Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Battle of 73 Easting

My Novel, A Line Through the Desert follows one tank Sgt. in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Desert Storm.

The 2nd ACR was the vanguard of General Schwarzkopf's left hook around Iraqi positions in Kuwait. The regiment advanced with three squadrons abreast, 2nd Squadron on the left, 3rd Squadron in the center, and 1st Squadron on the right. 2nd Squadron, itself composed of four troops, advanced in box formation, with Ghost troop on the left and Eagle on the right.

The climate was awful, cold and wet, alternating between rain and fog, and horrific sand storms which limited visibility to a few hundred yards. Even infrared sensors had trouble penetrating the soup. In the late afternoon of 26 February, 1991, the 2nd ACR encountered lead elements of the Tawalkana Division of the Republican Guard. The place was called 73 Easting, an imaginary line on a map deliniating the kilometers the unit had advanced that morning.

Eagle Troop's part in this battle has been well documented by the estimable Mr. Clancy, a great inspiration to me personally. As Eagle troop blasted Iraqi tanks out of a village, Ghost troop came upon the reverse slope of a wadi where they met several dozen dug in Iraq tanks. As bad as Ghost Troop's visibility was, the Iraqis, lacking any night vision or infrared equipment, was worse. They never new what hit them. The Iraqis were annihilated.

From there, Ghost Troop took up positions on the wadi and repelled four assaults by the Tawalkana, destroying hundreds of vehicles in the process. The tank and Bradley gunners, backed by artillery and Apache gunships when weather permitted, unleashed a hell of uranium depleted Sabot shells, HE rounds, and Tow missiles. Concluded historian Rick Atkinson, who wrote an excellent account of Desert Storm, 'The Iraqis never stood a chance.'
Below is a link to A Line Through the Desert, decribing Ghost Troop's initial encounter with the Republican Guard: The Battle Begins

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