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Posted: 3/7/2002 3:16:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2002 3:22:12 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Military officers are privately criticizing U.S. tactics in the battle of Gardez, saying war commanders should have used air strikes for days or weeks before sending ground forces against 800 enemy troops in Afghanistan. "The way we lost those seven guys was a repeat of Somalia," said a senior Air Force officer, comparing Monday's clash south of the city of Gardez to the 1993 Mogadishu mission. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, yesterday sternly rejected any such comparison. The Air Force officer said some Pentagon civilians also are upset with the tactics used in the assault near Gardez in Paktia province. Some informally have discussed firing commanders, but others say any dismissals would send the wrong message to U.S. allies as well as to supporters of terrorist Osama bin Laden. Seven U.S. combatants were killed in gunbattles Monday after their MH-47 Chinook helicopters were inserted into mountanous terrain fiercely defended by al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The Air Force source said one chopper on a rescue mission lacked adequate fire support from the air. Military officers contended yesterday in interviews that there was no need to insert ground forces so early in Operation Anaconda, the first combined U.S. air and ground assault in the war in Afghanistan. Instead, they said, jet aircraft with precision-guided bombs and the howitzers on AC-130 gunships for weeks should have pummeled caves and compounds where the enemy is hiding. During that period, the critics say, special-operations troops should have been used to find targets for direct aerial bombardment but not to directly attack the well-armed enemy forces. Only after days or weeks of softening enemy positions and putting fighters on the run should significant numbers of U.S. ground troops have been inserted, they said. Gen. Tommy Franks, running the war as head of U.S. Central Command, changed tactics for the 5-day-old battle in a mountain region called Shah-e-Kot, southeast of Gardez. In the mid-December battle of Tora Bora, Gen. Franks employed days of air strikes to hit enemy troops while relying on local, untrained Afghans as ground forces. As a result, the enemy was routed from Tora Bora, north of Gardez. But hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters escaped because no sizable force was on the ground to stop them. In what analysts said was a correction of the Tora Bora tactics, Gen. Franks sent in relatively large numbers of American ground troops at the outset of Operation Anaconda and was using U.S.-trained Afghans to block escape routes and do the fighting.
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Link Posted: 3/7/2002 3:19:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2002 3:23:03 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Critics said the blocking technique was correct — but that the rush to put in ground forces was not. "They didn't learn the right lessons from Tora Bora," said one officer. "If you know where somebody is, why not encircle that group and then bomb ... them and then let the Special Forces and CIA use their ability to direct fire? Make it so painful they have to try to run." The officer added: "The question is why did Franks and the military abandon what had been spectacularly successful since day one. Bomb them until they're dead or on the run. The only change should be, put up roadblocks so they don't escape." This source said the "Army mafia" — a Pentagon term typically used to describe a branch's senior leaders — had been pressing for larger participation by conventional forces. Some in the Army were haunted by the 1999 Kosovo operation, when they attempted but failed to deploy Apache attack helicopters in the southern Yugoslav province. The Gardez fighting for the first time in Afghanistan featured significant numbers of conventional Army forces in the form of 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain Division light infantry and Apache helicopters. The Air Force officer said that when an MH-47 Chinook entered the battle zone to try to rescue a fallen Navy SEAL, the platoon-size unit lacked support from AC-130 gunships that would have suppressed the enemy. Six commandos from the Chinook died in a firefight. The Navy SEAL had been aboard the first Chinook to enter the area three hours earlier. The chopper was hit by enemy fire and quickly withdrew. The SEAL fell from the aircraft, was seized by al Qaeda fighters and executed. "Franks made the same mistake Powell made in Somalia," said this officer.
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Link Posted: 3/7/2002 3:20:57 PM EDT
It was a reference to 1993, when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Democratic Rep. Les Aspin was defense secretary. The local commander in Somalia wanted more armored weapons systems sent to Somalia to support Army Rangers, who were hunting a local warlord in Mogadishu. But the Pentagon denied the request. Subsequently, 18 soldiers were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter was shot down during a raid. The pinned-down Rangers and Delta Force commandos waged a daylong battle without any air support from AC-130 gunships. A subsequent Senate report said Mr. Powell could not persuade Mr. Aspin to send more armored weapons. He and other commanders expressed doubts about using AC-130 gunships in an urban environment, the report said. Mr. Rumsfeld yesterday rejected any comparison between Somalia and Operation Anaconda. "Other than very brave people being involved, this has nothing to do with Mogadishu," he told a Pentagon press conference. "And the individual who was killed, his body has been retrieved, and so too have the wounded. And I don't see any comparison." At the same press conference, Gen. Franks said many landing zones were picked for the helicopter assaults and some enemy forces evaded detection. "I think given the size of an area, perhaps 60 to 70 square miles, one is not going to have the precision of where those forces may be at any point in time," the general said. Weeks ago, CIA-operated Predator drones and other intelligence assets spotted the enemy assembling in groups south of Gardez. Rather than attack quickly, Central Command let the terrorists gather, presenting a larger target, before mounting the assault on Friday. The battle is being directed by Army Maj. Gen. Buster Hagenbeck from Bagram air base, north of Gardez.
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Link Posted: 3/7/2002 3:32:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2002 3:52:18 PM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
First off, I highly question the authenticity of the Washington Times source. If their is a real Air Force officer that said that shit, he needs to be tracked down and courtmartialed. Their whole retelling of the events doesn't agree with what has been reported elsewhere. This was a SpecOps insertion mission that turned into a rescue, it was supposed to be secret. They collided with a enemy element they didn't know was there. It HAPPENS. But that is why there was no prep. We are using Chinooks to do all airlift, yes they are large, slow, and noisy. But the Blackhawks apparently just cannot fly up their with a full stick. Once they had contact there was air support, that is how they finally suppressed the enemy and extricated the dead and wounded. But the biggest piece of BS by these tactical titans is that bombing would have done anything but let the enemy get away. Just go here:[url]http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,47338,00.html[/url]
Just before the U.S. missiles would hit, Al Qaeda fighters would duck into caves from their positions launching mortars at Butler's troops below. When the F-15 Strike Eagles were gone, the enemy fighters would emerge — only to throw stones, wave and shout taunts at the Americans in a show of defiance. "I've never been so frustrated and angry," said Butler, 30, from Pattenburg, N.J.
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Butler requested another airstrike, watching through a scope. Again the enemy fighters disappeared into caves dug into the granite, snowcapped mountains at 9,000 feet. When the explosions ended, they emerged with wide grins, flailing their arms over their heads. That's when Butler had enough. He sprinted forward, running uphill on the peak — a task made more difficult by the thin mountain air — and exposing himself to hostile fire so he could pinpoint his enemy. Getting a read on their location, he raced 45 yards back to relay the coordinates to his radio man behind him. He needed six trips before he could make sure he'd gotten all the data he needed. Now he was ready to put his own plan into action: His forces would launch 60 mm mortars just as the jets roared toward the caves — a risky proposition because it placed the planes in danger of being struck by friendly fire. The jets roared ahead, and just like before, the enemy ducked into the caves, emerging for a third time to taunt the Americans. But as they came out, the mortars detonated over their heads, spraying the Al Qaeda fighters with shrapnel. Four of them died, said U.S. special operations soldiers who scaled the mountains and counted bodies. "It was like a game of mortar pingpong," Butler said. "They might think twice before they try that move again."
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Would we have gotten those Al Qaeda with just more and more airstrikes, without those troops on the ground? Would we have even known those caves are there?
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 3:37:28 PM EDT
I read that article this morning. I'm a dissapointed in the Wash.Times, which is normally a voice of sanity in the midst of out-of-control moosh-brained pseudo-news coming from sites like the Communist News Network (CNN). Anyway, the logic in this article is typical of the kind BS I hear from every other news source all day long. I am sure that if the battle had gone without any US casualties, the Wash.Times would be heralding the genius of how this battle was planned and executed. Frankly, this article smells.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 3:43:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ump45: I read that article this morning. I'm a dissapointed in the Wash.Times, which is normally a voice of sanity in the midst of out-of-control moosh-brained pseudo-news coming from sites like the Communist News Network (CNN). Anyway, the logic in this article is typical of the kind BS I hear from every other news source all day long. I am sure that if the battle had gone without any US casualties, the Wash.Times would be heralding the genius of how this battle was planned and executed. Frankly, this article smells.
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Ditto. Also seems that their sources should be court martialed as AmrdLbrl mentioned. Its very unpatriotic to say this crap EVEN IF TRUE and how would he have this info anyway, they sited him as an Air Force man? Oh yeah, who cares what Pentagon civilians have to say or what they think about tactics?
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 4:09:14 PM EDT
I guess they will only be happy if we fight a war with no US casualties.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 5:58:03 PM EDT
Seems to me we have 3 ways to take care of the guys in the caves. 1, go in after them with grenades and flamethrowers like on Iwo or Okinawa, and lose a man for every 5 feet forward you get. 2, Blow chemical agents in. 3, Airlift cement mixers in and seal the cave mouths with hydraulic cement. We KNOW the first one will work, and the other 2 are iffy at best. One thing for sure is we can NOT dislodge them from those caves with air power.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 6:39:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JIMBEAM: I guess they will only be happy if we fight a war with no US casualties.
