Operation Granby – Wargaming the British contribution to Desert Storm

When the Challenger and Warrior were announced as coming to WWIII:TY, I knew that I was going to end up doing a desert themed force using them.  Two of my regular opponents had Egyptian Fate of a Nation forces designed to double as Iraqis for Oil War, but also for the obvious refights of the Gulf War.  The fact that Battlefront actually added a two page spread on the British in the Gulf War only sealed the deal.

Whereas my Iron Maiden force had a natural theme around 3RTR and the rest of 4 Armoured Division, the Op Granby force initially lacked such a theme.  In the main, the armoured regiments sent to the Gulf were the donkey whallopers of the Cavalry, with no Royal Tank Regiments dispatched.  A quick run of the sums also suggested that a force based around the Challenger ROMOR (as was used in Granby) may struggle; a HQ tanks and two troops of three left very little change out of 100pts.

Whilst researching the forces in theatre, I came across this excellent account of the Royal Scots in the Gulf War, plus this one (a series, I have linked the first entry) of the Lancers attached to the QRIH.  Not only did they cover the activities of their respective battalion/squadron in the war, it also detailed their kit which proved handy for working out my list.

So, what did I want in my force?  Uparmoured Warriors and Challenger were the obvious candidates, being the archetypical Brit kit for the period.  MLRS was also high on the list given the Gulf War largely bought it to the attention of the world.
As already noted,  a Challenger squadron wasn’t viable with all the uparmouring so the Royal Scots, in the form of a Warrior Mechanised Company came to the fore. 

The Warrior Mechanised Company packs a lot of options in.  It has in-formation armoured, recce, anti-tank and artillery support, making for a very string formation that will stay in the fight for longer.

I opted for a strong core of two full strength platoons and a HQ, all in uparmoured Warriors and with one Milan section attached to one of the platoons.  I was going to add a second one, but I realised that would mean needing an extra box of Warriors just to use one out the box!  Hopefully it gets added to Tanks: Modern and I can add it later.

The next option to add was the obligatory Challenger ROMO troop.  Three of these beasts sucked a big chunk of points up but gave me the tankiest tank introduced to Team Yankee so far.

A full platoon of Scimitar added some Recce for the ever useful “cheap spearhead” and some extra anti-light AFV punch.

A 4-tube mortar section seemed a good cheap artillery selection and was in keeping with the assets available to the Royal Scots according to the blog.

At this point I hit a quandary.  The Royal Scots anti-tank was still based on FV432 mounted Milan teams, something the lists don’t allow.  Its possible they might have mounted them on the Warriors, opening up the two Warrior Milan options.  The Spartan MCT was also in theatre too, though the blog doesn’t mention it ever being part of the Royal Scots.  The two Warrior options were not optimal; the four Milan teams plus two Warrior being expensive, the Warrior mounted Milans being only a two-tank platoon.  I decided to twist reality a little and go with the Spartan MCT, mostly because I liked the model and hadn’t used the option in my 80’s force.

That pretty much rounded out my formation and left me with 17pts to spend on support.  With Armour, Infantry, artillery, anti-tanks and recce all squared away, all I was left to solve was anti-air.  I also wanted to add one more artillery system, the MLRS.  The MLRS is one of those weapon systems that really gains its reputation in the Gulf War, being able to saturate Iraqi armour positions with anti-tank/infantry bomblets and cause significant disruption.  In game, this is reflected by having each MLRS count as two weapons firing, making even a three-vehicle battery count as six guns firing, increasing the chances of hits.  The bomblets themselves are relatively light, leaving it as an AT3, FP5 weapon, but that is more than enough vs infantry in the open or light armour.  I opted for a three-gun MLRS battery with minelets (always handy) and an FV432 FOO to accompany it.

That left 6pts for anti-air.  I took a quartet of tracked Rapier missiles of T battery, 12th Regiment (AD) Royal Artillery to give a SAM umbrella, bringing me to bang on 100pts. 

The force is able to put out 6 AT21 shots, 6 AT22 shots and a whopping 42 AT10 shots, static.  That should deal with most light and heavy AFV that I might face.  In addition, it can put down two templates of artillery fire (one small, one large) whilst also able to look after itself against the air threat thanks to the Rapiers and anti-helicopter Rarden fire off the Warriors.

The Challenger platoon makes up most my reserve contribution, being accompanied by either the Scimitars or Rapier depending on the threat environment.  That still leaves two big infantry platoons and 6 Milan shots a turn, plus artillery support.  The formation itself has seven platoons so isn’t likely to run unless the enemy really gives me a mauling.  In an ideal world I’d have some air support from Lynx AH1 or Harrier (actually Jaguars in the Gulf), but that will have to wait for bigger games.

The shopping list comes out as:

  • 1 box of Challengers
  • 2 boxes of Warriors
  • 1 box of Spartan
  • 1 box of Scimitar
  • 1 box of FV432
  • 1 box of tracked Rapier
  • 1 box of MLRS
  • 1 British Infantry Company
    (this presents the biggest issue at the moment, SLR having been replaced by SA80!)

Right now, this is very much on the “paper list” pile.  But its something I do plan to come back to at some point in the future, probably after my Desert US force.

6 thoughts on “Operation Granby – Wargaming the British contribution to Desert Storm

  1. The British operated on what was called the ‘Granby Establishment’ and the Warrior with Milan was an in-theatre addition to the ORBAT. The Spartan MCT was issued to all mechanised battalions from about ’86. Both are shown in the book “Royal Scots in the Gulf” though the MCT is mislabelled as a 432.

  2. Nice article
    But the points look wrong you missed out the points to uparmour the Warrior platoons should be an extra 1pt per platoon to uparmour Warriors

    1. Your right. I wondered why I had the points for and OP and Minelets in the second draft! That would explain it.

      I’ll fix it on monday. Thanks for spotting it.

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