first published on October 16, 2015 by Josh
Fire superiority is the answer to all situations in every gun fight. While on a mobile platform, such as a small craft or gun truck, taking contact means you respond heavy volumes of accurate suppressing fire. Once you gain fire superiority, you never let up, even for a single second. Then, you stay in motion and continue to suppress the enemy while your buddies come around the side and destroy them. This is a basic fix and flank maneuver, and it is a vital block of maneuver warfare in the 21st century of conflict. The constant motion of these vehicles allows for troops to maintain accurate fire, while keeping the enemy confused on a possible route of egress.
Marines with a small craft company operating out of the Haditha Dam do exactly this technique in the video below. Within seconds of identifying an enemy position, they put a massive amount of rounds on target while they continue to maneuver. Without hesitation they get on the radio with British forces along the west bank of the river, and talk them onto the enemy’s position. They continue to fix the enemies position with accurate fire, and they wait while the British patrol moves in for the flanking action to destroy them. Just another day on the river.
Marine small craft companies played a vital role during operations in Iraq, and for the most part they have received very little recognition for their actions. The primary mission set of these riverine operators was to secure the Tigris, and Euphrates river, and interdict AQI activities along both. The freedom of movement granted to these Marines by their small craft allowed them to effectively choke off insurgent activities in those areas by denying them access to what would otherwise be a very good route for logistics and egress. Commanders were intelligent to make the decision to bring Marines back to their amphibious roots, and task them with fighting the enemy on the water, where Marines are most deadly.
Small craft companies were used in conjunction with almost every Marine unit to operate in the Anbar province of Iraq. If you had a section of either the Euphrates or Tigris rivers in your AO, you were probably going to see these guys zipping up and down it doing their thing. If you were lucky, you got to experience their awesome firepower as they pushed up the river to bail you out, or fixed an enemy position so you could personally maneuver on the insurgents they were doing battle with. Either way, one thing is absolutely certain, these guys definitely had one of the coolest jobs in all of Iraq.