Operation Swarmer

Iraqi Security Forces, Coalition Launch ‘Operation Swarmer’

DefenseLINK:

March 16, 2006 — Iraqi and coalition forces today launched the largest air assault operation since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in southern Salah Ad Din province to clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra, military officials reported.

“Operation Swarmer” began this morning with soldiers from the Iraqi army’s 1st Brigade, 4th Division; the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team; and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade conducting a combined air and ground assault to isolate the objective area, officials said.

Attack and assault aircraft provided aerial weapons support for the operation and also delivered troops from the Iraqi army’s 4th Division; the “Rakkasans” from 1st and 3rd Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment, of the U.S. Army; and the “Hunters” from 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army, to “multiple objectives” according to a Multinational Force Iraq statement. Forces from Iraq’s 2nd Commando Brigade then completed a ground infiltration to secure numerous structures in the area, officials said.

More than 1,500 Iraqi and coalition troops, more than 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation, according to the MNF-I statement.

This has been described as the biggest air assault since the initial invasion of Iraq.


You may notice a lot of Legacy Media calling this an “air strike” or “air raid”. For instance, here’s MSNBC.com’s current front page graphic:

airstrikeraidassault.jpg

While many will see this as splitting hairs, let’s at least get the terminology correct. “Air strike” and “air raid” refer to aerial bombardment with planes and missiles. An “air assault” is an attack by ground forces who enter the battlefield via parachute or aircraft. Earlier today, MSNBC.com ran one of their “BREAKING NEWS” banners stating “Largest air strike since 2003”, with no story or additional information. This made me think we were in “Shock and Awe” territory, and I wondered what was up, who/what we had found, and if they were dead/destroyed yet. I’ll let this one slide, but it’s still a bit irritating.

Anyway, it’s not surprising to see a joint Iraqi/US air assault of this scale. Earlier this month, Bill Roggio pointed out an Air Assault in the Triangle of Death comprised of units from the Iraqi Army working with the 101st. The “Triangle of Death” is southwest of Baghdad. On the same day, I posted a pic of Iraqi forces and US 10th division troops conducting an air assault northeast of Baghdad.

This operation is in the vicinity of Samarra, scene of the mosque bombing recently. One has to wonder if ‘Swarmer’ is the result of post-bombing intel work, or maybe a reaction to the failed plan for a massive attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Bill Roggio has more at the Fourth Rail.

Comments

  1. Sent the following two e-mails to Fox to try and inject some sense into their reporting. You can see the graphic on the weekly Baghdad Brief with MG Lynch on Pentagon channel: http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/ —– Original Message —– From: DJ Elliott To: dennis Cc: Warstories ; Viewerservices ; Studiob ; Special ; Newswatch ; Myword ; Lineup ; JER ; Jamie ; Heartland ; Hannity ; Friends ; Foxreport ; FNS ; Feedback ; Colmes ; Cavuto Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 8:14 AM Subject: Update from this mornings Badhdad Brief 16 Mar 2006 – Areas highlighted in green turned over to Iraqi forces. – Attacks over all down. Civilians deaths, murders, assassination and IED/VIED Up. Intentional targeting of civilians. – Only 2 reporters bothered to cover the weekly brief. Normally about 12 bother to show. – Seperate brief given for Arabic speaking press. ————————————— Air Assualt element: Iraqi Army 1 Bde/4th Div; US 3 BCT & CAB/101st AB Div Ground component: Iraqi MOI 2nd Special Police Commando Bde PS: AC-130 does not have a 90mm cannon. 105mm How, 40mm and 25mm cannons. PSS: This is the third Air Assualt that the Iraqi Army has participated in. Previous ops employed Iraqi 1st Bn/1st Bde/4th Div (same Bde doing this op) and 3rd Bn/1st Bde/6th Div in joint US-Iraqi assualts. I think you need to hire someone to read the military press releases. They have told you this… PSSS: Do you want a copy of my current Iraqi OOB put together from press releases and official web sites. V/r Dorlon Jay Elliott, IS1(SW), USN(Ret), Westminster CO —– Original Message —– From: DJ Elliott To: Warstories ; Viewerservices ; Studiob ; Special ; Newswatch ; Myword ; Lineup ; JER ; Jamie ; Heartland ; Hannity ; Friends ; Foxreport ; FNS ; Feedback ; dennis ; Colmes ; Cavuto Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 10:45 AM Subject: Operation Swarmer Iraqi Units: 1st Brigade/4th Division and 2nd Commando Brigade US Units: 3rd Brigade Combat Team and Combat Aviation Brigade/101st Division Iraqi Security Forces, Coalition Launch ‘Operation Swarmer’ American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, March 16, 2006 – Iraqi and coalition forces today launched the largest air assault operation since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in southern Salah Ad Din province to clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra, military officials reported. ‘Operation Swarmer’ began this morning with soldiers from the Iraqi army’s 1st Brigade, 4th Division; the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team; and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade conducting a combined air and ground assault to isolate the objective area, officials said. Attack and assault aircraft provided aerial weapons support for the operation and also delivered troops from the Iraqi army’s 4th Division; the ‘Rakkasans’ from 1st and 3rd Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment, of the U.S. Army; and the ‘Hunters’ from 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army, to ‘multiple objectives’ according to a Multinational Force Iraq statement. Forces from Iraq’s 2nd Commando Brigade then completed a ground infiltration to secure numerous structures in the area, officials said. More than 1,500 Iraqi and coalition troops, more than 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation, according to the MNF-I statement. Initial reports from the objective area indicate that a number of enemy weapons caches — containing artillery shells, explosives, materials for making homemade bombs, and military uniforms — have been captured. The operation is expected to continue for several days as a thorough search of the objective area is conducted, officials said. Operation Swarmer follows closely the completion of a combined Iraqi and coalition operation west of Samarra in early March that yielded substantial enemy weapons and equipment caches. The name Swarmer, the MNF-I statement explained, was derived from the name given to the largest peacetime airborne maneuvers ever conducted, in spring 1950 in North Carolina. Soon after this exercise, the 187th Infantry was selected to deploy to Korea as an airborne regimental combat team to provide Gen. Douglas MacArthur with an airborne capability. (From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.) Related Site: Multinational Force Iraq

  2. RE: Terminology In the Army at least, ‘air assault’ always involves helicopters. Airborne operations are called, variously, ‘airborne assault,’ ‘airborne insertion,’ or ‘parachute drop,’ among many. The 82d Airborne boys, especially, get pissy over this issue.

  3. Extract from: U.S., Iraqi Troops Score Successes American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, March 10, 2006 ? ‘Operation Glory Light’ was designed to deny terrorists sanctuary and preempt enemy attacks in the Baghdad area. The week-long operation was launched March 2 with a joint air assault by U.S. and Iraqi troops into the Sadr-Yusufiyah area by soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division soldiers. Following the air assault, the soldiers were attacked by indirect and small arms fire. They also discovered a roadside bomb. Soldiers from the 6th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions then moved into position to clear, search and secure roads and houses in the town. March 5-6, the 9th uncovered nine weapons caches, consisting of 131 mortar rounds, nine 50 mm mortars, 17 rockets, two rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, six AK-47 rifles, two BKC machine guns, and a large amount of bomb-making materials. In total, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers found 26 roadside bombs, two car bombs and 15 weapons caches. The operation also involved seven firefights with the enemy resulting in the detention of 16 suspected terrorists, two terrorists killed and one wounded, officials said. (Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.) ——————————————————————————– Extract from: U.S. Army and Iraqi soldiers look out the rear of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter as they are extracted after completing a mission to detain or eliminate insurgent activity southwest of Samarra, Iraq, on Feb. 27, 2006. U.S. Army soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment and Iraqi army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Iraqi Division were airlifted to and from objectives during the combined-joint operation. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Alfred Johnson, U.S. Army. (Released) ——————————————————————————– This was the first US-Iraqi mission Extract from: November 23, 2005 Release A051123e Air assault mission takes down terrorist stronghold TIKRIT, Iraq – A joint Iraqi and U.S. mission against a terrorist hideout near Bayji uncovered a large amount of money and weapons. The operation named Old Baldy was launched Nov. 21 by Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and ‘Rakkasans’ from the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team. More than 30 suspected terrorists and a large cache of money, weapons and material were captured during the operation. The air assault mission was centered on al Bayji Island, a 10 square kilometer land mass splitting the Tigris River north of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. The island has served as an isolated hideout for terrorists and criminals in the past. According to Lt. Col. Randy George, commander of Task Force Leader… ——————————————————————————– V/r Dorlon Jay Elliott, IS1(SW), USN(Ret), Westminster CO

  4. HL: That’s also how I’ve always understood it, but I didn’t want to get TOO anal and start debating ‘air assault’ vs. ‘airborne assault’…while it would be nice to see and I won’t stop pointing out issues I happen to recognize, it’s not realistic to expect most journalists to get detailed down to the nth degree on this sort of thing. But they use ‘air strike’ all the time for missile attacks and aerial bombardment and I’ve never noticed them to use ‘air assault’, so it seems that they’re pretty solidly in the ‘an ‘air strike’ is a missile or aerial bombardment attack’ corner. For them to use the same terminology for an actual ‘air assault’ is more than a bit misleading and is why I pointed it out. If they were always using ‘air strike’, ‘air assault’, and ‘air raid’ interchangeably I’d be irritated but probably wouldn’t have even bothered to mention it. And I’ve heard from a friend (former mech infantry) that 82nd Airborne boys get pissy over pretty much every issue… ;]

  5. 1. This is the 4th joint US-Iraqi AAslt op in the last 6mo. 2. AAslt is what the 101 does. This is normal ops. 3. Original press releases from Centcom and subordinates was no different in details or amount than previous reports. 4. My best guess is that it was a slow news day and the MSM needed a lead. So they hyped an operation after having ignored the previous ones. And now that it is becoming apparent that they are overhyping it, they will start the blame game.

  6. 1. Look at the latest Battle Space Assumption map. 2. Plot where Samara is. 3. Plot where the clearing ops by Iraqi/USMC are. – Do you notice that Samara is between three zones that the Iraqis own? And adjacent to I MEF zone. – Do you think we turned those areas over without making sure the threat was managable first? – Where do you think the terrs moved to under that presure? – And what chunk of realestate do you think we plan to turn over next? ‘75% of Iraq turned over by end of summer.’ Samara will be turned over to Iraqi Army control within next 3 months (probably sooner). We are doing the house cleaning prior to hand over and introducing the new tennants (Iraqi Army and MOI’s Special Police Commandos) to the local residents.