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Could Iran pull off a military upset against the US?

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posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 07:47 PM
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Originally posted by nondescript
1. Iranian First Strike
Tactically, this is a sound move, for the reasons you state. Strategically, I'm not so sure. The best thing the Iranians have going for them is restricted engagement rules for the US. If they attack first, unprovoked, they would lose most international sympathy. Even the EU and China would have a hard time justifying foot-dragging or clandestine support.


Well, you've granted my premise more credit than almost anyone else just by agreeing that the first strike is tactically sound, so I like you already. As this scenario has developed it has become pretty clear and has been stated that to entirely win this battle Iran will have to 1. have nuclear weapons to force peace once the tide turns. 2. most likely be working in close cooperation, perhaps almost as a puppet of China.



Then there is the challenge of actually pulling of a first-strike without US intel/recon finding out first. But we'll put that aside for now.

I believe that the preparations Iran makes will be very plain to see, but the United States will have very little political latitude to take adequate precautions so long as Iran doesn't make it 100% blatant that they are on their way into Iraq instead of just being paranoid about their own security.
For the actual beginning of troop movements they only need a window of a few hours to initiate movement and get their vanguard into the frey so that American forces in Iraq can not entirely seize the initiative and fight the beginning of the war on their own terms.



2. Cruise Missiles
I'm not sure they are as effective as you think they are - they simply aren't very cost-effective. I don't know the figures, but let's say they have 1000 cruise missiles and 200 assorted ballistic missiles. Let's say they launch 50% of their inventory in the opening day. We'll be generous and say they have a CEP of 5 meters for the cruise missiles and 50 meters for the ballistic missiles. The ballistic missiles will be able to do serious damage to infrastructure and fixed targets, but I think cruise missiles will not have the effect you describe.


Although I admit I have been extremely optimistic about the role of cruise missiles, especially in the land war, I believe that cruise missiles and air to surface missiles launched from aircraft are a strong naval weapon which if employed on civilian craft or by militaries not expected to be hostile, could anhilate the US force while it was at sea in the way that Paul Van Ripper did in wargames.
Turkey is really the only way into the fight that will be fairly safe, and they didn't play ball for Iraq. I assume they would play ball for a war like this, but even still it creates a narrow front to guard against and it creates some possibility that America would walk into an trap if they dont take Iran's missile threat seriously.



Assuming they can assemble such a large missile force without detection, such a large missile launch will be detectable by radar. Iran does have some stealthed cruise missile systems, but they constitute only a small part of the missile force. Look-down radar systems including JSTAR and AWACS have no problem picking out terrain-hugging missiles. Ballistic missles, of course, are trackable by satellite. The alarm goes out. Troops evacuate bases, assets are dispersed.

They can't assemble this force without being detected. I dont think secrecy is necessary.
I had not considered the fact that satellites would detect such a volume of missile launches but you are correct. That being said, I am curious how fast the chain of communication will function- a launch into Iraq from Abadan Iran wouldn't take very long to impact, and US forces are not primarily concerned with the seemingly insane idea that Iran might be attacking them.
Last but not least, although troops can quickly be dispersed in the event of a missile launch, fixed assets such as fuel and ammunition storage, runways, bridges, water purification equipment, etc. A missile strike could make US troops far less effective as a fighting force and take away some of their eyes and ears as the battle begins, perhaps allowing Iran to overcome American defenders before they can be significantly reinforced.



Ballistic missiles arrive in 10-20 minutes, destroying railroads, supply depots, ships in harbor. The token PAC-3 defence systems can protect a few assets, but they are essentially irrelevent. Casualties are heavy. There simply hasn't been enough time to get out of the way.

Cruise missiles take 30-90 minutes, depending on the target. Because there has been enough time, especially for the rear-echelon units, unit cohesion is maintained. Of the units targeted by Iranian missiles, they lose 50% of their supplies, 20% of their equipment and 5-10% of their personnel. Communications and command are damaged but intact.

A pretty fair assessment as far as I can hypothesize. Not enough to break American forces but certainly enough to hinder their options for responding to an Iranian attack, especially if Iran has done a good job of choosing its targets.



That's it - the Iranians have 100 ballistic missiles left, for deterrence and to hit targets of opportunity, and 500 cruise missiles, essentially 500 guided bombs. That's not much to prosecute a war with.

With a large volume of cruise missiles like that Iran could lay quite a trap for US forces. Then of course there are torpedoes to be considered. It may sound like disgusting, but what would happen if a large volume of small craft basically decided to make a B-line for the US invasion force and dmn the consequences? Nobody has ever tried.



3. US logistics speed.

The US has contingency plans - I think the US could have a MEP and a airborne division there within a week, by airlift alone. Jordan would cooperate, and the US could be docking supplies in Israel and transporting them overland to Iraq. Carrier groups would steam into replace loss of Air Force capability.

The airborne is definately a factor, but they come light. If America can't hold the line in Iraq until heavier forces arrive they are going to lose over 100,000 troops and have to put together a whole new force and re-establish a hold in the theater. Carriers and shipping to Israel will probably not be entirely unharrassed either, especially if Iran and Syria tagteam against Israel and the Americans there. Also, if America wants to come through Israel they may have to kiss Jordanian support goodbye unless Jordan has the ability to brow-beat its population in ways that even our administration woudl find difficult.



