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Posted on Oct 4, 2007 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 020 – Urban Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

"The worst policy is to attack cities.  Attack cities only when there is no alternative."


That Sun Tzu, who ever he really was, was certainly a smart guy.  As he alludes to, fighting in urban areas is nasty business.  Unfortunately, there seem to be fewer and fewer alternatives for now and into the near future.  In a world where urbanization is on the rise and determined enemies seek to negate our military superiority by drawing us into close quarters, the choice may already be made for us.

In the next several articles, we will focus on urban operations aka known as fighting in cities and built up areas.  We will start this month with an overview of urban operations.  We will follow with subsequent articles on intelligence preparation of the battlefield, offensive operations and defensive operations.  Along the way, we hope to provide you some ‘nuggets’ that will assist you in fighting your opponent in an urban environment.




Here is a pretty simple definition:  Urban operations are conducted in areas where man made construction or high population density dominates the environment.  An urban operation may include both of these characteristics or in some cases only include man made construction when a population has fled the area.  We categorize urban operations into the following categories:

Village – Starting population of 3,000 or less
Town – Starting population of 3,000 to 100,000 (not part of a major urban complex)
City – Starting population of over 100,000 to 1 million
Metropolis – Starting population of over 1 million to 10 million
Megalopolis (yes, this is a word) – Starting population of 10 million and over

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