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Ivanov

A Marine artillery battalion in Syria fired more rounds than any artillery battalion since Vietnam.

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Which begs the question.....Just how bad is the damage in Raqqah?  :o

US Army M177s were a major contributor in turning Mosul into this:

3df571d397424c4f822440db99577e63_18.jpg

So if the USMC fired even more ammo into Raqqah......

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

US Army M177s were a major contributor in turning Mosul into this . . . So if the USMC fired even more ammo into Raqqah......

1

Yes, terrible thing isn't it? If only those cities had been held by one of the most hateful, diabolical regimes on the planet. If that had been the case, well then it might just have been worth it . . .

Edited by BrotherSurplice

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You are (wilfully IMHO) reading too much into my statement fella.

I can't see any other way it could have been done, it's been the same since Stalingrad TBH.....Urban warfare sucks for everyone, especially the civilians trapped in the combat zone. 

My sympathies lie with those civilians and with the poor blighters who get to clear up the mess.....We have some idea of what that involves in Mosul (it's horrendous) as there is a good amount of reporting from the city.  News from Raqqah on the other hand is rather thin on the ground, but based on information like the above it's unlikely to be good.

End of comment.  No attributions of guilt or blame.

Capiche?

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Before this thread get completely spoiled. There's a fascinating chart in the article, showing the amounts and types of rounds fired during OIF. The percentage of DPICM, roughly 33% is staggering IMO. No wonder that after the invasion there were problems with an unexploded ordnance. This led to the plans of replacing othe cluster munitions in the US arsenal, which in turn... has been just recently reversed, based on the experiences from Ukraine and Syria.

OQ6_UWYWOHJCFLCQ3_HVWTG5_KAJY.png 

Edited by Ivanov

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For me, it's not so much the number of rounds (impressive though it is) but how many targets, in a given time frame, those rounds would have been spread across. 

I.e  how quickly they were switching targets, their TOT, and how many rounds per target type to achieve elimination. 

36000 rounds spread @, say,  6/target is a lot more impressive than 36000 spread  @ 50 /(similar) target.

I'm certain the following conclusion is obvious to any Mil vet, but this is where I feel US, artillery will be able to match RUS  fires - quicker TOT, less time & rounds reqd for target elimination, thus freeing up tubes to fire again at new target while the RUS guns are still on their first target. 

At some point, speed of response outweighs numbers. Thus is what accuracy in sensors seems to get you - fires flexibility. 

Sorry if the above is patently and painfully obvious to the vets here 🙂

 

Edited by kinophile

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I'm talking more about relaying of targeting information, the accuracy of fires and the window from ID of target to its destruction to receiving a new target. I imagine the US loop is far, far shorter than the Russian. 

As in, Speed of confirmation has a quality all of its own. 

 

 

 

Edited by kinophile

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The US has a distinct advantage in fires integration, targeting and precision.  

The greater question for artillery in the next few years is being able to achieve effects in the face of frankly terrifying counter-battery capabilities.  The idea a M777 battery is going to be able to fire off more than 1-2 rounds before having to displace or face total destruction is certainly sinking in.  The traditional massed and persistent Russian fires are basically inviting ruin on the firing batteries.  

From that fires and effects are going to have to be able to answer the question of how to achieve the same effects, with less time/rounds to do so.  Precision will certainly play a role  although the current laser/GPS guidance trend will be challenged by EW (while the laser itself is not subject to jamming, the spotting element's communications, let alone if it's a drone are), as will advances in non-kinetic ADA (or whatever we care to call lasers or similar hard kill non-bullet options) observation. 

One thing that will be interesting is the historic fires integration piece taken to a more refined output, in that it may be still possible to put dozens of rounds on a target while still only doing so from a small number of guns by coordinating and allocating fires across a wider collection of units, or as far as several batteries firing very small missions, but sequenced and coordinating digitally (Battery A shoots 1 round per gun, displaces while Battery B fires 1 salvo then displaces, then BN mortars drop 3 rounds before displacing then Battery A opens up again).  

Or to visualize, artillery will spend more time in motion than firing, and each firing opportunity will need to mean more, and each target will need to be more relevant (or the historical US/and to an even larger degree RU ability to simply dump fires on anything that's being troublesome will be deeply challenged).

Basically it's going to matter a lot less about the gun, or how the gun is loaded, and more about how the round gets where it needs to go, and how we accomplish effects while someone tries to kill the gun.  The Russians especially historically have counted on massed non-precision fires, which may be lethal but again it won't take too many "missed" displacements to start to reach parity in numbers and greater effects disparity in terms of fires.