US pre-positioned ships in Diego Garcia, as well as naval and seaborne assets from Japan, South Korea, and Singapore could be in theater in two weeks/month. Australian forces, which have high compatability with US forces, could send supplies quickly.

Supplies from the pacific are just going to get sunk if they dont go around and enter viea the Med.



Yes, the US needs to keep a presence in Japan and RoK, but our presence is largely symbolic already always - the 45,000+ troops in RoK are not there to provide the backbone of the Korean defence, but to complement it. I think the US could draw down 30-50% of the troops there, for 3-6 months, without serious security consequences.

granted, but that takes time and symbolizes American inability to react to any move against the host nation.



4. Access to the Persian Gulf.
The Iranians can deny access for two weeks to US forces. By then, carriers operating outside the effective range of anti-ship weapons will have ground down Iranian coastal missile batteries, and destroyed Iranian ports. The Iranians will be simply uncapable of sustained naval operations, even harassment.

I'm gonna check some stuff out on military.com and get back to you. I do not believe American carriers can accomodate a battle against well defended airspace on their own, and I also believe that the Iranian airforce could be sued to deliver cruise missiles or exocets to within range.
I'll get back to you with facts and figures soon.



As for the motorboat-with-RPGs scenario, a liberal rule-of-engagement policy can be used. 50-cals on the deck, snipers, and maybe some Special Ops attack helicopters, with miniguns and rockets.

Agreed. What about against a very high volume of these things equiped with torps?



5. SAMs
SAMs are overrated. In the Six-day war, the Arabs launched thousands of SA-2, SA-6, and SA-7 at Israeli fighters, which had no ECM, and no missiles. The Israeli fighters engaged SAM sites with cannon! The SAM kill ratio was 1:1000, or one plane downed for every 1000 SAMs launched.

recent reading on the 6 day war has been a major setback to the scenario- I agree. There is slightly more doubt about the outcome when a significant and welltrained fighter force is working in conjunction with SAMs, although I am aware of some minor anecdotes from the Six Day War (the russian pilots).




6. Iranian Airforce

Like all fixed assets, it is vulerable to precison attack. Cruise missiles, and GDAMS from B-2, B-1 bombers would severly reduce their effectiveness.

The Iranian Airforce may be able to do serious damage in the first week, but their offensive tempo cannot be maintained - they don't have the C3I to identify and destroy numerous targets simultaneously. Fortunately for them, the US Army has minimal SAM capabilities, so they could simply fly around 2000 feet, looking for targets.


Overcoming the B-2 problem will be vital for continued air operations by the Iranians, however gaining ground against the Americans early will relieve some pressure. I have to go now. Further responses will follow.

Good post!




posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 08:20 AM
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Vagabond

You have well thought out post on this subject however, you give the Iranians too much credit I believe. These senarios you present would have to play out dead on perfect for them to even have a chance of success. When you start getting into the US Army losing 100,000 men in Iraq your senario becomes unrealistic. Do you really think the American public is going to sit idol while we lose 100,000 soldiers because of Iranian attacks. I'll venture to say if that were to indeed happen you could say goodbye to every major city in Iran. Also, you say that every ship trying to come into the Gulf would be sunk. This is impossible first of all and it is highly improbable that they would manage to sink any. I have researched the navy of every major country including Iran and there navy is not well equipped to handle a force with the speed and flexibility of the US. They are more suited to handle small antiquated navies.

~I know you are just presenting a what-if senario but those are just the ideas that irked me. Very good posts though, you seem to have passion for this sort of thing.~



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 01:12 PM
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Originally posted by subcane
Vagabond

You have well thought out post on this subject however, you give the Iranians too much credit I believe. These senarios you present would have to play out dead on perfect for them to even have a chance of success. When you start getting into the US Army losing 100,000 men in Iraq your senario becomes unrealistic. Do you really think the American public is going to sit idol while we lose 100,000 soldiers because of Iranian attacks. I'll venture to say if that were to indeed happen you could say goodbye to every major city in Iran. Also, you say that every ship trying to come into the Gulf would be sunk. This is impossible first of all and it is highly improbable that they would manage to sink any. I have researched the navy of every major country including Iran and there navy is not well equipped to handle a force with the speed and flexibility of the US. They are more suited to handle small antiquated navies.

~I know you are just presenting a what-if senario but those are just the ideas that irked me. Very good posts though, you seem to have passion for this sort of thing.~

Umm for the navy part you might want to look up the "3M82 MOSKIT - SS-N-22 SUNBURN", its the most advanced A2S, S2S,G2S missile in the world.
Also how do you get in if they put mines across the opening.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 01:51 PM
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devil, the stuff you just said isn't realistic. So they are going to sink every ship with sunburn's. Yeah OK!! I guess we don't have minesweepers either now. Thank you for educating me. The fact that you believe the Iranians could keep us out of the Gulf is laughable to say the least. A major 1st world country, then yes maybe, but Iran no way. The few Sunburns aren't going to wipe out our Navy like you dream they would.

