Index Home About Blog
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
From: "John W. Schaefer" <>
Subject: Re: Syrian attack on Mt. Hermon Israeli Listening Posts?
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 16:42:27 GMT

>From Robert <> wrote:

>(...) the Syrians have initiated
>the largest movement of troops since the '73 war.  The movement is on the
>northern side of the strategic Mt. Hermon, the northern boundary of
>Israels Golan Heights.  The reports I've seen say the units in the Syrian
>forward deployment include commando and Engineering units.

>(...) how would you defend
>these very isolated and small, though very well fortified installations.

Tradition remains a valid guide: 

       plenty of mines of various types
       plenty of intrusion sensing and target acquisition/fire direction
       plenty of defensive artillery with 100% coverage
       plenty of AA with 100% coverage
       plenty of ammunition
       plenty of redundancy in all systems
       intelligent officers and experienced sergeants
       voluntary duty, limited to combat-proven individuals
       esprit de corps
       all necessary support services (comfort, food, rotation, medevac, 
          etc.) for maintenance of morale
       internal security
       365/24 availability of all defensive systems at full intensity by 
          means of sufficient manning and training, rather than a system
          that goes to peak readiness in response to alarms, to prevent
          the potential attacker from teasing the alarm system to wear
          out the defenders and observe their alarm-response procedures

>Certainly close air support would be primary- but I'd think that would
>become very costly quickly; the terrain is extremely rugged and you would
>have to get real close and expose your aircraft to the various shoulder
>fired SAMs the Syrians have to do much good.  Besides, the weather on Mt.
>Hermon is not at all good (shrouded in clouds, rainy, snowy) and getting
>worse this time of year.

I wouldn't think close air support would be suitable. Artillery is much
cheaper, and these positions lend themselves to pre-targeting. Artillery
can operate in weather far worse than tac bombers, and can deliver more
tonnage more quickly if it is ready. Artillery's only major limitation 
is with respect to very heavy ordnance, such as large napalm delivery
or fuel shockwave devices.

>I'd suspect the attack would be by helicopter born and ground assault

I would think that getting choppers too close to a defensive position with
lookdown radar/optical/acoustical capability, distributed radar/optical/
acoustical sensors on the overflown terrain, and unlimited AA weapons,
might be rather unpleasant for the chopper folks.

I would think the attack might be done in a snow or rain storm, with heavy 
disruption/blocking of defensive sensing, followed by heavy use of ground-
plowing mine-removal ordnance, followed by crawling engineer commandos
to try to stay under the shrapnel and blast from the incoming shells. The
attackers would surely have a huge casualty rate and thereby no way to
maintain unit command and control, and problems with individual morale 
and communications. It doesn't sound like an easy attack to me.

Another possible component would be parachute/paraglider arrivals, again 
in rain or snow. This would require increased exposure of defenders to man 
direct-fire weapons, thus exposing them to incoming artillery effects. 
Again, not an easy job for the attackers--minimal odds of surviving to
even land, no communications, no retreat, no medevac, no place to
assenble and operate as a unit etc.

>Because of political considerations- a preemptive attack on the massing
>troops is NOT the answer.  (Well, it is the answer- but not a feasible

The Israelis are notably creative about political considerations. Some
commentators have suggested that some of the cruise missles recently fired 
into Iraq took out IRBM sites/mobiles and supporting chemical/biological
ordnance facilities that were being targeted on Israel--the Israelis
having suggested to Clinton that if he chose not to take advantage of 
their request for help, while similtaneously scoring political points for
himself, they would do their job themselves, if need be with nukes.

Bad things regularly happen to forces that attack Israeli Lebanon from 
Syrian Lebanon.

I wouldn't rule out something adverse happening to a force that had been
identified as having an anti-Hernon mission, but only after public
warnings so that Israel has a plausible claim of self-defense. If Israel 
starts making international noise about such forces gathering in Syria 
for such purposes, I would suggest that those forces should keep their 
heads down.

                                      John Schaefer

Index Home About Blog