Sunday Morning Update
The November 7th Fallujah Operations Update has been released. The update is mainly a summary of US airstrikes in the city and its environs. Again, this is consistent with the shaping phase of the campaign. These updates will begin providing details about ground actions when the ground assault phase begins. Black Watch Move Ahead of US Fallujah Assault states that the Black Watch has moved to positions east of the Euphrates, at the request of US military commanders, in order to "stop reinforcements moving north and block the way of insurgents leaving the city." This is consistent with my prediction last week that the Black Watch will be serving as a blocking force, so that it can clean up any insurgents who flee to the east of the city of Fallujah. US air power will attrit them on the roads and the Black Watch will stop those that make it through. The US will leave an escape point for the insurgents, provided that they have a strong level of trust in Marine/USAF air assets and the Black Watch to then destroy them. The Black Watch will be the anvil to the MEF's hammer. Interesting that the Black Watch is said to have moved at the “urgent request” of American Marine forces. It would be interesting to know what the reporting relationships are between the Black Watch and Marine forces. Has the Black Watch been attached to the MEF? Are they operating in Direct Support? Attaching them would be the best way to control their role in the assault. This would mean that the "urgent request" is an order, not a suggestion. A word about media reports once the ground assault starts: in dynamic, fluid environments that are being covered by journalists who are embedded, or who may have no real experience with the military, or understanding of military operations, or all three, be very careful about believing the first report. When some headline jumps out saying something has gone horribly wrong, or that a completely unexpected event has occurred, wait for details and confirmation. Never believe the first report. I have at least two other pre-planned posts today, one to answer readers comments, one to speculate on the insurgent strategy, and of course I'll comment on news as it comes out.