April 5, 2003: The situation on the US-Iraqi
front is characterized by gradual reduction of American
offensive activity. After the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division
tank forces had marched towards Baghdad and its vanguards
reached the city from south and south-west, engineering
fortification of their positions began, which indicates the end
of the current stage of the campaign as well as the loss of
offensive potential of American forces and necessity to rest and
regroup. It is supposed that during the next two days the
American command will attempt local strikes in order to improve
and extend their positions on the south and, especially,
south-west approaches to Baghdad (crossing the Baghdad –
Samarra roadway) and begin bringing fresh forces from Kuwait.
As we supposed, during the last night Americans were moving
101st Airborne Division troops to help the 1st Mechanized
Division that captured the airport of Baghdad yesterday morning.
About 80 strike and transport helicopters and 500 marines were
But all the efforts to reinforce the brigade with heavy armor
failed as Iraqi started powerful artillery strikes at the
transport routes and organized mobile firing groups on the
roads. After reports about losing 3 tanks and 5 APCs on the
route the American command had to pause the movement of the
reinforcements by land.
Yesterday’s estimates of the forces concentrated here were
overstated. After analysis of intercepted radio communications
and reports of American commanders it was specified that at the
airport there were only parts of the 1st brigade troops, up to 2
enforced battalions with the help of a self-propelled artillery
division 3 thousand soldiers and officers strong, 60 tanks and
about 20 guns.
Another battalion enforced with artillery crossed the
Baghdad-Amman roadway and came into position at the crossroads
to the south of the airport, near Abu-Harraib.
Soldiers of the 1st Mechanized Brigade spent almost all the last
night in chemical protection suits, waiting for Iraqi to use
their “untraditional weapons”. Apart from that, their
positions were constantly shot with artillery and machine gun
fire. The brigade commanders report that the soldiers are
ultimately dead-beat, and are constantly requesting
About 10 armored units including 4 tanks were lost in this area
yesterday. Up to 9 men were killed, about 20 wounded, at least
25 reported missing. Moreover, the status of a patrol group that
didn’t arrive at the airport remains unclear. It is supposed
that it either moved away towards Khan-Azad and took defense
there or got under an ambush and was eliminated. It is now being
The losses of Iraqi were up to 40 men killed, about 200 captured
(including the airport technical personnel), 4 guns and 3 tanks.
Currently American reconnaissance squadrons are trying to
dissect the suburban defenses with local sallies.
At the same time, marine troops are approaching the south-east
borders of Baghdad. Their vanguard units reached the outskirts
of Al-Jessir and immediately tried to capture the bridge over a
feeder of the Tigris, the Divala river, but were met with fire
Commander of the 1st Expeditionary Marine Squadron colonel Joe
Dowdy was deposed yesterday morning. As was revealed, the
colonel was deposed “…for utmost hesitation and loss of the
initiative during the storm of An-Nasiriya…”. This way the
coalition command in Qatar found an excuse for their military
faults by that town. The “guilt” of the colonel was in his
refusing to enter the town for almost 3 days and trying to
suppress Iraqi resistance with artillery and aviation, trying to
avoid losses. As a result, the command additionally had to move
the 15th squadron of colonel Tomas Worldhouser there, who had to
storm the ferriages for almost 6 days, with about 20 of his
soldiers killed, 130 wounded and 4 missing. The 1st
Expeditionary Squadron lost no men at An-Nasiriya, but 3 marines
died, as were reported, “by inadvertency” and about 20
soldiers got wounded.
Despite the fact that marines were able to capture one of the
bridges at the south outskirt of An-Nasiriya, the ferriage
across the Euphrates is still risky. Fights in the city are
going on. The American command has to cover the ferriage with a
company of marines enforced with tanks and artillery, up to 400
soldiers and officers strong. Every column passing across the
bridge gets shot by Iraqis from the left bank and the marines
have to cover it by setting smoke screens and delivering
constant fire. A brigade group of the 101st Airborne Division is
engaged in the combat but is unable to break the Iraqi
resistance. Throughout the day 3 men were wounded, 1 soldier
In An-Najaf, after 3 days of gunning and bombardment the 101st
Airborne Division marines were able to advance towards the
center of the town and are now fighting in the market region.
