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Urban Warfare

Preparing European Armies and Cities

Written by: Written by: Jimmy Horjus, Matteo Zanotti, Tom Mantelet, Raquel Velasco Ceballos, & Domenico Farinelli
Edited by: James Edward Colombo
Supervised by: Nicola Maria Mossone

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, the focus on urban warfare has returned to prominence in military reviews and
analysis. Russian forces have engaged in urban battles in Kyiv, Mariupol, Kherson, and other Ukrainian cities. However,
what is worth mentioning is the extreme difficulty they encountered to take these cities. For this reason, an overview
of urban warfare is as important as it is urgent since the current situation can provide FINABEL’s member states with a
proactive tool to improve their urban doctrines and even their cities.

Probably cities are the most difficult environment for a military operation due to the presence of civilians, artificial
obstacles, and possible threats. Nonetheless, the trend seems to suggest armies around the world consider the constant
presence of urban battles in their operations. For this reason, European states should prepare to fight in such a difficult
environment or even to defend themselves and prepare their cities to repel a possible attack from neighbouring enemies.
Urban warfare is particularly relevant, not least due to the world becoming more and more urbanised. This trend will
cause an inevitable enlargement of the cities and a consequent increase in their strategic importance. Cities will surely
become the main strategic objectives in a military operation, and understanding how to behave in these environments
will provide a tremendous comparative advantage for the army that best manages to adapt.