Book Review: Rattenkrieg: The Art of ECQ Combat Pistol



Bob Taubert’s latest work, Rattenkrieg: The Art and Science of Close-Quarters Battle Pistol is a book that is right up there with Styer’s Cold Steel or Applegate’s Kill or Get Killed. The book reminds you of the hard fact that necessity is definitely the mother of invention when it comes to relevant and practical combat skills. And even though the skills discussed may have been developed over 60+ years ago, their tactical relevancy and potency are no less diminished.

For those of you not familiar with the author, Bill Taubert (who also writes under the pen name Bob Pilgrim) is a literal GIANT in the tactical training community, not to mention a huge influence and personal hero of mine. I could go on about Taubert and his influence on me personally, but that is for another post;  for the time being read a short bio about him HERE.

Since most of you out there probably don’t speak fluent German, “Rattenkrieg” translated means “War of the Rats”, a term of euphemistic endearment the Germans used to describe the barbaric and brutal combat experienced during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War 2. The Germans found out really fast that the Russians intended to fight to the last man and the last bullet for every square yard of the only city which bore the name of their “Boss”, Joseph Stalin. In the end, The Battle for Stalingrad would cost both sides dearly. The entire German 6th Army would be totally annihilated, a sum of approximately 300,000 men. On the Soviet side, the losses were two-fold and much, much worse. Not only did military casualties have to be calculated, but civilian casualties as well. Antony Beevor, in his Outstanding book: Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942-1943  estimated that between 1.1 and 1.2 Million Soviet Soldiers were lost. And although not precise because of the combined problem of Soviet secrecy during the Cold War and destroyed census and death records, it is estimated that between 100 and 300,000 civilians were killed. All together, the total “Butchers Bill” of the Battle of Stalingrad would be approximately 1.4 Million souls.

As Taubert explains, Stalingrad was the virtual birthplace of modern CQ and ECQ Military Combat doctrine. All of what we have today on the subject (both in the LE and Civilian training world) started here. I am not one to re-hash an entire book, but I will say this book does offer several perks for the CO, mainly the drills near the end. Bear in mind also that these drills come from the realistic GLOBAL perspective of a “Been-There-Done-That” kind of guy. Taubert over the past 2 decades has helped write the accepted, modern manual of combative and ECQ pistol. Striving to reinforce his methods to Tier 1 Assets in the Military, FBI HRT and LE SWAT Teams across America that 360 degree realistic  training that is based on “street proven” methods should replace the generic and impractical square range “Competition Driven” training (and drills) that plague all tiers of the tactical training community currently.

Consequently, there is also a fair amount of information in the book that is sectioned off for LE 2-4 man entry teams, including dynamic riot shield drills. But as some of my friends have criticized that this is not an “applicable skill-set” for the individual civilian, I see it as a great opportunity for the CO to expand his tool box and apply the training to Small Unit Tactics and MOUT exercises. The CO must also never forget that just because a particular skill-set being taught may not readily apply, the CO can always take the information, turn it around and develop counter-techniques to repel and/or neutralize a 2-4 man entry team equipped with riot shields.

In closing, this is an advanced book on shooting tactics and definitely not one for the “tactical golf” crowd. For the serious CO however, this book is a gold mine. It will not only provide relative, realistic drills and tips but be an outstanding reference book for the serious warrior student.

Stay Real, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!