Tuesday, December 30, 2008

we're history, there ain't nothing left to say

The U.S. Army's top historian has a paper out on the war between Israel and Hezbollah (and most of Lebanon) in 2006. It was worth reading when I read it before Christmas, and it's even more so now.

Specifically, Dr Biddle's view of Hezbollah strategy is interesting; in his opinion, they adapted to the fact that really long-range rockets would be easy for the Israelis to spot from the air by changing their tactics so as to keep the smaller and more mobile rockets in range of northern Israel, while not over-committing the core army they needed to remain a power in Lebanese politics. In practice, this meant moving from a guerrilla war to a mobile defence in depth, rolling with the punches rather than getting out of the way.

This is roughly what this blog said at the time about NATO reconnaissance screen tactics, the self-declared insecurity zone, and the fleet-in-being inside Lebanon. There's a lot of interesting stuff about their surprisingly good command and control, the use of anti-tank missiles, and much else. I'm slightly surprised that Biddle thinks that the incident where Hezbollah fired a volley of 13 guided missiles at a group of 15 Israeli tanks and destroyed three of them was a failure, but then, this is an American way of seeing. Targets, probabilities, and the like.

In today's context, it's clear that many of the same points apply to Hamas. Their top priorities are to stay in charge in Gaza, which is achievable with a thin layer of supporters with access to aid and rifles, and to maintain their insecurity zone, which they are able to do with very primitive rockets that can probably be made under occupation conditions. Sten guns were made in thousands in clandestine workshops in occupied Europe in the second world war, and those had quite precise mechanical workings.


Anonymous said...

Links already broken.

"Sorry, there was a problem.

The publication you are trying to access does not exist or is unavailable.

Here is a link to page that got you here: http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/"

Final bit is... interesting.

New link:


ajay said...

Did the Maquis really make their own Stens? I thought we dropped them by the thousand in C-containers (frequently omitting to debur the barrels first...) But the Pakistanis are happily churning out AK copies in very primitive conditions in the FATA which I suppose is just as good an example.

Very interesting article. OT, but what are the chances that dear Viktor ends up dead in prison in Thailand? High, I would have thought, if the Russians can't get him safely home...

Anonymous said...


The answer to your question is yes. We did drop loads of Sten SMGs across Europe (they were stunningly cheap to make, so could be handed out like candy).

Even so the resistance across Europe made their own Sten submachineguns - most partisan groups were desperately short on decent weapons. Pretty much anyone could make a Sten using kit found in any local garage, and did so. Tens of thousands were created from these sources across Europe.

The Danes took it a step further and produced 200 Sten guns in a bicycle repair shop.

Perhaps the ultimate example was the Poles who took the Sten and developed their own variant - the "Polski Sten". This was made right under the noses of the Germans by taking a number of legal items - famously things like hydraulic cylinders for hospitals - and putting them together into a Sten.

Finally, and amusingly, the Germans also produced a version of the Sten for the Volksturm militias.

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