DAY TWENTY -UPDATE
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A former Soviet senior military official believes that the command of the U.S.-British coalition has provided significantly lowered figures on allied casualties sustained during the war in Iraq. Col. Gen. Vladislav Achalov told Interfax on Tuesday that "the Pentagon's estimates that as of the 19th day of the war U.S. and British forces had lost more than 100 soldiers are three time lower [than in actual fact] . At the same time, according to Russian security services that are keeping a close eye on the military operation in Iraq, the U.S.-British coalition has actually lost more than 340 and about 500 have been wounded," he said. Achalov paid a number of visits to Iraq before the war to meet with the country's military officials. Commenting on recent sporadic fights on Baghdad's outskirts, the general stressed that "from a military standpoint, these battles are clear reconnaissance efforts, not an attack as the Pentagon has described it." "That is why commanders in charge of Baghdad's defense have allowed an advance group from the U.S. Third Motorized Division to enter the city and leave with almost no casualties. This was done in order not to expose their main firing positions in Baghdad's southeast," he noted. The general said that during this sortie, U.S. troops lost four pieces of military hardware, including Abrams tanks. "It seems that losses could not be avoided. But the coalition's command has chosen not to make them public," he stressed.
Russian Military intel update April 8, 2003 1846hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow -
Events of the last 2 days have made further work of Ramzaj group in its current format impossible. With the embassy personnel and journalists having left Iraq and most of Iraqi information services evacuated from Baghdad, analysis of the situation in Baghdad and Iraq as a whole becomes ineffective
The quickly changing course of street fights leaves any informational updates far behind. Direct TV broadcasts are far more evident than any analytics. At the same time, we do not have the right to reveal classified, “top secret” information.
Apart from that, our actions meet increasing opposition from the official quarts and in fact are turning into confrontation the outcome of which is not difficult to forecast.
Therefore we have to discontinue our work and thank everybody for taking part in the project
Russian Military intel update: April 8 (morning) 08.04.2003 [16:13]
This morning, battles in Baghdad resumed. The US marine units at 7am managed to break to the right bank of the Diyala near Al-Jassir, and at 8am advanced to the left bank of the Tigris in the Bessaf district, on the junction of streets Abu-Nuvas and Al-Rashid. Currently up to one battalion have got over the bridges opposite to the Ministry of Information and TV center and are now assaulting those buildings. According to specified data, after yesterday’s raid into Baghdad up to two companies of Americans fortified in the Al-Shihud palace, which was attacked by Republican Guard troops this morning. The coming reports indicate that the American command is trying to take control of the administrative center of Baghdad whereupon proclaim to have practically captured the city.
From the northern district As-Sulaija toward the city center, battalions of the 3rd Mechanized Division are moving. As early as by 5pm, they can reach the Abbasid Palace and split Baghdad along the Tigris. The right-bank part of the city is also under threat of a split along the Mansur roadway line.
Information on casualties is quite desultory so far. By now, only the loss of 2 marines during the storm of the bridge across the Diyala and 1 tank destroyed by the Ministry of Information has been verified. The battle of Baghdad has broken into multiple skirmishes and therefore the casualties sustained by both sides will only be specified along toward evening.
According to reports by American commanders, the resistance of the Iraqis does not make an impression of them acting under a united organized command and looks more like operations of autonomous groups. Moreover, the Americans note very limited use of Iraqi tanks and artillery. There are almost no serious artificial obstacles and strong points prepared for a long defense. This does not give grounds to consider Baghdad prepared for a long siege.
And, under such level of resistance the battles for Baghdad may end in 5-7 days. But in spite of certain success, the US forces are still unable to break the Iraqi opposition. Even units fortified at the outskirts are being attacked and are constantly receiving fire. It is still unknown where the top political and military Iraqi leaders are. Out of the high-ranked officials only the Minister of Information Mohammad Saed Sahaf is certainly present in the city.
According to arriving information, at about 11am an American helicopter was shot down over the southern suburb of Baghdad.
