« "Fallen Fruit" by Richard Sale | Main | "Aux Armes Les Citoyens!" »

13 July 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The name of the German suicide bomber squad was "Sonderkommando Elbe", they flew suicide missions against USAAF bombers and a few bridges in April 1945.


Keng is a shepherd's village hanging off a mountainside not far from Mashad. Posters of young men who died in the Iran Iraq war can still be seen, tho faded and tattered, on the doors of what one supposes were their homes.


Because of the greater use of VBIEDs, I believe water obstacles will be increasingly used - bridges, canals, creeks, small and large rivers, lakes as geographic features separating combatants. Currently bridges to Baghdad are used as key choke points to screen refuges for example.

vouch for the stories, but they certain

Colonel, Patrick Bahzad,

Stories like that certainly made the rounds in (west) German
newspapers at the time. Of course the paper may simply have
picked up Viet Minh propaganda, trying to portray themselves
as superhuman, or it may have been anti-communist propaganda,
trying to portray them as crazy, or it may have been true.
The article mentioned 1400 volunteers, with explosives and
metal strapped to their bodies, ripping thru the barbed wire.
As for Stratfor I don't know anything about it, it was the
thing I googled. I never heard of the Viet Cong doing
anything like that, but that was a decade later. So, I cant
vouch for the truth, but it certainly was reported.



Come up with a shorter moniker. I think all that business about VM suicide sappers is just someone's hokum. IO operations are not a new thing. VC sappers would approach US and SVN entrenchments to place satchel charges on the wire. They did that under the covering fire of their comrades and were not looking to die as the jihadis in the ME are today. What the VC sappers did was extremely dangerous but not suicidal. pl



There were German pilot survivors of ramming attacks by Sonderkommando Elbe. the pilots had parachutes. This doesn't sound like suicide. pl

Patrick Bahzad


Your information about German pilots is incorrect and so is Stratfor's. I've personally worked on the concept of "suicide bombing" since the early 1990s and I know the difference between a genuine "suicide attack" the likes of which we're witnessing in Iraq today, with VBIEDs or even explosive belts, and what military all over the world know as "suicide missions". These are two completely different things and some of the historic examples given as comparisons qualify as the second, not the first.

Regarding the German "Sonderkommando Elbe", aka "Rammjäger", they NEVER flew any suicide attack in the sense of a 0 % chance of survival like the Japanese Kamikaze did. The Luftwaffe unit had 300 pilots in total and only flew ONE combat mission against a US bomber fleet in April 1945.

The tactics they trained for and used (known as "Taran" aircraft assault in the air) allowed for the pilots to jump out of their plane with their parachute after or just before collision with target (that was the theory anyway). The casualties the Germans suffered during that mission were actually mostly inflicted through US machine gun crews who shot at the pilots and their parachutes.

Check your sources better !

Patrick Bahzad


When we're talking about modern day "suicide attacks", there are certainly a number of historic comparisons that could be made, the Nizari Ismaili from Alamut and their Syrian counterparts from the "Old Man of the Mountain" certainly come to mind, but they are a totally different thing from a military/security point of view. There are many examples people willing and training to carry out "suicide missions", i.e. missions with a chance of return close to zero.

It is not a specialty of the Middle-East, that is why I would resent the implications of only mentioning the Hashashins as predecessors of today's suicide bombers, which is what Stratfor does, as if they were implying there is something in ME culture that fosters the growth of "suicide bombings". Well there isn't, or no more than in other cultures having a "martyr" tradition, including the Christian world. I could give you plenty of examples in the European Christian world or European antiquity that would be just as relevant as the 13th century Nizaris.

Patrick Bahzad

That is incorrect.

The LTTE started using "suicide attacks" in the early 1990s, with a first but singular attack already perpetrated in 1987.

The place of birth of the "suicide bombings" is Lebanon in the early 1980s, not Sri Lanka.

Patrick Bahzad

Yup !

Patrick Bahzad


"Army of the Caliphate" operates as a separate command/entity from the regional emirs and their small light infantry forces. This serves several purposes: 1. Keep a "Pretorian guard" at the ready for anything the leadership might need it for, including quelling internal dissent, 2. Train and keep a reserve of hardcore fighters as a mobile reserve that can be dispatched in numbers in places of strategic value to the Caliphate (in case of an attack against Raqqa and Mosul) and 3. (last but not least) keep an eye on the foreign jihadis involved in ISIS, and in particular on charismatic Abu Omar al-Shishani, who is resented as a potential threat to the all Iraqi top leadership of ISIS.
This is also the reason the 1 000 Anbaris you're mentioning are still under Shishani's command, to make sure loyalties among "Army of the Caliphate" would be split if push comes to shove.

Regarding operational aspects, it's difficult to state anything with certainty, but the emerging picture is that these troops are used independently from local emirs and remain under central IS command, even when they take part in offensive actions. I don't think there is enough human quality material in the regional/local units to make for their own Spec Ops forces. Besides, there is no need for it.

William R. Cumming

P.L. and ALL: Has any geographic area ever adopted SHARIA LAW without first being the subject of military conquest?


You're both right.

I could consult my books for more details, but I don't need to since the Wiki entriies on the Sonderkommando Elbe as well as on the perhaps more relevant Messerschmidt Me 328 and especially the Fiseler Fi 103R Reichenberg (manned V1) are clear enough in that regard.


"Sonderkommando literally means "special command", and Elbe is one of the main rivers in Germany. While the Luftwaffe had a ready supply of airplanes at this point in the war; however, well-trained pilots and fuel were two components in short supply. Despite the grim prospects of surviving such a mission, the unit was not a true "suicide unit" as pilots were expected to attempt a bail out just before or subsequently after colliding with the Allied aircraft. This is quite unlike the Japanese kamikaze attacks against Allied ships in the Pacific Theatre ... with the full intention to crash the aircraft and sacrifice the pilot at the intended target. "


"The Leonidas Squadron, part of KG 200, had been set up as a suicide squadron. Volunteers were required to sign a declaration which said, "I hereby voluntarily apply to be enrolled in the suicide group as part of a human glider-bomb. I fully understand that employment in this capacity will entail my own death."

When Werner Baumbach assumed command of KG 200 in October 1944, he shelved the Reichenberg in favour of the Mistel project. He and Speer eventually met with Hitler on 15 March 1945 and managed to convince him that suicide missions were not part of the German warrior tradition, and later that day Baumbach ordered the Reichenberg unit to be disbanded."


The conversion of the Volga Bulgars, the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia and sub saharan Africa, the conversion of 3/4(Chagatai, Ilkhanate, Kipchak) wings of the Mongol empire to Islam within 2 generations of Genghis Khan's death

alba etie

Is there any sign that Baghdad is trying to include the Sunni tribes in national Iraqi governance ? Doesn't Iraq really need an inclusive national government to decisively defeat al Baghadi ?

alba etie

D White
This is very true - our Southern history is replete with contradictions. The North can never understand these contradictions-

alba etie

What is your view on the Iranian Nuclear Deal ?If the deal comes to fruition will it have an impact on the strategic calculus of defeating Daesh ?


Geographic areas rarely change law systems or religion without being subject to a military conquest


It would be interesting to learn more about the current suicide bombers. What percentage are they willing participants? Are they handcuffed to the steering wheel? Is the detonator remotely activated by someone else or is it by the driver? Are their families held hostage or are they foreign fodder? Have any been captured or failed to execute? I haven't seen publicity about families praising their relatives in Iraq for suicide runs. Unwitting children, mentally impaired, and others innocents can and are strapped with a vest willing or not for example. I just wonder what percentage are true believers and how many there are (100S, 1000S, 10,000)? These questions might seem academic, but they aren't. After a decade and a half of war we still are asking very simple questions about our enemies.


Thanks for the additional information.

Now, could u provide more information regarding the selection, training, deployment, and command and control of ISIS's suicide commandos dubbed the "Inghemasiyoun"?

Additionally, what is the connection between the "Army of the Caliphate" and the "Inghemasiyoun"?


I always thought Atticus Finch, in book and movie, very much a real man. Loyal to his community and to justice and reason.

In movie terms, very much the perfect role for Gregory Peck, who regularly played characters who deprecate violent solutions in spite of provocation and deliberately refuse gratuitous opportunities to prove themselves "real men." (The studio's first choice for the role was Rock Hudson, a depressing thought.)

I understand that in the "new" book, Finch is a raving bigot of whom his daughter is ashamed. It may well be that this is closer to the truth of Ms. Lee's life -- another depressing thought.



I should have written "a real human being." My comment had nothing to do with masculinity although I think both characters have plenty of that. pl



It is unwise to underestimate your enemy based on assumptions of how they think. IMO there is no coercion in this other than in the process of recruitment. pl


The distinctive elements in the Tamil Tiger suicide attacks are these:

1. Their numbers: well over 300
2. A majority - or close to it were women
3. They were Hindu Tamil nationalists - having nothing to do with Islam, arcane 7th century Islamic texts discovered by Wood and the Princeton guy, or even religious fanatics of the Hindu variety

I do not know whether the Sinhalese government in Colombo used the term: VEDIC FASCISM


One of the products we make is a suicide vest removal kit for robots designed to remove the vest but not injure the person strapped into it. This is because children, unwitting and coerced persons are sometimes forced to wear them. And sometimes people just change their minds.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad