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Logistical Nightmare

In his role as a military penguin, Badtux posted War is Hell to start a discussion about William Tecumseh Sherman, the Union Civil War general who Basil Liddell Hart was the first modern general. Much of “Uncle Billy” Sherman’s success was based on his clear understanding of the importance of logistics. If you can’t supply an army, it ceases to exist.

His march through Georgia was predicated on the ability of the route he planned to supply what his army needed and the skills of that army to overcome physical obstacles. His army built roads and bridges as they moved. There was an apocryphal exchange in which someone said that a tunnel had been destroyed and that would stop Sherman. The reply was that Sherman probably carried a tunnel with him.

We don’t have a Sherman in Iraq, nor do we have Sherman’s supply of Georgian trees to build roads and bridges as needed. That makes Lurch’s ongoing series about the destruction of bridges ever more of a problem.

Steve Gilliard referenced this problem multiple times and on his maps you could see that the bridges over Iraqis rivers are obvious choke points in the supply chain and in the ability of reserves to move. If you can’t re-supply by road, you have to depend on aircraft, and that is really restrictive for an extended operation.

After the British pull out, the southern section of the supply route will effectively be in the hands of Shi’ia militias who can cut it at will.

Increasingly, the military position is becoming untenable. Someone needs to be seriously looking at fact that the options are rapidly be reduced to a phased withdrawal or a defeat.

9 comments

1 Cookie Jill { 08.10.07 at 7:13 pm }

Would Sherman have Waterbombing planes? If so, send him on down.

http://zacafire.blogspot.com/2007/08/firebombers.html

The Zaca Fire is set to burn about 25% of our county. they have decided they can’t control the fire so will try a major burn back.

The ocean option is looking better and better.

2 Bryan { 08.10.07 at 11:07 pm }

Looking at the maps the problem would seem to be the terrain – they can’t get equipment in, or protect exit routes for the firefighters.

Backfires may be the only way of stopping it.

If they start using ocean water they’ll have the same problem we have with hurricanes – the salt kills vegetation after the fact and increases the fuel available.

3 Cookie Jill { 08.11.07 at 4:06 pm }

I went to a town hall meeting last night that the firefighters gave. I absolutely commend these guys for getting information out and quickly.

Many of the folks in the auditorium had never been back to the “back country” and were blaming the firefighters for making a 80% contained fire go back to a 68% contained fire. The firefighters explained in great detail how they determine the percentage of containment and how the 20% from the 80% containment area earlier on was literally sheer cliffs of excessively dry vegetation and absolutely no way to get to it to battle it.

The terrain back there is tough, rough and dry, dry, dry. And, of course, to make things “handier”, no roads.

4 Bryan { 08.11.07 at 5:09 pm }

If you have ever done any back country hiking with a topographical map or aerial photograph and looked at the area involved you would understand why there are no roads – there are almost no flat surfaces to put a road on. That area is on the border between hiking and mountain climbing. There are definitely going to be mud slides when the rain finally comes.

Down in San Diego you can usually control the fires on the mesas, but if they start in one of the ravines, they race along the ravine and light off mesas on both sides. I didn’t anything that looked like a mesa, only a series of ridges and ravines.

5 whig { 08.11.07 at 7:43 pm }

What war? The Iraqi and Iranian governments are now united. Let’s go home.

6 Bryan { 08.11.07 at 9:57 pm }

Roger, that, Whig. We are only making matters worse by hanging around.

7 whig { 08.11.07 at 11:50 pm }

Who are we fighting now? I don’t think we even know. AQI? Please.

8 Cookie Jill { 08.12.07 at 12:32 pm }

I’ve been back there. You are right on the terrain. That’s why it’s such a good place for the Condors to be released into. Not alot of humanfolk to shoot at them because you just can’t get there from anywhere.

We’re worried about what this fire will do or has done to the critters and the Condors who make that part of our county home.

9 Bryan { 08.12.07 at 1:30 pm }

Whig, the troops are in “Fort Apache” mode shooting at anything that moves, not fighting an enemy. They need to withdrawn to reduce the number of bystanders dying as well as their own deaths.

Jill, it will be a long time before the habitat recovers. The condors at least have the ability to fly away.