even bother with them. When Alexander invaded Persia, their masses of troops were not just held off by Alexander’s troops but rapidly shattered by his combined arms assault. Importantly, neither Phillip nor Alexander invented a single new capability or method, they were just the first to combine existing methods in a way that each complemented and supported the other.

      With this Macedonian army, Alexander conquered the known world. He was only stopped by his own troops who, having conquered everything and everyone, only wanted to go home. The Romans would later institutionalize a modular, combined arms approach and would go on to even greater conquests, but, for a brief moment, Alexander was unstoppable.

      Information warfare too has been integrated with maneuver for centuries. During Saladin’s campaigns to seize power in the Middle East in 1174 he repeatedly presented himself as acting in the interest of the previous ruler, then an 11-year-old boy based in Aleppo. Thinking Saladin an ally, cities opened their gates to his army. In this way, Saladin seized Damascus, Homs, and Hama in Syria with a tiny force and very little bloodshed. 6

      20th Century Combined Arms

      It’s unnecessary here to further trace combined arms warfare through all of history. The approach truly came into its own and solidified in the 20th century. It revolved around the firepower of modern artillery and aviation, the mobility and protection of tanks, and the maneuverability of motorized and mechanized infantry forces. At the end of World War I, the Germans cracked the code of the static trench defense line. A combination of well-planned fire support, storm troop tactics, and well-chosen attacks on narrow frontages burst French and English lines wide open. The Germans, however, were unable to logistically sustain those offensives, allowing French, English, and American troops to shift troops and halt the offensive.

      In the course of the 20th century, rapid-fire artillery, heavy machine guns, tanks, tank destroyers, fixed-wing and rotary-wing attack aviation were all introduced and relegated to separate, homogenous units. 7 In every case, such an arrangement failed. New battlefield capabilities only reach their potential once they are integrated into a cohesive whole.

      The Germans had gotten maneuver and fire support right but failed to put as much intellectual resources into studying the logistics piece. In World War II, however, they added enough follow-on troops to keep the offensives going, chose points of infiltration opposite railheads, and designed motorized logistics trains attached to panzer divisions, better at supporting assaulting forces than horse-drawn logistics (which were still used). Motor transport allowed infantry to keep up and support the tanks of panzer units. By 1939, they mastered sustaining such offensives, and the French defense in depth system cracked and broke.

      Their success, however, was the result of more than just the integration of artillery, aviation, tanks, and infantry. Such integration depended first on the ability to keep every arm supplied with fuel, ammunition, and other supplies. Secondly, rapid combinations of various combat arms could only be achieved with a decentralized command and control system (C 2 ) based on mission tactics, commander’s intent, and opportunistic exploitation, known as aufragstaktik. Even before World War II ended, other militaries began more or less adopting such methods. The prosecution of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, for example, was designed around the same concepts as the initial German offensive during World War I in France.

      What makes combined arms so potent is not the physical employment of multiple arms on the battlefield but the mental stasis or collapse caused by the victim’s inability to effectively respond to the dilemma posed by combined arms. A great example of the mental effect caused by an innovative application of combined arms is the jumping barrage used by the Israeli Defense Force in 1967. Israeli ground troops were attacking an Egyptian fixed defensive position in the Sinai. When the Israelis began to take incoming fire from the Egyptians, they stopped. Every artillery gun available, over 100, was tasked with firing a single volley at a single target located on the Egyptian line. At preplanned intervals, each gun would shift to a new target and then, occasionally, shift back to its original target. After ten minutes of such volleys, Egyptian troops refused to leave their bunkers even after the firing had stopped. The mental effect of the seemingly chaotic barrage induced inaction on the front line troops and overloaded the Egyptian C 2 network with multiple confusing and conflicting reports of incoming fire. The Israeli ground troops then advanced on the Egyptian positions unopposed and shattered the defensive line. 8

      This is just one innovative application of combined arms, but it offers a number of lessons. First, the combination of multiple arms—in this case artillery, infantry, and attack aviation that destroyed the Egyptian artillery positions prior to the barrage—was greater than the sum of its parts. Second, the mental effects caused by the artillery fire were more decisive than the few casualties it caused. Third, the jumping barrage achieved mass by concentrating effects in time the artillery targets were deliberately dispersed rather than concentrated. Even so, it achieved the intended cognitive effect. Combined arms is not just about creating a dilemma for the enemy but also about weaving various combat arms together in such a way that the enemy cannot mentally cope with such dilemmas. The ability to execute combined arms, not just physically but also cognitively as the above example demonstrates, is the key to combined arms in the cognitive effect on the enemy.

      21st Century Combined Arms

      It is vital that the Marine Corps achieve a tight level of integration combining the physical and cognitive effects, kinetic and non-kinetic, lethal and non-lethal, among all combat arms: information, cyber, and electronic warfare as well as maneuver, artillery, and aviation. Fortunately, there are more options than were available to the Israelis in 1967. But, there are also new challenges.

      In order to place the enemy in a combined arms dilemma, the MAGTF must have a feel for the enemy, his intentions, and the operating environment. In maneuver warfare terms, we must identify the enemy’s surfaces and gaps while preventing the enemy from ascertaining ours. Warfare in the 21st century demands that we view surfaces and gaps not solely as hard and soft points in the enemy’s lines but across the domains of air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace, to include the electromagnetic spectrum.

      Five Dimensional Combined Arms

      To that end, the Marine Corps employs force with organic or supporting arms down to the lowest level, but future fights demand an expansion of the arms available to those units at the tactical edge. Combined arms across five dimensions means using all available means to confront the enemy with multi-faceted, reinforcing, and rapidly-shifting dilemmas at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels in order to shatter his cohesion, corrupt his decisionmaking, and increase his friction.

      – The classic example of combining direct and indirect kinetic lethal fires to present the enemy with a dilemma holds true but is no longer sufficient. Most enemy forces will have multiple options, not just two. Multiple enemy courses of action must be confronted with multiple friendly capabilities so that his reaction, any reaction, will expose a critical vulnerability to a friendly capability.

      – Combined arms dilemmas must be created in depth. Enemies can choose a course of action, come what may, and “push through” a dilemma presented by one of our arms. If this is the case, his reward must be another layer of dilemma presented by still another capability.

      – The MAGTF cannot present a dilemma to an enemy and then wait to see the effect. The MAGTF must be able to adroitly shift multiple dilemmas so that the enemy is not just confronted with a pattern of dilemmas but a kaleidoscope thereof. By the time he has gained situational awareness, the situation has already changed. Rapidly shifting from maneuver to maneuver contributes to both combat power and combined arms dilemmas.

