The Battle of Debecka Pass

Introduction and Concept:

This project came about because I purchased a kit to convert an M1083 Truck into a SOCOM version known as a “War Pig”. The conversion represents a Ground Resupply Vehicle (GRV), which can be packed with supplies, is capable of off-road travel, and equipped with weapons for self-defense. Its looks are distinctive because the roof of the cab is removed, a roll bar added, multiple weapon stations, and the abundance and variety of supplies in the bed and strapped to its body. With all of that said, aside from a few photographs which many here have likely seen, I had a difficult time finding a reference for the operational use of the truck.

I finally came across an event, the Battle of Debecka Pass (April 6 and 7, 2003), which involved US Special Operations and Peshmerga forces and their mission of controlling a key highway intersection. Published sources cite the use of the GRV with trailers and GMVs as part of this. Many general descriptions of this event can be found on line, but the best reference I found is a book called Roughneck Nine-One (Frank Antenori and Hans Halberstadt, 2011) which describes the battle, and events leading to it in some detail. In book, the GRV is referred to as a fiveton medium truck (which the M1083 is) but photos show what appears to be the M1078, a 2.5 ton light truck. I couldn’t find any more information either way so, I concluded that I could live with the discrepancy and into the build I went with the M1083.

The event which occurred at Debecka Pass is noteworthy because a small group of special operations teams were able to hold their position against a few Iraqi T-55 tanks, a ZSU, and trucks. Though “apparently” out-armed and out-numbered, the special operations teams had Javelin shoulder fired missiles, which it turns out, were remarkably good at knocking out the opposing tanks and trucks from great distances. Unfortunately, the team ran low on the Javelin missiles as the battle went on, but needed to hold their position, which they did. The Ground Resupply Vehicles (GRV) came through, delivering missiles, ammunition, and other supplies to the battleground and the mission was accomplished.

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In addition to a colorful rendition of this, the book includes an introduction to the team members, their training and gear – of particular note is the recurrent mention of the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV), a modified version of the HMMWV, used by special operations, and the abundance of supplies and gear they were loaded with. In general terms, the GMV includes: heavy duty suspension, aggressive off-road tires, higher ground clearance, increased horsepower, open bed, winch, GPS + comms, etc. Two squads of four GMVs participated in the battle. The book notes how the teams practiced for just such an event, and were well equipped to handle it when it arose.

About the Author

About NHaskell (Stickframe)


Beautiful Nick , very , very cool !!!
MAR 21, 2016 - 02:19 AM
i see good selection of humvee.
MAR 21, 2016 - 02:34 AM
Hi guys - thanks for the positive words! this was heck of build! Thanks to Mario for polishing up the submittal for the feature! hanks for having a look and the comments - Nick
MAR 21, 2016 - 05:41 AM
I was looking for the pics of the dio then realised I was looking at it. I thought that they were photos from the Op! That is without a doubt the most impressive dio I have ever seen. The fact that I mistook it for photos says it all really. It doesn't look like a model! You've nailed it in every aspect there my friend. Painting, scenery, composition, choice of figures. It looks real!
MAR 21, 2016 - 06:27 AM
You did an excellent job with this diorama project, Nick. As a museum and history guy, I prefer seeing works that are based on actual events and you really pulled this off at a professional level. It was an incredible undertaking and you produced a work of art that serves as a means to honor those involved in this action. OUTSTANDING!
MAR 21, 2016 - 06:32 AM
Hi Karl, and James, thanks for having a look and your comments! Karl I'm glad the photos worked! I enjoy trying to take pics that highlight the event and not only the models. I've got to say, I'm surprised by the results sometimes. Hi James, you hit an interesting point - the real event which ultimately inspired the project. I like the looks of the GRV, and was curious to find out where they were used - and it turns out, the event was pretty significant. As the truck is so distinctive, it's nice to show it in a somewhat realistic setting. I appreciate your comments. Cheers Nick
MAR 22, 2016 - 08:47 PM
This is absolutely fantastic work and one of the best dioramas I have ever seen. Each vehicle and figure is outstanding and put together they form a perfect piece of history frozen in place. I have followed your builds along the way and the time, details, and effort put into this really shows. Never has the sentence "Thanks for sharing" been more true. Simply a masterpiece.
MAR 23, 2016 - 12:25 PM
Hi Jesper, thanks for the generous words and sentiment - I really appreciate them. A fun part of this build was that once I found a good summary of the events, the real challenge became trying to reflect it in a reasonably accurate light. Clearly, there are lots of flaws, and overlooked details, but, I decided to try to reflect the spirit of the event with as much accuracy as I was able to. Thanks again - Nick
MAR 25, 2016 - 05:19 AM
Wonderful diorama, Nick! The amount of resources, time, and effort you dedicated to this scene is absolutely amazing!
MAR 25, 2016 - 10:13 PM
I don't know what to add over what I said before during your build log. Obviously masteful work on the vehicles with all the additions/scratchbuilding etc etc. Great figs,well placed and chosen. Awesome groundwork and your signature outdoor light pics rocks as always. Honored to be on the same forum as you bubba! J
MAR 26, 2016 - 01:07 AM