Forces of Valor 80202 US M3A2 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle - "Black 43", Unidentified Unit, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003 (1:32 Scale)
"We will carry out a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility ... and by the application of overwhelming force."
- CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks commenting on the conduct of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, March 21st, 2003
The M2 Bradley is the US Army's first mechanized infantry combat vehicle. The first production models appeared in 1981 (at the height of the Cold War), and they were soon being produced at the rate of 600 per year. The hull of the M2 is made of aluminum, with a layer of space laminated armor applied for added protection. The Bradley is equipped with a 25mm Bushmaster cannon and stabilizer to allow for firing on the move. Its troop compartment, located in the rear, is fitted with firing ports and periscopes to allow troops to fire from within the vehicle. Night vision capability and a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) defense system are standard on all of the different variants. The Bradley plays a key role in the US Army's combined arms concept, but critics say it is too big, too expensive, and too difficult to maintain and is insufficiently armored to operate with main battle tanks on the battlefield. After friendly fire incidents in the Gulf War, a CIP (Combat Identification Panel) was developed and attached to the sides and the rear of the M2A2 ODS. In March 2003, M2A2 units attached to the 3rd Armored Infantry Division were at the front line in the Iraq War.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of a US M3A2 Bradley cavalry fighting vehicle used during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Length: 8 inches
Width: 4 inches
Height: 3.75 inches
Release Date: July 2004
Historical Account: "Operation Iraqi Freedom" - The 2003 operation in Iraq, termed "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by the US administration, began on March 20th. It was originally coined "Operation Iraqi Liberation". The United States and the United Kingdom supplied 98% of the invading forces. They co-operated with Kurdish forces in the north which numbered upwards of 50,000. Other nations also participated in part of a coalition force to help with the operation by providing equipment, services and security as well as Special Forces. The 2003 Iraq invasion marked the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the Iraq War. Prior to the invasion, the United States' official position was that Iraq illegally possessed weapons of mass destruction in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and had to be disarmed by force. President George W. Bush stated Saddam's weapons of mass destruction needed to be disarmed, and the Iraqi people were to have control of their own country restored to them. UN inspection teams were searching Iraq for these alleged weapons for nearly four months prior to the invasion and were willing to continue, but were forced out by the onset of war in spite of their requests for more time.
The Bush administration did not attempt to get a UN Security Council resolution authorising military force, as France, Russia, and later China all signalled that they would use their Security Council veto power against any resolution that would include an ultimatum allowing the use of force against Iraq. On March 20th, 2003, the invasion of Iraq began. This was seen by many as a violation of international law, breaking the UN Charter (see Legitimacy of the 2003 invasion of Iraq). The Iraqi military was defeated, and Baghdad fell on April 9th, 2003. On May 1st, 2003, President Bush declared the end of major combat operations, terminating the Baath Party's rule and removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from office. Coalition forces ultimately captured Saddam Hussein on December 13th, 2003.
Numerous guerrilla and terrorist groups are active in the area, including one newly-formed called al-Qaeda in Iraq. Legislative elections were held in January 2005.