As far as "Alas Babylon"

It would be a mistake to attribute too much of the damage to US fires, or to at the least, indicate somehow they were responsible for causing more damage that would have occurred anyway.  Both Mosul and Raqqa were subject to lots of dumb artillery and direct fire weapons from the non-US elements rolling in (some of whom conduct "recon by fire" and little else), and ISIS rather relies on booby traps or other scorched earth type techniques.  

Basically several bulls went through the China shop.  The US precision (either in guided or digitally aided) fires certainly did some damage, but it's a bit obtuse to pretend they made it especially bad after looking at the other actors and factors at play.  

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4 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

It would be a mistake to attribute too much of the damage to US fires, or to at the least, indicate somehow they were responsible for causing more damage that would have occurred anyway.  Both Mosul and Raqqa were subject to lots of dumb artillery and direct fire weapons from the non-US elements rolling in (some of whom conduct "recon by fire" and little else), and ISIS rather relies on booby traps or other scorched earth type techniques.

My first post was rather clumsy, in retrospect I'd edit it, but I can't.....My whole point is that this was done by the most precise artillery out there (with help from air dropped bombs, IEDs and MRLs of varying sophistication), I've never suggested that it was overkill or deliberate destruction, indeed from what I can tell CTS did what was needful and no more, taking on very high casualties themselves in order to reduce casualties amongst Mosul's civilian population.

 

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44 minutes ago, kinophile said:

@panzersaurkrautwerfer "guided or digitally aided".

Digitally aided? 

Just highly precise "dumb" rounds.  The ballistics isn't too tricky, but the "known" point of aim and point of origin, plus the gun's orientation being aligned by computer makes for what is still a very accurate shot for what is an inert piece of metal lobbed through the air.  
 

 

35 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

My first post was rather clumsy, in retrospect I'd edit it, but I can't.....My whole point is that this was done by the most precise artillery out there (with help from air dropped bombs, IEDs and MRLs of varying sophistication), I've never suggested that it was overkill or deliberate destruction, indeed from what I can tell CTS did what was needful and no more, taking on very high casualties themselves in order to reduce casualties amongst Mosul's civilian population.

 

True, I'm just saying that we're talking about a city that's been hit by EVERYTHING from massed small arms fire, to JDAMs, to dump truck sized IEDs, to tanks, to massed indirect fires from our "partners."  It's hard to say "this is what a city looks like even with precision fires" when it's closer to "this is what happens when a suicidal death cult goes toe to toe with a military force that values massed fire* over all other aspects of combat operations, as supported by a third agency with precision fires in an urban center"


*Even going back to pre-1991, the Iraqi military is all about massing fires and effects and then moving in once the enemy has stopped firing back.  This is almost "traditional" at this point going by the "death blossoms" the Iraqis are still infamous for.  The forces that operate in Syria are not far removed from this either.  

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No disagreement, but as you can probably tell I'm kind of impressed with Iraq's CTS.....They've come a long way from the typical western concept of an Arab fighting force and IMHO they did as good a job as they could in keeping destruction to a minimum (I believe a member here has actually worked with these guys and he seemed pretty impressed with them too.  B) ), yet the city still wound up looking like Stalingrad.  :o

You always have to assume the enemy will do their worst in these scenarios, if only to make your forces look bad in media accounts of the fighting.....It's an awful bloody mess and my fears for Raqqah revolve mostly around the fact that I don't believe the SDF to be remotely as capable or well trained & motivated as CTS.  :mellow:

To put it another way, CTS are Iraqis fighting for Iraq.....SDF are whoever the 'Coalition' can hire to cause the Assad regime grief and that makes a huge difference.  :unsure:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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On 2/12/2018 at 8:30 PM, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

It would be a mistake to attribute too much of the damage to US fires

On 2/13/2018 at 1:40 AM, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

It's hard to say "this is what a city looks like even with precision fires" when it's closer to "this is what happens when a suicidal death cult goes toe to toe with a military force that values massed fire* over all other aspects of combat operations,

Do you suggest ISIS bombed itself? :blink: Where have this record number of US rounds gone to then?

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3 hours ago, IMHO said:

Do you suggest ISIS bombed itself?

Quite literally, yes. Just go ahead and google "ISIS suicide bomb" and it should clarify nicely for you. If it doesn't then nothing else anyone here will say can help you.

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@IICptMillerII, @sburke, ok, ok, you got me... :D

"'They fired more rounds in five months in Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam war,' said Army Sgt. Major. John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It’s an explosive revelation that sheds light on the immense level of lethal force brought to Raqqa and northern Syria in support of U.S. counter-ISIS operations. ... From June 2017 until Raqqa’s liberation in October, U.S. aircraft dropped just under 20,000 total munitions. Those numbers, from U.S. Air Forces Central Command, reflect strikes in Iraq as well."

