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Posted on Apr 7, 2004 in War College

The Battle of An Nasiriyah

By Richard S. Lowry

Two Air Force A-10s appeared overhead looking for work. Because of the confusion of the battle and many problems on the ground with communications, the battalion forward air controller did not know that Charlie Company had moved north of the Saddam Canal so he cleared the two Warthog pilots hot north of the bridge.

The A-10s swooped in, not knowing that there were Marines in their target area. They dropped eight 500lb bombs and made several strafing runs with their high-powered 30mm machineguns. They also fired three Maverick missiles. The aircraft that the Iraqis had dubbed "whispering death" made pass after pass, destroying many Iraqi emplacements, vehicles, and buildings.

Cas-evac North Of Saddam Canal

Unfortunately, several Marine AMTRACS were hit by stray fire. One of the stray 30mm rounds hit and killed a Marine and other machinegun rounds wounded several more. By the end of the day eighteen Marines had died fighting for the northern bridge and another seventeen had been wounded, including Lieutenant Reid, who had been knocked to the ground a third time with a gunshot wound to his shoulder.


At An Nasiriyah, the Marines of Task Force Tarawa had kicked open the door for the First Marine Division to charge through to Baghdad. It would take the Marines more than a week to subdue the Iraqi resistance inside Nasiriyah but the Marines of RCT1 would start moving through "Ambush Alley" by the next morning.

Richard S. Lowry, author of The Gulf War Chronicles, (see: is currently working on his next book, Marines in the Garden of Eden. It will tell the complete story of Task Force Tarawa’s week-long battle for An Nasiriyah.

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