Battle group kicks arrse

Modfather

Old-Salt
Good skills. I suspect on a daily basis there are C/Ss fighting like this but is good to see the media getting something out and a report that we are giving the militia a kicking.
 

Ord_Sgt

RIP
RIP
At the tactical level the boys done good and always will do in a face to face fight. There’s nobody to match us when it comes to this.

However at the strategic level piecemeal firefights are not going to win the war. We need the forces and the political will to dominate the ground 24/7 and that is not happening and beyond our current resources.

These are exactly the same tactics used by the Americans in Vietnam. Move into an area take on the enemy and inevitably kick arrse then withdraw to a defended fortified base and relinquish the ground to the enemy again for the cost of x enemy dead. It didn’t work then and won’t work now. Its 4 years in and we a no further forward than 2003 indeed it may as well be 1969!! Why do we have to re-learn these lessons time and again?
 
There are a number of worrying contradictions in this article the headline of which states:
20 Shia gunmen die in British Basra fightback

So from this we assume that the Battlegroup made an opposed incursion into the area and killed 20 of the enemy.

Later on is states: Initially there was no response as the troops began searching homes where they recovered some small arms

Fair enough probably the task they set out to do.

Then: The soldiers from the Rifles and Duke of Lancaster's held off the attacks for more than two hours and shot a number of gunmen.

Good

Next:During one skirmish two attackers, who fired grenades at a British position, were chased down and arrested. Both are likely to face charges

Restraint indeed.

Official estimates put the number of Iraqis hit by British gunfire at 10 but other defence sources said that double that figure had been shot.[/i]

So where did the Telegraph get: 20 Shia gunmen die in British Basra fightback?
 
western said:
There are a number of worrying contradictions in this article the headline of which states:
20 Shia gunmen die in British Basra fightback

So from this we assume that the Battlegroup made an opposed incursion into the area and killed 20 of the enemy.

Later on is states: Initially there was no response as the troops began searching homes where they recovered some small arms

Fair enough probably the task they set out to do.

Then: The soldiers from the Rifles and Duke of Lancaster's held off the attacks for more than two hours and shot a number of gunmen.

Good

Next:During one skirmish two attackers, who fired grenades at a British position, were chased down and arrested. Both are likely to face charges

Restraint indeed.

Official estimates put the number of Iraqis hit by British gunfire at 10 but other defence sources said that double that figure had been shot.[/i]

So where did the Telegraph get: 20 Shia gunmen die in British Basra fightback?


They probably pulled that number out of their arrse like most other bo11ox they print!
 
http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKCOL06189420070410?feedType=RSS

British troops battled gunmen in the volatile Iraqi city of Basra on Tuesday after coming under fire during a routine search operation, the British military said.

"Ten of the enemy were hit. I don't know whether they were wounded or killed. There was a substantial exchange of gunfire," British military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Stratford-Wright said.

He said gunmen had opened fire on the British force from alleyways and rooftops with machinegun fire and several rocket-propelled grenades. The soldiers had returned fire from machineguns mounted on armoured personnel carriers.

Iraqi police said two gunmen were wounded and two arrested in the fighting in Basra's southwestern Qibla district. One policeman was also hurt.
So two were wounded, two detained and one policeman was killed (likely by mistake).

It doesn't look as a great victory.
 
Excellent individual drills and great tactics by the field commanders.

But what about strategy and policy?

This event has clearly identified (and proven) that there are areas of Iraq which are the control of local warlords and militia. Neither the Iraqi Government nor the Coalition have any meaningful and effective say in what goes on within these areas.

If this was a demonstration that they are no 'no go' areas in Iraq, what does it say when the only way to enter is by being a fully tooled up armoured/mechanised battle group? And then, having broken a few eggs, make a tactical withdrawal under fire. As another poster has already made clear, the opposition will be proclaiming this as 'chasing away the foreign occupiers'.

Just a few weeks ago, HMG was spinning that the security situation was reaching a point where we could hand over security to the Iraqi police/army and draw down troops. This indicates differently. Or, is the policy to leave Iraq with local warlords/militia in control of their own patches?
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
Er....one for the steely eyed death-dealers....scuse a question from a sad old REMF who really doesn't understand CQB in an urban environment but.....

