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Building the counter-strategic separation posture in the war to safeguard the Fatherland

When foreign aggressors invade our country, they are likely to conduct strategic separation between regions to break our uninterrupted defence posture, creating favourable conditions for the following operations to achieve success. The building of the counter-strategic separation, therefore, represents an urgent task at the present time.

Aggressive war against Vietnam (if occurred) would be waged through various methods. The enemy would employ strategic separation to break the strategic combat posture; partition regions, theaters, and strategic directions; and drive the opponent into isolation and difficulty in coordination and support, no matter what methods were. Taking advantage of such situations, they could concentrate their forces to attack key areas and vital targets to triumph rapidly. Strategic separation could be made right at the onset of war or during the process of war. The enemy has superiority in technology, maneuverability, joint operations, combination of fire of all kinds, airborne, seaborne and land-based operations, cyber operations, and information warfare, and so on. Vietnam stretches in a north-south direction with many areas of narrow breadth and natural separation between mountainous regions, plains, and coastal areas; the enemy could implement strategic separation in the east-west direction in the central region which has the narrowest breadth. The two aggressive wars against Vietnam in the 20th century proved that the French colonialists and American imperialists attacked the central region to establish strategic separation. In the Vietnam War, the U.S. used to employ its naval and air forces to mount a series of fierce attacks on the 4th Region to divide the North and the South of Vietnam. Counter-strategic separation, therefore, constitutes a vital task in the war to safeguard the Fatherland.

For the sake of counter-strategic separation, we should realize a number of measures, including the building of the counter-strategic separation posture. This measure is of significant importance since it will help to bring into full play the comprehensive strength of the people’s war; defeat the enemy’s strategic operations; grind down and destroy the enemy’s strength and equipment, forcing them to disperse and to be bogged down; firmly preserve the posture and key areas; protect the vital targets; gain and uphold the strategic initiative, shift the posture, and win a victory.

To build the counter-strategic separation posture, it is necessary to satisfy five fundamental demands as follows.

First, establishment of a counter-strategic separation posture which is synchronous, uninterrupted, strong, clandestine, unexpected, and part of the strategic defence posture of the people’s war to safeguard the Fatherland. Second, making preparations to build the counter-strategic separation posture right in peacetime, timely supplementing and adjusting it once the war occurs. Third, on the basis of the defence postures of military regions, provinces and cities, making the best of independent combat capabilities of on-spot forces and enabling coordination, collaboration, maneuverability, support, and readiness to deal with every situation. Fourth, combining effective exploitation of natural elements and dual-use projects with the construction of battlefields, defence systems, obstacles, etc., according to a master plan. Fifth, combating while consolidating our posture and destroying the enemy’s; timely shifting the posture from defence to counteroffensive to defeat the enemy’s strategic operations.

For the establishment of a counter-strategic separation posture in the war to safeguard the Fatherland, it is necessary to focus on the following content.

First, building strong, uninterrupted, thorny, flexible, and deep defence postures of military regions. Based on the enemy’s probable areas of strategy separation, axes and directions of attack, and amphibious and airborne landing zones, military regions need to select advantageous terrains and key heights to organize the system of battlefields for their operations in association with systems of obstacles and movement routes; organize clusters of defence positions at regimental and divisional levels; integrate defence areas of provinces and cities to form strong defence postures, flexible offensive postures, postures for fighting over large areas, and postures for besiegement and division; have sufficient capabilities to respond effectively to the enemy’s fire, airborne operations, air and naval blockades, land-based attacks, and so on. “Operational-level defence positions” and staging areas to engage the enemy’s forces during various phases of airborne operations must be built in key areas and projected directions of the enemy’s airborne assault and land-based attack. The counter-strategic separation zones can be in bordering areas of military regions, theatres of war, thus requiring coordination and collaboration right in peacetime.

Second, concentrating on the building of strong defence areas of provinces and cities. To this end, localities need to select terrains of highly tactical and operational value, in accordance with the general defence posture, to set up key defence zones with systems of strong battlefields,  defence positions, clusters of independent defence positions, and so on. Solid defence lines; anti-tank and anti-armor obstacles; battlefields and areas to prevent the enemy’s separation; staging areas of on-spot forces to engage the enemy’s paratroopers; and areas to arrange artillery pieces and other anti-aircraft weapons to target the enemy’s low-flying aircraft, cruise missiles, and armed helicopters need to be created to form both widespread and major postures for engaging the enemy’s paratroopers in key areas and the enemy’s probable directions of airborne operations and land-based attacks. It is necessary to establish systems of obstacles and minefields and capitalize on advantageous terrains, coastal mountain ranges, and heights to site artillery pieces, machine guns, etc., in probable separation areas of an enemy landing force. Building strong defence areas of districts, especially in key zones; and closely linking combat bases and defence projects with combat villages and communes, factories, companies, plantations, afforestation yards, etc., are required to meet the demands of sticking firmly to the areas to fight against and among the enemy, and pinning down the enemy to make them bogged down in the people’s war posture, enabling the mobile regular forces to concentrate on attacking the enemy conducting strategic separation in vital areas.

