- Gebundene Ausgabe: 250 Seiten
- Verlag: Williams-Ford Texas a&M Univer (30. November 2007)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1585446246
- ISBN-13: 978-1585446247
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 1,9 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.353.579 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Danger Close: Tactical Air Controllers in Afghanistan and Iraq (Texas A&m University Military History, Band 113) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. November 2007
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"America had a secret weapon," writes Steve Call of the period immediately following September 11, 2001, as planners contemplated the invasion of Afghanistan. This weapon consisted of small teams of Special Forces operatives trained in close air support (CAS) who, in cooperation with the loose federation of Afghan rebels opposed to the Taliban regime, soon began achieving impressive - and unexpected - military victories over Taliban forces and the al-Qaeda terrorists they had sponsored. The astounding success of CAS tactics coupled with ground operations in Afghanistan soon drew the attention of military decision makers and would eventually factor into the planning for another campaign: Operation Iraqi Freedom. But who, exactly, are these air power experts and what is the function of the TACPs (Tactical Air Control Parties) in which they operate? "Danger Close" provides a fascinating look at a dedicated, courageous, innovative, and often misunderstood and misused group of military professionals. Drawing on the gripping first-hand accounts of their battlefield experiences, Steve Call allows the TACPs to speak for themselves.He accompanies their narratives with informed analysis of the development of CAS strategy, including potentially controversial aspects of the interservice rivalries between the air force and the army which have at times complicated and even obstructed the optimal employment of TACP assets. "Danger Close" makes clear, however, that the systematic coordination of air power and ground forces played an invaluable supporting role in the initial military victories in both Afghanistan and Iraq. This first-ever examination of the intense, life-and-death world of the close air support specialist will introduce readers to a crucial but little-known aspect of contemporary warfare and add a needed chapter in American military history studies.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
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Call makes the common-sense argument that neither air power nor "boots on the ground" win wars, but rather a seamless integration of the two. He uses the experiences of the TACPs on the ground during the initial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to buttress his argument. Short discussions at the beginning and end of the book sum up his points nicely.
I only have a few complaints about this book. While it wasn't a problem for me, the military acronyms come fast and heavy. Readers with less experience reading military documents might struggle at times to understand what is being discussed. The glossary at the end of the book is a big help and should be marked by Kindle users. Secondly, I would have liked to see a further examination of airpower uses in the aftermath of the initial invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. As the Afghan war in particular has entered its tenth year, I would like to hear if the tactics outlined here have changed. Finally, while it was no problem for me, I could understand if some would call this book "war porn" for all the descriptions of large-scale slaughter of opposing forces. My response would be "it's war, that's what happens, and it's hell. Deal."
Overall, this is a good close examination of recent developments in close air support integration. Worth a read by anyone associated with the military or modern military history.
Writing very much from the perspective of the US ALO/TACP community, the author explains the lack of institutional interest in CAS by the USAF (and to a slightly lesser extent, the US Army) prior to 9/11 led to neither service being well prepared to integrate CAS with tactical manoeuvre. His description of organisational, doctrinal and procedural innovations between the start of OEF and the fall of Baghdad is clear and insightful (perhaps less so for the reader without a military background). At the tactical level, his first-hand accounts of the efficiency and effectiveness of US enlisted controllers in both operations demonstrate the fallacy of the old perception that JTACs needed to be both pilots and officers to be safe and effective.
A limitation of the book is that it is written very much from an airman's perspective and is to a large degree focused on telling the stories of the guys at the coal face. Although the author is not a rabid USAF partisan (he is open and forthcoming about USAF institutional shortcomings) his perspective is very much that of an airman and his interest is the relatively narrow one (albeit somewhat important) of getting weapons from aircraft onto targets. I would have liked to have seen more discussion on the challenges of integrating air with artillery, attack aviation, manoeuvre, etc, and some observations on how the ALO network fit into manoeuvre and fires/effects planning. Some more discussion of alternative means of generating this effect (eg, the USMC ANGLICO's or some of the Coalition approaches to training and fostering the JTAC capability) would have been worthwhile, as would some wider discussion of the selection and training of USAF JTACs. While I agree with the author that the rank or service of a JTAC is of little relevance, I think he may underestimate the long term danger of it remaining an `enlisted only' sport. Despite the professional competence of NCOs in this role, without a community of officers who are engaged in CAS and in a position to act as advocates there is a danger that the importance and nuances of this capability will not be properly understood or resourced at the highest levels in the future.
For the reader with little or no background in the subject who is interested in first person accounts by JTACs and gaining a broad understanding of the challenges of supporting land forces with air power, this is an informative and easy to read volume easily worth four stars. If you have a close professional interest in the subject, add another half a star on top of that.