The US command has confirmed their loss of a heavy attack plane A-10 at Baghdad.
BASRA: This morning in Basra marine units began to “clean up” the old city blocks where remains of the Iraqi garrison held the line yesterday. Currently, according to the first reports, the advancing marines do not face any resistance and there is a high probability of the Iraqis having abandoned their positions and left the city or mixed with Basra citizens when darkness fell. [ translated by Necroman ] Ramzaj
Russian Military intel update: April 7 08.04.2003 [12:21] :
BAGHDAD: By this evening the situation on the US-Iraqi front in the environs of Baghdad has become less tense. All the American units have returned to their initial positions corresponding to the morning of April 7th. Currently artillery and aviation occasionally open fire at the city. The Coalition commandos started to storm the target objects – two government buildings and the building of the Ministry of Information, the waiting room of the Security Service and the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq. The main objective was to find an entrance to the government underground shelter system and capture high-ranking Iraqi officials. Without combat the commandos were able to seize the Al-Shihud palace and the Republican palace, which were guarded by small patrols only. The palaces turned out empty, and their examination did not reveal any underground shelters. But when attempting to storm the government offices the commandos were sighted, blocked and was stopped by an anti-tank artillery barrage and got ambushed by RPG soldiers. During that almost two-hour battle the Americans lost up to 5 APC and 2 tanks. At least 8 solders were killed and more than 20 wounded.
At 5pm the American troops left the city. The exact casualties of the American Special Forces remain unclear. According to communications between American commanders the status of least 15 men is unknown. Whether they are dead, captured or hiding in the city is still obscure. The American command criticized the raid. General Tommy Franks who came to the airport region called the level of the casualties during this local operation “unacceptable” and the results “paltry”.
According to some data , most of the high command left the city after it had been blocked and moved to a reserve command center located in the northern regions of Iraq while the local command remaining in the city has not taken control over the situation yet.
Some officers in the coalition HQ presume that if this is the case then even storming Baghdad will not finish this war and a “campaign to the north”, where quite an effective and large group of Iraqi troops remains, might be necessary.
Basra:During this day the British forces of the 7th armored brigade and the 3rd marine brigade have been assaulting Basra. After a nine-hour battle the British have managed to occupy the districts of the “New Basra” Subhay and Ahavat-Rezan and advanced into the “Old Basra” towards the Presidential residence, but still cannot take control of the old districts. The Al-Ashar and Akina regions as well as a part of the Al-Arab quay remain in Iraqi hands and the British command admits that it will be very difficult to occupy them since armored units cannot move down narrow streets. The total losses of the British in this region amount to at least 7 killed and 15 wounded. A tank and 2 APC were destroyed. The Iraqis lost up to 100 men killed, about 50 captured, 3 tanks and 6 guns. The British estimate the number of defenders in the old districts to be 500 Iraqi militiamen and soldiers of the 51st Infantry Division supported by at least 10 tanks, 12 guns and a lot of portable antitank launchers.
Karbala: This morning the coalition troops captured Karbala. According to its citizens most of the Iraqi units that were defending the town during the evening-night of April 6th left it and moved north. Just a few home guard units remaining in the town ceased their resistance and mixed with the local population. A captured RG officer said that the order to leave the town was received in the morning of April 6th personally from Saddam Hussein after the general HQ obtained information about the American artillery barrage that resulted in a few shells dropped near one of the main Moslem sacred places, the grave of Hussein ibn-Ali. So as not to insult the Shia population of Karbala by the possible destruction of the sacred place the order to leave the town was issued. Currently the Americans are trying to reveal and “clean off” “Saddam’s agents”.
