War Stories

When the US Army reached Baghdad in a two-week blitz faster than anything Heinz Guderian ever dreamed of, it nearly pushed the system to the breaking point:

The first official army history of the Iraq war reveals that United States forces were plagued by supply shortages, radios that could not reach far-flung troops and virtually no reliable intelligence on how Saddam Hussein would defend Baghdad.

While it is well known that many army units ran low on fuel and water as fast-moving armoured forces raced towards the Iraqi capital, the study offers vivid new details of a supply system nearing collapse.

Tank engines sat on warehouse shelves in Kuwait with no truck drivers to carry them north. Broken-down trucks were scavenged for usable parts and left by the roadside. Artillery units cannibalised parts from captured Iraqi guns to keep their howitzers operating.

In most cases, soldiers improvised solutions to keep the offensive rolling.


That’s from an NYT story found at Australia’s SMH site, and I suggest you read the whole thing.

The original plan for the Iraq War called for a six-month campaign, on three axes of advance. Three became two, and six months turned into three weeks. It’s no wonder the supply system couldn’t keep up — a problem even under ideal, completely-planned-for circumstances.

The story also helps prove the aphorism that “wars aren’t won by the most competent army, but by the least incompetent.”


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