Battle of Abu Ghraib

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Abu Ghraib


caption=Abu Ghraib prison
partof=Iraqi insurgency
place=Abu Ghraib, Iraq
date=April 2, 2005
result=Successful American defense of the Abu Ghraib facility
combatant1=United States Military
combatant2=Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi insurgents
commander1=
commander2=
strength1=
strength2=
casualties1=2 killed and over 40 wounded in action
casualties2=Unknown and unverifiable

The Battle of Abu Ghraib refers to an April 2, 2005 attack on United States forces at Abu Ghraib prison, which has been called "...the largest coordinated assault on a U.S. base since the Vietnam War"Fact|date=June 2007 consisted of heavy mortar and rocket fire, under which armed insurgents attacked with grenades, small arms, and two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). The U.S. Military's munitions ran so low that orders to fix bayonets were given in preparation for hand-to-hand fighting.

Chronology

At approximately 7:06 p.m. (Baghdad Time) on April 2, 2005, an estimated 40-60 armed insurgents launched a massive coordinated assault on the U.S. military facility and internment camp at Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Close air support was not available until approx 8:00 p.m. because the air fields in Fallujah and Camp Victory were being shelled. Main Supply Routes (MSR) Sword and Tampa were blocked to both the east and west of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Abu Ghraib by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and small arms ambushes. These diversionary, well coordinated attacks isolated FOB Abu Ghraib for most of the encounter.

The initial thrust of the attack consisted of multiple rockets and mortars aimed at every area of the FOB. These were quickly followed by a vehicle-borne IED (VBIED) attacking the northwest section of the outer wall perimeter. This VBIED detonated approximately 100 meters from the wall and was unsuccessful in creating a breach.

The US Marine Corps', Echo Company 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, commanded by Captain Andrew Bone, was stationed at Abu Ghraib and tasked with perimeter defense. Engaging the enemy with a variety of weapons systems from the outer wall defensive platforms, the Marines managed to slow the momentum of the assault.

The main effort of the attack was directed at outer Tower 4, located at the southest corner of the FOB. Several US Marines, based in Tower 4, were wounded when hand grenades were thrown by insurgents from the base of the tower. The tower defenders were then subjected to a concerted push by the insurgents. They took heavy small arms fire, multiple rocket propelled grenades and hand thrown grenades. The Marines held their position, evacuated their wounded, including a severely wounded Navy Corpsman, and reinforced the tower during a heated exchange.

Elsewhere, numerous rockets and mortars slammed into the various Logistics Support Areas (LSA) throughout the facility, and small arms fire poured in from all directions. Much of the heavier fire originated from the mosque tower located in Khan Dhari village to the northwest of the outer FOB wall. This fire was later identified as 50 calibre anti-aircraft rounds. Inside the detention facility, U.S. forces scrambled to maintain effective security and control over the 5,000 detainees housed in Camp Redemption. Approximately 150 detainees breached one of the compound fencelines but were successfully contained and repelled by SPC McClellan of the B/2-111th FA. SPC McClellan was joined by members of the Initial Reaction Force (IRF) within 5 minutes of engaging the detainees at the fence breach. SPC McClellan was later awarded the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) with a "V" device for valor.

The Marines were reinforced by elements of the 1-119th Field Artillery, Michigan Army National Guard, the 1-623rd Field Artillery Kentucky Army National Guard, the 524th Military Intelligence Battalion, the 2-111th Field Artillery of the Virginia National Guard and the HHC, 306th Military Police Battalion, United States Army Reserve. These soldiers resupplied ammunition, evacuated casualties for which one soldier, CSM Donohue, 306th MP BN, was awarded an ARCOM with "V", resupplied water to entrenched soldiers and marines, and held various defensive positions throughout the base.

The heaviest action occurred during a 2 1/2 hour period. The insurgents were suppressed and forced to retreat by the arrival of a Marine Cobra helicopter gunship at approximately 9:45 p.m., Baghdad time. However, sporadic lighter attacks occurred during the remainder of the night and these were repelled. The following day, a third VBIED disguised as an abandoned farm tractor detonated near the walls and two brief firefights ensued.

