Iraq: January 3, 2003

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: War Plans and Forces Available for War with Iraq

The general plan for attacking Iraq involves psychological warfare, which has been going on for most of 2002, to demoralize the military and civilian leadership and convince most to switch sides before the fighting begins. Iraqi exiles have been organized to form a post invasion government, and the younger ones trained to work directly with coalition troops as translators, scouts and negotiators.
The military invasion would begin with thousands of smart bombs being dropped on anti-aircraft, air force and headquarters targets. GPS guided JDAM and JSOW smart bombs allow this to be done in any weather and, perhaps equally important, simultaneously. All those bombs hitting in a short period of time (minutes, in some cases) enhances the psychological effect. Simultaneous strikes also increase enemy casualties, as there is less warning to take cover. US heavy bombers (B-1, B-2 and B-52) can carry up to 24 one ton bombs each.
While this is still going on, coalition ground forces would start entering southern, northern and western Iraq. Some would come in via helicopter, especially against isolated airfields and bases in western Iraq. British and American marines and armor units could quickly advance on southern Iraq's major city, Basra. The Turks might come in from the north to insure that the Kurds don't try to establish an independent state, and to protect the million or so Turkomen people living in that area. 
If Turkey allows US troops to gather in Turkey, paratroopers or light infantry would come south into Iraq. Western Iraq is mostly desert, where coalition troops would operate via helicopter and aerial surveillance. The advance from all directions would be towards Baghdad. Deals, some already in the works during 2002, to get Iraqi tribal, political and military leaders and groups to switch sides would be brought to a conclusion as coalition tanks moved to, and into, Baghdad.

Iraqi Forces

1st Army Corps (45,000 troops)
2nd Army Corps (35,000)
3rd Army Corps (35,000)
4th Army Corps (35,000)
5th Army Corps (40,000)
Northern Republican Guard Corps (40,000)
Southern Republican Guard Corps (40,000)
1 Special Republican Guard Division (20,000)

There are also 100,000 secret police, armed with heavy weapons. There are also (in theory) 200,000 Saddam loyalists who could be armed. But would they fight?

Kurd Forces

5 KDP brigades
3 PUK brigades

Shia Forces (southern Iraq)

Anywhere from 3-20 brigades
depending on negotiations with
Shia leaders.

Turkomen Forces

One or two brigades armed by the Turks.

US and British Forces

7 Mech brigades
3 Air Mobile infantry brigades
3 Marine brigades
2 British brigades
1 British Royal Marine Commando brigade
Turkish Forces
2nd Corps (35,000 troops)
3rd Corps (35,000)
Kurdistan Brigade (2,000)



Notes on Combat Power: Although the US and British brigades only have 4-5,000 troops each, they have the best equipment, training, leadership and air support. As a result, two or three of these brigades could fight, and probably defeat, an Iraqi army corps (which has a dozen or more brigades.) The Republican Guard units are twice as good as the army units, and the Special Republican Guard at bit better, but, more importantly, more likely to be loyal to Saddam. The Kurd, Shia and Turkomen can, if provided with US air support successfully stop two or three times as many Iraqi brigades for days, or even weeks. 


 

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