Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Develop Competence, Build Mutual Trust, Create Shared Understanding, Provide Clear Commanders Intent, Use Mission Orders, Exercise Disciplined Initiative, and Accept Prudent Risk Please re | WriteDen

Develop Competence, Build Mutual Trust, Create Shared Understanding, Provide Clear Commanders Intent, Use Mission Orders, Exercise Disciplined Initiative, and Accept Prudent Risk Please re

history case study

Hello, I need an ANALYTICAL ESSAY done with the following topic, “Hammer on the Valley”
Needs to be an APA 7 Format, with cover page and a reference page, minimum of 3 references required. Requires 3 page body analytical essay, not more than 5 pages, using the 6 principles of mission command (see below) to appraise the Operation Anaconda Study. I will also need the Outline copy of what was brainstormed to write essay.
Mission Commands are:
– Develop Competence, Build Mutual Trust, Create Shared Understanding, Provide Clear Commanders Intent, Use Mission Orders, Exercise Disciplined Initiative, and Accept Prudent Risk
Please read the attached Article and more focus on Task Force Hammer’s operation, function, and mission in Operation Anaconda. You can use outside sources too.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Instructor is really strict on plagiarism so please use citations and references. Thank you in advance!
Requirements: 3 page essay | .doc file
Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan A Case Study of Adaptation in Battle Case Studies in Defense Transformation Number 5 Richard Kugler iSponsored by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Forces Transformation and Resources Prepared by the Center for Technology and National Security Policy
Report Documentation PageForm ApprovedOMB No. 0704-0188Public reporting burden for the collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering andmaintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information,including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, ArlingtonVA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if itdoes not display a currently valid OMB control number. 1. REPORT DATE 2007 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2007 to 00-00-2007 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. A Case Study of Adaptation inBattle 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER 5e. TASK NUMBER 5f. WORK UNIT NUMBER 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) National Defense University,Center for Technology and National SecurityPolicy,Fort Lesley J. McNair BG 20,Washington,DC,20319 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATIONREPORT NUMBER 9. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 10. SPONSOR/MONITOR?S ACRONYM(S) 11. SPONSOR/MONITOR?S REPORT NUMBER(S) 12. DISTRIBUTION/AVAILABILITY STATEMENT Approved for public release; distribution unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES The original document contains color images. 14. ABSTRACT 15. SUBJECT TERMS 16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: 17. LIMITATION OF ABSTRACT 18. NUMBEROF PAGES 27 19a. NAME OFRESPONSIBLE PERSON a. REPORT unclassified b. ABSTRACT unclassified c. THIS PAGE unclassified Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98) Prescribed by ANSI Std Z39-18
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. All information and sources for this paper were drawn from unclassified materials. Dr. Richard L. Kugler is a consultant to the Center for Technology and National Security Policy. His specialty is U.S. defense strategy, global security affairs, and NATO. He advises senior echelons of the Office of Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the interagency community. An operations research analyst and political scientist, he holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ii
Introduction In his memoirs, American Soldier, former U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Tommy Franks, USA, (Ret.) portrayed Operation Anaconda, as an absolute and unqualified success,? but one in which the original U.S. military battle plan didn?t survive first contact with the enemy.?1 General Franks? apt portrayal provides the framework for this case study of Operation Anaconda, which took place in the Shahikot Valley of eastern Afghanistan during early March 2002. The goal of Operation Anaconda was to root out enemy Taliban and al Qaeda forces that had gathered in this valley following their earlier defeats in the initial three months of the war in Afghanistan. In order to achieve this goal, U.S. commanders crafted a complex and sophisticated battle plan involving a hammer and anvil? attack by U.S. and friendly Afghan ground forces into the valley. This battle plan unraveled on the first day when enemy resistance proved fiercer than originally anticipated and friendly Afghan forces failed to carry out their march into the valley, thereby leaving deployed U.S. infantry forces to face the enemy alone. Success was achieved when U.S. forces switched tactical gears by calling on air strikes, in larger numbers than originally planned, to work with the ground forces to suppress and destroy the enemy. Originally planned as a three-day battle with light combat, Operation Anaconda turned out to be a seven-day battle with intense combat and was officially terminated only after 17 days. Operation