Lion of Babylon (tank)

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Lion of Babylon
T-72-Fort Hood.jpg
A fully equipped Asad Babil on display at Fort Hood
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Iraq Ba'athist Iraq
Service history
In service 1989-2000s
Wars Persian Gulf War, Iraq War
Production history
Designer Soviet Union Kartsev-Venediktov
Produced 1989–1990
Number built Disputed
Few completed besides prototypes[1]
Stock of imported T-72s upgraded to Lion of Babylon standards[1][2][3]
100 (Russian claims)[3]
None finished (Polish claims)[4]
Specifications
Weight 41.5 ton
Length 6.9 m
Width 3.6 m
Height 2.2 m
Crew 3 (commander, driver and gunner)

Armor Cast steel turret (with kvartz filler)
Laminated glacis
Spaced armor reinforcement welded to front hull and turret
Electro-optical interference pods
Main
armament
125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun
Secondary
armament
PKMT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, NSVT or DShK 12.7 mm AA machine gun on commander's ring-mount
Engine V-46-6 - 12-cyl. diesel
780 horsepower (580 kW)
Power/weight 19.8 hp/tonne
Suspension Torsion bar
Number of dampers intentionally reduced to suit desert conditions
Operational
range
450 km
600 km with barrels
Speed 68 km/h (road)
50 km/h (off-road)

The Lion of Babylon or Asad Babil (Arabic: اسد بابل) was an Iraqi-built derivative of the Soviet T-72 main battle tank, assembled during the 1980s at a factory near Taji, Iraq, north of the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad.[2][4]

This project represented the most ambitious attempt by Saddam Hussein's regime to develop an indigenous tank, triggered in part when some Western governments imposed an embargo in order to force a negotiated end to the Iran-Iraq war.

Production history[edit]

According to Russian sources, an informal agreement was in place between the Iraqi government and a Polish company as early as 1982.[3] The deal comprised the assembly of 250 T-72Ms from imported hulls, in order to avoid the embargo.[3] However, the process actually consisted of final assembly of complete knock down kits, rather than a true production line. By September 1982, the Soviet Union started to provide other T-72 components covertly via Poland, to upgrade the Iraqi tanks. About 60 T-72s were lost in the war with Iran. By the time of the beginning of the production in the Taji factory, several hundred T-72s were in active service in the Iraqi Army. Nevertheless, the tanks were upgraded between 1989 and 1990.[3]

The steel plant in Taji, built by a West German company in 1986, manufactured steel for several military uses and met the standards to retrofit and rebuild tanks already on duty in the Iraqi Army, such as the T-54/55 and T-62. The first locally-assembled T-72 came off the production line in early 1989, after a license agreement was achieved with a Polish contractor to provide essential parts.[5]

The United Nations imposed an arms embargo following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, which soon limited the complex activity to the production of spare parts for the Lions and other tanks in the Iraqi arsenal.[5]

In most aspects, the Lion of Babylon is physically identical to the basic T-72M1.[6] The Iraqi T-72s were upgraded with the addition of laminated armor on the front slope and rear as protection against HEAT projectiles.[2] A few examples featured a laser rangefinder for its 125 mm smoothbore main gun. American military intelligence believed some of them also featured Belgian-made thermal sights.[7] These same sources claim the tank was also provided with a better track protection against sand and mud than the Soviet T-72, by reducing the original number of dampers.[8][9] Some of them carried a crude detachable pipe device made by the Iraqis in order to use the exhausts to blow up sand or dust to dig-in the tank.[10] It's widely known that the tank had some kind of electro-optical interference pods of Chinese origin.[11][12] As secondary armament, the tank mounted either the NSV or the DShK 12.7 mm machinegun and the coaxial 7.62 mm PKT common to all models of T-72.

