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"Hey Miller, you should collect that guy's salary. You just did his job for him"

— Miller's tank Commander.

Thunder Run is the seventh mission in the singleplayer campaign of Battlefield 3. The player takes on the role of Jonathan Miller as the 1st Tank Battalion is crossing the Kavir Desert to rescue Henry Blackburn's squad in Tehran, Iran, some 200 kilometers away. During this mission the player engages PLR tanks and infantrymen using the M1A2 Abrams, A-10 Thunderbolts via an MAV drone and on foot while clearing a minefield.


Battlefield 3 Icon
"We can avert war between our nations. Just two of us.
No politicians, no money changing hands.
Just two soldiers speaking the truth."
This section contains spoilers for Battlefield 3.

Crossing the Kavir Desert[]

The level begins with Jonathan Miller riding in the open hatch of his M1 Abrams tank, staring at the sky with a toy dinosaur from his son. After being brought back to attention by a crewmate, he watches as the Marine tank column cross the Kavir Desert. A pair of AH-1Z Vipers fly overhead as the tanks cross the desert, but soon rockets are fired from over a sand dune. A Marine identifies them as old Soviet BM-21s, but they appear to be no threat to the tank column.

As the Marine tanks push forward, the unit leader reports that scouts had sighted PLR tanks ahead of the Marines. Miller takes up his position as tank gunner and drives the tank forward.

Engaging the PLR[]

As the Marines continue their advance, ten Type 72Z tanks arrive from behind a sand dune, and fire on the Abrams. The Marines halt and return fire, destroying all ten tanks. However, as the Marines resume their advance, two more T-72s fire on the Marines from behind a cloud of dust. However, the Marines activate their thermal vision, and the battle quickly goes in their favor, destroying both tanks quickly.

The Marines continue their advance, pushing forward, but are halted by an artillery strike ahead of them.

Assaulting the base[]

Miller then switches to video feed from a MAV and lazes the enemy encampment housing the rocket artillery. Two A-10s perform a strafing run, with minimal damage.

Miller returns to his position while Ingham loads High Explosive Anti-Tank rounds. The tanks charge towards the enemy encampment at the berm, almost immediately losing Anvil 3-2 to artillery. The tanks destroy several enemy BMPs and foot soldiers, before reaching the other side of the encampment and destroying the rocket artillery battery which explodes with multiple secondaries in succession. After the battery is destroyed, AAV-7A1s deploy friendly infantry to the position.

Proceeding towards Tehran[]

The Anvil tanks proceed onwards, pursuing two fleeing enemy tanks. The T-72s bait them into an ambush, where six tanks assault the Abrams unit from a ridge line. Miller's tank destroys the ambush force.

Destroying the Truck convoy[]

Miller's unit reaches an enemy convoy with multiple enemy armored vehicles and infantry. The convoy is subsequently destroyed. The tanks drive to checkpoint 'Tarmac' while a B-1 bomber performs a run over a nearby position.

Ambush at Highway One[]

The Anvil unit reaches checkpoint 'Kilo', a highway lined with burnt-out military and civilian vehicles. Then they reach overpass 'Alter' where they are hailed by a USMC engineer. Miller gets out of the tank and meets with him on foot, equipped with an M4A1 carbine. The engineer tells Miller that his unit was ambushed by the PLR after laying minefield-clearing charges and were subsequently unable to detonate them. Anvil 3-4 and Miller's tank drive up to the frontline and cover Miller while he retrieves the clapper and detonates the charges, clearing the minefield.

He re-enters the tank, this time manning the M2 Browning machine gun on the top of the tank's turret and eliminating enemy infantry while they proceed towards the city. They come across a large amount of enemy infantry wielding RPGs and a tank at a petrol station which Miller promptly detonates with the machine gun, destroying the petrol station and tank consecutively.

Ambush at the Overpass[]

While approaching the overpass on the road to Tehran, Anvil 3-1 is destroyed by a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED), a civilian car loaded with various explosives. The other tank commanders report a catastrophic kill, meaning the tank was completely destroyed. They halt under the underpass while Miller destroys four more VBIEDs and anti-tank infantry on the overpass. The tanks then proceed towards downtown Tehran after receiving a command for mission reorientation, followed by a B-1B flying by, signaling the beginning of the next mission.


Related Achievements and Trophies[]

The following achievements/trophies can be completed on this mission.

Image Name Criteria Gamerscore Trophy type
14Se3dd31 Scrap Metal Destroyed 6 enemy tanks before reaching the fort in Thunder Run 25 G Bronze


  • The checkpoint 'Kilo', the highway lined with burnt-out military and civilian vehicles, may have been inspired by the Highway of Death.
  • There can be an glitch when Miller switches screens after using the MAV feed, he gets out of the tank for some reason. When this happens, the player can not enter back into the tank and now has to go through the whole level on foot. This is rather unadvised and the player should instead restart the whole mission.
  • When you exit the tank to obtain the detonator, Miller is seen using black Oakley gloves, similar to the ones worn by Blackburn when the game was in pre-alpha stage.
  • At the very beginning of the mission, when Miller is holding the Dinosaur with "To Dad" written on it, the first tones of the Battlefield 1942 intro can be heard.
  • The initial V-BIED is invincible.
  • Anvil 3-2 accompanies the formation from the beginning of the mission on the far right of the formation. The tank destroyed in the charge on the encampment, identified in dialogue as Anvil 3-2, does not have a name marker, while the labelled 3-2 continues the assault, flanking around the enemy encampment to the right. Strangely, after leaving the enemy camp, 3-2 turns around and leaves the battlefield.
  • Even though the BMPs in the camp are equipped with reactive armor, they are extremely weak and can be destroyed by ramming them.
  • Briefly after reaching checkpoint "Kilo," Anvil 3-3 will report in to Anvil 6-6, however 6-6 responds, "Roger 3-4" rather than 3-3.
  • Directly before making contact with the Hatchet engineers, there are two (one other comes to join them) Marines taking cover behind an AMTRAC to the player's left. Sometimes, the AMTRAC will not load properly and the Marines will appear to be standing and crouching in the middle of the road.
  • When Miller goes on foot to assist Hatchet unit, it is possible to jump on a nearby object and then onto another Anvil tank. Going prone on the main turret will cause the player to slightly clip through, and see the gunner's full body model, which consists of desert khaki Engineer leg models, and a unique head and torso model.
  • Occasionally, a glitch may occur causing Miller to exit the tank just before reaching the highway.
  • A similar glitch can occur where the player can get out of the tank and can get back in at the beginning of the highway. However, sometimes the player cannot re-enter the tank, as the prompt does not appear.
  • In the game files this level is named SP_Tank.