Urban Combat (articles... LONG)

The following are some articles posted by a "D.W. Drang" on another forum. Thought that some would enjoy the reading, I did, but some might not feel this is specific to weaponry. If so, please remove. This will be a LONG post (multiple posts) so please bear with me. cheers.--------------------------------------------------- source of article below http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ht...72_urban31.htmlMonday, March 31, 2003, 08:02 a.m. Pacific Battle over urban Baghdad loomsBy Aaron Zitner, Elizabeth Shogren and Paul Richter Los Angeles Times WASHINGTON -- As American and British forces move toward Baghdad, they are facing a challenge that has confronted armies for millenia: Of all the places to pick a battle, a city is one of the most dangerous. "If troops are attacking cities, their strength will be exhausted," the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote about 2,500 years ago. "The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative." In urban areas, buildings obscure sight lines. Curtained windows hide sniper nests. Alleyways present a confusing maze to outsiders but give cover to hometown fighters for hit-and-run strikes. It can be maddeningly difficult to distinguish civilians from enemy combatants. Invaders' superior firepower and technology diminish when faced with the enemy's guerrilla tactics. And yet from Stalingrad in World War II to the Russians in Chechnya, the Israelis in the West Bank and U.S. forces at Hue City in Vietnam, new generations of soldiers have been forced to learn for themselves that cities can be bewildering battlefields. "It's the hardest fight of all," said Douglas Johnson II, research professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. "The urban fight costs you more casualties than anything else." If American and British forces enter Baghdad for a strike at the heart of Saddam Hussein's power, they hope to have already eased their entry by crushing Republican Guard troops outside the Iraqi capital, which in turn might prompt a military collapse. American forces have also improved their training, tactics and equipment for urban warfare in recent years, for example carrying tougher body armor, more-accurate rifles and better radios that help squads work together. Still, experts have long worried that a battle for Baghdad could produce a bloodbath and a public-relations disaster. Combat in Baghdad could be a "nightmare scenario," retired Gen. Joseph Hoar, former commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, said in testimony before a Senate committee in September. "In urban warfare, you could run through battalions a day at a time ... that are just combat-ineffective because of casualties. This is very slow going." Baghdad, with about 5 million residents, is free of some of the toughest hazards of urban warfare. A sprawling city of low buildings, it lacks the "urban canyons" of adjacent skys****ers that can become prime ambush zones for invading forces. Broad boulevards provide handy routes to the city center. But its huge dimensions could make it a tough city to hold, said Joseph Wilson IV, who was chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 1988 to 1991. "Baghdad is roughly the area of Los Angeles," Wilson said. "It is so widespread that it would be hard to police all the pockets of potential resistance. It's going to be a difficult city to occupy if there is any resistance at all." Wilson said one key city feature -- the Tigris River -- could favor the Americans and British. "It meanders through the city and makes a big U-turn right in the middle," he noted. "When the bridges go, getting from one side of the city to the other becomes a problem, but we, being more mobile, will not be as troubled as the Iraqi defenders." (cont'd)

Military officials say that in the first stage of an attack on Baghdad, a contingent of combat engineers would be sent in, supported by infantry, to clear away any roadblocks. Next, teams of tanks and soldiers on foot would move together through the city, with attack helicopters providing supporting machine-gun and missile fire. The tanks would protect the foot soldiers by destroying any hidden enemies who tried to pin soldiers down with heavy fire. The infantry would support the tanks by rooting out hidden adversaries who might be carrying antitank missiles. U.S. commanders say they want to avoid heavy building-to-building fighting. They plan to try to knock out key enemy assets -- headquarters, communication centers and supply and ammunition depots. Still, for many soldiers, an urban fight would mean moving by foot through hostile streets, much like city battles of decades ago. "What it still comes down to is people with their nerves at absolute fever pitch and fear in every pore of their body, pressing forward and hoping that there isn't anybody around the next corner -- or, if there is, that they can fire before the other guy can," Johnson said. On high alertSoldiers who have walked through foreign streets and alleys say their senses went on high alert, tuned for signals that might come from anywhere: above, behind or below. At the same time, some said, they tried to drain themselves of humanity so that they could react without emotion, relying purely on their training. In 1993, Army Cpl. Philip Lepre Jr. found himself in the chaos of an alleyway in Mogadishu, Somalia. Amid the men screaming threats, the women in torn dresses and flip-flops and even the waist-high boys surging toward him, the 24-year-old explosives specialist could not tell who was intent on real harm and who may have been innocently swept up in the crowd. Lepre's job was to keep the crowd at bay, "and that meant everybody," he recalled. And so he fired -- on all of them. Several people dropped, including women. "You have to react first," he said. "One second could cost you your life." Lepre said he tried to convince himself that he was already dead. "Stay numb," said Dale Sizemore, who was a 21-year-old Army Ranger in the Mogadishu fight. It was the only way to face an enemy that often used women and children as shields -- or even as combatants. Even when there is high attention to protecting civilians -- a practice that U.S. officials say they bring to the fighting in Iraq -- the close quarters of urban combat make injuries and deaths hard to avoid. Already in the Iraqi war, U.S. officials have claimed that Iraqi fighters have dressed in civilian clothes and feigned surrender in attempts to kill American and British troops. Experts say that indicates that similar techniques would be used in Baghdad, where the complex terrain is even more favorable to guerrilla tactics.(cont'd)

