HOW TO DEFEND WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHO?
(Seventeenth in the series of alternative learning from Krav Maga.)
How can you defend something you cannot see and know very little about the enemy?
1500 sailors dead. In one hour!
Three British armored cruisers found their way to the bottom of the ocean.
All under my command.
When will this end?
I am Commander Smith. I have never felt so helpless in my life. The authorities don’t want to believe. It is said that when faced with trouble, Ostriches bury their head in the sand. The Ostrich hopes that the problem will somehow go away. I seem to be surrounded by Ostriches above and across.
Let us roll back to the beginning of the War. You now know it as the First World War.
We heard sketchy news of an underwater boat built by the Germans. This information came through our spy channels. The command, though, tossed it away as mere rumour and speculation. Underwater ships, this was something imagined in the world of HG Wells, a realm of fiction — they said.
Stubbornness is holding one’s position regardless of what happens! When that position is fortified in cement, then anything not fitting in is rejected. Laughed at, ridiculed, crushed, squashed, sidelined!
It was the same with Unterseeboats: Under Sea Boats, as the reports called it. First, there was disbelief in such a statement and efforts made to ridicule the messengers, then the spies. Any discussion on underwater boats was prohibited in war rooms and cabinets. When the first valid, proven report came in, there was the initial shock. This report was too met with the same stubborn resistance.
“Such an underwater ship is a one-off. Must be some experimental ship built. There’s nothing this could do to our naval frigates and war ships. Nothing. How could you folks even think of the U-boats as a danger. Harummmmppppppf! Get out of here!”
There’s nothing we can do about an enemy that sneaks in. When something is an outlier, it is beyond our comprehension. The situation is like watching a magician perform tricks on stage. There is a wow element. This is, of course, magic. Very few realize that this is still a human being on stage, performing sleight of hand, and using illusions and lighting to take us into a new world. Some of us believe that the magician did things for real, like cutting a person and bringing them together!
When competition sneaks in like a magician’s act, we do not realize it. We refuse to recognize it as a competition. Then we chose to ignore it. Then involve ourselves in tokenism while pretending to counter it. By the time we realize the danger, significant damage is done.
Damage, as in 1500 lives lost in one hour. Would this be enough to wake up the powers that be? Can this be the virtual slap on their faces, forcing them to consider setting a team to arrive at a resolution?
How can you attack something you cannot see and know very little about?
We don’t know much about the U-boats. We don’t know how far and fast they can travel? We have no idea how to identify them until the damage has already been inflicted?
Think tanks were set up. Lots of crazy ideas came forth. Like, training seals to identify the presence of U-boards.
It was a chokehold on the oceans. Britain’s war and supply ships, including small boats, were targeted and sunk. This was affecting us financially and destroying the confidence of the officers and soldiers. Something had to be done fast.
Something that my team and I had to do, as it was our lives on the line. We can rely on the think tanks, most of whom had never set foot on a ship or sailed the seas. How could someone without that experience devise a solution for us? It did come down to us to find something quick.
We started with the basics.
What do we know about the U-boats (of 1916)?
We know they can be underwater for a long time. They had to come up for air and also to scout. It was our lives, on the sightlines of the Periscope. The Periscope, that was the only way the enemy could see us. The only way to scan and locate our presence. For doing this, they had to surface, at least to the level of raising the Periscope out of the water.
- The U-boats had to surface, to see.
- With the Periscope up, the U-boats cannot go fast!
- They had to maintain some distance from our ships, else we spot and aim our cannons at them. When they are far, their torpedoes have a high chance of missing our ships.
When we don’t know the enemy well, or where they will attack from — we don’t go in search of them.
We bring the enemy to us and into our area of strength!
I had two of my warships near the coast of Britain. They were doing drills, including shooting cannons. When there is blood in the water, the shark will come.
As expected, we spotted a periscope. How could we not? I had loads of my naval men scouring the seas all around us. I was in one of the ships myself. It was my idea to save my men. If it did not work, I am going down with them.
Silence enveloped us. We had sighted the Periscope. It was a no-brainer that the enemy had spotted us too. It was clear that they were aiming at a clear shot at one of my ships. We were moving but were we moving fast enough? Butterflies in my stomach and tension all around.
The men started cheering all of a sudden — binoculars trained on the U-boat.
Two men jumped off the U-boat into a dinghy and paddled away.
When the Periscope was located, these two sneaked upon the U-Boat. One person covered the Periscope with a cloth bag and moved away. The other person took a big hammer, aimed at the center of the cloth, and swung away. The Periscope and the glass were in shambles. The U-boat could not see and could not dive underwater! A double whammy, as our American friends would say!
The Underwater boat now became a traditional boat, near enough. We knew how to spot and used our conventional weaponry to send the U-boat to the bottom of the ocean.
- A blacksmith who knew how to wield a hammer, precisely.
- A naval officer who knew how to navigate to the U-boat and, well, place a cloth bag on a Periscope.
- A hammer, a dinghy and two men!!!
We knew the enemy U-boat would come sniffing. We had smaller boats patrol a large perimeter around. Boats small enough to escape the attention of a U-boat — the enemy was after bigger fish. Drawing the U-boat in made it easier to control their area of potential movement. This meant that each boat was only scanning a specific portion of the sea, looking for a Periscope. Once it was located, the closest boat went across, and BOOM!
That’s all it took to send the shivers to the enemy camp. They weren’t as invisible or invincible as they thought.
We took out a few more U-boats.
As with all such acts of bravery, success has many fathers and failure none. My men and I remain unrecognized. We don’t mind, though.
Our job was to fight for our country and save lives, which we did!
By not giving up!
When you cannot see or feel the enemy, you make do with what you know. You use what you know and what you have with you to meet your objective.
THERE IS ALWAYS AN ESCAPE FROM A CHOKEHOLD.
A significant lesson in Krav Maga.
When the attackers have you in a vice-like grip, every grip has an escape move. We cannot give up but use that move and everything else in our arsenal to get out.
In marketing terms:
- Never underestimate the enemy. Hey, we don’t even know who they are or where the attack for market share will come from!
- When we find out about something new, don’t swat it away. Give it the respect due; else it’ll come back to bite you.
- There is always a way out of a business chokehold. When you think that all the chips are down, think, there is always something you already have that will provide a way out.
The Ridiculous Way British Sailors Were Ordered to Stop German U-boats During WWI
In the opening days of WW1, Unterseeboots, better known simply as U-boats, proved to be a potent and constant threat to…
This is the seventeenth in the series of learning from Krav Maga.
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- Action Reaction
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- Can you escape career quicksand?
- Anger Anger
- Show as little as possible
- The need for an Outlier coach
- Why we do what we do
- Impossibility is a challenge
- Peripheral to the core
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
mic @ PravinShekar.com .
For creative collusions, join: http://bit.ly/JoinMyOutlierTribe
Pravin is the author of seven books: Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell & a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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