      Multifaceted, reinforcing, and rapidly shifting combined arms operations require the ability to fight for and generate intelligence to identify surfaces and gaps while simultaneously protecting friendly surfaces and gaps in order to drive maneuver. Moreover, five dimensional combined arms must be performed simultaneously at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. This means that individual enemy units are vulnerable to multiple MAGTF capabilities, the enemy’s campaign plan is in disarray or puts them at a disadvantage, and the very act of confronting Marine Corps forces threatens their political ends. The Marine Corps as an institution is not structured and trained to operate on multiple levels and in multiple dimensions simultaneously, but future warfare demands it.

      Surprise and deception. Surprise and deception have played large roles in warfare as the story of the Trojan Horse attests. No amount of advanced technology has diminished its importance. In fact, its importance has increased. During World War II, the Red Army planned surprise and military deception efforts—referred to as maskirovka—for campaigns on a routine basis. 9 That Soviet tradition has survived as Russian Federation forces continue it in Ukraine today. Of course, Western militaries have their own traditions of military deception, such as Operation FORTITUDE, the effort to deceive Nazi Germany as to the location of the Allied landings in France in 1944. However, after decades of technological overmatch, the U.S. military pays less attention to surprise and deception. This is unfortunate, as a British study of 158 land campaigns since 1914 found that achieving initial surprise in a tactical engagement has the same success rate as possessing a 2,000:1 numerical superiority over the enemy. 10

      Although the two concepts frequently go hand in hand, they are not the same thing. Military deception can contribute to achieving surprise, but it can also achieve other effects. Deception efforts can divert enemy troops and resources to defend against attacks that will never take place, for instance, or it can force enemies to react thereby exposing them to detection by electronic signature or to fire support agencies. While these skills have atrophied as the Marine Corps has enjoyed air supremacy and technical overmatch in recent conflicts, Marine Corps history offers many examples of successful military deception. The most famous of which occurred during the Persian Gulf conflict. Coalition planners ensured that the Iraqi forces knew that II MEF was on its way to the region and that it was intended to stage an amphibious assault. This led the Iraqi forces to defend the coastline with fully two infantry and one armored divisions, taking those divisions out of the fight entirely. 11 The use of an offshore MEU to neutralize enemy forces achieved deception but without surprise as an ambush would, for example.

      A combined arms approach is about the cognitive effect of forcing the enemy into a dilemma that he cannot overcome or ignore. The enemy is psychologically paralyzed by a dilemma where even inaction is deadly. Surprise and deception are thus powerful weapons that enable such an approach.

      Reconnaissance/counterreconnaissance. In order to place the enemy in a combined arms dilemma that achieves surprise and deception, the MAGTF commander must have a feel for the enemy, his intentions, and the operating environment. Reconnaissance units, motorized and not, that mirror infantry units with additional training were sufficient for the 20th century but will not remain so.

      In recent years, capabilities like unmanned aircraft systems and satellite imaging have offered unmatched surveillance capabilities, but the Operating Forces have grown dependent on them. The air supremacy needed for persistent ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) coverage can no longer be assumed and, even were it to be achieved, will not be sufficient against capable enemies. Ground reconnaissance forces are necessary to augment aerial surveillance to acquire granular detail that surveillance cannot ascertain.

      This means that the MAGTF will have to generate the capability that gathers battlespace information about the enemy forces, the human and geographic terrain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and gathers intelligence via various means, especially signals and human intelligence. All of these contribute to the MAGTF commander’s fingerspitzengefühl, or “finger feeling:” his feel for the battle as it unfolds. A robust reconnaissance capability is necessary to establish it. Simultaneously, relevant information about the MAGTF has to be protected, enemy reconnaissance units screened and blocked, and misinformation will need to be injected into the enemy’s situational awareness.

      Information warfare. Surprise and deception are increasingly difficult in the densely populated urbanized littoral regions reinforced by a global digital media environment, but the proliferation of the global Internet has also elevated information warfare. Every major adversary that the United States may face in the foreseeable future puts information warfare in the front and center of their operations. Much like the proliferation of usable gunpowder in the late Middle Ages transformed every level of warfare, so too is the proliferation of Information Age technology and communication suffusing warfare at every level. The global digital media environment is a reality and will not suddenly disappear. Warfare now takes place on a global stage, and every operation must be evaluated through the lenses of different audiences: enemy, friendly, domestic, and international.

      While this will impact how we operate, it also offers additional opportunities for combined arms. Information can be used to deceive, demoralize, and even disable enemy units and capabilities, contributing to the creation of dilemmas.

      Electronic warfare (EW). Electronic warfare has been a battlefield capability since the first use of radios to communicate. Telephone lines and radio transmissions were tapped as early as World War I to gather intelligence, and jamming was possible by World War II. Just as electronics have advanced since then, so has the importance and ubiquity of electronic warfare.

      The ubiquity of electronic warfare has major implications when it comes to defensive measures. Signature management will need to become as continuous and as well understood as camouflage. In fact, the most important part of camouflage will be mitigation of electromagnetic signature at every level. Simultaneously, the Marine Corps must better integrate EW in order to identify and the target the enemy. The signature battle has both offensive and defensives aspects.

      EW also has great offensive potential. Most enemy reactions to any other combat arm will create a signature, even if the enemy can only send a situation report. Once that signature is detected, it can be targeted. Additionally, EW itself can be used to disrupt or disable enemy C 2 nodes, making it an important part of the suppression of enemy air defenses as well as other enemy capabilities. EW, therefore, must be fully integrate into our combined arms construct so as to take advantage of enemy vulnerabilities, gain intelligence, and deliver an appropriate response.

      The essence of combined arms is the use of every available means at the disposal of the MAGTF to achieve an advantage over the enemy. Since various arms have various and complementary strengths and weaknesses, the ability to employ them simultaneously and in a mutually reinforcing manner will be the key to success. However, the use of multiple arms magnifies the friction of the organization employing them. Clausewitz, of course, teaches that a military force must overcome friction in order to operate, and our force structure should be organized in such a way as to minimize that inherent friction. But John Boyd teaches that we must not just overcome our own friction, we must inflict friction on the enemy.

      Cyber warfare. Cyber capabilities are not just a means for information warfare but offer opportunities for espionage and intelligence gathering, military deception, and battlefield effects like the turning off of power grids or direct manipulation of enemy C 2 networks and systems. In 2015, a cyberattack by a Russian hacking team on a power grid in Ukraine turned off the electricity of 225,000 customers. 12 This same type of attack could be used on the battlefield, shutting down C 2 networks and lighting, forcing an opponent to fight in darkness and without communications. Cyber warfare will allow us to magnify the fog, friction, and chaos of battle in a way that is detrimental to our enemy and his cognitive ability to fight.

