- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Reprint edition (September 15, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591145333
- ISBN-13: 978-1591145332
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting Paperback – September 15, 2012
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"It is that immediacy and intensity of close combat that Warrior's Rage evokes. Macgregor depicts war as it is experienced and fought, not with neat arrows on a well-drawn map, but with seared flesh, grit, blood, dirt and pain. Exhaustion, confusion, fear and death define the world of Cougar Squadron; Macgregor describes every bit of it. Yet he also grants us a glimpse into how soldiers deal with such grim realities--leadership, discipline, training and humor surely help. Warrior's Rage includes all of those as well. A book like Warrior's Rage would normally be on the reading list of every fighting battalion in our Army. Some will hesitate at that, though, because there is a strong subtext to Macgregor's account. It's a truism of war that although good units are composed of team players, most soldiers know well that when you close that hatch, few have much good to say for "those bastards back at platoon." That is a normal part of a soldier's point of view. The dangers of combat only serve to amplify this tendency. Macgregor does not spare us his opinions about his superiors. He castigates America's generals as a group--and often by name--for what he sees as their timidity in finishing the job in 1991. By implication, and in many cases by bald statement, a reader of Warrior's Rage would not be surprised that these generals' chosen successors have fumbled around in the current war as well. That may turn off some readers, but I would encourage those offended to hang in there. Believe it or not, such things get said about most leaders in the Army--maybe even Macgregor. As soldiers, we have learned after a lot of failed operations at the National Training Center--let alone on the ground in theater--to be brutal on ourselves, to ask the hard questions and to own up to mistakes. Our Army judges by results more than by form or style. The ability to adapt under fire is the key to winning. Macgregor's Cougars did it at 73 Easting, but ourselves, to ask the hard questions and to own up to mistakes. Our Army judges by results more than by form or style. The ability to adapt under fire is the key to winning. Macgregor's Cougars did it at 73 Easting, but it all starts with the guts to accept criticism. Macgregor himself offers the best explanation for why his harsh tone still makes Warrior's Rage well worth the read. At one point, describing a particularly headstrong cavalry troop commander (now a serving general officer), Macgregor approvingly quotes Werner Binder, a German officer who fought on the Eastern Front in World War II: "Your best commander is always your most difficult subordinate. He always asks hard questions and offers new ways to do things, because he thinks. He may be quick-tempered and occasionally insubordinate, but if you have one like this, give him the freedom to do what he thinks is right whenever possible." Macgregor did just that, and the outcome was a signal victory. I think Binder's advice may be good for anyone who reads Warrior's Rage. The author of Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire has never been a shrinking violet--Macgregor was always a most difficult subordinate. But he's also one of the smartest and most gifted armored commanders our Army has produced. Warrior's Rage is just the latest fine contribution from a veteran cavalryman who will no doubt stay in the fight for the Army he loves." --MG Daniel P. Bolger, book review in Army Magazine
"This is the story of the U.S. Army's largest tank battle since World War II, which occurred in February 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. It is related here by a participant, an officer who fought the battle from his M1 Abrams tank. Col. Macgregor (Ret.) (lead partner, Potomac League, LLC; Breaking the Phalanx) trained and led Cougar Squadron, the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, into the open desert in pursuit of Iraq's Republican Guard Corps. They caught them along a map grid line referred to as 73 Easting--and destroyed them. But failed U.S. generalship allowed the victory to stagnate, and Saddam Hussein lived to fight another day. This outspoken eyewitness account, sure to draw controversy, is strongly recommended. " -- Library Journal (Starred Review)
"In Warrior's Rage, retired Col. Douglas Macgregor gives us two books. One is a graphic account of the obliteration of an Iraqi Republican Guard brigade by the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during the Gulf War. Since the author filled the number two slot in the squadron, and was instrumental in how it trained and the tactics it used, and since he believed in leading from the front in his own combat tank, he probably witnessed more of the conflict than anyone, and thus is an ideal narrator. His second theme is a blistering critique of the colonels and generals who led the Army and who, he believes, frittered away the monumental victory the company grade officers and enlisted men tried to give them. Both accounts are graphic and passionate and show the author's deep concern for the future of the U.S. Army...The author feels that the abundance of errors in thinking lies primarily in what he calls the corporate culture of the Army. The way to get promoted, as in any bureaucracy, is not to make mistakes. The way to avoid mistakes is not to do anything. And before long you are on the promotion list. Col. Macgregor has written other books on how to improve the Army. Presumably he will continue to do so. He may not always be right, but he is worth listening to. " --Sol Schindler, The Washington Times
