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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book if you can ignore the whining
The Good: This book is a pretty good book detailing the fight the 2nd ACR fought against the Iraqi Republican Guards along the 73 Eastings line. I was a tank platoon leader in the 1st ID during Desert Storm and this book brought back memories. MacGregor takes the reader down "into the trenches" so to speak. If you have not served in an armor unit, you will get a good feel...
Published on September 25, 2009 by Dog of War

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book on tactical armored combat; lacks strategic level context
"Warrior's Rage", by Douglas MacGregor, is the story of the brave men of `Cougar Squadron', one of the units that participated in the world's largest armored conflict since the 1944 Battle of Kursk. In this rather lop-sided Feb 1991 battle, armored elements of the United States Army demolished the vaunted Iraqi Republican Guard, suffering relatively few casualties in...
Published on October 16, 2009 by Joel R.


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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book if you can ignore the whining, September 25, 2009
This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
The Good: This book is a pretty good book detailing the fight the 2nd ACR fought against the Iraqi Republican Guards along the 73 Eastings line. I was a tank platoon leader in the 1st ID during Desert Storm and this book brought back memories. MacGregor takes the reader down "into the trenches" so to speak. If you have not served in an armor unit, you will get a good feel for what it is like from reading this book.

The Bad: Somebody please give MacGregor a pacifier. He constantly whines about how the generals were stupid and how he knew what he was doing and they should have listened to him. He starts the whining in the first couple of pages of this book. Sure, there are politically motivated generals who do not care about the Soldiers, but not all are. It is obvious he has an ax to grind because he had to retire as a lowly colonel while others he served with achieved general stars.

I knew this guy was starting to get full of it when he started criticizing General Franks, the VII Corps commander during Desert Storm. In a nutshell Schwarzkopf tells him to destroy the Republican Guards and Franks says, We can do this. We'll make it happen." After this Macgregor launches into a hissy fit about Shwarzkopf should have fired him because he obvious wasnt the right man for the job, he needed fighting spirit, yada yada yada. What did he want? Franks to jump up on the table, beat his chest and sing the Army song? Like I mentioned earlier I was a tank platoon leader in the 1st ID which was part of VII Corps and after we did the breach we pretty much hauled [...] in order to make contact with the Republican Guard. My ankles swelled up from standing in that darn turret for hours. I remember the passage of lines with the 2nd ACR. We passed by a Bradley with two Soldiers smoking cigarettes next to it looking at us as we rolled past and started the fight.

Overall, if you can get past the whining, this is a good read if you want to feel what Soldiers felt and experienced in the heat of battle.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book on tactical armored combat; lacks strategic level context, October 16, 2009
This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
"Warrior's Rage", by Douglas MacGregor, is the story of the brave men of `Cougar Squadron', one of the units that participated in the world's largest armored conflict since the 1944 Battle of Kursk. In this rather lop-sided Feb 1991 battle, armored elements of the United States Army demolished the vaunted Iraqi Republican Guard, suffering relatively few casualties in return. This book is told from the perspective of one of the tactical leaders who was there.

On February 22, 1991, Cougar Squadron entered Iraqi territory with the mission of engaging and destroying the Republican Guard. MacGregor does an incredible job of chronicling the events over the next few days as Cougar Squadron smashed into a much larger force at 73 Easting. Readers will empathize with the fears, frustrations, and exhilarations of armored combat as expertly described by the author. MacGregor also pays a fitting tribute to Sgt Andrew Moller, the sole fatality of this small part of the war. If MacGregor would have focused solely on this aspect of the war, it would have been an outstanding book.

As a battle study, the book lacks a description of how Cougar squadron fit into the overall context of the war. The author did not provide a single map of where the unit fought in Iraq, in relation to other units in VII Corps. There are numerous tactical level charts that show how the sub-units deployed on the battlefield, but readers like me would have benefitted from an operational level chart.

MacGregor argues that the US Army could have defeated the Republican Guard and deposed Saddam Hussein back in 1991. While I will concede that he presents a compelling argument, it is one-sided. MacGregor fails to discuss both the United Nations Security Resolution which gave the coalition the legal authority for DESERT STORM; and he also fails to analyze the political constraints effected by the Bush-41 administration by its desire to end the ground war at the arbitrary 100-hour mark. A discussion of either of these points would have effectively answered the "why" to the question of why we didn't finish the job in 1991. The short answer is that the the United States did not have the political will nor the legal authority to become an army of occupation in 1991. Because of this, the United States had to defeat the Iraqi army, but leave it in a condition strong enough to act as a regional deterrent force against Iran.

