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Helmet Cam: Difficult Treeline Firefight Near Kharkiv

Published July 20, 2022

Helmet camera video from a firefight between Ukrainian troops from an unknown unit and an unknown number of Russian troops highlights the difficulty of day-time friend or foe marking.


One of the issues that's really been present throughout the war in Ukraine is that day-time friend or foe identification is something modern Soldiers have lost touch with. It doesn't matter if we're on the Ukrainian side of the conflict, or the Russian side. The simple solution is the one we've been seeing throughout all of the combat footage so far. Yellow, Red, Blue, and White tape have been used by both sides of this war for day-time friend or foe identification for the most part, and this really brings up something modern warfare hasn't thought about in a long time.


How do you tell who the enemy is in combat when both sides are wearing gear with the exact same silhouette at a distance? From their helmets to their fatigues and boots, the Russians and Ukrainian for the most part are using similar modern warfighting equipment. As a result, both sides have been forced to use brightly colored tape to identify friendly and enemy forces in every engagement. In the past, this situation wasn't something that was difficult because all sides of conflicts used incredibly different combat uniforms and fighting equipment.


For the past thirty or so years however, wars have largely been fought against extremist factions and rebels who don't wear a uniform at all, and modern warfighting equipment has also for the most part evolved to mirror almost exactly whatever American or British combat forces are using with very few exceptions. This puts the individual Soldier on the ground in a rough spot when he's fighting against other uniformed Soldiers and this video really highlights the problems that causes.


The potential for fratricide in videos like the one above is through the roof. Troops on the deck have to track their friendly forces with high-vis yellow and blue tape, or high-vis white and red tape depending on which side of the conflict they're on and in a life and death situation looking for that little piece of tape might be the difference between walking away from the gunfight alive or leaving the gunfight in a zipped up black bag.


This situation gets even worse at night for the units on both side of the conflict who conduct night fighting operations. When both sides are able to use things like IR strobes and glint tape, how do you readily identify friendly and enemy forces?


These are questions I don't have the answer for. I hope that some war college somewhere is looking at this however and gaming up permanent solutions to the problems caused by fighting largely guerilla forces since the 1980s however.


josh brooks

Published July 20, 2022

Helmet camera video from a firefight between Ukrainian troops from an unknown unit and an unknown number of Russian troops highlights the difficulty of day-time friend or foe marking.


One of the issues that's really been present throughout the war in Ukraine is that day-time friend or foe identification is something modern Soldiers have lost touch with. It doesn't matter if we're on the Ukrainian side of the conflict, or the Russian side. The simple solution is the one we've been seeing throughout all of the combat footage so far. Yellow, Red, Blue, and White tape have been used by both sides of this war for day-time friend or foe identification for the most part, and this really brings up something modern warfare hasn't thought about in a long time.


How do you tell who the enemy is in combat when both sides are wearing gear with the exact same silhouette at a distance? From their helmets to their fatigues and boots, the Russians and Ukrainian for the most part are using similar modern warfighting equipment. As a result, both sides have been forced to use brightly colored tape to identify friendly and enemy forces in every engagement. In the past, this situation wasn't something that was difficult because all sides of conflicts used incredibly different combat uniforms and fighting equipment.


For the past thirty or so years however, wars have largely been fought against extremist factions and rebels who don't wear a uniform at all, and modern warfighting equipment has also for the most part evolved to mirror almost exactly whatever American or British combat forces are using with very few exceptions. This puts the individual Soldier on the ground in a rough spot when he's fighting against other uniformed Soldiers and this video really highlights the problems that causes.


The potential for fratricide in videos like the one above is through the roof. Troops on the deck have to track their friendly forces with high-vis yellow and blue tape, or high-vis white and red tape depending on which side of the conflict they're on and in a life and death situation looking for that little piece of tape might be the difference between walking away from the gunfight alive or leaving the gunfight in a zipped up black bag.


This situation gets even worse at night for the units on both side of the conflict who conduct night fighting operations. When both sides are able to use things like IR strobes and glint tape, how do you readily identify friendly and enemy forces?


These are questions I don't have the answer for. I hope that some war college somewhere is looking at this however and gaming up permanent solutions to the problems caused by fighting largely guerilla forces since the 1980s however.


josh brooks

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