Battle of Shewan
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|Battle of Shewan|
|Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)|
Airstrike in Shewan during the battle.
|United States||Taliban insurgents|
|30 US Marines||250-350|
|Casualties and losses|
|2 injured||150+ killed (US claim)|
On August 8, 2008, elements from 2nd platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion 7th Marines, and 2nd Platoon, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, conducted a deliberate clear of the village of Shewan. After approximately eight hours of heavy combat, the coalition marines defeated approximately 250-350 Taliban fighters.
The leaders in 2nd platoon and the reconnaissance unit attached to them had been planning the assault on Shewan for several weeks. It was delayed on 6 August, and approved on 7 August. The Marines departed in the early hours of the morning on 8 August in two different sections, the Recon Marines heading down Route 517, and 2nd Platoon around Saffarak Mountain.
Golf 2 circled around Saffarak Mountain and set up a blocking position from the North, while Recon traveled up Highway 517 directly into Shewan, and then dismounted and entered the city on foot. Golf 2 took a position to the north of the city with the 81 mm mortar team to provide support for Recon, and served as a quick reaction force (QRF). Golf 2 was receiving reports from the ANP that there was movement to their north, and many policemen began firing nervously into the trees in front of them. 1st Recon began taking heavy small arms and RPG fire on the outskirts of Shewan from fortified trench lines and bunkers around the city. Their vehicles were targeted by a volley of RPGs, and a Humvee was disabled and caught fire. The crew suffered minor shrapnel wounds and the other Marines returned fire and went to assist the injured, removing them from the vehicle. 2nd Platoon got back into their trucks and traveled quickly through the countryside to aid Recon.
Taking cover in trenches and in their vehicles, the Recon Marines took heavy machine gun and RPG fire. By this time, hundreds of Taliban soldiers were taking positions in buildings and behind trees. Over a period of five to ten minutes at least 15 RPGs were fired from the treeline as Recon awaited Golf 2's arrival. 2nd Platoon pulled out onto the 517 and headed east at high speed, with smoke from the burning Humvee visible. The coalition convoy pulled off the road on line and sped towards the berm that ran parallel to the city, firing their crew-served weapons at the Taliban positions. At this time, the Taliban soldiers began firing 82mm mortar rounds at the coalition marines as they approached the city. The marines halted behind the berm and dismounted, continuing to return fire into the city. The 2nd Platoon then attacked the Taliban positions and engaged in trench clearing and close combat. Despite the pressure on the Taliban positions, the Taliban RPG and machine gun fire intensified. It was estimated that by the end of the fight, over a hundred RPGs had been fired at the Marines.
By this time the attached coalition 81 mm mortar crew began firing volleys into the trenchlines from targets called in by their Forward Observer. The mortars suppressed the Taliban fire until air support came on station. F-18s strafed the Taliban positions with their cannons, and then dropped a series of 2000 lb bombs. Despite numerous airstrikes, the Taliban continued to fight, utilizing their fortified positions to shield them from the airstrikes. They continued to fire mortar and RPG at the marines. Three more airstrikes were dropped into the city, but the Taliban continued to fight.
Several hours into the fight, convoys of vehicles carrying an estimated 100 Taliban reinforcements with weapons and supplies arrived in the city. The Marines attacked the vehicles and their occupants, and another volley of mortars and airstrikes were fired. The Taliban were sustaining heavy casualties, and began to retreat into the buildings to hide from the coalition fire. More air attacks were fired on the buildings, though the Taliban fire was beginning to slow down, and the Marines were now only receiving sporadic mortar fire. The coalition spotted a Taliban mortar team operating in the mountains, and an 81 mm mortar strike was called onto their position, killing them. The Marines fell back and set up a perimeter around the buildings, cutting off the Taliban completely, and continued to engage Taliban fighters with their crew served weapons. Another bombing run destroyed the damaged Humvee while Marines prepared to disengage. During the lull in the fighting, the remaining Taliban fighters attempted to retreat into the mountains, but 2nd Platoon killed them before they were able to reach the safety of the rocks. The battle was the longest of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines deployment, lasting over 16 hours. No Marines were killed, and an estimated 150 Taliban soldiers were killed.
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