Saturday, March 26, 2011

You HAVE to control the air in desert warfare

~ Anyone who has to fight, even with the most modern weapons, against an enemy in complete command of the air, fights like a savage against modern European troops, under the same handicaps and with the same chances of success ~
Erwin Rommel

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Rommel said that based on his experiences while fighting over the very same ground that's being contested in the Libyan civil war and if anything, technological developments in the six decades since his campaign have made the statement even more true.

Air power is not a panacea. There are many conditions (mountains, jungles, urban areas, insurgencies) where its power is muted to some degree or the other. But in the open desert, far from dense civilian targets, the fact is that no army can survive, let alone prevail, against an opponent that controls the air.

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is just the latest to discover this truth of modern warfare.
The latest reports from the front indicate that the government forces are in full flight after being pounded by U.S.-led air strikes. The rebels appear to be chasing them in pickup trucks.

This isn't the slightest bit surprising. There was never any question that Western air support would be militarily decisive -- all the questions about the long-term wisdom of the intervention rest on political grounds. Color me still skeptical about how we get out of this, but to the extent that we're in, it's good to see success.

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