Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods


This book is still required reading at Forts Benning and Leavenworth (and some Marine commands), because it fully details the Islamists' yet-to-be-defeated 4GW method. That method is best countered by "light" infantry tactics, but America has had only "line" infantry since 1943. Its modern sequel travels mostly by truck and fights mostly with supporting arms. That's because the Pentagon still practices a "higher-tech" version of 2GW (killing as many enemy as possible). How to operate the latest equipment takes up...

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This book is still required reading at Forts Benning and Leavenworth (and some Marine commands), because it fully details the Islamists' yet-to-be-defeated 4GW method. That method is best countered by "light" infantry tactics, but America has had only "line" infantry since 1943. Its modern sequel travels mostly by truck and fights mostly with supporting arms. That's because the Pentagon still practices a "higher-tech" version of 2GW (killing as many enemy as possible). How to operate the latest equipment takes up so much of the young infantryman's day that he never learns how to sneak up on an expert defender. He and his buddies don't become any less visible by donning advanced electronics, so their traditional small-unit maneuvers remain just as predictable. Instead of historical artifacts, all Posterity Press books should be viewed as vehicles of long-overdue change.

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Editorial Reviews

Newhouse News Service
[T]he insurgency's ... mid-level leaders ... [are] from al-Qaeda, the Lebanese Shiite ... Hezbollah, and ... Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said the author.
Washington Dispatch
One of the most innovative and practical modern writers on military tactics.... For those who want to learn, 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' is an invaluable resource.
North County Times
[This book] ... is a comprehensive interpretation of Muslim extremists' tactics, theory, and thinking.
[This Book] ... may help to turn the tide of this war.... [It] provides ... battlefield intelligence you can't get any other way.
Savannah Morning News
'U.S. forces have depended more on firepower than surprise,' Poole writes. 'They can no longer move unnoted along the ground.'
Inside the Pentagon
To handle fourth-generation warfare at the tactical level,... recommend Poole and Ray Smith's October 2004 book, 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon'.
Camp Lejeune Globe
'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' comes none too soon for deployed U.S. military personnel.... It shows ... how Muslim militants fight at short range.
Atlantic Monthly
Poole ... [says] bombarding cities ... almost always backfires, because embittered civilians provide more cover to guerrillas and terrorists.
Newport News Daily Press
Book has 12 chapters,... 'How Islamic Guerrillas Are Trained' [is one of them].
El Paso Times
[F]ull of valuable pointers of how our high-tech military could outwit a low-tech enemy.... [S]hould be required reading for every serviceman or woman headed to Iraq or the Mideast.
The Counter Terrorist
Whether you are a security officer in Washington, D.C., a first responder in London, or a soldier in Kabul, 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' provides valuable knowledge.
Mil. Officers Assn. of America (MOAA) Magazine
[D]etailed ... look at the combat techniques of Muslim fighters in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, and Chechnya.... [S]olid treatise on [the] enemy.
Chicago Tribune
Posterity Press has published books on counterinsurgent tactics.
Professional Reading List
[D]etailed, perceptive look at the combat techniques of Muslim fighters in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, and Chechnya.... This is a solid treatise on the enemy. (Military Officer, Professional Reading List, 2008)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963869579
  • Publisher: Posterity Press (NC)
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: 47 illustrations
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 786,544
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Through an inverted military career, H. John Poole has discovered a few things that more promotable people miss. After spending his first two years as a combat commander, he did his last seven as an enlisted tactics instructor. That allowed him to see why U.S. troops have always had so much trouble outmaneuvering their immediate adversaries. Their tactical techniques (like football plays) are quite simply outmoded. These U.S. small-unit maneuvers are so unlikely to surprise anyone as to be "premachinegun" in format. This oversight on the part of their commanders and how to compensate for it forms the framework of Poole's work.

Since retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1993, Poole has has traveled extensively in both Communist and Islamist worlds. He has also written 10 other tactics/intelligence supplements and conducted multiday training sessions for 40 U.S. battalions, 9 schools, and 7 special operations units. As most U.S. intelligence personnel know too little about the Eastern thought process and evolution of squad tactics, these supplements provide currently deployed GIs with a rare glimpse into their enemies' intentions. Since 2000, Poole has done research in Russia, Mainland China (twice), North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India (three times), Pakistan (three times), Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania, and Venezuela. Over the course of his lifetime, he has further traveled throughout Asia, Europe, and most of the Western Hemisphere. He has lived (or been stationed) in Mexico, Panama, Vietnam, and Japan. Between early tours in the Marine Corps (from 1969 to 1971), Poole worked as a criminal investigator for the Illinois Bureau of Investigation (IBI). After attending the State Police Academy, he worked out of the IBI's Chicago office.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Part One: A Heritage of Unconventional Warfare
Chapter 1: Gallipoli's Underreported Tactics
Chapter 2: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War
Chapter 3: Israel's Expulsion from Southern Lebanon

Part Two: Islamic Guerrilla Tactics
Chapter 4: Palestinian Fighters
Chapter 5: Chechen Rebels
Chapter 6: Afghan Mujahideen
Chapter 7: More Recent Afghan Resistance
Chapter 8: The Iraqi Opposition