Anaconda, which lasted from March 2?18, was successful because up to several hundred enemy fighters were killed and the rest fled the Shahikot Valley, leaving it in the control of U.S. and allied forces. U.S. casualties totaled eight military personnel killed and over 50 wounded. Success was achieved because the U.S. military showed a capacity to adapt by employing joint operations and modern information networks to surmount a surprising and difficult challenge. As a result, this battle was the last time that year that enemy forces chose to engage U.S. forces in major combat in Afghanistan. In the aftermath, nonetheless, came controversies about several issues, including original intelligence estimates, the U.S. command structure, the initial reliance upon friendly Afghan forces, the armament of U.S. Army light infantry forces, and networked air-ground coordination of air strikes against enemy positions. In the months after Operation Anaconda, many of the problems encountered there were corrected by the U.S. military, and they did not reappear when Operation Iraqi Freedom, the invasion of Iraq, was launched in early 2003. Even so, the events of Operation Anaconda, the biggest pitched battle of the Afghanistan war, deserve to be remembered, as do its positive and negative lessons for modern-era force operations and defense transformation. The following pages endeavor to recount the battle?s key features, its initial frustrations, and its ultimate success.2 1 See General Tommy Franks (Ret. USA), American Soldier (New York: Regan Books, 2004), 379. 2 This case study is based on research conducted by CTNSP/NDU, including interviews with senior U.S. military officers that participated in the battle. It also draws upon other published literature on Operation Anaconda. 1
The Military Setting: How Earlier Battles Set the Stage for Anaconda Operation Anaconda was an outgrowth of earlier events during the war in Afghanistan. Major U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan?Operation Enduring Freedom?began October 7, 2001, less than one month after the September 11 terrorist strikes against the United States. In endeavoring to topple the Taliban government and destroy al Qaeda, U.S. forces fought a new type of war in Afghanistan. The distant, landlocked country prohibited an immediate infusion of large ground forces. Instead, CENTCOM relied heavily upon special operation forces (SOF) teams that employed satellite radios, lasers, global positioning system (GPS) and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to designate targets for air strikes, which were provided by cruise missiles and a combination of strike aircraft, including AC-130 gunships as well as strategic bombers and tactical fighters that delivered precision munitions, such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS). This new-era air operation of precision strikes and information networks was blended with ground operations by friendly Afghan forces from the Northern Alliance to form an effective campaign for the ambitious mission at hand.3 At first, U.S. combat operations commenced slowly because of the time needed to deploy forces to the region, establish suitable bases and logistic support, and secure support from friendly governments, including Uzbekistan and Pakistan. But by October 19, SOF teams and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives were in place with Northern Alliance forces, and CENTCOM was able to command a posture of nearly 400 aircraft and 32 ships, including two U.S. aircraft carriers. Over the next two months, major success was achieved. U.S. air strikes quickly destroyed Taliban bases, headquarters, air defenses, and logistic support. On the ground, Northern Alliance forces were lightly armed and outnumbered by the enemy by a margin of two-to-one. Supported by U.S. precision air strikes, nonetheless, Northern Alliance forces steadily overpowered Taliban and al Qaeda resistance. Key towns in northern Afghanistan?including Taloqan, Konduz, Herat, and Mazar-e Sharif?fell over a three-week period. On November 9, Kandahar, the enemy?s last urban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, fell. On November 13, the enemy abandoned the capital city, Kabul, without a fight. By December 22, U.S. officials were attending a reception in Kabul celebrating the victory and installation of a new pro-American government under Hamid Karzai. Although enemy forces had been routed on the battlefield and the Taliban regime removed, the war was not yet over. Intelligence reports showed that remnants of Taliban and al Qaeda forces were gathering in Afghanistan?s eastern White Mountains, near the Pakistan border. In particular, large numbers of enemy appeared to be assembling in the Tora Bora region, to include Osama Bin Laden and other top al Qaeda figures. A major attack was launched on Tora Bora November 30. It included the now-familiar combination of U.S. SOF, strike aircraft, and friendly Afghan ground troops. This time, 3 For an analysis of the Afghanistan war, see Stephen D. Biddle, Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2002.) 3
