RESTRICTED 23 / SC / MRP BLENDING CONVENTIONAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE INTRODUCTION 1.
Military doctrine is the fundamental principle by which military forces guide their actions
to attain the objective.1 The age old ‘yellow book’ has been the basis for planning and conducting campaign, major operations and battles for a long time in the context of Bangladesh. It basically lays down the theories to conduct conventional warfare. In the mid of 1990s the Draft Operations of War Volume One came into being to provide Bangladesh Army’s own war fighting doctrine superseding all prevalent contentious concepts and ideas to give a functional shape to warfare. The contents of this pamphlet are primarily based upon the experience of the momentous Liberation War of 1971 and the knowledge and wisdom of our present military thinkers. It projects a whole new horizon of tactical ideas, which blends both conventional and unconventional warfare as its major concept. The Draft Pamphlet says, ‘In future conflicts, Bangladesh Army must be prepared to blend conventional and unconventional warfare in the implementation of national strategy’.2 2. The cumulative effects of innumerable small tactical initiatives can become a major
factor in changing the overall military posture of enemy. It can be done through unconventional forces especially the guerrillas in conjunction with the operations of a friendly conventional forces. The psychological effect of the real damage steaming from the sabotage activities by the unconventional forces and the concurrent conventional military pressure may compel enemy to turn his posture from strategic offensive to strategic defensive. 3. Guerrilla tactics against conventional forces can be compared with those of a picador,
the horseman with a lance who, in the course of a bullfight, sticks the bull repeatedly but is not expected ever to deliver the coup de grace. Conventional pursuit forces become correspondingly more frustrated. To shield themselves from the multiple pin-pricks and bee stings inflicted by the guerrillas, conventional forces are forced to allocate more and more of their effort to defence.3 The adversary of Bangladesh is likely to be politically, economically and militarily superior. As such, the operations by only conventional force may not bring the desired success. The blend of conventional and unconventional warfare is a need to bring 1 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED dividend in our context. In this backdrop, this paper will examine blending conventional and unconventional warfare in the context of Bangladesh. The paper will first focus on historical perspective, geography and likely threats and also evaluate the present military strategy. Then, reasons for blending conventional and unconventional warfare and the concept of blending will be discussed. Finally a suggested force structure will also be highlighted. AIM 4. The aim of this paper is to examine blending conventional and unconventional warfare
as a doctrinal novelty for Bangladesh. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE 5. Due to paucity of strength and lack of adequate sophisticated armament a weaker army
needs to blend the conventional and unconventional methods of operations during the prosecution of the national war. This blending of conventional and unconventional warfare can bring dividend to the weaker army against a superior force. 6. World History. During Vietnam's Revolution War, America conducted massive
ROLLING THUNDER's air attack in North Vietnam, but they failed to bring Ho Chi Minh in the negotiation table. Rather Vietminh conducted their deep operations by infiltration attacks, ambushes etc. Vietminh resorted to both conventional and unconventional war. Afghan followed the same technique while fighting against Russians. Russians were superior in terms of men and materials. But Afghan compensated this overwhelming superiority by resorting to unconventional war. They used to provoke the Russians to move out to pre-selected killing grounds by 'hit and run' operations. When the Russians were sufficiently dispersed in pursuit of retreating force, they were ambushed / attacked by Afghans. Afghans also disrupted Russians lines of communication by frequent attacks / ambushes. A statistics shows that at least 60% of total Russian Forces in Afghanistan were committed to protect lines of communication on the face of such actions. 7. Liberation War 1971. The Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 is the burning
example of blending conventional and unconventional warfare. The peculiarity of this war is that the ‘Mukti Bahini’ started the Liberation War unconventionally and later, this force was 2 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED reorganised and blended both conventional and unconventional methods of operation to achieve decisive victory. ‘Mukti Bahini’ was a cohesive and effective force that comprised of regular, auxiliary forces, guerrillas and local militias from all walk of life. GEOGRAPHY AND LIKELY THREATS TO BANGLADESH Likely Threats from Geographical Point of View 8. Bangladesh is a gentle alluvial plain and much of it is a vast delta produced by three
magnificent rivers of South Asia – the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. The total boundary being 4025 km, the country is almost sandwiched by Indian territories on the west, north and east. Bangladesh also shares 283 kilometres land and river boundary with Myanmar in the south-west. In the south Bangladesh has about 700 kilometres of sea boundary in the Bay of Bengal, which again makes her a sea neighbour of India and Myanmar.4 9. Likely Threats. If we consider the likely threats to Bangladesh, any territorial
aggression will basically be initiated from our neighbours having common land and maritime boundaries. Territorial aggression may be in different form than the campaign fought in the War of Liberation.5 As such we shall consider our neighbouring countries only. a. India. Bangladesh commands access to the Indian Ocean through the lanes of Bay of Bengal. It increases her foreign policy bargaining capacity vis-a vis the outside world. Bangladesh borders the seven north-east Indian states, which are witnessing insurgency and political instability for a long period. Location wise Bangladesh almost isolates these states from the rest of India and thus has the potential to influence the turmoil in this part of Indian Union.6 Communication system in Bangladesh provides easy access between two halves of India. It’s seaports, both Chittagong and Mongla, are accessible to Indian seven north-eastern states. Northern area of Bangladesh commands the strategic Shiliguri corridor. The exploration of natural resources in Bangladesh may lead India to go for a wishful venture of military invention. Above all India’s security perception takes into account her neighbours as an integral part of her own security.7 All these make Bangladesh of special interest to India. b. Myanmar. Before 1990s Bangladesh probably did not expect any threat from
Myanmar. But at the end of 1991 Myanmar raided one of our border outposts in 3 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED Naikhongchari thana and the situation deteriorated. However, the situation was brought to normalcy through diplomatic efforts. Still our country is facing the Rohinga refugee problem. As such the potentiality of threat from this front also can not be ruled out. 10. Threat Analysis. Due to obvious geographical reality, Myanmar poses a limited
threat. Therefore, any offensive by the adversary is likely to be as follows: a. Ground threat is likely to develop from west, north and east simultaneously. The
initial objective would be to invest along the river lines of Jamuna, Meghna – Surma and Brahmaputra, and thereafter converge to Dhaka. They are likely to tackle the defences en-route with simultaneous development of operations in the flank and rear areas to reach the Dhaka bowl as soon as possible. b. Threat may utilise long range weapons initially to cause attrition on own forces and combat assets while remaining disengaged. At the same time they may go for air interdiction to shape the battlefield. These would facilitate them during the conduct of manoeuvre and close engagement. They may deploy sizeable portion of mechanised forces and combat helicopters to rapidly secure the military objectives. c. The threat is likely to dominate the air space throughout. Thus own forces will be
deprived of aerial reconnaissance and be subjected to detection and destruction. This may make it extremely challenging for the formations to concentrate forces for meaningful offensive operations. Concentration of forces by moving troops from one sector to another will be difficult and risky for lack of own effective air cover. d. The threat will have overwhelming superiority in terms of conventional force ratio
as well as resources including long range weapons. Geographical Realities 11. Bangladesh is perhaps the most river-crossed terrain in the world – a land ideal for
defensive tactics.8 The major rivers have divided the country in different isolated sectors. Apart from the rivers and soft alluvial plain, the existence of numerous marshy areas, forests, hill features in the south-eastern part, flooding etc hinder cross-country mobility. Other than winter, movement is basically restricted and confined to specific routes only. After the Liberation War 4 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED in 1971, Major General D. K. Palit in his book ‘The Lightning Campaign’ said, “Every town and village is a defender’s dream – and a nightmare for anyone planning offensive operations”.9 But the location and terrain configuration also bears significant disadvantages in relation to the perceived threat, which are discussed in the subsequent paragraphs (Geo-political map of Bangladesh is attached as Annex A). 12. Numerous Routes of Entry. Over the years a series of metamorphoses in its physical features especially development of road communication along with the construction of major bridges over the mighty rivers have altered the country’s military landscape. At present a number of road and railway communication networks lead from the bordering areas to Dhaka, which provide advantage to our likely adversary for tactical manoeuvre. The Dhaka bowl, the vital ground of our defence is no more formidably protected against a superior adversary. 13. Lack of Strategic Depth. Bangladesh does not have adequate strategic depth to
