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Modern human wave attacks

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posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 06:57 PM
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Growing up in Northwest Detroit in the late 50's and 60's, I used to talk with an "old fellow", the neighborhood curmudgeon, Earl Easter. Earl had been in the U.S. Army during WWII and in Korea. All the neighborhood kids used to hang around Earl because of his penchant for blowing off firecrackers and, of course, for the stories he would tell us kids.

One of his favorite stories was about the waves of North Korean and Chinese troops that would attack en-masse. Wave after wave of soldiers would run toward the Allied lines. "As fast as you shoot down the first line", Earl would say, "there would be another and another and another to take their place".

Earl would mesmorize the kids with stories of how the U.S. soldiers would have to "pee" on the barrels of their machine guns to cool them off as the water jackets would run dry from the heat. This was pretty exciting stuff for a kid of eleven or twelve years old.

Later, when I was in my twenties, while visiting the old neighborhood, I remember talking with Earl -- he was in his late 50's or 60's -- and he told me how difficult it was to simply kill so many people. He said that it really weighed heavy in his mind and heart.

With this in mind, I can see how the tactic of using massed waves to attack would be quite a powerful psychological weapon. While militarily, such attacks might seem, well, stupid, such attacks are actually quite demoralizing and they instill a deep sense of dread, fear and foreboding in the psyche of the defending forces.



[edit on 4/7/2006 by benevolent tyrant]




posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 08:35 PM
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The only morale victory I see from a human wave attack comes from instilling the proper level of terror in your enemies. If I may delve into fiction for a moment, consider the marines in the movie "Aliens". They had every firepower advantage imaginable, but were stuck in super dense terrain, against an enemy with unknown but vast numbers, that would loose any amount of them just to close into close combat. Coming back to the real world, creating that level of terror in your opponets may drive them to start making mistakes. Very costly and fatal mistakes.



posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 12:37 PM
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Any human wave attack is pretty much by definition going to give a pyrhhic victory at best tactically. But strategically it could be extremely effective against a democratic opponent.

I don't think the Soviets would have minded this sort of thing - after all, the population would never see it and there would be no complaints from anyone in government. But with the CNN effect these days, it's hard to see how you could have such a slaughter without having massive ramifications.

And this is where we introduce nonlethals



posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by Travellar
The only morale victory I see from a human wave attack comes from instilling the proper level of terror in your enemies. If I may delve into fiction for a moment, consider the marines in the movie "Aliens". They had every firepower advantage imaginable, but were stuck in super dense terrain, against an enemy with unknown but vast numbers, that would loose any amount of them just to close into close combat.

Excellent point. Yeah, and in the director's cut of Aliens, they actually have sentry guns (like the big heavy gun that the gunners carry in that movie) which mow down scores and scores of Aliens. but eventually, like every gun, they run dry.

If you're facing these waves of humans, you'll need more bullets than you ever imagined. You've got to keep those bullets moving from boxes to the front lines. You've got to ensure those bullets don't run out. Also, if one of your guns goes down, and there's a chink in the line, you are at risk of losing the center.

Good topic Shadow, grim though it is to contemplate. I think it's great to discuss the worst elements of war. Teaches us a lot about why we should work to avoid it.

So here's a question: Would you rather have A: twenty .50 caliber gunners, with flimsy ammo supply lines, or B: twenty thousand human missiles to have run at those gunners?

If I am running toward a target, and I am struck with a rifle bullet, there must also be five more (accurate) bullets to hit the five guys behind me, and who are harder to aim at. Probably, I must fall down, for you to aim at the five guys behind me. Probably, this will allow them to sprint 50 feet closer to you. The next guy will get fifty feet closer, and so on.

Of course, if it's a controlled battlefield like a valley or a no-mans-land circa WWI, then the strategy is probably already won by whomever has chosen the battlefield. If I had twenty thousand men to send in waves, I'd choose a suitable battlefield if possible. Like the mention of Mogadishu, where the weaponless enemy still has got you running around in his own neighborhood.

But if I were on the side of the cannons, the one tactic I think could seal it for me, is if my cannoneers were allowed to be mobile. I'd want my 50-cals mounted on hummers or something, just like the militias in Africa. I'd want not just superior firepower, but the ability to move the line backward, if needed, to deal with strong surges in the people-waves coming at me. I'd probably also want all the other items at my disposal like cluster bombs, laser-shooting Spooky gunships, sound devices (as mentioned), flamethrowers, napalm, etc.

