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zraver
16 Mar 13,, 22:07
Its the battle of 73 Eastings and you are the Iraqi Republican Guard commander. You have under your command an armored corps of 3 armored divisions (Tawakalna, Al-Medina and and 1 motorized light infantry division Adnan is on its way. On paper one of the most powerful armored formations in the world. Your even confident that with your mix of Soviet and Western tech and combat experience you could beat a Soviet divisions- known to be much more effective in the attack than the Americans. You've read up on the American experience at NTC in Ft Irwin and how badly most visiting units do. In addition you have a regular army armored divisions, one of the best in fact. Your troops are professional soldiers, combat veterans, politically reliable and used to winning. They can also fight in the heat and inside a CW environment.

During the Iran-Iraq war your troops broke the Shia's human wave attacks and pushed Iraq back to a decent bargaining position. Your equipment and battle tactics are proven. Your T-72 might not be as new as the Abrams, but in Iran is had no problem shrugging off enemy rounds. While the T-62's and T-55's wont be able to kill an Abrams they should work against the Bradley giving the BMP's more fire power. You know your South African artillery is first rate much better in theory than the older American M109.

US air power has not been able to serious attrit your forces, though they've minced your supply lines and communications. Coalition air has also grounded your air and helo support. Your ADA units have claimed some successes and overall the news on Iraqi ADA performance is encouraging. You've received word of the right hook and have just enough time to set your defense. When setting you know just how much the Americans can see from space. After all in Iran you were using American provided imagery. Not only can the Americans see you, but you know the Abrams is a race car of a tank so a meeting engagement does not favor you, but ambush or defense in depth might. You also know the Americans have an edge in night vision. You have both passive and active IR but no thermal.

Some things you don't know.

Just how effective Chobbam is vs HEAT. You assume its like the applique armor begin put on T-55's or maybe the ceramic fill rumored to be in the T-72 Dolly Partons.

You don't know that your bore riding steel Sabots are nearly worthless, or that NATO spool style rounds have twice the range.

You don't know the exact size of the US force. You suspect its VII Corps but do not know about the British division.

Historic Information

The Iraqi commander had his security screen pushed as far forward as 50 easting. He then had his forces arrayed for a defense in depth designed to channel attacks into mutually supporting kill boxes. However much of the artillery is not yet sighted in properly and the fiber optic net for secure communications is not established.

What would you do different compared to the historic commander?

USSWisconsin
16 Mar 13,, 23:10
This is my idea, I trust our military experts can correct any mistakes I have made. I don't claim to be a general, and in this situation I would want my men and their "hostage" families at home (including my own) to survive the war.

Arrange for a prearranged complete internal communications blackout to start with a prearranged signal to hand picked, preselected and trusted units, the assasination of all loyal political commizars would be carried out as soon as the order was given - to prevent any info from reaching your HQ. Prior to the engagement, negotiate and coordinate with the Coalation commander in secret to have a disinformation campaign feed to the media, describing a tremendous fight to the death, while secretly arranging for your forces to be captured with little resistance (some lower level commanders might not cooperate and put up a fight, but with some "supply problems", this could be reduced). The purpose being to prevent your high command from punishing the families of the commanders and troops. Your HQ needs to believe you are all dying in battle (your field HQ was completely wiped out, communications were cut and jammed - both occured immediately, the US had secret weapons, and additional divisions and assests that mowed down your divisions. Though the divisions put up a ferrocious fight and took a substantial but believable toll on the attackers), they were unable to reach HQ with any comms. While your HQ is convinced that your forces are putting up a galliant fight for Sadam, with the media announcing significant losses for the coalition. In fact your divisions are being secretly being disarmed and interred incommunicado, in a hidden, highly secure location with very comfortable POW accomodations and healthcare (fix their teeth, let them worship (provide coalition clerics), offer classes in English or general studies and give them plenty of good food - perhaps offering confidential financial "resettlement" incentives to those who are interested), outside prying eyes. It will be necessary to arrange a global satellite blackout of the battlefield. Use a very secure desert camp, with several no man's land perimeters in depth, to avoid any escapes or information leaks, use only carefully vetted hand picked US soldiers to guard them. It shouldn't take too long before the safety of your troop's and your own families can be secured.

zraver
16 Mar 13,, 23:30
This is my idea, I trust our military experts can correct any mistakes I have made. I don't claim to be a general, and in this situation I would want my men and their "hostage" families at home (including my own) to survive the war.....

They thought they were not only going to survive but win. They felt about us before that battle what many feel about them afterwards. The RG was not the INA, it was a professional and loyal force officered by members of the Tikriti clan (Saddam's clan). They knew the Americans had some aces, but they thought they had more of them.

USSWisconsin
17 Mar 13,, 00:21
They thought they were not only going to survive but win. They felt about us before that battle what many feel about them afterwards. The RG was not the INA, it was a professional and loyal force officered by members of the Tikriti clan (Saddam's clan). They knew the Americans had some aces, but they thought they had more of them.

Ok, well my answer clears up any other "surrender without bringing the executioner home to meet your family" ideas from the options available. Given what we know today, IMO, this commander would have to be very good, and very lucky to have it end well.

Officer of Engineers
17 Mar 13,, 02:17
Jason,

I disagree. 73 Easting was a hasty defence.The RG was both physically and psychologically oriented the wrong way (south) and it took some doing to re-orient themselves (west) and as such, they lost all contacts between brigades and divisions.

Also, Al Khaji shown just how poor their armour were and nothing the Iraqis did at the border meant damned squat, meaning the earthworks they were employing might as well be paper shields. Also, the battle of Kuwait City Airport showed just how mismatched they were.

The Iraqis were still trying to re-establish communications when the Americans smashed into them. Unless, the Iraqis figured out the axis of attack, then I don't see how they could have expected victory.

zraver
17 Mar 13,, 02:22
That is kind of the point. A lot of people claim the Iraqi Republican Guard were beaten only because they were so tactically inept that a troop of boy scouts armed with sporks could have beaten them. I feel this runs counter to the facts and dishonors both the US/UK forces and the Iraqis. Thus my challenge to all and sundry to show how the RG as it existed, and thought of itself in 1990/91 could have puled even a draw from the match up.

zraver
17 Mar 13,, 02:25
Jason,

I disagree. 73 Easting was a hasty defence.The RG was both physically and psychologically oriented the wrong way (south) and it took some doing to re-orient themselves (west) and as such, they lost all contacts between brigades and divisions.

Sir that may have bene truly for some sub units but the bulk of the RG 1st Corps was facing the right direction for its blocking mission.


Also, Al Khaji shown just how poor their armour were and nothing the Iraqis did at the border meant damned squat, meaning the earthworks they were employing might as well be paper shields. Also, the battle of Kuwait City Airport showed just how mismatched they were.

Yes sir, 100% agree, but that is all post battle 20/20. Pre-battle the Iraqis didn't know that, neither did we.


The Iraqis were still trying to re-establish communications when the Americans smashed into them. Unless, the Iraqis figured out the axis of attack, then I don't see how they could have expected victory.

For the most part the Iraqis were facing the right direction and knew the Axis of attack, if not its scope.

Officer of Engineers
17 Mar 13,, 02:57
Jason,

You have the same reference as I

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/world-wars/894-last-stand-tawakalna.html

What was clear was that communications between brigades and division hq was non-existing and while it is speculation that the TAWAKALNA CO was killed travelling between brigades, what was clear is that division control was lacking.

Also, the reason why I stated that it's a hasty defence, it is clear that the front battalions have no access to artillery nor any other support. They were in the right place. Just not established.

But all indications were that as soon as the Americans began the HAIL MARY pass, the Iraqi General knew he lost the reccee battle and never recovered from that point.

Mihais
17 Mar 13,, 11:31
What we do know and they should have known is that concealment is not cover.Also we know that making big piles of sand here and there on a regular pattern tends to indicate there was some serious digging going on in those particular places.So it's not even real concealment,but a childish one.We also know that tank shells can penetrate that particular pile of sand.

We also know that establishing a security perimeter tends to prevent surprises.We do that even if there is no war going,as a matter of habit.We also tend from time to time to ask those chaps about what's going on and we tend to get worried if they don't talk back.

The Iraqis had time to plant AP mines.I don't know why they didn't established AT minefields and other counter-mobility preparations.But we'd try to do that as well.

Lastly,when attacking/counter-atacking,we'd set a base of fire to support the assault element.We'll pop smoke,try to coordinate with mortars&arty.

I'm too lazy to search how many vehicles were destroyed with no crews to man them.They thought it was an air attack.Ohh,the wonders of a couple of chaps with binoculars and radios.


Brave they were,no doubt about it.They were also used to victory.Experienced they were as well.But they had a weak mind, that's all to common in this sport.One that likes comfort and dislikes adapting to new conditions.

zraver
17 Mar 13,, 14:00
Jason,

You have the same reference as I

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/world-wars/894-last-stand-tawakalna.html

What was clear was that communications between brigades and division hq was non-existing and while it is speculation that the TAWAKALNA CO was killed travelling between brigades, what was clear is that division control was lacking.

Not disagreeing there, but the friction that caused similar losses of coheasion among other nations divisions. Not a real good barometer of the competence of the Iraqis.


Also, the reason why I stated that it's a hasty defence, it is clear that the front battalions have no access to artillery nor any other support. They were in the right place. Just not established.

Ahh OK, gothca now.


But all indications were that as soon as the Americans began the HAIL MARY pass, the Iraqi General knew he lost the reccee battle and never recovered from that point.

Out teched, out thought and out trained for that most important of armored moves. That was a lesson drilled into us at NTC. Every time the OPFOR punched out the Bn or Bgd scouts we lost.

Mihais, your assertions are for the most part bogus.


What we do know and they should have known is that concealment is not cover.[/qute]

Sorry, hull down is cover. You should research what cover is.

[quote]Also we know that making big piles of sand here and there on a regular pattern tends to indicate there was some serious digging going on in those particular places.So it's not even real concealment,but a childish one.

I dare you to spot a a hull down tank's tank berm at 3500m without using thermal to spot the tank itself.


We also know that tank shells can penetrate that particular pile of sand.

You mean we as in the West, but no most of us didn't. Iraq obviously had no idea at all on the performance of modern US ammunition.


We also know that establishing a security perimeter tends to prevent surprises.We do that even if there is no war going,as a matter of habit.We also tend from time to time to ask those chaps about what's going on and we tend to get worried if they don't talk back.

The Iraqis had pushed security elements as far forward as 50 Easting


Lastly,when attacking/counter-atacking,we'd set a base of fire to support the assault element.We'll pop smoke,try to coordinate with mortars&arty.

By "we this time", I assume you mean the Romanian Army not the US. If you read the accounts of the battle, the US Army did not stop forward progress to set up a base of fire. The only deliberate attack was by 1ID after their initial thrust got blunted.

Officer of Engineers
17 Mar 13,, 19:35
Not disagreeing there, but the friction that caused similar losses of coheasion among other nations divisions. Not a real good barometer of the competence of the Iraqis.

Ahh OK, gothca now.

Out teched, out thought and out trained for that most important of armored moves. That was a lesson drilled into us at NTC. Every time the OPFOR punched out the Bn or Bgd scouts we lost.Jason, I think we can agree that the Iraqis lost 73 Easting long before the M1s and the T-72s saw each other.

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 00:32
On paper one of the most powerful armored formations in the world. Your even confident that with your mix of Soviet and Western tech and combat experience you could beat a Soviet divisions- known to be much more effective in the attack than the Americans.I really have a problem with that. Nothing the Iraqis ever did even come close to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. And by the Kuwait War, T-80s were being fielded.

zraver
18 Mar 13,, 02:05
Jason, I think we can agree that the Iraqis lost 73 Easting long before the M1s and the T-72s saw each other.

They were beat the day Cheney announced the transfer of VII Corps from Germany....


I really have a problem with that. Nothing the Iraqis ever did even come close to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. And by the Kuwait War, T-80s were being fielded.

Sir I was referring to the RG armored divisions vs standard Soviet divisions which were still mainly T-72.

Albany Rifles
18 Mar 13,, 02:14
You die....simple.

The Colonel has laid out the case that the Iraqis were screwed by doctrine, organization, discipline, training and training.

They were going up against an army which was like a coiled spring to battle to the death the Soviet Union. It was almost cathartic for the US military to have this fight. It cleansed the self doubt of Viet Nam, Myaguez, Desert One, Grenada and Panama (which was successful in spite of ourselves.) It validated the hard work by everyone of over a decade. I don't care who was in command of the Iraqis...at the end of the day it was a corps versus a regiment....and the corps got its ass kicked.

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 06:02
They were beat the day Cheney announced the transfer of VII Corps from Germany....Then why did you post this what-if when you knew there was no way around it?

Mihais
18 Mar 13,, 10:21
Mihais, your assertions are for the most part bogus.

[quote]What we do know and they should have known is that concealment is not cover.[/qute]

Sorry, hull down is cover. You should research what cover is.



I dare you to spot a a hull down tank's tank berm at 3500m without using thermal to spot the tank itself.



You mean we as in the West, but no most of us didn't. Iraq obviously had no idea at all on the performance of modern US ammunition.



The Iraqis had pushed security elements as far forward as 50 Easting



By "we this time", I assume you mean the Romanian Army not the US. If you read the accounts of the battle, the US Army did not stop forward progress to set up a base of fire. The only deliberate attack was by 1ID after their initial thrust got blunted.

The next time you try to call my assertions bigus,do your own research,Sergeant.

Iraqi security element you speak about were division's.the Iraqi bde's and btn's had no such thing.Hence a bunch of AFV were destroyed without crews.
Next,cover is that thing that protects you from enemy fire.Concealment is the thing that hides you from enemy view.Piling sand in front of you is neither.Digging in usually is both.

And I know enough about US Army to know that you do establish bases of fire:rolleyes:

73 Easting was like shooting the Iraqi army unarmed in its barracks and depots,only in the open desert.Great for seeing and using the opportunity.Not so great if you want to see this as a titanic clash between 2 heavyweights.

If you need further confirmation about the difference in training and leadership,try to review your own army's lessons from NTC.There a Soviet regiment usually mopped the floor with regular units .

Doktor
18 Mar 13,, 10:33
IMV, There is nothing Iraqis could have done which would alter the outcome. Air superiority and constant support coming from the USN would eventually negate anything that Iraqis would come with. Every eventual battle was over even before it started.

