Modern human wave attacks

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posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:12 AM
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The Human wave attack




Human wave attack is a military term describing a type of assault performed by infantry units, in which soldiers attack in successive line formations, often in dense groups, generally without the support of other arms or with any sophistication in the tactics used. The term is pejorative. In a human wave attack there is no attempt to minimize casualties; on the contrary, part of the tactic involves presenting the defender with the shock value of overwhelming numbers of attackers. This dense concentration of troops in the open tends to lead to very high casualties.

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For most of history it was the main tactic of infantry. In modern warfare it has become more of a act of desperation but still has been used to great effect. Russia used in in WW2, China in the Korean war and Iran as late as the Iran Iraq war. Sending ten of thousands of man in charges at the enemy sometimes people without any weapon at all in the first waves.


I created this thead to talk about just how effective this tactic would be against a well equiped modern military force that had air superiority and good Satellite recon. So basically assuming this tactic was not a surprize Satellite recon pick up the build up of tens of thousands of people days in advanced so you had warning.

Could the human wave tactic still be effective? Or would they simple get mowed down by any ready and well equiped modern military with cluster bombs and other such anti-personal weapons? Not counting the use of any WMD weapons like nuclear weapons purely conventional weapons to stop the attack.




posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:26 AM
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Couldnt they use the sound wave cannon to disrupt any kind of actions like this? Thats tactics from Civil War, yeah effective but seriously costly, only high population and fanatical grps of people can get away with this kindaq stuff, but man, if they used that agaisnt us, i dunno i hope we have something to deal witrh the masses I.E. Riot control. lol



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:29 AM
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Well, if you had a few hours at least before the attack occurred, killing 10, 000 people in a small area would be childs play for a sophisticated military force. Clusters, 2, 000 pounders, strafing, you name it, you can shoot them with it. And be guaranteed a hit.

So, human wave attacks against such forces as the U.S. army would be futile.

But they could still be effective agaisnt any army/whatever that did not have advance warning of the assault.

If you are talking about non-military human waves, then water cannons, tear-gas, sound guns, and whatever else you could think of would most likely be enough to get rid of most of the non-hardocre demonstrators. The rest would most likely present no untoward threat.

edit: Spelign



[edit on 6/4/2006 by watch_the_rocks]



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:45 AM
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The only way for it to be effective is when the ratio of soldiers available for the wave attack is better than the "sustained fire capability" of the defending force. "Sustained fire capability" (SFC, my own word
) is the average number of defeated targets before a major engagement break is necessary; for example to refuel, resupply, because of overheat. This SFC naturally rises with the technical capability.

I dont think there are any real military terms for this because its so outlandish, but lets say this average SFC of a given defending force is 100:1. So one defender (be it an MG encampment, a tank or an aircraft) can fend off 100 enemies before he has to stop. Then the 101st enemy could be capable of reaching its goal. This tactic would be effective if you have a large supply of dispensable soldiers, and also a very limited amount of defenders.

But biological necessities dictate that it take at least 10 years from conception to sufficient body development before you can use a human (child in this case) for a proper engagement (well an even younger child could simply walk into the fire, but it has to at leat 10 years or so so that it can also effectively understand the goal of their attack). On the contrary a decent MG needs 15-30 manhours to produce.

You also said that it was no surprise attack and basically the defending force has high-tech at its disposal, so the defender has plenty of time to prepare defensive positions, choose the right means to defend (for example replacing the SABOTS in tanks with more HE shells, or stack up belt boxes and replacement barrels for the MGs), and your planes would simply start bombing the enemy position with fire and cluster bombs which alone could be sufficient to eradicate the whole OPFOR.

So no, under virtually no circumstances a human wave attack could be effective nowadays when you have the decisive technological advantage, because no enemy could provide enough soldiers to overcome the "SFC". Since the Great War the only situations where human wave attacks were "effective" was when the defending force was of limited numerical size and of limited technical superiority. Basically the relatively simple invention of the MG made this thousands year old tactic extinct.

[edit on 6/4/2006 by Lonestar24]

[edit on 6/4/2006 by Lonestar24]



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:48 AM
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WW2/WinterWar Russian attacks on '39 were usually supported with heavy artillery barrages. That allowed the advancing masses to get close to the defenders before our troops could return fire... Still our men were able to hold numerically superior russians off for 105 days (we had no sophisticated weaponry at the time) by sheer small arms and mortar fire and sheer hand-to-hand fighting.



