Since moving into a new outpost on July 8, 2008, they had struggled with shortages of water, fuel, food and heavy machinery to help defend against an enemy attack that they believed would eventually come. Lacking excavating equipment, the troops dug fortifications by scraping the rocky soil with spades and bare hands.
Then on July 12, headquarters commanders diverted drones — remotely operated planes outfitted with cameras to spot enemy movements — to another area. Pry argued so hard to undo that decision that he said he breached professional etiquette. Still, he was unsuccessful."
"We had no support from brigade, division or theater level assets at the time," Pry told Army historians in a study obtained by The Seattle Times.
That study, written by historian Douglas Cubbison of the U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., documented missteps that preceded some of the bloodiest combat to date for American troops in the Afghanistan war.
Early in the morning of July 13, the outpost at the village of Wanat came under assault from some 200 enemy troops. The attack claimed the lives of nine Army soldiers — including Cpl. Jason Bogar, 25, of Seattle — and wounded 27 others, precipitating the withdrawal of U.S. troops from a valley in eastern Afghanistan.
The 254-page unreleased study challenges the Army's official battle investigation, which had concluded that leaders displayed "sound military analysis" and that no blame could be placed on commanders.
Cubbison noted suspect decisions by commanders, who allowed an understaffed platoon to plant itself in hostile territory without adequate support.
In the Wanat battle study, Cubbison concluded that:
-- No senior commander visited Wanat before establishing it as an outpost, and it was "highly questionable" whether these commanders exercised due diligence when they ordered a platoon to move there.
-- The lack of heavy equipment to fortify defenses and the lack of intelligence support directly contributed to the casualties suffered last July 13....
[bth: worth reading in full. A total breakdown of support from senior officers less to this near disaster. Further a terrible loss of brave airborne troopers for a valley we evacuated the next week and now rests firmly in Taliban hands. This had no strategic importance evidently so why put them there in the first place? Read the article in full. Note the lack of support for this unit at every level. Also note the lack of responsiveness even with the enemy known to be massing for an attack. Where was the fucking helicopters, the artillery, the drones as the enemy massed for attack? ... So the reason this is even being investigated is because the brave and now dead lieutenant's father was a retired colonel is pressing the matter. Yet no one will be held to account. Its been a year now. The two responsible senior officers have been promoted and moved on. Who will stand up for the enlisted personnel who bravely fought this battle and lie in graves and hospitals? I've followed this closely from the beginning and think I've read every public document on the subject. These soldiers were screwed by their senior officers who were derelict in their duty. That is my conclusion. Now will something happen or not?]