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Canadian Military Journal

LES INTERVENTIONS MILITAIRES EN ZONES URBAINES: PARADIGMES, STRATÉGIES ET ENJEUX, by Tanguy Struye de Swielande (ed.)

Maxime Langlois
Maxime Langlois
Abstract :

Cities, those emblems of civilization and nests of human activity, have always been of crucial importance during wartime. They have been besieged, defended, taken, destroyed, liberated, and occupied. The collectively authored Les interventions militaires en zones urbaines: paradigmes, stratégies et enjeux [military intervention in urban areas: paradigms, strategies and issues], published in 2008 by Bruylant (Brussels), attests that cities are still of strategic importance today. The book, which was overseen by the Réseau multidisciplinaire d’études stratégiques (<www.rmes.be>) and edited by Tanguy Struye de Swielande, explores various aspects and issues with regard to military intervention in urban environments. The work meshes well with the current climate of asymmetric warfare in which combatants1 offset their weaknesses by confronting modern troops in cities. The book is divided into three parts: “Approche générale” [theoretical/historical aspects], “Aspects techniques” [technical aspects], and “Cas d’application” [practical cases].

The chapters in Part 1 give a general overview of armed intervention in urban environments. The city is presented as an unpopular environment among troops, particularly because it weakens the strong and strengthens the weak. Three factors that have an impact on urban operations—compartmentalization, three-dimensionality, and people—are discussed. The section on three‑dimensionality stands out in particular because it aptly describes the challenges that vertical structures and underground spaces pose in a world where three‑dimensional maps are not the norm. It is also pointed out that almost all of today’s combats involve combatants against troops, rather than troops against troops. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that combatants are often loosely organized and difficult for troops to defeat, and troops are, more often than not, tricked by rudimentary tactics. What is more, troops and governments are eager for speedy victories, and this leads to intervention practices that, ironically, make victory in urban areas even more difficult. The authors also stress that cities are growing quickly, and that intervention in urban environments will become routine practice.

Keywords :
LES INTERVENTIONS MILITAIRES EN ZONES URBAINES: PARADIGMES, STRATÉGIES ET ENJEUX, by Tanguy Struye de Swielande (ed.)

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 10:53

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 10:53

Official URL: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/arc/index-eng.asp

Volume 11, Number 1, - 2011

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