however, the Afghan troops were not from the battle-tested Northern Alliance, but instead from a local Pushtun militia under a warlord named Hazrat Ali. The U.S. bombing was intense, but the Pushtun militia failed to perform effectively. The result was that although several hundred enemy troops were killed or captured, a larger number escaped into Pakistan. Reports suggested that Osama bin Laden and his aides were among those who escaped. They were able to flee largely because insufficient allied ground troops were available to block likely escape routes. At the time, no sizable U.S. ground forces were deployed to Afghanistan. In many quarters of the U.S. military, Tora Bora was seen as a frustrating failure and a lost opportunity that drew attention to the need for more U.S. ground forces if similar operations were to be launched in the future. In important ways, the battlefield at Tora Bora set the stage for Operation Anaconda the following March. The Intelligence Picture: Enemy Forces in the Shahikot Valley In mid-January 2002, U.S. officials began receiving intelligence reports suggesting that enemy forces, including al Qaeda, were assembling in the Shahikot Valley. This valley was a natural place for the enemy to regroup its forces after its earlier defeats. Located in Paktia province, which borders Pakistan, the Shahikot Valley is about 80 miles southeast of Kabul, and 18 miles south of Gardez. At an altitude of 7,500 feet, it runs on a southwest-to-northeast axis. The valley is relatively small, about five miles long and two and a half miles wide. On the valley?s floor are four small towns: Marzak, Babulkhel, Serkhankhel, and Zerki Kale. Surrounding the valley are high mountainous ridges. On the western side is a humpback ridge called the Whale,? which is four miles long, one mile wide, and almost 9,000 feet high. On the eastern side is a high ridgeline culminating in the south at a peak called Takur Ghar: at an elevation of 10,469 feet, it is the highest peak in the valley. Jutting into the valley?s southern end is an arrowhead-shaped ridgeline called the Finger.? With its high ridgelines and limited access routes, the valley provided seclusion and natural protection to the gathering enemy fighters.4 The Shahikot Valley is relatively easy to defend. Its high ridges provide many natural caves, crevasses, and other protected locations for guerilla fighters to establish positions capable of raking the valley floor and access routes with gunfire. Twice during the 1980?s, the Soviets mounted assaults against the Shahikot Valley with attack helicopters, artillery, and infantry. On both occasions they withdrew in retreat, driven back by fierce resistance. In 2002, the U.S. military possessed capabilities, especially modern information networks and precision strike weapons, which surpassed the weaponry fielded by the Soviet Army. But the rugged terrain, high altitude, and cold foggy weather had not changed, thereby making it hard for an attacking force to operate. Events were to 4 For a journalistic analysis of Operation Anaconda, see Sean Naylor, Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda (New York: The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2005). See also: Mark G. Davis, Operation Anaconda: Command and Confusion in Joint Warfare, thesis, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (Air University, 2004); Christopher F. Bentley, Afghanistan: Joint and Coalition Fire Support in Operation Anaconda,? Field Artillery, September-October, 2002. 5
show that the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters of 2002 intended to take full advantage of the valley in mounting an effort to repulse the latest attacker. As U.S. military officials began contemplating an assault on the Shahikot Valley in late January 2002, they faced a major drawback?lack of good intelligence on the number of enemy fighters and their weaponry. U.S. officials relied upon multiple sources of intelligence, including human intelligence, communications intercepts, and overhead reconnaissance. Even so, getting accurate and reliable intelligence was a serious problem. The difficulty owed partly to the rugged inaccessible terrain, and partly to the enemy?s skill at concealing and camouflaging itself. The lack of good intelligence was not due to any lack of effort. Indeed, during the two weeks before the battle, U.S. SOF sent several reconnaissance teams to get as close to the valley as possible without being detected, in the hope of getting a better picture of the enemy. Even this effort failed to produce an accurate, definitive picture. Judging from outward appearances, the valley seemed largely devoid of people: only small clusters were periodically detected. Confronted with this uncertainty, U.S. officials did their best to generate estimates of the enemy?s strength. Initially, intelligence estimates suggested that anywhere between 100?1000 enemy fighters could be in the valley. But gradually, a consensus emerged that the number was likely 200?300 fighters with light weapons. In addition, the intelligence estimate suggested that 800?1000 Afghan civilians were living in the four villages on the valley floor, complicating any effort to bring U.S. firepower to bear without causing major civilian casualties. The picture created thus was not one of a formidable force, but instead a relatively weak and demoralized foe merged with a larger civilian population. U.S. officials contemplated how the enemy might react to an American assault composed of ground forces and precision air strikes. The consensus was that the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, readily defeated in the past and facing