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  • Strange US Tactics

    In response to some serious militant siege on the big US camp near Najaf (base came under mortar fire and infantry attack) the Americans want to set up checkpoints. They want to set up checkpoints throuhgout the city to show "who's in charge".

    Is this appropriate tactics? The militants may be able to destroy each isolated checkpoint piecemeal while the big base is almost certainly impregnable to the militants' amateurish assaults.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    The militants are improving in skill and capability everyday. They have some tacticians among them who've studied small arms tactics to a great extent. They've learned lessons from Chechnya and other guerilla wars, and have adopted tactics to work in Iraq.

    Checkpoints might be able to interdict the militants lines of supply and communication. They still use streets, roads, and other known routes of travel, which can be controlled to some degree by a blocking force. However, the resourcefulness of the militants, and their minimum supply requirements, makes interdiction or control very difficult.

    I really would prefer the Coalition stay out of Najaf and try to seek somekind of political solution. Checkpoints will be attacked, and we will resond. This will create greater discontent for the Coalition at time when support for Al Sadr might be declining.

    The Iraqis are use to intimidation. The only emotion we will invoke is anger, not fear. I know we can't just allow Al-Sadr rebels to run amuk. Yet, we must not allow pride or anger to motivate the next critical steps. Checkpoints could make for easy targets, which will only add injury to insult.

    The best thing the US can do is to negotiate a some kind of deal that will permit the operation to continue, while satisfying some of the demands being made by the people of Iraq in general. If such discssion are not possible directly, a third-party could be brought in. I don't see the productiveness in loosing soldiers and civilians for weapons that might cost $200 or $300 dollars. The solution we should strive for is avoiding convincing the Iraqi people that violence is not the answer. A tall order, but a necessary one if we intend to emerge from Iraq in one piece.
    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

    Comment


    • #3
      Checkpoints sure beats the US responding to mortar attacks from urban areas with an artillery barrage. At least as far as the ability for the US extricating itself from Iraqi within a decade are concerned.
      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

      Comment


      • #4
        I also think that check points are a bad idea in the current situation as they really attrac these guys who are stupid enough to blow themseles up with a bomb and so...
        "A platoon of Chinese tanks viciously attacked a Soviet harvester,
        which was peacefully working a field near the Soviet-Chinese border.
        The harvester returned fire and upon destroying the enemy
        returned to its home base."

        Comment


        • #5
          Unfortunately it isn't established doctrine I guess:

          155mm artillery rounds into urban areas... not the brighest of ideas.

          The Associated Press
          Monday, May 3, 2004; 3:05 PM

          BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. troops battling insurgents in west Baghdad pounded rebel positions with artillery fire Monday, the Army said.

          Troops from the Army's 1st Cavalry Division called for artillery support, and the division's gunners opened fire, launching a series of rounds from 155mm self-propelled Paladin artillery pieces, said Lt. Col. James Hutton.

          The series of eight or more heavy blasts caused by the shelling could be heard in central Baghdad Monday night.

          Hutton had no information on casualties or the nature of the fighting.
          "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

          – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MikeJ
            Unfortunately it isn't established doctrine I guess:

            155mm artillery rounds into urban areas... not the brighest of ideas.
            Depends. I would not fire DPICMs in an urban area, or set fuses to minimize shrapnel damage. However, HE, and more particularly Cooperheads can be fired into an area like Central Baghdad without causing alot of damage, except to the target. One has to remember Baghdad was built with defense in mind. City architects divided open areas to help support manever. While Baghdad today has about 4 million more inhabitants than in the 900 ADs, it still retains a degree of open space that might not be common in other places.

            Everything depends on the target location and munition used. I think the US military can mass fires with excellent precision. However, you they target a crowded slum area (if you will) considerable damage would occur.

            Personally, I would prefer mortars to artillery in an urban area. The path of the round can intersect buildings, and if there is wind, large buildings can interfere with accuracy as well. Of course if I caught the enemy in an open area, I'd pound them with artillery.

