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Weapons of War The machinery of warfare. .

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  #1  
Old 17 Mar 11, 18:53
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Question How well did the US M 60 tanks perform in Desert Storm?

You always hear stories of how well the M1A1 Abrams did against Iraqi tanks and armed vehicles, but we also had quite a few M 60 tanks being used in that war, but I have not heard any reviews of how well they did. They might have never actually run into any enemy tanks as far as I know, and maybe they were not used in the front lines of battle, but I'd like to know how well they performed if in fact they did see some action.........
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  #2  
Old 18 Mar 11, 09:44
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I believe some USMC M-60A3s did encounter Iraqi armor near Kuwait City. I don't recall the details but I believe I saw one Marine comment that their 105 mm DU ammo had no difficulty penetrating Iraqi armor.

Perhaps someone else can recommend a reliable account of the engagement.
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Old 18 Mar 11, 17:23
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Read this thread on another forum: http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?...id=5591&page=1

Someone here states the Marines did not use M60A3s but just late model M60A1s with add-on reactive armor. The Army was equipped with M1s but allegedly a father of a Marine in the 4th Tank Battalion sued the Navy/Marines because the M60A1s were obsolete. Luckily the Army had surplus M1A1 HA's and exchanged 54-58 M60s to the 4th Tank Battalion for no cost. The USMC Reserve 4th Tank Battalion got the M1A1s and the 8th Tank Battalion used their M60A1 RISE Passive tanks.

Although here they state that the 2nd Tank Battalion used 200 M60A3s in Kuwait City.
Quote:
http://www.harpoondatabases.com/Ency...Entry2026.aspx

Desert Storm: The US Marines exclusively used the M-60A3 during the conflict. In early February 1991, two hundred USMC M-60A3s of the 2nd Battalion drove north from Khafji, Saudi Arabia into occupied Kuwait where they met a larger Iraqi force of mixed (T-54/55, Type 69, and T-72) tanks on the grounds of Kuwait City International Airport. This was the largest armored battle for the Marines since WWII, and they won soundly destroying almost nine dozen Iraqi tanks with only one M-60A3 lost. The defeat was humiliating not only to Iraq but also to the USSR’s arms export effort, as some of the destroyed tanks were the newer T-72 which was supposed to be superior to the M-60. Despite the commanding performance of the M-60A3, the USMC decided to phase it out shortly afterwards anyways to achieve commonality with the US Army’s M-1 Abrams. Egypt also fielded M-60s during Desert Storm, it is not known if they saw combat.
But here:
Quote:
http://www.patton-mania.com/M60_Patton/m60_patton.html

During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force fielded 210 M60A1’s with ERA to support the Saudi-Marine effort into Kuwait City. These were the first tanks to enter Kuwait during ODS.

Caption: "M-60A1 Patton Main Battle Tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, advancing toward Kuwait City during the third day of the ground offensive phase of Operation Desert Storm, 26 February 1991."

Someone mentions that the Army used nine M60A3s but no one was sure with whom they were attached to or how they did.

Seems the M60A1, despite the manual sights had ERA armor and had better survivability than the M60A3TTS despite the laser sights it had. Also the Marines were trained to use the M60A1. There's probably other reasons why the Marines chose to still use the M60A1 despite there being M1's available to use.

I heard the M60A1 and M60A3 had different fire control systems. Also heard the USMC was waiting for the M1A1HC version to equip their armor battalions with instead of doing it piecemeal and then having to upgrade older variants.



Quote:
http://www.patton-mania.com/M60_Patton/m60_patton.html
M60A1 ERA
Going into Desert Shield, the Marines' main battle tank was the M60A1 ERA (explosive reactive armor). Outfitted with ERA applique armor, it was considered roughly equal to, if lesser-gunned than the best tank in the Iraqi inventory, the much-vaunted Soviet T-72. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force fielded 210 M60A1’s with ERA to support the Saudi-Marine effort into Kuwait City. These were the first tanks to enter Kuwait during ODS.

The Marine Corps fielded the M1A1 Tank to replace the aging M60A1 RISE/ PASSIVE Tank.

M60 Armored Vehicle Launched Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC or AVLM) is an M60 Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB)

The MICLIC system suffered from several serious shortcomings during the Gulf War. Engineer after-action reports from Desert Storm concluded that units placed an over-reliance on the MICLIC as the answer to all their breaching problems. This was due to the ignorance of threat mine capabilities, poor MICLIC training at home station, and the general lack of an effective training device or training strategy. During test firings the system suffered a 50-percent failure rate.

M728 CEV
During Operation Desert Storm the CEV proved unable to manoeuvre with the heavy force due to the inability of the M60 chassis and power train to keep pace with the M1A1. Many manoeuvre units simply left the CEV behind rather than slow their manoeuvre. Such was the case with the Mine Rake mounted on the CEV. Commanders planned for their use as a part of the deliberate breaching operation but left them behind once they began the pursuit and exploitation phase of the operation. Commanders were unanimous in their opinion that the engineer force needs M1 chassis' for heavy breaching and gap crossing equipment. The M728 still serves today in the National Guard and Reserve.
M60A1 RISE with ERA Photos in Operation Desert Shield: http://www.primeportal.net/tanks/gre...60a1_rise_era/

So we have the USMC using:
1st Battalion with M60A1s
2nd Battalion with M60A3s
4th Battalion with M1A1s
8th Battalion with M60A1s

So who knows, maybe the 2nd Battalion got the upgraded M60s while the other two kept using the M60A1s and the 4th Battalion got the new M1A1s. Seemed that the crews in the M60A3s and the M1A1s would have to be retrained on how to use the new tanks first.

