30. March 2005 · Comments Off on Iraqi Insurgents Knocking Out M1s · Categories: General

This from USA Today:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military’s Abrams tank, designed during the Cold War to withstand the fiercest blows from the best Soviet tanks, is getting knocked out at surprising rates by the low-tech bombs and rocket-propelled grenades of Iraqi insurgents.

In the all-out battles of the 1991 Gulf War, only 18 Abrams tanks were lost and no soldiers in them killed. But since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, with tanks in daily combat against the unexpectedly fierce insurgency, the Army says 80 of the 69-ton behemoths have been damaged so badly they had to be shipped back to the United States. (Related graphic: Upgrading the Abrams tank)


Commanders say the damage is not surprising because the Abrams is used so heavily, and insurgents are determined to destroy it.

“It’s a thinking enemy, and they know weak points on the tank, where to hit us,” says Col. Russ Gold, who commanded an armored brigade in Iraq and now is chief of staff at the Armor Center.

Because it was designed to fight other tanks, the Abrams’ heavy armor is up front. In Iraq’s cities, however, insurgents sneak up from behind, fire from rooftops above and set off mines below.

A favorite tactic: detonating a roadside bomb in hopes of blowing the tread off the tank. The insurgents follow with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and gunfire aimed at the less-armored areas, especially the vulnerable rear engine compartment.

Perhaps we should buy some Merkavas. 🙂

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