Adding coalition engineers and superior armor to the mix makes the task even harder.

zraver
18 Mar 13,, 14:35
[QUOTE=zraver;906926]

[quote]Iraqi security element you speak about were division's.the Iraqi bde's and btn's had no such thing.Hence a bunch of AFV were destroyed without crews.

Platoon sized security elements began to be encountered around 50 Easting when an Iraqi scout platoon of MTLB's was destroyed. Other Iraqi elements were killed by Cobras which destroyed them with ATGM's. Ever wonder why so many crews thought they were under air attack? Because they were.


Next,cover is that thing that protects you from enemy fire.Concealment is the thing that hides you from enemy view.Piling sand in front of you is neither.Digging in usually is both.

A pit provides a tank with hull down COVER so does a berm of piled sand.


And I know enough about US Army to know that you do establish bases of fire:rolleyes:

You said stop and set up a base of fire to support the assault. I said no, the units involved did not stop and set up a base of fire except for 1ID. Sorry kiddo, your wrong. You set up a base of fire to support assault operations if you get stopped like 1ID did, you don't stop your momentum if you have it to set up a base of fire to gain something you already have. 2ACR in the fight on 73 and 74 Eastings itself did not stop.


73 Easting was like shooting the Iraqi army unarmed in its barracks and depots,only in the open desert.Great for seeing and using the opportunity.Not so great if you want to see this as a titanic clash between 2 heavyweights.

I guess reality and you should probably go on a date and get to know one another. You might not like reality however, its not real big on pompous ignorance.


If you need further confirmation about the difference in training and leadership,try to review your own army's lessons from NTC.There a Soviet regiment usually mopped the floor with regular units .

I did three rotations at NTC. First no Soviet regiment was ever there. A force of the best armor crews in the US Army using Soviet tactics on ground they lived and trained on year round beat the snot out of visiting units using lasers that greatly over estimated the lethality of Soviet weapon systems. Good training, as close to real war as you can come.

Mihais
18 Mar 13,, 17:02
You either don't read or you don't comprehend what you read.Here's the question for ya,sergeant.What do you do when the security element doesn't check in?

You're also boring with your lectures.Read again from the start what I said.You'll notice a few apples and oranges in your discourse.

I say what I say because I've read probably the same things as you and everybody else.The difference is I bother looking at what the RG did wrong.Even if they'd done everything right,they would have still lost because of what the Colonel said.However,they didn't need to lose that badly,that fast and without inflicting any casualties of note.There is great merit in what the US troops did there,in observing an opportunity and acting on it.There is also a great merit on the Iraqi side wrt their defeat.

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 17:24
However,they didn't need to lose that badly,that fast and without inflicting any casualties of note.I don't see how. By the time the Iraqis learned of the HAIL MARY, it was already too late to mount any sort of effective defence or even put up a good fight. They just didn't have the time to reorganize and to re-orient themselves.

zraver
18 Mar 13,, 18:12
You either don't read or you don't comprehend what you read.Here's the question for ya,sergeant.What do you do when the security element doesn't check in?

You're also boring with your lectures.Read again from the start what I said.You'll notice a few apples and oranges in your discourse.

I say what I say because I've read probably the same things as you and everybody else.The difference is I bother looking at what the RG did wrong.Even if they'd done everything right,they would have still lost because of what the Colonel said.However,they didn't need to lose that badly,that fast and without inflicting any casualties of note.There is great merit in what the US troops did there,in observing an opportunity and acting on it.There is also a great merit on the Iraqi side wrt their defeat.

Apparently you didn't. The things you said they got wrong, they did not in fact get wrong, or were not gotten wrong because of ineptitude. Things you said should have been done either were done by the Iraqis or not done by the 2ACR. You completely missed the opening shots beginning at 50 Eastings, missed the air attack, don't know what cover is with regards to a tank...

Not real impressed by your reading ability.

Blademaster
18 Mar 13,, 18:31
I really have a problem with that. Nothing the Iraqis ever did even come close to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. And by the Kuwait War, T-80s were being fielded.

Ok now we are getting somewhere. How would the Soviet generals handle this one in 1991 given the resources that the Iraqi Army had, including poor logistics and etc.

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 18:37
The Soviets would not have poor logistics. In fact, the Afghan campaign was all about logistics. They built roads through mountains during winter just to support their logistics. The Soviets also would not be sitting behind their earthworks. It would be a race to see who could attack first.

Mihais
18 Mar 13,, 20:02
Apparently you didn't. The things you said they got wrong, they did not in fact get wrong, or were not gotten wrong because of ineptitude. Things you said should have been done either were done by the Iraqis or not done by the 2ACR. You completely missed the opening shots beginning at 50 Eastings, missed the air attack, don't know what cover is with regards to a tank...

Not real impressed by your reading ability.

Now you are pathetic.Truly so.

Scouts that don't report(the MLTB platoon ruined by McMaster early in the day).Commanders that don't wonder what happened.

At 4pm the show starts with Eagle Troop assaulting the village.The Iraqi commanders believed it was an air attack.But the whole bunch of the Iraqis there did not reported it was a heavy force,or the commanders did not asked.20 minutes later the Eagle Troop spots(by McMaster's account they were clearly visible with naked eyes) the first tanks and takes them out.20 minutes in which the Iraqi did nothing.
During the engagement the Iraqi gunners failed repeteadly to hit their targets.
When the M3 section was sent to re-establish contact with Iron Troop,they engaged&destroyed several Iraqi tanks.Again,no marksmanship on their part.I can accept that Iraqi AP shells could not penetrate tank armour.I can accept they may not have known their limitation.I agree there's a big difference between FCS's.It's however unacceptable to go into battle with the gang that can't shoot straight.

The Iraqis may have had an operational concept.The corp's/division commanders may have had a vision.But there was nobody below that could implement that vision.

It was a superb surprise attack.And a reminder that that fighting doesn't happen on a map,by drawing some lines.

Now get back to re-reading what I actually wrote and ask questions if you need any clarification.Tactics is an art.Since the Americans realized they'd surprised the defenders they had no reasons to halt and set-up a deliberate attack.But when the Iraqis tried to attack,the E Troop was already in a hasty defense.It had enough time to do it.And you need those pesky things,like a combined arms approach,arty and proper application of fire and maneuver.And that funny thing,named recce.
Iraqi attack was an improvisation,by troops poorly suited for anything.Forget about improvisations on the battlefield.

p.s The Marines faced an enemy that enjoyed several advantages,without having the usual US assets at their disposal.At Al-Burqan the Iraqis had the burning oilfields that hampered air cover,thermal imaging and faced M60's instead of Abrams.They were intermingled with light Marine elements and once they attacked a HQ with AFV's.Engagement distances were up to 800m. No Marine losses.But the Iraqis lost ~100 AFV's.

Case closed.

Mihais
18 Mar 13,, 20:12
I don't see how. By the time the Iraqis learned of the HAIL MARY, it was already too late to mount any sort of effective defence or even put up a good fight. They just didn't have the time to reorganize and to re-orient themselves.

Sir,the RG Corp was doomed.I don't object to this.But losing without causing a modicum of casualties?I don't have an issue with their generals.I have an issue with LT's,CAPT'ns and MAJs.Israelis and Germans often faced an enemy superior both in numbers and technology.They won their engagements,even if sometimes the Germans lost the battles or the campaigns.

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 20:41
I don't have an issue with their generals.I have an issue with LT's,CAPT'ns and MAJs.Again, I don't see how. They were blind, deaf, and dumb (as in shell shocked) and they were outranged, out trained, and out maneuvered. And without artillery support, about the only thing that could have inflicted casualties onto the Americans.


Israelis and Germans often faced an enemy superior both in numbers and technology.They won their engagements,even if sometimes the Germans lost the battles or the campaigns.The Israelis and Germans had superior technologies and training.

Mihais
18 Mar 13,, 20:54
Sir,that's kinda my point.The whole Iraqi army ought to be at shooting ranges and maneuvers ground,not on a battlefield.Their staffs and CO's should have been reading about the enemy and creating ways to defeat them.
It wasn't an army of soldiers and officers,it was a bunch of actors playing soldiers.

zraver
18 Mar 13,, 22:41
The Soviets would not have poor logistics. In fact, the Afghan campaign was all about logistics. They built roads through mountains during winter just to support their logistics. The Soviets also would not be sitting behind their earthworks. It would be a race to see who could attack first.

Sir no army on earth would have had logistics under such complete air dominance. Flat terrain with no natural cover and no real weather to speak of against modern 3rd and 4th gen jets and sensors... American, British, Soviet guards.... wouldn't matter.

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 22:49
Wouldn't matter if 1st Guards Army make it to theatre before VII Corps.

Blademaster
18 Mar 13,, 22:51
Wouldn't matter if 1st Guards Army make it to theatre before VII Corps.

Meaning that the Soviets wouldn't stop at Kuwait but go after the staging areas that US needed to establish its vanguard/beachhead.

zraver
18 Mar 13,, 22:54
Now you are pathetic.Truly so.

Scouts that don't report(the MLTB platoon ruined by McMaster early in the day).Commanders that don't wonder what happened.

With allied electronic domiance... we dont know when that platoon was due to report back.


At 4pm the show starts with Eagle Troop assaulting the village.The Iraqi commanders believed it was an air attack.But the whole bunch of the Iraqis there did not reported it was a heavy force,or the commanders did not asked.20 minutes later the Eagle Troop spots(by McMaster's account they were clearly visible with naked eyes) the first tanks and takes them out.20 minutes in which the Iraqi did nothing.

Do you realize how quick 20 minutes is given the layers of command.


During the engagement the Iraqi gunners failed repeteadly to hit their targets.

See that is a valid point. Did they miss because they were bad shots, or because they could not see? 4:20pm in Feb against a force advancing out of the west... what was likely the biggest thing the Iraqis saw, even with the rain? Now add in smoke.

Plus they did hit quite a few times, but failed to achieve penetration. IIRC the most common iraqi SABOT was the 3BM-7 a 1970's era steel dart. That might penetrate an M3 but for that you use HEAT. How many Bradleys took hits on their ERA tiles?


When the M3 section was sent to re-establish contact with Iron Troop,they engaged&destroyed several Iraqi tanks.Again,no marksmanship on their part.I can accept that Iraqi AP shells could not penetrate tank armour.I can accept they may not have known their limitation.I agree there's a big difference between FCS's.It's however unacceptable to go into battle with the gang that can't shoot straight.

Because not shooting straight is the only possible answer?


The Iraqis may have had an operational concept.The corp's/division commanders may have had a vision.

They clearly did.


But there was nobody below that could implement that vision.

No disagreement here, the question is why. You seem to argue the reason was Iraqi ineptitude not American dominance.


It was a superb surprise attack.And a reminder that that fighting doesn't happen on a map,by drawing some lines.

This from someone whose never been closer to a tank than a book...


Now get back to re-reading what I actually wrote and ask questions if you need any clarification.Tactics is an art.Since the Americans realized they'd surprised the defenders they had no reasons to halt and set-up a deliberate attack.But when the Iraqis tried to attack,the E Troop was already in a hasty defense.It had enough time to do it.And you need those pesky things,like a combined arms approach,arty and proper application of fire and maneuver.And that funny thing,named recce.
Iraqi attack was an improvisation,by troops poorly suited for anything.Forget about improvisations on the battlefield.

I read what you wrote multiple times, same words same meaning you were and remain wrong.


p.s The Marines faced an enemy that enjoyed several advantages,without having the usual US assets at their disposal.At Al-Burqan the Iraqis had the burning oilfields that hampered air cover,thermal imaging and faced M60's instead of Abrams.They were intermingled with light Marine elements and once they attacked a HQ with AFV's.Engagement distances were up to 800m. No Marine losses.But the Iraqis lost ~100 AFV's.

Different engagement and different variables. BTW I knew some of the 4th Marine armor bn guys that were part of a single Abrams company (it wasn't all pattons) that destroyed an Iraqi T-72 regiment in 20 minutes. Even held some of the bent and pancakes Iraqi sabots they brought back... which does wonders to your cant hit argument.


Case closed.

hardly

Officer of Engineers
18 Mar 13,, 23:24
Meaning that the Soviets wouldn't stop at Kuwait but go after the staging areas that US needed to establish its vanguard/beachhead.Pretty well, Soviets prefer offense, especially when the foe is not ready.

Mihais
19 Mar 13,, 00:03
About the book thing.No tanker,but I've seen one or two.''See,those are ours.Don't shoot them.And if those that aren't ours come to you,don't crap your pants,they can be avoided or defeated by doing a,b or c...'' :biggrin:

You don't help your case,nor theirs.The RG had weeks to notice there is Coalition electronic dominance.I simply don't know to what extent it affected them in that particular circumstance.If you have a valid Iraqi source,be my guest and post it.As a matter of fact,they did tried to establish fiber optics comms,but lacked time.However,the Iraqi generals inspected that particular piece of terrain 2 weeks earlier and some basic plan existed in their minds.Why they didn't do it earlier it's a matter of speculation for me,right now.Nor do I lose sleep over it.
This has very little to do with the fact that basic security measures at bde&btn level failed.Yeah,weather &terrain sometimes sucks.The enemy usually interferes with your life.There may be failures of all sorts.It's still no excuse to be surprised like that.Period.


Different engagement,same army ,in the best circumstances they could have hoped for.Nada.

US shells had problems destroying an Abrams.The issue here is the Iraqis destroyed nothing while hitting very little.Except the US 4/7 Cav that had several AFV's damaged after trying to assault dug-in tanks.Even that happened after the unit suffered both enemy and friendly fire.Now picture this:IFV's have a slugfest with dug-in tanks for an hour and during that hour the tanks don't annihilate the attacking M3's.And this is their foremost success.

What I argue is that both Iraqi incompetence and American skill led to the actual result.Otherwise you would have suffered some casualties of note,even if the outcome would have been the same-eventual Iraqi defeat.

Officer of Engineers
19 Mar 13,, 00:15
Being better Iraqi tankers is not going to increase Allied casualties substantially. About the only thing in the Iraqi arsenal that can do that is the artillery and they were primary targets for air and counter battery operations. And the Iraqis never in their entire experience dealt with moving armour. Both them and the Iranians that they fought had to stop their tanks for directed fire which leaves them vulnerable to artillery strikes. Iraqi gunners never had to deal with tanks moving under their ballistic arcs.

