Intersection of ROUTES JACKSON (Highway 1) and BLUE (Highway 8)
Unable to communicate with the 3d FSB, CPT King attempted to catch up with the 3d FSB main convoy by deciding to take the most direct route ( a straight line azimuth) to Highway 8. This route proved to be extremely difficult, over rough terrain, once again resulting in vehicles becoming bogged down in the sand. It took the unit five hours to reach Highway 8 [ROUTE BLUE] about 15 kilometers away. At this point, 42 hours had passed since the 507th had departed ATTACK POSITION DAWSON. Except for a 10-hour stop at DAWSON, the 507th had been continuously moving. Most Soldiers had slept only a few hours since the morning of the 20th and were in their second consecutive night of movement.
After traveling west on Highway 8, the convoy reached the intersection with Highway 1, ROUTE JACKSON, the assigned route for 3d FSB. The road on which ROUTE JACKSON was designated led southwest of An Nasiriyah, eventually intersecting again with ROUTE BLUE, east of OBJECTIVE RAMS. The initial entrance to ROUTE JACKSON required a left turn at this intersection, where a manned Traffic Control Point (TCP) was planned to direct traffic. When the convoy arrived at this intersection, U.S. personnel were present, but by this time there was no formal TCP. CPT King states that the personnel that were present confirmed that BLUE continued North. Believing ROUTE BLUE was his assigned route, CPT King led his convoy through the intersection and headed north on Highway 8, towards An Nasiriyah in the general direction indicated by his GPS receiver – the waypoint west of An Nasiriyah.
At about 0530 hours, the convoy stopped when CPT King saw lights ahead, which he believed to be an industrial complex or an oil refinery. He conferred with 1SG Dowdy and decided to continue. At an intersection south of An Nasiriyah, Highway 8--ROUTE BLUE-- turned west, requiring a left turn. CPT King did not recognize this and led his convoy straight North through the intersection and on to Route 7/8, exiting ROUTE BLUE. Route 7/8 led the convoy across the Euphrates River into the eastern outskirts of An Nasiriyah. (See FIGURE 5) An Nasiriyah is flanked by the Euphrates River in the south and a series of man-made canals in the north. It is a city characterized by buildings no greater than four to five stories in height, with many narrow streets and alleyways. The surrounding areas of An Nasiriyah, including the roadsides along the route taken by the 507th, are marshlands that have been partially-drained, consisting of soft sand and mud.