As we come up to August 8th and the anniversary of the battle of Amiens, perhaps I should remind my reader that I have blogged more than once before about how similar in many respects the Afghan War is to WW1.
The current ‘Black Prince’ offensive reinforces that for me. The slow progress made after several days, ‘the bite and hold’ tactics, all reinforce the similarity. Sadly so too does the steady attrition of our constant patrolling.
Operation ‘Black Adder’ might have been more appropriate.
Perhaps another clear similarity is to see in the news reports how the equipment of the soldier has changed over our years of involvement. In many ways we have been far slower to adapt to the new challenging circumstances if this new type of war than our predecessors were in WW1. But never the less just looking at the kit our soldiers are wearing and using compared to when they were deployed in 2003 shows how we have adapted over the years. Just like the changes in the Tommy’s kit between 1914 and 1918. In just one example, 1914 began with the Lee-Enfield, regimented lines and horses. 1918 ended with the Lewis gun, hand grenades and infiltration; supported by tanks. 2003 began with the ‘Snatch’ Land Rover, whilst 2010 is ending with ‘Cougars’, ‘Ridgebacks’ and’ Mastiffs’ (mine protected vehicles) .
Hopefully we now seem to have another similarity; a clear war aim. In 14-18 the aim was finally resolved by Wilson’s (admittedly modified) 14 Points. There are some who criticised Cameron for hinting that our fighting ground forces would be out by 2014-15, but I think for the first time we were being given an aim, an objective to work towards. Namely that Afghanistan should be stable and capable enough to defend itself by 2014. For perhaps the first time we have been given a yardstick to judge our effort by.