Mihais
19 Mar 13,, 00:26
Being better Iraqi tankers is not going to increase Allied casualties substantially. About the only thing in the Iraqi arsenal that can do that is the artillery and they were primary targets for air and counter battery operations. And the Iraqis never in their entire experience dealt with moving armour. Both them and the Iranians that they fought had to stop their tanks for directed fire which leaves them vulnerable to artillery strikes. Iraqi gunners never had to deal with tanks moving under their ballistic arcs.

Sir,I mentioned the Marines because there the Iraqis(tanks,IFV or mere grunts) fought against infantry,HQ's and light vehicles,besides whatever Marine tanks were available.All these at very close ranges,so no excuses like long distances.They still killed nothing.When tanks are taken out by HQ's security elements,there is something very good about one army and very dubious about the other.

Officer of Engineers
19 Mar 13,, 00:29
All that means is that they would force the HQ to withdraw and maybe kill one or two of reserve tanks. Still not a substantial increase in casualties.

zraver
19 Mar 13,, 01:34
About the book thing.No tanker,but I've seen one or two.''See,those are ours.Don't shoot them.And if those that aren't ours come to you,don't crap your pants,they can be avoided or defeated by doing a,b or c...'' :biggrin:

And exactly what A B or C didn't the Iraqis use? Direct fire, atgm, what artillery they could call upon, dug in, in the open, on the move, defending and attacking they tried every trick in the book they had and failed.


You don't help your case,nor theirs.The RG had weeks to notice there is Coalition electronic dominance.I simply don't know to what extent it affected them in that particular circumstance.If you have a valid Iraqi source,be my guest and post it.As a matter of fact,they did tried to establish fiber optics comms,but lacked time.

Thats the point, they did what they could with what they had and were simply and completely overmatched.


However,the Iraqi generals inspected that particular piece of terrain 2 weeks earlier and some basic plan existed in their minds.Why they didn't do it earlier it's a matter of speculation for me,right now.Nor do I lose sleep over it.

Its not a matter of specualtion at all- there was no ground penetration and no orders from Saddam. Once VII Corps crossed the border they RG moved to block.


This has very little to do with the fact that basic security measures at bde&btn level failed.Yeah,weather &terrain sometimes sucks.The enemy usually interferes with your life.There may be failures of all sorts.It's still no excuse to be surprised like that.Period.

Some units were surprised, not all and much of what we are calling surprise is in fact called friction.


Different engagement,same army ,in the best circumstances they could have hoped for.Nada.

Was it RG or Iraqi Army that attacked? Different armies...


US shells had problems destroying an Abrams.The issue here is the Iraqis destroyed nothing while hitting very little.Except the US 4/7 Cav that had several AFV's damaged after trying to assault dug-in tanks.Even that happened after the unit suffered both enemy and friendly fire.Now picture this:IFV's have a slugfest with dug-in tanks for an hour and during that hour the tanks don't annihilate the attacking M3's.And this is their foremost success.

The M2/M3's were pulled back when they started taking fire per doctrine. They were not in the slug fest but back providing missile support and screening. Or did you think so poorly of US training that we would rush in the thin skins to be slaughtered?


What I argue is that both Iraqi incompetence and American skill led to the actual result.Otherwise you would have suffered some casualties of note,even if the outcome would have been the same-eventual Iraqi defeat.

I disagree as do others

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dpress/docs/Press_Lessons_from_Ground_Combat_IS.pdf

Mihais
19 Mar 13,, 09:51
We have to agree to disagree, then.
The issue is however very simple.Iraqis failed to do fundamentals right.While Americans did that and more.Iraqi Generals failed to read the enemy and prepare their force for the changed circumstances.I agree with the Colonel their experience fighting Iran influenced everything they did.
It's nothing new under the sun.Plenty of armies fought the last war and lost.Plenty of armies will do that in the future.

Btw,some American Generals also read their enemies wrong.The Iraqis weren't Soviets.

zraver
19 Mar 13,, 19:30
We have to agree to disagree, then.
The issue is however very simple.Iraqis failed to do fundamentals right.While Americans did that and more.

They got them as right as could be expected given the circumstances.


Iraqi Generals failed to read the enemy and prepare their force for the changed circumstances.

Then where did that reenforced RG corps come from?


I agree with the Colonel their experience fighting Iran influenced everything they did.

Never been a point of contention.


It's nothing new under the sun.Plenty of armies fought the last war and lost.Plenty of armies will do that in the future.

Btw,some American Generals also read their enemies wrong.The Iraqis weren't Soviets.

Your average Soviet divisions would have done even more poorly than the RG. The average staffing levels for Soviet cat divisions was only 65% in the logistics areas so equipment readiness was almost never 100% especially combined with the poor training levels. Half the divisions had between 6 and 18 months time in service. One quarter each had less than 6 months of between 18-24 months. No institutional memory, no real training, massive language issues, poor personnel quality, what little training time that did exist was cut into by work projects and political classes. What we learned when the wall came down and the USSR imploded was that after 1980 the Red Army was a paper tiger without WMD's.

1979
19 Mar 13,, 21:01
Personally i think USSWisconsin plan is best . :wors:

But something in the article bothered me:

Between the operations zone, and the enemy, was the security zone. This zone, which was about ten kilometers (6.2 miles) wide, was designed to provide early warning and to break-up and slow down enemy attacking formations

It does not strike me as adequate at all.

USSWisconsin
19 Mar 13,, 22:01
Since the scenario rules don't permit a RG surrender. The best that can be acheived (IMO) is to inflict more casualties on the Coalition forces. Scenario victory conditons could be based on doing significantly more than the historical amount of damage to the Coalition forces, since defeating them is probably not going to happen without divine interventon. Condtions could count individual troop casualties or disabled vehicles, since MBT kills are very unlikely. Perhaps 2x more damage would be a minor victory, 3x an intermediate victory, and 4x a major victory? Without this type of victory conditions, who would want to put themselves in the position of the RG commander?

It appears that minefields are the most viable method that the RG has available, but didn't use historically. Perhaps a series of well conceiled minefields - with well conceiled ATM's and snipers set up behind them to capitalize on the vehicles stopping or slowing down as they run ito the mines. I wouldn't make them too deep, since the Coalition can probably clear them pretty effectively once they are detected. Having more separate minefileds would be a better use of the RG mine supplies than fewer deeper minefields.

I wonder if the RG commander might be able to use some Vis-mod'ed vehicles to promote more Coalition friendly fire kills?

Officer of Engineers
19 Mar 13,, 22:08
Your average Soviet divisions would have done even more poorly than the RG. The average staffing levels for Soviet cat divisions was only 65% in the logistics areas so equipment readiness was almost never 100% especially combined with the poor training levels. Half the divisions had between 6 and 18 months time in service. One quarter each had less than 6 months of between 18-24 months. No institutional memory, no real training, massive language issues, poor personnel quality, what little training time that did exist was cut into by work projects and political classes. What we learned when the wall came down and the USSR imploded was that after 1980 the Red Army was a paper tiger without WMD's.Out of context. The Soviets never believed that you need standing forces right out of the blue. They believe that crisis takes time to develop and hence would be able to bring their forces to full standing during the fact. The 58th when they went into Afghanistan was certainly at combat strength. There is no reason to believe that the Soviets would just ship an unready division.

Officer of Engineers
19 Mar 13,, 22:18
Since the scenario rules don't permit a RG surrender. The best that can be acheived (IMO) is to inflict more casualties on the Coalition forces. Scenario victory conditons could be based on doing significantly more than the historical amount of damage to the Coalition forces, since defeating them is probably not going to happen without divine interventon. Condtions could count individual troop casualties or disabled vehicles, since MBT kills are very unlikely. Perhaps 2x more damage would be a minor victory, 3x an intermediate victory, and 4x a major victory? Without this type of victory conditions, who would want to put themselves in the position of the RG commander?Kuwait City is probably the best place to set up a death trap. Booby trap every freaking building.

zraver
19 Mar 13,, 23:47
Out of context. The Soviets never believed that you need standing forces right out of the blue. They believe that crisis takes time to develop and hence would be able to bring their forces to full standing during the fact. The 58th when they went into Afghanistan was certainly at combat strength. There is no reason to believe that the Soviets would just ship an unready division.

In a hypothetical discussion about defending against Coalition Forces aka NATO... They wouldn't be shipping but receiving.

Officer of Engineers
19 Mar 13,, 23:56
Then within context, the Soviets would have six months to ready their armies and frankly, it would be a race to see who is ready first. The 58th took just as long to get ready for Afghanistan.

zraver
20 Mar 13,, 00:25
Then within context, the Soviets would have six months to ready their armies and frankly, it would be a race to see who is ready first. The 58th took just as long to get ready for Afghanistan.

Even then, nothing the Soviets could do would have an effect on institutional memory. In 1990 the USSR had some officers who remembered Afghanistan. In comparison the US still had officers and enlisted who remembered Vietnam. IIRC The average time in service for a US tanker in the Gulf war was 7 years- more than 3x the Soviet enlistment period. The Soviets might be able to get to war time manning levels but would still be completely green.

Officer of Engineers
20 Mar 13,, 01:05
I disagree. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan was every bit as impressive as DESERT STORM. Their staffs were superbly trained and it reflected in their execution of that invasion.

However, this being said, it was still a race and whoever reaches the starting line first, 1st Guards or VII Corps is going to have an almost insurmountable advantage.

astralis
20 Jun 13,, 18:35
working off the other Lee thread.

let's wave a wand, and suddenly you are Robert E Lee, and it's november 1863.

you know Grant will be coming down the pike in spring 1864. what do you do to prepare? how would you fight grant?

Albany Rifles
20 Jun 13,, 20:31
Actually, Lee didn't know that because Lincoln didn't know that yet! He didn't appoint Grant to the position of General in Chief until 9 MAR 64.

That said its still is worthy of consideration. Let's not forget that his adversary at the time, George Meade, had kicked his butt at Gettysburg and pretty much ruled the day in the Bristoe Station and Mine Run campaigns.

I am not sure if the time frame is important...are you asking what would he do to get his ANV ready over the winter for the coming campaigning?

gunnut
20 Jun 13,, 20:43
Just my unedumacated opinion, if I were the Iraqi commander, short of knowing EXACTLY when, where, speed, strength, and capability of the American forces at 73 Easting, I would have very little chance to come out ahead.

If I knew all those information, I would attack and surround the American forces. Get in close to negate the American range advantage. Force the Americans to react instead of reacting to the Americans. Use my tanks' mobility as an asset rather than negate it by digging them in. Tanks are for mobile warfare and an offensive weapon. Digging them in is a waste.

Doing all that, I just may have enough tanks and men left after the battle to claim victory.

astralis
20 Jun 13,, 20:51
AR,


am not sure if the time frame is important...are you asking what would he do to get his ANV ready over the winter for the coming campaigning?

yes. and given that you're lee, you're going back knowing that grant is coming down the pike. would you still try to fight Battle of the Wilderness?

i think what i'm trying to get at here is, what could lee have done better in 1864 against grant?

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 00:51
Just my unedumacated opinion, if I were the Iraqi commander, short of knowing EXACTLY when, where, speed, strength, and capability of the American forces at 73 Easting, I would have very little chance to come out ahead.

If I knew all those information, I would attack and surround the American forces. Get in close to negate the American range advantage. Force the Americans to react instead of reacting to the Americans. Use my tanks' mobility as an asset rather than negate it by digging them in. Tanks are for mobile warfare and an offensive weapon. Digging them in is a waste.

Doing all that, I just may have enough tanks and men left after the battle to claim victory.

The desert is where that is least likely to work though. Pull everything you can fit back to Kuwait city. Place as many civilians and cameras around your emplacements as you can and then mine every avenue of approach in depth with over watching ambush positions and anti-tank missile teams to inhibit movement. Make the US Army come in a dig you out one block at a time within ranges of a few hundred meters. Retain an armored striking force up in Basra (also surrounded by emplacements, civilians and cameras) in order to try and retain some freedom of maneuver and to force the US to choose between politically unpopular collateral damage, an equally unpopular longstanding deployment to protect Kuwait, an invasion of Iraq proper that can be bogged down by regular forces dug into urban areas, or withdrawing and allowing the IA to retake Kuwait after the Coalition departs.

The US Army has the ability to ride roughshod over most militaries out there if they meet us head on. Not because our tanks, our aircraft or our infantry are naturally better, but because when the US military attacks it attacks with the entire inventory at the same time. Combined arms is something most militaries talk about doing, but few possess as an actual capability (it is hard to do). Forcing us to enter cities in the face of prepared defenses on the other hand will both partially negate our advantage in airpower, and challenge the widely held belief that combat operations in populated areas can be carried out with no collateral damage. Trying to beat the United States with the Iraqi military in combined arms warfare is a losing proposition. You have to do what you can to negate certain capabilities, and that means fighting us in an environment where 1) your command and control is less relevant (because it will be degraded), and 2) where we are incapable of effectively utilizing all aspects of combined arms against you. That means a prepared defense in an urban environment... ideally surrounded by civilians.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 03:11
The desert is where that is least likely to work though. Pull everything you can fit back to Kuwait city. Place as many civilians and cameras around your emplacements as you can and then mine every avenue of approach in depth with over watching ambush positions and anti-tank missile teams to inhibit movement. Make the US Army come in a dig you out one block at a time within ranges of a few hundred meters.

Captain, you just described a festung... Specially with an armored reserve to the North in Basra. The textbook counter is obvious- by-pass and screen Kuwait city, the coast helps immensely with this since the city juts into the gulf. Coalition Arab forces and the USMC tasked with breaking into Kuwait city can just as easily screen the city and cut it and the bulk of the INA off, while the USAR and NATO forces executes a shorter left hook march around the city to take up position to either engage the RG out of Basra or sit as a giant plug between the two cities aka a modern version of the Battle of Alesia. After-all the allied mission is to liberate Kuwait, not invade Iraq.

Further, packing the RG into Basra invites an invasion of Iraq and the loss of the city equals the loss of the regime. Saddam's power depends on the combination of oil money and firepower. taking Basra in this scenario would cost him both.

