Russian military intel update: War in Iraq, April 5
05.04.2003 [22:07]

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 deployed there.

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.

Yesterdays 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 reinforcements.

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 didnt
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 searched for.

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 and stopped.

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 reported missing.

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 resist.

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 8 days.

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 hasnt
still been a report from the commander of the marine group that defends
this area, which may indicate that he hasnt 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

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]