Best strategy for taking Baghdad

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2003-03-26 04:29am

Edi wrote: Again, take a look at Mogadishu, and especially at Grozny, to see what it can be like, those are far more recent and relevant examples. Granted, the coalition troops are better trained, motivated and equipped than the Russian conscripts in Chechnya, so they will not make the same gross mistakes, but Grozny is the battle you should pay more attention to than the battle of Hue.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I. PURPOSE: To recreate the battle for Hue by analyzing it from a
maneuver warfare position and to culminate this analysis with the battle's
operational and tactical lessons learned as they may apply today.

II. THESIS: Although the battle for Hue transpired twenty years ago, the
military actions conducted then are in consonance with the fundamentals
of maneuver warfare revitalized today.

III. DATA: The 1968 Tet offensive conducted by the NVA/VC forces
within the I Corps Tactical Zone found the enemy's main effort as the seizure
of Hue. Through the implementation of a METT-T analysis, the military
student is able to effectively recreate the battle for Hue from a maneuver
warfare perspective in order to better understand the objectives, centers
of gravity, and intent of both opposing forces. An examination of the
mission statement for both opposing forces displays the conflict between
tasks and constraints. Terrain and weather analysis focuses upon key
decisive terrain, avenues of approach or lines of communication, and
inclement weather conditions as they impacted upon the warfare principles
of maneuver, surprise, and offensive. The culmination of these principles
demonstrates their effect on how, at specific moments, each opposing
force's timetable for success was altered. The operational lessons
learned focus upon surfaces and gap, concentration of force and speed
of action, and attrition warfare versus deterioration of the enemy's
cohesion. Tactical lessons learned focus upon urban tactics, combined
arms weapon systems, and command/control

IV. CONCLUSION: The fundamentals of maneuver warfare, as they
apply to the battle for Hue, have assisted in demonstrating an analytical
process and identifying valuable lessons learned for preparing for future
urban warfare. However, the Marine Corps' experience in Hue has not
been capitalized upon with regard to training direction and weapons
system flexibility towards urban warfare. The future commitment of
forces to safeguard United States interests abroad may find the Marine
Corps unprepared to operate in urban terrain.
- It ends on the potential of a warning note, one grants. But the doctrine which led to Hue already exists, as does the succeess (and most military documents do presume the conservative). The argument which can be made is that the lessons of success in urban warfare existed since Hue and/or before, and were recognized as early as 13 years ago.

We're going to have to wait and see as to if they were learned.

(From here: http://www.urbanoperations.com/taylor.htm - Also where I got the quote in my earlier post.)
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Post by Edi » 2003-03-26 04:41am

From what I saw of those articles as I skimmed them, it seems there was nothing special to the battle of Hue as an urban combat experience, most of the stuff talked about there is just applying common sense into things. Of course the experience existed prior to Hue, the US did after all take part in WW2 and the Korean War which involved quite a bit of city fighting.

It doesn't alter any of what I've said earlier in the thread. I don't have (thankfully) actual urban combat experience, but I do have urban combat training and thus an idea of what is involved, and taking even a moderately sized objective, say, a water purification plant, in a built-up environment is a damned bitch to do correctly just in exercises, never mind when the other guys would actually be dug in and firing live ordnance at you. That's why I do not sound so confident and upbeat about urban combat operations in Baghdad. It'll be a bitch and then some, and ugly as hell.

Edi

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2003-03-26 05:23am

Edi wrote:From what I saw of those articles as I skimmed them, it seems there was nothing special to the battle of Hue as an urban combat experience, most of the stuff talked about there is just applying common sense into things. Of course the experience existed prior to Hue, the US did after all take part in WW2 and the Korean War which involved quite a bit of city fighting.

Edi
What was special about Hue was how light our casualties were.
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Post by Edi » 2003-03-26 05:33am

I noticed, but it only took into account American casualties. The South Vietnamese suffered at least double that, and they did quite a bit of the fighting too. Seems like a lucky fluke and incompetence on part of the VC, but I'd not really want to rely on those for success in Baghdad.

Edi

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2003-03-26 05:58am

Edi wrote:I noticed, but it only took into account American casualties. The South Vietnamese suffered at least double that, and they did quite a bit of the fighting too. Seems like a lucky fluke and incompetence on part of the VC, but I'd not really want to rely on those for success in Baghdad.

Edi
VC stiffened by a considerable fraction of regular North Vietnamese forces can hardly be called incompetent. ARVN casualties were somewhat less than double US, actually. Considering the quality of the ARVN and forces committed, that isn't really surprising. That's still less than 500 killed during an operation to eliminate 16 battalions fortified into a city, using a 19 battalion force - With over 5,000 confirmed enemy killed in the process.

Inflicting a ten-to-one ratio in urban combat with those sorts of numbers is nearly unheard of, and to read in detail you don't get the picture of weak resistance - It was vicious until the end (and about half of the Vietnamese Communist force was killed in the city).

I would like to hear what Jegs and Rob have to say, for that matter.
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Post by Vympel » 2003-03-26 06:07am

"Tactical doctrine stresses that urban combat operations are conducted only when required and that built-up areas are isolated and bypassed rather than risking a costly, time-consuming operation in this difficult environment"

US Army field manual
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Post by Edi » 2003-03-26 06:10am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:VC stiffened by a considerable fraction of regular North Vietnamese forces can hardly be called incompetent. ARVN casualties were somewhat less than double US, actually. Considering the quality of the ARVN and forces committed, that isn't really surprising. That's still less than 500 killed during an operation to eliminate 16 battalions fortified into a city, using a 19 battalion force - With over 5,000 confirmed enemy killed in the process.
Umm, make up your mind, will you? Were they incompetent or not? Because the results sure makes it look like they were...
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Inflicting a ten-to-one ratio in urban combat with those sorts of numbers is nearly unheard of, and to read in detail you don't get the picture of weak resistance - It was vicious until the end (and about half of the Vietnamese Communist force was killed in the city).
Yes, it does sound incredible, and if it is as unique as the indicators point it to be, all the more reason not to use it as an average benchmark for future operations. Granted, in Mogadishu the ratio was near 40 or 50 to 1 in American favor, but that was against armed mobs, not an organized army. Grozny is still the best comparison from the recent past we can get, once we factor coalition training and equipment issues into it.
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:I would like to hear what Jegs and Rob have to say, for that matter.
That's why I asked them to weigh in, and posted a link to this one in the Recce thread (basically a heads-up thread pointing to threads of interest to the Warvolves) at the Mess. Rob's opinion would be very valuable, and so would Knife's he's a US Marine. How about we take a break from this until they get a chance to see and say what they think? It's not like this is something that becomes urgent in the next day or two, so we can afford that.

Edi

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Post by Knife » 2003-03-26 12:37pm

Edi probably has the more accurate senerio. After the initial skirmishes outside Baghdad, the RG will fall back to pre made defenses inside the city. They will probably suffer heavilly from US airpower when they do it, but I am sure they will have some nice tricks to help survive that.

The coalilition will secure four of five staging area's around the city in stategic locations (terrain dictates) and will forward deploy units into strategic locals in the city while enforceing a perimeter around the outskirts. With our 'kill as few civies as possible' doctrine, we will commence what could be called an island hopping campaign inside the city, striking from our strong points into know or suspected enemy positions and avoiding residential areas. However, if residential area
s become enemy strong points, they will lose their imunity and be struck using various forces. A combination of ground troops fighting MOUNT and airborn or heloborn troops making lightning raids with the aide of CAS and CIFS. The central portions of Baghdad where goverment buildings dominate, will be eradicated by bombing raids and missile strikes.

Another angle, is that the coalition will undoubtedly support and encourage any resistence from the locals. I would imagine that any and all support to include desperate support, to any uprisings would be considered a priority. Alot of civies will go to Saddams side, others on ours and still some others will remain 'neutral' in that they don't want to fight. I also see US/UK forces setting up 'refugee camps' and actively encourage civilians to leave Baghdad to avoid civilian causualties.

KIA's and WIA's will increase, but not to any horrific level (at least on allied side) that some supose. In MOUNT it is said, that 1 defender equals 5 attackers. The problem in Baghdad is that the allied forces will quickly establish strong points in the city as well and become defenders of those strong points while simultaneously attacking enemy fortifications. I fully expect that a large chunk of civilians will flee Baghdad before the action begins, let alone when it starts. Alot of so called civilian casualties, will be irregular troops but I do expect propaganda from our side as well.
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Post by Yogi » 2003-03-26 01:56pm

We should concentrate on evacuating any civilians we encounter out of the way, possibly by offering them food and water. The less people around, the better.
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