Battle of Ramadi (2004)

Battle of Ramadi (2004)

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Ramadi 2004
colour_scheme=background:#ffcccc
partof=the Post-invasion Iraq
date=April 06, 2004 - April 10, 2004
place=Ramadi, Iraq
result= Indecisive
combatant1=flagicon|United States United States
combatant2=Iraqi insurgents
strength1=1500
strength2=300
casualties1=16 killed, 25 wounded
casualties2=250 killed
The Battle of Ramadi was fought in the spring of 2004 during the same time as the First Battle of Fallujah. In April 2004, Fallujah was under siege by Coalition Forces and insurgents were looking to relieve pressure on the city by attempting an offensive of their own. Ramadi, the capital of Al Anbar province was seen as a center of gravity to coalition forces, and thus a prime target to attack. Before the battle started, Insurgents cut off the highway out of Al Anbar to Baghdad.

The Battle

"Golf Company"The battle began at midmorning when Marine patrols fanned out across Ramadi to provide security, and search for roadside bombs. Three squads of Third platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion 4th Marines set off on separate routes. They worked their way west from a Combat Outpost to the government center, 2 miles away, where they would link up and stand guard.

Platoon Staff Sgt. Damien Rodriguez led a squad of 12 men. They moved on foot, travelling into densely packed neighborhoods on the south side of Ramadi. It was at this point that another squad northwest of their position was ambushed by insurgents. Sgt. Rodriguez and his men came under fire while travelling to rescue the squad under fire.

As Rodriguez led a small team into buildings around the site of the attack, other members of his squad began returning fire, as rebels manning machine guns began to fire from down the street. Upon the Marines' realization of this, they radioed for assistance. It was reported that there were groups of insurgents armed with AK-47s or rocket-propelled-grenade launchers moving torwards them, while ambulances and taxis dropped off rebel reinforcements and picked up the dead or wounded. It would take nearly 2 hours before an Army relief force was able to help the Marines.

"Echo Company"The sound of battle reached a four-man Marine sniper team from Echo Company more than a mile away where they lay in tall grass near the Euphrates River. Suddenly, 14 Iraqis armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers began moving toward them. The militants were in a straight-line formation. The four snipers, their backs to the river, had never seen anything like it. A mile downriver, along the same road, 1st Lt. Vincent Valdes and two squads of Marines were waiting for explosives experts to dispose of three mortar rounds they had found buried in the road. When word arrived of the attack on the sniper team, Valdes took a squad of 10 Marines in the squad's only Humvee and barreled down the road to the rescue. They drove into a firefight. The men poured out of the Humvee. With the Marine snipers, they charged across the road driving back the insurgents. Machine guns in nearby houses opened up, followed by mortar fire. The 10-man squad Valdes had left behind was now under attack. Eight were driven into a house. Insurgents lobbed hand grenades on the roof. Relief was still hours away. As if on a signal, insurgents on rooftops and others at a T-intersection ahead began to fire where they stopped the relief convoy of Echo company. The lead Humvee was shredded by heavy machine gun fire, all the Marines in it except for one were killed. Lance Cpl. Deshon Otey managed to jump out of the vehicle and sprinted to the next nearest vehicle full of Marines. Bullets whizzing by him somehow missed. The insurgents had sealed off the ambush site. The Marines were pinned down for hours until the Army reinforcement units arrived. [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-07-12-ramadi_x.htm
title=Fight for Ramadi exacts heavy toll on Marines
]


=1st BDE 1st ID (US Army)=

Although the media focused extensively on the Marine units fighting that day, an equal and just as important aspect to the operation was the employment of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division of the US Army. Upon receiving the call of the pinned down squad of Marines in the city center of Ramadi, the brigade went on full alert, dispatching most of its heavy forces, to include its infantry, Bradley IFVs, and Abrams tanks, to the outskirts of the city. Then, in a line formation, the Brigade pushed through the city block by block, clearing out the insurgent forces, and reinforcing the Marines. At the spearhead of this assault was the 1-16th Infantry, known as the "Iron Rangers". Once the insurgent forces retreated out of the city, sporadic fighting ensued, leading to extended firefights in the surrounding suburbs and the countryside near Ramadi. Then, in a retreating fashion, insurgents dispersed, most of the time leaving their dead and wounded behind. The Brigade had zero killed in action, and the estimated enemy casualties were over 150.

Aftermath

Marines and Army soldiers killed an estimated 250 rebels from April 6 to April 10 in fighting that shattered the insurgent offensive. 12 Marines were killed and 25 were wounded in the battle on April 6. Another 4 were killed over the next four days. Lance Cpl. Deshon Otey, who was the sole survivor of the lead vehicle of the relief convoy, was killed six weeks later. Another veteran of the fight, Sgt. Kenneth Conde was killed in a roadside bomb blast three months later. A week after the battle the insurgents struck again; this time a force of 300 fighters attacked Marine positions in the town of Husaybah on the Syrian border.

Participating Units

* 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines
* 1-16th Infantry, 1st BDE, 1st ID (US Army)

ee also

References


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