MacGregor is a very talented author, making this book a very fast read. If you are looking for great read about modern armored combat as seen from the men on the ground, you won't find a better book. However, the author should have kept the book focused on his area of expertise, rather than presenting a one-sided argument about strategic decisions made by military leaders. His viewpoint only covers the effects of what those decisions were, failing to include any discussion as to the "why" the decisions were made. It's a good book on armored combat, but his jaded opinions overshadow the incredible accomplishments and heroism of a small group of men who were the tip of the spear in Operation DESERT STORM.

The Naval Institute Press provided me with a complimentary copy of the book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Major, you must go to Baghdad and end this. You must save Iraq.", October 6, 2009
By 
Kirk L. (Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
So said the Iraqi brigade commander of the Republican Guard unit that then-Major Douglas Macgregor's 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment "Cougars" (Toujours Pret!) had just annhilated at the Battle of 73 Easting in Feburary, 1991. Unfortunately, Macgregor and the rest of the U.S. military had their orders; a ceasefire was soon implemented, preventing 2/2 ACR and the rest of VII Corps from pursuing and destroying their enemy. Consequently, the main body of the Iraqi Republican Guard was able to retreat and later crush Shiite and Kurdish rebellions inside Iraq, keeping Saddam Hussein in power for another 12 years.

There aren't a lot of books published about the First Gulf War, but this is a worthy addition to what is already out there and should spark debate, as it goes against "conventional wisdom". Macgregor takes the reader on a detailed and fascinating accounting of his experiences as operations officer of the famed cavalry squadron who engaged with and destroyed a brigade-sized Iraqi armored formation thanks in large part to the actions of then-Captain H.R. McMaster's Eagle Troop. McMaster is now a Brigadier General and one of the more notable names to come out of the Iraq War, having made news as the commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Tal Afar in 2005, one of the most successful case studies of counterinsurgency warfare practiced by the U.S. military in modern combat.

The book is an extremely compelling read for many reasons, but is not without flaws. As I have noted in two previous reviews of books by LTG (ret.) Ricardo Sanchez and LTC (ret.) Nathan Sassaman, there is a palpable sense of anger, bitterness and frustration on the part of the author; I found myself questioning how much of his views were clouded by the natural self-serving instincts that often pervade autobiographical works. We, the readers must take Macgregor at his word when it comes to his conclusions and his outspoken critique of the army's senior chain of command during Operation Desert Storm. As one reviewer has already mentioned, Macgregor goes out of his way to cast light on his own situation early in the book (referring to himself as an "outcast colonel" during a meeting with CENTCOM commander GEN Tommy Franks, not to be confused with VII Corps Commander LTG Fred Franks, whom the author holds largely responsible for the failure to destroy the Republican Guard and achieve a decisive strategic victory over Iraq in 1991.) and I think the several reminders of his own situation and career detract from the overall body of work.

That said, "Warrior's Rage" is well-written and highly readable. Macgregor skillfully introduces the reader to all of the important characters and members of the Cougar Squadron who played critical roles in the battle, from squad and platoon level all the way up to battalion staff and even those in leadership positions at the regimental level. Again, some of the bitterness creeps in, and the reader will find that quite evident as events unfold and 2/2 ACR prepares to go to war. The battle itself, which was no contest thanks to the superb training, leadership, equipment and aggressiveness of Brig. Gen. McMaster's Eagle Troop, along with that of Ghost Troop and the rest of the cavalry squadron's warriors who were a part of the biggest American armored battle since WWII and its greatest tactical victory. The author goes out of his way to praise the Soldiers, from the the courageous NCOs, and junior officers, to the cavalry troopers who made the victory happen. The book has no shortage of great anecdotes that only add to the cavalry mystique.

However, when it comes to the senior leadership, Macgregor issues a scathing indictment of general officers he felt were too risk averse, saving the majority of his anger for VII Corps Commander, Lt.Gen. Fred Franks, whom the author faults for not accomplishing the mission he was given by CENTCOM commander GEN Norman Schwartzkopf: Destruction of the Republican Guard. It is clear that Macgregor saw himself as the defacto commander of the squadron, giving the actual commander a pseudonym (LTC Larson) and depicting him as a waffling, indecisive martinet who made virtually no real command decisions. Although less-scathing in his language, it is also clear that the author was disappointed with the actions of the 2nd ACR's regimental commander, then-Colonel Don Holder. Were the problems and personalities in the regiment as dysfunctional as Macgregor would have you believe? I wasn't there, so that is for those who were to decide.