If I was the Iraqi commander (with benefit of hindsight 20/20 and assuming nothing I do can save my log trail) there is not much I would change other than two critical pieces assuming there is a way to maintain some sort of reliable coms even if its by motocycle runner. Push more light infantry screening forces equipped with ATGM's closer to and farther down the Saudi border to create a trip wire alert system and dig not to fight fight a ranged gunnery battle but where possible try and set up a reverse slope defense or as close to it as terrain allows to negate the American range advantage.

But even if I as an Iraqi commander had accurate intel on American capabilities I don't think my mind shaped by the Iran-Iraq war can conceive of the speed, destructive power and accuracy I will be facing. I will rapidly succumb to shock, if an allied PGM doesn't get me first. Even if by some act of cruel fate I am the mental equal of my American foes, my troops, even my best troops the RG is not. They are not trained to fight a mechanized foe, nor are they equipped for it. The HEAT and SABOT rounds i've got in my T-72's wont penetrate the Abrams at any useful combat range. The rounds stocking the majority of my tanks- T-55, Type 59 and T-62 might as well be firing rubber bands at them. My ATGM's can't penetrate chobbam or ERA and my troops are poorly trained in guiding them while under fire. My main infantry AT weapon the RPG-7 is not yet equipped with modern rounds (amazing how Iraq got them between 91 and 03... thnx Russia...) and are just as useless. My troops only night vision is active IR... its aluandry list of failings that no commander could over come.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 03:23
Captain on an aside, you might want to talk to one of our Brit members who were part of the BAOR and ask them if they ever trained to defend from the cities lie Hamburg in the North German plain. They faced almost the same tactical problems the Iraqis faced.

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 03:55
Captain on an aside, you might want to talk to one of our Brit members who were part of the BAOR and ask them if they ever trained to defend from the cities lie Hamburg in the North German plain. They faced almost the same tactical problems the Iraqis faced.

I would be astonished if they were willing or able to use German civilians as human shields. And conversely, I would be astonished if the Soviets would give a damn anyways (they would probably be pretty happy if they could kill Germans alongside NATO troops). And a very different situation on the North German Plain. The NATO force to be used to defend Germany was combined arms all the way, as was the Soviet force opposing them. The infrastructure supported considerable lateral movement. German cities were not the center of gravity that would determine victory (reforger sites and ports were). Why would you concentrate your forces in easily bypassed cities when you can fight a defensive battle of maneuver on roughly even terms (at least in the 80's)? Then there was also the anticipation of nuclear use which also precluded large troop concentrations in easy targets. So I see these as two completely different problems.

Lets face it, anyone who thought that the US and Iraqi armies were anything close to similar in quality was deluding themselves. The skill of individual crews or squads is irrelevant to that assessment. In a straight up military conflict the Iraqi's were going to lose on a tactical level because their force multipliers didn't work well together. The question they should have tried to answer was how to attain strategic victory. Saddam tried to try something of this nature during OIF with the Baathist insurgency, but ultimately failed.

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 04:00
I will give you that the great disparity between the two forces was probably not that evident to the average Iraqi general. Even in 2010, with examples of far superior American capability all around them and two overwhelmingly lost wars behind them, Iraqi Army commanders still frequently seemed to believe themselves to be superior to Americans. Arabic culture frequently takes forms that Westerners find highly irrational.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 04:57
I would be astonished if they were willing or able to use German civilians as human shields. And conversely, I would be astonished if the Soviets would give a damn anyways (they would probably be pretty happy if they could kill Germans alongside NATO troops).

Sir, The Soviets did not want to fight in the cities. They took horrendous losses doing so in WWII. Everyone did, city fights are hard on troops. It was not something we (tankers) spent a lot of time training for. Our MOUT training was very much a sidebar thing in the 90's.


The NATO force to be used to defend Germany was combined arms all the way, as was the Soviet force opposing them. The infrastructure supported considerable lateral movement. German cities were not the center of gravity that would determine victory (reforger sites and ports were). Why would you concentrate your forces in easily bypassed cities when you can fight a defensive battle of maneuver on roughly even terms (at least in the 80's)? Then there was also the anticipation of nuclear use which also precluded large troop concentrations in easy targets. So I see these as two completely different problems.

I remember discussion where the generally accepted goals of a Soviet invasion would be to penetrate the NATO lines and force the BAOR and its German Allies into the city so they could be masked off. This would enable with minimal forces needed to keep the Brits holed up and leave the maximum for the penetration and to screen against the Americans.

Nukes of course are a game changer and posed their own problems for NATO and the WP. If your spread out enough to make nukes ineffective you don't have the combat power needed against a concentrated enemy.

Also, I'm not so sure that the German cities (population) wasn't the center of gravity. Ultimately if the West Germans threw in the towel it doesn't really matter what the military cog was- the political cog is always superior.


Lets face it, anyone who thought that the US and Iraqi armies were anything close to similar in quality was deluding themselves. The skill of individual crews or squads is irrelevant to that assessment. In a straight up military conflict the Iraqi's were going to lose on a tactical level because their force multipliers didn't work well together. The question they should have tried to answer was how to attain strategic victory. Saddam tried to try something of this nature during OIF with the Baathist insurgency, but ultimately failed.

Not sure that was evident in 1990. We thought the Iraqis, in particular the RG were going to a lot tougher than what they were. We thought they were battle hardened (not war weary) and this was reflected in both the estimate of ground war causalities we would take and why the air campaign went on so long- right up to the point where if it went on longer we risked massive heat casualties when we did start the ground war due to MOPP gear.

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 05:26
Sir, The Soviets did not want to fight in the cities. They took horrendous losses doing so in WWII. Everyone did, city fights are hard on troops. It was not something we (tankers) spent a lot of time training for. Our MOUT training was very much a sidebar thing in the 90's.

Agreed. Which is why I think that was the only viable way for the Iraqi's to fight us in both 1991 and 2003. A fight in the open desert played to American strengths. Nowadays we're as comfortable as one can be in city fighting too, although if I were anything other than a near-peer competitor that is still how I would want to fight America.



I remember discussion where the generally accepted goals of a Soviet invasion would be to penetrate the NATO lines and force the BAOR and its German Allies into the city so they could be masked off. This would enable with minimal forces needed to keep the Brits holed up and leave the maximum for the penetration and to screen against the Americans.

Nukes of course are a game changer and posed their own problems for NATO and the WP. If your spread out enough to make nukes ineffective you don't have the combat power needed against a concentrated enemy.


My understanding was the same. But since the British and FRG could meet the Soviets on nearly even terms defensively, they were (rightfully) going to do their best to not get trapped in the cities.



Also, I'm not so sure that the German cities (population) wasn't the center of gravity. Ultimately if the West Germans threw in the towel it doesn't really matter what the military cog was- the political cog is always superior.

I don't see the Germans surrendering to the Soviets of all people as long as they had an army in the field and US reinforcements pouring in... which as long as they hold the REFORGER sites and the ports they will have. The Soviet occupation of East Germany (indeed, all of Eastern Europe with a German speaking population) was a deeply traumatic experience. I can't see a situation where hope of victory exists and the Germans willingly put themselves in that position again. Now granted, NATO was going to fight as far forward as it possibly could (because those cities were very important to the Germans). But as long as the ports are held and reforger goes forward time would not be on the Soviet's side.

Contrast that with the Gulf War. The objective was the liberation of Kuwait, which meant two things. Ejecting Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and taking Kuwait City. Until you've taken the city, you still haven't liberated the bulk of the population. So the traditional method of dealing with population centers by bypassing them really isn't an option for the Coalition. We needed to go into and secure that city sooner rather than later. And do so without killing half the population. Even a loss could turn into a strategic stalemate for Iraq if the US took heavy casualties fighting street to street through Kuwait City and a substantial portion of the population died in the process.

The Iraqi's by contrast needed to sour the US on interventions in the Middle East (much the same way we were soured on interventions in SE Asia by Vietnam). If we could be convinced by such a Pyrrhic victory to back out of the Middle East, Iraq would eventually be able to reassert itself in Kuwait.



Not sure that was evident in 1990. We thought the Iraqis, in particular the RG were going to a lot tougher than what they were. We thought they were battle hardened (not war weary) and this was reflected in both the estimate of ground war causalities we would take and why the air campaign went on so long- right up to the point where if it went on longer we risked massive heat casualties when we did start the ground war due to MOPP gear.

I attribute that partly to tempering expectations. I don't think anyone realized how successful we would be at winning with so few casualties. However just to put things in perspective, why would we attack division and corps with brigade sized elements if we weren't pretty certain we'd ride roughshod over the Iraqis? Doctrine calls for 3-1 in the offense, and I think if we were anticipating strong resistance from the Iraqi Army we would have paid a little more attention to that, at least at the decisive point.

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 05:51
Also to put things in perspective, I was all of 6 years old at the time. But given how the US fought that war, those are the conclusions I've drawn.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 06:14
Agreed. Which is why I think that was the only viable way for the Iraqi's to fight us in both 1991 and 2003. A fight in the open desert played to American strengths. Nowadays we're as comfortable as one can be in city fighting too, although if I were anything other than a near-peer competitor that is still how I would want to fight America.

Still don't think Kuwait City is the place to do it. maybe if that is where the RG is. If its just the INA with the RG in Basra then that is the target.


My understanding was the same. But since the British and FRG could meet the Soviets on nearly even terms defensively, they were (rightfully) going to do their best to not get trapped in the cities.

Depending on what year this hypothetical invasion is would determine that. The British definitely kept pace with the Soviets better than we or the Germans did until about 1984.


I don't see the Germans surrendering to the Soviets of all people as long as they had an army in the field and US reinforcements pouring in... which as long as they hold the REFORGER sites and the ports they will have. The Soviet occupation of East Germany (indeed, all of Eastern Europe with a German speaking population) was a deeply traumatic experience. I can't see a situation where hope of victory exists and the Germans willingly put themselves in that position again. Now granted, NATO was going to fight as far forward as it possibly could (because those cities were very important to the Germans). But as long as the ports are held and reforger goes forward time would not be on the Soviet's side.

Its the forward defense that causes the problem and points to a weak political leadership.


Contrast that with the Gulf War. The objective was the liberation of Kuwait, which meant two things. Ejecting Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and taking Kuwait City. Until you've taken the city, you still haven't liberated the bulk of the population. So the traditional method of dealing with population centers by bypassing them really isn't an option for the Coalition.

Disagree for a couple of reasons.

1. If the Iraqis had really dug into Kuwait City like a dog tic the Kuwaiti leadership would need to be consulted and I am not sure they would agree without trying a siege first.
2. Gen Schwarzkopf wanted the RG dead. 2a.They were the perceived threat. A truly and heavily dug in INA in Kuwait city would might have pulled in VII corps, the Arabs and USMC (minus a few armored units) were not at all rated (then) as being competent to take on the T-72. This would have been putting weakness to block perceived strength to give the city mission to VII corps and move the weaker force north as the screen. 2b. If the RG is not destroyed, as soon as we leave the Iraqis come back.


We needed to go into and secure that city sooner rather than later. And do so without killing half the population. Even a loss could turn into a strategic stalemate for Iraq if the US took heavy casualties fighting street to street through Kuwait City and a substantial portion of the population died in the process.

All the more reason to mask the city and hit the RG in Basra which goes directly after Saddam's political CoG. Beat him there and he may well agree to evacuate the bulk of the INA to get the US out of Basra.


The Iraqi's by contrast needed to sour the US on interventions in the Middle East (much the same way we were soured on interventions in SE Asia by Vietnam). If we could be convinced by such a Pyrrhic victory to back out of the Middle East, Iraq would eventually be able to reassert itself in Kuwait.

Hence the US need to destroy the RG. I know during the campaign the RG was singled out for special treatment by coalition air power.


I attribute that partly to tempering expectations. I don't think anyone realized how successful we would be at winning with so few casualties. However just to put things in perspective, why would we attack division and corps with brigade sized elements if we weren't pretty certain we'd ride roughshod over the Iraqis? Doctrine calls for 3-1 in the offense, and I think if we were anticipating strong resistance from the Iraqi Army we would have paid a little more attention to that, at least at the decisive point.

Couple of things here. VII corps didn't go brigade on division it went corps on corps (2ACR, 1ID, 3AD, 1AD'UK" vs Medina, Tawalkana RGAD, parts of the 10,12, 17, 52AD and Adnan ID"L"). Of the non-RG armoed divisions only one the 52 had T-72's the rest were armed with T-55's. 2ACR engaged first but then executed a passage of lines for 1ID. In Kuwait, the coalition forces were generally facing older equipment and less trained, less well lead and less eager troops so the equivalent 3:1 was maintained via firepower modifiers. Finally, by the time coalition forces crossed the border air power had effectively destroyed the Iraqi trains and coms and thus fixed and pinned the bulk of the INA in place giving us the needed local superiority.

BTW congrats on your (first?) command.

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 06:56
Still don't think Kuwait City is the place to do it. maybe if that is where the RG is. If its just the INA with the RG in Basra then that is the target.


But the Iraqi's couldn't guarantee that we wouldn't just stop at liberating Kuwait. The element in Basra is important because it keeps them in the game even if we achieve our objectives. The element in Kuwait City holds something we have to take for our stated aims.




Its the forward defense that causes the problem and points to a weak political leadership.

I think this is easier for an American to say... if I were the US general defending the western US from a Canadian invasion I would be loath to give up Washington State (my home state) without a fight in order to buy time to bring in reinforcements to northern California. I would do it if necessary, but I wouldn't accept that it was necessary without one hell of a fight. I would argue that is human nature, not political weakness. Political weakness would be after fighting through my homeland, if I was willing to surrender despite still possessing the prerequisites for victory.



Disagree for a couple of reasons.

1. If the Iraqis had really dug into Kuwait City like a dog tic the Kuwaiti leadership would need to be consulted and I am not sure they would agree without trying a siege first.

Then the US would have to accept responsibility for all the starving civilians being held hostage within said city. Either way you are looking at a highly publicized humanitarian disaster involving the people we are supposed to be helping.



2. Gen Schwarzkopf wanted the RG dead. 2a.They were the perceived threat. A truly and heavily dug in INA in Kuwait city would might have pulled in VII corps, the Arabs and USMC (minus a few armored units) were not at all rated (then) as being competent to take on the T-72. This would have been putting weakness to block perceived strength to give the city mission to VII corps and move the weaker force north as the screen. 2b. If the RG is not destroyed, as soon as we leave the Iraqis come back.

