Mosul Strength Estimates

A series of articles over the last week or so that seems to have bits and pieces as to what are the strength of forces around Mosul. They are:

The estimates they provide include:

  1. Could began next month (October)
  2. There are 3,000 to 4,5000 ISIS fighters in Mosul.
  3. Their forces are estimated at between 3,000 and 9,000
  4. “…20,000 to 30,000 Iraqi troops expected to be used in the campaign….”
  5. “…could take another two months.”
  6. And there is the Pershmerga (Kurdish forces)
  7. “…but might not enter central districts to avoid aggravating political sensitivities.”
  8. And perhaps Shiite militias (the Hashid Shaabi)
  9. The Peshmerga general has 23,000 men under his command

So….40,000 to 60,000 or more Iraqi, Peshmerga and Hashid Shaabi versus 3,000 to 9,000 ISIL fighters.

Our previous posts on the subject, dating back to July, include the following estimates (check the category “Iraq”)

  1. The U.S. has 5,000 troops in Iraq.
  2. 5,000 or so fighters inside Mosul.
  3. There are also ISIL fighters outside of Mosul.
  4. The Islamic States has roughly 19,000 to 25,000 fighters, about half in Iraq and half in Syria.
  5. Most of the 10,000 to 12,000 in Iraq are concentrated around Mosul, in the Tal Afar area, and elsewhere in Nineveh Province.
  6. The Anbar Sunnis can contribute at most 10,000 soldiers to the Mosul effort.
  7. IS fighters in Mosul vary from a few thousand to not more than 10,000.
  8. Retaking Mosul would require 80,000 men, of whom 15,000 are expect to come from Shiite militias.
  9. Might happen in October
  10. Campaign needs 20,000 to 30,000 troops
  11. A few thousand police and 15,000 local fighters to hold land after assault.
  12. Up to 10,000 jihadists are in the city.

I guess that is the best we can do from open sources right now.


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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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