Bases – Principes

Les 8 règles decombat urbain (source: Modern War Institute)

1. Le défenseur urbain a l’avantage 

Defense is the stronger tactical position. It takes much more force to attack and defeat an enemy that is in an established and properly constructed defense than one in the open. This is even more so in urban terrain where many of the physical structures offer immediate military-quality defensive positions for the defender.


2. Le terrain urbain diminue la capacité de l’attaquant en terme d’intelligence, reconnaissance, objets volants et l’abilité d’engager le combat à distance

Technologies such as satellite and aerial reconnaissance tools, precision-guided munitions, and long-range artillery. But in dense urban terrain, many of the advantages of these and other tools developed principally for maneuver warfare in open terrain are much less effective.


3. Le défenseur peut voir et engager l’attaquant qui n’a qu’une couverture limitée

Urban defenders can hide in any of thousands of locations in the urban jungle. They can pick and choose which buildings, windows, alleyways, or sewer holes to hide in without any worry of being discovered. They can also choose the moment of contact by deciding when to attack the approaching force.

The disadvantaged attackers must move along known avenues of approach—streets and alleyways—making it is nearly impossible for them to surprise the defenders. They are fully visible and vulnerable moving through the urban terrain.


4. Les bâtiments sont comme des bunkers fortifiés qu’il faut appréhender différemment

If an alternative could be created, such as covering a building or sealing an enemy inside of a building so that the attacking forces could temporarily neutralize it, this advantage to urban defenders would be lessened. The momentum or initiative could remain in the attacker’s hands. Each enemy location could be sealed off and then addressed on the attacker’s timeline.


5. Un attaquant utilise des explosifs pour pouvoir pénétrer dans les bâtiments

No matter how the three primary urban fortification tools or tactics (demolish with aerial bombardment; strike with aerial munitions, tank fire, or some other explosive to reduce enemy strength inside; or send dismounted troops to clear it with close-quarters tactics) are used, they are inadequate.


6. Un défenseur a une certaine flexibilité de mouvement dans un espace urbain

Urban defenders maintain freedom of movement inside their defenses. They can prepare the terrain to facilitate their movement to wherever the battle requires. They can connect battle positions with routes through and under buildings. They can construct obstacles to lure attackers unknowingly into elaborate ambushes because of the limited main avenues of approach in many dense urban environments. But, if the attackers could manipulate the terrain to their advantage during the attack, the rule would change. This is done in modern city attacks in small ways. Bridges in and out of the city can be disabled and major routes blocked by troops, but mobility inside the defense remains unfettered.


7. Les sous-sols servent de refuge aux défenseurs

Defenders use existing tunnels or dig their own to connect fighting positions, hide from detection, and provide cover from aerial strikes, and even employ them offensively as tunnel bombs against stationary military forces.


8. Ni l’attaquant, ni le défenseur peut concentrer toutes ses forces contre l’autre

Most advanced militaries prioritize maneuver warfare. That is the type of warfare for which they train, organize, and equip. They do not prepare for positional warfare. Maneuver warfare relies primarily on the rapid and unexpected movement of formations to destroy enemy forces. A key principle of maneuver warfare operations is to mass and concentrate the effects of combat power at the most advantageous place and time to produce decisive results.

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