01 June 2015

Comics Imagi-Nations - Republic of Basran (Buck Danny, 2013)

I borrowed the latest Buck Danny (Black Cobra from Winis & Zumbiehl) from my brother just before he went back to sea... It's not the best Buck Danny album ever, but then again, it's never easy for new author and artist to take over a series.

In 2013*, after a F-22 is shot down while supercruising at 60 kft above Basran, Colonel Danny and his two usual sidekicks are tasked to conduct a series of covert ELINT missions to identify the weapon system that took down the Raptor...

Caution: spoilers!

  • The maps of Basran shown at the Pentagon briefing and on board USS Ronald Reagan clearly put Basran in the place occupied by real-world Iran;
  • Six cities can also be seen on the maps (fun fact: according to Wikipedia, Iran has six major cities): Tahran (not-Tehran), Nezad (not-Mashhad), Aspahan (not-Isfahan), Zaraz (not-Shiraz), Kandar Azzazn (not-Bandar Abbas),  and Zariz (not-Tabriz).
Yeah, that's the best view the Basrani flag we've got...
  • Air Force: befitting a Buck Danny adventure, the Basrani Air Force features prominently in the story... The aircrafts shown are MiG-29 (C/S "Qqâb" Leader and 3, and "Kajdom" Leader), MiG-23 (C/S "Bâz" 38 & 39) and MiG-21; they're painted in a drab on tan camo scheme, no roundel is shown but a flag can be seen on a MiG-21 tail fin: 3 equal horizontal bands of green (top), white and red, charged with a green-bordered red star in the center (think Yugoslavian flag with green instead of blue and yellow);
Extrapolating a roundel from the flag...
  • Ground Forces: beside the single S-400 battery covertly provided by the Russians (with matching "advisers") around which the entire story revolves, the only Basrani ground forces featured in the book is the "Xerxes Unit", special forces riding in BTR-80 and wearing a large dark green beret; the S-400 escort is armed at least one "Igla" MANPADS (not sure if it's the SA-16 or 18) while the Xerxes guys are shown using several "Strela" ones (SA-14, I assume) and a KPV;
  • Navy: the story also features a Kilo-class Basrani submarine tailing the USS Ronal Reagan (within visual range no less: pretty good tactics from the Basrani CO, or very poor ASW skills from the CSG).
Basrani Flag
Other details:
  • Basran conducts a clandestine nuclear weapons research program. General Moshem Moqad (who looks a lot like Francis Bergèse, one of the former illustrators of the series) is the Basrani "Head of Nuclear Security" at the "Intelligence and Internal Security" Ministry;
  • While Basran is apparently meant as not-Iran (the location, the nuclear program, "important contemporary religious guy" portrait in the General's office), a couple of things hint more at a Saddam-Hussein-ish blend of Arab Nationalism (the "Xerxes Unit") and Arab Socialism (Fidel-Castro-ish patrol caps, red star on the flag)...

Wargaming in Basran:
  • Scenarios: US SF conducting black ops against the Basrani Nuclear Program (no to far from the book story), the US or some sort of Coalition of the Willing invade Basran, depending on the actual orbat and level of training of Basrani forces, it can be a fairly one-sided affair à la 2003 invasion of Irak, or a full blown conventional war and, assuming they win, the US and their allies now have to occupy a country that held together only under the heel of its merciless dictator;
  • Extrapolating an ORBAT: MiG-21 (or J-7), 23 and 29 are/were flown by both Iranian/Iraqi, the BTR-80 though seems not to be found in neither ORBAT, the lack of any occidental-made Basrani aircraft (no "not-Iranian" F-4, F-5, F-14) might be another (albeit indirect) indication that Basran really is pre-2003 Irak rather than Iran...
* Unless there are elements (actual dates, real world events) that indicates the timeline, I usually consider the story to happen in the book publication year...

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