US Humbled in Bloody Sangin

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by guzzijon, Dec 12, 2010.

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  1. Headline of a piece by Miles Amoore in today's Sunday Times. The gist is that the Americans are reconsidering their harsh assessment of British troops and tactics in light of their own heavy losses.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  2. If there was a 'like this post' button I would click it. Well done uncle sam: the classic 'pah, it can't be that hard, give me a go... oh shit'
  3. You need to pay to read the online article, any chance of a quick run through?
  4. I havent access to the Sunday Times at the moment, can you elaborate on the article? I have asked for a copy to be kept.
  5. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Americans have removed over half the 22 PBs in the area.

    Using the extra manpower from not holding PBs to push into "new areas".

    In first 6weeks alone they lost more men than we did in 6months.

    24 killed, 85 wounded c. 15% of their strength.

    British officers say removal of PBs has made it easier for Talibs to move around the area.

    Some Am. commanders mention that they are falling into the trap of being overstretched, "Already patrols going out under manned"
  6. If you google the article, its there on other sites you dont need to pay for.

  7. That is a heavy cas rate! I wonder how this is being reported in the US media, if at all?
  8. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    No idea, haven't seen, though jjh may enlighten us.

    NOT an "I told you so...." that should be wished on anyone. Though, tbf, the author could be playing to the gallery.
  9. Playing to the gallery, a well intentioned 'pro Brit' article, was what I was concerned about. I will have to wait until tomorrow to read it.

    Re the cas rate, I wonder if this can be put down to a more aggressive stance, with more casualties being an inevitable result?
  10. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Possibly though it's difficult to tell from the distance of a news report, we will no doubt learn more in the coming months as we discover how and where these casualties were suffered.
  11. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Didn't that Captain in Respreto say that his sister Coy and his Predessesor had lost far more men than them by not being aggressive enough?
  12. Sorry there was no link to this but the Sunday Times online wants a quid and I've already bought a hard copy! I've done a rough precis.

    The reporter Miles Amoore has a younger brother serving in British Army who was wounded out there and, as you would expect, the piece is even-handed. It opens with an account of a US Marine dying after triggering an IED, and then moves on to say that the marines couldn't understand why the Brits hadn't pacified the area and came to the conclusion that the reason must have been that they were spread too thinly- which is why their first move was the closure of more than half of the 22 patrol bases set up by the Brits. They then started to aggressively exploit previously untouched areas, the Americans were surprised at the intensity of the fighting in Sangin comparing it to Falluja- one of them said "There was no time to ease into it, people started dying immediately".
    There then follows a fuller account of the patrol in which the US Marine is killed, relating the difficulties faced by the troops in such an environment.
    The thoughts of a British veteran on the negative American opinions of British efforts follow: "We were all pretty pissed off when we heard. To say that we had no success is both ignorant and extremely short-sighted. We were there for four years and had already tried
    what they are now trying, which is obviously not working judging by the casualties". It is clear that regardless of embarassing Wikileaks revelations there is a consensus that the more freedom allowed to the Taliban in Sangin, the more effective they become, the article gives examples of how the insurgents constantly learn and evolve their techniques and tactic- for example remoting battery packs of IEDs to make them almost inpossible to detect.
    The article concludes saying the 3rd Bn, 5th Marines have had their successes but also that as they clear ground they will have to build new patrol bases to hold it, leaving them spread too thinly.... one officer tells his men "There is no panacea , it's about situational awareness . The only ground that's safe is the ground you're standing on".

    Hope this is of some use.
  13. Speaking to folks in Helmand last week, who were well placed on these things, a lot of them noted that the US has done a major volte face on the Sangin issue. I spoke with a lot of guys who said that the US troops they spoke to were pleading with us to take it back from them.

    While there is an element of crowd pleasing in this, I have the real impression that something is going badly wrong in Sangin, but I expect the US will learn from its mistakes and sort it out.
  14. I remember a couple of months reading in a paper - I think it was the Times - where a senior American marine ws quoted that the corps weren't too keen on taking on the Sangin gig . I was trying to find it on the net