[edit on 22-12-2004 by subcane]

[edit on 22-12-2004 by subcane]



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by subcane
Vagabond

You have well thought out post on this subject however, you give the Iranians too much credit I believe. These senarios you present would have to play out dead on perfect for them to even have a chance of success.

I am the first to admit that I am presenting a "worst case scenario" and not one that is likely to happen, however I disagree that any one failure in the plan would be a slippery slope to disaster.



When you start getting into the US Army losing 100,000 men in Iraq your senario becomes unrealistic. Do you really think the American public is going to sit idol while we lose 100,000 soldiers because of Iranian attacks. I'll venture to say if that were to indeed happen you could say goodbye to every major city in Iran.

In a word? Yes.
Unless the Iranians fight with a very low level of compitence, or unless Turkey, Jordan and Israel all immediately come to our aid, Iran can succeed in overrunning Iraq, killing over 100,000 US troops and putting a huge dent in the oil supply which would be economically dangerous for America.
America can not nuke Iran any more than Russia can nuke Turkey. There would be 3rd party retaliations. I believe Russia would nuke American fleets abroad as a measured response, and that America could not strike back without triggering WWIII, and so America would have to take it.



Also, you say that every ship trying to come into the Gulf would be sunk. This is impossible first of all and it is highly improbable that they would manage to sink any. I have researched the navy of every major country including Iran and there navy is not well equipped to handle a force with the speed and flexibility of the US. They are more suited to handle small antiquated navies.

A navy is no longer the primary weapon against a navy unless you possess aircraft carriers. The era of major ship-on-ship engagement was very old in 1941, dying in 1943, and dead in 1945. Submarines, Aircraft, and missiles are the new weapons of naval warfare, and 2 of the 3 can be land based. Iran can easily control the Persian Gulf and its southern coast by use of cruise missiles just a handful of modern aircraft with air to surface missiles. In the Falkland Islands, Argentina managed to score kills on the British Navy with an airforce of something like 3 french-made planes and 5 exocet missiles.
The creative employment of missiles on civilian craft and in hidden locations of 3rd party countries (for example cruise missiles smuggled into Somalia or Libya) could take a heavy toll outside of the Persian gulf as well, while land-based defenses in Iran could easily control the gulf. Last but not least, Iran has a very high volume of small craft which carry torpedoes. The big question there is, how fast can the Navy sink these things if they decide to make the naval equivalent of a banzai charge?



~I know you are just presenting a what-if senario but those are just the ideas that irked me. Very good posts though, you seem to have passion for this sort of thing.~


I appreciate your compliment and your input, but I am confident that the things you disagreed with would actually have a good chance of working out.


Really, I was over ambitious for what Iran needs to accomplish. The logical and most realistic scenario works like this. Iran gets the bomb and builds hardened faciilites to protect it. Iran waits until America is mostly out of Iraq, then invades.
Iran quickly succeeds in taking Iraq as far as the tigris and breaking the small Iraqi military. Iran offers a peace treaty, oil price stabilization, and non agression pacts with other neighbors while threatening nuclear retaliation against western intervention.
A quick and successful land grab against an old enemy.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 04:25 PM
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Originally posted by subcane
devil, the stuff you just said isn't realistic. So they are going to sink every ship with sunburn's. Yeah OK!! I guess we don't have minesweepers either now. Thank you for educating me. The fact that you believe the Iranians could keep us out of the Gulf is laughable to say the least. A major 1st world country, then yes maybe, but Iran no way. The few Sunburns aren't going to wipe out our Navy like you dream they would.

[edit on 22-12-2004 by subcane]

[edit on 22-12-2004 by subcane]

A few?
Dude this doesnt need to sink every ship, it just needs to take out the carrier, the carrier is the mother bird. If the carrier is taken out they lose a major element, air power.
Another is just takeing out support ships, these support ships carry the weapons for the attacking ships and are very lightly armed, only LMG's.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 04:37 PM
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I didn't want to touch this thread with a 50' stick, it reeks of anti-American nonsense but I was forced to...




Dude this doesnt need to sink every ship, it just needs to take out the carrier, the carrier is the mother bird. If the carrier is taken out they lose a major element, air power.
Another is just takeing out support ships, these support ships carry the weapons for the attacking ships and are very lightly armed, only LMG's.



Yes, ASM and mines pose a serious threat to any Navy but there are standard procedures taken to ensure the sate of the fleet. If mines where so affective then entire Navies would have been crippled in WW2. Truth is that mine sweepers would clear the mines, THE CBGs airpower and cruise missile strikes would take out the ASM capable aircraft/airfields before they where to ever get within striking distance of the CBG and if all else fails the Airforce would be the ones conducting the strikes and gaining air dominance before the Navy where to barge in...
I think you all need to start thinking a little more realistic here. So far this thread is no more useful then a good old war novel



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by ChrisRT
Yes, ASM and mines pose a serious threat to any Navy but there are standard procedures taken to ensure the sate of the fleet. If mines where so affective then entire Navies would have been crippled in WW2. Truth is that mine sweepers would clear the mines,

There is no mine sweepers in the US navy, check you will see there is none.
Also there would be no need in WW2 , they did play a big part BTW, because the conflict was in every ocean.



