Wednesday, 16 July 2014

All Roads Lead To [the outskirts of] Basra

(Yes, I know in the photos it looks suspiciously like an M1 and a Bradley, but let’s pretend it’s an Challenger II and a Warrior IFV, since at the last hour I realised I currently don’t have a container for transporting my own miniatures to the battlefield - Mike and Steve)

:::: 21:03:2003 ::: 5:50hrs ::::  Somewhere on the outskirts of Basra, Southern Iraq
Orders: Sweep and clear a group of buildings of any possible Iraqi units in the vicinity. Aerial Recon has identified two target buildings which have been neutralised and there are no further signs of activity in the area. Units are to detach from main column headed for Basra and rejoin after the sweep. If engaged, Lethal Force is authorised.
  • 1  FV4043 Challenger II
  • 1  FV510 Warrior and Infantry Section

At 5:52hrs, 200m from target location the Challenger came under attack from a T-72 in a camouflaged hull down position on the western side of the road, while a BMP-1 fired from the east. Both failed to cause anything but paint damage and the Challenger returned fire.  Due to the British tank commander being a novice, he managed to load and fire the wrong munitions because he wasn’t paying enough attention to his FoF manual. This meant the Challenger failed to inflict any damage on the T-72.  Regardless of the use of sub-standard munitions the BMP-1 did not fare so well and erupted in an instant fireball.

As there was no cover available and with the BMP down, the Challenger moved forward to flank the T-72 and provide shielding so the Warrior could move forward into cover and deploy its troops.

The T-72 and Challenger traded another volley of fire to, but to no avail.  As the Brits neared the bombed out building to the east of the road, Iraqi infantry appeared in the nearby buildings and let loose with RPG's on both the Challenger and Warrior, all were shrugged off.

It was at this point that a second T-72 appeared further down the road and brought its gun to bear on the Challenger.  It was at this moment that the Brit commander discovered his error with munitions and loaded the correct rounds. The Challenger crew were quicker to act than the Iraqi T-72 crew and the T-72 erupted in a ball of flame and twisted metal.  Two of its crew managed to scramble from the wreckage and escaped on foot in the direction of Basra.

While this was happening the 30mm on the Warrior started to hammer the building where the RPG's had come from.  If there was anyone in there they were now far too busy keeping their heads down.

The 125mm from the first T-72 sounded again, this time finding its mark, the Warrior. Thankfully damage was minimal with the 30mm gun taking just enough damage to make it ineffective.

Again the Challenger and T-72 traded blows, with the Challenger failing to score a hit but this time the T-72 had an amazing stroke of luck, the kind of luck you need to roll 4 dice and they all come up sixes. This was enough to cripple the Challenger.

With the Challenger now crippled and the Warriors gun all but useless, the Warrior reversed next to the tank and prepared to evac its crew. The ground assault was effectively stopped in its tracks (see what I did there) [Editor: Sadly] and now it was time for the Apache's, that were 20 seconds out, to finish the job.

Primary lessons learned from this action,

  • Know your equipment inside out      
  • Don't expose anything but it's toughest side if you can avoid it


  1. Thank you Mike and Ivan. Your board is too nice for me not to have one! But, first I will need a man-cave, as the spousal-unit will certainly eradicate the sand from it, I think we will have to repeat this mission when the UN enters the capital of Western Malikastan to see if the lessons learnt were worth learning :)

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  3. I will have to move to Europe and then send a "Forget it" request to Google. :p
    I changed the main post, but it looks like the comment will stay. Nice board Steve (I hope that will work).

  4. Click the date of the post, it then gives you a delete option :)

  5. Our idea for the base, it's 1200 x 900 x 5 mm perspex I had lying around with a wood edging fitted. Inside has sand glued to it and painted slightly darker than it's original colour. Terrain features can be made of Styrofoam or anything really and coated in sand. Position them then sprinkle on about half a litre of sand and spread evenly, but not neatly over the whole board so it covers and fills around the base of terrain features..... Now you have your 3D terrain, use a 1" or 2" paintbrush to add the roads by exposing the base sand underneath... Add buildings and good to go :).... When finished pick up the pieces and tip the sand back into it's container for reuse and put the board in the shed ready for next time.
    When Mark played us we had the sand thick because the base wasn't done but when it's only a few mm thick it's much more playable and infinitely reusable and redesignable. <- Is that a real word :)

  6. I saw an Al jazeera report that definitely showed a not crippled brit tank but a dead one,(vehicle kill) the lions of Babylon must have roared.The report whet on to say the brits were lucky to escape at all.:)
    eye witness (steve).