Tactical Tunnel Considerations

By Tom McDermott February 13, 2019

Click the image to access the aide memoire on fighting in tunnels

Click the image to access the aide memoire on fighting in tunnels

Most Cove users will be aware that Iraqi and coalition forces have been involved in fierce battles against Daesh fighters in the city of Mosul in Iraq.  One of the stand-out trends of this fight has been the use of tunnels by ISlamic State forces to move within, below, and between built up areas. Our allies at the US Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group recently shared this 2 page aide memoire provided by those fighting in tunnels in Mosul.  It gives an overview, tactical considerations and a short classification system for subterranean structures. Take a look at the aide-memoire (or click on the image above), and then consider the following questions:

  • If you were forced to fight in cave systems or tunnels, how would you have to change your TTPs?
  • What would be the greatest challenges of fighting in tunnels?  Finding the enemy? CASEVAC?
  • What extra resources and equipment would you need if you had to fight in and around tunnel systems?  Are these available?  If not, how would you procure them?
  • How would you train your team for this challenge?



Tom McDermott

Tom McDermott is a serving Australian Army Officer and a student of strategy and military ethics. You can follow him on Twitter via the handle @helmandproject.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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