      Artillery. While emergent capabilities will be vital, traditional supporting arms will still have a place and innovative ways of employing them will be needed. Surface delivered, kinetic, and lethal indirect fire capabilities will continue to be a strong base of combined arms, especially when sheer volume of fire is needed. The sustained suppressive and fixing effects of artillery is still unmatched by any other combat arm. Surface fires will, however, need to be employed with creativity and care. As dependent as fire support coordination is on radio and digital communications, the electromagnetic signature of artillery units especially is now a serious vulnerability. Artillery will need to be employed in a much more physically distributed manner and fast, easy displacement of platforms is of primary concern counter fire is no longer a possibility but a likelihood. Large coordination centers that are only moved with difficulty will not be a realistic option. The ideal future surface-to-surface fires capability will require dispersed delivery and converged effects (although this does not necessarily mean converged fire as the jumping barrage example shows).

      Therefore, the agility of artillery systems—i.e., the ability to emplace and displace quickly and fire from any point on the battlefield—will be far more valuable than its firepower per round or even its range. This places a premium on automated and self-propelled platforms. As maneuver formations operate in a more distributed manner, artillery units will need to be even more capable of direct support of smaller and smaller units which presents both logistic and force protection challenges. Lastly, fire support coordination measures must be decentralized and delegated to the absolute lowest level. Lengthy approval processes are a luxury that is no longer possible. This is not to say that coordination to prevent friendly and civilian casualties can be ignored. Rather, junior leaders must be empowered with training, authority, and commander’s intent in order to achieve speed, precision, and accuracy.

      Maneuver. The purpose of any combined arms approach is to facilitate maneuver that shatters the enemy’s cohesion. As an infantry-centric force, Marine infantry will remain at the core of our tactics. In recent years, the Marine Corps infantry squad has become the focus of operations, and the Marine Corps operating concept reflects this trend. The character of recent infantry combat, however, has been almost entirely reactive. To restore proactivity and effectively retain tempo in the 21st century, the ability to conduct combined arms must be resident in the squad itself as well as at higher echelons. Personal weapons systems with sufficient range and with high explosive lethality to affect enemy units out to at least 800 meters will be required.

      Additionally, maneuver units will continue to require organic mortar systems to provide an intimate and responsive fire support capability. While artillery will continue to be an ideal weapons system when mass is required, infantry mortar systems need to be able to provide rapid precision fires at the bleeding edge of maneuver operations.

      Aviation. The unmitigated air supremacy enjoyed by American aviation units in recent conflicts can no longer be assumed. Foreign professional militaries now employ organic air defense systems as low as the battalion level in response to the traditional dominance of American airpower. Aviation units thus must be prepared to create local air superiority on a temporary basis and to exploit local air freedom of movement generated by other combat arms. Suppression of enemy air defense missions will become routine rather than rare. Even beyond the threat of enemy action on the ground, Marine Corps aviation units will continue to be tasked by joint forces to assist in the defense of naval assets and expeditionary advanced bases. This has major implications for the employment of both manned and unmanned aviation systems. At times, other combat arms will have to shift to compensate for a lack of local air superiority or higher priority tasking of aviation assets.

      The advent of advanced aerial-delivered munitions will drastically increase the complexity of fire support coordination and thus increase the burden on both fire support teams and fire support coordination centers. Munitions with greater range and net-enabled terminal guidance will prove useful but will necessitate additional training of fire supporters at every level, especially joint terminal attack controllers. The geometry of fire support coordination will be an order of magnitude more complex than in recent years.

      While the role of aviation in combined arms may prove more difficult to employ in future fights, its importance will not be diminished. Indeed, as electronic warfare capabilities are increasingly employed by aircraft, aviation will increase in both flexibility and importance.


      The implications of the expanding character of combined arms are many but none more important than the need to fuse more forms of combat arms support. The nature of combined arms has not changed it is still about the mutual and reinforcing effect of numerous capabilities. Its character though is employing information, cyber, and electronic warfare with new and innovative application of artillery and aviation fires in support of maneuver. Fire support coordination at every level is focused on the coordination of maneuver, artillery, and aviation but must now include more capabilities. As the use of these combat arms fuses, so too must structure: organizational stovepipes between fires and information, cyber, and electronic warfare must be broken in the same manner as an fire support coordination center integrates maneuver, artillery, and aviation.

      Another implication is that designation of infantry units as the main effort will no longer be the rule. As adversaries increasingly make military deception and information warfare a main effort, the Marine Corps must break its habitual views on the main effort in order to retain initiative and flexibility. Of course, as an infantry-centric force, infantry units will still frequently be the main effort but not always. Marine Corps commanders will frequently need to employ more creative plans, especially in shaping phases. This is not to say that there will not be a decisive phase where an assault is the main effort and enemy forces are destroyed, but that the shifting of main efforts must be an engrained habit and not a rarely used option.

      As noted above, surprise and military deception are now of the utmost importance. These efforts cannot be left to information warfare subject matter experts they must be front and center during the planning process. Both concepts feature prominently in both Marine Corps history and in MCDP 1, but little attention has been paid to them in recent years due to the nature of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a muscle the Marine Corps must get used to flexing again.

      None of these efforts can be successfully pursued without flexible and responsive expeditionary logistics. Prosecuting combined arms across five dimensions will strain legacy logistics systems and methods. Catastrophic failure in this realm will put Marine forces in their own dilemma.

      Lastly, our tradition of decentralized C 2 based on mission tactics and commander’s intent is more important than ever before. It is vital to Marine Corps’ operations across the entire organization but especially so when it comes to executing modern combined arms warfare. Five dimension combined arms requires coordination, and coordination requires communications. At the same time, electromagnetic signatures caused by modern communications devices must be mitigated as much as possible. How will the Marine Corps achieve the level of coordination and communication necessary for combined arms while simultaneously mitigating the electromagnetic signature of units? We already know the answer—decentralize the C 2 of various arms as much as possible and at the lowest level possible. Centralized processes can no longer be tolerated and must instead be rooted out and redesigned. Commanders who cannot or will not effectively lead in accordance with our maneuver warfare philosophy similarly cannot be tolerated.


