Warplanes: April 9, 2003


U.S. Army AH-64 Apache gunship pilots went into Iraq with the intention of going off on their own and hitting enemy targets far away from friendly troops. This led to a lot of shot up Apaches. Part of this was due to the paucity of targets, but mostly it was due to a lot of Iraqis down their with AK-47s and heavy machine-guns (14.5mm and up). Early actions like this left about 30 Apaches  damaged, and two shot down. But the Apaches were saved by other demands for their services by their own ground troops. Attacks on supply convoys, and combat troops wanting more air support, took the Apaches away from those long range missions. An Apache flying over a supply convoy tended to discourage Iraqi attacks. Combat units were more effective with a few Apaches working with them. These new missions gave the Apaches more targets, and less ground fire directed at them. 


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