A Russian view of the war

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Tue Mar 25 18:40:28 MST 2003

The English translation, that appears below comes from
Venik's Aviation http://www.aeronautics.ru/news/news002/news078.htm

 Jim F.

War in Iraq - fighting the people

March 25, 2003

The IRAQWAR.RU analytical center was created recently by
a group of journalists and military experts from Russia
to provide accurate and up-to-date news and analysis of
the war against Iraq. The following is the English
translation of the IRAQWAR.RU report based on the
Russian military intelligence reports.

March 25, 2003, 1230hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - As of the
morning March 25 the situation on Iraqi fronts remains quiet.
Both sides are actively preparing for future engagements.
Exhausted in combat the US 3rd Motorized Infantry Division
is now being reinforced with fresh units from Kuwait
(presumably with up to 1 Marine brigade and 1 tank brigade
from the 1st Armored Division (all coming from the coalition
command reserves) and elements of the British 7th Tank Brigade
from the area of Umm Qasr. The troops have a stringent
requirement to regroup and, after conducting additional
reconnaissance, to capture An-Nasiriya within two days.

The Iraqis have reinforced the An-Nasiriya garrison with
several artillery battalions and a large number of anti-tank
weapons. Additionally, the Iraqis are actively deploying
landmines along the approaches to their positions.

However, currently all combat has nearly ceased due to the sand
storm raging over the region. Weather forecasts anticipate
the storm's end by noon of March 26. According to intercepted
radio communications the coalition advance will be tied to the
end of the sand storm and is planned to take place during the
night of March 26-27. The coalition command believes that a
night attack will allow its forces to achieve the element of
surprise and to use its advantage in specialized night
fighting equipment.

There have been no reports of any losses resulting from direct
combat in the past 10 hours. However, there is information
about two coalition combat vehicles destroyed by landmines.
Three US soldiers were wounded in one of these incidents.

Positional warfare continues near Basra. The coalition forces
in this area are clearly insufficient for continuing the attack
and the main emphasis is being placed on artillery and aviation.
The city is under constant bombardment but so far this had
little impact on the combat readiness of the Iraqi units. Thus,
last night an Iraqi battalion reinforced with tanks swung
around the coalition positions in the area of Basra airport
and attacked the coalition forces in the flanks. As the result
of this attack the US forces have been thrown back 1.5-2 kilometers
leaving the airport and the nearby structures in the hands of
the Iraqis. Two APCs and one tank were destroyed in this
encounter. According to radio intelligence at least two US
soldiers were killed and no less than six US soldiers were wounded.

The coalition forces are still unable to completely capture the
small town of Umm Qasr. By the end of yesterday coalition units
were controlling only the strategic roads going through the town,
but fierce fighting continued in the residential districts. At
least two British servicemen were killed by sniper fire in Umm
Qasr during the past 24 hours.

The coalition command is extremely concerned with growing resistance
movement in the rear of the advancing forces. During a meeting
at the coalition command headquarters it was reported that up to
20 Iraqi reconnaissance units are active behind the coalition rear.
The Iraqis attack lightly armed supply units; they deploy landmines
and conduct reconnaissance. Additionally, captured villages have
active armed resistance that is conducting reconnaissance in the
interests of the Iraqi command and is organizing attacks against
coalition troops. During the past 24 hours more than 30 coalition
wheeled and armored vehicles have been lost to such attacks.
Some 7 coalition servicemen are missing, 3 soldiers are
dead and 10 are wounded.

The coalition commander Gen. Tommy Franks ordered his forces to
clear coalition rears from Iraqi diversionary units and partisans
in the shortest possible time. The British side will be responsible
for fulfilling these orders. A unit from the 22nd SAS regiment
supported by the US 1st, 5th and 10th Special Operations Groups
will carry out this operation. Each of these groups has up to 1
2 units numbering 12-15 troops each. All of these units have
some Asian or Arabic Americans. The groups also have guides
and translators from among local Iraqi collaborators, who
went through rapid training at specialized centers in
the Czech Republic and in the UK.

The sand storms turned out to be the main enemy of the American
military equipment. Just the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division had
more than 100 vehicles disabled. This is causing serious concern
on the part of the coalition command. The repair crews are
working around the clock to return all the disabled equipment
back into service. The M1A2 Abrams tanks are not known for the
their reliable engines as it is, but in the sand storm conditions
multiple breakdowns became a real problem for the tank crews.

