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MOUT and urban counterinsurgency (and CM)

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On 5/31/2017 at 3:51 AM, sburke said:

Found a document link within the one you posted LLF with details of the Sadr city fighting. Some is repetitive, but I think some additional details as well



Just got around to reading this one, cheers. Building a Big Beautiful Wall(c) to seal off insurgent strongholds is a tactic US forces used to good effect both in Sadr City and in the 2007 reduction of Ramadi's insurgent fortified Mulaab (Stadium) district. @Sgt.SquareheadI am pretty sure this tactic was and is an important part of the "Crusher" formula for reducing Daesh strongholds in Mosul, both to prevent re-infiltration of cleared districts and to fight the VBIED menace.

Unfortunately, occupying key terrain below Route Gold did not confer control of those areas to U.S. and Iraqi forces.... The warren of alleyways and small buildings provided routes for JAM fighters to infiltrate the area below Route Gold.... Operation Gold Wall, the effort to construct a wall along the length of Route Gold, was intended to deny JAM the ability to operate in Ishbiliya and Habbibiyah... In the 30 days of Operation Gold Wall, Colonel Hort’s soldiers emplaced some 3,000 12-ft tall, 9-ton T-Wall sections to create a 4.6-km barrier.... the wall, in effect, “became a magnet for every bad guy in Sadr City.” As JAM fighters attacked to stop completion of the wall, the surrounding area became a killing ground. JAM had few good options. If the wall were completed, it would curtail JAM’s access to the population and the market. JAM leaders depended on that access.... 

During this period, Abrams tanks and Bradley fi ghting vehicles were heavily engaged, firing 818 main-gun rounds and 12,091 25-mm rounds against JAM fighters and to detonate IEDs. Additionally, U.S. forces had to constantly adapt to JAM tactics. For example, JAM employed snipers to attempt to knock out the crane that was used to lift the T-Wall sections into place. U.S. forces responded by employing organic U.S. Army and SOF snipers in a countersniper campaign.
As the battle wore on, JAM fighters showed up in ever-decreasing numbers as U.S. and 
Iraqi forces steadily wore them down.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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Cheers LLF, very useful info.....I feel a 'berm' coming on.  B)

If I were to have a go at another MOUT battle after Mosul it would be a toss up between the current Raqqa operation & the fighting in Sadr City detailed above (I actually sketched out the sniper/crane scenario on a section of your map).

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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More info emerging on the Marawi siege. As I suspected, it went off half cocked on the jihadi side, which allowed the Philippine army to trap (inasmuch as they can do that ?) the 600 odd fighters.


The ISIS-inspired local rebel groups had intended to burn down the entire city of Marawi on the day of Ramadan, or on 26 May 2017. The said attack would have served as the precursor for other rebel groups to stage their own uprisings across Mindanao in a bid to simultaneously establish a wilayah in the region. However, the planned attack by the rebels was foiled when government troops attempted to serve the warrant on 23 May 2017. This forced the ISIS-inspired local rebel groups to prematurely execute their planned siege of Marawi”


Fighting in the city has left 58 soldiers and police and more than 20 civilians dead, the military said, estimating that almost 200 militants have been killed in the clashes.... the military has struggled to defeat the heavily-armed gunmen, who have used hostages and pre-existing bomb-proof tunnels to entrench their positions.

Marine soldiers were moving into Barangay (village) Mapandi in the conduct of clearing operations when they clashed with about 30 Maute/Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Friday.

He said the “enemies” set off improvised explosive devices, fired rocket-propelled grenades and B-40 projectiles on the advancing troops and killed 13 soldiers.


Asked about the remaining number of the extremists holed in some areas here, Herrera said there were still around 200-230 gunmen remaining, including their top leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Abdullah and Omar Maute.

“They are still inside commanding their men. They are utilizing and maximizing tunnels for their logistical support and for their protection,” he said.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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5 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Yeah, I find this guy's analysis pretty poor in general. The unspoken message always seems to be 'everything is just a horrible mess and the US always makes it worse'. Which I suppose suits his readership.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 9 months later...

Shameless self bump, since I want to put some more COIN and CM snips in here....


On 7/2/2017 at 12:12 PM, LongLeftFlank said:



Islamic State, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey scrambled to take ownership of the Sunni rebellion in Syria (and Iraqi 'Sunnistan').... Identities based solely on sectarianism now stand in the place of nationalism....The Sunni bloc is in disrepair; the Shiite bloc is on the rise. Image_2_20170626_TWIG_ENLARGE.jpg?v=1498



Interesting analysis, though incomplete, as it omits 2 key players: Jordan (US and Israeli client) and (populous and EU-linked) Algeria.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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That last map seems to rather exaggerate the territory controlled by ISIS.  :rolleyes:

Should we bring discussion of the never-ending fighting in Afghanistan into this thread?  I've been following LWJ's reporting.....NATO & the US administration continue to peddle 'alternative facts':


& have now even resorted to 'body counts':


Naturally the Taliban disagree, vehemently:



& it has to be said, the facts on the ground are rather difficult to reconcile with NATO's account:






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Very good, informative (although ultimately depressing) links.  Thanks.

"According to the Special Investigator General for Afghan Reconstruction, 2,531 Afghan security forces personnel were killed and another 4,238 were wounded during the first three months of 2017, or an average of 564 casualties per week."

"The Taliban recouped its losses to contest and control more districts in Afghanistan during any point in the war. The Taliban clearly is able to regenerate its forces..."

"According to this report in the New York Times, security in Ghazni City – the capital of Ghazni province in Afghanistan – has deteriorated to the point where residents are unsure if the Taliban or the government control it.

To summarize the report:

-The Taliban is collecting taxes from businesses and individuals.
– Taliban members are living openly in one neighborhood, where they outnumber the police. The neighborhood is basically a no go zone for security forces.
– Police, soldiers, and government officials are routinely gunned down.
– Senior police officials are bribing the Taliban to prevent the targeting of their officers.
– Recently, the Taliban overran all police checkpoints in one area of the capital.
– The Taliban controls the road network leading into Ghazni City, and is also exerting its influence in the outskirts of the city.
– The Taliban is running a court system and dispensing its harsh brand of justice, “claiming jurisdiction over the city and its outskirts, and carries out floggings, and even, sometimes, stonings.”
– When moving from building to building within the governor’s compound, the provincial governor rides in an armored SUV, often with armored HUMVEEs to escort him."

List of significant Taliban attacks since July 12 (2018):

July 12: The Taliban is reported to have killed up to 40 Afghan soldiers in Kunuz and 10 more in Farah.

July 14: The Taliban killed 17 Afghan soldiers after overrun a security checkpoint in Farah.

July 16: The Taliban stormed a security checkpoint in Nangarhar and killed seven soldiers.

July 17: The Taliban killed nine security personnel after overrun three security checkpoints in Kunduz.

July 17: The Taliban killed or wounded 16 Afghan security personnel while attacking checkpoints in Kandahar.

July 23: The Taliban killed 27 Afghan security forces while assaulting checkpoints in Paktika province.

July 23: The Taliban killed nine member of a pro-government militia in Day Kundi province.

July 24: The Taliban killed 15 security personnel in an attack in Zabul.


So between this escalating fiasco and China's aggressive military and economic expansionism remind me again, what is our wonderful media obsessing about these days..?

Edited by Erwin
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This is only LWJ's account, they could be wrong.....I don't think they are, but they could be.  ;)

Here's their current control map:


PS - You missed one, July 26:  'Taliban Suicide Bomber Targets Afghan Intelligence Personnel Who Are Targetting Taliban':


You really couldn't make this **** up!  :rolleyes:


Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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  • 2 weeks later...

The level of wilful denial encompassed in this article is staggering:



Votel said the surrender of such a large group suggests that the fight against the group is progressing.

Note he doesn't specify whose fight.....Because it was the Taliban who just kicked ISIS out of Jawzjan, not NATO or their 'Afghan Partners':



Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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Yes, I must confess I lost track some time ago of why NATO forces are still in Afghanistan, or what we expect to accomplish there. While respecting and honoring their effort and sacrifice, I can't think of a poorer use for the professional armed forces of the West, frankly, than trying to create a modern nation state that never existed except in the minds of British mapmakers. If the Chinese or Pakistanis or whoever want to step in there, hey, be our guest mate.


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5 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Note he doesn't specify whose fight.....Because it was the Taliban who just kicked ISIS out of Jawzjan, not NATO or their 'Afghan Partners':


Well, the Taliban are our allies after all.  Oh wait...  Shades of 1984.

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This thread is at risk of morphing into a general geopolitical topic, so let's reel it back in to CM relevance if we can.

This map* from FT gives an intriguing look at the potential future, ahem, sandbox for the next iteration of CM modern. Tomorrow's headlines today (again)?  


If BFC were to enable CMBS to interoperate with CMSF2, and then update the NATO TOEs to 2018, it would then have 80% of the necessary forces for CM:SILK ROAD, aka CM:ARMAGEDDON, aka CM:GOG&MAGOG, aka CM:TIMURLANE. 

And what, you ask, would be the remaining 20%? Chinese, or Chinese-armed local hordes forces. (@LUCASWILLEN05 to the white courtesy phone, please...)

* This Diplomat piece catalogues the pitfalls of extrapolating geopolitical conclusions from looking at a map.

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