Iraqization Pt. 4

Just want to take a slightly deeper look at this Guardian blurb about a prison assault in the north central part of Iraq. Looking at the implications are quite depressing.

Armed insurgents freed all the inmates of an Iraqi prison today in a raid that left at least 17 police and 10 attackers dead.

Favorable kill ratio for the attackers, which is a bit surprising given that they were the attackers against a fixed and presumably fortified position. Defenders in this situation should be able to inflict disproportionally high casualties unless there is either mass surprise or a massive firepower differential.

Up to 100 militants armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the judicial compound in Muqdadiya, a Sunni heartland about 60 miles north-east of the capital.

This could explain some of the casualty favorability for the insurgents; they were able to mass a company sized assault force with medium and heavy weapons, assemble it and plan a fairly complex operation. This force was able to be assembled without it being informed upon nor being hit as it concentrated by US airpower or artillery.

The assault began after the attackers fired a mortar round into the police and court complex, police Brigadier Ali al-Jabouri said.

Officials said all 33 prisoners had been freed and 10 of the attackers killed in the early-morning battle, along with at least 17 police and a courthouse guard. Another 13 policemen and civilians and 15 gunmen were wounded in the attack.

Multi-phased operation, and the net win for the insurgency manpower pool is +8 to +23 as well as reinforcing morale and motivation to fight as motivation to fight increases when an individual knows that their buddies, team, unit etc has their back. This reasoning partially motivates the massive US investment in combat search and rescue capabilities for looking for shot down pilots; you’ll fight harder, and take a few more reasonable risks if you think that you have back-up when the shit hits the fan.

After burning the police station, the insurgents detonated a string of roadside bombs as they fled, taking the bodies of many of their dead comrades with them, police said.

A fairly well disciplined force is indicated as insurgents collected of their dead and wounded. This implies high unit cohesion and decent operational security awareness. Also the string of IEDs shows the ability of the insurgent assault force to plan at least a three phase operation — mortars, infantry close quarter battle, area denial munitions employed to cover the retreat after a successful raid. This is not an operation planned by idiots. Finally, the ability of the insurgent force to cover their retreat with IEDs implies that the surveillance/patrol capability of US or Iraqi government forces near the judicial compound is minimal for planting IEDs takes time if they are to be effective.

Remnants and scattered dead enders don’t operate in company sized units. They don’t assault fixed and fortified positions and inflict better than 1:1 casualties on the defenders. Remnants don’t plan and competently execute multiple time sensitive phases within a single operation.

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