Combat performance[edit]

The Asad Babil was generally credited as being the most common tank in Iraqi service during the Persian Gulf War, but the bulk of the Iraqi armoured units were equipped with the Type 69, produced in China but widely refitted by the Iraqis. Only Republican Guard divisions were equipped with Iraqi-modified T-72s, with exception of the Army armored Division Saladin.[13]

The Lion of Babylon was outclassed by the M1 Abrams, the Challenger 1/2 and by any other contemporary Western main battle tank during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[14] For example, a 120 mm depleted uranium (DU) APFSDS round from an M1 could knock out an Asad Babil tank well beyond 3,000 m,[15] while the effective range of a tungsten-core 125 mm shell is scarcely 1,800 m.[16]

The only chance for the Asad Babil against American tanks was to lure them to close range combat or trying to ambush them from dug-in positions like the battle of Phase Line Bullet.[17] But even in those conditions, the M1s usually prevailed, as proven in circumstances like the Battle of Norfolk, during Desert Storm, where dozens of Iraqi MBTs were obliterated,[18] or near Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad, April 3, 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, when U.S. tanks engaged their counterparts from just 50 yards, shattering seven enemy T-72s without losses.[19] These encounters also exposed the very poor marksmanship of the Iraqi gunners, in part due to the shortage of modern night-vision and range-finder assets.[20]

Persian Gulf War[edit]

The active ground war component of the Persian Gulf War began on February 24, 1991, and lasted until February 27, when President George H. W. Bush declared a unilateral cease-fire, after the last Iraqi Army units were forced out from Kuwait. The Asad Babil saw action mostly with the Republican Guard Armored Division Tawakalna (Arabic "in God we trust"), on the third day of operations.[16] The Division was decimated by the simultaneous assault of several American armored Task Forces.

Against the M1 Abrams[edit]

A Lion abandoned in Southern Iraq, March 1991

At first, combat assessment researchers thought that about a dozen M1s were hit and damaged in some degree in the course of tank battles with Iraqi T-72s in 1991, but further ballistics information and radiological readings showed that six Abrams were beyond any doubt hit by friendly fire. Helicopter-launched missiles are suspected of inflicting friendly damage in another four cases.

The T-72s built in Taji were technologically fifteen or more years out of date, so they could not face the latest generation of U.S. main battle tanks without sustaining heavy losses. However, some sources dispute the claim that no M1A1 Abrams took damage from this Iraqi tank. Brig. Gen. Robert Scales describes an engagement at close range between advancing M1s and dug-in Lions where at least two American tanks (B-23 and D-24) were knocked out, apparently by 125 mm sabot rounds.[21]

The battle took place before midnight, February 26, 1991, against a brigade of Tawakalna Division. The Abrams tanks belonged to TF 1-37th Armor, U.S. 1st Armored Division, and both were struck from behind. Two more became the targets of anti-tank missiles, depicted in the ballistics report as small shaped charge munition (scan) in one case (C-66) and one friendly DU round (scan) in the other (C-12). There was speculation about incoming friendly-fire from Apache helicopters of the U.S. 3rd Armored Division deployed to the south.[22] An official document (scan), shows a drawing describing the projectile path right through the tank hull, defeating the armor on both sides.

There is a summary (scan) detailing Abrams B-23's damage. This text mentions two rounds hitting the Abrams, the first of them (a shaped charge weapon) being probably an AGM-114 Hellfire missile blast through the rear grille doors, while the second 'unknown' round is almost certainly that depicted in the ballistics sketch. The damage taken from this second hit, as is described in this report, was catastrophic. Incidentally, other sources hint that, besides C-12, at least another tank was penetrated by APFSDS shells.[22]

A Delta company Abrams (D-24) was also hit by a HEAT round from an Asad Babil in the same skirmish, according to the tank commander, First Sergeant (1SG) Anthony Steede.[23] Indeed, the official assessment (scan) asserts that a small shaped charge ammunition struck the NBC exhaust duct, the jet passing through the compartment (scan). The MBT lost power and hydraulic pressure, becoming a mobility kill (according to Scales, the round was a sabot). The narrative (scan) about the incident shows the D-24 loader testifying that some kind of rocket/missile hit the U.S. tank, which supports the friendly fire theory. However, during a TV documentary interview some 10 years later,[24] Steede was adamant about the T-72 HEAT theory. The impact threw the TC from his hatch and left the gunner seriously wounded by splinters. The presumed killer was quickly destroyed by sabot fire from another Delta company Abrams.[23]

