The Marines In Action In Afghanistan: Operation Cobra’s Anger and the Key Role of Engineers
The photos are of Marines with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, conducting combat operations in Now Zad, Afghanistan, during Operation Cobra’s Anger, December 4th, 2009. Operation Cobra’s Anger disrupted enemy supply lines and communication in Now Zad, once a safe haven for Taliban forces.
Action included the use of a special assault vehicle. The vehicle looks like a hybrid of a tank and bulldozer.The Marine Corps prepared the assault breacher vehicle (ABV) and its crew crew for combat for approximately two years. On the morning of December 3, the ABV fired its first line charge during Operation Cobra’s Anger in Now Zad, Afghanistan.Due to mass amounts of roadside bombs expected around Now Zad, ABVs led the way for the operation by detonating numerous line charges on the path to the Taliban stronghold, Now Zad.
According to a USMC story provided by Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs, Story by Lance Cpl. Walter Marino):
After many months of planning, the Marines of Alpha Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment arose to Afghanistan’s 3 a.m. cold winter chill to kick off Operation Cobra’s Anger. An unusual silence surrounded the Marines as they boarded their vehicles. ….
The road to Now Zad was known to be infested with roadside bombs. So rather than take a chance, assault breacher vehicles fired numerous line charges, which demolished the road ahead and detonated any possible roadside bombs in a massive explosion….
Many Marine faces were smeared with green, black and brown camouflage paint. They wore it not for its traditional purpose, but for the same reason many of the Marines pinned American flags to their gear.
“Considering our unit has had a fallen comrade, it was [good] to give them a taste of their own medicine.” said Cpl. Trevor W. Curtis, a vehicle gunner for Lima Co., 3/4. “Ever since we lost our boy our motto has been, ‘no regrets, just revenge.'”
Emotional motives were fueled, when operation Cobra’s Anger began. The mission not only gave the Marines an opportunity take the fight to the enemy, but was designed to destroy the Taliban presence in Now Zad, destroy their weapons and give the Afghan people their city back.
Marines encountered enemy fire once they breached the city.
“An insurgent shot at us and we saw him peeking from behind a corner shooting rounds at us,” Curtis said. “Once we had him spotted, one of our gunners shot at him with a .50-cal. machine gun and I unloaded my Mark-19 on him.” “After we shot, a tank fired at his building and all that was left was rubble,” Curtis said. Marines moved cautiously from compound to compound. When there wasn’t a clear route, heavy equipment operators used bulldozers to plow through walls, creating their own doorways through Now Zad. During these brief moments, Marines received a few short moments of rest before moving on to the next house to clear. …
While the grunts cleared houses, combat engineers used metal detectors to keep the Marines safe from IED’s and used their C4 to destroy dozens of enemy bunkers, and uncovered Taliban weapon caches.
Inside the city, the threat of IED’s still lingered and Marines constantly yelled out ‘dispersion’ to remind each other to keep a proper distance from one another.
Marines patrolled through alleyways and trees, and sometimes would come to a dead end. Combat Engineers resolved that problem with C4, breaching new doorways for the Marines to enter and always keeping an eye out for roadside bombs.
Infantry Marines appreciated the extra fire power the combat engineers provided.
The engineers found pressure plates that could have injured Marines, explained Curtis, from Colorado Springs, Colo.
“It’s [good] to have a guy capable of blowing up an enemy bunker,” said Curtis. “The engineers are an invaluable asset. Now Zad was the Taliban’s center of gravity. Now that we have it, it’s definitely going to take a turn for the worst for the Taliban.”
In one day, the Marines arrived, saw and conquered the Taliban in Now Zad.
***Posted December 19th, 2009