Mr Denmark's Iraq Page

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Al Faw ( 2004 )

In 2004 the Danish AOR was exspanded twice. The first time, we got control of the entire area from Basra, to just south of Al Amarah. The second time, we got area along the entire Kuwaiti border, the entire area around Basra and the Al Faw peninsula

Mosque in Al Faw
Al Faw itself is a small fishing village on the southern tip of the peninsula. It has wide streets and an old fishing harbor. I also has several mosques around the city. Some old and neglected others almost brand new..
On patrol in Al Faw
The city itself definetly has charme. But the area around it is the closest thing to hell on earth, I have ever been. It's scattered with metal from old oilfacilities. It has been an active war zone for more than 20 years. It was invaded by the Iranians in the Iran/Iraq war. And the place has extremely high humidity. At night everything gets wet. So you have to maintain your rifle and equipment several times a night, if you are outsite.
Then the fog roles in making driving almost imposible. On a patrol the fog was so dense, the only thing I could steer after was the red/white curb on my left. You couldn't even see 3 metres infront of you!
Because the city lies next to the Shatt Al Arab river, there's also marshes and small fields in the area, making it ideal for the mosqitoes.
But duing the day it's okay and the people are nice and friendly.

My Buddy riding "shotgun"
The Shatt Al Arab works as the border between Iran and Iraq in this part of the country. And to no big surprise the Iranian doesn't like Americans/westerners very much. This has made them put up a huge sign next to the river, visable to everybody travelling up the river to Basra, or the ports, just south of Abu Al Kazim. The sign says: "America can't do a damn thing".

We talked about sailing overthere at night and blow up the sign, or shoot it with an AT4. But that would proberbly cause more problems than it was worth. Still, within a couble of years, we will hopefully make them regret their stupidity!

Sign on the Iranian side

Traces of War
BMP in the outskirts of Al Qurna

When driving around you are constantly reminded that this has been a war zone for more than 20 years... Armored vehicles are scattered all arcross the desert.

T54 close to the Kuwaiti border
Especially in the areas around the Iranian border you'll find old helmets and burned boots. You don't run into corpses very often since the desert is cravling with stray dogs. But old bones do show up from time to time.

ZSU 23-4 Shilka

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Basra ( 2003-2004 )
Basra City Gate

Basra City is not a part of the Danish AOR, but the Danish AOR surrounds it. So we didn't patrol or conduted operations in it. But when driving south from Al Qurna or north from Al Faw you had two options:

1. Highway 6 - from the the City of Al Faw and all the way up to Baghdad. Running trough populated areas and cities like Basra and Al Qurna. Following the Shatt Al Arab and Tigris river most of the way.

2. An old dusty road running trough the desert. With nothing to look at except for oilpumps and old bombed bridges. This road took almost double the time as Highway 6, but was considered much safer.

Road sign in Basra Int. Airport

From time to time we conducted helicopter patrols with the British and Iraqi Forces. And while these patrols was mainly about protecting oil pipes and oil facilities and making MCP's ( Mobile Check Points ) we did sometimes fly in over Basra as we also served as Airborne Infantry - providing back up for the groundforces.

Basra from the air

The mood in Basra was a little more anti coalition forces, than in the rest of the south. And the British forces ( in control of Basra ) did see a lot of action in and around the city. Especially because of Muqtada al Sad'r ( son of a well known and loved Shiite Imam ). Sad'r and his Mahdi militia has several times attacked Brtitish, Danish and Iraqi forces. Resulting in many of his men killed. So they started to make IEDs ( Improvised Explosive Device ). And to this day, this is one of the greatest threats facing forces in and around Basra.

But you will also here regually see tribal fights and murders. Right after the war, members of the Baath party was prime targets by the locals ( seeking revenge after so many years of suffering ).

Saddam Hussein monument in Basra

After the Gulf War Shiites in the south rebelled against Saddam Hussein. But were survirly punished when their rebellion failed.

Saddam ordered thousands killed and started to drain the marches in the area. Taking away the livelihood of millions. Luckely he didn't have the courage to use poisonous gas as he did in the north.

In 2004 we took a lot of 107mm rocket attacks on our bases at Shaibah and Basra Airport. And a Danish patrol had a really close call with and IED, but all survived!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Al Qurna Area ( 2003-2004 )

Me on guard outside of the Cimic-house in Al Qurna.

Al Qurna is situated between Basra and Al Amarah. Right where the Tigris and the Eufratees meets... It is said to have been the location of the Garden of Eden... To this day there's still a small park and an old tree said to be the "Tree of Knowledge".

Tree of Knowledge?

Al Qurna was the biggest city in the first AOR the Danish forces recived... Today the Danish AOR cowers the entire Southern Iraq except Basra... We even have British Forces under Danish control.

Al Qurna

Most of the population in Southern Iraq is shiite, so we didn't have too many problems in 2003. Some RPG attacks and "spray and pray" Ak attacks. But most of the fighting in the Al Qurna Area was tribal fights and crime related. We still had to look out for ex-Baath Party members. And we did encounter some foreign fighters from Syria.. But by early 2004 the Al Qurna area was under control...

Mr Denmark in Iraq

I served 2 tours, as a MG62 Machine Gunner, in Southern Iraq in the Danish Mechaniced Infantry ( Mech-Inf Coy ) And to be hournest, I had a great time!

Pictures from my first tour ( DanCon Iraq 2 ) 2003-2004

Pictures from my second tour ( DanCon Iraq 4 ) 2004-2005