Defeating an Insurgency by Air II

One of my earliest blog posts, done in December 2015 was on “Defeating an Insurgency by Air.” It was in part inspired by the Republican debate at the time and people talking about “carpet bombing” ISIL.

The post is here:

The same article is was posted on the History News Network:

An expanded article was posted on the Small War Journal:

I gather the part of the article that gives people heartburn is: “So, we are left to state that we cannot think of a single insurgency that was defeated by airpower, primarily defeated by airpower, or even seriously undermined by airpower. Perhaps there is a case we are missing. It is probably safe to say that if it has never successfully been done in over a hundred insurgencies over the last hundred years, then it is something not likely to occur now.”

Now, we do go on a hunt for other cases. This led to the follow-up blog posts:

Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?

Air Power Defeating an Insurgency

Chasing the Mad Mullah

Iraq Revolt of 1920

Bleeding an Insurgency to Death


Bombing Kosovo in 1999 versus the Islamic State in 2015

Of course, we are not the only people talking about this

Bleeding an Insurgency to Death

This last post was actually not tagged as an “air power” subject, but I felt it was particularly relevant….and yes, we do have two blog posts with the same title. But this second one has this cool graph:


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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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