News & Letters

SOME of the recent comments on the fighting in Ukraine have left me frustrated at the lack of knowledge displayed by both journalists and some apparent military experts. I am not talking about grand strategy here, but the basics of infantry warfare.

A former Air Marshal watching footage of Ukrainian troops fighting from trenches declared himself amazed at the World War One-like scenes. Really, trench warfare didn’t start or end with World War One, and has been a feature of almost every major conflict of the 20th century. Perhaps he expected a drone strike rather than soldiers fighting at close quarters with rifles and grenades. The truth is that precision weapons are expensive and will always be reserved for key targets. I was taught to dig and fight from trenches as a young soldier and it remains an important aspect of infantry training.

Then there are the ‘zombie human wave’ attacks mounted by Wagner mercenaries and again World War One is trotted out as a reference. In fact, there were plenty of such attacks mounted by the Soviet Army in World War Two on the Eastern Front. These tactics were also employed by Chinese troops in Korea, the Viet Minh in Indochina and Iranian troops in the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s.

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