Page 80 - Jackson Journal
P. 80

                  Trace Itallienne SSG Benjamin Battiste
 As Fort Jackson’s Trainees settle in for their eighty-one hour Victory Forge exercise, they prepare a defensive perimeter whenever their unit halt’s its movement. This is
not the first time these young Soldiers have had
to prepare a defense, but by now they accept the tactical premise of the defensive position without question. The unit’s Drill Sergeants will oversee
the Trainees as they create sector sketches showing interlocking fields of fire that provide, when executed properly, 360-degree protection that covers all avenues of approach. From this defensive position, the Trainees rotate off the perimeter to eat and conduct weapons maintenance knowing that this is the way defenses operate, a part of United States military history.
Anyone who has spent time in the military will find this description familiar, as it is the accepted tactical choice and the execution of the defensive perimeter shares almost identical properties, whether it is a light-Infantry squad size patrol base described in the Special Forces Small Unit Tactics Handbook, the platoon patrol bases of the Ranger Handbook, or from the heavier defensive formations of Stryker and Bradley Fighting
Vehicles described in Field Manual 3-21.9, Field Manual 3-21.71, or the older Field Manual 7-7. All these defensive perimeters reveal something when the sectors of fire are plotted from the defensive positions; the formation of acute angles, creating star-like shapes where the sectors overlap. This star shape exists not only on the modern battlefield but was a matter of military philosophy pondered during a time where knights in armor still dominated the battlefield. Italians recognized the defensive strength of this geometric oddity
as they fought off a French invasion beginning
in the mid-fifteenth century. This star patterned defense became so ubiquitous with Italy that the fortifications that took advantage of it were called trace itallienne, or the Italian outline. It is this defensive theory, first embraced in the fifteenth century that still molds the way the United States military conducts defensive tactics today.
A Lesson from History
King Charles VIII led the French invasion of Italy to press his claim on the kingdom of Naples in 1494. France had the advantage in the conflict because they unified both politically and militarily
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