"Warrior's Rage is a brutally honest, compelling, and controversial examination of Desert Storm and the U.S. Army's largest tank battle since World War II by one of our foremost military writers. Douglas Macgregor has written an epic story of American courage and needless strategic failure that led to the escape of Saddam's Republican Guard." -- Carlo D'Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War and Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War
"Army generals exhort young officers to be bold, audacious and imaginative in war. All too often they themselves fail to exhibit those qualities. The Battle of 73 Easting is case in point as brilliantly recounted in Warrior's Rage by Doug Macgregor--one of the young officers in the battle." --Lt. General Bernard Trainor USMC (Ret.), co-author of The Generals' War and Cobra II
"Doug Macgregor is one of our country's few true soldier-scholars. His earlier books--Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire--are brilliant, original assessments of the need for change in our defense establishment. They are testaments to Doug's understanding of the security challenges our country faces, the stultifying barriers to change within our bureaucracies, and the consequences of "business as usual" to our national security. Warrior's Rage builds on these earlier works, but also clearly shows the origins of Doug's passion for defense reform: his deep sense of obligation to our nation's soldiers and his intellectual and experiential understanding of war. His ideas demand attention." \
--David E. Johnson, Senior Researcher, RAND Corporation and author of Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917-1945 and Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post-Cold War Era
"Warrior's Rage directly challenges what Americans think they know about the tactical and operational conduct of Operation Desert Storm. Macgregor's account lays out what really happened at the knife's edge of the battle, and asks hard questions about the leadership of the United States Army, both then and now. It is a must read for anyone who wants to truly understand what happened in the desert in 1991, and how it led the Army to where it is today."
--Douglas R. Bush, Professional Staff Member, House Armed Services Committee
From the Inside Flap
On 26 February 1991, cavalry troops of "Cougar Squadron," the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, charged out of a sandstorm during Operation Desert Storm and caught Iraq's Republican Guard Corps in the open desert along the North-South grid line of a military map referred to as the "73 Easting." Taken by surprise, the defending Iraqi armor brigade was swept away in salvos of American tank and missile fire in what became the U.S. Army's largest tank battle since World War II.
In Warrior's Rage, Douglas Macgregor, the man who trained and led Cougar Squadron into battle, recounts two stories. One is the inspiring tale of the valiant American soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains who fought and won the battle. The other is a story of failed generalship, one that explains why Iraq's Republican Guard escaped, ensuring that Saddam Hussein's regime survived and America's war with Iraq dragged on.
Now in paperback, this is the latest book from the controversial and influential military veteran whose two previous books, Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire, are credited with influencing thinking and organization inside America's ground forces and figure prominently in current discussions about military strategy and defense policies. Its fast-moving battle narrative, told from the vantage point of Macgregor's Abrams tank, and its detailed portraits of American soldiers, along with vivid descriptions of the devastating technology of mounted warfare, will captivate anyone with a taste for adventure as well as an interest in contemporary military history.
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Especially valuable for insights into the way an armored unit is commanded in a highly fluid situation. Both McMasters and Macgregor feel compelled to disguise the name of their battalion commander, apparently because they were critical of some aspects of his leadership. In truth, however, the commander doesn't always come off all that poorly. It would be interesting to read HIS side of the story as well.
The bottom line is that, whoever deserves credit, it was a notable victory. Understanding how it came about is valuable. Even more useful I'd being able to read accounts of the same firefight from different perspectives.
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.
MacGregor have us the greatest going to combat speech before we took off to battle a couple of days earlier. I wish someone had recorded that speech it needs to be in the book. You get a since of his passion, drive and humor in the book but if you go to combat you want MacGregor and H. R. McMasters leading you. We had great confidence in MacGregor and were prepared to fight an armored Soviet invasion and ended up fighting the Iraqi Republican Guard who were simply outclassed, out fought and out smartest by our leaders. We were 2 or 3 steps ahead whether we knew it or not at the time.
Losing Nels Moeller was pretty hard on everybody because everyone felt they could help prevent it somehow if they had known the situation. Anyway God bless his family and the entire family and families of the 2/2 Armored Cavalry Regiment. Machine a. k. a. A-10
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.