            It is important to note that any combat in urban areas is casualty intensive for all sides. The US should refrain from shooting as much as possible. I get the impression that we are returning fire when attacked as a demonstration of firepower.
            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Deltapooh
              Depends.
              Let me rephrase then - not a good idea if the United States wants to successfully extricate itself from Iraq within a decade.

              Everything depends on the target location and munition used. I think the US military can mass fires with excellent precision.
              You think? How many (Iraqi) lives are you willing to bet on that? :P

              It is important to note that any combat in urban areas is casualty intensive for all sides. The US should refrain from shooting as much as possible. I get the impression that we are returning fire when attacked as a demonstration of firepower.
              Well, the reports from embedded journalists all over Iraq are that SOP for US troops who are fired upon is overwhelming suppressive fire. And in cases where the soldiers don't know where the fire is coming from, they spray in basically all directions.

              Now, this is all well and good to save American lives (and one might even able to argue it is acceptable if fighting a conventional enemy force holed up in an urban environment - eg collateral damage of enemy civilians whose "hearts and minds" you have no interest in winning over), but if saving American lives is the #1 priority of the US army in Iraq, then it can have no expectation for ultimate success of the stated mission.

              Let's assume for a momemnt that all US weapons were 100% accurate on a technical basis and furthermore that US soldiers were infallible leaving no room for human error in the operation of these weapons. There is still the biggest problem - the perception that the populace gains when they see that soldiers are willing to shoot anyone and anything to save their own skin. You can rationalize that as being natural, survival instinct and you'd be absolutely right. But that is not enough, especially when you are seen as an occupier who values one of your own lives over many lives of the local civilian populace. You can not run an occupation like that and expect Iraqis to fall all over themselves to do the US army favors.

              Imagine if your local police department employed such tactics. I don't need to point out how soon you'd come to hate them. Incidentally, if the US army started acting more like a police force, they might not be handing back places like Fallujah to an old RG general in a desperate bid to save face without making the situation worse. Fallujans never forgave the US army for opening up on that crowd of protestors a year ago. Notice they don't care that insurgents fired on US soldiers from inside the crowd. Insurgents don't run the country, are expected to act in such a way and the only reason the insurgents are there in the first place is because the United States is occupying Iraq. Not hard to see who gets blamed. And it's not just the problems that can be rationalized as coalition responsibility either - all problems are eventually lumped on the occupier as they are the present authority.
              "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

              – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think anybody in Baghdad thinks it's the cops who are rousting them. I would've requested a laser guided bomb in that case, with my own troops painting the target. If that wasn't available then I'd go for the artillery as long as I had worked with them before. Of course I think my ideal choice for urban combat fire support would be something like a modern Sturm Tiger. Something with real thick armour that the bandits can blaze away at while their locs are marked and then leveled. And a really big barrel so that if they run away like a bunch of girls, even better.

                And I don't think the good citizens of Fallujah have gotten over the coalition forces booting out Saddam either.
                Last edited by Prester John; 04 May 04, 06:28.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MikeJ
                  You think? How many (Iraqi) lives are you willing to bet on that? :P
                  Depends on the situation. If the target is located on the corner of a block for example, I would feel comfortable with using artillery.

                  Originally posted by MikeJ
                  Well, the reports from embedded journalists all over Iraq are that SOP for US troops who are fired upon is overwhelming suppressive fire. And in cases where the soldiers don't know where the fire is coming from, they spray in basically all directions.

                  Now, this is all well and good to save American lives (and one might even able to argue it is acceptable if fighting a conventional enemy force holed up in an urban environment - eg collateral damage of enemy civilians whose "hearts and minds" you have no interest in winning over), but if saving American lives is the #1 priority of the US army in Iraq, then it can have no expectation for ultimate success of the stated mission.

