|Battle of Nasiriyah|
|Part of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq|
A USMC Assault Amphibious Vehicle destroyed at Nasiriyah, Iraq, in a mantainance area. April 11, 2003.
|Ba'athist Iraq|| United States
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ali Hassan al-Majid||Richard Natonski|
|Casualties and losses|
|30 dead (1-9 by friendly fire)
6 captured (1 of whom died in captivity)
15 vehicles lost
The Battle of Nasiriyah was fought between the US 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Iraqi forces, from March 23 to April 2, 2003, during the US-led invasion of Iraq. Nasiriyah is a city which lies along the banks of the Euphrates River, in Dhi Qar Province, about 225 miles southeast of Baghdad, with its population being made up almost entirely of Shiite Muslims.
On the night of March 24–25, the bulk of the Marines of Regimental Combat Team 1 passed through the city over the bridges and attacked north towards Baghdad. However fighting continued in the city until 1 April when Iraqi resistance in the city was finally defeated.
The battle 
On the morning of March 23, a US Army supply convoy, from the 507th Maintenance Company, had mistakenly veered off Highway 8 and then turned toward the city into enemy-held territory. All of a sudden the US vehicles ran into an ambush, drawing enemy fire from every direction. As a result, 11 American soldiers were killed and several became prisoners. However, a few soldiers managed to hold off the enemy attack for almost an hour. It was then, that a company from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Task Force Tarawa), under the command of Major William Peeples, rapidly came to assist the ambushed US Army soldiers.
Nasiriyah was the headquarters of the Iraqi Army's 3d Corps, composed of the 11th ID, 51st Mech ID, and 6th Armored Division — all at around 50 percent strength. The 51st operated south covering the oilfields, and the 6th was north near Al Amarah, which left three brigade-sized elements of the 11th ID to guard the An Nasiriyah area.
U.S. Army convoy ambushed 
With the help of two AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, Peeples and his men managed to rescue 10 soldiers of the 507th that were being pinned down by heavy fire, including four who were wounded. However, 11 had already been killed. Others were captured, including Private First Class Jessica D. Lynch, Specialist Shoshana Johnson and Private First Class Lori Piestewa. Having rescued the soldiers, the marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Expeditionary Brigade, launched a vicious attack into Nasiriyah from the south, using armored vehicles and helicopter gunships; during this action, the marines took two bridges spanning over the Euphrates River as they ferociously fought against Fedayeen and Ba’ath Party guerrilla soldiers. The remaining able-bodied troops formed a screen around their wounded and fought off further Iraqi attacks. At 0730, King's three surviving vehicles made contact with the tanks of Major Bill Peeples' Alpha Company, 8th Tank Battalion on Highway 7, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of Nasiriyah. One of Peeples' tankers noticed American vehicles in the road ahead. Peeples ordered his tanks forward to rescue as many soldiers as possible. They rolled up on ten beleaguered soldiers from the five disabled vehicles of the second element of the convoy (known in the official U.S. Army report as Group 2) which had also managed to escape the ambush and set up a defensive perimeter about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of the city. In heavy fighting, several Iraqi platoon-sized units, two ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" anti-aircraft weapons and several mortar and artillery positions were destroyed by a combined force of M1 Abrams tanks, Cobra helicopter gunships and the artillery of 1st Battalion, 10th Marines.
Ambush Alley 
The bloodiest day of the operations for the Marines was also 23 March, when 18 men of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, were killed and eight Amphibious Assault Vehicles disabled in heavy fighting with Iraqi forces around the Saddam Canal. The Marines were engaged by RPGs, mortar and artillery fire, as well as four Iraqi tanks hidden behind a building.
A friendly-fire incident occurred when two A-10s from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard strafed the Amphibious Assault Vehicles of Charlie Company by mistake, killing at least one Marine and perhaps as many as seventeen over the course of multiple passes at the canal and in Ambush Alley proper. An article in Salon magazine puts the friendly-fire death toll at ten.  The A-10 strike was cleared by the battalion's forward air controller, who was with Bravo Company, bogged down on the eastern outskirts of the city and did not have contact with Charlie Company and was unaware that Marines were so far north.
Two other Marines, from the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, Corporal Evans James and Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus drowned while trying to cross the Saddam Canal under fire the following day. A third Marine from the Marine Air Control Group 28 died from hostile fire.
RCT-1 pushes through Ambush Alley 
The advance of Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) through Nasiriyah was delayed by fighting there. On the evening of 24 March, the LAVs of 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (2nd LAR, commanded by Lt. Col. Eddie Ray) pushed north of the Saddam Canal, leading RCT-1 through Ambush Alley. With Apache Company in the lead, 2nd LAR attacked north on Highway 7, coming under fire from a heavily defended compound north of the city. Two anti-aircraft guns protected the approach to the compound. After coming under fire from LAVs, M1A1 tanks, Cobra gunships and artillery, Iraqi resistance subsided and at dusk, 2nd LAR established a perimeter 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Nasiriyah. However, a huge sandstorm rolled in and a force of Iraqi reinforcements coming south from Kut took advantage of the worsening weather to attack the battalion from every direction. Using a combination of direct and indirect fire, as well as close air support, the battalion was able to defeat the Iraqi attack. The last attack was beaten off around dawn and a large number of Iraqi prisoners were taken. The battalion estimated that between 200 and 300 Iraqi soldiers were killed, with no U.S. casualties.
Meanwhile, the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (the "Thundering Third", commanded by Lt. Col. Craparotta) held open Ambush Alley as the rest of RCT-1 passed through Nasiriyah on the night of 24–25 March.
By 27 March, most of the resistance in the city had been subdued and the focus of the battle shifted from full combat to cordon-and-search operations. Small groups of Fedayeen Saddam militia were hiding throughout the city and would launch attacks on Marine patrols with small arms and RPGs. These attacks were uncoordinated and the resulting firefights were lop-sided, with large numbers of militiamen killed.
During the morning of 27 March, two recon Marines found a sunken M1 tank at the bottom of the river. The tank had been missing since the night of March 24–25. Navy Seabees spent two days retrieving the flooded tank and three Marines from the 1st Tank Battalion were found inside.
Iraqi casualties were 359-431 dead. More than 300 were wounded and 1,000 captured. U.S. losses were 32 dead, 60 wounded, and 6 captured.
Private First Class Lynch 
Initial reporting of the battle emphasized the supposed heroism of Private First Class Jessica Lynch. On April 3, The Washington Post ran a front-page story which read: "Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her". The Post quoted an unnamed official who said "She was fighting to the death [...] She did not want to be taken alive."
This description soon came under question. On April 4, the Associated Press ran a story which stated that Lynch's father had heard from the doctors attending her, who said that "she had not been shot or stabbed during her ordeal." April 15, the Post ran a story questioning the accuracy of its own account from April 3, saying "Lynch's story is far more complex and different than those initial reports [...] She was neither shot nor stabbed."
On April 24, Private Lynch testified before Congress. She called the earlier reports a "lie", and said that she had in fact never fired her weapon, because she was knocked unconscious when her vehicle crashed.
Participating units 
- Regimental Combat Team 2
- 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division (Alpha and Charlie Co.)
- 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines
- 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines
- 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines
- 1st Battalion, 10th Marines
- Alpha Company, 2d Reconnaissance Battalion,
- Alpha Company, 8th Communication Battalion,
- 2nd Radio Battalion,
- Combat Service Support Battalion 22 2nd FSSG
- 8th Tank Battalion (Alpha Co.)
- Regimental Combat Team 1
- 1st Marine Division
- 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic
- Marine Aircraft Group 29
- 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit
- 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
- Elements of 507th Maintenance Company (US Army) (including two soldiers from 3rd Combat Support Battalion
- Elements of 183rd Maintenance Company (US Army))
- G Parachute Battery (Mercer's Troop) RHA, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Marine Wing Support Squadron 371
Ba'athist Iraqi forces 
- Iraqi Army 11th Division
- 23rd Brigade
- 45th Brigade
- 47th Brigade
- 21st Tank Regiment (elements)
- Unidentified Commando battalion
- Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary forces
- Al Quds Army
In popular culture 
- The Battle of Nasiriyah is featured in the 2008 HBO miniseries Generation Kill, in episode 2, "The Cradle of Civilization".
- The ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company was re-created at the beginning of the 2003 NBC television film Saving Jessica Lynch. The ongoing Battle of Nasiriyah is the backdrop for the rest of the events of the film.
- Much of playwright and Iraq War veteran Sean Huze’s play The Sandstorm draws on his experiences and those of his comrades during and immediately following their unit’s (2nd LAR) involvement in the Battle of Nasiriyah.
See also 
- Justin LeHew - One of the most highly decorated U.S. military personnel serving in the War on Terror. Recipient of the Navy Cross for his action during the Battle of Nasiriyah in 2003. Recipient of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device for his actions during the Battle of Najaf in 2004.
- Luis Fonseca – A United States Navy Hospital Corpsman, who was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the battle.
- Wages of War -- Appendix 1. Survey of reported Iraqi combatant fatalities in the 2003 war | Commonwealth Institute of Cambridge
- Rohr, Karl. "Fighting Through the Fog of War". Marine Corps Gazette. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2008.[dead link]
- Lowry, p. 143
- Lowry, p. 146
- Connell, R.; Lopez, R.J. (2003-08-26). "Deadly Day for Charlie Company". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 31 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- Deadliest battle of war so far Sarasota Herald-Tribune, from New York Times News Service, March 24, 2003
- Krakauer, Jon, "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman." Doubleday, New York (2009).
- Connell, R.; Lopez, R.J. (26 August 2003). "Deadly Day for Charlie Company". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 31 December 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Lowry, pp.198-199
- DefenseLink News Release: DOD IDENTIFIES MARINE CASUALTIES
- Defenselink News Release: Dod Announces Change In Marine Casualty Status
- Lowry, pp. 308-309,310
- "With the 1st Marine Division in Iraq". USMC. Archived from the original on 10 January 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- Lowry, pp. 312-318
- Ricks, Thomas (5 April 2003). "Key Marine Commander Is Removed; No Explanation Given for Decision". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- Lowry, pp. 354-355
- Lowry, p. 256
- Branigin, William (27 April 2003). "A Brief, Bitter War for Iraq's Military Officers". Washington Post. pp. A25. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- "Jessica Lynch: Media Myth-Making in the Iraq War". Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
- MacAskill, Ewen (25 April 2007). "Rambo image was based on lie, says US war hero Jessica Lynch". London: guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
- Lowry, pp. 395-399
- West, Bing (2003). The March Up. Random House. p. 46. ISBN 1-84413-425-3.
- "Attack on the 507th Maintenance Company". U.S. Army. Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- Lowry, p. 309
- The Iraq war: a military history By Williamson Murray, Robert H. Scales
- U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2003, History and Museums Division, United States Marine Corps, 2006, anthology, page 109
- Marine Artillery in the Battle of An Nasiriyah, Field Artillery November–December 2003, Major Walker M. Field USMC, page 28
- Gregory Fontenot, E. J. Degen, David Tohn, United States Army. Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group (2005). On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Naval Institute Press. p. 139. ISBN 1-59114-279-2.
- Lowry, p.43
- "The battle of an Nasiriyah" (PDF). Marine Corps Gazette 87 (9): 40, 42, 44, 46. September 2003. 411172841. Retrieved 6 January 2009, from Career and Technical Education database.
- Dunfee, David R. (March 2004). "Ambush Alley Revisited" (PDF). Marine Corps Gazette 88 (3): 44–46. 583358751. Retrieved 6 January 2009, from Career and Technical Education database.
- Lowry, Richard S. (2006). Marines in the Garden of Eden: The Battle for An Nasiriyah. Berkley Hardcover. ISBN 0-425-20988-1.
- Livingston, Gary (2004). An Nasiriyah: The Fight for the Bridges. Caisson Press. ISBN 1-928724-04-3.
- Pritchard, Tim (2007). Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War. Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-911-X.
Further reading 
- Feiring, Doug. "Memoirs of the Battle of An Nasiriyah, Iraq". Retrieved 6 January 2009.[dead link]
- Field, Walker M. (Nov-Dec 2003). "Marine Artillery in the Battle of An Nasiriyah" (PDF). Field Artillery: 26–30.
- Snakeberg, Mark K. (Summer 2010). "An Nasiriyah America's First Battle in Operation Iraqi Freedom". Army Historian (United States Army Center of Military History): 33–42.
- Cubas, Romeo P. (September-October 2008). "Integrating Armor into Personnel Recovery Operations". Armor: Counterinsurgency Selected Works: 24–27, 46.