sustain a protracted war through conventional operations. During Liberation War in 1971, it was revealed that Pakistan Armed Forces encountered Allied Forces in Dhaka before their military formations were tactically defeated. The narrow waistline of Hilli – Gaibandha of northwestern part, the depth of eastern part from the border up to the river line of Dhaka bowl are very significant in this regard. 14. Lack of Natural Obstacle along the Border. Though Bangladesh has numerous
natural obstacles all over the main land but the borders are not demarcated along natural obstacles excepting few areas. As such any surprise threat can not be ignored. 15. No Sanctuary Outside the Border. The geographical location of Bangladesh is as Bangladesh will be
such that she has practically only one neighbour – India. She would virtually be isolated if the powerful Indian Navy cordons off her access to the Bay of Bengal.10 war against a superior enemy. 16. Difficulty in Procuring War Materials. Bangladesh will face difficulty in procuring war deprived of sanctuary outside the border, a much needed support, to conduct and continue a
materials from abroad. Potential aggressor borders Bangladesh on three sides and can effectively block air and water routes as well. The possibility of help through Myanmar is also remote. Because even Myanmar tends to provide support, the south-eastern part of the country, which includes Chittagong port, is likely to be isolated at the very outset of hostility. 5 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED MILITARY STRATEGY OF BANGLADESH 17. Present Concept of Operation. As per the present concept of operation, Bangladesh
Army plans to deploy all along the major approaches basing on a series of defensive lines within the country to fight a limited war in the conventional mode. The overall military strategy thereby has a framework to hold the enemy for a considerable duration and gain time so that international pressure through diplomatic channel can be created on the enemy to withdraw their forces. However, if the Army fails to withstand the enemy thrusts or the diplomatic efforts turn unsuccessful, it is supposed to resort to a mode of total unconventional warfare by going to suitable sanctuaries and organising resistance with the support of the civil population all over the country.11 18. Evaluation of the Present Concept. a. The present operational concept has less chances of success. It is purely
defensive and passive in nature. No specific plan to take actions to exploit enemy’s vulnerabilities has been catered for and at the planning level defeat through conventional warfare is accepted after a considerable period. b. The Army formations are under strength with incomplete organisational structure.
The formations responsible for vast areas may not be able to guard all the axes effectively only by the series of defensive battle. c. Diplomatic aspect as envisaged is hardly guaranteed in the present day world /
regional scenario. b. The plan does not clarify from where and how the unconventional warfare will be
fought. e. At the end of conventional warfare resistance through general mass has been
catered for. By then maximum portion of the territory along with the population would be under control of enemy and it would be difficult to organise the civil population.
RESTRICTED As the formations get close towards the Dhaka bowl after fighting the successive
defensive battle, it would allow enemy to find concentrated target of own Armed Forces for piecemeal destruction. 19. Option to be Evolved in Concept of Operation. From the geographical and threat
points of view it is now evident that Bangladesh will have to fight from within the country where only conventional war can not be conducted for a long time. As such victory is a remote possibility for her. The popular concept of fighting unconventional war on the termination of conventional war no longer stands valid as it deprives both the war efforts of gaining significant advantages. But it can be achieved through blending them together. This doctrine strongly advocates their concurrent conduct. Initially conventional war will remain as the principle means of seeking a decision. Later, as the conventional power diminishes, unconventional war will assume the major role. Both conventional and unconventional war must be blended together to achieve the synergism that would produce the desired end state on conflict termination.12 REASONS FOR BLENDING CONVENTIONAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE 20. Modern battles are combined arms operations that involve synchronisation of various battlefield operating systems. When meshed together, their combined capabilities produce the battle winning effect to achieve the decisive result. In most cases, the battlefield operating systems which need to be co-ordinated by the both operational and tactical commanders are: manoeuvre, fire support, air defence, engineer support, electronic warfare, intelligence, deception, logistics, command and control, tactical air support and unconventional warfare.13 All the battlefield operating systems mentioned here fall within the purview of conventional methods of fighting war. The only exception to that is unconventional warfare. As such modern concept of fighting a war envisages blending both conventional and unconventional warfare.