Part Three: Bringing Peace to the Region
Chapter 9: How Islamic Guerrillas Are Trained
Chapter 10: The Muslim Militants' Pattern
Chapter 11: The Response Must Be Unconventional
Chapter 12: The Tactical Part of the Equation

About the Author
Name Index

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Excerpt from the Introduction:
Researching the Current Military Dilemma

U.S. forces are now experiencing in Iraq what the Israelis endured in Lebanon for 18 years. They are also meeting more opposition in Afghanistan. While Hezbollah and al-Qaeda may be ultimately responsible, their mutual lack of organizational structure makes it difficult to pin down their tactical and training methods. To arrive at those methods, one must study the battlefield exploits of their subsidiary guerrilla movements: the Palestinians, Iraqis, Chechens, and Afghans. Then, any trends in technique would help to define their infantry maneuvers. Those maneuvers would almost certainly have collateral psychological and media value. They would inflict enough casualties to erode the foe's popular support, while being safe enough to bolster friendly morale. They would involve thorough planning, a quick strike with limited objectives, and a rapid pullback. To keep from playing into the guerrillas' hands, the U.S. will have to carefully measure each military response and then use a nonmilitary means to remove the root causes of the discontent.

This book attempts to make some sense of the thousands of recent media glimpses into Muslim combat. While the U.S. government may have access to more intelligence, it seldom tries to assess that intelligence from a tactical standpoint. It is generally more interested in the foe's technological profile. Many of its analysts are not even aware that the Eastern thought process differs from their own. As most Orientals, the people of Asia Minor will only show a Western opponent what they want him to see. Thus, the news from Iraq and Afghanistan must be carefullyanalyzed to determine enemy method—the book's ultimate goal.

Of course, this work cannot hope to completely unravel the political complexities of the Middle East. To gain media attention and protect each other, major terrorist groups may routinely take credit for things they didn't do. Many of the "militias" are actually amalgamations of factions. Still, the ruses and maneuvers of loosely confederated factions will naturally converge upon those that work best. That those factions are constantly seeking new ways to defeat the Western Goliath creates a thread of continuity. Tactics of the Crescent Moon covers—in considerable detail—how those militias fight. If their techniques are converging, U.S. troops deserve to know it. For by simply knowing what to expect, America's best could double their chances of survival.

When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning and losing are equal.
— Sun Tzu

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2005

    Required Reading

    I rate this book five stars for the audience it was intended: warriors. This book is one of the MUST read selections in the wide array of books about the Global War on Terror. John Poole pitches this book at the level of understanding of the meanest private and he doesn't pull any punches. He calls a spade a spade. While we are the best trained heavy infantry and armor force in the world, we are not a match for the 10 meter 4th Generation elusive enemy. John Poole clearly illustrates this thesis with many examples. Poole is perhaps the most experienced infantry trainer in America with combat experience in Vietnam. He is a student of history, and he has written 4 books on the subject of tactics at close range. He knows war, including 4th generation war, backwards and forwards, top to bottom. If we can accept that because of our top-down directed training schedules, cram packed with road marches, mechanized gunnery tables, National Training Center/Joint National Training Center routines, are ill-spent time adhering to strict conventional doctrines and policies, it is easy to see how we become predictable to a 4th generation warrior. John Poole suggests a bottoms-up approach to training in order to begin to be able to evolve training techniques to fight this type of war. This is the only way we can adapt and evolve. It is the way that our own light infantry can get ahead of the jihaadist OODA Loop cycles with our own and drive a wedge between the jihaadists and the mass of the Islamic population. The generals have yet to learn that this is a company, platoon, squad war and that they are cast in a supporting role. There are no Pattons on this battlefield. The Administration has yet to learn that our high technology is in a supporting role to aid the troopers on the ground, and that there is no technical panecea. Part of this bottoms-up training for our soldiers is an understanding of the enemy and how he trains. Poole provides Cultural Intelligence 101 in this book. The enemy has training, but not nearly as much as we do, we should have a decided advantage if we trained on the right things. We can beat him at his own game, but it will take an entirely different approach, a totally different type of training. The jihaadist training is practical and directed, and the training center for the jihaadists has moved from Afghanistan, Sudan, and Lebanon to the battlefields in Iraq. U.S. soldiers patrolling inside vehicles are only providing the jihaadists with easy targets. Living behind Green Zones is only providing the jihaadist easy targets. And killing civilians by using our less-than-precision weapons is what they want us to do. We have to learn to fight the three block war all over with a different mind-set. There are many many pearls of wisdom in this book, but you may not like reading some of them. If it causes you to think, however, then the effort is more than worthwhile. Read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2005

    A comprehensive, revealing Insight into the Muslim World

    This is a MUST read for all Military personnel including students at all four academies. It is a complete and analytical review of the thoughts, the beliefs and the tactics of the Muslim world. This is a superb and comprehensive study and those who read it will realize the real terror the world faces. John Poole, you have given us real food for thought and action. Vice Adm Thomas R. Sargent, USCG(Ret)

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    Posted July 16, 2010

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    Posted July 29, 2010

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