The Battle for Fallujah: The Underlying Military Issues

Urban warfare can be highly unpredictable. There is a tendency to assume that because some of the bloodiest battles in history have occurred in cities, all such battles are bloody. In practice, many urban defenses collapse almost immediately, partly through inexperience but more often because the defender is not committed to an almost suicidal form of last ditch combat. The rapid fall of Baghdad in 2003 is a good example of a rapid collapse caused by both military incompetence on the part of defender (and high confidence on the part of the attacker) and a lack of commitment to final combat.