According to the troops there, how U.S. special operations forces blocked Saddam’s troops for days during the greatest battles of the Iraq War.


Marine Corps Iraq Hadi Saddam

On February 19, 2005, the US Marine Corps will meet at Haditha Dam. JAIMERAZURI / AFP via Getty Images

  • During the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, most coalition forces invaded Iraq from the south.

  • However, a small special operations unit was sent to a destination near the Iraqi capital.

  • The subsequent four-day battle at Haditha Dam was the largest battle of the entire war.

  • See other articles on Insider’s business page..

The March 2003 invasion of Iraq was characterized by a shock and awe campaign that demonstrated the undisputed power of the US military. The blitzkrieg from the South defeated Saddam Hussein’s army in just 26 days.

The majority of the approximately 230,000 coalition came from the South, but small special operations units were dispatched to achieve important strategic goals near the Iraqi capital.

The next four days of combat were the largest of the war, with 22 Iraqi troops participating in each US commando unit.

Dam that doesn’t care

Marine Corps Hadi Saddam Iraq

On May 29, 2005, the US Marine Corps used a tent pole to hit the Haditha Dam rock. Associated Press Photo / Jacob Silverberg

Haditha Dam, located in northwestern Iraq, was a strategic goal for both sides. About five miles long and 200 feet high, the dam is one of the largest in the world and can power hundreds of thousands of homes to reach Baghdad, more than 150 miles away.

Prior to the invasion, US planners feared that Saddam would deliberately destroy the dam and flood the area in order to protect the northwestern side of Baghdad from Allied forces. The Iraqi dictator’s claim that the United States targets and destroys dams poses even more complex problems.

The US commander chose the B Company Ranger, 3rd Battalion, and 75th Ranger Regiment to take the dam. They were reinforced by the C Squadron’s Delta Force Sniper / Reconnaissance Team, and air support was provided by the Elite Pilot of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the Night Stalker.

A small night stalker delegation of Little Bird helicopters (two AH-6 attack models and one MH-6 scout variant) turns out to be very important in combat. The MH-6 had a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera for painting the targets of two AH-6s. The MH-6 also acted as a bait to catch the fire of the enemy, allowing two attacking birds to attack.

Night Stalker AH-6 Little Bird Hadi Saddam Iraq

Coker’s AH-6 Little Bird on Objective Serpent Courtesy photo

“There was no warning from the Iraqi people that they would face such a violent reaction,” Greg Coker, four retired warrant officers, told insiders. Coker, night stalker pilot, “Death waits in the dark, ”In uniform for 30 years, completed 11 combat tours.

“Intel explained to us that the dam had light resistance and eight to ten personnel, but in the town of Haditha, home of the Feday, the Republic Guard, and the Iraqi regular army, a division-sized army. There was a major Iraqi base, “said Coker.

The Iraqi Republican Guard was an elite unit that reported directly to Saddam, and Armenian Federalayi was a paramilitary organization other than the regular army.

Haditha Dam was codenamed “Objective Lynx” and an old nearby airfield was codenamed “Objective Serpent”.

Delta operators scouted the dam before the main assault. The Rangers made a rare combat jump in the Serpent, captured it, transported the rest of the troops, and allowed the Night Stalker to use it as a forward armament and refueling point.

Unexpected struggle

Night Stalker AH-6 Little Bird Hadi Saddam Iraq

Coker in front of his AH-6 Little Bird in Iraq. Courtesy photo

Early on the night of April 1, Rangers and Delta Force operators attacked the dam.

The attack proceeded as planned, and the Rangers quickly secured the dam and set blockade positions at the east and west entrances of the structure. Meanwhile, Delta operators broke the facility and wiped out explosives that could have been planted by Iraqis.

But the battle was just beginning. The Iraqis counterattacked with infantry, tanks and artillery, putting pressure on the Rangers to the limit. Cokers and other night stalkers have carried out several dangerous approach missions to assist US troops on the ground.

Strikes within 200 meters of a friendly position are considered near danger. That night, the night stalker fired a weapon near 12 meters from the Rangers.

On that first day alone, the three little birds consumed an astonishing 231 rockets, 66,000 7.62 mm Minigun ammunition, and 8,000 .50 caliber ammunition.

The pilot and crew also fired 6,000 5.56 mm ammunition from an individual M-4 rifle, dropped 90 M-67 debris grenades, and refitted and refueled in four runs. The chopper was carrying so much ammunition that it could hardly hover and had to move constantly to avoid crashing.

After the Battle of “Black Hawk Down” in Mogadishu in 1993, both pilot and crew nightstalkers carried more deadly personal weapons, including sidearms and M4 rifles.

Night Stalker Hadi Saddam Iraq

Another night stalker with a coker in front of a mural of Saddam’s face in an objective serpent during the Battle of Haditha Dam. Courtesy photo

In addition to the ground fire of firearms that caused serious damage to the coker’s chopper repaired by the crew chief with duct tape, the night stalker had to explain the hidden anti-aircraft trucks and surface-to-air missiles.

At some point during the four-day battle, the Iraqis attacked the Serpent to cut off the Rangers’ support. They launched SCUD missiles at the airfield, but Rangers and Night Stalkers stopped them.

The hidden turret of Iraq’s 155mm howitzer also struck the troubled ranger for hours, prompting a brief memory of World War I artillery.

Weather, including sandstorms, impaired visibility and began to impede the night stalker’s flight, but on day three, the MH-47 Chinook helicopter bravely confronted enemy fire and approached 72 hours of artillery. I replenished the ranger. Operates 24 hours a day.

On the fourth day of the battle, the Rangers suffered their first casualties in an attack that foresaw the next rebellion.

A private vehicle is approaching the Rangers block position at one end of the dam. An Iraqi man got out of the car, pointed to his seemingly pregnant wife, who was still in the car, and shouted to American troops for water and medical assistance.

As the fire support officer and two troops approached the vehicle, the Iraqi couple detonated an improvised explosive device, killing themselves and all three rangers.

“Well oiled machine”

Marine Corps Hadi Saddam Iraq

On December 3, 2008, when the Marines regain control of the dam in Iraq, the US Marine Corps withdraws the Hadi Saddam warning sign. US Marine Corps / Cpl.Tyler W. Hill

However, Haditha Dam’s Iraqi army had been defeated by then. US reinforcements arrive and save the tattered Rangers.

“We always work well together as a combat team, a well-oiled machine. The 160th is always training in the Army SOF units (Rangers and Delta). They are our main customers. Yes, the 160th supports them with attacks and precise melee aerial support. We all have realistic training on all terrains throughout the year. We are a very close team, “said Coker. Stated.

US intelligence estimates that the number of enemies has exceeded 3,000, more than 1,000 have been killed in action, and more have been injured. During the battle, the dam did not have more than 150 American commands, and nearby airfields had dozens more commands.

Command Director Rangers has returned to Delta Force operator Major Greg “Iron Head” Birch with his inspiring leadership and-the land of man after a failed attack-the moment of mankind in a fierce battle.

Read the original article Business insider

Posted on