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Operation Iraqi Freedom - March 27
Day Eight

Improved weather conditions on March 27 permitted increased Coalition air operations. In one strike, a B-2 bomber struck a communications facility in Baghdad. A short-range ballistic missile was launched against Coalition installations in Kuwait. The missile was intercepted by Patriot surface to air missiles. Shortly after the launch, U.S. Air Force A-10s destroyed the missle launcher and several other vehicles.

Lead elements of the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized) were approaching Karbala. To the south, other elements of the same division continued to fight Iraqi forces encircled in the city of Najaf. Estimates of Iraqi strength in Najaf ranged from 3000-6000 soldiers and paramilitaries. Airstrikes were directed at the local Baath Party headquarters and other government sites in the city.

To the west, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (1st MEF) was estimated to be 3-4 days behind the schedule of the original war plan. Commanders attributed this delay to a combination of weather conditions and stiff enemy resistance.

In southern Iraq, British forces continued a variety of missions. The Ministry of Defense and the Defense Staff reported that the 3rd Commando Brigade was holding the Al Faw Peninsula, while the 7th Armored Brigade maintained a loose encirclement of Basra. The 16th Air Assault Brigade was securing the Ramaila oil complex. On the morning of the 27th, 14 Challenger 2 MBTs of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards encountered a similar force of T-55s and destroyed 14 of the Iraqi tanks with no friendly losses. Prime Minister Blair accused Iraq of executing two British soldiers.

At Umm Qasr, Royal Australian Navy divers and U.S. Navy forces continued efforts to clear mines from the shipping channel. The arrival of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Sir Galahad was further delayed due to concerns regarding mine threats. Sir Galahad is carrying relief supplies destined for the civilian population of southern Iraq.

In Northern Iraq, Iraqi forces withdrew from the Bani Maqan area, near Kirkuk. Kurdish forces occupied the Iraqi positions without engaging in combat.



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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:25:36 Zulu