This story was very interesting to me. Read it for yourself though. Here I talk about my own take on things.
An ‘L’ ambush. Well designed and executed by the Taliban in the Korengal valley, Afghanistan. An ambush is THE most devastating attack in any infantry unit’s repertoire, and an ‘L’ ambush is the best of the ambushes. This is because of the shape.
An L ambush is just what it sounds like. You pick a bend in the road and set up your main ambushing element along one side of the road before the bend and then another element AT the bend where they can shoot ALONG the section of road your first element will be shooting into. Usually you put your machine gun at the bend and open the ambush with that since it’s the ‘most casualty producing’ weapon.
Getting caught in this kind of ambush was absolutely crappy for Sgt. Giunta’s unit. And it’s almost impossible to avoid. Ambushes are hard to detect, and even harder to survive. The only response to being ambushed that has any hope of success is to immediately turn and rush your attackers, hoping to get in among them and start killing them back before you’re all dead. An ‘L’ makes this response tactic even less effective than it already is (I mean seriously, rushing into to the teeth of the enemy’s guns is the best you can come up with? Yes it is.) because no matter which of the two elements you choose to rush, there are still guys in the other shooting into your flank. Wicked awful. Entire patrols get wiped out like this.
Except, apparently, when it’s the Taliban ambushing Americans. The CBS account of the ambush is harrowing to read. Miserable. It leaves the impression that the Taliban kicked American butt. But you have to realize that if it had been Americans doing the ambushing, everybody would have been dead. EVERYBODY… except those the Americans wanted to take prisoner.
The truth is that the Taliban ambush was surprisingly ineffective. But you have to know something about the subject to realize it.
I mourn for those killed and wounded in this ambush, as with every action where my brothers are hurt or killed. Sgt. Giunta’s actions were heroic. That he believes every one of his comrades on that patrol would have done the same for him only speaks to the caliber of the American fighting man; it doesn’t lessen his actions.