December 11, 2005


Ever wonder about some of the tactics used Iraq, especially the urban combat such as was engaged in in Fallujah?

Here is a short lesson that was published in Popular Mechanics:

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URBAN COMBAT IN IRAQ involves unprecedented coordination between air, armor and artillery. Here's a look at some of the typical interactions between Marine infantry units and their support teams.

Arms Patrol
An infantry fire team patrols the street alongside an M1A1 Abrams tank. Fire teams avoid hostile fire--and the main tank gun--by keeping to the sides of the street. Tanks and infantry provide mutual cover: The Abrams draws insurgent fire away from the infantry and provides the house-clearing power of the 120mm main gun. But tanks are designed to engage other tanks in open-field combat. Their imposing size makes them an easy target in a crowded, urban environment. For protection, armored units rely on the grunts walking beside the tank to spot threats in a tank's many blind spots, and to engage hostiles the tank can't eliminate, such as insurgents firing from rooftops at an angle that is too severe for the Abrams's turret.

Rooftop Support
A company commander (1) oversees as many as nine squads at one time (2). Fire Support Teams (FiST), with an artillery forward officer (FO), mortar FO and a Forward Air Controller (FAC) call in and coordinate artillery, mortar and aerial support for the infantry. Two-man sniper teams (3) provide "guardian angel" protection to infantry teams.

Breaking & Entering
If a rocket or tank round is unavailable, Marines on foot must clear a house of insurgents. For protection, infantry enters a house with at least a four-man fire team and preferably with a larger squad. Nobody enters alone, and a strict buddy system ensures mutual cover during room searches.

Aerial Assets
Dragon Eye (4) and Pioneer (5) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles provide real-time intel. Combat Air Support gives infantry aerial cover. Forward Air Controllers talk directly to pilots, guiding them by lighting up targets with a laser designator, or by "talking in" a plane by visually describing the target. Air assets include Cobra gunships (6) with Hellfire missiles and rockets, F/A-18 fighters (7) with precision munitions, and the AC-130 (8), a flying gun platform, armed with a field-artillery-size 105mm howitzer--a favorite with the Marines. "Some people need recordings of running water to go to sleep," Maj. Anthony Petrucci says. "In Fallujah, all I needed was an AC-130 overhead."

If you would like to get even more of a taste of combat in Iraq, go read the entire article: Part 0ne and Part Two on city tactics, and this article on road tactics.

Popular Mechanics can show our troops in a balanced light, WHY can't the "popular MSM?!?

H/T to commenter juandos for the links to the articles.

Posted by Delftsman3 at December 11, 2005 10:34 AM | TrackBack

Good article Delfts, tactics sure have changed a bit.
I'm amazed at the advances in technology alone. Communications are so vastly improved it's awsome, surveilance equipment infinately better, weaponry is much more sophisticated and precise. The tactics have changed somewhat with better coodination between disciplines.
The one constant that hasn't changed is our politicians. What I find disgusting is our leaders concept that it's acceptable for the enemy to set off explosives that indiscriminately kill soldier and civilian alike and we are condemned by our own Senators for "terrorising" the terrorist and those who harbor them. If there are any serious flaws in the military it's at the very top in the halls of the House and Senate where we can streamline them.

Posted by: Jack at December 11, 2005 02:08 PM

Wow, very interesting and I also echo Jack's comment about being amazed at the high-tech we now employ.

Posted by: Gun Trash at December 12, 2005 07:07 PM
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