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2018/02/06/these-marines-in-syria-fired-more-artillery-than-any-battalion-since-vietnam/

Certainly most of the destruction in Raqqa and Mosul was caused by US artillery but that's war. What is the purpose of the statement that US arty fires record number of rounds at the city yet somehow it magically cause no damage? I mean a purpose outside of political spin... :blink:

PS @kinophile, here's for you, - ODS and OIF though not for Syria

MYXANFSPRFHBBNU4K5KKOVFYRI.png

 

Edited by IMHO

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24 minutes ago, IMHO said:

MYXANFSPRFHBBNU4K5KKOVFYRI.png

This is US Army ammo expenditure, not the Marines. Also, it's important to note two things:

1) In every conflict since WWII, the amount of munitions used in short periods and the lethality/accuracy of those munitions have increased. Someone can chime in with the exact specifics, but during the Arc Light B-52 strikes on North Vietnam, such as Operation Rolling Thunder and the like, more bomb tonnage was dropped in those single operations than most of WWII. 

2) OIF was a very quick military operation, something like 3 weeks total, give or take. During that time, it was high tempo operations the entire time, during which any given combat formation was in contact with the enemy. This means that a lot of ammo was used in a short period against new targets. However, with the situation against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, you have a single firebase lobbing shells at roughly the same area, for months at a time. The shell expenditure is going to add up pretty quick. Further, if you figure that the fire missions are called in competently and then factor in US artillery response times (think CMBS, 4-6 minutes for fire for effect), then you can do more fire missions in a given day. And to add, if you are the battery that is always dropping on target fire missions with fast FFE times, everyone is going to want you as their primary fires battery. All of these things add up to more shells fired per day, which helps to explain the headline. 

And because this disclaimer is needed here: no, the US is not wantonly dumping unaimed fires at urban centers just for the hell of it. US artillery is not barrel bombs, in practice or in the theory of warfare in which they are applied. If this is your angle, just do us all a favor and say so, so we can ignore this for the drivel it is.

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2 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

This is US Army ammo expenditure, not the Marines

Yepp. I posted it for the response time.

2 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

US artillery is not barrel bombs, in practice or in the theory of warfare in which they are applied. If this is your angle

No, I didn't mean that - I'd rather differentiate between the purpose and inevitable costs. Fighting ISIS is beyond commendation, it's just

On 2/12/2018 at 8:30 PM, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

It would be a mistake to attribute too much of the damage to US fires

goes against the obvious. Tens of thousands of 155mm did cause so much destruction. But leaving head choppers to their designs is far worse.

3 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

The shell expenditure is going to add up pretty quick

IMHO I'd state well prepared city defences as the main reason. ISIS had many months and a sizeable deal of forced labor sourced from the local populace to accomplish that. Other operations stated above are either rural terrain - where lower calibers do the trick - or high tempo operations where the enemy didn't have much time to dig in. There was no need for so many 155mm rounds I believe.

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12 hours ago, IMHO said:

Do you suggest ISIS bombed itself? :blink: Where have this record number of US rounds gone to then?

One of the more common tactics used by ISIS, and to a lesser extent before them, AQI is the "House Born IED" or "HBIED."  There's a variety of tactics involved with it:

1. The simplest and most direct is just a conventional booby trap.  ISIS does this TONS in places they are anticipating losing or placed they are evacuating.  This are sort of hit/miss, the detonation means are usually mechanical which again your success rate varies, and can range anything from something designed simply to cripple/main the person who triggers it, to full stop leaves a 3 meter deep crater where the house used to be.  

2. A tactic preferred during Mosul/Raqqa type fights is to strongpoint a house into a fighting position (element size is usually team or squad, but sometimes up to platoon), and then equip that building with large scale explosive devices.  In urban operations, the attacker is usually obligated to clear hostile occupied structures (to make sure the folks within are really dead vs waiting for the lead elements to pass), so the structure serves the dual purpose of serving as a place to fight from, and killing enemy forces once the position is taken out/no longer tenable.  

3. Sometimes buildings that offer cover within an engagement area will be rigged, so direct/indirect fire is used to force the attacking element to seek shelter near the booby trapped buildings, which are detonated when most convenient for the defender.  

Beyond the structure based devices, ISIS loves vehicle borne IEDs, and many of these are quite large in terms of explosive potential.

So yeah ISIS bombed "itself" pretty often, frequently using quite large devices in urban settings.

