Operation Anabasis

What are our options?

  • Stout defence behind meally bags

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  • Steal all of KBR's fuel and head for Kuwait

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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Bill Lind on Operation Anabasis:
Both of these threats are sufficiently real that prudence, that old military virtue, suggests American forces in Iraq should have a plan for Operation Anabasis, a retreat north through Kurdish Iraq to Turkey. Higher headquarters are unlikely to develop such a plan, because if it leaked there would be political hell to pay in Washington. I would therefore strongly advise every American battalion and company in Iraq to have its own Operation Anabasis plan, a plan which relies only on its own resources and whatever it thinks it could scrounge locally. Do not, repeat, do not expect the Air Force to come in and pick you up.

What might such company and battalion plans entail? I asked that question of Dave Danelo, a former Marine captain who now edits U.S. Cavalry's "On Point" website. Dave was recently in Iraq with U.S. units as a journalist, so his knowledge is current. His suggestions include:


Have a route plan. Know where the safe areas are and why they are safe. For the Marines in Al Anbar Province, this could be Al Asad or Al Taqaddum Air Base. For soldiers in Mosul, it's Kurdistan. For troops in Baghdad, it's either of the above, or possibly Tallil Air Base in the south. For British troops in Basrah, who knows?

Apply the Joseph Principle. In the Bible, Joseph advised the Egyptians to store away their goods during the seven years of feast. When seven years of famine hit, they were ready. Husband large stashes of everything at the company/battalion levels: MREs, water, ammunition, and, most of all, fuel.

Iraqis, American contractors and oil companies have each developed parallel and redundant distribution systems that push fuel outside the U.S. military umbrella. Depending on who controls what in which neighborhood, these systems might remain intact if military supply lines are cut. Be prepared to commandeer these resources.

Learn the black market fuel system and exploit it. Although black market fuel is horrible on humvee engines, it will get your unit out of Baghdad and into a safe zone.

It is of course possible, perhaps probable, that American forces in Iraq may not have to repeat Xenophon's retreat. So much the better. Many contingency plans go unused, and all that is lost thereby is some time and effort spent in planning.
I don't think this is about to happen but I did not like that "who knows". Lind may be right about disaster planning being a matter for initiative way down the chain of command.

Somebody said on here a while ago that only Septic extraction strategy involved clinging to a helicopter skids.

Now just supposing the Israelis nuke Bashir for instance and it all went tits up.

The South is swarming with Badr Brigrade, Mahdi Army and those rather efficient Qods Force chaps. For once they are not fighting each other. All the Yank airlift has disapeared north to evacuate the Green zone.
There will almost certainly be some contingency planning going on unofficially. I'd be extrememly surprised if unit messes didn't have this kind of discussion going on all the time.
I read Anabasis a few years ago, also there was a tech thriler called IIRC The Ten Thousand by a bloke called Coyle, but wasn't that Germany or somewhere?


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