A personal story:
My Grandpa was in southern flank of the Finnish border at Viipuri Bay january 1940, Russians launched several regiment sized attacks over the frozen bay against their squadron (he was in cavalry/dragoons). His unit had to withdraw because their MG Barrels started to melt from constant firing of attacking lines of russians.

A conclusion:
No they wont work unless attackers can get close by suprise inorder to overwhelm the defenders in H2H combat

[edit on 6-4-2006 by northwolf]



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:50 AM
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Im really talking about purely military human waves attacks against a modern military like the US or UK.

It was used effectively not that long ago in history. The Iran-Iraq conflict spawned a particularly gruesome variant of the human wave attack. In which tens of thousands of people some not older then 13 were sent into battle with little more then a plastic key around their neck they were told was the "key to Paradise." This was the "Basiji" a volunteer militia which Iran still holds claimed 7-10 million-strong force of. Though they seem to be more of a “vice squad”, monitoring public morals and squashing opposition forces at present.

I want to know if people feel this tactic is now all but obsolete against a well armed force or if it could still be used effectively.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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Using children in this attacks can only achieve a morale breakdown in defenders, but they can't hope to survive in Hand-to-Hand combat against proper soldiers, so that wont work... unless ofcourse the human wave is combined with suicide bombings...

But No it won't work in Iran, it just might work in some more dense vegetation...



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 08:34 AM
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Depends on how well the human wave army is equipped. Their loadouts need to be balanced to include snipers, anti-tank, anti-air, MG, etc. as opposed to half of them carrying assault rifles and half of them carrying nothing.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 08:46 AM
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If they have a baanced infantry force, it's no longer a "human Wave" attack, but a regular frontal infantry assault, and those provenly work when done with properly trained troops.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 01:06 PM
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There is a fundamental problem with this question. The question assumes that two sizeable forces have faced off, or are poised to face off; against each other are close enough in proximity for one side to mount such an attack.

The problem with that assumption is (even though there are a few recent examples like the Iran/Iraq war) that a truly modern and powerful military would not find themselves in a situation where a large scale human wave assault against them would be possible.

What I mean is you’re not going to see any large army sized battles anymore being fought at “rifle” range now days. And that’s the range we are talking about for attacks like a human wave.

I cant imagine any large sums of enemy troops these days could even get within a few miles of another army without being spotted and decimated by airplanes, artillery, or UAV’s.


But just for the sake of this argument, we had two forces of decent size faced off with each other a few hundred yards apart (can’t happen with a world class power today) and one started a human wave assault. I would imagine the other force would be prepared In the sense their guns are loaded and pointed in the right direction, so no surprises other than the nature of the attack. With rates of fire 600-1000 rounds per minute, it would only require a handful of well placed machine guns with plenty of ammo to decimate such an attack. And remember every soldier on the field now has an automatic weapon and plenty of ammo, a couple of thousand M-16’s, M-14’s, and SAW’s may be enough alone. Back in the day when these attacks were the standard, a soldier was lucky to get one or two shots off before the distance was closed, making wave attacks effective. But today rate of fire is not an issue in the least bit.

Air support would be of minimal use in such an attack (assuming the forces were already close enough for the charge) as the likelihood of friendly fire would be very high. Small artillery and mortars however would be brutally effective.

My summary:

Never going to happen with mid to super power sized and advanced militaries in these times. But if it ever did against such a force, it would prove more than suicidal and would only bolster the defending forces spirits as it would be an all out discount slaughter with the weapons we use today.

I imagine a bunch of ants marching on a kid with a water hose and a high pressure nozzle…



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 01:38 PM
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What everyone is missing is that the human wave is essentially a psychological attack aimed at breaking enemy morale.

It depends on the tactical intelligence and subtlety of those using the wave attack. In practice it would be very different from previous such assaults. With good use of TV and other media it would be devastating - for the loss of a few thousand cannon-fodder you could turn a large amount of the world against the perpetators of the massacre of a force of children (well, teenagers), the bloodier the better. If you could get plenty of them to talk to the camera in advance it would be even better.

I don't think the US or Uk could withstand more than one of these. The effect in terms of PTSD would also be pretty dramatic, and I'd expect a high casaulty rate.

Look at the 'highway of death,' remember what that did in the 1991 war and multiply by a hundred. The 'perpetrators' wouold be shattered and demoralised, especially if they come from a democracy, the 'victims' cause would be strengthened.

