Battle of Abu Ghraib
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Abu Ghraib
Abu Ghraib prison
Abu Ghraib, Iraq
April 2, 2005
result=Successful American defense of the Abu Ghraib facility
United States Military
Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi insurgents
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 Statesforces 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 rocketfire, under which armed insurgentsattacked 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 bayonetswere given in preparation for hand-to-hand fighting.
At approximately 7:06 p.m. (Baghdad Time) on
April 2, 2005, an estimated 40-60 armed insurgentslaunched a massive coordinated assault on the U.S. military facilityand internment campat 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.
US Marine Corps', Echo Company 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, commanded by Captain Andrew Bone, was stationed at Abu Ghraib and tasked with perimeterdefense. Engaging the enemy with a variety of weapons systems from the outer wall defensive platforms, the Marines managed to slow the momentumof 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 armsfire 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 Guardand 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 Victoryand 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)
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/]
*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
* [327th SIGNAL BN(AIRBORNE)] /50 signal brigade]
title=Bronze Star awarded to 2 Massachusetts National Guardsmen
author= Adrienne P. Samuels |date=2005-08-24 |publisher=
title=102nd Field Artillery Soldiers Earn Combat Awards
author= LTC Paul Smith |date=2005-11-02 |publisher=
Massachusetts National GuardPublic Affairs |accessdate=2007-06-03
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
title=Insurgents Launch Attacks on Abu Ghraib
date=2005-04-02 |publisher=American Forces Press Service |accessdate=2007-06-03
title=Al-Qaida group claims attack on Abu Ghraib
date=2005-04-03 |publisher=MSNBC |accessdate=2007-06-03
title=Zarqawi posts Abu Ghraib attack video on web
Lisa Myers|date=2005-04-07 |publisher= MSNBC|accessdate=2007-06-03
title=Zarqawi Said to Be Behind Iraq Raid
author= Ellen Knickmeyer |date=2005-04-05 |publisher=
title=Abu Ghraib attack wounds 44 US troops
title=Insurgents attack Abu Ghraib prison
authors= Enes Dulami, Kevin Flower, Ayman Mohyeldin and Mohammed Tawfeeq |date=2005-04-03 |publisher=
title=US troops hit in Abu Ghraib attack
title=Victories during May
date=2005-06-10 |publisher=MNFI Press Release |accessdate=2007-06-03
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
title=Militants attack Abu Ghraib jail
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