FROM THE TIP OF THE SPEAR: CNN has a report from the 3-7th Cav, the unit which served as the lead element of the 3rd Infantry Division thrusting towards Baghdad.

"It was sad," [Tank machine gunner Sgt. 1st Class Paul] Wheatley said Thursday. "They were forced to fight against odds they would never have a chance to overcome -- shooting rifles at tanks. They are driving Toyota pickup trucks at Bradleys and tanks. I couldn't even explain it." ...

Wheatley was handling a medium-size 7.62 mm machine gun.

Bullets ricocheted off the side of his tank. "It was almost like somebody was throwing rocks. But, against the side of a car when you kick up rocks."

"They were probably 150 meters away," he estimated. That far away, "their AK-47s won't do too much damage to a tank."

The RPGs couldn't have done much against the tank either, he said. "If you don't see it and just feel the percussion from it, not much is going to happen. ... But if you're hanging out of the hatch, it could mess you up pretty bad."

Wheatley said he didn't know how many Iraqis he took out. "I wouldn't even begin to guess. Probably 30-35. During that one stretch of road."



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