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How US Special Forces Hold Saddam Forces for Days During Iraq’s biggest battle, according to troops there

Ines ova infantry Iraq Hadita Dam

On February 19, 2005, the US Marines gather at the Hadita Dam. JAIME RAZURI / AFP Getty Images

  • During the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, most of the Coalition troops entered the country from the south.

  • But a small contingent of special forces was sent to an object near the Iraqi capital.

  • The ensuing four-day battle at the Hadita Dam was the only major participation in the entire war.

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The invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was marked by a shocking and formidable campaign that demonstrated the undisputed conventional power of the US military. The lightning strike from the south defeated Saddam Hussein’s army in just 26 days.

As the overwhelming majority of the coalition’s estimated 230,000 troops arrived from the south, a small task force was sent to pursue a major strategic goal near the Iraqi capital.

The four-day battle since then has been the only major involvement of the entire war, involving 22 Iraqi troops for each US commando.

Dam to curse

Ine ova infantry Hadita Dam Iraq

On May 29, 2005, US Marines used a tent pole to slide over a rock near Haditha Dam. AP Photo / Jacob Silberberg:

Located in northwestern Iraq, the Hadita Dam was a strategic target for both sides. Almost 5 miles long և 200 feet high, the dam is one of the largest in the world և can supply electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes, reaching even more than 150 miles from Baghdad.

Prior to the invasion, US planners feared that Saddam could deliberately destroy the dam and flood the area to protect northwestern Baghdad from coalition forces. The dictator’s claims that the United States will target the dam will destroy further problems.

To take the dam, the US commanders selected Rangers BB, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. They were joined by the Delta Force sniper / reconnaissance squadron from Squadron C, while the elite pilots of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the Night Chase, provided air support.

The Little Bird Night Stalker helicopter squadron, two AH-6 attack models and one MH-6 scout version, would be crucial in battle. The MH-6 had a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera to capture the targets of two AH-6 aircraft. MH-6 also used bait to shoot enemy fire so that the two attacking birds could jump.

Night Stalker AH-6 Little Bird Haditha Dam Iraq:

Coker’s AH-6 small bird on an objective snake Photo courtesy

“We did not warn that we would face such a fierce response from the Iraqis. Cocker, the pilot of Night Stalker, the author of “Death awaits in the Dark,” spent 30 years in uniform, touring 11 battles.

“Intel informed us that there is a weak resistance on the dam 10 10 to 8 crew. But there was a large Iraqi base in the city of Haditha, a division the size of a Fedayeen, the Republican Guard, the Iraqi Regular Army. “- said Cocker.

The Iraqi Republican Guard was an elite force that reported directly to Saddam, while the Fedayeen were outside the ordinary.

The Hadita Dam was codenamed “Objective Moon”, while the nearby nearby airport was codenamed “Objective Snake”.

Delta operators were conducting reconnaissance of the dam before the main attack. The Rangers made a rare battle jump on the snake, captured it, allowing the rest of the forces to move in, allowing the Night pursuers to use it as an armament, refueling point.

An unexpected struggle

Night Stalker AH-6 Little Bird Haditha Dam Iraq:

Cocker in front of his AH-6 Small Bird in Iraq. Photo courtesy

On the early night of April 1, Rangers և Delta Force operators attacked the dam.

Rangers quickly secured the dam, blocking positions east of the facility and entrances to the west, and Delta operators disrupted the facility to clear any explosive devices the Iraqis could place.

But the struggle was just beginning. The Iraqis counterattacked with infantry, tanks and artillery, pushing the Rangers to their borders. The Coker and the other Night Stalkers flew several dangerous missions in defense of American commandos on the ground.

Strikes at a distance of 200 meters from a friendly position are considered dangerous. That night the Night Stalkers fired 12 meters from the rangers.

On that first day alone, the Three Little Birds spent an astonishing 231 rockets, 66,000 rounds of 7.62 mm caliber ammunition, and 8,000 rounds of 50 rounds of ammunition.

The pilots and crew also fired 6.5 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition from their personal M-4 assault rifles, hurled 90 M-67 grenades, and made four runs to equip and refuel. The choppers carried so much ammunition that they could barely soar, they had to move constantly so as not to break.

After the Battle of the Black Hawk Down in Mogadishu in 1993, the Night Stalkers, both pilots and crew, carried more deadly personal weapons, including armor and M4 rifles.

Night Stalker Haditha Dam Iraq:

Coker և another Night Stalker in the Battle of Haditha Dam in front of a mural of Saddam’s face in Objective Serpent. Photo courtesy

In addition to ground small arms fire, which crews repaired to severely damage Coker with a collective tape, Night Stalkers had to account for hidden anti-aircraft trucks, surface-to-air missiles.

During the four-day battle, the Iraqis attacked the Snake for a moment, trying to cut off the Rangers’ support. They even fired a SCUD rocket at the airport, but were stopped by Rangers and Night Stalker.

A hidden battery of Iraqi 155mm howitzers struck the besieged Ranger for hours, evoking brief memories of World War I artillery warships.

The weather, including sandstorms, began to diminish visibility; interfere with Night Stalkers flight; :

On the fourth day of March, the Rangers suffered their first casualties in the attack, which marked the coming uprising.

The civilian car approached the Rangers blockade at one end of the dam. An Iraqi man got out of a car and showed his ostensibly pregnant wife, who was still in the car, shouting at American commandos for water and medical help.

As a firefighter and two troops approached the car, an Iraqi couple detonated an improvised explosive device, killing all three of their rangers.

“Well oiled car”

Ine ova infantry Hadita Dam Iraq

US Marines issue warning sign at Hadita Dam as Marines regain control of the dam in Iraq, 2008 On December 3. US Marine Corps / Cpl. Tyler W. Hill

But then Iraqi forces were defeated at the Haditha Dam. US amplified US amplifiers և relieved hit rangers.

“We always work well together as a combat team, a degreased vehicle. The 160th is constantly training with Army SOF units – Rangers և Delta. They are our main customers, և 160th supports them with attack և precision air support. We all train realistically throughout the year in all areas. “A team with very close ties,” said Cocker.

According to US intelligence, the enemy numbers more than 3,000, more than 1,000 people were killed in the operation, and many were wounded. There were no more than 150 American commandos on the dam during the war, and several dozen people at the nearby airport.

Commander Sgt. Returning to the Rangers, Delta Force Operator Major Greg “Ironhead” Birch received the Silver Star, the third highest award for shooting, for inspiring his leadership to rescue several wounded Iraqi soldiers. – the human country after a failed attack. a moment of humanity during the most brutal battles.

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