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 Monday, April 07, 2003

 

DAY EIGHTEEN UPDATE

SPECIAL SECTION:


RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
ON THE IRAQ WAR


GRU Emblem:
The Main Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye, or GRU) is the all-seeing eye of the Russian military. The GRU has full command of all intelligence-gathering assets of the Russian Armed Forces.

The following is the English translation of the IRAQWAR.RU report based on the Russian military intelligence (the Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU) report.

Reports for period between 22nd March to 1st April are on the weblink "Here's the Point"

Reporting Date April 6, 2003

UPDATE 2000hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow

Around Baghdad, skirmishes between coalition forces and Iraqi divisions are going on. As we said before, during the next two days the coalition troops will extend the zone of blockade to the west and north-west using local strikes. Currently a part of the 1st brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Division is outflanking the city from Abu-Harraib, trying to reach the south outskirts and seize a strategic bridge across the Tigris at the north of the Tunis area (Salakh-Khasan).

Fire has not stopped near the Airport, both sides are using artillery.

According to the most recent data, the rush of the coalition forces toward to the southern borders of Baghdad, though expected by the Iraqi command, was tactically surprise.

Hidden in the interiors of the city, parts of the Iraqi army were unable to leave their covered positions, advance and face the enemy. There arouse confusion that led to disorganization of the Iraqi squadrons that engaged their rivals “on the move”, without proper reconnaissance and concentration of forces. According to specified information in different conflicts and during the assault of the airport, up to 400 Iraqi soldiers were killed, 25 tanks and 12 guns were lost.

But the coalition command also faced serious problems.

Powerful Iraqi attacks aimed at the airport immobilized most of the force breaking towards Baghdad and it turned out necessary to bring reinforcements from other sectors of the front in order to succeed. In particular, up to 2 battalions of the 101st Airborne Division located by An-Nasiriya and An-Najaf and at least 1 battalion of the 82nd Division were moved there.

Americans tolls at the south and south-east of Baghdad for the last 24 hours amount to: up to 30 men killed and at least 80 wounded, 15 soldiers are known to be missing. The Americans lost at least 8 tanks and 5 APC.

Marine squadrons are still incapable of breaking down defenses by the Diyala river. Currently the vanguards are trying to outflank the city from east and seize the bridge in the New Baghdad region.

There are not enough coalition forces to block such a city, and the troops blocking An-Nasiriya, An-Najaf, Al-Kut and Al-Diwaniya were given categorical orders to break down the Iraqi resistance in the next 3 days, take control of those areas and advance toward Baghdad to join the blockade.

To organize offensive against Karbala the blocking troops were enforced with one expeditionary marine squadron, and another storm started this morning. There is no information about casualties from this region yet.

Analogous tasks were set before the British command at the south of Iraq near Basra. For the past 2 days the British have tried to overcome Iraqi defenses from An-Zubair and the Manavi regions 3 times, but they still cannot break down the resistance. This morning an armored column was able to come up to a strategic cross-road near Akhavat-Rezan, but got under heavy fire and had to retreat.

Yesterday and during this morning the British lost at least 3 armored units, 2 men killed and 6 wounded.

The reason for the attack on the Russian convoy

The coalition command and the foreign policy departments of Russia and USA are now making every effort to close all the information related to the Russian embassy getting fired near Baghdad. Sources claim that the embassy ceased its activities in many respects because of the danger of an air strike on the embassy.

The American command was utterly irritated by the presence of the Russian embassy in Baghdad and believed that some technical intelligence equipment was deployed there that provided the Iraqis with information. Moreover, some officers in the coalition HQ in Qatar openly claimed that it was on the territory of the Russian embassy that the “jammers” hampering the high-precision weapons around Baghdad were operated.

Yesterday morning the Secretary of State Colin Powell demanded of immediate evacuation of the embassy from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov. Yesterday evening the Russian minister informed the Americans that on the 6th of April the embassy column would be leaving Baghdad heading for the Syrian border. This gave rise to dissatisfaction among the State Department officials who suggested that the column should move to Jordan.

The coalition special operations HQ were sure that the embassy column would contain secret devices taken from military equipment captured by Iraqis. In this connection one cannot shut out the possibility of “revenge” from the coalition command.

Moreover, experts claim that the purpose of this armed assault could be to damage a few cars where the Russians would have to leave some of the salvage. This is also indicated by the fact that neither the ambassador himself nor journalists in the column were among the injured. In this case we can expect that this action was committed by coalition special forces and the column was shot using Russian-made weapons to conceal the origin of the attackers to blame the Iraqis afterwards.