Unfriendly landscape And even after a city is subjected to bombing strikes, its landscape can be unfriendly. Russian forces flattened much of Grozny, the rebel-held capital of Chechnya, before they entered the city in early 2000. In response, rebels went into basement lookouts, from which they could trigger mines or booby-traps as Russian troops passed by. In the United States, the Army and Marine Corps officials took a lesson from the street fighting in Mogadishu and Grozny. Those battles forced both branches of the armed services to review and intensify their training for urban combat. Historically, units suffer casualty rates of about 30 percent per mission in city fighting, said Marine Col. Randy Gangle, executive director of the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities, a Marine think tank at Quantico, Va. War-gaming showed that some high-tech tools were not useful in cutting casualty rates. Unmanned surveillance vehicles, for example, can be easily destroyed if they are too large, or run into obstacles if they are too small. Night-vision goggles have limits: They cannot work if a room is completely dark. The Marines concluded that the best way to cut losses is intensive training on the basics of moving through a city, clearing the enemy from buildings and keeping tight coordination with tanks and fellow soldiers. The Marines believe that better training can cut the casualty rate to 10 percent or 15 percent. At the same time, the armed forces have adopted tactics aimed at cutting civilian casualties. Until about three years ago, Gangle said, Marines would clear a room by throwing in a live grenade before they entered. Now, he said, they are permitted only to throw in concussion grenades, which briefly deafen and confuse the opposition. The soldiers then swarm into the room, each focusing on one sector and making a shoot or don't-shoot decision. Urban combat can be particularly hard on a soldier's mental health. A 1996 Russian study of 1,312 soldiers fighting Chechen rebels found that 26 percent had significant psychological reactions, such as high anxiety and acute depression, and 46 percent had lesser problems, ranging from insomnia to apathy. These problems were more plentiful than in Russia's open-country fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s, according to a 1999 study by two researchers at the Army's Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. "Women and children getting killed doesn't affect your psyche well," said Squeglia, the Mogadishu veteran, who is now a 35-year-old salesman outside Boston. "It's almost slow-motion. The training takes over. ... There are human beings getting killed, and you're killing them." Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

Article 2Learn from the experts... Monday, March 31, 2003, 12:00 a.m. Pacific U.S. gets tips from Israelis on warfare By Steve Weizman The Associated Press JERUSALEM -- With U.S. forces in Iraq coming up against suicide attackers and wary of ambush by hostile forces mingling with civilians, the military has been listening closely to Israeli experts and picking up tips from years of Israeli army operations in Palestinian areas and Lebanese towns. Israeli troops and Palestinian militiamen have been fighting -- often house to house -- through Palestinian cities, towns and refugee camps since the current conflict began in September 2000. The Israeli army battled its way to the Beirut suburbs in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon, then fought a bloody guerrilla war with the Hezbollah movement before withdrawing in May 2000. Those experiences, passed on to Israel's closest ally, appear to have helped shape some U.S. military planning, but Palestinians also say they find similarities between the war in Iraq and their own confrontations with a much-better-equipped army. Although the political context is very different, there are considerable similarities on the ground: Battles are often waged in densely populated areas under close media scrutiny, and swaying world opinion is vital -- meaning military victory can quickly become defeat if it is accompanied by many civilian casualties. Martin Van Creveld, professor of military history and strategy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, briefed Marine Corps officers in September at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He said he was quizzed about the April 2002 battle in the Jenin refugee camp, where 52 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed as troops hunted suspected militants. The refugee camp's narrow alleys at first prevented Israeli tanks from advancing against about 150 Palestinian gunmen. Instead, infantrymen backed by helicopter gunships slowly made their way forward, moving house to house by blowing holes through inner walls, limiting exposure to dangerous streets where militiamen had planted explosives and snipers waited on rooftops. At the time, Israel was widely accused of having used excessive force, but the army said it made every attempt to spare civilians -- and that this was a factor in the high Israeli death toll. Van Creveld said he told his hosts the most effective tools in Jenin were Apache helicopters and giant, armored D9 bulldozers that cut wide swaths through alleys to clear the way for tanks. The D9s are manufactured for civilian use in the United States but fitted with armor in Israel. The Americans have bought nine of the converted machines from Israel, Van Creveld said. A spokeswoman at Israel's Defense Ministry declined to comment. The U.S. armed forces are also using Israeli-made Pioneer pilotless planes to scout Iraqi defenses. Van Creveld said he counseled against the use of helicopters in Baghdad, where they would be more at risk than against the lightly armed Palestinians in Jenin. (cont'd)

