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Op GRANBY - 25 Years Ago

When we hit 55 mph you’re going to see some serious sh*t! – One day, early on in the deployment when the HQ FMA was still based in the port clearing house at the end of Al Jubayl docks, I was tasked, with another from our small MT section, to accompany the CP team that was embedded in the Provost Marshalls office to the airport outside Jubayl and act as a baggage wagon for Lt Gen de la Billière who was on a fact finding trip to see what was happening in our AOR since the boats had arrived the week before and everyone could now get busy.
The CP team had a couple of Mazda 929’s (a large ‘executive’ Mazda they never sold in the UK AFAIK)and we were had a clapped out 3 series Landrover.
At the airport, DLB’s private jet landed and as he and his entourage emerged and met with Brig White and his staff, we unloaded the bags and put them in the Landrover.
Once done, the CP team lead came over and told us that they were first taking them to the Holiday Inn (where he would be staying) and we should do our best to keep up, if not, we knew where it was anyway.
And off we set. I must admit, we did very well indeed to keep up, primarily due to the roller coaster roads out of the airport and into Jubayl and if anyone has ever worked with CP teams before you will know that slow isn’t something they do.
So all was going well, until we hit the good flat and straight roads into the town. Then they very rapidly left us in their rear-view mirrors.
This wasn’t really a problem as we could see them in the distance still and we were hammering the poor 3 series as hard as it would go. With gearbox screaming and the steering becoming scary.
For those who never had the privilege, 3 series Landrovers had a generous amount of play in the steering which made it look like you were driving the A-Team van with you having to move the wheel several inches either way just to keep it going in a straight-ish line.
It was at this point, on a long downhill stretch, we heard ‘NEE NAW NEE NAW NEE NAW’ from behind us and an RMP Landrover frantically trying to flag us down. Given we were flat out it took us some time to come to a stop with them behind.
From the Rover emerged an RMP WO1 with a very less than impressed look on his face and we could tell we were going to skip the cheerfully sarcastic comments stage and go straight to the colossal bollocking segment.

‘You know why we’ve pulled you over?’
‘Yes sir, for going too fast sir?’
‘And just how fast were you going?’
At this point I had to tell the truth, we simply hadn’t been looking at the speedo as we’d been more concerned at keeping visuals on the generals party who were now almost kilometre in the distance.
‘I don’t know sir, we’d just been told to keep up’
‘Keep up with who?’
‘Gen de la Billière sir, we’ve got his baggage, the CP team told us to keep up!’ I said whilst pointing to the rapidly disappearing cars in the distance.

It was at this point the WO1’s sense of career preservation kicked in. He walked to the rear of our Rover (we had the side canvas rolled up) and looked inside. Thankfully the general’s bags (all green military types) were labelled in his name.
With a slightly disappointed sigh of one who has weighed up all the options and has correctly come to the conclusion that the general’s bags getting to where they needed to be far outweighed his desire to come down on us like a ton of bricks sent us on our way with a ‘On you go lads, but stick to the bloody speed limit now as you’ve lost them’
TBH, he probably did us a favour as it was getting quite hairy as we had pretty much maxed out the engine and were heading to something unfortunate happening.

Sandbagging is fun! – Once we were all in Baldrick Lines, the scud threat started to be bandied around and it was decided that to prevent casualties from any potential missiles landing nearby that all the tens should be sandbagged up to about 3 feet high all round.
Baldrick Lines had a LOT of tents and about 5-6 regiments in there.
We were issued with lots of horrible nylon ‘sandbags’. These were not the normal green sandbags you got that were quite long and had the string to tie them up with attached to them. These were small and you had to cut lengths of green string to tie them with.
As we had a section of Pioneers from Def Coy 1 (BR) Corps with us we got a very good grounding in the art of sandbagging and how to lay them correctly.
To this day whenever I see a war movie I ‘tut’ when I see sloppy sandbagging.
Anyway, what would happen is that each day a tipper or two would arrive in Baldrick Lines and dump their loads of sand in several locations.
We would then descend on these sand piles like locust armed with shovels and sandbags. These piles would be completely gone within hours and it became apparent then unless you had guys there ready, you’d dip out, so we stay on sandbag standby some days.
For about two weeks we’d be filling sandbags for a few hours a day until all our tents were protected and I was more than happy for us to finish as we’d cut our hands to sheds handling all the sand and working with all these rough nylon bags.
And some people bitch about Hesco!! You really don’t know how lucky you are.
They became so valuable that many units where possible would take their sandbags with them when they moved out of Baldrick Lines.

PICT0266.JPG

Before (note tables and chairs made from the 'borrowed' wood in my earlier dit)

PICT0188.JPG

Almost after, we still had a another layer or two to add.

PICT0168.JPG

Air raid shelter at the HQ FMA next to the port clearing house. This was an ISO container fully sandbagged up and with extra sheet steel added to the roof (see pallet on the ground) constructed by the Pioneers.
 