                  Let's assume for a momemnt that all US weapons were 100% accurate on a technical basis and furthermore that US soldiers were infallible leaving no room for human error in the operation of these weapons. There is still the biggest problem - the perception that the populace gains when they see that soldiers are willing to shoot anyone and anything to save their own skin. You can rationalize that as being natural, survival instinct and you'd be absolutely right. But that is not enough, especially when you are seen as an occupier who values one of your own lives over many lives of the local civilian populace. You can not run an occupation like that and expect Iraqis to fall all over themselves to do the US army favors.
                  I realize this. That is why I said our forces should refrain from using force. There will be exceptions. By not making overwhelming force the rule whenever some takes a pop-shot at us, we can mitigate the repercussions when the situation dictates the level of force that would anger the local popu-lation, and undermine the effort.
                  "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Id be interested to know if the guerrilla's had any mortars themselves, if so setup radar to track where the rounds are coming from and bring in some arty and chopper combination, beter still unleash C130 gunships.

                    Mortar tubes are easy enough to make but destroy the factory made ones and you remove the accuracy they could deploy on ya.

                    if its snipers and mgs ya worried about again bring in the Gunships, im sure the tracking and illumitaion systems they use could pick up the imprint of a sniper under the rubble.

                    thats the best idea i could think up with my limited knowledge of the subject

                    painting a target is ok if the target sits there but if its a shoot and scoot attack then the target would move out from your vision, having a birds eye view would make it easier to track them.
                    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Temujin
                      painting a target is ok if the target sits there but if its a shoot and scoot attack then the target would move out from your vision, having a birds eye view would make it easier to track them.
                      I wouldn't trust the airforce to differentiate between friendly and enemy in an urban environment. And getting a response from an aircraft on station will be quicker than non-registered artillery.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If the terrorists use something like this and walk away, you can never find them:

                        http://naoruzanje.paracin.co.yu/m70.html

                        (anyway it is a nice handy mortar, look at the pics)
                        a brain cell

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think those folks intimidated by the proposition of artillery shooting in cities think in terms of the old Soviet tactics from WW2; rolling barrages and similar neanderthal ideas. Modern artillery fire can be brought on exact GPS coordinates. The cancelled Crusader would have been the ultimate in accuracy but the Paladin is impressive too.

                          "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
                          --Frederick II, King of Prussia

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MonsterZero
                            I think those folks intimidated by the proposition of artillery shooting in cities think in terms of the old Soviet tactics from WW2; rolling barrages and similar neanderthal ideas. Modern artillery fire can be brought on exact GPS coordinates. The cancelled Crusader would have been the ultimate in accuracy but the Paladin is impressive too.
                            A direct hit is considered someting like +/- 10m and 10m can mean a lot in an urban enviroment, and 155mm will damage a lot more than just one building. And I really doubt that they had the exact GPS data of the enemy mortar crew, they were probably guessing quite a lot (if there had been a visual contact to confirm the location they could have used small arms to disable them) so all this will add to a pretty vague picture and to ensure that they get the mortars thy probably have to pepper quite a lot of buildings.
                            "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                            Henry Alfred Kissinger

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kraut
                              A direct hit is considered someting like +/- 10m and 10m can mean a lot in an urban enviroment, and 155mm will damage a lot more than just one building. And I really doubt that they had the exact GPS data of the enemy mortar crew, they were probably guessing quite a lot (if there had been a visual contact to confirm the location they could have used small arms to disable them) so all this will add to a pretty vague picture and to ensure that they get the mortars thy probably have to pepper quite a lot of buildings.

                              This sounds quite plausible, and I agree.


                              btw. Laszlo how much is such a mortar and where can I get it?
                              I mean just to protect me from criminals...
                              "A platoon of Chinese tanks viciously attacked a Soviet harvester,
                              which was peacefully working a field near the Soviet-Chinese border.
                              The harvester returned fire and upon destroying the enemy
                              returned to its home base."

                              Comment

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