By Simon Kent.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced that 200 more advisers and trainers will be joining the effort to re-vamp the Iraqi army ahead of a planned offensive to re-take Mosul, the last major urban stronghold of the so called Islamic State in Iraq.
The development is more significant than numbers alone, which bring the US deployment to over 4000 personnel. According to CNN, the new contingent will be advising at the battalion level, bringing them closer to front line fighting, while more Apache helicopters will also be in harms way.
The legendary attack helicopter is able to engage enemy forces beyond the range of their weapons, but some have been shot down by small arms fire in previous conflicts.
The new deployment is deemed necessary because there are currently not enough Iraqi forces re-trained for the Mosul offensive; military doctrine typically recommends that defenders of an urban area are outnumbered by at least 3:1 before an offensive, meaning that tens of thousands of Iraqi forces will be needed for the Mosul fight, and there are currently around 10,000 available.