THE CBGs airpower and cruise missile strikes would take out the ASM capable aircraft/airfields before they where to ever get within striking distance of the CBG and if all else fails the Airforce would be the ones conducting the strikes and gaining air dominance before the Navy where to barge in...

The missile is ground,air and sea launched. The navy is the only real way of allowing the army to land, also iran can stop all fuel getting to the US so the war machine is fked before it leaves port.


I think you all need to start thinking a little more realistic here. So far this thread is no more useful then a good old war novel

Really? If debateing the whole purpose of how soldiers should fight, we will get back to that vagabound, is unuseful then why is this forum here?



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 05:16 PM
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Vagabond -

I think most of our differences stem from the different opinions about the ability of the Iranians to deny access to the Persian Gulf. I'll take 'em one at a time.


What about against a very high volume of these things equiped with torps?


Well, it depends. If you're talking about lightweight, helicopter-type torpedos, launched from small craft, just engage them with a 5-inch cannon. They have roughly the same range (AFAIK), and the destroyers, after sinking most or all the boats, steam away at 30-knots, there's no way the torpedos can make it. They just don't have the range or speed.

If you're talking about serious anti-ship missiles, Exocet and better, or submarine-type torpedos, then you're talking about a 50-foot boat with radar/sonar, fire-control systems, etc... Those have big radar signatures, and F-18's with Harpoons would be used to take them out. I think the Iranian navy would run out of 50+ foot ships before the US runs out of Harpoons.

IMHO, the real threat to the Navy is the super-long range Silkworm-type anti-ship missiles from fortified coastal batteries. The US will need airpower to take them out.



I'm gonna check some stuff out on military.com and get back to you. I do not believe American carriers can accomodate a battle against well defended airspace on their own, and I also believe that the Iranian airforce could be sued to deliver cruise missiles or exocets to within range.


Again, I don't think the Iranian airforce is very impressive. The have a hodge-podge of airplanes, from F-14As to MiG-27s. Some reports suggest that Iran can't keep more than 7 F-14s in the air at one time. For more info, go to:

[url]http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/airforce.htm[url]

Whatever capability they do have will be severely reduced very quickly. B-2s flying from the continental US can deliver 100 GDAMS in 24 hours. Assign three per runway, that's 33 runways destroyed. Even if the Iranians can fix some of their runways in two/three days, that's still two/three days of uncontested airspace for US carrier planes to bomb and strafe airfields, blowing up planes, radars, SAMs, you name it. And the B-2s can come back everyday to hit 100 more targets. The Iranian Air Force won't last a week. They won't be shot out of the sky, they will be destroyed on the ground. And there is nothing the Iranians can do about it. No one can shoot down a B-2, not even the US.

The B-2s kick down the door, the carrier planes clean out the house. I agree, the carrier jets couldn't do it alone (at least, not until F-35's come online). But with B-2s, and, later, B-1s and even B-52s, the US Navy can do the job.



Supplies from the pacific are just going to get sunk if they dont go around and enter viea the Med.


So yeah, because I think the Navy (with SAC help) can clear out the Persian gulf, and get supplies and reinforcements on the ground, the US can turn back the Iranian offensive quickly.

There is a question of speed - will the US Army run out of supplies in Iraq before the US Navy can clear out the Gulf? With C-17s landing on highways, the US Army can sustain an holding/delaying action, I believe. Even if Jordan doesn't offer land access, just have C-17's and C-130's hopping between Israel and Iraq. With crew rotation and Israeli maintainance crews, I think they could sustain 5 sorties per aircraft per day.

If worse comes to worst, the US will escort the convoy through the Persian Gulf with a CVBG, Iranian missiles be damned. Have SEALS sabatoge as much as they can, fire off 80% of the Tomahawk inventory at the Iranian missile sites, use battleships and carrier craft to suppress/destroy the surviving coastal batteries, and AEGIS to engage the missiles that do manage to launch. SM-2 Block 3 and SM-3 are pretty good anti-anti-ship missiles.

They will suffer losses, no doubt, but the US high command is not about to lose 100,000 troops.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 05:26 PM
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There is no mine sweepers in the US navy, check you will see there is none.
Also there would be no need in WW2 , they did play a big part BTW, because the conflict was in every ocean.


Excuse me... I didnt know they where decommissioned after GW1, thought, necessity drives development... If we felt we needed-need them we would have them.

Anyway, youre whole mine plan is faulted by 2005. This is the reason...




The missile is ground,air and sea launched. The navy is the only real way of allowing the army to land, also iran can stop all fuel getting to the US so the war machine is fked before it leaves port.


And as I said, cruise missile and attacker strikes would deal a lethal blow to most, if not all of those systems... No matter what body of water we where to operate from Im sure the people running the show are a bit more knowledgeable on the matter and wouldnt place the ships within striking distance. This is one of the reasons for A2A refueling... Heck, place it a few hundred miles off coast and let the Airforce with refuelers do the initial strikes.




