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Wednesday 1 February
While other RAF aircraft conducted reconnaissance patrols to assess Daesh activity in Syria and Iraq, Typhoons were tasked with the destruction of a building some twenty miles west of Mosul which intelligence had identified was being used by Daesh as a staging post for the movement of extremists and equipment. A single Paveway IV sufficed to demolish the building once a very careful check had been made by the aircrew for any civilians who might be in the vicinity of the target.
Thursday 2 February
Royal Air Force Tornados, supported as ever by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, patrolled over northern Iraq. Daesh were occupying a building some 20 miles west of Kirkuk, when Tornados, after conducting a careful check against any civilians being close to the target, struck the building with a Paveway IV guided bomb.
Friday 3 February
Typhoons operated over western Mosul as Iraqi forces continued their preparations to liberate that part of the city from the terrorists. Daesh had concealed an artillery piece in an open sided building on the southern outskirts of west Mosul, covering the approaches to the city. Again, a single Paveway IV from the Typhoons destroyed the target. Meanwhile, a pair of Tornados conducted armed reconnaissance to the north-west of Mosul, where a barge and a smaller boat had been spotted being used by the terrorists on the Tigris. Two Brimstone missiles were fired, sinking both vessels.
Sunday 5 February
Typhoons headed to a remote location some forty miles north-east of Tikrit, where a Daesh headquarters had been identified. The building and a vehicle shed were both destroyed by direct hits from Paveway IVs.
Tuesday 7 February
A group of Daesh fighters, armed with a heavy machine gun, attempted to cross the Tigris in a boat, close to where the Tornados had sunk the river craft 2 days earlier. The terrorists were unaware that they were being closely tracked by coalition surveillance aircraft, and a Hellfire missile from an RAF Reaper sank the boat in mid-channel.
Wednesday 8 February
A Tornado flight used 2 Paveway IVs to destroy a pair of Daesh held buildings some 20 miles south of Kirkuk. To the north-west of Mosul, a Typhoon mission supported Kurdish forces, and used a Paveway IV to strike a tunnel in which a group of extremists had taken shelter.
Saturday 11 February
As the Iraqi forces prepare for the offensive to liberate the western half of Mosul, Royal Air Force aircraft have patrolled the approaches to that part of the city, gathering intelligence and striking Daesh targets as they are identified. Two Typhoon FGR4s from RAF Akrotiri, supported by a Voyager tanker and armed with Paveway IV guided bombs, conducted a successful attack on a terrorist tunnel and bunker dug into a hillside some 7 miles to the south-west of the city.
Sunday 12 February
A pair of Tornado GR4s were directed towards 2 Daesh cargo trucks which had been spotted 5 miles north-west of Mosul. The Tornados each fired a Brimstone missile, resulting in direct hits on both vehicles.
Tuesday 14 February
Careful surveillance operations allowed a building on the north-western outskirts of Mosul to be identified as a Daesh headquarters. With Iraqi forces keeping close watch from across the Tigris, a flight of Typhoons were able to conduct a highly accurate attack late at night; two Paveway IVs demolished the target.
Friday 17 February
A pair of Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over northern Iraq. They were directed towards a terrorist strongpoint which had been identified some 17 miles west of Kirkuk. Having carefully checked the surrounding area for any indication of civilians who might be placed at risk, the Tornados released a single Paveway IV guided bomb which destroyed the target with a direct hit.
Sunday 19 February
With the launch of the Iraqi offensive to liberate western Mosul, Tornados formed part of the coalition air support. Our aircraft conducted 2 attacks during the course of their mission: a Paveway IV was used to strike a Daesh mortar position just to the south of Mosul, then a second Paveway destroyed another mortar sited to the north-west of the city – although the mortar itself was not visible to the aircrew, the impact of the Paveway caused a sizeable secondary explosion, indicating that the ammunition supply had been hit.
