Gen. Odierno's History of the Iraq War Released

#21
I knew an officer who produced an article for the British Army Review quite early on in all this about the Army's failure to act as a learning organisation - article approved by his CO (as required) and by the BAR editor - but it was never approved by the MoD.
 
#22

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#23
Slim was Indian army and if you're not aware of the gulf between the two forces I'll enlighten you. Some regular army messes would not allow Indian army officers to share the main table. Slim was one of our greatest generals, up there with Haig and Marlborough and well ahead on Montgomery and Wellington. Had there not been a war I doubt he would have achieved half the rank and status he did.


The assertion is a generalisation but it's based on observation of a number of organisations over several decades. Maybe the army is unique in begin different, but I'm unconvinced. I'm pleased to hear the current incumbent is doing some of the right things. It will be interesting to see if they are sustained after his departure in 2 years time.
Actually, Slim was in both during various bits of his career. Had there not been a war, almost all Regular Officers would not have reached the rank they did.

Not quite sure why you think Wellington is well behind Haig and Marlborough. He didn't lose a battle, he beat the enemy main force commanded by one of the finest commanders of all time, he managed a very fragile coalition with political folk intriguing against him at home, he was a master of logistics, he understood hearts and minds and kept his army under strict control and, unlike Marlborough, he was careful with his forces and didn't allow them to be smashed up in ever more attritional battles. Further, the Battle of New Orleans showed what could happen to almost the same army in less competent hands.

Your posts on this thread are becoming increasingly eccentric.
 
#24
Back in 2013 Gen Ray Odierno commissioned a study into experience of the Iraq War, ready in 2016 its publication was delayed for two years, it has now been published as the Two Volume "The US Army in the Iraq War.

Army’s long-awaited Iraq war study finds Iran was the only winner in a conflict that holds many lessons for future wars

It won't be widely available, but you can find it through here

Publication

Publication

From the brief exerpts and reviews of it I've seen, it doesn't hold back.
Swipe at the UK and obviously others?

  • Coalition warfare wasn’t successful: The deployment of allied troops had political value but was “largely unsuccessful” because the allies didn’t send enough troops and limited the scope of their operations.
 
#25
Actually, Slim was in both during various bits of his career.
Slim never served in the British Army in peacetime until post WW2, he was shifted into the Indian army as soon as WW1 was over and remained there until he was so high up that they probably didn't want the embarrassment of admitting an Indian Army man was running the show.
Not quite sure why you think Wellington is well behind Haig and Marlborough. He beat the enemy main force commanded by one of the finest commanders of all time,
The myth of Waterloo; the reality is that a) the French army was not the force of 1805-1810 either in the quality of troops or officers, b) Napoleon was physically and mentally ill [yet he still 'humbugged' Wellington by the man's own admission] c) Strategically Waterloo precipitated the end but it was not a win or lose situation, had we lost the Austrians and Russians would have returned and finished to job. The British Army's involvement in the Napoleonic Wars was peripheral, the campaigns of 1812-14 in Russia and Germany decided the outcome and the troops we 'tied up' in Spain would not have made a sniff of difference.
By your standards I am eccentric, because I don't subscribe to your view. That doesn't really bother me.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#26
Swipe at the UK and obviously others?

  • Coalition warfare wasn’t successful: The deployment of allied troops had political value but was “largely unsuccessful” because the allies didn’t send enough troops and limited the scope of their operations.
It's a fair one too, waging coalition warfare in the past when everybody was on the same page and same ROE has been difficult enough in the past, it's easier in an all pout war for survival, or an earlier age where life was a bit more cheap, but it's still bloody difficult to getting everyone singing from the same hymn sheet when they all had different desires, motivations and political demands. Iit also reveals that campaigning is as much politics ans it is logistics or combat, this why Generals such as Marlborough, Slim, Wellington, or Alanbrooke were so effective.
 
#27
Swipe at the UK and obviously others?

  • Coalition warfare wasn’t successful: The deployment of allied troops had political value but was “largely unsuccessful” because the allies didn’t send enough troops and limited the scope of their operations.
Italians, Japanese, etc.

The Spanish were particularly useless, but the El Salvadoran unit was fierce (actually removed the armored doors from the 1025's to dismount and assault quicker). The Spanish left them high and dry and even took back their armored transport.



Oddly, in Kuwait we received our briefings from a Canuck 3 star at Camp Buehring
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#28
Slim never served in the British Army in peacetime until post WW2, he was shifted into the Indian army as soon as WW1 was over and remained there until he was so high up that they probably didn't want the embarrassment of admitting an Indian Army man was running the show.