All attempts by the US paratroopers to capture the town of Kirkuk
have yielded no result. The Americans counted on the support of
the Kurds but the latter refused to take a direct part in the
attack and demanded guarantees from the US command that it will
prevent a Turkish invasion. The Turkish themselves are avoiding
making any promises.

Additionally, the situation [at Kirkuk] is affected by the lack
of heavy weapons on the part of the US paratroopers. The aviation
support alone is clearly not sufficient. The northern group of
forces commander Marine Brig. Gen. Osman has requested artillery
and armored vehicles.

All indications are that so far the US is unable to form a
combat-capable strike force in this area.

According to satellite reconnaissance it seems likely that the
Iraqis had time to remove the captured Apache Longbow attack
helicopter of the 11th Aviation Regiment. The pieces remaining
at the landing site following a US bombing strike indicate that
the bombs hit a crudely constructed mockup.

Aerial bombardment of Baghdad has so far failed to produce the
expected results. All targets designated before the war have been
hit 3 to 7 times, but this had almost no effect of the combat
readiness of the Iraqi army, their air defenses or the command
and control structures.

It seems that during preparation for the war the Iraqis were
able to create new, well-protected communication lines and
control centers. There is plenty of intelligence information
indicating that so far the US electronic reconnaissance was
unable to locate and to penetrate the Iraqi command's communication
network, which is an indication of the network's high
technological sophistication.

A particular point of concern for the US command is the huge
overuse of precision-guided munitions and cruise missiles.
Already the supply of heavy cruise missiles like the "Tomahawk"
has been reduced by a third and, at the current rate of use, in
three weeks the US will be left only with the untouchable strategic
supply of these missiles. A similar situation exists with other
types of precision-guided munitions. "The rate of their use is
incompatible with the obtained results. We are literally dropping
gold into the mud!" said Gen. Richard Mayers during a meeting in
Pentagon yesterday morning. [reverse translation from Russian]

The US experts already call this war a "crisis". "It was enough
for the enemy to show a little resistance and some creative thinking
as our technological superiority begun to quickly lose all its meaning.
Our expenses are not justified by the obtained results. The enemy
is using an order of magnitude cheaper weapons to reach the same
goals for which we spend billions on technological whims of the
defense industry!" said Gen. Stanley McCrystal during the same
Pentagon meeting. [reverse translation from Russian]

Since the early morning today the coalition high command and
the Joint Chiefs of Staff are in an online conference joined
by the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This meeting
immediately follows an earlier meeting last night at the White
House. During the night meeting with President Bush emergency
actions were outlined to resolve the standstill in Iraq. The
existing course of actions is viewed as "ineffective and
leading to a crisis". The Secretary of State Collin Powell
warned that, if the war in Iraq continues for more than a month,
it might lead to unpredictable consequences in international politics.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Mayers
reported on the proposed actions and corrections to the plan
of the operation in Iraq. George Bush demanded that the military
breaks the standstill in Iraq and within a week achieves
significant military progress. A particular attention,
according to Bush, should be paid to finding and eliminating
the top Iraqi political and military leadership. Bush believes
that Saddam Hussein and his closest aides are the cornerstone
of the Iraqi defense.

During today's online meeting at the coalition headquarters
Gen. Franks was criticized for inefficient command of his troops
and for his inability to concentrate available forces on the main tasks.

According to [Russian military] intelligence Pentagon made a
decision to significantly reinforce the coalition. During the
next two weeks up to 50,000 troops and no less than 500 tanks
will arrive to the combat area from the US military bases in
Germany and Albania. By the end of April 120,000 more troops
and up to 1,200 additional tanks will be sent to support the
war against Iraq.

A decision was made to change the way aviation is used in this
war. The use of precision-guided munitions will be scaled down
and these weapons will be reserved for attacking only known,
confirmed targets. There will be an increase in the use of
conventional high-yield aviation bombs, volume-detonation bombs
and incendiary munitions. The USAF command is ordered to deliver
to airbases used against Iraq a two-week supply of aviation bombs
of 1-tonn caliber and higher as well as volume-detonation and
incendiary bombs. This means that Washington is resorting to the
"scorched earth" tactics and carpet-bombing campaign.

(source: iraqwar.ru, 03-25-03, translated by Venik)

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