Thunder Run

Thunder Run

The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad

Book - 2004
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"Thunder Run is the story of the bold assault on Baghdad by the Spartan Brigade of the Third Infantry Division. It was one of the most decisive battles in American combat history, and the biggest armored battle involving American troops since the Vietnam War. With fewer than a thousand men, and facing Iraqi forces dug into bunkers and buildings, the brigade punched a hole through the heart of Baghdad with a high-speed charge to Saddam Hussein's Presidential Palace and Republican Guard headquarters. Many Iraqi soldiers fled or surrendered during the onslaught, but significant numbers stood and fought. Iraqi forces destroyed the brigade's command center, cutting off communications and burning a fleet of signal vehicles. The Iraqis also ambushed the brigade's resupply column, inflicting dozens of casualties and setting fuel and ammunition tankers ablaze in an attack that nearly cut off the main assault column. And even as it appeared that the brigade was seizing control of the capital on the battle's second day, a fierce counterattack across the Tigris River trapped an American company under withering fire and forced a retreat. This is more than just a book about a single battle. It's a candid account of how soldiers respond under fire and stress, and how human frailties are magnified in a war zone. Many Americans believe that Baghdad was taken with a minimum of effort. But for the Spartan Brigade it was a brutal and terrifying three days of urban warfare. The product of dozens of interviews of commanders and men from the Spartan Brigade, and with a foreword from best-selling author Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo), Thunder Run is a riveting firsthand account of how a single armored brigade of fewer than a thousand men was able to capture an Arab capital defended by one of the world's largest armies. Some of the men thought their commander was dead. Capt. Phillip Wolford was slumped behind the turret of his tank, his head sagging, a thin rivulet of blood staining his neck. Wolford's tank column had been ambushed near the Jumhuriya Bridge on the west bank of the Tigris River in central Baghdad. It was April 8, the second day of the battle for Baghdad, and things were going poorly for Wolford and the men of Assassin Company. The crews within sight of Wolford's tank saw the blood on their captain's neck and feared the worst. Then the men of Assassin Company did something odd: They stopped fighting. Everyone looked up from their weapons and wondered: What happened to the CO? Finally Wolford's ammo loader spoke up. ""Sir?"" he said. ""You're bleeding."" The captain had not been hit by a bullet. An AK-47 round had struck a shell casing spit out by the machine gun Wolford had been firing. The casing had ricocheted and pierced his neck, briefly knocking him unconscious. Now his head was clearing. He stood up behind the turret. ""I'm OK! I'm OK!"" he shouted. As suddenly as they had stopped, his men began firing again. But they had lost the advantage. Vehicles were still speeding across the bridge, unloading more Iraqi fighters. Motorboats and fishing vessels were slipping into the river from the east bank, ferrying men and ammunition. Wolford feared his company would be overrun. He lacked the firepower to fight off the enemy, and he didn't know how many more Iraqi reinforcements were on the way. He made a snap decision: Assassin Company was retreating."
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, c2004.
ISBN: 9780871139115
Characteristics: xiii, 352 p. :,maps ;,24 cm.


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Mar 12, 2013

A book I thoroughly enjoyed describing the events late in the 2003 Iraqi war when the Third ID would charge through the streets of the surrounded capitol of Bagdad and take on all comers. Not exactly a fair fight and a young major decided on one of these thunder runs to just stay in one of Saddam's many palaces. A great read that was a real page turner IMO.

Mar 08, 2013

A great book describing in spectacular detail when US armored units charged through the streets of Bagdad when the city was surrounded. Highly recommended!

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