Maj. Gen. Joe Votel will head investigation of failed rescue of Linda Norgrove

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by jumpinjarhead, Oct 18, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. What do they hope to achieve by this? Find someone to crucify? Ensure that all future hostage rescue operations go like clockwork, with no errors or accidents?
  2. who is the taliban chap on the board?
  3. Haven't a clue about this guy, but I would be interested to see if the investigation gets a senior British Army officer in place as an observer? Not saying that I don't trust the sceptics (I do) but I suspect that it will be easier to sell this to the UK public if they can see a some British involvement. The Daily Wail are always quick to alledge cover up at the drop of a hat, we could do without that if possible.
  4. To bring some lessons out to learn? If the Linda Norgrove had been rescued I would have imagined they would have held a wash up anyway. As the mission was a washout, it just became an investigation.
  5. As was said to me once, the americans do big packages really well, but our SF troops are still the best in the world. I think we already know this, an inquiry/investigation will merely confirm it.

    Top tip, pull the plans for Op Anaconda and ask why SBS declined the invitation to get involved...
  6. That may or may not be so--I think such comparisons are fraught with problems if one is really trying to be accurate-in such matters each operation has so many variables (the devil is truly in the details) that comparisons (at least those base don open source information) are rarely meaningful except perhaps in the sense of pub style bragging rights.

    While(st) I readily admit being way past it in terms of the current SF units, equipment, capabilities etc., my recollections of the relative strengths and weaknesses of SF units within the US and our allies based on my limited experience is that on any given day with similar (but never identical) missions and other variables, things can go well or pear shaped in the blink of any eye and on the very fickle whims of the Fates. As a consequence, the conclusions and opinions about such matters by those without all (classified as well, especially debriefs of each operator involved and analysis of all comms) information and especially meaningful SF experience are usually far from reality.

    A case in point, is the ill-fated mission of Bravo Two Zero. Without in any way diminishing the individual skill, stamina and courage of the team members, if one looks at the overall mission (at least from the information provided in "McNabb's" book and its aftermath), even a novice to such things would no doubt see an amazing number of things that at a minimum should raise eyebrows in terms of mission planning, rehearsal, inadequate use of intelligence, failure to account for terrain and weather, inadequate equipment and weapons, lack of redundant comms etc., ad nauseam.

    As others have properly noted in the other threads about this and other SF missions, it is inherent in the nature of such missions that the odds are stacked against success, and especially so for in extremis hostage rescue. As to the question of the propriety of the investigation etc., it is the reality of the relevant procedures and policies in the US military that there would be such an i(e)nquiry, but the public nature and the rank of the IO, reflects the politics etc. that are usually involved in such high profile missions and especially where a UK citizen was killed.

    My hope is that the glare of the media thirst for "blood" in the sense of finding (or more likely creating) some juicy aspect to sell their "news" will not end up causing the scapegoating of operators. In this connection, I also hope that the various pundits, and especially those with military and especially SF experience, will not do what some have already done in, apparently having been caught up in the inevitable and tantalizing atmosphere of getting one's name on the telly etc. by opining about the "failures" of operators in the mission on the basis of sketchy and conflicting information. On the other hand, if any were negligent or wanton in their conduct, there are sufficient disciplinary procedures to deal with them as well even if they are not as titillating as much of the "coverage" has been thus far of this tragic event.
  7. Whilst UKSF are certainly at or near the very top of their game, I wouldn't bet on them having secured a different result. Operations like this can go either way, and success or failure has a lot more to do with intelligence (which can be impossible to gather) than the quality of the troops on the ground.

    I do hate the way these enquiries are portrayed in the media - words like "botched" are more than likely very unfair given the circumstances.
  8. I'm hoping this investigation is just to clarify the facts and not point blame. This poor woman was as good as dead the second terry got his hands on her. I would assume this is being carried out simply because a foreign national died in an operation carried out by USSF so they feel the need to explain it fully.

    I could save them a few dollars. Aid workers go to part of Afghanistan clearly to dangerous to go. She gets lifted and USSF's risk their arrses to get her out. She dies POSSIBLY from bits of American metal in a firefight. Job jobbed.

    Although the woman's family have my sympathy my thoughts are with the poor seal involved. That chap must be going through hell at the minute.
  9. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    ......Change for the getaway taxi?

    I don't see what it will produce dragging it through the mud
    It could have happend to anyone a tragic error no more than that
  10. As I said, no slam on the operators themselves in terms of their making the best of a very bad hand of cards.
  11. I mentioned Op Anaconda because the op plan contravened SB doctrine in the most basic form. Obviously not to be disclosed in open forum, but if what I have read in open press about the hostage rescue attempt is correct, I do not think for a second that UK SF would have approved the plan. Why didn't Cameron or Hague at the very least run the plan through DSF to get the thumbs up? I know this is counter to the way these things are normally done, but now we have a very lengthy public muck raking exercise because a UK national has been killed in a failed US op. I stand by my comments earlier about UK SF. If this situation happens again, I would hope the Americans either pass the op over to the Brits, or at least do a bit of liaising in advance.

    Quite interesting to read about Op Anaconda, US forces lost two chinooks in circumstances that were, according to my understanding, sadly predictable.

    "However, information from U.S. forces at Kandahar and Bagram Air Fields tells us that Operation Anaconda mission planners violated just about every rule of the tactics manuals: underestimating the enemy’s strength and capabilities, over-reliance on air power for support, transport, and resupply in a high-mountain environment, lack of adequate preparatory and supporting fires, separation of forces, lack of mutual support between units … well, the list is extensive."
  12. I am not sure that is a fair comparison, Nige, given that ANACONDA took place in 2004 (woops actually 2001, I think!!) - and a lot of learing has been gained since then - and it was a Bde(+) size, predomninantly infantry (as opposed to exclusively SOF) operation.

    I have no idea how much hostage rescue these guys may have been up to, but it is public knowledge that they have been flat out on small-unit raids for the last several months.
    Incidentally, the original source for that quote in the Torygraph article, appears to be a 2002 article from "Soldier of Fortune" magazine online:
    Operation Anaconda (Unflattering view - somewhat long read)

    Dunno if that is really up there at the very top of the 'trusted defence sources' list . . .
  13. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Would tha SAS have done any better

    During the SAS assault on the Iranian Embassy one of the hostages was killed by the gunmen and one member of teh team got5 hung up on hios abseil kit getting quite badly burnt IIRC

    Also Operation Certain Death became Operation Actual death for one member

    Mistakes do happen