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Squadron leader wins gallantry award for launching ‘off the cuff’ airstrikes on ISIS

  • Squadron Leader Matt Axcell planned strike with pad and pencil in 20 minutes
  • Complex attack involving four planes had never been tried in Syria before
  • Planes took out 12 ISIS mortars defending so-called Black Stadium in Raqqa where ISIS thugs torture and kill prisoners 

The Color Toner Experts

A squadron leader who launched ‘off the cuff’ airstrikes on ISIS mortars with only minutes of fuel left has been given a gallantry award.

Matt Axcell, 40, planned the complex strikes in just 20 minutes using a pencil, an A5 pad on his knee and a pair of night-vision goggles. 

His plane, an RAF Tornado and two Typhoons launched strikes to take out 12 ISIS mortars defending the so-called Black Stadium in the city of Raqqa, Syria, where thugs torture and kill prisoners. 

An attack of such complexity had never been attempted before in Syria, and Mr Axcell has been given a Mention in Dispatches gallantry award for his efforts.

Matt Axcell, 40, planned a complex strike on ISIS mortars defending the so-called Black Stadium in the city of Raqqa, Syria, in just 20 minutes

Mr Axcell told the Sunday Times: ‘Obviously, you consider the implications of the attack but you don’t have a chance to think: “This is something we haven’t tried before.”

‘We were right on the line of getting the aircraft back to base. There was no more fuel available for us that night.’

Each of the planes involved in the strike in July 2017 had been in the air for more than four hours and had already been given their last final refuel.

After the attack, they had just enough fuel to assess the damage from the bombs before returning to base in Cyprus.

Footage released by the Ministry of Defence shows a huge explosion near the stadium after Mr Axcell bombed the ISIS targets.

The mortars had posed a threat to fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces.

An attack of such complexity had never been attempted before in Syria, and Mr Axcell has been given an Mention in Dispatches gallantry award for his efforts

An attack of such complexity had never been attempted before in Syria, and Mr Axcell has been given an Mention in Dispatches gallantry award for his efforts

Each of the planes involved in the strike in July 2017 had been in the air for more than four hours and had already been given their last final refuel. After the attack, they had just enough fuel to assess the damage from the bombs before returning to base in Cyprus

Each of the planes involved in the strike in July 2017 had been in the air for more than four hours and had already been given their last final refuel. After the attack, they had just enough fuel to assess the damage from the bombs before returning to base in Cyprus

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