The Gulf War bore witness to a number of deadly encounters between these two great adversaries. Heavily armoured, highly mobile and capable of killing at over 2500m the M1 Abrams is, to this day, a veritable fighting machine. Superior to both Iraq's Soviet era T-55 and T-62 tanks, nearly all sources claim that Abrams tank has ever been destroyed by enemy fire. Despite entering service in 1980, the M1 Abrams remained untested in combat until the Gulf War in 1991, where it was to be confronted by its archenemy the Iraqi-assembled Soviet-designed T-72. Entering production in 1971, the T-72 arguably outstripped its contemporaries in a balance of mobility, protection and firepower. By the time of Operation Desert Storm, however, the tables had turned and the tank suffered due to low quality ammunition and poorly trained crews. In this fascinating study, Steven Zaloga pits these two great fighting machines against one ather, plotting the development of the Cold War until both tanks met in combat in the deserts of Iraq and Kuwait.
Steven J. Zaloga received his BA in history from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has worked as an analyst in the aerospace industry for over two decades, covering missile systems and the international arms trade, and has served with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank. He is the author of numerous books on military technology and military history, with an accent on the US Army in World War II as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union.