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Grange: Destroying bunkers a challenge

'May go down 100 feet and go a block or two laterally'

Retired Brig. Gen. David Grange
Retired Brig. Gen. David Grange

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(CNN) -- Coalition forces continued to make forays into Baghdad on Sunday, but Saddam Hussein's location and fate remain unknown as the U.S.-led troops move closer to toppling the Iraqi leader's regime.

Western reports consistently have said a $60 million, 6,000-square-foot bunker sits underneath a Republican palace on the Tigris River, and experts have considered it as a possible hiding spot for the Iraqi leadership.

Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Grange, a CNN military analyst, evaluated how coalitions troops could approach a bunker situation.

GRANGE: There is a good chance [the Iraqi leaders] are in a bunker. Keep in mind not all these bunkers are directly beneath a palace, mosque or hospital. They may go down 100 feet and go a block or two laterally. Then that's where the true bunker is, and that spot may be beneath a residential area.

A penetrating bomb may or may not reach that depth or, even if it could, take out the actual command and control center. A lot of these things are placed in a remote way, horizontally as well as vertically, for their command, control and communications.

A variety of Special Operations forces are obviously trained to take down complexes, to take down building structures as well as other structures. It takes a lot of training to do this properly. It requires getting through multiple layers of doorways, hallways and floors made of a lot of different types of materials. They're trained on those types of demolitions or even what they call mechanical breaches to get in.

Once they go down, they then have close-quarter combat to eliminate any kind of security force as they continue down and try to find to capture or kill enemy leadership.

The other option? You burn them out. You smoke them out. In other words, you use a type of fuel air explosive that's in placed by hand, or you can use a bomb dropped from an aircraft.

The Special Operations people can do it, but there are also techniques in place with ground forces to perform similar maneuvers. They burn out the enemy before they even enter, and they put their people at risk to go through these layers of fortifications, hallways and doorways.

Retired Brig. Gen. David Grange was in the U.S. Army for 30 years. He last served as commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, the "Big Red One." In that position, he was in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. During his military career, Grange was a Ranger and Green Beret. Grange is an executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. He is one of CNN's military analysts, along with retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark and retired Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd. Their briefings will appear daily on CNN.com.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.


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