Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War

Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War by Tim Pritchard Read Free Book Online

Book: Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War by Tim Pritchard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tim Pritchard
Tags: General, nonfiction, History, Military, Iraq War (2003-2011)
maintenance convoy that had got lost in the night. They had mistakenly driven into Nasiriyah. Just as they realized their mistake, they had been ambushed and chased through the city. Several of his soldiers were wounded, and there were more of them caught in a firefight a few miles up the road.
    “You’ve got to help us. Please help us.”
    Peeples tried to get the battalion command post on the net, but there was just a cacophony of noise as everyone tried to talk on the radio at the same time.
    “Timberwolf, this is Panzer 6. I’m with a U.S. army soldier who says we’ve got people in a firefight to the north. Am going to investigate.”
    Peeples tried again. When there was no response for a second time, he called Captain Dyer on the company net.
    “I’m going to head north and try and rescue these soldiers. Call Timberwolf and let them know what we are doing.”
    “Roger that.”
    As Major Peeples took off, Dyer got on the battalion net. As the XO, or executive officer, it was normal for him to act as a backup for his company commander and talk up the chain of command, communicating directly with the battalion commander. But there were so many voices on the net that he couldn’t break through to either Grabowski, call sign Timberwolf 6, or Major Sosa, the operations officer, call sign Timberwolf 3. Instead, he heard individual marines talking on battalion tac 1 communicating pointless bits of information. He knew they should be on the administrative network.
Get off the net, you idiots. You should be using battalion tac 2.
He heard lance corporals doing radio checks with each other.
That’s good
practice in training, but not in the middle of a firefight.
He yelled at the radio in frustration.
    “What the hell are you doing? Get off this net.”
    His job was to let battalion staff know what he was doing. It was also his duty to paint the battle for those in the rear. Now, he found he just couldn’t break in. He feared this might happen.
The battalion staff has such a
steel grip on operations that marines are monitoring battalion tac 1. They
are afraid of doing something that the operations officer, Major Sosa, hasn’t authorized.
In over seventeen years as a marine, Dyer had not seen anyone exert such control. It got to the point where he saw Major Sosa ordering individual marines how to park their vehicles. It was good for commanders to show they were in charge, but Dyer felt that Sosa and some of the others exhibited a level of retentiveness that caused confusion.
    He tried the radio again. Nothing. He put out his message but got no answer. He couldn’t wait any longer. Followed by tanks from the 1st and 3rd Platoons, he chased north after Major Peeples. Looking back over his shoulder, he saw that no one had come with him. The platoon of infantry that Bravo had given them to make up their Team Tank configuration had stayed behind. He cursed them silently.
Useless idiots.
    Major Peeples headed north along the dusty highway. Either side of him were fields of mud, crisscrossed with irrigation ditches and dotted with groups of mud brick houses set back from the road. A few kilometers on, he came across a bizarre scene. Ahead of him was what looked like the city dump, and in the middle of it, pulled off to the side of the road, was a column of battered and shot-up Army trucks. Thick black smoke was pouring from the engines and the trailers. Many of the Army vehicles were in flames. Through the thick smoke, sweeping across the road, he saw muzzle flashes lighting up the area. There was some sort of fighting going on. As he got closer he saw, spread out over a few hundred meters, several U.S. soldiers lying by the side of the road, firing at buildings to the east and west. Peeples drove his tank in front of them to provide cover from the incoming fire. He jumped off his tank and ran over to them. He now saw that there were six or seven anxious and scared-looking U.S. soldiers, some of them wounded. They were in a bad

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