So then we get involved in two bloody urban fights (Basra and Kuwait City) instead of one? Moving any of the Iraqi formations into the open is asking for them to get destroyed. I propose giving the US a choice. Come into the city (either Basra or Kuwait... or both) and dig me out one block at a time through prepared defenses amid a civilian population that I have deliberately kept in place, keep your enormously expensive army in place indefinitely, or withdraw and leave the Middle East to those with the will to stick around.




All the more reason to mask the city and hit the RG in Basra which goes directly after Saddam's political CoG. Beat him there and he may well agree to evacuate the bulk of the INA to get the US out of Basra.

The problem is we had no desire to occupy Iraq at all, and neither did any of our Arab allies (most of whom still saw Iraq as their bulwark against Iran). That US coalition was not going to hold together through an occupation. The last thing the Iraqi's would want to do is pull their army out of an urban area in the face of American airpower.



Hence the US need to destroy the RG. I know during the campaign the RG was singled out for special treatment by coalition air power.

Very true. Which is why I believe that making us come into an environment that favors the defense was the way to go.



Couple of things here. VII corps didn't go brigade on division it went corps on corps (2ACR, 1ID, 3AD, 1AD'UK" vs Medina, Tawalkana RGAD, parts of the 10,12, 17, 52AD and Adnan ID"L"). Of the non-RG armoed divisions only one the 52 had T-72's the rest were armed with T-55's. 2ACR engaged first but then executed a passage of lines for 1ID. In Kuwait, the coalition forces were generally facing older equipment and less trained, less well lead and less eager troops so the equivalent 3:1 was maintained via firepower modifiers. Finally, by the time coalition forces crossed the border air power had effectively destroyed the Iraqi trains and coms and thus fixed and pinned the bulk of the INA in place giving us the needed local superiority.

Strategically yes, but on a tactical level unit commanders did not wait for 3-1, or even 1-1 odds. There were several times, mentioned earlier in this thread, where brigade and lower sized formations were happy to bring elements many times their size to battle. The ability to execute combined arms successfully is a hell of a force multiplier regardless of the size of the enemy force. The way one should fight such an approach is to deny them the ability to bring the inventory to the fight. Establish prepared defensive positions in an urban environment. Devolve decision making down to the lowest level, and make things simple. Fire missiles/RPG's. Run back to your subsequent battle positions. Fire again. Engage. Retreat. Inflict as many casualties as possible. A T-55 at 300 meters can still kill an M-1. In the city you can get those kind of ranges. The advantages that airpower, Air Weapons Teams, artillery and other force multipliers bring in the city are greatly reduced. Disperse your MANPAD's throughout your battle positions to deny freedom of maneuver to anything airborne and inhibit air assaults. Lay antitank and antipersonnel minefields through the MSR's, and only use specifically designated (and inconspicuous) ASR's for your own movement. Use civilians in large numbers around supply caches and mission command nodes to maximize collateral damage from US airstrikes. Turn the city into a deathtrap. Even if you lose 2 or 3 soldiers for every American you kill or wound, that will still exact a higher cost than they are most likely willing to bear.



BTW congrats on your (first?) command.

Yeah, and thank you. I lucked out, and am getting command almost upon arrival. Be my first time on tanks since Armor OBC though. They sent me to an infantry battalion in Strykers, so I've got some catching up to do in terms of technical knowledge.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 08:05
But the Iraqi's couldn't guarantee that we wouldn't just stop at liberating Kuwait. The element in Basra is important because it keeps them in the game even if we achieve our objectives. The element in Kuwait City holds something we have to take for our stated aims.

Given Schwarzkopf's fixation on the RG and its importance to Saddam's regime. Plus the importance of the Al Faw for oil exports I go to Basra and mask Kuwait city.



I think this is easier for an American to say... if I were the US general defending the western US from a Canadian invasion I would be loath to give up Washington State (my home state) without a fight in order to buy time to bring in reinforcements to northern California. I would do it if necessary, but I wouldn't accept that it was necessary without one hell of a fight. I would argue that is human nature, not political weakness. Political weakness would be after fighting through my homeland, if I was willing to surrender despite still possessing the prerequisites for victory.

I grew up bouncing between Stanwood and Seattle.



Then the US would have to accept responsibility for all the starving civilians being held hostage within said city. Either way you are looking at a highly publicized humanitarian disaster involving the people we are supposed to be helping.

No, the uS is not responsible for the starving civilians until the Iraqis collapse. Even given the piss poor organic resources of Kuwait., I've got anywhere from 2 weeks to a month before the humanitarian disaster gets to the point where I have to act. This is time I can use to crack Basra.


So then we get involved in two bloody urban fights (Basra and Kuwait City) instead of one? Moving any of the Iraqi formations into the open is asking for them to get destroyed. I propose giving the US a choice. Come into the city (either Basra or Kuwait... or both) and dig me out one block at a time through prepared defenses amid a civilian population that I have deliberately kept in place, keep your enormously expensive army in place indefinitely, or withdraw and leave the Middle East to those with the will to stick around.

Just 1 city, but open Basra and Saddam agrees to a ceasefire to regain control of his oil export route and to save whats left of the RG to secure his rule (what he did in real life). Even if he doesn't and he does force me to go into Kuwait City, with the RG destroyed to the north I've now got more combat power since half his force has been defeated.


The problem is we had no desire to occupy Iraq at all, and neither did any of our Arab allies (most of whom still saw Iraq as their bulwark against Iran). That US coalition was not going to hold together through an occupation. The last thing the Iraqi's would want to do is pull their army out of an urban area in the face of American airpower.

its the threat of invasion that caused Saddam to cry uncle for the very reasons I am arguign for. He knew if he lost Basra and the RG was destroyed (instead of just mauled) he was a dead duck.


Very true. Which is why I believe that making us come into an environment that favors the defense was the way to go.

The problem as I see it is you are trapping your force and dividing it. You have no air cover and the road between the two cities would be under coalition control. Plus the troops in Kuwait City don't really have the stomach for the fight (real life). We didn't know that, I surmise that Saddam knew exactly how reliable they were.


Strategically yes, but on a tactical level unit commanders did not wait for 3-1, or even 1-1 odds. There were several times, mentioned earlier in this thread, where brigade and lower sized formations were happy to bring elements many times their size to battle. The ability to execute combined arms successfully is a hell of a force multiplier regardless of the size of the enemy force. The way one should fight such an approach is to deny them the ability to bring the inventory to the fight. Establish prepared defensive positions in an urban environment. Devolve decision making down to the lowest level, and make things simple. Fire missiles/RPG's. Run back to your subsequent battle positions. Fire again. Engage. Retreat. Inflict as many casualties as possible. A T-55 at 300 meters can still kill an M-1. In the city you can get those kind of ranges. The advantages that airpower, Air Weapons Teams, artillery and other force multipliers bring in the city are greatly reduced. Disperse your MANPAD's throughout your battle positions to deny freedom of maneuver to anything airborne and inhibit air assaults. Lay antitank and antipersonnel minefields through the MSR's, and only use specifically designated (and inconspicuous) ASR's for your own movement. Use civilians in large numbers around supply caches and mission command nodes to maximize collateral damage from US airstrikes. Turn the city into a deathtrap. Even if you lose 2 or 3 soldiers for every American you kill or wound, that will still exact a higher cost than they are most likely willing to bear.

Couple of points.

1. The use of human shields wasn't really on the Iraqi radar, there was no historical context to it working, at least not tactically. Plus we had already used PGM's to reach a command center located under an air raid shelter and killed scads of civilians. To the Iraqi leadership there is zero reason to believe that the US with its long history of reducing cities to rubble wouldn't simply flatten everything in sight.

2. Iraqi tank ammo was junk. They were using steel bore riding sabots and first generation HEAT rounds. I've held Iraqi 125mm sabot darts that pancaked or deformed when striking the M1. The smaller rounds... pffft. Golden BB is the only chance and that doesn't happen very often. The T-55 might be able to kill an M1 at close range with the best ammo available under ideal circumstances but that chance of that happening in 1991 in Iraq is about nil. The biggest threat to tankers in 91 was friendly fire.

BTW, if you get over to Yakima (and if they are still there) the USMC reserve armor company there has the T-72 that was abandoned at the head of the highway of death and several of those pancaked and deformed sabots. We were so jealous of them, they were the only tank unit in Washington to go to Desert Storm.


Yeah, and thank you. I lucked out, and am getting command almost upon arrival. Be my first time on tanks since Armor OBC though. They sent me to an infantry battalion in Strykers, so I've got some catching up to do in terms of technical knowledge.

Well at least your home now, "death before dismount!"

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 08:06
As the Captain said,the Arabs and flexibility do not mix.Thus,they can't read the enemy and adapt to it.Matter of fact,the first (almost)properly prepared defensive positions were in the current war in Syria,at Homs and Qusair.They still have to show a force that can move adequately in such an environment.The old addage that a city's walls are only as strong as its defenders still rings true.So I doubt the Iraqi army as it was in both 1991 and 2003 could have been able to prepare Kuwait City or Basra properly.They might have had some elements in place,but under a decentralized C2 they're more likely to dress in civilian clothes and disperse among the population.Especially when the shooting starts and chaos reigns.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 08:36
As the Captain said,the Arabs and flexibility do not mix.Thus,they can't read the enemy and adapt to it.Matter of fact,the first (almost)properly prepared defensive positions were in the current war in Syria,at Homs and Qusair.They still have to show a force that can move adequately in such an environment.The old addage that a city's walls are only as strong as its defenders still rings true.So I doubt the Iraqi army as it was in both 1991 and 2003 could have been able to prepare Kuwait City or Basra properly.They might have had some elements in place,but under a decentralized C2 they're more likely to dress in civilian clothes and disperse among the population.Especially when the shooting starts and chaos reigns.

Wrong on properly prepared defensive positions. four examples. 1. Take a gander at the Iraqi kill box set ups. They were text book given what they had to work with. The over-match was simply so great it didn't matter. 2. PoG's defensive belt in 2006. it gave the IDF a drubbing. 3. Egyptian hasty defenses on the East side of the Suez that smashed the initial IDF armored counter attacks. 4. second Fallujah. Dug in, doomed but motivated light infantry gave the US a serious head ache. Given decent equipment and training combined with competent leadership and a real motivation and they can be effective fighters.

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 09:09
[QUOTE=zraver;921027]Wrong on properly prepared defensive positions. four examples. 1. Take a gander at the Iraqi kill box set ups. They were text book given what they had to work with. The over-match was simply so great it didn't matter. 2. PoG's defensive belt in 2006. it gave the IDF a drubbing. 3. Egyptian hasty defenses on the East side of the Suez that smashed the initial IDF armored counter attacks. 4. second Fallujah. Dug in, doomed but motivated light infantry gave the US a serious head ache. Given decent equipment and training combined with competent leadership and a real motivation and they can be effective fighters.[/QUOTE

1.Irrelevant to urban combat.They also had the form,but weren't able to make the step from form to function. 2.Idem 3.Idem 4.Second Fallujah shows more the hazardous nature of this sport than real competence on their part.Deadly,dangerous and hard.But true capability,not so much.Force to space ratio also favored the offense.Too few defenders,too big of a place.
The only able outfit on the OPFOR side right now is Hezb(which is more an offshoot of the Iranian military culture).
Your last statement is so generic as it has no meaning.Everybody can be effective given those.But not everybody can meet the prequisites.The Bedouins that make the elite of the Jordanian army can.The Omani can.The Saudi NG,I'm not convinced,from what I hear.But what these have in common is that they're very small parts of the Sunni world.Exceptions that confirm the rule.

Doktor
27 Jun 13,, 09:47
I am having fun. Keep it up guys. :pop:

Officer of Engineers
27 Jun 13,, 10:44
Jasonn,

Basra and Kuwait City would be hard but not that hard. This is not Europea with a frost line. Hence, the sewers are much shallower, ie no frost line, therefore, not deep enough to be effective at surviving artillery. And they're not as big, meaning a man can't fit through it. In the summer, controlling water is key to controlling the city. Achieve that and you can reduce at your liesure.

Doktor
27 Jun 13,, 10:51
How is denying water to civilians in a city treated wrt GC?

Officer of Engineers
27 Jun 13,, 11:18
Who's denying anything. You want water, you come over to this side of the line where we can control you. Nothing in the GC states that we have to die to give you water.

Doktor
27 Jun 13,, 11:45
Depends on which side of Carla del Ponte you are, I am sure she can make up a case.

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 11:58
Depends on which side of Carla del Ponte you are, I am sure she can make up a case.

Dok,the Colonel is 100% correct.You can take a city by assault or by starvation.Again,nothing new since Sargon.Btw,it will be much easier to starve them out in this century with maneuver units cutting of essential infrastructure.

Asking on whose side is Carla del Ponte is asking to be at the mercy of said lady.Who is not wholly independent,to be polite.Meaning you are dependent on the mood of the enemy,which is a bad position from the start.
The context of 1991 and 2003 may have favored such an approach,but the Iraqis were to dumb to do it.Hence,Thunder Run.Great on the Americans.They read the enemy well and acted boldly and decisevely.Try stuff like this on another sort of foe and you have the Maikop Bde at Grozny.

Doktor
27 Jun 13,, 12:15
Dok,the Colonel is 100% correct.You can take a city by assault or by starvation.Again,nothing new since Sargon. Btw, it will be much easier to starve them out in this century with maneuver units cutting of essential infrastructure.
Mihais, I fully understand what the Col said. I am also aware it is a sound tactics. My question is if denying civvies food and water or annihilating the sewege on purpose is a) a war crime and b) good PR.


Asking on whose side is Carla del Ponte is asking to be at the mercy of said lady.Who is not wholly independent,to be polite.Meaning you are dependent on the mood of the enemy,which is a bad position from the start.
See above


The context of 1991 and 2003 may have favored such an approach,but the Iraqis were to dumb to do it.Hence,Thunder Run.Great on the Americans.They read the enemy well and acted boldly and decisevely.Try stuff like this on another sort of foe and you have the Maikop Bde at Grozny.
Well you have to read what will work and wont.

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 12:40
Dok what can be done and what cannot is also part of understanding the situation and the mission.PR may be important in some cases and without significance in others.

