Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 10:20 (GMT+7)

Friday, May 25, 2018, 16:30 (GMT+7)
Requirements for the Commando Forces in the offensive campaign of the war to defend the Homeland

Operations by the commando forces are characterized by the arts of “taking the few against the many” and creating advantages to launch mortal, short-distance, secret, surprise, daring attacks. Therefore, to engage in the offensive campaign of the war to defend the Homeland, the commando forces must grasp and fulfill the requirements set for this type of warfare.

During campaign-level operations in general, operations in the offensive campaign in particular, commandos always act as the “elite” forces deployed to carry out “special” missions and attack prime, sensitive targets deep inside the enemy’s defensive line so as to create advantages and opportunities, even a breakthrough in the campaign. Depending on the scale, level and theatre of the campaign, commando forces could be organized into various scales and types (ground, water, special-task sapper). However, in the new conditions of the war to defend the Homeland (if occurred), the commando forces would find hard to bring into play their strength and traditional way of combat (night-time, short-distance, deep-penetration, mortal combat) especially when the enemy organize a flexible, responsive system of defensive lines and use hi-tech weapons and reconnaissance and observation means. Accordingly, to fulfill the task set by the campaign, the commando forces should synchronously employ the political, ideological, tactical measures and the art of commando operations, with a focus placed on the following.

First, proactively and quickly make elaborate preparations. In a war to defend to the Homeland, the enemy will use hi-tech weapons and conduct large-scale asymmetric, combined operations, which leads to short duration for preparation and operations. Meanwhile, targets for the commando forces are often placed deep inside the enemy’s defensive line, which causes difficulties in the campaign’s command and support. Thus, to meet the requirements set by the campaign, the commando forces must quickly make elaborate preparations in terms of manpower, materiel, combat project, posture and logistics support. First and foremost, it is necessary to regularly enhance commandos’ political stuff, combat morale, loyalty and determination to fight and to win; to ceaselessly improve their tactical skills and fitness so that they could fight in a fierce, durable war, and complex terrain and harsh weather.

In the offensive campaign, targets for the commando forces are often the enemy’s headquarters at all levels, key components of their troops as well as their signal centre and tank, armor, missile and artillery battlefields. Thus, it is important to base on the campaign’s intentions, task and method of combat in each phase and key battle to select the targets appropriate to the commando forces’ strength and way of combat. At the same time, due attention should be paid to building a surprise, mortal, flexible and solid posture for commando operations in the assigned directions to ensure safety for the strength, possibly engage the enemy in the period of diversionary tactics, and then opportunely cooperate with other ground forces in staging key battles for the sake of victory. To do so, it is vital to select the rugged place to easily hide the force, grasp the enemy’s situation and launch attacks on the targets. In peace time, provincial and municipal defensive areas are now being built increasingly solidly according to the designed situations and projects of the campaign. Together with the posture of defensive area in each region and area, it creates a favorable condition for the commando forces to secretly deploy each unit deep inside the enemy’s defensive line to form a solid formation, make preparations and carry out the fights. In addition, the work of preparing weapons and equipment for the commando forces sets demanding requirements in which compatibility and compactness of weapons of all types in accordance with each type of stated targets represents a matter of importance. Therefore, apart from the work of preparation, especially weapons and equipment during the process of movement, the commando forces must secretly conceal weapons, equipment, explosives, etc., in the corridor of bases and seek them in the theatre of operations when necessary.

Second, using forces on a focalized basis in accordance with the task and capability. Concentrating the forces is a prime principle of the art of operations in general, the art of using commando forces in particular. In order that the commando forces could fulfill all the tasks assigned by the campaign against the backdrop of their small strength and limited materiel, it is necessary to concentrate forces and resources on the main task and the attacking direction, particularly in the area of coordinated and mortal engagement, ensuring a comprehensive concentration of command, manpower and materiel. In an offensive campaign, the task given to the commando forces is very onerous, complex and diverse. Thus, it is vital to consider the enemy’s situation and intentions and the results of combat in each phase of the campaign to use the commando forces properly; to focus on selecting the prime, vulnerable targets to cause the enemy heavy losses of strength, weapons, equipment and means of war, disrupt their defensive formation, destroy their command and coordination, and facilitate the campaign’s concentration of the main forces on key battles.

