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2004-12-03 Iraq-Jordan
Tanks come out of mothballs to strengthen Iraqi firepower
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Posted by Steve White 2004-12-03 12:34:31 AM|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6463 views since 2007-05-07]  Top

#1 Oh, dear. I do hope the Iraqis are better drivers than, e.g. the Egyptians. (Mr. Wife tells stories of his taxi driver going full speed the wrong way down one-way streets with the lights off, "to save the battery.") If yes, there will be a few more buildings with holes in the walls before the men are fully trained.
Posted by trailing wife 2004-12-03 1:25:03 AM||   2004-12-03 1:25:03 AM|| Front Page Top

#2 Good idea! I cringe when I see the video footage showing these Iraqi soldiers getting around in small trucks. Should paint a bullseye on those vehicles.
Posted by Capt America  2004-12-03 1:59:45 AM||   2004-12-03 1:59:45 AM|| Front Page Top

#3 Those tanks are pretty useless for practical purposes. Their engine machining is so poor that their useful life before engine rebuild is measured in hours. I've heard estimates as low as 1000 hours before a rebuild, with another 1000 before the tank is a basket case.
Posted by Anonymoose 2004-12-03 11:10:01 AM||   2004-12-03 11:10:01 AM|| Front Page Top

#4 I suspect the planners have accounted for this. There's probably plenty of spares/cannablisable units around Iraq. If not, there's lots of Eastern European countries who can either supply parts or the upgraded engines.
Posted by Pappy 2004-12-03 11:22:15 AM||   2004-12-03 11:22:15 AM|| Front Page Top

#5 certain hmmmm *cough* 3rd parties *cough* have been known to re-engine T-55 and 62s.
Posted by Shipman 2004-12-03 11:26:27 AM||   2004-12-03 11:26:27 AM|| Front Page Top

#6 Might as well get some use out of 'em. Against any other MBT, the T-55 is a deathtrap; but against semi-trained urban goon squads with AK's and the odd RPG, it's a hulking steel monster of death.
Posted by Mike  2004-12-03 1:36:51 PM||   2004-12-03 1:36:51 PM|| Front Page Top

#7 Shipman: certain hmmmm *cough* 3rd parties *cough* have been known to re-engine T-55 and 62s.

Israel?
Posted by Zhang Fei  2004-12-03 1:44:12 PM|| [http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2004-12-03 1:44:12 PM|| Front Page Top

#8 Mike: Might as well get some use out of 'em. Against any other MBT, the T-55 is a deathtrap; but against semi-trained urban goon squads with AK's and the odd RPG, it's a hulking steel monster of death.

RPG's can defeat T-55 armor. However, I think T-55's can be useful for direct fire support during operations, when proximity to the enemy is such that tube artillery is hazardous.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2004-12-03 1:46:32 PM|| [http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2004-12-03 1:46:32 PM|| Front Page Top

#9 A lot of these jihadis have been trained in Soviet style operations which mean the T-55 is most likely nice direct fire support for infantry operations. But the tank is thin skinned and its 100mm gun was originally designed as an anti-tank gun, not a general fire support weapon.

I think I read somewhere that the left's pink cardboard tank is barely a match for the T-55.
Posted by badanov  2004-12-03 2:01:26 PM|| [http://www.rkka.org]  2004-12-03 2:01:26 PM|| Front Page Top

#10 Folks, you're missin' the point here. Compared to white Toyotas that these troops are climbing in and out of, isn't even the T-55 and 62s a better alternative?
Posted by Capt America  2004-12-03 2:06:11 PM||   2004-12-03 2:06:11 PM|| Front Page Top

#11 CA: Folks, you're missin' the point here. Compared to white Toyotas that these troops are climbing in and out of, isn't even the T-55 and 62s a better alternative?

I think the firepower element is primary and protection element is secondary. Tanks are too maintenance-intensive to be used for routine convoy operations. (Russian tanks especially are reputed to have lousy engines). These T-55's are likely to be used very selectively and mainly for fire support.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2004-12-03 2:12:26 PM|| [http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2004-12-03 2:12:26 PM|| Front Page Top

#12 Not that the T-55 is the greatest tank in the world, but an RPG can even defeat an Abrams if the warhead hit the right spot. Moreover, if reactive armour is added to a T-55, it becomes an acceptable urban zone tank. And the Czechs and Slovaks have done some ammo development and have a HESH round for the 100MM. HESH is REALLY bad news if you are on the other side of the wall that it hits.
And besides which, steel is still better protection that cloth or even body armour.
One last thing, if the Iraqis are touchy about Israeli modifications, the South Africans, the Indians, or the Turks can do them {Turkey has the Israeli mods from their technology agreements}.
Posted by Thomoting Grinenter7353 2004-12-03 2:16:18 PM||   2004-12-03 2:16:18 PM|| Front Page Top

#13 TG: Moreover, if reactive armour is added to a T-55, it becomes an acceptable urban zone tank.

Reactive armor and supporting infantry don't mix. When the tank gets hit, the armor blows up, splattering the surrounding infantry with shrapnel.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2004-12-03 2:18:25 PM|| [http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2004-12-03 2:18:25 PM|| Front Page Top

#14 Compared to white Toyotas that these troops are climbing in and out of, isn't even the T-55 and 62s a better alternative? In the Chadian civil war white Toyotas comprehensively defeated a large force of Libyan T-55/62s. Libyan casualties were in the thousands.
Posted by phil_b 2004-12-03 2:24:26 PM||   2004-12-03 2:24:26 PM|| Front Page Top

#15 Israel did indeed re-engine and otherwise modify a large number of captured T-54s and 55s after the 67 war, under the designation TI-67. Mods included a new powerpack (reportedly a Detroit 12V-71T), the 105mm NATO gun, appropriate fire-control, and air conditioning. These were used with some success against their original owners during the 73 war.
They were reportedly unpopular in Israeli service because of the very cramped interior. Israel has also used the T-55 or T-62 chassis for a heavy APC, but I don't have info on this.
There are many, many other upgrades for these tanks, including a similar one (105mm gun, etc.) done in Egypt.
Add-on spaced armor will mitigate the RPG threat to a great extent, though the vehicle is still vulnerable in close combat. The most appropriate use would be direct-fire support.
The 100mm does have a useful HE round for these operations.
The psychological impact should not be under-estimated; on the jihadis, friendly troops, and Iraqi civilians alike. Tanks are well thought of in that part of the world. This contrasts sharply with the western pop-culture/MSM meme that tanks are brutish dinosaurs and easy targets for a single rebel-hero fighter with a hand-held weapon. This meme, incidentally, dates back almost to the invention of tanks in WW1, when journalists first discovered that the monsters were not in fact completely invulnerable. For once, the masses of the Arab world have it right, while western MSM conformists are buying into a potentially fatal strawman by under-estimating the power of armor.
Posted by Atomic Conspiracy 2004-12-03 2:25:44 PM||   2004-12-03 2:25:44 PM|| Front Page Top

#16 phil_b

I know, I know but you forget that the tanks were manned by Lybian tankers not NATO or Israeli tankers. I remember when reading the actions reports that ist was evident that the Lybian crews panicked and didn't supoort one another. With each tank caring only about itself it was easy for the nimble Toyotas to run circles around the tanks at a range too short for the tanks engaging them.
Posted by JFM  2004-12-03 2:35:32 PM||   2004-12-03 2:35:32 PM|| Front Page Top

#17 Ken Pollack's Arabs at War has an excellent section on the "Toyota War". Short version is: Arab armies suck enough to negate the benefit of armor, once you give the otherside a reasonable anti-tank weapon like the French Milan.

I'm not too enthusiastic about the idea of somebody using T-55s in an anti-insurgency role. Even modern tanks or IFVs like the Abrams or the Bradley aren't suited to convoy and patrol in Iraqi theatre conditions. South African armored cars - seriously. The South Africans would make a mint, and from what I've read, they're brilliant counterinsurgency platforms - not nearly as expensive as Strykers, but good enough for government work.

Re-engineered T-55s would be useful mostly for show, to frighten off the Iranians. I would guess that this is the point - a show-unit for display purposes.
Posted by Mitch H.  2004-12-03 3:03:51 PM|| [http://blogfonte.blogspot.com/]  2004-12-03 3:03:51 PM|| Front Page Top

#18 Chechen fighters made mincemeat out of the Soviet tank brigade that went into Grozny. I'm not sure that Iraqi terrorists wouldn't do the same to an Iraqi unit. But Iraqi troops have to learn how to deal with this by themselves eventually, and the T-55 is a relatively inexpensive platform in which to get their first lessons.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2004-12-03 3:28:31 PM|| [http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2004-12-03 3:28:31 PM|| Front Page Top

#19 Off-topic or abusive comments deleted]
Posted by mojo  2004-12-03 1:42:39 AM||   2004-12-03 1:42:39 AM|| Front Page Top

#20 Off-topic or abusive comments deleted]
Posted by mojo  2004-12-03 1:42:39 AM||   2004-12-03 1:42:39 AM|| Front Page Top

#21 Off-topic or abusive comments deleted]
Posted by mojo  2004-12-03 1:43:09 AM||   2004-12-03 1:43:09 AM|| Front Page Top

#22 Off-topic or abusive comments deleted]
Posted by mojo  2004-12-03 1:43:09 AM||   2004-12-03 1:43:09 AM|| Front Page Top

01:43 mojo
01:43 mojo
01:42 mojo
01:42 mojo
00:06 Sobiesky
00:01 mojo
23:56 Alaska Paul
23:45 Alaska Paul
23:42 Mike Kozlowski
23:35 Fred
23:29 Zenster
23:27 Zhang Fei
23:24 Zhang Fei
23:21 Sock Puppet of Doom
23:19 Matt
23:14 Robin Burk
23:13 Mark Espinola
23:11 Capt America
23:10 lex
23:06 Robin Burk
23:02 lex
22:47 mojo
22:41 JP
22:38 Zenster
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