[Previous] palestinian living conditions better than lots of places | Home | [Next] iraq weapons supply planning

weapons caches in iraq

i was told i was silly for believing in a 50 mile long weapons cache in iraq. let's see about that:

120 x 360 = 36000 + 7200 = 43,200 (sq feet of football field)

if iraq has 1mil man army, and 10,000 sq feet of supplies per guy, that's 10,bil sq feet or about 10bil/25mil = in sq miles = 400 sq miles = 20 miles by 20 miles, or 400 miles by 1 mile

10,000 sq feet per person means about 4 ppl to a football field (a fraction of a person more would fit).

ok that sounds like a lot of space per person at first. but it's not. first u have to take into account roads, buildings, and large gaps so if something is blown up u don't lose everything. so the actual amount of space used to store stuff, in weapons caches, is more like 1/2 or 1/3 of the total space. i'll just estimate 40%. 10bil * 40% makes 4bil sq feet of stuff.

so 1/10 of a football field of actual stuff packed reasonably tightly per person. sound too small? maybe it is, but anyway i'll just try to support that much.


Over the last three years, we have tripled the output of small caliber ammunition. We boosted production from 350,000 rounds per year to 1.2 billion rounds, almost all of it coming from the government-owned, contractor-operated plant in Missouri, the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. We recently awarded contracts to Olin Corporation and to Israeli Military Industries, and we plan to expand the production capacity at Lake City. The increased consumption of ammunition, is a result of the Army's decision to better train all Soldiers in marksmanship. Industry's response has once again been exceptional

notice that one factory can handle most of that increase. ie make nearly 1bil rounds/year.

this is the US, and the US army is not all that reliant on small arms. only a very small proportion of our soldiers are in many small arms fights. also notice that it sounds like most of that increase is just from *training*. imagine how much more a huge army in constant small arms fights must use (that also must be trained). now keep in mind iraq needed stockpiles that could last them through many years of sanctions with no resupply. lets say they aimed at a lowly 10 years. so for the US that'd be 12bil rounds. but for iraq multiply by 5 and guess 60bil, which seems way too low to me.

ok so these can be stored in boxes, which can be stacked. lets say boxes hold 1k rounds, are stacked 3 deep, and are 3ft by 2ft = 6sq feet. 3k rnds in 6sq feet or 1k rnds in 2 sq feet. we need 60bil rounds so that's 2sq feet * 60mil = 120mil sq feet. we're trying to fill 4bil sq feet. so that's 30mil out of a bil, or 3%. just for the ammo for small guns. while, i think, intentionally underestimating.

they also need a vehicle for every few ppl, machine guns, mortars, artillery, tanks, planes, helicopters, SPARE PARTS, FUEL, food, tents, landmines, RPGs, TNT (they use TNT), knives, wire, missiles, spare guns, missile shooting systems (these are big), ammo for all these things, and a zillion other things. all in tremendous quantities.



Anarchy that engulfed Albania in 1997, as a result of the collapse of political system, led to looting of about 650,000 pieces of small arms and light weapons and over 1,5 billion rounds of ammunition from military warehouses.

1.5 bil rounds looted. in Albania. albania is puny. iraq is large. and iraq wanted enough supplies to last a long time without getting more. so, i have to think my estimates b4 were low.



Between 1980 and the summer of 1990 Saddam boosted the number of troops in the Iraqi military from 180,000 to 900,000, creating the fourth-largest army in the world. With mobilization, Iraq could raise this to 2 million men under arms--fully 75% of all Iraqi men between ages 18 and 34.

so they needed supplies for 2mil man army, not 1mil. so if there's only 400 sq miles of weapons caches as i was trying to support, about 6% not 3% has to be just ammo for small guns. which sounds far too high to me, meaning there's are prolly more than 400 sq miles of weapons caches.



In strategic sections of Iraq, just about every school, hospital or Baath Party building that U.S. forces come across is stacked high with ammunition, according to Gen. John Abizaid, overall commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The number of sites is a logistical nightmare for the coalition, which can't remove the arms fast enough and lacks manpower to guard all the caches.

Abizaid's military command estimates it will take five years to destroy all the explosives already confiscated.

5 years to blow up just the stuff we already *confiscated*.

"There is more ammunition in Iraq than any place I've ever been in my life, and it is all not securable," Abizaid told senators

and it just goes on and on

In just the sector of central Iraq patrolled by the Army's 4th Infantry Division, more than 3,000 arms caches that must be destroyed, moved or guarded have been found, Abizaid said. And there is much more yet to be found, he said.


Arms experts estimate there are enough guns to arm each of Iraq's 25 million people.

so 60bil rounds would only be a bit over 2,000 per gun. including training, that's no where near enough ammo per gun. but apparently there's no shortage:

Despite crackdowns, confiscations and raids, the black-market trade in small arms is flourishing: Iraqis can buy an AK-47 for as little as $10, along with all the ammunition they can carry.


The coalition estimates Saddam Hussein amassed 600,000 tons of ammunition,

ok more math. if a ton of stuff takes 500 sq feet (50 feet by 10 feet, not that big)), we have 300mil sq feet of ammo. compared with teh 4bil sq feet target, that's 7.5%, or significantly more than my earlier estimate


ok going to the CIA World Factbook

albania is 27,748 km sq
iraq is 437,072 km sq

just to help you compare WRT the looted ammo thing

new source

In the past inspectors have had to make three or four visits to a single location before weapons were found. One weapons site was described as a "military compound the size of Paris".

ok, and just in case you thought i was wasting my time ........ yup (nah joking, this was interesting)


Hussein left behind 130 known ammunition dumps measuring 50 square miles and containing 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordnance. Kay and his team believe unmarked chemical weapons may be hidden in these dumps. So far, they have only inspected 10 of the 130.

ok so 50 sq miles, not 50 miles long. oh well, close enough. and my estimates were off by a factor of 8ish i guess. which is small. and this is *known* weapons dumps, so could be less than factor of 8 off.

Elliot Temple on April 20, 2004


Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)