      The Marine Corps expects that domain and technological dominance on the part of our military forces can no longer be assumed. Future adversaries will have capabilities on par with or nearly on par with our own. It also cannot be assumed that a return to peer adversaries will automatically mean a return to 20th century combined arms maneuver. It’s unclear exactly what future tactics will look like, but they will surely not look like past tactics. Russia and China are already integrating advanced capabilities, especially cyber and electronic warfare, into tactical level organizations and operations. Even non-state actors like Hezbollah and ISIS have gained advanced weaponry, leverage modern information technology, and have demonstrated the ability to take on conventional, professional militaries in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. The race to dominance on future battlefields is a race to integrate the new and the traditional in a synergistic fashion aimed not at the physical destruction of enemy forces but at their cognitive ability to operate as a cohesive unit. The combined arms approach, as an integral part of maneuver warfare, allows us to creatively combine the capabilities of the entire MAGTF and joint partners into a cohesive whole in a way that adversaries will be unable to match.

      1. Dirk Anthony Ballendorf and Merrill L. Bartlett, Pete Ellis: An Amphibious Warfare Prophet, 1880–1923, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 59.

      2. B.A. Friedman, 21st Century Ellis: Operational Art and Strategic Prophecy, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015), 82.

      3. David J. Ulbrich, Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Modern Marine Corps 1936–1943, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2011), 43–67.

      4. Headquarters Marine Corps, MCDP 1, Warfighting, (Washington, DC: 1997), 94.

      5. Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps Operating Concept: How an Expeditionary Force Operates in the 21st Century, (Washington, DC: September 2016), 8.

      6. Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, (New York: Shocken Books, 1984), 181.

      7. Jonathan M. House, Combined Arms Warfare in the 20th Century, (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2001), 281.

      8. Bruce Gudmunsson, On Artillery, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), 156.

      10. Jim Storr, Human Face of War, (London: Continuum UK, 2009), 49–50.

      11. Robert M. Citino, Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm: The Evolution of Operational Warfare, (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004), 281.

      12. Dustin Volz, “U.S. Government Concludes Cyberattack Caused Ukraine Power Outage,” Reuters, (25 February 2016), accessed at

      POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, KONA, Hawaii -- An Okinawa based Marine Corps headquarters battery travelled to Hawaii to train directly with its subordinate artillery battery and other branches during Dragon Fire Exercise 15-2 March 3-15.

      Headquarters Battery, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, stationed in Okinawa, met its subordinate 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, in Pohakuloa Training Area, Kona, Hawaii near 1st Battalion’s home station. The command and control event exercises the headquarter element’s ability to coordinate its organic unit’s combat actions on an ever-changing battlefield.

      “We conduct command and control with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines, in Okinawa and Korea frequently, but it is rare that we get to do it with 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, so this is a big deal.” said Col. Lance A. McDaniel, the commanding officer for 12th Marines.

      1st Battalion, 12th Marines, has fallen under multiple commands in the last decade or so, according to McDaniel, a Fulshear, Texas native. It most recently moved from 3rd Marines to 12th Marines.

      “It’s irreplaceable for 12th Marines to be able to command 1st Battalion, 12th Marines because of geographical separation,” said Lt. Michael R. Stevens, the battery executive officer with Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines.

      12th Marines usually conduct exercises with their battalion on Okinawa, 3rd Bn. This unit is comprised of various non-organic units attached to them through the unit deployment program. The program offers battery-size units an opportunity to travel to the Pacific to receive more diverse training with other organizations.

      “3rd Battalion, 12th Marines is a battalion that is composed of UDP batteries that come from 10th, 11th and 12th Marine Regiments,” said McDaniel. “The idea of UDP is that we have a smaller required force overall, but are still able to service our requirements in Okinawa. It ensures that we have ready forces coming to us from other parts of the operating forces infusing us with new blood.”

      1st Battalion, 12th Marines supplies a steady flow of units participating in the program, according to Stevens, a New Town Square, Pennsylvania, native. Japan, the Philippines and Thailand are some of the places the units train in.

      "There is training opportunities out there that we don’t have in Hawaii,” said Stevens. “It’s good to get Marines out of their comfort zone and to experience different environments that exist in the Pacific as part of the Marine Corps’ focus right now. We tend to learn more out of our comfort zone.”

      Part of working out of their comfort zone is training with different branches such as the U.S. Army and Air Force.

      “We will never operate as a Marine Corps by ourselves,” said McDaniel. “When we go on an operational deployment, wherever that might be, we’re always going to be with a joint force.”

      During the exercise, Marines integrated air support from different branches with their artillery, giving them surface to surface and air to surface capabilities.

      “Training with Marines is an easy flow,” said Senior Airman Jose Duran, a member of the Tactical Air Control Party with Joint Terminal Attack Control capabilities, with 25th Air Support Operations Squadron. “We don’t get a lot of opportunity to integrate artillery, so it’s a good training opportunity for that as well as seeing how Marines work.”

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      Going Ashore

      Initial U.S. landings began on March 26 when elements of the 77th Infantry Division captured the Kerama Islands to the west of Okinawa. On March 31, Marines occupied Keise Shima. Only eight miles from Okinawa, the Marines quickly emplaced artillery on these islets to support future operations. The main assault moved forward against the Hagushi beaches on the west coast of Okinawa on April 1. This was supported by a feint against the Minatoga beaches on the southeast coast by the 2nd Marine Division. Coming ashore, Geiger and Hodge's men quickly swept across the south-central part of the island capturing the Kadena and Yomitan airfields (Map).

      Having encountered light resistance, Buckner ordered the 6th Marine Division to begin clearing the northern part of the island. Proceeding up the Ishikawa Isthmus, they battled through rough terrain before encountering the main Japanese defenses on the Motobu Peninsula. Centered on the ridges of Yae-Take, the Japanese mounted a tenacious defense before being overcome on April 18. Two days earlier, the 77th Infantry Division landed on the island of Ie Shima offshore. In five days of fighting, they secured the island and its airfield. During this brief campaign, famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed by Japanese machine gun fire.

      &aposA Date Which Will Live in Infamy

      President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress on December 8, the day after the crushing attack on Pearl Harbor.

      “Yesterday, December 7, 1941𠅊 date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

      He went on to say, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.”

      Combined Arms Warfare in Israeli Military History by David Rodman

      Author:David Rodman
      Language: eng
      Format: epub
      Publisher: International Specialized Book Services
      Published: 2018-11-08T16:00:00+00:00

      Figure 8.1 The smooth cooperation between the IAF and IDF SOF was one of the major reasons behind the success of Operation Jonathan.

      Figure 8.2 The IAF destroyed the Syrian nuclear weapons production facility at al-Kibar, as these before and after photos of the installation clearly show, with the assistance of IDF cyber warfare assets.

