Battle of Shewan

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Battle of Shewan
Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Airstrike Shewan Farah province.jpg
Airstrike in Shewan during the battle.
DateAugust 8, 2008
Location
Result US victory.
Belligerents
 United States Afghanistan Taliban
Strength
30 US Marines 250-350 insurgents
Casualties and losses
2 injured 150+ killed (US claim)[1]

The Battle of Shewan was a military engagement between Coalition forces and Taliban insurgents that took place on August 8, 2008, near the village of Shewan in Farah Province, Afghanistan.

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.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Planning[edit]

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.

The battle[edit]

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. Taliban fighters fired volleys of RPGs at the Force Recon platoon from the treeline and destroyed one vehicle, wounding the crew members inside.[8] Golf 2 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. Golf 2 attacked the Taliban positions with their fires, but the Taliban RPG machine gun fire intensified despite the pressure on the Taliban fighting positions.

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. A section of F-15s from the 494th Fighter Squadron 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. The F-15 section checked off station and were replaced by a Rockwell B-1 Lancer from the 34th Bomb Squadron. The B-1 dropped three more airstrikes into the trench system, but the Taliban continued to fight. The Force Recon platoon, reinforced by a squad from Golf 2, led a trench assault on the eastern portion of the Taliban fighting positions.[9]

Several hours into the fight, convoys of vehicles carrying an estimated 100 Taliban reinforcements with weapons and supplies arrived in the city.[10] The Marines attacked the vehicles and their occupants, and fired another volley of mortars and airstrikes as the Force Recon Platoon (reinforce) continued to assault their way into the Taliban fighting positions.[11] 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 Golf 2 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 8 hours.[12] No Marines were killed, and over 50 Taliban soldiers were killed.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lowe, Christian (December 3, 2008). "Marines Prevailed in a Day of Battle". Military.com. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  2. ^ Mercure, James. "MARINES' HEROIC ACTIONS AT SHEWAN LEAVE MORE THAN 50 INSURGENTS DEAD, SEVERAL WOUNDED". www.marines.mil.
  3. ^ Malkasian, Carter. "The Navy Cross brings respect — and burdens — to the 34 Marines who have earned it". Center of Naval Analysis.
  4. ^ Lamothe, Dan. "The Navy Cross brings respect — and burdens — to the 34 Marines who have earned it".
  5. ^ Steele, Jeanette (July 10, 2011). "Belated honors for Marines in fierce battle".
  6. ^ Mabus, Ray. (PDF) http://www.navy.mil/navydata/people/secnav/Mabus/Speech/Blonder%20Navy%20Cross10May10%20final.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Stetz, Michael (August 5, 2009). "Let us not overlook the Battle of Shewan".
  8. ^ United States Marine Corps Central Command. (n.d.-b). Franklin Simmons - Silver Star Citation -. The Hall of Valor Project. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/69525
  9. ^ United States Marine Corps Central Command. (n.d.-a). Byron Owen - Silver Star Citation -. The Hall of Valor Project. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/69528
  10. ^ Meyerle, J., & Malkasian, C. (2009, September). Insurgent Tactics in Southern Afghanistan. Center for Naval Analysis. https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB370/docs/Document%205.pdf
  11. ^ United States Marine Corps Central Command. (n.d.). GySgt Brian Blonder - Navy Cross Citation -. The Hall of Valor Project. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/6009
  12. ^ United States Marine Corps Central Command. (n.d.-a). Byron Owen - Silver Star Citation -. The Hall of Valor Project. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/69528
  13. ^ Headquarter Marine Corps. (2011, May 13). Recon Marine awarded Navy Cross for thriving in heavy combat. United States Marine Corps Public Affairs. https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/News/News-Article-Display/Article/553010/recon-marine-awarded-navy-cross-for-thriving-in-heavy-combat/

Coordinates: 32°37′30″N 62°29′17″E / 32.6250°N 62.4881°E / 32.6250; 62.4881