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No shit. We lost 3,000 men in 4 days taking Okinawa. These morons would have crapped themselves if they had to go through that.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 7:01:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By NH2112: Seems to me we have 3 ways to take care of the guys in the caves. 1, go in after them with grenades and flamethrowers like on Iwo or Okinawa, and lose a man for every 5 feet forward you get. 2, Blow chemical agents in. 3, Airlift cement mixers in and seal the cave mouths with hydraulic cement. We KNOW the first one will work, and the other 2 are iffy at best. One thing for sure is we can NOT dislodge them from those caves with air power.
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You mean with air power ALONE. We are destroying them with air power, the airplanes deliver the large devices needed to destroy the caves. But without the infantry to find the caves by drawing fire (yeah, sounds callous but true- though we havent had anyone killed since saturday). They will just sit and stay quiet. Even the special forces dont find them all. For one thing there are places that are so out of the way that we just won't send such small units for their own safety. And the Predators only detect the careless.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 7:05:04 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RikWriter:
Originally Posted By JIMBEAM: I guess they will only be happy if we fight a war with no US casualties.
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No shit. We lost 3,000 men in 4 days taking Okinawa. These morons would have crapped themselves if they had to go through that.
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Tarawa not Okinawa. We lost a lot more than 3000 men taking Okinawa and it took more like 4 months. They were still fighting there when Japan proper surrendered...
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 7:08:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Originally Posted By RikWriter: No shit. We lost 3,000 men in 4 days taking Okinawa. These morons would have crapped themselves if they had to go through that.
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Tarawa not Okinawa. We lost a lot more than 3000 men taking Okinawa and it took more like 4 months. They were still fighting there when Japan proper surrendered...
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I did not say we lost 3000 men in the whole battle for Okinawa, I said we lost that many in FOUR DAYS of the battle. We of course lost many more in the whole course of the battle for the island.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 8:08:40 PM EDT
That story is bullshit.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 9:01:00 PM EDT
Here is why we needed troops on the ground and fast: [img]http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20020307/capt.1015517782.afghanistan_agb104.jpg[/img] The weather has just gone to shit. How is the Air Force supposed to find stuff to hit in weather like this, without flying into a bloody mountian?!? Even as it is, I think a lot of them are going to get away now cause of this...
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 10:07:34 PM EDT
Damnit. The Satellites will be able to see right throught that shit. But I don't know about anything else. I don't even know that you could navigate in that. Blind with a compass I suppose.
Link Posted: 3/8/2002 5:22:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2002 5:30:41 AM EDT by The_Macallan]
Originally Posted By JIMBEAM: I guess they will only be happy if we fight a war with no US casualties.
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No. They (liberals/media) will only be happy if we fight a war and loose. Umm... something about this report smells. I have no military experience but I do have questions: [i]"Just before the U.S. missiles would hit, Al Qaeda fighters would duck into caves... When the explosions ended, they emerged with wide grins, flailing their arms over their heads."[/i] How can they tell when the missles are coming? Do they see the supersonic missles? Do they hear the supersonic missles? Can they outrun the supersonic missles? Are they just running from the sight of F-15s? If so, how is this different than any other air-ground attack? [i]"...and exposing himself to hostile fire so he could pinpoint his enemy." [/i] If you are in range of hostile enemy fire, aren't they also in range of YOUR fire? If he his close enough to see their "smiling faces", does that mean our M16s and M4s suddenly become inoperative whenever smiling ragheads are dancing and waving their arms? If he can see their grins, why does he not fill their wide grinning faces with a steady stream of 5.56mm copper-coated "little drops of sunshine"? [i]"Now he was ready to put his own plan into action: His forces would launch 60 mm mortars just as the jets roared toward the caves..." [/i] Isn't this just plain old ingenuity? Aren't soldiers expected to "adapt, improvise and overcome"? Am I missing something in this report? Because by the tone, it seems the Media thinks our military is somewhat incompetent just because ALL of the Al Qaeda Moslem Maggots in all of Afghanistan didn't just drop dead from a Tommy Franks folded-arm "Jennie Blink".
Link Posted: 3/8/2002 6:14:26 AM EDT
"The way we lost those seven guys was a repeat of Somalia," said a senior Air Force officer, comparing Monday's clash south of the city of Gardez to the 1993 Mogadishu mission.
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In other words, an Air Force officer thinks we aren't relying enough on air power. How shocking. [rolleyes]
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