The Wages of War:
Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities inthe 2003 Conflict
Appendix 1. Survey and assessment of reported
1. Baghdad area|
2. Basra area and to its south
3. Nasiriyah area
4. As Samawah area
5. Diwaniyah area and Afak
6. Najaf area
7. Al Hillah and Kifl
8. Hindiyah area
9. Al Kut area and north to Baghdad
10. Karbala, Karbala gap, and north to Baghdad
11. Northern Front
12. Special operations in western Iraq
This appendix compiles reports of Iraqi combatant fatalities made by US defense officials, Central Command staff, field commanders, other military personnel, and journalists traveling with coalition military units. The survey draws on approximately 200 press reports covering 69 individual battles and engagements of varying size and scope. Regarding these combat events, the press articles convey 140 discrete numerical estimates and another 30 that are composite (that is, covering more than one event).Forty of the articles reviewed for this analysis do not contain numerical estimates, but convey important substantiating detail.
For most of the combat events there are multiple or overlapping estimates. When simply added together, the higher-end estimates suggest an observed Iraqi combatant fatality total exceeding 14,000. But these reports cannot be taken at face value; they often convey hasty or impressionistic counts made under great stress. In some case, when the estimates emanate from higher command or political authorities, they may reflect an information warfare objective more than they do facts on the ground. Inflating combatant casualty estimates can be one way to convince an adversary to quit the fight. This may have been the case with the Central Command estimate of 2,000-3,000 Iraqis killed in the 5 April armored thrust into Baghdad, as Lexington Institute analyst Dan Goure has suggested.(1)
Rejecting the 14,000 figure, our review of estimates made by field observers concludes that a reliable count is in the range of 4,895 to 6,370 observed and reported Iraqi combatant fatalities for the period 19 March through 20 April 2003.
In calculating this sum we have controlled for casualty inflation in several ways:
First, we gave greatest weight to observations of limited scope made at the company, battalion, and brigade level. Based on these, we built more comprehensive estimates -- that is, estimates of broader scope, covering larger swaths of territory and time.
Second, estimates by military or civil authorities above the division level (for instance, Central Command and Defense Department spokespersons)were excluded from our countexcept when they were consistent with estimates made by those closer to the actual battles and combat engagements. (In several instances, estimates of Iraqi fatalities made by authorities above the division level were found to exceed those made by field commanders by 100 percent to 200 percent.)
Third, estimates made by embedded journalists and by unit field commanders at the division level or below were also adjusted in many cases, especially when the estimates were expressed in rounded numbers and involved more than 20 fatalities. Larger, rounded estimates made by reporters and commanders were often meant to cover multiple engagements, multiple battalion-sized units, or several days or even weeks of activity. Our approach disfavored such sweeping estimates because they are inherently more difficult to substantiate. We also assumed that such estimates were more subject to inflation.
Fourth, we settled on estimates around which there was a convergence of evidence -- both testimony and substantiating detail. Our default assumption, based on several confirming instances, was that larger, rounded estimates could overstate observed fatalities by a factor ranging from 30 percent to 275 percent. We relaxed this assumption in accord with the amount of testimony, the proximity of the observers to the events, and the presence and extent of supporting narrative detail.
It is important to recognize, however, that our adjusted estimate of observed fatalities is, at best, a more reliable accounting of what was seen and reported -- not all there was to see and report. Coalition units did not travel everywhere, nor did military personnel and journalists see and report everything. Much of the killing occurred beyond visual range or was obscured by structures and terrain. Especially regarding long-range fires: much of the evidence of their fatal effects would have been buried or removed before ground personnel and journalists could observe them.
In one respect our survey was limited by choice: with few exceptions, we only included combat events in our pool if they were associated with a numerical estimate of combatant fatalities. Without doubt, many smaller engagements are not included in our count. Three important areas in which our coverage is notably incomplete are the northern front, the operations of US marine units in Baghdad, and special force operations. Our broader reading of press reports and CENTCOM press briefings gives us the impression that our sample could easily have missed 10 to 15 percent of all combat events weighted in accord with the number of fatalities they involved.
Thus, the following summary of observed combatant fatalities can be considered only one, limited input to the calculation of the war's death toll. The problem of incompleteness is further addressed in the main body of the report.
Our estimate for total observed and reported Iraqi combatant fatalities for the period 20 March through 20 April is 4,895 - 6,370. Sub-estimatesfor city areas are presented below in Table A1. The evidence for each areais briefly reviewed in the sections that follow.
If accepted uncritically, official coalition estimates of Iraqi combatant fatalities in the battle for Baghdad suggest a death toll of in excess of 7,000 soldiers and militia. However, the larger, more sweeping estimates on which this high total depends originate mostly with upper-level commanders, not field commanders or journalists. For our estimate, we exclude numbers originating from Central Command and instead depend for the most part on estimates issued by commanders on the brigade level and below. One area of incompleteness regards Marine Corps operations in Baghdad, which seem under-reported.
1.1. Combat on the immediate approach to Baghdad: 70-90 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA estimate).
As they approached Baghdad on April 3, units of the "3rd Infantry fought Republican Guard and Iraqi army forces, destroying at least seven Iraqi armored personnel carriers and 15 tanks." Chuck Squatriglia, "Tanks, troops battle for Baghdad airport," San Francisco Chronicle, 4 April 2003, p. 1; and, 3rd Battalion of 3rd Infantry Division claims destruction of 20 Iraqi tanks moving north to defend Baghdad. Chris Tomlinson,"U.S. troops roll through; 'The Iraqis are running,' Kurdish fighter yells,"Associated Press, 4 April 2003.
April 3 rocket and artillery barrage in village of Furat near Baghdad airport: Iraqi officials put the total death toll in and around the village at 83... Reuters correspondent Nadim Ladki said there were more than 120 people wounded in the attack on the village, which lies between the airport and the Iraqi capital. "We saw a pile of dead bodies at one of the four hospitals where the victims were taken. Most of them appeared to be military." Luke Baker, "Only Light Resistance At Baghdad Airport," Reuters, 3 April 2003.
Eight Iraqis attempting ambush are killed according to Army company commander. Chris Tomlinson, "US troops encounter Iraqi suicide paramilitary in fire fight south of Baghdad," Associated Press,6 April 2003.
Table A1. Reported Iraqi Combatant Fatalities in the 2003 War
(adjusted to correct for casualty inflation)
|Baghdad area||1,700 - 2,120|
|Basra area (including Rumaylah, Az Zubayr, Abu al Khasib, Safwan, Umm Qasr, and Al Faw)||425 - 555|
|Nasiriyah area (including Tallil and areas to the north toward As Samawah and Ashatrah)||360 - 430|
|Samawah area||150 - 210|
|Diwaniyah area and Afak||95 - 120|
|Najaf area||590 - 780|
|Al Hillah area including Kifl||295 - 365|
|Hindiyah area||40 - 50|
|Al Kut area (including Numaniyah)||190 - 225|
|Karbala, Karbala gap, and north to Baghdad |
(including Mussayib and Latifiyah)
|800 - 1,100|
|Northern Front (including Kirkuk, Mosul, Tikrit)||230 - 375|
|Special operations in western Iraq||20 - 40|
Total observed and reported Iraqi combatant fatalities
. Baghdad: 1,700 - 2,120
. Outside Baghdad: 3,195 - 4,250
4,895 - 6,370
1.2 Baghdad airport engagements: 400 to 450 Iraqi combatant deaths (PDA corrected estimate). By some official estimates, more than 2,500 Iraqis were killed in the effort to seize and defend the international airport. However, disaggregated estimates by lower level commanders and embedded reporters suggest the number of Iraqis killed was less than 500. For our estimate we accept 400 to 450 Iraqi combatant fatalities.
Led by five tanks, mixed Iraqi forces attempt a counter-attack on US positions at international airport on April 4; 40 Iraqis are killed. Prior to this, coalition damage assessment set airport death toll at 320 dismounted Iraqi personnel as well as 31 air defense guns, three troop carriers, 23 trucks, one field artillery piece, and an ammunition truck were seized or destroyed. "Iraqi tanks 'suicidal' airport charge," Sydney Morning Herald (AP), 4 April 2003.
"Military sources" report at least 320 Iraqis killed in battle to take Baghdad airport. "US 'Secures' Baghdad Airport", BBC News, 4 April 2003.
Squadron commander estimates 400 killed in battle. "US armor decimates Iraqi forces near airport," CNN, 4 April 2003.
400 Iraqis killed during a tank fight north and east of the airport. Chris Tomlinson, "US troops roll through; 'The Iraqis are running,'Kurdish fighter yells," Associated Press, 4 April 2003.
