Bill Roggio posts about the success of our Marine sniper teams in Iraq against the terrorists planting IED’s in Ramadi:
The Coalition is constantly working to use technology to disrupt and neutralize the insurgency’s ability to detonate their bombs remotely, the enemy adapts their tactics as well. This is the nature of war. But there is one area where the insurgency’s innovations hit the wall: the physical deployment of IEDs. Depending on the size, nature and the deployment of the explosive, it can take quite a bit of time to “plant” a roadside bomb.
Marines in Ramadi are taking advantage of this limitation and are deploying sniper teams to observe and engage insurgents while they deploy their deadly cargo. Over the period of one day, sniper teams killed eight insurgents planting IEDs and wounded the ninth in four separate engagements. Multinational Forces West provides the blow by blow:
In the first incident, a sniper team observed an insurgent digging a hole along a street that historically contained a high number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The sniper team engaged the insurgent with one round and was able to confirm one enemy killed in action.
Shortly afterwards, a taxi pulled up and stopped between the body of the insurgent and the sniper team. Three insurgents exited the vehicle and began firing sporadically in all directions with AK-47s. The sniper team engaged all the three individuals and was able to confirm three additional enemy killed in action. At this point, a fourth insurgent got out of the taxi and began firing at the sniper team. The insurgent was engaged as well, but was able to escape in the taxi after being injured.
In the second incident, a sniper team observed as a vehicle pulled up to a historical IED hole and two insurgents got out to inspect the hole. When the insurgents began pulling out ordnance from the trunk of their vehicle to place in the hole, the sniper team determined hostile intent and engaged both insurgents. The snipers were able to confirm two enemies killed in action.
In the two other incidents, sniper teams observed two masked men observing their positions at two separate times during the day. Both insurgents were engaged and confirmed killed.
The day’s events in Ramadi highlight the fact that while technologic solutions are force multipliers, they cannot replace the need for boots on the ground and well placed trigger-pullers. The solution to the IED threat is in the end not better armor or more sophisticated signals disruption, but a permanent presences of security forces and well policed neighborhoods. The dramatic decrease in IED attacks along “Route Irish”, the road running from Baghdad International Airport to the city proper, is a prime example of this.
Meanwhile the troops are finding more and more of the the terrorists weapons:
Officials said Task Force Baghdad soldiers chalked up several weapons cache finds during combat operations Nov. 3-4 in districts in and near Baghdad. The stockpiles found included rockets, homemade bombs, mortars, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, grenades and ammunition. The largest haul was in an area west of Baghdad where soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, discovered a cache shortly before noon Nov. 3.
It included more than 2,000 7.62 mm rounds, 15 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, three 57 mm rockets and a launcher, eight 80 mm rounds, two mortar base plates, a mortar sighting device and an 18-inch homemade bomb.
While uncovering that cache, soldiers found a second cache consisting of 33 81 mm rounds, 26 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 17 60 mm rounds, eight 57 mm rounds, three mortar base plates, two fragmentation grenades, two 120 mm rounds and about 300 7.62 mm rounds.
An explosives ordnance disposal team destroyed both caches.
Meanwhile, in southeast Baghdad, soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team noticed five suspicious individuals near a banana factory around 7 p.m. Nov. 3. The soldiers detained the five terror suspects and found a large weapons cache while searching the premises.
The stockpile included 19 grenades, 11 AK-47 assault rifles, eight rocket-propelled grenade rounds, five sticks of dynamite, four blasting caps, three pistols, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, two RPK machine guns, a sniper rifle, detonation cord and a mortar sight.
Earlier on Nov. 3, a patrol from the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, discovered another weapons cache while conducting combat operations northwest of Baghdad. The cache consisted of 10 200-pound bombs, 25 152 mm rounds, three 122 mm rounds and a 130 mm round.
Another 3rd Brigade patrol reported finding a weapons cache in west Baghdad the same day. This cache included 76 .50-caliber bullets, four rocket launchers, five mortar tubes and a sniper rifle.