Infantry: October 3, 2003


A major reason the Iraqi armed forces were defeated so quickly and dramatically was that their troops lacked many basic skills. One glaring deficiency was weapons training. It was found that most Iraqi troops had not fired their weapons in the past year, or had done so very little. For example, training records for three Iraqi divisions were obtained. The Baghdad Republican Guard troops went to the rifle range once in the past year, with each man firing ten rounds. It was worse in army divisions. One division had no live fire with weapons in the past year, another had troops firing an average of four rounds each. This led to very inaccurate fire by Iraqi troops when they were in combat. It was noted that fewer than ten percent of RPG rounds fired hit a target (and some of those may have hit another vehicle, not the one it was aimed at.) As was noted during the 1991 war, Iraqi troops did not take care of their vehicles, and many armored vehicles and trucks broke down (American mechanics examined many abandoned vehicles and found that the problems were nearly always poor maintenance.) Combat leadership was terrible, with officers frequently abandoning their men. NCOs weren't much better. Troops had little training in combat tactics. The irregulars who actually fought coalition troops, died in droves because they used tactics they had apparently picked up from war movies. American military instructors, since World War II, have had a fetish about disabusing new recruits about anything they might have "learned" about combat while watching war movies. This was apparently not the case in Iraq, and thousands of brave, but inept, Iraqis died as a result. As Romans noted over two thousand years ago, "the more your sweat (train) in peace, the less you bleed in war."


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