overwhelming firepower again, likely would not put up staunch resistance. A common belief was that they were mostly living in the valley?s villages, rather than deployed in the surrounding mountains and ridgelines. Another common belief was that they would try to flee the valley, and if that failed, try to negotiate a peaceful surrender. Thus, an invasion of the Shahikot Valley was deemed likely to take the form of some intense fighting at the start, followed quickly by police action aimed at arresting enemy fighters while ensuring innocent civilians were not harmed. For this reason, U.S. officials preferred to rely upon friendly Afghan soldiers to enter the valley floor and perform the arresting: they were judged better able than U.S. troops to separate al Qaeda fighters from innocent civilians. The role of U.S. ground troops was to block escape routes created by narrow passageways through the mountains on the valley?s eastern side. An extended, bitter battle for control of the valley was not on the minds of U.S. officials who designed the Operation Anaconda plan. Subsequent events showed that the U.S. attack on the Shahikot Valley was based on a faulty intelligence estimate. The actual number of fighters was considerably higher, perhaps 700?1000. They were more heavily armed than thought: they had heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), mortars, and even a few artillery pieces. Most were not living in the villages, but instead were heavily deployed in the mountains and 6
ridgelines. They occupied already prepared, concealed positions that gave them good fields of fire throughout the entire battle zone. Their machine guns and mortars were pre-sighted to provide accurate fires on critical points. The villages were almost deserted, with few fighters and even fewer civilians. Moreover, the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters had no intention of ceding the valley without a fight or surrendering. Indeed, they intended to make a decisive stand in the hope of bloodying American and friendly Afghan troops. When the Anaconda battle began, they declared a ?jihad.? Instead of enemy troops fleeing the valley, sizable numbers began entering the valley from outside, primed to fight the Americans. Inaccurate intelligence of enemy capabilities and intentions thus was the first thing that went wrong during Operation Anaconda. As U.S. and friendly Afghan troops approached the Shahikot Valley on March 2, they were expecting a battle involving light, brief combat followed by an easy, overwhelming victory. The entire operation was to be over in three days, and major fighting was to take place, if at all, only on the first day. What transpired was the opposite: a hard, pitched battle that dragged on for several days, during which the enemy put up fierce resistance and was dislodged only after intense U.S. bombing. This dramatic, unexpected change in enemy resistance was a main reason why, as General Franks said, the original battle plan did not survive initial contact with the enemy. The U.S. Military Command Structure for Anaconda: Multi-Headed A hallowed principle of war is unity of command that is military campaigns and battles should be commanded by a single senior officer with the authority and staff assets to blend the operations of all components into a single, cohesive plan. At the time Operation Anaconda began, unity of command had not been established because the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was not yet fully mature. The earlier phases of the war had been conducted without a joint commander and command staff in Afghanistan. U.S. combat operations were directed by CENTCOM, led by General Franks, working through two main subordinate commands: Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and Coalition Forces Air Component Command (CFACC). CFLCC was led by Army LTG Paul Mikolashek and CFACC was led by U.S. Air Force Lt Gen Michael Moseley. Both CFLCC and CFACC were located in the Persian Gulf, and they directed Afghanistan force operations from there. To the extent a ground commander existed in Afghanistan, it was Army COL John Mulholland, who led Task Force Dagger of the Army?s Fifth Special Operations Group, which provided SOF teams that worked with friendly Afghan troops and performed spotting for most of the U.S. air strikes. But outside Mulholland?s command were other SOF units and CIA operatives working in other parts of Afghanistan and/or performing different missions. When SOF forces on the ground requested air strikes, the decision of whether and how to carry them out was in the hands of CFACC, which worked through its Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), also located in the Persian Gulf. In previous battles, modern satellite communications had permitted command and control of the air operation from such a long distance with successful results. 7