Given that every report I've seen mentions
'Iraqi militaia running over roof tops to get into position'

......wouldn't it make sense to put a few guys with L96...er....on a rooftop ?
I think one of the problems is keeping your c/s mobile…
That and the fact that you'd spoil the Lynx door gunners fun...
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
whitecity said:
Just a few weeks ago, HMG was spinning that the security situation was reaching a point where we could hand over security to the Iraqi police/army and draw down troops. This indicates differently. Or, is the policy to leave Iraq with local warlords/militia in control of their own patches?
I think you'll find thats been a recognised British colonial policy since, well, we owned most of the world. Of course, in the old days we'd try to turn them into Christians as well but apart from that, the basic plan is all good.
 
Mr Happy said:
Er....one for the steely eyed death-dealers....scuse a question from a sad old REMF who really doesn't understand CQB in an urban environment but.....

Given that every report I've seen mentions
'Iraqi militaia running over roof tops to get into position'

......wouldn't it make sense to put a few guys with L96...er....on a rooftop ?
I think one of the problems is keeping your c/s mobile…
That and the fact that you'd spoil the Lynx door gunners fun...
Michael Yon makes quite a few comments about the absence of heli cover for the op he was involved in, but equally mentions a number of snipers posted around rooftops. He seems genuinely surprised that we are prepared to undertake urban ops without air cover. If you know the ground and the enemy's MO well enough, do you need air cover? Is it an expensive luxury we can do without or an expensive necessity that we have to do without?

I do like the comment:

Michael Yon said:
The plan for Operation Arezzo was cleverly contrived. While Americans count on helicopter support for deliberate high-intensity combat here, the Brits were going into extremely hostile terrain, outnumbered, without helicopter support, relying instead upon timing, terrain, maneuverability, firepower, and sheer audacity.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
frankly hele cover is, in my experience, a damned useful thing, spotting surge's, en movement patterns (to from that armoury that they were so worried about) and of course, at 5.000' uber safe.

Of course, if the BG's Lynx is unavailable or fitted with the wrong radio's then....

Yanks of course don't go anywhere without hele cover

Oh for a bit of a budget....
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
frankly hele cover is, in my experience, a damned useful thing, spotting surge's, en movement patterns (to from that armoury that they were so worried about) and of course, at 5.000' uber safe.

Of course, if the BG's Lynx is unavailable or fitted with the wrong radio's then....

Yanks of course don't go anywhere without hele cover

Oh for a bit of a budget....
 

Pasty Boy

Old-Salt
Mr Happy wrote:
frankly hele cover is, in my experience, a damned useful thing, spotting surge's, en movement patterns (to from that armoury that they were so worried about) and of course, at 5.000' uber safe.

Of course, if the BG's Lynx is unavailable or fitted with the wrong radio's then....

Yanks of course don't go anywhere without hele cover

Oh for a bit of a budget....
Helo cover is all well and good but you are presenting the militia with a high profile target that is relatively static at times and thus a lot of their main effort would switch towards taking it out.

ISTAR assets on the other hand....

Yes the Americans don't go anywhere without helo cover - naturally your comment on budget is a good one - however they also have more available and thus can afford to lose more than us - see the reports on the many losses of such. A fact not helped by their tactic of standing and fighting when their helos are shot at, rather than getting out of the area.

As for issue of height/observation etc, granted that this is hard to do without air but, you will see from the Michael Yon article that in one of the pictures the caption states that you can see a Brit sniper on top of one of the buildings in the background. You can bet that at least one of the pair was on the radio adding to the situational awareness.
 
Mr Happy and Bat_Crab,

Indeed. Michael Yon clearly indicates the lack of air support and the use of snipers.

However, turning to Mr Happy's point about mobility is prescient. Snipers can be inserted onto rooftops to cover the fringes of the operation, but without air support, how do they insert and extract themselves from multiple locations in a very hostile neighbourhood?
 
Quote:

... objective of the British incursion was to "make quite clear there's nowhere in Basra we cannot go".

