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Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods


This book is now on the most prestigious pre-deployment reading lists for both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, because it fully details the Islamists' yet-to-be-defeated 4GW method. That method is best countered by "truly light" infantry tactics, but America has had only "line" infantry since 1943. Its members travel mostly by vehicle and fight 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 as predictable as before. All Posterity Press books should be viewed as instruments of long-overdue change.

What the critics have said about Tactics of the Crescent Moon

Tactics of the Crescent Moon is on three USMC reading lists:  (1) Pre-Deployment Afghanistan (all ranks) from Joint Forces Command; (2) COIN List for (Deploying) Marines; and (3)  Supplemental COIN LIst for MAJs and LTCs (top Terrorism/Counterinsurgency entry} -- “Small Wars Journal” and respective websites, 1 January 2018

On the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center’s “Military Deployment Reading List”- Fort Leavenworth's Combined Arms Research Library, 1 January 2018

"After asking some of the other SOFREP writers their opinion on the book [Tactics of the Crescent Moon], I think Peter Nealen summed it up best when he said, 'Most of it should be required reading for any infantryman/NCO.' "  - SOFREP News, 14 June 2015

“[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

“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.” — Counterterrorist Magazine, January 2009

“John Poole’s well-titled Tactics of the Crescent Moon offers an absorbing nuts-and-bolts analytic study of . . . Islamic guerrilla tactics.  He begins with a fresh look at . . . Gallipoli. . . . He then goes forward in time . . . to . . . the Iran-Iraqi War, Lebanon, Israel - Palestine, Chechnya, Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, and Iraq. . . . It is a book that deserves reading at all levels from private to general.” — B.Gen. Edwin H. Simmons USMC (Ret.), former Head of History & Museums Div.

“John Poole has again done the infantryman a great service with Tactics of the Crescent Moon.  This book grasps Fourth Generation war against Islamic opponents far better than anything coming out of TRADOC or Quantico.  Every company, platoon or squad deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan should take along a copy.” — William S. Lind, author of Maneuver Warfare Handbook

“Once again John Poole has masterfully written an insightful handbook for today’s warrior.  He has captured the nature of the new threat and conflict that faces our forces and produced a required read for our troopers’ packs.”  — General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Ret.), former CENTCOM commander

“In his superb new book, Tactics of the Crescent Moon, John Poole has again hit a home run.  It tells of . . . the twin struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . [I]f we will adapt our training and operations to defeating the enemy on a small-scale basis, we can still prevail, but it will take a change in official military policy to do this.  I heartily recommend this book to our leaders in the Army and Marine Corps.  I hope they will heed its wisdom.” — Col. Robert V. Kane U.S. Army (Ret.), publisher emeritus, Presidio Press

Tactics of the Crescent Moon helps us understand the threat of terrorism and what must be done to defeat it.”  — Maj.Gen. John H. Admire USMC (Ret.), former 1st Marine Division commander

“[Tactics of the Crescent Moon] . . . may help to turn the tide of this war. . . . [It] provides . . . battlefield intelligence you can’t get any other way.” — Leatherneck 

“To handle fourth-generation warfare at the tactical level, . . . [contributors] recommend Poole and Ray Smith’s October 2004 book, ‘Tactics of the Crescent Moon’.”  — Inside the Pentagon, December 2004

“Tactics of the Crescent Moon comes none too soon for deployed U.S. military personnel. . . . It shows, for the first time in any detail, how — Camp Lejeune Globe, 9 December 2004

“John Poole . . . [says] that bombarding cities . . . almost always backfires, because embittered civilians provide more cover to guerrillas and terrorists.”  — Atlantic Monthly, April 2005

“[T]he insurgency’s . . . mid-level leaders . . . [are] from al-Qaida, the Lebanese Shiite . . . Hezbollah, and . . . Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said the author of ‘Tactics of the Crescent Moon’.”  — Newhouse News Service

“For those who want to learn, Tactics of the Crescent Moon is an invaluable resource.”  — Washington Dispatch

Tactics of the Crescent Moon . . . is a comprehensive interpretation of Muslim extremists’ tactics, theory, and thinking.” — North County Times (Southern Calif.)

“Have become addicted to John Poole’s savvy books on how to beat the enemy, written for the grunt down at the bayonet level. His latest . . . is a must read for every soldier facing the terrorist enemy and every combat leader in the U.S. military.” — Col. David H. Hackworth U.S. Army (Ret.), author of Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts

“ ‘For decades now, U.S. forces have depended more on firepower than surprise,’ Poole writes. ‘They can no longer move unnoted along the ground.’ ” — Savannah Morning News, 6 February 2005

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   

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 carefully analyzed 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

ISBN 0963869574

Paperback: 368 pages, 47 illustrations