Really? If debateing the whole purpose of how soldiers should fight, we will get back to that vagabound, is unuseful then why is this forum here?


You guys undermine our military far too great. To actually think that a small percentage of what you guys propose in this thread is possible is nonsense.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 06:42 PM
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The missile is ground,air and sea launched. The navy is the only real way of allowing the army to land, also iran can stop all fuel getting to the US so the war machine is fked before it leaves port.


America has billions of gallons of oil stored away. We could hold out for a few months if we had to. It probably would not get to that, though.

The whole idea of our navy being left as sitting ducks for Iran is laughable. Given the time Vagabond's scenario gives Iran to build up, America would have a good idea of what they were planning. We'd never leave our navy in range of attacks like this.

I'd think our navy is more defended then Vagabond seems to suggest with his posts, as well. It just seems like common sense. We know what the nations in that region could do. Would we really send our entire navy out their to be crippled so easily? Of course, I don't know enough about naval warfare. I don't care enough to go do the research required.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 09:15 PM
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There is oil in Iraq too



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 09:59 PM
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Originally posted by Broadsword20068
There is oil in Iraq too


Not much after Iraq lit up all of them



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 10:10 PM
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OK We've got a lot of ground to cover here so I'm not quoting. I'm just going to address some of the major points I've noticed.

First I will respond to ChrisRT
It disgusts me when people insist that it is America bashing to suggest that something bad could happen to America. My home country which I volunteered to protect as a US Marine rifleman is in fact vulnerable as is any power. As someone who takes an interest in military affairs that is a topic of discussion that I enjoy. If there were somebody out there with a tremendous advantage over America I would be formulating ways that America might defeat them instead.

I have listed several points and my responses, and at the bottom is the big picture for the naval/air/missile war.

1. The inadequacy of the Iranian Airforce: Although the Iranian airforce is indeed a 3rd class force the possibility that China might provide them with Su-27/Su-30s and pilot training could upset American airsuperiority in the early stages of the war, particularly if Iran scattered a few of its new aircraft to hidden and hardened locations where they could be kept out of harms way until the oportune moment for striking the US Navy.

2. Mines have become outdated and are good for little more than a small delay in the movement of a navy. I suggest that this point be conceded by any who wish to argue otherwise. I do not believe naval mines need be a key part of Iranian strategy.

3. The US Airforce destroying Iranian missiles: The ability to target assets is conditional on the ability to locate them. Iranian cruise missiles which are widely disperesed on civilian aircraft, in other nations, and in civilian areas will not easily be found and destroyed. Additionally, they are unlikely to be priority targets for the limited number of strategic bomber sorties available. Strategic bombing at the outset of American operations generally targets air defenses, communications, and leadership targets.

4. US Forces striking from beyond the range of Iranian forces: This is a dangerous fallacy. Any US landbased forces cable of reaching Iran can also be reached from Iran by a modern aircraft such as the Su-30, because mid-air refueling is an ability Iran could realistically gain before starting such a war. Also, land bases in range to strike Iran would be in range of MRBMs or aircraft delivered cruise missiles. Iran could target living quarters and fuel supplies to reduce the ability of the base to keep planes airborne then strike back.

5. Carrier forces being used against Iran: Sure, just as long as you dont want them anymore. Same as with a land base, if American fighters can reach Iran, then Iranian fighters can EASILY deliver cruise missiles within striking range. If you ever want to feel insecure about the capability of naval forces, just read Red Storm Rising, which was/is? required reading at the US Naval academy.

6. B-2s destroying Iran's ability to resist and allowing the rest of the US airforce and navy to waltz in unopposed: The B-2 can only kill what it can find, and can only accomodate so many sortees. Although Runways make a good target, roads are good enough and of course many modern aircraft can use an improvised runway which can be constructed in hours by a couple of heavy equipment operators.
If the Iranians make a point of dispersing assetts and arming civilian craft which operate from foriegn soil they can ensure that the B-2 does not break their ability to defend themselves. Furthermore, I do not believe in unstoppable weapons. With a little creativity, any weapon can be destroyed or defended against.