A U.S. Apache was forced down by ground fire over central Iraq last week and its two-man crew taken prisoner.

Neither the Pentagon nor the Israeli army is publicly giving details of its cooperation. But Israeli security sources said the American military requested -- and received -- reports on the Israeli army's techniques in built-up Palestinian areas, including videotaped records of incursions.

A U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Pentagon sought Israel's input on urban warfare.

Retired infantry Col. Randy Gangle, now of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab at Quantico, Va., said Israeli officers were among military men from many nations who visited the facility to exchange views on urban combat and other tactical issues.

"With the Israeli experience in the intifadah (Palestinian uprising), we appreciated their input," he said.

An Israeli security source said American officers visited a mock-up of an Arab town used for training in an Israeli army base and received a briefing on urban-combat procedures.

The Israeli press was quick to point out the similarities between Israel's Arab wars and the coalition campaign in Iraq. The Maariv daily on Wednesday paired strikingly similar shots from Iraq and the Palestinian areas: smoke of explosions hanging in the air over Baghdad and Gaza; Arab prisoners with their hands behind their heads in Basra and Nablus; weary troops dozing by roadsides in southern Iraq and Bethlehem.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

Learn Fromt The Experts, Pt. II Friday, April 04, 2003, 12:00 a.m. Pacific The roles of engagement: Lessons from Northern Ireland serve British troops well By Los Angeles Times and Knight-Ridder Newspapers OUTSIDE BASRA, Iraq -- Many British soldiers, airmen and marines across southern Iraq have put aside their helmets in favor of berets, floppy hats and bare heads as they patrol the recently taken towns of Safwan, Umm Qasr and Shuaybah. Adopting a softer approach as quickly as possible is just one of the tactics the British military has developed after decades of operating in tumultuous quasi-urban environments in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Cyprus, among others. "I think we're probably the best anti-guerrilla warfare army in the world," said Cpl. Mac McGuiness of the First Fusiliers, a veteran of Northern Ireland and Bosnia. "We've lived with it." By quickly adopting a less aggressive stance, British troops are attempting to separate two objectives of urban warfare -- allaying the fears of civilians to win support as they strike at the "baddies," as some call them. "There's no point in going in with a heavy hand," said Maj. Paul Nanson with the British army's Irish Guard. "It only makes more work for you." While Britain's familiarity with hostile civilian turf has proved useful in its methodical siege of the southern city of Basra, it promises to be invaluable once Baghdad falls and conventional war gives way, potentially, to hit-and-run insurrection by Iraqi irregular forces. A patient beastWhile U.S. forces focus on aggression, speed and high-tech advantage, Northern Ireland has modeled the British military into a patient beast -- a quality, analysts say, that will be crucial in the psychological war in Iraq. Three decades of Irish Republican Army violence in Northern Ireland -- where the enemy doesn't wear uniforms, hits road checkpoints with car bombs and melts into a civilian population that troops cannot afford to kill -- have given British soldiers experience in urban patrolling and helped them develop both a well-honed instinct for ambushes and a sense of restraint. The IRA ended up killing more than 1,800 people, including 600 soldiers, before calling a truce six years ago. In comparison, the British Army killed 300 people, roughly split between civilians and combatants. Jonathan Stevenson, senior fellow for counterterrorism studies at London's International Institute of Strategic Studies, noted that Britain has never repeated the mistake of "Bloody Sunday" -- the 1972 atrocity in which British paratroopers killed 13 demonstrators in Northern Ireland, whipping up Catholic support for the IRA. (cont'd)

