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  #31  
Old 19 Dec 15, 02:09
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I've got all of what you need in detail, just have to dig the book with it out. ISIS on the other hand is who knows?
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  #32  
Old 19 Dec 15, 02:52
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
... ISIS on the other hand is who knows?
Who indeed?
Quote:
In June 2014, ISIL had at least 4,000 fighters in Iraq,[41] and the CIA estimated in September 2014 that it had 20,00031,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria.[42] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that the force numbers around 80,000100,000 total (up to 50,000 in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq).[43][44] Reuters quoted "jihadist ideologues" as claiming that ISIL has 40,000 fighters and 60,000 supporters,[19] while a Kurdish leader estimated in November 2014 that ISIL's military had 200,000 fighters.[17]

Some Syrian rebel factions have defected to ISIL, including the 1,000 soldier strong Dawud Brigade in July 2014.[45] In addition to volunteers and jihadists, ISIL is known for forcing other rebel groups, and conscripting individuals, to submit to and fight for ISIL. Many reports say troops and equipment move between various parts of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as tactical needs arise.
I think we can throw out the Kurdish estimates.
Its been a rough year, and the above estimates seem to be of different sorts.
My guess would be 25,000 that have some degree of training and cohesion, plus about 45,000 that would qualify as 2nd line.... by ISIS standards, but more like an armed mob by anyone else's tally.

Small arms are a mix of AK-47s, M-16 and a few AK-74. Weapons like PKM MGs and RPGs are common, but their distribution will be uneven and probably random in the 2nd line groups.

They have some wonderful artillery, but can they use things like the D-30 and M198 properly? The BM-21 would be easy to use, but that means they have probably used them many times already.... how much more ammo will they have on hand?
How many guns/mrls did they capture in the first place?

Tanks.... the runners of each type can probably be counted in single digits, or perhaps all of them in total. Only Iraqi and Syrian turncoats would know how to maintain them.
Much easier to keep in the field are the armored cars and maybe the BMPs. However, the most commonly seen vehicles are the "technicals", pickup trucks with heavy MGs. I could swear I saw a pic of one with twin 23mm guns... I have no idea how that could work right.

Aircraft; forget it. There was talk of aircraft being fitted out as Kamakazes, (ironical) but if that's the case, that's the best they can do. No real chance of them being able to fly ground-attack missions with MiG-21s anyway.
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  #33  
Old 19 Dec 15, 09:33
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Here's a helpful link: http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-...wn-2014-7?op=1

ISIS is stated as having captured "approximately three divisions' worth of materiel" from the Iraqi Army according to Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (though 'division' is a relatively subjective term here, for obvious reasons). More recently ISIS gained another ~100 wheeled and tracked vehicles (probably mostly Humvees, BMPs, and the like) when it took Ramadi.

Unfortunately the only concrete numbers the page lists are for tanks, with roughly 30 T-55s and 5-10 T-72s. Trying to gather additional information off the internet yields guesses of:

- 1,500 (http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-...baghdad-2014-7)-2,300 Humvees (according to Iraqi PM)
- 'A handful' of T-62s
- 'At least one' SA-6 2K12 "Kub"
- 52 M198 Howitzers
- 10 Abrams tanks (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...di-from-i.html)
- "Hundreds" of Toyota trucks (http://abcnews.go.com/International/...ry?id=34266539)
- 74,000 Machine guns of all types (lost from Iraqi Army alone) http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debat...ut-of-control/

Obviously this in and of itself is not reflective of ISIS entire arsenal, which also includes ZSUs, Type 59 artillery pieces, shoulder-fired rockets, small arms, etc. It's a fair guess to say they have thousands of RPGs and tens (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of assault rifles, mostly AK or M-16 type weapons. However, their ability to mass all this kit in one place, let alone keep it operational for any length of time, is questionable at best.

More info on the type of weaponry ISIS has, but not exact numbers: http://www.militaryfactory.com/small...ns-of-isis.asp
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  #34  
Old 19 Dec 15, 12:53
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Well, we are making progress here, this is good!

I would say that ISIS would easily have about 1,000 Humvees, and that about 25% would be the armored types.

A "handful" of T-62s is pretty meaningless, this is probably why they are rarely mentioned. I'd say that 2-3 may exist as immobile bunkers.

10 out of the 40 M-1s they took might still be operational? Yeah, that sounds about right... if deserters haven't taken too many and if US airstrkes didn't take more of them. (these would be the preferred targets)
But, no matter if its 5 or 10 or something in between, its not much for a Division-scale battle. The same goes for T-72 Of greater interest would the numbers of T-55s that are out there. While they are probably distributed in penny-packets, a Battalion worth of them would be a real game-changer.