But I also tend to ask the Pope how many divisions he has :biggrin: It's a safe position to start talking.

lwarmonger
27 Jun 13,, 13:16
zraver, my understanding of your original question was asking how to fight this as effectively as possible. Iraqi's fight us in the open, they lose without doing much damage. No way around that. On a tactical level they simply couldn't bring all of their available equipment to the fight in the same way we can even if individually they were our equals (which they weren't). Now I'm not saying that by drawing us into the cities they were going to win. They weren't. But that is the only way I could see them not definitively losing. The second they were in the open it was simply a matter of time before the US found, fixed and finished them.

Strategically the US had several imperatives. Maintaining a coalition of widely disparate partners to give the operation legitimacy was one. Liberating Kuwait and freeing the Kuwaiti people was another. Finishing the war quickly, and with a minimum of casualties was a third. The reason why I posit the Iraqi's attempting to maximize civilian casualties related to US actions is because that damages the first two US imperatives. Drawing the US into protracted and bloody urban warfare potentially hurts all three. If Saddam wants to win on the strategic level, he can't do so without risking the foundations of his regime. The entire plan is a gamble that the American will to fight this war to the finish is less than the amount of casualties and time it will take to dig the Iraqi Army out of its urban areas. Tactically the Iraqi's are going to lose. There are only a couple of long and circuitous paths to victory on the strategic level, and none of them lie through fighting America in the open.

Officer of Engineers
27 Jun 13,, 13:19
Depends on which side of Carla del Ponte you are, I am sure she can make up a case.No, it depends on who wins or not. If my side wins, I couldn't care less. If my side loses, her loud mouth is the last thing I would be worrying about.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 15:02
1.Irrelevant to urban combat.They also had the form,but weren't able to make the step from form to function. 2.Idem 3.Idem 4.Second Fallujah shows more the hazardous nature of this sport than real competence on their part.Deadly,dangerous and hard.But true capability,not so much.Force to space ratio also favored the offense.Too few defenders,too big of a place.

You did not specifiy urban combat, you said prepared defenses.


The only able outfit on the OPFOR side right now is Hezb(which is more an offshoot of the Iranian military culture).

Doesn't matter what its an offshoot of, the fighters were Arab.


Your last statement is so generic as it has no meaning.Everybody can be effective given those.But not everybody can meet the prequisites.The Bedouins that make the elite of the Jordanian army can.The Omani can.The Saudi NG,I'm not convinced,from what I hear.But what these have in common is that they're very small parts of the Sunni world.Exceptions that confirm the rule.

You said the Arabs couldn't do it, I refuted that assertion.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 15:04
Jasonn,

Basra and Kuwait City would be hard but not that hard. This is not Europea with a frost line. Hence, the sewers are much shallower, ie no frost line, therefore, not deep enough to be effective at surviving artillery. And they're not as big, meaning a man can't fit through it. In the summer, controlling water is key to controlling the city. Achieve that and you can reduce at your liesure.

Absolutely sir, that is what I was trying to point out to the captain several posts ago. Kuwait City is a bad place to try and withstand a siege. Basra at least has the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates for water, Kuwait city has only desalinization plants and limited ground water.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 15:11
zraver, my understanding of your original question was asking how to fight this as effectively as possible. Iraqi's fight us in the open, they lose without doing much damage. No way around that. On a tactical level they simply couldn't bring all of their available equipment to the fight in the same way we can even if individually they were our equals (which they weren't). Now I'm not saying that by drawing us into the cities they were going to win. They weren't. But that is the only way I could see them not definitively losing. The second they were in the open it was simply a matter of time before the US found, fixed and finished them.

Sir, I am guessing you are shaped by your experiences in Iraq. But the Iraqi you faced were only able to conceptualize the way they fought because of the way they were beaten the first time. In 1990-1 they were a heavy force use to fighting and winning set piece engagements. Look at the problems we had in making the switch from heavy to COIn and we have a much more flexible military culture. I simply don't think they could make the required mental jumps given what they knew and believed then.

Inside of that context, your plan inside of those limitations plus the realities of the geography and politics involved is a recipe for defeat in detail and the loss of the regime.


Strategically the US had several imperatives. Maintaining a coalition of widely disparate partners to give the operation legitimacy was one. Liberating Kuwait and freeing the Kuwaiti people was another. Finishing the war quickly, and with a minimum of casualties was a third. The reason why I posit the Iraqi's attempting to maximize civilian casualties related to US actions is because that damages the first two US imperatives. Drawing the US into protracted and bloody urban warfare potentially hurts all three. If Saddam wants to win on the strategic level, he can't do so without risking the foundations of his regime. The entire plan is a gamble that the American will to fight this war to the finish is less than the amount of casualties and time it will take to dig the Iraqi Army out of its urban areas. Tactically the Iraqi's are going to lose. There are only a couple of long and circuitous paths to victory on the strategic level, and none of them lie through fighting America in the open.

See my answer above.

Albany Rifles
27 Jun 13,, 15:54
what could lee have done better in 1864 against grant?

Surrender the day after Grant was appointed.

Seriously, his only option was to prevent himself from being trapped into the trenches and he failed.

If the Confederate government had been willing to cede Richmond this would have allowed Lee much greater freedom to maneuver.

But Richmond was not just a political center it was a critical financial and industrial center. Lee was leashed to the city.

To lose Tredegar and the armament factories would have been disasterous along with the rail lines that fed Lee.

Albany Rifles
27 Jun 13,, 16:07
1. If the Iraqis had really dug into Kuwait City like a dog tic the Kuwaiti leadership would need to be consulted and I am not sure they would agree without trying a siege first.

Jason, what makes you think the Iraqis would have cared a rats ass about what the Kuwaiti leadership said? Any argument and they would be shot in the head.

As for greatly respecting the Iraqis in 1990-1991?

We grossly overestimated their abilities. The only thing we had to (rightly) be concerned about was their ability to trash the oil infrastructure of Kuwait and their use of chemical weapons.

Other than that...weather was our worst enemy.

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 17:04
You did not specifiy urban combat, you said prepared defenses.



Doesn't matter what its an offshoot of, the fighters were Arab.



You said the Arabs couldn't do it, I refuted that assertion.

True,but the context was urban combat.And I mentioned Homs and Qusair to reinforce the point.The fighters of Hezb may be Arabs,but these were exceptions.As a rule,Arab culture provides ineffective fighting forces.Because they can't meet the intangibles we in the West take for granted.

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 17:11
what could lee have done better in 1864 against grant?

Surrender the day after Grant was appointed.

Seriously, his only option was to prevent himself from being trapped into the trenches and he failed.

If the Confederate government had been willing to cede Richmond this would have allowed Lee much greater freedom to maneuver.

But Richmond was not just a political center it was a critical financial and industrial center. Lee was leashed to the city.

To lose Tredegar and the armament factories would have been disasterous along with the rail lines that fed Lee.

Sir,they could lose Richmond,but can the North push in the deep South if the Confederates switch to a combination of regular forces and irregular one?Spain vs the French or Russia vs Napoleon.IIRC,at the start of the war such an approach was considered,at least theroretically.Also,IIRC,from the ~ 1 million strong Union armed forces,2/3 were busy watching the back door.The longer the LOCs,the fewer men in the operational armies.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 17:37
1. If the Iraqis had really dug into Kuwait City like a dog tic the Kuwaiti leadership would need to be consulted and I am not sure they would agree without trying a siege first.

Jason, what makes you think the Iraqis would have cared a rats ass about what the Kuwaiti leadership said? Any argument and they would be shot in the head.

No, we would need to consulate the Kuwaiti leadership, not the Iraqis.

[qute]As for greatly respecting the Iraqis in 1990-1991?

We grossly overestimated their abilities. The only thing we had to (rightly) be concerned about was their ability to trash the oil infrastructure of Kuwait and their use of chemical weapons.

Other than that...weather was our worst enemy.[/QUOTE]

I never said greatly respected (at least I don't recall saying that), but as you admit we vastly overestimated what they could do on the battlefield, so did they for that matter. That being said, I do respect the courage of the Tawalkana and Medina divisions in 1991. They fought wrong and got slaughtered but they fought hard. They gave thier state their full measure.

Mihas


True,but the context was urban combat.And I mentioned Homs and Qusair to reinforce the point.The fighters of Hezb may be Arabs,but these were exceptions.As a rule,Arab culture provides ineffective fighting forces.Because they can't meet the intangibles we in the West take for granted.

That is a civil war in a highly divided country.

Mihais
27 Jun 13,, 17:52
Z,what sort of war is beside the point.Tactics are tactics.Speaking of them,by design or by chance they rediscovered some old tricks(that never really went away,but there was no room for that).
We in the west also have some problems.We probably learned the wrong lessons in Iraq.COIN resembles police work more than high intensity urban warfare.

Albany Rifles
27 Jun 13,, 18:40
Sir,they could lose Richmond,but can the North push in the deep South if the Confederates switch to a combination of regular forces and irregular one?Spain vs the French or Russia vs Napoleon.IIRC,at the start of the war such an approach was considered,at least theroretically.Also,IIRC,from the ~ 1 million strong Union armed forces,2/3 were busy watching the back door.The longer the LOCs,the fewer men in the operational armies.

Sherman had no problem doing just that. The Union had manpower stores that went untapped. There were plenty more African Americans available to join the USCT. And how would the Confederates keep on arming those forces? The Confederates had no way top beat the Union after Vicksburg and Gettysburg. They could hurt it an annoy it but its ability to win was exhausted. The only major Confederate success after Chancellorsville was at Chickamauga...and that was result of poor leadership on Rosecrans part.

After that the Confederate were on their heels.

They may have tried to go to a guerilla war....and look what happened to guerillas who were caught.....they got hung from trees.

And while the war may have drug on longer, there WOULD have been treason trials and the Reconstruction which would have resulted would have made the one that did happen appear mild.

Albany Rifles
27 Jun 13,, 18:41
No, we would need to consulate the Kuwaiti leadership, not the Iraqis.

Misunderstood what you were saying.

But if the Kuwaitis didn't concur then they never would have gotten their country back.

zraver
27 Jun 13,, 20:00
No, we would need to consulate the Kuwaiti leadership, not the Iraqis.

Misunderstood what you were saying.

But if the Kuwaitis didn't concur then they never would have gotten their country back.

Once VII corps got moved from Germany we weren't going home. No way were going to leave Saddam controlling 1/5th of the worlds readily exportable oil with one of the worlds largest militaries placed to drive south an drive that only control to 2/5th. Thats one of the reasons Gen. Schwarzkopf wanted the RG killed. They were Iraq's offensive force. Where ever Saddam put them- in the desert or pulled back to Basra we were going after them.

Albany Rifles
27 Jun 13,, 20:46
Not doubting you.

But I was referring only to Kuwait city.

lwarmonger
28 Jun 13,, 01:51
Sir, I am guessing you are shaped by your experiences in Iraq. But the Iraqi you faced were only able to conceptualize the way they fought because of the way they were beaten the first time. In 1990-1 they were a heavy force use to fighting and winning set piece engagements. Look at the problems we had in making the switch from heavy to COIn and we have a much more flexible military culture. I simply don't think they could make the required mental jumps given what they knew and believed then.

Well in you are absolutely correct there, but I think there were certain inferences that the Iraqis could have drawn just based off of what they knew of history. First, they knew that the US would have absolute air superiority. The only real mitigation would be what missile defenses the Iraqi's had. I believe that until the air campaign began, they were unaware of the true effect that cluster and precision munitions would have on their mission command and vehicles in the open. However, I have a hard time believing that they would think that the US Army was going to be anything like the Iranian human waves they had fought in the last 8 years. If they did, that was a completely unwarranted belief, and obviously so at the time.



Inside of that context, your plan inside of those limitations plus the realities of the geography and politics involved is a recipe for defeat in detail and the loss of the regime.


As opposed to a defeat en masse? As a Republican Guard commander which is more important to me? Trying to preserve combat power for regime survival, or trying to defeat the Americans? The issue with fighting a war of maneuver is the US military is far more suited to that than the Iraqi Army. Digging in on a long linear front just means the US masses combat power at a certain point (or launches an envelopment), and then forces me into a war of maneuver that most of my army is ill suited to handle. Really my only option is to strongpoint up in locations that the US has to take. However lets assume that I believe that my Republican Guard forces are the equivalent of American forces. I still know that the regular IA elements are of questionable quality, so ultimately I would still strongpoint them up in urban areas, allocate just enough RG to them to prevent widespread defections, and then retain a striking force as far north as possible (possibly even north of Basra). Mine the MSR's extensively to try and inhibit movement. Fortify the cities as extensively as possible. Wait the US out. Attempt to strike when they are off balance, and their supply lines are extended. Possibly implement limited chemical use early on to further reduce American efficiency (and pray that they don't respond with nuclear weapons into my cities) Even if I think I am even on the ground with certain RG formations, I still want to minimize the attrition that those take to US airpower before I commit them to combat. Fighting in Kuwait means that a fraction of my army will be engaged at a time and place of American choosing. I have a very hard time believing that given the Arab performances against the Israeli's that an RG commander could be under any illusions regarding the quality of the regular army, even if they (wrongfully) believed that the Israeli's were better than the US.

zraver
28 Jun 13,, 04:46
Well in you are absolutely correct there, but I think there were certain inferences that the Iraqis could have drawn just based off of what they knew of history. First, they knew that the US would have absolute air superiority. The only real mitigation would be what missile defenses the Iraqi's had. I believe that until the air campaign began, they were unaware of the true effect that cluster and precision munitions would have on their mission command and vehicles in the open. However, I have a hard time believing that they would think that the US Army was going to be anything like the Iranian human waves they had fought in the last 8 years. If they did, that was a completely unwarranted belief, and obviously so at the time.

I think they over rated themselves as much as we over rated them. On paper they were formidable with some equipment that was considered to be top notch at the time like Mainstays, T-72's, Mirage F-1's, G5 artillery etc.


As opposed to a defeat en masse? As a Republican Guard commander which is more important to me? Trying to preserve combat power for regime survival, or trying to defeat the Americans? The issue with fighting a war of maneuver is the US military is far more suited to that than the Iraqi Army. Digging in on a long linear front just means the US masses combat power at a certain point (or launches an envelopment), and then forces me into a war of maneuver that most of my army is ill suited to handle.

They thought the desert guarded their flank. The actual area they fortified as was not that large and had an impressive concentration. If I had to hazard a guess I think Saddam was looking for a Kursk-in-the-desert for his Mother of all Battles.