CheckpointsOne of the most important lessons culled from Northern Island has been the importance of checkpoints around Basra. These serve several functions. They stem the flow of weapons and additional fighters into Iraq's second-largest city. They help catch Fedayeen fighters, senior Baath Party officials and other members of the regime attempting to leave. In addition, they give soldiers insight into the mood of the local population. And they provide a way for locals to make contact with the military without attracting the suspicion of spies or loyalists of Saddam Hussein's regime. "This way they can pull us aside quietly," said Sgt. Ian Pickford, with the first battalion of the Irish Guards, "whereas when they're in a crowd, everyone's wondering why." "The British have learned that your best intel (intelligence) comes from very quietly chatting to people in the streets, preferably in a beret instead of full-body armor," said Garth Whitty, a 25-year Army veteran and defense analyst with the Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies. "Machine Gun Alley"The challenges of this balancing act can be seen at the concrete barriers of "Machine Gun Alley," the furthermost checkpoint into Basra. There, battle-hardened British soldiers can see Iraqi fighters holed up in the gray, blown-out buildings of the Bin Majid factory, a half-mile away. They fire hand-held rocket-propelled grenades and semi-automatic guns at the soldiers virtually every day using "shoot and scoot" tactics. Other guerrillas on pickups mounted with machine guns call in mortar strikes by cellphone from a nearby shantytown. Meanwhile, a steady stream of cars and trucks flow in and out of Basra through the "VCP" or vehicle checkpoint. Smiling British soldiers check cars and politely frisk young men of fighting age. Women soldiers check Iraqi women. But if the crowd gets unruly, the British soldiers get tough, yelling "Get back." As in Northern Ireland, the checkpoint has a "dead zone" where suspicious cars are checked by no more than two soldiers. The rest of the regiment is spread out. A suicide bomber could kill at most two soldiers. There are several checkpoints along the highway. If a suspicious vehicle manages to get through one, soldiers can radio the next one to stop it. This means, in theory, there's no need to shoot and possibly kill innocent civilians. That has happened twice this week with U.S. forces. Eleven Iraqis, including women and children, died Monday when U.S. soldiers opened fire on a Land Rover traveling from Karbala to Najaf that had barreled through a checkpoint. Three more Iraqis, including a 2-year-old girl, were killed yesterday at another checkpoint in central Iraq. Some British military observers contend it's unfair to compare the two forces' stances. The British, they say, have had time to settle in near Basra, whereas U.S. troops continue to advance north, moving through ever-more dangerous turf on the way to Baghdad. (cont'd)

"The threat perception is considerably greater up north where the Americans are, and that vulnerability is obviously going to put them on edge," said retired Maj. Ken Hames, who fought in the Falklands War, the 1991 Gulf War and in Northern Ireland. "If I was a commander up there, I would tell my men, 'We are not getting out of the vehicles unless we have to.' "

Indeed, the British have yet to face a suicide bombing as the Marines have to the north near Najaf. Four Marines were killed Saturday when an Iraqi soldier drove his taxi to a checkpoint and detonated a bomb.

The checkpoints nonetheless have focused more on maintaining a flow than attempting to catch everything in sight. "The vast majority of traffic is waved through," said Lt. William Hawley with the Irish Guards, First Battalion. "We're trying to let normal life continue as much as possible."

Unlike Northern Ireland, where English is widely spoken, soldiers can't communicate well with locals, even with help from translators. Most are not familiar with Iraqi mannerisms and body language.

The British military has been delivering water, food and medicines. Recently they also have been passing out fliers to cars entering and leaving Basra. The fliers show an Iraqi and British soldier shaking hands with a caption that reads: "This time we won't abandon you. Be patient together we will win."

It is a reference to 1991 when Muslim Shiites in Basra revolted against Saddam Hussein, only to be crushed by his military when help from the United States did not arrive.

Some Basra residents said they agreed with the sentiment, while others were less than impressed. "Quite honestly, this paper isn't going to do anything," said Ali Abdel, a 29-year old bus driver. "I'm going to take it home and show it to my wife and kids for a laugh."