"Having moved on to the runway on Thursday evening, the 3rd Infantry came under shellfire.... From the skies, A-10 Thunderbolt 'Tankbusters' fired on Iraqi tanks, reducing many of them to burning wrecks. Other warplanes bombarded airport buildings. Reporters from the New York Times saw three satellite- guided bombs strike barracks and hangars on the airport's northern side. From Iraqi positions on the ground, anti-aircraft fire shot up into the darkness. By morning yesterday, the worst of the battle was over. It was not entirely clear what toll it had taken but the 3rd Infantry said it had killed between 300 and 400 Iraqi troops." Andrew Gumbel and Donald Macintyre, "Amid Wrecked Jets and Hangars, the Greatest Prize; Airport Seized and Re-named," The Independent (London), 5 April 2003, p.4.
"Within hours the vanguard of the US assault quickly captured the southern side of the airport taking out enemy sniper positions with tank blasts... But Iraqi Special Republican Guard and special forces continued to fight running battles in the northern area of the main terminal... At one stage a large number of Iraqi tanks and trucks grouped together and attempted a counter-attack but were beaten off by allied tanks." Dan Mcdougall,"Troops Secure Baghdad Airport as Frightened Iraqis Seek Safety," The Scotsman, 5 April 2003, p. 2.
"US military officials estimate that 2,500 Iraqis were killed in the battle for the airport and 100 Iraqi tanks were destroyed." Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker, "US Forces Probing Inside Baghdad", Washington Post, 5 April 2003, p. 1. (Disregarded by PDA.)
"Lt. Col. Lee Fetterman, a battalion commander with the 101st Airborne Division, said several hundred Iraqis were killed Friday (April 4) at Baghdad airport, including some with bombs strapped to them who apparently intended suicide attacks." Michael Gordon, "US flexes muscle in capital; U.S. tests Baghdad's defences; Armoured column on three-hour raid; Hundreds killed in pitched street fight," Toronto Star, 6 April 2003, p.1.
100 Iraqi soldiers killed in seven-hour battle near airport. Chris Tomlinson and Hamza Hendawi, "US forces storm into Baghdad, seize Saddam's New Presidential Palace,"Associated Press, 7 April 2003.
"Central Command said that the 101st Airborne Division turned aside a series of small-scale attacks around the airport" on April 6. "They are generally company-sized, somewhere between 20 and 40 vehicles with associated paramilitaries ... and those are dealt with when they arrive."James O'Toole, "US Planes Land in Baghdad; Roads In, out of Iraq Capital Choked off," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7 April 2003, p. 1.
On April 8, troops of the 101st Airborne Division attack Republican Guard headquarters near the airport; two Iraqis reported killed. Chris Tomlinson, "US Marines battle for military airport in southeastern Baghdad; Iraqis launch counterattack in Baghdad," Associated Press, 8 April2003.
1.3. "Thunder Run" armored foray into Baghdad, April 5: 600 to 800 Iraqi combatant deaths (PDA corrected estimate). By Central Command's estimate as many as 3,000 Iraqi combatants were killed during the first armored foray into Baghdad, which covered 25 miles in three hours. However, a field commander who led the operation estimates the number of fatalities as more than 1,000. As a hedge against exaggeration we accept for our estimate only 600 to 800 Iraqi combatant fatalities.
Central Command estimates that 2,000 to 3,000 Iraqi troops were killed during US armored foray into Baghdad. "2,000 to 3,000 Iraqi Troops Killed in Foray," Associated Press, 6 April 2003. (Disregarded by PDA estimate.)
Colonel David Perkins, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the US 3rd Infantry, said: "There was some very intense fighting, with just about every kind of weapons system you can imagine. It was a non-stop gauntlet of both heavy systems as well as light infantry on roofs, shooting down on top of tanks with RPGs rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns....We have destroyed probably in excess of 1,000 dismounted infantry." Donald Macintyre, "War on Iraq Battle of Baghdad: US Forces Penetrate Saddam'sCapital in Lethal Show of Force; First Military Incursion since 1941,"Independent (London), 6 April 2003, p. 2.
"Before it was over, the column had thundered through a Republican Guard gauntlet, killing hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, blowing up 30 Iraqi trucks, one tank and destroying 30 anti-aircraft batteries, according to Col. David Perkins, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade. "Michael R. Gordon, "US flexes muscle in capital; US tests Baghdad's defences; Armoured column on three-hour raid; Hundreds killed in pitched street fight,"Toronto Star, 6 April 2003, p. 1.
"On Friday, his unit, part of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, swept through neighborhoods outside Baghdad where civilians were blowing kisses. A day later, as his unit pressed closer to the city, the civilians were fleeing in terror. Sunday said his unit was moving today through an area with homes, warehouses and highways. 'You know Washington,the Beltway? Not that big, but there was stuff like that,' he said. Soon, firefights erupted. Sunday said he saw Iraqi soldiers firing from roofs,from bridge underpasses, from trucks. The boom of artillery fire and grenades filled the air. Amid the flying bullets, he was astonished to see a woman simply sitting in the middle of the road, cradling a little boy. "On a Busy Night, Beds Fill Up With U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi POWs and Civilians," Washington Post, 6 April 2003, p. 27.
1.4. Soldiers of the Second Brigade of the 3rd Division estimated they had killed 1,600 enemy soldiers in the last four days of fighting"(3-6 April 2003). Oliver Poole, "Americans tighten their grip on Baghdad,"Daily Telegraph, 7 April 2003. (Disregarded for numerical estimate by PDA).
1.5. Highway 8 intersections battle, April 7 (Battle of "Moe, Larry, and Curly"): 250-300 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA estimate)
Lt. Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 2ndbrigade, 3rd Infantry Division estimates that most of 750 Iraqis who attacked US positions at three highway intersections south of Baghdad were killed in the fight; one company commander claims his unit alone killed 300 who attacked in waves. Adam Lusher, "The 10-hour battle for Curly, Larry and Moe," Daily Telegraph, 13 April 2003.
Estimated 350-500 fighters killed in intersection battle. William Branigin, "3 Key Battles Turned Tide of Invasion," Washington Post, 20 April 2003, p. 20.
Also see: Dennis Steele, "Baghdad: The Crossroads," Army Magazine(June 2003).
1.6. Center city battle for control of presidential compound, government area, and bridges, April 7-8: 100-120 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA estimate). Under fire US Army force occupied the presidential palace on Monday, April 7. Mixed Iraqi forces attempted a counter-attack on Tuesday as US forces sought to expand their control of the government area. Iraqi forces also attempted to block Tigris River bridges between west and east Bagdad.
"Dozens of Iraqi soldiers were killed Monday in the fighting. "John F. Burns, "Capital has look of a battlefield," New York Times,8 April 2003.
"American officers at the international airport said that the relentless fighting included waves of suicide bombers, and that 600 Iraqis had died inside the presidential compound alone." John F. Burns, "Capital has look of a battlefield," New York Times, 8 April 2003.
In western Baghdad, 101st Airborne Division kills two Iraqis in attack on former Republican Guard headquarters. Chris Tomlinson and Hamza Hendawi, "US Marines seize military airport in southeastern Baghdad; Iraqis launch counterattack in Baghdad,"Associated Press, 8 April 2003.
1.7. Iraqi counterattack. Attempted truck-borne "human wave" counter-attack on US forces holding a key intersection in west Baghdad: 50-80 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA estimate).
On Tuesday, April 8, 500 mixed Iraqi forces attempt to overrun US forces holding a strategic intersection west of the Tigris. At least 50 Iraqi fighters were killed according to Capt. Philip Wolford, a company commander. Chris Tomlinson, "US Marines battle for military airport in southeastern Baghdad; Iraqis launch counterattack in Baghdad,"Associated Press, 8 April 2003.
US NCO estimates 25 Iraqis killed in fighting. William Branigin. "At Intersection, Army's Mission Turns to Chaos" Washington Post,8 April 2003, p. 1.
Tigris counter-attack on April 8: "US 3rd Infantry Division forces were confronted by 200 to 300 paramilitary fighters and Special Republican Guards, racing to block the American advance, according to US military sources. 'The trucks have been destroyed and most of the people as well,' said US Major Mike Birmingham on the outskirts of Baghdad. The Iraqi forces included formations of between 20 and 60 vehicles, including T-72 tanks and civilian trucks outfitted with military weapons." Donald Macintyre, "Bloody Battles in Baghdad," The Independent (London),9 April 2003, p.1.
"US troops estimated they killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers and irregulars who mounted the counterattack by racing over several bridges across the Tigris from the eastern part of the city." William Branigin and Anthony Shadid, "Authority Melts in Baghdad As US Forces Tighten Grip,"Washington Post, 9 April 2003, p.1.
US major reports defeat of counterattack by 500 militia, claiming that most were killed or injured. Rory McCarthy, "Second city airport falls to forces sweeping aside Iraqi resistance; Counterattack fails but two US planes downed," Guardian, 9 April 2003, p. 2.
Army officer reports at least 50 Iraqi fighters killed in attempt to overrun US position. Rory McCarthy, "Second city airport falls to forces sweeping aside Iraqi resistance; Counterattack fails but two US planes downed," Guardian, 9 April 2003, p. 2.
