I shamelessly cribbed this from The Angry Staff Officer, Thus guy like I have stated in the past has taken Star Wars references and pop culture and applies it to Army or Military doctrine. Again you can blame my friend "Mac" for this Lol, he turned me onto this guy. I really enjoying reading this stuff.
There’s a common phrase that you’re apt to hear in discussions on Army readiness: “No more Task Force Smiths.” For reference, Task Force Smith
was a rapidly cobbled together unit of infantry and artillery that was
shipped to Korea in the opening phase of the Korean War. Intended to
show the North Koreans that America wasn’t messing around, TF Smith
instead demonstrated that the U.S. Army had completely misread the
resolve of the North Koreans. TF Smith was literally driven over,
suffering over 50% losses against the enemy armor. It was a lesson in
humility – one that the U.S. Army is still struggling with to this day:
how could the Army that defeated Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan in
1945 struggle against a rag-tag bunch of communists five years later?
Simple: the Army had let preparedness slip and thought that the mere
presence of U.S. Soldiers would cause the North Koreans to not attack;
and the North Koreans were not a rag-tag force, but instead
battle-hardened, well-equipped troops who were used to winning. It was a
So what does this have to do with Star Wars?
The Rebel Alliance needs to learn the same lesson that the U.S. Army
was handed in 1950, that good troops cannot overcome poor planning and
even worse resourcing.
In short, no more Task Force Rogue Ones.
In Rogue One, we see a prime example of a basic U.S. Army tactical action: a raid. A raid is defined in ADRP 1-02 Operational Terms and Military Symbols as,
“An operation to temporarily seize an area in order to secure
information, confuse an adversary, capture personnel or equipment, or to
destroy a capability culminating with a planned withdrawal.” The
mission is simple: conduct a tactical raid on the Imperial base of
Scarif to deceive the enemy as to the real point of attack. In this
case, the main offensive action is a special operations penetration into
the Imperial record holdings on Scarif to seize and extract the data
files of the Death Star.
The raid is set off balance at the
outset by the Rebel Alliance’s determination not to support operations
against Scarif because they cannot verify intelligence reports that the
Death Star plans are located on Scarif and that they might hold a secret
to the battle station’s weakness. This leaves the raiding party without
conventional support, such as tactical lift and close air support.
However, the commander of a special operations detachment, Captain
Cassian Andor, volunteers his detachment to Jyn Erso for the mission.
This force is composed of light infantry and numbers approximately 20-30
troopers. Armed with mainly light weaponry, they are capable of swift
movement, infiltration, and demolitions. However, with no crew-served
weapons and very few anti-armor guided munitions, they are not equipped
for sustained conventional battle. Cassian directs his men to take
anything “that isn’t tied down” to augment their meager supplies.
Critical to their operation are demolitions charges, which they are able
Jyn and Cassian commandeer a captured
Imperial shuttle and initiate movement to the line of departure. While
in transit, Jyn and Cassian develop their tentative plan: the two of
them accompanied by a strategic analysis droid named K-2SO will
infiltrate the records facility and attempt to steal the plans to send
to the Rebel Alliance. Taking a droid that essentially fulfils staff
officer functions might seem strange, but they went to war with the
droid they had, not the droid they wanted. The special operations
detachment will fan out in small teams around Scarif and set demolitions
charges at multiple sites to confuse the enemy as to the whereabouts of
the real attack. However, the leaders of the raid fail to plan any
further past this point.
Jyn gives the force a quick mission
brief that lays out the course of action as, essentially, they will
attack until they meet the next obstacle, and then adapt and overcome
it. This is the next failing of the task force – they fail to complete a
comprehensive mission brief that includes an objective rally point,
actions on contact, evacuation of casualties, priority of reports,
accountability of personnel, a map reconnaissance, rehearsals, actions
on the objective, and task organization of the detachment into assault,
support, and security elements. This failure to plan places the task
force – Task Force Rogue One – at a severe disadvantage as they are
heavily outnumbered against a combined arms garrison force.
Once the shuttle lands on Scarif at
the de facto objective rally point (ORP), the infiltration team seizes
Imperial officer uniforms and enter the data archives center using
deception. The special operations teams exfiltrate the shuttle, leaving a
small security detachment for the ORP and shuttle. No leader’s
reconnaissance is conducted and there are no fallback positions
identified for the teams. As each team fans out to their objectives,
movement is tactical and each team is prepared for enemy contact. The
teams keep local security and communications with the infiltration team.
Once at each objective, the teams isolate the sites by infiltration and
deception, neutralizing enemy guards at each site without alerting the
entire garrison. Demolitions charges are placed at installations all
around the Imperial facility, awaiting the order to detonate. However,
although each team falls back to a covered position, they do not
establish support by fire positions or identify exfiltration routes back
by to the ORP.
Once inside the archives facility,
Cassian gives the order to detonate the charges, making the raid
kinetic. Rather than detonate the charges and fall back, each team
remains in place to engage the garrison troops in order to make the raid
seem larger than it is. However, due to their lack of casualty
producing weapons and an exfiltration plan, it turns into a suicide
mission. Imperial Stormtroopers mass their firepower on the special
operations teams, pinning each one in place. Rebel firepower is
diminished further when Rebel troops tend to their wounded rather than
provide accurate cover fire. Having gained local fire superiority, the
Imperials deploy heavy armor onto the Rebel flanks, cutting off lines of
escape into the more covered jungle areas. The Rebel light fighters are
quickly broken up into smaller, more vulnerable groups that attempt to
head away from the armor, which gives the AT-ACT gunners direct fire
capabilities against them. The Imperial armor herds the Rebels towards
the beaches on the islands that make up Scarif’s topography. In the
open, on poor footing, the Rebels are easy targets for the armor and
Disaster is momentarily avoided by
close air support that comes from the few Rebel fighters that manage to
enter the planet’s shield defense system before it is closed. The Rebel
spacecraft quickly destroy the Imperial armor and Rebel transports land
additional reinforcements. However, with no overall command and control
of the operation, the task force is again overwhelmed, segmented, and
destroyed in detail by Imperial Storm and Death Troopers. Indeed, with
no overall command and control of the various forces, the raid was
doomed to total failure from the outset. Luckily, the infiltration force
manages to obtain the data and transmit it to the Rebel fleet, just
before the Imperial base on Scarif is destroyed by the Death Star.
Operationally, the raid is a success
since the end state was achieved, i.e., acquiring the Death Star plans.
However, the Rebels sacrificed the entire task force – and a significant
portion of their fleet – in exchange for a small shot at obtaining the
Death Star plans. Tactically, the raid was a failure. Had the task force
adhered to the U.S. Army’s doctrinal outlines for conducting a raid,
they would have been able to at least harbor some of their badly-needed
forces for the future. As it was, Task Force Rogue One met only five out
of the ten performance measures that the U.S. Army uses to evaluate a
Rebel Intelligence bears no small part
of the blame for the destruction of Task Force Rogue One for failing to
properly vet their sources. Had Jyn been an accepted member of the
intelligence community, Mon Mothma would have been able to rally the
Rebel Alliance around the mission and give it the support that it
needed. Hung out to dry, Task Force Rogue One stands as an example of
the limits of operating by group consensus as a military organization
and a warning against poor planning measures.
No more Task Force Rogue Ones.