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B52s bring air terror
The Evening Standard ^ | March 4, 2003 | Robert Fox

Posted on 03/04/2003 3:54:42 AM PST by MadIvan

The arrival of nine B-52 Super Fortress bombers at RAF Fairford overnight gives a clear indication of the timing of the long-forecast US strike on Saddam's Iraq and the kind of operation that President Bush has in mind.

The B-52s are veterans of the Cold War. They carry huge payloads of conventional and satellite-guided bombs, JDAMs, and air-launched cruise missiles. The stationing of the planes at Fairford signalled the overture to the air campaign over Iraq in January 1991 and Nato bombing of Kosovo and Serbia in 1999.

In the Gulf War in 1991, the tons of iron bombs dropped on the demoralised Iraqi troops in the southern desert did not prove too effective. Touring across those wastes after the ceasefire, the dunes and wadhis were littered with the carcasses of bombs - many yards wide of their targets. In Afghanistan the B-52s' satellite-guided bombs proved more accurate-and were decisive in breaking the Taliban lines.

Both the Taliban and the Iraqi prisoners of war testified to the terrifying psychological effect of huge sticks of bombs, 30 at a time, being unloaded from the B-52s' bellies.

As in Kosovo the Americans intend most of the business against Saddam Hussein to be done from the air. In Kosovo, President Clinton's reluctance to commit ground forces bedevilled Nato planners for months, and appeared to let Serb forces off the hook. It was only when Britain and France seemed serious about following up with a ground attack that Milosevic agreed to terms.

The concept established by the Nato commander of that day, Wesley Clark, was "90 per cent from the air, 10 per cent from the ground". This seems to be the rule of thumb for General Tommy Franks and his planners.

The campaign would open with a "firepower demonstration" of precision attacks by the B-52s and B2 Spirit stealth bombers from Diego Garcia, B1 Lancers from Oman, F117 stealth fighter bombers from Kuwait, plus fleets of British and American fighter bombers from all round the Gulf, and 3,000 cruise missiles from ships and aircraft.

This would be aimed at communication centres, air defences, and what remains of Iraq's armed forces, now estimated at around 60,000 or fewer. The tempo of such an air assault cannot be maintained for long. While the USAF has little shortage of air crew, it is no different from its allies in having a shortage of skilled maintenance crews for turning round, repairing and bombing up their planes.

The US Navy will not be able to fly its main strike planes, the F/18A and F Hornets and F14 D Tomcats, without the RAF's assistance in inflight refuelling.

The aircraft carriers provide the key to the precise timing of the air campaign. Yesterday the USS Nimitz left San Diego for the Gulf where it will be on station towards the end of March, possibly to replace the Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln is one of five carriers in the Gulf region or the eastern Mediterranean. This means that half the US carrier fleet is now involved in operations in the Gulf, and three of the remaining six are in long refit.

Sustained air operations put huge strain on carrier crews and can only last a few weeks at most. The carriers are vital for the American plan for Iraq and will fly at least a third of the strike missions.

With the new resolution being voted on by the Security Council by next Monday at the latest, the US seems to be heading for war a week later - whatever the UN says. But if there is no further mandate from the UN, will Tony Blair be prepared to commit Britain's forces to battle, too?


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: b52bomber; b52s; blair; bush; goodbye; iraq; saddam; uk; us; warlist
I like the idea of the Taliban and Iraqis being terrified.


Say good night, Saddam

Regards, Ivan

1 posted on 03/04/2003 3:54:42 AM PST by MadIvan
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To: Semper911; Bubbette; Kip Lange; dixiechick2000; UofORepublican; kayak; LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR; ..
Bump!
2 posted on 03/04/2003 3:55:01 AM PST by MadIvan (Learn the power of the Dark Side, www.thedarkside.net)
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To: MadIvan
B-52...The GMC truck of the Air Force.

It ain't pretty, nor fancy, it just get's the job done. And has stood the test of time.

3 posted on 03/04/2003 3:58:56 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: MadIvan
But if there is no further mandate from the UN, will Tony Blair be prepared to commit Britain's forces to battle, too?

Hasn't he already committed to that?

4 posted on 03/04/2003 4:00:25 AM PST by Happygal
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To: Happygal
Hasn't he already committed to that?

Yes he has. I can only assume the reporter has his head under a rock. ;)

Love, Ivan

5 posted on 03/04/2003 4:02:21 AM PST by MadIvan (Learn the power of the Dark Side, www.thedarkside.net)
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To: MadIvan
Click on my name to go to military videos, including a B-52 video.
6 posted on 03/04/2003 4:05:37 AM PST by Straight Vermonter (I don't believe in hyphenating Americans)
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To: viligantcitizen
It ain't pretty, nor fancy, it just get's the job done.

BUFF one tough old bird. Older than the kids flying them. The ones flying today were built in 1962. One thing about it though, if it can fly even a little it will get you home.

7 posted on 03/04/2003 4:05:58 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: viligantcitizen
B-52...The GMC truck of the Air Force.