1.8. Effort to consolidate coalition control of government quarter: 40-50 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate). On Wednesday April 9 US forces consolidate hold on Baghdad, seizing the headquarters of the Special Republican Guard (1-64 Armor Battalion), targeting scattered militia positions with mortar and artillery fire, and attacking a Mosque from which militia fire emanated. Bridgeheads over the Tigris were also expanded (4-64 Armor Battalion) to link up with USMC units. One of the three lead battalions, "the 3rd Battalion, 15th Regiment, which held several positions in central Baghdad...killed 15 to 20 fighters, mostly rocket-propelled grenade teams in groups of two or three, said Maj. Denton Knapp...the battalion's executive officer." William Branigin, "Army Seizes Final Government Strongholds,"Washington Post, 10 April 2003, p. 34.
1.9. A clash with irregulars: 15-20 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate). An Army unit reported a sharp clash with Iraqi irregulars in the western part of Baghdad, in which officers said about 20 Iraqi militiamen were killed. Peter Baker, "Marines Advance on Hussein's Home Town," Washington Post, 13 April 2003, p. 1.
1.10 USMC operations in and around Baghdad, April 8-10: 175-210 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
1.10.1. Seizure of Diyala bridge. Lt. Col. B.P. McCoy of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines estimates 50-60 Iraqis killed in effort to seize bridge leading into Baghdad. John Koopman, "Artillery hits Marines in fierce fight for bridge," San Francisco Chronicle, 8 April 2003, p. 1.
1.10.2 USMC Baghdad combat April 8-10: 25-50 estimated Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
On April 8, "The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force moved to capture Rashid airport in the southeast corner of Baghdad, said Brig. Gen. Brooks. On the way, Marines fought and defeated heavily armed Iraqi forces in tanks and armoured personnel carriers, before moving on to the military airfield. "Donald Macintyre, "Bloody Battles in Baghdad," The Independent (London), 9 April 2003, p.1.
While proceeding to industrial complex, snipers of Baker Company in the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment report killing between nine and 14 Iraqis. At least two more killed in fight around industrial complexin Baghdad. Jonathan Finer, "Marines Battle Their Way Toward Central Baghdad," WashingtonPost, 9 April 2003, p. 24.
On April 9, "US Marines came under attack Wednesday afternoon at Baghdad University and stormed onto the campus to return fire... The university campus was a battlefield at one point, with black smoke rising from buildings and machine-gun fire ripping past... After the battle, Savidge said Marines went door-to-door in university buildings to ferret out Iraqi fighters. "Marines take fire at Baghdad University," CNN.com, 9 April 2003
Also see, Peter Maass, "'Good Kills'," New York Times, 20 April 2003, p. 32.
1.10.3 Seizure of Almilyah Palace and Iman Abu Hanifah Mosque, April 10: 100 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA estimate).
5th Marine Regiment reports killing about 200 Iraqis in attack on Imam Mosque. Peter Baker, "Firefight, Suicide Bombing Leave One Marine Dead, 26 Wounded," Washington Post, 11 April 2003, p.29.
Central Command claims several hundred killed in Mosque fight.Tony Perry and John Daniszewski, "Major Combat Declared 'Over'; Hussein's Hometown Falls Without Struggle," Los Angeles Times, 15 April 2003, p. 1.
USMC officers report about 200 Iraqis killed at Imam Mosque battle in northern Baghdad. "Tip that Hussein is near ends in shootout,"St. Petersburg Times (Florida), 11 April 2003, p. 3.
On April 10 "1st Battalion, 5th Marines was tasked with the seizure of the Almilyah Palace, the search of two possible American POW holding sites, and the search of the Iman Abu Hanifah Mosque... In securing their assigned objectives, 1st Battalion experienced heavy casualties and killed an estimated 100 Saddam Fedayeen fighters.
1.10.4. "A Marine guarding a hospital on the eastern side of the Tigris River was shot and killed when two Syrian men posing as gardeners sneaked up, pulled out a concealed gun and opened fire at point-blank range.Other Marines at the checkpoint returned fire, killing one of the assailants and injuring the other, officers reported." Peter Baker, "Marines Advance on Hussein's Home Town," Washington Post, 13 April 2003, p. 1.
Also see: Jon Lee Anderson, "The Collapse: A regime disappears and chaos ensues," The New Yorker, 21-28 April 2003; and, Ron Harris, "As marines Converge on Capital, Battle Gets Hotter; Suicide Bombing Attempts,Unending Assaults Mark Day," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 April 2003,p. 11.
(including Rumaylah, Az Zubayr, Abu al Khasib, Safwan, Umm Qasr, and Al Faw)
425-555 Iraqi combatant fatalities.
Publically available estimates of Iraqi combatant fatalities in the Basra area and to its south suggest a death toll exceeding 650. And these estimates provide only partial coverage of combat in the area. For our estimate we accept 425 to 535 observed fatalities. This aggregated estimate significantly discounts some of the larger estimates made by military officials and embedded journalists, noted below.
2.1. Tanks attached to the 3rd Battalion 7th Marine Infantry attacked five Iraqi tanks just north of the Kuwait border, easily destroying them. PDA estimates five killed. Ravi Nessman and Ahmed Hindawi,"US, UK Forces Seize S. Iraq Villages, Associated Press, 21 March 2003.
2.2. "Three soldiers... driving in an Iraqi army lorry... were killed by tank shells... on Thursday night" (March 20). Anne Penketh, "Forward March: the Allied Military Machine Rolls on Towards Saddam," Independent(London),22 March 2003, p. 2.
2.3. Soldiers from the brigade's B Troop, 10th Cavalry, escorting an anti-artillery unit, came upon two truck transports of Iraqi soldiers. The Americans opened fire, and four of the Iraqis were killed. Thorns Harper,"Allied Ground Forces Advance Deep into Southern Iraq," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,22 March 2003, p. 5.
2.4. 30-40 Iraqis estimated killed in battle for Umm Qasr.
Dozens of Iraqis reported killed during initial battle for Umm Qasr; about 12 bodies observed. "US Marines awed by Iraqi resistance at Umm Qasr,"Agence France Presse, 23 March 2003.
British troops and US marines destroy company of 60 Iraqis and a dozen vehicles in Umm Qasr. Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker."Strikes Intensify as Forces Move North", Washington Post, 22 March 2003, p. 1.
Describing several combat encounters the author notes that "dozens of Iraqis are believed to have died during the battle for Umm Qasr. Seven bodies - one with its head virtually severed - were lined up on the ground at the back of a warehouse. At least 450 Iraqis surrendered." Paul Gallagher, "Turning Big Guns on a Dogged Enemy," The Scotsman, 24 March 2003, p. 3.
2.5. 25-40 Iraqis estimated killed in operations to seize and secure Rumayla oilfields.
On 30 March British air assault brigade attacks two companies of Iraqi infantry north of Rumayla, destroying 17 T-55 tanks and five artillery pieces, according to British military spokesman. Chris Tomlinson, "US Army battles its way into Hindiyah, dozens of Republican Guard reported captured," Associated Press, 31 March 2003.
"Many" Iraqis reported killed in seizure of oil fields. James Meek, "Race to Save the Oilfields: Firefights, fear... and farce: Iraqi resistance was crushed in the end, but the fight to take the blazing oil wells of Rumayla was not the walk over America had counted on,"The Observer,23 March 2003, p. 3.
2.6. Early engagements on outskirts of Basra claims 100-110 Iraqi combatants.
More than 60 Iraqi soldiers were reported killed, and three Iraqi T-55 tanks were destroyed in the fighting, which began to get fierce on Saturday night (22 March). Oliver Burkeman, "Battle for key city leads to 'massacre of children' claim," Guardian, 24 March 2003.
60 Iraqi soldiers reported killed in street fighting on outskirts of Basra. Paul Vallely, "A Manhunt in the Tigris, the Battle for Basra, and a Propaganda War Turning Vicious," The Independent (London), 24 March 2003, p. 4.
Seven US and British artillery batteries fire more than 1,000 rounds at dug-in Iraqi soldiers during six hour attack, killing at least 90 Iraqi soldiers. C. Mark Brinkley, "Marines attack dug-in Iraqi army units around Basra," Marine Corps Times, 22 March 2003.
2.7. British forces kill 30-35 Iraqi fighters during operations in al Zubayr.
British snipers kill 17 militia in Az Zubayr. Gethin Chamberlain, "The Road to Basra: Danger, Dirt and Death in the Desert," The Scotsman,28 April 2003, p. 11.
British forces killed at least 10 militiamen in the town of al Zubayr. Martin Bentham and Patrick Bishop, "Iraqis tell allies where to bomb their city," The Daily Telegraph (London), 27 March 2003, p. 4.
British forces raid Al Zubayr, a Basra suburb, capturing senior Baath party politician and killing 20 of his bodyguards, according to British army spokesman. Doug Mellgren and Charles J. Hanley, "Basra Civilian Unrest Brewing; British Troops Keep on Fighting Fierce Battles, Capture Baath Official," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 26 March 2003, p. 6.
British soldiers of D Company of the Black Watch kill 20 militia while capturing senior Baath party leader. Richard Norton-Taylor and Rory McCarthy, "War in the Gulf: British plan to take Basra by force," Guardian, 26 March 2003, p. 4.
British kill 20 Iraqi troops while capturing Baath leader in Al Zubayr. Richard Norton-Taylor, and Rory McCarthy, "British plan to take Basra by force," The Guardian (London), 26 March 2003, p. 4.
In Al Zubayr, British forces capture Baath leaders, killing "dozens" of Iraqi fighters. Nick Parker, "With the British Army HQ on the Iraqi Border," Press Association, 25 March 2003.
Also see: Gethin Chamberlain, "Chain Gun Blazing, the British Stage SnatchRaid," The Scotsman, 26 March 2003, p. 2.
2.8. Beginning on 26 March British forces supported by coalition air power destroyed more than 20 Iraqi vehicles and three companies of dug-in infantry north of the Shatt Al-Arab. We accept 50-70 combatants killed in the fighting.
British howitzers destroy 21 Iraqi vehicles, north of the Shatt Al-Arab. "British forces intensify battle for Basra," Agence France-Presse, 31 March 2003.
14 tanks and crew killed. Donald Macintyre, "Desert Rat Tank Squadron Destroys Group of 14 Iraqi Tanks and Their Crews," The Independent(London), 28 March 2003, p. 5.
Major Biggart reports Royal Scots Dragoon Guards killed 12-15 Iraqi militia during attack on Iraqi tanks. Martin Bentham, "Dawn attack by British tanks 'a triumph'," Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2003.
British armor, artillery, and coalition aircraft engage convoy of 14 tanks, 5 armored personnel carriers, and 3 troop-carrying trucks; position also had three companies of dug-in infantry; Up to 100 Iraqis estimated killed in 20 hour engagement. Tom Newton Dunn, "With 40 Commando near Basra, Southern Iraq," Press Association, 27 March 2003.
2.9. British and American commands claim 200 killed in air raid on militia meeting on 28 March; For our estimate, we accept 60-100 fatalities. Paul Harris, "They were pinned down in Basra, ears echoing with the thump of mortars"; British tanks have staged a lightning raid on the heart of Iraqi's second city," The Observer, 30 March 2003, p. 5.
2.10. About 30 Iraqis killed in 30 March attack by "40 Commando" at Abu Al Khasib outside Basra. Cameron Simpson and Ian Bruce, "Marines fight bloody Basra battle; British commando dies in Al Faw river ambush,"The Herald (Scotland), 31 March 2003.
2.11. 90-120 Iraqis killed in consolidation of Basra.
"At least 120 fedayeen reported killed by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards battle group. The assault on Basra was executed by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards battle group, the Black Watch battle group and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers." Thanassis Cambanis, "Chaos in the streets of Basraas British forces tighten their grip," The Age (Australia), 8 April 2003.
British soldiers take militia stronghold in college, room by room, reportedly killing "dozens" of Iraqi fighters. Peter Beaumont and Martin Bentham, "Taking Basra: Dramatic end to long standoff at party HQ,"Guardian (London), 7 April 2003, p. 3.
During British advance into Basra 120 paramilitaries killed by Royal Scots Tribune Guards Battle Group; other units in the operation kill more; corpses of Iraqi militia litter roadway; a dozen Iraqi dead seen at one defensive position. Martin Bentham, "With the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Basra," Press Association, 6 April 2003.
Luke Harding, "Eight militiamen killed in battle for Basra; Day-long encounter as coalition forces close in on Iraq's second city,"Guardian,5 April 2003: British report killing eight militia in a street battle on the edge of Basra on Friday 4 April.
Keith B. Richburg, "British Use Raids to Wear Down Iraqi Fighters,"WashingtonPost, 3 April 2003, p. 25: British unit kills between 10-20 Iraqis in factory complex, according to British officer.
"British snipers have begun operating inside Basra in a series of 'harass and destroy' missions against Iraqi paramilitaries defending the city. At least four Iraqis have been shot dead so far by the snipers....Dozens more Iraqis are thought to have been killed by artillery fire and bombs directed by the snipers. Martin Bentham, "British snipers kill four Iraqis amid the rubble of Basra," Daily Telegraph (London), 3 April 2003, p. 6.
Also see: David Zucchino and Geoffrey Mohan, "Allies, Iraqis Clash in Streetsof Three Cities," Los Angeles Times, 31 March 2003, p. 1; Christina Lamb, "Fear eats heart out of besieged Basra but it still won't rebel,"Sunday Times, 30 March 2003, p. 3; Robert Fisk, "Raw, Devastating Realities That Expose the Truth about Basra," The Independent, 28 March 2003, p. 6; "Death, lies and grim Basra videotape," Toronto Star,28 March 2003, p. 11; Craig Gordon and Edward A. Gargan, "Deadly Battle In Central Iraq; U.S. troops kill scores; reports of anti-Saddam revolt in Basra," Newsday, 26 March 2003, p. W3; and, Olga Craig, "'Wenever wanted to fight you - only the diehards did'," Sunday Telegraph(London),23 March 2003, p. 1.
(including Tallil and areas to the north toward As Samawah and Ash Shatrah)
359-431 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA estimate).
Hospital records from Nasiriyah suggest that more than 600 people were killed there-- at least 400 of these combatants. Incomplete reports from embedded journalists and unit commanders suggest that between 359 and 431 were killed.
3.1. Early engagements in and near Nasiriyah; estimated Iraqi losses: 240-280 fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
Marine unit kills "almost all" of 100 Iraqi militiamen in pickup trucks armed with machine guns and destroy artillery battery and an anti-aircraft gun, according to embedded journalists, in six-hour battle involving F/A-18s,AV-8s, A-10s, and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Susan B. Glasser, "Clashes at Key River Crossing Brings Heaviest Days of American Casualties,' Washington Post, 24 March 2003, p. 1.
Of 2,000 Iraqis believed to be stationed at Tallil outside Nasiriyah as many as 200 were killed and 300 taken prisoner in "fierce battle" with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Oliver Poole, "Americans shocked by counter-attack,"Daily Telegraph (London), 24 March 2003, p.4.
3.2. "Marine scouts shot two Iraqi men yesterday March 24 when they were seen carrying Kalashnikovs." James Meek, "Marines losing the battle for hearts and minds," Guardian (London), 25 March 2003.
3.3. Roadside fatalities: 60-80 bodies (PDA corrected estimate).
"More than 100 Iraqi bodies littered the road north from Nasiriyah." "Marines close in on Baghdad," Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 2003.
Reporting on 25 March battle in Nasiriyah Navy Commander Ken Kelly says "The numbers of Iraqi dead are very high. We saw at least a hundred bodies yesterday and I know that figure is much higher." "Coalition progress slowed by heavy fighting as strikes pound Baghdad," Agence France-Presse, 26 March 2003.
USMC unit commander Lt. Col. Stacey Clardy reports contact with 300 Iraqis north of Nasiriyah, saying "at least two dozen Iraqis" killed. Matthew Fisher, "Marines fend off Iraqi ambush: U.S. troops fight off an attack that was so fierce air strikes were needed to end the battle,"Ottawa Citizen, 25 March 2003, p. 3.
Dozens of bodies litter roads. "Bodies litter road at Nasiriyah battle,"The Age (Australia), 26 March 2003.
3.4. Bus attack: 18-30 Iraqi fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
"US infantrymen reported that a group of 40 Iraqi soldiers on buses apparently had attacked an artillery unit. Approximately 20 Iraqis were killed." Patrick Peterson, "Many civilians believed to be among dead in battle at Nasiriyah," Knight Ridder News Service, 26 March 2003.
"A Reuters journalist reported that at least 30 Iraqis had been killed yesterday as US Marines finally forced their way through Nasiriyah after five days of bloody fighting in the strategically important southern Iraqi city; Around 30 dismembered bodies were seen by the wreckage of two buses." Nicholas Watt and agencies, "US claims 150 killed in Najaf firefight: Push to Baghdad; Marines finally secure Euphrates corridor after five days of bloody battle," Guardian (London), 26 March 2003, p. 6.
3.5. 39 Iraqi fatalities in two separate engagements (PDA corrected estimate).
"The soldiers killed 14 men and captured three...according to division commanders." Monte Reel, "For 82nd, A Skirmish Over Major Supply Route; Airborne Troops Clash With Militia Fighters," Washington Post,30 March 2003, p. 24.
"Marines yesterday found the bodies of 15 Iraqis killed Thursday(27 March) during that firefight along the blacktop highway." Dennis Obrien,"Risky crawl along Ambush Alley," Seattle Times, 29 March 2003,p. 9.