In the end, I recommend this book, because it attempts to debunk the belief that Operation Desert Storm was an overwhelming tactical AND strategic victory. He takes on the media-created myth of the operation's unqualified success and ties the erroneous conclusions and self-satisfaction that the Army as a service took from the event to the many struggles and setbacks which have occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2002. The author takes a morally courageous stand in the face of what is sure to be a vitriolic response from those he takes issue with, and his book is a highly controversial one that not only challenges long-established views about Operation Desert Storm, but lays the blame of many of our military's current setbacks and shortcomings in the Middle East at the feet of those making the calls during the First Gulf War.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Military Officers of All Ranks, November 11, 2009
By 
TDMZ (Virginia, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
Warrior's Rage is certainly an interesting and engaging story. I had difficulty putting the book down. Readers get a really close up look at what it was like to plan and execute a major tank battle in the modern age. You get a taste of the good and the bad and how grueling and horrific war can be, even if only for 100 hours. But what I found truly extraordinary was to read about something that we may never see again in many lifetimes, a major tank battle between two huge armies.

Warrior's Rage however also sheds light on a decision that occurred in 1992 that many have puzzled over to this day. For those of us who wondered for years why Desert Storm ended as it did and why Saddam Hussein was able to stay in power after all of the effort in Desert Storm, Warrior's Rage explains much. Macgregor reveals what was going on inside the U.S. Army in Feb 1992 as VII Corps prosecuted its attack across the desert, and it is not a pretty story.

I doubt the Generals involved in this fight will like what much of what Macgregor said, but one thing is absolutely inescapable, the United Stated failed to achieve one of the single most critical strategic objectives of the entire endeavor -- to destroy the Republican Guard.

Someone is responsible for that failure and when you read Warrior's Rage you will know it was not the young men and women at the front lines of that war who fought valiantly. Everyone at the time, from the President, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the Commander in Chief of US Central Command knew that the Republican Guard was the single most important center of gravity in Iraq. It kept Saddam Hussein in power. Why else would they have ordered its destruction?

Yet it was not destroyed and that does not appear to be accidential. Responsibility for the failure to destroy the Republican Guard and severely weaken Saddam Hussein's grip on power rests with President Bush for stopping combat operations too soon. It also rests with Chairman Powell for not effectively arguing that the job wasn't done. But most importantly responsibility rests with the military leadership. It rests with the General Schwarzkopf, the military commander ultimately responsible for the outcome of this war. And as the author documents the failure emanated from and lays directly at the feet of the VII Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Fred Franks.

Macgregor makes an excellent point, over the 30 years prior to Desert Storm the US had invested tremendously in building heavily armored yet highly mobile fighting forces so it could out maneuver enemies and attack with lightning speed, only to see that advantage squandered by a timid attack plan and Corps commander who ordered his forces to advance as speeds worthy of tank warfare 80 years before. Macgregor's story from the front suggests that if the CENTCOM Commander had acted on his dissatisfaction and instincts early on and removed Gen Franks replacing him with an aggressive general who would have accelerated the plan and allowed his forces to do their job, VII Corp would have accomplished its mission to pin down and destroy Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard. What you see in Macgregor's critique of the Army senior leadership is how the tremendous investment of our nation to give the Army every possible advantage on the battlefield was lost by what appears to be personal loyalty among Army Generals trumping professional judgment. Macgregor documents for us how Lt Gen Franks orders allowed the Republican Guard to flee and fight another day, ultimately required us to go back 12 years later to finish the job, costing us thousands more lives on both sides, and billions more dollars.

Whether one likes what Macgregor says or how he says it, or not, his book is an excellent read for those with an interest in military affairs and leadership. However, it is an absolute must read for those who aspire to duty in the armored ranks. Most certainly this book, and Macgregor's critique of senior Army leadership must be studied and debated as part of the professional military education curriculum of the Army, from West Point to Carlisle Barracks by men and women who will be following future leaders and betting with their lives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Observations on Warrior's Rage, October 23, 2009
By 
Wallace Day (Plattsburgh, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
The Author has an excellent story to tell. Throughout the volume he continues to question the actions of the Dept of Defense and the "high command" of the US Army strategy-wise. As an outside observer, my feeling is thay his comments and thoughts are probably right on target given the post Gulf War events right up to the present.

I found his narrratives of the battles leading up to "73 Easting" fascinating. I did find his narratives a bit confusing and hard to follow at times. Nonetheless, the author does an excellent job of showing just how superior US and Allied forces were vs the much-vaunted Republican Guard troops.

