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73 Easting Info

73 Easting Info



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Published by: slokinetic6737 on Jan 04, 2009
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Information Briefing <<<Search google images “73 easting”
“...My confidence in you is total. Our cause is just! Now you must be the thunder and lightning of Desert Storm. May God be with you, your loved ones at home, and our Country." These were thewords of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, USA Commander-in-Chief U.S. Central Command, in amessage to the command, 16 January 1991
Greeting. [Begin Slides] PURPOSE
“Good morning, [
] and Candidates. I’m Candidate Aipa, and today I will present anunclassified information briefing with the purpose of educating you, OCS Class 002-09, on one of the most decisive tank battles in recent U.S. military history, the Battle of 73 Easting.”
Key points I will address will be:- the events leading up to the Battle- How and why the US succeeded and the significance of the victory- Lessons learned from research on this topic (overwhelming amount of information available formofficial research and documentation, to general media accounts, to scholarly works. Reading andassimilating the various accounts of this battle).
An incredibly helpful resource, the Combined Arms Research Library contains hundreds of  publications including the most recent FMs (downloadable in PDF), magazines, journals, historicaldocuments and treatises on subjects in military history, even obsolete manuals and much more all for free.
In August of 1990, on the heels of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, 34 nations mustered under the auspices of President George H.W. Bush's Operation Desert Shield. A total of 956,600 personnelrepresenting this Coalition stood ready as the deadline set by the United Nations Security Council for Hussein to withdraw his forces from Kuwait (15 January 1991) came and went. On 17 January 1991,Operation Desert Storm commenced with a massive air campaign.In spite of the damage that 6 weeks of intensive Coalition air assaults had inflicted upon Iraqi forces,Saddam Hussein still had not ordered his army out of Kuwait. On 24 February, the ground war  between Iraqi and Coalition forces officially began with a surprise attack by mainly US and Britishforces along a 350 mile front extending from the north at Tawr al-Hammar south to the Iraq-SaudiArabian border. A “left-hook” attack was executed by the U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps, the 3rd ArmoredCavalry Regiment and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized). Once these units had moved deep intoIraqi territory, VII Corps launched a flank attack against the Republican Guard's Tawakalna Division,which had been emplaced in order to cover the retreat of other Iraqi elements. This flanking maneuver occurred in a sector of the Southeastern Iraqi desert known as 73 Easting. There are several other interrelated battles on or around 26 February that also contributed to the complete destruction of theTawakalna Division such as the Battle of Phase Line Bullet, and the Battle of Al Busayyah. Also thereare also detailed accounts of the actions involving Iron, Ghost and Killer units of the 2nd ACR but for the purposes of this briefing, I will focus on the actions of Eagle Troop and its Commanding captain,now-Brigadier General HR McMaster.
Commander's Intent 
The plan that came to be known as General Schwarzkopf's “Hail Mary” strategy relied heavily on theelements of surprise and speed. Instead of making direct contact into the front lines of the Iraqidefenses along Kuwait's southern border, an air strike would take out enemy command and control andintelligence systems, masking the westward movement of Coalition forces as they moved in to outflank the Iraqi army by sweeping in clockwise from south to north.Integral to the complete destruction of the Tawakalna Division was the hasty attack ordered by thecommander of Eagle Troop of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and is a prime example of how anofficer at a lower echelon may deviate from specific strategic plans based on current combatconditions, and still fulfill the intent of the higher echelon Commander.
The Commander
