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Cold War ear Tank Battle Info (Iran-Iraq)


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The Iraqis had just fought the Iranians for almost a decade and had a very good appreciation of what their forces were capable of: ie. holding static positions and conducting limited offensive actions only if planned and rehearsed down to the tiniest detail. So that's what they did.

Hiding in cities might seem sensible in hindsight, but the Iraqis are trying to hold onto Kuwait which is mostly open desert with limited- and easily bypassed and surrounded- urban areas, so it's not going to achieve anything for them. You could maybe argue that the Iraqis would perform better tactically in the cities, but they even managed to lose the Battle of Al Khafji against the Saudis who were... not really representative of the quality of the Coalition.

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53 minutes ago, Hapless said:

The Iraqis had just fought the Iranians for almost a decade and had a very good appreciation of what their forces were capable of: ie. holding static positions and conducting limited offensive actions only if planned and rehearsed down to the tiniest detail. So that's what they did.

Most definitely. The Saddam's strategy did not hand him a decisive victory over Iran. He should have made the same conclusion as WW1 combatants. Instead he used the same tricks on a vastly more advanced force.

1 hour ago, Hapless said:

Hiding in cities might seem sensible in hindsight, but the Iraqis are trying to hold onto Kuwait which is mostly open desert with limited- and easily bypassed and surrounded- urban areas, so it's not going to achieve anything for them.

Hindsight will soon be 2021. It was him against half the world, his only hope was to maximize attrition on the Coalition. By lining up his troops in the desert, then digging them in -- he maximized the effectiveness of the Coalition's main force multiplier. Sure, hiding wouldn't have won him the war, but at least it would have prolonged the inevitable.

By the way, huge fan of your videos!

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2 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

Maybe, by the standards of 1916. He dug in static defensive lines in open terrain, against an opponent with vast air superiority. Even the germans in WW2 knew to hide from bombing. The Soviets emphasized speed, maneuver and air defence in-depth. Saddam should have hid in cities and valleys, rather than challanging the US to Verdun.

That wasn't really his strategy...that was how he completely failed to achieve it.  His overall strategy was to try and split the alliances arrayed against him and somehow gain support by bringing in the Israelis into the fight (Ends).  His Way was to do it through attrition with the big assumption that Western troops would get sick of dying for oil on the other side of the world.   His Means was a last-gen military built largely on conscripts.  Applying those Means the Way he did was, as you correctly point out...pure suicide...not sure what his hope was, that we would charge over the berm a la 1916.  He did some weak fumbling on the IO lines but those were so off-note as to be laughable.

I am not sure what his "theory of winning" that would of worked looked like.  Were it me, I might have looked at hitting into Saudi Arabia early and try to catch Desert Shield off-guard but I remember there were serious repurcutions in doing this...like a regional war with the Saudis fully onside.  He could have tried asymmetric strikes like terror attacks in the West but I sense he was not set up for that.  In fact the only play book I can think of that may have worked did not involve invasion at all.  I am thinking that maybe the whole Crimea play the Russians did may be a better playbook but a lot to unpack on that one in terms of Kuwait, and a lot of time to do it.

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21 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

with the big assumption that Western troops would get sick of dying for oil on the other side of the world.   

The next 30 years proved that he was very, very wrong. 

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57 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

His overall strategy was to try and split the alliances arrayed against him and somehow gain support by bringing in the Israelis into the fight (Ends).

That does make more sense. I am no expert on Saddam, but autocrats tend to over-estimate their own importance.

59 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

He could have tried asymmetric strikes like terror attacks in the West but I sense he was not set up for that.

I'd play dirty, turn insurgent and use the Catch-22 of hiding behind civilians. Could Saddam train, equip and indoctrinate an effective asymmetric resistance before the Coalition or internal rivals got to him? Probably not. It's either that or hoping for the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg. I can see Saddam fancying himself as Frederick the Great, though.

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