|Scud Hunter, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-D, western Iraq, 1991|
|The Coalition effort to hunt down and destroy Saddam Hussein's Iraqi-modified Scud missiles in western Iraq was known as the "Great Scud Hunt." Although clumsy, unsophisticated and not very accurate, despite these major drawbacks, it did serve one purpose particularly well: when fired in any number against densely populated urban areas, the Scud was an effective terror weapon.
The U.S. Army's Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D), better known as Delta Force, and the British Special Air Service (SAS) were selected to perform what would become one of the largest counterterrorist operations in history. Reconnaissance and surveillance teams went hundreds of miles inside western Iraq and attacked the SCUD infrastructure. The U.S. element was assigned as its hunting ground the area northwest of Highway 10 near Al Qaim, known as "Scud Boulevard".
The primary mission for both SAS and Delta was to locate and designate targets for destruction by Coalition warplanes. To this end, most teams traveled at night, while hiding out during the day. In addition to their targeting duties, Delta undertook other direct action missions against the Scuds. These included using long-range, .50-caliber sniper rifles to disable and destroy missiles both in rearming farms and those mounted on their launchers. Other interdictions reportedly involved eliminating Scud crews.
From a political perspective, the hunt was an unqualified success and may have provided one of the single greatest, and least known, contributions to the victory of Coalition forces in the Gulf.
The M82A1 is a semi-automatic, air cooled, box magazine fed rifle chambered for the .50 cal., M2 Browning Machine Gun cartridge. This revolutionary .50 caliber semi-automatic rifle allows sophisticated targets to be destroyed or disabled by a single soldier. Armored personnel carriers, radar dishes, communications vehicles, aircraft and area denial submunitions are all vulnerable to the quick strike capability of the Barrett 82A1. U.S. forces using Barrett M82A's routinely engaged Iraqi forces out to a range of 1,600 meters (1,750 yards). Unlike other weapons that use the .50 caliber, this round is fast and deadly, and only has the effective recoil of a 12 gauge Shotgun. It has a magazine capacity of 11 rounds which is large for a sniper rifle, making it an even more formidable weapon. The MA82A1 is heavy which is why it earned its nickname the 'Light Fifty'