Henkin, Yagil. “On Swarming: Success and Failure in Multidirectional Warfare, from Normandy to the Second Lebanon War.” Defence Studies 14.3 (2014): 310-32.
In recent years, the idea of ‘swarming’ – that is, simultaneous multidirectional attack or maneuver by large number of independent or semi-independent small units – became a subject of a heated debate. Some believe this is the future of warfare, while others see this belief as ridiculous and dangerous. In the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), specifically, swarming was heralded as the new way of war before the 2006 Second Lebanon War. But during and after the war, the word itself was turned into a derogatory term, symbolizing all that was wrong with the IDF’s performance: relying on new, untested and unrealistic concepts to pretend that the Army has a silver bullet which will solve its problems quickly and easily, ignoring reality in the process. This article draws on six historical case studies, from the American airborne operation in the Normandy Invasion to the Second Lebanon War, to examine the method of swarming, its relevance and its uses. Finally, the article concludes that Swarming is not a revolutionary method, and not ‘The future of conflict’. However it is a very useful method in certain situations, provided that commanders know and understand its possibilities and limitations.