The Iraq War: A Military History

The Iraq War: A Military History

Youssef Aboul-Enein

The Iraq War: A Military History by Williamson Murray and Major General Robert Scales, Belknap Books, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2003, 368 pp., $25.95 (hardcover)

Within a year of its beginning, the 2003 Iraq War generated a string of books about its political, social, and military implications. No doubt, the tactics and military strategy of this war will be debated and analyzed for years to come. For those who wish to begin their journey toward understanding how the United States and coalition forces quickly defeated Saddam Hussein, this book by Murray and Scales is an excellent start.

Readers will be introduced to the current tacticians of the Iraq War, such as Lieutenant General David McKiernan, whose focus was destroying Iraqi ground forces en masse using the I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and the Army’s V Corps. The V Corps was to proceed from the south to the west of the Euphrates River and then turn northeast into Baghdad; its lead element was the 3d Mechanized Infantry Division, reinforced with the 101st Airborne Division and a brigade from the 82d Airborne Division. Readers will understand the combat power and task-organized capabilities these units brought in terms of Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Apache attack helicopters. Lieutenant General William Wallace was in command of V Corps.

The I MEF, commanded by Lieutenant General James Conway, crossed the Euphrates River and drove through the heartland of Iraq, crossing the Tigris River and attacking Baghdad from the east. Close air support for V Corps was provided by U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthogs and British Royal Air Force Harriers, the Marines had their own Cobras, Harriers, and Hornets that reinforced their drive northwest and then east. The Iraq War: A Military History covers the complex planning of this force that sprang into action on 20 March. Task Force Tarawa, comprised of two Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs), along with British forces, attacked from the sea and secured the area from Southern Iraq to Al-Nasiriyah. British infantry, made up of the 7th Armored Brigade (the famed descendants of the World War II Desert Rats), would conduct urban fighting to break Baath resistance

The book is a comprehensive loom of the Iraqi war and covers equipment, joint operations, and much more. The Iraq War: A Military History is highly recommended for those en route to Iraq.



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