Nigerian troops in boisterous mood prior to being airlifted to Mali
Photo Credit: NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA
Op Serval Sitrep as of 21/01/2013
SITUATION FRIENDLY FORCES
Reinforcements proceeding by sea alleged to consist of
92RI -1 x Armoured infantry company with VBCI
Regiment d’Infanterie de Chars de Marine / Marine Infantry Tank Regiment (RICM)- 1 x Armoured squadron (AMX10)
511 Regiment du Train- 1 x logistic/ support Coy
68e Regiment d’Artillerie d’Afrique (68e RA)-1 x squadron of artillery (6 x Caesar 155mm SP guns)
2nd hussars Regiment (2eRH) 1 x Recce squadron VBL
Chadian forces moving towards Niger border. Another Chadian coy based in OUALLAM in Niger southwest of Gao
State of emergency increased for another 3 months
Former Deputy Chief of Staff Alhaji ag Gamou (now MNLA) allegedly planning an attack on MENAKA from Niger
Malian Army chief confirms Niger/ Chad forces to push towards GAO
MNA/ Fr forces to advance towards HOMBORI north of DOUENTZA on the RN15
Reports indicate that no civilians were killed by air strikes in DIABALY and one civilian executed by rebels during the occupation
Force numbers are now approx. 1000
Cote d’Ivoire to send 1 x battalion, type/ role unknown
SITUATION ENEMY FORCES
En forces reported to be falling back to KIDAL
Fire support: the deployment of 155mm artillery with a range of 42km, alongside Fr Mirage, Rafale, Tigers and Gazelles along with NAF Alpha Jets and Mi 35s, in addition to the various contingents organic fire support such as MILAN, 81mm, 60mm, AGLs etc gives the coalition an awesome fire support capability, which properly deployed and handled can significantly overmatch the enemy. However this is only useful when the enemy fights conventionally or allows himself to be fixed. In COIN firepower is no substitute for manpower
COIN: In modern COIN doctrine we have 4 effects we wish to achieve Shape, Clear, Hold, Build. The SHAPE part is happening now. Note that no major enemy held areas have been taken; so far the enemy has only been contained or pushed back to its pre intervention positions and then attacked in depth from the air.
The battlespace is being shaped. The enemy is having his resources destroyed and his behaviour conditioned. The message is also being shaped for an international audience at least but rather depressingly not for domestic consumption. The CLEAR phase will be when the assaults will go in. From what we see it will be French up the West to TIMBUKTU, maybe AFISMA pushing north east up the RN15 and the Niger/ Chad up the east to GAO and then converging on KIDAL. The heaviest fighting will inevitably take place in KIDAL which is home to AQIM’s commander and is a rugged mountainous area buttressing Algeria, at the end of any conceivable southern supply line unless the French can open one up from Algeria. Then we move to the HOLD phase in which you garrison the captured areas, beat off counter attacks and counter infiltration and intimidation. And then you BUILD, i.e. build up local capacity and infrastructure to ensure that locals can carry on the fight by themselves. The first 2 tasks are achievable although I am sure right now the number of French logistics officers going grey and having heart attacks is quite high. The latter two effects are the most problematic.
First of in the HOLD phase you need to first of hold your positions and not be over run, so you need good well sited positions, with firepower, mutual support and access to supplies as well as routes in and out for supplies and reinforcement. You need to ensure you have secure supply lines and then most importantly you need to dominate the ground and ensure the enemy is constantly reacting to you, looking out for you patrols, avoiding your sweeps, looking for his escape routes. All of that takes combat power all of which needs supplying. And the further out you are, the more supplies you need, the more troops you need to take those supplies, the more troops you need to protect those troops taking the supplies, all of whom need supplying themselves. You get the ever increasing numbers, add to this the fact that its a land locked country with only one tarred road going north and another east to west. So there will be a heavy reliance on air support and support helicopters. But in a theatre such as this with numerous AA guns, RPGs and SAMs the enemy will be laying anti air ambushes every day of the week and twice on Sundays. So each support helicopter will need AH support at the very least for each tasking to try and suppress any enemy ambushes. All of this is just force protection, we have not got to the critical part of dominating the ground.
