South African Defence Force and the border war - 1966-1989

South African Defence Force and the border war - 1966-1989

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South African Defence Force and the border war - 1966-1989
Flying Columns in Small Wars: An OMFTS Model


Citat:Title. Flying Columns in Small Wars: An OMFTS Model
Author. Major Michael F. Morris, USMC
Thesis. The colonial war "flying column" concept provides an effective model for MEU and MEB level OMFTS/STOM operations.

Discussion. This monograph examines the feasibility of MEU and MEB level STOM operations in the 2014 timeframe. It concludes that specially organized, trained, and equipped MAGTFs can conduct STOM versus objectives up to three hundred miles inland. Specific MEU and MEB models, based on the proven concepts inherent in various historical flying column operations, are proposed. Required shifts in doctrine, organization, training, and equipment are identified.
The study also illustrates the utility of battalion and brigade level MAGTFs at the operational level by analyzing a case study, Operation Modular. In 1987 in southeastern Angola the South African Defense Force employed a three thousand man mobile strike force to defeat a combined Angolan / Cuban division size force intent on destroying the UNITA resistance movement. The campaign's military outcome convinced the Soviets and Cubans to settle the twenty-three year Angolan border war and the political future of Namibia in a diplomatic venue rather than by force of arms. Operation Modular highlights the potential of small, mobile, hard-hitting fighting columns in a small war environment.
Conclusion. Most OMFTS/STOM analysts have thus far advocated either infestation or vertical envelopment tactics. Few recommend using surface battle groups with significant organic CS and CSS capabilities. This study suggests that fighting columns, heavy (by Marine standards) in armor, artillery, and logistic support, provide the most flexible and powerful STOM employment option. It concludes that a combination of robust, mobile CSSDs and aerial resupply can furnish the supplies, particularly Classes I, III, and V, necessary to fight and win.

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