Sunday, October 23, 2005

Colonel quits as troops are denied armoured land rovers in Iraq

THE commanding officer of a battalion serving in Iraq has resigned after failing to obtain armoured Land Rovers for his patrols.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Henderson, commander of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, is understood to have been furious last week after one of his senior sergeants died as a direct result of the failure to supply “armour protected” Land Rovers for his men, defence sources said.

Sergeant Christian Hickey was killed when his vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb on patrol in Basra late on Tuesday night.

The Ministry of Defence says frontline troops cannot have the armoured Land Rovers because they are not unsuitable for use off-road, but six weeks ago Britain supplied a number of the vehicles to Iraqi police in Basra.

British troops are equipped with the “snatch vehicle”, a Land Rover protected by composite fibre glass designed to stop rifle fire. One senior source who has recently been in Iraq said: “They [the insurgents] have weapons that go right through the composite.”

The source added that British troops were now using tanks or convoys of up to 12 Warrior armoured vehicles to mount patrols with some areas deemed too dangerous to be patrolled at all. “We’re in survival mode right now, we can’t do anything at all,” he said.

The Ministry of Defence insisted that Henderson, 43, decided some time ago to leave but news of his resignation comes amid growing anger among senior officers.

Commanders recently asked for two extra battalions totalling around 1,200 men to help them regain control of Basra but claim the request was denied on political grounds. Instead they were sent one company of fewer than 200 men from the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

Colonel quits as troops are denied armoured land rovers in Iraq - Sunday Times - Times Online

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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