Dragon DRA60171 Operation Iraqi Freedom Assault Vehicle Collection - M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank - 4th Infantry Division, Iraq, 2003 (1:72 Scale)
"We will carry out a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility ... and by the application of overwhelming force."
- CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks commenting on the conduct of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, March 21st, 2003
The M1 Abrams was the next stage in American tank development after the M60 series. Chrysler completed the prototype in 1978 and the first production vehicles appeared in 1980 with 30 tanks a month being built in the years that followed by General Dynamics, then a division of Chrysler Motors. Its advanced Chobham armour makes the M1 the best protected US main battle tank yet devised. Its gas turbine engine is smaller and easier to service than a diesel engine, but the extra fuel requirement negates the space saved, which is perhaps why the idea was rejected for acquiring the German-built Leopard 2. Thermal sights, laser rangefinder equipment, and a sophisticated gun stabilization system give the M1 excellent firepower on the move, be it day or night. In the 1991 Gulf War, the Abrams proved itself the best tank in the world, knocking out Iraqi T-72s with impunity. In fact, no Abrams were lost due to enemy fire.
According to General Dynamics, international sales of the Abrams tank are strong. Egypt has purchased 777 M1A1 tank kits. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased and fielded 315 M1A2 Abrams tanks in the Royal Saudi Land Forces, and lest we forget the Government of Kuwait, which purchased and fielded 218 M1A2 Abrams tanks in the Kuwaiti Land Forces. All of these nations are considering additional orders or configuration upgrades for their existing fleet of M1A1/A2 tanks.
Pictured here is the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank "C6" taken from the Operation Iraqi Freedom Assault Vehicle Collection. Each vehicle comes in distinctive lime green packaging. Sold Out!
Length: 5.25 inches
Width: 2 inches
Release Date: May 2005
Historical Account: The 2003 operation in Iraq, termed "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by the US administration, began on March 20th. It was originally coined "Operation Iraqi Liberation". The United States and the United Kingdom supplied 98% of the invading forces. They co-operated with Kurdish forces in the north which numbered upwards of 50,000. Other nations also participated in part of a coalition force to help with the operation by providing equipment, services and security as well as Special Forces. The 2003 Iraq invasion marked the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the Iraq War. Prior to the invasion, the United States' official position was that Iraq illegally possessed weapons of mass destruction in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and had to be disarmed by force. President George W. Bush stated Saddam's weapons of mass destruction needed to be disarmed, and the Iraqi people were to have control of their own country restored to them. UN inspection teams were searching Iraq for these alleged weapons for nearly four months prior to the invasion and were willing to continue, but were forced out by the onset of war in spite of their requests for more time.
The Bush administration did not attempt to get a UN Security Council resolution authorising military force, as France, Russia, and later China all signalled that they would use their Security Council veto power against any resolution that would include an ultimatum allowing the use of force against Iraq. On March 20th, 2003, the invasion of Iraq began. This was seen by many as a violation of international law, breaking the UN Charter (see Legitimacy of the 2003 invasion of Iraq). The Iraqi military was defeated, and Baghdad fell on April 9th, 2003. On May 1st, 2003, President Bush declared the end of major combat operations, terminating the Baath Party's rule and removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from office. Coalition forces ultimately captured Saddam Hussein on December 13th, 2003.
Numerous guerrilla and terrorist groups are active in the area, including one newly-formed called al-Qaeda in Iraq. Legislative elections were held in January 2005.