Op GRANBY - 25 Years Ago

Il raise my glass to you fellow arty man.
I was an RAOC Photographer with what is now known as the AFPU, I will raise my glass right back to you, in memory of your superior Firepower. Wars are not won by Army photographers, they are won by those with big f off guns.
 
no, but I still have my map, sheet of a4 sand paper
 
I turned 17 the day it kicked off. I remember just about heading for bed at half-eleven, pissed on homebrew, when the TV stations all started reporting the start of the air war.

To think you were the same age and actually getting ready to roll over the border into a war zone. Crazy stuff.

I came in from the Pub. Turned on the TV. Gawped. Picked up my jaw and then the phone and said to my Dad "They're bombing Bagdad!"

"I know" he replied.
 
That was some night wasn't it, I was a Sgt Launcher Commander on MLRS.. We MLRS and 8 inch ( 32 Regt ) put some awesome fire power down the range. Memories eh... would not like to be on the receiving end.
The night I remember for the Biggest Bestest Fireworks Display EVER didn't happen till another few weeks from now... around midnight on 25 Feb I think..... absolute 'can't see your hand in front of your face' sort of pitch black and we were set up in front of Objective Zinc... and then the sky is lit up left and right... rocket after rocket after rocket as the MLRS Batteries let rip, with M109s and M110s banging away just to add to the fun... and just the best firepower display to witness... you must have been having fun @dontenn .... Over 30 minutes of fireworks... and then.... Republican Guard gone.... must be wiped out after that... Grid square removed... well done MLRS boys, let's grab some rapid shuteye and replen... but for what seemed like minutes later at around 3am it was "Stand To! Stand To!" and a "wtf?" moment as I scrabbled in the utter darkness to find a shell scrape... After all those fireworks and now WE were being attackedt?... 25 Iraqi armour headed our way which soon turned to around 50 and a few hours of tank battle ensued with QRIH intercepting... let me tell you that a shell scrape was the last place you want to be in utter darkness while our armour is returning fire and moving around at speed... back to my 432 as soon as I could make out where it was in the darkness..

A bit of a surprise tank battle to be involved in at too close a range for my liking... but all good..

Years later I'm able to say to my lad that I feature in a book about the war... I'm in one of the photos in 'The Shield and the Sabre'... "Wow dad! What are you doing, driving a tank, shooting something?" .... "err no son, that's me there, I'm stood behind a bloke dressed as Santa Claus delivering parcels from home to the troops"...
 
I was sat in the Upland Goose bar in Port Stanley in the Falklands when it all kicked off, I'd just started a 4 month attachment with the Tri Service Police unit.
 
It was a long time ago......
Not wrong... and all things considered it was a bit of a walk in the park in hindsight compared to anything that came after in Afghan or the next rumbling in Basra that came up a few years later... Glad I was out by then....
 
moving up to objective brass, the stripped down Landrover I was in, driven by Fish, the CO's driver from 1 Royal Scotts, got two punctures, we borrowed a spare from a passing vehicle as The wheels were changed I filmed the sound of the most intense Div Arty Barrage through the fog, there was nothing to see at that point, except Fish and his mate changing the wheels. Then this CRARV towing a broken down Chally pulls up, the REME Lance jack asked if I could take a seriously wounded Iraqi on his back deck, I pointed to the stripped down landrover, full of kit, then hopped up onto the track to see if I could do anything for him with a first aid kit. I was out of my depth dealing with a stomach wound and crushed legs. he had little time to live, and gave me a look as if he expected me to save him. so I advised the crew to take him to the forward dressing station for Brass. When we caught up, the CRARV was being re directed back the way we had come, the medics hadn't caught up yet and were still patching up the casualties from the previous battle. As they passed us on higher ground heading back, the Iraqi lad on the back deck was no longer holding his head up. We arrived on Brass just in time for me to take footage of the surrender. I was impressed to hell with my Colleagues, how they dealt with the prisoners and casualties, how quickly the dead were buried in mass graves after their details were taken for the red cross. Hell of an experience.
 
Not wrong... and all things considered it was a bit of a walk in the park in hindsight compared to anything that came after in Afghan or the next rumbling in Basra that came up a few years later... Glad I was out by then....

Perhaps GRANBY was an example of how these things should be conducted - a properly resourced overwhelming use of force to achieve clear objectives.

Compare that with the shoestring efforts which followed -
Forces which could barely defend themselves, never mind pursue the vague and changing aims of their political masters.
 

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