According to the most recent data the column got ambushed almost 30 km to the west from the city on the territory occupied by the coalition, but moving fast it escaped from fire and made a few more kilometers where it was blocked by military jeeps. On attempting to establish contact with their crews it received fire again, then the jeeps vanished.

Today at 5pm a phone conversation between president of Russia Vladimir Putin and president of the USA George W. Bush took place. Before this conversation, his assistant for National Security Affairs Condoleezza Rice, who came into Moscow today, had consulted Bush. At this time Rice is meeting Igor Ivanov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The details of this meeting are unknown so far, but we can suppose that very soon some “unknown squadrons” will be made responsible for the incident and the situation will be dampened to the maximum.

Analysts reckon that the situation with the nuclear submarine “Kursk”, when a whole series of private contacts between top Russian officials and American representatives brought more questions than answers, is about to occur again to some extent. (source: iraqwar.ru, 04-06-03, translated by Necroman)

April 6, 2003
2000hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow

By the morning of April 6th, an uncertain and quickly changing situation has developed.

Coalition divisions are continuing to advance toward the city outskirts. The 22nd and 15th expeditionary marine squadrons are trying to break into the region of military airport “Rashid” from south-east. Iraqis are holding the line along the Diyala river and currently the marines cannot capture beach-heads on the right bank.

A hard situation has formed near the international airport.

The day before yesterday the Iraqi minister of propaganda claimed that the coalition forces in this region would have been eliminated by this morning, and the Iraqi command ordered to storm the airport. At 10am it was attacked by 3 Republican Guards battalions enforced with militia troops. Americans requested artillery and aviation support. The battle lasted for almost 6 hours. After several unsuccessful attacks Iraqis managed to drive Americans back from the second runway to the airport building.

Currently the coalition forces control the building itself and the new runway bordering to it. During the day the foes had to increase their strengths and deploy reinforcements.

By the evening up to 2 regular Iraqi brigades and 2 thousand militiamen were fighting for the airport. Americans had to use all available forces of the 3rd Mechanized Division and 101st Airborne Division to repulse the attacks. Only assault aircraft and battle helicopters made more than 300 operation flights to this region.

During the fight Iraqis lost up to 20 tanks, 10 APC, about 200 men killed and up to 300 wounded. The American losses were up to 30 men killed, about 50 wounded, at least 4 tanks, 4 APC and 1 helicopter. But it is impossible to obtain the exact data yet.

By this hour there have been more than 20 flights for evacuation of killed and wounded coalition soldiers and the command have requested ambulance aviation again.

The combat was so intense that commander of the 3rd Mechanized Division general-major Bufford Blunt had to issue an order to organize a false strike. Around 8am from Khan-Azad road junction an attack was organized in order to demonstrate tank vanguards of a large subdivision advancing toward Al-Daura from south. The group was able to reach the outskirts of the town near the Avajridge village. After entering the village the group was met by Republican Guards. In direct combat the group lost 2 tanks, 3 APC, 3 men killed, up to 10 wounded and, after two hours of fighting, withdrew to the main forces. Iraqis lost 4 tanks, 2 APC and up to 30 men killed.

By the evening the foes reduced their activity and were regrouping during the last night. Americans are rapidly fortifying their defense positions and deploying reinforcements to the airport region, increasing their forces at Khan-Azad and Abu-Harraib. Iraqis are moving anti-armor divisions closer to the city outskirts.

Despite the exchange of strikes there are no reasons to expect any serious attempts to capture the city in the nearest future. By numerical strength the coalition troops that have reached the city borders do not meet even the minimal requirements for storming and heavy urban fights. Coalition forces by Baghdad number up to 18-20 thousand men and can be enforced with no more than 3-5 thousand men while the minimal force necessary to capture a city like Baghdad equals from 80 to 100 thousand soldiers.

According to weather forecasts, in the coming day the weather may abruptly change to the worse. The wind is expected to intensify, visibility may reduce to 200-300 m.

All the claims made by aviation commander of the coalition, general Michael Mosley, about “…Iraqi army, as an organized structure consisting of large units, exists no longer…” are contrary to fact and, according to analytics, are probably connected with severe pressure put on the military command by American financial groups that desperately needed good news from the US-Iraqi front by the end of the financial week.

In fact, the Republican Guards defending Baghdad have not lost even 5% of their numerical strength and military equipment. Most of those losses were due to bombardments and not land combats. The total losses of Iraqi army since the beginning of the war have not exceeded 5-8% of their defensive potential. This means the main battles are still to be seen.

The situation in other sectors of the US-Iraqi front will be summarized closer to this evening. (source: iraqwar.ru, 04-06-03, translated by Necroman)


RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS

April 5, 2003,

1357hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow

The situation on the US-Iraqi front is characterized by gradual reduction of American offensive activity.

After the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division tank forces had marched towards Baghdad and its vanguards reached the city from south and south-west, engineering fortification of their positions began, which indicates the end of the current stage of the campaign as well as the loss of offensive potential of American forces and necessity to rest and regroup.

It is supposed that during the next two days the American command will attempt local strikes in order to improve and extend their positions on the south and, especially, south-west approaches to Baghdad (crossing the Baghdad – Samarra roadway) and begin bringing fresh forces from Kuwait.

As we supposed, during the last night, Americans were moving 101st Airborne Division troops to help the 1st Mechanized Division that captured the airport of Baghdad yesterday morning. About 80 strike and transport helicopters and 500 marines were deployed there.

But all the efforts to reinforce the brigade with heavy armor failed as Iraqi started powerful artillery strikes at the transport routes and organized mobile firing groups on the roads. After reports about losing 3 tanks and 5 APCs on the route the American command had to pause the movement of the reinforcements by land.

Yesterday’s estimates of the forces concentrated here were overstated.

After analysis of intercepted radio communications and reports of American commanders it was specified that at the airport there were only parts of the 1st brigade troops, up to 2 enforced battalions with the help of a self-propelled artillery division 3 thousand soldiers and officers strong, 60 tanks and about 20 guns.

Another battalion enforced with artillery crossed the Baghdad-Amman roadway and came into position at the crossroads to the south of the airport, near Abu-Harraib.

Soldiers of the 1st Mechanized Brigade spent almost all the last night in chemical protection suits, waiting for Iraqi to use their “untraditional weapons”. Apart from that, their positions were constantly shot with artillery and machine gun fire. The brigade commanders report that the soldiers are ultimately dead-beat, and are constantly requesting reinforcements.

About 10 armored units including 4 tanks were lost in this area yesterday. Up to 9 men were killed, about 20 wounded, at least 25 reported missing. Moreover, the status of a patrol group that didn’t arrive at the airport remains unclear. It is supposed that it either moved away towards Khan-Azad and took defense there or got under an ambush and was eliminated. It is now being searched for.

The losses of Iraqi were up to 40 men killed, about 200 captured (including the airport technical personnel), 4 guns and 3 tanks.

Currently American reconnaissance squadrons are trying to dissect the suburban defenses with local sallies. At the same time, marine troops are approaching the south-east borders of Baghdad. Their vanguard units reached the outskirts of Al-Jessir and immediately tried to capture the bridge over a feeder of the Tigris, the Divala river, but were met with fire and stopped.

Commander of the 1st Expeditionary Marine Squadron colonel Joe Dowdy was deposed yesterday morning. As was revealed, the colonel was deposed “…for utmost hesitation and loss of the initiative during the storm of An-Nasiriya…”. This way the coalition command in Qatar found an excuse for their military faults by that town.

The “guilt” of the colonel was in his refusing to enter the town for almost 3 days and trying to suppress Iraqi resistance with artillery and aviation, trying to avoid losses. As a result, the command additionally had to move the 15th squadron of colonel Tomas Worldhouser there, who had to storm the ferriages for almost 6 days, with about 20 of his soldiers killed, 130 wounded and 4 missing. The 1st Expeditionary Squadron lost no men at An-Nasiriya, but 3 marines died, as were reported, “by inadvertency” and about 20 soldiers got wounded.

Despite the fact that marines were able to capture one of the bridges at the south outskirt of An-Nasiriya, the ferriage across the Euphrates is still risky. Fights in the city are going on. The American command has to cover the ferriage with a company of marines enforced with tanks and artillery, up to 400 soldiers and officers strong. Every column passing across the bridge gets shot by Iraqis from the left bank and the marines have to cover it by setting smoke screens and delivering constant fire. A brigade group of the 101st Airborne Division is engaged in the combat but is unable to break the Iraqi resistance. Throughout the day 3 men were wounded, 1 soldier reported missing.

In An-Najaf, after 3 days of gunning and bombardment the 101st Airborne Division marines were able to advance towards the center of the town and are now fighting in the market region.

