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[casi] Spec Mil Report. Defence of Baghdad

The Defence of Baghdad - Special Military Report

by Richard M. Bennett
AFI RESEARCH INTELL.BRIEFING, 3 April 2003.   4 April 2003
The URL of this article is:


Baghdad Front.
The forward units of the 101st Airborne/3rd Infantry Division advance
towards the SW of the city through the Karbala Gap and the US Marine Corps
Division advance through Al Kut have met only insignificant opposition. It
seems highly unlikely that many of the defenders have simply melted away
into the civilian population here or indeed elsewhere as significant
quantities of heavy equipment such as Tanks, APC, Artillery and the like
have not been found either abandoned or destroyed. Nor have large numbers
of POW's been taken. The Army, Republican Guard and Air Force(largely
fighting as Ground or Air Defence Troops)numbered some 410,000 two weeks

The best estimate we have so far received is that some 10,000 have been
taken prisoner of defected, with a similar number killed or wounded. Iraq
would therefore appear, at least on paper to still have some 390,000
effectives. This does not include 45,000 well armed paramilitaries and
perhaps as many as another 50,000 Fedayeen and al Quds Guerrilla-style
forces(others give an even higher figure). ~ US claims to have largely
destroyed the two main Republican Guard Divisions defending the southern
approaches to Baghdad must be treated with caution. There is no evidence
that catastrophic damage has yet been inflicted on either unit and the
noticeable lack of destroyed and captured equipment, and dead or captured
Iraqi soldiers tends to confirm this. More importantly AFI Research
believes that there are in fact eight identifiable Republican Guard
Divisions, not six as is often reported and indeed the two Divisions
reported to have been opposing the US ground campaign are believed to have
only transferred south from the Northern Corps within the last month or so.

The 2nd Al Medina Armoured Division with the 2nd, 10th and 17th Armoured,
and 14th Mechanized Brigades near Karbala and the 5th Baghdad Mechanized
Division with the 4th, 5th and 6th Mechanized Brigades near Al Kut are both
reinforcement units. ~ As these two units appear to have been the only such
Divisions involved in any serious fighting so far it is of great interest
to considered the possible deployment of the original Southern Corps

The 1st Hammurabi Mechanized Division is reportedly deployed in well
protected positions to the West of Baghdad with the 8th and 9th Mechanized
and 18th Armoured Brigades; the 6th Nebuchadnezzar Mechanized Division was
based in Al Kut area with the 19th, 22nd and 23rd Mechanized Brigades, but
now appears to have withdrawn into the outskirts of Baghdad; the 8th
Special Forces Division based both in the city and probably behind US lines
with the 33rd, 65th, 66th and 68th Brigades.

The 26th Brigade is reportedly near the Airport and the Al Nida Armoured
Division which was based in the Qal'at Saleh-Amarah area with the 41st,
42nd and 43rd Armoured Brigades. It is believed that this unit was
withdrawn north and is deployed somewhere behind the Baghdad Division and
on the right flank of the US Marine advance. Inside the city the Special
Republican Guard which consists of the First, Second and Third Mechanized
Brigades guarding the three main routes into the city, and the Fourth
Mechanized Brigade held as a strategic reserve alongside the elite 1st
Adnan Tank Regiment at Abu Gharib and 2nd Tank Regiment at Al Makasib forms
another overstrength Divisional sized formation.

Northern Front.
The Republican Guard units still deployed north of Baghdad are the 7th
Adnan Mechanized Division based at Mosul with the 11th and 12th Mechanized,
and 21st Armoured Brigades and the Al Abed Mechanized Division based at
Kirkuk / Khalid Camp with the 38th, 39th and 40th Mechanized Brigades
defending the Northern Front. In addition there are two largely intact
Regular Army Northern Corps; the First Corps at Khalid Camp in Kirkuk with
the 2nd Infantry Division at Al Rabee, the 5th Mechanized Division at
Kirkuk, the 8th Infantry Division in the Shuwan Area and the 38th Infantry
Division at Qader Karan, while the Fifth Corps is centred on Mosul with the
1st Mechanized Division at Makhmur, the 4th Infantry Division near Bashiqa,
the 7th Infantry Division near Al Mansour and the 16th Infantry Division in

Southern Front.
The considerable remnants of the Third Corps with the 6th Armoured Division
near Naserria and the 11th and 51st Divisions bottled up in the
partial-siege of Basrah are still supported by a largely untouched Fourth
Corps at Al-Amara (Amarah) with the 10th Armoured Division, the 14th
Infantry Division and the 18th Infantry Division to the north east along
Route-6. The Second Corps originally at Diwaniyah with the 3rd Armoured
Division, the 15th Infantry Division and the 34th Infantry Division is not
reported to have been heavily involved in combat nor yet militarily out of
the picture.

Iraqi sources, and of course uncorroborated or for that matter denied by
independent sources, have claimed that their actual losses in equipment
have been marginally less than expected; the effectiveness of the US
bombing has also been less than expected though this may be just bravado.
However the air campaign has certainly failed to destroy completely either
the command and control structure or the moral of the ground units so far.
These same sources claim that less than a third of the actual Iraqi front
line fighting force has so far been fully committed to battle and that much
of the fighting has been left to the Special Force Commando's, stay behind
regular Army units and the Fedayeen.

Baghdad remains at the centre of a very large area still under its control,
with perhaps 80% of the civilian population of Iraq.

It remains largely unthreatened to the East, North and North West. If the
forces listed above have not laid down their arms and returned home, and
assuming they are still prepared to continue with the fight (and without
large scale surrenders after some two weeks of heavy bombing and ground
attack, that is likely to be the case) then somewhere or other are some
250,000 Republican Guard and regular Army strengthened by perhaps as many
as 75,000 irregulars and all within easy reach of Baghdad, the forward US
units and a goodly part of an exposed 350mile long supply line. In addition
there may still be as many as 80,000 additional forces on the Northern
Front and 60,000 in Central Iraq and the Basrah area.

Iraqi sources have suggested that a counter-attack, if one occurs of
course, would be designed to quickly close with the Allied forces and mix
the Iraqi and US units up into a ground 'dog-fight' to neutralize the US
air superiority. The Iraqi's are apparently prepared to sacrifice a number
of major units in order to inflict very severe casualties on the US 3rd
Infantry division in particular. However the most likely scenario appears
to be that the Iraqi command will leave a door open into the city and
harass the advancing Allied troops at every opportunity. It may be
significant that the Iraqi command forecast correctly the time of the US
push on Baghdad to the day and indeed made little serious attempt to
destroy strategically important bridges, lay mine fields at choke points or
flood the low lying areas to impede the US advance. Strange tactics from a
country that has had months if not years to prepare for this invasion.

Even when Baghdad is eventually taken, perhaps after many days or weeks of
heavy fighting, the regime may still continue to use the cities as a 'trap'
while making their final stand in the marshlands to the East, the mountains
to the North East and Saddams own heartland to the North. Unless the US
'gets lucky' or springs a strategic surprise, Iraq may be able to prolong
this war well into the heat of the summer months with potentially
disastrous diplomatic and political consequences for the Allies
internationally and particularly in the Middle East.


 Richard Bennett Media. (C) Richard Bennett Media 2003.
For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .

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