Compensate Numerical Inferiority.
importance in defensive operations as it significantly compensates the numerical disadvantage of the defending force. It makes the theatre / battlefield cellular by allowing simultaneous engagement of the enemy forces throughout the length and breadth of the area of operation. 14 7 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED Therefore, the main objective of the blending of conventional and unconventional war provides to compensate the numerical inferiority and lack of modern fighting assets of our conventional forces against our potential adversary. It also involves the population right from the beginning in the conduct of war. In the context of Bangladesh it is a must, where our likely adversary has overwhelming superiority to derive advantages from maximum numbers of conventional battlefield operating systems. 22. Operations Behind Enemy Lines. Modern concept of defensive framework
envisages synchronisation of operations in five different areas. These are: operations behind the enemy lines, covering force operations, operations in the main defensive position, reserve operations and rear area security. This concept makes it different from the existing one by inclusion of ‘operation behind the enemy lines’ and ‘rear area security’. And of these two, ‘operation behind enemy lines’ assumes to be of greater importance. The objective / purpose of this type of operation is to shape the battlefield by non-linear engagement to suit own requirement. These operations begin before the enemy closes with the friendly forces and continue throughout the entire battle. Surveillance assets and the unconventional forces are initially used to locate and track the forward and follow up formations of the attacking enemy within the area of interest. As enemy formations approach to contact with the friendly forces, their movement is closely monitored to identify and strike selected high pay off targets and disrupt his introduction of follow up forces either by aircraft, long range weapon system or unconventional forces.15 Bangladesh Army has not yet attained the desired technological build up to face the modern conventional threat of her likely adversaries. As such, the use of unconventional forces is the likely option to operate behind the enemy lines in conjunction with operation of the conventional forces. 23. Unorthodox Approach – A Tenet of Army Operation. An unorthodox approach to the
conduct of war implies departure from the traditional methods and adopting original and creative tactics and operational art to achieve decisive result. It plays a key role in offsetting enemy’s superiority of strength. Instead of engaging the attacking enemy along a traditional defensive line, the defenders can systematically destroy them by a series of large-scale raids, ambushes, infiltration attacks and unconventional activities. Unconventional warfare assumes its classical role of interdicting enemy follow up formations and rear areas in defensive operations. When well co-ordinated with conventional but unorthodox operations, it can contribute significantly to the success of the campaign or battle. 8 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED 24. Integration of Civil Population. Bangladesh can not afford to go for offensive posture
for obvious reason and mainly will have to resort to defensive posture. To maintain sovereignty and territorial integrity the defensive posture must be an active one that should include limited offensive capability to defeat the enemy. We must not succumb to enemy’s will. With the limited resources and the present force structure, attaining the objective of defeating the enemy will be difficult. The general mass needs to be integrated in the similar way as it was done during the Liberation War. It is no denying a fact that Bangladesh should have a cohesive military and civil population force to deter potential adversary from aggression. The resistance may be put concurrently and instantaneously throughout the country. This would facilitate to fight a protracted and sustainable war. The consciousness of the people and their motivation to defend the country plays the vital role in safeguarding the sovereignty. This civil population may form part of the unconventional force and can enhance the capability of the conventional forces. 25. Modern Concept of Defeating Enemy. In the modern concept, a force has to find out
the centre of gravity of enemy and own and an operational plan must aim at retaining own centre of gravity and tilt enemy’s one. This centre of gravity may not be the same for both the opposing forces. But now a days popular support remains as centre of gravity at strategic level. Apart from this, the centre of gravity of likely adversary may be ‘his armed forces’ and ‘time’. On the other hand enemy may consider ‘Dhaka’ at strategic level and ‘Own Armed Forces’ at operational level as the centre of gravity. In the context of Bangladesh, she should create an environment so that the enemy pulls back his forces within the shortest possible time. It can be possible by inflicting large-scale casualty to the enemy, taking the battlefield into his ground and making him diplomatically isolated. Bangladesh can take the battlefield into the enemy territory by employing unconventional forces. If some sabotage activity in the form of killing, kidnapping, destruction of utility services etc can be carried out in the enemy territory, their people are likely to go against the government and upset his design of battle. These types of activity can be possible through employing unconventional forces. Here comes the imperative of blending conventional and unconventional warfare. This would also facilitate to upset enemy’s time plan and make sufficient time to develop diplomatic manoeuvre to work against the adversary.
