Mankind's only alternative 26   MAY.   19  
Mankind's only alternative
Welcome
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

The War Nerd December 25, 2003
 
The 2003 Claymore Awards: Thank You, God
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
 

It's the holiday season, time to thank the Lord for all the bounty he's showered on us. In my case, that means giving thanks for all the organized carnage that's spurted out over the past year.

2003 gave us the best and rarest gift of all: a real war, between two big conventional armies, with plenty of TV cameras catching all the action. Iraq may not have been the perfect war, but until we get time machines and can go back to get realtime video feeds from Gettysburg or Austerlitz, we'll have to be happy with what we got.

So in the true spirit of the season, bla bla bla, here are my awards for 2003. I guess I have to come up with a name for them, like the Oscar or the Emmy, so we'll call them the Claymores.

Best Battle

Damn, what an incredible luxury it is to have so many battles to choose from that for once it isn't easy to choose the best of all. And new nominees are still popping up. Just take that big streetfight in Samarra a few weeks ago -- that was pretty damn cool. But after due consideration, I've got to choose the fight for an-Nasariyah. This was a classic in every way. For starters, it was a fight for control of a river crossing, which is about the oldest, most common sort of battle in history. Rivers are so important in warfare that lots of armies name their battles, and their armies, after them. "Army of the Potomac," for example -- that ring any bells? The Confederates went the North one better: not only did they name armies after rivers, but they named their battles after the nearest significant moving water.

And as the US pushed north toward Baghdad in late March, the fight turned into a classic battle for two Euphrates-bank towns: an-Nasariyah and Samawah. An-Nasiriyah came first. In fact, if Ulysses S. Grant of Robert E. Lee looked at a map of Iraq, they'd decide in about five seconds to stake their fate on the defense of an-Nasiriyah, the first major town on the East bank of the river as you push north.

That's why it's kind of worrying that our war plan supposedly didn't involve having to storm the river towns. We were just going to hit cruise control and park at the Baghdad Hilton, I guess.

We took an-Nasiriyah on March 23, in a scene that was like an updated Antietam. The Iraqis were dug in on the river bank, guarding the zone they knew the Americans would have to cross to keep pushing north. They were a mixed bunch, by all accounts, with some regular-army units, some Fedayeen, and the most interesting of all, this other militia that didn't get much press but fought damned well, the Sedaveen.

The Iraqi tactics were as mixed as their units. Along with the troops dug in, others were waiting in town, hoping to turn the battle into a snipers' duel where armor would be neutralized. And others, the real cowboys, were revving up their "technicals" -- pickups fitted with heavy machineguns, or just a couple of guys with an RPG.

Neither side had any tactical surprise going for them. They knew we were coming, and we knew they knew. We hit them with everything, from tank cannon to A-10 sorties. And the amazing thing was that they didn't flinch for ten long hours. These guys fought to the death. Iraqis! You believe that?

They had no armor to speak of -- Iraqis don't seem to understand mobile armored warfare, they use tanks as dug-in artillery most of the time. And they had no air, of course. When you consider those two huge advantages, you have to respect the enemy for holding out for ten hours. And they didn't just hold on, they fired back, and pretty well too. We had 50 casualties, and for once they weren't from friendly fire. (Though we did manage to shoot down a British Tornado with a Patriot while the battle was going on.)

They fought smart, too. Some of them pretended to surrender, then fired when we got close. Others dressed up as civvies and popped up to fire at close range. It's all against the rules of war, of course, but the rules of war don't work most of the time anyway. (For example, until people saw Saving Private Ryan, nobody realized how common it was for US troops to execute prisoners during WW II.)


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

Political Trading Cards :

Separated At Ugly Stick :

Stranger in a Strange Land : By Asya Passinsky
Typewriter
An Letter To Putin From Moscow's Foreign Press Corps :
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru