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Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Tazzers, Oct 8, 2006.

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  1. [align=justify]Saw this and thought of you.....................................

    Diggers kill five in Iraq battle

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20544759-401,00.html

    AUSTRALIAN troops have told how they killed at least five Iraqi insurgents while fighting off an attack aimed at wiping out the 60-strong force of Diggers.

    In the first action specifically targeting Australian troops in Iraq, the Townsville-based Diggers fought an hour-long battle in the strife-torn city of al-Rumaythah.

    The insurgents' aim, commanders on the spot said, was brutal: surround and kill the Australian force.

    At least 30 balaclava-clad insurgents dressed in black, carrying AK-47s and grenade launchers – but shielded at times by civilians – attacked the Australian column as it visited a police barracks in the city on September 26.

    In a bold move, the Diggers – led by 32-year-old Major Andrew Stevens, of the Townsville-based 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment – called in US Air Force F-16s, which buzzed the insurgents to scare and distract them.

    After an exclusive briefing, The Sunday Mail can reveal details of how a visit by Major Stevens and a team of reconstruction experts to al-Rumaythah – a city of 75,000 – turned into a wild, bloody gunfight with thousands of rounds of ammunition fired.

    The Australians had gone to discuss training for the Iraqi Army and police force as well as a barracks refit.

    When the insurgents were spotted trying to surround the barracks, Major Stevens decided to withdraw, and the battle began.

    Major Stevens and his platoon arrived at the police barracks in the army's all-purpose Bushmaster vehicles at about 9am. It was a bright, sunny morning.

    Accompanying them were snipers, who set up in watchtowers around the barracks, as well as an infantry platoon.

    And nearby were two ready-reaction forces from the 2/14 Lighthorse Regiment in Brisbane, in armoured personnel carriers.

    As the meeting got underway, the town seemed secure.

    But at about 9.30am, Iraqi insurgents, in groups of two and three, began acting suspiciously, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Mahy, commander of the Overwatch Battle Group (West).

    "They were clearly conducting surveillance on our activity," Lt-Col. Mahy said.

    During the next hour, the insurgent groups gathered throughout the town. Soon after 11am an insurgent fired a rocket-propelled grenade and the action began.

    "There were groups of three and two moving through the urban areas to try and surround the barracks to conduct deliberate action," Lt-Col. Mahy said.

    From 11.10am until after midday the insurgents attacked the barracks with machine guns, grenades, sniper fire and AK-47 fire from a distance of 200m to 300m.

    "They were attempting to prevent us withdrawing, but they failed to flank the side of the barracks around the north and the south," Lt-Col. Mahy said.

    As Australian snipers fired at the insurgents from the watchtowers, the platoon to the west of the barracks held its ground.

    Then an Australian officer on the ground called in the F-16s to fly low and fast over the insurgents.

    "That was to create lots of noise and distraction at critical times and it worked well," Lt-Col. Mahy said.

    The platoon kept the insurgents at bay while Major Stevens and his party left the barracks in the Bushmasters.

    Up to 30 insurgents were involved in the battle, but Lt-Col. Mahy said it was hard to tell if more were involved because of the urban sprawl.

    Major Stevens' party left the barracks under heavy AK-47 fire, but his party sustained no casualties and escaped the town by 12.15pm.

    The Australians fought with a standard suite of weapons, including the Steyr rifle, light weapons and machine guns. But they held off using heavy weapons or the rockets of the F-16s.

    "They withdrew in a very disciplined way. They put themselves at risk to ensure the safety of civilians. The courage they displayed was quite significant," Lt-Col. Mahy said.

    "It was an urban environment, in town, with the potential to cause injury to civilians. The soldiers were very, very careful with their fire."

    At this stage, the identity of the insurgents – whether they were Sunnis or Shia religious groups, or al-Qaida – cannot be confirmed, he said.

    The Defence Department said this week the al-Rumaythah battle was the first time Australians had faced a co-ordinated attack in Iraq.

    "It took them a while to get their act together to try to take us on," Lt-Col. Mahy said.

    "Even though they were co-ordinated and they were able to deliver a lot of firepower, I haven't had to put a single Band-Aid on any of the people involved in the action.

    "There wasn't a single mark on any of the vehicles. And we had one bullet go through one tyre which didn't affect the performance of the vehicle.

    "It was certainly co-ordinated – but co-ordinated in a particularly Arab way." [/align]
     
  2. Good job Diggers!
     
  3. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    good effort!
     
  4. Let's look at another source.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/australian-troops-close-shave-in-iraq-firefight/2006/09/28/1159337280510.html

    No one word about killed insurgents. It is not clear had the Australians made even one shot. They withdrew and it doesn't look like a victory.
     
  5. The first article has a somewhat detailed account of the action, while the second one is vague at best. Sorry if I defer to the first one Sergei.
     
  6. good on ya lads!
     
  7. msr

    msr LE

    Brassing up the enemy doesn't always equate to victory.

    Who do you think is going to me more welcome next time they arrive in that town?

    msr
     
  8. Spot on msr. Or perhaps they should have done a Beslan, Budennovsk or Moscow theatre version ..... :roll:
     
  9. However, the second article is very interesting too. It appears that the great victory of Austarial army initially was kept in secret. Indeed a proportion was 5:60 - 5 killed for 60 soldiers. If American or British troops would be equally effective then the insurgent would be exterminated long ago.

     
  10. Sergie - how many "victories" has the Russian army enjoyed in Iraq?
    The Diggers have a well-deserved reputation for being good, professioanl soldiers. I have no reason to doubt they performed well in this incident.
     
  11. During WW1 a small regiment of Cossacks (100) was sent to Mesopotamia through Kurdistan. I read a book about this adventure. It was I suppose the only case then Russian troops occured in Iraq during a war.

    You said the the Diggers are excellent soldiers and of course I believe you. There was no even one wounded. It is a very good result. And really if all coalition soldiers return home unharmed then it would be the greatest victory - victory of a common sense.
     
  12. No argument there, at least.
    However,,,common sense in the War on Terror? About as likely as honest man in No. 10 Dowining Street.
     
  13. Professional soldiers who are under or poorly equipped?

    It sounds like I will feel completely at home when I start working for them in 5 days!
     
  14. Well done the Aussies!

    You've still got it guys!

    Bloody good soldiers. You were there for us when we needed you in many theatres all over the world 60 years ago and in conflicts since then and you are still there with us now!