Surrounded by mountains, and by men who’d like to kill them, the Scouts from Apache Troop, 6/4 Cavalry had one huge advantage in their fight. The Taliban had the high ground, but NATO aircraft owned the highest ground, and COP Lowell’s defenders called on them often.
The most dangerous weapon used against the American defenders at Lowell is the mortar. Insurgent mortar teams position themselves in protected areas behind ridge lines. Lowell’s defenders fire back with their own 120 mm mortar rounds, but often fighter jets equipped with heavy bombs or cannon were needed to hit well protected insurgent positions.
Sometimes, just the sound of jets is enough to cause the insurgents to break off their attack. But the attackers, comprised of a variety of groups allied with either the Taliban or Al Qaeda, are not suicidal. They would not remain in one firing position more that 15 minutes. If they loitered any longer, the insurgents knew NATO jets would be on scene dropping 500lb, or I some instances 2000lb bombs.
Air power does not win a war. The real battle is being fought on the ground for the support of Afghan civilians, but for the outnumbered scouts at Lowell, without the help of armed guardian angels flying above them, they couldn’t even attempt to accomplish their tough mission on the ground.
The attached videos show a 500lb bomb explode at a suspected Taliban target. Later an A-10 attacks with deadly cannon fire. Finally, a 2000lb bomb is dropped in a night attack.