An Assignment Submitted by
2nd Battle of Fallujah (Phantom Fury), LTG Natonski
Operation Al-Fajr in Arabic, Operation Phantom Fury was the code name given to the second battle of Fallujah, considered the hottest point of conflict of all the military campaign in Iraq. Led by the US Marine Corp against the Iraqi combatants, who had held the city under their control, some consider it was the most difficult battle marines have been involved since Vietnam in the 60s. The battle put end to the insurgent control over the city and constituted an important victory for the US troops, however such victory had a high painful price 1. More than 90 Americans were killed and some hundreds were severely wounded. From the enemy side, more than one thousand died and approximately the same amount was held prisoners. Fallujah decreased the operational situation of the Iraqi rebels and enhanced the Marine value, honor, courage and commitment. Fallujah was the deadliest battle of the whole Iraq war against the insurgent forces. The success in the battle of Fallujah was due to the joint strength of the leadership up and down the chain commanded by LTG Natonski. Starting in 2004, Lieutenant General Richard F. Natonski, United States Marine Corps was assigned as the general commander of the Marine division deployed in Iraq. A veteran specialist in war tactics, LTG Natonski led the operations during the bloody battle for Fallujah. Under his command decisive tactical decisions were made which led to the defeat of the insurgents and the definitive retake of the city under enemy control 2. Fallujah was controlled by about 3 thousand to 4 thousand insurgents. While the enemies expected an imminent attack through the south southwest of the city, his experience in tactic suggested to attack by the north side, surrounding the city to avoid any escape. Indeed the fire power of the enemies was heavy. According to the Intel information provided the insurgents were strongly fortified within the city. They prepared tunnels, trenches and a sort of improvised explosive devices, which included, propane bottles, gasoline tanks wired to remote triggers ready to destroy the incoming troops to the city and pilled weapons of all kind and ammunition in a great amount to produce a fiercely resistance to the assault. The streets were blocked and anticipating the elite forces assaults from the roofs of the buildings the enemies prepared set up passages to annihilate the troops that could enter from the roofs. Snipers were deployed in strategic possible access points. Intel also assured the imminent presence of combatants of different nationalities, who joining war tactics would make a really tough landscape for the coalition forces 3. Previous combats against the Iraqi enemies had proven that the coalition was not in position to fight a counter insurgent war, because it was not equipped with the necessary training to deal with anarchy and insurrection, LTG Natonski produced a metamorphosis of the mission to defeat the enemy combatants. Studied these intelligence information LTG Natonski adopted one of the most important tactical measures which balanced the victory to the coalition force. He requested the use of the armored cavalry to ensure the lesser amount of casualties during the entering of the house; cut off the enemy communication, ordered the Marines to split up during clearing houses operations in order to preserve the rearguard, and after the mechanized units broke the defensive perimeter established by the enemy, the next step was the house to house cleaning. In addition Natonski suggested the use of improvised maps made from satellite imageries and the use of Iraqi interpreters to assist them in planning the attacks 4. Constant air strikes and a heavy artillery bombardment preceded the entry of the coalition forces into the...