One of the most important tools for this battle comes from the garden shed: sledgehammers. On Wednesday, marines punched "mouseholes," just big enough for gun barrels, in the brick walls of the homes they occupied. They also smashed windows to scatter shards of glass across the front steps.
"It's an early warning system," Capt. Shannon Johnson explained, as he crunched noisily across the glass, "something the old guys taught us."
Nearby, a squad of young men with crewcuts swung heavy hammers under a punishing sun. They were knocking down the low walls along the rooftops so they could move on catwalks from roof to roof.
"This is classic urban warfare," said Maj. Gen. Jim Mattis, commander of the First Marine Division. "It's all the stuff World War II taught us, along with Korea, Vietnam and Somalia. People will be studying Falluja for years to come."
April 15, 2004
"Classic urban warfare." Jeffrey Gettleman writes a brilliant account, in today's NYT, of brilliantly successful urban warfare in Falluja. An excerpt: