Monday had been wet and chilly. On Tuesday the weather dried out about mid-morning only to be replaced by high winds and a Shamal (dust storm) that obscured the battlefield for the Iraqis but not for the Regiment’ s thermal sights and laser range-finders.
The Regiment, now moving due east, advanced to the 60 Easting line with three squadrons abreast: First Squadron picked up a zone in the south, Third Squadron now moved in the Regimental center. A tank fight developed along the front as 2/2 and 3/2 fixed and destroyed T72′ s which turned out to be security forces of the Tawakalna Division of the Republican Guard. First Squadron met and fought elements of the enemy 12th Armored Division at about the same time. Other Iraqi forces fleeing north out of the 1AD (UK) zone crossed into First Squadron’ s path and were also destroyed.
The Regiment reported that it had reached the enemy’ s main defense and got orders to reconnoiter forward to the 70 north-south line. The Corps Commander also directed the Regiment to be prepared to pass the First Infantry Division through its cover later in the afternoon to continue the attack to the East. Low visibility characterized the development of the Battle on the 73 Easting. With 3d Armored Division moving up on the Regimental right (north) and 1st Infantry Division marching up from the penetration area, the Regiment reconned forward in blowing sand. Weather prevented 4/2 and CAS from playing a prominent role early; in fact, Eagle Troop made hard contact with an enemy mechanized company with no warning from air scouts.
As weather improved, however, attack helicopters and Air Force CAS joined a widening fight. Eagle, Ghost, Iron, Killer, Bull and Apache all made contact with the Tawalkana’ s defenses as they reached the 70 Easting around 1400. Meanwhile the Air Force ran CAS missions ten kilometers to the Regiment’ s front but also brought their fires to within three kilometers of friendly positions. BDA showed a high number of kills on tanks, artillery, and other armored vehicles. Altogether, the 26th was a very successful day for the Dragoon Battle Group and the Air Force; The M1A1 Abrams main battle tank proved itself superbly in the action. Iron Troop, led by CPT Miller, accounted for 16 Iraqi tanks. Some gunners reported being able to engage successfully at long ranges, and Iraqi EPWs later confirmed the Regiment’ s gunnery skills. The Iraqis reported they could hear our tanks but couldn’ t see them or know they were under fire until the turret of the T-72 next to them was blown off by a 120mm “Super Sabot” round.
Indirect fire also played an important role during these battles. The 6-41 FA with OPCON of 2d Howitzer Battery, fired over 2,000 rounds. This fire destroyed or stopped retreating Iraqi forces and destroyed a logistics site beyond the reach of direct fire weapons. The Battle on the 73 Easting ran through the afternoon and into the night. Coordination for passage of the 1st Infantry Division occurred simultaneously. When the division passed, beginning at 2200, the battle had subsided. But burning enemy vehicles lit the area east of the squadrons. A battalion commander of the Big Red One later gave a vivid account of moving past a grimy, fired-up cavalry scout who gave him an excited, accurate, and somewhat obscene report of the shattered enemy to his front.
The Support Squadron followed the movement throughout the day and ran into a little late excitement of its own. This came in the form of a bypassed enemy element (10 MT-LBs) which ran into the RSS flank. Major Moreau maneuvered MPs and the ORF platoon of M1s against the threat as Dragoon 6 ordered Redcatcher’ s Cobras and Scouts to the rescue. The Support Squadron broke contact as Quickstrike Troop arrived, but not before killing several MT-LBs. The ORF platoon of MIAls, led by 2LT Kirkland gave an especially good account of itself during this action, given that it had been formed only ten days earlier.
The 1st Infantry Division completed its passage at 0200 hours and continued the attack to the east. Upon completion of the passage, 210th Brigade became direct support to Danger and the Regiment became the Corps reserve.