      While the siege of western Beirut was undoubtedly a messy and destructive affair, it should not obscure the fact that the IDF chalked up substantial achievements during the Lebanon War. In addition to losing as many as 2,000 combatants (even more if allied Lebanese militiamen and foreign terrorists are counted among the total), PLO forces lost all of their heavy equipment (all of their tanks, all of their artillery tubes, all of their antiaircraft guns, and so on), which was either destroyed or captured by the IDF.15 Moreover, PLO forces were ejected from Lebanon, never to return there. The Syrian army lost at least 1,000 soldiers (probably more) and 300–350 tanks. For its part, the IDF lost approximately 370 troops and 30–40 tanks, the majority of these losses in men and machines incurred during fighting with the Syrian army.

      Combined arms on Okinawa - History

      Closing the Loop

      The more open country in the south gave General del Valle the opportunity to further refine the deployment of his tank-infantry teams. No unit in the Tenth Army surpassed the 1st Marine Division's synchronization of these two supporting arms. Using tactical lessons painfully learned at Peleliu, the division never allowed its tanks to range beyond direct support of the accompanying infantry and artillery forward observers. As a result, the 1st Tank Battalion was the only armored unit in the battle not to lose a tank to Japanese suicide squads — even during the swirling close quarters frays within Wana Draw. General del Valle, the consummate artilleryman, valued his attached Army 4.2-inch mortar battery. "The 4.2s were invaluable on Okinawa," he said, "and that's why my tanks had such good luck." But good luck reflected a great deal of application. "We developed the tank-infantry team to a fare-thee-well in those swales — backed up by our 4.2-inch mortars."

      Colonel "Big Foot" Brown of the 11th Marines took this coordination several steps further as the campaign dragged along:

      Working with LtCol "Jeb" Stuart of the 1st Tank Battalion, we developed a new method of protecting tanks and reducing vulnerability to the infantry in the assault. We'd place an artillery observer in one of the tanks with a radio to one of the 155mm howitzer battalions. We'd also use an aerial observer overhead. We used 75mm, both packs and LVT-As, which had airburst capabilities. If any Jap [suicider] showed anywhere we opened fire with the air bursts and kept a pattern of shell fragments pattering down around the tanks.

      Lieutenant Colonel James C. Magee's 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, used similar tactics in a bloody but successful day-long assault on Hill 69 west of Ozato on 10 June. Magee lost three tanks to Japanese artillery fire in the approach. but took the hill and held it throughout the inevitable counterattack that night.

      Beyond Hill 69 loomed Kunishi Ridge for the 1st Marine Division, a steep, coral escarpment which totally dominated the surrounding grass lands and rice paddies. Kunishi was much higher and longer than Sugar Loaf, equally honeycombed with enemy caves and tunnels, and while it lacked the nearby equivalents of Half Moon and Horseshoe to the rear flanks, it was amply covered from behind by Mezado Ridge 500 yards further south. Remnants of the veteran 32d Infantry Regiment infested and defended Kunishi's many hidden bunkers. These were the last of Ushijima's organized, front-line troops, and they would render Kunishi Ridge as deadly a killing ground as the Marines would ever face.

      This Marine patrol scouts out the rugged terrain and enemy positions on the reverse slope of one of the hills in the path of the 1st Division's southerly attack. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 125055

      Japanese gunners readily repulsed the first tank-infantry assaults by the 7th Marines on 11 June. Colonel Snedeker looked for another way. "I came to the realization that with the losses my battalions suffered in experienced leadership we would never be able to capture (Kunishi Ridge) in daytime. I thought a night attack might be successful." Snedeker flew over the objective in an observation aircraft, formulating his plan. Night assaults by elements of the Tenth Army were extremely rare in this campaign — especially Snedeker's ambitious plan of employing two battalions. General del Valle voiced his approval. At 0330 the next morning, Lieutenant Colonel John J. Gormley's 1/7 and Lieutenant Colonel Spencer S. Berger's 2/7 departed the combat outpost line for the dark ridge. By 0500 the lead companies of both battalions swarmed over the crest, surprising several groups of Japanese calmly cooking breakfast. Then came the fight to stay on the ridge and expand the toehold.

      With daylight, Japanese gunners continued to pole-ax any relief columns of infantry, while those Marines clinging to the crest endured showers of grenades and mortar rounds. As General del Valle put it, "The situation was one of the tactical oddities of this peculiar warfare. We were on the ridge. The Japs were in it, on both the forward and reverse slopes."

      A Marine-manned, water-cooled, .30-caliber Browning machine gun lays down a fierce base of fire as Marine riflemen maneuver to attack the next hill to be taken in the drive to the south of Okinawa, where the enemy lay in wait. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 121760

      The Marines on Kunishi critically needed reinforcements and resupplies their growing number of wounded needed evacuation. Only the Sherman medium tank had the bulk and mobility to provide relief. The next several days marked the finest achievements of the 1st Tank Battalion, even at the loss of 21 of its Shermans to enemy fire. By removing two crewmen, the tankers could stuff six replacement riflemen inside each vehicle. Personnel exchanges once atop the hill were another matter. No one could stand erect without getting shot, so all "transactions" had to take place via the escape hatch in the bottom of the tank's hull. These scenes then became commonplace: a tank would lurch into the beleaguered Marine positions on Kunishi, remain buttoned up while the replacement troops slithered out of the escape hatch carrying ammo, rations, plasma, and water then other Marines would crawl under, dragging their wound ed comrades on ponchos and manhandle them into the small hole. For those badly wounded who lacked this flexibility, the only option was the dubious privilege of riding back down to safety while lashed to a stretcher topside behind the turret. Tank drivers frequently sought to provide maximum protection to their exposed stretcher cases by backing down the entire 800-yard gauntlet. In this painstaking fashion the tankers managed to deliver 50 fresh troops and evacuate 35 wounded men the day following the 7th Marines' night attack.

      Encouraged by these results, General del Valle ordered Colonel Mason to conduct a similar night assault on the 1st Marines' sector of Kunishi Ridge. This mission went to 2/1, who accomplished it smartly the night of 13-14 June despite inadvertent lapses of illumination fire by forgetful supporting arms. Again the Japanese, furious at being surprised, swarmed out of their bunkers in counterattack. Losses mounted rapidly in Lieutenant Colonel Magee's ranks. One company lost six of its seven officers that morning. Again the 1st Tank Battalion came to the rescue, delivering reinforcements and evacuating 110 casualties by dusk.

