RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
ON THE IRAQ WAR
The Main Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye, or GRU) is the all-seeing eye of the Russian military. The GRU is involved in all types of electronic reconnaissance operations, including communication intelligence (COMINT), electromagnetic intelligence (ELINT), radar intelligence (RADINT), television intelligence (TELINT) and infrared sets reconnaissance.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. The IRAQWAR.RU analytical center was created recently by a group of journalists and military experts from Russia to provide accurate and up-to-date news and analysis of the war against Iraq.
Reports for period between 22nd March to 1st April are on this weblink "Here's the Point"
Reporting Date April 4, 2003
1507hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow -
By the morning of April 4 the situation on the US-Iraqi front showed a tendency toward stabilization. As the forward coalition units reach Baghdad they fulfill their primary orders outlined by the coalition command. During the four days of the advance elements of the US 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division have bypassed from the east the Iraqi defenses at Karabela and, without encountering any resistance, advanced around 140 kilometers along the Karabela-Baghdad highway and reached the Iraqi capital. However, the goals of this attack will be fully achieved only when the US Marine brigades, now advancing along the left bank of the Tigris, reach the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad.
All indications are that the breakthrough by the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division toward the Baghdad international airport, although a significant thrust forward, did not come as a surprise to the Iraqi command. The US units occupying the airport area did not encounter here any significant resistance (the airport was guarded by no more than 2-3 Iraqi companies without any heavy weapons) nor did they see any indication that the Iraqis were even planning on defending the airport. Except for the line of trenches along the airport's perimeter the US troops found no other defensive structures. The airport was clear from all aircraft with the exception of a few old fuselages and a passenger plane (possible belonging to a Jordanian airline company), which did not have time to leave the airport before the flight restrictions were announced by the coalition with the beginning of the war.
Currently the coalition group of forces in the airport area number up to 4,000 troops, up to 80 tanks and about 50 artillery systems. It should be expected that several helicopter squadrons from the 101st Airborne Division will be deployed here in the next several hours.
According to electronic surveillance, the coalition command in Qatar order the attacking US forces to halt on at least three occasions. The command ordered additional reconnaissance to be done in the airport area fearing there may carefully concealed Iraqi units and extensive defenses. The coalition command issued the final order to capture the airport only until the coalition reconnaissance units contacted the command headquarters directly from the airport terminal. The Iraqi forces protecting the airport offered little resistance and after a few exchanges of fire withdrew toward the city. Communication was lost with one of the coalition units protecting the flanks of the advancing column. It is still being determined whether this unit got lost or if it encountered an ambush.
Around 0800hrs the US positions [in the airport area] were attacked by the militia forces probably from among the local population. The militia was dispersed by tank and APC fire.
The 2nd brigade of the [3rd Mechanized Infantry] Division reached the southern outskirts of Baghdad and is currently located near the intersection of the Baghdad-Amman and Baghdad-Karabela highways.
The coalition claims of "completely destroying" the "Media" ("Al Madina al Munavvara") and the "Hammurali" Republican Guard divisions of the 2nd Republican Guard Corps received no confirmation. No more than 80 destroyed Iraqi armored vehicles were found along the coalition's route of advance, which corresponds to about 20% of a single standard Iraqi Republican Guard division.
It has been determined that only a few forward elements of the "Hammurali" Division participated in combat while the entire division withdrew toward Baghdad. A single brigade of the "Medina" division was involved in combat. The brigade was split in two groups during fighting and withdrew toward Baghdad and toward Karabela to join the main forces of the ["Medina"] division.
Equally unimpressive are the numbers of the Iraqis captured by the coalition. In four days of advance, the US troops captured just over 1,000 people only half of whom, according to the reports by the US field commander, can be considered regular troops of the Iraqi army. There are virtually no abandoned or captured Iraqi combat vehicles. All of this indicates that so far there has been no breakthrough for the coalition; Iraqi troops are not demoralized and the Iraqi command is still in control of its forces. No significant changes occurred at other Iraqi resistance areas.
Fighting is continuing at An-Nasiriya where the US troops are still unable to capture the part of the town on the left side of the river. Despite of the announcement by the US command about the "near complete control of the city", exchanges of fire are continuing and just during the last day the US forces sustained one killed and no fewer than three wounded.
The US troops are no longer trying to storm the areas [of An-Nasiriya] held by the elements of the Iraqi 11th Infantry Division, but instead use artillery and aviation to methodically destroy these areas.
The coalition was also unable to take the city of An-Najaf. The designated brigade of the 101st Airborne Division was able to take control only of the southern outskirts of the city and now has halted its advance using artillery and aviation to destroy the city blocks occupied by the Iraqi defenders. Intercepted radio communications indicate at least three killed or wounded US troops.
The Iraqis remain in control of Al-Hillah on the left side of the river. There are continuing exchanges of fire and the city is under a constant artillery barrage.
