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Urban Warfare: A Practitioner’s Annotated Bibliography

“The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.” (MAJGEN J Mattis, DIA Reading List 2018)

In the conduct of urban warfare, the basic principles have changed little, and slowly, over the last century.  Yet there remains no great classical works to guide its execution. In recent decades, books, papers articles and reports have begun to fill this gap.  From the Second World War onwards in particular, these have included the observations and reflections of military practitioners about their first hand experiences of urban combat.

Buildings Destroyed during the 1980’s fighting on The Suq el Gharb Ridge above Beirut © CAH Knight

While many such written works exist, the challenge has been to find them.  This is a challenge that the Australian Army Research Centre has met head-on in its recent publication, ‘Urban Warfare – An Annotated Bibliography’.

In this publication, the AARC has collated over 500 papers, articles and reports on the topic of urban warfare.  Each resource listed in the bibliography is directly or indirectly, accessible online, including many examples that would not otherwise be readily located using online search engines. All entries are accompanied by a short summary and keywords. With a focus on military practitioners, the summaries highlight those aspects of the listed works that are likely to be of most value to doctrine writers, trainers and other military users.

At the time of publication, most of the works listed were immediately downloadable using the url links provided.  In other cases, works are available via subscription, a library or similar means. While some links may degrade over time, their citations will not, thus ensuring that users will be able to find these valuable resources now - and well into the future.

Buildings Destroyed during the 1980’s fighting on The Suq el Gharb Ridge above Beirut © CAH Knight

A key role of the Australian Army Research Centre (AARC) is to raise the level of professional debate on war, military force, future land capability and its challenges with Army, the nation and internationally.  ‘Urban Warfare – A Practitioners Annotated Bibliography’ provides an invaluable resource to fuel this exchange by providing access to a wealth of resources about urban warfare to military practitioners.  

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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