Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tactical Triads

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

The book Patriots by James Wesley Rawles provides a handbook for surviving TEOTWAWKI in story form. Rawles writes as a Christian, and his novel explores the perils and preparations involved in making it through "the coming collapse" of the economy and social structure.

Near the end of the book, he describes a way an insurgent force might organize itself.

Rather than traditional squads and platoons, the Keane Team was organized into something they called "Thomas Triads." These were mini-squads of three guerrillas each. The philosophy behind the triads was that three men was the minimum number that could be combat effective.

A three-member guerrilla team did not present a signature that was easily spotted, except in the most open terrain. A single triad was used for reconnaissance or sabotage patrols. Two to four triads could be combined to conduct an ambush. Three to twelve triads could be combined for a raid.

Ina defensive mode, or in "laager," one member of the triad was on "guard" while the second was on "sleep," and the third was on "support" -- tending to cooking, fetching water, and/or gathering edibles. Every eight hours thye roles rotated. Thus, each triad provided for its own security, and, depending on circumstances, its own sustenance.

The rule of thumb was: if more than five triads had to be combined for an operation, it was verging on conventional warfare, and that immediately following the operation, it was time to displace, disperse, and go back to low-echelon guerrilla tactics. The guerrillas spoke with dread about "going conventional." . . . . 

The origin of Thomas Triad organization was forgotten. Keane explained "It's just what we were taught by another group. I don't know who the 'Mr. Thomas' who dreamed this up was, but it works. . . . " (Page 373)

I've tried Googling "Thomas Triads" and "tactical triads" with no relevant results. If the name or the concept appears anywhere outside Rawles' novel, I'm not aware.

Actually, that's not quite accurate. It seems the triad concept existed as an organizational principle among David's mighty men. I have previously written about "3 Mighty Men, 1 Daring Deed," although at the time, I did not think of the three in terms of tactical triad organization.

Within the list of David's mighty men in II Samuel 23, you find the first three listed and then their daring deed. Then, in subsequent verses we find evidence that the mighty men -- also known as the 30 -- were organized in teams of three.

And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three. Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three. (2Samuel 23:18-19)

The list of David's mighty men actually contains thirty-seven names, which should not present a problem, as David would probably admit worthy candidates into the elite group if a member died or became otherwise unavailable to serve in his respective tactical unit. For example, when David promoted Benaiah to head his personal guard (the Cherethites), someone would have to take his place within the 30 to maintain troop strength.

1 comment:

The Warrior said...

I *knew* this was what you meant when I read your title! One of the concepts that stayed with me the most.