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snip!

Sandbagging is fun! – Once we were all in Baldrick Lines, the scud threat started to be bandied around and it was decided that to prevent casualties from any potential missiles landing nearby that all the tens should be sandbagged up to about 3 feet high all round.
Baldrick Lines had a LOT of tents and about 5-6 regiments in there.
We were issued with lots of horrible nylon ‘sandbags’. These were not the normal green sandbags you got that were quite long and had the string to tie them up with attached to them. These were small and you had to cut lengths of green string to tie them with.
As we had a section of Pioneers from Def Coy 1 (BR) Corps with us we got a very good grounding in the art of sandbagging and how to lay them correctly.
To this day whenever I see a war movie I ‘tut’ when I see sloppy sandbagging.
Anyway, what would happen is that each day a tipper or two would arrive in Baldrick Lines and dump their loads of sand in several locations.
We would then descend on these sand piles like locust armed with shovels and sandbags. These piles would be completely gone within hours and it became apparent then unless you had guys there ready, you’d dip out, so we say on sandbag standby some days.
For about two weeks we’d be filling sandbags for a few hours a day until all our tents were protected and I was more than happy for us to finish as we’d cut our hands to sheds handling all the sand and working with all these rough nylon bags.
And some people bitch about Hesco!! You really don’t know how lucky you are.

Sandbags.... pffff! You were lucky.... when we was on Op Corporate we never had sandbags, we had to make do with piled up sheep and bits of wood....

(to be declaimed in a Yorkshire accent ;-))
 
Firstly, I refuse to apologise for posting this shite here:

Last week, when rootling around in The Box Of Many Boring Things hunting down some OP GRAPPLE maps, I tripped across these:

Yep-it's only sheets of gen-yew-whine Desert Storm/Shield notepaper!

Desert Storm note paper 001.jpg


I had occasion to visit one of the JHQ's with some nominal rolls. The US SSgt looked at my tatty and egg banjo-stained offering with a certain amount of disdain mixed with sympathy and let me have a slack handful.

and then this . . .

20191211_145659.jpg


A gizzit from a friendly USMC Cpl, bless 'im.

God! but it's fun going to war with the Murrcans-there's just so much useless shit to steal redeploy.
 
I raised a glass at midnight
 

dan_brown

War Hero
30 years ago today I 'celebrated' my 18th birthday whilst on Op Granby - whose bright idea was that to send a 17 year old to a war zone?!

Seems like a lifetime ago.......
 

Heartbreaklane

War Hero
30 years ago today I 'celebrated' my 18th birthday whilst on Op Granby - whose bright idea was that to send a 17 year old to a war zone?!

Seems like a lifetime ago.......
For all the talk of having to be 18 it seems it was only NI that this was the case. I served with a few blokes who went down south at 17 and also on Granby. I was 25 on Granby and felt just a kid, BZ to you at 17. Like you say what were the grown ups thinking?
 
There were some references to the anniversary in the media including ForcesNews. The night of the 24th is the date I tend to remember.
17th of Jan at midnight sticks in my mind, if not I have been getting it wrong for 30 years
 
When the first air strikes started, I was still in Germany, on training to go. During a break from a weapon training lesson, the staff sergeant instructing remarked, "Yeah, they ought to bomb Saddam's fcuking palace. Flatten the cnut."
"They bombed it last night, staff," we replied.
 
17th of Jan at midnight sticks in my mind, if not I have been getting it wrong for 30 years
You're quite right. I omitted to mention the month - 24th FEB! Post amended.

ISTR that the first log entry of the launch of the attack, where I was, was timed at 0226 local time on 17 Jan, which would have been 2326 on the 16th in UK.
 
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As a career war dodger, I can only offer anecdotes from the home front. When that wise old warrior Cedric Delves was commanding 5AB Bde, he visited my regt in Windsor to see how the training for a possible Bde deployment was going. He visited all departments and questioned them in his usual monosyllabic inspiring way. When he met the padre, the conversation went as follows:

CD: "What are you doing to prepare for war?"

Padre: "I´m praying for peace sir"

CD: "Fúcking spoil sport!"
 
You're quite right. I omitted to mention the month - 24th FEB! Post amended.

ISTR that the first log entry of the launch of the attack, where I was, was timed at 0226 local time on 17 Jan, which would have been 2326 on the 16th in UK.
I was on the first Artillery raid, unsure of the date, it was a mix of MLRS and good old fashioned mop and bucket mobile guns. We thought there would be return fire if they DF'd our positions, so we did a shoot and scoot and got out quick, nothing was fired back, a sense of what was to come. Got great footage though, seen all around the world.
 
Was nominated as a Casualty Notification Officer for an area in Devon, given a pack of notes to read up on of what to say on the doorstep. Fortunately did not have to put my knowledge into practice.
 

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