Urban Warfare Capability: A background to the challenges and a call for professional debate

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This paper invites readers to contribute to a professional debate about the capability required for urban operations: do we have it - and do we need it? It starts from an accepted position that urban operations are increasingly likely to explore what that might mean. It examines in some detail the nature of the limitations imposed on military operations by urban terrain, which is particularly important in understanding the dependence on the use of firepower to conduct offensive operations. A historical discussion about changing attitudes towards civilian casualties helps explain why urban operations may be increasingly challenging as well as providing some background for discussion of the puzzling question of why armies have consistently failed to prepare for urban warfare and a remarkably quick to neglect past lessons. These themes are then brought together to argue that that the challenges of such operations, especially the moral challenges civilian casualties, represent both vulnerability and opportunities for Western militaries generally, and Australia in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-30
Number of pages22
JournalAustralian Army Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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