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JulianJ

Yemeni Battle Videos

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"It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder," Tallyrand on Napoleon having a French noble assassinated.

I just found this pro-Houthi Yemeni battle vid channel   

I have watched several videos and the Houthis v the Saudis and their allies would make really good scenarios for CM2. (I realise making games out of other peoples' misery is in pretty bad taste. I do find it hard to reconcile my wargamery side with my humanitarian ethos sometimes). Amazing rocky terrain - ideal for irregulars.
 

NOTE: these videos are from the Houthi side - they indicate their soldiers with green arrows and the enemy (Saudi irregulars?) with red. I think these are total eye-openers. It would be interesting if anyone on the forum can understand Arabic, as the commentary would no doubt be enlightening but I cannot understand it.

NOTE 2: I have heard, but have no corroborating evidence, that the Saudi army can't get any decent soldiers - so  has to rely on desperate people, eg Pakistani poor. The only reliable units are held back against insurrection. Certainly if I was a Saudi tankman trained on an M1A2, and then sent into battle with a T55 I suspect my morale might have a negative modifier. 

Quote

"You can pay people enough to fight for you, but not enough to die for you" Machiavelli on mercenaries.

This channel's battle footage shows the Houthis being brave and competent against a what I can only describe as a pitiful, unprofessional enemy. Yet there is a truly astonishing amount of arms, ammo and equipment that the Houthis are capturing intact - it's like being in dusty aladdin's caves of war materiel. See for yourself. At around the 9 min mark 15-20 lightly damaged armoured vehicles and about a dozen softskins including a Grad MRL truck are abandoned by the side of the  road.  I'd guess most of them are repairable. If a Western battalion or brigade let this amount of vehicles fall into enemy hands it would be called a major defeat, wouldn't it?

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3 hours ago, JulianJ said:

(I realise making games out of other peoples' misery is in pretty bad taste.

Well yes of course.  But that is what ALL wargames do if you think about it.  The era or location shouldn't matter.  (Of course it does due to the vagaries of the human condition.)

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I know, but it feels worse than recreating the Napoleonic wars, or even the battle of the Bulge as they are somehow located in the past. 

On another note, I wonder if some of the CM forum smart people have any insights into the Yemen war. There don't seem to be the military papers that we have on the Ukraine. I have been following some of it on Southfront  occasionally, and a few other sites since it started.

I have formed the opinion that the Saudi military is one of the most staggeringly incompetent armies I have come across. The list of follies is endless. Just to mention a few:

  • Leaving your vehicles sand cammo'd when the terrain is grey gravel colour, except where it is lush green (near the sea I think)
  • Sending out your tank troops in ancient vehicles like AMX30s that were got out of mothballs (there's vids of a convoy of them)
  • Having the most pitiful troops imaginable - in the cauldron battle a few months ago the prisoners looked like homeless people in rags
  • No evidence of good command by officers and NCOs
  • Surprisingly a lack of drone/arty and air cover
  • Not being prepared for counter-ambush tactics - early on there is footage of a Saudi patrol of wheeled APCs on a road hitting an IED + ambush. They get hammered, then another patrol (I assume the QRF sent to rescue them?) goes straight into the same killing zone. I can't imagine any NATO/Russian/SAA/Quds force being so foolish.
  • A lot of the armoured vehicles just sit there and are destroyed - I suspect their crews bailed already, so it's just a bit of a open goal for the houthis

NOTE: although what we see in the vids is a lot of plucky irregulars, and Yemen is a very poor country, it still has a backbone of competent military and technical expertise. It has a 'Missile Research and Development Center' (MRDC) which actually has press conferences, showing off its missiles. I think it was trying to send a message to the Saudis that they should negotiate or they were going to blow things up. But that didn't work, so they actually attacked Abqaiq - one of the most important refinery sites in the world.  It wasn't the Iranians, the missiles came in from the West. The houthis seem to have three areas of missile expertise: upgrading old Soviet-era missiles, using and/or reverse engineering Iranian missiles, and now building their own, including  airburst anti-personnel guided missiles. (Sorry I can't find the video, it's on Youtube somewhere).

 

 

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Here's the Southfront video from the press conference in July 2019. I assume the MRDC is well hidden, or perhaps they moved the missiles somewhere else to make this video. I find it quite impressive, and I seeing it again, I note that one of the suicide drones is stated to have a range of 1200 km. This was before the Abquaiq attack - which is about 1000km from Ansar Allah (Houthi) territory. You can see some of the airburst guided missile attacks but there is a separate video of that, which I can't locate so maybe it has been removed. (Or I am just a bit dim this weekend :-))

 

 

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9 hours ago, JulianJ said:

I know, but it feels worse than recreating the Napoleonic wars, or even the battle of the Bulge as they are somehow located in the past. 

On another note, I wonder if some of the CM forum smart people have any insights into the Yemen war. There don't seem to be the military papers that we have on the Ukraine. I have been following some of it on Southfront  occasionally, and a few other sites since it started.

