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Subject: US marines assault British troops, training exercise. rss

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Colin Hunter
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This describes a 1991 Hasty Attack vs Hasty Defence battle between Bruce Arthur's US Marines and my Gulf War British army.
In the vernacular...
From: Major Humphrey Fortesque-Hockley, Officer Commanding, 'A'
Squadron, The Queen's Dragoon Guards
To: Major Rupert Pertherington-Smythe, Life Guards (attached), 7th
Armoured Brigade Headquarters
cc: Lieutenant-Colonel Nigel Babbington, OBE, Commanding Officer,
The Queen's Dragoon Guards

Pre-Action Report, SIMFICS exercise SANDY BOOTS, Kuwait Theatre of
Operations, 1 February 1991.

Dear Rupert

How's things back at HQ?

Had a chukka with Uncle Sam's Marines next door yesterday. Marvellous show by the lads, even the Staffords did well for infantry.

Started off over a bet that 'flexible defence' can withstand 'The Marine Way'. Decided to settle the argument using laser training
aids. The Queen's Dragoon Guards deployed two troops of Scimitars
and a Striker Anti-Tank troop, a platoon of Staffords in Warriors,
and had some on-call assistance from the Gunners of the 39th Heavy
Regiment. The leathernecks seemed to have rustled up some infantry
in large mobile barns they call AAVP-7s, a few M60's with some add-
on Israeli armour and a recce platoon in LAVs which aren't much
smaller than an AAVP-7. Give me a Scimitar any day. However, the
cheats seem to have enlisted the USS Iowa off the coast which came
as a nasty surprise to the artillery.

We wound up being deployed in a series of low sand-dunes and small
villages 2 miles north of ZINC along highway BAMBER, with the
Marines advancing south-west. Camouflage was excellent and we saw no
evidence that the Marines had detected our positions in advance of the exercise.

Initial contact was made by the 39th's advanced artillery observer
who detected some vehicular movement to the south-east and called a
fire programme down. A cloud of pyrotechnic smoke went up after the
MLRS 'bomblet' strike so we knew we'd got some of the blighters -
turned out it was an AAVP-7 full of leathernecks who weren't too
happy at being forced back to the casualty tent so early in the
scrap. One of the USN Shore Patrol had to hit one.
This is when the 39th were radioed that they'd been detected by the
Iowa and they were being engaged by 16 inch ordnance. This caused
some consternation at the missile position and after much running
around (where they missed a rendezvous with their reload trucks) it
was judged that they'd lost one MLRS and couldn't come back on line
for 40 minutes.

Next contact was in the same area when a Striker launched a
Swingfire missile that set off another AAVP-7 strobe light and
smoke, leading to more leathernecks in the casualty tent and more
thwacking by umpires and Shore Patrol to maintain order. So far, two
mobile barns down for an MLRS. Further to the northwest, we detected
some movement near the village, but since the artillery were still
driving aimlessly around 15 km to our rear we couldn't engage.
The Strikers launched another missile at a fleeting target that
turned out to be a turret-down TOW launcher on a LAV but hit the
base of the rise about 200m away. The sooner the MOD gets around to
deploying that new ACLOS Swingfire development the better - the
stuff we have now was developed in the 60's...

It turned out the two AAVP-7's were part of a Marine company
attacking the other village to the southeast. We'd deployed the
Staffords in this village and the two forces ran into each other. A
heavy firefight ensued (and the occasional kicking too I am
informed - it would seem our infantry are quite capable of starting
a fistfight as the Marines) where the leading Marine elements were
cut down. Return fire from their pinned foot and some M60's kept our
men down and depleted two sections, one of which was the platoon CO.
That'll teach him to keep his head down. The LAW 80 heavy anti-tank
rockets worked a treat and knocked out several M60's and surviving
AAVP-7's, in conjunction with some Warrior Rarden fire, stopping the
attack dead. We lost a Warrior to a Marine Dragon round after the
first hit had failed to detonate against that new Chobham armour,
but with 6 men 'down' the Staffords platoon held out throughout the
engagement. Good show!

Over the rest of the battlefield the Marines resorted to their feet
and advanced slowly through the rises and ridges around BAMBER. The
Queen's Scimitar troop deployed near that area snapped off a few
shots and retired - 30mm of aluminium armour wouldn't have stood up
to the Marine disposable anti-tank weapons (that AT-4 Swedish
jobbie). There was a tussle with the Queen's Striker deployed in
that sector and the Marine LAV recce platoon where the LAVs
themselves came off worst. We didn't see any armour but it turned
out they were hiding in the sand dunes out of sight - the Swingfire
missile may be 1960's technology but it was forcing the Marines to
keep their heads (or should I say turrets) down. We need to whizz up
some ideas how to frighten the Iraqis with them.

The 39th came back on line but the Marines jammed their comms so we
didn't see them again. Eventually the battery packs in the infantry
SIMFICS ran down and we called off the exercise. Certainly the
Queen's defence slowed the Marine attack considerably and I can
confidently say that, should the 7th Armoured Battlegroup get
attacked in the flank by Iraqi forces in the next couple of weeks
we'll be well placed to hold their attack until the Challengers
arrive.

Toodle-pip
Yours
Humph
PS Regards to Cynthia and the boys


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