Underestimate this one at your peril.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
It was used effectively not that long ago in history. The Iran-Iraq conflict spawned a particularly gruesome variant of the human wave attack. In which tens of thousands of people some not older then 13 were sent into battle with little more then a plastic key around their neck they were told was the "key to Paradise."


Tens of thousands? Source?


This was the "Basiji" a volunteer militia which Iran still holds claimed 7-10 million-strong force of. Though they seem to be more of a “vice squad”, monitoring public morals and squashing opposition forces at present.


Yup, and i presume you have a source for that?


I want to know if people feel this tactic is now all but obsolete against a well armed force or if it could still be used effectively.


"Human wave attacks' ( whatever you mean by that) is not a bad tactic if you can not stop enemy interdiction fire by any other way than actually getting your troops among his. It works if the intent is to close the range at which superior ranged fire would have destroyed you anyways.

Stellar



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 04:18 PM
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Another strong example would be Mogadishu, where very numericly limited soldiers got stuck in the wrong place with the wrong amount of supplies, because somewhere, something got screwed up along the way. It CAN happen, and it probrably will happen a few more times over the course of our lives.

The prerequisits are a very numericly limited defending force, a near limitless supply of determined attackers, and very dense terrain.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 05:50 PM
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Another strong example would be Mogadishu, where very numericly limited soldiers got stuck in the wrong place with the wrong amount of supplies, because somewhere, something got screwed up along the way. It CAN happen, and it probrably will happen a few more times over the course of our lives.


Not sure if this is a good example, in the Battle of Mogadishu only ~100 well trained and armed Spec Ops personnel killed 1000-4000 Somali rebels, with a loss of 18 of their own. And this was in the all nightmarish urban setting! If we’re talking about a military with well trained troops, plenty of ammo and supplies, automatic weapons, air support, precision weapons and cluster bombs then any mass armada of people will be dead before they even get within visual range.

Also, this link details war tactics used by Iran and Iraq.


In 1983 Iran launched three major, but unsuccessful, human wave offensives, with huge losses, along the frontier. On February 6, Tehran, using 200,000 "last reserve" Pasdaran troops, attacked along a 40-kilometer stretch near Al Amarah, about 200 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. Backed by air, armor, and artillery support, Iran's six-division thrust was strong enough to break through. In response, Baghdad used massive air attacks, with more than 200 sorties, many flown by attack helicopters. More than 6,000 Iranians were killed that day, while achieving only minute gains. In April 1983, the Mandali-Baghdad northcentral sector witnessed fierce fighting, as repeated Iranian attacks were stopped by Iraqi mechanized and infantry divisions. Casualties were very high, and by the end of 1983, an estimated 120,000 Iranians and 60,000 Iraqis had been killed. Despite these losses, in 1983 Iran held a distinct advantage in the attempt to wage and eventually to win the war of attrition.

Iran-Iraq War


If the “Human Wave” style of attack couldn’t even work against Iraq in the 80’s it will defiantly not work against a sophisticated military of today.

[edit on 6-4-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 02:07 AM
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Thanks for that - the Battle of Mogadishu is indeed a good example of how a modern force can be defeated by human wave tactics.

For the loss of some 1,000 Somalis, the US was effectively driven out of the area, and the poltical ramifications continue to be felt to this day.

Note especially the difference between US and foreign coverage of the event...you don't see many takers for the 'heroic outnumbered US force' view from other sources, or indeed liberal US ones.



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by StellarX
Tens of thousands? Source?





He found three former Basiji living in exile in Germany, for example. The Basiji were Iranian boys as young as 11 or 12 recruited into suicide units during the Iran-Iraq war. Tens of thousands of them died walking as human waves straight into the line of fire or clearing minefields with their bodies


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The Basij came to prominence during the eight year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Tens of thousands of young Basijis died in human waves that rushed Iraqi tanks and artillery


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Originally posted by StellarX

Yup, and i presume you have a source for that?


Yes I do




Basij commander Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi estimated the number of Basij personnel at 10.3 million in March 2004 and 11 million in March 2005




Fars News Agency reported. "Among the most important tasks of the Basij are boosting everlasting security, strengthening development infrastructures, equipping resistance bases, [and] increasing employment," Hejazi added. He described the prohibition of vice and the promotion of virtue in society as the "divine policy" of the Basij.


