|A Soviet T-55A of the 24th Guards Tank Regiment, has its crew working on a hull-down position.|
|Tactical situation, D1 0800 hours.|
Two Mujahidin strong points, oriented south are the objectives of this operation. The 5th Guards Motorized Rifles are still getting ready for battle, and a battalion of the 24 Guards Tank Regiment will have to push into contact with the enemy and secure a foothold for an attack towards the west enemy stronghold.
|Tactical situation . D1 1200 hours.|
The enemy's forward observation posts and patrols simply melt away with a very few shots fired. The situation at 1200 is an invitation to push north and west.
|Dismounted reconnaissance troops moving towards OBJ Crossroads.|
Although our armor is seemingly enough, we soon discover our main shortcoming: not enough infantry and reconnaissance troops. With just one platoon of reconnaissance troops mounted in BTRs, we find ourselves in short supply for spotting enemy troops concealed in knolls, wadis and small patches of vegetation.
|My tanks near OBJ Crossroads (white flag in the background).|
|Reconnaissance dismounts at OBJ Crossroads.|
|One of my tanks moving towards the already taken OBJ Crossroads.|
|The tactical situation at 1222. OBJ Crossroads is at the center of the map, depicted as a big Soviet flag. The red icons are my Soviet forces, the rhomboid ones are individual tanks.|
|Tanks engaging enemy infantry. This action took place some 100 meters west of OBJ Crossroads.|
While in the open, the dismounted enemy fighters are no threat. But the thought of any of those sneaking around my armor armed with an RPG un-eases the mind. So my reconnaissance troops are called up to cover the dead ground on our right.
|There is a sunken road on the left of this picture. The scouts are dashing towards the front.|
|The lead Iranian Chieftain Mk 5 tank.|
|The Iranian Chieftain Mk 5s, being shot to pieces by my tanks. Note the track skirt flying out of the third tank and the fire engulfing the first tank.|
|A post-battle assessment shows the impact and the ammunition that has been thrown at this Iranian tank.|
|The same for one of the two T55As we lost in the battle. Note the enemy column (blue icons in the background), so close due to a storm that impaired visibility to a great extent.|
|The tactical situation at the end for the engagement. The red rhomboids are my tanks, the blue (and non-filled) ones are the Iranian tanks. The blue cones are the fields of fire, showing the crossfires in which the Chieftain tanks found themselves.|
During the next two hours, we consolidate in the real estate we just acquired. More tanks move up, but there is no signs of our infantry. The enemy launches a surprise counter attack towards OBJ Crossroads. A very timid attempt, consisting of just a couple of tanks with some elements of infantry.
We don't break a sweat and the only loss we suffer is to friendly fire.
|Even the smallest enemy contact results in my entire tank battalion (-) most energetic response. There is beauty in these steel steeds, galloping ahead.|
|One of two Iranian Chieftain Mk 5s receives fire from my tanks.|
|The eagerness of the T55A tank in the left to catch a point blank shot at the Iranian tank (right) resulted in it being destroyed by friendly fire.|
|Post-battle assessment of the impacts sustained by the destroyed T55A. Note that all the ammunition is from Soviet tank's main gun, indicating that this tank was destroyed by friendly fire.|
|The same assessment for one of the Chieftain tanks. Note the yellow arrow showing the impact point of a bouncing round.|
|The short engagement and the lack of enemy punch so far is comforting but the anticipation of meeting a stronger enemy force is killing me.|
|The flank was hiding two Chieftain tanks trying to link up with their destroyed formations. They were dispatched at no loss for us.|
|The enemy strong point at the north of our position had at least one recoilless rifle in one outpost. Although it was destroyed very promptly, this strongly suggests that the enemy strong point will feature stronger anti-tank weapons.|