Nearly all fighting has stopped near Karabela, where the US forces limit their action to blockading the city and launching artillery attacks against Karabela’s outskirts. The available US forces in this region are only sufficient for the blockade and for now no reinforcements can be expected. The 4th Infantry Division, currently unloading in Kuwait, will be able to move into Iraq no sooner than April 6. Additionally, the “newest” and the most modern division is actually only a partially-deployed force and numbers up to 12,000 troops – only about half the size of the 3rd Infantry Division already fighting in Iraq.
A tense situation remains near the town of An-Divania. According to radio surveillance, the coalition forces were forced out of the town and thrown back 3-5 kilometers as the result of a three-hour-long firefight. The US field commanders reported 2 lost tanks and up to 5 lost APCs. Some 7 [coalition] soldiers were killed, 4 are missing and up to 20 were wounded. During the past 24 hours coalition medevac helicopters flew more than ten missions to this area. As an emergency measure a 101st Airborne Division’s battalion is currently being deployed to An-Divania. The town is under artillery and aircraft attacks.
With much difficulty the British marine infantry is advancing near Basra. However, despite their best efforts the British are only able to attack the outer defensive perimeter stretching along the Shatt-al-Basra canal. By today’s morning the British were finally able to take control of the bridge on the As-Zubair – Basra highway and to establish positions of the opposite side of the river. During the fighting one British tank was hit, one APC was destroyed and up to 10 soldiers were killed or wounded. Now the British are facing Basra’s main defense lines located 1.5 kilometers ahead of them.
The Iraqis still control a portion of the Fao peninsula. Today the Iraqi artillery attacked the Al-Fao port. No casualty figures are currently available.
Radio surveillance reveals Iraqi resistance units fighting on the territories occupied by the British. A Kuwaiti radio source reported an attack last night resulting in a fire on one of the oil wells where the previous fire was just recently extinguished. Coalition troops deployed in Umm-Qasr come under regular automatic weapons fire during the night hours. Radio surveillance indicates that yesterday coalition troops conducted a massive operation in the town to find the resistance members.
In the north of Iraq the Kurdish units have stopped their advance after encountering resistance by the Iraqi troops. Kurdish field commanders told the US officers they will not go forward unless the Americans “clear the way” for them.
There is information pointing to certain financial motives behind this attitude of the Kurdish commanders. The US Brig. Gen. Osman, who commands the US troops in this area, told one of the Pentagon officials during a phone conversation: “for them [the Kurds] to move forward we literally have to throw a stack of dollars in front of them!”
At the same time the “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan” leaders are trying to distance themselves from these [Kurdish] field commanders, calling them “uncontrollable borderline gangs” According to them [the Kurdish leaders] these rogue units number no more than 3000 fighters.
Information coming from Qatar indicates that the coalition command is seriously concerned with the possibility of another sand storm. Not only will this delay the blockade of Baghdad, but it will also leave the coalition without its major advantage – the aviation, without which the coalition will be left one on one with a numerically superior enemy.(source: iraqwar.ru, 04-04-03, translated by Venik)
RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
Reporting Date April 3, 2003
1301hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow -
During the last and today early morning, the coalition continued its advance toward Baghdad that it had begun three days ago. Units of the 3rd mechanized Infantry Division, failing to quickly capture the town of Al-Khindiya, blockaded it with a part of their forces and moved around the town from the east to reach Al-Iskanderiya by the morning. It is know clear right now whether the US troops were able to take the town of Al-Musaib or if they went around it as well. The overall [coalition] progress in this direction was about 25 kilometers during the past 24 hours.
This thrust came as a surprise to the Iraqi command. The Iraqi defense headquarters around Karabela remained deep behind the forward lines of the advancing US brigades. Due to the intensive aerial and artillery strikes the Iraqi headquarters [in Karabela] lost most of its communication facilities and has partially lost control of the troops. As the result the Iraqi defense units in the line of the coalition attack became disorganized and were unable to offer effective resistance. During the night fighting the Iraqi forces in this area were pushed from their defensive positions and withdrew toward Baghdad. The Iraqi losses were up to 100 killed and up to 300 captured. The US troops destroyed or captured up to 70 Iraqi tanks and APCs.
Currently the Iraqi command is rushing to create a new line of defense 20-30 kilometers south of Baghdad. The US losses in this attack were 3 armored vehicles, up to 8 killed and wounded.
Late night on April 2 east of Karabela a unit from the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division went off-course and ran into an artillery ambush after moving too close to the Iraqi positions. In the resulting firefight the US forces have lost no less than 8 armored vehicles and, according to the Iraqi reports, at least 25 US troops were killed or wounded.
In the town of Al-Kut US Marine units were able to capture a bridge across the Tigris; but they were unable to capture the entire town and currently fighting is continuing in the residential districts. No fewer than 3 US soldiers were killed and up to 12 were wounded in this area during the past 24 hours. The US troops are reporting 50 killed and 120 captured Iraqi soldiers.