The BUFF. Stands for Big Ugly Fat "Fellow" - use your imagination.

8 posted on 03/04/2003 4:07:11 AM PST by Aeronaut (Liberals: the other white meat.)
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To: viligantcitizen
These bad boys are a beautiful sight.
9 posted on 03/04/2003 4:46:45 AM PST by hound
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To: MadIvan
"In the Gulf War in 1991, the tons of iron bombs dropped on the demoralised Iraqi troops in the southern desert did not prove too effective. Touring across those wastes after the ceasefire, the dunes and wadhis were littered with the carcasses of bombs - many yards wide of their targets. In Afghanistan the B-52s' satellite-guided bombs proved more accurate-and were decisive in breaking the Taliban lines."

This writer doesn't know what he's talking about. Having lead BDA (Bombing Damage Assessment) patrols after Arc Light missions, I can personally attest to the devestation that occurs when 3 B52 loads of iron bombs are put in a "box". It doesn't matter that many bombs are yards wide of their targets. The whole target area is so physically disrupted that drainage patterns are re-arranged. They are indeed very effective - just ask any VC/NVA who were on the receiving end of this treatment and who happened to survive, only to wander around totally dazed and combat ineffective sometimes days after the attack.

I would agree that guided munitions are more accurate/selective, but there is still a role for the Arc-Light type of mission.



10 posted on 03/04/2003 5:07:56 AM PST by x1stcav (HooAhh!!!)
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To: MadIvan
I love the smell of napalm in the morning.....
11 posted on 03/04/2003 5:32:27 AM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Mesopotamiam Esse Delendam)
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To: MadIvan

Hey, Saddam! Meet my boy Lance.


12 posted on 03/04/2003 5:35:58 AM PST by CholeraJoe
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: MadIvan
"...90 per cent from the air, 10 per cent from the ground". This seems to be the rule of thumb for General Tommy Franks and his planners.

Uh, we have 310,000 personnel in theatre or en route. That does not suggest 10% ground v. 90% air.

14 posted on 03/04/2003 7:15:04 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: MadIvan
Re: your great photo and media "bias"

The antiAmerican Baltimore Sun today had on Page One above the fold, a picture of a B-52 arriving in the UK. The shot was from the ground showing two Brits looking up and holding their ears while the B-52 flew overhead.

To my jaundiced eye this was a view which showed sympathy for those on the ground and portrayed the plane as a menace.

Our antiAmerican media is so disgusting!!!
15 posted on 03/04/2003 7:20:58 AM PST by maica
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To: *war_list
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
16 posted on 03/04/2003 7:25:28 AM PST by Free the USA (Stooge for the Rich)
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To: MadIvan
The arrival of ....Super Fortress bombers at RAF Fairford overnight gives a clear indication of the timing....

Timing? 1945? I think the last time a B-29 Super Fortress was in Europe was in the '50's. The B-52 StratoFortresses are a little more modern....somewhat. :^)

17 posted on 03/04/2003 7:27:50 AM PST by guitfiddlist
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To: Petronski
Why are so many people starting their sentences with "uh" these days? Is there some kind of TV show where this is done and people are copying it? I remember that "doh" used to be in vogue. Is this from the same show? I'm curious as to how this practice has entered into our language.
18 posted on 03/04/2003 7:43:22 AM PST by SamAdams76 (California wine tastes better - boycott French wine!)
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To: SamAdams76
Uh, I think it is meant to impart a sense of a restatement of the obvious--or that which is presumed to be obvious.
19 posted on 03/04/2003 7:57:10 AM PST by Petronski (Like this post.)
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To: Petronski
Uh, we have 310,000 personnel in theatre or en route. That does not suggest 10% ground v. 90% air.


Uh, most of that 310K supports the actual fighters.
20 posted on 03/04/2003 8:10:08 AM PST by Gamecock (You take your Germany, France and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn't give us room to park)
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To: Gamecock
So you think 90% air and 10% land is accurate? Can you explain that for me?
21 posted on 03/04/2003 8:17:26 AM PST by Petronski (Like this post.)
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To: SamAdams76
The author is pathetic and knows little about American capabilities. Reading this you would think that we are dependent upon help.

Total denial.
22 posted on 03/04/2003 12:59:54 PM PST by rbmillerjr
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To: MadIvan
Saddam had better be wearing his Ultra Depends, 'cause he's going to need them--LOL!

They don't call B-52's BUFF's (BIG UGLY FAT F****RS) for nothing!!!

23 posted on 03/04/2003 1:05:24 PM PST by RooRoobird14
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To: MadIvan

Let the nasties begin!


24 posted on 03/04/2003 7:01:52 PM PST by lormand
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To: MadIvan
good post
25 posted on 03/04/2003 7:12:56 PM PST by The Wizard (Demonrats are enemies of America)
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To: x1stcav
I have a friend who was on some of the raids in the gulf war, and they were ORDERED to drop the bombs wide. And they did demoralize the ones they dropped them next to.
26 posted on 03/04/2003 7:29:42 PM PST by stumpy
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