Monday, October 17, 2016

The Battle To Retake The Iraqi City of Mosul From The Islamic State -- News Updates October 17, 2017

The Daily Mail: The battle for Mosul: Giant explosion rocks the battlefield as ISIS suicide car bomb detonates as it attempts to ram an Iraqi tank

* Iraqi troops have started their offensive to reclaim the northern city of Mosul from the control of ISIS
* People in Mosul have warned terror group are planning to fight back with suicide bombs and mustard gas
* Earlier today ISIS terrorists detonated a suicide car bomb next to Iraqi forces on outskirts of the city
* ISIS has been in control of Mosul for two years and is the terror group's last remaining stronghold in Iraq

This is the moment a giant explosion rocked the Mosul battlefield as ISIS terrorists detonated a suicide car bomb next to Iraqi forces after trying to ram a tank.

The footage comes amid warnings that jihadis are planning to fight back with suicide bombs and even chemical weapons as the offensive to reclaim and liberate the city from the terror group got underway earlier today.

A video from the scene, to the south east of the Iraqi city, shows a car carrying the suicide bombers speeding towards the Iraqi government forces positions before ramming a tank.

Read more ....

The Battle To Retake The Iraqi City of Mosul From The Islamic State -- News Updates October 17, 2017

Iraq launches Mosul offensive: Live -- BBC
The Latest: Barzani: Iraqi Kurdish forces retake 200 sq. kms -- AP
Battle for Mosul: Isis city under attack from Iraqi and Kurdish forces – live news -- The Guardian

Mosul: Iraq and Kurdish troops make gains in battle -- BBC
Iraqis push toward IS-held Mosul in long-awaited operation -- AP
Iraq launches Mosul offensive to drive out Islamic State -- Reuters
Iraqi attack on Mosul begins as forces push toward Islamic State stronghold -- Washington Post
Iraqi forces move to retake Mosul from Islamic State -- UPI
Mosul: Iraqi army battles ISIL in 'historic operation' -- Al Jazeera
Kurdish Soldiers Report Initial Success in Battle to Re-take Mosul -- VOA
'Heavy losses' for Islamic State in battle for Mosul, Iraqi forces say -- UPI
Battle for Mosul: Iraq launches offensive to drive out Islamic State group; UN warns of humanitarian crisis -- ABC News Online
Iraqi PM says operation to retake Mosul has begun -- DW
Battle to retake Mosul from ISIS begins -- The Hill
Peshmerga General Tells Sputnik His Men Are Only 11 Kilometers From Mosul -- Sputnik
Some 1,500 Turkey-trained Iraqi forces taking part in Mosul operation: sources -- Reuters
Turkey to take part in Mosul operation: Erdogan -- AFP
Humanitarian crisis looms amid Mosul offensive -- CNN
Battle for Mosul sparks fears of humanitarian crisis -- AFP
In pictures: Day one of Mosul offensive ends with successful capture of 9 villages -- RUDAW
Battle for Mosul Marks Watershed for Iraq, Islamic State: Q&A -- Bloomberg
The Battle For Mosul: 5 Key Things To Know -- NPR
Iraq just began what could be 'the most complex and largest' anti-ISIS operation ever -- Business Insider
Tactics in the battle for Iraq's Mosul -- AFP


mlacix said...

I summon you James, what's your opinion on this offensive.

Off: WNU Editor, have you heard that "Motorola", the leader of Sparta unit in DNR, Ukraine just got killed yesterday? Will there be a post about it?

War News Updates Editor said...


mlacix said...

My bad. There are always some articles that slips to the second page and I miss them.

James said...

Huh, what, who, oh it's you mclacix,
Well to start with it's a strange one. This coalition (for a better word) is ripe for a counter-attack. It's a mish mash of forces, command structure, and aims. But can ISIS mount a successful attack at this moment? I don't know, probably not. A good "order of battle" would be helpful (if such a thing existed), so I know very little of the quality of troops involved, their operational abilities, their actual logistical situations, and their intelligence capabilities.
Coalition assets:
Raw Numbers
Ordnance delivery

Coalition liabilities:
Unified Command
Unified Political aims
Operational Security
You will note I didn't include initiative. It and mobility are pretty much negated by the first three liabilities.

ISIS assets:
Interior lines of defense and communications
Unified purpose
Time for development of cover and concealment
Experience in small unit operations

ISIS liabilities:
No air defense
Apparent change in status from liberator to occupier and attendant problems with indigents
Vulnerable communications
Ordnance delivery

Assessment: Because of what's listed above the coalition is pretty much reduced to blasting its way in, in a bull rush. If ISIS can't mount a counter attack it's then stand and fight and die or try to slip away. In the long run this can't be successful for them. There are slews of WWII photos of armored vehicles with troops sheltering behind them slowly advancing in close quarter fighting. Make the same picture, but with Iraqi troops in a sheltering tail behind US special operators as they advance.

This brings me to what really interests me. If the Coalition wins, what then? The US can't stay, the Iraqi Shia militia's would be considered occupiers (there would be resistance). The Turks might stay, but under the same conditions as the militias. This is a battle for purely political reasons, and those types of battles usually have very surprising starts, middles, and endings.

James said...

On a side note, in one of the videos I noticed the coalition had (at least in one area) built up an encircling earthen berm with self supporting strong points ala the Romans (think Alesia). Whether it engirded the whole town I don't know.

James said...

An emendment, I should have wrote "I didn't include initiative and mobility as assets".

James said...

As of this writing I am hearing that ISIS has moved the bulk of their forces out of town into the eastern Syrian western Iraqi country side, with a small stay behind force in place. If so they believe they will fight another day. We'll see.

James said...

On a side note the man known as "Motorola" was found with "Samsung Note 7" partially destroyed in his possession. Apple and Nokia declined comment.

mlacix said...

// Because of size of the text, I needed to break it to some peaces.


First of all, sorry for the very late answer, but before I move on to the subject I need to condemn that last joke, it's a bad one.

Before I would jump into anything, I would suggest you (if you not yet heard about this already) for listening the "Oct 12th CJTF OIR Pentagon Press Corps briefing" ( ). In short this was the last major briefing made by CJTF on the Mosul offensive, before it's start. I know it's sounds boring just like most of the briefings, but I really suggest you to listen it in whole. There are some itneresting info that worth the time, but I will also mention some in this reply, but there are other things too.

I still need to keep digigng for more information on this offensive, but luckly I already spent the last weekend with gathering info on this. In short capturing Mosul would not as big of a task as it was before (like Januray), if the recent changes on this situation are actually true. Mosul despite being a huge city, it has some major strategical flows. The city is entierly devided in half by the river (unlike Ramadi, Falujjah, Der-Er-Zor, Raqqa), and the connection between the two parts are literally hang in the air, as coalition forces can bomb the few bridges anytime they want. The river not only cut the bridges, but also the possibility of a advanced tunnel system that could connect the two side, and the increased water level inside the ground could cause make tunnels impossible to use on the riverside.

If that's would not been enough, the city can be overseen from the close SW hills, however the rest of the areas protected by the nearby flat terrain. For this we just need to add an attacking force with more manpower, assets and general support, and that force is actually attacking from 3-4 sides. As the reports said, before the Mosul offensive started IS fortified the city, there are reportedly tunnels, but the level of fortifications is unknown. On the number of IS forces as CJTF report said there are constant in and outgoing forces to Mosul, but in low level, and no major repositioning was reported (however this could be of well concealed by IS, which for they are fully capable , such as blend with the civilians, or just really nothing major happened). I do not know when ( or even at all) the retreat of IS will happen. Some sources miss more heavily armored IS units from the Mosul fight, and it's unknown where they are (or even exist). I would give some credit to CJTF to make some nice strikes on VBIED depots and factories, there were many important stirke on Mosul, when the offensive started.

mlacix said...

You asked about a possible counter offensive. So far I heard, IS cleamed to retake some villages that was captured today-yesterday from them, so they clearly "poking" , but I do not know if there will be any counterattack move. Iraqian forces not deployed as much forces to Mosul as they could have, which shows they expect something, and even if the Mosul offensive started, the fighting in the Hit-Falujjah line, along the river is still ongoin. Where could IS make a counter move? Anywhere at this point, they have nice possibilities. I would doubt they making it around Mosul, instead just using the changes in force-ratios, and push somewhere else, you name it, they likely could make the move. What my personal oppinion is? I doubt they will make a large AND successfull counter move, but I a see myself as a conservative on military stuffs.

To be honest, so far i love to see the Mosul offensive. There are so much unique vehicles and weapons are in use, I just love when creativity and lack of resource meet. SPG7 HMMWVs are my new favorites. But for real, I need to admit that mostly Kurds, but somewhat also the Iraqis gathered large amount of assets to the same place. There are also decent manpower on the ground, but the heavier assets seen in one place at the same time is unprecedent in the war against IS. But the quality of the manpower is not that great. I know many analyst say the Kurdish are the only one who know how to fight, and how to fight IS, but sadly a large part of their fighters are not fit for real battle. This is not a new thing, this happen when the population need to contribute more that it could, and the old/unfit/unedducated/undertrained also join to the fight. Do not get me wrong, I highly respect those who stand up, especially with those condition, and having such a fighter is better than having none, but when it's come to counting the forces do not count a half as a whole. Same happened in Syria, and also with the Iraqi army, and is payed in blood, not by their own, but by those who really counted on them.

It's important to mention that the first days of the offensive was not even nearby of Mosul, the frontline now is about 15+km away from the city perimeter, and the closer we go the harder it will be. A CJTF statement was puplished yesterday, and they publicly say it's "gonna take weeks, probably more", and at this point noone know when will this be over. In pure military/stategical point of view, both defending and capturing the city would be possible, there is no question on that, but achiving them would not be in the help of the long run, and hurry is on noone's side.

