M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural - Operation Desert Storm 1991

M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural - Operation Desert Storm 1991

M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural - Operation Desert Storm 1991
Duel 18

Written by Steven J Zaloga
Illustrated by Jim Laurier
Osprey Publishing 2009, 80 pages
ISBN: 978-1-84603-407-7

M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural - Operation Desert Storm 1991 at Osprey...

Steven Zaloga is clearly one of the leading (and perhaps most prolific) historians when it comes to the history and development of tanks over the past century. I think it is probably safe to assume that he has forgotten more about tanks that I will ever know. In saying that I found his choice here to be rather strange, as most people who remember Desert Storm probably remember two things – 35 days of US Generals presenting footage of cruise missiles and laser guided precision weapons striking their targets, and the speed at which the Iraqi army folded under pressure from the Coalition forces once the ground war started.
The book itself is well laid out and clearly shows the differences between the two tanks. For people that have never looked the Duel series, they are designed to match up a pair of historical opponents and revisit their engagements as well as how they got there. In this case almost half the book broadly looks the design, specifications and the timeline that lead up to Desert Storm. The second half of the book reviews the strategic situation in 1991 before then moving down to a tactical level including a review of two engagements, then finally a brief analysis of the events that took place.

The majority of the content was, as always, excellent. I would have even liked some of the content to have been repeated in the T-62 book by the same author , which I was reading at the same time. What really confused me though was a statement up front in the introduction where the author asked the question that many wargamers have asked – “How would NATO tanks have stacked up against Warsaw Pact tanks?” The author then goes on to provide a series of historical accounts featuring the superpowers proxies where he states crew quality was the difference, not hardware. This lead me to the question “so how does a 2nd rate army, with a 2nd rate export version of the T-72 have any chance against one of the most well trained and professional armies of the 20th century, equipped with one of the best tanks of its time?” I think that the choice of topic here would have made more sence to me if there had of been a shift in either the training or equipment, that is a well trained army with equipment that was one or two generations behind the development curve facing off against a poorly trained force with state of the art equipment.

As a reference tool, M1 Abrams vs T-72 Ural definitely has a place on my bookshelf as something I will go back and re-read, just not the place I would have expected it to have


Last Updated On Tuesday, September 1, 2009 by Wayne at Battlefront