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Remembering Objective Peach

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  • Remembering Objective Peach

    A friend of a friend fought in Gulf War One (Desert Storm) and his son fought in Gulf War Two (Iraqi Freedom). In talking about their shared experiences, the son observed that he and his father had fought each others’ wars. “In your war, the Iraqis were supposed to fight, but most of them ran. In my war they were supposed to run, but a lot of them fought.”

    Nowhere was that dichotomy as pronounced as at Objective Peach, the code name for a key road bridge across the Euphrates River about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Baghdad. At about 3:00 AM on April 3, 2003, a U.S. battalion combat team of the Third U.S. Infantry Division, Mechanized, fought off the largest Iraqi counterattack of the war. The Iraqis committed elements of three brigades with between 5,000 and 10,000 soldiers, backed by tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery, and they conducted converging attacks from three directions.

    Here’s a link to an overview of the battle. This account – let’s call it the “official version” – is factually accurate, and tells you the most important single thing about the battle: the battalion combat team of the 69th Armored, under Lieutenant Colonel Ernest “Rock” Marcone, when hit from three sides by a superior force, and without any clear intelligence warning from higher headquarters, kicked ass and took names.

    Here, however, is a link to a different report on the battle, from Technology Review, and one which is in many ways more interesting. While Colonel ...




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