Thomas Wictor

Fighting to the death means you lose

Fighting to the death means you lose

A breathless piece by the Associated Press would have you believe that the Islamic State is winning by fighting to the death. I was very glad to see this, because it means that the Islamic State is militarily stupid and will lose much faster than I had anticipated. History proves that throwing away your life in a melodramatic gesture of machismo and “honor” guarantees your defeat.

Here’s the AP article.

A secret to IS success: Shock troops who fight to the death

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bearded and wearing bright blue bandanas, the Islamic State group’s “special forces” unit gathered around their commander just before they attacked the central Syrian town of al-Sukhna. “Victory or martyrdom,” they screamed, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat.


The IS calls them “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves.” The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat. They are credited with many of the group’s stunning battlefield successes — including the capture of al-Sukhna in May after the scene shown in an online video released by the group.

“They cause chaos and then their main ground offensive begins,” said Redur Khalil, spokesman of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which have taken the lead in a string of military successes against the IS in Syria.

The piece comes complete with a fake Islamic State photo.


The weapon is the American BGM-71 TOW (tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) antitank missile. When the missile is fired, fine copper wire spools out behind it, connecting the munition to the launcher. The operator keeps the optical sensor on a flare mounted on the rear of the missile, and the trajectory is automatically corrected until the munition hits the target.

To make the photo, the Islamic State simply superimposed the flame and missile from an actual TOW launch.


I didn’t even have to resize the images. They appear as I downloaded them, which means the Islamic State propagandist undoubtedly used the photo above.


The red arrows show where the guy went crazy with the “clone” tool, replicating the surroundings. Badly. He was trying to hide things. Also, there’s no smoke in the Islamic State photo. It’s phony.

Fighting to the death

Two of the best examples of how fighting to the death is a losing proposition are Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Hitler ordered his men to hold all ground at all cost. As a result, entire armies were destroyed. By the end of the war, the Germans were reduced to this.



The Japanese created suicide aircraft, suicide submarines, suicide speedboats, suicide frogmen, and suicide bombers.

Rather than surrender, they ran at emplaced machine guns until they were all dead.

Not only did Japan lose the war, the Allies didn’t bother to try and take the Japanese prisoner. Suicide tactics strengthened the resolve of the enemy. This is what always happens. If you behave like an animal, the person you’re fighting will have no qualms about exterminating you.

The Islamic State is making an elementary error: It’s squandering the lives of its best fighters. The Germans of World War I created the first special-forces units.


They were organized into assault detachments, platoons, companies, battalions, regiments, and finally divisions. The term “shock troop” was invented by the commander of the German flamethrower regiment in World War I. These men prided themselves on having “contempt for death.”

As a result, they died in massive numbers. In fact so many of them were killed that the Germans had to start drafting fourteen-year-olds. Yet Germany still lost the war.

The Italians of World War I created the arditi or “bold ones,” assault troops whose symbol was the death’s head wearing a wreath and clenching a dagger between its teeth.


They were so careless with their own lives that a German soldier serving on the Italian front called it the “Clown Apocalypse.”

In a last-ditch effort to save the country in World War I, the Russians created Death Battalions.


Highly trained and armed with the best weapons, they were expected to defeat the enemy by dying. Instead, they suffered such staggering casualties that they mutinied and simply refused to fight.

Although the Republic of China never made it to the battlefields of World War I, it created Dare to Die Detachments that fought warlords throughout the country. These men were often armed with giant swords, pistols, and hand grenades.


They were sent on hopeless missions, their pointless deaths meant to inspire all the other soldiers to fight just as fearlessly.

It never works.

When you hear that your best-trained, most skilled, and most heavily armed comrades have all been killed, it inspires you to get the hell out. Not only that, a dead fighter can’t impart his experience to new recruits. The deaths of highly disciplined, fanatically devoted warriors have a cumulative effect. Your force becomes weaker, not stronger.


Every year, the United States and India have joint military exercises. Listen to what the American Green Beret says at 2:19.

Twenty-five years of combat experience is priceless. The Green Berets learned things from the Indians that they’d never even considered.

“In some ways, [Indian tactics] are better than ours,” says the American. What would he have learned from dead Islamic State Inghemasiyoun? Nothing, because the Islamic State is proudly killing its best men.


Look at the recent battles that the Islamic State suicide shock troops have fought.

Major General Hashem Sitayi, the Peshmerga commander in Sinjar, said on Tuesday intense clashes erupted in Sinjar when ISIS militants launched strings of attacks against Kurdish forces. He claimed that Peshmerga backed by US-led coalition airstrikes managed to repel the Islamic extremists, but some fighting still continued and an unknown number of Peshmerga had been injured.

“ISIS militants initiated their attacks by sending suicide bombers and vehicles rigged with explosives toward Peshmerga positions,” he said, adding that the vehicles were blasted by entrenched Kurdish forces and the suicide bombers were killed before they could carry out their attack.

The future belongs to those who fight for life, not death.

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