The myth of Waterloo; the reality is that a) the French army was not the force of 1805-1810 either in the quality of troops or officers, b) Napoleon was physically and mentally ill [yet he still 'humbugged' Wellington by the man's own admission] c) Strategically Waterloo precipitated the end but it was not a win or lose situation, had we lost the Austrians and Russians would have returned and finished to job. The British Army's involvement in the Napoleonic Wars was peripheral, the campaigns of 1812-14 in Russia and Germany decided the outcome and the troops we 'tied up' in Spain would not have made a sniff of difference.
By your standards I am eccentric, because I don't subscribe to your view. That doesn't really bother me.
I merely pointed out that he served in both armies - factually correct, as opposed to your statement that he was Indian Army until he achieved high command.

The French Army was the French Army regardless, besides, Wellington's Army was a hastily assembled mish mash of nationalities, of very patchy quality and generally accepted to have been inferior.

It helps the French to believe that Napoleon must have been physically and mentally ill, though I doubt we'd have heard much of that if he'd won. Strangely, he was physically fit enough and sufficiently compus mentus to win at Ligny on the 16th, so presumably his mental illness struck on the 17th or the morning of the 18th. He was also physically fit enough to hot foot it back to Paris ahead of the Allied pursuit. I think you may be making stuff up again.

The overwhelming French forces should have smashed the Allied Army long before the Prussians arrived and, even if they hadn't, Grouchy should have been in a position to prevent any junction. Of course Napoleon scrambled the orders up and told Grouchy to keep his sword in Blucher's back. Whoops. But entirely Napoleon's fault. Let's quote the man himself:

"My regrets are not for myself but for unhappy France! With twenty thousand men less than I had we ought to have won the battle of Waterloo."

You're probably right that the Austrians and Russians would have crushed Napoleon but so what? You are beside the point. Against quite remarkable odds, Wellington, with considerable Prussian aid when they arrived, got the job done and therefore gets the credit.

As for the Peninsular War, it wasn't the French main force but it kept the French tied down, it kept an army in the field against Napoleon when no-one else could manage it, it was a political embarrassment and a constant challenge to French claims of European hegemony, and eventually it became a springboard for a successful invasion of France. Quite a return on the forces employed. Not an easy war to win either and Wellington beat a succession of the best commanders the French had in order to do so.

I think, in your determination to stick one on the Blimps, you've enmeshed yourself in an intelligence trap and the gaps in your knowledge are showing. Good job you don't work in academia, that would be very embarrassing.
 
#29
Hurrah - the passive aggressive one is here. Let me guess, no one is compelling you to be here, yet, like a fart, you'll hang around reminding us your presence at inopportune moments. So glad to have you in the conversation, adding that value.
 
#31
I always thought we were there for politically correct imperialism. There's a good reason why the West are no longer seen as 'the good guys' by many other countries.
 
#32
I always thought we were there for politically correct imperialism. There's a good reason why the West are no longer seen as 'the good guys' by many other countries.
Liberal interventionism was certainly a form of politically correct imperialism. Blair's 'Wars' were driven, initially, by Western horror and guilt over failure to act decisively in the Balkans and Rwanda.. UK lead in Macedonia and Sierra Leone was a direct result. These v successful interventions still met the National Interest, but also created hubris and complacency.

TELIC was born out of this hubris, but the aim of working with THE key Ally in maintaining geo-strategic interest was a step change to what came before. A key point to remember was that Bush was going to invade whatever. We were either in or out. Out, and we could stand back in horror. In, and we had some influence. ......well that was the Intent. Unfortunately UK Intent departed the 'glide path' at the planning stage and never recovered.
 
#33
I think, in your determination to stick one on the Blimps, you've enmeshed yourself in an intelligence trap and the gaps in your knowledge are showing. Good job you don't work in academia, that would be very embarrassing.
As I said before you do, but I don't care.
 
#34
Swipe at the UK and obviously others?

  • Coalition warfare wasn’t successful: The deployment of allied troops had political value but was “largely unsuccessful” because the allies didn’t send enough troops and limited the scope of their operations.
Yup. I was with the US in Baghdad having left the MOD/PJHQ bubble previously. To say that there was a disconnect (at the operational level) between what UK thought of its contribution and what the US thoight would be the understatement of the century. That, however, needs to be tempered with the paradox that the US commanders also thought that the UK were well ahead of any others.
 
#35
Oh good. Another one of those threads.

Which ‘intellectual giants’ have we got so far?

@alfred_the_great hinting at some insider knowledge.

@beardyProf providing some ‘pithy’ comment.

Two regulars already then. I await @jim30 with his mixture of half truths and outright lies, @Stonker with his wild celebrations at every death, @Glad_its_all_over for the insight that only a Signals NCO can provide. Maybe @jrwlynch for some deep Navy TA knowledge. Then we can really start having a party.

Maybe even some old blokes who think NI was a success to really top things off
Well what do you expect this is ARRSE, no one with a real military job is going to come here and listen to a bunch of old farts whining on.
 
