What it Feels Like to be Effectively Suppressed

By The Cove May 16, 2019

Click here to watch the video via Funkers 530

We spend a lot of time in training talking about suppressive fire ... the use of controlled, steady fire at an enemy position to keep them ineffective while you manoeuvre to a position to assault.  The aim is to keep the enemy out of the battle while conserving your own ammunition. But have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be at the other end?  Well now you can get an idea...

This two minute video (click link or the image above) was recorded by a Shia militia fighter from an Iraqi Popular Protection Unis (PPUs) in Iraq.This militiaman is being effectively suppressed by Islamic State fighters. While he remains calm throughout this harrowing experience, he is unable to break the contact.

While you watch it, it's worth thinking about the following things:

  • Take note of the controlled and accurate nature of the incoming fire. About a round every 6 seconds, and highly accurate. This indicates a solid level of training, fire discipline and coordination.
  • While the PPU fighter remains admirably calm, there is nothing he can do to break the suppression. What would be your plan to get out of this situation?  Coordinate fire from other units? Request close air support?  Withdrawal to a different position?
  • The sandbag wall that the PPU fighter has built is pretty haphazard and rounds are close to penetrating. What could he have done to build a better defensive position? Could he have stacked and laid out the sandbags better? Why has he been pretty easy to spot?
  • What do you think is going on around the militiaman? Why would the Islamic State fighters be seeking to suppress him?  Do you think they're now manoeuvring to outflank and assault him?
  • When you're applying suppressive fire, you can now better imagine the psychological effect on the enemy. This is a terrifying experience, as you sit powerless while the enemy manoeuvre to kill you. Could you remain as calm in this situation? What conditioning / battlefield inoculation could you conduct in training to prepare you for this sort of suppression? How do you avoid being paralysed by terror?



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

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.


Good short article which poses considerations worth assessing. Thank you.

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