It is reported that 2 marines were killed and 4 wounded. 1 APC
was destroyed with a RPG. At the same time there arrived
information that during the last night most of the garrison (up
to 3 thousand Republican Guardians of the “Medina” Division)
left the town on cars for Karbala. Only militia remained in the
town, covering the withdrawing main forces and continuing to
All the attempts of American marines to advance into Al-Khindiya
failed. After 1 APC from the vanguard was knocked out and more
than 20 RPG shots at the column, the marines withdrew at their
original positions. 2 soldiers were wounded and evacuated
rearwards. American intelligence believes that no more than a
battalion of Iraqis are defending the town. Their resistance
remains, despite that the town has already been under siege for
Americans were unable to capture the left-bank part of Al-Hillah.
The 82nd Airborne Division troops are only capable of keeping a
narrow “corridor” – across the outskirt of Al-Hillah with
the bridge over the Euphrates. There is constant shooting in the
town. Throughout the day in this region the coalition lost 1 men
killed and 4 wounded.
A similar “corridor” is kept by marines in the Al-Kut town.
But there is information that allows us to suppose that
Americans were pushed away from the town last night. Continuous
requests of artillery and aviation support and coordinates
transmitted to the artillery HQ indicate that the combat
occurred in immediate proximity to the American positions. 4
times ambulance helicopters flew into this region, and there
hasn’t still been a report from the commander of the marine
group that defends this area, which may indicate that he
hasn’t yet have full information about his units.
The situation at Al-Diwaniyah, where a heavy combat has been
going on for 3 days, has become a little clearer. Currently all
American forces have been pushed away from the town. Early
morning an American helicopter was attacked. Its crew died.
Another helicopter was shot down and had to land to the east
from Karbala. Information about its crew is being obtained.
The overall situation in the central region of Iraq is
characterized by gradual reduction of the coalition activity and
change to active defense. But extraordinary dispersion of the
ground forces, their fragmentation (the biggest group now
contains up to 12 thousand troops) create advantageous
preconditions for Iraqi counter-attacks, but the air superiority
of the coalition severely complicate such projects. If, due to
weather conditions, the coalition forces lose their air support,
it may have very dramatic consequences.
At the south of Iraq the British advance on Basra is losing its
strength as well and may already stop during the next two days.
Currently the British have been unable to achieve any serious
success on this direction, and fights are only occur at the
outskirts of the city.
The British command had to admit that it had underestimated the
strength of Iraqi resistance and was unable to reveal the
structure and number of Basra defenders fully and operatively.
Currently in the city and the Fao peninsula, according to the
British data, about 5 thousand of regular Iraqi military forces
are defending (parts of 51st Mechanized Division of general
Khaled Khatim Saleh al-Hashimi) and up to 5-7 thousand
volunteers and militiamen. At the same time, British hopes for
an armed Shia revolt have been ruined. The Shia leaders in Iran
called their Iraqi coreligionists to fight against English and
American “satanists” and “Zionists”, leaving British
without their “best card” in the plan of capturing Basra. 3
men were killed and 8 wounded yesterday.
At the North of Iraq desultory fightings between Kurdish troops
“peshmerga” and Iraqi forces are going on. The morning
messages about the town Kalak captured have not been confirmed
yet, and according to the radio surveillance data the actions
only take place at the approaches of the town. For now, Kurds
are mainly busy robbing neighboring villages and transporting
the stolen goods into their basic regions. According to American
special forces which have recently been replaced here, sometimes
after capturing a village up to half of the Kurdish squadron
abandon their positions. They load stolen property into captured
cars and leave for their homes to be back next morning for new
But apart from clear marauding of “peshmerga”, the coalition
command has more and more problems with keeping the decent moral
level of their fighting soldiers. Spite and irritability are
growing even in British troops, which were always “correct
enough” towards the civilians on the occupied territories. In
increasing frequency British soldiers show violence and rudeness
towards civilians. At a recent consultation at the British HQ, a
representative of the military police command pointed at the
fact that even actions of arresting people suspected in
underground activities occur with unnecessary violence and
publicity, and resemble rather intimidation than special police
operations. The command issued a special order regarding the
required behavior in the occupied regions, but even after it had
been published a few analogous incidents were registered.
An event that had happened 5 days before also received publicity
at the coalition HQ. During a night “cleanup” in one of
suburban houses near An-Nasiriya three marines shot a man and
afterwards raped and shot his wife. The command got information
about this accident from one of its informers. After
interrogation the marines were sent to Qatar for additional
In increasing frequency commanders find things belonging to
Iraqis in their soldiers’ rucksacks. The soldiers are
discontent of their commanders attempting to cease this
practice, and call those items “war salvage”. Currently the
command is preparing a special order regarding this issue.
[translated by Necroman]