November 9, 2004

Fallujah continues to go bloody well

The Belmont Club has another excellent analysis of the action in Fallujah. I expect the Jihadists never conceived it would be this bad for them.

An Agence France Press report describes the terrible closed loop of networked firepower. For the first time in a major battle, guided artillery is being used quantity. In addition to the now familiar JDAMs, or GPS guided bombs, there are now GPS guided shells. Space based positioning satellites, laser range finding, robotics and networked computing are now as much a part of infantry combat as the boot heel. […]

Though the enemy is to be frank, very brave, news reports them falling back everywhere.


The enemy withdrawals have sometimes been explained by suggesting that the enemy is suckering in US forces into a trap. But this is impossible. Their backs are to the river and the Marines are across that. Every retrograde movement compresses the enemy into a smaller area and forces them to leave behind prepared positions painstakingly stockpiled with food, batteries and ammo. Running backward with wounded, they can't carry much ammunition and won't find any unless a prepared position is already available. And how does anyone stand fast in the face of the otherworldly violence of the American onslaught?

Small bands of gunmen -- fewer than 20 -- were engaging U.S. troops, then falling back in the face of overwhelming fire from American tanks, 20mm cannons and heavy machine guns, said Time magazine reporter Michael Ware, embedded with troops. Ware reported that there appeared to be no civilians in the area he was in. On one thoroughfare in the city, U.S. troops traded fire with gunmen holed up in a row of houses about 100 yards away. An American gunner on an armored vehicle let loose with his machine gun, grinding the upper part of a small building to rubble.

This is a description of platoon-sized enemy units attempting to hold back the Martians. The bravado of Al Jazeera has this completely wrong. If classical history were still widely taught, these scenes would be instantly recognizable as a rout that terrible disintegration of ranks as the foe closes in before and behind.


There can be no joy in war: it is always repulsive in actual detail, but if we are not left with the facts, then the world is deprived even of the doleful experience of the battlefield. The jihadi dream was a fraud. September 11 opened the door, not to Paradise but the portal to Hell and the jihadi nightmare will continue for as long as they are nourished on illusion and false encouragement. We are not their permanent enemies; that foe is within their breast.

Perhaps it would benefical to have enough escape to so they could tell others just how badly the battle went for them. as this to add.

There's no doubt who is going to win this battle, what is in question is the number of American casualties. Historically, going back to World War II, American troops have excelled at urban warfare, often killing 20-30 enemy troops for every American soldier. The American advantage has been firepower and numbers, but today there is also better intelligence and training. It's a dangerous game, for mistakes get people killed, and that's what the anti-government forces want for their propaganda campaign in favor of establishing a new Sunni Arab dictatorship in Iraq. However, the urban battles in Iraq so far have followed the historical pattern, with far greater enemy casualties and fighting which ended in days. No one paid much attention as the Sadr gangs were systematically cleaned out of several Iraqi cities over the last few months. But people are paying attention now, but Fallujah is unlikely to demonstrate anything new.
Posted by Ted at November 9, 2004 7:42 PM