I have formed the opinion that the Saudi military is one of the most staggeringly incompetent armies I have come across. The list of follies is endless. Just to mention a few:

  • Leaving your vehicles sand cammo'd when the terrain is grey gravel colour, except where it is lush green (near the sea I think)
  • Sending out your tank troops in ancient vehicles like AMX30s that were got out of mothballs (there's vids of a convoy of them)
  • Having the most pitiful troops imaginable - in the cauldron battle a few months ago the prisoners looked like homeless people in rags
  • No evidence of good command by officers and NCOs
  • Surprisingly a lack of drone/arty and air cover
  • Not being prepared for counter-ambush tactics - early on there is footage of a Saudi patrol of wheeled APCs on a road hitting an IED + ambush. They get hammered, then another patrol (I assume the QRF sent to rescue them?) goes straight into the same killing zone. I can't imagine any NATO/Russian/SAA/Quds force being so foolish.
  • A lot of the armoured vehicles just sit there and are destroyed - I suspect their crews bailed already, so it's just a bit of a open goal for the houthis

NOTE: although what we see in the vids is a lot of plucky irregulars, and Yemen is a very poor country, it still has a backbone of competent military and technical expertise. It has a 'Missile Research and Development Center' (MRDC) which actually has press conferences, showing off its missiles. I think it was trying to send a message to the Saudis that they should negotiate or they were going to blow things up. But that didn't work, so they actually attacked Abqaiq - one of the most important refinery sites in the world.  It wasn't the Iranians, the missiles came in from the West. The houthis seem to have three areas of missile expertise: upgrading old Soviet-era missiles, using and/or reverse engineering Iranian missiles, and now building their own, including  airburst anti-personnel guided missiles. (Sorry I can't find the video, it's on Youtube somewhere).

 

 

In my day job I cover Yemen once a week ...

Southfront is mostly sourced from pro-Houthi media such as the example below:

https://english.almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=11132&cat_id=1

The title gives a slight clue as to how objective the reporting is.

This site doesn't cover things day by day but if you want an objective view about things then look here:

https://sanaacenter.org/

Go here for a one-stop shop for research links that are more objective:

https://sanaacenter.org/publications/main-publications/8569

If you can wait until April (when I'm back at work next) I can flick you a word document with a heap of links.

In the meantime - and this is a top tip for someone in my trade is to check here:

https://reliefweb.int/country/yem

UN Special Envoy is always worth a look if you want to know the top level stuff:

https://twitter.com/OSE_Yemen?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

Humanitarian, the UN and NGO sites are good pointers for what is really happening in a troubled country.

Bottom line - 90% of reporting about combat in Yemen is biased from easily found websites.

 

 

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Just now, JulianJ said:

Thanks @CombatintmanI shall certainly check out those links. I know Southfront is pushing its own agenda, but nevertheless has an interesting perspective. Yes, please do send me some info in April. 

Sure - absolutely not a criticism - I check that site first off the bat because the maps give a clue as to where things may or may not have happened - from there I just dig around.  I am utterly convinced though that they are entirely derived from Al Masirah reports and having looked at this problem for 6 months or so it is quite clear that a lot of what is claimed is probably not true.  Now this is made up from my memory of last month but it will go something like this:

  • Day 1:  Al Hudaydah - missiles and Katyusha rockets fired in contravention of the Stockholm Agreement.
  • Day 1:  Al Tuhaytha - machine gun fire at civilian house.
  • Day 1:  Kilo 16 - artillery fire and machine guns fired in a civilian area.
  • Day 1:  Ad Durayhimi - 3 mortar bombs fired on the outskirts of the city.
  • Day 1:  Hays - 3 x Saudi-led airstrikes on civilian areas.
  • Day 2:  Al Hudaydah - machine gun fire at civilian house.
  • Day 2:  Al Tuhaytha - artillery fire and machine guns fired in a civilian area.
  • Day 2:  Kilo 16 - 3 mortar bombs fired.
  • Day 2:  Ad Durayhimi - 3 x Saudi-led airstrikes on civilian areas.
  • Day 2:  Hays - missiles and Katyusha rockets fired.
  • Day 3:  Al Hudaydah - artillery fire and machine guns fired in a civilian area in contravention of the Stockholm Agreement.
  • Day 3:  Al Tuhaytha - 3 mortar bombs fired.
  • Day 3:   Kilo 16 - 3 x Saudi-led airstrikes on civilian areas.
  • Day 3:  Ad Durayhimi - missiles and Katyusha rockets fired.
  • Day 3:  Hays - machine gun fire at civilian house.
  • Day 4:  Al Hudaydah - machine gun fire at civilian house in contravention of the Stockholm Agreement.
  • Day 4:  Al Tuhaytha - artillery fire and machine guns fired in a civilian area.
  • Day 4:  Kilo 16 - 3 mortar bombs fired.
  • Day 4:  Ad Durayhimi - 3 x Saudi-led airstrikes on civilian areas.
  • Day 4:  Hays - missiles and Katyusha rockets fired.

Notice a pattern?

Now I appreciate this is made up … but is representative - one part of my report seriously is copy and paste because the same places get whacked in the same fashion every other day or so … I then have to remove 'Saudi Aggressors', 'Saudi Mercernaries', change 'women/children/old person' to civilian from the prose and add 'Pro-Houthi reporting' and that's the sum of the reporting really.  Again I can't put an exact date range on it but the representative sample above was being churned out by Al Masirah and SouthFront over the same period that the UN Special Representative reported to the UN Security Council that things had improved in January because there had been a 9-day period with no airstrikes at all.

 

 

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