Instead of the offensive, I would point to the thing that CJTF estimate 1-1,3 million of civilian still living inside Mosul. There are some news article that ask this question, but even if Coalitional forces set up camps for the fleeing civilians, noone have an idea how much 1 million really is. Previously Iraqian forces increased security, burocracy, and registration/identitification of everyone who flee IS territories, to track down possible IS collaborants, gather database, but it was difficult with even way less people, and taking so much time.

mlacix said...

You mention the sectarian level, and what comes after the Mosul. I personally do not have worries on what comes next, I do not have a nightmare scenario in my head, even if I'm a kind of pessimist. I do not fear sectarian issues pop-up instantly, but how local Sunnis will play along with for. powers is more important, just like you said. With this I mean there are reports of Turkey training Sunni militias in N. Iraq, and if true this group is led by Atheel al-Nujaifi, who was the last governor of Mosul/Nineve area, and became very popular among Sunnis, and guess what, he pushed hard against the Iraqian gov. supression on Sunnis. Now if they come in play after the battle, and keep digging, they will have problems, but if not, then peace come. Kurds supported him (because this make Iraq even more devided), but also Turkey did so, and maybe this is the only thing that this two sides are on the same page. However so far I don't know about other parties being involved in pushing the Sunni hidden agenda, but I bet some country around the gulf would be interested. But that's the wall and the evil.

As to the fighters using the vehicles as cover while advancing, yeah it was popular in WW2, and still popular in Syria, Iraq, Lybia, but I learned by experiance to not to stay close to a magnet when there are shooting. The supressing/covering fire was invented for a reason, there are enough bullets on this frontline, if Kurd figthers read this, please use it.

About the earth-wall fortification you mentioned. Previously it was widely used in Syria, but not so much in Iraq. I just see it as the poor men's Hesco wall, and I do not give much value for it's use. By the time of the Romans, there were no that much indirect fire, and aircraft, and even the direct fire could only come from the distance of a meter or two. There are some nice, older satelite images from Syria ( I remember SE Aleppo was full like this, and also in the area between Otayba(?) and Adra when the rebels had been encircled in Eastern Ghouta), there are this kind of earth-walls for even ~tens of kilometers. In Syria the mainly not used them for positioning role, but more like a cover/ concealment.

It's a bit off, but some times ago I found a video, that I found interesting to share. The battles on this fotages occured somewhen around 14. of Spetember, NW Jobar district of Damascus, as SAA forces advance. It's not a promotional material, but show rare and well enough how for example SAA fight. Here is the video:

Well, this post just became a bit bigger than planned sorry for that, anyway we will see how this offensive wil progress. At least there is something happening now.

James said...

Thanks for the links, I'll look at them. I can't help being suspicious that there is some sort of a "contest" going on between Russia and the US in seeing who will take Aleppo or Mosul first. I agree with you on IS's chances of mounting a large successful counter attack being slim. If they could though it would really make things bad.
I've got some thinking and a little research to do (a day or so) and I'll get back to you on some of this stuff.

The joke. Hey somebodies got to tell them, even the bad ones, I consider it a public service.
Sort of reminds me of what Churchill said when inspecting the Archbishop of Canterbury's bomb shelter in the early days of WWII during the Blitz something along the lines of:
"It'll never do, dig it deeper, make it stronger. But, my dear Archbishop, if you should receive a direct hit you must consider it a divine summons."

mlacix said...

"I've got some thinking and a little research to do (a day or so) and I'll get back to you on some of this stuff."

Could I still expect some update, or you just moved on this subject?

James said...

My apologies, I had forgotten. I had commented about all of this in later posts, but I had forgotten to get back here. These are some of things I had said:
The coalition because of unified command problems and clashing political agendas were ripe for counter attack. Well they did. As far as their capabilities in that regard I also said "Don't know how much legs all this has, mlacix is one I'd trust on that call. It does seem that all our whiz bang satellite, signit, and humint, capapbilities dropped the ball big time on this one."
I certainly do believe you have a better handle on this situation than I do. Apparently ISIS has put some effort into planning and execution since they've raided not just Kirkuk, but other far flung areas behind coalition lines. What do you think about all of this?

mlacix said...

My problem is that I always miss posts and comments on this blog. I should find some RSS solution to get notified when there is an update or something. Unfortunatly, nowadays I do not have much free time to cover the Mosul operations, but because we are in between the 1. and 2. (or I could also call it 2. and 3.) phases of the offensive it's somewhat calm now, and you know after working in a normal job I barely have enough time for check the ongoin operations, I already needed to squis it in between having lunch and watching some crazy animes. But back to the topic. The Kirkut thing was a little strange, because of it's level, or how small it was. I got a little bit confused by the result becuse some sources said the attackers were eliminated while other sources said a lots of prisoners were freed, but I still do not know what to think of it, however if we are over the worst, we are fine.

About the Mosul operations now that we are between phases, it's start to seems how the plans were laid down. Some weeks ago, before the operation started I made some plans myself on the possible events, but had no time to share it. If I find some free time this weekend I sha re it, you may be find it usefull. I will get back to this article, at least I do not forgot to check this one. In the meantime I seen CJTF posted another briefing just today, however I not yet found time to listen it yet, but if you have time take a look: