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17th Armored Division

On the first day of the ground campaign, movement of the Iraqi heavy reserve units was on the ARCENT intelligence "watch for" list as VII Corps passed through the breach and fanned out across the desert. No matter how good the data, intelligence analysis always involves a subjective reading of objective information: the G2's professional assessment of what the enemy will do. Good intelligence requires the G2 to put himself in the mind of the enemy, requiring leaps of analytical faith based on a foundation of facts. Intelligence therefore, is not a science but an art, a large part of which involves making correct assessments from partial or flawed data. American analysts had inadvertently switched the identities of four Iraqi heavy units. As those units entered the KTO or moved around inside the theater prior to the air operation, signals intelligence analysts picked up bits and pieces of unit call signs, movement orders, and other tip-offs that said, for example, that the 12th Armored Division was moving to a new but unspecified location. If imagery showed an armor unit moving or adjusting its positions at that time, the unit was labeled the "possible" 12th Armored. As more "hits" developed on the unit's identity, the "possible" identification hardened to a "probable," and might even be confirmed by another source. The units in question were the 12th and 52d Armored Divisions in one pair and the 10th and 17th Armored Divisions in the other.

The American 3rd Armored Division traveled north into Iraq encountering small pockets of resistance until 27-28 February, when the division encountered elements of two Iraqi Republican Guard Divisions (Tawakalna and Medina). They were supported by elements of the Iraqi 52nd Armored Division and 17th Armored Division. After 16 hours of fighting, giving credit to superior American training, leadership, and supplies, the 3rd Armored Division was victorious with light causalities and high morale .

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:46:50 ZULU