Rejecting the Urban Fight: The Psychology of Implausibility

Rejecting the Urban Fight: The Psychology of Implausibility
AP Photo/Aaron Favila

The previous blog in this series described dissonant understandings of urban warfare, emphasising how they are manifest in the gap between the requirements of urban battle and capability policy.  Across many professional armies and at least 30 years there is a pattern of theoretical, doctrinal and senior officer acknowledgement of a growing urban challenge which has translated to action in Special Forces equipment, and in some armies, training.

Yet, except in Israel, almost nowhere has there been more than token investment in capabilities to address the known challenges of a large-scale urban fight such as well-protected engineering equipment and protected direct fire systems, obscurants and breaching munitions. This can only rationally be explained by professional armies assigning a relatively low risk to large urban battle – arguably because they consider it ‘implausible' – which as we shall see, is better understood as a failure of visualisation, not calculation. 

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