RESTRICTED Blending Conventional and Unconventional Warfare As a Battlefield Imperative.
The Draft Pamphlet identified ‘blending conventional and unconventional warfare’ as one of the battlefield imperative. Because unconventional warfare behind the enemy lines produce the same effect as manoeuvre and it must be integrated with the conventional effort to accomplish the mission. The unconventional forces are useful in destruction and neutralisation of enemy’s command and control centres, interdict weapon systems, air defence installations, logistic bases, troop concentrations and lines of communication. Additionally, they can be used to interdict the move forward of enemy follow up formations to isolate the current battle. 16 Use of unconventional forces in conjunction with the conventional forces brings fluidity in the battlefield, which help the user to gain advantage over the enemy. 27. Logistic Aspects. Logistic lines of communication and bases will be the first targets of
enemy interdiction operations in any future conflict. Should this support be cut off or interrupted, intensity of operations will be drastically reduced and enemy forces will attain a decisive initiative and freedom of action. In our case, at the outbreak of hostility the lines of communication is likely to be disrupted. It will necessitate evolving unconventional methods of logistic support to continue the conventional operations. These indigenous methods will include mobilisation of civil resources. But for an unconventional force, the logistic aspect does not pose many problems. Because this type force is designed to live off the land and they can sustain in the situation of restricted logistic support. 28. Opinions. According to Brigadier Jiban Kanai Das, “during Liberation War in 1971,
Lieutenant General A A K Niazi had the charter that not a single piece of land to be surrendered to Bangladesh Forces to establish government inside the country. As such he went for strong point defence all along the border. But ultimately it was found to be unsuitable. We really can not go for conventional type of defence”.17 Brigadier A T M Zahirul Alam said, “our Army formations should deploy in the event of hostility as per the existing operational plan initially. After assessing the enemy threat, surveillance elements may be kept in the less threatened areas and main force should be deployed covering the enemy’s main effort”.18 From these two comments, we can derive that there is a need for some force, which can enhance the operational capabilities of the conventional forces. Employment of unconventional force in conjunction with the conventional force can bring dividend in this regard.
RESTRICTED CONCEPT OF BLENDING CONVENTIONAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE 29. The idea of blending conventional warfare with the unconventional one came into being
after having carried out an extensive research. The major concepts and doctrines related to terrain and weather of Bangladesh, force structure, society, morale, economic condition and above all the likely threat have been taken into due consideration. This theoretical base combined with the practical experience, a new horizon of tactical ideas, which blends conventional and unconventional warfare, has been evolved. The concept envisages that in future conflicts, Bangladesh Army must be prepared to blend conventional and unconventional warfare in the implementation of national strategy. This means unconventional warfare is not to be regarded as an aftermath of the conventional war rather should be waged simultaneously as an adjunct to the conventional war. For effective implementation and synchronisation with each other, organisational set up and command and control arrangement must be worked out in detail well before the outbreak of hostility. 30. Command and Control Arrangement. The conventional force commander should
retain the command and control of the unconventional force from the outset of hostility. He should weigh out whether the task can be performed by unconventional force or otherwise. Tasking of the unconventional force must conform to the overall design of battle and upset the enemy’s one. The unconventional force should be given mission type order. Employment of Unconventional Force 31. Right from the outbreak of hostility the battle must be taken to enemy territory to initiate
dissatisfaction amongst the people of enemy so that they go against their government’s decision. A number of routes from Bangladesh facilitate to go inside the neighbouring country’s territory. As per the defensive framework the unconventional force will carry out operations behind the enemy lines. The targets for deep operation will be selected at Army, division or at Brigade level. They will hit high value and strategic targets creating disorder in their civil and military activities. As a result, at the very outset of war enemy will be concerned about his rear area security and employ more troops to protect those.