Troops say they're also aware that simply carrying the leaflet can earn villagers the Fedayeen's wrath, or worse.

Another key part of the equation, British troops said, is patrolling to build local trust. "We don't want to be aggressive if people are with us, or nearly with us," said Capt. Andy Bell of the 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, dressed in a floppy hat.

British patrolling techniques emphasize four-man units, called "bricks." The last man in each brick walks backward.

Patrols and raids also reduce threats designed to instill fear in the local population. Early this week, soldiers raided 15 senior Baath Party officials in and around Safwan.

The raid turned up lists of key local party members and a handwritten memo, supposedly from Ali Hassan Majid, the notorious Saddam lieutenant known as "Chemical Ali" credited with gassing thousands of Kurdish civilians in 1988. "We're sending a message here that we're in power and control," said Omar Dawoud Filakawi, an interpreter for the British.

Ironically, another key difference between U.S. and British troops could be cultural. Americans often expect a warm civilian welcome; the British harbor no such illusions.

"A lot of people from the U.S. get extremely hostile if they're not loved. British soldiers are pretty indifferent," Whitty said. "Just about everyone in the world has hated the British military at one point in the last 200 years. So we start from a very strong position -- we presume we won't be liked."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

The Marine WayMonday, March 31, 2003, 12:00 a.m. Pacific Marines strike bargain in village By Jonathan Finer The Washington Post NORTH OF NASIRIYAH, Iraq -- On Saturday, the Marines found a cache of weapons in a tiny village along the road to Baghdad. Yesterday, they returned for lunch with the locals. In a model of how the Marines say they hope their relationship with the Iraqi people can evolve, the two sides struck a deal: The Marines agreed to escort some villagers to a nearby well to get clean water and help repair damage caused by the fleeing Iraqi army. The village leaders agreed to go house to house, rounding up rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons that could be used against U.S. forces. The bargain was sealed with a feast cooked up by the townspeople, featuring rice, bread and goat cooked over an open fire. "I was concerned because of what we found here," said Lt. Col. Christopher Conlin, who led Marines from the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment into town in a pre-dawn raid. In recent nights, the Marines have suffered small-arms attacks that many believe were launched by paramilitary forces loyal to the Iraqi government who disappear into the villages by day. Conlin said he wanted to see where these villagers' loyalties lay. The Marines found a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and other weapons in a house Saturday. When they arrived at the outskirts of the farming village the day before, they had found Iraqi army helmets, uniforms and weapons scattered throughout the nearby fields. "It had to have been a pretty large force; there was lots of stuff," said Lt. Kohtara Terahira, 30, the battalion's intelligence officer. "They must have left in a hurry." Yesterday morning, two platoons of Marines stormed into the mud brick village in amphibious assault vehicles to provide security. Conlin and two interpreters went house to house, asking where they could find the village elder, while Marines took up positions on sand berms that lined the town's muddy main street. They were directed to a three-building compound at the end of the street with a stable in the front yard for cows, horses and donkeys. Inside, Conlin said, he expressed his concerns through interpreters. A villager told him residents were getting sick from bad water, Conlin said. The group emerged smiling and chatted for a while, while leaning against the hood of a Humvee parked in the yard. The Marines were invited to stay for lunch in the family's front yard. For many, it was their first direct contact with Iraqi citizens they did not consider hostile. The Marines left boxes of humanitarian rations and promised there would be more to come. Conlin brought one young lieutenant over to apologize because his platoon had broken down a door in town during its patrol the day before. Greg Serdynski, 22, a Navy corpsman from Gulfport, Miss., made balloons for the children out of rubber medical gloves. Both sides made jokes about removing President Saddam Hussein from power. The Marines bought cigarettes from the townspeople and handed out chewing gum. Some exchanged dollars for Iraqi dinars. Sgt. Steven Christopher, 23, of Derry, N.H., showed some of the Iraqis pictures of his family. "It was the best part of the war so far," Christopher said. "Up until now I wasn't sure they wanted us here, but they seemed really friendly. It was like the cowboys sitting down with the Indians." Others acknowledged that one warm reception does not make them safe in the countryside. "I'm not saying I'd want my own kids to walk down the center street," said Conlin, who added that he hopes yesterday's scene can be repeated as the Marines continue to push toward Baghdad. "I do feel more comfortable here now," he said. "I can say that." Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

cool graphic representation in Adobe format Low tech weapons in urban combat The News Tribune - Tacoma, WA Saturday, April 5, 2003 Low-tech weapons important in urban combat By EILEEN PUTMAN, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - Carpet bombs won't pick off an urban sniper. A tank isn't much use in an alley. In a Baghdad battle, handguns and high-powered assault rifles would be vital - along with some decidedly low-tech weapons like a shotgun, bulldozer or pick ax.With special operations forces working inside Baghdad on Friday - their submachine guns and 9 mm SigSauer pistols probably equipped with silencers - weapons specialists underscored the gritty and risky nature of urban combat."At some point it just becomes who's the better shot and who's got the most bullets to shoot," said retired Lt. Col. Tim Eads, a weapons expert who served with Army special forces and the mechanized 24th Infantry Division - later reorganized into the 3rd Infantry Division that is now outside Baghdad.Weapons most effective in urban settings are not necessarily the multimillion dollar fighter jets, bombers and helicopter gunships coalition forces have used outside Baghdad. Helicopters are vulnerable to small arms fire, and air power isn't much use to an infantry fighting from buildings.And, while air support would undoubtedly play a role in a Baghdad battle, experts don't expect to see troops parachuting into the city."It's too risky," Eads said. "You're not going to drop guys in on top of buildings. The casualties would be staggering."Instead, urban combatants rely on close-range weapons and tactics used by SWAT teams, city police and firefighters, especially when it's desirable to minimize civilian casualties - Baghdad has a population of 5 million - and widespread destruction.Troops trained for urban fighting are told to expect "confused melees" demanding precision small-arms fire and "moment-to-moment decisions by individual soldiers," according to the Army's urban warfare manual."We're not going to see tank-on-tank battles," said Peter W. Singer, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution. "You're going to need to get infantry into those areas."The U.S. infantry carries the M16 assault rifle or the M4, a newer, shorter variation. Like the Iraqis' counterpart - the AK-47 - the M16 can deliver rapid bursts of automatic fire.The M16 has a superior sighting system: Hitting a target is a matter of simply lining up two dots and firing or, at night, projecting the dot onto a target and pulling the trigger. AK-47 operators must manually line up a target in the sights.And, it is easier for an M16 operator to shift from safety to semiautomatic mode, which allows for greater accuracy than the long bursts of automatic fire more typical of how Iraqi soldiers use the AK-47, Eads said.(cont'd)

Some U.S. troops carry M16s with an attachment that fires 40 mm grenades, effective in taking buildings or other close-in targets. Other grenades in the U.S. arsenal deliver blasts of smoke, phosphorus or explosive noise designed to confuse, blind or stun, a tactic used by SWAT teams in hostage situations.

While U.S. weapons are superior to those wielded by the Iraqis, the Army's urban warfare manual concedes that "U.S. technological advantages are often not very useful during" urban operations.

For example: The U.S. military's main battle tank, the M1A1 Abrams, has greater range, firepower and armored protection than Iraq's older, Soviet-built T-72, T-62 and T-55 tanks, and Baghdad's wide main avenues would give the massive vehicles plenty of maneuvering room.

But long-range capability doesn't help much in close combat on city streets - the Army says 90 percent of urban targets are engaged at a distance of only 50 yards - or in narrow areas.

More useful is the Bradley fighting vehicle, a lighter-armored vehicle with a shotgun and assault rifle that can be fitted with a grenade launcher. The guns are on a stabilizing turret that adjusts with the vehicle's movement to keep on target.

The Iraqi counterpart, the older Soviet-designed BMP fighting vehicle, doesn't make such an adjustment, weapons experts said.

Singer said U.S. urban combat weapons include pick axes and shovels to rip open doors, ropes with grappling hooks, and explosives to punch through walls. Combat engineers would move in to destroy key targets and infrastructure, perhaps using bulldozers as Israel did in the siege of the Jenin refugee camp last year.

Protective equipment like knee and elbow pads, heavy gloves and special eyewear is important but can cost troops the mobility that is important in urban combat. And coalition forces would need every edge to defeat a hidden enemy defending its home turf, said Christopher Hillman, senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information.

"I don't think the advantage is ever to the aggressor in a situation like this," he said.
(Published 12:24PM, April 4th, 2003)

OK that's it. My longest post ever, but a good start and a good reference. Thanks to DW Drang on THR.


LOL @ "skys****ers"

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