Steven Peterson's Reviews > M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural: Operation Desert Storm 1991

M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural by Steven J. Zaloga
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's review
Mar 10, 10

Read in March, 2010

This represents one entry in the Osprey Duel series. This slender volume focuses on the tank combat in Desert Storm, in 1991. Two key tanks: the M1 Abrams on the American side and the T-72 (a Soviet-built tank) on the Iraqi side. Indeed, as the author notes at the outset, the tank combat in Iraq may have served as something of a model for what might have happened had Warsaw Pact and NATO forces engaged in combat.

Both sides in Desert Storm had significant armored forces. Outcomes in battle were a function of two factors--the ability of the tanks and the training and performance of the tank crews. Both have to be accounted for.

Early on, as with other books examining weapons systems, design, development, and technical specifications of the tanks are provided. Pages 15 and 23 provide tank to tank comparisons (although it is annoying that physical dimensions are in feet for the M-1 and in the metric system for the T-72). Then, there is a discussion of the crews. The m-1 had a crew of 4 and the T-72 of 3. American crews were, overall, better trained and better fit for field combat. Iraqi tankers tended to be rather poorly trained--a genuine hazard once combat began.

Next, the strategic thinking of the two opponents are discussed and--then--the actual fighting. The end result was a battering of the Iraqi forces. More American tanks were destroyed by friendly fire than by Iraqi tanks.

A nice brief volume on tank versus tank in Operation Desert Storm.

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