Friday, April 04, 2003

War Diary, April 4, 2003: Blitzkrieg 2003 and Infidels at the Gate

Thank God it’s Friday! I am so tied, and dare I say irritable? I need sleep! Between work and school I am worn out! I think I will vegetate this weekend, catch up on recorded television programs and watch a couple of movies.

Now on to the WAR.

Saddam International Airport, has been renamed Baghdad International Airport. In less then two weeks, despite setbacks and hiccups, the United States Armed Forces, in a coordinated effort that will re-write the annals of modern warfare, have arrived at the gates of Baghdad with less then 100 dead. And in the process, no less then three Iraqi divisions have been eviscerated, with nary a scratch suffered by the 3rd ID, and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. A recent United Press International (UPI) article characterized it thusly:

“The U.S. military machine is unstoppable and looks set to continue the kind of global dominance that the British enjoyed in the century after their decisive defeat of France's naval power in 1805. A technological generation ahead of any other military on earth, the U.S. armed forces have built on the lessons of the German blitzkrieg of 1940 to pioneer a new style of war. The German panzer divisions integrated tanks, artillery, mobile infantry and close air support with radio communications and consistently defeated larger armies.”

I admit that I was skeptical that this new kind of war—the rolling start—would be effective given the tenacity of the Iraqi irregulars and para-military forces, and their single mined determination to disrupt supply lines and lines of communications stretching hundreds of miles across the desert. But the U.S. military planners adapted to the new conditions, and our troops like the true professionals they are, largely quelled the Iraqi opposition taking the fight to them on the street of their cities. The result: at the end of two weeks the Army has captured Iraq’s international airport some 10 – 12 miles from the center of the Iraqi capital, and the Marines have accepted the surrender of some 2500 Iraqi troops within the last two days. And the Kurds in the north with the help of U.S. Special Forces, have routed Iraqi troops and gained valuable territory. All of this scarce two weeks after the liberation of Iraq got underway. Again the UPI article stated:

"…the U.S. armed forces defeated the best army in the Arab world with one hand tied behind their back. The U.S. Army did not even field its first team. The 4th Division, the most technologically advanced of all, with a computer in every vehicle and TV camera on the helmet of every squad leader sending real-time images back to headquarters, never even arrived on the battlefield.

The tank-heavy Iraqis, trained and equipped according to the Soviet theories of armored warfare, were defeated by an outnumbered U.S. force that did not even contain an armored division. They were beaten by one U.S. mechanized infantry division (the 3rd), one Airborne division (the 101st) and a Marine Expeditionary Force fighting further from shore than any Marine unit before them. They had the backing, on a secondary front, of one reinforced British armored brigade.

This has been a campaign for the history books, an example of modern blitzkrieg that will convince every other military on Earth that there is no future in taking on the Americans…"

But still, the tough battle still remains: the mêlée for Baghdad itself. There is no doubt that if we go in, it will be a bloody and destructive undertaking, and the body count on both sides will climb alarmingly. And the question lingering like storm cloud over the world is will the Army wait for the Marines to catch up (believe it or not the 3rd ID is ahead of schedule), and then enter Baghdad, or will there be a true pause until the 4th ID can take the field?

I say this is a good time to pause, our troops need the rest; they surely must be exhausted and in need of a decent meal. Let’s see what the weekend will bring, hopefully not a chemical attack!
Source: Martin Walker, Analysis: Blitzkrieg 2003, United Press International, Apr. 4, 2003 (

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

WAR Diary:

1043 Hours: School had been taking most of my time of late; Spring Break is over and the grind is on again. As I write this (at work) I am tired, not bone tired, but red-eyed, sore-eyed tired. I need some sleep. I think I will skip class on Friday; I am due to miss a Legal Writing class.
If it is possible, we are getting almost too much information on the war. I find myself reading and listening to far less coverage, but perhaps that can be attributed to school as well.

The push towards Baghdad is on in earnest, and I’m not sure it is a wide thing, without the 1st ID pushing from the north and the 4th ID back up the 3rd. I certainly hope to WAR planner wait until the two extra divisions are ready before the final assault on Baghdad begins. Baghdad is far too large for just two divisions, heavily armed or not, to hold for long. I fear the battle for the capital will be long and bloody; a lot of Iraqi lives will be lost, innocent lives, and far too many martyrs for the cause of Islam and the punishment of the infidels (us) will be created in the process. I implore Franks to wait!

But, it is reported that the Marines have destroyed one Iraqi division near Kut and that the Army had swept aside opposition in Karbala, seized the surrounded the city and were once again on the move north. Not too fast, not too fast, let us learn from the very recent past shall we!
Ever wonder how the Army and Marines are organized? I offer below a simplified snap-shot:

Squad: four to ten soldiers, command usually falls to a non-commissioned officer.
Platoon: includes three to four squads, about 16 to 40 soldiers; usually led a first or second lieutenant.
Company: three or four platoons, about 100 to 200 soldiers; usually led by a captain.
Battalion: three to five company, or 500 to 900 soldiers; usually led by a colonel.
Brigade: three to five battalions 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers; usually led by a colonel.
Division: three brigades, 10,000 to 18,000 soldiers; led by a two-star general.
Corps: two to five divisions, 20,000 to 90,000 soldiers; led by a three-star general.
Field Army: between two and five corps, 100,000 to 250,000 soldiers; led by a four-star general.

The Navy and Air Force are organized differently of course; I’ll touch on their organization tomorrow.