Another U.S. Army official damage assessment (scan), asserts that an unidentified Abrams suffered three non-DU impacts. Witnesses in the field claimed a T-72 was responsible. One round hit the front left turret slope with only minor damage; the two others achieved partial penetrations on the rear right side of the turret. This is the only officially documented instance of an Iraqi MBT knocking out an M1.[25] Even if the U.S. tank was not destroyed, the damage was enough to send it to a maintenance depot. The report about two hits in the rear turret suggests that the duffle bags in the tank's sponson boxes were presumably set on fire.[26] Another six M1s were allegedly hit by 125 mm tank fire in the Gulf War official report, but the impacts were largely ineffectual.[27]

More specific details exist about another Abrams storage area catching fire from a burning T-72 as a result of combat operations in the Chronology of the XVIII Airborne Corps in Gulf War.[28]

The damage was sustained during the last engagement of the Gulf War, March 2, 1991, near the Rumeilah oil fields, southwest of Basra, when the 1st Brigade of the U.S. 24th Infantry Division attacked by surprise a large retreating column of the Hammurabi elite Division, comprising some Asad Babil and APCs, which apparently broke the cease-fire. Most of the Brigade-size formation was demolished by the combined force of helicopters, A-10 attack aircraft and armored vehicle weapons.

Against the M2 Bradley[edit]

M2 Bradley K12 burning after being hit by 125 mm rounds

According to Atkinson and Scales, the Lions also accounted for at least three M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) during Desert Storm and left several damaged, all of them on February 26, 1991.

The Bradleys were often deployed as advanced scouts for the main armored forces. They explored the enemy lines, having been greeted by the Iraqi tank's main guns on many occasions. In return, if located within striking distance, they retaliated by firing their BGM-71 TOW antitank missiles with deadly effects, even putting several MBTs out of action.[29] Most of the M2 losses were the result of this kind of mission.

Brigadier General Scales states that on the mentioned date, an M2 Bradley (ID number unknown), leading the TF 3-5th Cavalry scout platoon and commanded by a First Lieutenant Donald Murray, took a T-72 sabot round through the road wheels. This action led to the first officially reported killing of a Lion in the Division, by First Lieutenant Marty Lener's tank.[30]

Atkinson cites a mostly fratricidal battle near Phase Line Bullet, a preestablished objective in the 3rd Armored Division way towards northern Kuwait, west of Al-Busayyah.[31] The close-range skirmish involved Bradleys from the 4th Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment against Iraqi dismounted infantry, APCs, and T-72s of Tawakalna Division. Visibility conditions were extremely poor (less than 400 yards), due to a sandstorm combined with the fumes of burning oil wells. The Iraqis employed small arms, RPG-7s, AT-3 Sagger missiles (completely aimless in such bad weather), and direct and indirect tank and 73 mm cannon fire from their entrenched positions.

One of the American IFVs (A-36) was hit and crippled by what ballistics suggest was a 12.7 mm bullet from an Iraqi tank[32][33] (though it was described only as a small caliber penetrator by the ballistics report),[34] and then shattered by a HEAT 125 mm shell after the crew evacuated the vehicle.[35][36] Bradley A-35 also took some damage from a mix of ricocheting 12.7 mm bursts and main gun rounds near-misses, but was able to be driven out.[37]

Another three vehicles were put out of action by M1 sabot friendly fire (A-22, A-24 and A-31). Two other ones took some damage from T-72 main and secondary armament: A-33 was hit by a ricocheting 12.7 mm bullet which disabled the radio and wounded the commander, while A-26 was struck by fragments of a 125 mm round during the process of recovering wounded personnel from A-24.[38][39]

The rest of the 14 IFVs platoon, all of them damaged by shrapnel and machine gun fire, was forced to withdraw. This is the only known action in which an Iraqi armored force led by T-72s Lions beat off a US ground assault in both Iraqi wars.