RESTRICTED The unconventional force will be employed to hit the enemy high value targets like
disruption of line of communication, command and control arrangement etc, and also his flanks by continuously laying ambushes and conducting raids. At the same time they will be employed to provide early warning to the conventional forces. This type of warning system to protect own rear areas against enemy air / helicopter borne troops will be of great use. These operations would facilitate to shape the battlefield in our favour. The success of small-scale operations will increase the morale of the conventional force as well as the population. This will help in achieving wholehearted support from the people too. Role of Conventional Force 33. The conventional force of respective divisions will deploy in their area of responsibility as per the operational plan. As the battle situation develops, they should be able to identify the main effort of the enemy and concentrate forces accordingly with strong mobile reserve. Different layers of defence to be prepared prior to initial engagement in coordination with the civil authority. While the unconventional force gradually cause attrition to enemy war potentials the conventional force will engage the enemy major elements at the decisive time and place to decide the fate of the battle. 34. If the conventional force fails to defend respective area of responsibility they will merge
with the civil population and resort to unconventional method of operations. This highly trained force would be able to organise the local population to create effective resistance against the adversary. The unconventional force, which had been operating earlier, will enhance their operational capability.
End State of Blending Conventional and Unconventional Warfare
35. Blending of conventional and unconventional warfare will facilitate to achieve greater
degree of success in terms of neutralising enemy centre of gravity and taking high value targets to achieve the mission. However, even after that if the enemy continues with the aggression Bangladesh will gain maximum possible time. It will create the situation to go for protracted war and earn the international opinion in our favour so that the adversary pulls out his forces from our territory.
RESTRICTED SUGGESTED FORCE STRUCTURE 36. Blending conventional and unconventional warfare needs sound integration of regular
and unconventional forces. Here the main focus has been on the unconventional force that will compliment the operations of the regular forces. Unconventional force must be properly led and managed in all aspects – personnel, training, supply, material and financial. To fight the war the forces can be divided into three tiers. At the top there would be regular forces to conduct conventional war, then the unconventional force, which would be divided into two groups. First group is the ‘second line force’ to perform small-scale operations and augment regular units when required and the second group would be the local guerrillas to hit smaller opportunity targets. The overall command and control of the unconventional force will remain under the conventional force commander during the wartime. Various Components 37. Regular Forces. The present force structure of Bangladesh Army should have its full
complement. Each division will have three brigades and each brigades with three infantry battalions. Each formation should have operational reserve to meet the eventualities and launch limited offensive. 38. Unconventional Force. It will be divided into two groups as said before i.e. second
line force and local guerrillas. a. Second Line Force. This force would comprise the auxiliary forces and the
reservists. (1) Auxiliary Force. Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) is a large force, which can
be trained and equipped through deliberate planning to augment our war machine. It will entail comparatively less cost. BDR after giving the initial fight would fall back and basically form the part of the unconventional force. However they may be employed to strengthen the conventional forces at places.
