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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 12 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.
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.
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.
are that so far the US is unable to form a combat-capable strike force
in this area.
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.
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 on 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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
03-25-03, translated by Venik)
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