Byline: EMMA SNODGRASS
UK troops today destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks outside the city of Basra in what is believed to be the largest tank battle involving British forces since the Second World War.
Military sources said the engagement happened when the Iraqi tanks - thought to be Russian-built T55s - began moving south out of the city towards the Al Faw peninsula.
They were met by a similar number of British Challenger 2s from the Royal Scots Dragoon guards. All the Iraqi tanks were destroyed in the fighting. A military source said: "It was 14-0."
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards also overran two Iraqi infantry positions, the sources said.
One tank officer said of the contest between the T55 and Challenger 2: "It's like the bicycle against the motor car."
The Challengers can fire up to eight rounds a minute and the engagement took place on the move.
The Challengers will have used depleted uranium shells against their foes.
British and US forces first engaged the Iraqi armoured column heading south out of Iraq's second city last night, forcing it to disperse.
Fighter jets pounded the Iraqi troop and armour convoy heading towards British forces.
British jets were involved in "heavy air activity" from early yesterday evening, strafing and bombing the Iraqis after the column was spotted by allied helicopters.
An RAF source said: "A significant number of British aircraft are involved."
A convoy of about 120 T55s and Type 59 artillery pieces as well as armoured personnel carriers were on the move towards British lines south of the city. …