Patrols aim to deter base attacks

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Patrols aim to deter base attacks

Post by Guest on Mon 10 Mar 2008, 5:28 pm

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment have been conducting patrols around the Contingency Operating Base in Basra aimed at deterring rocket and mortar attacks against UK troops stationed there.

The soldiers, from Spearhead Platoon, have been carrying out the patrols to try and discourage militia rocket teams from firing at the base, located just outside Basra City, and home to several thousand UK troops.

In recent weeks rogue militias have been launching rockets and mortars at the base, next to Basra International Airport. And so over the weekend a number of specially trained soldiers from Spearhead Platoon were inserted by helicopter before beginning a 12km foot patrol through the area with the aim of reassuring the local population and deterring the rocket teams.

Spearhead Platoon has soldiers from a variety of backgrounds including reconnaissance as well as snipers. The patrol, described as a counter-IDF (Indirect Fire) patrol, was relatively quiet with little activity or movement to report. Occasional sporadic gunfire could be heard in the distance, although this is not unusual in southern Iraq, often indicating a local celebration or wedding.

At the end of the patrol the soldiers were picked up by helicopter and returned to the base.

When asked about the patrol, one of the soldiers, Sergeant 'Smudge' Smith, said:

"It was a good patrol. The militants did not fire any rockets in the direction of the COB so it was a job well done. It is important to have troops on the ground to prevent rocket attacks, as a deterrent if nothing else."

Spearhead Platoon are four months into a six-month tour of duty in Iraq and are expected to return home to Germany in May 2008.

Provided By: MOD -


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