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Lessons of the Georgian Crisis

August 18, 2008

First off, the blatant incursion of Russia upon the sovereign democracy of Georgia need never have happened, in spite of the latter’s small size and tiny population. Certainly mass military forces, Napoleon’s “bigger battalions” are still triumphant in warfare as proved by this conflict and America’s two Gulf Wars. And though we have no wish to undercut our own nation’s military superiority, we’ve little doubt that using tactics and weapons seen in the 2002 Millennium Challenge exercise, plus recent real wars in Lebanon and Iraq, a small power can effectively blunt the designs of superpowers.

Before we get off track, lets review the lessons:

  1. New smart weapons are essential for military aircraft to keep them from harm’s way, including the new generation of precision surface to air missiles. According to the New York Times, even ” an impaired Georgian air-defense system was able to down at least six Russian jets.”
  2. The most heavily armored tanks are vulnerable to improved man-portable antitank guided missiles. David Axe tells us “tank killers from the Georgian infantry, armed with unidentified guided missiles—allegedly of Israeli origin—sparked a minor panic and a major diplomatic row between Russia and Israel, when they destroyed several T-80s, apparently by punching right through the reactive armor. The possible secret? A twin warhead.” Efforts to increase their armor can only increase cost and reduce mobility, negating their usefulness in battle.
  3. As during the age of gun-armed battleships, the fleet that is equipped with the longest-range weapon with the best accuracy can get in the first hit. He who gets in the first strike very often wins. According to Strategypage “Georgian missile boats hit several Russian warships, which had not been equipped with equipment, or crews, that were capable of dealing with this kind of threat.”

What is the bottom line? In every case where the new robot weapons met the older conventional arms, the new easily triumphed over the old. Casting off then the shackles of traditional industrial age warfare, such as heavy tanks, superfighters, and outdated gunboats, small states like Georgia will possess an awesome deterrence to avoid a similar excursion by a superpower. Arming themselves with mass digital arms such as battlefield missiles, cruise missiles, man-portable SAMs and ATGMs, the smaller power can have the same boldness as the larger in attack or defense.

Related News
Georgian Lessons for Small Nations – American Chronicle
Cold War Lessons Not Learned – Washington Post
Military Analysis Russian Blitz Melded Old-School Onslaught With … – New York Times
Lessons From the Russia-Georgia Clash – New York Times

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Distiller permalink
    August 19, 2008 11:30 am

    For defensive operations your bottom line is correct; for offensive it would throw you back to Napoleon.

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