Hope this helps.
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  #4  
Old 18 Mar 11, 21:27
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Let's move this to weapons of war and get some more comments.
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Old 19 Mar 11, 07:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post

So we have the USMC using:
1st Battalion with M60A1s
2nd Battalion with M60A3s
4th Battalion with M1A1s
8th Battalion with M60A1s

So who knows, maybe the 2nd Battalion got the upgraded M60s while the other two kept using the M60A1s and the 4th Battalion got the new M1A1s. Seemed that the crews in the M60A3s and the M1A1s would have to be retrained on how to use the new tanks first.

Hope this helps.
This in part had to do with the tank model stored on the prepositioned ships at Diego Garcia. Those were amoung the first US tanks to arrive on Saudi territory. Which USMC battlaion picked them up on the Saudi docks escapes me, but I did meet the battalion commander several times, LtCol 'Buster' Diggs. His story about arriving and standing up the tank battalion was 'colorfull'.

There is a article in the 'Naval Institute Proceedings' from the early 1990s written by a company commander in 4th Tanks. It describes the transition to the M1 after call up (4th was a reserve bn) and their combat in Kuwait. They spent barely four weeks between initial call up and getting on the flight to SWA. In practical terms the training on the M1 amounted to 2.5 weeks learning the controls and time on the driving and shooting courses.

I am just guessing, with slight support from experience with USMC vehicals of the era, and a few rumors. But, it is possible the 4th bn got M1 tanks because there were not enough dependably running M60 left in the USMC inventory. I dont know if 3rd bn gave up any for Desert Shield, tho the desire to keep 3rd Div components intact was a factor.

Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 19 Mar 11 at 08:09..
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  #6  
Old 08 Sep 11, 23:20
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M60A1

Advance party for 8th TKBN picked up M60A1's. Tanks were basically new and still painted for Europe. We painted desert tan and bolted on our own armor.
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Old 08 Sep 11, 23:54
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Did the Egyptians use some M-60 tanks in one Armor Division? I vaguely recall the Saudis had some in the RSA. I don't think the Saudi National Guard had any.

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Old 09 Sep 11, 00:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aco1811 View Post
Advance party for 8th TKBN picked up M60A1's. Tanks were basically new and still painted for Europe. We painted desert tan and bolted on our own armor.
Welcome to ACG mate, hope you stick around.

I have read that the M60A3s had a superior thermal imaging system in comparison to the first operational M1s at the time, do you have much info' in regards to this?
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Old 09 Sep 11, 23:14
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M60A1

Thanks for the welcome. My experience was with the M60A1 and then about a year after we got back 8th TKBN transitioned to the M1A1. Can't tell you anything about the thermal sights on the M60A3.
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Old 10 Sep 11, 00:55
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How about M551 - Sheridans?
Did they see any action?
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Old 11 Sep 11, 17:49
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From what I remember, USMC M60s killed Iraqi armor with the same efficiency as the M1s. I also recall, I think from Schwartzkoff's memoirs, that most Saudi M60s were unoperational when he arrived in theater. Why? Clogged air filters.
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Old 11 Sep 11, 18:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
How about M551 - Sheridans?
Did they see any action?
Quote:
During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 51 Sheridans were deployed by the 82nd Airborne Division, and were among the first tanks to be sent. Although photos that were published at the time showed rows of Sheridans ready to defend against Iraqi tanks, they would not have been very effective against the Russian-designed T-72s which comprised the bulk of the Iraqi Republican Guard. Their role was limited to reconnaissance due to their age and light armor. It is likely that six or fewer Shillelagh missiles were fired[16] at Iraqi bunkers; this appears to be the only occasion in which Shillelagh missiles were fired in a combat environment, from the inventory of the aforementioned 88,000 missiles produced.

wiki
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Old 12 Sep 11, 14:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achtung Baby View Post
... I have read that the M60A3s had a superior thermal imaging system in comparison to the first operational M1s at the time, do you have much info' in regards to this?
The TTS for the M60A3 was considered something of an emergency. IIRC Texas Instrument built them on and pretty much exceeded everyone's expectations.

Sights on the initial production M1 were included in the contract. The government got what the specs called for but not much more.

Consensus was that the TTS had a clearer image.
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Old 14 Sep 11, 02:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Pint John View Post
wiki
wiki is still batting a 1,000, I see.

T-72s were present, but hardly the bulk of the Iraqi Armor. Most were T-54/55s that were heavily modified and T-62s. Only the Republican Guard had 72s.
And by modified, I mean additional armor and larger guns in some cases.

Those things were not even what I was most worried about. I was in a Bradley, and I had seen vids of the Iraqi Army using 57mm flak guns like Heavy MGs in Iran. Bad news for light armor, and harder to hit with a TOW than a tank would have been.
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Old 14 Sep 11, 03:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gixxer86g View Post
From what I remember, USMC M60s killed Iraqi armor with the same efficiency as the M1s. I also recall, I think from Schwartzkoff's memoirs, that most Saudi M60s were unoperational when he arrived in theater. Why? Clogged air filters.
Says a lot when the Saudis could not even figure out their own environment. What the hell, they never took their tanks on a test drive until a crisis happened or they did and just simply sat on their asses and did nothing to remedy the shortcomings. We do know they were not financially strapped.
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