Iraqi T-54 Heavy Tank - Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait, 1991 (1:72 Scale)
"We are not intimidated by the size of the armies, or the type of hardware the US has brought."
- Saddam Hussein, commenting on the build up of Coalition Forces in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield, November 12th, 1990
The T-54 and T-55 main battle tanks were the Soviet Union's replacements for the World War II era T-34 tank. The T-54/55 tank series is the most produced in the world, and very widely employed, especially by former client states of the Soviet Union.
The T-54 and T-55 tanks are very similar and difficult to distinguish visually. Many T-54s were updated to T-55 standards. Soviet tanks were factory-overhauled every 7,000 km, and often given minor technology updates. Many states have added or modified tank equipment (India affixed fake fume extractors to its T-54s and T-55s, so that Indian gunners wouldn't confuse them with Pakistani Type 59s).
T-54 can be distinguished by a dome-shaped ventilator on the turret front-right, and has a SGMT 7.62 mm machine gun in a fixed mount in the front of the hull, operated by the driver. Early T-54s lacked a gun fume extractor, had an undercut at the turret rear, and a distinctive "pig-snout" gun mantlet. The T-55's new turret has large D-shaped roof panels, visible from above.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of an Iraqi T-54 heavy tank which was deployed to Kuwait during 1991. Sold Out!
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: October 2010
Historical Account: "The Battle of 73 Easting" - The Battle of 73 Easting was a decisive tank battle fought on 26 February 1991, during the Gulf War, between American-British armored forces and those of the Iraqi Republican Guard. The battle took place several hours after the Battle of Al Busayyah. It was named for a UTM north-south coordinate line (an "Easting", measured in kilometers and readable on GPS receivers) in the featureless desert that was used as a phase line to measure progress of the offensive. The battle was described by the Military Channel as "the last great tank battle of the 20th century."
The main U.S. unit in the battle was the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2nd ACR), a 4,500 man reconnaissance and security element assigned to VII Corps. It consisted of three ground squadrons (1st, 2nd and 3rd), an aviation (attack helicopter) squadron (4th), and a support squadron. The 2ACR combat team numbered around 10,000 soldiers. Each ground squadron was made up of three cavalry troops, a tank company, a self-propelled howitzer battery, and a headquarters troop. Each troop comprised 120 soldiers, 12 M3 Bradley fighting vehicles and nine M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. The corps' main body consisted of the American 3rd Armored Division (3rd AD) and 1st Infantry Division (1st ID) and 1st Armored Division (1st AD), and the British 1st Armoured Division (1 AD).
The job of 2ACR was to advance east, led by scouts in Bradleys with tanks covering them from the rear, and to locate the enemy at a distance. They covered the advance of the 3rd Armored Division until late on February 25th and then covered the movement of 1st Infantry Division as it moved north from its initial objectives. The Regiment's mission was to strip away enemy security forces, clear the way of significant defenses and locate the Republican Guard's defensive positions so they could be engaged by the full weight of the armored forces.
On the night of February 23rd-24th, in accordance with General Norman Schwarzkopf's plan for the ground assault called "Operation Desert Sabre", VII Corps raced east from Saudi Arabia into Iraq in a maneuver later nicknamed the "Hail Mary." The Corps had two goals: to cut off Iraqi retreat from Kuwait, and to destroy five Republican Guard divisions near the Iraq-Kuwait border that might attack the Arab and Marine units moving into Kuwait to the south. Initial Iraqi resistance was light and scattered and the 2nd ACR fought only minor engagements until February 25th.
The primary battle was conducted by 2ACR's three squadrons of about 400 soldiers, along with the 1st Infantry Division's two leading brigades, who attacked and destroyed the Iraqi 18th Mechanized Brigade and 37th Armored Brigade of the Tawakalna Division, each consisting of between 2,500 to 3,000 personnel.