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Baghdad ala Stalingrad

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Saddam aims to drag allies into a new Stalingrad, says British forces' chief

Richard Norton-Taylor in Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar

Tuesday March 11, 2003

The Guardian

Saddam Hussein is preparing for a "Stalingrad siege" of Baghdad against advancing Allied forces which could be slowed down by the capture of prisoners of war, a displaced population, and the use of chemical weapons

against civilians, the commander of UK forces in the Gulf warned yesterday.


As for Iraq's military doctrine, he said it is based on the Soviet model of defence in depth. "[saddam] is going for a Stalingrad siege. He wants to entice us into urban warfare," said Air Marshal Burridge.

But that, he added, made two assumptions: that it would lead to hand-to-hand fighting and Iraqi troops would want to engage in it. "There has to be doubts."

Most military analysts agree that Baghdad is certain to be the most serious battleground of any war. Some experts suggest that it may provide the only real fighting of any note in the entire conflict.

However, few analysts would go so far as to compare a war in Baghdad with the battle of Stalingrad, which lasted 200 days and cost almost 1 million Soviet and German casualties. Air Marshal Burridge said that Saddam had

two options: to go or stand and fight."No one is suggesting a campaign will lay waste to Iraq. No one is suggesting it will be like Grozny [the capital of Chechnya]; postmodern warfare is not attritional. If they fight, we'll hit them hard".



From military analyst James F. Dunnigan:

26 Jan 2003, Saddam's War Plan: Knowing his troops cannot defeat the US Army in an open field battle, Saddam has decided to dig his best units into and around Baghad and draw the US and British troops into a battle on his terms. Satellite photos show elaborate defense works being built around the Iraqi capital in two rings. These works include battle positions, obstacles, ditches, barriers, ammunition stockpiles, command bunkers, minefields, and other engineering works. Construction began last November and has included shifting troops from bases around the country. The outer ring will be held by the Republican Guard and the best of the Iraqi regular Army units. The inner ring will be held by the Special Republican Guard, the most fanatical of Saddam's followers. In theory, the outer ring would serve as a tripwire to force US and British troops to deploy into assault formations, and during the battle of this outer line the Special Republican Guard would bombard the invading armies with chemical and biological weapons. The Iraqis know that the US could not respond with tactical nuclear weapons (as it has threatened) because of the civilian population present in the area. As the zone between the two rings is urbanized, the US and British troops would have to slog through nasty block-by-block fighting before even reaching the main defensive line of the Special Republican Guard. The zone between the rings would be infested with tens of thousands of Saddam Fedayeen militia units, which Saddam would use as cannon fodder. Three smaller towns near Baghdad (Baiji in the north, Ramadi in the west, and Suweira-Kut in the south) are heavily fortified and would have to be reduced before serious attacks could begin on the main defenses of Baghdad itself.

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It does not surprise me one bit that SadDUM does not recall the outcome for the encircled side at Stalingrad. Nor does it surprise me that he conveniently forgets that President Bush has the ultimate "Winchester" he can use (aka:the fireworks).

Ultimately though I suspect that he hasn't factored in the 100's of thousands of ex-Iraqi military who would likely be leading the charge into their capital.

Have no fear. If it's not too late, I hope to take out a life insurance policy on saddam today. smile.gif


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