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ロシア経由ヤフー・AP:イラクの米軍基地への臼砲の攻撃は増大し絶え間なく日夜続き心理的に参っている。
http://www.asyura.com/0306/war37/msg/118.html
投稿者 木村愛二 日時 2003 年 7 月 17 日 09:53:59:

ロシア経由ヤフー・AP:イラクの米軍基地への臼砲の攻撃は増大し絶え間なく日夜続き心理的に参っている。

http://www1.iraqwar.ru/iraq-read_article.php?articleId=11884&lang=en
Mortar Attacks on U.S. Bases Growing
16.07.2003 [15:56]

BALAD, Iraq - When soldiers of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division settled into a new headquarters, some people in the area gave them a less than warm welcome: regular mortar attacks at the base where they sleep, eat and work.

Though no one has been killed in the attacks at the Sustainer Air Field, there have been wounded ― including 20 members of an Army medical team injured in one attack.

And the mortar fire ― which has come nearly every other day since July 3 ― has had a definite psychological impact on the troops, shaking the earth and sending soldiers scurrying for cover in the middle of their daily routine.

"You don't know when and where the next one is coming," said 1st Lt. Greg Hotaling. "It's not like in the movies when you hear a whistle. That's why it's such a psychological weapon. In a firefight, you can at least see something there. As long as you can put something between you and him you're safe."

U.S. soldiers have faced a persistent armed insurgency by pro-Saddam Hussein forces opposed to the American-led occupation of the country, with an average of 12 attacks a day across the country. Some 33 American servicemen have been killed in hostile action since May 1, the day President Bush declared an end to major fighting.

Most of the attacks have been ambushes on American patrols ― in Baghdad or in the mainly Sunni Muslim regions of central Iraq ― by insurgents using automatic weapons or rocket-propelled grenades.

At the Sustainer Air Field, near the town of Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, the mortars represent an escalation.

"We've noticed a gradual but definite shift from small-arms fire to RPGs to mortars," said Capt. Daniel Holland, spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade, which makes its home at the base. "Each step up requires an additional level of organization and skill to pull off."

The mortars have also become a minor obsession for military officials in charge of base security. The Army has tried to use its most sophisticated surveillance equipment, its most powerful weaponry ― including AC-130 flying warships ― and its most rapid deployment techniques to stop the attacks.

"The mortar round issue has taken on a life of its own," Lt. Col. Nate Sassaman, a Balad-area battalion commander, told his men during a recent briefing.

Rarely do the attackers get off more than three mortar rounds. The military suspects the insurgents travel in pickup trucks, darting off before the soldiers can catch them, or place well-hidden mortar launchers just outside villages.

The attacks come at any time. At the 3rd Brigade's communications and intelligence headquarters one recent morning, a nearby mortar explosion disrupted the planning for a raid.

Soldiers sitting at computers and radios leaped for their helmets and flak jackets.

The next night, soldiers sitting in a tent at the airbase watching a Robin Williams film, jumped from their seats, slammed the lights off and began taking position outside the tent.

"People have taken to heart that this is a lethal environment," said Col. David Hogg, commander of the Baqouba-based 2nd Brigade.

Hogg, whose headquarters 25 miles east of Balad also comes under mortar fire, has responded by firing 120 mm artillery rounds at suspected mortar sites. "It sends a message to the knuckleheads that we're not just sitting ducks," he said.

On the one occasion so far when the mortars struck U.S. soldiers, only a thin layer of camouflage netting prevented fatalities, soldiers said.

It was about 10:30 p.m. at the camp of the 3rd Brigades's 915 Forward Surgical Team when the mortars began landing. The soldiers were watching "Major Payne," a 1990s comedy about military life, when the mortar struck, said Lt. Leonard "Chip" Sell, an Army doctor.

Twenty were injured and seven flown to Germany for medical treatment.

The camouflage netting is designed to blow shrapnel up and away. "If the mortar would have hit the ground in front of us, it could have killed all of us," said Sell.

SIDEBAR TO PHOTO:

A US soldier inspects an abandoned weapon which was found in an unfinished house and allegedly was used by insurgents in attacking a humvee convoy in Baghdad, Iraq early Monday, July 14, 2003. One soldier was injured in the attack but another was killed in a separate attack of a military convoy in the capital. Insurgents have been attacking US vehicle convoys and launching mortar attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq.(AP Photo/Ali Haider)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030716/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_mortar_attacks&cid=540&ncid=1473

Источник: Borzou Daragahi Associated Press Writer

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