Also see: Todd S. Purdum, Michael Wilson, Dexter Filkins, Jayson Blair, and Thom Shanker, "Nighttime Ambush in Iraqi City: An Episode in a Drawn-Out Battle," New York Times, 5 April 2003, p. 1; Michael Luo, "Two-weeklong battle for bridges at Nasiriyah is microcosm of broader war," Associated Press, 4 April 2003; Mark Franchetti, "Naive optimism withers in face of battle's horrific toll," The Australian, 31 March 2003, p. 11,and, Dexter Filkins and Michael Wilson, "Battle for a city turns into abrutal street fight," New York Times, 25 March 2003.
150-210 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate). Estimates by commanders and journalists suggest as many as 255 combatants killed in Samawah.
4.1. Early engagements at As Samawah kill 30-40 Iraqis (PDA corrected estimate).
A prolonged battle at the city of As-Samawah, down river from Najaf, left 40 Iraqi soldiers dead but slowed the Americans' advance. Corky Siemaszko and Tracy Connor, "Allies warn of tough final push," DailyNews (New York), 23 March 2003, p. 4.
On March 22 in a town south of the Euphrates River, soldiers of the division's 2nd Brigade engaged in a gun battle with Iraqi troops, killing 45 of them with the help of artillery fire, according to Lt. Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment."William Branigin, "One 'Good Fight' But Little Else," Washington Post,23 March 2003, p. 1.
4.2. Major engagement March 24-25 kills 80-120 Iraqis. (PDA corrected estimate).
Third Squadron, 7th Cavalry commander Lt. Col. Terry Ferrell estimates that "his squadron had killed 150 Iraqi militia troops, not including those killed by the close air support" at Samawah on Monday and Tuesday,24-25 March. Sean D. Naylor, "Behind the lines with the 3/7 Cav: Ambushes, confusion, but survival," USA Today, 26 March 2003, p. 1.
"Around noon, in nearby As-Samawah, an Iraqi armored battalion was spotted making a move as if it were going to confront the convoy. As they prepared to move forward, word came that 100 Iraqi fighters already had been killed and 15 of their vehicles destroyed in the fight." Chris Tomlinson and Michael Luo, "7th Infantry Regiment Sees First Combat,"Associated PressOnline, 24 March 2003.
4.3. Airborne division kills 30-40 on March 30-31 (PDA corrected estimate).z
One Iraqi killed when a pick-up truck attempted to crash a checkpoint near Samawah on Monday, a Central Command statement released Tuesday said. In fighting around the city Monday, troops from the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division killed and wounded several Iraqi soldiers, and captured 20 prisoners of war. Chris Tomlinson and Kimberly Hefling, "Fierce battles in Hindiyah, Najaf, with deaths on both sides; U.S. troops kill seven civilians at military checkpoint," Associated Press Worldstream, 31 March2003.
"Col. Arnold Bray, commander of the 2nd Brigade, estimated that at least "some tens" of Iraqis were killed Sunday (30 March) and an unknown number taken prisoner; Division commanders estimated an additional 14 Iraqis had been killed Saturday and three taken prisoner." Monte Reel, "Samawah firefights continue; 82nd Airborne troops skirmish with Iraqi army, militia groups,"Charlotte Observer, 31 March 2003.
4.4. In attacks north of Samawah 8-10 Iraqis killed (PDA corrected estimate). "At least a dozen Iraqi soldiers and paramilitary fighters were killed" in or near Samawah by units of the 82nd Airborne Division.Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker, US Forces Probing Inside Baghdad,"Washington Post, 5 April 2003, p. 1.
95 to 120 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
5.1. "At least a dozen Iraqis killed" in an engagement with 150 Iraqis in trenches along the highway near Diwaniya. Dexter Filkins, "Iraqi Soldiers Say It Was Fight or Die," New York Times, 27 March 2003,p. 1.
5.2. US artillery hits stadium in Ad Diwaniyah which a large number of Iraqi irregulars were using as a base of operations. PDA estimates 8-17 killed. Graham Rayman, "The 'Depths' of Deception; Iraqi fighters use guerrilla tactics, tricks," Newsday, 29 March 2003, p. 19.
5.3. Engagements on April 1 and 2 kill 70-80 Iraqis. (PDA corrected estimate.)
92 Iraqi combatants reported killed by Marines in and around Diwaniyah. Jim Lacey, Simon Robinson, Alex Perry, and Terry McCarthy, "Armed with Their Teeth," Time, 14 April 2003, p. 60.
"In Diwaniyah, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, Marines reported killing at least 75 Iraqi soldiers and taking at least three dozen prisoners after troops on a reconnaissance mission found several fortified Iraqi positions." Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker, "Forces Resume Baghdad Advance As Army Takes On Key Defenders," Washington Post, 2 April2003, p. 1.
Embedded reporter estimates 80 Iraqi combatants killed. Anne Barnard and Brian MacQuarrie, "US Hits Republican Guard Coalition Prepares to Storm Path to Baghdad,"Boston Globe, 2 April 2003, p. 1.
"In and around Diwaniyah to the southeast, Republican Guard units and US Marines fought an eight-hour battle Tuesday, with Marines killing at least 80 Iraqi soldiers and taking more than 40 Iraqis prisoner, U.S. officials said; Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment Marines killed 80 to 90 Iraqi fighters, said Lt. Col. B.P. McCoy." Ellen Knickmeyer and Alexandra Zavis, "Major battle under way near Karbala; Iraqi troops, U.S. Marines in eight-hour firefight at Diwaniyah," Associated Press Worldstream, 1 April 2003.
5.4. Eight to nine combatants reported killed near Afak by 7th Marine Regiment. Jim Lacey, Brian Bennett, Michael Ware, Alex Perry, Simon Robinson, and Sanjay Gupta, "'We Are Slaughtering Them'; Our correspondents report on bizarre Iraqi tactics, the struggle for hearts and minds, a special-ops assault and risk-taking medics on the front line," Time, 7 April 2003, p. 52.
590-780 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
6.1 Initial surprise attack by Iraqi troops and irregulars: 50-70 estimated killed.
Wide array of air power, including A-10s and B-52s, aid ground troops in battle against 30 Iraqi armored vehicles and infantry -- at least 15 vehicles destroyed and 100 Iraqi soldiers killed. Chris Tomlinson, "Near Najaf; US Finds Fierce Fight in Rush to Baghdad,"Boston Globe,24 March 2003, p. 21.
2nd Brigade Combat Team from 3rd Division blunts charge bytruck-mounted militia, killing "as many as 100 Iraqis". Ron Martz, "Unitspush swiftly past dust, death," Atlanta Journal and Constitution,23 March 2003, p. 1.
Almost all of about 100 Iraqi militia in pickup trucks armed with machine guns killed, according to embedded journalists. William Branigin,"Iraqi Militia No Match for Armored Column," Washington Post, 24 March 2003, p. 1.
6.2 Major engagements 25-26 March: 420-550 killed (PDA corrected estimate).
For 30 hours on two days the brigade interdicted attacks by vehicle-borne infantry. Infantry also attacked on foot during a sandstorm. Some attacked by boats across the Euphrates. "In one area guarded by two Bradleys, several hundred Iraqis were killed, according to the local battalion headquarters." All told, Brigade commander Col David Perkins estimated his unit had killed "more than 1,200 attackers." A captured Iraqi colonel said he had "only 200 of his 1,200 men left and claimed that originally there had been two other brigades in the town." On the other side of the Euphrates, east of Najaf, the 7th Cavalry ran into an even bigger fight. Jim Lacey, "On the Road to Death at Najaf," Time Magazine, 7 April 2003: Iraqis attack 2nd Brigade 3rd Division in waves over several days near Najaf.
Lt Col Terry Ferrell of the 7th cavalry estimated that 300 Iraqis had been killed, some driving "buses, taxis and even an ambulance into battle." Adam Lusher and Andrew Alderson, "US army's Screaming Eagles fly into battle," Daily Telegraph, 30 March 2003:
"This morning and again this evening, the Third Infantry Division's artillery repeatedly fired on Iraqi troops -- some in tanks, most in troop transports -- who tried to reinforce the city from the north and the south. Maj. Benjamin M. Matthews, artillery commander for the division's First Brigade, said the barrages, backed by air strikes, had destroyed more than two dozen Iraqi vehicles and killed scores of soldiers. According to the division's estimates, as many as 1,000 Iraqis have been killed in the last 72 hours, since the division swept into the scrub desert north of Najaf, essentially bypassing the city." Steven Lee Myers, "Fierce Clashes, Firefights and Wire Prisons," New York Times, 27 March 2003, p. 1.
"US officers claimed to have killed several hundred Iraqis" during "30 hours of near continuous fighting along the Euphrates, starting on Monday night (March 24). Julian Borger, "US troops in running battles with guerrillas: Several hundred Iraqis reported killed while attacking armored columns,"Guardian, 27 March 2003, p. 2.
"Defense officials revise estimate of Iraqi forces killed Tuesday night ... upward from 200 to at least 350." Paul Watson and John Daniszewski, "US Opens Northern Front in Iraq; Paratroopers secure an airfield in Kurdish enclave; Baghdad blames the U.S. for a missile strike that it says killed 15 civilians," Los Angeles Times, 27 March 2003, p. 1.
Some 250 Iraqis killed when US troops secure a bridge north of Najaf; another 200 killed near a storage depot west of the city. "Najaf Fighting 'Heaviest So Far'," BBC News, 26 March 2003.
Major John Altman claims US 7th Cavalry kills 650 Iraqis betweenNajaf and Karbala. "Najaf Fighting 'Heaviest So Far'," BBC News,26 March 2003.
"U.S. officers estimated they killed more than 200 Iraqi soldiers before it came to a close late tonight." Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker, "Sandstorm Delays Army's Advance; US Reports Fierce Battle in South,"Washington Post, 26 March 2003, p. 1.
Estimates for the number of Iraqis killed vary between 150, 200, and 300. Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker, "Sandstorm Delays Army's Advance; US Reports Fierce Battle in South," Washington Post, 26March 2003, p. 1.
An estimated 650 Iraqis were killed over the last 24 hours in the Najaf area," said Major John Altman, intelligence officer of the Third Infantry Division's First Brigade. "Strikes pound Baghdad, coalition advance slowed by brutal desert battle," Agence France Presse, 26March 2003.
Sandstorm battle involved 500 Iraqis, but perhaps only 150are killed. Paul West, "Sandstorms, then firefights; With aircraft grounded, 7th Cavalry fends off attack, killing hundreds," Baltimore Sun,26 March 2003, p. 1.
DOD officials said US troops killed an estimated 300 Iraqis in a fierce firefight near the town of Najaf on Tuesday March 25; the estimate was based on the number of Iraqis initially encountered. Anne Barnard and Michael Kranish, "Fierce Fighting as Allies Push North; US Says it Killed 300 in Battle," Boston Globe, 26 March 2003, p. 1.
North of An Najaf, the 3rd Infantry Division's Charlie Company 3-7 kills three Iraqi soldiers who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a Humvee. Patrick Peterson, "Many civilians believed to be among dead in battle at Nasiriyah," Knight Ridder News Service, 26 March 2003.
"US forces killed between 150 to 200 Iraqis Tuesday in a massive battle." "Euphrates battle may be biggest so far," CNN, 25 March2003.
6.3. Subsequent action by Third Division and air power in and around Najaf: 100-130 fatalities (PDA corrected estimate.)
40 Iraqis killed and 14 vehicles (including tanks) destroyed during "probing attack" north of Najaf by 3rd Infantry Division. Probing attack by US units north of Najaf: Drew Brown and Meg Laughlin, "Battles amid the desert storms," Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 29 March 2003, p. 30.
US officers in the field said last night that US 7th Cavalry tank units had already fought a sharp fire-fight with Iraqis near a bridge over the Euphrates at Abu Sukhayr, south-east of Najaf. That followed a battle on Tuesday near Najaf in which Pentagon officials said 150 to 300 Iraqis were believed killed when they attacked the US 7th Cavalry. Dan Mcdougall, "Air Attacks Offer Vital Support as Allies Face Fierce Iraqi Opposition," The Scotsman, 28 March 2003, p. 2.
3rd Infantry Division units "have been striking Baath Party headquarters and other Iraqi positions, destroying about 12 vehicles and killing 40 party officials and about 200 fighters, said field commanders. "Geoffrey Mohan, Jeffrey Fleischman, and Paul Watson, "Allies Seize on a Break in Weather; With a major battle shaping up south of Baghdad, warplanes strike at the capital's defenses," Los Angeles Times, 28 March 2003,p. 1.
"In one of the latest actions, U.S. Air Force planes bombedthe Najaf headquarters of Hussein's ruling Baath Party, and tanks shelled survivors who fled the air strike. That attack and those on other targets in the city resulted in 200 Iraqis killed, according to a military intelligence report issued tonight," March 27. William Branigin, "Army Marks a Vigilant Pause in Desert; Stalled 3rd Infantry Convoy Detects Iraqis Probing Its Lines, Calls in Air Support," Washington Post, 28 March 2003, p.30.
US officers reported that at least several hundred Iraqi defenders were killed Tuesday and early today in the air strikes they called in to break resistance at the Najaf bridge. Peter Baker and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Iraqi Militia, Elite Forces Roll South Into Fierce Attack by US Warplanes," Washington Post, 27 March 2003, p. 1.
6.4. 101st Airborne Division in Najaf: 20-30 fatalities (PDA corrected estimate.)
100 Iraqis killed or wounded by 101st Airborne Division as it attempts to clear Najaf of militia fighters. Chuck Squatriglia, "Unrelenting attacks on Iraqi forces," San Francisco Chronicle, 1 April 2003,p. 1.
"One Iraqi was reported killed and an ammunition cache was destroyed" by 1st Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division. Rick Atkinson, "Najaf Besieged In Reinvigorated Army Offensive," Washington Post,31 March 2003, p. 15.
Also see: Ann Scott Tyson, "US troops' anguish: Killing outmatched foes," Christian Science Monitor, 11 April 2003, p. 3; Rick Atkinson, "As Battle Escalates, Holy Site Is Turned Into a Stronghold," Washington Post, 1 April 2003, p. 1; Gregg Zoroya and Steven Komarow, "Battle for Najaf to be fought on streets," USA Today, 31 March 2003; and, Ann Scott Tyson, "Inside the 'most intense' fight yet," Christian Science Monitor, 28 March 2003, p. 1.
295-365 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
7.1. Battle of Kifl, located north of An Nasiriyah and south of Al Hilla: 250-300 killed (PDA corrected estimate).
"Dozens of bodies still littered the streets on Saturday. Several spilled out of their charred and shattered cars and trucks, burned beyond recognition. ...Some US soldiers estimate that at least 1,000 Iraqis were killed here since the fighting began at dusk on Wednesday. And everyone puts the number in the hundreds. 101st airborne division moved in to help secure Kifl on Saturday... Iraqi soldiers and paramilitaries had set up mortar positions at an old brick factory on the edge of town. Getting dropped off from civilian vehicles at a large tree that US forces here now call the 'gateway to hell'. US officers said they had destroyed up to 50 vehicles."Kieran Murray, "Hundreds of Iraqis killed in four-day battle for Kifl,"Reuters, 29 March 2003.
"As the troops patrol this quiet farming town, scarsof violent battle are everywhere. Small groups of charred Iraqi vehicles,destroyed in the 3rd Infantry's drive north, litter the abandoned streets....Just north of this town Saturday morning a suicide bomber blew up a car,killing himself and four soldiers from the 3rd Infantry. And just southon Sunday morning, US soldiers fought a fierce battle with Iraqi forces.Central Command said the Americans killed 100 of the enemy and captured50." Matthew Cox, "Kosovo-style routine sinks in for 101st Airborne regiment,"Gannett News Service, 31 March 2003.
7.2. Engagement on the road to Al Hillah kills 20-25 Iraqis. "Total Iraqi KIA and POW figures were not immediately available. In A Company'ssector, 22 were taken prisoner and five confirmed killed in the date palms,while an estimated 15 to 20 were killed on the road in. The POWs reported that their captain and half the platoon had run for the bridge when the tanks showed up." Jules Crittenden, "Streetfight is first taste of war for GIs; Soldiers of the 4/64 take key position from Saddam's elite," Boston Herald, 1 April 2003, p. 4.
7.3. 15-20 Iraqis killed in combined arms battle, April 1 (PDA corrected estimate).
"Extremely heavy contact," according to Captain Brad Loudon of the 2nd Battalion 70th Armored Regiment. "Burnt out vehicles littered the road. The battle began at about 7 am local time yesterday and continued into the afternoon. Units of the US 101st Airborne Division were involved.'Two enemy tanks have been destroyed and a host of (Iraqi) infantry,' Loudon added." Rory McCarthy, Owen Bowcott, and agencies, "War in the Gulf: US troops engage elite forces in the push north; Opening shots in assault on the capital," The Guardian (London), 1 April 2003, p. 3.
Reporters from the Reuters news agency said they counted the bodies of 11 civilians and two Iraqi fighters in the Babylon suburb, 50 miles south of Baghdad. Robert Fisk, "Children Killed and Maimed in Bomb Attack on Town," Independent (London), 2 April 2003, p. 6.
7.4. Subsequent operations kill 10-20 Iraqis. (PDA corrected estimate).
US tank units kill "at least a dozen Iraqis and many others were believed dead from artillery and air strikes." William Branigin and Anthony Shadid, "Authority Melts in Baghdad As U.S. Forces Tighten Grip,"Washington Post, 9 April 2003, p. 1.
101st Airborne Division infantry kill two Iraqi soldiers. Rick Atkinson, "Infantry Puts Squeeze on South's Last Contested City," Washington Post, 9 April 2003, p. 1.
40-50 estimated Iraqi combatant fatalities. (PDA corrected estimate.)
Army's 3rd Infantry Division reportedly kills 46 Iraqi soldiers in Albu Aziz, a small village near Hindiyah. Geoffrey Mohan, "Troops See Euphrates, and a Battle; The 3rd Infantry, in its first major engagement, battles the Republican Guard and kills 46," Los Angeles Times, 1 April 2003, p. 5.
"Nearly 50 Iraqi soldiers were killed and dozens surrendered, some from the Republican Guard." John Daniszewski and Geoffrey Mohan, "Allies Pound Iraqi Guard Near Capital; Reinforcements may be joining Hussein's Medina troops," Los Angeles Times, 1 April 2003, p. 1.
Squad from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment kills at least three Iraqi soldiers. Carl Nolte, "From inside the horse, it's cavalry hunting down the enemy,"San Francisco Chronicle, 30 March 2003, p. 1.
(includes Numaniyah, Aziziyah, and Al Muhaydi as Salih)
190-225 Iraqi combatant fatalities. (PDA corrected estimate.)
9.1 Fighting south of Al Kut: 25 Iraqi combatant fatalities. (PDA corrected estimate.)
South of al Kut, two drivers of vehicles carrying propane tanks that rushed marines are killed; in a separate incident Marines attack bus killing 20 of the 22 Iraqis inside -- although only two weapons are found.Patrick Peterson, Drew Brown, and Ben English, "Face to face," Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), 28 March 2003, p. 1.
About two dozen dead are evident from several incidents occurring on and around 27 March along Highway 7 between Ash Shatrah and Qal'at Sukkar. Sean Maguire and Luke Hunt, "Marines shoot charging bus, Herald Sun (Melbourne), 28 March 2003.
"Somewhere between the cities of Diwaniyah and Kut... the bodies of four Iraqi soldiers were sprawled around their vehicle." Ravi Nessmanand Ellen Knickmeyer, "US Forces Drive Within Sight of Baghdad," Associated Press Online, 2 April 2003.
9.2 Fighting around Al Kut: 60-80 dead Iraqi combatants. (PDA corrected estimate.)
100 Iraqi soldiers estimated killed in fighting around bridge over Saddam canal. Chris Tomlinson and Almin Karamehmedovic, "Republican Guard division routed at Kut as Marines close to within 35 miles of Iraqi capital," Associated Press, 2 April 2003.
At least 78 Iraqis killed in assault on Iraqi positions in Al Kut. Jim Lacey, Simon Robinson, Alex Perry, and Terry McCarthy, "Armed with Their Teeth," Time, 14 April 2003, p. 60. Also see, Chris Tomlinson and Ellen Knickmeyer, "Feint and jab: How U.S. troops overwhelmed Saddam's army to reach Baghdad," Associated Press, 8 April 2003.
"We had about 15 human-wave guys attack the tanks. They were mowed down. They got one of us, but we got all of them"; Subsequently two militia are killed near Diyala bridge. Peter Maass, "'Good Kills'," New York Times, 20 April 2003, p. 32.
9.3 Fighting in and around Numaniyah: 10-15 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
Prior to USMC entry into Numaniyah, helicopter gunships kill several Iraqi defenders. Ron Harris, "Marines Take River Town with Ease,St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3 April 2003, p. 1.
On April 1 Marine units confront 50 Iraqi fighters during effort to secure bridge over Saddam Canal in village of Musal Hir near An Numinayah." An unknown number of Iraqi soldiers die in the short but fierce firefight. "Graham Rayman, "Bridging Over Troubled Water; Marine's span over Tigris was vital to offensive," Newsday, 6 April 2003, p. 9.
9.4. Fighting in and around Aziziyah: 61 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
On 3 April an enemy reinforced armor and mechanized battalion was confronted in the vicinity of Aziziyah, along Highway 6. USMC clears highway and fights for several hours in two company strength in city. "5th Marines OIF Chronology," Urban Operations Journal, 29 April 2003.
"Aziziyah hospital records show 12 civilian deaths that day, along with 61 Iraqi fighters." "Iraqis report 43 civilians killed in and around Aziziyah as U.S. troops approached Baghdad," Associated Press,25 April 2003.
9.5. North of Aziziyah up to Diyala river: 35-45 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
On April 4 Marines confronted irregular fighters near Al Muhaydias Salih, north of Aziziyah and 20 miles south of Baghdad. "Dozens of enemy fighters lay dead in a farmer's field, and dozens more were captured."John Murphy, "Near Baghdad, U.S. troops encounter a 'remarkable' foe; 'Jihad' forces from Syria, Egypt, Marine officers say,"Baltimore Sun, 5 April 5, 2003, p. 1.
"In town after town along the highway leading northwest from the city of Kut to Baghdad, the remains of Iraqi tanks and artillery smoldered from US tank and howitzer fire. Dozens of bodies of Iraqi soldiers, many in the green uniforms of the Republican Guard, lay on the banks of the highway. Scott Bernard Nelson, "Little Slows Marines in Roll to Baghdad," Boston Globe, 5 April 2003, p. 17.
On 4 April Marines conduct 8 hours of close combat against irregulars in marsh, continues heavy fighting up to Diyala river. "5th Marines OIF Chronology," Urban Operations Journal, 29 April 2003.
(including Mussayiband Latifiyah):
800-1,100 Iraqi fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
10.1. Thirty-two Apache helicopters from the 11thAviation Brigade attacked an Iraqi armor formation near the village of Abu Mustafe: estimated 5-25 Iraqi combatant fatalities. "The assault wiped out a column of Iraqi armor and sent others withdrawing toward the capital." "Troops battle Iraq's elite," wires, Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, Massachusetts), 24 March 2003.
10.2. 101st Airborne, combat helicopter attacks: 25-40 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate)
"The 101st Airborne joined the fighting for the first time yesterday (March 28), with its Apache helicopters joining British warplanes to hit Republican Guard units near Karbala. Officials said up to 50 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 25 armored vehicles were destroyed." Sean Rayment, "Suicide bomber kills troops as Saddam unleashes 'martyrs'," Daily Telegraph,30 March 2003.
US forces killed at least 55 Iraqi soldiers and destroyed more than 25 vehicles," according to Major Hugh Cate of the 101st Airborne Division. Karl Malakunas, "55 Iraqis killed in allied air attack on Republican Guard: US military," Agence France Presse, 29 March 2003.
10.3. Third Infantry Division battle southeast of Karbala: 20-35 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate). "Officers with theUS Army's 3rd Infantry Division said 200 Iraqis were killed, wounded or captured in fighting that broke out overnight southeast of the city of Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Baghdad." Lachlan Carmichael, "US forces in first serious contact with Republican Guard," Agence France Presse, 31 March 2003.
10.4. Engagements in and around Mussayib, including seizure and defense of bridge: 230-300 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
Battle with Republican Guard outside town of Al Mussayib. "US officers estimated Iraqi losses there at about 500 soldiers, many of them killed by air attacks. Many buildings were reported on fire in Al Mussayib, and thick smoke contrasted with the green of palm trees that line the Euphrates River Valley... A key bridge crosses the Euphrates River at Al Mussayib, but it was unclear when American forces might attempt to take it." Michael Corkery, "5-hour battle secures key road to capital," Providence Journal-Bulletin,3April 2003, p. 1.
Battle for bridge at Mussayib, April 3 : "'In the attack for this bridge and the counter-attacks, probably 500 died,' said Major John Altman, an intelligence officer with the US 1st brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division." Lachlan Carmichael, "US forces on Saddam's doorstep," AFP,4 April 2003.
10.5. Combat around Latifiyah industrial plant and crossroads, northeast of Karbala: 200-250 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
40 Iraqi soldiers killed at Latifiyah. William Branigin, "Troops find vials, chemical manuals U.S. forces also found gas masks and unidentified white powder," Washington Post, 5 April 2003.
400 claimed killed at crossroads located near Latifiyah, several miles south of Baghdad. Brian MacQuarrie, "Pushing Toward Baghdad; 400 Iraqi Guards Killed in Crossroads Fight," Boston Globe, 4 April 2003, p. 22.
10.6. Securing the Karbala gap and fighting northward: 200-300 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate)
More than 150 Iraqis killed or injured as 3rd Infantry Division fights its way north from Karbala. Oliver Poole, "After a day of ferocious fighting, we finally reach the edge of Baghdad," Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2003.
The 2-7 Infantry secured the Karbala gap on 2 April, killing "some 30 to 50 Iraqi soldiers during the five-hour fight, U.S. officers said." Michael Corkery, "5-hour battle secures key road to capital," Providence Journal-Bulletin,3 April 2003, p. 1.
"About 100" Iraqi infantry killed by 3-7 Cav. in effort to secure area near bridge, according to Capt. Bill Brown. Sean D. Naylor,"3rd Infantry Division crosses Karbala Gap," Army Times, 3 April 2003.
