Sat, 15 April 2006
Urban warfare is a different style of warfare because an enemy could be hiding anywhere, each house must be cleared out individually, and no powerful weapons may be used out of fear for collateral damage. However, it is disadvantageous to use because of the danger it puts your own civilians in. Despite this, however, many weaker enemies resort to urban warfare in order to combat a powerful enemy. For this reason, the US has developed MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) training.
The Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43) in WWII is a prime example of urban warfare. It was initiated due to Operation Barbarossa, the German push eastward towards Moscow. Stalingrad was a key target due to its symbolic name and its industrial capacity. Initially, the Russians under Zhukov were almost completely pushed out of the city by Paulus's Sixth Army. However, powerful Russian tank, skilled Russian snipers, and masses of Russian soldiers (whose life expectancy was less than 24 hours) fought back and even surrounded the Germans in Operation Uranus. Eventually, after a failed rescue attempt by Manstein's German Army, Paulus surrendered and the Russians won the battle.
Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine
For more information, read:
The Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders: Operation Barbarossa by Geoffrey Regan