Mark Perry – part 2 (and Landmine Restrictions)

Last week author Mark Perry passed away. I had not talked to him in over a decade, but we worked with him 20 years ago. Links to articles on him:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/death-of-an-american-original-mark-perry-1950-2021/

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/08/08/rip-mark-perry-an-extraordinary-journalist-in-extraordinary-times/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Perry_(author)

Mark Perry, working with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), had arranged to have our original 1997 report that we did for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the “Military Consequences of Landmine Restrictions” published and distributed, along with the letters exchanged between TDI President Nick Krawciw (MG, USA, ret) to General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is discussed in our previous blog post:

Mark Perry | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

That earlier report used to be on line. It does not appear that VVAF maintains its website any more. As dozens, if not hundreds of the report were printed and distributed, I assume there is a copy of in the Library of Congress, but it does not seem to otherwise be available. Of course, it can be ordered from us. I probably need to make it available on line.  Here some links to it:

MILITARY CONSEQUENCES OF LANDMINE RESTRICTIONS : THE DUPUY INSTITUTE’S RESEARCH STUDY VVAF MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 1, NUMBER 2, SPRING 2000 | Dupuy Institute (secondstorybooks.com)

SIPRI Library and Documentation catalog › Details for: Military consequences of landmine restrictions

The Dupuy Institute’s Research Study: Military Consequences of Landmine Restrictions by The Dupuy Institute – Paperback – 2000 – from Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (SKU: 52962) (biblio.com)

After that report was published, Mark Perry, who lived down the road from our office in McLean, Va., kept coming over to our office and asking us for additional information. This ended up turning into three small reports (M-3, M-4, M5).

TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

M-3. An Analysis of Rapid Mine Emplacement in a Threat Environment (1 June 2000) (VVAF) – Pages: 89

and two of these are available on-line:

Microsoft Word – M-4 Landmines in the Gulf War.doc (dupuyinstitute.org)

Microsoft Word – M-5 Brief Survey of Mine Breaching.doc (dupuyinstitute.org)

We do make a few of our reports available on line and I should probably make more… but this is an administrative task that is not high on my to-do list (most administrative tasks are not high on my to-do list): TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

These were all contracted for, although we insisted on complete freedom in research and results (which we always do), especially as we were doing work for an advocacy group.

And then he contracted us to look at a complete landmine ban (both anti-personnel and anti-tank). Then of course, there is a big different between “dumb” mines, and “smart” and scatterable mines. This report is here:

Microsoft Word – THE MILITARY CONSEQUENCES OF A COMPLETE.doc (dupuyinstitute.org)

I gather a number of people at VVAF were pushing for a complete landmine ban. As we state in Executive Summary of our report:

“TDI believes that its analysis is accurate enough to support conclusions that a total “dumb” landmine ban, including all antitank mines of that nature, would make operational sense and should be part of the revolution in military affairs. Such a move would enhance US dynamic battlefield capabilities, would lessen the logistic burden, and may well reduce American casualties. For similar operations effectiveness reasons, the United States should also study the consequences of eventually supporting a ban on scatterable mines. That may have to be conditional on other major manufacturing nations joining such an initiative.”

And to grab the main points from our conclusions:

  1. The Dupuy Institute reiterates its recommendation that the United State support current efforts to implement an antipersonnel landmine ban.
  2. The Dupuy Institute is quite comfortable with extending the ban to include “dumb” antitank mines. Such a ban would not significantly reduce US capabilities. Furthermore, these weapons have already been effectively removed from US doctrinal use. The “dumb” mine is a weapon that will be used against US forces, rather than one that US forces will use.
  3. The banning of antitank SCATMINE systems is a more difficult issue. There is no question that there will be some loss of capability, although the degree is not easy to measure (more on this point in a subsequent post).
  4. If a revolution in military affairs is occurring, with the United States on the leading edge of the revolution, then the deployment of any conventional mine system is to our disadvantage. Fundamentally mines have more value to technologically inferior forces. They remain a simple, cheap, and easy means of attacking technologically sophisticated weapons systems while incurring little risk to the user.
  5. Because of the nature of most US operations, the US is more often on the offense in conventional warfare than it is on the defense. Furthermore, they are not weapons that the US, as a conventional force, would have much use for in a guerilla war.  It is not a weapon that the US has any use for in contingency operations, peacekeeping operations and operations other than war. The mine is still primarily a weapon of the defender and the guerilla. As such, any landmine bans fundamentally favor the US military and reduce casualties.
  6. The “Korean exception” appears to be a “red herring.” It appears that the prime reason for the US Army maintaining “dumb” antipersonnel mines in Korea is to stockpile them for South Korean use and that any planned use of the stockpiled mines by US forces is a very secondary consideration. Korea is not a strong argument for refusing to participate in a landmine ban.
  7. There appears to be a fairly clear dividing line between a mine and command detonated munition. Hornet and Claymore (as configured for US forces) would not be covered under a landmine ban. As such, banning landmines does not open the possibility that other US antipersonnel or antitank weapons would be lost in such a ban.

Recommendations:

  1. The Dupuy Institute again recommends that the US agree to an antipersonnel landmine ban.
  2. The Dupuy Institute recommends that the US agree to a “dumb” antitank landmine ban.
  3. The Dupuy Institute recommends that the US consider an antitank SCATMINE ban.

.    The Dupuy Institute understands that this would entail some loss in defensive capability, and possibly a minor loss in offensive capability. Still, the overall benefits of such a ban to US offensive capability – lower casualties and a reduced logistics tail – could make such a ban advantageous to US armed forces. This advantage would be predicated on at least partial, but not complete, effectiveness of such ban worldwide. Thus, the US may wish to make its participation in a ban on antitank SCATMINE systems conditional upon the participation of (or the participation of within a set period of time) certain other major manufacturing nations (i.e., Russia, China and India).

———–

Finally, amid all this mine work, we ended up doing a brief report for Los Alamos (a government laboratory). They had called to ask us some questions, and by the end of the conversation, they decided to give us a small contract. Marketing was so much easier back then.

The Los Alamos report is here: Microsoft Word – M-8 A Measure of the Real-World Value of Mixed Mine System– (dupuyinstitute.org)

So we ended up doing effectively six different reports on landmines for three different customers (JCS, VVAF, Los Alamos). This was going on the same time we were doing our Capture Rate Studies for CAA (which makes up the basis for several of my first chapters in War by Numbers) and were starting first of our three urban warfare studies for them (also two chapters in War by Numbers). It was an interesting collection of work and we greatly appreciated the support from Mark Perry. Since 2001, we have not done any work related to landmines. 

Mark Perry moved on to other tasks. I talked to him a few times after that about Middle East issues, but his focus was now more on political issues and our focus tends to be more on the nuts and bolts of defense issues, so we did not do any further work with him. He was a very good guy to work with. Sorry to see him go.

 

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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.
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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.
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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).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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