The US War Plan -- known informally as SHOCK AND AWE -- is to so massively bomb Iraq with more bombs in 48-hours than have been dropped in total in the entire Gulf War and since that the Iraqi military collapses and INVADE AND CONQUER can proceed quickly.
US War Plan Relies on Precision Bombing -Report
NEW YORK (Reuters - 2 Feb) - In the U.S. war plan for Iraq, more than 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles would pound the Iraqi military in the first 48 hours, paving the way for a two-pronged ground invasion to topple President Saddam Hussein's government, The New York Times said on Sunday.
In a lengthy article on weapons, units and tactics to be deployed in an assault on Iraq, citing military and other Pentagon officials, the paper said the military would rely far more on precision-guided weapons than in the 1991 Gulf War to minimize civilian casualties and limit damage to Iraq's infrastructure.
It said the air campaign would be carried out by about 500 Air Force attack, radar-jamming and support planes flying from bases in the Gulf region and elsewhere, as well as by Navy planes from four or five aircraft carriers. A ground offensive would follow quickly.
"Military planners said the immediate goals would be to break the Iraqi army's will to fight, driving large numbers of troops to surrender or defect -- and offering them guarded sanctuary if they do -- while cutting off the leadership in Baghdad in hopes of causing a rapid collapse of the government of President Saddam Hussein," the Times said.
The air campaign could be over in a week, it said.
President Bush, calling for disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, says he is ready to use military force against Saddam, with or without U.N. backing. Analysts say the United States will have enough forces in the region by mid-February to launch an attack.
The New York Times said the ground war would be carried out by two Army divisions and an expanded Marine Expeditionary Force.
INVASION FROM KUWAIT AND TURKEY
"The Army's Third Infantry Division and a sizable contingent of Marines would be assigned to punch north from Kuwait, while a force spearheaded by the Fourth Infantry Division, whose tanks and armored fighting vehicles are equipped with the service's most sophisticated digital communications and target-acquisition systems, would move south from Turkey," the paper said.
Special Operations forces, including a large number of Rangers, and airborne troops are expected to seize airfields and other targets deep inside Iraq, it said.
Remotely piloted aircraft, widely used in the war in Afghanistan, would play an important role in these missions, the paper said.
British forces would probably join American forces in Kuwait, it said.
The Air Force has already stockpiled 6,700 satellite-guided bombs, called Joint Direct Attack Munitions, in the Gulf region, as well as more than 3,000 laser-guided bombs, the paper said, citing Air Force officials.
The strategy of starting the ground offensive almost simultaneously with the air campaign "would aim to thwart Iraqi forces from using chemical or biological weapons and prevent them from retreating into Baghdad and other cities to wage prolonged, bloody urban battles," the Times said.
No immediate comment on the report was available from the Pentagon.