As far as 155 MM, again while that's a lot of rounds, that's a lot of rounds spread over dozens of miles, inclusive rural targets.  Without getting into a lot of detail, the US howitzers are not used for mass barrages because simply put there's not that many guns (again there was only 18 guns+crews, while guns were replaced, to the best of our knowledge there were never more than 18 firing weapons), and our Allies/"Allies" are doing the massed fires themselves.

What the US brings to the table is precision/semi-precision (or more like, guided, and highly accurate conventional fires) synced to intelligence gathering and surveillance tools well beyond what most countries are capable.  What this often works out to is hitting enemy VBIED concentrations while they're massing, firing on ISIS artillery assets, killing enemy supply elements (both the more conventional truck based, but also smuggler "ratlines") or killing enemy strongpoints that are "danger close" to friendly forces.  A lot of these missions/desired effects would fall more on direct fire/aviation/missiles in the historical context, but the capabilities of tube artillery have grown, and their battlefield persistence vs say, helicopters simply mean the system is getting a lot of use.

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7 hours ago, IMHO said:

...

Certainly most of the destruction in Raqqa and Mosul was caused by US artillery but that's war. What is the purpose of the statement that US arty fires record number of rounds at the city yet somehow it magically cause no damage? I mean a purpose outside of political spin... :blink:

...

 

Your statement has a logical fallacy. You presuppose that "most" of the destruction was from US artillery, but those who disagree with you are therefore stating "no damage".

C'mon. 

If you're going to state "Certainly (,) most of the destruction...was caused by US artillery..." then you'd better back that up. You're making a claim of fact. Maybe it's true, maybe not. You're claiming it...based on what?

Next, who said US artillery caused "no damage"? Toss some citations in there.

My point in writing this is to make sure that this thread doesn't spin into some sort of propaganda-fest. 

(FWIW, I don't give a fig about damage in fighting Isis/Taliban. That's war. If the US leveled those cities, I'm good with it. I wouldn't be good with the US having its soldiers and Marines die so that some piece of the city didn't get destroyed. If it would save one US life by leveling 20 blocks of the city, then start leveling.)

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@c3k c'mon, that's pretty short sighted. Those 20 blocks are occupied. All that does is antagonise families and provide recruits to ISIS now or its future forms, increasing likelihood of further US deaths in the future. If they are emptied, sure. But ISIS specifically stopped evacuations, the ****ers.

Avoiding/mitigating that vicious spiral is a strong reason for guided munitions in the first place,no? Even falluhjah was less indiscriminate than that (yes I know it was a lot of unguided munitions, but there wasn't mass block leveling. I think...) 

Not to seem like I'm derailing your point above,  because I do agree - no one claimed US art did not cause the damage pictured., but that it was a compound accumulation of damage, with the most discriminate being US fires, and most indiscriminate being Daesh/Militia fires. 

Edited by kinophile

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2 hours ago, c3k said:

You're claiming it...based on what?

Let's take Raqqa. Only US-led coalition and YPG/SDF showed up for the party. YPG/SDF does not have heavy assets to speak of so we have Coalition only. Typical breakdown of sorties between US and non-US aircrafts are given here.

Screen-Shot-2017-05-30-at-10.25.28-AM-14

US contributes over 95% of total sorties so it basically comes down to US air assets vs. Marine arty support. US air assets delivered 20'000 munitions in June-Octobe 2017 both in Syria and Iraq whereas Marines lobbed 35'000 rounds in support of Raqqa offensive for the same period of time. Actually the reason for the barrel burnout was inordinate amount of fire Marine arty had to rain on Raqqa since there were no other arty assets available for the task.

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2018/02/06/these-marines-in-syria-fired-more-artillery-than-any-battalion-since-vietnam/

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/flashpoints/2017/11/02/marine-artillery-barrage-of-raqqa-was-so-intense-two-howitzers-burned-out/

Quotes:

“They fired more rounds in five months in Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam war,” said Army Sgt. Major. John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Every minute we were there we were putting some kind of ordnance or some kind of attack on ISIS,” Troxell told Marine Corps Times. “I couldn’t believe ISIS was still holding out.”

Luke O’Brien, a former Army artillery officer and now historian, who acquired statistics on rounds fired from an Army historian at Fort Sill, Oklahoma: “That’s a lot of rounds. Even on a daily average basis that’s a lot. It certainly speaks to demand.”

“Every minute of every hour we were putting some kind of fire on ISIS in Raqqa, whether it was mortars, artillery, rockets, [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems], Hellfires, armed drones, you name it,” Troxell told reporters...

2 hours ago, c3k said:

You presuppose that "most" of the destruction was from US artillery, but those who disagree with you are therefore stating "no damage".

Can "no damage" side provide the numbers as well?

Edited by IMHO

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