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January 07, 2008

More On Iranian Speedboats: A Heartbeat" Away From Being Blown To Hell

Not sure if this snippet was mentioned in Dave's post.

he standoff between three U.S. Navy ships and five Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz Sunday was one step away from turning violent.

"They were a heartbeat from being blown up," a Pentagon official, speaking of the Iranians, told ABC News.

According to the Navy intelligence report on the incident, the Iranians radioed, "I am coming at you. You will blow up in a couple of minutes."

The Navy ships radioed back, presumably transmitting a warning. All three ships also engaged in "evasive action," and according to senior Pentagon officials, the "prepare-to-fire" order had been given and the gun stations manned.

Pentagon officials today expressed surprise the Navy ships allowed at least one of the Iranian speedboats to get so close -- just 200 yards away -- without firing.

From dri, Iran's swarming tactics explained. A bit obvious, mostly decent reading.

Revolutionary Shiite values such as stoic endurance and devotion to the cause are granted equal, if not superior, status to the traditional military principles of mission accomplishment and the achievement of a military objective. According to this doctrine, the mere act of fighting, exerting maximum effort, and fulfilling one’s religious (and national) duty to the fullest is an end in itself. The result or outcome is of secondary importance. For adherents, martyrdom is a welcome prospect. A readiness to die, however, is not considered a substitute for lethality and effectiveness. On the contrary, the Iranian concept of Alavi/Ashurai warfare relies not just on spiritual commitment, but also on high-tech weaponry and innovative tactics—a combination employed to great effect on the ground in southern Lebanon by Iran’s protege, the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah, in its war with Israel this summer.

The most prominent expression of this doctrine was a series of naval battles with the U.S. Navy in April 1988. These took place during the final phases of the Iran-Iraq War, when hopelessly outclassed Iranian forces battled U.S. naval units in the Persian Gulf. Iran incurred heavy losses in the process. The experience taught Iran that large naval vessels are vulnerable to air and missile attacks, confirmed the efficacy of small boat operations, and spurred interest in missile-armed fast-attack craft. It also allowed Iran to expand the use of swarming tactics that form the foundation of its current approach to asymmetric naval warfare.

Naval Swarming Tactics

Swarming tactics are not new; they have been practiced by land armies for thousands of years. Such tactics require light, mobile forces with substantial striking power, capable of rapidly concentrating to attack an enemy from multiple directions and then rapidly dispersing.

Iranian naval swarming tactics focus on surprising and isolating the enemy’s forces and preventing their reinforcement or resupply, thereby shattering the enemy’s morale and will to fight. Iran has practiced both mass and dispersed swarming tactics. The former employs mass formations of hundreds of lightly armed and agile small boats that set off from different bases, then converge from different directions to attack a target or group of targets. The latter uses a small number of highly agile missile or torpedo attack craft that set off on their own, from geographically dispersed and concealed locations, and then converge to attack a single target or set of targets (such as a tanker convoy). The dispersed swarming tactic is much more difficult to detect and repel because the attacker never operates in mass formations.


...

In wartime, Iranian naval forces would seek to close the Strait of Hormuz and destroy enemy forces bottled up in the Persian Gulf; therefore speed and surprise would be key. Iranian naval forces would seek to identify and attack the enemy’s centers of gravity as quickly as possible and inflict maximum losses before contact with subordinate units were lost as a result of enemy counterattacks. Geography is Iran’s ally. Because of the proximity of major shipping routes to the country’s largely mountainous 2,000-kilometer coastline, Iranian naval elements can sortie from their bases and attack enemy ships with little advance warning. Meanwhile, shore-based antiship missiles can engage targets almost anywhere in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.


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posted by Ace at 05:05 PM

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