Essay Example on Operation Anaconda the largest battle in the invasion of Afghanistan









Introduction Operation Anaconda was the largest battle in the initial invasion of Afghanistan The planning of the operation proved to be complex especially in dealing with multi unit joint operations Despite the limited time for planning limited multi unit interoperability and lack of resources Organizational Management functions played an essential role in the successful execution of Operation Anaconda Planning and Organizing Joint Special Operations Task Force North JSOTF N initially started the planning of Operation Anaconda Forward Combined Forces Land Component Commander CFLCC FWD finalized the plan for Operation Anaconda on February 13 2002 in Bagram Airfield On February 17 2002 Central Command CENTCOM and CFLCC gave command authority of the operation to MG Franklin L Buster Hagenback commander of the 10th Mountain Division and Combined Joint Task Force CJTF Mountain At this time CJTF Mountain had a little over a week to take over an operation in which originally was tasked to Special Operations Forces SOF Complex Command Structure CJTF Mountain had command authority over 3rd Brigade BDE 101st Air Assault Division Task Force TF Dagger and other SOF units However it did not have command authority over Task Force 11 a key SOF unit tasked in reconnaissance and air strikes over High Value Target HVT In addition CJTF Mountain did not have command authority over air assets belonging to the other branches of service i e 

Air Force Navy and Marines tasked to provide air cover for the ground forces The Combined Force Air Component Commander CFACC commanded the air assets which means CJTF Mountain can only request air strikes CFACC was not involved in the initial planning stages of the operation CFACC learned of the operation five days prior to the planned execution date To add to the complexity CJTF Mountain did not have command authority over the friendly Afghan Forces These Afghan Forces had their own structure and worked closely with the SOF units particularly TF Dagger Identifying Constraints For the first three months in Afghanistan airlift had been the key delivery method for U S conventional forces in Bagram Airbase and Kandahar airfield The mission plan for Anaconda called for an increase of personnel in Afghanistan requiring a surge in the amounts of logistics required for the mission Inadequate shortage facilities and landmines around the area hindered helicopters in bringing in supplies One particular supply was aviation fuel a much needed resource for the helicopters that would carry personnel to their key positions on D Day The Operation Order OPORD published on February 20 2002 this gave planners eight days prior to the scheduled D DAY The delay of CFACC in receiving the order resulted in a lack of an air component plan that was set to coordinate with the ground assets Despite the short window in which the Air Mobility Division AMD had to work through they were still able to deliver the much needed logistics prior to the execution date There were 8 AH 64 13 Chinook and 8 Black Hawk Utility helicopters available for the mission half the equipment usually required All participating units were also lacking in armor and artillery support D day D Day executed on March 2 2002 

The attack on Shahi Kot valley was broken down into two phases The first phase codenamed Hammer comprised of the Afghan Forces supported by the SOF teams would attack from the south and the north In theory this would force the enemy to retreat towards the entrance into the valley in Serhkkhankel where the U S Forces codenamed Anvil would be waiting for them In the first few days casualties occurred when a U S Navy SEAL fell off a Chinook helicopter after the helicopter took fire and had no choice but to land to a further landing zone This resulted in a rescue attempt by another Chinook to insert a Quick Reactionary Force QRF of Rangers in which they also suffered casualties in the successful extraction of the U S Navy SEAL Adapt In the early stages of the battle command authority over air assets was still not resolved CFACC had other priorities and most were to support TF Black who was conducting HVT missions TF Black had their own priorities and was not under the control of CJTF Mountain As the ensuing battle evolved the hardships with the conflicting control of air assets in the beginning stages were starting to be resolved This led to not just the priority of certain types of unit enemy strikes but now included strikes on all enemy targets on the ground Despite the lack of artillery and armor support on the ground the Chinook s delivered heavy mortars to ground forces enabling them to gain fire superiority over enemy targets One week after the initial attack ground forces and air assets were coordinating on the battlefield Conclusion Despite the limited time for planning limited multi unit interoperability and lack of resources Organizational Management functions played an essential role in the successful execution of Operation Anaconda Although there was not enough time to effectively plan and coordinate for an operation of this magnitude the organizational management while complexes still played a key factor in the overall success of the mission Not having enough time and problems will always arise during battles but without the sharp decisions of leaders and their management skills the outcome of Operation Anaconda would have had a negative outcome

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