Let us now summarise some of the salient lessons learnt:
- Selection and Maintenance of Aim This is the first principle of war and has been revalidated in this campaign. The original Israeli plan called for a high tempo campaign – one week of Air Offensive followed up by a major land offensive with three divisions. In actual conduct, this was badly diluted and the Air-Land campaign lost its synergistic impact. There was a tendency on the part of the Israeli Air Force to “go it alone” and the Israeli Ground Forces have been vociferous in their complaints of a lack of intimate support.
- Massing Effects Effects-Based Operations can be successful if they are compressed in time. The synergistic impact of a massive Air-Land offensive delivered in a short timeframe has a far greater impact than if the “effects” of air strikes, artillery bombardment and tank assault are diluted by dispersion in space and time. The rate and tonnage of explosive delivery per minute has a telling impact upon morale and the will to flight – Battle Field Commanders must, therefore, strive to “mass effects”.
- Conventionalising a Low Intensity Conflict Despite these patent shortcomings, the one month long Israeli Conventional Campaign seems to have succeeded so far in deterring the Hezbollah from continuing its Low Intensity Campaign against Israel. That is a very vital Cost Benefit evaluation which merits deep introspection by other armies and armed forces.
- Layered Anti-Tank Defences This war has highlighted the efficacy of third generation, tandem war head Anti-tank Missiles and RPGs against Modern MBTs when fired in swarms from deep, well layered and well dug in defences, they can play havoc with a tank assault – (especially if it is delivered in driblets). This is one aspect that merits a very serious look and deep analysis on our parts. The Russian Second World War Krusk style deep, layered Anti-tank defences (with the modern Kornet E and Matis M Missiles) have proved to be formidable. We urgently need to study the Hezbollah, tactics and provide all our tanks with the Active Protection Systems like the Russian Shatora or the Israeli Iron Fist or Trophy or matching systems.
- Need for Heavy APC The Hezbollah made innovative use of Anti-Tank missiles against the Israeli Infantry. They were thus able to separate the tanks from the infantry and destroy the cohesion of the Israeli Combat Teams. The Israelis are considering a heavily armoured APC based on the Markava – 1 MBT chassis. We could consider a class of heavy APC possibly based on the Arjun Chasis or uprated Vyajanta chasis.
- Logistics Support Intimate Logistics in battle must be provided by the divisions. The over centralised Israeli Regional Logistics Systems failed dismally in this war. The Division is a tried and tested battle formation whose organisational soundness has been validated in successive wars. We should not tamper with such time-tested organisations to suit peace time cost cutting exercises. Heavily protected MBT chasis based APCs may also be essential for Immediate Replenishment Groups when attacking such dense layered defensive system.
The Israelis had created a Secure Communication Network. However, rolling the grid forward into Lebanon proved difficult as most of the key radio links were jeep/ vehicles based and could not survive in such a dense Anti-tank environment. There is a strong and urgent need to base such communication links on heavily armoured APC based on MBT chasis.
The Israeli use of tethered Aerostat Systems for radio relay proved to be a very effective innovation. The Indian Army must consider acquisition of Aerostats for surveillance as well as communications relay.
Fiber Optic Cable
The Hezbollah terrestrial network was based on underground fiber-optic cable and has proved to be highly resilient and successful. It prevented the Israelis from jamming or intercepting their communications. This network maintained its integrity right till the end of the war, despite very heavy pounding by the Israeli Air, Artillery and tanks.