RESTRICTED Reservists. Reserve policy will be a key factor in the force structure. The
reservist will play the vital role in unconventional war. We suggest that soldiers would be recruited for 5 years. At the end of the tenure only selected individuals may be retained. Thereafter, they will follow the present system for their promotion and retirement. Soldiers, those were not absorbed, will be in the reserve list for next 10 years. This will create a large reserve. The contract for recruiting will not have any retirement liability. However, these soldiers after retirement will have handsome amount of money in their hand. This may be done by forced saving form their pay. As they retire they will not be in the ocean of frustration. They will be able to pursue a new career. Virtually this will be a great incentive to the young generation to join army for such contract service. These reservists are likely to be more agile due to their age, moreover, the size of the reserve can be maintained as per the requirement. It will help to release wellmotivated people to the society after their retirement. They can help in the socioeconomic upliftment of the country. Government may be free of pension, accommodation, treatment and ration liabilities. But it will need organisational modifications and also arranging refresher training at some regular intervals to maintain the desired standard. b. Local Guerrillas. Local guerrillas will comprise Ansar, Village Defence Party
(VDP), Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) and volunteer local civilians. The war of liberation has given tremendous self-confidence to the people in their ability to deal with external aggression. At present every union has an Ansar Platoon and each village also has a VDP platoon. With better training and motivation they will add strength to the unconventional force. Throughout histories, armies have employed local civilians as scouts and saboteur. They may be employed as individuals and small groups and integrated with the second line forces. They can be used in their own areas where their knowledge of the ground and ability in providing warning and obtaining information is invaluable. Organisational Structure 39. District Armed Forces Board will maintain the organisational set up of the
unconventional force during peacetime. This organisation will have a cell to maintain district 14 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED wise particulars of the reservists and the local guerrillas. This cell will maintain close coordination with the local division headquarters during peacetime. However, during mobilisation this organisational structure will be directly under command of respective division headquarters. The suggested organisation of the unconventional force is as follows: a. During peacetime all the headquarters of unconventional force will be thinly
staffed up to battalion level. b. c. d. In each division there will be one Unconventional Force Headquarters. There will be nine battalions under each Unconventional Force Headquarters. Each conventional brigade will be allotted with three unconventional battalions
during the war, out of which two are second line battalions and one local guerrilla battalion. e. Number of companies in each battalion may vary from formation to formation
depending on the size of the formation area of responsibility. 40. A suggested organisational tree for wartime is attached as Annex B.
Training 41. Our auxiliary forces are not trained in line with regular forces and reservists will be semi-
trained. It will necessitate refresher training at some intervals for the unconventional force. The District Armed Forces Board will organise training for the unconventional force once in two years in co-ordination with the local division headquarters. The training team will impart training basically on field craft, weapon handling, minor tactics, explosive handling and combat intelligence. The duration of this training should be of one week. For this prior co-ordination with all agencies is essential. 42. Transition from conventional to unconventional footing by the regular force would
necessitate a corresponding change in both mind and attitude of our soldiers. The soldiers will need to overcome psychological barrier of switching over to unconventional warfare. This will 15 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED need extensive training during peacetime so that the change over takes place as natural as transition from one operation of war to the other. For this Standing Operating Procedures must be worked out. Troops should be trained to operate in small groups. Junior leaders must be trained to lead their under commands independently. CONCLUSION 43. History of warfare particularly the follow up events of the World War II shows a sound intermeshing of both conventional and unconventional warfare to fulfil the common objectives. Vietminh’s bloody struggle against the mighty USA, the actions of ‘Mukti Bahini’ in the Liberation War of Bangladesh and lastly the heroic victory of Afghan mujahidins are the glorious chapters of military history. All the countries mentioned here have successfully blended conventional and unconventional warfare and achieved their desired goal against the superior adversaries (Paragraphs 5 – 7). 44. Having analysed the geo-political perspective of Bangladesh it is evident that
Bangladesh has a substantial threat from its neighbours particularly India. Few of the geographical peculiarities like the presence of numerous routes of entry, lack of strategic depth, lack of natural obstacle along the border, no sanctuary outside the border, difficulty in procuring war materials etc have put Bangladesh in a disadvantageous position to fight a conventional war against her adversary. All of the barriers mentioned here strongly suggest the adoption of a new concept of operations that blends conventional and unconventional warfare (paragraphs 8 -16). 45. The present concept of operations of Bangladesh outlines the adoption of defensive
