Plymouth Rock Continues . . .
U.S. Expanding Iraqi Offensive in Violent Area is a New York Times story detailing a few aspects of Operation Plymouth Rock. Here are interesting tidbits:
The operation began with 11 simultaneous early-morning raids in Jabella, west of the Euphrates River and about 40 miles south of Baghdad, said Col. Ron Johnson, commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is leading the effort. . . . "We know that some of them headed in our direction before the Falluja battle," he said, citing intelligence reports. "We're going to try to isolate them. Then we're going to bounce all over. We're not going to hit just one area. We're going to hit a multiplicity of targets so that they have no safe haven that they can go to." Military officials in the province said nearly 250 insurgents had been captured there in the past three weeks, including 32 on Tuesday in the Jabella raids. . . . Asked how the American-led forces would proceed differently this time, Captain Nevers said that with the recent addition of the Black Watch and Iraqi forces, they would be able to "squeeze the insurgents into a tighter box." . . . Although the offensive, called Operation Plymouth Rock, partly in deference to Thanksgiving, is largely military in nature, Colonel Johnson has emphasized the sway of local crime families in the area. He said that both raids and undercover operations would focus on decimating those families.Wow! 11 raids at the same time! Decimating the crime families! A cordon around the area! Great stuff! Troops Hit Sites South of Baghdad is a Washington Post article detailing the actions. Here are some tidbits:
The raids that began Tuesday were carried out by troops already stationed in the area, and military commanders suggested that the brunt of the fighting may still await the dispatch of armored reinforcements from other regions in coming weeks. "We see that as a place we can go and have tremendous impact on the security situation in Baghdad because the enemy is using that as a sanctuary right now," one senior U.S. officer said this week. "We just haven't been able to get enough force down there to go and find the [weapons] caches, then stay down there and get the police up and running." . . . Senior U.S. officers have talked about the possibility of sending a large armored Army force into the largely rural area, drawing troops from the 1st Cavalry Division, which is responsible for the region around Baghdad. But with a sizable segment of the division still tied up in Fallujah, the Marines and the British force were ordered to proceed Tuesday. A U.S. Army officer familiar with the operation said that a significant Army force might still be sent there in coming weeks to continue the push.So it would appear that this offensive is just getting started and will really ramp up over the next few days as more armored units become available. Seems like a great way to use Light Armored Reconnaissance forces because they are so fast and could travel quickly through the desert. In trying to figure out what will happen next and what the tempo will be, let's not forget that the Black Watch has been told they will only be attached to the Marines near Baghdad for 30 days or so -- or until sometime near the end of November. This can always change but is worth bearing in mind.