This is the real deal, unedited.
Ralph Peters writes about the difficulties of urban combat.
Urban warfare is formidably difficult and dangerous. The utility of our wonder-technologies plummets when we have to fight inside wrecked industrial plants or in the labyrinths of ancient cities. Past a point, the intelligence systems can no longer see. The troops at the tip of the spear engage enemies at short range in abruptly chaotic circumstances. Who lives or dies is decided with rifles, grenades and automatic weapons.
Viewed from a distance, our victory in Fallujah was impressive from the opening round. But the sense of ease we get from 24/7 summaries isn't shared by the Infantrymen fighting their way through a booby-trapped city defended by enemies who seek death as a blessing.
In urban combat, the physical difficulties and psychological stresses soar. There are few clear fields of observation and fire. Everything seems a deadly muddle. The enemy might appear from any angle, in front of you, behind you or on a flank, firing from a window or a rooftop, waiting in a ruin to detonate a booby-trap or popping up from a tunnel or a cellar with a rocket-propelled grenade.
For the Infantry squad — sometimes reduced to a half-dozen members — there's no time-out. Even during pauses to bring up ammunition or water, the danger meter always pegs out. The adrenalin rush of combat alternates with weariness of body and soul. Nerves move outside the skin. All senses intensify.