Captain's Quarters Blog

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October 26, 2004
Insurgents Hauling 380 Tons Of Explosives Not Exactly A Covert Act

Unfortunately for the New York Times, no one gave a thought about the logistics of the notion that small bands of insurgents made off with 380 tons of explosives under the noses of the Coalition with no one noticing. CQ reader and retired Army Reserve Captain Ian Dodgson got paid to think about logistics, and he did some "cocktail-napkin" math that escaped the geniuses at the Paper of Record:

We're familiar with the NY Times story and the IAEA accusations that the "missing" explosives were looted from the Al-Qaqaa military base due to US negligence in securing the facility.

If I were a guerilla "looter" and I was planning such an operation from a military standpoint, here's what the task would require:


-Each "looter" could haul comfortably about 25 pounds per trip to a truck. (of course after 12 hours that would require superhuman endurance)

-I'd allow 5 minutes per round trip to the truck

-Work day 12 hours

-assume security breaks down 1 week after war starts (that allows 2
weeks before the US troops arrive)

-each pickup truck can carry about 1/4 ton of explosives (I did a quick calculation based upon the dimensions and weight of a block of C-4 and the dimensions of an average small pickup) and it takes 15 minutes to either load or unload the truck.

-the secure hiding place for 380 tons of explosives is 30 minutes away.


-380 tons / [((12hrs/dayX60min/hr) / (5 min per load)) X (25 lbs per load) X 14 days] = 15 loaders X 2 = 30 loaders/unloaders

-30 loaders/unloaders times 200% for breaks, rest, inefficiency, etc. = 60 loaders and unloaders.

-380 tons / [(12hrs/day / 1 hr/round trip,load,unload) X (.25 tons per trip) X 14 days] = 10 trucks and drivers X 1.5 (contingency) = 15 trucks and drivers.

-4 trucks + 10-15 men to supply water, food and other logistical

Total = 19-20 trucks, 90 men working continuously for two weeks to "loot" facility.

Bottom line this operation would take the resources of AN ENTIRE COMPANY (approx. 100 men) OVER TWO WEEKS, good Intel to know exactly where the "right" explosives were hidden and a means of breaching huge steel doors and concrete of an ASP.

And all of this would have to be done in an area with numerous intel overflights that would be looking for exactly this kind of activity in the combat zone, and not get noticed at all. Like so much of what the New York Times, CBS, and the Kerry campaign feeds us ... it just doesn't add up.

UPDATE: Cpt. Ian just got on Hugh Hewitt -- congratulations!

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 26, 2004 12:48 PM

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