Big Picture:
At the outset of the war American fuel supplies and runways are devastated, paving the way for newly acquired modern aircraft and trained pilots to carry out a large air operation which should be able to crush most American airpower in the region. This battle will be extremely costly for the Iranian airforce.
If America has a carrier in the Persian Gulf at the outset of this war it will be lost to cruise missiles and thereafter Iranian airpower can finish off the battlegroup with some losses.
Iran's remaining air assets should be distributed in extremely small groups which can be hidden in urban areas and served by mobile logistics (ie: a fuel truck, a couple of missiles, and an aircraft hidden in a garage, parking structure or visually obscured area of another kind. These should be called upon only when the opportunity presents itself to make strikes on American naval assets which have strayed too close.
Iranian cruise missiles would be distributed to small batteries in urban areas and on civilian aircraft and seacraft- these would be very hard to find and target.
America will likely attempt to move new carrier forces through the Suez Canal to operate outside the Persian gulf. These will likely be ambushed in the canal by armed civilian craft and destroyed, creating a blockage of the canal as an added bonus. Alternately, America may realize the danger and simply choose not to operate outside of the Med. which will lessen America's ability to use its naval airpower and missiles against the Iranians.
After this only US Submarines will enter the Arabian Sea/Persian gulf. They will likley decimate major iranian vessels, provide intelligence on coastal defenses, and launch cruise missiles against key targets. By dispersing forces however Iran will continue to have sufficient cruise missiles to anhilate any surface vessels approaching their coast.
As American airforces begin to arrive, primarily in Turkey, they will probably not be subject to attack from the air due to the dispersion of Iranian airforces, initial losses, and disruption of Iranian communications. They will be subject to attack of supporting instrastructure by missiles.
I had initially believed that modern air defenses could put a fair dent in this, however some reading on the six days war has left me convinced that ground-based radar-dependent defenses are simply obsolete against modern airpower. This means that unless the Chinese possess laser-based systems of which I am not aware and are able to provide them to Iran in sufficient quantity, the US Airforce will eventually be able to gain air superiority. Nevertheless, while these may be able to inflict 10-20% equipment casualties over a 3-4 month period they can not be a decisive factor because their work is simply too slow.

The likely run of the war looks like this: Iranian missile attacks and air raids devastate defenses in Iraq and sink an American carrier group. The Iranian ground offensive makes early progress but stalls on the Tigris opposite from Baghdad. Unless Turkey and Jordan step in, Iranian forces will break through in the North or South and take finish American forces off at Baghdad. At this point Iran can divide between the border with Turkey and taking Saudi and Kuwait. America disrespects Iran and sends a carrier group through the Suez- the carrier is destroyed in the canal.
American forces are massed in Turkey for an attack into Iran. bare minimum time to crossing the line of departure would be 3 months from Iran's first strike, however this could take longer if America felt compelled to take no chances.

This is the time for Iran to use the bomb to force negotiations. America up to his point has lost to carrier groups, over 100,000 troops, and has been deprived of oil for several months. They likely have also suffered terrorist attacks backed by the Iran. If the war has to be finished by force, America is facing the destruction of every major oil field from Saudi to Iran, which will create further financial disasters. Last but not least, they have a very large part of their armed forces in range of Iran's nukes in addition to having allies in the region in danger. America will have little choice but to negotiate.

If the war continues America can sweep into Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi, liberating the oil supply and mopping up any Iranian forces which dont withdraw to the Zagros range quickly enough.
America's attempts to cross the Zagros will be more costly than expected. The tempo will slow down for several weeks while America focuses airpower on key positions to create a breakthrough. Once breaking through the initial defenses America will only have one more relatively simple battle between them and Tehran.

Minimum length of the war: 5 Months
Maximum: 1 year.

Unlikely best outcome for America: They hold Iran at the Tigris river but take casualties in the tens of thousands. Iran uses the bomb to blackmail for peace and public American recognition that Irans war effort was a legitimate pre-emption.

Likely best outcome for America: America loses at least one carrier group and tens of thousands of troops (part of the Iraq force escapes to Turkey). Iran captures the territory it wanted but only keeps Iraq. Iran is able to exert strong leverage over OPEC because they are the dominant military power in the gulf region. A nuclear standoff between Iran and Israel completely destroys the mideast peace process.

Likely worst outcome for America: America loses almost 200,000 troops and 2 carrier groups as well as suffering major terrorist attacks in the US and abroad which rival the Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon. Iran keeps Iraq and Afghanistan and forces treaties which make the rest of the region little more than fully autonomous provinces of Iran.

Almost impossible worst outcome for America: America under-reacts to Iran's initial aggression and the American offensive is defeated. America loses OVER 200,000 troops and 3 or more carrier groups. Major terrorist attacks cause additional damage to US infrastructure and civilian populations. China openly supports Iran and this is the added leverage Iran needs to keep all conquered territories from the war. A defeat this serious is the kind of thing that marks the decline of an empire. I dont think Iran is the power to deal out such a blow to America, but it is theoretically possible.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 10:35 PM
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Not much after Iraq lit up all of them


I doubt much oil is really lost. It's more likely the facilities are destroyed.


1. The inadequacy of the Iranian Airforce: Although the Iranian airforce is indeed a 3rd class force the possibility that China might provide them with Su-27/Su-30s and pilot training could upset American airsuperiority in the early stages of the war, particularly if Iran scattered a few of its new aircraft to hidden and hardened locations where they could be kept out of harms way until the oportune moment for striking the US Navy.


This is still a big if. I think in a BVR fight the American will ultimately win over just about anyone in a Russian plane.


3. The US Airforce destroying Iranian missiles: The ability to target assets is conditional on the ability to locate them. Iranian cruise missiles which are widely disperesed on civilian aircraft, in other nations, and in civilian areas will not easily be found and destroyed. Additionally, they are unlikely to be priority targets for the limited number of strategic bomber sorties available. Strategic bombing at the outset of American operations generally targets air defenses, communications, and leadership targets.


