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strategic impact of special warfare

Discussion in 'Codes, Cyphers & Spies' started by mac_bolan00, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    i went through the forum rules and, unfortunately, i couldn't come up with a specific 'what if.' what i think is that none of the spec-war exploits i read about seemed to have any real strategic value for the proponents, nor have the successful operations appear to have cost the opposite side that much.

    well, we could argue that special ops, like the 'cockleshell' attack on german ships in bordeaux, to the assasination of heidrich, may have been of strategic importance. but what i'd like is invite are 'what-if' questions about specwar that might have had a significant, if not pivotal influence on the war.
     
  2. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Well, what kind of spec-ops are you referring to? Intelligence gathering? Disinformation? Raids? Disruption of enemy slocs?
    In my view, the coast watchers in the Pacific is a form of a spec-ops unit, primarily tasked with intelligence gathering. There mission was in today's terms, evade and report.
    Another is disinformation, such as the well-documented ops to convince the Germans that the Allied landing wouldn't be in Normandy.
    For disruption of SLOCs, the British had their LRRPs in North Africa.
    Other spec-ops would be the insertion and recovery of personnel.
    The activities of the US Navy's frogmen could also qualify as spec-op.
    Would airborne operations qualify as spec-op? Looking at it in the context of World War II, it is but today, I think airborne is now considered as conventional.
    Given your fresh idea, let's start with the coast watchers.
    What if the coast watchers were absent when the Guadalcanal campaign began? Would the US have managed to hold on to the island without the coast watchers? I hope this jives with what you have in mind.
     
  3. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    basically those you mentioned although i'm not so keen on including intelligence gathering, disinformation, psy-germ-chemical warfare. dedicated airborne forces would be considered, rather than simply air-delivered.

    well, coast watchers, though endorsed by the military, was largely a civilian effort. but since you asked, it feel their usefulness would be limited to intelligence gathering before regular hostilities begin. it wan an informal data gathering system, designed to expand the military's own network. in a steady shooting war, you will have to rely in your regular military recon and intelligence gathering.

    keeping to my original course, halsey said coast watchers saved guadalcanal and guadalcanal saved the south pacific. i say wrong in both points. the initial success of operation watchtower was in achieving complete surprise in both the first-day landings themselves and the destruction of the japanese flying boat flotilla. there followed a naval war of attrition that drained japanese human and hard resources. strategically, it diverted japanese attention from new guinea and indonesia but even of guadalcanal didn't happen, the japanese would have reached the end of their line in the other places mentioned, much the same way as the solomons.
     
  4. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Do elements of the Army such as the SAS or commando typr formations fall into this catogeory mac?:)
     
  5. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    yes of course.
     
  6. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Well in that case I would say that the SAS and LRDG in North Africa did an excellent job at shortening the war and without them the Germans would have been harder to defeat in the desert. As well as the commando raids along Fortress Europe and even the dropping of allied officers to organise guriella forces behind the lines. They were in my eyes invaluable.

    Ok so what if the LRDG and the SAS in North Africa were never formed or not fully formed to any real means, could the Germans have won?
     
  7. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    the SAS weren't named that during the war, right? attacking behind the lines at supply lines and other vulnerable targets can be done by both 'special' and regular forces. spec-war is supposed to be cheaper(??) and lead to fewer losses in men and material. at this point, i just don't know what might prompt a commander to choose between the two. but the objectives and payoffs are supposed to be the same. i could be wrong in that though.
     
  8. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    The SAS was formed in 1941 as L detachment SAS Brigade (until then the SAS had been a sort of mythical unit to confuse the bosch a bit.
     
  9. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Okay, I get your drift. However, I have to respectfully disagree with how you view the Coast Watcher's role.
    They acted as eyes and ears in areas that wouldn't be readily accessible to regular recon or intel units. Their reports, even if these reports are negative sightings of the enemy, are valuable. Negative sightings tell the commander where the enemy are not.
    Also they were instrumental in saving a number of Guadalcanal pilots, which were in pretty much short supply. Vandegrift's book point out that this was due to fatigue and disease. For me, the coastwatchers acted as the pesky irritating ant crawling on the Japanese forces' skin and keeping them distracted. It may be small but its bite still leaves a tell tale welt.

    Anyway, I'll think about other spec-ops more appropriate to your suggestion, which I say again, is a good one.
     
  10. solarfox

    solarfox Member

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    The US army had the Rangers. They landed at Point-du-hoc during D-Day. If they hadn't, who knows. Just throwing that out there.
     
  11. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I read a novel called the 'The Eagle has landed'. It is about a squad of German paratroopers sent to Britain to capture Winston Churchill, now the book is based on fact although I doubt the Germans ever actually got to the point of sending them in, more on paper then anything I say, anyway in the book the mission did fail, but what if that special operation had succeded?
     
  12. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Nice movie with Michael Caine too :).

    The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
     
  13. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    It is a movie? I didn't know that, I will have to keep an eye out for that one, thankyou.:)
     
  14. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Yup. I have it on DVD :).
     
  15. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I like Micheal Caine, he fits in well in the WW2 setting. Who does he play in the movie, I am assuming one of the British citizens around the town?
     
  16. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I remember buying the novel at Heathrow aitrport years ago. It was pure random and I made a good choice that day. Didn't see the DVD though. If it's good I may give it a try.
     
  17. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    No. he plays Oberst Steiner the German parachute unit commander.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    He plays Steiner, I cant see that, now I will have to find it and watch it.:)
     
  19. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    That movie is good. It had solid characters and a plausible plot. It's a must have in any WWII movie collection.
    Thinking about this more. . . since this involves what-ifs.. . what if Germany had coupled a solid special operation on selected British air strips or radar sites during the Battle of Britain? Small groups of trained German commandos with specific missions could be inserted into remote areas of England via subs. I concede that it would be difficult for these commandos to make their way to their targets but it is not impossible. As for getting out, they make their way back to a sub pick up point in another remote location.

    Another thing, this spec-op is compartmentalized from the inept German intel gathering op to increase the commando team's chances.
     
  20. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Joachim R√łnneberg and his lads smashed Norsk Hydro's capabilities to produce heavy water. That had strategic importance.
     

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