But in spite of all that, twenty thousand weaponless soldiers could penetrate ANY line, if they were focused and dispersed at the precisely correct times, and if they had good recon from effective scouts. Eventually, the ammo of the enemy would experience some kind of interruption, and the gun's would stop or slow down. Anyway most of the ammo fired will be wasted (misses) so I'd teach my men not to worry about bullets. I'd mentally prepare my troops and make them feel like they were invincible. I'd give them hope because ultimately some gunner would screw up their reload. I'd train my scouts to watch the reload/jamming process and flag my guys to charge those sections of the line at the proper moments.

Even just a hundred sprinting humans can swarm and take out some impressive machinery. I am also thinking of that Steve McQueen movie (Hell is for Heroes?) where at the end, he has to toss a satchel charge into the german bunker. Take out one big gun, and you can move a whole army through.

[This is all armchair talk from a 'civvie'. I give respect to all persons who have faced combat or placed themselves in that position. I don't mean to speak lightly about it, although it may sound that way.
]


[edit on 8-4-2006 by smallpeeps]



posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 02:54 PM
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I agree that a human wave type of attack might give a democratically backed military some bad PR and perhaps new ROE’s. However I don't think it will frighten a superior force, it might make them pity their enemy more, but not fear them. For example the “Highway of Death” was seen as overkill by people who probably had no business making that decision, but nowadays any western military has to unfortunately deal with the war of public opinion. So the shock value of human waves could possibly have some success in that it will show ordinary civilians that war is actually bad and gruesome, huh, go figure.

One more thing, from a purely military standpoint a human wave will simply not be effective. I don't think some of you are appreciating the vase amount of weapons at the disposal of a modem military and their efficiency at killing people. Especially people who are out in the open in dense concentrations without any protection. Modem air power given its allowed to exercise it full force can quite easily dispose of such an attack.



posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
I agree that a human wave type of attack might give a democratically backed military some bad PR and perhaps new ROE’s.


Would you accept that the action in Mogadishu (whether it qualifies as human wave or not) did a lot more than that?

And yes, while you may feel that the pressure comes from people who have no business getting involved, the pressure will most certainly be there, especially if there's plenty of good and gory video footage made available. In this age public opinion can move a lot faster than in Vietnam.

It also gets back to the troops on the ground very quickly. Once you start feeling that the folks at home are condemning you rather the supporting you, how much do you want to go on?



posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 03:04 PM
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Would you accept that the action in Mogadishu (whether it qualifies as human wave or not) did a lot more than that?


Yes I would, we were there on a humanitarian mission and when things god bad we decided to pull out because it wasn't worth it. Well, that earned us a reputation and we have paid for that many times over.
Although from a military standpoint it was a success for us we still lost because a few shocking pictures suddenly matter more.


And yes, while you may feel that the pressure comes from people who have no business getting involved, the pressure will most certainly be there, especially if there's plenty of good and gory video footage made available. In this age public opinion can move a lot faster than in Vietnam.


Yes I know, in the type of war we are in where there is no set front you cant really limit or block journalist access so you do the best you can. It must be a terrible burden to direct a war where public opinion matters more then tactical military success. Times like these make me wish we still had people like LeMay around.



posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 02:44 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
It must be a terrible burden to direct a war where public opinion matters more then tactical military success.


The psychological side has always been the most important.
"The moral is to the physical as three to one," as somebody once quipped. Whoever uses that leverage best, whether it be against the military or civilian, wins. And this is an area in which the US is painfully vulnerable.



posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 02:49 PM
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And this is an area in which the US is painfully vulnerable.


Only because we choose to care and because we choose to engage in that type of war, if we fought by our rules and by our objectives without concern for the opinions of others we would be better off.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:15 AM
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If it's so ineffective, pray explain what happened at our embassy? Don't act like our soldiers are some invulnerable supermen... should you waste their lives needlessly.

edit on 9-11-2012 by SymbolicLogic because: Visual clarification.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:27 AM
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Soundwaves, microwaves,... viruses.... poison..

Anything that can affect a large number of people..... All of these things or delivery systems are rather modern.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 04:17 AM
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This tactic only works if they are all carrying white flags.
This overwhelms the opposing army with POW's.
This is standard Chinese doctrine.
If you have a billion, what is a million per day?
Those friendly Americans wouldn't shoot you if you wanted to surrender. Would they?



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 06:52 AM
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