There is also another US Army reference to a third Bradley (K12), belonging to 3rd squadron, 2nd ACR (2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment), hit by both kinetic energy and HEAT rounds and totally destroyed.[40] This incident happened in the course of the scattered skirmishes that preceded the battle of 73 Easting against Tawakalna division, when a small Iraqi mechanized force attacked, during a probing action, the ressuply area of the Regiment, between Al-Bussayyah and Wadi-al-Batin, around 2:00 AM. A second Bradley and two M-113s were also damaged, all of them to friendly fire. Several MT-LBs troop carriers and one unidentified tank belonging to the retreating enemy were reported as destroyed by US forces.[41][42]

A fourth Bradley from TF4-32 was destroyed by friendly fire at 19:20 from another M2A2 while engaging a lone T-72 supported by dismounted Iraqi infantry.[43]

Iraq War[edit]

An Iraqi Asad Babil tank abandoned after facing the final U.S. thrust into Baghdad.

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Republican Guard's Lions, most of them from Medina Division, were deployed around Baghdad to attempt a last-ditch defense of the Baath regime.[44]

Since the beginning of the war, the bulk of the resistance had been conducted by regular army units, equipped with Type 69s and T-62s. In the process of the final run to the Iraqi capital, another M2 was struck by a 125 mm shell near Baghdad Airport in early April 2003, caught in the open while on a reconnaissance mission.[45] Other sources claim the Bradley was destroyed by an Iraqi modified Type 69 fitted with an automatic 57 mm antiaircraft gun,[46] but witnesses on the field claim that there were just two rounds fired, one against the Bradley and a previous near-miss aimed at a Fox reconnaissance vehicle.[45]

This action took place during a counter-attack led by Republican Guard armored forces against the Task Force 2-7 Infantry (Mechanized) Tactical Operations Center (TOC). Along with the main guns of the tanks shelling the compound, the area was hit by mortar fire and light artillery. The assault was fended off mostly by infantry armed with Javelin missiles, which destroyed a number of T-72s.[47]

Apache helicopter brought down while attacking a large formation of Asad Babils

In preparation for the final U.S. push, the Iraqi T-72s were the preferred target for Apache helicopters and A-10s, in an attempt to diminish the combat power of Medina. However, one of these U.S. air operations, executed by Apaches from the 11th Aviation Regiment became a fiasco near Karbala, on March 25. The Republican Guard T-72s, APCs, ZSU-23-4 antiaircraft systems, along with infantrymen armed with AK-47s, aware of the U.S. Army plans, surprised the 34 helicopters with a barrage of PKM, NSV, 23 mm, and perhaps 125 mm tank fire. The route of the raiders was uncovered by the Republican Guard long before they could reach their intended objective.[48][49]

The large aerial strike was repulsed, and one Apache was shot down (according to Iraqi state TV, shot at by a peasant firing an AK-47, although it was likely hit by 23 mm rounds), and all the remainder damaged, some of them taken temporary out of service and at least two being written off. Only seven were still operational after the failed raid. The two crew members of the downed aircraft were captured by the Iraqis. This left the U.S. regiment grounded for the rest of the invasion.[50]

The last operational Asad Babils were destroyed by the successive waves of American armored incursions on the Iraqi capital[51] or abandoned by their crews after the fall of Baghdad, several of them without firing a single shot, after the collapse of the regime. The derelict tanks were later scrapped by U.S. Army disposal teams or shipped to the United States for target practice. A handful of them that were still on production in the Taji complex or hidden elsewhere were later incorporated to the new Iraqi Army for training.

