DeAgostini BX54 Iraqi T-72M1 Main Battle Tank - 3rd Armored Division, Salah Al-Din, 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-72, which entered production in 1971, was first seen in public in 1977. The T-72, introduced in the early 1970s, is not a further development of the T-64, but rather a parallel design chosen as a high-production tank complementing the T-64. The T-72 retains the low silhouette of the T-54/55/62 series, featuring a conventional layout with integrated fuel cells and stowage containers which give a streamlined appearance to the fenders. While the T-64 was deployed only in forward-deployed Soviet units, the T-72 was deployed within the USSR and exported to non-Soviet Warsaw Pact armies and several other countries. In addition to production in the USSR it has been built under license in Czechoslovakia, India, Poland and former Yugoslavia.
Pictured here is 1:72 scale replica of an upgraded T-72 main battle tank employed by the Iraqi Army during the US-led Operation Desert Storm. Sold Out!
Length: 4 inches
Width: 2.25 inches
Historical Account: "Dead Weight" - Before being disbanded in 2003, the previous 3rd Division had been one of the four original divisions of the Iraqi Army, being active in 1941. In July 1958 elements of the division had overthrown the Iraqi government in the 14 July Revolution, with Abd al-Karim Qasim, commander of the 20th Infantry Brigade (an armoured brigade according to Darwish and Alexander) stationed near Ba'quba, the originator of the coup. However the actual overthrow was led by a battalion commander, Abdul Salam Arif, in the 19th Infantry Brigade.
Some time in the 1950s or 1960s the division was converted into the 3rd Armored Division, which was deployed to the 1967 Six Day War. Iraqi participation in the Six Day War was limited, principally owing to the slow reaction of the 3rd Armored Division, which had been stationed in eastern Jordan. The 3rd Armored Division did not organize itself and reach the front line before the Jordanians ceased operations. Later during the events of Black September in Jordan, 1970, the division was still stationed in northeast Jordan. Though the Jordanians needed forces to repel the Syrian invasion, they had to keep the 99th Brigade of their 3rd Armored Division out of the conflict so that they could watch the Iraqi division.
The 3rd Armored Division saw service later in the Yom Kippur War, under the command of Brig. Gen. Lafta, and was deployed alongside the Jordanian 40th Armored Brigade. By that time, 'the division was the elite unit of the army, and Iraqi officers avidly competed to be assigned to it.' The Division suffered heavy casualties during the war, losing more than 157 tanks, 278 dead and 898 wounded. The 8th Mechanized Brigade was completely destroyed on October 13th in an ambush set by four Israeli armored brigades at Tel Shaar, between Maschara and Nasej. The division later fought in the Iran-Iraq War, Persian Gulf War, operations in the 1990s, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Just before the Iraq War it was part of the II Corps, on the Iranian border. It comprised the 6th Armored Brigade, 12th Armored Brigade, and 8th Mechanized Brigade. It was disbanded when the Iraqi Armed Forces were formally dissolved by Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2.
The division is now is headquartered at Al Kisik. Its units were part of the original three division New Iraqi Army. As of January 2005, the division was commanded by Maj. Gen. Khursheed Saleem Hassan. The 3rd Division was transferred from coalition control to the Iraqi Ground Forces Command on December 1st, 2006.