It is reported that 2 marines were killed and 4 wounded. 1 APC was destroyed with a RPG. At the same time there arrived information that during the last night most of the garrison (up to 3 thousand Republican Guardians of the “Medina” Division) left the town on cars for Karbala. Only militia remained in the town, covering the withdrawing main forces and continuing to resist.

All the attempts of American marines to advance into Al-Khindiya failed. After 1 APC from the vanguard was knocked out and more than 20 RPG shots at the column, the marines withdrew at their original positions. 2 soldiers were wounded and evacuated rearwards. American intelligence believes that no more than a battalion of Iraqis are defending the town. Their resistance remains, despite that the town has already been under siege for 8 days.

Americans were unable to capture the left-bank part of Al-Hillah. The 82nd Airborne Division troops are only capable of keeping a narrow “corridor” – across the outskirt of Al-Hillah with the bridge over the Euphrates. There is constant shooting in the town. Throughout the day in this region the coalition lost 1 men killed and 4 wounded.

A similar “corridor” is kept by marines in the Al-Kut town. But there is information that allows us to suppose that Americans were pushed away from the town last night. Continuous requests of artillery and aviation support and coordinates transmitted to the artillery HQ indicate that the combat occurred in immediate proximity to the American positions. 4 times ambulance helicopters flew into this region, and there hasn’t still been a report from the commander of the marine group that defends this area, which may indicate that he hasn’t yet have full information about his units.

The situation at Al-Diwaniyah, where a heavy combat has been going on for 3 days, has become a little clearer. Currently all American forces have been pushed away from the town. Early morning an American helicopter was attacked. Its crew died. Another helicopter was shot down and had to land to the east from Karbala. Information about its crew is being obtained.

The overall situation in the central region of Iraq is characterized by gradual reduction of the coalition activity and change to active defense. But extraordinary dispersion of the ground forces, their fragmentation (the biggest group now contains up to 12 thousand troops) create advantageous preconditions for Iraqi counter-attacks, but the air superiority of the coalition severely complicate such projects.

If, due to weather conditions, the coalition forces lose their air support, it may have very dramatic consequences.

At the south of Iraq the British advance on Basra is losing its strength as well and may already stop during the next two days. Currently the British have been unable to achieve any serious success on this direction, and fights are only occur at the outskirts of the city.

The British command had to admit that it had underestimated the strength of Iraqi resistance and was unable to reveal the structure and number of Basra defenders fully and operatively. Currently in the city and the Fao peninsula, according to the British data, about 5 thousand of regular Iraqi military forces are defending (parts of 51st Mechanized Division of general Khaled Khatim Saleh al-Hashimi) and up to 5-7 thousand volunteers and militiamen. At the same time, British hopes for an armed Shia revolt have been ruined.

The Shia leaders in Iran called their Iraqi coreligionists to fight against English and American “satanists” and “Zionists”, leaving British without their “best card” in the plan of capturing Basra. 3 men were killed and 8 wounded yesterday.

At the North of Iraq desultory fightings between Kurdish troops “peshmerga” and Iraqi forces are going on. The morning messages about the town Kalak captured have not been confirmed yet, and according to the radio surveillance data the actions only take place at the approaches of the town. For now, Kurds are mainly busy robbing neighboring villages and transporting the stolen goods into their basic regions. According to American special forces which have recently been replaced here, sometimes after capturing a village up to half of the Kurdish squadron abandon their positions. They load stolen property into captured cars and leave for their homes to be back next morning for new salvage.

But apart from clear marauding of “peshmerga”, the coalition command has more and more problems with keeping the decent moral level of their fighting soldiers. Spite and irritability are growing even in British troops, which were always “correct enough” towards the civilians on the occupied territories. In increasing frequency British soldiers show violence and rudeness towards civilians. At a recent consultation at the British HQ, a representative of the military police command pointed at the fact that even actions of arresting people suspected in underground activities occur with unnecessary violence and publicity, and resemble rather intimidation than special police operations. The command issued a special order regarding the required behavior in the occupied regions, but even after it had been published a few analogous incidents were registered.

An event that had happened 5 days before also received publicity at the coalition HQ. During a night “cleanup” in one of suburban houses near An-Nasiriya three marines shot a man and afterwards raped and shot his wife. The command got information about this accident from one of its informers. After interrogation the marines were sent to Qatar for additional investigations.

In increasing frequency commanders find things belonging to Iraqis in their soldiers’ rucksacks. The soldiers are discontent of their commanders attempting to cease this practice, and call those items “war salvage”. Currently the command is preparing a special order regarding this issue. (source: iraqwar.ru, 04-05-03, translated by Necroman)

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