The Asad Babils and their now dismantled factory continued to be useful in attacking American forces in Iraq. Ammunition stocks were remanufactured as IEDs. Many of them were made from 125 mm HEAT shells,[52][53] sabot rounds, and other miscellaneous ammunitions once produced in the Taji plant. They were used, often with deadly effects, by the Iraqi Insurgency.[54]

Assessment[edit]

The Iraqi T-72 was affected by the same lack of maneuvering ability which had worried the Iraqi Army Command since the war with Iran.[55] The Asad Babils, like any other tank in the Iraqi inventory, were mainly employed as armored self-propelled artillery, rather than in maneuver warfare roles. Indeed, the Iraqis wasted numerous HEAT and even sabot tank shells in indirect fire missions from static and reveted positions,[56] achieving nothing against Coalition troops before being located and destroyed by airstrikes. In addition, this kind of tactic usually resulted in heavy barrel wear, further exacerbating the already-poor marksmanship.[57] The ambushes were also mostly ineffective, and those tanks met their fate at the hands of Coalition MBTs or IFVs. However, through the time taken for their destruction by the US 1st and 3rd Armored Divisions, the Tawakalna Division's Asad Babil units were able to delay and prevent the subsequent engagement of other Republican Guard forces by the Coalition before the cease-fire was ordered. It has been claimed that the continuation of Saddam's regime for the next 12 years can be attributed to this formation's last stand, as the surviving Republican Guard units that were able to escape beyond the Coalition's final Limit of Advance were later used to crush the Shiite and Kurd uprisings that took place after the ensuing Iraqi defeat.[58]

Armor[edit]

The Lion's primary armor was the same as the basic Soviet T-72 for export (T-72M), without any composite armor improvement, which made this tank an easy target for any modern main battle tank. The Lion's side armor had just 60 mm protection, the turret side armor standard is 300 mm, and the flat rear is 45 mm thick. (This was later reinforced by the Iraqis).[59]

Despite the relative thinness, the reinforced armor plate present both at the turret and the front upper hull seems to have been relatively effective against some shaped-charge ordnance, like the TOWs and Hellfire missiles. There are reports of Iraqi T-72s surviving near-misses from these weapons, although the reinforced armor generally did not prevent a mobility kill. However, it is also possible that the unexpected survival rate was due to the electro-optical countermeasures mounted on most of the tanks rather than the added armor.[60][61][62][63]

There is evidence of at least one Asad Babil surviving a direct hit from an Abrams main gun in the encounter at Mahmoudiyah in 2003. A 120 mm HEAT round from an Abrams impacted on the front of an Asad Babil turret at point blank range without producing a catastrophic kill. The tank was eventually destroyed by an armor-piercing round fired later.[64]

It may be that some of these tanks featured explosive reactive armor (ERA), obtained from spare parts of Polish T-72M1s. A US Commander in the field suggested that during their last stand for Baghdad, five Iraqi T-72s seemed to be equipped with ERA.[65]

Image showing the plate of laminated armor welded on an Asad Babil front slope. Note the edges around the rectangular section of the towing eyes and driver's hatch.

An improvised armor upgrade that may have also worked in these circumstances was introduced at the Taji complex, according to a Russian web site.[3]

This source reports that an additional armor plate with a thickness of 30 mm was welded on the front areas of the hull and turret, leaving an air gap matching the size of the armor, so that the power of a HEAT jet could be dissipated in the hollow space. This technique follows the principle of spaced armor. The Iraqi engineers tested this reinforcement against 120 mm Chieftain tank rifled guns in 1989, apparently with some success. A FAS document claims that Russian designers took note of this Iraqi employment of layer armor for their T-90 MBT.[66]

There are also at least two examples of 25 mm armor-piercing cannon fire from Bradleys IFVs ricocheting harmlessly when fired at the Iraqi tank in Desert Storm,[67] as 25 mm rounds can not penetrate the front or flanks of a T-72/Asad Babil from most ranges. Yet in the end it was no match for western 120 mm depleted uranium APFSDS ammunition.

Aftermath[edit]

Two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the new Iraqi Government acquired dozens of refitted T-72M1s from Hungary, in order to equip an armored brigade. The headquarters of this new Iraqi Army unit is located in Taji, so there may still remain some maintenance facilities for MBTs. Some surviving Lions are used to instruct the new recruits. The training and experience of the old Iraqi Army officers and crews with the Asad Babil was also one of the reasons behind the choice of the Soviet-designed tank by the authorities.[68]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Steven J. Zaloga & Peter Sarson (1993), p. 38
  2. ^ a b c "Baath Ground Forces Equipment", globalsecurity.org, "The Russian T-72M1 Main Battle Tank (MBT) was modified with additional armor in the front and rear to protect against HEAT projectiles. This "Lion of Babylon" tank was produced locally, and the technology was Iraqi. However, the soviets made all the parts and it was assembled in Iraq." 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "ТАНКИ ИРАКСКОЙ АРМИИ" [Iraqi Army Tanks]. otvaga2004.narod.ru (in Russian). Dec 29, 2009. "В 1988-89 гг. эти танки прошли модернизацию по усилению защищенности верхних лобовых деталей корпуса танка. Это достигалось путем приварки дополнительного броневого листа толщиной 30 мм с воздушной прослойкой, такого же размера. Эта мера была предпринята иракцами после изучения возможностей защиты танков от поражения различными боеприпасами 120-мм английской нарезной танковой пушки L 11А5, установленной на иранских танках "Чифтен", захваченных Ираком в ходе войны.
    "In 1988-89. These tanks had been upgraded to enhance the protection of the upper front of the tank hull. This was achieved by welding additional 30 mm armored plating with stand-offs producing an air gap of the same size. This measure was taken by the Iraqis after experimenting with protecting tanks from defeat by various 120 mm ammunition from the British L11A5 rifled tank gun installed on Iran's Chieftain tanks, seized by Iraq during the war."
     
  4. ^ a b Steven J. Zaloga & Peter Sarson (1993), p. 24
  5. ^ a b Timmerman, Kenneth R, "Chapter 16: The Gang's All Here", The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq, ISBN 978-0-395-59305-9 
  6. ^ Zaloga & Sarson (1993) p. 38
  7. ^ Atkinson, p.443
  8. ^ John Pike. "GlobalSecurity.org". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  9. ^ JED website (available by free subscription)[self-published source?]
  10. ^ T-72 in Iraqi Service[dead link]
  11. ^ Zaloga & Sarson, T-72... p.22
  12. ^ "T72 Tank". fas.org. Federation of American Scientists. "Image showing the cylindrical interference pod on top of the tank turret" 
  13. ^ Zaloga & Sarson, T-72... p.38
  14. ^ "ТАНКИ ИРАКСКОЙ АРМИИ" [Iraqi Army Tanks]. otvaga2004.narod.ru (in Russian). Dec 29, 2009. 
  15. ^ Scales, page 298: "The Iraqi plan was to kill the American tanks on the ridge with dug-in T-72s and then drive the survivors back into the wadi and finish them off with artillery. The Iraqis, however, had no idea they could be detected and destroyed at a range of nearly 2 miles."
  16. ^ a b Scales, page 261
  17. ^ Scales, page 269: "As TF 1-37th Armor crossed over the ridge into the heart of the Iraqi defensive zone, the Iraqi commander's carefully disposed rear-slope defense stripped Dyer's tanks of their range advantage. Within 1,000 meters, a row of dug-in T-72s and BMPs suddenly appeared below the crest. All were hull-down in prepared positions behind thick dirt walls. Now the Americans were well within Iraqi killing range, and although the Soviet-made night sights were markedly inferior, things could still get very dicey."
  18. ^ Scales, page 270: "After the war they (TF 1-37th) returned to count the burned-out hulks of 76 T-72s, 84 BMPs, 3 air defense artillery pieces, 8 howitzers, 6 command vehicles, 2 engineer vehicles, and myriad of trucks."
  19. ^ Conroy & Mars, p. 158
  20. ^ Scales, page 268: "The Iraqi gunners were poor marksmen and their green tracer sabots hit nothing."
  21. ^ Scales, pp. 269-270
  22. ^ a b Bohannon, p. 16. cites an M1A1 tank platoon leader from TF 1-37:"Speculation continues concerning what knocked out our four tanks. The three most probable answers are T-72 main gun, dismounted anti-tank missile, or Apache launched Hellfire missile. The fact that Apaches were operating to our rear and a witness's reports of high round trajectory support the friendly fire theory. However, ballistics reports suggest that 125 mm HEAT rounds produced the damage on some of the tanks. Visual examination of others reveals one obvious sabot hole. Overall, the physical evidence implies that T-72 fire took out our tanks, but the friendly fire possibility cannot be excluded."
  23. ^ a b Scales, pp. 213-215, from an interview with Steede.
  24. ^ History Channel, Battle Station series, November 2002.
  25. ^ Another reference to an M1 hit in a similar way by a T-72 can be found in a General accounting office's report about the Bradleys and Abrams performance in the Gulf War:
    • "CALL cites one incident in which an Abrams was reportedly struck twice by a T-72 tank firing from 2,000 meters. CALL reported that the crew involved in the incident stated that one projectile had bounced off the tank and the other had embedded itself in the armor." Hinton & others, page 24
  26. ^ This kind of mishaps proved that the external storage of the M1s Abrams are highly vulnerable to enemy fire, capable of igniting packaged items dripping down to the engine compartment, as also happened in at least one case during the 2003 invasion when the turret was hit by heavy machine gun rounds PDF (See 1-64 AR, B-24 tank)
  27. ^ Fahey, Dan: Collateral Damage..."During the ground war, only seven M1A1's were hit by rounds fired from the Iraqi's T-72 tanks, with none being seriously damaged." See also: George F. Hofmann & Donn A. Starry, pag.9
  28. ^ "XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS, DESERT STORM CHRONOLOGY March 1991". XVIII Airborne Corps in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm: An Annotated Bibliography. United States Army Center of Military History. 
  29. ^ Scales, 270-271: "Griffith sent is cavalry out to pinpoint both forces (Tawakalna and Medina Divisions). By dusk, the 1st Cavalry Bradleys were 50 kilometers to the front of 1st Armored when fire from BMPs and T-72s pinned them down. Griffith did not want his cavalry to get involved in a direct fire slugging match with heavier forces, so he called on the Apachesto help them disengage." Other examples described on pages 273, 274 and 276
  30. ^ Scales, p. 273. The TF was part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division. The report was retrieved from: History of the Ready First Combat Team, 1st brigade, 3d Armored Division, November 1990 through March 22, 1991.
  31. ^ Atkinson, pp. 428 to 433
  32. ^ Rostker, Bernard (1998), Environmental Exposure Report: Depleted Uranium in the Gulf, DoD  Sketch of the damage sustained by Bradley A-36
  33. ^ Action report
  34. ^ A-36 report
  35. ^ See this description of the incident.
  36. ^ Bin, Hill and Jones, page 195. Quote from SGT Jones, A-36 commander: "The weather was bad, and I couldn't see anything without the thermal sights. Just as I started to drop back into the hatch, I saw some sparks and dirt fly off the front of my vehicle-I knew we were being shot at. I told the driver to back up. He put it in gear, but all the transmission did was to whine."