Al-Khindiya:Reports about taking over the Al-Khindiya town after the ten-day storm are also coming. The town of 30 thousand people was in turn assaulted by an Expeditionary Marine unit and later a brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. After occupation of the town and interrogation of captives it was discovered that the whole garrison of Al-Khindiya consisted of 3 RG companies and 1 militia squadron, about 500 soldiers altogether. More than 200 defenders of the town were killed, about 100 captured. In battles of Al-Khindiya the Americans lost up to 15 men killed, at least 40 wounded. 10 armored vehicles were destroyed. By evidence of a “Red Crescent” representative who came there yesterday, even seriously wounded soldiers incapable of walking were taken to the prisoner-of-war camp. Arrests of citizens suspected in resistance are now taking place in the town.
An-Nasiriya, An-Najaf, Al-Kut, Ad-Divaniya and some more small towns on the south of Iraq remain under Iraqis’ control. Only yesterday the Americans lost up to 5 armored vehicles, at least 3 men killed and 10 wounded. Today near An-Nasiriya a rear American column got ambushed. The casualties are unknown so far, but judging from the immediate takeoff of aviation cover and helicopters with an airborne unblocking group the battle is not in favor of the column.
Attack on Russian convoy: All the information the Russian side has about the fire opened at the Russian embassy column indicate that shooting at the diplomats and journalists was not an accidental event but rather a planned action of frightening and retribution. This version is also supposed by several IN today’s attempts of Americans to stop the column on its route and carefully examine the diplomats’ cars and accompanied baggage. The Russian Foreign Ministry and the high-ranking officials keep silent. On the meeting of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, they agreed “to forget about this regrettable indicent” and “prevent any impact on the Russian-American partnership”… [ translated by Necroman ]
Russian Military intel update: War in Iraq, April 7 (morning) 07.04.2003 [19:14]
BAGDAD: The situation on the US-Iraqi front during the morning-night on April 7th was characterized by extreme fierceness of combat. During the night-morning the coalition units continued to encircle the city from west and east. The 2nd brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Division, after a five-hour march reached the northern approaches of Baghdad and occupied the region bordering to the strategic bridge Salah-Khasan, but was unable to seize the bridge itself because of a heavy missile and artillery barrage. Up to 10 men were killed, at least 20 wounded. In the morning the brigade lost its communication center destroyed by a tactical Iraqi missile.
From south-east, the American marine units that had repeatedly tried to seize a strategic bridge across the Diyala, during the night advanced to the eastern suburbs of the New Baghdad and by the morning tried to take over bridges near the “Rashid” airport. In this violent conflict the bridges were destroyed by the Iraqi artillery and the marines sustained losses. According to intercepted radio communications up to 5 marines were killed, at least 12 wounded. 3 APC and 1 tank were destroyed.
Last night on the right bank of the Tigris in the Al-Mansur region, American commandos numbering up to 200 men landed in a block of government buildings. Apart from that, fighting squadrons landed on two government residences in this region. The goal of the operation was to capture top officials of Saddam Hussein’s administration. Almost immediately the airdrop was detected and engaged. In order to unblock the commandos at 7am, an enforced tank battalion from the 1st brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Division entered the city and after a two-hour fight was able to break to the Haifa street along the Kadissiya roadway and partly reached the bank of the Tigris. This movement turned out unexpected by the Iraqis and met no resistance at first. But in the region of the government quay, the American forces confronted with organized Iraqi defenses. After 3 hours of battle the commandos got to the American positions and the whole column fell back from the city. The American losses total up to 10 men killed, 20 wounded and 10 missing. Up to 3 tanks and 3 APC were destroyed. The commandos only examined a few government buildings in a hurry. All of them were found empty and no captives were taken.
The tolls of the Iraqi side during the day were up to 150 men killed and about 200 wounded. They lost up to 5 tanks and 8 guns. By the afternoon Iraqi actions became more confident. There is information that one of yesterday’s air strikes severely damaged one of their communication and control centers and currently the Iraqi command has to control their units using VHF-stations and envoys which delays battle-orders and commands. Today the American command had to admit that the fighting potential of Baghdad defenders is “fairly high” and the rivals show no sign of demoralization. Full update will be published tonight. [ translated by Necroman ]Ramzaj