posture and deploy the Army along successive lines of defence to fight a limited war in the conventional mode. The overall theme envisages holding the enemy for a considerable duration and gaining time to effect international pressure. If the Army fails to withstand the enemy’s onslaught and diplomatic effort proves to be ineffective, the Army along with the nation as a whole will resort to unconventional warfare. If we critically analyse the present concept it would reveal certain drawbacks. The concept is inflexible and lacks dynamism. It allows the enemy to incur substantial loss to the nation at the initial onslaught. As the adversary is likely to enjoy overwhelming superiority in every sphere, he will retain the initiative throughout the period of conflict. In this scenario victory is a remote possibility (paragraphs 17 –18). 16 RESTRICTED
RESTRICTED Bangladesh should resort to the concept of blending conventional and unconventional
warfare because it is a modern concept of fighting war against an adversary who enjoys numerical and technological superiority. Unconventional warfare is a recognised battlefield operating system, which needs to be synchronised with the other operating systems. Blending conventional and unconventional warfare would enable to compensate numerical inferiority, operate behind the enemy lines, resort to an unorthodox approach, provide workable logistic support and above all integrate civil population. All of these attributes would add fuel to own conventional capabilities and cause substantial damage to the potential adversary during the conduct of war (paragraph 19 – 28). 47. The concept of blending conventional and unconventional warfare is that the
unconventional warfare is not to be regarded as an aftermath of the conventional war, rather should be waged simultaneously as an adjunct to the conventional war. For effective implementation and synchronisation with each other, organisational set up and command and control arrangement must be worked out in detail well before the outbreak of hostility. The defeat mechanism in this concept is to identify enemy’s centre of gravity at the strategic and operational level and neutralise those to upset his design of battle and also the time plan. The harmonious actions of both conventional and unconventional forces can bring dividend in neutralising enemy’s centre of gravity and destroy high value targets. At the end of the conflict enemy is expected to pull back his forces form the occupied territory (paragraphs 29 – 35). 48. In order to blend conventional and unconventional warfare and its subsequent
materialisation against the potential adversaries, the need for a cohesive and effective force structure is of great important. The main components of this force are regular and unconventional forces. The nucleus of this force structure is the regular force. The unconventional force could be again subdivided into second line force and the guerrillas. Second line force may comprise of auxiliary forces and reservists. BDR can be trained and equipped to augment the war machine. A comprehensive policy needs to be evolved to have a sizeable reserve force. Ansar, VDP, BNCC and volunteer civil population can form the guerrilla organisation. The organisational and the training aspects of the unconventional force is of utmost important for the successful blending of conventional and unconventional warfare so as to achieve the common goal (paragraphs 36 – 42).
Mirpur Cantonment January 1999
ANWARUL MOMEN Major Sub Syndicate Leader Sub Syndicate 4B
Annexes: A. B. Geo-political Map of Bangladesh. Suggested Organisational Tree of Unconventional Force for Wartime.
Distribution: Sponsor Directing Staff Defence Services Command and Staff College Mirpur Cantonment
Draft Operations of War, Volume One, (Dhaka: Army Headquarters, General Staff Branch, Military Training Directorate, 1997), p. 1-1.
Ibid, p. 2-6.
Trevor N. Dupuy, International Military and Defense Encyclopaedia, Volume 6, (Washington, New York: Brassey’s (US) Inc. 1993) p. 2811.
Major Md Fayzul Haque, “Bangladesh: A Geopolitical Study”, Bangladesh Army Journal, 13th Issue (December 1988), p.34.
Modus Operendi of Unconventional Warfare and Induction of its Training System in Bangladesh Army, Army Headquarters Project Study by 33 Infantry Division, p. 4.
Md Nuruzzaman, “National Security in Bangladesh – Challenges and Options”, BIISS Journal, Volume 12, No 3, 1991, p. 377. “India by the year 2000: An Analytical Study of Growing Indian Hegemony”, DGFI Review, Issue No. 1 (July 1990), p. 90.
Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Naqueebur Rahman, “Bangladesh Inland Waterways – How to Turn Them into Defender’s Paradise”, Bangladesh Army Journal, 13th Issue (December 1988), p. 59.
Major General D. K. Palit, The Lightning Campaign, (New Delhi: Thomson Press Limited, 1972), p.7.
Nuruzzaman, op. cit. p. 376.
Modus Operendi of Unconventional Warfare and Induction of its Training System in Bangladesh Army, op. cit, p. 8.
Tactics A Precis, Defence Services Command and Staff College, p. 26.
Ibid, p. 1.
Draft Operations of War, op. cit. p. 9-27.
Ibid, p. 9-11.
Ibid, p. 3-22.
Brigadier Jiban Kanai Das, psc, Director of Supply and Transport, Army Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment, Interview, 15 September 1998.
Brigadier A T M Zahirul Alam, psc, Director of Military Training, Army Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment, Interview, 17 September 1998.