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 M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV) is an American tracked armored reconnaissance vehicle manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments (formerly United Defense) based on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle family. The M3 CFV is used by heavy armored cavalry units in the U.S. Army.
The M3 Bradley CFV is very similar to the M2 Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and is fielded with the same two-man 25mm Bushmaster Cannon turret with a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. It only varies from the M2 in a few subtle ways and by role. The M3 is classified as an armored reconnaissance and scout vehicle and does away with the firing ports found in the M2 series. The M3 also carries more TOW missiles as well as more ammunition for its 25mm and 7.62mm guns.
The Bradley family as a whole was originally intended to support the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), but ended up replacing it altogether. Today, the Bradley is fielded in conjunction with the M1 Abrams series of main battle tanks and often accompanies infantry squads into combat. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Bradleys and their 25mm cannon / TOW anti-tank missile combination destroyed more enemy tanks than the M1 Abrams. Only three Bradleys were lost to enemy fire, however, at least 17 were lost to friendly fire. Improvements to the Bradley family have included enhanced identification features, as well as anti-tank missile countermeasures (for first generation wire-guided missiles only) and improved armor protection in the form of ERA.
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.