Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Dissertation: Dhofar Rebellion Part 11

I've got about two more weeks to get this thing squared away. I was really, really pleased to learn that Microsoft Word '07 can actually create PDFs - I've been using Word '07 since 2007, for a variety of functions, so how is it that it wook me six years to realize that it can make PDFs without the full version of Adobe Acrobat? - so that'll help. Why will that help? Two reasons. First, I can send manuscripts to my Kindle so that I can review sections without having to lug my laptop around everywhere. Second, I can PDF it to take to the printers when it's all said and done. These are important, because prior to that, I thought I had to use one of the computers in the SOC to accomplish this, but this allows me to cut the SOC out of the equation entirely.

(I haven't mentioned this, because who cares, but the SOC has been largely abandoned by most of the Strategists, and the remaining folks have made the place sort of inhospitable, so I've mostly just dispensed with it because I can't be bothered. It was good while it lasted.)

Anyway, as to actual content, I've found some great resources in the last few days. One key topic about the Dhofar Rebellion is the SOAF's use of cordons sanitaires, or lines of interdiction. These were called the Damavand and Hammer/Hornbeam Lines. When doing a search for "Hammer Line", I found this page that has a ton of pictures from the conflict. My existing photo bank relies heavily upon more recent imagery from Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, but I expect that those pictures will go into my follow-on, rather than my paper about Dhofar itself.

I've also mentioned Brigadier Ian Gardiner's indispensable book, In the Service of the Sultan. This features a hand-drawn map of the hornbeam line. I was then forced to combine technical and non-technical solutions. First, I used my camera - yes, my actual camera - to take a picture of Gardiner's hand-drawn map from my Kindle screen. (Even though it was a digital camera, it still feels horribly technologically inept.) Anyway, I then took a screenshot of this region from Wikimapia. Then, I utilized my extensive knowledge of PowerPoint to turn Gardiner's map semi-transparent and line several of the terrain features on the maps up with one another. Finally, I marked the various patrol bases and marked the approximate course of the Hornbeam Line. The final product is pictured, and will be one of the graphics I use in my dissertation.


On to more quotes. These are several that I pulled from MCDP 1-1 Strategy during my exam prep, and I intend to use at least a couple of them in my dissertation.
“The nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”
- Unknown (quoted in MCDP 1-1 Strategy)

* * *

"Battlefield brilliance seldom rescues a bad strategy."
- MCDP 1-1 Strategy

* * *

"Ultimately, people, not machines, define our success in war."
- General Charles Krulak
More to come.


I wrote this update a few days ago. I'm wrote this supplement last night. As of 19:00 on 14 August 2007, I'm in extremely good shape. Here's where I stand.

Yesterday evening, I finished the draft of my third chapter. I have an introductory chapter, a chapter on Oman before and after the war, and this was my chapter on the actual strategic lessons from the conflict. That leaves a conclusion and a bibliography to complete. (My references are included within those three draft chapters, though I haven't decided whether I'll format them as footnotes or endnotes.) I plugged the chaos of those first three chapters into Word (I use Notepad for my actual writing) to get the current word count, and it's currently just over twelve thousand words, although a small percentage of those are administrative components that facilitate my editing process. That's prior to my conclusion and my bibliography. That actually gives me some breathing room, which may allow me to explore several more points that I had hoped to discuss, but haven't out of worries about word count.

So, as much as I want to charge on, I'm going to give myself a few hours to breathe. At that point, I'll either begin working on my conclusion, or work on sorting out my existing references to get them cleaned up because they're a right mess (by my standards) at the moment.

That third chapter was the hurdle, though, and it feels great to have gotten that written. That's the hump, I'm over it, and now I just need to fight through the rest. As of today, I have two weeks left to write it, edit it, and get it printed for turn-in to the Director.

More to come.


I lied. I went on to look for a bunch of pictures to include in my dissertation. I farmed this one that I found last week, then went back and farmed this one that I found a few months ago, and then I found this one.

Oh, yeah, and a Google search for "'hammer line' dhofar" yielded this, this, this, this, and this... But that was a few days ago.

More to come.


  1. I spent a few years in Aydim (Manston) and Sarfait and had a good look around the old positions. Hope you mention the Irainians who were flown straight in to Manston and thought they were still in Iran. Lots of graves and empty Star lager bottles, mines and blinds. Plenty of peices of captured weapons blown by Iranians. Wish I'd picked a few up could have eBayed them for my pension. Loads of vehicles driven off cliffs into wadis when the Iranians left. They won the Dohfar War. Good Luck.

  2. Umm .... having been there at the time I do not think the Iranians won the Dhofar war. It was a combined military and civil activity. The military set the conditions to make the peace. Read Akehurst

  3. that should have read accept the Iranians won the war but they certainly helped