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Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War by Tim Pritchard

By Tim Pritchard

March 23, 2003: U.S. Marines from the duty strength Tarawa are stuck up in a single of the main unforeseen battles of the Iraq warfare. What started out as a regimen maneuver to safe key bridges within the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq degenerated right into a nightmarish twenty-four-hour city conflict during which eighteen younger Marines misplaced their lives and greater than thirty-five others have been wounded. It was once the one heaviest loss suffered through the U.S. army in the course of the preliminary strive against part of the war.On that fateful day, Marines came upon the burned-out continues to be of a U.S. military convoy that were ambushed via Saddam Hussein’s forces open air Nasiriyah. In an try to rescue the lacking squaddies and grab the bridges prior to the Iraqis may possibly break them, the Marines made up our minds to enhance their assault at the urban by way of twenty-four hours. What occurred subsequent is a gripping and ugly story of army errors, tragedy, and heroism.Huge M1 tanks major the assault have been rendered useless after they turned mired in an open sewer. Then an organization of Marines took a incorrect flip and ended up on a dangerous stretch of highway the place their armored own companies have been hit by way of devastating rocket-propelled grenade fireplace. USAF planes referred to as in for hearth help play their very own half within the unfolding cataclysm once they unintentionally strafed the autos. The try and rescue the lifeless and death stranded in “ambush alley” simply drew extra Marines into the slaughter.This was once no longer a conflict of recent expertise, yet a brutal close-quarter city knife struggle that validated the Marines’ unravel and coaching to the restrict. on the center of the drama have been the fifty or so younger Marines, so much of whom had by no means been to conflict, who have been embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions from which neither their commanders nor the technological may possibly of the U.S. army may perhaps keep them.With a novelist’s present for velocity and rigidity, Tim Pritchard brilliantly captures the chaos, panic, and braveness of the struggle for Nasiriyah, bringing again in complete strength the day perfunctory activity become a conflict for survival."Ambush Alley" is a gut-wrenching account of unadulterated terror that is not easy to learn but very unlikely to place down. London-based journalist and filmmaker Tim Pritchard, who was once embedded with US troops in the course of the preliminary phases of the American-led invasion of Iraq, paints a compelling photo of 1 of the most costly battles of the Iraq warfare that would at turns anger, horrify, and sadden, despite one's political views." --The Boston Globe

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But that’s all it is. Talk. What made it worse was that there was an undercurrent in the Marine Corps that the infantryman was its heart and soul and that any other specialty was somehow not the real thing. It was true that the Marine Corps was built around the infantry, and he understood that armor and airpower were there to support the infantry companies. However, since he’d joined the battalion, he’d never really felt that the command staff had a proper appreciation of the support and firepower tanks could bring to a fight.

He liked the guy but thought he was too soft, a bit of a pussy. When he went into combat he wanted to know that he could rely on the guys to the left and right of him. Somehow he didn’t think Wentzel would make the grade. Driving the AAV was the lanky tracker, Lance Corporal Edward Castleberry. In the AAV commander’s hatch was another tracker, Sergeant William Schaefer. The trackers, from the 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion headquartered at Courthouse Bay, Camp Lejeune, were a breed apart. 50-caliber heavy machine gun.

His steely blue eyes darted around at the faces in his track. They were mostly, like him, from Charlie Company’s 1st Platoon. Opposite him, attached from Weapons Company, were the Javelin gunner, Corporal Jake Worthington, and his “A” gunner, Lance Corporal Brian Wenberg. On his left, in the commander’s hatch, was his platoon commander, Second Lieutenant Scott Swantner, and on his right were Lance Corporal Douglas Milter and his squad leader, Corporal John Wentzel. He didn’t know whether it was resentment, but he had a tough time with Wentzel.

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