Which is great and I would hope an absolutement statement of fact. Sadly, there are increasing areas of Basra that locals cannot go - and this situation, along with the increase in kidnapping, punishment and civilian displacement continues to grow.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
Pasty Boy said:
Helo cover is all well and good but you are presenting the militia with a high profile target that is relatively static at times and thus a lot of their main effort would switch towards taking it out.
A Lynx at 2000m is immune to RPG and AK fire. I believe I saw them in NI doing exactly that. So why not here?

Pasty Boy said:
ISTAR assets on the other hand....
Lets not do the whole 4/73 thing… ISTAR in an urban role vs a Lynx over the battlefield is SOOO not the same thing.

Pasty Boy said:
Yes the Americans don't go anywhere without helo cover - naturally your comment on budget is a good one - however they also have more available and thus can afford to lose more than us - see the reports on the many losses of such. A fact not helped by their tactic of standing and fighting when their helos are shot at, rather than getting out of the area.
Aye, and the fact they use them for everything so there is a TRE for the badguys.
 
Mr Happy said:
whitecity said:
Just a few weeks ago, HMG was spinning that the security situation was reaching a point where we could hand over security to the Iraqi police/army and draw down troops. This indicates differently. Or, is the policy to leave Iraq with local warlords/militia in control of their own patches?
I think you'll find thats been a recognised British colonial policy since, well, we owned most of the world. Of course, in the old days we'd try to turn them into Christians as well but apart from that, the basic plan is all good.
It may well have been a very successful policy in the good old days, but I'm not sure it fits well with the 'd' word.

However, if you are right, and this is now HMG's official policy, I look forward to an official statement from HMG that they no longer support a centrally governed - and 'democratically' elected - unitary Iraqi state.

I won't hold my breath. :D
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
I think their actions will speak louder than words on this one.

The hand ringers, who will, for the first time ever, be actually fcking right, will complain but the government will shrug, milforce will breath a sigh of relief and the world will continue to turn, except in Iraq of course.
 

BedIn

LE
A few comments on this one…

Firstly, the use of helis. I was on TELIC 8 when a Lynx was taken down and another, at night trying to use heli snipers, was badly brassed up during one of our ops. The decision was taken to have no helis up (bar CASEVAC and the odd VIP) in daylight. The enemy have SAM. Having said that, we drove round for seven months in Snatch which are hardly impervious. I suspect the real reason that helis aren't used is that we have so few and can't afford to loose them. Of course, AH has a degree of protection but all of ours are in Afghanistan. Great. Ultimately a budgetary constraint.

Snipers on roofs. We always did this after an early nightmare contact where they were up high and we weren't. Great for cordons but hard to achieve if you are jumped. Equally, there comes a time when you have to get them down as you get set to leave. We were once hit on a strike op as soon as we took them down, but the only other option wasn't an option, i.e. leave them on the roofs until last.

Fast air as a deterrent. Tripe. We had it a lot and it did nothing. It might have worked in the past, but we've been doing it for years and never dropping anything. Fast air is no longer a credible deterrent. If it strafed the Shat Al Arab now and then (or preferably Al Quibla) it may begin to have some effect again.

The question of Tactical success balanced against Strategic success. Face it boys - we have strategic failure here. At least we can at the tactical level have some results. If nothing else its good for the boys on the ground. I know when I was on TELIC 8 after wasting time protecting Engineers as they painted a school full of ingrates, or delivered training to Police during the day who we would then have to fight at night, or were forced to kow tow to lying, corrupt locals officials at least killing a few JAM felt like a bit of a success.

The biggest thing here is the fact that TWO BGs were in contact for several hours - that is a Bde minus op. And it didn't make the national news!!! What are the MOD media people at? Push this story and it regains some credibility for the Armed Forces. Most importantly when I got back from Iraq no-one could believe (indeed some wouldn't) that we'd been involved in hour long fire fights. This does nothing for your mental state. Without sounding like some sort of 'Nam vet, it is a bitter pill indeed on return to find that the civvies have no idea what we have been up to. If I were a cynic I would suggest that it wouldn't suit the Government for the population to know just how bad it is in Iraq. Heaven forefend that the truth should out.
 

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