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29 October 2016


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"and also the explosives were wired to the power points so they would detonate when the power was restored"

i had forgotten that -- blanked it out.


digger machine news to me. According to CNN they gave men in Mosul who committed minor infractions a choice between physical punishment and digging tunnels. the diggers are taken to the sites blindfolded but it seems some peeked because these diggers have provided at least some intel on cave locations to coalition forces.

mike allen

Pundita -

The tunnel boring machine that I linked to could have been a one-off. But it makes sense to use both pick-and-shovel men and mechanical moles. Especially so if you run into rock strata or other obstructions. I assume they are at least smart enough not to use blasting underneath an urban setting. But then I am neither a mining engineer nor a geologist and have no idea of the soil composition below Mosul.

mike allen

different clue -

I have zero understanding on FAE effects. Sounds like an intriguing idea. What would happen to the city above? Perhaps someone here has ideas on the subject.

different clue

mike allen,

My understanding of FAE effects is wiki-based, which is just one step above zero. I hadn't thought about what the ground and overground effects might be.

If the tunnels were fairly deep and had very few outlets to the surface, the effects would mostly race through the tunnels and some fire/heat and blast wave/ shock wave would erupt from the tunnel outlets into whatever above-ground building the tunnel outlet opened up into. (I should think it would be something like a coal dust explosion or a methane explosion in a coal mine.) If it was a safehouse full of ISIStas and Bitter Baathists all well and good, but if it was full of human-shield Musalwis (correct term?), that would be bad. Perhaps it would be considered worth it if there were vastly more ISIStanis in the tunnel than hostages around the outlet.

Here are a couple of the websites from where I get my one-step-above-zero understanding of fuel-air explosion effects.


mike allen

thanx for the response -

I spoke without thinking when I above asked: "could they have turned the Mosul underground into a complex network of interconnecting tunnels and chambers a hundred kilometers long???". It was a question, and I suspect the answer would be that there is no single interconnected tunnel network. It is more likely that it would be several or many separate tunnel complexes.

I recollect that in the VC tunnels of Vietnam smoke generators, tear gas, and flooding were tried. The smoke generators used fans to spread the smoke throughout the tunnel. Sometimes this worked successfully but mostly not. Usually a young Soldier or Marine, short and slightly built and armed typically with only a pistol, had to go in those tunnels to do the job.

mike allen

Tigermoth and Pundita -

Looks like the Peshmerga is getting counter-IED and mine-clearing equipment from Germany. Hopefully it is high tech and as good as what the Russian engineers had in Palmyra.



A few days back there were over a dozen links from various publications saying the
advancing troops had killed over 300 ISIS cubs, meaning child soldiers. Other than
The Daily Mail I'm not familiar with these outlets & therefore unable to judge their

Assuming these reports are valid it implies ISIS is posting disposable troops on the
outer periphery of the battle & more seasoned troops closer in the city center.
Tactically would it be better for advancing troops to continue the slow slog step by step cleaning out the obstacles or to just pound the city center with aerial bombardment &/or paratroopers & then try to fight backwards while also doing hit & run guerrilla attacks around the cleared outer edges of the battle? The slow slog is so predictable.

Or should I just accept that as an armchair strategist I'm a failure who should
lay off the keyboards?


Likely all 10 of geology faculty @ the University of Mosul have been co-opted.


It hurts my heart to think of all the human shields now in the city center
but I don't imagine they will survive under either tactic & time is of the essence as reports state people ordered to stay in their homes have little
food or water.

mike allen

More ISIL equipment found in Mosul:


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