Wow, 52 of those 155mm guns? That's impressive, especially when you add that to the Type 59s (Chinese made 130mm long-range Soviet guns that became famous in Nam).
They are easy to conceal and fire, their current effectiveness is dependent on remaining ammo stocks and how well ISIS people have mastered the art of calling for fire. Artillery plotting is no task for men with a 3rd-grade education.

74,000 Machine guns? Hmm, sounds like someone was padding their accounts, unless they were mixing Assault rifles in there. Even so, I'd say that ISIS has depots of their own, somewhere.
Sure would be a nice thing to find...

"Hundreds" of trucks? I'd say thousands would be more accurate. The hundreds may refer to those with pedestal-mounted Heavy MGs and light auto-cannon.
No doubt, ISIS has greater mobility, but can their small-unit leaders read a map?
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  #35  
Old 19 Dec 15, 13:56
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Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Wow, 52 of those 155mm guns? That's impressive, especially when you add that to the Type 59s (Chinese made 130mm long-range Soviet guns that became famous in Nam).
They are easy to conceal and fire, their current effectiveness is dependent on remaining ammo stocks and how well ISIS people have mastered the art of calling for fire. Artillery plotting is no task for men with a 3rd-grade education.

I agree that would be a serious problem for them. I've worked with Lebanese Army FA officers in the past and they really struggled with accurate target location and even timely and efficient bracketing. They'd often end up chasing the target all over before getting anywhere near it. Computing accurate MET and firing data was even worse. Bear in mind these are "professionals" who have been trained in the US. I can't imagine IS artillerymen are any better. That said I think they could use the guns for direct fire support or pre-planned area bombardment but timely, coordinated and accurate indirect fire is most likely beyond their skill level.
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  #36  
Old 19 Dec 15, 14:08
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Direct fire with 155mm guns?
I'd pay real money to have a ringside seat for that.

So, they could use them for a pre-arranged attack, but for defense its direct fire or nothing, gotcha.

As for mortars (how many and what kinds, I wonder) it is probably a matter of either "spray and pray" or firing them from behind a wall or a berm, and some guy within voice range calling back corrections to the crew.
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  #37  
Old 19 Dec 15, 14:37
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With artillery, ISIS really can't do called or even directed indirect fire. The most they can do in that respect appears to be general area fire directed by the firing battery / gun itself.
Mortars are used largely the same way. That is, they target something like a opposing town and if the shell hits somewhere in the town its on target.

This is the sort of dreck that ISIS would be using for artillery and consider useful...



Fixed elevation, no aiming method other than crude eyeball estimates, and firing a clumsy projectile that makes a satisfying boom at the receiving end.
Basically, other than the most crude indirect fire and direct fire observed by the firing gun, ISIS has no artillery for all intents.
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Old 19 Dec 15, 14:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Direct fire with 155mm guns?
I'd pay real money to have a ringside seat for that.

So, they could use them for a pre-arranged attack, but for defense its direct fire or nothing, gotcha.
Oh absolutely. It's been done on multiple occasions with M777s in Afghanistan and that was hardly the first time.

In general that's right and TAG is pretty spot on. With the exception of some ex-military defectors there are probably very few people in IS with any knowledge of artillery what so ever. They're mostly just militia infantry types who get assigned to big boy guns they know nothing about. Trial and error and a lot of guess work is provably their MO and that kind of shooting is wildly ineffective. Like he said the only indirect fire they likely do it aim at something the size of a city and hope for the best.
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  #39  
Old 19 Dec 15, 18:02
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ISIS "artillery" in action:

Fire control...



Infantry "platoon?"





Combat tactics: aka... Spray and pray...





Note how they use automatic fire and don't aim...

Based on the photos I've seen, it appears the basic ISIS infantry "unit" is something between 20 and 30 men with AK's, 2 to 4 of PKM type machineguns, an RPG or two, and one to three "technicals" with a 13.2mm machinegun or the like mounted on them. Ammunition is limited to what each man carries and there is no long term logistic support. They have no radio but probably carry cell phones so there is some communications ability (assuming that they know the phone number and the towers work).

The heavy 13mm MG's seem to regularly be put on homemade platforms and can be set up for ground use as well as in a truck.
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Old 19 Dec 15, 23:56
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Quote:
Based on the photos I've seen, it appears the basic ISIS infantry "unit" is something between 20 and 30 men with AK's, 2 to 4 of PKM type machineguns, an RPG or two, and one to three "technicals" with a 13.2mm machinegun or the like mounted on them. Ammunition is limited to what each man carries and there is no long term logistic support. They have no radio but probably carry cell phones so there is some communications ability (assuming that they know the phone number and the towers work).
Oh, they work. God knows why, but their social media is counted as one of their major weapons. Its one area where they are light-years ahead of the IJA, they have instant operational-level communications.

And it looks as if the distribution of heavy weapons is a little more even than I thought it would be. That "platoon" has more raw firepower than a Japanese Platoon twice its size... and they were, at least 50 men and more than 60 very often.
13mm MGs? I thought it was 12.7mm, 14.5mm and then the next step up would be the 23mm auto-cannons.
Quote:
ISIS is stated as having captured "approximately three divisions' worth of materiel" from the Iraqi Army according to Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (though 'division' is a relatively subjective term here, for obvious reasons). More recently ISIS gained another ~100 wheeled and tracked vehicles (probably mostly Humvees, BMPs, and the like) when it took Ramadi.
So, my guesstemate of 70,000 armed fighters in ISIS can be supported by the material they have on hand.

It sure would be nice to have some idea of what those additional 100 vehicles might be. The M1117 in particular looks like a good raiding vehicle, or counter-recon.
I'm glad the IJA had so many AT guns, the 7.7mm round could penetrate about 8mm of armor at 100 yards, and about 3mm at 500 yards. It looks like the US light armored vehicles have a pretty good survivability rating.

BTW; that spigot mortar looks pretty scary, a regular "flying dustbin" indeed!
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  #41  
Old 20 Dec 15, 00:07
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Originally Posted by frisco17 View Post
Oh absolutely. It's been done on multiple occasions with M777s in Afghanistan and that was hardly the first time.
Yeah, but that was more like firing at a mountain range from farther away than the bad guys to hit back since they didn't have any artillery.
What I am picturing with ISIS is more like pushing the gun around the corner of a building and firing it at some other building 6 blocks away.

30 x T-55 tanks, sorry I missed that earlier.
That is a Battalion, in numbers. But how many are fully operational, how many are partly operational, and have any been canibalized for spare parts yet?
In terms of a war-game, maybe the best thing to do would have random rolls, on a daily basis for each tank to what their status is?
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If your argument is that the government doesn't spy on its own citizens then you're completely oblivious to reality.
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  #42  
Old 20 Dec 15, 02:11
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Oh, they work. God knows why, but their social media is counted as one of their major weapons. Its one area where they are light-years ahead of the IJA, they have instant operational-level communications.
Arab on Arab they work because both sides tend to think and act tribally. That is a lifetime of socialization versus a few months or weeks of military indoctrination and training.

Quote:
And it looks as if the distribution of heavy weapons is a little more even than I thought it would be. That "platoon" has more raw firepower than a Japanese Platoon twice its size... and they were, at least 50 men and more than 60 very often.
13mm MGs? I thought it was 12.7mm, 14.5mm and then the next step up would be the 23mm auto-cannons.
Raw, yes. Useful, no. The reason for saying that is that the ISIS troops seem loath to use fire and maneuver, aimed fire, and use of combined arms. These are guys that are more likely to spray and pray, use concealed firing positions and eat ammunition.
I was simply pointing out heavy machineguns in the .50 or so caliber class. They well might have 23mm cannon too.
What they don't have is some sort of training and plan to use all these weapons in a coordinated fashion. I would expect little inter platoon / company coordination too.

Quote:
So, my guesstemate of 70,000 armed fighters in ISIS can be supported by the material they have on hand.
I'd guess probably less than half that with maybe as many sympathizers that show up occasionally as "militia" and put in brief appearance. The hard core fighters might be as few as 10,000 or less.

Quote:
It sure would be nice to have some idea of what those additional 100 vehicles might be. The M1117 in particular looks like a good raiding vehicle, or counter-recon.
I'm glad the IJA had so many AT guns, the 7.7mm round could penetrate about 8mm of armor at 100 yards, and about 3mm at 500 yards. It looks like the US light armored vehicles have a pretty good survivability rating.
I don't think there's any way to fully know what ISIS has in the way of AFV. Some tanks of various sorts in maybe company strength, a number of homemade AFV, maybe about the same in IFV, and several times that in things like technicals, Humvee, and the like.

Quote:
BTW; that spigot mortar looks pretty scary, a regular "flying dustbin" indeed!
The Syrian "Hell cannon" fires a spigot bomb consisting of a propane tank loaded with explosives. From what I can tell, its far more flash and bang than really a vicious weapon. It isn't well thought out for one.
I'd say that WW 2 improvised weapons like the Smith gun or Blacker bombard were far more considered than the Hell cannon. I know I could do better myself.
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Old 20 Dec 15, 02:55
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Originally Posted by frisco17 View Post
I think the big issue is IS's semi-modern heavy weapons. Tanks and the like mostly. The IJA proves itself able to outfight and outmaneuver enemy forces that vastly outnumbered them several times. Forces with much more training and discipline than IS has by the way. The IJA might even be able to out-terror IS, suicide bombers are one thing but the Japanese victory or death mentality and contempt for foreigners and prisoners was a class apart. I can see a lot of IS desertions if the Japanese decide to go Nanking on the first IS city they take. The number of functional T-55s, T-72s, etc would be the biggest problem for the IJA. They don't have much that can knock them out at least until they start capturing RPGs and ATGMs which they'd be more than capable of using. If IS uses their armor in their trademark amateur way it would make them much easier targets as well.

