Murphy's Law: April 8, 2003


One Cavalry troop has been tearing up the Iraqi armor fleet with remarkable success. On April 4th, the 3/7 Cavalry was screening the west flank of other 3rd ID units storming the Baghdad International Airport. The US Air Force had identified 22 stationary T-72s (a battalion's worth) three or four kilometers in front of the Cavalry.

"A" Troop was given the mission of taking out the enemy tanks and advanced down the six-lane highway with ten M1A1s and some M2 Bradleys. They saw the Air Force engaging one element on the North side of the road, but not a second element on the south side. This group was dug-in to hull-down positions, with barbed wire in front.

Despite being outnumbered two to one, "A" Troop engaged and from 800 to 1,000 meters away, the cavalry opened fire with their Abrams tanks' 120 mm main guns, while most of the Iraqi 125mm main gun return fire fell short or flew too high. The M1s systematically destroyed the Iraqi armor. Even one of "A" Troops Bradleys destroyed three T-72s, while a second scored two T-72 kills. 

One of the Iraqi main gun rounds exploded 25 meters from Troop Commander CPT Clay Lyle's tank, rattling it around some. The Iraqis also returned fire with RPGs and a few artillery shells, but none inflicted any casualties. As dusk approached, "A" Troop pulled back to allow their supporting artillery and close air support jets to pound the Iraqi positions. By 6PM, "A" Troop had destroyed 12 tanks, three antiaircraft guns and one towed howitzer. The engagement had lasted about 10 minutes. 

Earlier in the day, "Apache" Troop had destroyed nine tanks and killed about 350 Iraqi infantrymen (with Bradley main gunfire accounting for five of the nine destroyed tank kills). The other vehicles destroyed included an armored personnel carrier and 43 civilian-style trucks and cars being used to transport fighters to the battle. The Iraqis had simply been driving down the freeway when Apache troop attacked.

It was thought that "A" (or 'Apache') troop had probably run into elements of Iraq's Hammurabi Division as they shifted south into positions west of the airport. 

The Troop also had fought a running battle with light infantry militia and suicide bombers through the night of the 3rd and into the morning of the 4th. - Adam Geibel


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