      General del Valle expressed great pleasure in the success of these series of attacks. "The Japs were so damned surprised," he remarked, adding, "They used to counterattack at night all the time, but they never felt we'd have the audacity to go and do it to them." Colonel Yahara admitted during his interrogation that these unexpected night attacks were "particularly effective," catching the Japanese forces "both physically and psychologically off-guard."

      By 15 June the 1st Marines had been in the division line for 12 straight days and sustained 500 casualties. The 5th Marines relieved it, including an intricate night-time relief of lines by 2/5 of 2/1 on 15-16 June. The 1st Marines, back in the relative safety of division reserve, received this mindless regimental rejoinder the next day: "When not otherwise occupied you will bury Jap dead in your area."

      The battle for Kunishi Ridge continued. On 17 June the 5th Marines assigned K/3/5 to support 2/5 on Kunishi. Private First Class Sledge approached the embattled escarpment with dread: "Its crest looked so much like Bloody Nose that my knees nearly buckled. I felt as though I were on Peleliu and had it all to go through again." The fighting along the crest and its reverse slope took place at point-blank range — too close even for Sledge's 60mm mortars. His crew then served as stretcher bearers, extremely hazardous duty. Half his company became casualties in the next 22 hours.

      Navy corpsmen lift a wounded Marine into the cabin of one of the Grasshoppers of a Marine Observation Squadron on Okinawa. The plane will then fly the casualty on to one of the aid stations in the rear for further treatment. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 123727

      Extracting wounded Marines from Kunishi remained a hair-raising feat. But the seriously wounded faced another half-day of evacuation by field ambulance over bad roads subject to interdictive fire. Then the aviators stepped in with a bright idea. Engineers cleared a rough landing strip suitable for the ubiquitous "Grasshopper" observation aircraft north of Itoman. Hospital corpsmen began delivering some of the casualties from the Kunishi and Hill 69 battles to this improbable airfield. There they were tenderly inserted into the waiting Piper Cubs and flown back to field hospitals in the rear, an eight-minute flight. This was the dawn of tactical air medevacs which would save so many lives in subsequent Asian wars. In 11 days, the dauntless pilots of Marine Observation Squadrons (VMO) -3 and -7 flew out 641 casualties from the Itoman strip.

      The 6th Marine Division joined the southern battlefield from its forcible seizure of the Oroku Peninsula. Colonel Roberts' 22d Marines became the fourth USMC regiment to engage in the fighting for Kunishi. The 32d Infantry Regiment died hard, but soon the combined forces of IIIAC had swept south, over lapped Mezado Ridge, and could smell the sea along the south coast. Near Ara Saki, George Company, 2/22, raised the 6th Marine Division colors on the island's southernmost point, just as they had done in April at Hedo Misaki in the farthest north.

      The long-neglected 2d Marine Division finally got a meaningful role for at least one of its major components in the closing weeks of the campaign. Colonel Clarence R. Wallace and his 8th Marines arrived from Saipan, initially to capture two outlying islands, Iheya Shima and Aguni Shima, to provide more early warning radar sites against the kamikazes. Wallace in fact commanded a sizable force, virtually a brigade, including the attached 2d Battalion, 10th Marines (Lieutenant Colonel Richard G. Weede) and the 2d Amphibian Tractor Battalion (Major Fenlon A. Durand). General Geiger assigned the 8th Marines to the 1st Marine Division, and by 18 June they had relieved the 7th Marines and were sweeping southeastward with vigor. Private First Class Sledge recalled their appearance on the battlefield: "We scrutinized the men of the 8th Marines with that hard professional stare of old salts sizing up another outfit. Everything we saw brought forth remarks of approval."

      General Buckner also took an interest in observing the first combat deployment of the 8th Marines. Months earlier he had been favorably impressed with Colonel Wallace's outfit during an inspection visit to Saipan. Buckner went to a forward observation post on 18 June, watching the 8th Marines advance along the valley floor. Japanese gunners on the opposite ridge saw the official party and opened up. Shells struck the nearby coral outcrop, driving a lethal splinter into the general's chest. He died in 10 minutes, one of the few senior U.S. officers to be killed in action throughout World War II.

      Subsidiary Amphibious Landings

      Although overshadowed by the massive L-Day landing, a series of smaller amphibious operations around the periphery of Okinawa also contributed to the ultimate victory. These subsidiary landing forces varied in size from company-level to a full division. Each reflected the collective amphibious expertise attained by the Pacific Theater forces by 1945. Applied with great economy of force, these landings produced fleet anchorages, fire support bases, auxiliary airfields, and expeditionary radar sites for early warning to the fleet against the kamikazes.

      No unit better represented this progression of amphibious virtuosity than the Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPac) Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, commanded throughout the war by Major James L. Jones, USMC. Jones and his men provided outstanding service to landing force commanders in a series of increasingly audacious exploits in the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas (especially Tinian), and Iwo Jima. Prior to L-Day at Okinawa, these Marines supported the Army's 77th Division with stealthy landings on Awara Saki, Mae, and Keise Shima in the Kerama Retto Islands in the East China Sea. Later in the battle, the recon unit conducted night landings on the islands guarding the eastern approaches to Nakagusuku Wan, which later what would be called Buckner Bay. One of these islands, Tsugen Jima contained the main Japanese outpost, and Jones had a sharp firefight underway before he could extract his men in the darkness. Tsugen Jima then became the target of the 3d Battalion, 105th Infantry, which stormed ashore a few days later to eliminate the stronghold. Jones Marines then sailed to the northwestern coast to execute a night landing on Minna Shima on 13 April to seize a fire base in support of the 77th Division's main landing on Ie Shima.

      The post-L-Day amphibious operations of the 77th and 27th Divisions and the FMFPac Force Recon Battalion were professionally executed and beneficial, but not decisive. By mid-April, the Tenth Army had decided to wage a campaign of massive firepower and attrition against the main Japanese defenses. General Buckner chose not to employ his many amphibious resources to break the ensuing gridlock.

      Buckner's consideration of the amphibious option was not helped by a lack of flexibility on the part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who kept strings attached to the Marine divisions. The Thirty-second Army in southern Okinawa clearly represented the enemy center of gravity in the Ryukyu Islands, but the JCS let weeks lapse before scrubbing earlier commitments for the 2d Marine Division to assault Kikai Shima, an obscure island north of Okinawa, and the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions to tackle Miyako Shima, near Formosa. Of the Miyako Shima mission Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith observed, "It is unnecessary, practically in a rear area, and its capture will cost more than Iwo Jima." General Smith no longer served in an operational capacity, but his assessment of amphibious plans still carried weight. The JCS finally canceled both operations, and General Buckner had unrestricted use of his Marines on Okinawa. By then he had decided to employ them in the same fashion as his Army divisions.

