Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tahwhilla (we generically put it down by Turki incorrectly) Firefight LT Hancock APR 4th Firefight description (links to other sources)

ODA and Iraqi Army present on 4 APR 2005 A/1/278th, D/1/278th, 2BN MiTT cadre were also present. The US forces did the damage though and carried the fight, particularly the CAV and ODA/SF.


This is a blog that actually posts the account of LT Hancock (he was there I was not) and there were five other elements (Apache/Deacon/IA/98thth Cadre (MiTTs)/ODA-SF (043) involved in one respect or another and these elements were separated from each other when the fight began so each piece of the pie is a different slice. Additionally, the follow on forces arrived and did a variety of things. In short a book could be written on the whole thing from the time the original element left, got into the fight, and returned to include MEDEVAC units, USAF units, Army aviation units, Iraqi Army units, IA Cadre/Mitt teams, HQ 1/278th element et al, and the Apache and Deacon sections. If you put in the funerals and medical recovery of those killed and wounded it is easy to see how complicated it was and far one firefight can stretch. What is even more amazing is thousands of these type incidents have occurred now over the years we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wrote the description in my book/narrative based on talking to Mitt Cadre and Apache unit members involved and only included it as it was the biggest fight we had (Apache memebers). Interestingly if you search Turki Village the 2006 acount comes up with another 72 or so AIF killed in that operation,

COPY/PASTE of narrative from linked blog

All IA soldiers were lined up along the road to sweep to the south west searching for remaining AIF elements. They pushed out 300-400 meters before pin-wheeling to the south and then moving east across the irrigation trench. Approximately 50 meters east of the irrigation trench, the IA soldiers came under heavy fires from the brush-line to the east causing them to retreat to the irrigation ditch. Green 6 and 7’s M1114s, behind the IA soldiers provided over-watch from the west. My team, Timberwolf Blue (LT Ruel), both Timberwolf Red elements and ODA provided over-watch from NB 077847 oriented southeast along the roadway. Warrior 6 and his security element were positioned vic NB 078846 securing the area to the southeast.
The IA soldiers moved forward again towards the brush-line. When the middle of the IA element was within 20 meters of the brush-line, small arms fire and grenades erupted from the ditches. Many of the IA soldiers turned and moved back towards irrigation trench. As night fell, those who were still in or near the brush-line on the southern end of the assault, pulled back to the irrigation trench and moved to re-consolidate at the vicinity of the M1114 vehicles.
At nightfall, one of the remaining AIF members ran from the brush-line eastwards, but was hit by my gunner who was watching the road with his NVGs. At 1930 hours, Warrior 6 still had contact with AIF in the canal system.
At 1950 hours, ODA confirms that the AC-130 has been launched to help provide over-watch. AT 2000 hours, medevac arrives for wounded IA soldiers. At 2045 hours, the defensive perimeter completed and coalition forces arranged for the night-time defensive position.
At first light 5 APR 2005, Warrior 6 and his security element swept the battle area from the southeast in a northwest direction and ODA swept the western half of the battle area from the north-west to the south-east confirming the area was clear. Captured weapons and the bodies of dead AIF were consolidated on an IA troop carrier. The area was searched for Intel. Warrior 6 departed with his COLT element to search the surrounding areas on his way back to FOB Caldwell. ODA used C4 to destroy all remaining UXOs. 1st CO and 4th CO IA with the 6/3 MiTT departed at approximately 1200 hours and traveled back up route Cowboys, then to route Taco and back to KMTB.
6th Battalion IA – 2 KIA, 14 WIA
6th Battalion MiTT – 2 KIA (SSG Dill, AST; SSG Kennedy MiTT) 2 WIA (2LT Ruel MiTT; SGT Betterton MiTT)
posted by Dorman at 09:53 1 comments links to this post
Monday, May 30, 2005

