Quick thoughts for Monday . . .
Blogging will be light today and Tuesday as I am on a business trip. However, a few quick thoughts: -An alert reader in the comments section pointed out that it is very possible that the 24th MEU(SOC) will participate in the Fallujah Battle. I entirely agree. Can't ever forget the MEUs. Those Marines receive some very intense and excellent training in urban warfare before deployment and they will most certainly be put to use. Look for the MEU to be employed as a separate unit, possibly directly reporting to the MEF CG or the Division CG, and look for them to have their own part of the battlespace. I'm not going to predict whether the MEU will be in Fallujah or Ramadi. In fact, they could be used as an operational reserve. Now that I think about it, yes, this is what I expect: 1st Marines: Fallujah, 5th Marines, Ramadi. 7th Marines, continue with security operations in the far west.(note: I am not entirely sure that it is 7th Marines out there, but it is probably them), 24th MEU, operational reserve. The MEU will make a much more effective reserve force than another infantry regiment. Whichever regiment is out west, they have been there learning the ropes in their neighborhood for a long time. Also the MEU has trained together for upwards of a year prior to and during deployment, making them a very well-honed force. There is precedent for both the MEU as reserve and MEU as urban assault force scenarios: one of the MEUs was the STRATEGIC reserve for all of CENTCOM during the invasion last year, and one of the MEUs, the 15th, I believe, was sent into Nasiriyah to clean clock after the Division had moved through and past. -Another alert reader in the comments sections points out that there were three infantry battalions involved in the Fallujah assault in April, not two, as I have mentioned. I will doublecheck, but I think we are both right: three total participated, but only two at a time. I think we can expect all three of each regiment (5th Marines may have four) to be very engaged from the start, though each regiment may have a reserve. I'm willing to bet that they will forgo regimental reserves in exchange for greater speed in prosecuting the assault. -A final note: look for press reports of some very intense psychological operations. When a Marine Brigade was in Somalia in the early 90s and was first fired upon by a Somali artillery battery, the commander on the ground, a 3-star Marine, responded by leveling the grid square where the fire came from. That's one square kilometer. Then he had helicopters fly over the city with loudspeakers, proclaiming he would do it again in a heartbeat. General Mattis (he's in Quantico now, not Anbar) loved this stuff. He had psyops speakers alternately blaring Metallica and the Marines Hymn as his battalion crossed into Kuwait in Gulf War I. We'll see if Gen Sattler and Gen Natonski are likewise so inclined.