America probably already has key targets in Iran identified. We've had tense relations with them for years. If we needed, I think we could bomb them at any time.


4. US Forces striking from beyond the range of Iranian forces: This is a dangerous fallacy. Any US landbased forces cable of reaching Iran can also be reached from Iran by a modern aircraft such as the Su-30, because mid-air refueling is an ability Iran could realistically gain before starting such a war. Also, land bases in range to strike Iran would be in range of MRBMs or aircraft delivered cruise missiles. Iran could target living quarters and fuel supplies to reduce the ability of the base to keep planes airborne then strike back.


China doesn't even have mid-air refuelling yet. I see Iran gaining it highly unlikely. They would never get the numbers America has, even with help. They'll need all of their craft, or just about all of them to target America. And unlike America, gaining intelligence will be far more difficult.

How much damage could they really do without a good bomber? How close would they actually get to the American mainland before they were engaged? More importantly, what about America's missile shield? I think its reliable enough already to take care of this type of threat.

I'd say it would require another nation with a stealth bomber the likes of the B-2 to do any significant damage to America. Iran certainly wouldn't have that.


5. Carrier forces being used against Iran: Sure, just as long as you dont want them anymore. Same as with a land base, if American fighters can reach Iran, then Iranian fighters can EASILY deliver cruise missiles within striking range. If you ever want to feel insecure about the capability of naval forces, just read Red Storm Rising, which was/is? required reading at the US Naval academy.


We'd use carrier forces after destroying the threat. Air superiority would have to be achieved first, and we can do this with our own superior cruise missiles.


6. B-2s destroying Iran's ability to resist and allowing the rest of the US airforce and navy to waltz in unopposed: The B-2 can only kill what it can find, and can only accomodate so many sortees. Although Runways make a good target, roads are good enough and of course many modern aircraft can use an improvised runway which can be constructed in hours by a couple of heavy equipment operators.
If the Iranians make a point of dispersing assetts and arming civilian craft which operate from foriegn soil they can ensure that the B-2 does not break their ability to defend themselves. Furthermore, I do not believe in unstoppable weapons. With a little creativity, any weapon can be destroyed or defended against.


The B-2 can do serious damage even with our limited numbers. They do more damage then 72 conventional bombers.

B-2's were made just for this. They may not be unstoppable, but it would require America to make some serious mistakes for them to be taken down by Iran.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 11:33 PM
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Originally posted by Disturbed Deliverer

Not much after Iraq lit up all of them


I doubt much oil is really lost. It's more likely the facilities are destroyed.

Not too much oil realy burns up. No more oil was being lost than could have been pumped in the time the wells were burning. Many drilling operations have equipment which pressurizes wells too- with this not functioning anymore even less oil burns.




America probably already has key targets in Iran identified. We've had tense relations with them for years. If we needed, I think we could bomb them at any time.

We could bomb the places they used to be anyway. Like I said, if Iran spreads their missiles out in small areas for hiding and surprise ops those will be safe. Communications and exposed assets still pay, but that is only a softening blow- not meaningful until a signifcant American force is in place to attack the weakened Iranian forces.



China doesn't even have mid-air refuelling yet. I see Iran gaining it highly unlikely. They would never get the numbers America has, even with help. They'll need all of their craft, or just about all of them to target America. And unlike America, gaining intelligence will be far more difficult.

Are you suggesting that China doesn't have the technology, or just that they haven't made it a priority yet? Afterall China has a lot of gear to refit for something like that. Iran on the other hand, a few quick mods to whatever they buy and a few quick bucks to the Russians and deal is done. One useful tactic (which i'm not just making up by the way) is to have fighters prepared and tail the enemy after they have attacked.



How much damage could they really do without a good bomber? How close would they actually get to the American mainland before they were engaged? More importantly, what about America's missile shield? I think its reliable enough already to take care of this type of threat.

WOAH! I have been GREVIOUSLY misunderstood. No way no how is Iran going to make air raids on the CONUS, and no way no how are American fighters or attack aircraft going to operate from CONUS against Iran.
I thought we were talking about potential bases somewhat outside the immediate theater of battle, perhaps in India or Italy.



I'd say it would require another nation with a stealth bomber the likes of the B-2 to do any significant damage to America. Iran certainly wouldn't have that.

You have my full agreement on this point. You and I were taling about very different things and I'm embarrassed that my posts were taken to mean something like that.




We'd use carrier forces after destroying the threat. Air superiority would have to be achieved first, and we can do this with our own superior cruise missiles.

At no point in this war does it become safe for American carriers to operate in striking range of Iran. Iran can keep a few planes in hiding for just such an event, and even without that iranian cruise missiles, especially the sunburn, mean that America isn't coming anywhere near. I believe America has to fight this war from the Med.




The B-2 can do serious damage even with our limited numbers. They do more damage then 72 conventional bombers.

B-2's were made just for this. They may not be unstoppable, but it would require America to make some serious mistakes for them to be taken down by Iran.