Components of the commando forces in the theatre of operations are often diverse, including the campaign’s commando, local commando, commando of the militia and self-defense forces, etc., with three basic types: Ground, Water and Special Task Commando. Moreover, the commando forces could fight independently in forms of battle, assault, and operation deep inside the enemy’s formation, or cooperate with other forces in the battle launched by the ground forces.

Third,  promoting the commando forces’ strength and way of combat to create a favorable condition for them to successfully fulfill the task assigned by the campaign. The art of operations by the commando forces is characterized by “taking the few against the many”, creating advantages to stage mortal, short-distance fight, seizing the opportunity, obeying the rules “secret, surprise, ingenious, daring”, actively destroying the targets, with the annihilation of the enemy’s strength and hi-tech materiel as the main. Meanwhile, each commando force has their own way of combat. Ground commando is good at attacking to occupy and destroy the targets in mountainous, midland and flat areas. Water commando is skilled at destroying in sea and on island and river. Special task commando is expert at attacking the targets inside cities. Therefore, it is necessary to base on the targets in the theatre of operations to employ types of commando properly to promote their strength and achieve the effectiveness in combat. In the offensive campaign, the commando forces employ various ways of combat flexibly in accordance with each battle and the campaign’s mission requirements. However, the targets for the commando forces are often disposed deep inside the enemy’s defensive line with the multi-layer, complex system of obstacles strictly protected by a multi-layer system of the guard. Thus, when performing the mission, the commando forces must pay due regard to studying and inventing unique ways of combat in each region, area and environment to surprise and panic the enemy and lead them to collapse.

Fourth, closely cooperating with other forces of the campaign. Campaign-level operations, particularly operations of the offensive campaign at all levels include components and forces in which the commando forces would operate according to the campaign’s uniform plan and common mission. As a result, coordination for the unity of actions between the commando forces and other relevant forces in order to create the combined strength in each battle, phase and mission represents a matter of utmost importance. To do so, the commando forces must grasp their combat plan and the task of the other forces in the campaign to closely cooperate with each force in a comprehensive, accurate, specific manner. Accordingly, it is necessary to ensure close coordination on given targets, venue, timing, signal for communication, operations between forces as well as measures for logistics support and reinforcement in combat. Moreover, due attention should be paid to cooperating with units of the ground forces in attacking bridgeheads and independent targets to create advantages or protect the corridor for our forces to penetrate deep into the enemy’s formation to increase the attacking tempo of the campaign; or in attacking the targets in the same direction, such as headquarters of the enemy’s regiment, brigade, and division, fortresses, groups of fortresses, and their airborne troops. The commando forces could cooperate with air defense, air, and artillery forces to provide reinforcement during the process of attacking the targets and retreating from the fighting. Consideration should be given to cooperating with forces in the provincial and municipal defensive areas to create a favorable condition for guiding and concealing forces and materiel, ensuring camouflage and diversion, and providing information on the enemy, internal reactionaries, terrain, weather, and hydrometeorology, etc. Also, the commando forces could cooperate with local armed forces in establishing standing positions, operating corridors, and routes for movement; in conducting small-scale operations, such raid, siege, harassment, diversion, containment, and separation of the enemy troops outside and inside the targets to distract the enemy’s responsiveness and create weak spots for the commando forces to gain access to the target, lay siege to, isolate and attack the stated targets.

The above-mentioned requirements connect and influence one another. Fulfillment of those requirements will provide the basis for the commando forces to win the victory in the offensive campaign. Thus, commanders and campaign-level commando units must be active in fulfilling those requirements, avoiding falling into passivity in all situations, contributing to leading the campaign to victory, meeting the goal of the war to defend the Homeland.

Colonel Nguyen Van Luu, MA

Commando Officer School

Your Comment (0)

Artillery Corps in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign - lessons for today
After 56 days of fighting, the VPA’s fledgling Artillery Corps accomplished successfully its mission to suppress and destroy the enemy’s artillery sites, controlled the airfields, destroy its headquarters and installations, disrupt logistic lines of communication, and effectively support the infantry to surround and destroy every fortification and the whole fortified complex of Dien Bien Phu, making important contribution to a world-shaking victory