Iraqi Abrams losses revealed – IHS Jane's 360

The armour on five of Iraq’s M1A1 Abrams tanks was penetrated by anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and six helicopters were shot down between 1 January and the end of May, The New York Times quoted an unnamed US official as saying on 13 June.

The official said 28 Iraqi Army Abrams had been damaged in fighting with militants, five of them suffering full armour penetration when hit by ATGMs. The United States supplied 140 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to Iraq between 2010 and 2012. While they have new equipment to improve situational awareness, they do not have the depleted uranium amour package that increases protection over the tank’s frontal arc.

The penetration of a tank’s armour by a shaped-charge warhead increases the likelihood of crew casualties, but does not necessarily result in the destruction of the vehicle, especially if it has a dedicated ammunition compartment, as in the case of the Abrams.

However, the US official said the Iraqi Army has problems maintaining its Abrams, suggesting it will struggle to get damaged tanks back into service.

via Iraqi Abrams losses revealed – IHS Jane’s 360.

No tank, no matter how heavily armored, is invulnerable. How you use a tank is as important as how well it is armored.

The US Army, since the formation of the first armored divisions in 1940, has long stressed to combined arms cooperation between infantry and armor.

The Iraqi Army hasn’t mastered that, apparently.


6 thoughts on “Iraqi Abrams losses revealed – IHS Jane's 360”

  1. I thought all M1A1’s were equipped with the depleted uranium add on armor back around the first Gulf War in 1991. Was that not the case? Or was this armor possibly removed because of its impact on range (already a sore point with all Abrams)?

    Do we know what ATGMs were used? Were they AT-14s?

    1. Early M1A1s were build without the DU armor. The armor is an integral part of the hull, and NOT an applique that can be added or removed. That’s why these tanks were available to for foreign sale- that is, we couldn’t effectively rebuild them for US issue.

      At least one Iraqi M1 was lost to the AT-14, though it’s unclear how many. The M1 has always been vulnerable to AT missiles, especially if they hit outside the frontal arc. No tank can have heavy armor everywhere.

    2. According to this link, existing US Army M1A1 tanks were upgraded to include DU armor in the 1987-1990 period.

      The tanks operated by Iraq are presumably the new manufacture M1A1M variant, briefly mentioned later in the above article. Since original production M1A1’s did not incorporate DU armor, this suggests that the Iraqi examples do not have it.

  2. These were losses between 1/1 and 5/31, including any battles (?) around Fallujah. Before ISIL broke out and overran Mosul, Tikrit, and the Sunni North.

    Did the Iraqi Army give up because of the losses? It sounds like their senior officers bugged out from Mosul and Tikrit last week and abandoned the soldiers to be butchered by the jihadis.

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