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In November 1995, the Basiji, the anti-vice branch of the security forces, announced that it had detained 86,000 suspects in the previous twelve-month period. Most of them were thought to have been women detained for violating the dress code


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Originally posted by StellarX
"Human wave attacks' ( whatever you mean by that)
Stellar


"( whatever you mean by that) " I gave a definition for Human wave attacks at the start of this thread. Was that hard to understand or something?



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 08:08 AM
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I agree tht this a psychological attack, but not at the point of the battle. Imagine the post traumatic stress of being a strong tech. force defending against a human wave attack. The bodies and blood and horror of causing such devestation would be utterly demoralizing to those that survive the event, not to mention to horror of seeing almost uncaring forces throw themselves against you. Think Vietnam in spades...



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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ok , the 2 " best " examples of human wave attacks [ as in they are very well documented ] are :

a) the defence of roakes drift [ victory for the British defenders ]

b ) the battle of Mogadishu [ victory for the Somali mob ]

issues that make IMHO the big difference are ,

i) battle field

@ Roark’s drift - the British had near perfect conditions - they had a solid defensive position , with a clear killing field [ they were able to set out range stakes ] , and they had a RE officer in charge who prepped his defences well

@ Mogadishu - the battle field was fluid - and largely defined by the Somalis – they could attack or withdraw largely at will – attacking when they saw an advantage , and retreating when they took casualties

the Americans - were jumping from one ad hoc fighting position to another - unable to seal there flanks

the Somalis - knew the area - and could co ordinate via " bush telegraph " despite the superior comms equipment the Americans had .

ii) victory conditions [ for want of a better term ]

@ Roark’s – the Zulus HAD to take the station – the British force simply had to have one man alive and their standard flying , the British also had more reasonable expectations of a relief column reaching them , as their position was immovable – the American rescuers had to find their men – who were often moving unbeknownst to them .

@ Mogadishu – ANY American casualty was a step to Somali victory – there was NO visible goal that the Americans could aim at , that could be called a clear victory

Getting out alive – was not IMHO a victory – it was survival – the original OPLAN did not survive 1st contact with the enemy

iii) weapons and tactics

@ Roark’s , the British had a clear & overwhelming advantage , they were well equipped and trained , and knew they had to fight or die – a great motivator


@ Mogadishu , US superior weaponry was largely worthless – neither the M16 / M4 and its combo variants nor the AK series had any clear advantage , but in the area of ammunition availability , The Somalis had access to effectively infinite re stock , The Americans had very finite ammo , and rarely could get any resupply

Their [ US ] biggest area of dominance [ rotor wing aircraft ] was often rendered useless by the Somali innovation of firing RPGs in volleys , turning the expensive helicopters into another part of the problem , rather than a solution for the Americans – as downed aircrew now needed rescuing too .

Due to the scattered and fragmented nature of the battle – the US also attempted different and contradictory strategies on the ground – with some men attempting to make a stand – and fight from a pocket awaiting rescue – while others attempted to break out themselves

The Somalis – just needed to kill or wound anything American

The only area where American forces had any superiority – was armour [ PERSONAL PROTECTION ] but many US troops discarded it to travel “ light and fast “

The Somalis had numbers and could reinforce their fighters more easily

Also the Somali commanders did not CARE , for the fate of individuals , the US did .

iv)


Conclusion : human waves , work when the attacker [ wave ] can dictate the terms and setting of the battle . Against a defended position , it’s a turkey shoot – but where you can swarm a light enemy , who cannot bring area denial and suppressive fire against you – you can prevail by numbers [ quantity has its own quality ]

But you have to be prepared to break , lots of eggs , to get your omelet – these tactics are not for the faint hearted



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 09:52 AM
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I'm not sure I'd agree about Rorke's Drift - I think the only reason anyone ever heard of this obscure action is that it was used to distract attention from the disaster Isandlwana.

Also the Zulus were not, IIRC, using human waves, the attack was carried out at a much slower pace. The action went on for 12 hours with the Zulus losing some 400-500 men, which means each of the 100 defenders only killed a Zulu every 3 hours or so on average - not quite the frenzied carnage usually imagined.



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
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Well it's not the official type sources i had in mind but for lack of effort on my side towards finding such I'm not going to bother you anymore.
Thanks for doing your part!


"( whatever you mean by that) " I gave a definition for Human wave attacks at the start of this thread. Was that hard to understand or something?


Well many things get called 'human wave' attacks when they are in fact not really that and i implied that you were probably painting with a broad brush. It's mainly due to the fact that i think this is one helluva silly thread but that's just my opinion.
Carry on.

Stellar





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