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    Scott Ritter: Israel Faces "Near Impossible Task" in Gaza Archived Message

    Posted by sashimi on October 29, 2023, 7:31 pm

    29 Oct 2023

    Israel has conducted a series of ground incursions into Gaza over the course of
    the past week, each one building on the other, increasing in scope and
    scale. This appears to be part of an Israeli strategy to lean gradually into an
    operation that, when finished, falls just short of a general assault on Gaza.

    At the end of the day, however, Israel will most likely not be able to defeat
    the military forces of Hamas and other Palestinian resistance forces defending
    Gaza. Israel will have to either seek to defeat Hamas by laying siege to the
    Gaza Strip or commit to a full-scale attack on Gaza designed to clear the
    territory of all Hamas fighters.

    History suggests that any such assault will be extremely difficult to
    accomplish. The example of Operation Hubertus, the final German assault on
    Stalingrad, stands out. The Germans brought in elements of seven elite "Pioneer"
    battalions - combat engineers with extensive experience in urban warfare, having
    paved the way for prior German victories in Rostov and Voronezh. The Pioneers
    were the masters of military demolition, highly trained specialists in
    house-to-house fighting and the use of explosives and flame throwers. Around
    1,800 of these elite assault engineers were assembled for the final drive to
    push the defending Soviet soldiers from Stalingrad.

    "On the first day of operations, the Pioneers suffered nearly 30%
    casualties. After several days of fierce fighting, the Pioneers were stopped
    less than 100 meters from their objective. However, their forces suffered
    between 60-70% casualties, and could not proceed further."

    Operation Hubertus was doomed to fail from the beginning. According to an
    account of the fighting, "The constant bombardment and artillery shelling
    created a battlefield in which the Soviet defenders largely held the advantage
    over the assaulting Germans. The fields of rubble and craters were perfectly
    designed for defensive actions and could be improved with relatively little
    effort. This also provided ample hunting ground for the ever-present Soviet

    A similar observation can be made regarding the Allied attacks on Monte Casino,
    in Italy, in early 1944. A massive aerial bombardment destroyed a 6th century
    abbey. Elite German paratroopers dug into the rubble, and for months
    successfully held off repeated attacks. There can be no doubt that the excessive
    bombardment of Monte Casino ended up strengthening the positions of the German

    In the battle of Iwo Jima, it took US Marines more than a month to secure the
    tiny island, largely because the Japanese had dug some 18 kilometers of tunnels
    into the 21-square kilometer island, some of which were more than 70 meters
    underground, from which they rode out heavy bombing and shelling, only to emerge
    and ambush the advancing Marines.

    If one combined the above ground rubble of Monte Casino with the below-ground
    tunnel network of Iwo Jima, you might approximate the hellish scenario awaiting
    Israel in Gaza.
    -- Cont'd at

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    • Scott Ritter: Israel Faces "Near Impossible Task" in Gaza - sashimi October 29, 2023, 7:31 pm