Battle of Sangin (2010)

The Battle for Sangin was an extended campaign during the War in Afghanistan. Sangin is considered the bloodiest battleground of Afghanistan by both US and British alike. With both nations suffering the loss of over 100 killed in action, and several hundred moderate to severe casualties. The volatile campaign in the Sangin Valley has been extensively covered in the media by Wall Street Journal,[1] Time, USA Today, and other publications.

Battle for Sangin (2010-2011)
Part of War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)
U.S. Marines from 3/5 India Company in Sangin in October 2010.
Marines from 3/5 India Company in Sangin in October 2010.
DateJuly 2010 – October 2011
  • ISAF–NATO victory
  • Sangin cleared of insurgents


Afghanistan Taliban
Units involved

US Marine battle historyEdit

In September 2010, Liam Fox, the British Secretary of State for Defence, announced that northern Helmand would be transferred to the U. S. Marines; British troops had been in the area since 2006.[2] The British troops withdrew on September 20, 2010, to be replaced by 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines (3/7) which deployed to Helmand province from March 2010 to October 2010. During this deployment, the Marines of 3/7 faced daily attacks and operated in various locations including Musa Qaleh, Marjah, and Sangin.

In Sangin, 3/7 relieved 40 Commando Royal Marines in July 2010 and began clearing operations in some of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, where they began operation "Sangin Sunrise," which cleared all the tree lines that led to the Helmand River. 3/5 relieved 3/7 in October 2010, and began their clearing operations in early October 2010 under the command of Lt Col Jason Morris. They conducted the clearing operations in the Sangin District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of the War in Afghanistan (2001–2021), between September 2010 and April 2011, where they crushed the Taliban forces that had held out for so long against previous units in the area.

Attached to 3/5 was Kilo company of the Third Battalion, Twenty-Fifth Marine Regiment (3/25 Kilo), commanded by Major Alexander Snowden. 3/25 Kilo, along with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Andrew Niebel, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Echo Company, Second Battalion, Ninth Marine Regiment (2/9 Echo), and Naval Corpsman from Regimental Combat Team 2 (RCT2.) These units came to the aid of 3/5 due to the number of casualties; 25 KIA, 184 WIA,[3] sustained during the immediate months in their deployment in Sangin, thus allowing the unit to more effectively clear through Sangin. They were actively in Sangin from October 2010 until April 2011 at which point the unit was relieved by First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment (1/5), which began the second phase (holding phase) of Sangin, returning in October 2011 with 17 KIA, 191 WIA.[3]

Sangin was a region that was primarily shaped, cleared, held, and built (in tactical terms) by the units: (in no specific order) 1/6, 3/7, 2/4 (Fox), 3/5, 3/25, 1/23, 2/8, 2/9, 1/5, 1/7, 2/7, 1st Tanks, 1st/2nd/3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st/2nd/5th ANGLICO, 8th ESB, 7th ESB, 1st CEB, 2nd CEB, 3rd CEB and members of MARSOC/USASOC/NAVSOC (SOTF).

Operation Outlaw WrathEdit

Marines detonate a M58 MICLIC during clearing operations

From November 29 - December 6, Marines from Mobility Assault Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion began a major clearing operation of Route 611 towards the Kajaki Dam, an area which was known by most units to be the most heavily mined area in the region as well as one of the most insurgent-ridden districts in the south. While the CEB Marines cleared the route from the front, Marines from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines provided security, overwatch, and conducted counter-insurgency operations on their left and right flanks. Combat Engineer Marines utilized multiple tools in their arsenal, which predominantly included the M58 MICLIC as well as CEIA CMD Compact mine detectors. At the end of the 8-day operation, Combat Engineers cleared Route 611 of 50 IEDs ultimately improving the mobility of coalition forces throughout the area. A trip that would normally have taken 8 hours or more was now able to be completed in 18 minutes.[4][5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Phillips, Michael M. (2010-09-04). "A Chaplain and an Atheist Go to War". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  2. ^ "UK troops leave Helmand's Sangin". BBC News, 2010-09-20.
  3. ^ a b Perry, Tony (5 November 2011). "Camp Pendleton remembers, mourns 17 Marines killed in Afghanistan". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "Camp Pendleton Marines destroy more than 50 IEDs in Afghanistan". 13 December 2010.
  5. ^ "In Afghanistan's south, signs of progress in three districts signal a shift - The Washington Post".