The coalition was able to make serious progress to the south of Al-Kut. After quickly taking the town of An-nu-Manyah the US forces have set up a bridge across the Tigris and immediately proceeded to transfer the Marine units to the left bank. There is a highway going from An-nu-Manyah to Baghdad along the left bank of the Tigris. No more large populated areas are located along the highway and the attacking forces may be able to come within 15-20 kilometers of Baghdad as early as tonight.
The blockade of An-Najaf is continuing. Numerous attempts by the [coalition] troops to reach the center of the town have failed after being met by Iraqi fire. At least fire [coalition] soldiers have been wounded and one is missing.
The situation around An-Divania remains unclear. Heavy fighting in this area is continuing since yesterday. The US field commanders have requested artillery and aviation support on several occasions and have reported "strong counterattacks by the enemy." It has been determined that by the evening of April 2 the command of the US 101st Airborne Division ordered its troops to withdraw from the town in order to create some space between its forces and the Iraqis to allow for artillery and aerial strikes. The overall US losses in this area during the past two days are up to 15 killed and around 35 wounded. At the same time the US commanders are reporting "hundreds of killed Iraqis; about 50 Iraqis - some of them wearing civilian clothes - have been captured by the coalition. There has been a report of another [coalition] helicopter loss in this area.
Resistance is also continuing in An-Nasiriya. The town's garrison has been fighting for the past ten days and continues to hold its positions on the left bank of the Euphrates. During the past day there has been a reduction in the intensity of the Iraqi resistance. However, the US commanders at the coalition headquarters believe that this is due to the Iraqis trying to preserve their ammunition, which is by no means unlimited. According to one of the US officers at the coalition headquarters elements of the [Iraqi] 11th Infantry Division remain in control on the left bank of the Euphrates. "...Resilience of this unquestionably brave enemy is worth respect. Four time we offered them to lay down their arms and surrender, but they continue resisting like fanatics..." [Reverse-translated from Russian] During the past night 1 US soldier was killed and 2 more were wounded in firefights in this area.
Another attempt by the British to penetrate Iraqi defenses near Basra has failed. Up to 2 battalions of the British 16th Air Assault brigade reinforced with tanks attempted to break through the Iraqi defenses last night northwest of the Maakil airport along the Al-Arab River. Simultaneously from the southwest at As-Zubair another 2 marine infantry battalions made an attempt to enter the area of Mahallat-es-Zubair, but were met with heavy fire and withdrew after a four-hour-long battle. The Iraqis have reported 2 destroyed British tanks, 5 APCs and no fewer than 30 British troops killed. However, the British commanders are reporting 4 lost armored vehicles and 5 killed. Additionally, Iraqi air defenses have shot down an F-18 fighter-bomber of the town. The radio surveillance units reported the loss of another plane to the north of Baghdad. It is not known whether this plane was shot down or crashed after losing control due to a technical malfunction.
As we can see, the coalition command is continuing with its "march on Baghdad" tactics. In the course of their advance the coalition troops are moving around the primary centers of the Iraqi defense and blockade them leaving the rest of the work to aviation and artillery. The very near future will show how effective this tactics really is. So far, according to intelligence reports, more than 50,000 Iraqi troops continue fighting behind the coalition forward lines at Karabela alone. No fewer than 5,000 Iraqis are defending An-Najaf and An-Divania. Experts estimate that the total number of Iraqis fighting behind coalition front approaches 90,000-100,000 regular army troops and militia.
Under such circumstances the coalition has two options: it can either try to quickly capture Baghdad, thus leaving the Iraqi garrisons in the occupied territories with no reason to continue with their resistance; or the coalition troops can dig in around Baghdad and prepare for the final assault while "cleaning up" the captured territory. The latter seems more likely as the coalition can use the fresh troops arriving now to Kuwait for these "clean up" operations. This will also allow these troops to gain the valuable combat experience fighting the weakened enemy before the assault on Baghdad.
Analysts believe that this war will cause a review of the role of precision-guided munitions (PGM) on the modern battlefield. Already the results of using PGM in Iraq cast doubt on the effectiveness of PGM in woodland areas and in cross-country terrain. Under such conditions the main objective becomes not to hit the target with the first shot but to locate, identify and to track the target.
Reviewing ground operations [in Iraq] analysts conclude that the desert terrain and the resulting inability of the Iraqis to fight outside of towns and villages provide the coalition with its main strategic advantage. Complete air dominance allows [the coalition troops] locating and engaging Iraqi positions and armor at maximum distance using precision-guided munitions not available to the Iraqis, while remaining outside of the range of the Iraqi weapons. Considering the course of this war and the tactics used by the coalition, [Russian military] analysts find this tactics to be far removed from the realities of modern warfare and designed exclusively against a technologically much weaker opponent. Such tactics is unimaginable on the European theater of combat with its woodlands and cross-country terrain. Foreseeing the possibility of a future military standoff between the US and North Korea the analysts are certain that the US cannot hope for a military victory on the Korean Peninsula without the use of nuclear weapons. (source: iraqwar.ru, 04-03-03, translated by Venik)