'Just like Apocalypse Now'
By Hugh Dougherty in Qatar
March 26, 2003
An eyewitness tells today of the heaviest battle of the war so far which
has left 750 Iraqis dead.
Sean D Naylor of the American Army Times quotes a US soldier describing
the fighting as so intense that "it looks like Apocalypse Now".
Naylor reports the destruction of American tanks, rocket-propelled
grenade assaults and deadly air strikes called in on the Iraqi attackers.
So intense was the fighting that at one stage the 3rd Squadron
commander's driver, Private First Class Randall Duke Newcomb, was forced
to steer his Humvee with one hand while firing out of the window with the
The battle on the Euphrates came when a US armoured column of the 7th
Cavalry was caught in a deadly ambush by hundreds of Iraqi soldiers on
the road to Baghdad at Najaf.
Although first reports suggested there were no American dead,
intelligence sources in Washington say it is feared the Allies may have
taken "heavy casualties".
US Abrams tanks were hit by Iraqi missiles fired from tripods on pick-up
trucks, and vicious close-quarters skirmishes continued even after the
Iraqis took heavy losses. Meanwhile, a large contingent of Republican
Guard was reported to be heading south from Baghdad to meet US troops