Really my only option is to strongpoint up in locations that the US has to take. However lets assume that I believe that my Republican Guard forces are the equivalent of American forces. I still know that the regular IA elements are of questionable quality, so ultimately I would still strongpoint them up in urban areas, allocate just enough RG to them to prevent widespread defections, and then retain a striking force as far north as possible (possibly even north of Basra).

Sir, that is exactly what they did. Though the RG was not north of Basra but near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. 73 Eastings and Obj Norfolk were meeting engagements. They had just enough of a screen pushed out into the desert to detect the left hook but not enough to develop it. The RG armored reserve had raced from where it had sat out the air campaign with surprisingly light losses to set up blocking positions.



Mine the MSR's extensively to try and inhibit movement.

They mined the areas in front o the kill boxes they built.


Fortify the cities as extensively as possible. Wait the US out.

Not sure how much they fortified Kuwait city, but by the end of the air campaign and the defeat at Kafji the INA was ready to run at that is what happened.


Attempt to strike when they are off balance, and their supply lines are extended.

Maybe, instead they used thier armored reserve to try and set up blocking positions to cover the retreat of the INA.


Possibly implement limited chemical use early on to further reduce American efficiency (and pray that they don't respond with nuclear weapons into my cities)

We and the British made it very clear that there would be a lot of radioactive glass if they tried that.


Even if I think I am even on the ground with certain RG formations, I still want to minimize the attrition that those take to US airpower before I commit them to combat.

They did, air power was not all that effective in attritting their combat power. We didn't have enough PGM's or a-10's for that. But our air power destroyed their C4SRI.


Fighting in Kuwait means that a fraction of my army will be engaged at a time and place of American choosing. I have a very hard time believing that given the Arab performances against the Israeli's that an RG commander could be under any illusions regarding the quality of the regular army, even if they (wrongfully) believed that the Israeli's were better than the US.

I surmise to an extent they ascribed to the idea that we were weak and would balk at heavy losses and that they had the weapons to inflict those losses as we impaled our selves on their kill boxes. Like most people they noticed only that we had run from Vietnam and Lebanon and not noticed just how long it took the communist to winkle us out of Vietnam in the first place (or Iraq or A-stan now).

lwarmonger
28 Jun 13,, 06:35
They thought the desert guarded their flank. The actual area they fortified as was not that large and had an impressive concentration. If I had to hazard a guess I think Saddam was looking for a Kursk-in-the-desert for his Mother of all Battles.

Which is ridiculous... just because they were road bound was no reason to assume we were.



Sir, that is exactly what they did. Though the RG was not north of Basra but near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. 73 Eastings and Obj Norfolk were meeting engagements. They had just enough of a screen pushed out into the desert to detect the left hook but not enough to develop it. The RG armored reserve had raced from where it had sat out the air campaign with surprisingly light losses to set up blocking positions.


They didn't strongpoint up though, they set up a fortified line forward that was hollow by the time we enveloped it.



They mined the areas in front o the kill boxes they built.

But kept LOC's relatively clear to allow a counterattack.



Not sure how much they fortified Kuwait city, but by the end of the air campaign and the defeat at Kafji the INA was ready to run at that is what happened.

Because they had been exposed to the air campaign in its entirety. That is half the reason why I would keep my units in cities. As the only available cover and concealment it could mitigate that to an extent. The other reason is to allow for the creation of the set piece engagements that the Iraqi Army could handle.



Maybe, instead they used thier armored reserve to try and set up blocking positions to cover the retreat of the INA.

Not a recipe for success on any level. Especially given how the regular army was melting away.



We and the British made it very clear that there would be a lot of radioactive glass if they tried that.

If most of the IA and RG are in the cities, it might be worth the gamble. A limited chemical attack that inflicts minor casualties may not provoke a nuclear strike on cities full of civilians.



They did, air power was not all that effective in attritting their combat power. We didn't have enough PGM's or a-10's for that. But our air power destroyed their C4SRI.

While it may not have been that effective against the RG, my understanding was that the air campaign was a large part of the reason why the regular Iraqi Army melted away almost as soon as the ground forces went in. In the cities they almost certainly would have faired better.



I surmise to an extent they ascribed to the idea that we were weak and would balk at heavy losses and that they had the weapons to inflict those losses as we impaled our selves on their kill boxes. Like most people they noticed only that we had run from Vietnam and Lebanon and not noticed just how long it took the communist to winkle us out of Vietnam in the first place (or Iraq or A-stan now).

No excuse for that. Given the overwhelming firepower demonstrated by the US and the massive casualties sustained by the North Vietnamese in the course of the conflict there was reason to question the will of the American public (which is what I recommend the IA try to exploit), but not the tactical capabilities of the United States Army in an open battle.

zraver
28 Jun 13,, 17:14
Which is ridiculous... just because they were road bound was no reason to assume we were.

The Brits made the same mistake against Rommel



Because they had been exposed to the air campaign in its entirety. That is half the reason why I would keep my units in cities. As the only available cover and concealment it could mitigate that to an extent. The other reason is to allow for the creation of the set piece engagements that the Iraqi Army could handle.

Most of the air targets were not tactical but C4SRI. That was what caused the breakdown in the INA.


Not a recipe for success on any level. Especially given how the regular army was melting away.

But a text book deployment scheme especially if trying to recreate a Kursk style battle. Plus they were worried about a USMC landing.


If most of the IA and RG are in the cities, it might be worth the gamble. A limited chemical attack that inflicts minor casualties may not provoke a nuclear strike on cities full of civilians.

It is my understanding that the (British) threat was not to hit tactical units with nukes, but population centers.


While it may not have been that effective against the RG, my understanding was that the air campaign was a large part of the reason why the regular Iraqi Army melted away almost as soon as the ground forces went in. In the cities they almost certainly would have faired better.

We shredded their C4SRI. I dont think the location of the tactical and maneuver units mattered to be honest. They were hungry, thirsty, blind and deaf by the time the ground war started. The only units with intact C4SRI were RG units that were north of Kuwait city and thus had shorter interior lines.


No excuse for that. Given the overwhelming firepower demonstrated by the US and the massive casualties sustained by the North Vietnamese in the course of the conflict there was reason to question the will of the American public (which is what I recommend the IA try to exploit), but not the tactical capabilities of the United States Army in an open battle.

Reagan cut and ran after Lebanon, Carter wimped out in Iran and despite his war time service, Bush 41 had a reputation for being weak.... There was some evidence that the American political leadership was weak. Turns out the evidence was wrong, but it was there.

lwarmonger
28 Jun 13,, 18:09
One other thing to understand. I come from a very pragmatic approach to war fighting. You do what works. You create as honest as possible of an assessment of the enemy's strengths and your weaknesses, and do what you can to counter them. In my opinion, moving the fight into urban terrain is the only way to really meet the US Army on anything even close to an even playing field at the tactical level.

The Arabs in general come from a very different cultural perspective on war. It tends to be a bit less pragmatic, and much more fatalistic. Attitudes effect planning a great deal in every culture, and a great deal of modern history reflects that difference in perspective. If I were in control if the Iraqi Army this is what I would do. If I were an Iraqi in charge of the Iraqi Army... what I would do would be more difficult to speculate on as I would have a very different cultural perspective on warfare, and most likely a different opinion on what my and my enemy's capabilities are.

Albany Rifles
28 Jun 13,, 21:22
Iwarmonger,

I have had the experience of working with many different Allies over the decades from my service in NATO but also in schools (Advanced Course and CGSC as well as Supply & Services Management Officers Course) and on deployments. I've also been on some combined planning staffs.

You are so right on how cultural bias impacts doctrine and operations.

Mihais
28 Jun 13,, 22:10
Iwarmonger,

I have had the experience of working with many different Allies over the decades from my service in NATO but also in schools (Advanced Course and CGSC as well as Supply & Services Management Officers Course) and on deployments. I've also been on some combined planning staffs.

You are so right on how cultural bias impacts doctrine and operations.

That could be a whole topic.How we see each other :)
As a curiosity,how did you found the Poles and other ex WarPac?IIRC,you worked with them.

IMO,there is not so much cultural bias that affects operational planning.It is still an individual endeavour.It's more a matter of competence and understanding the battlefield and the enemy.None are similar and you need to switch from one thing to another as it comes.A solid force will change its approach long before it can change equipment,regulations or doctrines.

zraver
28 Jun 13,, 22:31
That could be a whole topic.How we see each other :)
As a curiosity,how did you found the Poles and other ex WarPac?IIRC,you worked with them.

IMO,there is not so much cultural bias that affects operational planning.It is still an individual endeavour.It's more a matter of competence and understanding the battlefield and the enemy.None are similar and you need to switch from one thing to another as it comes.A solid force will change its approach long before it can change equipment,regulations or doctrines.

Apparently Poland is having some issues in adopting the type of flexibility needed in a COIN situation.

Warsaw Business Journal - Online Portal - wbj.pl (http://www.wbj.pl/article-52503-us-military-slams-polish-forces.html?typ=wbj)

lemontree
02 Jul 13,, 10:26
Keeping in mind Zraver's question as to what would one do differently have one been in Command of the Iraqi RG Corps....
Iwarmonger did attempt to state what I had in mind - nodal point defence, but I'm not sure if he meant that.

- Knowing that I have no air support.
- Incomplete communications.
- No intelligence on the enemy.

The only assets that I have with me are the armmour/arty/mech/inf. At best I can give defensive battle using the nodal point concept with a mixture of maneuvering. The nodal points would be in built up areas, that give ample amount of cover to units, ease in setting up comminications, ease in creation of kill zones.

Doktor
02 Jul 13,, 12:45
Captains,

How would you do it differently then what Iraqis did in Basra?

Albany Rifles
02 Jul 13,, 13:33
Mihais,

I worked some planning with the Poles on fuel planning for OIF 1. The issues surrounding all of that was the Poles still used variations of bulk fuels and the US had switched JP8. It was also issues of the quality of the fuel (lots of people don't realize the US Army (as do most NATO countries) have fuel labs with every POL supply unit to assure purity, especially for aviation assets.

We decided each country had to work their own but under the US umbrella.

Did a little work with Poles, Hungarians & Czechs and on ammo as well but I moved on to a new job before doing much on that.

I would say working with the former Warsaw Pact was somewhere on the spectrum between working with the Canadians (seemless) to working with the Turks ( a challenge!)....but the food was awesome!!!

Mihais
02 Jul 13,, 16:14
Captains,

How would you do it differently then what Iraqis did in Basra?

Dok,Somali militia was better prepared than the Iraqi army.In short,everything.Iraqi army did not defended from cities.It was billeted in cities and it happened to wait to be attacked there.
In short-establish recon OP's all over likely avenues of approach and LOC's.Establish a separate network of SOF,to harrass the enemy logistics.Build a reliable comm system.
These were done in 2003,but to a small extent.
Have prepared positions in the cities,with plenty of fiber optics based comms.That means ruining a good chunk of the cities.Stockpile defensive materials,but place them only when the invasion becomes certain.You don't want a minefield or RPG traps there with civilian traffic going on.Most important,train the men in urban warfare tactics.6 months is more than adequate to do all of this,and more.

With Kuwait City is even easier than Basra.You don't ruin your city or your people's lives.

Mihais
02 Jul 13,, 16:24
Mihais,

I worked some planning with the Poles on fuel planning for OIF 1. The issues surrounding all of that was the Poles still used variations of bulk fuels and the US had switched JP8. It was also issues of the quality of the fuel (lots of people don't realize the US Army (as do most NATO countries) have fuel labs with every POL supply unit to assure purity, especially for aviation assets.

We decided each country had to work their own but under the US umbrella.

Did a little work with Poles, Hungarians & Czechs and on ammo as well but I moved on to a new job before doing much on that.

I would say working with the former Warsaw Pact was somewhere on the spectrum between working with the Canadians (seemless) to working with the Turks ( a challenge!)....but the food was awesome!!!

With the canadians you're pretty much integrated.What's wrong with the Turks?Despite them being stubborn and not the best friends of the West at low levels.

WRT logistics,all the folks that worked with the US had only praise.Compared to our own sub-optimal performance in this field(I'm being polite and I don't betray military secrets :rolleyes: ) it was heaven.''Our'' S,G,J-4's still have to learn to value the fighting man,not themselves

Doktor
02 Jul 13,, 17:22
Dok,Somali militia was better prepared than the Iraqi army.In short,everything.Iraqi army did not defended from cities.It was billeted in cities and it happened to wait to be attacked there.
In short-establish recon OP's all over likely avenues of approach and LOC's.Establish a separate network of SOF,to harrass the enemy logistics.Build a reliable comm system.
These were done in 2003,but to a small extent.
Have prepared positions in the cities,with plenty of fiber optics based comms.That means ruining a good chunk of the cities.Stockpile defensive materials,but place them only when the invasion becomes certain.You don't want a minefield or RPG traps there with civilian traffic going on.Most important,train the men in urban warfare tactics.6 months is more than adequate to do all of this,and more.

With Kuwait City is even easier than Basra.You don't ruin your city or your people's lives.

Mihais,

The good Captains will need 100 years in preparations to change INA. This is what they have in 2003 and have to do things differently. Both agree they will play in the cities. My first (civvie) thought was "this might work" - you can't fight in the open, go in the cities. Then Basra came to mind. Brits had dozen of casualties if even that many.

Mihais
02 Jul 13,, 17:30
Mihais,

The good Captains will need 100 years in preparations to change INA. This is what they have in 2003 and have to do things differently. Both agree they will play in the cities. My first (civvie) thought was "this might work" - you can't fight in the open, go in the cities. Then Basra came to mind. Brits had dozen of casualties if even that many.

Dok,that's why I said earlier that the Iraqis are going to lose anyway.They're too incompetent to start with.
In 6 months,with some reasonably capable officers(that's the big thing,if you can find them) you can do a lot.At the very least you'll have lots of minefields.And those 10-15% Iraqis willing to fight might get a chance to become capable fighters.You still have the RG and a few other units.Heck,I'd focus on this elite,and keep the others as decoys.

Albany Rifles
02 Jul 13,, 19:23
Mihais, you hit it on the head with the Turks...don't get me wrong....they are wonderful Allies and I enjoyed working with them each time I did.

But let us say their bureaucracy was a tad challenging!!!