More than 100 mortars and rockets and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition were fired at the U.S. personnel in FOB Abu Ghraib. Likewise, disturbances by detainees trying to aid the attackersFact|date=June 2007 led to numerous minor injuries and incidents and the destruction of several detainee housing facilities consisting of three tents; two in Level 1 C/D and one in Level 1 A/B, Camp Redemption when rioters set them ablaze with tent poles wrapped in burning rags. The only major structural or equipment damage was the loss of a refrigerator semi trailer. (damage documented in the insurgent video)

While official U.S. military reports state only 40-60 insurgents were involved in the attack, anecdotal evidence suggests differently.Or|date=September 2007 First, 58 bullet riddled bodies were discovered in a neighborhood mosque two days after the battle.Or|date=September 2007 Second, 20 newly captured prisoners accused of participating in the attack were processed into the detainee population within 10 days of the attack. Third, the official estimate of 40-60 does not take into account the associated diversionary actions against Falluja, Camp Victory and the IED ambushes emplaced along the access roads.Or|date=September 2007 Lastly, the first arriving helicopter pilot was heard to say that he estimated hundreds if not more muzzle flashes from around the entire FOB coming from the surrounding apartment buildings, villages and fields.Fact|date=June 2007

The axel to the VBIED was propelled 250 meters into the facility.Also later intelligence showed that Detainees where sending targeting information outside to the local Iraqis. (fact first hand account)

Casualties

Approximately 44 U.S. personnel were injured during the fighting, several seriously enough to be helicoptered out. Twelve detainees were taken to the 115th Field Hospital and treated for wounds incurred by a mortar impact in Level 1 C/D. Fact|date=February 2007

An estimated 40 insurgents were believed killed in the engagement, but only one body was recovered at the base of Tower 4. Remains of the Tower 4 VBIED driver were recovered inside the FOB walls. [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7364844/]

Units involved

*Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion 10th Marines
*HHB 1-102nd Field Artillery Forward - Rear Area Operations Center (RAOC)
*2nd Battalion 111th Field Artillery
*115th Field Hospital
*1st Battalion 119th Field Artillery
*HHC 306th Military Police Battalion
*1st Battalion 623rd Field Artillery
*HHC 524th Military Intelligence Battalion/JIDC
*HHC 327th Signal Battalion
*586th ESFS/USAF
* [327th SIGNAL BN(AIRBORNE)] /50 signal brigade]

References

*cite web
url=http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2005/08/24/bronze_star_awarded_to_2_massachusetts_national_guardsmen/
title=Bronze Star awarded to 2 Massachusetts National Guardsmen
author= Adrienne P. Samuels |date=2005-08-24 |publisher=Boston Globe |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.sitemason.com/newspub/dtWzug?id=25392&mode=print
title=102nd Field Artillery Soldiers Earn Combat Awards
author= LTC Paul Smith |date=2005-11-02 |publisher=Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/apr2005/a041305la1.html
title=Marines Relate Events of Abu Ghraib Attack
author= Sgt. Michael J. Carden |date=2005-04-13 |publisher=Multinational Corps-Iraq Public Affairs Office |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=31513
title=Insurgents Launch Attacks on Abu Ghraib
date=2005-04-02 |publisher=American Forces Press Service |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7364844/
title=Al-Qaida group claims attack on Abu Ghraib
date=2005-04-03 |publisher=MSNBC |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7419507/
title=Zarqawi posts Abu Ghraib attack video on web
author= Lisa Myers |date=2005-04-07 |publisher=MSNBC |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24808-2005Apr4.html
title=Zarqawi Said to Be Behind Iraq Raid
author= Ellen Knickmeyer |date=2005-04-05 |publisher=Washington Post |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200504/s1337134.htm
title=Abu Ghraib attack wounds 44 US troops
date=2005-04-03 |publisher=ABC News |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/04/02/iraq.main/
title=Insurgents attack Abu Ghraib prison
authors= Enes Dulami, Kevin Flower, Ayman Mohyeldin and Mohammed Tawfeeq |date=2005-04-03 |publisher=CNN |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=10964
title=US troops hit in Abu Ghraib attack
date=2005-04-04 |publisher=Al Jazeera |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3872&Itemid=128
title=Victories during May
date=2005-06-10 |publisher=MNFI Press Release |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2005/04/05/4_iraqi_civilians_hurt_in_suicide_blast_near_abu_ghraib_prison/
title=4 Iraqi civilians hurt in suicide blast near Abu Ghraib prison
author= Mariam Fam |date=2005-04-05 |publisher=Boston Globe |accessdate=2007-06-03

*cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4405337.stm
title=Militants attack Abu Ghraib jail
date=2005-04-03 |publisher=BBC News |accessdate=2007-06-03


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