training for convoy operationsIn Iraq, convoy operations became much more effective by having intelligence troops track where IEDs (roadside bombs and mines) and ambushes were happening, applying some math to predict where future attacks would take place, and routing convoys away from the hot spots.

I understand that Operations Research developed in WWII as a way to decrease the losses to trans-Atlantic shipping from German submarines. Convoying was the basic tactic, with increasing refinement as experience was gained, dramatically reducing the losses to Allied shipping. The land convoy operations in Iraq are a modern adaptation of that basic idea.

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

What is remarkable– and truly horrible– is that the lessons of convoying had to be relearned in WWII even though they had been standard practice since the 18th century for both the French and British navies. In the spring of 1942 1.5 million tons of shipping (none of which were in convoys) were lost to U-boat attacks; the Germans lost 1 submarine. Samuel E. Morison called it the "merry massacre". Lighted channel markers helped U-boats enter U.S. ports, and lighted city skylines provided a perfect background to sight targets. Finally, in April the convoy system was once again "discovered". 

Pitt T. Maner III writes:

Remote sensing would seem to be the key. It is a field that has been highly developed for the petroleum industry, agricultural and military assessment. Searching for multi-spectral, magnetic and density anomalies, seeing non-natural linear features, surface soil moisture, reflectance, topography changes, motion sensor technologies, etc. etc. There are all sorts of ways to enhance contrast along a road way.

I really thought they were going to capture Bin Laden when he did a film many years ago with a rock outcrop in the background. There was a regional geology expert called in immediately on that one.

As discussed by Art, here is an article discussing submarine tactics:

"Teaching an old trick to a new dog may hold the key to effective irregular warfare intelligence.

Submarines, as targets, have much in common with current U.S. adversaries such as insurgents, who prefer to blend in with their environments and rely on speed and stealth to conduct attacks. In a September 2009 podcast, the U.S. chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, extended this analogy by comparing the World War II Tenth Fleet's antisubmarine warfare focus with the information operations focus of the recently reactivated U.S. Tenth Fleet. Operational intelligence methods developed over nearly the last 100 years by navies—in particular, the U.S. Navy—to track and to target submarines may be equally applicable to the current fight against insurgents and terrorists in both the physical and information domains. Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) intelligence has both a definable methodology and mindset that is applicable to other types of warfare. This ASW intelligence analytical mentality, applied to irregular warfare (IW), can enhance the effectiveness of U.S. military efforts against high-value persons such as terrorists. "


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