From mid-January to mid-February, interest grew in assaulting the Shahikot Valley and employing sizable U.S. ground combat forces as part of the operation. In response, Generals Franks and Mikolashek reached the conclusion that a U.S. tactical commander was needed in Afghanistan. They turned to MG Franklin Hagenbeck, commander of the Army?s 10th Mountain Division. Shortly before, General Hagenbeck and his division staff had deployed to K-2, a U.S. base in Uzbekistan that had been used during the earlier stages of the war. In mid-February, Hagenbeck and his staff deployed to Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul in Afghanistan, from where they were to command the assault on the Shahikot. As the highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Afghanistan and directly subordinate to CFLCC, General Hagenbeck had the seniority to command the assault on the Shahikot Valley. But he did not arrive at Bagram with his full division staff or all of his combat units. At the time, 10th Mountain Division (which is assigned only two maneuver brigades instead of the standard three) had about one-half of its division headquarters and a brigade combat team in Kosovo, a battalion task force in Bosnia, and a battalion task force in the Sinai. This left General Hagenbeck with only one-half of his normal division headquarters, neither of his assistant division commanders, and only a single infantry battalion for operations in Afghanistan. General Hagenbeck was able to increase manning of his division headquarters by drawing upon replacements from elsewhere in the Army, but at a cost of continuity and experience with 10th Mountain operations. In particular, new personnel helped populate his intelligence staff and his air liaison staff for coordinating air-ground operations with CFACC and CAOC. Expertise in both of these areas was necessary for Operation Anaconda. In an effort to strengthen General Hagenbeck?s authority, CENTCOM named his headquarters Coalition and Joint Task Force (CJTF) Mountain and gave it command and control authority over Operation Anaconda. This meant that General Hagenbeck commanded his own divisional units, the 3rd brigade of the 101st Air Assault Division (which had recently deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan), Task Force Dagger, and other SOF units, for example Task Force K-Bar and Task Force Bowie. But General Hagenbeck did not have command over Task Force 11, a key SOF unit for advanced force operations, such as reconnaissance and strikes against high value targets, which remained under separate operational command. Task Force 11, its subordinate SOF teams, and assigned Army Rangers were slated to play an important role in Anaconda even though they remained outside General Hagenbeck?s command structure. In addition, General Hagenbeck was not granted command over the U.S. air component forces?from the Air Force, Navy, and Marines?that were slated to provide support to Anaconda ground operations. Instead, these forces remained under command of CFACC and its CAOC. Indeed, authority for every strike sortie and target remained in the hands of CFACC and CAOC, which applied tactical principles, knowledge of available air forces, and CENTCOM rules of engagement (ROEs) to the decisions at hand. General Hagenbeck and his ground commanders could only request air strikes, not order them. During the planning phase for Operation Anaconda, this bifurcated air-ground command structure was not deemed troublesome because a major close air support (CAS) effort was considered unnecessary. But matters were to change when the battle unfolded, an 8
intense CAS effort became necessary, and the bifurcated command structure resulted in strained operations that left both Army and Air Force officers frustrated. Finally, General Hagenbeck did not have command authority over friendly Afghan forces slated to participate in Operation Anaconda. As occurred earlier in the war, these forces worked closely with U.S. SOF teams, principally Task Force Dagger. But they were not under the command of Task Force Dagger. They operated according to their own command structure, principles, and designs. The common practice was to establish a consensus among SOF teams and friendly Afghan units before an operation began. Earlier, this practice worked successfully, and Northern Alliance forces proved reliable in carrying out their commitments. The consensus process was employed again in the period before Anaconda, but it was no guarantee that friendly Afghan forces would fully perform the roles assigned to them in the U.S. battle plan. Because they were not commanded by General Hagenbeck or Task Force Dagger, the friendly Afghan forces had the freedom to depart from the original plan if, in their judgment, circumstances so dictated. Events were to show that they exercised this freedom when trouble was encountered in their march to the Shahikot Valley, in ways that damaged the entire operation and increased the danger to U.S. forces. Thus, the reality was that as the plan for Operation Anaconda took shape in late February, it did not benefit from unity of command. Instead, the command structure was multi-headed. General Hagenbeck and Task Force Mountain headquarters commanded most of the U.S. ground forces in the battle, but not all of them. They did not command the U.S. air forces assigned to support the battle plan. Nor did they command the friendly Afghan units that were intended to provide a main axis of attack in the battle plan. This multi-headed command structure was not deemed a problem when the original Anaconda battle plan was forged in ways that fitted its components together in a cohesive manner. But the command structure did become a problem when the original plan broke down and new plans had to be quickly realized among multiple forces that responded to multiple commanders. U.S. and Friendly Afghan Forces for Anaconda: Assets and Deficiencies A second guiding principle of warfare is mass: the need to have sufficiently large and well-equipped forces for an operation. In the weeks preceding Operation Anaconda, U.S. ground forces were arriving in Afghanistan, but the buildup was constrained by Washington?s desire to keep a relatively low military profile to prevent the appearance that a massive, Soviet style occupation was taking place. No formal manpower cap was established, but in his memoirs General Franks stated that the CENTCOM goal was to keep the U.S. military presence from rising above 10,000 troops.5 This troop level translated into deployed SOF units plus the equivalent of one to two U.S. Army brigades along with combat support and combat service support units. As a practical matter, 5 See Franks, American Soldier, 324. 9
General Hagenbeck was able to draw upon a light infantry battalion of the 10th Mountain Division, commanded by LTC Paul LaCamera, and the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Air Assault Division, commanded by COL Frank Wiercinski. The 3rd Brigade, called Rakkasans (a title inherited from World War II), deployed only two of its three battalions to Afghanistan. The rest of the 101st Division remained in the United States, where it was needed for other potential contingencies. Because all three of the battalions from both divisions had only two of their companies present, the U.S. ground force for Anaconda totaled six infantry companies. This yielded a total of about 600 infantry troops. When combined with the roughly 400 friendly Afghan troops also available, plus about 200 SOF troops from other countries, the result seemingly was sufficient manpower to carry out the assault on the Shahikot Valley and block escape routes from it. Nonetheless, this ground posture suffered from important deficiencies that were to become apparent only after the assault was launched and events took a turn for the worse. In order to keep a low profile, the infantry battalions of the 101st and 10th Mountain Divisions were sent to Afghanistan without any tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, or artillery. These heavy weapons were deemed unnecessary by CENTCOM?air forces presumably could make up any unanticipated deficiency in firepower?and keeping them out of Afghanistan lessened any comparisons to the tank-heavy Soviet Army. 101st Division commanders requested that a battalion of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters be deployed, but they were granted only a single company of eight AH-64s. In addition, they were given only 13 Chinook lift helicopters and eight Black Hawk utility helicopters: less than the normal number. Support troops also were kept low: the brigade had a signals package, a military police battalion, and some other units, but lacked its normal complement of logistic support. This limited presence was tailored to allow the 3rd Brigade to perform the missions that were deemed likely to occur, but it left the brigade lacking the heavy weapons and equipment that could be needed for intense combat against serious opposition. The same constraint applied to the battalion from the 10th Mountain Division, which also lacked armor, artillery, and attack helicopters. The result was that together, all three U.S. Army battalions had a fairly large number of infantry troops, but they were lightly armed?mainly with rifles, machine guns, and some mortars. Their only heavy firepower came from a small number of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and from a few AC-130 gunships, which were under the command of SOF units and flew only at night. The absence of tanks and artillery meant that they could not turn to the heavy weapons normally employed by the Army, along with infantry and helicopters, to wage major combat operations and generate firepower against targets located more than a few hundred meters away. Their mortars in theory gave them some capability for delivering firepower at longer ranges, but when the assault was launched, the Army units, not expecting heavy combat and constrained by the limited number of lift helicopters, brought only a few light-to-medium mortars and only a single heavy, 120 mm mortar with a limited supply of ammunition. Problems also afflicted the friendly Afghan troops available for the assault. They too were light infantry, lacked artillery and tanks, and had only a few mortars. In addition, 10
they lacked vehicles for traveling to the Shahikot Valley: U.S. officials had to assemble a diverse pool of civilian trucks, pickups, and other utility vehicles for the job. Most important, these troops were not from the Northern Alliance, whose forces were battle trained, tested, and capable of serious operations. Instead, they were mainly local Pushtun militia from the so-called Eastern Alliance? (a loose collection of Pushtun militias) under command of a local warlord named Zia Lodin. Lodin seemed a good, respected leader and was eager to cooperate, but he and his subordinate commanders lacked experience in big battles. Individually, the Afghan fighters were familiar with infantry weapons and many had seen guerilla combat before. But they were not organized into a formal force. Nor were they trained for the maneuver-and-fire operations typically performed by combat units. In the weeks before Opera


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