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At 20 0100 Dec, two UH-1s with 11 paratroopers each from 3-504th PIR expertly landed inside the small fenced yard of the Renacer Prison. With two OH-58s firing at the guard towers to distract them and a landing craft medium (LCM) landing a platoon on the bank of the Canal, the assault was a total surprise. A Cobra began firing 20-mm suppressive fire and the riflemen assaulted through a heavy volume of enemy fire. Almost every weapon present was now being brought to bear against the defenders. Door gunners, SAWs, M-60 machine guns, M-203s, M-16s, and grenades all kept the defenders from hitting a helicopter, a prisoner, or killing a U.S. soldier.


During the assault on Renacer Prison, the soldiers of 3-504th PIR engaged targets with a multitude of weapons and encountered many unfamiliar obstacles. In addition to concertina wire, there were 8- and 10-foot-high chain-link fences. There were steel doors and concrete walls along with iron bars and heavy-duty padlocks. Pressed for time and under heavy fire, soldiers used their organic weapons against these obstacles. They were sometimes dismayed by the results and often were required to try new tactics.


  • Soldiers must conduct destruction/breaching exercises as part of live-fire training. Soldiers should be permitted to actually destroy/breach a realistic target, or portion of it, learning hands-on about the effects of their weapons.

  • Soldiers must learn the effects of different types of interior construction as they employ weapons. Plaster will allow grenade fragments to penetrate adjoining rooms and hallways.

  • Units with building-clearing missions can preconstruct explosive charges with short fuses for employment under fire against locks and hasps.

  • AT-4 has a flatter trajectory and greater blast effect than the LAW, but is heavier and bulkier. The AT-4 does not collapse, so the LAW was preferred for jungle and MOUT operations. The LAW is more easily man-packed for parachute assaults. Commanders must conduct a METT-T analysis to determine which weapon to use.

  • The M-2.50 Caliber Heavy Barrel Machine Gun is an excellent weapon for MOUT operations. The pintle mount allows it to be brought to bear quickly against fleeting targets. Its accuracy and short bursts limit collateral damage and have sufficient firepower to suppress enemy positions.

  • The 90-mm Recoiless Rifle (RR) is effective in MOUT. Its accuracy, short arming distance and ability to punch holes in concrete, as well as cover troops with its fleshette rounds, make it a multipurpose weapon. The modification to shorten the barrel lightens the weapon and makes it more employable in close combat.

  • Use shotguns to clear rooms and hallways.

  • The new M-9 bayonet worked well cutting chain link fence; however, after multiple cuts the rivets on the cutter/sheath began to loosen.

  • The Claymore mine, when used to breach walls and fences, was ineffective.

  • Attach a flashlight to the M16 barrel to illuminate large rooms while clearing.

Table of Contents, Volume II
Fire Support
Aviation Operations

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias