HONOLULU: As Seoul residents awaken to the whoomp, whoomp of the first North Korean shells and air raid sirens wail, millions pour from their apartments to the street, desperate for the shelter of the city’s 1,500 miles of deep tunnels.
Some stream to the city’s rivers, hoping to head south.
North Korean special operations troops, of course, have already mined some of the tunnels to create havoc. Others have earlier swept into the tunnels to prepare ambushes and establish communications throughout the city.
Relatively untrained in tunnel warfare and stripped of their usual advantages of communications, navigation and sensors because radio waves can’t penetrate the depth and length of the tunnels, South Korean and American troops are hamstrung as well by the huge numbers of civilians, whom the North Koreans are all too happy to shoot through when needed.
Those are just some of the challenges the US and its allies could face should war come with North Korea or China in one of Asia’s gigantic megacities like Seoul. Currently, there are no large-scale tunnel training facilities in the US, Most urban training facilities are fairly small, designed to improve troops’ tactical skill, not give them and their commanders lessons in how to navigate, communicate, command and fight in a megacity.
But the larger problem of how to fight and win in and around the world’s megacities is a fundamental challenge to US forces, whose doctrine has long been to surround, isolate and avoid large cities, Lt. Gen. Michael Bills, Joint Forces Korea Chief of Staff, told AUSA’s LANPAC conference Wednesday. It’s a crucial challenge for multi-domain operations because information, cyber and electronic warfare will be central to managing the fight.
(NOTE- The Army no longer refers to multi-domain battle, Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, head of Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), told the LANPAC conference on Tuesday, The new term is “more inclusive,” he said. Other speakers noted battle implies kinetics, death and destruction, while multi-domain operations may or may not involve kinetics.)
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