December 10, 2003

"Heros" is the only word I can think of...

This LA Times article The Thunder Run on the first incursions into Baghdad is absolutely hair-raising stuff! Don't miss...

.... The main gun was bent and smashed. It flopped to the side, useless. The tank continued up Highway 8, Gruneisen on the .50-caliber and Hernandez on a medium machine gun. They rolled up to the spaghetti junction into a curtain of black smoke´┐Żand missed the airport turn. They were headed into the city center.

Hernandez saw that they were approaching a traffic circle. As they drew closer, he saw that the circle was clogged with Iraqi military trucks and soldiers. It was a staging area for troops attacking the American column.

From around the circle, just a block away, a yellow pickup truck sped toward the tank. Hernandez tore into it with the machine gun, killing the driver. The tank driver slammed on the brake to avoid the truck, but it was crushed beneath the treads. The impact sent Hernandez's machine gun tumbling off the back of the tank.

The tank reversed to clear itself from the wreckage, crushing the machine gun. A passenger from the truck wandered into the roadway. The tank pitched forward, trying to escape the circle, and crushed him.

The crew was now left with just one medium machine gun and the .50-caliber. Firing both guns to clear the way, the crewmen helped direct the tank driver out of the circle. As they pulled away, they could see a blue "Airport" sign. They were less than five miles from the airport....

We have, of course, made lots of mistakes. That happens in every war. But what's fascinating is the unusual number of things that were really well done. When we got to Baghdad we tossed out all our plans and doctrine and invented totally new tactics on the spot. And they worked superbly.

Posted by John Weidner at December 10, 2003 9:13 PM
Weblog by John Weidner