Tuesday 21 February
Other RAF aircraft carried out intensive reconnaissance patrols over both Syria and Iraq during this period, and further attacks were delivered by both Tornados and Typhoons. Two Typhoon FGR4s were tasked with the mission of denying Daesh the use of a causeway across the Little Zab river, a number of miles west of Kirkuk. Paveway IV guided bombs demolished not only the causeway, but also heavy machine gun and mortar positions guarding it. The Tornados continued their operations to support the Iraqi forces advancing on western Mosul. A Daesh artillery piece, sited some 15 miles north-west of the city, opened fire on Iraqi troops. Iraqi artillery fire in return forced the terrorists manning the gun to seek shelter, and before they were able to recrew the weapon, the Tornado flight arrived on the scene and destroyed it with a direct hit from a Paveway IV. The ammunition stockpile was also set on fire. The Tornados then patrolled over west Mosul itself, and used a second Paveway IV to collapse a tunnel entrance on the city’s southern outskirts.
Wednesday 22 February
A further Tornado mission saw our aircraft use Paveway IVs to cut the road network leading out of south-west Mosul, preventing efforts by Daesh to move men and supplies, particularly their favoured truck bomb weapons, to resist the advance of the Iraqi forces. Four key chokepoints at a major junction on the southern outskirts of the city were chosen, all at a safe distance from residential areas, and all were accurately struck by the guided bombs.
Thursday 23 February
A flight of RAF Tornados used a Paveway IV guided bomb to attack a Daesh mortar team operating inside western Mosul. The aircrew waited patiently for some unidentified, possibly civilian, traffic to move clear of the target before they delivered a successful strike.
Friday 24 February
Another Tornado mission attacked a further mortar position which was under the cover of some trees in western Mosul, again using a single Paveway IV for the attack. A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft meanwhile flew overwatch for an Iraqi unit as it advanced into the city. The Iraqi troops encountered a bulldozer rigged with explosives which was blocking movement along a street. With the Iraqis taking cover, the Reaper’s crew were able to destroy safely the booby trapped vehicle with a Hellfire missile. The Reaper then scouted over a group of workshops known to produce improvised armoured vehicles and truck bombs. Two such vehicles were identified, one parked in the open, the other being worked on in a garage, and both were destroyed with direct hits from Hellfires.
Sunday 26 February
Two flights of Tornados operated over northern Iraq. One patrolled just to the west of Mosul, where a Paveway IV was employed to kill a small group of terrorists as they manoeuvred in the open. The second pair of Tornados headed to an area some 25 miles south-west of Tall Afar, where a number of Daesh armoured trucks had been spotted. The Tornados found one pair of vehicles on the move across the desert and destroyed both with simultaneous attacks with Brimstone missiles. A convoy of 5 more armoured trucks was then identified nearby, stationary on a stretch of road. All were destroyed with a combination of Brimstones and Paveway IVs. A series of secondary explosions ensued as the vehicles and their cargoes burned.
Monday 27 February
Tornados saw further action over western Mosul, when they struck another terrorist mortar team with a Paveway IV. The Tornado flight then headed west into Syria, where a main battle tank operated by Daesh had been identified at Tadmur, in the ancient city of Palmyra. A Brimstone missile scored a solid hit on the target. Close to Iraq’s border with Syria, a Reaper meanwhile provided surveillance support to coalition air strikes on two Daesh facilities in Al Qaim, manufacturing truck bombs and other improvised explosive devices. An anti-aircraft gun was spotted, despite efforts to conceal it under cover, and was destroyed by one of the Reaper’s Hellfires.
Tuesday 28 February
A pair of Tornados used 2 Paveway IV guided bombs to attack a network of trenches and firing points, which a coalition aircraft had identified just to the north-west of the city. The aircraft then headed south, to a remote area south-west of Bayji, where a number of Daesh fighters had been spotted with a truck. The Tornados observed the extremists making preparations to dry out homemade explosives. Apparently becoming aware of the aircraft overhead, the fighters split into 2 groups and attempted to move away on foot. However the groups were tracked by a Tornado and both were struck by Paveway IVs.