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Historie fra Irak


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    Historie fra Irak

    Utdrag fra en beretning om en stridsvognstropp under angrep ved et checkpoint i Irak, fortalt av ladern på en av vognene:

    It all started with an RPG.

    The Iraqi Army were laying out their prayer mats. They had bottles of water at hand to cleanse themselves before beginning the evening prayers to Allah. Within minutes, the evening prayer, broadcast from loudspeakers on the local mosque, would begin.

    I was back in our room. This was the easiest day we'd had since we'd arrived at this FOB; only one mission, and an easy one at that. Unlike our normal 12-16 hours on patrol, this day we were only out for less than an hour, to listen to the afternoon prayer broadcast in Mullah Fayyad. It had been uneventful, except for a request for "All Muslims to rise up and kill your enemy." Standard boilerplate really. I brought my Bible to read over the drone of the Mosque.

    This was later in the day, and I was a little upset; an easy day, but no internet. I had just come back from the internet cafe about 30 minutes prior, after trying to fix it. However, the problem seemed to be that the local nationals running the place forgot to pay the bill.

    It all started with an RPG at an Iraqi Army checkpoint. That was the signal. Within seconds, the FOB exploded with noise.

    I looked up from my video game in annoyance at the Lieutenant. He really needs to turn down the volume on those violent video games he plays. Somebody shouted at him "turn that crap down!" Then, BOOM! -pause- BOOM! "We're under mortar attack!"

    Most of the room slowly moved to start putting their body armor on. This happens all the time, and it was no big deal until, BA-BA-BOOM! Three explosions happened at the same time. Instinctively, every man in the room dove for the floor. I dashed up to put on my body armor and helmet then crashed back to the floor again. Muffled by the walls was the sound of gunshots outside.

    Laying on the ground, I asked myself "What am I doing down here?" I got back up and looked around. Other soldiers were hurriedly putting their gear on and looking around. I saw one soldier from our sister platoon dash out the door and decided to follow him.

    Outside, in the large bay that serves as a common room, was pure mayhem. A cluster of about 20 soldiers was gathered near the exit. Explosions were everywhere. 120 and 60mm mortars were joined by the shrieking BOOM of RPGs and the pop-BOOM of American-launched grenades. At least 20 machine guns and untold rifles were firing. There was the hollow pop of the AK47, the sharp crack of the M16, the slow staccato THUMP of the .50 cal. M240s and SAWs added the sound of jackhammers to the crescendo of noise. As I stood there, RPGs whistled overhead and the building vibrated with the distinctive plinking sound of bullets striking metal. Somewhere behind me, glass tinkled down from a shattered skylight.

    By the time I had taken everything in, another 5 soldiers had joined us at the exit and the intensity of gunfire had increased. Every few seconds one would start to dash out, only to hear a new burst of machinegun fire and run back. "They're inside the FOB!" "No, they're not, they're attacking the South Wall!" "How did they get inside?!?" "The Front Gate is under attack!"

    I saw a soldier run into the barracks from outside. Apparently, it isn't suicide out there like everybody thinks... I looked around for somebody from my platoon to go to the tanks with me. Nobody. I was the first one out. So I waited.

    After about 30 seconds, my driver and tank commander came running out of the room. My tank commander shouted at me, "We need to make it to the tank!" Then he stopped, stunned. Absolute pandemonion in front of him.

    I yelled at him "Come on, we need to get out of this cluster@#%$!" He gave me a blank, hollow stare. It was the scaryist look I've seen in my life. Another soldier dashed into the barracks from outside. "Come on, let's go. He made it in safe!" Suddenly, he snapped out of it and took off sprinting for the tanks. The driver and myself quickly passed him. The tank commander was bobbing and weaving, trying to make the best use of cover. The driver and myself ran as if we could outdistance any bullets fired at us.

    The driver threw me his rifle and dove into his hatch. I started to scramble up top and was on the front slope, when SHRIEEEEEEEEEK. "RPG!" I hit the tank face-first, then looked up. The RPG passed at least 50 feet above us. "It's way high," I shouted, and clambered onto the roof of the turret, where I struggled to get my hatch open. All around us, the gunfire continued, and mortars fell.

    Inside the tank, I opened the tank commander's hatch as the driver fired it up. We all got in our positions, and.... waited. What now? Where are they attacking our base from anyway? Are they inside? Do we need to go help the South Wall, or do we need to roll out the Front Gate? Over the radio, we asked for guidance. They couldn't tell us anything yet.

    Outside, the other crews came running for their vehicles, heads low in a mad sprint. As their turbine engines started their whine, the TOC finally told us where to go. The LT shouted "Let's go!' over the radio. My tank commander mumbled, "hold on," but they were already gone in a cloud of dust. The driver joked, "shouldn't we ground guide?" The tank commander responded "@#$@ ground guiding, go go go." "Slow down. Slow down. Don't hit these crunchies," referring to the American and Iraqi soldiers running in every direction, to vehicles and guard towers, to get ammo, to take cover from the mortars and RPGs, to try to get to where the fighting was thickest. I grabbed my groundpounder helmet just as it started sliding off the side of the tank.

    The tanks were the first vehicles out the base. The lead vehicle tore through the front gate, raising such an enormous cloud of dust that we had to slow to a crawl to see where we were going.

    The town was deserted, but parked in the middle of the traffic circle was one car, with one man inside of it. The first tank roared past him, but, as the second tank approached, his vehicle turned into a three-story fireball. "VBIED, VBIED!" Suicide bomber. Back 100 meters in our tank, I was stunned by the concussion of the blast and dropped back down inside my hatch. I quickly poked my head back out to see a mushroom cloud rising around the tank in front of us. Of the suicide bomber's car, all that was left was a tiny peice of his bumper and two small squares of rubber, next to a burning ring of fuel. A hole approximately 1 foot in diameter and of an unknown depth was left in the middle of the asphalt. The car? Gone. Damage to the tank? None.

    We didn't have much time to relax, because the insurgents already had a mortar tube pointed at the traffic circle. Mortars started landing all around us. I cursed at my tank commander, but I closed my hatch on his orders. As soon as we passed through the mortars and the downed powerlines, I opened my hatch back up and looked for targets to shoot. Within seconds, we were in an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the process of being overrun.

    The Iraqi Army soldiers pointed to a car parked in the middle of the checkpoint, and the lead tank opened fire on it with a .50 cal. machinegun. I don't know why the car was there, but reports are that it contained a bullet-ridden body and a stockpile of small arms ammunition.

    As they passed through the middle of the checkpoint, the lead vehicle came under heavy fire as their loader's machinegun malfunctioned. The loader dropped down inside the hatch and started firing blindly outside with his rifle as a dozen AK-47 rounds hit where he had just been standing an instant before.

    The insurgents had already taken the outer barriers of the checkpoint to use as cover, firing on the Iraqi Army soldiers who had fallen back to their bunkers. As we arrived, fire shifted to the lead tank and insurgent after insurgent popped right into the gunner's sight. 7 jumped in front of him, and 7 fell to the ground in a storm of gunfire. One man got back up and ran. Two were certainly killed, but there is no way to tell if the others were dead or merely seriously wounded.

    We broke the attack on the checkpoint and continued on down the road.

    Off to our left, on the other side of the road from Mullah Fayyad, we started taking fire from a field and some houses. Our entire column opened up with machineguns, with the exception of the lead vehicle still mopping up the insurgents that attacked the checkpoint. Behind us, there was a whole flock of humvees, but less than 1/2 kilometer outside the gate, they were already shouting about running low on ammo. In one of our tanks, a gunner's machinegun overheated from the British ammo and rounds started cooking off. The gunner complained about his eye. Overhead, Apache helocopters, spouting flares, fired hydra missiles at insurgents alongside the edges of the road that we couldn't see. An insurgent mortar team walked rounds down the road towards the humvees as they were forced to slam their vehicles into reverse to avoid getting hit. Everywhere, the fields and buildings hiding the insurgents started to erupt in flames from our tracers.

    Then, the attack started to dissipate. Fighting continued for a short while at isolated checkpoints, but the insurgents faded right back out of sight. During the peak of it, the insurgents had mortars hitting our base and at least 2 checkpoints. They also had another tube lined up on the traffic circle. Most of the mortars, though, landed in town, destroying buildings and killing civilians. The insurgents coordinated suicide bombers, RPG teams, roadside bombs, and snipers on an attack on our base and at least 3 Iraqi checkpoints. Later, we learned that they also attacked FOB Saint Micheal in Mahmudiyah and FOB Roe in Lutafiyah simultaneously.

    No American casualties at our base, or, so we've heard, at either of the other bases. 3 Iraqi Army soldiers were killed in our sector, reportedly in a suicide bombing, and 2 more from gunshot wounds. I can't really report on what the other soldiers did during the attack, since I only really know my tiny slice of the battle. This is something we never rehearsed, but I think the speed of our response shocked the insurgents and saved lives. That checkpoint would almost certainly have been overrun. My guess is that the attack on the base was meant to keep us pinned down while other groups annihilated small outposts. If any vehicle other than a tank had led the way, that car bomb might killed U.S. soldiers and slowed us down. Everybody here has war stories, from the tower guards coming under RPG and sniper fire to the motorized infantry teams that raced out the gate with us.
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  • #2
    Spennende lesning


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      Svært interessant å merke seg hva han sier om stridsvogners kapasiteter mot spesielt VBIEDer.
      Beidh a lá leo


      • #4
        for ikke å snakke om hvor avgjørende de tunge vognene var for utgangen i dette tilfellet. nei, hadde de bare hatt g-wagons så hadde ikke opprørerne blitt provosert nok til å angripe..
        "You are overreacting, and you can't spell overreacting without ovary. You're a girl"


        • #5
          Meget fascinerande!