Ambush Alley: 15mm Government Troops

Now that I’ve covered the insurgents, it’s time to take a look at the Coalition Forces. First up is a small Iraqi Army mobile patrol, circa 2007. The new Iraqi Army reorganized amid the tatters of post-invasion civil collapse and de facto civil war. Most of the recruits came from southern Shia cities, thanks to the US-mandated de-Baathification policy that threw former members of the Saddam Hussein regime out of public office (including the police and military) and adversely affected Sunnis more than any other ethnic group.

The Iraqi Army came of age in 2006 when large groups of recruits graduated basic training and became available for counterinsurgency missions. Then president Maliki had managed his political opposition through intimidation via Shiite militias and tribal leaders, however once the Iraqi Army ranks began to swell, Maliki turned his back on the Shiites. The Iraqi Army became a tool to suppress any potential political rivals. It became common for the IA to be engaged with both Sunni insurgents, al Qaeda terrorists, and Shiite militias. To add to the confusion, early IA units had questionable leaders and motives, and it was not unknown for IA turncoats to attack Coalition Forces. Iraqi Army units at this time period would likely represent Trained Troops in Ambush Alley.

The supply system in Iraq was thoroughly non-existent and many IA units had mixed camouflage and equipment. Body armor ranged from commerical off the shelf models to old flak vests, and sometimes modern military plate carriers, while most units were issued the outdated PASGT helmets. Weapons usually included reissued Saddam-era AK47s, however the US sold massive quantities of M16A2 and M4A1 rifles to Iraq, which would become popular as more units were stood up.

Vehicles used by the IA during this period varied greatly, from reconditioned M113 and BMP armored fighting vehicles, technicals, humvees, and even mine-resistant armored vehicles. The sheer variety of equipment makes the IA an attractive force to model.

IA patrol 1
The IA figures are from Peter Pig’s US troops in Vietnam range.
IA trucks
Peter Pig pickup trucks and African militia troops.
Inspiration photo: Iraqi Army soldiers showing a variety to weapons and equipment.

The success of the Surge allowed the Iraqi Army to stand up quite competent special forces. Among these are units that specialize in counterinsurgency and anti guerrilla tactics like the 36th Commando Battalion. These highly specialized units are not without controversy, as they often act as government death squads, reportedly intimidating or assassinating political rivals under the guise of counter-terror operations. They are certainly fun to model, however. The all-black fatigues, mirror sunglasses, and skull-facemasks are impressive at the very least.

Also shown are a pair of Matchbox SWAT trucks that make handy MaxxPro MRAPs.

IA patrol 2
Figures are from the QRF delta force operators range. MRAPs are Matchbox toys.
Inspiration photo: Iraqi commandos.

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