A key to
the success of the current surge offensive in Iraq is the ability of U.S.
troops to quickly (within a day) set up a well defended base, anywhere in Iraq.
This is done using cargo containers and portable blast proof walls. The standard
20 and 40 foot containers are regularly retained, after they arrive at a combat
zone and used for work and living areas. This actually began during the 1991
Gulf War, and has only gotten more organized since then.
Firms like HESCO provide kits
to armor the containers, providing protection from bullets and bomb fragments.
HESCO also had, back in 1990, provided portable barriers, which were basically
just collapsible containers that, once opened up and filled with dirt or sand,
were blast and bullet proof. Thus troops can roll into an area with a few
trucks and a back-hoe. Within hours, the blast walls are up and filled with
dirt, and covered with night vision vid cams and other sensors.
The blast walls, and similar
protection on the cargo container offices and living quarters, protects troops
from the largest weapons (122mm rockets) used by terrorists in Iraq. The 122mm
rocket carries about fifty pounds of explosives, and experience has shown that
the HESCO type barriers will keep people inside safe from that.
The quick appearance of these
bases impresses the Iraqis, and discourages the terrorists (who know that their
chances of putting the hurt on anyone in those instant bases is quite low.)
While these insta-bases are safe, they are not always comfortable. Often, the
walls are placed around some existing buildings that have not been used for a
while, or are industrial type structures. The troops set up camp wherever they
can, and live rough for weeks at a time. Rough, but safe.