#36
My answer, in good faith, is I've given you the Clue, you're the Prof, you tell me what you think the answer might be.
Well the answer I've provided previously is that the politico's wanted to lick US ass and the generals wanted to preserve their careers. I've yet to hear anything to change my mind. My analysis of the result is that both objectives failed a) because the Yanks expect us to lick ass so we don't really gain anything by doing so b) because by failing to achieve anything except dead bodies we proved that we aren't the worlds COIN experts, thus losing what respect the Yanks might have had and internally helping the RN/RAF 'world power' carrier consortium to paint the army as a poor option for future funds.
 
#37
Well the answer I've provided previously is that the politico's wanted to lick US ass and the generals wanted to preserve their careers. I've yet to hear anything to change my mind. My analysis of the result is that both objectives failed a) because the Yanks expect us to lick ass so we don't really gain anything by doing so b) because by failing to achieve anything except dead bodies we proved that we aren't the worlds COIN experts, thus losing what respect the Yanks might have had and internally helping the RN/RAF 'world power' carrier consortium to paint the army as a poor option for future funds.
I accept that analysis completely.

I would add that at the GS level it was about far more than 'licking Spam ass/arse'. The Intent was to be in it to influence (Other nations wanted us there as a mitigating influence). However, as I said earlier this was Big Boy stuff... and Brown and Short prevented our full participation (the ask was a Corp (-) level effort). The Yanks are transactional realists. When we told them, sorry no Corp, only a Div (-).. their reply was; OK, but you now have less skin in the game and therefore we won't heed your advice re Ph IV.

Leverage really is a thing.

Y
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#38
Liberal interventionism was certainly a form of politically correct imperialism. Blair's 'Wars' were driven, initially, by Western horror and guilt over failure to act decisively in the Balkans and Rwanda.. UK lead in Macedonia and Sierra Leone was a direct result. These v successful interventions still met the National Interest, but also created hubris and complacency.

TELIC was born out of this hubris, but the aim of working with THE key Ally in maintaining geo-strategic interest was a step change to what came before. A key point to remember was that Bush was going to invade whatever. We were either in or out. Out, and we could stand back in horror. In, and we had some influence. ......well that was the Intent. Unfortunately UK Intent departed the 'glide path' at the planning stage and never recovered.
I think Tony Blair also got carried away by the whole 'UK punching above its weight' thing and saw the opportunity to stride about the world stage at the same time as increasing influence with the US, particularly after Kosovo, where all he saw was his finest hour without realising how lucky he'd been and how close to failure the whole thing had come.

He didn't realise the limits of hard power, he wasn't prepared to expend political capital to ensure the Army could fight the extended COIN Ops it was being asked to take on and his Chancellor hated the armed forces and wouldn't deliver the necessary spending to sustain the increased commitments. It didn't help either that Blair didn't realise how fast operations degrade fighting forces, that western ultra-liberals hi-jacked policy and decided that we should attempt a complete cultural revolution on the cheap and that no-one could clearly articulate a successful and achievable endstate in either Iraq of Afghanistan, let alone seek to implement a coherent means of doing so.

By the end of things the only policy objective was to slink away and hope that nobody noticed.
 
#39
I think Tony Blair also got carried away by the whole 'UK punching above its weight' thing and saw the opportunity to stride about the world stage at the same time as increasing influence with the US, particularly after Kosovo, where all he saw was his finest hour without realising how lucky he'd been and how close to failure the whole thing had come.

He didn't realise the limits of hard power, he wasn't prepared to expend political capital to ensure the Army could fight the extended COIN Ops it was being asked to take on and his Chancellor hated the armed forces and wouldn't deliver the necessary spending to sustain the increased commitments. It didn't help either that Blair didn't realise how fast operations degrade fighting forces, that western ultra-liberals hi-jacked policy and decided that we should attempt a complete cultural revolution on the cheap and that no-one could clearly articulate a successful and achievable endstate in either Iraq of Afghanistan, let alone seek to implement a coherent means of doing so.

By the end of things the only policy objective was to slink away and hope that nobody noticed.
Bang on.
 
#40
I think Tony Blair also got carried away by the whole 'UK punching above its weight' thing and saw the opportunity to stride about the world stage at the same time as increasing influence with the US, particularly after Kosovo, where all he saw was his finest hour without realising how lucky he'd been and how close to failure the whole thing had come.

He didn't realise the limits of hard power, he wasn't prepared to expend political capital to ensure the Army could fight the extended COIN Ops it was being asked to take on and his Chancellor hated the armed forces and wouldn't deliver the necessary spending to sustain the increased commitments. It didn't help either that Blair didn't realise how fast operations degrade fighting forces, that western ultra-liberals hi-jacked policy and decided that we should attempt a complete cultural revolution on the cheap and that no-one could clearly articulate a successful and achievable endstate in either Iraq of Afghanistan, let alone seek to implement a coherent means of doing so.

By the end of things the only policy objective was to slink away and hope that nobody noticed.
I cant fault that.

I would suggest though that there were those in the State Department in particular who had convinced themselves that somehow a new, pro western, nation would emerge without any effort whatsoever.

I would also add that there were rather too many folks in uniform on both sides of the pond who thought the same thing.
 

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