Battle of Ramadi (2004)
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|Battle of Ramadi (2004)|
|Part of the Iraq War|
|United States||Iraqi insurgents|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Ramadi was fought in the spring of 2004, during the same time as the First Battle of Fallujah. In April 2004, Fallujah was under siege by Coalition Forces and insurgents were looking to relieve pressure on the city by attempting an offensive of their own. Ramadi, the capital of Al Anbar province, was seen as a center of gravity to coalition forces, and thus a prime target to attack. Before the battle started, insurgents cut off the highway out of Al Anbar to Baghdad.
2nd Battalion 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division
February 2004, the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines was tasked with stability operations in the Al Anbar capital city of Ar Ramadi, Iraq. The 2nd Battalion 4th Marines fall under the 1st Marine Division home based in Camp Pendleton, California. Under command of Lt. Col. Kennedy and Sgt. Maj. Booker, the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines conducted missions know as “IO’s” (Information Operations) prior to the events of April 6, 2004. The primary role of the Marines in these mission swas to “win the hearts and minds” of the locals. While the Marines were acting as policemen, ambassadors, and peacekeepers, they were still able to conduct full scale combat operations in the city, if necessary. Before April 6, the Marines had seen very little combat, mainly improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and small scale ambushes. They had only a few casualties, including one Marine who lost his jaw in an IED attack.
On the morning of April 6, the attack by the Iraqi insurgents was initiated by an ambush on a squad from Golf Company’s 3rd platoon. The ambush took place south of main supply route, Route Michigan, and east of Easy Street in downtown Ar Ramadi. The ambush killed three Marines within minutes and wounded almost all the rest of the squad. The squad called for the QRF (Quick Reaction Force) to come to their aid. Due to QRF responding with Light Armored Vehicles they could not reach the downed squad for assistance. That is when two United States Army armored platoons from 1-34 Armor and 1-16 Infantry 1st Brigade 1st Infantry Division arrived with M1A1 Abrams and M2 Bradley's into the fight. At this time most of the U.S. Forces were engaged in Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah, so the Marines had no access to air power or artillery, so the only available support was Marine Infantry and a small Army unit that remained on the outskirts of the city.
Marines from Golf Company’s 1st platoon, commanded by Lt. Donovan Campbell, responded to the aid of the cut off squad. The number of enemy forces was unclear as 1st platoon left friendly lines, but it was soon discovered to be larger than anyone expected. 1st Platoon encountered enemy forces just west of Easy Street, who had established hardened fighting positions in anticipation of the reinforcements. After a brief but intense fight with insurgents, the Marines were able to break through and kill several insurgents and link up with the cut off squad.
At the same time, Golf Company had been called to rescue one of its cut off squads; Echo Company had come under intense fire in their observation post west of the Combat Outpost. Echo Company responded to the west, which was more rural than the urban, built up area where Golf Company was fighting. Echo Company encountered nearly the same number of insurgents to the west of the Combat Outpost as Golf did to the east. At this point, Lt. Col. Kennedy called out all 2nd Battalion 4th Marines to the city to push out the insurgents. Almost all 2nd Battalion 4th Marines were in the fight; even cooks were put on post so all the Infantry could be pulled to fight. The fighting lasted until darkness fell, when the insurgents were severely outgunned by the Americans' night vision capabilities. For the next four days, the insurgents would only fight in daylight hours in an effort to avoid giving the Marines the advantage of using night vision devices.
After four days of intense fighting in the city, the insurgents were pushed out or killed. This was one of the few major fights that took place in 2004, in which Marines had only their rifles and no air support or indirect fire support to push out the insurgents.
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Marines killed an estimated 1500-2000 rebels from April 6 to April 10 in fighting that shattered the insurgent offensive. Thirteen Marines were killed and 25 were wounded in the battle on April 6. Another four were killed over the next four days. Lance Cpl. Deshon Otey, the sole survivor of the relief convoy's lead vehicle, was killed six weeks later. Another veteran of the fight, Sgt. Kenneth Conde, was killed in a roadside bomb blast three months later. A week after the battle the insurgents struck again; this time a force of 300 fighters attacked Marine positions in the town of Husaybah, on the Syrian border.
- 1st Battalion, 34 Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, US Army
- 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (US Army)
- 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines
- Department Of Defense Security Forces, Tactical Response Team
Zoroya, Gregg. “Fight for Ramadi exacts heavy toll on Marines.” USA Today. 12 July 2004. URL:http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-07-12-ramadi_x.htm. Accessed: 2009-10-09 (archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5kPS9x7tW).