17 April, 2007

British forces at war: as witnessed by an American.

Michael Yon blogs from Basra, Iraq, where he is with 5 Platoon, 2nd Battalion, "The Rifles" Battle Group. It is an article full of insights about the dangers being faced daily by our troops.

One thing that struck me was Yon's observations that the soldiers' missions were being made more dangerous, and their lives threatened, by a lack of helicopter support:

...The ensuing firefights were vigorous. As more enemy joined and the battle progressed, British elements maneuvered and fired, making adjustments to the plan to mold the fight. With no helicopters above to help develop ground awareness or to help shape the combat by engaging targets, British commanders directed their elements by map and ground-feel. Having no helicopters also left rooftops open to the enemy, adding another dimension to the combat.
It seems a depressingly similar story to the long running, scandalous helicopter shortage in Afghanistan.

1 comment:

Brad Cohen said...

Whilst the shortage of transport Helicopters in Afghanistan is a national scandal that no one appears to care about because thet acre more about who Paris Hilton is sleeping with then their Armed Forces, you seem to misunderstand why the troops in that mission deployed without an overhead Helicopter. A helicopter circling over ones patrol is a rather obvious indicator to insurgents miles around that coalition forces are doing something, going out without over head helis helps maintain surprise. Its a risk, but a calculated one, and the potential payoff of taking insurgents by surprise and capturing them is worth it...