  37. ^ See citation here.
  38. ^ Atkinson, pp. 431-432
  39. ^ A complementary report from Atkinson with some of this details also found at US Defense Department: Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: An Interim report to Congress (1991), Prologue, P-2. "The round landed 10 meters short, spraying dirt and shrapnel against Sneed's Bradley and blowing him to the ground."
  40. ^ See the following document (scan)
  41. ^ George F. Hofmann & Donn A. Starry, pag. 513.
  42. ^ Scales, page 238, doesn't mention any Iraqi tank disabled.
  43. ^ Scales, page 274
  44. ^ Zucchino, page 3
  45. ^ a b Quote: "First Lieutenant Milosovich moved a Bradley onto the bridge to scan for tanks. As soon as the Bradley reached the top of the overpass a main gun round from a T-72 slammed into the side of the unsuspecting Bradley from behind the large wall to the south. Strapped to the outside of the Bradley, the rucksacks exploded on impact, sending burning boots, t-shirts, and TA-50 into the air." From:
  46. ^ Quote: (The Bradley) "was penetrated in the troop compartment by what the troops were saying was a T-72, but based on the ballistics and what we think actually hit it was probably an anti-aircraft round." From: WLHoward.com
  47. ^ "Report". Projo.com. 
  48. ^ Scarborough 2003, "Alerted to the Apache's arrival by lookouts along the route, Iraqi civilians armed with AK-47s and Medina soldiers fired guns and Russian-made artillery barrage-style in crude but effective self-defense."
  49. ^ Kaplan, Fred. (April 23, 2003). "Chop the Chopper; The Army's Apache attack helicopter had a bad war". Slate.com. 
  50. ^ Scarborough 2003.
  51. ^ John Pike (2003-04-05). "GlobalSecurity.org". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  52. ^ "Task Force Baghdad Secures Car-Bomb Site". defenselink.mil. American Forces Press Service. July 9, 2005. Archived from the original on Sep 29, 2007. "In two separate incidents, also on July 8 in east Baghdad, Iraqis turned the tables and took a deliberate stand against terror. In the first incident, a local citizen observed terrorists placing a roadside bomb and provided a tip to the Iraqi police. The police responded, cordoned off the area and coordinated with the 720th Military Police Battalion and a coalition explosive ordnance disposal team to disable the bomb. EOD safely destroyed the bomb with a controlled detonation. The improvised explosive device consisted of a 125 mm tank round with a remote-controlled device." 
  53. ^ The following link describes how two trucks were destroyed by a single 125 mm shell on April 25, 2006: leatherneck.com
  54. ^ During the siege of Fallujah, on April 6, 2004, a large group of Iraqi insurgents set up an ambush from the dismantled hulks of T-72 Lions, gathered in an area known as the tank's Graveyard, near Ar-Ramadi. They killed two marines and destroyed an unarmored Humvee before being scared off by a team of snipers (West, pp. 95-100).
  55. ^ The Gulf War: Before and After Center for Defense Information
  56. ^ One of the first skirmishes of the Battle of Khafji shows an example of this, with T-62s firing a barrage of 115 mm KE rounds from about 2000 yards on a Marine Observation Post (OP-4), a typical castle-like stronghold in the desert, causing some damage but without any tactical consequences, since no attempt to flank the position was made by the Iraqis (Morris, p. 74).
  57. ^ Zaloga & Sarson, p. 38
  58. ^ Ricks, page 6
  59. ^ Data retrieved from Isby, Weapons and tactics...
  60. ^ Gollaher, Capt. Michael (May–June 1991), "Two Scouts Under Fire Helped Injured Buddies During Night Battle", Armor magazine: 21 
  61. ^ Atkinson, p. 444, cites another case of a TOW bouncing off a T-72 and hitting the turret of another tank
  62. ^ Brig. Gen. Scales hints that some Iraqi T-72s survived Hellfire strikes before the 1-37TF assault (p.268).
  63. ^ Dispatches From Iraq; "To ensure complete catastrophic destruction of the second tank, Private First Class Davis fired a second Javelin, causing even more explosions on the second tank. At this point the third T-72 began frantically trying to determine the source and direction of incoming fire. Private First Class Jiminez engaged the now moving third tank. His round missed but impacted close enough to damage the tank. The tank limped away to meet its fate elsewhere."
  64. ^ Conroy & Martz, p. 9
  65. ^ By Baumgardner, Neil; 654 words. "''Infantry'' magazine, September 1, 2004". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  66. ^ Warford, James M (Sep–Oct 1997), "The Russian T-90S: Coming into Focus", ARMOR magazine (Fort Knox, KY: US Army Armor Center), "So far, no specific additional information about the T-90’s front-slope or glacis armor configuration is available. The most likely design would be a much improved version of the 5-layer armor that protected the hulls of Iraqi T-72s in Desert Storm." 
  67. ^ Scales, p. 296.
  68. ^ Jewell, Sgt. Lorie (November 2005). "Iraqi Army Takes Delivery of Tanks, Vehicles". defendamerica.mil (Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq). "Many of the division's soldiers drove T-72 tanks in the old Iraqi Army, so they are familiar with operating and maintaining them, leaders said. A handful of the tanks remain at Taji and are used for training purposes." 

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