Timberwolf 6, ODA, and Red elements passed a car that had been previously engaged by our coalition fires and continued to the southeast. As we moved, both Green elements pushed southwest into the field towards the enemy’s flank while the main body pushed south along the roadway. Around 1600 we were taking fires from the southeast, southwest, and from the irrigation ditches from the northeast, which again consisted of small arms, RPG, and mortar fires.
At 1610 ODA reported that two OH 58Ds were on the way to provide air support. At this time Timberwolf 6 gave all of us an order to disengage and regroup at the northern end of the battle. At 1632 hrs we shifted and called the remainder of 1st and 4th Companies, from 6th BN forward from our initial OBJ. After the remaining 6th BN troops arrived at the engagement area, we gathered their commanders, gave them a situational assessment and suggested a course of action.
The AIF had fallen back to prepared positions around NB 077845 and NB 075846. At 1638 hours, ODA coordinated an air strike with an F18 which dropped a 500 pound bomb on the cars/trucks located approximately NB 078843. The bomb was very effective sending pieces of shrapnel flying. We continued providing suppressive fires, while a second air strike was conducted by two OH 58Ds using hell-fire missiles and machine gun-fire on the area surrounding the cars/trucks, located behind heavy brush.
At approximately 1650 hrs, members of 1st and 4th company lined up along the road orientated southwest and began dismounted ground operations. Both companies advanced less than 100 meters before enemy fires came from the southwest forcing most soldiers to drop to the ground. Fires were returned in the direction of the AIF positions. At the same time, part of the IA force moving with ODA, and 6th BN MiTT pushed southwest toward AIF positions clearing the irrigation trenches using IMT maneuvers. During our offensive assault we were taking heavy AK-47 fires and grenades.
Four 6th BN Mitt team members and 12-14 IA soldiers were wounded during the assault to clear the trenches. Re-enforcements were pushed out on the ground along with M1114s maneuvering to provide suppressive fires upon the trench line where the AIF fires were concentrated. At 1730 with coordinated IMT tactics from the ODA, 278th, and MiTT soldiers, several AIF were killed using close combat fires. Medics and other soldiers moved forward to aid the wounded. Litters were brought back to the Casualty Collection Point. SFC Rader and I helped with the wounded under SGT Dalton’s direction. We both assisted SGT Dalton with CPR on SSG Kennedy. SFC Rader and I helped with the landing and the moving of the WIAs, onto the helicopter. Bullets were whistling through the air all around us. My gunner never stopped watching and covering us during the fight while we were dismounted, assisting others.
Medevac was called in through 1/278 RCT Commander LT COL Hart (Warrior 6). Medevac arrived around 1810 and landed in a very hot LZ. Several soldiers helped load SSG Dill, SSG Kennedy and other seriously wounded soldiers. The bird flew out at 1825. The second helicopter came at approximately 1835 and lifted the remaining wounded out within 10-15 minutes.To be continued............
posted by Dorman at 07:33 0 comments links to this post
Sunday, May 29, 2005

Blues for Allah, Part 1
I had referred to the ambush and ensuing battle that my friend Lt. Hancock was engaged in on 04 April 05. In an effort to provide real information from the war, I have obtained the official report that Lt. Hancock had submitted.
  • Related news links/reports

    The two weblinks show the giving the ground back aspect, FOB Caldwell has battalions of Iraqi Army on it, why were they not driving down here to find this stuff (without us)? Very Good question, we/I had taken them down twice in 2005. No initiative is why and these AIF may have been pushed out of Bagdad, but then the IA should have slammed the door on them in conjunction with the SURGE.

  • OLD BILLs CHIPs newsletter article (Lee Pitts penned/Klika photos?)

    ld ill’s hips
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTMLbe at the half way mark this May 2005. The long road we have traveled has ... our two soldiers wounded that day - 2LT Ruel - who led from the front, and - Similar pages

    Putting the pieces together is difficut from afar three years later. Initially I was reluctant to bother the soldiers that were in the fight (APR 2005) so only spoke SGT Meigs and Simms of Apache troop in addition to SFC Leach, 98th Division MiTT cadre (they were "over" us), this was in APR 2005. The 98th Cadre also had been with the Iraqi (2BN) company longer. Iraqi Interpreters, opinionated by nature, generally provided negative commentary about the Iraqi Army troops, as we also tended to do at that point (2005). I can say this much, Apache and Deacon Troopers have the final say, the ones that were actually there, ODA 043 was also there but it was our blood that was spilled, our guys that dismounted and took on a superior (more of them than us) entrenched element. That 4 to 1 assault ratio was theirs not ours, and worse our guys were in buddy teams not squads or even a fire team. That came from the nature of patrols which were conducted in M1114 uparmored hummers, one driver, one gunner, two dismounts. This yielded buddy teams dismounting and fighting, separated by 50 meters. So instead of a M249 machinegunner/grenadier/rifleman/TM LDR you had whatever they got out with. If a squad then you have two M249s and the SQD LDR too. That is a big difference. Fortunately you have mounted gunners with a .50 caliber MG and MK19 grenade launcher or M240B machineguns. Apache and Deacon put eight or more guys on the ground on April 4th (counting the medic) against a barrage of fire and their actions may have saved the day, initative, because had the enemy been able to supress our fires with RPGs and Machineguns, get their mortars in action, and assault our vehicles it could have been bad for us. Those dismounts forced the issue and gave time for the vehicles and fire support to come into play at which point it was over for the enemy. In short they saved their own asses, all the other stuff and gaggle of reinforcments from 40 klicks away although important were after the fact, MEDEVAC excepted of course. As for ODA 043 all I have to say the special forces this day were ours 1/278th RCT and I do not think they would argue the point or take it as slight.

Link to pdf that has additional description of APR 4th fight from BNAST/MiTT cadres commander, Major Curwen and other MiTT/AST/CMATT stuff. I can email you an Adobe file of the book if you ask. This gives the perspective of the Commander, Major Curwen, the highest ranking officer on the ground, the complexity of this fight is evident from the multiple perspectives and ODA and other elements asking for fire support, the follow on forces, the gain and maintain contact nature of the fight, it lasted four hours. Our forces did gain and maintain contact. They did implement the combat imperatives even though most guys do not know them by name. Once all these were acheived it was a rout, however, it was also a rifle on rifle fight against an ambush/quasi-ambush, the initial fire superiority was theirs. Gain and maintain fire superiority sounds good at the range but it is another matter to acheive it in a real fight. We did.

Defending the Frontiers of Democracy eBook has overall general description of the firefight.