I actually really like this idea. I've got a bunch of ideas milling around but I'll leave it at this for now.
The Japanese would most certainly out-terror IS. Restrictive ROE would not be an issue.

I would expect the IJA to promptly liberate much IS heavy equipment. The IJA would have to adopt armor tactics more akin to Germany. If they can rapidly overwhelm IS positions containing heavy equipment, trophies can be taken undamaged.

So, capturing IS equipment is a priority.
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Old 20 Dec 15, 15:16
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
I was simply pointing out heavy machineguns in the .50 or so caliber class. They well might have 23mm cannon too.
What they don't have is some sort of training and plan to use all these weapons in a coordinated fashion. I would expect little inter platoon / company coordination too.
Yes, but they must be doing something right, they took a huge amount of territory quickly, and they still have almost all of it.

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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
I'd guess probably less than half that with maybe as many sympathizers that show up occasionally as "militia" and put in brief appearance. The hard core fighters might be as few as 10,000 or less.
I'm thinking its more than that, but over half of what they have are what we would think of as Garrison troops. a sort of Gendarme that controls the rear areas and keeps the general population in line. They might not be good for much... or they might take it into their heads to launch a sudden human-wave attack. One never knows with half-trained troops lead by men who are fanatics and border-line psychopaths.
Fanaticism is a hallmark of ISIS, after all.

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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
I don't think there's any way to fully know what ISIS has in the way of AFV. Some tanks of various sorts in maybe company strength, a number of homemade AFV, maybe about the same in IFV, and several times that in things like technicals, Humvee, and the like.
There is one way to make this work for a War Game that I have seen used before- unknown unit values. This was used on a Boardgame or two, it simulated Red Army units that were untried, and the majority of Nationalist Chinese units in another one. It might be a good way to simulate the proficiency of the personnel in various ISIS units. Others can be a known quality, representing the core of 10-20 thousand men that could be called something like Soldiers.

As for the lesser fighting vehicles, 1,000 operational Humvees and just as many MRAP-type machines is looking accurate. Add to that a few dozen BMPs and at least as many 'Technicals' to have one backing up each platoon-worth of fighters, and I think that covers it.
Heavy artillery is probably held under the direct control of one of the two warlords commanding ISIS in Syria and Iraq, respectively.

Even if any MiG-21 or 23 are able to fly, they are lousy for ground-attack and probably won't fly twice.

And you know.... I'm wanting to be the IJA player if we make this happen.
Maybe I had better stop speculating on the structure of the game itself now.

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Originally Posted by Gixxer86g View Post
The Japanese would most certainly out-terror IS.
You know, I'm not so ready to count on that.
I don't recall the Japanese roasting captured pilots alive in iron cages, and inviting the news-reels to record the event.
ISIS has done exactly that, and worse.

What I do think is that the use of suicide bombers and armed kids would arouse disgust among the IJA, and make the lives of any civilians in their areas a very chancy thing.
It would also make the Japanese feel that they must be on the winning side from the very start. Such tactics of desperation (as they would be seen by the troops) are tacts of last-resort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gixxer86g View Post
Restrictive ROE would not be an issue.

I would expect the IJA to promptly liberate much IS heavy equipment. The IJA would have to adopt armor tactics more akin to Germany. If they can rapidly overwhelm IS positions containing heavy equipment, trophies can be taken undamaged.

So, capturing IS equipment is a priority.
Sure, but the depots are located in secret or even random areas. Keep any speculation on that secret from me, just in case this actually happens.

And even more than heavy equipment, I am starting to want those cell-phones. They may not last long, but it sure would be handy to trade in some of those trunk-sized radios, eh?

..... Toyota trucks, heh heh, that might be an interesting opportunity for RP is this situation.

I'm stoked, I really hope we get to do this somehow. If we do, I'll set up another WW1 naval wargame for you guys.
Let's hear it for a Desert Banzai!
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Last edited by The Exorcist; 20 Dec 15 at 15:31..
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Old 20 Dec 15, 15:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Yeah, but that was more like firing at a mountain range from farther away than the bad guys to hit back since they didn't have any artillery.
What I am picturing with ISIS is more like pushing the gun around the corner of a building and firing it at some other building 6 blocks away.
I can see them doing that if they need to. I've read accounts of people doing it before. I don't remember the exact details but one of Rommel's officers in France was wounded and received a medal for doing exactly that. Helping to push a 150mm gun around a street corner to direct fire into a fortified French position. I believe the Soviets did the same kind of thing in Berlin on a regular basis. It's dangerous but it works if that's all you've got.
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