Destroying arms caches, rebuilding damaged infrastructure and spurring economic growth. All of which is again manpower intensive.
So the solution as ever is home grown. The Malian Army needs to be built up to the point where it can stand on its own 2 feet, having been contaminated with corruption and interference with civil powers as well as a legacy of defeats behind it, this is a tall order and will not happen while it is also being called on to fight a determined, competent, motivated and well equipped foe.
To HOLD the captured areas you will need reliable forces and for now the MNA is not such a force and cannot be trained and deployed in time to acquire these skills, thus coalition forces will be holding the baby for a long time. Stabilisation ops will also be important in order to ensure that the tenets of a power sharing deal are felt at the grass roots.
The long and short of what I’m saying are thus
!) We have not started
2) There are insufficient troops for task
3) There is as yet no feasible exit strategy
4)The enemy has not yet begun to fight
5) The home nation needs to establish political sanity in order to restore professionalism to the military such that they can relieve the coalition and dominate the ground and secure a peace with the moderate and war weary Tauregs and destroy the smugglers and terrorists
Phew just have one question do they withdraw all blood from you guys in order to provide factual , critical analysis thinking
1) number one is spot on for my fellow Nigerians who are chafing at the bit, this is chilling
the war has not started yet till the enemy decides not to withdraw and embarks on ( suicidal?) nothing to lose then we shall see
2) Mathematically don’t go their because if we extrapolate and this is even grossly incorrect SL or Liberia . Nigeria at one time had at least 15,000- 19,000 troops stationed there and Northern MALI is much bigger with only two MAJOR HIGHWAYS. oga peccavvi based on what you are saying the sitrep will call for more FRENCH TROOPS this time with the conventional INFANTRY AND HEAVY WEAPONS , interesting.
5) On a continent where very rarely does an incumbent lose an election goodluck i am sorry if i sound downright pessimistic on establishing political sanity.
Once again thank you very much.
Oga Jimmy, more French troops are not the answer, it has to be Malians
They will tech this to our GRANDKIDS WHY THE WAR IN MALI WAS SO LONG:
1) The malians refused to put their dysfunctional system together to train an army
2) The french initially thought they could do it all by themselves.
OGA Peccavvi let these f—k ups take ONE VILLAGE without any assistance and hold on to it for one week, No they will need more french soldiers because the malians TRUTH IS BITTER ARE USELESS LET US CALL IT LIKE IT IS. it will take a minimum of a year to practically disband this army reform it choose/ train new officers and orient it to stop BEATING ON / EXECUTING civilians and focus on the enemy.
I recently read that some of the very units that the us trained were the same officers who were heavily implicated in the coup attempt last year hence the reluctance of the us govt to get directly involved.i salute your sense of optimism I am on the other side of pessimism
Thanks Oga peccavi for your insight and analysis, i agree with you 100% my take is that it is achievable as nobody wants Mali to slip back to pre-intervention era, i am beegining to see some level of commitment from neighbouring countries.
I see Algeria coming into the party not openly but behind the scene as they are wounded and have been dealth a big blow their image has been dented in the past week.
My fear is the Mauritanian side how well that route can be eclipsed to prevent the enemies from escaping to fight another day is the headache for all.
If they are deccimated now their chances of regrouping will be difficult and the threat they shall pose later will be minimal.
Thanks again your analysis is modern thinking of a military strartegist
The foreign commitment is there but it will take a lot of money and alot more troops than are being sent, the French are sending alot more troops than originally earmarked, and the supply problem will get worse not better. Also political will will waver once the enemy starts attacking the home nations.
Currently Malis government is still under the sway of Sanongo and his boys and they seem more concerned with machinating than fighting, the first step is a stable polity in Mali so the military can concentrate on defence and not interfering with the government.
The cost in blood and treasure will be high unless there is some fancy dilplomacy
Man.peccavi i swear u be genius.precise,rich and finely detailed.pls dont stop.
Oga thanks, I’m vain enough to take the compliment but Napoleon was a genius not me!
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