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Thunder Runs into Baghdad.
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:57 am
Post subject: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

Hi Folks!

Just finished reading "Thunder Run, the Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad" by David Zucchino. This book covers the actions of the 2nd Spartan Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division and the two Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

The first plan for taking Baghad was to surround it with heavy armored forces. Then the infantry of the 82nd and the 101st AB Divisions would go in clearing the city, block by block. The Thunder Runs were NEVER part of the plan. The Commander of the Spartan Brigade came up with the idea.

During the 1st Thunder Run through town, a number of the tanks had problems with the 7.62mm coax guns jamming. After some talk about the common problem, the crews figured out it was operator error. The trays which catch the spent brass were full and brass was piling up into the guns and jamming them.

Near the end of the first Thunder Run, the lead tank found a road block made up of concrete highway dividers that had been placed acrossed the road. Using the mine plow, they hit the road block at forty kilometers per hour and went flying over it. A second tank with a mine plow hit the road block followed by the rest of the colume. I bet they don't teach obstacle breaching like that at the NTC or Ft. Knox.

During the night before the second Thunder Run, a recon by the Brigade S4 found a four hundred meter mine field had been layed on the highway. The engineers sent in to clear the field found hundreds of Italian made antitank mines lined up on top the blacktop. The mines had been covered with dirt. It took the Engineers about two hours to move 444 AT mines off to the side of the road. Wonder if that is a record?

Charlie Company of the 4th Bn/64th Ar had a Bradley with a mixed crew of Army and Marines. The Marines were part of an ANGLICO team attached to the 3rd ID.

Ammo useage by A Company , 4th/68th Armor
April 8th, fired 24,000 rounds of 7.62mm, 10,000 rounds of 50 cal., and 64 main gun rounds during the battle for one of three intersections.
During two days at the palace, they fired 70,000 rounds of 7.62mm machine gun ammo.

Book/Spot Report!
Sgt, Scouts Out! Smile

ANGLICO = Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company

_________________
"You can never have too much reconnaissance."
General G.S. Patton Jr.
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:06 am
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

Hi Folks!

There was one event that puzzles me a little. I remembered Dontos' post about firing the main gun with the engine running.

During the first night in town, one of the tank companies picked up a group of men walking down the middle of street. They were heading for the American's positions and carrying PRGs and AK47s. If I understand the story corrrectly, those men didn't know where the Americans were.

The engines were all off to save fuel. The alert was passed along to all the tanks for all crewmen to man their vehicles. The Company Commander gave a count down over the radio to START engines.

At first I though, why not open fire with machine guns and then start the engines? The element of surpise was lost starting the engines.

I am a bit puzzled by this event. Do any of you M1 tankers have any insight as to why they did it that way?
Sgt, Scouts Out! Smile

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"You can never have too much reconnaissance."
General G.S. Patton Jr.
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mumfordlibrarian
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:10 am
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

I would suspect that the commander wished to have the ability to maneuver if threatened by AT weapons. There is no guarantee that using MGs would get all the bad guys without some reaching cover and a moving tank can use their main gun to bring down the building on any AT team attempting to take cover in it. Also if able to maneuver the Iraqis could not run with any assurance of escape.

Paul T. Weaver
A totally uninformed opinion
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:24 pm
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

Roy

The use of 'short-count' start up, prior to engaging the enemy does add the ability of manuever to the battle. A key component to armor combat, to 'Shoot, Manuever, & Communicate'.

The use of 'short-count' also masks the actual number of elements in the unit. When a single vehicle starts up, the noise pinpoints that vehicles location to a near by enemy force. An 'all vehicle' start up at 'stand to' brings all vehicles to 'red-con 1' and masks the actual vehicle locations.

Don

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Burik
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:50 am
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

David Zucchino's book is outstanding. In my opinion, only one other book rivals it as a great OIF book, and that is The March Up, which is the Marine fight from the crossing of the border til the fall of Baghdad. There is a very good book about Fallujah by one of the same authors as The March Up, and I understand there is supposed to be a movie about it too.

At about the same time Zucchino's book came out I was putting together my book for Concord (the modelers here will know that publisher as a publisher of photo history books). Anyway, my co-author was with 1-64 Armor and he was very good friends with Sgt Booker, who died on the first thunder run. It was amazing with all that heavy fighting that our casualties were so low on both thunder runs.

My co-author (1st Sgt Eric Olson) was not featured in Zucchino's book due to being out on training when Zucchino was at Ft Stewart interviewing soldiers for their stories. I have Sgt Olson's journal and it would have added some good stuff to the book, but in a small way I was able to put some of Sgt Olson's personal experiences in our little book in the introduction. By the way, those of you who know of my book will probably wonder why the lame title. It was only supposed to be a working title. I thought I would get a preview before it went to print, but no, it appears in my mail, and there was nothing I could do about it. Oh well.