      Buckner did avail himself of the 8th Marines from the 2d Marine Division, employing it first in a pair of amphibious landings during 3-9 June to seize outlying islands for early warning radar facilities and fighter direction centers against kamikaze raids. The commanding general then attached the reinforced regiment to the 1st Marine Division for the final overland assaults in the south.

      Buckner also consented to the 6th Marine Division's request to conduct its own amphibious assault across an estuary below Naha to surprise the Japanese Naval Guard Force in the Oroku Peninsula. This was a jewel of an operation in which the Marines used every component of amphibious warfare to great advantage.

      Ironically, had the amphibious landings of the 77th Division on Ie Shima or the 6th Marine Division on Oroku been conducted separately from Okinawa they would both rate major historical treatment for the size of the forces, smart orchestration of supporting fires, and intensity of fighting. Both operations produced valuable objectives — airfields on Ie Shima, unrestricted access to the great port of Naha — but because they were ancillary to the larger campaign the two landings barely receive passing mention. As events turned out, the Oroku operation would be the final opposed amphibious landing of the war.

      Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 126987

      As previously arranged, General Roy Geiger assumed command his third star became effective immediately. The Tenth Army remained in capable hands. Geiger became the only Marine — and the only aviator of any service — to command a field army. The soldiers on Okinawa had no qualms about this. Senior Army echelons elsewhere did. Army General Joseph Stillwell received urgent orders to Okinawa. Five days later he relieved Geiger, but by then the battle was over.

      The Marines also lost a good commander on the 18th when a Japanese sniper killed Colonel Harold C. Roberts, CO of the 22d Marines, who had earned a Navy Cross serving as a Navy corpsman with Marines in World War I. General Shepherd had cautioned Roberts the previous evening about his propensity of "commanding from the front." "I told him the end is in sight," said Shepherd, "for God's sake don't expose yourself unnecessarily." Lieutenant Colonel August C. Larson took over the 22d Marines.

      This is the last photograph taken of LtGen Simon B. Buckner, Jr., USA, right, before he was killed on 19 June, observing the 8th Marines in action on Okinawa for the first time since the regiment entered the lines in the drive to the south. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 124752

      When news of Buckner's death reached the headquarters of the Thirty-second Army in its cliff-side cave near Mabuni, the staff officers rejoiced. But General Ushijima maintained silence. He had respected Buckner's distinguished military ancestry and was appreciative of the fact that both opposing commanders had once commanded their respective service academies, Ushijima at Zama, Buckner at West Point. Ushijima could also see his own end fast approaching. Indeed, the XXIV Corps' 7th and 96th Divisions were now bearing down inexorably on the Japanese command post. On 21 June Generals Ushijima and Cho ordered Colonel Yahara and others to save themselves in order "to tell the army's story to headquarters," then conducted ritual suicide.

      (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

      General Geiger announced the end of organized resistance on Okinawa the same day. True to form, a final kikusui attack struck the fleet that night and sharp fighting broke out on the 22d. Undeterred, Geiger broke out the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing band and ran up the American flag at Tenth Army headquarters. The long battle had finally run its course.


      Obstacles are any characteristics of the terrain that impede the mobility of a force. Some obstacles, such as mountains, rivers, railway embankments, and urban areas, exist before the onset of military operations. Military forces create other obstacles to support their operations. Commanders use these obstacles to support their scheme of maneuver. When integrated with maneuver and fires, obstacles can create a decisive battlefield effect. Obstacle plans must mature as the commanders' plans mature.

      History shows that obstacles rarely have a significant effect on the enemy if units do not integrate them with friendly fires. The following historical vignette from World War II is an example of obstacles that were not integrated with fires.

      In February 1942, an engineer lieutenant with two noncommissioned officers (NCOs) received orders to supervise the installation of a minefield to support the defense of an American infantry battalion near the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia. The lieutenant set off at 1930 hours with a truckload of mines, to link up with one of the infantry battalion's companies. The company was to provide him with a work detail to install the mines and, more importantly, provide the location of the minefield.

      At 2330 hours, he arrived at the infantry company command post (CP), but no one at the CP could tell him the whereabouts of the work detail. Nor could anyone tell him where the minefield should go or what role the minefield was to play in the defense. The company executive officer (XO) told the engineer to go down the road in the direction of the enemy. He assured the lieutenant that somewhere along the road he would meet someone who undoubtedly was waiting for him.

      At 0130 hours, the lieutenant returned to the CP after searching along the road and finding no one. He insisted on speaking with the infantry company commander who was sleeping. The infantry company commander told the lieutenant that he would provide him with a forty-man detail, led by an infantry lieutenant who would show the engineer where to install the minefield.

      At 0330 hours, the infantry lieutenant showed up with a twelve-man detail. Apologizing for the small number of men, the infantry lieutenant also told the engineer that he had no idea where the mines were to go. The engineer lieutenant moved out with the detail to choose a site for the minefield himself. Unfortunately, he had never seen the site in daylight and was unable to ensure that the obstacle was covered by fire (it was not). Additionally, the lieutenant had a small, untrained work crew, without the tools to bury the mines.

      When the first Germans arrived at the minefield, they found mines hastily strewn across the road, from a hill on one side to the road embankment on the other (about 100 meters). Most mines were not even partially buried. German engineers quickly removed the mines from the road, and the German force continued forward, unmolested by American fires. The minefield was virtually useless.

      Despite all of the problems that the lieutenant encountered, his efforts would not have been for nothing if the minefield had been integrated with fires. Small arms and artillery might have wreaked havoc on the dismounted German engineers, while a single antitank (AT) weapon might have done the same to the German tanks halted behind the minefield.

      The following historical vignette from the Korean War illustrates the possibilities when a unit integrates fires and obstacles.

      In August of 1950, an American infantry regiment was defending along a stretch of the Taegu-Sangju Road known as the "Bowling Alley" in the Republic of Korea. The regiment had artillery and a few tanks in support.

      The attacking North Koreans had the advantage of superior numbers of armored vehicles. However, as part of their defense, the Americans laid AT minefields close to their infantry positions so that they could cover the minefields with small-arms fire. They also preregistered artillery and mortar fires on the minefields.

      When the North Koreans attacked, they would invariably halt their tanks and send dismounted infantry forward to breach the minefields. When the infantry reached the minefields, the Americans would open up with machine-gun fire and pound the enemy with artillery and mortar fire. Simultaneously, the American tanks and AT weapons would start firing at the North Korean armored vehicles.

      In one night engagement, the Americans destroyed eighteen North Korean tanks, four self-propelled guns, and many trucks and personnel carriers, while taking only light casualties. Although the obstacles alone did not defeat the enemy, friendly fires combined with the effects of the obstacles inflicted heavy losses on the enemy and halted their attack.

      Some obstacles, such as antitank ditches (ADs), wire, road craters (RCs), and many types of roadblocks, have virtually remained the same since World War II. They rely on a physical object to impede vehicles or dismounted soldiers. Normally, they do not damage or destroy equipment, nor do they injure or kill soldiers. One exception is a booby-trapped obstacle that, when it is moved, triggers an explosive device therefore, these obstacles are passive in nature.

      Mine warfare, however, has changed significantly. Mines, with different fuze types and explosive effects, are different from the mines of the World War II era (which required physical contact and relied on blast effect). Today's mines are triggered by pressure, seismic, magnetic, or other advanced fuzes. Mines that self-destruct (SD) at preset times give commanders influence over how long they remain an obstacle. The invention of programmable mines that can recognize and attack specific types of vehicles within an area brings another dimension to the battlefield. Mine warfare technology continues to outpace countermine technology.

      Commanders at every echelon consider obstacles and their role in multiplying the effects of combat power to integrate obstacles into all combined arms operations. Obstacles that are not properly integrated with the scheme of maneuver are a hindrance and may be detrimental to the friendly scheme of maneuver by restricting future maneuver options. They will inhibit maneuver until they are breached or bypassed and ultimately cleared. The technology used to create obstacles may continue to become more complex however, the basic concepts that affect the integration of obstacles into the commander's plan will remain the same.

      Commanders combine four primary elements (the dynamics of combat power as described in FM 100-5 ) to create combat power. They are--

      Obstacles, when properly planned and integrated into the scheme of maneuver, contribute to combat power.

      Maneuver is the movement of combat forces to gain positional advantage, usually to deliver--or threaten delivery of--direct and indirect fires. The effects of maneuver also may be achieved by allowing the enemy to move into a disadvantageous position. Effective maneuver demands air and ground mobility, knowledge of the enemy and terrain, effective command and control (C2), flexible plans, sound organizations, and logistical support.

      Effective obstacle integration enhances the force's ability to gain, retain, or secure the positional advantage. The commander and staff use obstacle integration to develop an obstacle plan as they develop the maneuver plan. They use obstacle control to preserve and protect friendly maneuver and shape enemy maneuver. They use obstacles to put the enemy into a positional disadvantage relative to the friendly force.

      Firepower provides the destructive force to defeat the enemy's ability and will to fight. It facilitates maneuver by suppressing the enemy's fires and disrupting the movement of his forces.

      Obstacle integration multiplies the effects and capabilities of firepower. Obstacle integration establishes a direct link between fires, fire-control measures, and obstacle effects. The combination of firepower and obstacles causes the enemy to conform to the friendly scheme of maneuver. Obstacles magnify the effects of firepower by--

      Protection is the conservation of the fighting potential of a force so that commanders can apply it at the decisive time and place. Protection has the following components:

      Friendly forces use OPSEC to deny the enemy information about friendly force obstacles to inhibit the enemy's breaching or bypassing efforts. They use phony obstacles to deceive the enemy about locations of actual obstacles and friendly positions. They use obstacles to prevent enemy entry into friendly positions and installations to help protect soldiers from enemy assaults. Friendly forces record, report, and disseminate obstacle information and take other actions to protect soldiers from friendly obstacle impacts. These impacts range from injuries or damage to equipment, resulting from unexpected encounters with barbed wire obstacles, to fratricide caused by hitting mines installed by friendly units.

      The essential element of combat power is competent and confident leadership. Leadership provides purpose, direction, and motivation in combat. It is the leader who combines the elements of combat power and brings them to bear against the enemy. The competent leader must know and understand soldiers and the tools of war to be successful in combat.

      Obstacle integration is a leader task. Obstacle integration ensures that obstacles have the right priority and that units construct them in the right place and at the right time and cover them with fire. Successful obstacle integration allows leaders to--

      • Establish a clear link between force allocation, direct- and indirect-fire plans, maneuver, and the obstacle plan.

      Obstacle integration cuts across all functional areas of the combined arms force. Intelligence and obstacle integration provide the commander with the means to maximize obstacle effects and affect both enemy and friendly maneuver. The maneuver commander uses obstacles integrated with fires and maneuver to create vulnerabilities and ensure the enemy's defeat. Combat service support (CSS) units anticipate and transport obstacle material to support the obstacle effort. Effective C2 provides the unity of effort that drives obstacle integration throughout all echelons of the force.

      The overriding consideration in planning obstacles is accomplishment of the mission however, there are two considerations that may not be apparent in terms of the current military mission. They are--

      The Army's keystone warfighting doctrine, FM 100-5 , states that "even in war, the desired strategic goal remains directed at concluding hostilities on terms favorable to the US and its allies and returning to peacetime as quickly as possible." Once US forces have accomplished their mission, obstacles in the theater of operations (TO) must be cleared. Many of these obstacles will include mines, booby traps, and unexploded ordnance (UXO) that pose a threat to persons attempting to clear the obstacles.

      Obstacle-clearing operations continued for years in Kuwait following the end of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, largely due to a lack of accurate minefield records by the defending Iraqi forces. The minefields continued to threaten civilians long after hostilities were concluded and caused numerous casualties to military and civilian personnel.

      Appendix B addresses the procedures that the Army uses to report, record, and track obstacles of the friendly force and of the enemy. Accurate reporting, recording, and tracking not only will prevent fratricide but will expedite clearing operations when peace is restored.

      Commanders also consider the effects of obstacles on noncombatants and their environment. Obstacles frequently modify terrain through demolition, excavation, and other means. Some obstacle actions, such as destroying levees, setting fires, felling trees in forested areas, or demolishing bridges, may have immediate impacts on noncombatants and often will have long-term effects on them and their environment.

      Commanders minimize the effects of obstacles on noncombatants and the environment if militarily possible. For example, if the enemy can be prevented from using a bridge by means other than demolishing it, commanders choose the less damaging course of action (COA). Commanders avoid unnecessary destruction of farmland or forests or pollution of water sources when creating obstacles. Care exercised by commanders will alleviate long-term negative effects on noncombatants and the environment.

      Obstacle integration occurs because of the deliberate actions of commanders and staffs. The remainder of this manual focuses on providing the doctrine and the TTP that commanders and staffs use to ensure that obstacle integration is successful.