Third, building the combat postures of mobile forces to mount attacks, defensive campaigns, counter offensive campaigns, and offensive campaigns against the enemy’s strategic separation. Postures of mobile forces of military regions and of the Ministry must be established on the basis of on-spot postures of defence areas of provinces and cities, defence postures of military regions, and combat plans. It is important to project areas to assemble and deploy mobile forces in a clandestine and secure manner, conformable with combat plans for each type of terrain, convenient for the maneuverability and deployment of forces in various directions; create postures conducive to proactively engaging the enemy land, air and naval forces; rapidly provide support for forces in the defence of military regions and in strategic defence directions to ensure their sufficient strength to halt, grind down, and annihilate the enemy; and provide timely and effective support for theatres of war and strategic directions. There is a need to anticipate areas to launch campaigns, campaigns of strategic importance, and counter offensive campaigns against the enemy’s conducting strategic separation. Based on plans to use the mobile forces to engage the enemy’s conducting strategic separation in key areas with a view to establishing staging areas, sites of anti-aircraft guns, artillery pieces, mortar, etc., to provide direct support for the mobile forces. It is necessary to prepare vertical and horizontal axes of advance for the military regions and the Ministry’s mobile forces, especially the movement network of the artillery pieces, tanks, missiles, etc., to disperse forces, reduce the density of forces moving on routes, and undermine the enemy’s capabilities to conduct reconnaissance, targeting, and kinetic attacks. Systems of inter-province, inter-district, and inter-commune roads, plantation trails, etc., should be strengthened and supplemented in conformity with rendezvous areas and engagement areas. As for complex terrains which feature only ways to access, high hills and mountains, or marshlands in coastal areas, there is a need to plan and prepare alternate routes and materials in road construction and use on-spot forces to help the mobile forces to deploy in a secret, secure, and timely manner.

Fourth, establishing strong rear bases and logistics and technical bases in each theatre of war and defence area of military regions, provinces and cities. It is necessary to properly adjust, arrange, and balance the system of depots, particularly military depots of all kinds; and devolve management, ensuring sufficient facilities, vehicles, technical equipment, and stored goods for various forces and levels. The systems of depots must be connected with each other via many routes, including roads, waterways, airways, and so on. Plans must be worked out to develop forces ready for mobilizing on-spot resources of defence areas if necessary. In addition, production plans and planning are conducted in accordance with each zone and region to ensure provision of sufficient food for not only elements within defence areas, but for support of regular forces operating in those areas. Industrial facilities and dual-use industrial facilities need to be rearranged between regions, areas, theatres of war, and strategic directions, meeting the requirements of combat support and people’s welfare in case of strategic separation.

In order to make the counter-strategic separation posture fully satisfy the aforementioned demands and content, the following measures should be realized.

1. It is necessary to regularly have a thorough grasp of situations and anticipate accurately the enemy’s plots and forms of war, as well as their intended strategic separation to devise plans, establish some fundamental elements of the counter-strategic separation, and supplement and complete these elements if wars occur. The most important thing is to foresee accurately the enemy’s directions, areas, opportunities, and measures to conduct strategic separation. This is a vital foundation for us to proactively set up the counter-strategic separation posture in a synchronous and strong manner, and be prepared to respond to any situations.

2. On thoroughly perceiving and realizing the guideline for building the all-people national defence, attention should be paid to establishing a strong all-people defence posture in association with a people’s security posture, especially in key areas and regions, and in probable strategic separation directions of the enemy. Moreover, working out socioeconomic plans and strategic zoning for socioeconomic development must be closely linked with that for defence and security in each region and locality, and nationwide.

3. Organizing leadership and command system to deal with the enemy’s strategic separation in each area, region, theatre of war, and strategic direction, ensuring synchronization, closeness, and unity right in peacetime. Essential projects of the systems of strategic operations headquarters and communication need to be planned and implemented in peacetime, and will be supplemented and perfected if there exists a threat of aggressive war.

4. Continuing to renovate the content and methods of training and exercises, including those of counter-strategic separation, in conformity with new conditions of the war to safeguard the Fatherland. Through these exercises, experience is drawn to adjust content and measures to coordinate the building of an increasingly perfected counter-strategic separation, contributing to the improvement of integrated strength and defeating the enemy’s strategic separation in the war to safeguard the Fatherland.

Lieutenant General, Associate Professor Nguyen Duc Hai, PhD

Director General of the Institute for Defence Strategy

 

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