United States and United Kingdom armored forces overwhelmed the Iraqi Army

73 Easting, an excellent recreation of the last great tank battle of the 20th century

During the Gulf War (1990-1991) a great tank battle took place from which some did not learn any type of lesson.

When Abrams and Challenger overwhelmed in 1991 tanks like the ones Russia still uses
Sierra Army Depot, una enorme base de EEUU con cientos de tanques Abrams almacenados

That battle does not even have a conventional name, because it was fought in a desert area of southeastern Iraq. For this reason, it is known as the Battle of 73 Easting, due to its GPS coordinates. The battle took place between February 26 and 27, 1991, and was a demonstration of the great superiority of Western military technology.

In this battle, troops belonging to three armored divisions (the 10th, the 12th and the 52nd), four infantry divisions (the 25th, the 26th, the 31st and the 48th) and alsothe most powerful unit of the Iraqi Army, the Tawakalna Division, part of the Republican Guard and which had 220 tanks and 284 infantry combat vehicles, among other weapons systems. On the allied side, formed by forces from the US and the United Kingdom, there were troops from four armored divisions (the 1st, 2nd and 3rd American and the 1st British), an artillery brigade (the 210th) and two cavalry regiments (the 2nd and ekl 4th).

Iraqi forces dug in using defilade positions dug into the ground to protect their tanks, which included older T-55s and T-62s and the more modern T-72s. The Allies had M1A1 Abrams and Challenger 1 tanks, armed with powerful 120 mm guns and very well protected, as well as M3 Bradley cavalry fighting vehicles, equipped with 25 mm guns and two launchers of TOW anti-tank missiles each.

There was then the belief that the Iraqi Army would be a formidable rival. After all, it had been hardened in the long war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988). Specifically, the greatest fears were directed towards the forces of the Republican Guard, the elite force of the Iraqi Army, its best trained and best equipped branch.

The advance of the allied forces through Iraq ended up showing the reality. The Iraqi Army was technologically inferior to the Western ones, its troops were unmotivated - in many cases they surrendered without putting up the slightest resistance - and the allied forces caught the Iraqi tanks off guard, whose crews were unable to react to the rapid advance of the Abrams, Challenger and Bradley.

That battle turned out to be a preview of what would be seen years later during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The more modern T-72s were very vulnerable and their turrets flew much more frequently than on the T-55 and T-62 when they were hit by the shells of the Allied tanks, due to the placement of ammunition and projection charges in the T-72's automatic loader. This had a devastating effect on the Iraqi Army. Many T-55 and T-62 crews abandoned their tanks and simply fled when they saw the more modern T-72s jumping into the air, as we already saw here.

The results of the battle were unusual in the history of tank battles to that date. The allies destroyed 160 Iraqi tanks, 180 armored transports, 12 artillery systems and 80 wheeled vehicles, in addition to causing hundreds of deaths and injuries in the ranks of Saddam Hussein's army. However, the Allies did not lose any tanks and only one M-2 Bradley was lost, in addition to suffering 6 dead and 19 wounded.

Thus, the conclusion of the battle was that the tanks of Soviet origin were completely overwhelmed, but Russia did not take note of what happened: 21 years later, it invaded Ukraine with a tank army formed, in its majority, by the T-72. The results are visible.

The images that you can see in this article are taken from an excellent video by Yarnhub which recreates that battle with a computer:

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