As reported earlier, the Stryker Brigade had sent some units from the Mosul area down toward Fallujah in support of the big operations there. Now, due to the intensity of the attacks in several other cities (including Mosul) across Iraq, those Stryker units have been recalled.
I haven’t seen or heard anything specific about the Stryker unit, reported to be a battalion, in the Fallujah area. Add to that the fact that they apparently were able to just up and leave and I figure they were part of the supporting forces outside the city and didn’t take part in the incursion.
As the Strykers are not nearly as heavily armed or armored as Bradleys and M1s, this makes perfect sense. (I’m sure the anti-Stryker crowd will gleefully point it out as proof that the Stryker doesn’t work, though.)
One thing that I notice is
Military commanders had hoped to take time in the next few days to clear out insurgents thought to be congregating in Karma, north of Fallujah, and Amariya, to the south. But with the Stryker battalion headed up to Mosul, that operation could become much more difficult.
This might simply mean that the loss of the Stryker units in the area just cost some expected manpower. Or maybe it means that that Army was planning on using the added mobility of Stryker units as a big part of the operations.
In city streets, especially in a good-sized city like Fallujah with multi-story buildings, where foot soldiers advance at a cautious, building-to-building pace, the tires and thin armor of the Stryker would be quite vulnerable. In the open spaces around the smaller towns, the speed and stealth afforded by those same wheels and thinner armor would allow infantry squads to be quickly deployed in all sorts of unexpected places.
Although I understand the need to get units back to Mosul in order to quell problems there, I hope it doesn’t cost us in the Sunni Triangle.
And have no doubt. That’s exactly what the insurgents in Mosul are trying to bring about.
I think they know as well as everyone else that if operations in the Sunni Triangle go well over the next four or six weeks that the insurgency will suffer a major blow that will take some time to recover from. And in that time Iraq will have a chance to grow much stronger.
UPDATE: Reuters has a couple of videos up on their site. I have the files but it appears you need to connect to the Reuters site to view them.
The first one, called “Troops Meet Falluja Resistance” shows some Marines and their LAVs. The Stryker is based on the LAV-III, while these Marine vehicles are of the LAV-I generation. However, they mount a 25mm chain gun which I think would come in useful on the Stryker as well. Of note is the fact that we can see the Marines working to replace shredded tires.
One other thing that I’ve been thinking of lately is the fact that the Marine LAVs do not utilize the slat armor that the Strykers use, yet I haven’t heard of any Marine LAVs lost to RPG fire. Anyone know for sure?
While that video is interesting for the presence of LAVs and for showing some US wounded being worked on, the other video, called “RAW Footage: Fierce Fighting in Falluja” is really the one you want to check out. Seriously.
(If anyone knows how I can make these videos available off of my site, I will do so once they disappear from Reuters.)
UPDATE 2: If you watch the “RAW Footage: Fierce Fighting in Falluja” video or look a more than a few pics from the fighting, you’ll see the web of wiring hanging above the streets. ACE has a pic that clearly shows the situation.
A day or two ago I came across a story that said a Bradley couldn’t fire a TOW missile at a building that enemy fire was coming from due to the wires. The TOW is wire-guided, and there has been trouble when the guide wire crosses electrical or telephone wires. In the situation I read about (maybe one of the mosques we destroyed) the troops had to call in an air strike to take the building out.
There is a wireless version of the TOW coming. Besides eliminating this crossed-wires problem, the missile will be smaller and faster due to the not having to carry and pay out the guidance wire as it flies, and it will have a greater range. (For more info on the TOW RF, see Strategy Page (Nov 3, 2004 entry))
Also, back in September I said I would sacrifice my goat to save the life of a soldier taking Fallujah. ACE’s pic shows my goat and his cousin.
UPDATE 3: (The goat’s cousin, not ACE’s.)