Ten days onto the offensive, it is clear that the Wehrmacht is exactly where the French want them, as evidenced by their pause to refuel their tanks and rearm with more ammunition.
We are told by various reporters that the war is bogging down. that casualties are ‘heavy’, that Iraqi resistance is ‘stiff’. We hear that thing are going badly and the allied military leaders have miscalculated.
Yet although the allied forces have taken loses, for sure, and each of those is a tragedy, the cold facts are that in military and historical terms, UK and US casualties have been insignificant, trivial in fact.
The allies have overrun a huge chunk of Iraq, killing thousands of Iraqi soldiers and paramilitary militia, smashing the Ba’athist Socialist infrastructure of repression and hammering targets of military importance at will. The fact that not everything has gone the way UK and US planners expected will not be an earth shattering surprise to them as there is a well known military axiom that they will all be very familar with: “no plan ever survives contact with the enemy”.
It seems that any war which does not result in single figure losses and which is not over in time to not interfere with the screening of the Oscars is going to be deemed a ‘catastrophe’ by a media which knows nothing about either military affairs or history. The British took 58,000 casualties (one third of them killed) on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. That is what ‘heavy casualties’ means.