Interesting . . . ISIL is using historical German combat doctrine

The Daily Mail reports:

Lone wolf jihadis operating in Europe are following a doctrine of 19th century warfare in which they are given a deadline and a target – then sent to attack it by any means necessary.

Invoking the Germany Army’s historical strategy of Auftragstaktik, the policy helps ISIS carry out attacks abroad when its chain of command is restricted by Western intelligence agencies.

. . .

The doctrine was first developed in the early 19th century in Prussia in response to the state’s crushing defeat against Napoleon.

This new theory of war – which gave troops the skills to respond to rapidly changing circumstances in the heat of battle – was then refined by general Carl von Clausewitz.

Later fellow Prussian general Moltke the Elder further tweaked his theory, ushering in a new way of commanding modern-day armies.

Today, similar tactics form a crucial component of the U.S. and UK armies military training.

The February ISIS article … cited a historical German infantry manual from 1908 as its inspiration.

The soldiers’ manual stated: ‘There is nothing more important than educating the soldier to think and act for himself.

‘Autonomy and his sense of honor push him to do his duty even when it is not in front of his superior.’

According to, this style of warfare – known in the U.S. as mission-type tactics – translates to: ‘Here is your target, here are your assets, go get it done.’

This, ISIS claimed, allowed its cells to inflict terror in Europe with ‘complete tactical autonomy’ and leaves little evidence that can link back to their commanders.

There’s more at the link.

This isn’t surprising, of course:  many ISIL leaders were trained in the Iraqi Army (some even at US schools after the occupation of that country) before defecting to the terrorists.  They would be familiar with classical military terminology and tactics.  Nevertheless, if they’re passing on such training to ordinary jihadis, that could pose a serious problem.  Most terrorists are, frankly, dumbasses.  They’re not smart – they’re fanatics . . . but educated, trained fanatics could be a whole new ball game.



  1. This is an excellent argument against "nation building" – you're likely training your future adversary

  2. Scary indeed. However, the ability to pass on training is not inherent or common. Likely, a percentage is lost each iteration of training. Best targets then, would be the current trainers.

  3. If our Presidents had followed this doctrine at the dawn of the Vietnam and Middle East wars…
    Call the Pentagon, tell them what you need done and to call back when you've done it.
    Then LET THEM DO IT.

  4. Isis / Al Queda moved to the franchise model a while ago. Or lone wolves. We keep on killing the poorly performing, and they do learn from their mistakes. Twin towers did not fall on their first attempts. Lots of attempts, most seem to fail that we never hear about, and a few they succeed.

    And with the internet it spreads the knowledge learned even faster.

    In the west since 9-11 I have been surprised at how few deaths go to terrorism there have been. My gut feeling is a lot of luck has happened.

  5. Not to worry, Madame Merkel and her henchmen are staying the course, full speed ahead and damn the critics, many more millions of Muslims must be imported into Europe. Victims of terror attacks are collateral damage. If you object, you are racist and a Nazi.

    Only a few days ago, an unemployed 28-year old German who had posted on Facebook that he wanted to see Merkel subjected to a public stoning was sentenced to a 2000 euro fine.

    Meanwhile, hundreds and hundreds of Turkish-Germans and Arab-Germans post endless screeds of hatred also on Facebook but somehow they are never prosecuted.

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