Never got to work with Rumanians...I had left working with Allies by the fall of 2003. Been pretty much US DoD since then....thhough have some interaction with Bundeswehr at low level since we are using SAP software.

zraver
02 Jul 13,, 19:52
Mihais,

The good Captains will need 100 years in preparations to change INA. This is what they have in 2003 and have to do things differently. Both agree they will play in the cities. My first (civvie) thought was "this might work" - you can't fight in the open, go in the cities. Then Basra came to mind. Brits had dozen of casualties if even that many.


Coalition forces suffered 11 dead during the 2003 battle and killed approx 600 Iraqi defenders... 10-1 with the defenders in the cities is hardly good odds. Given that the 2003 battle and 73 Easting/Obj Norfolk were both corps operations the Iraqis realized no real gain by defending in a built up city.

lemontree
03 Jul 13,, 07:06
....Given that the 2003 battle and 73 Easting/Obj Norfolk were both corps operations the Iraqis realized no real gain by defending in a built up city.
That was because the Iraqis did not fight a nodal point battle. Their generals were shitting in their pants.
A decent nodal point battle would have held up the US/coalition forces, and would have forced you to invest more units at those nodal points.

For the civilians who are not familiar with the term, nodal point defence defence is a strategy used in desert warfare:-
(a) Important communication centers are the nodes and there are to be denied to the enemy forces so as to deprive him of easy movement, which is so critical in desert terrain.
(b) At the tactical level counter-attack reserves based on armd/mech units are held.
(c) At the strategic level, reserves based on strike corps are held for counter offensives.
(d) But at the nodal points, the counter-attacks will be more like quick raids on enemy units and return back.
(e) A continues battle of attrition with mutual support of neighbouring nodal points to prevent the enemy from investing and encircling the nodal point.

Something like this was not planned or done by the Iraqis.

Officer of Engineers
03 Jul 13,, 07:10
Something like this was not planned or done by the Iraqis.Ehhh, Captain, I would argue that the Iraqis did not have time. Hell, I don't think any other force would have had time. You're talking shifting an entire corp's orientation both physically and pyschologically within 24 hours. You can do it at the battalion level but I strongly doubt that you have time at the brigade level and up.

Mihais
03 Jul 13,, 08:47
Sir,strictly in the historical case in 91 they were short on time.But they had plenty of time in 2003.Given a different command atmoshere,they might have had enough time in the 6 months prior to Desert Storm.
They fought and won at Khorramshar early in the war with Iran,but it was a bloodbath.Which is pretty much what was their objective in 91.Bleed the Coalition white.But them hoping to win a desert campaign against a WW3 army,which also had air supremacy makes no sense. And basing that hope on a force that can't shoot straight...

lemontree
03 Jul 13,, 11:54
Ehhh, Captain, I would argue that the Iraqis did not have time. Hell, I don't think any other force would have had time. You're talking shifting an entire corp's orientation both physically and pyschologically within 24 hours. You can do it at the battalion level but I strongly doubt that you have time at the brigade level and up.

Sir, that was their undoing. They did not learn from GW1 and should have studied and redone their war doctrine. They had ample of study material from WW2, Arab-Israeli wars to prepare a doctrine that would suit them.

Sir, as you know the beauty of nodal concept is that it is sighted for all round defence and can take on an attack from any direction. The deployment of the reserves is also at a pivotal location from where they can be launched towards the required threat. So once you are deployed it is basically "cold start', you dont need to move troops, you are in place. Its like have holding and strike elements pre-deployed in communication centres.

zraver
03 Jul 13,, 22:09
Sir, that was their undoing. They did not learn from GW1 and should have studied and redone their war doctrine. They had ample of study material from WW2, Arab-Israeli wars to prepare a doctrine that would suit them.

Sir, as you know the beauty of nodal concept is that it is sighted for all round defence and can take on an attack from any direction. The deployment of the reserves is also at a pivotal location from where they can be launched towards the required threat. So once you are deployed it is basically "cold start', you dont need to move troops, you are in place. Its like have holding and strike elements pre-deployed in communication centres.

Sir, that poses other problems. If you want troops to have as their primary war mission- to defend their garrison. Then effectively they are fortress troops and will rapidly stagnate as field troops. That means the micro-sized cold start might be a non-starter

Mihais
03 Jul 13,, 22:15
Sir, that poses other problems. If you want troops to have as their primary war mission- to defend their garrison. Then effectively they are fortress troops and will rapidly stagnate as field troops. That means the micro-sized cold start might be a non-starter

Yes,but for the Iraqis to stagnate there would be a quantum leap forward.

zraver
04 Jul 13,, 00:09
Yes,but for the Iraqis to stagnate there would be a quantum leap forward.

I lol'd.

Albany Rifles
04 Jul 13,, 00:26
Z, don't mistake garrison troops as ones ready to do MOUT, a basic Infantry mission.

You can practice the tactics without being complacent.

zraver
04 Jul 13,, 01:32
AR, sir, it was directed specifically at the comment about nodal defense and pre-positioned troops. Sounds like a fortress garrison to me, which means they risk losing other skills necessary of field troops.

lemontree
04 Jul 13,, 05:16
AR, sir, it was directed specifically at the comment about nodal defense and pre-positioned troops. Sounds like a fortress garrison to me, which means they risk losing other skills necessary of field troops.

Not really, as nodal defence is being sighted for all round defence, but the sub-units, i.e the battalions are organised for all round defence.
Note for the non-military Wabbits - being sighted for all round defence is deploying to face the enemy on all sides like a circle; being organised is delpoying to face the enemy from a given expected line of approach like a semi-circle or less.

The mech/armd units are the maneuver troops who hit the enemy and race back causing attrition.
Who said holding formations become stagnant? We practice everything, defence/attack.
The organisation of nodal defence is formations is mainly in Brigade level combat groups.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jul 13,, 05:47
You've also massed for a B-52 strike

Doktor
04 Jul 13,, 05:56
On a city?

Officer of Engineers
04 Jul 13,, 05:58
Divsional level? That ain't a city. It's a base.

Doktor
04 Jul 13,, 06:00
I am having my morning coffee and think with local bias.

Captains were preparing for a clash in urban areas, something Yugo Army had as a doctrine. Heck even barracks here are in the centers of the cities.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jul 13,, 06:11
So did the Chinese but nothing in the rule book says a city with combattants ain't a legitimate military target.

lemontree
04 Jul 13,, 11:32
You've also massed for a B-52 strike

Sir, the FDLs in the open deserts are even more identifiable and clearer target for the B-52s.
In nodal points the frontage and identification of the FDLs will be very difficult to identify, unless one actually comes into contact.
If I keep all intra formation communications on landlines with very little radio traffic, enemy sig int will not be able to triangulate the HQs.

Besides, zraver did say that AD assets were capable enough :biggrin:

I would have my formations give the fly boys nice and juicy targets that they can bomb...gun locations/ dug in tanks/ inf FDLs/ ....everything can be prepared wth left over GW1 war junk.

zraver
04 Jul 13,, 14:59
Not really, as nodal defence is being sighted for all round defence, but the sub-units, i.e the battalions are organised for all round defence.
Note for the non-military Wabbits - being sighted for all round defence is deploying to face the enemy on all sides like a circle; being organised is delpoying to face the enemy from a given expected line of approach like a semi-circle or less.

The mech/armd units are the maneuver troops who hit the enemy and race back causing attrition.
Who said holding formations become stagnant? We practice everything, defence/attack.
The organisation of nodal defence is formations is mainly in Brigade level combat groups.

Sir, in an urban environment your mech units would be your limited reaction/sally forces but the bulk of your garrison would be a fortress set up.

Even moving it into the desert itself poses problems. Modern air and MLRS (1991) was so incredibly effective against log trains and C3 sites that the INA collapsed with very few combat causalities. I know India has developed a similar capability with its Smerch systems and Pakistan is copying with its A-100's.

Officer of Engineers
04 Jul 13,, 15:23
Sir, the FDLs in the open deserts are even more identifiable and clearer target for the B-52s.
In nodal points the frontage and identification of the FDLs will be very difficult to identify, unless one actually comes into contact.
If I keep all intra formation communications on landlines with very little radio traffic, enemy sig int will not be able to triangulate the HQs.

Besides, zraver did say that AD assets were capable enough :biggrin:

I would have my formations give the fly boys nice and juicy targets that they can bomb...gun locations/ dug in tanks/ inf FDLs/ ....everything can be prepared wth left over GW1 war junk.Captain, unless you buried your stuff, the sun is a terrible enemy. Your guns and vehicles are going to light up like a Christmas tree under infra red. And if you buried them, you need time to bring them out. Time you don't have.

lemontree
05 Jul 13,, 05:18
Captain, unless you buried your stuff, the sun is a terrible enemy. Your guns and vehicles are going to light up like a Christmas tree under infra red. And if you buried them, you need time to bring them out. Time you don't have.

Sir, if I can take the trouble to deploy decoys in the desert, and even make them look real, don't you think I would ensure that the guns and vehicles are taken care off....undgerground parking, stilt parking areas of buildings. With the amount of corrugated tin sheets available, how many can be shaped in to dummy veh, guns and real veh sheds is amazing. How many will you bomb?..I'll be shooting back too, my sig int will be triangulating your command echlons too, and I'll be targetting them too, causing attrition and harassment.

The advantage in deserts is that either side can trade time and distance.

lemontree
05 Jul 13,, 05:25
Sir, in an urban environment your mech units would be your limited reaction/sally forces but the bulk of your garrison would be a fortress set up.
Z, as you are aware in nodal point defence, the strong points are in mutual support. For an attacker to defeat a nodal point, he has to invest and encirle it, and for that you need a lot of troops, that takes time. Besides the attacker is in the open with no prepared defences, the defenders arty can rip him apart and the remanents will be carried away by the fast mobile units. So investment will be difficult and bleed you out of troops needed for another area.

The neighbouring nodal points will be attacking your rear echlons.


Even moving it into the desert itself poses problems. Modern air and MLRS (1991) was so incredibly effective against log trains and C3 sites that the INA collapsed with very few combat causalities.
The Iraqis generals had already lost the war in their minds before it had started.

Officer of Engineers
05 Jul 13,, 05:59
Sir, if I can take the trouble to deploy decoys in the desert, and even make them look real, don't you think I would ensure that the guns and vehicles are taken care off....undgerground parking, stilt parking areas of buildings. With the amount of corrugated tin sheets available, how many can be shaped in to dummy veh, guns and real veh sheds is amazing. How many will you bomb?..I'll be shooting back too, my sig int will be triangulating your command echlons too, and I'll be targetting them too, causing attrition and harassment.

The advantage in deserts is that either side can trade time and distance.Underground parking is easy. We bombed the entrances. The first thing is any electrical source of any significance and that's TV and any antennae. Captain, during the Kuwait War, a target was bombed no less than 6 times to make sure it stayed out of commission. In other words, the Allied Forces had more bombs than they did targets.

lemontree
05 Jul 13,, 07:58
Underground parking is easy. We bombed the entrances.
Only if you find them sir. Then the defenders will be shooting back too. Use spotters, light up AD radars when the air raid is on and take on the departing aircraft with multiple salvos.


The first thing is any electrical source of any significance and that's TV and any antennae. Captain, during the Kuwait War, a target was bombed no less than 6 times to make sure it stayed out of commission. In other words, the Allied Forces had more bombs than they did targets.
Sir, I did mention that I will not be emitting any radio traffic, I will be functioning via landline comm with most units before active hostilities break out.
I will force the attacker to guess my locations.

I will have evacuated all civilian population if possible to depth areas to reduce my worries as garrison commander, of feeding them and their safety.

I will force the enemy to engage and give battle on ground.

The appreciation template that we study during Junior Command is a lovely piece of risk-assesment exercise, one can plan for all that the enemy will throw at him and plan his own defensive or offensive battle plan.

Officer of Engineers
05 Jul 13,, 08:22
Only if you find them sir. Then the defenders will be shooting back too. Use spotters, light up AD radars when the air raid is on and take on the departing aircraft with multiple salvos.HARM. There's a hell of a lot of them.


Sir, I did mention that I will not be emitting any radio traffic, I will be functioning via landline comm with most units before active hostilities break out.Can't hide electromagnetic signatures. Sure, batteries are almost undetectable but anything to turn on the lights at night or even to run an HQ will light up like a Christmas tree.

lemontree
05 Jul 13,, 10:00
HARM. There's a hell of a lot of them.
I know sir, I am just guessing that in an air strike how would this sort of tactic work. Maybe the ADA experts and Chogy can throw some light on working in a no air cover scenario.


Can't hide electromagnetic signatures. Sure, batteries are almost undetectable but anything to turn on the lights at night or even to run an HQ will light up like a Christmas tree.
Sir, in war time there is complete black out especially in nodal defence after the civilians have been evacuated. Only the under ground bunkers will have lights on.
I am sure we all have practiced that during exercises too.

zraver
05 Jul 13,, 15:12
Z, as you are aware in nodal point defence, the strong points are in mutual support. For an attacker to defeat a nodal point, he has to invest and encirle it, and for that you need a lot of troops, that takes time. Besides the attacker is in the open with no prepared defences, the defenders arty can rip him apart and the remanents will be carried away by the fast mobile units. So investment will be difficult and bleed you out of troops needed for another area.

The neighbouring nodal points will be attacking your rear echlons.


The Iraqis generals had already lost the war in their minds before it had started.

Sir, been tried, and against a modern army with modern training, leadership, weapons, sensing and command of the air its about as useful as throwing spit wads at the attacker. Against an enemy with all weather 24/7 command of the air with assets loitering for targets your reserves can't move. In the face of counter-battery radars artillery can't effectively mutually support since it doesn't have room to displace. Some of your assets are facing the wrong way, some is in the wrong place etc.

Unless you can level the playing field so that your reserves can move its a doomed fortress defense.

lemontree
09 Jul 13,, 05:44
Yes Z I'm aware of that. I idea was to war game in the disadvantaged situation that the Iraqi were, and how they could have put up a better show.

Officer of Engineers
09 Jul 13,, 06:18
Actually, I can't think of one. I was going to suggest that they attack Saudi Arabia before the US got there but they weren't ready. By the time they were ready, the 82nd and the 101st were well entrenched with sufficient air support to destroy any Iraqi advance. They might take the border towns like Khafji but that's it. The American build up would continue and this time, the Iraqis won't have a chance to build their fortifications. B52 strikes around the clock from the US on exposed targets.