Friday, April 4: "In some of the fiercest tank-on-tank fighting the 3rd Infantry Division has seen in this war, a cavalry troop destroyed part of a Republican Guard battalion late Friday... A Troop, or Apache Troop, of 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment destroyed 12 tanks, three ZSU anti-aircraft guns and one towed howitzer in a fight that began about 6 p.m. The battle along a highway leading into Baghdad followed a firefight earlier Friday during which Apache Troop destroyed nine tanks and killed about 350 infantry... Apache Troop commander Capt. H. Clay Lyle had moved his tanks and Bradleys towards a position that the Air Force said the Iraqis were occupying on the north side of a freeway. After jets and artillery had worked over the position... the Cav opened fire with their Abrams 120mm main guns... From less than half a mile away, the fight appeared to be almost completely one-sided. The yellow flashes of Lyle's tanks firing were quickly followed by orange fireballs as the high explosive rounds hit home.... The troop also had fought a running battle with light infantry militia and suicide bombers through the night and into Friday morning. The cav soldiers shot and killed the drivers of several vehicles that approached them at high speed and refused to stop. ... Three suspected suicide bus missions were attempted against Apache Troop last night. In two cases, troops fired on the buses, which blew up with such force that the Americans surmised that there must have been explosives on board." Sean D. Naylor,"3rd Infantry cavalry troop routs Iraqi unit in fierce firefight," Army Times, 4 April 2003.
"The short, sharp engagement with the two jeeps was one of many running firefights that 3-7 Cav was fighting simultaneously... By nightfall, as it settled into positions about six miles west of Baghdad,the squadron had killed an estimated 150 to 300 Iraqi troops, destroyed more than 20 trucks, captured a battery of three GHN-45 towed 155 mm howitzers.The combat came at the end of a 40-mile road march from northwest of Karbala during which the squadron crossed to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River for the second time during this war, and fought their way through several ambushes." Sean D. Naylor, "3-7 Cav fights its way to within six miles of Baghdad," Army Times, 3 April 2003.
Karbala heavily bombed and to the north at least 20 Iraqis were killed in engagement with Medina division. Chris Tomlinson and Almin Karamehmedovic, "Republican Guard division routed at Kut as Marines closeto within 35 miles of Iraqi capital," Associated Press, 2 April 2003.
10.7. The battle for Karbala, 4-6 April 2003: 120-160 Iraqi combatant fatalities (PDA corrected estimate).
"US brigade commander estimated that between 60 and 100 militiamen were killed" by units of the 101st Airborne Division. Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Baker, "Troops, Tanks Attack Central Baghdad," Washington Post, 7 April 2003, p. 1.
On 5 April, "one US soldier and dozens of Fedayeen paramilitaries were said to have been killed. ... US reconnaissance helicopters passed low overhead and the streets were littered with Iraqi corpses." Kieran Murray in Karbala and Owen Bowcott, "Streets littered with Iraqi corpses as troops close in on the center of Karbala," The Guardian(London),7 April 2003, p. 7.
Lt. Col. Bill Bennett, the brigade senior artillery commander, estimated that his guns had fired 400 rounds in the battle." Rick Atkinson,"Karbala 'Like a Carnival' As Troops Take Control," Washington Post,7 April 2003, p. 17; "Artillery spotters counted 35 Iraqi bodies after the barrage." Rick Atkinson, "After First Skirting Karbala, Army Now Aims to Take It,"Washington Post, 6 April 2003, p. 21.
"US forces killed about 400 Iraqi paramilitary soldiers during two days of intense fighting that secured Karbala, 101st Airborne Division spokesman Major Hugh Cate told AFP Sunday." "US forces secure Karbala, close to encircling Baghdad," Agence France Presse, 6 April 2003.
Sixty Iraqis estimated killed on one day by one company of two engaged in effort to clear Karbala, according to Capt. James McGahey of 101st airborne. Matthew Cox, "Fierce firefight to controla few blocks," Army Times, 5 April 2003.
(including Kirkuk, Mosul, Tikrit):
230-375 Iraqi combatant fatalities.
A distinct problem in formulating an estimate of combatant fatalities in northern Iraq is the incompleteness of reporting on combat there. There are a variety of reasons for this incompleteness: many of the northern engagements were smaller in scale; the combat was dispersed and irregular in character; it depended uniquely on special forces; the theater was relatively inaccessible and there was a prevailing sense that its importance was secondary. We calculate that between 230 and 375 Iraqi combatants were observed killed in the incomplete sample of engagements that we cite below. (A raw or uncorrected survey of the associated testimony would suggest approximately 450 fatalities.)
11.1. Combined arms assault on Ansar: "American commanders at the battlefield today estimated that 30 to 50 Ansar militants had been killed and that 2 had been captured. The Special Forces commander said 30 to 40 Ansar fighters died in Sarget. Kosrat Rosul Ali, a veteran Kurdish guerrilla and politician, said about 100 Ansar fighters had died throughout the day." C. J. Chivers, Kurds and G.I.'s Rout Militants in North, New York Times, 29 March 2003, p. 1.
11.2. Kurdish guerillas kill "dozens" of Iraqis in advance toward Mosul. Mark Mcdonald, Jonathan S. Landay and Ken Dilanian (Knight Ridder), "US Moves to Baghdad from North; Iraqis' Withdrawal Opens Way," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3 April 2003.
11.3. 50 Iraqis reported dead in one air strike of a series. Paul Watson, "US Troops Join a Fight Beside Kurds; Americans who'd been selecting targets and calling in air strikes are drawn into combat as Iraqis try to stall an advance toward Mosul," Los Angeles Times, 4 April 2003, p. 3.
11.4. Engagement near Mandan Bridge and Bardarash: 80-100 estimated Iraqi combatant fatalities.
Dozens of Iraqi soldiers reported killed by air strikes and Kurdish guerillas near Mandan bridge. Mike Williams (Cox News Service), "Kurds allied with U.S. troops fight in north: Key bridge seized near town of Bardarash as Saddam's soldiers incur heavy losses," Montreal Gazette, 4 April 2003, p. 17.
200 Iraqi soldiers reported killed in air strikes outside the Kurdish village of Bardarash. Patrick Cockburn, "Saddam's Army Retreats to Mosul with Heavy Losses; Northern Front," The Independent, 3April 2003, p. 4.
11.5. Undetermined number of Iraqi dead and 230 prisoners after battle in Sheikhan. Mark McDonald, "Kurdish guerrillas, US Special Forces fight together in Sheikhan," Knight Ridder news service, 7 April 2003.
11.6. As many as 150 Iraqi soldiers killed in encounter with Kurdish guerillas and US special forces, according to special forces officer. Ken Dilanian, Kevin G. Hall and Mark McDonald, "US troops nearing Kirkuk," Knight Ridder news service, 10 April 2003.
11.7. Fighting in and around Tikrit.
16 Iraqis found dead at a former compound in Tikrit. Dionne Searcey, "US Soldiers' Snap Decisions In Conflicts," Newsday, 23 April 2003.
Brigadier John Kelly reports US entry into Tikrit and at least 15 Iraqi soldiers killed in firefights. "US forces enter Tikrit," BBC,14 April 2003.
15 Iraqis killed on outskirts of Tikrit. "War 'close to end' after Tikrit seized," BBC, 14 April 2003.
20 Iraqis killed as coalition seizes Tikrit. Laurent Lozano, "US troops holding center of Tikrit as end of war draws closer," Agence France Presse, 14 April 2003.
11.8. Marines destroy two small Iraqi units at Samarra, 30 miles south of Tikrit. Tony Perry and John Daniszewski, "Major Combat Declared 'Over'; Hussein's Hometown Falls Without Struggle; Bush Thanks Troops; Small firefights are expected to continue," Los Angeles Times, 15 April 2003, p. 1.
Also see: Paul West, "Troops and Kurds secure Kirkuk, nearby oil fields; Mosul near collapse," Baltimore Sun, 11 April 2003, p 1; Jason Burke,"Out of sight, a bitter new front opens: Kurdish peshmerga are caught in a scrappy, vicious and chaotic war, far away from the much publicized dash across the desert in the south," The Observer, 6 April 2003, p.6; and, Daniel Williams, "Kurds Take Village From Iraqi Troops; U.S. Air Power Is Key In First Such Skirmish," Washington Post, 3 April 2003, p. 30.
20-40 Iraqi combatant fatalities
Robert Winnett and Paul Ham, "Missile base seized by SAS," SundayTimes, 30 March 2003, p. 8: SAS troopers "seized a missile base andtwo key airfields, killing or capturing hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, somein hand-to-hand combat, according to well-placed military sources."
US Defense Policy | Regional Security | Terrorism
Iraq & Afghanistan | Military & Strategic Studies
Alternative Security & Defense | Chronological
Buy Publications | Home | What's New | About PDA
Links | Search This Site | E-mail PDA
The Project on Defense Alternatives, The Commonwealth Institute
P.O.Box 398105, Inman Square Post Office
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Phone 617/547-4474, Fax 617/868-1267
Copyright © The Commonwealth Institute. All Rights Reserved.