Even with the damage they can do, they can't cripple the iranian army and they can't target critical assets so long as those critical assets are being kept hidden and protected till the oportune time. The B-2 is great for blowing up air defenses and communications and leadership targets and many other things, but if the things the enemy needs most can be disperesed and hidden the B-2 isn't decisive enough of an advantage.



posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 12:31 AM
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Things could prove difficult for the US if China supply's a combination of s-300's and the new FT-2000... rumored to be extremely advanced, to Iran.

They could make things like refueling jets very hazardous



posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 12:51 AM
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We could bomb the places they used to be anyway. Like I said, if Iran spreads their missiles out in small areas for hiding and surprise ops those will be safe. Communications and exposed assets still pay, but that is only a softening blow- not meaningful until a signifcant American force is in place to attack the weakened Iranian forces.


I think the main problem is that once we notice activity, we'll probably increase our monitering of the country. I think we probably already watch Iran constantly. It would be multiplied if they started a military buildup like this.


Are you suggesting that China doesn't have the technology, or just that they haven't made it a priority yet? Afterall China has a lot of gear to refit for something like that. Iran on the other hand, a few quick mods to whatever they buy and a few quick bucks to the Russians and deal is done. One useful tactic (which i'm not just making up by the way) is to have fighters prepared and tail the enemy after they have attacked.


I believe we've gone over this already. It would take something majorly destabalizing for China to risk pumping out fourth generation aircraft for Iran when they don't have a whole lot for themselves.


I thought we were talking about potential bases somewhat outside the immediate theater of battle, perhaps in India or Italy.


The B-2's would never be stationed in a foreign country. I'm not even sure if they could.

Attacking these nations, or invading their airspace would be extremely risky for Iran, and anyone aiding it. Not even Europeans are going to sit back and watch Iranian fighters attack bases on their land.


Even with the damage they can do, they can't cripple the iranian army and they can't target critical assets so long as those critical assets are being kept hidden and protected till the oportune time. The B-2 is great for blowing up air defenses and communications and leadership targets and many other things, but if the things the enemy needs most can be disperesed and hidden the B-2 isn't decisive enough of an advantage.


I think the B-2's could certainly take out most of Iran's air defenses. That's the main role of the B-2. First we would simply target airfields, then SAM's. This opens the door for less stealthy bombers and the carriers do more extensive damage.



posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 02:03 AM
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This has to be the WORDIEST thread I have ever seen!! As I scroll down, all I see is words, words, words!!



posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 03:15 AM
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We could bomb the places they used to be anyway. Like I said, if Iran spreads their missiles out in small areas for hiding and surprise ops those will be safe. Communications and exposed assets still pay, but that is only a softening blow- not meaningful until a signifcant American force is in place to attack the weakened Iranian forces.


It's called real time intelligence... Something being really expressed with the advent of UAV and stealthy UAVs.




Are you suggesting that China doesn't have the technology, or just that they haven't made it a priority yet? After all China has a lot of gear to refit for something like that. Iran on the other hand, a few quick mods to whatever they buy and a few quick bucks to the Russians and deal is done. One useful tactic (which Im not just making up by the way) is to have fighters prepared and tail the enemy after they have attacked.


What is so complicated about mid air refueling? A hose, a tanker, and a fighter with refueling piping... They still dont have it and it take more then a few $$$ to acquire a force capable of it. Few, if any fighters can actually be fitted with refueling capabilities after production. The money would best be spent on AK-74s and whatnot.




WOAH! I have been GREVIOUSLY misunderstood. No way no how is Iran going to make air raids on the CONUS, and no way no how are American fighters or attack aircraft going to operate from CONUS against Iran.
I thought we were talking about potential bases somewhat outside the immediate theater of battle, perhaps in India or Italy.


You would be a complete fool to suggest that these basses arent on the highest of alert, have potential CAP missions assigned, and have SAM batteries in place...




At no point in this war does it become safe for American carriers to operate in striking range of Iran. Iran can keep a few planes in hiding for just such an event, and even without that iranian cruise missiles, especially the sunburn, mean that America isn't coming anywhere near. I believe America has to fight this war from the Med.


With mid-air refueling these carriers can operate from wherever the hell they want to. These carriers arent that vulnerable either. It's harder to take one out then it would be to take out a temporary land base. In the case of Americas assets, its next to impossible.

besides the lack of ability to bring arms against such a mighty fleet one doesnt have the intel of where the CBG(S) are headed and where they are...




Even with the damage they can do, they can't cripple the iranian army and they can't target critical assets so long as those critical assets are being kept hidden and protected till the oportune time. The B-2 is great for blowing up air defenses and communications and leadership targets and many other things, but if the things the enemy needs most can be disperesed and hidden the B-2 isn't decisive enough of an advantage.


Fact is that once we gain air dominance (shouldnt take more then a few days) then we sweep the place over and over with SEAD flights and maintain a 24 hour presence of B-52, and attack capable aircraft to be vectored when UAV and other intel gathering equipment pick up a target... You would be amazed if you would actually take a look at the weapons that our forces have in the development stage. These will set us in the ranks far above any country and ensure our military superiority continues.

Sadly for youre stories, our technology is only getting greater by the month...



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