General HR McMaster is an interesting figure among today's Army leadership. He earned a Silver Star for his service in the Gulf War, and since then has served in numerous field command and staff  positions, as well as developing a reputation as a “scholar-warrior” and a brilliant, innovativecounterinsurgency expert. Just a few of his achievements:- He served as director of the Commander's Advisory Group for Lt. Gen. John Abizaid of the U.S.Central Command from 2003 to 2004.- In 2005, as Commander of the 3rd ACR, accomplished the stabilization of the city of Tal Afar, anotoriously extremist Sunni stronghold- Professor at West Point, published author of the controversial
 Dereliction of Duty
, a critique of theArmy leadership during the Vietnam war - He is currently a senior research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Londonand is slated to take over Directorship of Concepts and Experimentation of the Army CapabilitiesIntegration Center His recent promotion to Brigadier General is one of several signs that the Army is turning to look at thenew face of combat, that of smaller-scale, counterinsurgency conflicts versus the older “big war”doctrine that has shaped military decision making for the past hundred years. Gen. McMaster is knownfor his unflinching honesty and attention to the civil and cultural considerations of conducting war.He said in a 2005 interview with New Yorker magazine: “When we came to Iraq, we didn’t understandthe complexity—what it meant for a society to live under a brutal dictatorship, with ethnic andsectarian divisions,” “When we first got here, we made a lot of mistakes. We were like a blind man,trying to do the right thing but breaking a lot of things.” “You gotta come in with your ears open. Youcan’t come in and start talking. You have to really listen to people.”
Friendly Forces
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, is mainly a reconnaissance element of VII Corps. It consists of threeground squadrons (1st, 2nd and 3rd), an aviation squadron (4th) and a support squadron. Each groundsquadron has three cavalry troops, a tank company, a self-propelled howitzer battery, and aheadquarters troop. Each troop had 120 soldiers, 12 M3 Bradley fighting vehicles and nine M1 Abramsmain battle tanks. The US 3rd Armored Division (3rd AD) , 1st Infantry Division (1st ID), and theBritish 1st Armoured Division (1 AD) were also a part of the Hail Mary strategy.
Armor and Weapons
The US held several technological advantages over the enemy: superior main battle tanks, and the useof GPS to allow some preplanning of movement versus blind encounters.
Superiority of US tanks vs. Iraqi tanks
* M1A1 kill range = 2,500 m- Iraqi tanks kill range = 2,000 m* Chobham composite armor with depleted uranium upgrades and halon fire suppression systemreduced friendly casualties*GPS*Thermal, nightvision and laser rangefinder systems standard
These pictures are from a training exercise conducted at Gowan Field in Boise, Idaho.* Main battle tank produced in the United States since 1980; 1991 combat debut* Heavily armored, highly mobile tank * 105 mm rifled cannon* 120 mm smooth bore cannon main gun - AT rounds (7 secs from command to kill)* M240 coaxially mounted with main gun* M240 at loader hatch* .50 cal heavy machine gun with tank commander - can fire buttoned up or standing
*Light armored personnel vehicle*Tracked vehicle similar to a tank but with six dual-tired road wheels and three track-return rollers oneach side.*Designed for speed (500 hp supercharged, eight-cylinder diesel engine) - can reach a top speed of 40miles per hour *25 mm M 242 Chain Gun, M240C coaxial medium machine gun, seven AT Missiles
Enemy Forces
Originally formed in 1980 as an elite fighting force tasked specifically to protect the Saddam Husseinand his capital, by 1990 the Iraqi Republican Guard had been upgraded in personnel, training andequipment until it was comprised of 5 infantry divisions and 3 armored-mechanized divisions: the 3rdTawakalna ala-Allah Mechanized Infantry Division, the Medina Armored Division, and theHammurabi Armored Division.The Tawakalna Division was comprised of two mechanized brigades and one armored brigade, with25000 to 3000 personnel per brigade. The RG was equipped with the most advanced equipmentavailable in the Iraqi Army, including 220 T-72 tanks and 278 infantry fighting vehicles - this meantthat the RG tanks would outnumber US tanks by 3 to 1. Tawakalna strong points consisted of dug invehicle and soldier fighting positions, wire, landmines and prepared fields of fire. The RepublicanGuard had several tactical advantages over the Coalition forces: Obviously one of these is thehometown advantage of fighting in familiar terrain and weather. However, as mentioned earlier, Iraqitanks were decidedly outclassed by the US and British armor, even if they did outnumber them.The Disadvantages of RG Armor:

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