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Britain/U.K. | Coastal & Littoral | Engineer Units | Middle East - Other | Warfare - Lessons

Front Lines: Fishing for Rocket Launchers

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Catching anything?(click to view full) Having the right capabilities on hand isn’t always a matter of having high-tech, expensive items. A British base near Basra had been coming under attack by rockets fired from the marshes of the nearby Shatt-Al-Arab waterway. Many of the rockets use timers, so anything short of controlling the surrounding area was not going to suffice. In 2007, the attacks on the main Contingency Operating Base peaked at more than 15 each day. Challenger tanks had defeated challenges aong the roads, but they weren’t the answer here. Nor were Britain’s UAVs, whose limited field of view is not a practical or effective way to cover so many square miles. Instead, small “Mark 6” boats that one might use for casual fishing expeditions did the trick, motoring in shallow areas where even the British combat support boat and rigid raider hesitate to cruise. Those larger boats patrol the main channels, while troops were pushed out to austere forward operating bases and used Mark 6 boats for patrols of the waterways and associated islands. Those patrols, and improved Iraqi control of Basra, have combined to drop the number of attacks sharply. UK MoD release.

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