Sending combat ready and tasked troops out on seemingly un-connected manoeuvres or leave is an old military disinformation technique.
As regards the conduct of the campaign there is no alternative to the induction of land forces for a prolonged campaign. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. Casualties will have to be accepted and planned for.
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
South Asia Editor
Orders of Battle Internet Magazine
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 4:34 PM
Subject: [iwar] British Marines resting over November
British task force not ready for land assault
War on Terrorism: Strategy
By Kim Sengupta in Muscat, Oman
30 October 2001
The war in Afghanistan is running into an array of problems: a seeming
lack of strategy, an absence of any significant breakthrough on the
ground, and conflicting signals from political and military leaders.
Against this backdrop, further evidence emerged in Oman yesterday that
any British land action in Afghanistan is a considerable time away.
Military sources disclosed that the 238 Marines who will form the
nucleus of the strike force will undertake a live-fire exercise until
next week and then be allowed 10 days' leave.
The men have already spent six weeks in Oman, taking part in Exercise
Saif Sareea II, the biggest deployment of British troops since the
Falklands which has turned into a rehearsal for a real war.
British special forces and the Marines are expected to undertake some
of the most hazardous missions in the coming winter war, carrying out
hit-and-run raids against the Taliban and their al-Qa'ida allies. But
British military commanders are determined the troops should have the
fullest possible preparations as well as rest, and the public should
be made aware of the extreme difficulties of the task ahead.
Further training is also required. The aircraft carrier the HMS
Illustrious is being stripped of its fixed-wing aircraft to make room
for the combat and transport helicopters needed for Afghanistan.
"There is planning to be done and planning to be ready to get the task
force reconfigured," Rear Admiral James Burnell-Nugent, the officer in
charge of the British task force, said. "This ship has got some
training to do. Although she has a role as a commando carrier, she
hasn't done it for a while and it is a very difficult role."
The admiral said he wanted to take the Marines on board Illustrious
and the assault ship HMS Fearless as late as possible. Spending weeks
on board would dull their skills and also lead to boredom, he said.
Forty-eight days after the terrorist attack on the US, the politicians
are still talking a good war. But senior military officers are
increasingly cautious about the outcome and have given up any thought
of a swift victory. They also feel that realpolitik by the US and
British governments, often conducted in contradictory fashions, is
hampering their operations.
Weeks of bombing have not broken the Taliban or led to a popular
revolt, as some politicians, especially in Washington, had predicted.
The intended transition from the air to a ground campaign has been
anything but smooth. The first, and only, commando raid inside
Afghanistan almost ended in disaster because of faulty intelligence.
The raid was a purely cosmetic one for the benefit of the media and
the public on a target, which intelligence had claimed, would be
poorly defended. The tenacity of the Taliban in fighting back has so
alarmed the Pentagon that no further raids have taken place. The lack
of intelligence remains the same.
Also noticeable by its absence is any significant advance by the
Northern Alliance which was supposed to have a pincer effect, with the
air strikes, on the Afghan regime. The military marginally blamed the
politicians for this. The attitude of Washington and London towards
the Alliance has taken several twists and a few new turns. In the
immediate aftermath of 11 September, the military was told to
establish contact with them as potential allies. This was then
abandoned due to Pakistani pressure, only to be reactivated later.
The present Western stance appears to be that the Alliance can take
Mazar-i-Sharif, and the military airfield there can then be used by
the Allies, but they must not march on Kabul. The Alliance has, of
course, failed to do either.
Both British and American sources say the relationship between the US
Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and the military hierarchy,
especially the Chief of Staff, General Richard Myers, is frosty at
best and combustible at worst.
In Britain the deployment of ground forces was delayed by disputes
between the Army and the Navy on whether paratroopers or Marines
should be the combat troops. The Navy seems to have won.
Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]