The US 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), the “Brave Rifles” was formed on 19 May 1846 and under different names fought in 11 major conflicts: Indian Wars, Mexican–American War, American Civil War, Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War, World War I, World War II, Desert Shield/Storm, SFOR in Bosnia, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The 3rd ACR consists of cavalry squadrons with each divided into four cavalry troops.
1st Squadron (“Tiger”):
HQ Troop (“Roughrider”), A Troop (“Apache”), B Troop (“Bandit”), C Troop (“Cyclone”)
2nd Squadron (“Sabre”):
HQ Troop (“Rattler”), D Troop (“Dragon”), E Troop (“Eagle”), F Troop (“Fox”)
3rd Squadron (“Thunder”):
HQ Troop (“Havoc Hounds”), G Troop (“Grim”), H Troop (“Heavy”), I Troop (“Ironhawk”)
4th Squadron (“Longknife”):
HQ Troop (“Headhunters”), K Troop (“Killer”), L Troop (“Lighting”), M Troop (“Mad Dog”)
2003-2004 Operation Iraqi Freedom
The 3rd ACR was originally planned to invade Iraq from Turkey, but was forced to enter Iraq from Kuwait after Turkey denied the US permission to launch an invasion from its border which delayed their deployment until plans could be changed. On March 20 without the 3rd ACR, the US 82nd Airborne, US 101st Airborne, US 3rd Infantry, US 1st Marines, British 1st Armored Divisions invaded Iraq from Kuwait. On April 2, the 3rd ACR advance party consisting of F Troop and Regimental HQ arrived in Kuwait and the rest of the regiment arrived within the next couple of weeks. On April 9, the US 3rd Infantry and US 1st Marine Divisions (both equipped with M1A1s) occupied Baghdad. On April 25, the first elements of 3rd ACR crossed the border into Iraq and it immediately assumed an economy of force mission to secure and stabilize the western province of Al Anbar (west of Baghdad) an area which had been by-passed during the initial advance to Baghdad. The 3rd ACR and its attached units were known in Iraq collectively as Task Force Rifles and its regimental area of operations covered one third of the country, or about 140,000 square kilometers which includes four Iraqi air bases which Special Forces and SAS units captured earlier in the invasion. On April 30, F Troop of 3rd ACR relieved the 82nd Airborne Division and took control of Al-Fallujah. In March 2004, the 3rd ACR rotated back to the USA.
Left: M1A2 F2 or G2 guarding the compound perimeter in Al-Fallujah on 9 May 2003. Right: M1A2 E2 refueling in the desert northeast of Al-Fallujah on 29 August 2003.
During the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi Air Force flew the bulk of their planes to Iran before the war began because Iraq knew that it’s air force could not withstand the combined might of the Coalition with superior planes and pilots. The plan worked as expected except Iran did not return the aircraft back to Iraq after the war. Over a decade later just before the US invasion, Saddam ordered the bulk of their fighters to be disassembled and buried near the airbases which would be recovered after the invasion. In 2003, besides the damaged and destroyed aircraft at Al-Taqqadum airfield located approximately 74 km (46 miles) west of Baghdad at Habbaniyah, US forces also found a number of Mig-25 Foxbat fighters and SU-25 FrogFoot fighter-bombers buried in the desert nearby the airfield. The aircraft were stripped of their wings and covered with sand. Aviation elements of the 3rd ACR occupied the airfield from April 2003 until replaced by the 82nd Airborne Division in July 2003.
This 3rd ACR F troop M1A2 attempting to crush a Mig-25.
My guess the “X” indicates the HQ platoon of F Troop.
The 3rd ACR had three more deployments in Iraq (2005-2006, 2007-2009, 2010-2011). On 16 November 2011, the 3rd ACR became a Stryker Brigade Combat Team equipped with the 8×8 M1126 Stryker ICV.
Tamiya 1/48 U.S. Main Battle Tank M1A2 Abrams (32592)
Two Marking Options:
F Troop, 2nd Platoon (F2), 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR, Iraq, April 2003
F Troop, 4th Platoon (F4), 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR, Iraq, April 2003
In my opinion, both these markings are the same since they belong to the same unit but different platoons.
I do not agree with the box art with smoke raising in the background. From what I have read, the 3rd ACR did not appear to have engaged in any real tank vs tank action during Iraqi Freedom. The only time the 3rd ACR M1A2s fired the main 120mm guns was probably on the firing range.
But during 1991 Desert Storm, the 3rd ACR did engaged and destroyed a number of Iraqi T-55s. I was not able to find any photo of M1A2 “F2” or “F4” in 2003. But I did found this photo of M1A1 “F2” in 1991 Desert Shield/Storm.