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.
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.
Certain to provoke debate, 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.
Col. Douglas Macgregor, USA (Ret.), is a decorated combat veteran with a PhD in international relations from the University of Virginia. He is the author of Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation under Fire and is a frequent guest on television and radio news shows. He is the lead partner of the Potomac League, LLC, in Reston, VA.
Macgregor's article in the Sept 2009 issue of Defense News: "There's No Strategy to Win in Afghanistan"
Macgregor was interviewed by NPR's Guy Raz on "All Things Considered."
Praise for WARRIOR'S RAGE
"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
"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)
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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