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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Followup on Iranian missiles in Gaza

Soccer Dad emails me with a snarky but seemingly well-informed comment someone made on his post at Yourish linking to my post on terrorist claims that they had Iranian missiles in Gaza that didn't work:
rdamurphy Says:
  1. Basically, there are two types of Iranian anti-armor missiles, both copies of Soviet technology. There is a TOW version (tube launched, optically sighted, wire guided) and a laser tracking version. While there may have indeed been some duds (even American manufactured TOW missles have a high failure rate), most likely it has to do with the steep learning curve and demanding training required to be effective with either missile. Not to mention the courage to stay up and in sight of an advancing tank in order to track, fire, and guide the missiles. Most likely, poorly motivated illiterate fanatics couldn’t use them effectively. Hizbollah poorly motivated illiterate fanatics could go to Syria for training, but nobody wants any Palestinians coming over for an extended stay.

    Might be the lack of bathing and personal hygiene habits.

    Anyway, in Lebanon, the IDF was surprised by the fact that the missiles were in the hands of the enemy, and didn’t adapt their tactics. Both types of missiles require a direct line of sight for engagement, unlike more sophisticated missiles that are video guided and can be “flown” their target.

    One tactic of modern Armies since Napolean, not used by the IDF in Lebanon, but used to great effect in Gaza was the use of overwhelming artillery (and air) fire to demoralize the enemy. You can’t fight back against artillery, and even if it doesn’t kill anyone or break anything, it’s still hard to put up with for a few days. Or even hours.

    The interesting thing about contemporary warfare, if the Allies suspected Germany was hiding munitions in the basement of a hospital, they wouldn’t have hesitated to reduce it to rubble just to find out for sure. The unwillingness of the IDF, and the US, to engage in Total War while their enemy is will eventually result in their defeat.