It appears to me that the terrorists managed to get inside the OODA loop of the Indian security forces, which is a nasty thing to do. It was probably doing that, more than anything else, which allowed them to run around for so long.
Killing the local commanders early on was a big start towards getting inside the OODA loop. I'm not sure how good the communication system of the local security forces was, but if their arms and other equipment was any guide, it was not very good. It would not surprise me at all if we find out later that the terrorists had very good comms.
Ooo, guess what:
The attackers navigated their way to Mumbai by sea from Karachi with GPS equipment. They carried BlackBerrys, CDs holding high-resolution satellite images, like those used for Google Earth maps, and mobile phones with switchable SIM cards that were hard to track, reports said. They also used satellite phones.I would like to make one comment on their weapons.
Most of the police involved were carrying .303s or self-loading rifles like those adopted by the British army in the 1950s.
Some officers said they had inadequate weapons training because of a shortage of ammunition and shooting ranges. In theory, all officers shoot 50 rounds a year in training. In practice, senior officers get their full quota with small arms.
I noticed early on from TV footage that the Indians were using Lee-Enfield rifles and SLRs.
The Taleban used those same Lee-Enfield rifles against the Russians in Afghanistan until they took delivery of lots of AK-47s. I don't remember them complaining about their ineffectiveness against the Russkis who were armed with AK-47s.
And the SLR's? Yes, they came out in the 1950's, but the Australian Army used them in Vietnam (I'll let 1735099 comment on what he thought of them) and both sides used them in the Falklands War. We still had them as late as 1992, when they were finally phased out. Although I bet there are still thousands packed away in warehouses somewhere - if the poo hits the fan, we might be using them again one day. Last I heard, buffalo shooters up in the NT are still using them (when Big T was knocking rocks up there, he went blatting from a chopper with them one day and had a go with one).
I've read that the modern thinking is that the SLR is too long for urban combat - I read the same thing about jungle combat too - hence the move to a much shorter rifle. One that is easy to poke around corners or up stairs.
Apart from that, it is easy for commentators to blame the equipment, rather than blaming inadequate training. As 1735099 commented yesterday, if you allow people to run around with weapons that they really don't know how to use, you risk killing a lot more civilians. It's starting to sound like it was the Police that were in that position. Firing less than 50 rounds a year on a static range is not a good primer on urban combat. Might I humbly suggest that a civilian who has their own weapon, and invests their own time and money in practicing with it might be a better asset in these circumstances? There are clubs that are based around doing combat shooting of one form or another - there is a Sydney one that works out of the Mallabar ranges. A civilian that goes to the range once a month and fires off 50 or 100 rounds in a "combat" environment may be in a much better off than Mr Plod who fires 20 rounds a year on a static range. (Especially when that "civilian" is likely to be ex-military, and is interested in keeping some skills after they have taken off their green head for good).
A civilian with no training is just a menace though.
Then we have the gunmen firing from the hip:
The pair, armed with AK47 rifles and grenades and carrying backpacks stuffed with ammunition, targeted a popular family cafe inside the station.
As a hail of bullets bursts through the cafe, terrified diners cover their ears and dive behind counters for cover. Staff scramble in panic towards a rear entrance.
The footage underscores how Mumbai's police force was hopelessly outgunned and overwhelmed from the attack's earliest moments.
Two policemen are seen sheltering in an alcove inside the station as the two heavily armed militants stalk an empty concourse that moments before had been crowded with travellers.
One policemen appears to try to take a shot at the terrorists with his Lee Enfield-type bolt-action rifle. He is forced to cower as one of the gunmen fires from the hip in his direction and a bullet slams into a pillar close to the policeman's head.
I looked at the photos. Some media types said that the gunmen looked "very professional" because they were firing from the hip. Balls. They were firing from the hip because they were carrying two backpacks each, and one was slung over one shoulder. That made it next to impossible for them to raise that arm and allow them to bring the rifle butt to their shoulder. They had to fire from the hip because they were encumbered by their "baggage". Firing a rifle from the standing position when you are carrying one backpack is hard enough - you need to have built up really strong shoulder muscles to do it. Doing it with two backpacks, laden with grenades and ammunition, would be a big ask.
One last comment on people fleeing in panic:
The pair, armed with AK47 rifles and grenades and carrying backpacks stuffed with ammunition, targeted a popular family café inside the station. As a hail of bullets burst through the eatery, terrified diners cover their ears and dive behind counters to search for cover.
Staff scramble towards a rear entrance in panic.
I watched that same footage and did not see much fleeing going on. In many cases, people seemed to have no idea what was going on, and they had their heads up like meerkats, trying to find the action. Some looked like bemused spectators - until the lead started flying in their direction. Even then, you don't see people sprinting and pushing each other out of the way. If that was me, I'd be running at full tilt, not ambling or jogging as some are doing.
If this was in a place where everyone had a modern mobile phone, I reckon the footage would have shown many people standing there taking photos or videos on their phones, rather than running for cover. I think many of them could not believe what was going on, and could not concieve of an attack like this - so when it happened, they did not react as you might expect. Curiosity, or rubber-necking, can get the better of people in even the most dire circumstances.