Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rolling Direct Action

Spent last night/this morning doing a rolling DA hit with the KR raid company. These guys are outstanding.

A rolling Direct Action mission consists of taking actionable intelligence and hitting a target, exploiting the captured target/initial objective area, and moving on to the next, recently revealed target.

We rolled up in excess of 10 notable bad guys last night following this methodology. It was a great display of capability by our KR brethren. Oft times, the daylight bread and butter missions (cordon and search, cordon and knock) are unwieldy and ponderous; the cordon will often have holes and the search teams seem to have a rather haphazard methodology for deciding what's important enough to deserve a detailed search and what gets glossed over. Not so on the night raids.

The KR Raiders move out fast through mostly darkened streets. They kill their vehicle lights a couple hundred meters/city blocks from the target, swoop in, and hit the OBJ hard, fast, and for the most part silently. They exploit the target (averaged about 15 minutes on the OBJ per target last night) and move out to the next hit, often with the last detainee sitting up front to guide the raiders to the house of the guy that just got dimed out.

One serious problem with accompanying the KR on these type missions is the MRAP. While I love the damn beast, it's just too much of a monster to be practicable on these operations. The MRAP is highly survivable, but the trade-off is that it's big, slow, and has a turning radius that's too wide by an order of magnitude to respond quickly or effectively to course changes and corrections in the narrow, rubble filled streets and alleys of Mosul.

The tactical requirements for success of the KR raiders is to move fast; because they don't know where they'll be going next when they hit a target, pulling off the OBJ and moving on often requires fast U-turns upon move out. Pluse, once the raiders start making hits, the clock is running. Someone aligned with the bad guys will at some point pick up a cell phone and start working through his alert roster.

We had four significant (i.e., total) breaks in contact last night. The first two we were able to recover from by having US rotary wing assets talk us back on to the raiders' main body. The third we regained contact by sheer luck. The fourth we were out of Schlitz, and had to move back to the COP to await the Knights' return.

We've got three readily apparent courses of action to resolve the MRAP problem:
1. We don't go on raid missions anymore. (Not feasible, this is where, as advisers, we can really make our money)
2. We procure, probably at the Division Advisory Team level (note how I slough off the hard stuff to Divsion, lo siento mi hermanos), some Humvees that we keep for all the subordinate teams to use when they get this type of mission.
3. We get some kind of waiver and send a smaller, split team with the raiders in KR vehicles.

Personally, I favor #3, but can see up front that there'll be a whole lot of folks averse to this solution, and a whole lot of bureaucratic wickets to negotiate before we can make it happen.

Couldn't be prouder of the Mungadai. We'd been up since 0400. The team OPTEMPO the last couple of days has been significant. Both our counterparts and the Mungadai had decided that we would take a "no roll" day the next day for refit and recovery. At 2200 (just before I hit the rack) the call came in that the KR raiders had a hot tip and would be rolling within the hour. The Mungadai got cocked, locked and ready to rock in about 20 minutes--this included full-up PCI on all of our night-vision and -firing equipment as well as the usual, plus a no frills but fundamentally sound MCP brief--and we were rolling out the gate within 30. Outstanding performance. I was so proud, I'd've gotten choked up and had a tear in my eye if, you know, I was the type of guy that cried. Ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment