The Top 10 Iraq War Battles

When we consider the battles in any war, they all have their importance. It can be difficult trying to put an order of importance. Often, we hear of certain battles in news programs mainly because of the death or capture of certain individuals. There are other battles that hold huge importance, but are not publicized.

In today’s post, I am going to offer my opinion on the top 10 Iraq War Battles. Your opinion may differ. Feel free to offer your take on the top 10 Iraq War Battles in the comment area at the end of this post.

Here is what I feel are the Top 10 Iraq War Battles:

#10: Battle Of Haditha

On the 1st day of August in 2005, a 6 man Marine sniper team were attacked on the edge of the town of Haditha. 5 of the Marines were killed and the other was displayed in inhuman ways. They then killed the 6th Marine. A video emerged on the internet, and the insurgents claimed they cut the throats of some of the soldiers. 1,000 Marines converged on Haditha. The fighting was fierce, and was house to house. The Americans had 21 killed and 1 wounded. The insurgents death count was approximately 40. In 2006, 8 Iraqis were tried for killing the 6 Marines. They were found guilty and executed.

#9: Battle Of Najaf

On August 5th in 2004, the Mahdi Army first attacked an Iraqi Police station. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Force had taken operational control of the An Najaf and the Al Qadisiyyah provinces just days before. The Marines sent a reaction force unit to Najaf. The Mahdi Army began firing mortars and machine guns at the Marines from Wadi us Salaam, which is the largest Muslim cemetery in the Middle East. It has many tunnels and underground hiding places. The battle was similar to the Vietnam tunnel fights. The Marines fought on, but a Marine helicopter was shot down, and other Marines were killed in street fighting. The Army sent 3 units into the battle. The battle was fierce until August 27th when the Mahdi Army gave up their weapons, but were allowed to leave.

#8: Battle Of Abu Ghraib

Abu Gharib was the location of a military prison in Iraq. Insurgents who were captured were kept in its confines. On April 2nd of 2005, an attack of great proportions came against the prison. In a well planned operation, the insurgents blocked supply routes and attacked installations that could send air support. Approximately 120 insurgents began a methodical attack on the prison with mortars and IEDs within vehicles. Some insurgents within the prison managed to break out of their primary barrier, but SPC McClellan was able to contain them. The units that successfully defended the prison were:

  • 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines

  • 306th Military Police Battalion

  • 119th Field Artillery of the Michigan ARNG

  • 623rd Field Artillery of the Kentucky ARNG

  • 524th Military Intelligence Battalion

  • 111th Field Artillery of the Virginia ARNG

  • 115th Combat Support Hospital

  • and the USAF 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron

#7: Battle Of Karbala

Upon invading Iraq in 2003, military forces skipped Karbala on their way to Baghdad. After the successful capture of Baghdad, certain troops had to return to Karbala to clear it. The units that were involved in this battle that lasted from March 23rd until April 6th of 2003 were the 101st Airborne, the 1st Armored and the 3rd Infantry. The United States gained victory, but with losses. Approximately 20 soldiers were killed. A M1 Abrams tank was stopped, a M2A2 Bradley was destroyed, a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down along with a Navy F 18.

#6: Battle Of Mosul

At the same time a battle was ensuing in Fallujah, many insurgents were leaving that region and making their way to Mosul. In November of 2004, insurgents planned to overtake the city of Mosul. Several units of soldiers found themselves in heavy firefights with these insurgents. Iraqi forces seemed to be an added stress during this conflict as many of them deserted their posts. The battle lasted for 8 days and there was many casualties. Essentially, it was determined to be a stalemate as there were still many insurgents left throughout the city.

#5: The 1st Battle Of Fallujah

Fallujah was a city that held a strong pro-Saddam element. It became even more evident when private contractors from Blackwater were attacked and killed on March 31st of 2004. During that same period, several soldiers were killed in a protest against the American involvement. It was time to rid the city of these insurgents. From April 4th to May 1st of 2004, many military units launched operations in Fallujah to rid the insurgents. The battle was mighty with approximately 27 killed on the United States side and around 200 insurgents killed. Many claim this action was also a stalemate.

#4: The 2nd Battle Of Fallujah

This was the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War. It was authorized by the interim Iraqi Government to rid the “bad apples” from this city. From the 7th of November to the 23rd of December, American troops numbering over 10,000. British troops numbering around 850 and Iraq security forces descended upon Fallujah with all their might. In a decisive victory against the insurgents, coalition forces suffered over 100 deaths and insurgents had over 1,000 killed and about 1,500 captured.

#3: Battle Of Nasiriyah

During the invasion of Iraq, a United States convoy was ambushed near Nasiriyah on the banks of the Euphrates river. More ambushes occurred, and coalition leaders realized the elements doing these attacks were “holed up” in Nasiriyah. The battle lasted from March 23rd to March 29th of 2003, and this was the time when the convoy carrying Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch were ambushed, and the 2 were taken prisoner.

#2: Battle Of Ramadi

Ramadi was to be the location of the insurgent backed Iraq government, but the coalition could not allow this. Ramadi had to be cleansed. From June 17th until November 15th of 2006, coalition forces along with the new Iraqi Army battled throughout Ramadi. Insurgents used chlorine bombs that caused much damage. Many say that the insurgents had the upper hand at Ramadi, but estimates say there were over 700 insurgents killed in that battle.

#1: Battle Of Baghdad

This battle was a part of the original invasion in 2003. To be very honest, the battle was not the most difficult, but it was probably the most important. Without taking the Capital and showing Saddam and his forces who was the most powerful. After all, who can forget that news of the statue of Saddam being pulled down.

Final Thoughts

This is my opinion of the top 10 battles of the Iraq War. What do you think? Please provide your comments, or any questions below. Thank you to all who served in Iraq.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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