Category Archive 'Auftragstaktik'

04 Apr 2016

ISIS Adopts “Auftragstaktik”

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Michael Curtis, at American Thinker, explains that ISIS has adopted a classic Western military doctrine invented by the German military during the Napoleonic wars and fundamental to the philosophy of the US Marine Corps.

[A] February 2016 article in the French edition of the ISIS online propaganda magazine, Dar al-Islam, has explained its campaign to wage war against the West.

In a surprising revelation, ISIS’s article rediscovers the basis of German maneuver warfare. It says it is copying the 19th-century tactics of Auftragstaktik, a combat doctrine of the German army similar to Mission Command in the U.S. and U.K. That doctrine was adopted as a response by Germany after its military defeats by Napoleon.

The article cites a 1908 German infantry manual asserting that there is nothing more important in tactics than educating a soldier to think for himself. Though a little un-Germanic, it asserts that a soldier’s autonomy and sense of honor push him to do his duty even when it is not in front of his superiors.

The ISIS article explains that the terrorists plan three types of attacks. These include large-scale plots coordinated by the leaders, though these now seem a lesser priority. More important is a warning to the West that the attacks also include isolated actions of individuals who have no direct contact with ISIS but act in its name. This means that followers of ISIS will carry out terrorists attacks without them being traced to the central chain of command.

The concept of Auftragstaktik means a method by which leaders give subordinates a mission, a target, and a time frame by which it should be accomplished and allow those subordinates to carry out their tasks independently. This implies allowing the subordinates complete tactical autonomy and flexibility at the operational level. The leadership is not informed of tactical details of the “lone wolf” operators. The perpetrator adapts tactics to the local situation in flexible fashion.

The concept also means that the subordinates understand the orders, are given general guidance, and are trained to act independently. This means decentralized warfare, terror by autonomy, while following centralized orders.

Read the whole thing.

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