I was truly amazed at the US Army's professionalism as I read that book, and I was awestruck when I first saw my co-author's 4,000+ photographs that he had culled together. But what got me the most is the video I was privelaged to view of the thunder runs. It was really something to see the Abrams firing on the move at real targets. I saw an MPAT's effect on an Iraqi bunker at 300 yards. I also saw one of those pickup trucks just riding along side of the tanks and trying to take pot-shots at the tanks. Unbelievable stupidity. The coax lit them up, and I was surprised to see so many sparks coming off the pick-up. It looked almost fake. The video also covered the area where the column had to turn around. Weird to see all those civilian vehicles just passing by, and not one of them was fired at, unless of course they fired first or were clearly enemy like the pick-up noted above. The crews did not screw around at overpasses. Speeds were actually kind of slow (seemed like about 20mph) but when they got to the overpasses, they sped up quite a bit to avoid potential ambushes from sides and above.

There is a very good Discover Channel documentary (Sgt Olson is interviewed in that) called The Fight For Baghdad. It brings the Zucchino book into perspective from a visual point of view. No photos in book by the way. That was the only negative about the book for me.
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blair
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:10 am
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

It was one of the best books I have ever read. I just finished the Last Citadel which provides a fascinating look look into the armor battles between the russians and germans.( especially the visceral description of the weight power and impact of the Tiger tank)

In Thunder run wasn't there an incident where an speeding M1 had its turret traversed to the right and the main gun hit a concrete pillar and it spun the turret around like crazy?
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:33 am
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

Hi Blair! Hi Folks!

- blair

In Thunder run wasn't there an incident where an speeding M1 had its turret traversed to the right and the main gun hit a concrete pillar and it spun the turret around like crazy?


That would be Lt. Roger Gruneisen in Charlie One One - Creeping Death.
A lot of the gear from SSG Jason Diaz's Charlie One Two - Cojone Eh? had been piled on top of Charlie One One. Lt. Gruneisen had order SSG Diaz off the blow out panels, were he had been firing one of his M240Cs, and inside. With his hatch in "open-protected" mode, he could not see to the front. The gunner was working targets off to the right side of the hull.
Charlie One One was trying to catch up to the front part of the colume and was moving fast. David Zucchino wrote that the turret spun "fifteen, twenty" times. It was a dam good thing that Lt. Gruneisen had just ordered hatchs closed and for SSG Diaz to get down inside. If not he would have been thrown off when the turret turned into a spinning top.

Lesson to be learned here. DON'T BLOCK THE TC's VIEW!

Book/Spot Report!
Sgt, Scouts Out! Smile

_________________
"You can never have too much reconnaissance."
General G.S. Patton Jr.
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:21 am
Post subject: Re: Thunder Runs into Baghdad.

Hi Paul! Hi Folks!

- mumfordlibrarian
I would suspect that the commander wished to have the ability to maneuver if threatened by AT weapons.


One tank took two RPG hits between the time the engines started cranking and the TC fire off a main gun without aiming it.

- mumfordlibrarian

There is no guarantee that using MGs would get all the bad guys without some reaching cover


I went back and reread that area again. Many of the Iragis made it into pre-positioned bunkers which in time took a platoon of infantry to sweep through and clear the area.

From the book, "Now Wolford was able to function propertly. (my note: A Co. 4th/68th Ar Company Commander, his tank had to be jump started by the XO's tank) He realized the RPG teams had seized control of the fight. He had never seen Iraqis lay down such an effective volume of fire."

As for the point about Armor being able to 'manuever', the only manuevering that was being done was
1. by the XO's tank pulling up next to the CO's tank,
2. one of the tank using hull movement to aline the main gun with targets,
3. another platoon moving to support the platoon at the center of the attack,
4. a platoon of Bradleys with Infantry moving over to provide more fire power.

As for the platoon at the center of the attack, those tanks held their positions on the perimeter. If they had started moving around they might have opened up a hole for the Iraqis to slip through and attack the battalion TOC and LOG Park, along with the Bde TOC and into the rear of the other tank battalion.

I guess my main problem with starting the engines is I was seeing this as a Vietnam era NDP defense. From Dontos post, I guess the current crop of tankers don't train that way.

I guess I am not as confuzed as I was.
Sgt, Scouts Out! Smile


Paul T. Weaver
A totally uninformed opinion[/quote]

_________________
"You can never have too much reconnaissance."
General G.S. Patton Jr.
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