If you are at all interested in military action type stories, the battle narratives alone make this book a worthwhile purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative about battle, useful insight to poor current leadership, December 31, 2010
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This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
The battle information provides a picture of what was really going on. Better than a movie and detailed description of Armored capability and tactics along with a dim picture of upper level incompetence which is scary when so many of the failure prone were recently policy deciders in the Afghanistan war(See Obamas Wars).

You see the success of the doctrines which provided the weapons and tactics that allowed small American units crush large Iraqi units equipped with old Soviet equipment and Tactics and mostly poorly motivated or led. Unfortunately these same doctrines failed when it came to occupation duties where boots on the ground were more important than command and control firepower.

The book itself puts the Reader in a tank which withstands running over a large Chinese antitank mine without loosing its tread. The descriptions of the tactical unit personnel are so realistic and the ample description of all of the dispersed individual actions seems very complete. There must have been detailed after action descriptions to keep such a record of all of the diverse activities of the Troops involved.

The discussions of individual actions of improvisation, heroism and humanity provide a complete picture of the quality of the unit along with the idiocy of a detached rear echelon that I thought went out of style after the errors of the civil war were etched into the teachings at West Point.

I had the honor of meeting a member of one of the units engaged, he agrees with many of the points.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outrageous, audacious and wildly irreverent, March 19, 2011
By 
Charles A. Krohn (Panama City Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
Outrageous because Macgregor spills his guts. Audacious because it lifts the curtain to show what went on behind the scenes in Cougar Squadron. No doubt Macgregor misses the opportunity to lead the charge through the Republican Guard into Baghdad in 1991, but his dream went up in smoke ultimately by political, not military, leadership. Now in 2011 the issues are still debated, but so far President GHWB hasn't recanted his decision to stop Desert Storm after 100 hours. Looking backward, it probably would have been less expensive in blood and treasure to take out Saddam in 1991, even if it upset the Saudis and shocked American public opinion with big bills. We could have lingered just long enough to get the Iraqis back on their feet, avoiding some of internal blood-letting following our invasion in 2003. But that's just a guess. Regardless, this is a great account of what it's like to be at the cutting edge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Indictment of Ineptitude and a Tribute to our Gallant Fighting Forces, June 12, 2010
This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
The author brings to this saga both a wealth of scholarly background and insights into the most senior levels of Army decision-making coupled with a moving, sensitive and cogent first person account of our armored forces fighting in Iraq. The author displays a very perceptive and astute grasp of humanity as well as of the military arts, including the nuances and sub-texts of the individuals involved, their motivations, their strengths and alas their limitations, all in the hyper-heated arena of a combat zone. His prose are lucid and vivid, devoid of an excess of Army "techno-speak" and jargon which so often alienate a non-military reader. I commend this book very highly to anyone interested in this particular campaign, to anyone with a passion for armored or armored cavalry warfare and finally to anyone, military or civilian, with an interest in understanding leadership and motivational skills. The author is a West Point graduate with a genuine admiration for soldiers of all backgrounds. It is rather disappointing that the skills and bravery of subalterns and NCOs could not outweigh the decisions made at the higher echelons of command.....sadder still to juxtapose our defeat of the Iraqi Army with events thereafter, events which continue to this day as young soldiers risk their lives in interminable struggles against all manner of evil. Frankly, I would give this book to every newly commissioned Armor Officer ( or Troop First Sgt) as a cautionary tale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Write to your congressman!, September 4, 2014
By 
Moe_Reese (California Central Coast) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
If you served in the military for more than one tour of duty, you are familiar with the tendency of the general officers to prepare for the "last" war, instead of the "next" war. This man's rage stems from being so completely shackled by his superior officers, that his command was prevented from promptly, properly, and efficiently waging war! That is unforgivable misfeasance, when the lives of American soldiers are at stake.

This story is about a command that had practiced all their lives to fight a lightening-fast war of maneuver, with the best equipment on the planet. However, when the balloon went up, their overseers were so frightened (almost to the point of cowardice) of allowing them to fight as they had trained, that they nearly created a disaster.

He draws a picture of an old boys club at the top of the military, where one gains rank by being obsequious toward higher-ups, not by meritorious service to the mission and the troops who carry it out. It will cramp your stomach too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The truth!!!, May 6, 2014
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This review is from: Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Hardcover)
This is one book that tells it like it is, no hold barred, as honest as it gets.If you want to find out how gruesome combat can be, this is the book to read.
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Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting
Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting by Douglas A. Macgregor (Hardcover - September 1, 2009)
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